Diets and the Dispensations

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4,5 KJV).

Opponents of dispensational Bible study claim that because God never changes (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8), His dealings with mankind never change. Certainly, God’s essence—His character and nature—never changes. But, His directions to man do change, and this is easily exemplified by comparing today’s Scripture with the following:

  • NO MEAT, VEGETATION ONLY — Genesis 1:27-29: Before sin, God instructed Adam and Eve to eat only vegetation like nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits (no meat).
  • ALL MEAT AND VEGETATION — Genesis 9:1-4: After the Great Flood, God taught Noah to eat any animal that he could catch (1,600 years after Adam, meat is incorporated into man’s diet).
  • ONLY CERTAIN MEAT — Leviticus 11:1-31 and Deuteronomy 14:1-21: In the Mosaic Law, some 850 years after Noah, God ordered Israel to abstain from some meats, the “unclean” beasts which included bats, owls, camels, vultures, lizards, and swine. These kosher food laws of Judaism remained in effect for the next 1500 years.

Which passage should we obey? Eat only vegetation (Genesis 1:27-29)? Or, eat any meat we choose (today’s Scripture and Genesis 9:1-4)? Or, eat only certain meats (Leviticus 11:1-31 and Deuteronomy 14:1-21)? While these seem like contradictions, notice God spoke them to different groups of people at different times (dispensations). We must never mix the directions God gave in the various dispensations because Bible “contradictions” will arise. “Rightly dividing the word of truth” is necessary to determine which passage is God’s Word to us (2 Timothy 2:15).

As Gentiles, Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13): Paul is God’s spokesman to us. In today’s Scripture, the Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that since we live in the Dispensation of Grace, we are not bound to observe Israel’s kosher food laws. We can eat all meats, provided we give God thanks (but note how God did not allow this in other dispensations).

No clearer example of the importance of dispensational Bible study could be presented.