That everyone who thirsteth for the truth may obtain it, these publications are, as a Christian service, provided without charge. They levy but one exaction: the soul's obligation to itself to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. The only strings attached to this free proffer are the golden strands of Eden and the crimson cords of Calvary - the ties that bind.
Feeding on Christ
Christ is Risen, Pass it On
"The light shining from that Communion service in the
© Copyright, 1991, revised 2004
In this age of extremes in diet and lifestyle, when "every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14) is blowing, and when natural processes and cycles are being disregarded by many health professionals and researchers, a review of some of the fundamentals of life is most timely and will help us keep our feet directed forward towards our ultimate destination – Eden restored. Besides enjoying the abundance of the things of the garden, Adam and Eve enjoyed open communion with God. So, along with looking at the dietary aspects of our physical life, we will also behold that which nourishes our spirits, thus abundantly satisfying our hearts, minds, and bodies.
The Edenic diet was a fleshless diet – "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat [food]." Genesis 1:29 . Therefore, how to obtain an abundance of health from such a diet is one of the purposes of this study. This includes how to get the recommended three to five servings of vegetables, and three to five servings of fruits daily. In doing this we will also see that such a diet will also provide us with the easiest and healthiest way to obtain and maintain our appropriate weight. "There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God." Ecclesiastes 2:24.
In parts 1 and 2 of this study; The Lord's Supper from the Table to the Altar and Back, Part 1, and Christ in the Daily Meal, the Lord's Supper Part 2, we have seen how the term "The Lord's Supper" is a mistranslation, and should be translated, "a supper of the Lord," and that the phrase originally applied to the daily fellowship meals of the believers. Those meals were also known as the agape ("feast of charity" Jude 1:12 – love feast). By this we understand that those meals took on more than just the aspects of physical nourishment and fellowship between the brethren, but that they also involved a fellowship with the Lord, by His Spirit. This is seen in the fact that their meals were taken in conjunction with the times of daily worship, and as a part of their worship. Their breaking of bread had both a physical and a spiritual purpose. We also have seen that the customary times of worship were at the third and ninth hours of the natural day (which correspond to about 9:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m.). Thus the combination of their daily suppers of the Lord with the appointed times of worship would lead to a two meal per day practice, which is also the subject of this study.
New Wine In Old Bottles
Even among the most sincerely dedicated health reformers there has been exhibited the results of the age-old proverb, "no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish." Luke 5:37.
To understand the meaning of this saying we must look at it in the context of the times in which it was spoken. First, the word translated "bottles" is actually "skins," for that was the common item used for storing "new wine." Secondly, the word translated "wine," when used alone, refers to either fermented or unfermented grape juice. And lastly, the "new wine" was not stored in the skins in order to ferment it into an alcoholic beverage. Anyone who is familiar with alcoholic wine making procedures knows that neither bottles nor skins can withstand the gaseous forces given off during the fermenting process. Strong wooden barrels with steel bands are generally used to ferment the grape juice. It is only put into bottles or skins to age after it has fermented because the gases given off during fermentation are gone.
But there was a different use for the skins. They were used to store unfermented grape juice which had first been boiled down to a syrupy consistency. In this state the grape juice would not ferment while it was sealed and stored in new, unused skins. The problem with putting new wine in a previously used (old) skin was that some of the old grape syrup which was stuck to the insides of the skins would start to ferment when it came in contact with the air, and thus would ferment the new wine it came in contact with, causing the skin to expand until it burst.
Most all of the improvements which people have made in their diets have, unfortunately, been after the manner of above-quoted adage – that is, they try to bring their new-found principles (the new wine) into their same old incorrect practices (old bottles [skins] with fermented [corrupted] ideas therein). For example: they eat at the customary times, regardless of whether or not those times are the best, and eat in the same manner, regardless of the same.
The science of the cycles of nature and how they affect our digestive processes, and how said processes affect our overall being is an ancient science and must be given its proper place as the foundation of all health. Though we can fairly well train our bodies to accept our choice of eating habits, sooner or later our bad habits will manifest their results in ill health. Long ago a prophet wrote, "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16.
The truths revealed in the "old paths," "the good way," are become "new wine" to those by whom they are beheld because of their disuse and renewed appreciation. But this situation also has its own obstacle to be overcome. That is, "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." (Luke 5:39). So the "new wine" – the renewed knowledge of the "old paths" – is at first not desired because the heart is set upon the paths one has been accustomed to.
In examining the customary times of eating we should consider the source of, and motivation for, their use. Unrealized by most is the fact that religious practices are the basis for the traditional meal times. While the original Judeo-Christian times of worship are at the third and ninth hours of the natural day (approximately 9:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m.), the universal times of worship in ancient sun worship were at the first, sixth, and twelfth hours (approximately 6:00 a.m., 12 noon, and 6:00 p.m.). That meals (feasts) were and are taken in conjunction with times of worship is a well established fact. Today, the church potluck is just one example. It is this physical/spiritual type of meal which has been used to establish the mealtimes which vary from tradition to tradition.
Commercialism is the other major factor at play in determining meal times and the foods which are generally consumed at those times. This is even true of most health food restaurants. Thus, the saying "the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10) has application to the improper dietary practices propagated through many commercial food enterprises. There can be no doubt that most restaurants are in business to make money first, and secondarily (if at all) to supply people with needed, healthful nutrition. There is a high profit margin in the traditional American breakfast foods (eggs, bacon, white bread, pancakes). The same is true of nighttime meals of fancy. And fast food places are generally orientated towards high volumes of low quality foods for their profits.
There are various ways people attempt to put the new wine in old bottles. For example, when people decide to replace their customary bacon, eggs, and coffee breakfast with a vegetarian diet (the oldest of "the old paths"), they usually end up eating cereals and fruits for breakfast. Even though health researchers have consistently said that our first meal of the day should be the hardiest, most vegetarians still have their big vegetable meal midday or most commonly in the evening. This is one of the prime reasons why many conscientious folks still suffer from many of the same maladies as those who are indifferent (irreligious) about what, when, and how they eat.
There Is "A Time to Every Purpose Under the Heaven"
"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years....And God made two great lights; the greater light for the rule of the day, and the lesser for the rule of the night." Genesis 1:14,16 (margin rendering)
Jesus said, "Are there not twelve hours in the day?" John 11:9. At the time that he said this, the people of the world had a number of ways of keeping time. The Scriptural method of keeping time uses sunrise as the beginning of the first hour, and sunset as the end of the twelfth. This means that as the seasons change and the days become longer and shorter, the hours would necessarily, likewise, become longer and shorter.
God's people of old were told not to learn the customs of the nations around them, who were, in one form or another, sun worshippers. (Deuteronomy 18:9). As far back as ancient Babylon men were devising ways to measure hours of equal lengths. Water clocks, sand clocks, and many others were invented. In the 11th century A.D., an Arab astronomer even developed a sundial which would read in equal length hours. Yet God's faithful people used none of these as the rule to establish their hours of worship, and thus their meal times. When they were faithful, they retained nature's health laws by receiving spiritual and physical nourishment in a timely manner.
As noted, the third and ninth hours which were used for the service of the earthly sanctuary varied in length seasonally. Why didn't God give His people a method of measuring equal length hours if it would have been beneficial to them? The one who was to "think to change times and laws" (Daniel 7:25) didn't stop with trying to change the Sabbath, or the feast days, or the months and years, but has extended his reach even to the hours of the day, and has thereby affected the hours of worship, eating, and sleeping by this attack on nature and her Author.
Today, many health researchers are rediscovering that the human body is directly affected by the sunrise and sunset. The period in between is referred to as the photo-period. They have been finding that the big experiment of living by the clock, rather than by the sun, is not really best for any natural being. They are also reaching the same conclusion about the staying up late at night made possible by electrical lighting. There has always been a temptation to unnecessarily "burn the midnight oil."
There are conflicts with nature which arise when one eats at the same hours by the clock. In North America in the winter there are only around 10 sixty minute hours of daylight, while in the summer there are around 15 sixty minute hours. If one is in the habit of eating supper at 6:00 p.m. each day, in winter said meal would be taken after sunset – a practice which is contrary to good health, as will be explained later.
Perhaps the greatest testimony against the use of equal length hours is the need for Daylight Savings Time which was incorporated to compensate for the extra energy used to artificially illuminate the hours when the work hours were out of sync with the day's light. Twice a year, those people of the earth who take their meals by the clock and go on and off Daylight Savings Time by adding or losing an hour of a day throw off their entire bodily cycles and bring an unnecessary shock to their systems. It takes some people months to recover from the change in meal times, and no one who follows the practice of eating by the clock (rather than by the sun) is immune from a certain amount of trauma due to the drastic changes.
One of the purposes of this study is to aid us in being restored to our natural cycles, and to the ensuing health and well being. The accompanying sample time chart which shows the time of the third and ninth hours of the natural day throughout a year is provided to aid those who wish to follow the wisdom that is contained in the proverb, "There is a time for every purpose under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1). "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41). Therefore, pray for more of the Spirit to strengthen the flesh, and believe that in the exercise of your faith "your youth shall be renewed as an eagle."(Psalms 103:5).
Photo Periods and Digestion
Wisdom of old has also spoken of the consequences of eating at the wrong times. To wit,
"Woe to thee, O land, when ... thy princes eat in the morning! Blessed art thou, O land, when ... thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!" Ecclesiastes 10:16, 17.
Where photo-periods are concerned, the natural process is still the same no matter what we eat – our digestion slows down significantly after the sun goes down, and doesn't quicken again until the sun rises. Those who eat a large meal near or after sundown will usually have the feeling that they are not yet finished digesting it when they rise in the morning, even though it may have been 8-12 hours since they ate. This feeling may last an hour or two after rising.
This slow down in digestion is attributed to the increase of melatonin, which is a major factor in restful sleep. The large meals which are eaten near or after sundown never really get the full assimilation which is possible, and end up robbing the body of its fully refreshing sleep because the digestive system is still trying to do its major work during a time when it should be at rest. Yet when the same type of meal is eaten earlier in the day the body is wide awake and able to complete its work without interfering with the cycles of rest because of the activity of the day and the effects of the daylight.
