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    Chapter 11—My Attitude Toward the Life and Work of Ellen G. White

    Seldom do we travel in any part of the world today, and talk about the Spirit of prophecy, but that some people come and say, “Now tell us all about the meat question. What did Mrs. White really have to say regarding the eating of flesh foods?”DGRGC 148.1

    It is a good question. Sometimes I am inclined to think that we are more exercised about it than we should be. It gives me the impression that the food question is a great cross in the lives of many of our people, for they talk and fret so much about it. When I became an Adventist in 1910, and learned that flesh food was not a part of the Seventh-day Adventist diet, we immediately cast it out of our house and out of our experience. Our family had been eating some kind of flesh food three times a day—breakfast, dinner and supper—and yet it was dropped from our dietary immediately. We did not understand all the reasons why. We were simply told we should not eat it. I did not take the time to read all of the instructions for myself, but when we were told that it is not a part of a Seventh-day Adventist’s life, we cancelled it out, along with everything else objectionable.DGRGC 148.2

    We had lived next door to the manager of the moving picture theatre. He had two small children, and he wanted them to see the pictures every night, so I took them every night, and never paid a cent for the years we lived beside those people. Yet when this truth came to me, and I found that the theatre does not fit into the life of a Seventh-day Adventist, I stopped that immediately. So one thing after another was given up, and I find that I am not the loser for having given up any or all of these things. Indeed they have no place or part in my happy Christian life. God does not ask us to give up anything that is good for us. He asks us only to give up those things that are not good for us. Thus one thing after another promptly disappeared from our lives and from our tables until we thought we were living in harmony with God’s teachings.DGRGC 148.3

    The sad part of it is that having given up so much I actually became a guilty one so far as real health reform was concerned, but in a different way. Perhaps different from anything that you have ever heard or done. Giving up all these things, tea and coffee and flesh foods and all such, I became guilty in other things which are equally important in the full health message.DGRGC 149.1

    For some reason or other, I do not know why, I thought it my duty to get up at three o’clock in the morning and begin my day’s duty and work. I felt that I had so much to get done, and so little time to do it, that I must begin at three o’clock in the morning. For a number of years I did that conscientiously, and of course worked like a slave all day long because I thought it must be done.DGRGC 149.2

    As a good, conscientious Seventh-day Adventist I thought it was my duty to work harder than anybody else, but when I married a lady who did not like such early risers, I changed my habits and got up at 4:30. In fact, all through my twenty-three years of work in China it was either 4:30 or 5:00 o’clock when my day began, and it ended about eleven at night.DGRGC 149.3

    Then to make matters still worse I came to think that I had to worry for everybody on that school campus. I became the official worrier for everybody, and with that kind of a programme—up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning, to bed at eleven o’clock at night, and worrying about everybody’s problems between eleven and four o’clock in the morning—it was not long until my stomach gave way, and I suffered for about eight years.DGRGC 149.4

    Nobody ever told me that I was a poor example of health reform. I just lived that kind of a life. I never thought of taking time out for a rest, relaxation, or vacation. As a matter of fact, a vacation or a holiday was for me a waste of time and a terrible bore. I just could not stand it. I had to have something to do every minute, or I was of all men most miserable. With no hill leave, or anything of that kind, from 1917 to 1940, I was a good subject for a permanent return to the United States, and home they sent me and my family.DGRGC 149.5

    Having landed in the United States of America I went to our own White Memorial Hospital, and paid a lot of money for X-rays, and all the regular and special examinations, but I was not much impressed by what the doctors said. Honestly I paid no attention to it, but kept going until the fall of 1940 when I reached the place where I could not stand erect and straighten up. With constant pain in the abdomen I had to walk like a bent-over old man, and finally had to go to a doctor.DGRGC 150.1

    This time I went to a doctor who was not a Seventh-day Adventist, but a specialist in internal medicine, and a professor at the George Washington University Medical College. He looked me over and said, “Well, Mr. Rebok, so you are a Seventh-day Adventist. Don’t you believe in God? Don’t you pray?” Somewhat perplexed, and a bit ashamed, I said, “Surely.” He inquired, “But don’t you think God hears your prayers?” “Well,” I mumbled, “I think so.” To which he thoughtfully replied, “But you don’t act like it. You would not be in the condition you are today if you believed in God, and if you knew how to pray, and how to work.”DGRGC 150.2

