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COVID and Food Laws

COVID-19 and the Biblical Food Laws

The Bible says some animals, mammals, sea creatures and birds should not be eaten

biblical food laws

The Bat-Animal-Human Link

It is now believed that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is derived from bat coronaviruses [The Lancet], and that SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19, link. In fact, research suggests there are at least 3200 coronaviruses that infect bats, and a close relative of SARS-CoV-2 has been found in horseshoe bats in Thailand, [BBC News, February 2021].

A 2021 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that the most likely cause of COVID-19 came from bats (classified as mammals) via another animal, possibly a pangolin. An intermediary animal such as a pangolin is thought necessary due to the “evolutionary distance” between bat-based coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.

Chinese Food Markets

A 2021 report in Nature, link, suggests that food bought from Chinese markets could be a source of Covid-19. These markets sell animals (some dead, some alive) such as poultry, badgers, rabbits, giant salamanders and two kinds of crocodile for human consumption.

But the real targets for health experts’ concern are China’s wildlife markets. Viruses spread easily if animals are kept in cramped, dirty conditions like market cages. At the time of the outbreak the Chinese government allowed 54 wild species to be bred on farms and sold for consumption, including minks, ostriches, hamsters, snapping turtles, Siamese crocodiles, badgers, snakes, bamboo rats, porcupines – and bats [][][]. Bats are thought to be the natural host of the Ebola virus, rabies, SARS and MERS.

The WHO 2021 Report points out that the Huanan market in Wuhan was linked to the first known COVID-19 infections.

The virus was circulating in the (WuHan) market as early as December 2019

WHO Report, March 2021

The Biblical Food Laws

biblical food laws
Israeli Kosher Cuisine.
Young Shanahan, wikimedia. CC BY

Contrary to what many think, we should not eat certain animals, mammals, insects and birds. They have a God-given purpose (such as scavenging to clean the land), and they are not fit for human consumption. This is explained in detail in the kosher laws of the Old Testament.

The word “kosher” comes from the Hebrew root Kaf-Shin-Reish, meaning “fit, proper or correct”. Usually it is used in the context of “fit to eat”. It defines foods (everything a Jew eats, not just meat) that are fit for consumption by a Jew by labelling foods as either “clean” or “unclean”.

The biblical concept of clean and unclean animals occurs as early as Genesis 7:1-9, and the food laws are defined in detail in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. The latter describes many birds that are unclean and cannot be eaten, such as the buzzard, raven, vulture and seagull (all well-known scavengers). The list also includes the bat (Deut 14:18). God’s command to the Hebrews was “they (the listed creatures) shall not be eaten”.

Modern Medical Science

As medical science has advanced, it is now clear that the food laws have a health benefit. Pigs are perhaps the best known example of non-kosher food (Deut 14:8). It is now known that pork products, particularly liver, frequently carry hepatitis E, which can cause severe complications and even death in vulnerable populations. When it comes to bats, the case in question, science now shows that fruit bats (flying foxes) may be tasty but they concentrate toxin from cycad seeds, which can lead to motor-neuron disease (MND). The researchers concluded: “don’t eat bats”, link

In their book None of these Diseases, Drs. McMillen and Stern show how to obtain extraordinary medical benefits simply by heeding the Word of God. Diligently following the Hebrew food laws does indeed have health benefits for modern man, just as God promised the Israelites in the Exodus:

If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.

Exodus 15:26

In his book ‘What the Bible says about Healthy Living’, Dr Rex Russell, M.D says:

Scripture and medical research agree that modern lifestyles lived without reference to God’s laws and design shorten life and hasten death.

Has the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of following God’s blueprint for edible foods? Biblical food laws are just one more guide to the correct path in life for man.

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