This one factor of eating large meals towards the end or after the daylight hours, alone, is the major reason why many people's biological clocks are on a 25 hour cycle, rather than on a 24 hour cycle. Forcing the body to try and digest a heavy meal during the time that its digestive processes are slowed due to the sun having gone down extends the actual time for the complete digestion of the food and the cycling and replenishing of the digestive juices, and ends up overlapping with the time when the breakfast is usually taken.
Eating a large meal in the evening is also the reason why many people only desire a Continental type of breakfast (toast, donuts, or pastries, and coffee, tea, or juice) or a light fruit and cereal type of breakfast in the morning, and neglect the should-be-eaten hearty meal. Because of the late meal, they are not very hungry in the morning because they are still digesting the previous night's meal when they awake, but they are forced to eat something because of feeling a need for fresh energy. Thus they attempt to meet this need by the early morning snack of things usually containing sugar and carbohydrates (usually grains) which are converted into energy producing sugars in the body.
This feeling of an immediate need for energy producing things in the morning comes from a lack of energy caused by a poor night's rest which was due to a working digestive tract, and by the need for more energy to finish the digestion of the unprocessed load in their system from the late meal. The practice of putting new food on top of that which is not finished digesting causes fermentation in the system and creates gases and toxins which injure the system and need to pass out of the body through the elimination organs – the skin, lungs, kidneys, liver, and bowels – thus unnecessarily burdening them, and causing unpleasant odors, gases, skin conditions, constipation, and other ailments.
After taking a light breakfast or a Continental type of snack, those who have eaten large, late meals usually start feeling weak around midmorning, and either take some more coffee or tea, some sugar products, or a piece of fruit for a quick rush. They then eat a large lunch (as their first hearty meal) after eating a sparing breakfast and substitutes for real energy producing foods and usually find themselves sluggish later in the afternoon because the energy which should have already been available to the body is just then being produced, and is not really even put to good use during the most active time of the day. So those people drag around most every day wondering why they are so weak in physical and mental powers, even those who may be more conscientious in their food selections.
The destructive practice of taking late meals is made worse by taking an early heavy breakfast. As the digestive system has not completed its work on the previous night's meal when another large meal it put in it, it is forced to work overtime without its necessary rest and rejuvenation time, thus robbing the system of more needed energy. This also tends to make one's mental and physical powers sluggish and dull in the early hours of the day. Then the early heavy breakfast is usually followed by an equally heavy lunch and similar supper. So not only is the system strained by all of the work involved in the continual processing of food, but the overabundance thereof is converted into fat or is passed along in a semi-digested state, thereby causing other maladies.
Researchers have observed that when more food is taken only a few hours after eating something the food already in the first part of the intestines is ejected from there even though it has not yet gone through its full processing. As the body doesn't want to expel the contents of the intestines in a semi-digested state, the taking of more food before the previous amount is fully processed causes that previous mass to be impacted together with the mass which preceded it, thereby causing a stretching of the intestines, the creation of unwanted gases and toxins, and a delay in the normal elimination time (constipation). It simply makes sense that one should have as many eliminations as they have meals, but such is rarely the case when people eat three or more meals per day. Researchers have noted that when someone eats a piece of fudge only two hours after eating a meal, the elimination is pushed back four hours. If another piece is taken after just another two hours, the elimination is pushed back eight hours. And so the problem compounds exponentially.
Eating a hearty breakfast of vegetables at the right time will provide the body with satisfaction and energy to do the work of the morning and early afternoon. Within just a few days of adopting the morning vegetable meal, a natural appetite will develop for this truly refreshing and sustaining diet.
Feeding on Christ
Along with the physical aspects of correct eating habits, we must consider the spiritual ones as well. Our state of mind while we eat has as much, if not more, effect on our beings than does what or when we eat. Taking food while one is emotionally upset or under stress can cause indigestion, which in turn leads to other problems. The same is true with respect to eating in haste, regardless of the reason for doing such. Also, many people eat by emotional impulse rather than by principle, and this has been closely associated with obesity and many other unhealthy states. This is why we are looking into "being religious about eating," for in true religion, alone, lies the ways of Wisdom who leads to the Tree of Life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.
Therefore, it is essential to consider those things which alone can feed and nourish our spiritual lives, and bring composure to our emotional actions. This is where the aspect of being religious in our daily lives, and particularly in our eating, comes in. One of the Mirriam-Webster's Dictionary definitions of "religion" is, "a cause, principle, system of tenets held with ardor, devotion, conscientiousness, and faith: a value held to be of supreme importance." And two of the definitions given therein for "religious" are "scrupulously and conscientiously faithful;" and "relating to that which is acknowledged as ultimate reality: manifesting devotion to and reflecting the nature of the divine or that which one holds to be of ultimate importance."
Though the foregoing general definitions have meaning herein, it is the acknowledgment of the "ultimate reality" of the existence of a divine design and intelligence which is at the heart of this study – that is, the true science of the Gospel of Christ. While we must give due respect to the various religious figures who have throughout history sought to raise their fellow men and women to higher and pure walks in life, we, at the same time, should not give credit to them more than what they, themselves, have declared. Some have said that they point the way to the attainment of knowledge and inner peace, others, that they have heard the truth, and yet others, that they have seen the truth. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6
Christ, who is "the only begotten Son" of God, has also said, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." John 6:35. Thus we have laid before us the invitation to partake of the spiritual diet which will bring us complete satisfaction.
"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the
flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and
drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat
indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in
me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me,
even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did
eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
"I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are
dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for
ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
"When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:32-63.
The point of this is that it is not the feeding on Christ's literal flesh and blood, nor even on those articles of food (bread and wine) which He appointed as memorials of His life, that provide us with His spiritual life (which is the food and drink of life), but it is the feeding upon His words which nourishes and sustains us. While it has been correctly understood that the Bible is the written "Word of God," the whole design of this "Book of Books" is to lead us to the unwritten Word of God whereby we are nourished and sustained.
It is written of Abraham that he "obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." (Genesis 26: 5). He did this at a time when there was no written "Word of God," and thus earned the title father of our faith (Romans 4 11-16). We are admonished to "hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it." Micah 6:9. The One who has appointed the "rod" (the prophets who have written and spoken in His name), and whom we are also counseled to "hear," is the Holy Spirit, "whom God hath given to them that obey him." Acts 5:32.
These facts, though, are not to be understood to in any way diminish the purpose and necessity of that which is termed "The Lord's Supper." The purpose of Christ bidding his people to remember His sacrifice and the glory which has come and is to come thereby by means of "a supper of the Lord" is our sanctification – our being made "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ... [we] should shew forth the praises of him who hath called ... [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9), "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:16).
The word holy, in its root definitions, conveys the idea of whole, entire, complete. The "w" in the word whole has only been in use for about five hundred years. It was added to the word which meant holy, and which is also the root of the word health. So wholeness, healthiness, and completeness are qualities of that which is holy. Thus becoming holy, healthy, and complete is the ultimate purpose of religious eating, and particularly the object of a supper of the Lord.
It is written:
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die...."
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 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. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." Genesis 2:16.17; 3:1-6.
This is the record of the first meal which was not "a supper of the Lord," a remembrancer of Christ, the Creator and Sustainer (Colossians 1:16). We may note that they gave no thanks or benediction to anyone before they consumed the fruit, nor afterwards. Eve could not in clear conscience thank God, for God had told her not to eat of that tree. As she had not learned to lie or offer false praise she was silent, and so was Adam. Moreover, she was under the delusion that the fruit which she was commanded not to eat was actually "good" for her, and that it was God who had been withholding this blessing from them. So how could she have naturally thanked God for it? Because of the pureness of her original nature it would have been difficult for her to even have imagined that God would have wanted her thanks for partaking of the forbidden fruit. The same was true of Adam. Truly, the only one they might have thanked would have been the serpent, who was Satan's medium. But since true thanks giving is a fruit of the Spirit their noble instincts were not motivated, nor, indeed, could they have been, so they didn't thank him either. Simple, isn't it? If you can't give an honest thanks for that which you are about to eat, don't eat it.
Next, we may note that Eve was not having a real meal. She was, at first, eating alone, separate from her husband. Her first thoughts were not to share this blessing with Adam, but for her to receive the hidden blessing for herself. It was after she had been deceived and had eaten the fruit that she offered it to Adam. In all of the accounts of the meals at which Christ was present there is no record of Him having served Himself first, but always was He seeking to feed and bless others first. The eating which Eve did was really more of a snack between meals than a real meal. It was not her natural appetite that she was appeasing, and thus not mealtime.
Sad to say, the Lord was nowhere in the meal – not in the thoughts, nor in the food being eaten (that is, it was not lawful), nor was He there in fellowship. Adam was her companion, the one whom God had designed for her to eat in fellowship with, not a talking animal. She was so wrapped up in the thoughts of the fruit and its imagined effects that she temporarily forgot her need for the fellowship of her companion and her Creator.
"Had she sought her husband, and they had related to their Maker the words of the serpent, they would have been delivered at once from his artful temptation." The Story of Redemption, p. 37
Too often we may get so absorbed with thinking to satisfy our emotional aspirations (as did Eve) that we forget that we are a part of a community – the family of man, which is a part of the family of heaven (Ephesians 3:14, 15). The main purpose of a supper of the Lord is to remind us of this. As we prepare to give thanks for our meals with the emblems of Christ's intercession our minds are drawn to not only His suffering and death, and to the circumstances which brought about those things, but also the glory of His resurrection and the fulfillment of His promise to send us the Holy Spirit to minister to us, and to the eventual restoration of all things.
We are thereby led to consider our individual actions and how they have an effect on ourselves and others, and vice-versa. Thus by looking from cause to effect we have the opportunity to learn humility and thus seek a higher power – the Holy Spirit, whereby we may live in righteousness. This power is the only one which gives us the ability to exercise temperance in our eating and with all other appetites.
