It is Not What Goes Into You
In Matthew 15 Jesus gave His disciples this same lesson. This chapter begins with a discussion about the traditions of men. The scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus why His disciples did not wash their hands before eating. They were not concerned with dirt or germs. They had a tradition that they were to purify their hands before eating. They did so by pouring water upon their hands, even as the holy vessels of Moses’ tabernacle and other things were purified by sprinkling water upon them.
Jesus’ answer was that the scribes and Pharisees were more concerned about their traditions than the law of God. He said that their traditions had actually negated the divine law.
10 And after He called the multitude to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11 Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”
Jesus was not really talking about physical food. He was talking about the traditions of men as opposed to the divine law. The traditions of men that came from the mouths of the scribes and Pharisees defiled them. These traditions of men are called “dung” in the book of Ezekiel. In fact, Ezekiel uses the term “dung” to mean “idol.” We have taught about this principle in our book, The Laws of Wormwood and Dung.
Jesus later explained to His disciples in Matt. 15:16-20 that whatever spiritual food you “eat” is processed (discerned) in the stomach and what cannot be digested is eliminated harmlessly as dung. But the real problem comes when the food, after it is processed, and after it has turned to dung, comes back up through the mouth and is dispensed to the people as the traditions of men.
We should be mature enough to be able to eat all kinds of food, even that which has been sacrificed to idols. Anything that cannot be digested will be eliminated as dung, and it will not affect us. But if our stomachs are weak, we will probably “throw up” and begin to spout some traditions of our own.
Do you get the point? We should be able to go back into the world to do the work of God as an ambassador of reconciliation without being defiled by the world’s food which has been sacrificed to idols. But if we are sent back while we are yet weak in faith and conscience, the world’s food will defile us. That is why God brings us into the wilderness for training.
Associating with the Babylonians, or with the Canaanites, or the Church, or the world, does not defile us. Jesus did it all the time. He associated with all sorts of sinners without defilement. But the Pharisees could not do this, for they had a weak conscience. They did not want to be tainted by all of those sinners. Jesus went and ate with them. He had no problem at all. Why? Was it because the sinners were so righteous? Not at all. He recognized their problem, but Jesus was able to eat with them and not be defiled, even if they still believed traditions that were of heart idolatry.