“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Got humbled?

No one likes to be humbled. But, everyone claims to be humble! How does a person get humbled? By birth? By studying about humility in psyche class? No, you get humble by being humbled. But, everyone avoids being humbled like the plague.

More and more, its becoming clear, that we claim humility just so we don’t have to be humbled!! “You can’t humble me—I’m already humble!” This is what St. Job did. His pride wouldn’t bow to his three friends, who were trying to set him straight, but who weren’t under the control of the Spirit of God. So they were as proud as he was. But then Elihu began to speak, who was empowered by the God’s Spirit; yet Job still could not bring himself to admit any wrong. He refused to be humbled.

The Lord finally backed up His servant Elihu. Speaking to Job, He said, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me.” (Job. 38:2,3).
“Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
Then Job answered the Lord, and said,
Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto Me.
Wilt thou also disannul My judgment? wilt thou condemn Me, that thou mayest be righteous?” (Job 40:2,7,8).

Notice, the Lord’s words, “Wilt thou also disannul My judgment?” The trouble that came on Job was the Lord’s decision and one made from good judgment. It was not to be criticized or complained about. This was similar to the route which the Lord took Israel through to get to Canaan. And what did they do the whole time? Grumble and complain, and make the Lord very angry. Yet, the things they went through were just what they needed for preparation to fight the battles that would come in order to get possession of the land. We have big battle ahead in the time of trouble such as never was. Will we accept our difficulties and hardships, and be humbled and brought near to God by them, in preparation for the times ahead?

Elihu was commissioned by the Lord to put Job in his place. And he faithfully performed his divine task. We know this, because in the end the Lord reproved Job and his three friends; but He didn’t reprove Elihu. Job was exonerated not because he was perfect and upright, but because he had worked at seeking God before the troubles came, and finally he repented and accepted his humbling.

We are the happiest when humbled. When the trouble is past, the blood, sweat, and tears are all behind, the relief and purification that happened are greatly appreciated. It’s a process of edification that we cannot do for ourselves. The pain is greater than we would ever dare to assume upon ourselves, so it must be facilitated by God. We can’t baptized ourselves or crucify ourselves; someone else must do this to us. But afterward, we thank Him to the nth  degree. We can be obedient and faithful to Him, and we are happy, happy, very happy. We are the happiest children in the earth!

 But, we are not humbled until we stop fighting the humbling. When pride no longer holds sway, our hearts are clean of self, and our minds and bodies thrill with new life. The terrible burden of sin is from pride. And if we aren’t happy, what are we? Miserable!

“Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
“Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood.” (Rom. 3:13-15;16-18).

So, if we are miserable today, we can know—if we want to know—where our problem lies. The Bible points us the remedy. The remedy is to accept the reproofs, strong as they may be. We must hold ourselves accountable and learn from the consequences. Admit to playing God and to being above reproof. Stop justifying self and pitying self.

“God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” (Jas. 4:6-10).

But, we fight the humbling. We can do this through anger—shaking a fist at God, cursing others in His name, openly dishonoring Him at every turn, griping and complaining about the lot He sends us.

Another way to fight God is by laughing. We used to laugh after Mom gave us a spanking. It wasn’t easy to keep a straight face, because our behind was stinging; but we did it. Pride did it; pride can do the seeming impossible because it is powered by the supernatural. And we can fight God by acting like His consequences to our sin didn’t hurt. We laugh in His face. But, really its Satan vicariously laughing in God’s faceus, the puppets, and the devil, the puppeteer. Our laughter is a sophisticated, cynical mockery.

We see this a lot today. In the partying, the comedy shows, the circus, the joking each other. There’s no time to get serious about sin. But, the Lord’s answer is, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.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.” (Gal. 6:7,8).

This laughing at God is even seen in the celebration churches. Here in the investigative judgment before our judgment day at Christ’s return, we should be fearing before God. As it was written, “On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.” (Lev. 23:27). And, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:7).

But, today we see celebration church, one after another popping up. It’s the Beast religious power, the Queen of heaven, which refuses to afflict its soul. “This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.” (Zeph. 2:15). “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” (Rev. 18:7).

Speaking of Israel under the Lord’s discipline to shake the nation from Baal’s spell: “Therefore He hath poured upon him the fury of His anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.” (Is. 42:25). The beast refuses to be punished because his pride won’t let him. “He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.” (Job 41:34).

Another method to fight God’s humbling is the logic/philosophical method. We can simply say, “I know people who obey every law of God, and they still get sick. In other words, I don’t have to obey; I can just go on living however I want. The consequences of my sins are totally arbitrary from God and I have no control over them. My conscience will never shame me or make me admit to any wrong doing. I will never repent.”

Finally, we can use faulted theology. “I don’t have to keep the health laws of the old covenant because we are in the new covenant now.”

But whichever of these approaches one uses to deny God His authority places Him on a level of equality with humans. And Satan is behind it all. Says the prophecy of him, “Through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes.” (Dan. 8:25).

“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies.” (Rev. 13:5). He would dare to “change times and laws.” (Dan. 7:25). This is the essence of the great controversy, which has continued on earth as the theater of the universe. But after showing centuries of mercy God has an answer to every soul that refuses to bow his pride. “These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.” (Ps. 50:21,22).

Everyone who persists in forgetting God and His law through their individual religions will reap the sure rewards of disobedience. “And it was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord God of hosts.” (Is. 22:14).
Of them Jesus sorrowfully says, “Ye … shall die in your sins.” (Jn. 8:21). “I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath.”(Jer. 21:5). “The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.” (Lam. 5:15).

I see so many people read the first two chapters of Job, and stop there being left with the false impression that God will be arbitrary in His dealings with us. It seems the whole world believes that Job was more righteous than God. They praise his patience, and never see his flaws because they don’t go on to read the whole drama. Then they have a reason to excuse their fatal lifestyles.

But, the book of Job was the first book of the Bible written. It is the key to understanding the rest of the Bible; and if we misunderstand Job, then we miss the thrust of the rest of the Bible.

When I hear people use the justifications listed above, especially that we get disease for no cause of our own, I cringe. It makes me want to tell them, “You are playing Russian roulette. Your future diseases are all on you. By despising God’s laws, you’ve cut yourself off from God; so, now you are on your own.” I see so many overweight people who would be so well-proportioned and beautiful/handsome if they wouldn’t eat fat and grease, like the Lord forbade. “It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.” (Lev. 3:17).

But, to everyone who in their diseased condition, will agree that God is sovereign and His laws are right, everyone who “is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word,” “unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” (Mal. 4:2;Is. 66:2).

The humbled one “shall pray unto God, and He will be favourable unto him: and he shall see His face with joy: for He will render unto man His righteousness.
He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.” (Job 33:26-28).
“His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth:” (vs. 25).

“Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.” (Jer. 31:13).

They will gladly testify with NEBUCHADNEZZAR, “THE GREAT”, All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?…
Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.” (Dan. 4:35,27).

The Lord Jesus sets before us life and death, obedience or disobedience. To most He will end up saying, “But those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me.” (Lk.19:27). Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11).

“From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.
And the Lord hath sent unto you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.
They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:
And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke Me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.
Yet ye have not hearkened unto Me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.
Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard My words,
Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jer 25:3-11).

Monday, February 25, 2013

Prophecy and the will of God

Hi David,
I immediately thought of a question after I spoke with you today.… Anyway, _____ said prophecies fail and I thought and I said no, they don’t.  I think some prophecies don’t fail because God knows everything, including the future.  Paul says where there be prophecies, they shall fail, but those are ones we know in part.  I think there are prophecies that are complete and that come true because God wills them.  What do you think?

Hi C_____,
  Paul’s actual words are,
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1Cor. 8-13).

  This was preceded by, “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” (1Cor. 12:31).

And it was succeeded by, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” (1Cor. 14:1).

  This says to me that Paul was not slighting the gift of prophecy or of prophecies in general. But, what he was doing when he said prophecies fail was making love the highest priority. So the biblical context of _________’s comment tells a different picture than what he understands of prophecies.

  Specifically, some prophecies do fail—because they were conditional. Jonah’s prophecy against Nineveh failed because the Ninevites repented, including the king and the cattle! Well, the cattle fasted, even if they didn’t repent. :) But the cattle fasting demonstrated the king’s intention to make everything right because of his fear of God. And God counted their faith for righteousness, just like He did for Abram, and does for us. His mercy endureth forever, even in the face of our worst sinfulness. The Ninevites were a very violent, wicked people, in all respects; yet He forgave them because they feared Him and sought His forgiveness.