To be religious about eating will require us to be in a spiritual state of mind about the things in our lives. Both Adam and Eve allowed their minds to be become irreligious when they ate of the forbidden fruit. That is, they weren't partaking of a supper of the Lord because the Lords' rulership was not in their thoughts as they partook of the fruit which the He had forbidden. They had to forget the Lord's presence and loving character. Thus to keep our hearts and minds fresh with the love and knowledge of the Lord we have been given the privilege of partaking in
Suppers of the Lord
As mentioned previously, the term "The Lord's Supper" referred to the daily meals and worship times of the disciples of Jesus. Though in its use in the letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11:20, 21) it refers primarily to the last meal of the day, its actual usage pertained to every meal which they had wherein they broke bread in memory if Christ (Acts 2:42, 46). To partake of a "supper of the Lord" would be, first, to eat the foods which the Lord has ordained as such;
"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat [food]." Genesis 1:29
Vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, and other products of the earth are intended to be mankind's food. It is well understood today that eating fruit and vegetables at the same time produces fermentation and other digestive problems, and since God was well aware of this, the foregoing pronouncement was made to show not only the separateness of the two, but also the order in the day in which they are to be eaten; vegetables first, in the morning, and fruits second, in the evening. Grains, nuts, seeds, and their oils can be taken at both times.
Vegetables should be eaten at the first meal of the day as they provide the best building blocks for the body, while fruits eaten in the afternoon provide the best materials for cleansing the system. Vegetables eaten in the morning will provide a sense of satisfaction which will sustain us until the evening (afternoon) meal. Fruit taken at the afternoon meal will provide us with the energy necessary to complete the day's work and for the body to complete its digestive processes without causing it to heat up through the work of digesting a vegetable meal.
To eat our food as God intended it, it should be free from any pesticides and any genetic engineering. While organically grown foods are best, if it is not possible to obtain them then that which has been obtained should be thoroughly washed and scrubbed to remove any pesticide residue. Pesticides are not the only potential problems, but also are the various coatings applied to prevent spoilage after they have been harvested – waxes, sodium bicarbonate, and herbicides. Waxes are often used on tomatoes and apples and other fruits to make them appear shiny and fresh. Sodium bicarbonate is used on leafy greens, both at the supermarket and in restaurants. Which leads us to the conclusion that the most healthful foods are produced in one's own garden and prepared in one's own kitchen where we have more control over our food.
While it must be admitted that after the flood God did allow the eating of all flesh foods (Genesis 9:3), it must also be noted that with the eating of those things man's life span was greatly shortened. Even then, God prohibited the eating of the blood with the flesh (ibid.). But when God chose Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob, the Israelites, to be a special people in the earth to show forth his glory, He restricted their eating of flesh foods to that which was "clean." That is, animals which obtained their nourishment most directly from the vegetable kingdom.
In seeking to become holy, healthy, and complete in our daily lives we need to know how high the standard is – especially in our return to the Edenic standard. In Christ's day the religious leaders seemingly held a very high standard. Yet in spite of that He said to His followers,
"I say unto you, That except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:20.
Paul, the apostle, gave counsel to the followers of Christ on the righteousness which exceeded that of the religious leaders of his day. That is,
"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." Romans 14:21. And,
"Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." 1 Corinthians 8:13.
The Greek word which is translated "weak" in the above quoted texts also means "sick."
We should also realize that there are many viruses and bacteria which live in flesh foods and are transferred to those who eat them. Though the same situation is also true of vegetable matter to a lesser degree, the problem therein can be remedied to a high degree by correct washing and preservation techniques.
This unclean state of things in "clean" flesh foods was prevalent in times past because of the improper care of the animals and their flesh. In "unclean" animals, such as swine, the problem was inherent in the nature and life style of the animals themselves. Today, despite modern food preservation techniques (refrigeration, etc.), the amount of disease in food animals is not much different than in the past due to the mass marketing procedures used in the raising and preparation of them. Even though many of the bacteria in flesh foods may be eliminated by the use of antibiotics given to the animals, other bacteria which are resistant to the antibiotics thrive in and are spread through the slaughter houses and processing plants. Viruses, though, are a different matter, and are much more difficult to control. Often whole communities get "the flu" by means of eating contaminated meats coming from a common source. Research has also shown that the antibiotics given to animals to control disease and the hormones given to many of them to stimulate the growth of additional flesh, produce more milk, or lay more eggs are also passed on to those who consume their flesh, milk, and eggs.
Besides the antibiotics and hormones which are given to animals, many receive recycled animal parts even though they are by nature strictly herbivores. They are given those things mixed in their feeds in order for them to obtain extra protein so that they will produce more flesh and be worth more at the market. But this practice has been proven to lead to additional diseases in the animals which are also passed on the those who consume their flesh. Such is the case with Mad Cow disease.
The most common notion touted for the need of flesh foods is that they are complete proteins. But such is very misleading. Our bodies only require about one third of the total amino acids which make up complete proteins. Those one third are called essential amino acids. Those essential amino acids are readily available in non-flesh foods. Our bodies don't need to receive all of the amino acids contained in the complete proteins of flesh foods because our bodies make complete proteins, just as do all the animal's bodies. When one eats the complete protein in flesh foods, the protein molecules are not directly transferred from the flesh foods to the eater. They first have to be broken down into the basic amino acids and other elements, and then, combined with other matter, formed into new structures. So no matter what the source of the essential amino acids, our bodies will make complete proteins, provided that the other elements necessary for such are present.
Much of the research which used to determine how much protein is needed by our bodies in order to sustain good health is based on the observations of mice and other animals. But the results of said studies are misleading because mice require a much greater proportion of proteins in order to cover most of their bodies with hair and to grow tails. Cows, sheep, elephants, and other vegetarian animals produce plenty of proteins to build strong, wooly, and huge bodies (respectively) from the simple vegetation they consume.
Another notable fact is that many elderly, weak, or infirmed people simply can't chew meat sufficiently to get much value out of it. Thus much of those complete proteins are unused, and actually toxify the system because they are not properly processed. It is also of note that meat does not contain any dietary fiber. So those who restrict their diets to meats and devitalized breads, thinking that they are getting enough proteins and fibers, are just creating toxification and elimination problems.
What many who have a strong appetite for meat should understand that the uric acid in the meat has an effect on the brain similar to that of caffeine, and that said appetites are learned, and not inherent within us. It is estimated that between 1/3 to 1/2 of the world's inhabitants eat no flesh foods, yet sustain health equivalent to, or surpassing that of flesh eaters – that is, providing that the non-flesh eaters consume an appropriate variety of foods.
It is also important to remember that overeating of most any kind of foods can produce excess fat in one way or another. Any excess protein which is not used by the body to replenish the amino acid pool is either burned for energy or stored as fat. In order for this to occur, nitrogen must first be removed from the protein. This nitrogen is then changed in the liver to a waste product, urea, and is then excreted in the urine. This places an extra work load on the kidneys and unnecessarily overtaxes and toxifies the system. For those who are not very active the excess protein is not used for energy, but is just stored as fat. So even a low fat/high protein diet can produce unnecessary fat. A similar thing occurs with an excess of carbohydrates. Eating the correct number of balanced, complete meals in the correct amounts at the right times is the only true, abundant-life giving way to control one's weight while obtaining satisfaction and enhancing one's spiritual life.
Taking proteins without carbohydrates is like having bricks to build a house with no workers to put them in place. Similarly, having the right amount of bricks and workers (proteins and carbohydrates) without the proper mixture of mortar (the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber and other compounds found in fruits and vegetables) produces an unstable structure which is easily susceptible to decay. Eating fruits without a carbohydrate such as bread causes the sugars in the fruit to be dumped into the system all at once, producing a quick surge of energy without any sustained effect. The carbohydrates slow down the absorption of the sugars allowing their properties to have a more useful, longer term effect.
There is also the issue of dairy products. One problem for those who don't eat flesh foods can be a lack of Vitamin B-12. Though there are some natural herbal foods which do provide small amounts of B-12, there is an abundant supply in dairy products, and the body is able to store this nutrient for later use. Many vegetarians who choose not to use any dairy products seek to obtain their B-12 from fermented soybean products such as tofu and miso. Though these products may help supply said lack, many find them hard to digest.
Some choose to avoid dairy products because they think they have allergies to them. But it should be noted that many of those allergies arise from other causes, and are only stimulated by the dairy products. Therefore, if one would eliminate the real causes of the allergies, in most cases they would find that their problems with dairy products would also disappear. But we should take care to know the source and type of dairy products we use.
There are other problems with milk and other dairy products which arise from the way they are presented to the public at large. Due to various diseases which may be present in the cows, their milk products are usually pasteurized. This involves heating the milk to a certain temperature for a certain length of time. While the government has set the minimum standard for these processes, the dairy industry does not always maintain those standards. Thus many times diseases are present in the dairy products even though they say that they have been pasteurized. Moreover, some strains of bacteria are not destroyed at those minimum levels, and they are passed on to the consumer. The same is true of viruses.
Along with incomplete pasteurization there is another process to which most commercial milk is subjected which has also been shown to be harmful. That is homogenization. This involves forcing the milk though very fine sieves at very high pressures. This causes the fat molecules to be compress to about one tenth their normal size. While this keeps the cream from separating from the milk, and makes its appearance better for marketing, it introduces a host of problems.
In this compressed state the outer walls of the fat molecules become hardened so that they are not broken down by the stomachs digestive juices. Because of this and their extremely small size they pass through the digestive system in a whole state and thus into the blood stream. The problem which arise from this are numerous. As the proteins in the fat molecules are not broken down into their basic structures and properly digested, they also pass in a whole state into the blood stream. These whole proteins cause all kinds of problems and negative reactions in the body. Along with this is the fact that those compressed fat globules contain the growth hormones, pesticides, and other things given to the cows which might be broken down in the stomach were they not encapsulated in the hardened fat globules. Thus these chemical compounds also pass directly into the blood stream and have their adverse effects on the system.
Yet another injurious effect of homogenization is that those compressed globules develop sharp edges which score the arteries when they enter the bloodstream in their whole state. This causes the body to react to the wounds caused by those sharp edges and to the presence of those whole proteins by building up plaque on those irritated areas. Thus both the arteries and the heart suffer. This problem increase with age as older people often don't produce as much stomach acids, and have weakened artery walls.
