a. How do we know that before Christ comes there must be a restoration of principles as given in the beginning? Acts 3:20, 21; Jeremiah 6:16.
b. What was the original diet and why did herbs become necessary? Genesis 1:29; 3:17, 18; Psalm 104:14.
“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.’ 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, pp. 295, 296.
c. How do we know it was not God’s will to permit flesh foods? Ezekiel 20:24, 25; Deuteronomy 12:20; Psalm 106:14, 15; Romans 7:7.
“By departing from the plan divinely appointed for their diet, the Israelites suffered great loss.”—Ibid., p. 312.
d. Why did God prohibit the eating of fat and blood? Leviticus 3:17; 17:11; Acts 15:20.
2. Ready for Jesus?
a. Why were so many of the Hebrew people destroyed in the wilderness? 1 Corinthians 10:5–10; Hebrews 3:19.
“The watchmen upon the walls of Zion should have been the first to catch the tidings of the Saviour’s advent, the first to lift their voices to proclaim Him near, the first to warn the people to prepare for His coming. But they were at ease, dreaming of peace and safety, while the people were asleep in their sins. Jesus saw His church, like the barren fig tree, covered with pretentious leaves, yet destitute of precious fruit. There was a boastful observance of the forms of religion, while the spirit of true humility, penitence, and faith—which alone could render the service acceptable to God—was lacking. Instead of the graces of the Spirit there were manifested pride, formalism, vainglory, selfishness, oppression. A backsliding church closed their eyes to the signs of the times. God did not forsake them, or suffer His faithfulness to fail; but they departed from Him, and separated themselves from His love. As they refused to comply with the conditions, His promises were not fulfilled to them.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 315, 316.
“Let us remember that time is short. Tell the people that golden opportunities for service are being neglected. All nations are to be warned and instructed to seek the Lord without delay; for that mighty angel who deceived so many of the angelic host is working untiringly to set in operation his seductive wiles, with which he has deceived millions, and through which he desires to deceive the whole world. The work of which the prophet Zechariah writes is a type of the spiritual restoration to be wrought for Israel before the end of time.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, p. 315.
b. How does that apply to us in preparing for the advent? 1 Corinthians 10:11.
“To prepare a people to stand in the day of God, a great work of reform was to be accomplished. God saw that many of His professed people were not building for eternity, and in His mercy He was about to send a message of warning to arouse them from their stupor and lead them to make ready for the coming of the Lord.”—The Great Controversy, p. 311.
“The history of ancient Israel is a striking illustration of the past experience of the Adventist body. God led His people in the advent movement, even as He led the children of Israel from Egypt. In the great disappointment their faith was tested as was that of the Hebrews at the Red Sea. Had they still trusted to the guiding hand that had been with them in their past experience, they would have seen the salvation of God.”—Ibid., pp. 457, 458.
3. THE Pot of Manna
a. Upon leaving Egypt, for what did the Hebrews soon clamor and what did God do about it? Exodus 16:3, 13–15.
“The Israelites, during their bondage in Egypt, had been compelled to subsist on the plainest and simplest food; but then keen appetite induced by privation and hard labor had made it palatable. Many of the Egyptians, however, who were now among them, had been accustomed to a luxurious diet; and these were the first to complain. At the giving of the manna, just before Israel reached Sinai, the Lord had granted them flesh in answer to their clamors; but it was furnished them for only one day.
“God might as easily have provided them with flesh as with manna, but a restriction was placed upon them for their good. It was His purpose to supply them with food better suited to their wants than the feverish diet to which many had become accustomed in Egypt. The perverted appetite was to be brought into a more healthy state, that they might enjoy the food originally provided for man—the fruits of the earth, which God gave to Adam and Eve in Eden. It was for this reason that the Israelites had been deprived, in a great measure, of animal food.”— Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 377, 378.
b. How did the angels prepare a better diet for them? Psalm 78:25.
“For forty years they were daily reminded by this miraculous provision, of God’s unfailing care and tender love. In the words of the psalmist, God gave them ‘of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels’ food’ (Psalm 78:24, 25)—that is, food provided for them by the angels.”—Ibid., p. 297.
c. How was this food memorialized? Exodus 16:32, 33; Hebrews 9:4.
