Animals, Clean and Unclean

Genesis 7:2; Genesis 8:20; Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14:3-20; Psalm 1:1-2; Proverbs 12:27; Genesis 9:3; 1 Timothy 4:4-5
The first time we read of clean and unclean animals is when Noah went into the ark: he was instructed to take seven pairs of each of the clean beasts and clean fowls and only two of the unclean; we have no instructions as to how Noah distinguished them, but it shows that in early days there was a distinction between the clean and unclean. Those called clean were doubtless clean for sacrifice, and not for food, as nothing is said of man eating animal food till after the flood, and then “every moving thing” was given for food. When Noah came out of the ark he offered of every clean beast and every clean fowl for burnt offerings (Gen. 7:22Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. (Genesis 7:2); Gen. 8:2020And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20)).
With Israel it was different. What animals were to be offered are distinctly specified, and what animals might be eaten as clean and what might not be eaten as unclean are given in detail. Of beasts the clean were those that divided the hoof and chewed the cud: those that had only one of these distinguishing marks were unclean. Of the fishes those only were to be eaten which had fins and scales. Of the fowls a list is given of those that must not be eaten, and of the winged crawling things, that go on all fours, only those which have legs above their feet to leap with might be eaten. The locust, the bald locust, the beetle, and the grasshopper, each after his kind, might be eaten (probably four species of locust); but all other flying, creeping, or swarming things, which have four feet were unclean. Every “creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” was unclean; whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all fours, or hath a multitude of feet, among all creeping things, was unclean. These directions are respecting what might or might not be eaten. Those that were not to be eaten were to be regarded as an abomination, and if the dead bodies of any such fell upon any vessel or garment it rendered it unclean, and anyone who touched their carcass must wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening (Lev. 11; Deut. 14:3-203Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing. 4These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, 5The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois. 6And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat. 7Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you. 8And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase. 9These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat: 10And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you. 11Of all clean birds ye shall eat. 12But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, 13And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind, 14And every raven after his kind, 15And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, 16The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan, 17And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant, 18And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. 19And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten. 20But of all clean fowls ye may eat. (Deuteronomy 14:3‑20)). These animals in their habits and instincts were used of God to teach His people as to habits and ways of the flesh that were unclean in His sight.
We know from other scriptures that the animals described here as unclean are not really so, but good as creatures of God; yet they were by Israel to be regarded as unclean and an abomination. The unclean are mostly those that are flesh-eating.
The particulars given of the unclean have doubtless symbolical meanings. They are principally these:
2. Everything that creepeth upon the earth was unclean: the earth is under the curse because of sin, and there must be a moral rising above it.
3. The fish must have fins and scales: the fins enable a fish to rise in the water, to direct its course, and to avoid danger, and the scales are its protection. To escape the pollutions of the world a circumspect walk is needed and also having on the protection which God has provided.
It is clear from scripture that the prohibition of certain creatures as unclean affected Israel only, and the vision given to Peter manifests that this restriction is done away in Christ. It is plainly declared that “every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God [as in Gen. 9:33Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. (Genesis 9:3)] and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4-54For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:4‑5)).