Health – Are World Pandemics Inevitable?

The year 2020 will be recorded in history books as the year of the global Coronavirus pandemic. It is not the first pandemic the world has experienced, but consequences of pandemics are more disastrous today because of easy global travel.

Are such pandemics inevitable? While we may never find the exact origin of the 2020 pandemic, most pandemics in recent decades, if not centuries, seem to have a common denominator – they are zoonotic infections, i.e., viruses transmitted from animals to humans. The origins are not from just any animals, they are from the kind that we shouldn’t handle in the first place, let alone kill them for food. These pandemics happen as a result of direct violation of dietary and hygienic principles laid out in Leviticus 11.

When reading the book of Leviticus, one is in awe of the knowledge people had thousands of years ago. Yet here we are in the 21st century and we violate the basic rules of health left and right.

People point to some Asian countries with wet markets, which are breeding grounds for diseases of all kinds. True, the torture and slaughter of animals we shouldn’t even touch are happening there on a large scale. May these horrific places be a warning for our own violations of biblical health principles.

The Bible is very specific on how to avoid animal-borne diseases:

Land Animals

The beginning of Leviticus 11 clearly states which animals God allowed to be consumed: “You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud” (Leviticus 11:3 NIV). The following verses clarify that both of these requirements are to be met, not just one. There are animals that have split hooves such as the pig, but it does not chew cud. And vice versa; there are animals that do chew cud, but do not have split hooves such as rabbit. Animals who do not meet these two requirements are declared unclean and unfit for human consumption. Their carcasses are not to be touched.

Water Animals

“Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales” (Leviticus 11:9 NIV). The same rules apply as in land animals: creatures that do not meet both requirements are not to be consumed and their carcasses not to be handled.


Consumption of all vulture birds is forbidden. Eagles, kites, gulls, ravens, owls, bats – all these are specifically named in the Bible as unclean (verses 13–19).


We are forbidden to consume all flying and crawling insects. Some may be surprised that consumption of some insects is permitted. The rule: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground, such as the grasshopper (verses 20–23).

Biblical Rules on Handling Animals

There may be situations when people have to remove or handle a carcass of a dead animal. Whether the animal meets the definition of clean or unclean, in such case the person is to wash himself and his clothes and should quarantine himself for the rest of the day. This hygienic rule is not taken from any modern brochure on hygiene. It was recorded thousands of years ago in Leviticus 11:24.
Should any live animal categorized as unclean touch any object that people use, such object is to be thoroughly washed and is not to be used until the next day. The book of Leviticus specifically mentions rats and snakes. The biblical counsel goes to such details as clay pots. These can’t be properly cleaned because of their porous nature. Such pots are to be destroyed if any unclean animal touches them. Any food that has come into contact with such a pot or animal is to be discarded (verses 29–35).

What more to add? These rules are so simple, yet most world inhabitants ignore them despite the fact that we have had this knowledge for millennia. We could have avoided the majority of diseases and pandemics if we stuck to these principles. Further chapters of Leviticus 12–15 provide simple principles on how to prevent contamination and infecting others if someone does get sick. These are very simple rules, yet we prefer to ignore them as well.

Most Christians eat creatures that the Bible explicitly forbids to consume. Just to name a few: pigs, shellfish, rabbits, lobsters, crabs, and all kinds of unclean fish (Leviticus 11;5–11). Nothing is off limit, depending on the particular culture of a country.

Christendom had to invent excuses why these principles are no longer binding. A common excuse is that these rules were only for the Jews. If these rules are for our health protection, does the Jewish population have a weaker immune system or perhaps some superior digestive system? It’s simple biology, not religion. All races of people are biologically prone to the same infections and diseases.

These unclean animals have a very important role in nature. They keep the environment clean, which prevents the spread of infections and viruses. While doing this dirty job, these animals carry all kinds of viruses for which they’re equipped. Subsequently these viruses don’t hurt them. By God’s design, these animals are not to come into direct contact with humans, let alone butchered and consumed! Once we violate this God-given principle, we can expect to be afflicted with diseases that our body is not designed to handle.

On land we often think of vultures as the cleaning crew. Think also about the seas. How does the ocean maintain its sparkling-clean water if large animals die and pollute it with digestive waste? Most oceans aren’t sparking clean anymore because we humans have dumped thousands of tons of garbage there. But the ocean is equipped with a self-cleaning mechanism to clean up its own carcasses and animal waste. There are creatures on the bottom of the ocean floor cleaning up everything that falls down. These cleaning crews can be animals as large as sharks or as tiny as shellfish. These animals are not to be consumed because they’re toxic. Shellfish are particularly very toxic. Even people who are used to consuming them often get sick. All restaurants in the United States have a mandatory warning on their menus: “Consuming raw seafood may increase the risk of food-borne illness.” These animals are clearly categorized as unclean in the Bible and unfit for human consumption. If we violate these Biblical dietary guidelines, disease will prevail.