The only real solution to this is to find a source of milk where the cows have not been engineered to produce large quantities of milk; where their health is scrupulously maintained by natural means; and where their milk is fully pasteurized and not homogenized. If one is sure that the cattle are healthy and disease free, then such an animal's milk may be used raw (unpasteurized). While some find goat's milk an alternative to the problems prevalent in homogenized cow's milk, it is still necessary to exercise due concern regarding the condition of the animals and the handling of their products. Goat's milk is usually pasteurized, but not homogenized.
Some take an extreme position by abstaining from dairy products simply because they come from animals. Some even use this same argument for abstaining from the use of honey. Looking back to the early days of man (before the use of flesh foods) we find that
"Abel was a keeper of sheep." Genesis 4:2.
As the sheep were not kept for the purpose of eating their flesh, we must assume that there were other purposes for keeping them other than for the newly instituted sacrificial system. Other than the use of their wool, one of the benefits of keeping herds of sheep and cows is that they could be easily directed to specific areas to control the height of the grass. They, with other cattle, are natural lawn mowers. Along with this benefit is the abundance of milk which they produce from all of the grass that they eat. Were milk not a favorable thing for mankind, God would not have used its presence to encourage His people to seek for a land which "floweth with milk and honey," nor likened His word to "butter and honey." Isaiah 7:22.
Though today we must be cautious about the health of the animals from which we obtain our dairy products and about how they are processed, and likewise must avoid products from animals which have been given growth hormones, and which have received other harmful things through their feeds which could be passed on to us via their milk, total abstinence from dairy products is not generally called for. But should one find the need to totally abstain from dairy products, there are other substitutes which have proven to be beneficial in maintaining health, such as non-fermented soy milk. For more on these matters please see our publications The Entering Wedge, and The Entering Wedge, Part 2
The "I'm Being Religious About Eating" Diet
The phrase "Communion Service" is an accurate description of what "a supper of the Lord" really is – a service. It serves to keep the intercession of Christ and His second coming vivid and fresh in our minds, our memories. It also serves as a means by which we keep open the line of communion between God and us, and between each other. This is accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit during the Communion Service in imparting within us the power of love, of truth, and of righteousness.
These things were so important and meaningful to the early Church that it was written of them:
"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:42-47.
Therein is revealed the ultimate blessing of partaking in suppers of the Lord in their true nature – an abiding and abundant love for God and our fellow men, women, and children. The keynote expression of those who, in sincerity, partook (and partake) in the memorial service was (and is), "Christ is risen, pass it on!"
Such also was the purpose of all of the daily and yearly ceremonies which were done in type before the cross. As shown in the first two parts of this study, the reality of their anti-typical settings in the heavenly Sanctuary, with its Most Holy Place, Holy Place, and court, and of the true significance and experience of "a supper of the Lord" was "taken away" (Dan. 8:11, 12:11) by "the man of sin," and was "supplanted by the idolatrous sacrifice of the Mass" (The Story of Redemption, p. 334) – "the abomination that maketh desolate." (Daniel 11:31, 12:11). That is, the true religious significance of the times of worship and the nature of the daily meals and of the saints were supplanted by those who placed more importance on those who were leading out in the service than in the purpose of the service itself, and by mystifying the bread and wine – by wrongly attributing to the leaders the power to impart to the bread and wine an aspect other than their memorial qualities.
It is a general tradition among Christian fellowships to abstain from eating their morning meal before they take Communion (i.e., partake of "the Lord's Supper"). This tradition did not originate with the Christians, for the faithful Jews, in general, would also abstain from their morning meal until after the morning sacrifice of the burnt offering at the 3rd hour of the day. The purpose of that practice was (is) to remind the people of the importance of God's work for them due to the fall of mankind. It is from this custom that we get the term breakfast. It is the morning's fast from the time of rising until after the morning intercession which is broken by the first meal of the day at the 3rd hour.
As in many things, being religious about eating requires preparation. Religious thinking is not something which may be turned on and off at will, but is an abiding principle which motivates all aspects of our lives. As the ultimate purpose of true religion is to cultivate and nurture love, then such also is the purpose for being religious about eating. That is, our eating and drinking should aid us in being loving and loveable people.
There are spiritual exercises which have proven to be beneficial in keeping the thoughts centered on the religious, love, aspects of life. One is revealed in Psalms 55:17:
"Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice."
Another is revealed in Psalms 119:164:
"Seven times a day do I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous judgments."
Those seven times are, (1) upon rising before sunrise; (2) sunrise; (3) the third hour of the day; (4) noon; (5) the ninth hour of the day; (6) sunset; and (7) when going to sleep.
"Human help is feeble. But we may unite in seeking help and favor from Him who has said, 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' Divine power is infallible. Then let us come to God, pleading for the guidance of His Holy Spirit. Let our united prayers ascend to the throne of grace. Let our requests be mingled with praise and thanksgiving." Testimonies for Ministers, p. 485.
"To praise God in fullness and sincerity of heart is as much a duty as is prayer. We are to show to the world and to all the heavenly intelligences that we appreciate the wonderful love of God for fallen humanity and that we are expecting larger and yet larger blessings from His infinite fullness. Far more than we do, we need to speak of the precious chapters in our experience. After a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, our joy in the Lord and our efficiency in His service would be greatly increased by recounting His goodness and His wonderful works in behalf of His children." Christ's Object Lessons, p. 299.
"These exercises drive back the power of Satan. They expel the spirit of murmuring and complaint, and the tempter loses ground. They cultivate those attributes of character which will fit the dwellers on earth for the heavenly mansions." Ibid, p. 300.
"Shall all our devotional exercises consist in asking and receiving? Shall we be always thinking of our wants and never of the benefits we receive? Shall we be recipients of His mercies and never express our gratitude to God, never praise Him for what He has done for us? We do not pray any too much, but we are too sparing of giving thanks. If the loving-kindness of God called forth more thanksgiving and praise, we would have far more power in prayer. We would abound more and more in the love of God and have more bestowed to praise Him for. You who complain that God does not hear your prayers, change your present order and mingle praise with your petitions. When you consider His goodness and mercies you will find that He will consider your wants.
"Pray, pray earnestly and without ceasing, but do not forget to praise. It becomes every child of God to vindicate His character. You can magnify the Lord; you can show the power of sustaining grace." Testimonies for the Church, p. 317.
"Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord"
Preparation for the daily religious meals begins upon waking, the first time of prayer and praise – before sunrise.
"It is our privilege to open our hearts, and let the sunshine of Christ's presence in. My brother, my sister, face the light. Come into actual, personal contact with Christ, that you may exert an influence that is uplifting and reviving. Let your faith be strong and pure and steadfast. Let gratitude to God fill your hearts. When you rise in the morning, kneel at your bedside, and ask God to give you strength to fulfill the duties of the day, and to meet its temptations. Ask Him to help you to bring into your work Christ's sweet character. Ask him to help you to speak words that will inspire those around you with hope and courage, and draw you nearer to the Saviour." Sons and Daughters of God, p. 199.
Along with our spiritual preparation is the tending to our physical needs.
"Frequent bathing is very beneficial, especially at night, just before retiring, or upon rising in the morning. It will take but a few moments to give the children a bath and to rub them until their bodies are in a glow. This brings the blood to the surface relieving the brain; and there will be less inclination to indulge in impure practices." Child Guidance, p. 461.
During sleep, while the body is inactive, the skin is fed and is rejuvenated while passing off impurities through the pores, and dead cells from its surface. So the morning cleansing is necessary to keep the skin open and active.
The second time of prayer and praise is at the beginning of the new day – sunrise.
Jesus, the Pattern man – "His hours of happiness were found when alone with nature and God. Whenever it was his privilege, He turned aside from the scenes of His labor, to go into the fields, to meditate in the green valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside or amid the trees of the forest. The early morning often found Him in some secluded place, meditating, searching the Scriptures, or in prayer. From these quiet hours He would return to His home to take up His duties again, and to give an example of patient toil." Desire of Ages, p. 90.
"The early morning hours, instead of being wasted in bed, often found him in a retired place, meditating and searching the Scriptures and in prayer." Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 402
"It was in hours of solitary prayer that Jesus in His earth-life received wisdom and power. Let the youth follow His example in finding at dawn and twilight a season for communion with their Father in heaven." Child Guidance, p. 525.
The morning walk in nature should be preceded by drinking water, or an herb tea (warm, not hot), or some diluted juice (lemon is excellent, one per quart of water). This will aid in cleansing the system, preparing it for the day's work. Additionally, the morning walk stimulates deep breathing which brings extra oxygen into the body, stimulates the brain, and raises the metabolism, thus preparing the body for the upcoming meal.
After this should begin the chores of the day – feeding the animals, tending to the garden, gathering up the ingredients for the meal and preparing it, and getting the children ready for their day. Any other business should also start within the first hour of the day, 7:00 a.m., or before. This provides for the time necessary for morning worship and a supper of the Lord at the third hour. Working for an hour or more before the time of worship and eating will give the body time to wake up, get the appetite tuned, and the mind active.
A large glass of water during this time (the second of the day) will not only help curb any undo appetite for those out of harmony with their natural appetite, but will also supply the body with the basic building block of the blood and body. The more water, the larger the blood vessels. and the better the circulation. What's true in nature is also true in religion; the more of the Spirit that you drink in, the larger will be your capacity to circulate the spiritual Blood, and the Life that is in it – Christ – to the rest of the body.
"Drafts of clear, hot water taken before eating (half a quart or less), will never do any harm, but will rather be productive of good." Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 419.
This should be about 20-30 minutes before eating, just before worship begins. Grape juice greatly weakened with water is also very good at this time. These will help stimulate the stomach juices.
The third time of prayer and praise is in the third hour of the natural day – morning worship and a supper of the Lord.
The Daily Worship Service
"If ever there was a time that every house should be a house of prayer it is now....
"In every family there should be a fixed time for morning and evening worship. How appropriate it is for parents to gather their children about them before the fast is broken, to thank the heavenly Father for His protection during the night, and to ask Him for His help and guidance and watchcare during the day! How fitting, also, when evening comes, for parents and children to gather once more before Him and thank Him for the blessings of the day...
"The service should be short...