    Remember he was not an Adventist. Then he said, “Now, of course, I know that in the diet that I am going to give you, you would prefer not to eat meat.” “That is right,” I agreed, “if I can get a perfectly balanced diet without it.” He assured me that I could get a perfect diet without meat, and then he proceeded to give me the simplest kind of a diet you could ever imagine. He went further and prescribed, “You must stay in bed until six o’clock in the morning. You must be in bed before ten o’clock at night. You must lie down for twenty minutes of rest at noon when you come back from your work, and before you eat.” He said that I must do this, and I must do that until he had given me a complete programme of activity, and a simple, well-balanced diet to live on.DGRGC 150.3

    It came the nearest to being what I find described in the Ellen G. White books of anything I could imagine. No cakes, no pies, no sugar, and no sweets of any kind. No meat, no condiments—none of these things. He said, “Of course, I know there is no use to tell you about tobacco and liquor. I know you do not use them. If you did, they, too, would all go.” When all was said and done he gave me my programme on which I was to live for two years.DGRGC 151.1

    After I had been faithfully carrying out this programme without a deviation in any way whatsoever for over a year, I said to him, “Have you ever read our Seventh-day Adventist books on health?” The doctor replied, “No, I have never seen them.” “Well,” I said, ‘what you have given me to eat, and the daily programme on which you have placed me, corresponds more closely to the pattern set forth in our books than anything I have ever seen before.” At the end of two years I was completely recovered, and have had no return of that trouble since 1940.DGRGC 151.2

    What was the cause of all my trouble? In the first place, I did not know how to work. In the second place, I did not know how to relax. Third, I did not know how to take proper physical exercise that would really build up and strengthen the body. We had no problem or questions regarding food, but I must admit that I seldom ever thought about the seven factors in the complete health message, and especially the seventh, which is “Trust in divine power.” Somehow or other I had just taken that for granted, but we must become more aware of God’s presence and power in our daily lives.DGRGC 151.3

    Living on that simple programme of work and exercise and rest with the simplest kind of food in the most simple combinations, I found that I could live happily and keep perfectly well. All of that was in the books from the time I accepted this truth in 1910, but I tell you honestly, my friends, most of us allow it to remain in the books unheeded and certainly seldom carried out in all of its detail.DGRGC 151.4

    I am convinced that Mrs. White has given us a programme of health that includes all phases of healthful living. You will find it stated in one sentence on page 127 of the book Ministry of Healing. I wish you would memorize it. If it is not memorized, then remember where it is found. “Pure air, sunlight, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, and trust in divine power, these are the true remedies.” Our health message is all wrapped up in that sentence, and it includes all seven phases of living, and not just one. We can be ever so careful in what we eat, but if we lack the other six essential factors, which are of equal importance, we shall not be living true health reform. So I can but appeal to you at this time to learn what health reform really means and all that is included in it.DGRGC 151.5

    Now we come to the question of flesh foods. Someone asks, “Can you prove from the Bible that you should not eat meat?” My answer is “No. We cannot prove it from the Bible.” Therefore, I never use the Bible to prove that I should not eat meat. My appeal is to science, and to the fact that disease among animals is so prevalent, and the preparation and marketing of meat and flesh is so uncertain, that we do well to find safer sources of food.DGRGC 152.1

    I read in Counsels on Diet and Foods, 380, 381:DGRGC 152.2

    “Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavour to work steadily toward it. I cannot think that in the practice of flesh eating we are in harmony with the light which God has been pleased to give us.”DGRGC 152.3

    Again we read the following caution:DGRGC 152.4

    “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.” 42White, Ellen G., “Counsels on Diet and Foods, 382.DGRGC 152.5

    “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.” 43Counsels on Diet and Foods, 380.DGRGC 152.6

    “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?” 44White, Ellen G., “Counsels on Diet and Foods, 380.DGRGC 152.7

    “It is for their own good that the Lord counsels the Remnant Church to discard the use of flesh meats, tea, and coffee, and other harmful foods. There are plenty of other things on which we can subsist that are wholesome and good.” 45Counsels on Diet and Foods, 381.DGRGC 153.1

