Seven Habits of an Effective Immune System, Part 1
Seven Habits of an Effective Immune System, Part 1
Was the plan of salvation an afterthought, or was it already planned in eternity past? As soon as there was sin, there was the plan of salvation. Before God created any thing, there was already a plan intact, in case the delicate balance of heaven would be disturbed. God had a plan. God is always working things out in the future, and as I study the spiritual principles of health, it is the same in the physical world. There is an intimate relationship between the spiritual and the physical.
I study physiology primarily from the Bible. I have been to school, and I have studied physiology and anatomy, but I became very bored. When I began to study from the Word of God and saw the plan of redemption, it made more sense to me.
I want to share with you the seven habits of an effective immune system. We live in a world that is overwhelmed with toxins—emotional toxins, environmental toxins, and food toxins. Ellen White wrote that if Adam had not been created with twenty times the vital force than we have now, you and I, with our present day living, would have been extinct long ago. (See Conflict and Courage, 21.) We can think about the manatee, the spotted owl, and other endangered species, but human beings are the most endangered species on the face of the earth. Our environment, everything we do, is all stressed. God in His infinite wisdom provided one of the most amazing internal defense systems to preserve us from the onslaught of external pressures.
He is not going to let man destroy himself; He is going to have an upright people in the midst of all of this confusion. So let us explore the seven habits of the effective immune system.
Our foundation text is, "Know ye that the Lord he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves; [we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture." Psalm 100:3. There are many people who do not know that God is our Creator. They could be agnostic or atheist, but I want to leave the imprint on their minds that there is a Creator. He has given us an owner’s manual, the Bible, designed to help us know how to operate the product. There are also eight doctors on God’s staff, and those doctors are financially accessible to everybody. They are: Dr. Trust, Dr. Air, Dr. Exercise, Dr. Sunshine, Dr. Rest, Dr. Water, Dr. Nutrition, and Dr. Temperance.
In Psalm 119:73 we are told that God does not want us to just have mere theory, but He wants us to have understanding—that includes understanding this system that God has given us. "A prudent [man] foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished." Proverbs 22:3. The word prudent means wise, so our text is telling us that a wise man foreseeth evil and hides himself. What does that mean to us? It means that a wise man will avoid danger. You have probably heard of court cases dealing with the tobacco companies. They are in serious trouble, because people who have lost loved ones to cancer and other tobacco-related diseases are suing the tobacco companies for being responsible for those deaths. We know tobacco is an insidious weed—it is poison, but I have to go another step further. I tell people that we are the only smoking animals in the world. Dogs do not smoke; cats do not smoke; rabbits do not smoke. We know that tobacco is dangerous, but the tobacco companies did not take a gun and put it to the head of an individual and say, You better smoke. The person who chose to smoke is responsible, so why sue the tobacco company? Their time is going to come anyway. The Scripture says a wise man avoids danger. Then it continues, "but the simple pass on and they are punished."
The word simple does not mean that they are stupid; it means that they are ignorant, they need to be educated. The Bible tells us that God will make the simple wise. Prevention is better than cure. David wrote, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, [and] curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all [my members] were written, [which] in continuance were fashioned, when [as yet there was] none of them." Psalm 139:14–16. The Bible says that God saw the substance, which means matter or materials, of which we are made. That matter or substance came from the dust. He put that matter into the dust: the molecules and the atoms, the potassium, the magnesium, the zinc, and the copper. All of that is what God took to make us. David says, He saw all of that substance when it was not even perfect.
"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee . . . ." Jeremiah 1:5. I am the eighth child of eight children. I was not supposed to be here because my sister, who is twelve years older than me, was supposed to be the baby. My mother was getting ready to go into menopause. But God said, I open the womb and I close the womb and the fruit of the womb is Mine. So when my mother was ready to take a pause, God said, one more time. You see, it takes something like 300 male sperm in order to produce the one that will win the prize, and out of those 300 male sperm, the one that endured to the end, had my name on it, because God said I was on His mind before Mom and Dad considered conceiving me. We are not here by accident; we are here by Providence, ordained in eternity.
We often get in the way of God working out His plan, but He is still on course, and He orchestrates circumstances according to His will. He allowed me to have arthritis for ten years to get me back on course. That is good news! I did not glory in the pain, but I thank God for arthritis.
Substance of Life
Since God knew us before our birth, and since He made us, as we look at the substance of which we are made, we notice that we are made up of cells—single cells. We are nothing but the assemblage of cells. The Bible tells us, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much." Luke 16:10. We know what that means spiritually, but let us put it on a physiological level. The cell is the smallest unit of the human body—it is microscopic. This verse is telling me that if I learn how to take care of that single cell, my whole body will be healthy. We are as healthy as our cells.
