In 2 Peter 2:11, Peter gives us the warning: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Friend, I believe that as we are obedient to God, abstaining from the fleshly lusts and yielding to the Holy Spirit, we increase in knowledge and grow in grace. Peter elaborates this growth in grace and presents to us in 2 Peter 1:3-7: “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperence; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” You see the high calling we are to press on towards.
Ellen White refers to these character traits and these scriptures as the ladder of sanctification. “‘And to knowledge, temperance.’ This is the third step in the path toward perfection of character. On every side there is indulgence and dissipation, and the result is degeneration and corruption. The inhabitants of our earth are depreciating in mental, moral, and physical power, because of the intemperate habits of society. Appetite, passion, and love of display are carrying the multitudes into the greatest excesses and extravagance….The people of God must take an opposite course from the world. They must take up the warfare against these sinful practices, deny appetite, and keep the lower nature in subjection….It is for us to ‘search the Scriptures,’ and bring our habits into harmony with the instruction of the Bible….‘And to temperance, patience.’ The need of becoming temperate is made manifest as we try to take this step. It is next to an impossibility for an intemperate person to be patient.” My Life Today, 97. This ladder of sanctification is referring to the true Christian experience. As we crucify self, we no longer live after the passions and indulgences to which our carnal heart pulls us to. Instead, we practice self-denial and abstinence from fleshly lusts that war against the soul, because as it says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” If we are to experience this in our humanity, we must also adhere and listen to the admonition of Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
I love what Ellen White says in My Life Today on page 134. “The sacred temple of the body must be kept pure and uncontaminated, that God’s Holy Spirit may dwell therein.” A little further along, she says: “The Christian life is constantly an onward march. Jesus sits as a refiner and purifier of His people; and when His image is perfectly reflected in them they are perfect and holy, and prepared for translation. Every living Christian will advance daily in the divine life. As he advances toward perfection, he experiences a conversion to God every day; and this conversion is not completed until he attains to perfection of Christian character, a full preparation for the finishing touch of immortality.” Ibid. 249
Today God is waiting for His church to represent Him fully. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:26,27. Not spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but living sacrifices, living stones, spiritual houses. “If we close our eyes to the light for fear we shall see our wrongs, which we are unwilling to forsake, our sins are not lessened, but increased. If light is turned from in one case, it will be disregarded in another. It is just as much sin to violate the laws of our being as to break one of the ten commandments, for we cannot do either without breaking God’s law.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 44,45.
One of the greatest illustrations of true sanctification is the story of Daniel. In Daniel, I see an example of one who was a spiritual house. As I studied and prayed to God for greater light, I saw that Daniel, when he refused the meat and drink of the king’s personal table, refused all of it. I believe that even included the dainties. Proverbs tells us to beware of the king’s dainties for they are deceitful meat (Proverbs 23:3). God led me to the Adventist message through the health message. As I went to the potlucks at a typical Seventh-day Adventist church, I said, “It looks like these people have substituted meat for junk.” Though it may not be at the risk of our lives, as it was with Daniel when he refused everything at the king’s table, when we choose our diet according to principle, we run the risk of being labeled: narrowed, bigoted, even borderline fanatic.
“What if Daniel and his companions had made a compromise with those heathen officers, and had yielded to the pressure of the occasion by eating and drinking as was customary with the Babylonians? That single instance of departure from principle would have weakened their sense of right and their abhorrence of wrong. Indulgence of appetite would have involve the sacrifice of physical vigor, clearness of intellect, and spiritual power. One wrong step would probably have led to others, until, their connection with heaven being severed, they would have been swept away by temptation.
“The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of what constitutes a sanctified character. Bible sanctification has to do with the whole man….It is impossible for any to enjoy the blessings of sanctification while they are selfish and gluttonous.” Counsels on Health, 66
“Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things.” Luke 21:34-36.
You see, the devil throws all these things right in front of us as snares. He knows what food products will do today. Why do you think he has the Big Macs twenty-four inches high on your TV screen with the cheese running out and the big Coca-Cola and is now using advertisements for movies?
Jesus said, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be….they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.’ Matthew 24:37,38. As I studied the Spirit of Prophecy, I saw that we were give the greatest light in health and temperance. You see, it was not just cigarettes and alcohol that Ellen White wrote about. She states; “True temperance teaches us to abstain entirely from that which is injurious, and to use judiciously only healthful and nutritious articles of food.” The Health Reformer, April 1, 1877.
As I continued to study, I became a vegetarian. I realized that eating meat was not a test of fellowship, but I read where Ellen White tells us, “Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ. Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating, who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God’s people, to walk no more with them.” Review and Herald, May 27, 1902. I also read: “The diet reform should be progressive. As disease in animals increases, the use of milk and eggs will become more and more unsafe. An effort should be made to supply their place with other things that are healthful and inexpensive. The people everywhere should be taught how to cook without milk and eggs, so far as possible, and yet have their food wholesome and palatable.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 365.
As I began to study, I saw articles coming out estimating that there are ten million pure vegetarians within the United Stated today. I found articles like: “A High Fat Diet Related to Lung Cancer.” I saw a report of the Surgeon General’s findings in the Herald, July 28, 1988. The headlines read, “Fatty Foods are Killing Us.” The Stockton Record, reporting on the Surgeon General’s report, stated that the United States is eating its way to the grave by eating too many animal products, dairy products and high triglyceride, high cholesterol foods today. I found one article that told of steel fingered eviscerating machines in poultry slaughterhouses. These machines rip out the entrails of the chicken at a rate of ninety birds a minute. When they do this, the fecal waste material of the bird gets on this machine and spreads the bacteria contamination to every bird that comes down the pike. “If the American public knew what garbage they were eating, they would revolt,” said USDA inspector, Hobert Bartley, in an article in the San Francisco Examiner, Sunday, June 29, 1986.