  The final part of the 70 week prophecy could have failed. The destruction of Israel could have been avoided.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Dan. 9:26,27). The prophecy ended in 34 A.D. That was 3 ½ years after Christ ascended, giving the Jews that much more probationary time. If they had accepted the preaching of the apostles Israel would have carried the gospel around the world, which was the Lord’s original prophecy. “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 12:2,3). But, it didn’t happen. So, Daniel’s prophecy was given and proved true. What Jesus said would happen, did happen.

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Lk. 21:20-24).

The children of the flesh died by the Romans, or were driven away. But, the Jewish children of faith, the followers of Jesus, escaped the destruction of Jerusalem and did bless the whole world. So, ultimately the prophecy to Abram did come true. Sound confusing? :)

There were false prophets that prophesied that the Babylonian captivity would only last 2 years; but Jeremiah told them it would last 70. They strung him up for that, but eventually (after they all had passed from the stage) it lasted 70 years and a few more.
“Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in My name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” (Jer. 14:14) “I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.” (Jer. 23:25).

The things the Lord said would happen, even by His own mouth, as in the wilderness at Israel’s first entering into Caanan. Moses pleaded with Jesus,
“Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of Thy mercy, and as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word:
But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
Because all those men which have seen My glory, and My miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted Me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to My voice;
Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked Me see it:
But My servant Caleb, because He had another spirit with him, and hath followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
(Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) Tomorrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against Me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against Me.
Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in Mine ears, so will I do to you:
Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against Me.
Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know My breach of promise.
I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against Me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.” (Num. 14:19-35).

It looked like the adults that were constantly complaining (and allowing Satan to show his hatred of the Lord through them) would make it into Canaan the second time, 40 years later. But a temptation at the end, a big celebration at Baal-Peor, led the surviving adults to get involved in idolatry and its typical sexual depravity with the Midianites. There was a big punishment, and the last of the rebels died. The prophecy of the Lord turned out to be fulfilled, as only the children that left Egypt, 20 years old and younger, were alive to go into Canaan with Joshua and Caleb.

The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation have the greatest of all weight than every other prophecy in the Bible, because they point out the last movements of Satan to overthrow the redemption which Christ accomplished for us and for His Father. The papacy was Satan’s substitute and counterfeit that would prevent a large harvest for God and that could prove God wrong about having people perfectly reproduce His character before He can end the great controversy with Satan. The 1260 years are very historically proven, from 538 to 1798, from the year Emperor Justinian gave the reigning pope the power to govern civilly and ecclesiastically the western part of the Roman empire while the emperor reigned over the eastern part (Constantinople in Asia minor) to the fall of the papacy by General Berthier under Napoleon.

Eventually, the Church of Rome spread its power north to the British Isles and eastward to Asia minor, India, China, and Japan. Then civil governments sprang up with Protestant America and halted Rome’s conquest of the world through the Jesuits and the Church’s tyrannical allied governments. But, the American bulwark against Rome is falling like the Berlin wall, and Rome is quickly recovering her lost territory and more—the whole world.

The complete fulfillment of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 is finally taking place in our day. Prophecy is definitely coming true. A little while longer and we will experience the finale—Christ’s return in power and glory.

To answer your last thought: God wills prophecies to their fulfillment, but not arbitrarily. He never uses His sovereign will abusively. But, as we saw with Israel at Baal-Peor, He withholds the punishment we are due and mercifully gives more time to repent. But He knows us better than we know ourselves, and true to form, in the end, the ones He originally called rebels die because of themselves. But the probation given the nation gives the faithful time to be cleaned up and perfected more than they were at the start. So, in the end, “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10).

Paul articulates this concept very clearly.

“For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.
Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory....” (Rom. 9:15-23).