    Thus it becomes apparent to all that God would have His people eat a diet as near to the original ideal diet as is possible. The advantages and blessings are clearly outlined. Just as far as possible we should live by the ideal, the best.DGRGC 153.2

    To be absolutely fair and unbiased on this matter of meat eating we should present the passages which recognize emergencies, special cases and situations. These are known by some and they are frequently used as justification for using flesh foods. We present them in order to have the whole picture before us and to enable us to come to right conclusions.DGRGC 153.3

    The compilers of the book Counsels on Diet and Foods, 481 set forth some principles which guided Ellen G. White in her dietetic practices:DGRGC 153.4

    “First: ‘The diet reform must be progressive.’ 46White, Ellen G., “The Ministry of Healing, 320.DGRGC 153.5

    “Second: ‘We do not mark out any precise line to be followed in diet.’ 47White, Ellen G., Testimonies for the Church 9:159.DGRGC 153.6

    “Third: ‘I make myself a criterion for no one else.’ 48White, Ellen G., Letter 45, 1903.DGRGC 153.7

    Mrs. White writes of her own experience in these words:DGRGC 153.8

    “I accepted the light on health reform as it came to me. It has been a great blessing to me. I have better health today, notwithstanding I am seventy-six years old, than I had in my younger days. I thank God for the principles of health reform.” 49White, Ellen G., Counsels on Diet and Foods, 482, 1904.DGRGC 153.9

    “Light came to me, showing me the injury men and women were doing to the mental, moral, and physical faculties by the use of flesh meat. I was shown that the whole human structure is affected by this diet, that by it man strengthens the animal propensities and the appetite for liquor.DGRGC 153.10

    “I at once cut meat out of my bill of fare. After that I was at times placed where I was compelled to eat a little meat.” 50Counsels on Diet and Foods, 497.DGRGC 154.1

    The compilers of Counsels on Diet and Foods add this note, “At times compelled to eat a little meat when other food was not available—699.” On page 394 we find this paragraph No. 699:DGRGC 154.2

    “Where plenty of good milk and fruit can be obtained there is rarely an excuse for eating animal food; it is not necessary to take the life of any of God’s creatures to supply our ordinary needs. In certain cases of illness or exhaustion it may be thought best to use some meat, but great care should be taken to secure the flesh of healthy animals. It has come to be a very serious question whether it is safe to use flesh food at all in this age of the world. It would be better never to eat meat than to use the flesh of animals that are not healthy. When I could not obtain the food I needed, I have sometimes eaten a little meat; but I am becoming more and more afraid of it.”DGRGC 154.3

    There is another paragraph which gives some light on possible exceptions to the general rule which Mrs. White sets forth as good practice for Seventh-day Adventists:DGRGC 154.4

    “Some honestly think that a proper dietary consists chiefly of porridge. To eat largely of porridge would not ensure health to the digestive organs; for it is too much liquid. Encourage the eating of fruit and vegetables and bread. A meat diet is not the most wholesome of diets, and yet I would not take the position that meat should be discarded by everyone. Those who have feeble digestive organs can often use meat, when they cannot eat vegetables, fruit, or porridge. If we would preserve the best health, we should avoid eating vegetables and fruit at the same meal. If the stomach is feeble, there will be distress, the brain will be confused, and unable to put forth mental effort. Have fruit at one meal and vegetables at the next.” 51White, Ellen G., “Counsels on Diet and Foods, 394, 395.DGRGC 154.5

    For a summarization of the principles and counsels given in 1909 we read:DGRGC 154.6

    “If we could be benefited by indulging the desire for flesh foods, I would not make this appeal to you; but I know we cannot. Flesh foods are injurious to the physical well being, and we should learn to do without them. Those who are in a position where it is possible to secure a vegetarian diet, but who choose to follow their own preferences in this matter, eating and drinking as they please, will gradually grow careless of the instruction the Lord has given regarding other phases of the present truth, and will lose their perception of what is truth; they will surely reap as they have sown.” 52Counsels on Diet and Foods, 402, 403; Testimonies for the Church 9:156, 157.DGRGC 154.7

