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Lesson 21: God’s Rules for Health

Imagine someone gave you a brand new sports car. Think how interested you would be in taking care of this fine automobile. No doubt you would want to learn what kind of care would guarantee you the longest and best performance from your new car. Where do you think you would look to find this information? You say, "Why the owner’s manual, of course." And why would you look there? It’s because you believe that the folks who made this new car know the very best way to take care of it, right?

Well, do you know that your body is a very wonderful machine. It is far more complicated than any car ever made. But all too often we take it for granted and never think about taking care of it so that it will continue to work for us. It isn’t until they get sick that most people really give their bodies much thought at all. We have a Maker though, and just like the car owner’s manual, He has given us instructions on how we should take care of our bodies. Many people are surprised to find that this instruction is right in their Bibles.

Our Body Temple

1. What does Paul tell us our bodies are to be? 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s."

Note: There is a very close relationship between our physical health and our spiritual life. The Bible tells us that our body-temples do not belong to us, but to God. We are His because He not only created us, but because Jesus died to redeem us. Through His Holy Spirit He desires to live in each one of us, and He wants us to give glory to Him through His gift to us—our bodies.

2. Because our bodies do belong to God, how are we to present them to Him? Romans 12:1.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

3. If we defile our body-temple, what will God do? 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17.

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

4. What did Daniel recognize as defiling His body? Daniel 1:8.

"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself."

Note: Daniel recognized that many of the meats and drinks that were served at the king’s table were things that God had forbidden them to eat.

5. What test did Daniel suggest? Daniel 1:11, 12.

"Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink."

Note: Pulse is another word for vegetables, beans and grains.

6. At the end of the ten days, how did the appearance of Daniel and his friends compare with that of those who ate at the King’s table? Daniel 1:15.

"And at the end of ten days their countenances [faces] appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat."

7. Is God really concerned with what we eat? 1 Corinthians 10:31.

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

8. What foods did God first give man to eat? Genesis 1:29.

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."

Note: When God made our bodies He also gave specific directions for their maintenance. No one has been able to improve on the original diet; grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables are still recognized by the best nutritionists as the finest possible diet.

9. When did God give man permission to eat flesh food? Genesis 8:13; 9:1-3.

"And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things."

Note: It is clear from the wording that until that time, (the time of the Flood), it was not God’s plan that meat should form a part of man’s diet. After the flood, however, when all living plants had been destroyed, it would be months, or even years, until Noah and his family would be able to grow enough to eat. At that time, God gave them permission to eat flesh foods.

10. How many clean animals were taken into the ark? Genesis 7:1, 2.

"And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, [seven pairs] the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female."

Note: The Bible divides all animals, birds, and fishes into two classes: The clean, which may be eaten for food; the unclean which are strictly forbidden as food. You will find all these animals listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.

Many people think that it was only the Jewish people who were forbidden to eat unclean animals. We see in these verses, however, that the law of clean and unclean animals goes clear back to Noah’s day and there were no Jews at that time.

Some people ask, "But didn’t God tell Noah that he could eat every kind of animal that crept upon the earth"? Yes He did, but did you notice the rest of the verse? It says: "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things." Are all green herbs good to eat? No they aren’t. We know very well that some green herbs, if we ate them would kill us.

Did God intend that Noah and his family should eat of every kind of animal that was preserved in the ark? Think about it. Of some of the animals that came into the ark there were only two, a male and a female. What would have happened to that kind of animal if Noah’s family had eaten one of them? No, God provided extra animals of those kinds that He gave Noah and His family permission to eat.

Forbidden Meats

11. What two characteristics determine if a four-footed land animal is clean? Leviticus 11:3.

"Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat."

Note: The verses that follow clearly point out that it is not enough for an animal to have one of these characteristics but not the other. It is necessary that both of them be present for the animal to be considered clean. The rabbit chews the cud, but it does not have a split hoof. Therefore, it should never be eaten. The pig has a spit hoof, but it does not chew the cud. Therefore, Christians should never eat bacon, ham, or pork in any form; nor should they cook with lard. The Bible pronounces them unclean. Animals that have both a divided hoof and chew the cud, are deer, cows, sheep, and other similar animals.

12. What distinguishes between the clean and unclean sea animals? Leviticus 11:9.

"These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat."

13. What parts of the animals were never to be eaten? Genesis 9:4. Leviticus 3:17.

"But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat."

"It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood."

Note: We need to realize that nearly all meat sold today in the stores and fast food places is full of fat and blood—that is what gives it the flavor! