He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." 1 John 4:8. When a mother tells her youngest playing on the kitchen floor not to touch the hot stove, she is demonstrating the same motive in her command that lies behind all God's laws. He does not give orders arbitrarily, but because He is wiser than we are and wants to show us the way to happiness and peace.
Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15. Conversely if we do not obey, we must not love Him; and if we do not love Him and trust Him to guide us aright, we are not in harmony with His plan to restore us to the earth made new. As we near the end Satan will exercise great power to make rebellion seem attractive. Our salvation will not depend on how hard we try to avoid this deception, but on how much we love God; not, are we against Satan (we could not win that battle alone), but are we in harmony with God's laws and plans so that Jesus can fight the battle for us?
God has a simple plan for drawing us into harmony with Himself. It was demonstrated just before the former rain fell at Pentecost. "These [disciples] all continued with one ac cord in prayer and supplication." Acts 1:14. "And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God." Luke 24:53. By faithful daily devotions and daily witnessing for Him the disciples gained the greatest spiritual blessings that have yet fallen upon men. This plan begins with whatever appreciation we may have for God, and because He is the great God of love, the more we study about Him and seek Him in prayer and tell others about Him, the more we will be convinced of the truth that He does love us and that all of His requirements are necessary for our happiness. Thus we will perfect our characters and be saved from being deceived into rebellion against Him. We can never accomplish this without the aid of the Holy Spirit, because a miracle is required to change our hearts. But in Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 57, we read, "The Spirit of God cannot come to our help, and assist us in perfecting Christian characters, while we are indulging our appetites to the injury of health." (Italics supplied.)
Speaking of the forty days that Jesus fasted in the wilderness, Mrs. E. G. White says in Testimonies, volume 3, page 486:
"Christ knew that in order to successfully carry forward the plan of salvation He must commence the work of redeeming man just where the ruin began. Adam fell by the indulgence of appetite. In order to impress upon man his obligations to obey the law of God, Christ began His work of redemption by reforming the physical habits of man." (Italics supplied.)
"Every needless transgression of the laws which God has established in our being, is virtually a violation of the law of God, and is as great a sin in the sight of Heaven as to break the Ten Commandments. Ignorance upon this important subject, is sin." Counsels on Health, p. 40. (Italics supplied.)
"Adam and Eve persuaded themselves that in so small a matter as eating of the forbidden fruit, there could not result such terrible consequences as God had declared." Steps to Christ, p. 37.
As we read of their experiences in the Scripture, we are amazed that the Israelites did not realize that obeying God brought them blessing. Why was Israel unable to see that disobedience brought only grief? Why, when we bring the truth to a Christian of another denomination, is it sometimes hard for him to accept plain statements from God's Word, and these obvious doctrines of the Sabbath, tithe paying, et cetera, as a required part of God's plan? Because the devil deceived, or is trying to deceive, him in the same way the angels and Eve were caused to fall originally. He is tempted to doubt that God's laws are really for his blessing, to think that He is too strict and possibly a little arbitrary. He is slow to believe that God meant what He said and said it because He loved him.
Sometimes we cannot see the necessity of living up to all the plain teachings of the Spirit of prophecy in regard to health principles. Are we deceived too? Do we not believe that God loves us, and that He has left these instructions to be a blessing to us? Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me." Matt. 12:30. God's laws point out the way of happiness and whether we obey indicates whether we are in harmony with or in rebellion against His plan to gather us into the earth made new.
"Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31. Health reform is defined in the Bible, and the details of it are largely found in the Spirit of prophecy. If Mrs. White's writings are not God's instructions for us, she is not a true prophet, and we cannnot be in the true church, because there is no other gift of prophecy with us. But it is necessary that we have the Spirit of prophecy in order to qualify as the remnant of Revelation 12:17. One time when Mrs. White was writing a letter to a family whom she had reproved in a previous letter, she wrote the following:
"You might say that this communication was only a letter [speaking of her previous letter]. Yes, it was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. . . . / do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my OWN ideas. They are what God, has opened before me in vision." Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 67. (Italics supplied.)
"I was again shown that the health reform is one branch of the great work which is to fit a people for the coming of the Lord. . . . Ignorance is no excuse now. . . . The light shines clearly, and none need be ignorant, for the great God Himself is man's instructor. All are bound by the most sacred obligations to God to heed the sound philosophy and genuine experience which He is now giving them in reference to health reform." Ibid., vol. 3, pp. 161, 162. (Italics supplied.)