The February, 1992 issue of Consumer Reports tells us that of 113 samples of fish taken across this country, 44 of them were contaminated with human fecal bacteria. How are the fish getting human fecal bacteria? Then the articles start coming out in the newspapers and the one that made me laugh was “Pollution cited for 1,429 beach closings in 1990.” Stockton Record, August 15, 1991. Do not swim in it, but throw the pole in there, catch whatever lives in it and eat it; that is okay. Does that make sense? “San Diego Sewage Spill Fouls the Ocean.” Stockton Record, February 6, 1992. Millions of gallons of partially treated sewage poured out! Then you have the third rate countries like Peru and others who do not have the water treatment plants as the United States and they are letting all this human fecal bacteria out into the water and it is migrating our way. That is why a newspaper reported that cholera cases surge Mexico. You get cholera from human fecal bacteria. The paper says officials try to suppress the report of the disease’s outbreak. Friend, have you walked down a beach lately and seen the birds and fish lying dead on the beaches. I believe it is from poisoning.
Jeremy Rifkin, on page 144 of his book Beyond Beef, Penguin Books USA, Inc. Cites that the FDA acknowledges that they do not know today whether or not BIV (Bovine Immunodeficiency Virus), once it hits human blood, becomes HIV positive, and the FDA is not telling anybody anything.
I was shocked at what I read in an article that recently came out in the Tennessee Tallahassee Democrat, May 28, 1993. The department of agriculture recently conducted surprise visits to ninety slaughterhouses in the United States. Thirty of the facilities were shut down immediately. The article says there are 1,200 in the country. Can you believe or can you imagine what is the condition of the others that have not yet been checked?
Ellen White said the day would come when we would have to discard milk and other things. It is surprising and amazing to me that as I continued to study, I found these headlines: “Study Links Cow’s Milk in Infancy to Diabetes.” Stockton Record, July 30, 1992 from Medical Tribune News Service. The article states: “Protein in cows milk ingested during infancy may be the trigger that sets off insulin dependent diabetes in susceptible children.” This was a study that was recently done and verified. What was amazing to me was that, at the same time, the United States responds with “Doctors Cry Over Milk Drinking.” Stockton Record, September 30, 1992. Here is a doctor saying that the common dinner time refrain, ‘Drink your milk’ may be replaced by ‘Eat your tofu’ if a group of doctors, nutritionists and the venerable Dr. Spock have their way. Once regarded as a perfect food, cow’s milk is coming under increasing fire as a part of the daily diet of babies….We need to leave cow’s milk where it belongs, in cows.” This is the world crying out now.
“It hasn’t been a good year for milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents not give their children whole milk during the first year of life because it causes hidden blood loss and possibly anemia….Milk is often contaminated with traces of antibiotics; is a common cause of allergy and digestive problems.” Stockton Record, September 30, 1992. A statistic that interested me was one that suggested that twenty percent of the dairy cows in this country have leukemia. When the truck goes to the dairy farm, all the dairies are pooled into one truck. It is all mixed together. Is it any wonder that Agatha Thrash recently said in a public interview that seven out of nine cartons of milk that come off the grocery store shelves are contaminated with active cancer viruses.
People come to me and say, “You know, Danny, Ellen White said the day would come when God would reveal this.” Friend, all you have to do is open your eyes. It is being revealed all around you through the world today. People come to me and say, “Well, the diet reform needs to be progressive, Brother.” And I say, “How long have you been an Adventist? How old are you? What do you need, another sixty-five years before you are going to throw this stuff away?” Maybe I look too narrow and bigoted when I sit and eat with people because I will no take part of some food that has dairy in it, but I am convicted myself. For myself, I cannot defile my body with cancer viruses. I believe that as we look at the test Daniel’s three friends faced in refusing to bow to the image, we are looking at our future. I do not believe that there is any question that had they failed the test of food, they would never have been prepared to stand the test that followed. “If ever there was a time when the diet should be of the most simple kind, it is now! ” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 389 (Emphasis supplied). We are also told that all those who are preparing for translation to heaven will eat a most simple diet; fruits and grains prepared free from grease will be placed on the tables of all those who are preparing for translation. See ibid., 64.
“Seventh-day Adventists are handling momentous truths. More than forty years ago the Lord gave us special light on health reform, but how are we walking in that light? How many have refused to live in harmony with the counsels of God! As a people, we should make advancement proportionate to the light received.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 24. Ellen White continues that, “As a people, we should make advancement proportionate to the light received. It is our duty to understand and respect the principles of health reform. On the subject of temperance we should be in advance of all other people; and yet there are among us well-instructed members of the church, and even ministers of the gospel, who have little respect for the light that God has given upon this subject. They eat as they please, and work as they please. Let those who are teachers and leaders in our cause take their stand firmly on Bible ground in regard to health reform and give a straight testimony to those who believe we are living in the last days of this earth’s history. A line of distinction must be drawn between those who serve God, and those who serve themselves.” Ibid.
Peter admonished us to abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul. How is it with you, my friend? Are you willing to take your stand on the side of truth, living up to all the light God has given us for this time in which we live?