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Eugene W. Prewitt

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Daniel 1 — Health in the End Times

Health in the End Times

 

  1. The Book of Daniel is for the End Times
    1. It features health and temperance as defining characteristics of faithfulness
    2. It illustrates spiritual and mental reaping from physical sowing
  2. Health has always been an Spiritual Issue
    1. We are temples for the Spirit
    2. Cleanliness invites God’s Presence
    3. Disease and Health among Curses and Blessings to Israel
    4. Health not to predominate over other Spiritual issues
      1.                                                               i.      It is a means to an end
        1. A means to witness to God’s wisdom
        2. Regular practice in the Flesh-Lust battle
        3. A means to wise stewardship of our gifts
        4. A means to clearer perceptions of duty and morality
        5.                                                             ii.      It may receive too much attention
          1. If the ends are not given proper emphasis
          2. If wavering or extremism require constant rethought
        6.                                                           iii.      It may receive too little emphasis
          1. If we serve our lusts contrary to God’s counsel
          2. If we lose site of the means and/or of the ends
          3. If we waver until weary
          4. If we are extreme until weary
  3. Health is a Special Issue during the Judgment
    1. First Angel’s Message and I Cor 10:31 – Glorifying God
    2. We are about to give account of our stewardship
    3. The Gospel must go to the whole world
    4. This is a special time for character development preparatory to Christ’s return
  4. Health Requires Education and Rational Reform
  5. Health Requires Healing
    1. Healing by Miracle a Reality
      1.                                                               i.      By Miracle of Physical Renewal
      2.                                                             ii.      By Miracle of Freedom from Destructive Addiction
    2. Healing by Natural Doctors the normal plan
      1.                                                               i.      N utrition
      2.                                                             ii.      E xercise
      3.                                                           iii.      W ater

 

  1.                                                           iv.      S unshine
  2.                                                             v.      T emperance
  3.                                                           vi.      A ir
  4.                                                         vii.      R est
  5.                                                       viii.      T rust in Divine Power

 

Health in the End Times

The apocalyptic book of Daniel begins with a story of Christian temperance. The fall of Babylon, in the very middle of the book, is a story of contrast between Daniel’s temperance and Babylonian drunkenness. And in the last story of the book Daniel’s three weeks of soul-searching and abstemiousness is wonderfully rewarded.

More than this, in the book of Daniel, social privilege, spiritual revelations, are mental acuity are all reaped after a sowing of temperance-related faithfulness.

     But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: . . . .Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel . . . “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.” . . . . And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

     Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the [time of preparation] . . .the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. Da 1:8-12

 

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Ga 6:8 

 

Health is a Spiritual Issue

Health has always been a spiritual issue. We are temples of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Temples are to be kept holy and clean as a matter of respect to the Deity. A well-kept temple honors God. A neglected temple dishonors Him.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1Co 6:19-20

 

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1Co 3:16-17

Ancient Israel could only expect God to stay in the camp when the strictest rules of order and sanitation were carefully observed. Jacob required bathing and clean clothes of his household when petitioning the Great God. We can learn from these illustrations how God values purity and cleanliness. His counsel lifts men from their dirty habits and refines them.

Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: Ge 35:2 

On condition of careful adherence to the laws of sanitation and nutrition, of morality and ceremonies that fill Moses’ teaching, God promised good health to His people.

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. Ex 15:26

Both the blessings and the curses on Israel included reference to physical disease. De 7:12-15; 28:27, 60.

Nevertheless, issues of health and sanitation, of cleanliness and nutrition, are not to predominate over other spiritual issues and truths. Healthy living is a means to an end, not the end itself. Attention to little things should never obscure the most important matters.

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Ro 14:17-18.

 

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Mt 23:23 

Health is a Means to an End, not an End in Itself

What results can be expected from an appropriate level of attention to God’s counsels on health? In the story of Daniel, temperance was a means of witnessing. This has not changed. Temperance is one of the fruits on the Christian tree that identifies true believers. Gal 5:22-23; Matt 7:16, 20.

Let your moderation [i.e., temperance] be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Php 4:5 

Denying our appetites and passions in honor of the Spirit’s indwelling is part of the regular struggle of Christianity. Satan first approached Eve in the garden and, later, Jesus in the wilderness, on the issue of appetite. It is here that many have fallen and have made gods of their belly. (Php 3:19; Rom 16:17).

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Gal 5:16-17

Healthy living is a means to wise stewardship of the gifts of life and strength. When God made man and gave him a diet, both the man and the diet were ideal. Life spans measured in centuries. And still, today, living in accordance with God’s physical laws adds an average of more than ten productive years to life. It saves tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs that can be devoted to better purposes.

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1Co 4:2 

Healthy living is a means to clearer perceptions of duty and morality. The sluggishness of the blood and the cloudiness of the brain have much to do with one’s ability to weigh right and wrong. This is why alcoholic beverages were forbidden to kings and priests. This is why Jesus refused an intoxicating pain killer when on the cross.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Pr 31:4-5. [See Lev 10:9-10.]

 

They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. Mt 27:34 

So, in summary, health is not the focal point of Christianity. Health is a means to better witnessing. Honoring God’s counsel despite the clamors of appetite promotes Christian growth. Proper stewardship of our strength and life demands healthy living. To discriminate between right and wrong requires unclouded perceptions.