"Fathers and mothers, make the hour of worship intensely interesting. There is no reason why this hour should not be the most pleasant and enjoyable of the day... Questions may be asked on the portion of scripture read, and a few earnest, timely remarks be made. A song of praise may be sung. The prayer offered should be short and pointed." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7, pgs. 42-3.
While it may be easier to do these things in the home setting, it is just as important for true religion to be practiced in all phases of life.
"It requires more grace, more stern discipline of character, to work for God in the capacity of mechanic, merchant, lawyer, or farmer, carrying the precepts of Christianity into the ordinary business of life, than to labor as an acknowledged missionary in the open field. It requires a strong spiritual nerve to bring religion into the workshop and the business office, sanctifying the details of everyday life, and ordering every transaction according to the standard of God's word. But this is what the Lord requires." Counsel for Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 279.
"The Christian can and will find time to pray. Daniel was a statesman; heavy responsibilities rested upon him; yet three times a day he sought God, and the Lord gave him the Holy Spirit....
"If the rush of work is allowed to drive us from our purpose of seeking the Lord daily, we shall make great mistakes; we shall incur losses, for the Lord is not with us; we have closed the door so that He cannot find access to our souls." Counsels on Health, pgs. 423-4.
"Teach your children that it is their privilege to receive every day the baptism of the Holy Spirit." Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 131
"Let all who visit Christians see that the hour of prayer is the most precious, the most sacred, and the happiest hour of the day. These seasons of devotion exert a refining, elevating influence upon all who participate in them. They bring a peace and rest grateful to the spirit....
"Let the seasons of family worship be short and spirited. Do not let your children or any member of your family dread them because of their tediousness or lack of interest. When a long chapter is read and explained and a long prayer offered, this precious service becomes wearisome, and it is a relief when it is over....
"It should be the special object of the heads of the family to make the hour of worship intensely interesting. By a little thought and careful preparation for this season, when we come into the presence of God, family worship can be made pleasant and will be fraught with results that eternity alone will reveal. Let the father select a portion of Scripture that is interesting and easily understood; a few verses will be sufficient to furnish a lesson which may be studied and practiced through the day. Questions may be asked, a few earnest, interesting remarks made, or incident, short and to the point, may be brought by way of illustration. At least a few verses of spirited song may be sung, and the prayer offered should be short and pointed. The one who leads in prayer should not pray about everything, but should express his needs in simple words and praise God with thanksgiving....
"Let there be singing in the home, of songs that are sweet and pure, and there will be fewer words of censure and more of cheerfulness and hope and joy....
"As a part of religious service singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer. If the child is taught to realize this, he will think more of the meaning of the words he sings and will be more susceptible to their power." Child Guidance, pgs. 519-23.
"The silent, fervent prayer of the soul will rise like holy incense to the throne of grace and will be as acceptable to God as if offered in the sanctuary." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 616.
"Why not pray as if you had a conscience void of offence, and could come to the throne of grace in humility, yet with holy boldness, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting? Do not bow down and cover up your faces as if there were something that you desired to conceal; but lift up your eyes towards the heavenly sanctuary [which is in the "sides of the north"], where Christ your Mediator stands before the Father to present your prayers, mingled with His own merit and spotless righteousness, as fragrant incense." Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 241.
"We should pray to God much more than we do. There is great strength and blessing in praying together in our families, with and for our children. When my children have done wrong, and I have talked with them kindly and then prayed with them, I have never found it necessary after that to punish them. Their hearts would melt in tenderness before the Holy Spirit that came in answer to prayer." Child Guidance, p. 525
In order to abide in love whereby we have the power to be faithful to our nobler aspirations we must be honest in all aspects of our lives. Such honesty may only be obtained by candid self-examination. Therefore, self examination is a fundamental requisite for partaking of a supper of the Lord. Speaking of a supper of the Lord, it is written,
"Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup....For if we judge ourselves, we should not be judged." 1 Corinthians 11:28, 31.
"The humble and broken heart, subdued by genuine repentance, will appreciate something of the love of God and the cost of Calvary; and as a son confesses to a loving father, so will the truly penitent bring all his sins before God. And it is written: 'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.'" Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 641.
"Neither prayer nor almsgiving has any virtue in itself to recommend the sinner to God; the grace of Christ, through His atoning sacrifice, can alone renew the heart and make our service acceptable to God." Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7A, p. 283
In order to eat our meals with clear consciences and with the peace that passes all understanding, we must allow ourselves to be freed from all things which would hinder the Holy Spirit's abiding with us. This means not only casting all of our cares and burdens upon Him who has our best interests at heart, but it also means being in a right relationship with others. In the Lord's example of true prayer we are taught to not only ask for forgiveness for our own transgressions, but also to forgive others theirs. To obtain this, and the clearness of conscience which should attend our mealtimes, reconciliation with others through confession of sin and efforts to make wrongs right must be done.
In the service of the earthly sanctuary there were means provided for the forgiveness of sins. This was accomplished by means of confession of sin and by the exercise faith in the transference of the offenses to a substitute who bore the pains and penalties (death) thereof instead of the seeker of forgiveness.. Those types find their antitypical fulfillment in the footwashing service which Christ did for his disciples at the Last Supper, and which he admonished his followers to also perform among themselves. The footwashing symbolized the higher cleansing.
"After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." John 13: 5-17.
As in the typical service, the sin offerings (when necessary or prescribed) preceded all other sacrifices. So footwashing (when necessary or prescribed) and the attending self-examination is the entry door into worship and "a supper of the Lord." This was the lesson which Jesus was teaching His disciples when He washed their feet. While under the typical ceremonial system, burnt offerings were to be offered twice a day, every day, and additionally on the Sabbaths and other feast days, there were no sin offerings ordained on a daily basis. Other than the yearly feast days, the only times at which sin offerings were regularly presented were on the new moons. While one could offer a sin offering when a need arose for it, the fact that there were none ordained on a daily basis shows that God intended for His people to realize His sustaining grace which could keep them from falling into sin on a daily basis. This daily consecration was (is) obtained by a true realization and appreciation of that which was symbolized by the daily burnt offerings – Christ's continual intercession in imputing His righteous life to our record, and the impartation of His righteousness within us by the Holy Ghost, cleansing us from all unrighteousness and restoring us to God's image and likeness.
This same principle applies to the footwashing service. While there may be circumstances which may call for an almost daily footwashing between brethren, a daily, true, individual self-examination should be sufficient to keep our hearts and minds set upon the higher purposes of life. The purpose and significance of the washing of feet and its attending prayer are as follows.
"These ordinances [footwashing and a supper of the Lord] were established that all might have the privilege of acknowledging their wrongs, and confessing their sins at this time. And as the heart is softened, and melted under the moving of the Holy Spirit, the heavenly anointing gives them spiritual eyesight to discern their errors. Jesus has pledged himself to be present in the fullness of His grace to change the currents of the mind that are running in selfish channels....
"Christ does indeed manifest himself unto the believers who thus reveal their faith by coming together at the communion table with the simplicity of children to remember Jesus, his words, and his requirements, determined to exclude from the heart all selfishness and love of supremacy." Review & Herald, June 7, 1898. [brackets added]
"No outward forms can make us clean; no ordinance, administered by the saintliest of men, can take the place of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of God must do its [Her] work upon the heart. ...Strife and contention cannot arise among those who are controlled by His Spirit." ibid., 227. [brackets added]
"The spiritual energies of His people have long been torpid, but there is to be a resurrection from apparent death. [Ezekiel 37].
"By prayer and confession of sin we must clear the King's highway. As we do this, the power of the Spirit will come to us. We need the Pentecostal energy. This will come, for the Lord has promised to send His Spirit as the all-conquering power." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, pgs. 297-8. [brackets added].
"Footwashing teaches the humility of Christ and makes participants' hearts tender toward one another.-- These ordinances are regarded too much as a form, and not as a sacred thing to call to mind the Lord Jesus... It is on these, His own appointments, that He meets with and energizes His people by His personal presence... All who keep before them, in the act of feet-washing, the humiliation of Christ, all who will keep their hearts humble, and keep in view the true tabernacle and service, which the Lord pitched and not man, will never fail to derive benefit from every discourse given, and spiritual strength from every communion. These ordinances are established for a purpose. Christ's followers are to bear in mind the example of Christ in His humility. This ordinance is to encourage humility, but it should never be termed humiliating, in the sense of being degrading to humanity. It is to make tender our hearts toward one another." Review and Herald, May 31, 1898.
"Footwashing is meant to clear away the assumption that one person is higher than another.-- The object of this service is to call to mind the humility of our Lord, and the lessons He has given in washing the feet of His disciples. There is in man a disposition to esteem himself more highly than his brother, to work for himself, to serve himself, to seek the highest place; and often evil-surmisings and bitterness of spirit spring up over mere trifles. This ordinance preceding the Lord's Supper is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of spirit that will lead him to wash his brother's feet. It is not in God's plan that this should be deferred because some are considered unworthy to engage in it. The Lord washed the feet of Judas. He did not refuse him a place at the table, although He knew that he would leave that table to act his part in the betrayal of his Lord. It is not possible for human beings to tell who is worthy, and who is not. They can not read the secrets of the soul. It is not for them to say, I will not attend the ordinance if such a one is present to act a part. Nor has God left it to man to say who shall present themselves on these occasions." Review and Herald, May 31, 1898.
That all things be proper, the following counsel has been given,
"There is no example given in the Word for brethren to wash sister's feet; but there is an example for sisters to wash the feet of brethren. Mary washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head. (See also 1 Tim. 5:10.). I saw that the Lord had moved upon sisters to wash the feet of brethren and that it was according to gospel order. All should move understandingly and not make the washing of feet a tedious ceremony." Early Writings, p. 117.
The foregoing testimony was made in the context of the church setting, and not of the home setting as is the current application. If this ordinance had been given to Adam and Eve after they fell, would Adam have been restrained from washing Eve's feet? Today, with the increased tensions upon husbands and wives, not only would it be proper in the private home setting for a man to wash his wife's feet, but it would greatly strengthen and bless the marriage relationship.