We cannot look at the life of any man as a perfect example of the Christian way. If we hear, even in our own church, any false doc trine, the speaker is accountable for his sin, but we are responsible for knowing, from our own study of the Bible and the Spirit of prophecy, whether we are receiving truth or error. In the same way we cannot blindly follow what some doctor says about how to gain or maintain health without checking his instructions against the same inspired writings.
With the hope that they will stimulate a study of their context and discovery of other blessings to be found in the same sources, a few quotations are presented to illustrate the details of health reform as available in the writings of Mrs. White.
"Ministers, teachers, and students do not become as intelligent as they should in regard to the necessity of physical exercise in the open air. They neglect this duty, which is most essential for the preservation of health." Ibid., pp. 489, 490. (Italics supplied.)
"At least five or six hours should intervene between the meals; and most persons who give the plan a trial, will find that two meals a day are better than three." Ministry of Healing, p. 304.
"A second meal should never be eaten until the stomach has had time to rest from the labor of digesting the preceding meal. If a third meal be eaten at all, it should be light, and several hours before going to bed. . . . The stomach, when we lie down to rest, should have its work all done." Counsels on Diet and Foods, pp. 174, 175.
"Regularity in eating should be carefully observed. Nothing should be eaten between meals, no confectionery, nuts, fruits, or food of any kind." Ministry of Healing, p. 384."You should never let a morsel pass your lips between your regular meals." Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 373.
"Hot biscuit raised with soda or baking powder should never appear upon our tables." Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 343.
"You should keep grease out of your food. It de files any preparation of food you may make." Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 63.
"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 of the garden, was the food man's wants required. . . . After the flood . . . He permitted that long-lived race to eat animal food to shorten their sinful lives. Soon after the flood the race began to rapidly de crease in size, and in length of years." Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 373.
"Vegetables, fruits, and grains should compose our diet. Not an ounce of flesh meat should enter our stomachs." Ibid., p. 380.
"The liability to take disease is increased tenfold by meat eating." Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 64."Cancers, tumors, and all inflammatory diseases are largely caused by meat eating." Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 388.
"Those who digress occasionally to gratify the taste in eating a fattened turkey or other flesh meats . . . are not the ones to judge of the benefits of the system of health reform. They are controlled by taste, not by principle." Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 487.
"Cakes, sweet puddings, pastries, jellies, jams, are active causes of indigestion. Especially harmful are the custards and puddings in which milk, eggs, and sugar are the chief ingredients." Ministry of Healing, p. 302.
"Let those who advocate health reform strive earnestly to make it all that they claim it is. Let them discard everything detrimental to health. Use simple, wholesome food. Fruit is excellent, and saves much cooking. Discard rich pastries, cakes, desserts, and other dishes prepared to tempt the appetite." -Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 333.
In this series of quotations no comment is offered because it is in the interpretation of the details that dispute occasionally arises regarding health principles. There is no need for con fusion. Jesus promised, "If any man will [wants to] do his [God's] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." John 7:17.
Let us all study the subject, and the Lord will help us apply the principles in our own particular case.
Greater Progress Necessary
"We are living in a solemn time amid the closing scenes of this earth's history, and God's people are not awake. [This was written in 1865; are we not living in more solemn times? Is it possible that God's people are still not awake?] They must arouse and make greater progress in reforming their habits of living in eating, in dressing, in laboring and resting. . . . All who believe the truth for these last days have something to do in this matter. . . . [Friend, do you believe the truth for these last days? Then you have something to do in reforming your habits of living.] God requires them to arouse and interest themselves in this reform. . . . [What will result from failure to meet God's requirements?] The sin of intemperate eating, eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unwholesome food, destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, preventing rational, calm, healthy thinking and acting. . . . God requires all who believe the truth to make special, persevering efforts to place themselves in the best possible condition of bodily health. . . . All those who are indifferent and excuse themselves from this work . . . will be found wanting when the meek of the earth, who have wrought His judgments, are hid in the day of the Lord's anger. . . . [We will be found wanting and without excuse if we fail to study and apply the principles of health reform in our lives.] The refreshing or power of God comes only on those who have prepared themselves for it by doing the work which God bids them." Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 618, 619. (Italics supplied.)
We all want a part in the latter rain. We all want to gather 011 the sea of glass to meet our Saviour. These experiences cannot come unless we are in harmony with God's plan and follow all the laws of love that He has given to guide us in the path of restoration to our lost estate of happiness and peace. This is what God has so long been waiting for.