Question:

Hello,

I'm a Christian part of the Lord's body (the church of Christ) and I have a question about unclean meats.

I've read your posts before about Acts and Romans on the Lord allowing all things that were unclean to be clean, and I've read that myself before and believed that interpretation for many years now. However, in my studies, I've been reading in Isaiah and just finished the book. In Isaiah 65 and Isaiah 66, the Lord talks about the punishments in the future (prophecy) when he creates His new Jerusalem and specifically mentions those who eat swine's flesh and other unclean animals.

Isaiah 65:4 (KJV)  Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

Isaiah 66:17 (KJV)  They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.

Because these prophecies in these two chapters have not yet come to pass, and I know that all of God's Word is true. When I read this and the vision of all the animals together, I wonder if the vision is about the Gentiles and not consuming of unclean flesh? However, I am not sure and am reading and studying to understand better.

I am not familiar with the Hebrew, but I also read the Bible in another language, and the passages in Isaiah seem to say the same as the English.

I've heard some say, these passages only apply to the ethnic children of Israel, and not Gentiles. As someone of Jewish descent, I am concerned that I obey God's Word and just hope to gain more insight.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing back

Answer:

Usually, you will hear from Messianic Jews, who wish to bind the Law of Moses on Christians, claim that there are different laws for Jewish Christians than there are for Gentile Christians. But Paul stated, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). There is only one law in effect today and that is the law of Christ, and it applies to everyone.

Pulling lines out of the middles of a prophecy can lead to incorrect conclusions. Prophecies are filled with symbolic language which can be easily misapplied if you don't understand the context in which they are originally stated.

Starting back in Isaiah 63, God is depicted as a warrior returning from Edom, which represents all the nations hostile to God. God has taken vengeance (Isaiah 63:4). He had expected support from His people, but there was no one, so God dealt with the problem single-handedly (Isaiah 63:5). God is known for His mercy and goodness but what is He to do with a rebellious people (Isaiah 63:7-9)? Their rebellion has turned His own people into His enemies (Isaiah 63:10).

Israel begins to remember their origins (Isaiah 63:11-14) and beg God for mercy (Isaiah 63:15-18). They acknowledge that they had been behaving like the Gentiles (Isaiah 63:19). Still, they ask God to intervene on their behalf (Isaiah 64:1-4). They acknowledge that they have sinned for a long time and deserved the results of their sins (Isaiah 64:5-7). But they desire God's forgiveness (Isaiah 64:8-12).

Isaiah 65 is God's response to Israel's plea. He states that He had put up with their sins for a long time. Isaiah 65:4 is a part of the list of sins God charges Israel with committing. Because of their sins, their suffering was a just consequence (Isaiah 65:1-7). However, God would not destroy Israel completely. A remnant would be saved (Isaiah 65:8-10) -- heirs of God's holy mountain (the church) (Isaiah 2:2-5; 57:13; 60:21; Hebrews 12:22-29). However, those who remain in sin will not survive (Isaiah 65:11-12). God then contrasts the fate of the righteous with the fate of the wicked (Isaiah 65:13-16).

God then promises to changes things completely. The phrase "new heavens and a new earth" does not necessarily refer to a physical change, but a new order that was brought in by the Messiah. See: Are the new heavens and new earth been already made or will it be created in the future? The former system will no longer be remembered (Isaiah 6:17). "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (II Corinthians 5:17). The Old Testament talked about these changes frequently, mentioning:

  • New things would come from God (Isaiah 42:9; 43:19; 48:6)
  • A new song would be sung by God's people (Isaiah 42:10)
  • A new name would be given to God's people (Isaiah 62:2)
  • A new covenant would be established (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
  • A new heart and new spirit would reside within (Ezekiel 18:31; 36:26)

In other words, the prophecies were talking about the Christian age, not some yet to be time. This era will be a time of peace (Isaiah 65:18-25; Ephesians 2:11-22; Colossians 1:20; James 3:17-18).

It isn't about a physical location, because no place can contain God (Isaiah 66:1-2). God dwells with the humble (John 4:21-24; James 4:4-10). The hypocrisy of former Israel's worship is rejected (Isaiah 1:11-15; 66:3-4). Let the righteous take note that God will avenge (Isaiah 66:5-6).

But before the final destruction of old Israel, the Messiah and his church would be born from Israel (Isaiah 66:7-9). Rejoice in the good news! But God will destroy the wicked (Isaiah 66:10-17). Again, the verse you reference is among descriptive terms for those who did not follow God's laws. Just because Israel gives birth to the new order, she is not spared because of her wickedness.

All nations will be gathered to behold God's glory (Isaiah 66:18-24) as the church is filled will people from every walk of life.

Thus, the verses you cited are apart of the condemnation of the old nation of Israel who failed to keep the laws of God and was destroyed as a result.

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