Hebrews 9:8-10 – Were the Kosher Laws Only in Place “until a time of reformation”?

POSTED 01 NOVEMBER, 2017

“The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.”

Hebrews 9:8-10, and its mentioning of “foods” (brōmasin), is a frequently referenced passage in various Christian theological works as a support to assert that the Torah’s dietary laws have been abolished for the post-resurrection era.[1] Few Messianic leaders and teachers have bothered to even examine Hebrews 9:8-10, to evaluate whether it is associated with the Torah’s instructions regarding clean and unclean meats, despite it being often listed alongside passages such as Mark 7, Acts chs. 10 and 11, Romans 14, Colossians 2:16-17, or 1 Timothy 4:1-5 (previously addressed).

The author of Hebrews discusses the limitations of the Levitical priesthood and sacrifices (9:1-7), necessarily surpassed in effectiveness by the Messiah’s priesthood and final sacrifice and cleansing for all (9:11-28). Understanding and appreciating the Levitical service is necessary, in order to more fully understand and grasp the vital importance of what Yeshua has accomplished:

“But when Messiah appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (9:11-12).

For those who are more conscious of the Torah’s instructions regulating the Levitical priesthood and sacrificial system—which is precisely what is in view in the wider cotext of Hebrews ch. 9—is the reference to “foods” in vs. 8-10 associated with the kosher dietary laws observed by all in Israel, or more specifically with the priestly service? It goes widely overlooked, by many able Christian expositors, how the Torah did originally allow for the Levitical priests to eat various portions from the altar of sacrifice. Elsewhere, a figure like the Apostle Paul would acknowledge, “Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar?” (1 Corinthians 9:13; cf. 10:18). It needs to be seriously considered that the “foods” in view are intended to be understood in association with the Levitical service and priestly portion, not with the classification of clean and unclean meats for general eating by the people at large.

Click here for the complete version of “Hebrews 9:8-10 – Were the Kosher Laws Only in Place ‘until a time of reformation’?”

Hebrews_9_8-10_KOSHER

reproduced from the Messianic Kosher Helper

When the subject of kosher, kashrut, or the dietary instructions of the Torah or the Law of Moses come up in various contemporary Messianic settings, there can be a tendency for some strong emotions to arise. The broad Messianic spectrum represents a diversity of views on “kosher”—ranging from the dietary laws being abolished and only to be observed as a part of Jewish culture, to people advocating a strict adherence to many Orthodox Jewish rulings and practices, to a kosher style diet where people mainly avoid pork and shellfish. At times, there has been an over-amount of attention given to the minutiae of keeping kosher, and not enough time given to some of the significant Biblical passages which either inform us about kosher or have been traditionally interpreted to say that kosher has been abolished for the post-resurrection era. And more than anything else, maintaining an appropriate, Messiah-centric attitude toward all of this, is most imperative. There have been far too many extremes represented regarding the issue of the dietary laws, at times, and not enough reasoned discussion. Too many people have issued accusations against others, and not enough have tried to inquire of both the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, what is perhaps important about this issue. Human beings have to all eat, after all!

The Messianic Kosher Helper includes a wide breadth of material, addressing a wide array of topics associated with the Torah’s dietary laws. This publication has been divided up into two main parts: The Significance of Kosher and A Theology of Eating and Kosher. You will be able to detect a progression of sorts, in our family’s own approach to the subject matter, as some things are addressed first more generally and then more specifically. In our experience, we ourselves have certainly had to move from a more elementary view of the issue of kosher, to a more developed view, and we recognize how the Messianic community needs to do the same.

It is important to remember how Leviticus 11:44 says, “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy” (cf. 1 Peter 1:16)—a concept which is directly connected to clean and unclean meats. But, if following this is not enjoined with a better appreciation and understanding of a steadfast mandate for all of us to have clean minds and hearts, imbued with the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, demonstrating the love of Yeshua to all—then outward holiness will not have been joined with the more critical inward holiness. If, however, we learn how to separate external things which are clean and unclean—then perhaps we can also learn, with God’s help, how to separate clean and unclean thoughts, ideas, and attitudes, being mature men and women in Him, and empowered on many different levels for service to His Kingdom!

This is a massive collection of material, well needed for every Messianic home and congregational library!

676 pages