Many people have in-home pets such as dogs or cats. These animals are categorized as unclean in the Bible. Despite thousands of years of domestication, they maintain their original nature and can carry dangerous pathogens. Therefore, we immunize and treat them for all kinds of infestations. We also don’t consume them in the western culture. Yet still, not everyone can keep a cat or dog at home. Some people develop health complications if in close proximity to them.

Especially in third world countries, large populations have parasites. How does it happen? They consume home-grown pigs who have been raised without drugs. The locals proudly say that their pork is better because it’s organic. Little do they know that such meat is far more dangerous for human consumption than pork from commercial farms. These naturally grown pigs are full of pathogens and parasites that easily transfer to humans via pork consumption. Entire villages are malnourished, not for lack of food, but because of the presence of parasites in their systems. Many people die once these parasites get into their brain. Entire populations in many sophisticated Latin-American cities are encouraged to de-parasite themselves on a regular basis. These are often wealthy, educated people, yet somehow consuming pork seems natural to them, even while being aware of the risks and being prescribed regular de-parasitation.

Despite being chemically treated, the domesticated pig still maintains its nature and easily consumes its own waste! No matter the chemical treatment, pork has to be cooked at high temperature to prevent health problems in humans. It is dangerous to consume pork, especially when undercooked. Yet most people think nothing of consuming pork chops, pork loin, bacon, or pork ribs.

It should be obvious that God gave these health laws to His people to keep them healthy, not just in their wilderness wanderings, but for all time. Note that these laws were given long before God’s people were called Jews. They were simply His chosen people.

Those who claim to be modern Israel today are “His people” in a special sense. As such, these health laws apply to them as well.

The question is, Are we observing them as God intended? If not, we must suffer the consequences.

Ask the Pastor – Can We Now Eat Anything and Everything?


I have been told that chapter 10 of Acts teaches that we can now eat anything and everything without any condemnation of the Lord. Is this true? If it is not true, with what does Acts 10 deal?


You have asked a very good question. Acts 10 has been terribly misunderstood for many, many centuries. And it seems that if something has age on its side that people think this makes it truth. Age never makes error truth.
As you read the book of Acts, it becomes apparent that God is making an attempt to reach all peoples, nations, and tongues everywhere. We see this during Pentecost in Acts 2:5, 9–11. This sets the stage for the Book of Acts. God loves all people and wants everyone to be saved that chooses to be saved. He is no respecter of persons. Acts 10:34 gives us a clue that this chapter is not talking about what to eat but is talking about how God feels about people. “I perceive that God is no respecter of persons [shows no partiality].” If you read Acts 10 from verse 1 to verse 34, it tells the story of mission outreach to those who had previously been looked upon as “unclean.” Acts 10 deals with the prejudice mind set against those who are different than we are. Let us face the fact that the apostle Peter was a man of learned prejudice. He suffered from his upbringing just like many of us today. Prejudice is a learned character defect. God loved Peter and wanted to use him to reach the lost, but He had to re-educate Peter concerning his prejudice so Peter could teach the truth without any hindrances. Prejudice is a hindrance to the gospel. The story of Acts 10 unfolds about a Roman centurion named Cornelius who was different from Peter as far as his ethnic background was concerned. Cornelius calls for Peter to come and teach him and his household the truth. But Peter, having the prejudice that he had, needed to be corrected of these unholy attitudes before he would be ready to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. God gives to Peter a dream in which various animals are shown to him—clean and unclean. (Acts 10:12.) These animals represented all the various ethnic classes of humanity. (See Daniel 7.)

This dream was designed to teach Peter an important lesson in regard to the introduction of all nations to the gospel. The teaching here is not what to eat, but how to love humanity enough to call them brethren. This is reaffirmed in verses 34 and 35 when Peter states: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted by Him.”

The devil has so perverted this portion of Scripture that the work of spreading the gospel has just crawled forward rather than going like one running a race. What would it have been like if the truth of this passage had always been taught correctly rather than centering on one’s belly! What would the world be like not to have any prejudice in it? How much faster the Gospel would have done its work!