If we are going to deal with behavior problems, we do not attack the behavior; we get to the root of the problem, which is a heart problem. If the heart is transformed, the behavior is going to be all right. So when we are dealing with health—with cancer or with diabetes—our focus is not on diabetes or cancer, it is dealing with the cells.
Notice this scenario. "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Psalm 11:3. We know what that means spiritually, but let us apply it to a physiological concept. The foundation of the human body is the cell. Cells make tissue; tissue makes organs; organs make up the systems, and the body is comprised of systems. Therefore, if I have cancer in the body (there are over 250 different types of cancer), wherever the cancer may be, I track it back to the system. It could be the digestive system; track it back to the organ and from there to the tissues, to the very cell membranes, and back to the cells. It is so simple. Remember, if it is complicated, it is not of God. That is why the plan of salvation is not complicated. The devil shrouds these simple things in mystery, so keep this in mind: cell, tissue, organs, system, and the body.
The cells are the foundation of the body. Healthy cells—healthy body. The health of the body is determined by the health of the cells. Sin affects us at a cellular level—at the heart level. We need a heart transplant, a heart renewal.
I am a brand plucked out of the fire from off the streets of Chicago, with brain cells destroyed as a result of drugs. It is amazing that God can take those brain cells and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, create new pathways across the synopsis so I can have my memory back. Being born again is the greatest miracle—not being free from cancer, but being born again and having a mind that has an affinity towards the throne of God. That is why I am in debt, and the only way I can pay my debt is to win souls for Jesus.
Body Systems in Bible
The Bible is the great medical book; it gives practical instruction on how to preserve the integrity of our bodies. The tribes of Jacob could be illustrative of the body systems. For example, the tribe of Judah, from which Jesus was a descendant, could represent the nervous system. The ladder with the angels ascending and descending represents communication with heaven—the central nervous system of the whole body. (Genesis 28:12.) Issachar, double burden bearer, could represent the support, the skeletal system. (Genesis 49:14.) If we look at the characteristics of the sons of Jacob, we can see physiological truths that impact the human body.
Gad could represent the immune system—the army. (Genesis 49:19.) The immune system is an amazingly intricate collection of specialized and not-so-specialized cells. The mission of the immune system is to identify and destroy foreign invaders before harm is done to the body. Disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, virus, fungi and parasites are detected upon entry, tagged for termination, and devoured by hungry immune system cells. They are marked—do you get the significance of that? When you study the Word of God, you will find that physiology runs all the way through it. The mission of the immune system is to identify and destroy.
"And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, [and] men of war [fit] for the battle . . . ." 1 Chronicles 12:8. Gad was a troop, an army, men of might, men of war, fit for battle. Is the immune system an army? Yes it is.
Small but Mighty
We are also given the story where Elijah was called by God to destroy all of the prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 18.) So the immune system is designed to destroy every enemy that comes into the body. "One thousand [shall flee] at the rebuke of one." Isaiah 30:17. The immune system only represents one percent of our entire system—small but mighty, keeping us alive.
Every moment cancer cells are developing in our systems. We all have cancer cells, because they are free radicals, present in the very air that we breathe. If it were not for the immune system, we would not be around. Adam had the immune system at creation, but he did not need it until sin entered. As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour, and as soon as there was disease, the immune system went into operation.
The immune system is an army within. It has mobile soldiers that are constantly vigilant—not stagnant, not sitting still, not dozing off—but always alert. They are watchmen on the wall! They definitely know how to blow the trumpet. We have one trillion white blood cells throughout the whole system. The phagocytes, part of the vast immune system, are called the foot soldiers. They are moving through the blood system, monitoring, scouting, protecting, identifying, and if anything seems to be out of the norm, they themselves declare war.
The lymphocytes are part of what we call the T-cells. We know that all of the white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, but the T-cells are what we call the special troopers. They have a higher education in the thymus. They are the elite forces, specializing in attacking cancer and Aids. They are the Commander-in-Chief of the immune system. If we were going to take over a city, we would knock out its communication system. When Aids invades the body, it attacks the T-cells to knock out the communication system. When attacking a city, if we can get the watchmen off the wall, remove them from standing in the gap, then we can move in and take over. As in the church, when truth is not upheld and kept alive, Satan insinuates himself within. The lymphocytes destroy virus-infected cells, target cancer cells, and produce antibodies.
The immune system is involved with allergies and the auto-immune diseases, trying to preserve your life. If dust, wheat, and pollen caused allergies, we would all have allergies. Those items do not cause allergies. The problem with a person who has allergies is the immune system, and when the immune system is healthy, allergies will not be present. If you want to get rid of allergies, strengthen the immune system.
The body will produce its own antihistamines. You do not have to go to the drug store and buy antihistamines. Histamines occur when the body goes through a reaction, so we take a drug called antihistamine. The adrenal glands and the liver work together to produce antihistamines. If we take care of the immune system, God will bless us and preserve us, because He will have a people who will go through the seven last plagues.
Rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are involved with the immune system. Aids is also involved with the immune system. I have been spending a lot of time focusing on cancer and Aids. There is hope for those who have Aids. A principle is involved here. God promises to write His Law into our inward parts and put it in our hearts. (Jeremiah 31:33.) Inward parts—every cell, every tissue, every organ—has God’s Law written on them with His own finger. Ellen White says, "His law is written with His own finger upon every nerve, every muscle, every faculty, which has been entrusted to man." Counsels on Diet and Foods, 17.
Like a Kingdom
The immune system is like a kingdom. When Nathan went to David to tell him the story of the man who had much but took from one who had little, what was David’s response? Kill him! Then Nathan said, "Thou art the man." (11 Samuel 12:1–7.) If you knew of a king who had a large domain and every day he would order his soldiers to kill 10,000 of his subjects, what would you think about that king? You would think he was sick! I must tell you that today you are this king. Every day you kill thousands of your subjects in the immune system. Some of you may be doing it in ignorance, but there are others who do it willfully, knowingly.
God has given us this vast kingdom called the immune system. "How can one enter into a strong man’s house, . . . except he first bind the strong man?" Matthew 12:29. The immune system may be likened to the strong man. It is your defense, your strong man. The only way that cancer, a virus, Aids, or any other disease can get in is if the strong man is bound.
Four Enemy Parallels
There are four enemies to the immune system:
Bacterium, from a spiritual aspect, is blatant error. You cannot see it; you cannot smell it; it can grow on your spiritual food, and it can come into the church and proliferate. Allowing it to grow will bring spiritual darkness. "Where the message of divine truth is spurned or slighted, there the church will be enshrouded in darkness; faith and love grow cold, and estrangement and dissension enter." The Great Controversy, 378, 379. In the physical world, bacteria can be on your food, in the water you drink, and in the air you breathe. One of the most deadly places to be is on an airplane—not because it may crash but because of the unhealthy environment.
A virus is the smallest living organism. They have to attach themselves to something; they need a host in which to thrive. That is like error and truth! A virus does not have a DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic program "written" in a chemical substance). It has an RNA (ribonucleic acid). RNA occurs throughout the cell, while DNA is found mainly in the cell’s nucleus. It is hard to distinguish the virus from the regular cell. Just like the wheat and tares growing together—it may be difficult to distinguish the difference as they grow. We are told that they "shall grow together till the harvest, which is the end of the world. Then the tares are to be gathered out of the field; but they are not to be transformed by a mighty miracle into wheat. They are to remain tares, and are to be cast into the fire and utterly destroyed." The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 250. In Tennessee we have a grass called Johnson grass. When you plant corn, the corn and Johnson grass look just alike until they grow up. That is the way a virus is; it disguises itself as something good, but it will only result in destruction.
A fungus likes sweet stuff. Spiritually, it likes to hear sweet things, things that are pleasing. You cannot get rid of a fungus, if you continue to use sweet stuff. Diseases like Candida continue to grow, if you keep feeding it with sugar. The only way you can rid yourself of fungus is to give it something bitter. Truth can be bitter sometimes, but it is saving. It can deliver us. "He [God] gave His people a bitter cup to drink, to purify and cleanse them. It is a bitter draught, and they can make it still more bitter by murmuring, complaining, and repining. But those who receive it thus must have another draught, for the first does not have its designed effect upon the heart. And if the second does not effect the work, then they must have another, and another, until it does have its designed effect, or they will be left filthy, impure in heart. I saw that this bitter cup can be sweetened by patience, endurance, and prayer, and that it will have its designed effect upon the hearts of those who thus receive it, and God will be honored and glorified." Early Writings, 47.
Parasites live off of another organism. There are parasites in the church, of which Ellen White said: "Satan has wrought with deceiving power, bringing in a multiplicity of errors that obscure truth. Error could not stand alone, and would soon become extinct, if it did not fasten itself like a parasite upon the tree of truth. Error draws its life from the truth of God. The traditions of men, like floating germs, attach themselves to the truth of God, and men regard them as a part of the truth. Through false doctrines Satan gains a foothold, and captivates the minds of men, causing them to hold theories that have no foundation in truth. Men boldly teach for doctrines the commandments of men, and as traditions pass on from age to age, they acquire a power over the human mind. But age does not make error truth, neither does its burdensome weight cause the plant of truth to become a parasite. The tree of truth bears its own genuine fruit, showing its true origin and nature. The parasite of error also bears its own fruit, and makes manifest that its character is diverse from the plant of heavenly origin (Letter 43, 1895)." "Ellen G. White Comments," Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1094, 1095.
These are the enemies to the kingdom. "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Matthew 11:12.
To be concluded . . .
Thomas Jackson is a Health Evangelist and Director of Missionary Education and Evangelistic Training (M.E.E.T.) Ministry in Huntingdon, Tennessee. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 731-986-3518.
May 2003 Table of Contents