Should a footwashing service be done, it should take place before the other aspects of the worship hour. After worship, study, and prayer, and after a closing song and benediction (and while the meal is being set forth), those not engaged in this work should continue to study, meditate, pray, or sing to keep the mind fresh to the fact that the worship hour isn't over until after the meal. We have fed our spirits on the Word and drunk in the Spirit during the worship service, now it is time to feed our bodies.
Breaking Bread – Giving Thanks
One of the fundamental features of being religious about eating is our attitude towards the Provider of the meal. To understand this properly we need to look at the "giving of thanks" which Jesus did when he "blessed" food before it was eaten. Among the various aspects of a supper of the Lord, none has received more abuse than has this matter. In the differing Christian worlds many terms have been applied to both the words said during the Lord's Supper and at the daily meals – i.e., "the consecration of the bread," "prayers of consecration," "asking the blessing," "saying grace" at meals, etc.
The word "blessed," in the Greek is eulogeo – "to speak well of." The word "thanks" is eucharisteo – "to express gratitude." There is no implication in either word that a petition, a prayer, is being set forth.
When Christ "blessed" the bread and the wine at the Last Supper, or other food at other times, all that He did was give "thanks" for them. He spoke well of the Giver, and expressed gratitude for the food. Note the following Scriptures:
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body." Matthew 26:26
"And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body." Mark 14:22
"And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed [it], and brake, and gave to them." Luke 24:30.
In each of the preceding texts the word "it" is in brackets because they are not a part of the text, but have been added to the English versions by the translators. The texts simply read that He "took bread and blessed" – He took bread and "spoke well of." Of what? The bread? No. The bread Giver, God. But as at the time the English translations were made most of the churches were following the popular erroneous custom whereby the one pronouncing the blessing was supposed to be imparting to the bread and wine a mystical characteristic, such presumption wrongly influenced the translation, making it appear that Christ was blessing the bread and wine, rather than pronouncing a benediction of thanks to God for the bread and wine.
The basic Jewish benediction spoken at meals in Christ's day was:
"Blessed art thou, O Lord, who bringeth forth bread (or wine) from the earth," before meals; and "Blessed art thou, O Lord, Who feedest all," afterwards. There are many variations of these, but never is the food blessed, only the Lord and His name.
Jesus never prayed "over," nor "for," nor asked a blessing "on" the food before Him in order to prepare it for consumption. There is no need for food to be "blessed" in order for it to receive an additional characteristic, or to change its nature, before it is consumed, for that is the way it comes from the Creator – blessed – that is, if it is the kind of food that God has designed for man's consumption. If one was to partake of food that was not healthy, then there would be the need for the food to be made holy, clean. But with all of the prayers that are being offered for unhealthy foods, never has a piece of pork been changed into an apple, nor yielded to the body the similar health produced by such healthy foods. Nor have the adverse effects of eating the wrong foods, and eating at the wrong times been corrected by the blessing asked. If such were the case, then all that Eve would have had to do was to pray for (bless) the forbidden fruit, and there wouldn't have been a problem.
In most Protestant circles it is the common practice to pray for a blessing upon the food. The Catholics are more correct in saying, "Bless us, oh Lord, with these thy gifts...," for they are asking for the blessing on themselves, and not on the food. But what they are missing is that that is the very reason they are there; to be blessed by God through the food. So why ask for that which you are about to receive? All that needs to be done is to "give thanks" as did Jesus; to pronounce a heartfelt benediction (blessing) to the Lord for that which is being received.
The earliest non-Biblical record of "a supper of the Lord" is in the Didache, written in the last decade of the first century A.D.. The whole service, called the agape (which included the memorial bread and wine), was at this time also being called the Eucharist (the giving of thanks). It is clear from the reading of the following record that this agape was wholly a common meal.
"And concerning the Eucharist, hold Eucharist [meaning – concerning the giving of thanks, give thanks] thus: First concerning the cup, 'We give thanks to thee, our Father, for the Holy Vine of David thy child, which, thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy child; to thee be glory forever.' And concerning the broken bread: 'We give thee thanks, our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy child. To thee be glory for ever.' ...But after you are satisfied with food, thus give thanks: "We give thanks to thee, O Holy Father, ..." Didache 10:1-7 [brackets added]
From the Scriptural and historical records, and the current practices of the Jews and those who follow the Biblical teaching, it is clear that God's people are to give thanks in remembrance of the Lord's blessings both before and after meals. It is written,
"When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgements, and his statutes, ... Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God ... and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth." Deuteronomy. 8:10-14, 17-18.
This was understood by the Israelites as a commandment to "bless" the Lord after eating. The Jews have more benedictions (blessings) after the meal than before. Catholics are taught to do this also, though few practice it. The Scriptures record Jesus giving thanks both before and after meals, to wit,
"And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:... And he took bread, and gave thanks, and break it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." Luke 22:17, 19, 20.
The Bread and The Wine
"Communion bread must be unleavened the broken bread and pure juice of the grape are to represent the broken body and spilled blood of the Son of God... unleavened bread is the only correct representation of the Lord's Supper. Nothing fermented is to be used. Only the pure fruit of the vine and the unleavened bread are to be used." Review and Herald, June 7, 1898.
In the ceremonial law leaven had two different aspects. In the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread, leaven symbolized sin and thus was forbidden during the period of the feast. It was this type of bread which Christ used to symbolize His broken body, and which he appointed as a memorial of His sacrifice.
The other aspect of leaven is revealed in the leavened bread use during the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). Therein the leaven in the prescribed two loaves of leavened bread symbolized the presence of the Holy Spirit in God's people. This was evidenced by Christ's disciples being filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This particular symbolical aspect of leaven is the same one used in Christ's parable which is recorded in Matthew 13:33 – "Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
The difference between the two breads lies in the fact that the unleavened bread was to be eaten by the people for seven days, while the two loaves of leavened bread were not eaten by anyone, but were only to be waived by the priest during the ceremony on the feast of Pentecost. Christ is both depicted as the "Word" of God, and as "the living bread which came down from heaven." John 6:31-58.
Therefore, unleavened bread is the only one which properly represents Christ and the sacrifice of His body when used in the memorial eating aspect. This doesn't mean that leavened bread cannot be eaten during the meal, but only that the memorial thanks giving aspect is best presented with unleavened bread. Neither is it necessary for the unleavened bread to be of a certain grain, or of a certain recipe.
There is also a physical blessing in starting a meal with a piece of unleavened bread. Due to the dryness of the bread it is necessary for the body to produce a good amount of saliva in order to properly prepare the bread for swallowing. This stimulates the flow of saliva for the rest of the meal.
"When hot, or new, raised bread of any kind is difficult of digestion. It should never appear on the table. This rule does not, however, apply to unleavened bread. Fresh rolls made of wheaten meal, without yeast or leaven, and baked in a well-heated oven, are both wholesome and palatable..." Counsels on Diet and Foods, pgs. 316-7.
"Only unfermented wine should be used at the Communion table.-- Christ did not contradict His own teaching. The unfermented wine that He provided for the wedding guests was a wholesome and refreshing drink. This is the wine that was used by our Saviour and His disciples in the first Communion. It is the wine that should always be used on the Communion table as a symbol of the Saviour's blood. The sacramental service is designed to be soul-refreshing and lifegiving. There is to be connected with it nothing that could minister to evil." Ministry of Healing, p. 333.
There are also a couple of physical blessings in using pure grape juice (unfermented wine) with our meals. While researchers have been stating that there are properties in fermented red wine which are good for the heart, they have also noted there is six times as much of the same thing in pure red (purple) grape juice. Therefore, in taking a little pure grape juice with meals we get both the benefit for the heart without taking so much as to be washing down our food and counteracting the influence of properly chewing the food. (Offsite link for more information on the health benefits of grape juice)
It was mentioned earlier that "new wine" was preserved by boiling it down to a thick syrup and the storing it in air tight skins to prevent it from fermenting.. This took place in autumn, for that is when they harvested the grapes. This would mean that the wine (unfermented grape juice) at the Passover meal which Christ used as an emblem of His shed blood was reconstituted. It was made of the grape syrup to which water was added to make it drinkable.
After Christ had died on the cross, "one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." John 19:34. So Christ's use of wine (grape juice) mixed with water to symbolize His shed blood was a true likeness of His blood which was mingled with the water after they both flowed forth from His pierced side. Therefore, when using grape juice as the emblem of Christ's shed blood it should be mixed with a little water if it is pure juice (not from concentrate). If it is made from concentrate, it already has been mixed with water, and therefore ready for use. The wine and water together symbolize the dual intercession of Christ and the Holy Ghost (1 John 2:1, John 14:16).
The other benefit derived is that the few ounces (2-6 depending on one's height) of grape juice taken with each meal constitutes one of the recommended three to five daily servings of fruits needed for optimum health. Thus taken twice a day, the grape juice itself makes up two of the three to five recommended servings of fruits. The juice should be taken at the beginning and end of the meals during the blessings, and the remaining may be sipped during the meal without any harm. As the juice is separate from the body of the grape, there will be no ill effects had as there usually are when combining whole fruits and vegetables in the same meal. Therefore, the grape juice may be taken with all meals, fruit or vegetables. Christ, Himself, served grape juice at the Last Supper, at which bitter herbs were also eaten. These are understood to have been lettuce, chicory, endive, watercress, or other "herbs" – a salad.
As noted before, our state of mind and our emotions greatly affect our eating habits. In order to better understand these effects, and the differing influences which they gender, the following testimonies are presented.
"So far as possible we should avoid hurried eating. The shorter the time for a meal, the less should be eaten. It is better to omit a meal than to eat without proper mastication.
"Mealtime should be a season for social intercourse and refreshment. Everything that can burden or irritate should be banished. Let trust and kindliness and gratitude to the Giver of all good be cherished, and the conversation will be cheerful, a pleasant flow of thought that will uplift without wearying.
"The observance of temperance and regularity in all things has a wonderful power. It will do more than circumstances or natural endowments in promoting that sweetness and serenity of disposition which count so much in smoothing life's pathway. At the same time the power of self-control thus acquired will be found one of the most valuable of equipments for grappling successfully with the stern duties and realities that await every human being.