Prejudice in any form is hated by God. It has no place in God’s work. He was trying to teach this to Peter and consequently to those who followed in every age, but this message has been twisted and distorted. Prejudices still hamper the work, and we are still in this world, as a result. This chapter needs to be studied in depth so that the truth of the crowning text can be understood that “God hath shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Acts 10:28.

Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life Ministry. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to:, or mail it to: LandMarks, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.

Bible Study Guides – The Pot of Manna Rejected

August 19, 2012 – August 25, 2012

Key Text

“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. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 297, 452, 453, 19–22.


“True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful. There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.


  • As God is the Maker of the human organism, what type of diet did He design for His masterpiece of creation? Genesis 1:29.

Note: “God gave our first parents the food He designed that the race should eat. It was contrary to His plan to have the life of any creature taken. There was to be no death in Eden. The fruit of the trees in the garden was the food man’s wants required.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 373.

“The diet appointed man in the beginning did not include animal food.” The Ministry of Healing, 311.

  • What types of food became necessary once sin entered this world? Genesis 3:18; Psalm 104:14.

Note: “Vegetables, fruits, and grains should compose our diet. Not an ounce of flesh meat should enter our stomachs. The eating of flesh is unnatural. We are to return to God’s original purpose in the creation of man.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 380.


  • When—and under what circumstances—did the use of flesh food begin to be allowed? Genesis 8:13–19; 9:3, 4. How did the human lifespan change after that time? Compare Genesis 9:29; 11:32; 25:7; Psalm 90:10.

Note: “Not till after the Flood, when every green thing on the earth had been destroyed, did man receive permission to eat flesh.” The Ministry of Healing, 311.

“After the Flood the people ate largely of animal food. God saw that the ways of man were corrupt, and that he was disposed to exalt himself proudly against his Creator and to follow the inclinations of his own heart. And He permitted that long-lived race to eat animal food to shorten their sinful lives.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 373.

  • Even during that time of permissiveness, what items were strictly forbidden under any circumstances? Genesis 9:4, 5; Leviticus 3:17; 7:26, 27; Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25. Why?

Note: “Of the meats permitted, the eating of the fat and the blood was strictly forbidden.

“Only such animals could be used for food as were in good condition. No creature that was torn, that had died of itself, or from which the blood had not been carefully drained, could be used as food.” The Ministry of Healing, 312.

“The meat is served reeking with fat, because it suits the perverted taste. Both the blood and the fat of animals are consumed as a luxury. But the Lord gave special directions that these should not be eaten. Why? Because their use would make a diseased current of blood in the human system.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 393, 394.

  • In the wilderness, what was God attempting to restore among His people, and what were to be the results? Jeremiah 6:16, first part. What work is to be accomplished before Christ’s return? Isaiah 58:12; Acts 3:20, 21.

Note: “Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to his original design—that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 380.


  • How did the Hebrews distinguish the types of flesh that were permitted as food from those that were forbidden for being very unhealthy? Leviticus 11:1–42; Deuteronomy 14:3–21.

Note: “The distinction between articles of food as clean and unclean was not a merely ceremonial and arbitrary regulation, but was based upon sanitary principles. To the observance of this distinction may be traced, in a great degree, the marvelous vitality which for thousands of years has distinguished the Jewish people.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.

“Upon their settlement in Canaan, the Israelites were permitted the use of animal food, but under careful restrictions which tended to lessen the evil results. The use of swine’s flesh was prohibited, as also of other animals and of birds and fish whose flesh was pronounced unclean.” The Ministry of Healing, 311, 312.

  • How do we know that the use of flesh—even of the clean meats—was still displeasing to God and was never for the benefit of His chosen people—physically or spiritually? Compare Deuteronomy 12:20; Psalm 106:15.

Note: “The disregard for the Lord’s special directions has brought a variety of difficulties and diseases upon human beings. … If they introduce into their systems that which cannot make good flesh and blood, they must endure the results of their disregard of God’s word.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 394.

“By departing from the plan divinely appointed for their diet, the Israelites suffered great loss. They desired a flesh diet, and they reaped its results. They did not reach God’s ideal of character or fulfill His purpose. The Lord ‘gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.’ Psalm 106:15. They valued the earthly above the spiritual, and the sacred preeminence which was His purpose for them they did not attain.” The Ministry of Healing, 312.


  • What did the Israelites continually do with God’s plan symbolized by the pot of manna? Jeremiah 6:16, last part; Ezekiel 20:23, 24.

