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A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church

by Bob Pickle

Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and

Discern Fact from Fiction

Health Counsel, Wigs, and the Reform Dress

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#140: "Our prophetess Ellen G. White taught that we should be vegetarians, especially in consideration of the soon return of Jesus Christ, because if we were not vegetarian when Jesus came, we would not go to be with Him when he came to gather his people."—Leslie Martin.

#140: Mrs. White said non-vegetarians can't go to heaven. She never made such an extreme statement. In 1905 she wrote the following:

Yet it might not be best to discard flesh food under all circumstances. In certain cases of illness and exhaustion—as when persons are dying of tuberculosis, or when incurable tumors are wasting the life forces—it may be thought best to use flesh food in small quantities. But great care should be taken to secure the flesh of healthy animals.—Life and Health, Sept. 1, 1905; Bible Echo, Nov. 13, 1905.

If she taught that those who aren't vegetarians when Jesus comes can't go to heaven, why would she say something like this so late in her life?

The documentation package under "Point 70," "substantiates" this charge with two statements. Let's look at the second one first:

Grains and fruits prepared free from grease, and in as natural a condition as possible, should be the food for the tables of all who claim to be preparing for translation to heaven.—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 64.

While this statement most certainly says something, it doesn't say what Mrs. Martin said. Now let's look at the first one as it originally appeared in Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene:

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. 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.—p. 119.

Clearly, this is another one of Mrs. White's many predictions. Time will tell if this one too will prove true. It's not a condemnatory statement. It's a simple prediction of what God's people will be doing at the time of Christ's return.

That God's people will ultimately all be vegetarians is plain from Scripture:

And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev. 21:4)

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. (Is. 65:25; cf. 11:7)

Anyone who isn't a vegetarian the day before Christ's return will be one the day after. In the new earth, even the lions will be.

The immediate context of the selection from Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene will help us understand even better the biblical basis for Mrs. White's concepts on the matter. First of all, she mentions the original diet God gave Adam and Eve (p. 118). Indeed, according to the Genesis account, Adam and Eve were the very first vegetarians on the planet (Gen. 1:29; 3:18). Not until after the Flood did God permit the eating of flesh, after which man's life span drastically decreased (Gen. 9:3; 5:3-32; 11:10-32). Her point was that, in these last days, God is trying to lead us back to His original plan for mankind.

She also refers to the fact that God gave the Israelites a mostly vegetarian diet during their forty years in the wilderness. Six times a week manna was on the ground in the morning, a food made by angels (Ps. 78:24, 25). On only two occasions did God in a similarly miraculous fashion provide them with flesh. Regarding the second occasion Mrs. White writes: "They murmured at God's restrictions, and lusted after the fleshpots of Egypt. God let them have flesh, but it proved a curse to them."—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 119.

What was that second occasion? In Numbers 11 we find the Israelites being extremely rude, complaining about the food. So God declared:

Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt? (vss. 18-20)

As Mrs. White wrote, "it proved a curse to them," for some didn't live long enough to eat the flesh for a whole month: "And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague" (vs. 33).

Now all this happened on their trip from Mt. Sinai to Kadeshbarnea. How far is it between the two? Just an "eleven days' journey" (Deut. 1:2). [p. 93]

At Kadesh they sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan. After forty days, ten came back and said, "We can't conquer the land." Two, Caleb and Joshua, came back and said, "God is able to deliver the land into our hand." The people went with the majority report, rebelled once again, and tried to stone Caleb and Joshua (Num. 13:17-14:10). As a result, they had to wander around in the wilderness till all that generation was dead.

Why would the Israelites have rebelled when they were on the very borders of the promised land? Psalm 106 gives us the secret: "They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul" (vss. 13-15).

Eating flesh for a whole month till it came out of their noses made their "souls" skinny. These effects were still wearing off when the spies returned and gave their report. If their souls had been fat in the Lord instead of lean, perhaps they would have gone forward in faith instead of sliding back in unbelief.

Flesh was not the best article of diet for the Israelites. It affected their dispositions to the point that they could not react properly when trials and tests came their way. Even so, God never told them, "If you don't stop eating flesh, you can't enter Canaan."

