The main requirement of Kosher killing is that the animal must be killed instantly allowing all the blood to flow swiftly out of the body. This requires one clean cut of a knife with no pause, stabbing, tearing or slanting. A blow to the head is forbidden. Electric stunning has not generally been permitted.
Once the animal is dead, the meat must be "porged" by removing all blood vessels. For this reason it is often only the forequarters that are consumed. The hind quarters have a large number of blood vessels that are difficult to remove.
The meat must be certified as Kosher by a Rabbi.
Kosher killing is not as serious as Halal killing. It does not involve any prayer, so it is not a form of direct idolatry. However, there are several problems with Christian farmers allowing their livestock to be slaughtered using Kosher methods in order to supply Israel with meat.
The requirements of Kosher killing are rooted in the biblical commands that we should not eat any blood or any animal that is dead.
You must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. (Genesis 9:4)
Any Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth (Lev 17:13).
God gave these commands to ensure good hygiene in the handling of meat. In a hot country, it would be risky to eat dead animals or meat that was not drained of its blood. Draining the blood once an animal has been slaughtered is sound practice for minimising the risk of disease.
Unfortunately, the kosher requirements go beyond biblical requirements. Scripture only requires that meat be drained of blood (Leviticus 17:13). There is no command that the blood vessels themselves should be removed. This is another case of human tradition being added onto the Word of God. Jesus had strong words against those who use the traditions of men to nullify the word of God. The kosher requirements are a form of Jewish legalism. By submitting to these requirements we are nullifying the word of God and by submitting to a spirit of legalism.
You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that (Mark 7:13).
Jesus was critical of the Pharisees excessive zeal for the food laws.
Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." In saying this, Jesus declared all foods 'clean' (Mark 7:18-19).
Since Jesus declared all foods clean, we must be careful about complying with a different standard.
All the meat that is slaughtered in New Zealand is allowed to bleed. We do not need a rabbi or priest to tell us what meat is clean and what is not.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests
to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth (Rev 5:10).
The Holy Spirit is able to teach us what is good and bad, because he is living within us. No human authority should be allowed to usurp his role.
When Paul met Peter in Antioch he opposed him face to face. He condemned Peter because he had stopped eating with Gentile Christians. Peter was submitting to a Jewish tradition which was not based on the scriptures.
When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? (Gals 2:14).
Paul was clear that Christians should not allow themselves to be forced to follow Jewish customs that are not based on the Word of God. This is what we would be doing if we allowed Jewish Rabbis to set our standards of behaviour by adopting kosher killing methods.
Excessive legalism produces spiritual blindness,
Their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away (2 Cor 3:14).
Christians should be careful about submitting to legalism, as it can lead to spiritual blindness.
One reason that the Jews have not been able to see that Jesus is the Messiah is that they have been blinded by a legalistic spirit.
They are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge (Rom 10:1).
If we submit to the same legalistic traditions we will be encouraging them in the very thing that is preventing them from seeing the truth. If we submit to these traditions we are giving them an authority that they do not deserve. By validating their zeal for traditions that go beyond the requirements of scripture, Christians will make it harder for them to see the truth.
Any trade with Israel or any gift of food to Israel should take place from a position of strength (Deut 15:4-6). We should decide the terms of the trade. We should decide what form the gift will take. We make an offer, and they are free to accept or refuse. It is wrong to let those receiving the gift determine the form that it should take.
If Christian farmers were to kill their meat by kosher methods, they would spoil their witness. Most people of the world, and some Christians would not be able to see the difference between kosher killing and Halal killing. They would not be able to understand why Christians are advocating the former while objecting to the latter.
God's will is that Christians should support Israel with their spiritual and material blessings.
....indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings (Rom 15:27).
Blessing the Jews is good, but God will enable us to do this without compromising on what we believe to be true. If the Lord wants us to bless Israel with our meat, then he will open up the way for us to do this without us having to become involved in Kosher killing.
Return to Halal Slaughtering.