Health May Receive Too Much Attention, or Too Little

We may give undue attention to healthy living if we neglect to keep these ends in mind. When healthy living becomes an end in itself it demands too much attention. A man’s usefulness begins to wane.

Health will also get too much attention in our lives when we waver in our decisions. When Daniel “purposed” in his heart not to defile himself, he settled an issue that saved him much trouble later on. It was not necessary for him to evaluate the king’s meat every meal, to calculate how much to taste and when to compromise, or whether an exception was in order.

Wavering keeps the issues always front and center by keeping the soul from a steadfast resolution.

Extremism, denying self of harmless practices and going beyond God’s counsel, also demands too much attention for the topic of health. God’s counsels set a simple barrier that we can conform to. Extremism goes beyond that barrier and leave the boundary undefined. Research can never find it and far too much attention is given to the topic of healthy living. This was the case of the Pharisees in reference to ritual cleanness.

Health may receive too little emphasis. When we serve our appetites and passions contrary to God’s counsel, we tend to shun the light that would expose our indulgence.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. Joh 3:20 

 

If we forgot about the value of ends to be derived from healthy living, we may neglect the means. If we waver we will grow weary until we chose to forget about health at all. If we are extreme we may eventually grow weary and throw out even rational health habits.

Health a Special Emphasis During the Judgment

The First Angel’s message calls men to “give glory” to God in light of the fact that the “house of his judgment is come.” Re 14:6-7. Since the beginning of the judgment we have been in a special time for giving God glory. This involves reform in our health habits.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1Co 10:31 

 

It is in the judgment that we “give account” of our “stewardship” to God. Ro 14:12; Lu 16:2.

It is in the judgment that the gospel will go to the whole world and this is another reason that health is to be emphasized as it was by Daniel. It brings attention to God’s wisdom. De 4:6. Mt 24:14.

 

Intelligent Health Reform requires Education and Healing

 

The many counsels of God on the topic of health and healing require study and progressive reform. These can not be wholly covered at one time. We must study to know what common habits destroy our body temple, study to understand the conditions of receiving healing from God, study to understand the simple remedies that God has provided in nature to aid even the poor in having optimum health and in escaping destructive addictions.

Earlier we noticed that in Eden God chose appetite as the first test over man’s loyalty. And there Satan chose appetite as the ground of the first temptation. Four thousand years later little had changed. Jesus was led “of the Spirit” into the wilderness to be “tempted.” What test was first given? A test over appetite. Satan challenged Jesus to gratify his intense hunger.

Questions and Answers

Isn’t this business of eating a very personal issue? Isn’t it one that the Spirit will convict us on individually? Aren’t the laws of health in the Bible part of the “old law?”

Yes, Yes, and No.

Yes, food and drink are as personal and as sensitive an area as can be brought to the attention of a man or woman. This observation is in every way valid. While food is a very personal topic, the Bible is authoritative for all men in all ages. It is the test of all doctrine and practice.

There we may find God’s wisdom revealed, His love expressed in hearty counsels. And there we will find that He is a jealous God, not willing to compete with any rivals for full devotion. In the contest for our service He will share a seat on the throne of our hearts with our appetite.

Yes, on the topic of diet and health the Spirit will convict us individually. The Spirit’s convictions, however, are neither the same as our desires nor the same as our impulses. It is precisely because we are a temple for the Holy Spirit that the issue of health is treated with such gravity in scripture.

How does the Spirit convict us? Our “hearts burn within us” while the scriptures are speaking to our intellect, to reason. Indulgence numbs such fine sensibilities. The servant of appetite may only vaguely sense a moral obligation to restrain the appetites and the passions and the desires.

Nevertheless, it is true that many changes in our diet should not be made suddenly. One step at a time is the best way to improve the health of our physical organism.  Truth is personally progressive. In other words, Jesus teaches us, by His Spirit, at a pace that challenges us, but not at a pace that overwhelms us. It was in this vane that He told his disciples:

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Joh 16:12 

 

Just here is where the very personal issue comes into the health field. The Spirit will not teach you and I differently regarding what is true. But the Spirit will weigh our readiness individually and will prompt us when we are able by revealing to us new truth.

This is not to say, however, that we are unready for truth that we have learned. It is never safe to reject truth. “Reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” Pr. 6:23.

And still it is true that I can not judge you, nor you me, regarding health practices and understanding. We will give account of our stewardship, not to our fellow men, but to our Master.

And no, the health laws of the Bible are not part of the law of “ordinances” that was nailed to the cross in Col. 2:14. Ceremonies were abolished that pointed to Christ. These are no more. Also, the civil laws of the nation of Israel are not the civil laws of any nation today and so have no force.

But the moral laws and health regulations of the Jews are specifically enforced on New Testament Christians. Acts 15:28-29. And they were in force even centuries prior to Abraham. God sent unclean animals into the ark in pairs and clean animals into the ark in sevens. Very apparently only the latter were to be eaten if the former were to survive as a species.

In short, the health regulations are not “laws” as are the 10 Commandments. The law is “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” The health regulations are Divine light regarding practices that harm, and slowly kill, our own bodies. They are enforced by the law against murder on “them which believe and know the truth.” 1Ti 4:3.

For the Word Document, click here: Dan_1_-_Health_in_the_End_Times

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