Let's take another look at the second of Mrs. White's two statements:

Grains and fruits prepared free from grease, and in as natural a condition as possible, should be the food for the tables of all who claim to be preparing for translation to heaven.—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 64.

Preparing for translation? Is there a preparatory work to be done?

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1 Jn. 3:2, 3)

The First Epistle of John has a lot to say about overcoming sin. There is a work of preparation to be done, of giving all our sins to Jesus, and relying on Him for the power to overcome temptation. The eating of flesh does affect the disposition, and the hormones and chemicals in flesh do affect the body's processes in negative ways. Therefore, it is wise for those who are seeking to prepare for Christ's return to consider giving up eating flesh. It will only be a few days earlier than when we all will have to anyway.

Speaking of hormones and chemicals, man's original diet and what happened to the Israelites isn't the whole picture, according to Mrs. White:

Animals are frequently killed that have been driven quite a distance for the slaughter. Their blood has become heated. They are full of flesh, and have been deprived of healthy exercise, and when they have to travel far, they become surfeited, and exhausted, and in that condition are killed for market. Their blood is highly inflamed, and those who eat of their meat, eat poison.—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 418.

While the animals get to ride instead of walk these days, there still is the question of how the ones that go to market get selected:

Diseased animals are taken to the large cities and to the villages, and sold for food. Many of these poor creatures would have died of disease in a very short time if they had not been slaughtered; yet the carcasses of these diseased animals are prepared for the market, and people eat freely of this poisonous food.—Medical Ministry, p. 280.

As the apostle Paul said, "The love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Tim. 6:10). What we will do to save a buck and to make a buck. It's pathetic, isn't it?

Still another problem is the following: "A very serious objection to the practice of meat eating is found in the fact that disease is becoming more and more widespread among the animal creation."—Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, p. 421. The Bible basically predicts the same (Rom. 8:19-22; Is. 51:6). As we get closer to Christ's return, disease in animals will become more and more of a problem. How bad had it gotten in her day?

Cancers, tumors, diseases of the lungs, the liver, the kidneys, all exist among the animals that are used for food. Until late years we have never heard of anything approaching to the variety of diseases now apparent in the animal creation. It is stated that out of a herd of twenty cattle, the inspectors accepted only two; from another herd of one hundred, only twenty-five were accepted as having no apparent disease.—Ibid.

How much better is it today? According to Mrs. White, things were going to get worse, not better:

Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that [p. 94] curse our earth.—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 135.

Really, it would get that bad? Because of man's wickedness?

Most folk have no clue what is being done for a profit today. When this writer asked a chicken farmer in Alabama around 1988 what was in the feed he was giving his chickens, the farmer replied that there was arsenic in it. It stimulated the appetites of the chickens to make them eat more and grow faster, giving higher profits in less time.

Another farmer said that his chicken litter got shipped out west to the cattle feed lots. "The cows eat it like candy," he said. It saves money, and the cows get more nourishment from the pre-digested corn than from straight grain. How in the world do cows eat chicken litter like candy? "They mix it with oats and molasses," the farmer said. That explained it.

Oh, but it probably wasn't just pre-digested corn. The feet, feathers, and bills left over from the slaughtering process typically go to a plant that turns it all into chicken feed. Another way to cut costs. And all that ends up in the chicken-litter cattle feed.

It doesn't take too much intelligence to figure out that chickens aren't buzzards and cows aren't porkers. God didn't create them to eat such things. Are we not asking for trouble when we go so contrary to God's design just to make a buck?

Of course, some will disagree. But with that scary Mad Cow Disease around, it's a bit more difficult to be skeptical. Cows ate cows, and their brains turned into sponges. Can that happen to me if I eat the cows? "No way," said the British authorities, but they don't say that anymore.

So Mrs. White predicted that before the end, eating animal foods would become dangerous. To borrow some earlier wording from Sydney Cleveland, it either is or almost is "a matter of historical record that" this prophecy did "come true as she foretold."

A Response to the Video

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