    “We do not mark out any precise line to be followed in diet; but we do say that in countries where there are fruits, grains, and nuts in abundance, flesh food is not the right food for God’s people.” 53Counsels on Diet and Foods, 404; Testimonies for the Church 9:159.DGRGC 155.1

    “We are not to make the use of flesh food a test of fellowship, but we should consider the influence that professed believers who use flesh foods have over others. As God’s messengers, shall we not say to the people, ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ ... Erroneous eating and drinking result in erroneous thinking and acting.” 54Counsels on Diet and Foods, 404, 405; Testimonies for the Church 9:159, 160.DGRGC 155.2

    Now note this sound counsel given to workers in a new field.DGRGC 155.3

    “Among the people in general [in Australia], meat is largely used by all classes. It is the cheapest article of food; and even where poverty abounds, meat is usually found upon the table. Therefore there is the more need of handling wisely the question of meat eating. In regard to this matter there should be no rash movements. We should consider the situation of the people, and the power of life long habits and practices, and should be careful not to urge our ideas on others, as if this question were a test, and those who eat largely of meat were the greatest of sinners.DGRGC 155.4

    “All should have the light on this question, but let it be carefully presented. Habits that have been thought right for a lifetime are not to be changed by harsh or hasty measures. We should educate the people at our camp meetings and other large gatherings. While the principles of health reform should be presented, let the teaching be backed by example. Let no meat be found at our restaurants or dining tents, but let its place be supplied with fruits, grains, and vegetables. We must practice what we teach. When sitting at a table where meat is provided, we are not to make a raid upon those who use it, but we should let it alone ourselves, and when asked our reasons for doing this we should in a kindly manner explain why we do not use it.” 55White, Ellen G., Counsels on Diet and Foods, 462.DGRGC 155.5

    “I have never felt it was my duty to say that no one should taste of meat under any circumstances. To say this when the people have been educated to live on flesh to so great an extent would be carrying measures to extremes. I have never felt that it was my duty to make sweeping assertions. What I have said I have said under a sense of duty, but I have been guarded in my statements, because I did not want to give occasion for any one to be conscience for another.” 56Counsels on Diet and Foods, 462, 463.DGRGC 156.1

    “While working against gluttony and intemperance, we must recognize the conditions to which the human family is subjected. God has made provision for those who live in the different countries of the world. Those who desire to be co-workers with God must consider carefully before they specify just what foods should and should not be eaten. We are to be brought into connection with the masses. Should health reform in its most extreme form be taught to those whose circumstances forbid its adoption, more harm than good would be done. As I preach the gospel to the poor, I am instructed to tell them to eat that food which is most nourishing. I cannot say to them: ‘You must not eat eggs, or milk, or cream. You must use no butter in the preparation of food.’ The gospel must be preached to the poor, but the time has not yet come to prescribe the strictest diet.” 57White, Ellen G., “Counsels on Diet and Foods, 463, 464.DGRGC 156.2

    Now what would you make out of all that advice and instruction? Is it right to eat meat under any circumstances? Would God permit flesh foods at all under any conditions? He outlines first the ideal, that which is best and good for us all, and then He seems to make provision for those who live in some parts of the world where that ideal diet is not available. Likewise, He makes provision for those who, because of some special physical condition, might find it necessary to use flesh foods rather than combinations of vegetables and fruit, and milk and sugar, and other things that under certain circumstances may not agree with certain ones.DGRGC 156.3

    To me this is very sensible. God tells us the best thing to do, and He wants us to do it, and then He makes provision where you cannot do the best. In my reading I came across this paragraph, and I think it sums it all up so far as what to eat is concerned:DGRGC 157.1

    “Health reform is an intelligent selection of the most healthful articles of food prepared in the most healthful, simplest form.” 58Taken from Ellen G. White’s Diary, 1894, p. 37; quoted in My Life Today, 132.DGRGC 157.2

    It seems to me to be a very reasonable statement of what we should eat, where and when. Dear brethren and sisters, if we will follow that instruction, we will be safe and in harmony with the very best counsel. That is the primary purpose in all of the writings. What we have presented is only a small part of the mass of instruction we have in her writings.DGRGC 157.3

