Matthew 15; Did Jesus Declare all Foods Clean?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. Matthew 15:2

The Pharisees and scribes thought they had found Jesus and His followers in disobedience to the law in not washing their hands before they ate. However this was a man made law, or as Jesus said tradition. Jesus went on to say, “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are [the things] which defile a man.” Matthew 15:17-20. Some take the preceding statement to mean that Jesus just declared all foods clean, but that was not the point, nor the context of what He was talking about. The end of verse 20 tells us exactly what Jesus was talking about when He said, “but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” Clean and unclean foods were not the subject here, but rather washing hands according to the traditional laws man had made. Obviously Jesus did not declare Biblically unclean foods clean as Isaiah 66:17 speaks of unclean foods even at the second coming.

People have also tried to take the vision Peter had in Acts 10 out of context. They say God declared all food clean in this vision. In telling Peter that God loved the gentiles as much as the Jews he showed Peter some unclean animals. The fact that Jesus had never declared unclean foods clean is seen by Peter’s comment, “I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” Vs. 14 In verse 15 Peter hears the voice in the vision say, “What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.” Many try to twist this comment to mean that God had now declared all foods clean. No mention is ever made of unclean foods being pronounced okay to eat. However Peter tells us what the exact context of his vision was in verse 28, “God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Peter was encouraged by God to take the gospel to the gentiles. God told Peter no man was unclean, but Peter nor God ever mention animals being made clean in Acts 10 or anywhere else in the Bible.

For further study on this topic go to


  1. I believe there is a mistaken reference, perhaps a type-o, in your article regarding Matthew 15. The reference given is Isaiah 66:24 but it should be Isaiah 66:2-4. Blessings, KC


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