Question: Was the Mosaic law of clean and unclean animals given to the Jews only? Did it get abolished at the cross?
Answer: The knowledge of clean and unclean animals did not originate with Moses. It was given by God at the very beginning of time when He gave people the divine instructions concerning sacrifices—for which only clean animals should be used. It is, therefore, clear that this law was not intended for the Jews only.
The Scriptures tell us that Noah, who lived long before any Jews existed, knew how to distinguish between clean and unclean animals. Before the flood, “The Lord said to Noah, … ‘take with you seven each of every clean animal … two each of animals that are unclean” (Genesis 7:1, 2). And after the flood Noah used the clean animals to offer sacrifices as God commanded when he “built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20).
Jesus’ death only abolished the Mosaic laws that pertain to sacrifices, feasts, and temple ceremonies which pointed to the coming of the Messiah and His death (Colossians 2:14-17; Ephesians 2:15). But God’s moral law (Exodus 20:3-17) and the health laws (Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14) are still in effect today (Matthew 5:17-18).
The apostle John, in Revelation 18:2, gave a graphic metaphor resembling the wickedness of Babylon with unclean birds just before the coming of Christ. Obviously, this distinction was still present among the believers in the early church and will continue, even to the coming of Christ. And the Bible adds that all who break the unclean health laws will be destroyed at His coming: “For behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury” against “Those who … eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse” (Isaiah 66:15–17).
It is a fact that the Jew’s body in no way differs from the Gentile’s body. They both get affected equally with unclean foods. So, we can conclude that these health laws were given for all people during all ages. It is for our own benefit to obey these health laws (Deuteronomy 12:25; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17).
In His service,