    Unfortunately, some of our people have tended to make the food question the all important thing in connection with the writings of the servant of the Lord. I think it is very unfortunate because it gives us a wrong impression, and it tends to cause many of us to lose an interest in all of the other subjects which are so vitally important.DGRGC 157.4

    At this juncture I wish to give you my own conception of the Ellen G. White writings, and the philosophy that comes out of the writings as I see it today. Perhaps if I read several texts of Scripture, I can best explain my own personal reactions to the great mass of instruction. The first text is Daniel 7:18, which says,DGRGC 157.5

    “But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.”DGRGC 157.6

    Now as I have read the Conflict of the Ages series, and many of the other volumes, I have come to the conclusion that what Mrs. White wants me to do, above everything else, is to be one of the saints of the most High. That seems to be her primary objective. Her appeal to me is constantly to be among those who will stand before the throne of God, who will be among the overcomers, who will have developed a character worthy of a place in God’s kingdom.DGRGC 157.7

    I put with that the 22nd verse of the same chapter,DGRGC 158.1

    “Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.”DGRGC 158.2

    The 27th verse:DGRGC 158.3

    “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”DGRGC 158.4

    Four times in this chapter we have mention of the everlasting kingdom and the kind of people to whom the kingdom will be given. The 14th verse:DGRGC 158.5

    “And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”DGRGC 158.6

    Reading through the Bible and the many volumes and articles prepared by Ellen G. White, there stands out in all of them the thought of the everlasting kingdom. This seems to be held before God’s people here in this world as the great objective, and in the 7th chapter of Daniel four times the thought is mentioned that this kingdom is to be given to the saints. Three times out of the four it is preceded by the thought of a judgment which must come before the second coming of Christ, and the establishment of the kingdom. Therefore, God has set up a judgment by which He will determine who is ready to enter into His kingdom, and who shall be called “the saints of the most High.”DGRGC 158.7

    This sets before me personally my great objective, namely, the everlasting kingdom. It gives me the basis of judgment, the standard by which God will determine whether or not I am qualified to enter into that kingdom and spend eternity with Him. Put with it now the sixth chapter of Matthew, the 33rd verse,DGRGC 158.8

    “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”DGRGC 158.9

    There is nothing more important to me as a Christian, than the kingdom of God, and the preparation necessary that I might be called one of the saints of God. It is first and primary in my life. Therefore, I allow the thought of the kingdom to take possession of me, my mind, my heart, my body, everything is wrapped up in that one purpose—to be ready for the kingdom.DGRGC 159.1

    Now I put with it 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:DGRGC 159.2

    “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”DGRGC 159.3

    This text gives us a list of the people who will not be found in God’s kingdom, “And such were some” of us until we were washed, until we were sanctified, or made whole, until we were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. It is this experience that everyone of us must enjoy before we shall be qualified for a place in God’s kingdom.DGRGC 159.4

    He tells us again the kind of people who will not be there, and I suppose it must be important, for several times in the New Testament we have this list enumerated in order that we make no mistake.DGRGC 159.5

    Galatians 5:19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”DGRGC 159.6

    The Bible sets before us the kind of men and women whom God does not want in His kingdom. It likewise sets before us the kind of men and women whom God does want in His kingdom.DGRGC 159.7

    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Verses 22-24.DGRGC 159.8

    So if you and I would cultivate these virtues, these characteristics, found in the kind of people that God wants in His kingdom, it will be done by crucifying the lusts of the flesh.DGRGC 160.1

    Something will have to come into our lives that will help us to appreciate the fact that the kingdom of God is all important, and that there is nothing in the world more important than God’s kingdom, then everything else will fade into insignificance. Nothing will I allow to stand between me and His kingdom. I must reach that place in my thinking in order that I might appreciate the writings of the Spirit of prophecy. They are designed to help me put the kingdom of God first, and to put out of my life all of the other things which are not tolerated in His kingdom.DGRGC 160.2

    With that thought in mind I would like you to read one more passage. 2 Peter 3, beginning with the 10th verse:DGRGC 160.3

    “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”DGRGC 160.4

    My dear friends, when I completed my very intensive study of this subject, the Spirit of prophecy, I stopped on that verse. It seems to me that if I can understand the meaning of that verse, in relationship to all of the Ellen G. White writings, there is nothing that I will hold back from God when He makes clear to me just what He expects of me in order that I may have a part in His kingdom. That becomes my duty and my pleasure.DGRGC 160.5