In other words, to the atheist it might look like chance that things turn out like they do because we don’t see the hand moving events to happen; or, Satan leads some theologians to call it God abusing His sovereign will by forcing people into His providential constructs. But, those He calls wicked prove themselves wicked. And those He calls righteous, prove themselves to be that, despite the persecution they endure from the wicked, who become excessively wicked because God mercifully gave them time to turn around, but they misunderstood that probation to be God not watching them, and altogether non-existent. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But, the day of the Lord will
come as a thief in the night….” (2Pet. 3:9).

God “calleth those things which be not as though they were.” (Rom. 4:17). They are not because they are not yet. But, He knows the future of them so well, that He speaks of them as though they have already occurred. So, He doesn’t will anything to happen against your will or mine or anyone’s. It can look that way, but it’s really not the case. To the utmost, He perfectly maintains and protects the freedom of choice in the universe. Satan is the one who doesn’t hold freedom of choice sacred, and he foisted slavery on the world through his Babylonian religion, which he brought into Christianity when it morphed into Catholicism. And that is the origin of Stalinism, Nazism, and every other form of modern dictatorship.

Soon, that same tyrannical totalitarianism will be seen coming from America when it speaks “as a dragon.” (Rev. 13:11). Satan ascended out of the bottomless pit in 1849, and will “go into perdition.” (Rev. 17:8). In the final showdown will “that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition….
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess. 2:3-12).

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” (vs. 13).

Take care, Carroll. Just let me know what you decide on the painting. We’ll get together to study nonetheless.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The distressed Prince of peace

Hi D_____,

I sent $90. Test question/Answer: Our chastisement/ upon Jesus. I tried to make it “chastisement of our peace”/ “upon the prince of peace” but the Western Union system wouldn’t take that many letters. Jesus, the Prince of peace, took all of the bitterness that drives our peace away. He took that for all of humanity. God focused it all on His Son. And Christ was willing to take it. All of God’s abhorrence for sin and man’s involvement in the great controversy was pressed upon Jesus’ head, as if He were Satan. Leviticus 16:10 says of Azazel, “But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”

This goat, Azazel, represented Satan, who will one day take all of the wrath of God toward his great confrontation with God. He will be accountable for all the souls lost due to his rebellion. We see Azazel’s work in Daniel 8:10,11. Azazel was “the great dragon..., that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan” who cast down the stars from heaven, just like he is seen to do as the little horn of Daniel 8 . (Rev. 12:9). Just as Leviticus 16:10 shows, the final cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14 necessitated the punishment of Satan and the earthly system that does his implicit will, for their successful work of leading God’s saints into transgression.

But before that judgment could happen, our Prince of peace must take the bitter gall and wormwood in the hearts of billions on Earth, Satan’s influence that robbed them of the peace that could have been theirs. That was the cup Jesus drank to the dregs.

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.
And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt....
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done....
And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” (Matt. 26:36-44).

We intimately know our own terrible anxiety that comes from living apart from God. But, to experience billions times as much anxiety is incomprehensible. Yet, that is exactly what God gave His Son so that everyone could have hope that their God would surely have mercy on them. As surely as He diverted His wrath that day from Gethsemane to Golgotha, He will divert it again from the humbled soul seeking His mercy through His Son.

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.” (Ps. 16:9,10). We can escape the anxiety that will kill us because Jesus wouldn’t escape it until it killed Him. He took the death that was ours, that we might have the life that was His.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.” Isaiah 53:5.
Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.” Desire of Ages, p. 25.

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.”—D’Aubigne, London ed., b. 12, ch. 2. Great Controversy, p. 213.


Friday, February 15, 2013

The tree of life

“They shall be an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, and their carcases ye shall have in abomination.” (Lev. 11:11).

The Creator made a perfect world. Before sin entered every creature was very good. The diets reflected the perfection of Eden.

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat: and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:29-31).

The paradise teemed with fruit trees of seemingly infinite variety, grains, and nuts, for man to freely eat; and the ground fruit and leaves were for the sustenance of the animal and insect kingdoms.

But, sin marred that perfect world, and disease and death began. For man’s sake, the Lord added the vegetable group to his diet, and the predators and scavengers lost their taste for the herb of the field, and gained the perverted appetites that we see in them today. Their perversion of appetite was all according to God’s wisdom and handiwork to stave off a rapid destruction of the human race because of disease before He could finish His plan to redeem them.