“In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. On each end of the ark was a lovely cherub, with its wings spread out over it. Their faces were turned toward each other, and they looked downward. Between the angels was a golden censer. Above the ark, where the angels stood, was an exceeding bright glory, that appeared like a throne where God dwelt. Jesus stood by the ark, and as the saints’ prayers came up to Him, the incense in the censer would smoke, and He would offer up their prayers with the smoke of the incense to His Father. In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the ten commandments written on them with the finger of God.”—Early Writings, p. 32.
4. The Flesh Pots of Egypt
a. Who were the first to complain about their diet? What was the specific type of flesh and how do we know that they did not long for just the side dishes that were prepared with it? Numbers 11:4–6, 9–13.
“[The Hebrews] became weary of the food prepared for them by angels, and sent to them from Heaven. They knew it was just the food God wished them to have, and that it was healthful for them and their children. Notwithstanding their hardships in the wilderness, there was not a feeble one in all their tribes. Satan, the author of disease and misery, will approach God’s people where he can have the greatest success. He has controlled the appetite in a great measure from the time of his successful experiment with Eve, in leading her to eat the forbidden fruit. He came with his temptations first to the mixed multitude, the believing Egyptians, and stirred them up to seditious murmurings. They would not be content with the healthful food which God had provided for them. Their depraved appetites craved a greater variety, especially flesh-meats.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 281.
b. How did God comply with their request, and what was the result this time as they were better instructed than when they first left Egypt? Numbers 11:18–20, 33; Psalm 78:27–31.
“In this instance the Lord gave the people that which was not for their best good, because they would have it. They would not submit to receive from the Lord only those things which would prove for their good. They gave themselves up to seditious murmurings against Moses, and against the Lord, because they did not receive those things which would prove an injury to them. Their depraved appetites controlled them, and God gave them flesh-meats, as they desired, and let them suffer the results of gratifying their lustful appetites. Burning fevers cut down very large numbers of the people. Those who had been the most guilty in their murmurings, were slain as soon as they tasted the meat for which they had lusted. If they had submitted to have the Lord select their food for them, and had been thankful, and satisfied with food of which they could eat freely without injury, they would not have lost the favor of God, and then been punished for their rebellious murmurings, by great numbers of them being slain.”—Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 284, 285.
c. What are we to call this deliberate act of rebellion? Psalm 78:17, 32.
5. Written for Our Time
a. How do we know this warning about the spiritual consequences was written specifically for us today? 1 Corinthians 10:11; Psalm 106:14, 15.
“We need to beware lest we suffer the same fate as did ancient Israel. The history of their disobedience and downfall has been recorded for our instruction, that we may avoid doing as they did. It has been written ‘for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.’ If we pass by these cautions and warnings, developing the same traits of character developed by the Israelites, what excuse can we plead?”—The Review and Herald, July 10, 1900.
b. When preparing to enter the earthly Canaan, it was a sin for them to desire flesh meats. Contrast this to life in the new earth. Isaiah 11:6; 65:25.
c. What opportunity did God give on the border of the promised land and how many actually entered there? Deuteronomy 30:19; Numbers 26:63–65.
“The God who in the wilderness gave the children of Israel manna from heaven still lives and reigns. . . .
“We need to look heavenward in faith. We are not to be discouraged because of apparent failure, nor should we be disheartened by delay. We should work cheerfully, hopefully, gratefully, believing that the earth holds in her bosom rich treasures for the faithful worker to garner, stores richer than gold or silver. The mountains and hills are changing; the earth is waxing old like a garment; but the blessing of God, which spreads for His people a table in the wilderness, will never cease.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 200.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why does God want His people to restore life to the way of Eden?
2. How does the Hebrews’ experience in the wilderness relate to us now?
3. Why did God memorialize the manna in the ark?
4. What happens when we deliberately go against God’s revealed will?
5. How do we know it is a sin to insist on eating flesh foods in these last days?