    This was the verse which appeared in the Washington Post at the time of the explosion of the first atom bomb, when a whole city was wiped out of existence, when buildings and material things seemed to disappear into nothingness. The man who draws the cartoon for the Post drew a picture of the earth going into pieces, and in the background he wrote the words of this text, “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” It was a very impressive thing to appear on the front page of the Washington Post, and be placed in thousands and thousands of homes. It gave Seventh-day Adventists a text for the Sabbath sermon following that terrible experience.DGRGC 160.6

    I want to tell you, dear friends, the people of the world today are greatly concerned over the atom. Tomorrow may be a golden age for the men who know how to control themselves, but you and I know that it is not to be golden, until after there has been black and bleak destruction. When I think of these things, and I try to keep them in my mind, then I begin to understand the meaning and the significance of the writings of Ellen G. White. For they are designed to help me know where I am today in this world’s history, the kind of a man I ought to be in the light of the fact that I am living in the very last days, and what God would have me to become. It is God who sends the messages to mould and fashion, to hew and shape me after the divine similitude, and according to the divine pattern and standard.DGRGC 161.1

    Dear friends, that is what I would like to emphasize in this study. May I bring to you a few more of the rather interesting things contained in the writings. Since I have carefully and thoughtfully made my decision that nothing will stand between me and God and His kingdom, far be it from me to allow a piece of beefsteak to keep me out of heaven; far be it from me to allow any kind of poisonous drugs to keep me out of heaven; far be it from me to allow a cup of tea, or a cup of coffee, or anything of that sort to keep me out of the kingdom of heaven. That is what the writings of the servant of the Lord have come to mean to me.DGRGC 161.2

    When some of our people get all fussed up and terribly exercised about what they should eat and what they should not eat, I am constrained to think that they are still fighting a battle within, that they have not yet fully surrendered to the Lord Jesus, and that they have gotten their eyes fixed on the wrong thing. If we understand the kingdom of heaven, if we understand the times in which we are living, if we understand the nearness of the end of time, if we understand what kind of men and women God wants in His kingdom, there is nothing that we will not sacrifice or give up, in order that we might be that kind of men and women.DGRGC 162.1

    Now you say, is there a time when we could or should properly use flesh foods? Well, as I have travelled through the different parts of the world, I must confess I have very seldom found myself in a place where it seemed necessary to resort to flesh foods. Several times in China I have found myself where they had taken the vegetables out of the garden, after having fertilized them in their own way with night-soil or human excreta, and then stirred them around in a little dirty water, and put them in a pan with a little grease at the bottom, moved them around for a minute or two, and put them in a dish, and handed them to me to eat. Frankly I could not eat them, for that would not have been in accord with health reform. I would in that way be getting some types of animal life which I could not take into my stomach without paying a price in dysentry or cholera or something of that type, and therefore I would not and did not eat such vegetables.DGRGC 162.2

    Yes, I have been in a position where there was nothing to eat but rice and fried eggs—three times a day for eight or ten weeks at a time. That, I must admit, got a little tiresome, because there was nothing else I could eat. I did not dare touch the vegetables, for I knew they were not safe. And in such a situation I think the Lord expects us to use good common sense, and when we are in a situation like that we should do the best we can. Remember the following definition given by Mrs. White herself, “Health reform is an intelligent selection of the most healthful articles of food prepared in the most healthful way.” And I believe, dear friends, the Lord has made provision for such emergencies, the difference in climate, and the various geographical sections of the world field.DGRGC 162.3

    But now you say, Are you giving us liberty to eat flesh foods anytime, anywhere? No, you will not find such a statement in the chapter in Volume 9 of the Testimonies. She makes provision only for the exception. The trouble is that if I have made meat and diet the all important thing in my life, I may be inclined to think that wherever I am there will be an emergency all the time, everywhere. That I am sure would not be in harmony with the instruction. Again I say, God has made provision for this old world in which we find ourselves today.DGRGC 163.1

