In response to the question, Is chicken unclean according to the Bible?» many people have suggested that we shouldn’t eat this meat-only animal. While this assumption is based on a false understanding of the Bible, it is not true that chicken is unclean. Moreover, the Bible explicitly allows us to eat birds that eat other animals, plants, and insects. However, some argue that chicken is unclean due to its diet or what early humans ate chicken.
Old Testament Dietary Laws
To understand whether the chicken is considered unclean in the Bible, we must first examine Old Testament dietary laws. The primary source of these laws is Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, which outline the animals the Israelites were allowed and forbidden to eat.
According to Leviticus 11:13-19, birds of prey, carrion eaters, and other specific birds are considered unclean:
“These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe, and the bat.” (Leviticus 11:13-19, NIV)
It’s important to note that chicken is not mentioned on the list of unclean birds. Chickens are not birds of prey, nor are they, carrion eaters. They are domesticated birds that have been an essential food source for people throughout history.
New Testament Perspectives
In the New Testament, the dietary laws of the Old Testament are no longer binding on believers. Jesus declared all foods clean in Mark 7:18-19:
“Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)” (Mark 7:18-19, ESV)
The apostle Peter also received a vision from God, emphasizing that all animals, including those previously considered unclean, were now clean and fit for consumption (Acts 10:9-16).
Animals with split hooves
Some animals have split hooves and are ceremonially unclean. These animals are not allowed to eat or touch the carcass of other animals, including deer, hyrax, and camels. Rabbits and other animals of the gazelle and deer family are also ceremonially unclean. The Bible lists a list of animals with split hooves, and the rules for eating them are very strict.
The Bible’s teachings on the sanctity of animals are clear. According to Leviticus 11:26, people who touch an animal with a split hoof is unclean. A similar rule holds true for animals without cud. Anyone who touches them, including the animal’s carcasses, is also unclean. It is even unclean to touch a dead animal’s hooves without washing your hands.
A few animals with split hooves are considered ceremonially unclean, including pigs. Rabbits, camels, and rock badgers are exceptions to the rule, as they do not chew cud. However, pigs with split hooves are unclean and should not be touched or eaten. The Bible also considers camels, hyrax, and rabbits unclean, even though they do not eat or drink.
The New Testament also has some clearer guidance regarding which animals are considered unclean. In Leviticus 11, we find the list of acceptable animals. Animals with cloven hooves, aquatic animals, and winged insects must have joints in their legs above their feet. Birds and bats are also forbidden; the Bible explicitly states that eating them is unclean.
Camels are not listed as unclean, according to the Bible. However, it is worth noting that the Islamic tradition did not view camels as having divided hooves; therefore, they were not considered unclean by the Bible. Rather, the Islamic view of split hooves is more likely to be accurate. And because there are a few ambiguities about the meaning of split hooves, it is best to avoid them if possible.
Rabbits are also included in this list, but the Bible says that they are clean when chewed with their cud. This is a common misconception. Rabbits and other animals with split hooves are not actually unclean, but the Bible mentions rabbits and lizards. It’s best to avoid them if you’re trying to stay clean, but if you don’t want to risk being declared unclean, don’t touch them.
Rabbinic practices associated with raising chickens
While we don’t think of chickens and eggs as «meat,» the rabbis don’t consider eggs or fowl meat to be unclean. They consider meat and milk products to be unclean, but they disagree on whether eggs or fowl are analogous. It’s also unclear why a rabbinic prohibition of these two foods is needed.
The Law of Clean and Unclean Meats is most commonly referred to in Deuteronomy 14 and Leviticus 11. The Torah has no explicit prohibition on raising chickens or other poultry, but it is closely related to the practice of raising chickens. Abel, the first person to be baptized, was a sheep-keeper, while Jabal raised cattle. Noah was instructed by the Eternal to gather clean and unclean animals by the sevens. Noah gathered clean and unclean animals on Mount Ararat and sacrificed them. Noah knew that only clean animals were acceptable to the Eternal.
In Isaiah 66:14-17, we learn about the Day of the LORD, when YEHOVAH’s enemies will be consumed. It is associated with gross idolatry. YEHOVAH’s people are holy and will not eat unclean meat. Eating unclean animals is gross idolatry, as per the Bible. To truly understand the Abomination of Desolation, we must understand the difference between clean and unclean.
The health laws of the Bible are based on the Ten Commandments, which define our relationship with YEHOVAH God and our fellow humans. These laws are part of the loving nature of the Eternal. Rabbinic practices associated with raising chickens are unclean according to the Bible, but do not compromise their purity. You may raise chickens in accordance with these practices and still be a good citizen.
Jesus ate chicken
Despite the popular opinion, Jesus ate chicken, at least a few times. According to the King James version, Jesus’ dietary laws were not stricter than other ancient rabbis, and his comments about chicken were not directed at the food itself. Instead, he focused on the person’s unclean heart. That was what made Jesus’ comments about chicken so controversial. If you are wondering if Jesus ate chicken, here are the reasons why.
The Jews during Jesus’ time raised many birds, so it is unlikely that he ate meat very often. However, archaeologists have found that they only ate meat three or four times a year. In addition to chicken, the Bible mentions stews and soups as sources of meat, so he likely ate chicken and fish. The Bible also says that Jesus ate meat, but not red meat.
Eggs, on the other hand, were not mentioned in the Bible. In fact, eggs were never mentioned during any meals that Jesus attended. Even the Code of Jewish Law mentions eggs. In this regard, they are reported as neutral foods and may be eaten alongside other types of meat and dairy. However, in addition to being neutral, eggs are permitted for Jewish Passover Seder plates. If Jesus did eat eggs, it could be considered kosher.
It is unlikely that Jesus ate chicken as we do today. This is because the New Testament mentions chicken several times, but does not describe what he ate. This information is available in the Mishnah and Tosefta, two collections of Jewish laws dating back to the third century. Furthermore, both of these works contain archaeological evidence that support the idea that Jesus ate chicken. This is also consistent with the tradition of the Nazarene Essenes.
Although chicken meat meets the clean meat requirement set forth by the Torah, it is likely injected with a pork based solution during the processing process. This can potentially contaminate the meat. And even Halal meat often contains pork juice. Furthermore, chicken is clean because the Bible says that it was a pure bird of God. The Apostle Peter, for example, went on a roof during Passover and fell into a trance. After he fell into the trance, he saw a large sheet come down to earth.
The Bible is not clear on whether chicken is a good food for Christians. The Bible does not mention the specifics. It states that fish and other aquatic animals can be eaten. And winged insects can be eaten if they have joints above their feet. It also states that eating chicken is not sinful. Despite the lack of clarity in this area, the Bible does not discourage Christians from eating chicken. It is worth a try.
People often ask: «What do chickens smell like? Is it foul?» The fact is that chickens do not necessarily smell like that. If you think they do, you may have only seen them in a poultry operation or poor conditions. Chickens living in your backyard are not likely to smell as foul as you might expect. However, if they are smelly, they are not dead.
se in chickens on a farm include diarrhea, coughing, and white or chalk-white feces. Oftentimes, these animals will die very early.
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