Foundations for Life in the Spirit

basic teaching about the spirit realm
for mature disciples in Yeshua

Forbidden Foods in Torah

We need to be learning how to apply commands from the Law of Moses in the spiritual realm. "Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together." From this, Paul arrived at the following spiritual application: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"

We see both here and in Paul's application of the command, "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain", that when dealing with commands in the Law concerning animals, Paul drew analogies from the animals to the kinds of people they represent, and from the action to a spiritual activity. He then derived a command to be applied in the realm of the spirit.

The above are both "Do not…" commands which also translate into the spiritual realm as things which should not be done. But the transition to the spirit is not always so straightforward. For example, there is a category of commandment in the Law which forbids things in order to prepare us for their intended spiritual fulfillment. We can therefore learn about our spiritual inheritance in Messiah through this kind of command.

One of the commands in this category is not to eat blood: "And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal." This command was extended by the apostles in Jerusalem to Gentile believers as well: "You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood…" So on the physical level this command is to be observed by the whole church. But the Law of Moses also contains this interesting explanation: "…because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, 'You must not eat the blood of any creature,' because the life of every creature is its blood."

But when Yeshua came, He taught us as follows: "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me."

We see, then, that the purpose of the law forbidding animal blood was to teach us that the spiritual life of birds and animals is not appropriate for the Lord's chosen people. We should rather seek His eternal life, which we can have by "eating" the flesh of the Son of G-d, and by "drinking" His blood. Did He really mean us to understand that at His supper we are eating His physical flesh and drinking His physical blood? To avoid this impression, He added for His disciples: "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."

Prompted by Paul, we should also ask here, "Is it about the blood of birds and animals that G-d is concerned? Surely He says this for us, doesn't He?" What, then, might be the spiritual equivalent of the animals whose life we are to refuse? "But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish." And what might be the spiritual equivalent of birds? "Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird."

Another example was the physical Holy of Holies, where the Lord spoke to Moses from between the Cherubim: it was forbidden to all, except for the High Priest, once a year. "The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing." "For Messiah did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in G-d's presence."

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Yeshua, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great Priest over the house of G-d, let us draw near to G-d with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."

We conclude with the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which was forbidden to Adam and Eve in the garden. Although they transgressed and ate, the idea that G-d had placed the tree there, never to be partaken of in a proper way, was only in keeping with the jealous image of Him which was offered to Eve by the Serpent.

We now know that if we allow our flesh to be slain by the sword of the spirit, we have access to the tree of Eternal Life: "I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Gardener." "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life."

And having received His life, we now also have access to the spiritual tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, as Paul wrote: "…that they may know the mystery of G-d, namely, Messiah, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge", and " us God revealed them through the Spirit". Eve and Adam sought to eat of the trees in the wrong order.

The scripture quotes in this article, in order of their appearance:
Deuteronomy 22:10
2 Corinthians 6:14
1 Corinthians 9:9, quoting Deuteronomy 25:4
Leviticus 7:26
Acts 16:29
Leviticus 17:14
John 6:53-57
2 Peter 2:12
Revelation 18:2
Hebrews 9:8
Hebrews 9: 24
Hebrews 10:19-22
John 15:1
John 6:54
Colossians 2:2-3
1 Corinthians 2:10

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