"Wisdom's 'ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.' Proverbs 3:17. Let every youth in our land, with the possibilities before him of a destiny higher than that of crowned kings, ponder the lesson conveyed in the words of the wise man, 'Blessed art thou, O land, when ... thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!' Ecclesiastes 10:17." Education, p. 206.
"How many families season their daily meals with doubt and questionings! They dissect the characters of their friends and serve them up as a dainty dessert. A precious bit of slander is passed around the board to be commented upon, not only by adults, but by children. In this God is dishonored.
"In the home the spirit of criticism and faultfinding should have no place. The peace of the home is too sacred to be marred by this spirit. But how often, when seated at the meal table, the members of the family pass round a dish of criticism, faultfinding, and scandal. Were Christ to come today, would He not find many of the families who profess to be Christians cherishing the spirit of criticism and unkindness? The members of such families are unready to unite with the family above.
"Let the conversation at the family board be such as is calculated to leave a fragrant influence on the minds of the children." Adventist Home, p. 440.
"Another serious evil is eating at improper times, as after violent or excessive exercise, when one is much exhausted or heated. Immediately after eating there is a strong draft upon the nervous energies; and when mind or body is heavily taxed just before or just after eating, digestion is hindered. When one is excited, anxious, or hurried, it is better not to eat until rest or relief is found.
"The stomach is closely related to the brain; and when the stomach is diseased, the nerve power is called from the brain to the aid of the weakened digestive organs. When these demands are too frequent, the brain becomes congested. When the brain is constantly taxed, and there is lack of physical exercise, even plain food should be eaten sparingly. At mealtime cast off care and anxious thought; do not feel hurried, but eat slowly and with cheerfulness, with your heart filled with gratitude to God for all His blessings." Ministry of Healing, p. 305-6.
"You should study temperance in all things. You must study it in what you eat and in what you drink. And yet you say: 'It is nobody's business what I eat, or what I drink, or what I place upon my table.' It is somebody's business, unless you take your children and shut them up, or go into the wilderness where you will not be a burden upon others, and where your unruly, vicious children will not corrupt the society in which they mingle.
"Many who have adopted the health reform have left off everything hurtful, but does it follow that because they have left off these things they can eat just as much as they please? They sit down to the table, and instead of considering how much they should eat, they give themselves up to appetite and eat to great excess. And the stomach has all it can do, or all it should do, the rest of that day, to worry away with the burden imposed upon it. All the food that is put into the stomach, from which the system cannot derive benefit, is a burden to nature in her work. It hinders the living machine. The system is clogged and cannot successfully carry on its work. The vital organs are unnecessarily taxed, and the brain nerve power is called to the stomach to help the digestive organs carry on their work of disposing of an amount of food which does the system no good.
"Thus the power of the brain is lessened by drawing so heavily upon it to help the stomach get along with its heavy burden. And after it has accomplished the task, what are the sensations experienced as the result of this unnecessary expenditure of vital force? A feeling of goneness, a faintness, as though you must eat more. Perhaps this feeling comes just before mealtime. What is the cause of this? Nature has worried along with her work and is so thoroughly exhausted in consequence that you have this sensation of goneness. And you think that the stomach says, 'More food,' when, in its faintness, it is distinctly saying, 'Give me rest.'
"The stomach needs rest to gather up its exhausted energies for another work. But, instead of allowing it any period of rest, you think it needs more food, and so heap another load upon nature, and refuse it the needed rest. It is like a man laboring in the field all through the early part of the day until he is weary. He comes in at noon and says that he is weary and exhausted, but you tell him to go to work again and he will obtain relief. This is the way you treat the stomach. It is thoroughly exhausted. But instead of letting it rest, you give it more food, and then call the vitality from other parts of the system to the stomach to assist in the work of digestion.
"Many of you have at times felt a numbness around the brain. You have felt disinclined to take hold of any labor which required either mental or physical exertion, until you have rested from the sense of this burden imposed upon your system. Then, again, there is this sense of goneness. But you say it is more food that is wanted, and place a double load upon the stomach for it to care for. Even if you are strict in the quality of your food, do you glorify God in your bodies and spirits, which are His, by partaking of such a quantity of food? Those who place so much food upon the stomach, and thus load down nature, could not appreciate the truth should they hear it dwelt upon. They could not arouse the benumbed sensibilities of the brain to realize the value of the atonement and the great sacrifice that has been made for fallen man. It is impossible for such to appreciate the great, the precious, and the exceedingly rich reward that is in reserve for the faithful overcomers. The animal part of our nature should never be left to govern the moral and intellectual.
"And what influence does overeating have upon the stomach? It becomes debilitated, the digestive organs are weakened, and disease, with all its train of evils, is brought on as the result. If persons were diseased before, they thus increase the difficulties upon them and lessen their vitality every day they live. They call their vital powers into unnecessary action to take care of the food that they place in their stomachs. What a terrible condition is this to be in!
"And yet will you say: "It is none of your business what I eat or what course I pursue"? Does anybody around dyspeptics suffer? Just take a course that will irritate them in any way. How natural to be fretful! They feel bad, and it appears to them that their children are very bad. They cannot speak calmly to them, nor, without especial grace, act calmly in their families. All around them are affected by the disease upon them; all have to suffer the consequences of their infirmity. They cast a dark shadow. Then, do not your habits of eating and drinking affect others? They certainly do. And you should be very careful to preserve yourself in the best condition of health that you may render to God perfect service and do your duty in society and to your family.
"But even health reformers can err in the quantity of food. They can eat immoderately of a healthy quality of food. Some in this house err in the quality. They have never taken their position upon health reform. They have chosen to eat and drink what they pleased and when they pleased. They are injuring their systems in this way. Not only this, but they are injuring their families by placing upon their tables a feverish diet which will increase the animal passions of their children and lead them to care but little for heavenly things. The parents are thus strengthening the animal, and lessening the spiritual, powers of their children. What a heavy penalty will they have to pay in the end! And then they wonder that their children are so weak morally!
"Parents have not given their children the right education. Frequently they manifest the same imperfections which are seen in the children. They eat improperly, and this calls their nervous energies to the stomach, and they have no vitality to expend in other directions. They cannot properly control their children because of their own impatience, neither can they teach them the right way. Perhaps they take hold of them roughly and give them an impatient blow. I have said that to shake a child would shake two evil spirits in, while it would shake one out. If a child is wrong, to shake it only makes it worse. It will not subdue it. When the system is not in a right condition, when the circulation is broken up, and the nervous power has all that it can do to take care of a bad quality of food, or too great a quantity even of that which is good, parents have not self-command. They cannot reason from cause to effect. Here is the reason why -- in every move they make in their families they create more trouble than they cure. They do not seem to understand and reason from cause to effect, and they go to work like blind men. They seem to act as though it would especially glorify God for them to move like wild men, and if anything wrong should occur in their families, to put it down with roughness and violence." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 2, pgs. 362-5.
"Custom has decreed that the food shall be placed upon the table in courses. Not knowing what is coming next, one may eat a sufficiency of food which perhaps is not the best suited to him. When the last course is brought on, he often ventures to overstep the bounds, and take the tempting dessert, which, however, proves anything but good for him. If all the food intended for a meal is placed on the table at the beginning, one has opportunity to make the best choice.
"Sometimes the result of overeating is felt at once. In other cases there is no sensation of pain; but the digestive organs lose their vital force, and the foundation of physical strength is undermined.
"The surplus food burdens the system and produces morbid, feverish conditions. It calls an undue amount of blood to the stomach, causing the limbs and extremities to chill quickly." Ministry of Healing, pgs. 306-7.
For those who may tend to overfeed their younger children when they adopt the two meal a day plan, the following is worthy of consideration –
"Then again you seem to fear when your children are at the table that they will not eat enough and urge them to eat and to drink. You need not have the slightest concern and show the anxiety you have manifested lest they shall not eat sufficiently. Their little stomachs are small and cannot hold a large amount. Better far let them have three meals than two for this reason." Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 294.
"The importance of training children to right dietetic habits can hardly be overestimated. The little ones need to learn that they eat to live, not live to eat. The training should begin with the infant in its mother's arms. The child should be given food only at regular intervals, and less frequently as it grows older. It should not be given sweets, or the food of older persons, which it is unable to digest. Care and regularity in the feeding of infants will not only promote health, and thus tend to make them quiet and sweet-tempered, but will lay the foundation of habits and will be a blessing to them in after years.
"As children emerge from babyhood, great care should still be taken in educating their tastes and appetite. Often they are permitted to eat what they choose and when they choose, without reference to health. The pains and money so often lavished upon unwholesome dainties lead the young to think that the highest object in life, and that which yields the greatest amount of happiness, is to be able to indulge the appetite. The result of this training is gluttony, then comes sickness, which is usually followed by dosing with poisonous drugs.
"Parents should train the appetites of their children, and should not permit the use of unwholesome foods. But in the effort to regulate the diet, we should be careful not to err in requiring children to eat that which is distasteful, or to eat more than is needed. Children have rights, they have preferences, and when these preferences are reasonable, they should be respected...." Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 229-30.
"At mealtime cast off care and taxing thought. Do not be hurried, but eat slowly and with cheerfulness, your heart filled with gratitude to God for all His blessings. And do not engage in brain labor immediately after a meal. Exercise moderately and give a little time for the stomach to begin its work." Counsels on Health, p. 565.
"Exercise will aid the work of digestion. To walk out after a meal, hold the head erect, put back the shoulders, and exercise moderately, will be a great benefit. The mind will be converted from self to the beauties of nature. The less the attention is called to the stomach after a meal, the better." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, p. 530.
A little water should be taken, no sooner than one hour after eating, to help with the work of the upper digestive track.
Now that our spiritual and physical nutritional needs have been met during the third hour worship service, we are fit for the greater activity of the day. The right kind of foods have been taken at the optimal time, producing complete satisfaction, and the digestive system is doing its work of providing fresh energy and the proper means to build, repair, and cleanse our bodies, while the in filling of the Holy Spirit has refreshed and invigorated our spirits. Those who walk in this old path will find that they will not be hungry between meals, but will also find the next appointed time of worship and a supper of the Lord (the ninth hour), will be welcomed for its timeliness (not too soon, not too late).
