1. ONE OF CHRIST’S SPECIALTIES
a. When Jesus, the Son of man, lived on earth, what was He most often doing? Acts 10:38.
“During His ministry Jesus devoted more time to healing the sick than to preaching. His miracles testified to the truth of His words, that He came not to destroy but to save. His righteousness went before Him, and the glory of the Lord was His rearward. Wherever He went, the tidings of His mercy preceded Him. Where He had passed, the objects of His compassion were rejoicing in health, and making trial of their new-found powers.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 350.
b. What is God’s plan for the physical health of His children? 3 John 2.
“[Jesus], the Chief of physicians, is ready to dispense the balm of Gilead. He will hear the prayers offered by the physician and the missionary, if His name will be glorified thereby; and the life of the suffering patient will be prolonged.”—Counsels on Health, p. 536.
“I urge that those who are taking a neutral position in regard to health reform be converted. This light is precious, and the Lord gives me the message to urge that all who bear responsibilities in any line in the work of God take heed that truth is in the ascendancy in the heart and life. Only thus can any meet the temptations they are sure to encounter in the world.”—Cousels on Diet and Foods, p. 453.
2. THE POT OF MANNA AS A SYMBOL
a. In what was a special pot of manna stored, and in what part of the sanctuary was this? Exodus 16:33, 34; Hebrews 9:3, 4. For what reason?
“As God gave manna from heaven to sustain the children of Israel, so He will now give His people in different places skill and wisdom to use the productions of these countries in preparing foods to take the place of meat.”—Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 124.
“The world at large are given to gluttony and the indulgence of base passions. The light of health reform is opened before the people of God at this day, that they may see the necessity of holding their appetites and passions under control of the higher powers of the mind. This is also necessary, that they may have mental strength and clearness, to discern the sacred chain of truth, and turn from the bewitching errors and pleasing fables, that are flooding the world. Their work is to present before the people the pure doctrine of the Bible. Hence health reform finds its place in the preparatory work for the second appearing of Christ.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, p. 44.
b. How does God view the eating of flesh foods? What should we do, considering we are living in the antitypical day of atonement? Psalm 78:17, 18; Isaiah 22:12–14, 20–22 (cf. Revelation 3:7).
“Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. . . .
“Again and again I have been shown that God is bringing His people back to His original design, that is, not to subsist on the flesh of dead animals. He would have us teach people a better way. . . . If meat is discarded, if the taste is not educated in that direction, if a liking for fruits and grains is encouraged, it will soon be as God in the beginning designed it should be. No meat will be used by His people.”—Child Guidance, p. 383.
“Will our people see and feel the sin of indulging perverted appetite? Will they discard tea, coffee, flesh meats, and all stimulating food, and devote the means expended for these hurtful indulgences to spreading the truth?”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 569.
3. A STRENGTH-PRODUCING PLAN
a. What is our Creator’s original plan of nutrition for humanity? How did this change after sin corrupted the planet? Genesis 1:29; 3:18.
“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. [Genesis 1:29 quoted.] 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.’
“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.”—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 81.
b. Besides adopting the health reform for ourselves, what other sacred responsibility do we have regarding it? Psalm 67:1, 2.
“God would be recognized as the Author of our being. That life He has given us is not to be trifled with. Recklessness in the bodily habits reveals a recklessness of moral character. The health of the body is to be regarded as essential for the advancement of growth in grace, an even temper.”—Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 405.
“Seventh-day Adventists are to be represented to the world by the advance principles of health reform which God has given us.
“Still greater truths are unfolding for this people as we draw near the close of time, and God designs that we shall everywhere establish institutions where those who are in darkness in regard to the needs of the human organism may be educated, that they in their turn may lead others into the light of health reform.”—Medical Ministry, p. 187.
“The sick and suffering are to be helped. Many for whom this work of mercy is done will hear and accept the words of life. Many will be healed by the prayer of faith, and will go forth to advocate the precious principles of health reform.”—Pacific Union Recorder, November 6, 1902.
“The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted and those who were once converted but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 371.
4. A COMPREHENSIVE MESSAGE
a. How does spiritual truth promote physical health? Proverbs 3:7, 8; 4:20–22. How can children and youth be healthy? How can we restore health?
“In order for children and youth to have health, cheerfulness, vivacity, and well-developed muscles and brains, they should be much in the open air and have well-regulated employment and amusement.
“Children should have occupation for their time. Proper mental labor and physical outdoor exercise will not break the constitution of your boys. Useful labor and an acquaintance with the mysteries of housework will be beneficial to your girls, and some outdoor employment is positively necessary to their constitution and health.
“Those who do not use their limbs every day will realize a weakness when they do attempt to exercise. The veins and muscles are not in a condition to perform their work and keep all the living machinery in healthful action, each organ in the system doing its part. The limbs will strengthen with use. Moderate exercise every day will impart strength to the muscles, which without exercise become flabby and enfeebled. By active exercise in the open air every day, the liver, kidneys, and lungs also will be strengthened to perform their work.”—Child Guidance, p. 339.
“When I violate the laws God has established in my being, I am to repent and reform, and place myself in the most favorable condition under the doctors God has provided—pure air, pure water, and the healing, precious sunlight.
“Water can be used in many ways to relieve suffering.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 297.
“Will you not sign a pledge that you will no longer weaken or deface the Lord’s temple by working when you ought to rest? In order to have proper thoughts and in order to speak proper words, you must give your brain rest. You do not take sufficient time to rest. The weary brain and tired nerves would be invigorated if you would make a change in this respect.”—Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 735.
b. When we consider the health benefits of trust in God, nutritious food, exercise, water, sunshine, fresh air, and rest, what else should we keep in mind (especially in an age of extremes)? Philippians 4:5.
5. STANDING FOR PRINCIPLE, BY GRACE
a. How far-reaching is our duty to uphold God’s health laws? To whom do we owe this duty? Why? 1 Corinthians 9:24–27.
“Eating, drinking, and dressing are carried to such excess that they become crimes. They are among the marked sins of the last days, and constitute a sign of Christ’s soon coming. Time, money, and strength, which belong to the Lord, but which He has intrusted to us, are wasted in superfluities of dress and luxuries for the perverted appetite, which lessen vitality, and bring suffering and decay. It is impossible to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God when we continually fill them with corruption and disease by our own sinful indulgence.
“Knowledge must be gained in regard to how to eat and drink and dress so as to preserve health. Sickness is the result of violating nature’s law. Our first duty, one which we owe to God, to ourselves, and to our fellowmen, is to obey the laws of God. These include the laws of health. If we are sick, we impose a weary tax upon our friends, and unfit ourselves for doing our duty either in the family or to our neighbors. And when premature death is the result, we bring sorrow and suffering to others; we deprive our neighbors of the help we might have rendered them; we rob our families of the comfort and help which they should have received from us, and rob God of the service He claims of us to advance His glory. Then are we not, in a high sense, transgressors of God’s law?”—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 12.
“It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break the ten commandments. To do either is to break God’s laws.”—Ibid., p.53.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How do we know that the Lifegiver cares about our health?
2. Why is health reform so important in the present day of atonement?
3. Where in Scripture is God’s plan for what we should eat in these last days?
4. What does true health reform involve besides just our food?
5. How does my acceptance of the health message show my love for others?