Note: “In choosing man’s food in Eden, the Lord showed what was the best diet; in the choice made for Israel He taught the same lesson. He brought the Israelites out of Egypt and undertook their training, that they might be a people for His own possession. Through them He desired to bless and teach the world. He provided them with the food best adapted for this purpose, not flesh, but manna, ‘the bread of heaven.’ It was only because of their discontent and their murmuring for the fleshpots of Egypt that animal food was granted them, and this only for a short time. Its use brought disease and death to thousands. Yet the restriction to a nonflesh diet was never heartily accepted. It continued to be the cause of discontent and murmuring, open or secret, and it was not made permanent.” The Ministry of Healing, 311.

  • As a result of Israel’s continual rejection of God’s plan, what item was the only one remaining in the Ark of the Covenant when Solomon’s temple was dedicated? I Kings 8:9; II Chronicles 5:10.
  • How are many modern Israelites repeating the mistake of ancient Israel? I Corinthians 10:6.

Note: “God gave the light on health reform, and those who rejected it rejected God. One and another who knew better said that it all came from Dr. Kellogg, and they made war upon him.” The Review and Herald, April 14, 1903.

“Flesh meat is not necessary for the health and strength of mind or body. If the Lord had not furnished all that is essential in the vegetable world, there would be an excuse for meat eating, but animals are now so diseased that it is now really dangerous; it is unclean to eat meat. Flesh meat formed no part of the food provided for man in the beginning. It was after the transgression and fall, when death was to be man’s portion, that God permitted that long lived race to eat the flesh of clean animals.” The Kress Collection, 21.


  • Although God tried to work with Israel even after they had rejected the pot of manna and kept only the tables of stone, how did they eventually react to the Ten Commandments themselves? Jeremiah 7:4–12; II Chronicles 36:15, 16.
  • As a result of the rejection of the Ten Commandments from the Ark of the Covenant, what did God finally do with the temple as well as the ark itself? Jeremiah 7:13–16; 25:7–11; II Chronicles 36:17–20.

Note: “Because of the sins of Israel, the calamity which God said should come upon the temple if His people departed from Him was fulfilled some hundreds of years after the temple was built. …

“Because of Israel’s transgression of the commandments of God, and their wicked acts, God suffered them to go into captivity, to humble and punish them. Before the temple was destroyed, God made known to a few of His faithful servants the fate of the temple, which was the pride of Israel, and which they regarded with idolatry, while they were sinning against God. He also revealed to them the captivity of Israel. These righteous men, just before the destruction of the temple, removed the sacred ark containing the tables of stone, and, with mourning and sadness, secreted it in a cave where it was to be hid from the people of Israel, because of their sins, and was to be no more restored to them. That sacred ark is yet hid. It has never been disturbed since it was secreted.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 414.

  • What ray of hope was prophesied in that dark era? Malachi 4:5. Explain the twofold fulfillment of this prophecy. Matthew 17:11–13.

Note: “His [John’s] diet, purely vegetable, of locusts and wild honey, was a rebuke to the indulgence of appetite and the gluttony that everywhere prevailed. … Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 62.


1 What diet did God try to restore among the Israelites?

2 What is the difference between the clean and the unclean meats? What was forbidden to all generations?

3 How do we know that the people of Israel sinned by demanding flesh?

4 Because of the continual rejection of dietary reforms among the Hebrews, what was finally removed from the ark?

5 What eventually happened to the Ark of the Covenant itself as a result of continual rejection of the principles contained therein?

Extra Reading

“In order to know what are the best foods, we must study God’s original plan for man’s diet. He who created man and who understands his needs appointed Adam his food. ‘Behold,’ He said, ‘I have given you every herb yielding seed, … and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.’ Genesis 1:29, ARV. Upon leaving Eden to gain his livelihood by tilling the earth under the curse of sin, man received permission to eat also ‘the herb of the field.’ Genesis 3:18.

“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.” The Ministry of Healing, 295, 296.

“Is it not time that all should aim to dispense with flesh foods? How can those who are seeking to become pure, refined, and holy, that they may have the companionship of heavenly angels, continue to use as food anything that has so harmful an effect on soul and body? How can they take the life of God’s creatures that they may consume the flesh as a luxury? Let them, rather, return to the wholesome and delicious food given to man in the beginning.” Ibid., 317.

“Although Christ was suffering the keenest pangs of hunger, He withstood the temptation. He repulsed Satan with the same scripture He had given Moses to repeat to rebellious Israel when their diet was restricted and they were clamoring for flesh meats in the wilderness, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ [Matthew 4:4]. In this declaration, and also by His example, Christ would show man that hunger for temporal food was not the greatest calamity that could befall him.” Confrontation, 43.

© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.