The predatory animals would cull the vegetarian herds of all that were sickly or aged, in order to preserve a perpetually strong herd constitution. They would also limit the amount of disease produced by the sick and the potential abundance of deteriorating carcases from death by old age. For these dead the scavengers would complete the cleaning up of the Earth to prevent the wide spreading of disease. Yet, even the scavenger animals would not be able to carry the burden of a multiplying animal populations that were dying of old age unless the predators were doing their part while the vegetarians were still alive.

God gave man the vegan diet. Even after the fall into sin, He permitted only fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables. See Gen. 3:18. The sensitivities of Adam and Eve were still so holy that the sight of dying flowers caused them terrific sorrow. They felt the whole guilt and shame for every dying creature; they died with the dying animals and plants. The thought of killing the living animals for sacrifice was a humbling torture that their Redeemer made incumbent upon them in order to redeem their hearts which now had the bent to grow seeds of selfishness and wrath.

They experienced Paul’s statement, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20). Killing for sacrifice was hard enough, but to eat those animals was an abominable thought. They killed only because God required it for their redemptive sacrifices that took their minds forward to the day the Messiah would come to restore Eden.

Sin wrecked the conscience and behaviors of the antediluvian world and God destroyed it by water. After Noah had come out of the ark, the land was decimated of all that had supported their heaven-ordained vegan diet. So, for a temporary measure, the Lord added flesh food to His prescribed diet. This temporary measure became a permanent addition, not because God desired it, but due to the perverted natures and appetites of Noah’s descendents. And, so it remains to this day.

Yet, even though animals were permitted for food, the clean animals had already been known to Noah and his family before the flood destroyed the world.

“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.” (Gen. 7:1,2). The Lord gave no discussion to help Noah understand the concept of clean and unclean animals. No discussion needed because the principle was already well understood.

After the flood, “God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” (Gen. 9:1-3).

Since the distinction between clean and unclean animals was common knowledge, it was unnecessary to repeat the prohibition against unclean animals to Noah upon leaving the ark. But later, after living among the abominations of Egypt, the original laws of that prohibition needed to be clearly laid out again, as had been every other statute Noah had passed down to his progeny. Gen. 18:19. So, the Lord laid it all before the people of the Exodus in the Torah, including the dietary laws.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.…
For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:
To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.” (Lev. 11:1,2,44-47).

This dietary law expressly stipulated what could and could not be consumed as food. Of all the land animals, birds, sea creatures, and insects, the principle was that only the vegetarian creatures were to be used as food; and among the mammals, they could only eat the vegetarian animals that chewed the cud and had a split hoof. But, all predators and scavengers were expressly forbidden even to touch them. The same divine prohibition lay upon them that laid upon the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the Garden of Eden.

“And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (Gen. 3:2,3). So, the laws of diet ranked with the one great test of obedience in the paradise of God.

The laws and statutes which God gave Israel He promised would spare them the misery of the other nations.

“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).

Here we see the elements of divine healing. God gives His laws to be obeyed. Through those laws He heals or maintains our health. To disobey His already prescribed laws, and then to ask to be healed from the inevitable disease without turning again to His laws to obey them, is to insult God and His wisdom. Yet, this is how the medical system works, and it is also how the modern healing televangelists work. But, it is all a slap in God’s face. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov. 28:9).

According to His word, the Lord will heal and prevent disease primarily through His laws if we will diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD our God, and do that which is right in His sight, and will give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes.

In one instance, when the Lord had to lift His protection which He lovingly bestowed upon everyone, even to the enemies of Israel. He allowed hemorrhoids to appear, but they came due to the Philistines’ refusal to heed the laws which their forbears had known, handed down from Noah, but which Satan had readily led them to disregard.

“But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and He destroyed them, and smote them with emerods [hemorrhoids], even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for His hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.
They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.
And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and He smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods [hemorrhoids] in their secret parts.
Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.
So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to His own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods [hemorrhoids]: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.” (1Sam. 5:6-12).

When Israel came out of Egypt, they needed a special regimen to prepare them for the conquest of Canaan. The diet of Egypt had replaced the original clean diet given to Abraham. That perverted Egyptian diet perverted their characters. It’s true that you are what you eat. Any indulgence of self’s cravings affects the conscience. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:7,8).

