August 19, 2012 – August 25, 2012
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16.
Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 297, 452, 453, 19–22.
“True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful. There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.
1 THE ORIGINAL DIET
- As God is the Maker of the human organism, what type of diet did He design for His masterpiece of creation? Genesis 1:29.
Note: “God gave our first parents the food He designed that the race should eat. It was contrary to His plan to have the life of any creature taken. There was to be no death in Eden. The fruit of the trees in the garden was the food man’s wants required.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 373.
“The diet appointed man in the beginning did not include animal food.” The Ministry of Healing, 311.
- What types of food became necessary once sin entered this world? Genesis 3:18; Psalm 104:14.
Note: “Vegetables, fruits, and grains should compose our diet. Not an ounce of flesh meat should enter our stomachs. The eating of flesh is unnatural. We are to return to God’s original purpose in the creation of man.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 380.
2 A TEMPORARY CONCESSION
- When—and under what circumstances—did the use of flesh food begin to be allowed? Genesis 8:13–19; 9:3, 4. How did the human lifespan change after that time? Compare Genesis 9:29; 11:32; 25:7; Psalm 90:10.
Note: “Not till after the Flood, when every green thing on the earth had been destroyed, did man receive permission to eat flesh.” The Ministry of Healing, 311.
“After the Flood the people ate largely of animal food. God saw that the ways of man were corrupt, and that he was disposed to exalt himself proudly against his Creator and to follow the inclinations of his own heart. And He permitted that long-lived race to eat animal food to shorten their sinful lives.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 373.
- Even during that time of permissiveness, what items were strictly forbidden under any circumstances? Genesis 9:4, 5; Leviticus 3:17; 7:26, 27; Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25. Why?
Note: “Of the meats permitted, the eating of the fat and the blood was strictly forbidden.
“Only such animals could be used for food as were in good condition. No creature that was torn, that had died of itself, or from which the blood had not been carefully drained, could be used as food.” The Ministry of Healing, 312.
“The meat is served reeking with fat, because it suits the perverted taste. Both the blood and the fat of animals are consumed as a luxury. But the Lord gave special directions that these should not be eaten. Why? Because their use would make a diseased current of blood in the human system.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 393, 394.
- In the wilderness, what was God attempting to restore among His people, and what were to be the results? Jeremiah 6:16, first part. What work is to be accomplished before Christ’s return? Isaiah 58:12; Acts 3:20, 21.
Note: “Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to his original design—that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 380.
3 CLEAN/UNCLEAN: NEITHER WAS TRULY GOOD
- How did the Hebrews distinguish the types of flesh that were permitted as food from those that were forbidden for being very unhealthy? Leviticus 11:1–42; Deuteronomy 14:3–21.
Note: “The distinction between articles of food as clean and unclean was not a merely ceremonial and arbitrary regulation, but was based upon sanitary principles. To the observance of this distinction may be traced, in a great degree, the marvelous vitality which for thousands of years has distinguished the Jewish people.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.
“Upon their settlement in Canaan, the Israelites were permitted the use of animal food, but under careful restrictions which tended to lessen the evil results. The use of swine’s flesh was prohibited, as also of other animals and of birds and fish whose flesh was pronounced unclean.” The Ministry of Healing, 311, 312.
- How do we know that the use of flesh—even of the clean meats—was still displeasing to God and was never for the benefit of His chosen people—physically or spiritually? Compare Deuteronomy 12:20; Psalm 106:15.
Note: “The disregard for the Lord’s special directions has brought a variety of difficulties and diseases upon human beings. … If they introduce into their systems that which cannot make good flesh and blood, they must endure the results of their disregard of God’s word.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 394.
“By departing from the plan divinely appointed for their diet, the Israelites suffered great loss. They desired a flesh diet, and they reaped its results. They did not reach God’s ideal of character or fulfill His purpose. The Lord ‘gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.’ Psalm 106:15. They valued the earthly above the spiritual, and the sacred preeminence which was His purpose for them they did not attain.” The Ministry of Healing, 312.
4 TAKEN OUT OF THE ARK!
- What did the Israelites continually do with God’s plan symbolized by the pot of manna? Jeremiah 6:16, last part; Ezekiel 20:23, 24.