Next the fourth time of prayer and praise is at midday, at the sixth hour of the natural day – noon. "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. Psalms 55:17.
As two hours have passed after the morning meal, a larger amount of water should be taken to aid in the work of the lower digestive track. Also, a little juice, or an herb tea may accompany the noon prayer. More water should be taken after another hour. Large amounts, taken with an hour or so in between, are better than small sips more frequently.
The fifth time of prayer and praise is in the ninth hour. The second, and last time of Christ's intercession in the heavenly sanctuary for the day, and the last meal of the day. This follows the same order as the morning worship and meal. As the meal should be the lighter fruit meal, so should the study be lighter than in the morning, and praise, testimonies, and singing be a little more prevalent.
Again, water well after the meal, at the proper intervals.
The sixth time of prayer and praise, at sunset, the end of the twelfth hour. Thanksgiving for the day's blessings, and prayer for the night's blessings.
As little liquids as possible should be taken during the last couple of hours before retiring, as not to burden the bladder, and thereby stimulate the sexual organs. If one finds it necessary to stay up late, and needs some extra energy, a piece of fruit may be taken after at least five hours have passed from the evening meal. Melons may be good at this time as they do not require much digestion, and also provide a laxative effect. Citrus is also good at this time because it digests quickly.
And the seventh time of prayer and praise, upon retiring. To arise fully refreshed after eight hours of sleep, at 5-5:30 in the morning, would mean going to sleep between 9-9:30. The very young will do better with more sleep, which would mean an early bedtime.
While it is written, "Seven times a day do I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous judgments" (Psalms 119:164), It is also written:
"At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments." Psalms 119:62.
Following is a summary of the seven times of prayer and praise; the suppers of the Lord; and water drinking
A few additional notes on the benefits of eating a vegetable meal in the morning (in the third hour), and a fruit one in the afternoon (in the ninth hour).
1. Due to the cooking of the vegetable meal early in the day, the house is heated early in the day, rather than in the evening. In the winter time this will help heat the house early. In the summer, while it will also do the same, the house will be able to be cooled off early, and remain that way throughout the afternoon and evening, as the fruit meal should not require an additional output of much heat. Thus there is a saving of energy in the winter as the heat of cooking is put into use to heat the house early in the day, and a saving of cooling costs in the summer as it is more efficient to dissipate the extra cooking heat early in the day rather than in the hot afternoon or evening.
2. As the cooking and baking for the hearty morning vegetable meal is done early in the day, then so will the major cleanup involved with meals. The lighter fruit meal in the ninth hour should require less cleanup afterwards, and therefore there will be less of a burden on the family at the end of the day when everyone may be getting tired, and more time available to enjoy each other.
3. The sense of satisfaction obtained by eating a hearty vegetable breakfast will greatly aid in resisting the temptation to snack between meals. This type of meal will also provide the proper nutrition at the proper time to build strong nerves and tissues, thus producing calm, strong bodies.
4. Proper digestion begins with chewing – the thorough mixing of the saliva with the food. Failure to accomplish this needed process will result not only in a lack of assimilation of the nutrients in the food, but also in a toxification of the system due to the waste products produced by the improperly processed food. The rule about chewing is this, "Juice your food, and chew your juice." That is, chew your solid foods until they are in a mush-like state, well mixed with saliva; and swish your juice in your mouth to combine it with the saliva before it is swallowed.
5. It has been noted extensively by researchers that in order to maintain health and avoid disease the blood must maintain an alkaline state (as opposed to an acid state). Because of this some health advocates encourage people to eat only alkaline forming foods and to avoid acid forming foods. Therefore they often speak against the eating of many types of whole grain breads, beans, legumes, nuts, and other such acid-forming foods. But such are not taking into account the fact that saliva is very highly alkaline, and when health-giving acid forming foods are well chewed they are converted to a state where they yield up their life-giving properties without harm to the body. Also, the naturally acidic God-given foods are themselves part of that which is designated as, "... every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; [which for us] shall be for meat." (Genesis 1:29). So to obtain maximum health we must eat a wide variety of the foods available to us, in proper proportions to their acid/alkaline properties. For more on this matter, please see The Entering Wedge.
6. In order to obtain the maximum benefit from the nutrition contained within the food it should be eaten with as little cooking as is necessary for its consumption. Lower heat and slower cooking will preserve the vitamins and enzymes which are destroyed by higher heats. For some things this means eating them raw, while others will require thorough heating and conversion of their properties. Higher heat is appropriate for this purpose. The point is to avoid overcooking them, which destroys their life-giving properties. Some things which may be eaten raw may also be heated slightly if it is easier for them to be consumed by the young, the old, the weak, the infirmed, or those whose teeth are not good. Carrots are one example. Steaming them until they are just soft enough to easily chew won't significantly affect their nutritional value. Spinach is another one which can be lightly wilted by steaming. In its raw state or lightly wilted, spinach doesn't develop the bitter taste which it has when fully cooked.
7. As important as the way we cook our foods is the utensils in which they are cooked, and the implement by which they are cooked. A prime example are microwave ovens. They generate microwaves by an alternating current, rather than by a direct current as they are produced in nature. These reversing polarity waves cause the water molecules in the foods or drinks to oscillate at a tremendously high rate generating friction between the molecules which heats the rest of the food. This rapidly generated heat destroys vitamins and enzymes, and alters the structures of the cells of the foods. Lower heats can pass into the cells with relative ease, but the quickly generated heat actually hardens the surfaces of the cells as it pass to the inside. It is like the cells get sunburned. Other alterations take place within and among the cells themselves which render them of little value and even causes them to become carcinogens.
Additionally, the coatings and materials in many cookwares today are extremely dangerous. Aluminum cookware is banned in seven countries for health reasons. Besides some of the aluminum leaching into the food, some acidic foods, such as tomatoes, actually produce toxins when they are cooked in aluminum cookware. Teflon has been found to be very hazardous if overheated, and even gives off chemical fumes to a small degree at lower temperatures. Ceramic pots can chip. Cast iron cookware needs to be thoroughly cleaned to avoid bacteria build up in its pores. Glass and stainless steel pots and pans are the cleanest. Some stainless steels ones are available in a virtually waterless, low heat, cooking capability, thus leaving the maximum amount of nutrition in the foods.
8. Care should be taken in using vegetable oils. They are best when cold pressed (for heating destroys some of the nutritional value). Many of the more popular varieties of polyunsaturated fats oils are not as healthy as they were marketed to be. The same is true with hydrogenated oils. The process of bonding hydrogen atoms to the oils' structures requires heating which produces "trans-fats" that are not capable of being integrated in the body's system. Whether it is margarine, sqeezeable "butter," or any other of the varieties of man-altered oil and fat products, the situation is the same, and is summed up in the advertising slogan for one of those products which was really more prophetic than glib – that is, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."
9. "Who hath despised the day of small things?" (Zechariah 4:10). One of the most incorrectly consumed foods is peanut butter. Because the peanut contains a high amount of oil, it is easy to forget that it is a dried legume, like dried peas. In order to properly digest dried legumes they must in some way be combined with water. Because of the oily fluidity of the peanut butter it is wrongly assumed that the dried peanuts do not need any water added to them. Within a short time after mixing natural peanut butter with a volume of water which amounts to about 1/3 of the peanut butter's volume, it thickens back up to almost its original consistency. This does not work the same with peanut butters to which hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, or sugar have been added. Among the many benefits of this is that we get more mileage (so to speak) out of the jar of peanut butter. Another advantage is that the moistened peanut butter will not stick to the roof of the mouth. If one were to put some ground-up dried peas in their mouth, they would stick to the roof of the mouth, like peanut butter.
Additionally, the added water aids in the digestion of the peanut butter, for the stomach juices can more easily mix with the softened butter. When peanut butter is taken with jelly, the jelly allows the peanut butter to be swallowed before it is properly mixed with saliva, thereby causing digestive problems. Another reason for adding water to peanut butter is because the high protein content of peanuts produces something akin to a hypnotic effect. The water adds hydrogen and oxygen to the protein and oil of the peanuts, thereby making them more digestible. This minimizes the hypnotic effect.
10. Directly underneath the skins of fruits and vegetable are their highest concentration of vitamins and minerals. To avoid throwing them away with the skins, thoroughly clean the food to remove any pesticide residue, and then eat them with the skins. If the fruit or vegetable is to be cooked and served without the skins, first cook them with the skins on, and then peel them after they are done. This allows those nutrients to be absorbed into the body of the food.
11. The extra expense of buying whole grained breads and foods is easily offset by the better health which will be experienced, and by the lower medical expenditures incurred, when consuming them as compared to the ill health and high medical costs derived from eating devitalized foods. Also, whole grained foods produce a greater sense of satisfaction, which means that it will take less of them to bring contentment as they fulfill many more of the body's needs being whole grained. It is written, "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." Isaiah 55:2. Therein we have the permission (and even a command) to spend the money necessary to provide us with "that which is good" – whole, unadulterated foods (both spiritual and physical).
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:" 1 Corinthians 10:31, 32.
In the typical service, God's people ate right after the time of the blood intercession for them. Thus they could eat with consciences free from all stress and guilt, enjoying good digestion and full refreshment. Before the enslavement of Israel in Egypt, the daily meals of God's people were taken twice a day after the morning and evening worship, as they were in Eden. Whenever they backslid and fell into the customs of the world (which have their roots in ancient Babylon) they ate at the three prominent times of sun worship – sunrise, noon, and sunset.
The type clearly shows that there were two blood intercessions a day – not a month, or every three months, or yearly, but each day. So to be true to the type there must be two blood intercessions a day in the heavenly sanctuary corresponding to the third and ninth hours of the day. No matter where you are on earth, there is a third and ninth hour of the day during which Christ is making a blood intercession for you, cleansing you of all unrighteousness, according to your faith. The daily appreciation of this, and of the daily duties of the antitypical priests and of the congregation in the court of the holy place, "will keep the people of God humble and separate from the world, and from backsliding." Early Writings, p. 116.
How? By the cross of Christ and the intercession of the Holy Ghost. By blood and by incense.
Praise the Lord