    I wish, dear friends, above everything else, that on every compound such as this, or in every church such as this, in every centre where our people live and gather in church services, that somebody would take upon himself or herself the burden of teaching our people how to prepare good, wholesome foods, and then we shall not need to be like the sister I met at a camp meeting last summer. She came to me in desperation. She wrung her hands, and said, “Elder Rebok, I am so tired of hearing about food, I never want to hear about it, or see it again. I am anxious that the Lord will come soon, so that I do not have to worry about what to eat and what not to eat.” “Well,” I said, “Sister, you have made a mistake. God never intended that you should worship your stomach and make it the all important thing in your life. That should be the least of your worry, and it will be when you have made the preparation for your entrance into God’s kingdom, the one and only objective of your sojourn in the world.”DGRGC 163.2

    I believe some of us perhaps have been thinking too much about what we eat and what we do not eat. I have learned from experience that I can get along on a very, very simple diet, and I marvel at the simplicity of it, and yet there is a perfect balance in all of the elements which I need for my body. God has made ample provision. It is for you and me to find out what we can do about it and how.DGRGC 163.3

    There is another subject which means much to our boys and girls. It has to do with the question of sports. Here again I have followed my plan of dividing up the instruction in three columns. The first column presents the ideal, or the strongest possible statement on the question; the second column brings the balancing statements; and then the third column sets forth the summarizing statements. This I have done in the matter of sports. Listen!DGRGC 164.1

    “A view of things was presented before me in which students were playing games of tennis and cricket. Then I was given instruction regarding the character of these amusements. They were presented to me as a species of idolatry, like the idols of the nations.” 59White, Ellen G., Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 350.DGRGC 164.2

    “How much time is spent by intelligent human beings in horse racing, cricket matches, and ball playing! But will indulgence in these sports give men the desire to know truth and righteousness? Will it keep God in their thoughts? Will it lead them to inquire, How is it with my soul? All the powers of Satan are set in operation to hold the attention to frivolous amusements and he is gaining his object.” 60Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 456.DGRGC 164.3

    “The public feeling is, that manual labour is degrading, yet men may exert themselves as much as they choose at cricket, baseball, or in pugilistic contests, without being regarded as degraded. Satan is delighted when he sees human beings using their physical and mental powers in that which does not educate, which is not useful, which does not help them to be a blessing to those who need their help. While the youth are becoming expert in games that are of no real value to themselves or to others, Satan is playing the game of life for their souls, taking from them the talents that God has given them, and placing in their stead his own evil attributes.” 61White, Ellen G., Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 274, 275.DGRGC 164.4

    It looks as though there is no place for the game of ball or any other sports of that nature that a Seventh-day Adventist Christian can engage in. Is that right? Now listen again while I read the counsel in the middle column.DGRGC 164.5

    “I do not condemn the simple exercise of playing ball; but this, even in its simplicity, may be overdone.” 62White, Ellen G., The Adventist Home, 499.DGRGC 164.6

    Now what shall we do about that? Again we find Mrs. White to be very human and very sensible. She did not condemn the throwing of a ball. She did not condemn the hitting of a ball. She did not condemn running, after you have hit the ball. What then did she condemn? She warns against the overdoing of even the very best of things, against the making of something of that kind so all important in the life that everything else fades into insignificance.DGRGC 164.7

    Brothers, sisters, when you put the instruction all together, there is a place for the boy and his ball. There is a place for the boy and his bat. The question is, how far? and when? May I say, dear friends, that the book, The Adventist Home has a whole section on recreation and sports and amusements, and it sets forth a balanced picture so that our young people in reading it will know what they can do with sports and what they should not do. Again I say, I love these writings because they are so sensible, so reasonable. There is a balanced picture in it all.DGRGC 165.1

    Seventh-day Adventists need periods of rest and relaxation. As a people we tend to be so serious in our task and so intense in our work that we do not take periods away from our work. This is all good, but too many of our people forget that the body is in need of time for recreation. Therefore, to live health reform in all of its phases we must be consistent and use good judgment.DGRGC 165.2

    The writings of Ellen G. White set forth a programme of living which will bring honour to God in all that we do as good Seventh-day Adventist Christians. I must give heed to every phase of her counsel and instruction, for only in so doing can I be a consistent, well-balanced representative of the health message.DGRGC 165.3

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