Note: “In choosing man’s food in Eden, the Lord showed what was the best diet; in the choice made for Israel He taught the same lesson. He brought the Israelites out of Egypt and undertook their training, that they might be a people for His own possession. Through them He desired to bless and teach the world. He provided them with the food best adapted for this purpose, not flesh, but manna, ‘the bread of heaven.’ It was only because of their discontent and their murmuring for the fleshpots of Egypt that animal food was granted them, and this only for a short time. Its use brought disease and death to thousands. Yet the restriction to a nonflesh diet was never heartily accepted. It continued to be the cause of discontent and murmuring, open or secret, and it was not made permanent.” The Ministry of Healing, 311.
- As a result of Israel’s continual rejection of God’s plan, what item was the only one remaining in the Ark of the Covenant when Solomon’s temple was dedicated? I Kings 8:9; II Chronicles 5:10.
- How are many modern Israelites repeating the mistake of ancient Israel? I Corinthians 10:6.
Note: “God gave the light on health reform, and those who rejected it rejected God. One and another who knew better said that it all came from Dr. Kellogg, and they made war upon him.” The Review and Herald, April 14, 1903.
“Flesh meat is not necessary for the health and strength of mind or body. If the Lord had not furnished all that is essential in the vegetable world, there would be an excuse for meat eating, but animals are now so diseased that it is now really dangerous; it is unclean to eat meat. Flesh meat formed no part of the food provided for man in the beginning. It was after the transgression and fall, when death was to be man’s portion, that God permitted that long lived race to eat the flesh of clean animals.” The Kress Collection, 21.
5 THE ARK REMOVED FROM ISRAEL
- Although God tried to work with Israel even after they had rejected the pot of manna and kept only the tables of stone, how did they eventually react to the Ten Commandments themselves? Jeremiah 7:4–12; II Chronicles 36:15, 16.
- As a result of the rejection of the Ten Commandments from the Ark of the Covenant, what did God finally do with the temple as well as the ark itself? Jeremiah 7:13–16; 25:7–11; II Chronicles 36:17–20.
Note: “Because of the sins of Israel, the calamity which God said should come upon the temple if His people departed from Him was fulfilled some hundreds of years after the temple was built. …
“Because of Israel’s transgression of the commandments of God, and their wicked acts, God suffered them to go into captivity, to humble and punish them. Before the temple was destroyed, God made known to a few of His faithful servants the fate of the temple, which was the pride of Israel, and which they regarded with idolatry, while they were sinning against God. He also revealed to them the captivity of Israel. These righteous men, just before the destruction of the temple, removed the sacred ark containing the tables of stone, and, with mourning and sadness, secreted it in a cave where it was to be hid from the people of Israel, because of their sins, and was to be no more restored to them. That sacred ark is yet hid. It has never been disturbed since it was secreted.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 414.
- What ray of hope was prophesied in that dark era? Malachi 4:5. Explain the twofold fulfillment of this prophecy. Matthew 17:11–13.
Note: “His [John’s] diet, purely vegetable, of locusts and wild honey, was a rebuke to the indulgence of appetite and the gluttony that everywhere prevailed. … Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 62.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
1 What diet did God try to restore among the Israelites?
2 What is the difference between the clean and the unclean meats? What was forbidden to all generations?
3 How do we know that the people of Israel sinned by demanding flesh?
4 Because of the continual rejection of dietary reforms among the Hebrews, what was finally removed from the ark?
5 What eventually happened to the Ark of the Covenant itself as a result of continual rejection of the principles contained therein?
“In order to know what are the best foods, we must study God’s original plan for man’s diet. He who created man and who understands his needs appointed Adam his food. ‘Behold,’ He said, ‘I have given you every herb yielding seed, … and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.’ Genesis 1:29, ARV. Upon leaving Eden to gain his livelihood by tilling the earth under the curse of sin, man received permission to eat also ‘the herb of the field.’ Genesis 3:18.
“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.” The Ministry of Healing, 295, 296.
“Is it not time that all should aim to dispense with flesh foods? How can those who are seeking to become pure, refined, and holy, that they may have the companionship of heavenly angels, continue to use as food anything that has so harmful an effect on soul and body? How can they take the life of God’s creatures that they may consume the flesh as a luxury? Let them, rather, return to the wholesome and delicious food given to man in the beginning.” Ibid., 317.
“Although Christ was suffering the keenest pangs of hunger, He withstood the temptation. He repulsed Satan with the same scripture He had given Moses to repeat to rebellious Israel when their diet was restricted and they were clamoring for flesh meats in the wilderness, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ [Matthew 4:4]. In this declaration, and also by His example, Christ would show man that hunger for temporal food was not the greatest calamity that could befall him.” Confrontation, 43.
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.