So, Jesus fed them bread from heaven.

“And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My Law, or no.
And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.

“And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:
And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that He heareth your murmurings against the
LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?
And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against Him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.

“And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for He hath heard your murmurings.
And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.
And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.” (Ex. 16:1-16).

55 days later… “They rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:
They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

“And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, which Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people.
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants, to whom Thou swarest by Thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
And the LORD repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people.
And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables....

“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.…
And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.…
And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.” (Ex. 32:6-16,19,25-28,35). The perverted diet, the celebration, the nakedness and idolatry, all went together in one package.

At another time their perverted cravings made the Lord very angry.

“And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and His anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched.
And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.
And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?
We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:
But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.…
Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased....

“And the LORD said unto Moses, …
Say thou unto the people, 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?…
And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.
And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.
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.
And He called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.” (Num. 11:1-6,10-16,18-20,31-34).

Finally, their perverted appetite became the stumblingblock to Moses and Aaron entering the Promised Land.

“And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.
And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!
And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.
And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him.
And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed Me not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” (Num. 20:2-12).

Later, though he couldn’t lead them in, Moses gave his beloved people some final instructions and a picture of the Promised Land.

“All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no.
And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.
Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.
Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him.
For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it.” (Deut. 8:1-9).

“Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you.
But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when He giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;
Then…thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which He hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart.” (Deut. 12:8-11,15). Did Moses give them permission to eat anything they lusted after? The wild peccary, the domesticated swine? The shellfish or catfish? The rabbit or squirrel? The owl or hawk? He did say, “whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.”

No, rather, just as Noah was to assume, in his final speech, Moses was assuming that later on they were to follow the Levitical laws of diet that he had at first given them. And he also assumed that the people’s tastes would slowly change in the land flowing with milk and honey, and be cleansed by “with the washing of water by the word.” (Eph. 5:26). One day the whole nation would be happy with their privileged diet, even if that diet were prohibitional. And this is what happened.

Later, these same assumptions Paul expected of the new church.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (1Tim. 4:1-5).

The only “meats” or food that was ever sanctified by the word of God—which, for the church, was the Old Testament—was from those guidelines given by Moses. Paul did not elaborate on those laws of diet because the “word of God” (Old Testament) already encompassed all the laws of health.

But, Paul also was warning the church to guard against gloomy asceticism and Gnosticism that were already spreading into the church. Moses had also taught this lesson.

“But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when He giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;
Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:
And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates.” (Deut. 12:10-12).

Thanksgiving and rejoicing before the Lord has always been authorized, and even commanded. True worshipping before the Lord is the only barrier against asceticism, which pities itself and worships self by mourning over itself. Ascetic Gnosticism is and has ever been the one false religion that Satan has used to stand up against the Lord’s one true religion from the very beginning of time. Daniel had prophesied of Satan’s Gnostic teachings entering the church and eclipsing the redemptive gospel of the Messiah. “Yea, he [antichrist] magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.” (Dan. 8:11). “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes.” (vs. 25).

What Paul wasn’t advising Timothy to give the church was license to depart from the principles of health in the “word of God,” which was the Old Testament scriptures. In his next letter he admonished his beloved son in the Lord, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2Tim. 4:2-4).

That is exactly what the prophecy to Daniel had foretold. “And an host was given him [antichrist] against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.” (Dan. 8:12). The church apostatized and brought all the pagan practices into the church. This included the eating of poisonous, abominable unclean flesh foods. All standards dropped, and the new and improved Christianity celebrated the unfettered freedoms that the world enjoyed. The scriptures were removed from the people and they were ignorant to the restrictions Jesus placed upon them through His apostles.

“I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1Jn. 2:13-18).

It was asceticism that Paul was working against when he wrote to the believers in Rome. The ascetics were the weak in faith that relied on the vegan diet. But his thrust wasn’t against the diet, it was against the influence of ritualistic religion, Judaistic Gnosticism, imitation Christianity—Antichrist—at its fetal stage, moving into the church. Writing as neither for or against the vegan diet, Paul’s work was for unity, and the final outcome of true fellowship of hearts through the gospel. “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” (Rom. 14:5). The Spirit of truth would bring them to His will. This advancement into all truth would come through the true unity and fellowship. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1Jn. 1:7).

“Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:13-23).

One last misunderstood text: the message of Acts chapter 10 and 11. “On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.” (Acts 10:9-16).

The context explains exactly what this dream was about. Cornelius, a Roman Centurion wanted to hear the gospel. So he sent for a minister of the gospel, who happened to be Peter. Peter was still operating under the Jewish assumption that the Romans were lost and not worth trying to help.

The Spirit of God was working to bring the Romans the present truth, and that through Peter. To preempt Peter’s prejudice, He gave the message through an object lesson, the dream. And Peter understood, and confessed his error. “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” (Acts 10:28). The Lord wasn’t requiring Peter to eat snails and bats and buzzards and rats. That’s absurd. Neither was He demanding Peter to eat pigs and crabs and shrimp.

By Peter’s own admission, he had never stopped following the Old Testament laws of health. “But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” (Acts 10:14). This opening of the gospel to the Gentiles occurred many years after Jesus was crucified and had blotted “out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;
And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:14,15). Jesus hadn’t blotted out the law that forbade eating “any thing that is common or unclean.” If He had, surely many years before Peter’s encounter with Cornelius, the apostle would have led the way to happy abandonment in the pagans’ cuisine.

So what was against us that Paul referred to in his epistle to the Colossians? It was the Jews’ twisting of God’s laws to parallel pathetic ascetic Gnosticism. This gluttonous distortion of the true statutes Jesus had originally given Israel occasioned His strong rebuke. “But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9).

Not to destroy the just and good laws of Jehovah, but to ward off encroaching Judaistic Gnosticism did Jesus and His apostles preach against the distorted perversions of the original Hebrew religion which Christ had given Abraham and later made the foundation for the new church.

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
(Touch not; taste not; handle not;
Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” (Col. 2:16-23).

“For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” (Mk. 7:3,4).

These ordinances were not from Moses, but from the Mishnah, which came forth from the humanism that the Jews adopted while in Babylonian captivity. Israel never did come out of mysticism, but were “driven to darkness.” (Isa. 8:22). Christ’s warning to them centuries before the captivity held true to the days of His earthly ministry. “And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” (Isa. 6:9,10). Jesus said, “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matt. 13:14,15).

The diet of Daniel, which the Lord greatly blessed, consisted of “pulse” or fiber—the diet of Eden, the fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables. This is the Lord who says He never changes His reasons to bless His servants. “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal. 3:6). “For not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified.” (Rom. 2:13).

“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: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

“Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
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.
So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
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.” (Dan. 1:8-17).

A Baptist friend of mine had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It was giving him a terrible time at work. He had seen many physicians who had given him many medications to correct the problem. Then he stumbled upon this experience of Daniel. The Lord impressed him to give it a try. It fixed his problem and he was so excited to tell me about it. Actually, I had told him about this, but he heard it unfazed. But, now he was persuaded in his own mind, and that made all the difference. He became an apostle of Daniel’s fare, the vegan diet!

At another time a Bible student challenged me with his arguments against including the laws of health into the message of the gospel.

He brought up Romans 14, 1Timothy 4, Matthew 15, and even Acts 10,11. But, like my Baptist friend, nothing I could say would change his mind. Finally, the Lord gave me a thought from a whole different perspective, yet, it struck directly at the truth. “But wisdom is justified of all her children.” (Luk. 7:35).

In other words, the real truth would bear out in the results. I can’t convince anyone of anything, but the Lord can. Scientific studies are being publicized more and more, indicating the harm from eating food that our Maker has forbidden. And vegetarianism is being revealed before millions of viewers as a boon to health.

Religionists may find every scripture to back up their harmful lifestyles. Didn’t Satan do the same to Jesus in the wilderness? But in the end, the reality will be what the truth has always been. Truth and wisdom are vindicated in all of the results. Time will tell the truth. But, sadly, many will be plagued with cancers and other diseases of Egypt, and finally be laid in the grave for stubbornly following the wrong voices that permitted them to feed on their addictions of fat, blood, sugar, and salt, instead of studying out the dietary issues for themselves and praying the Lord for the truth on the subject.

The Savior calls to this world, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matt. 23:37,38).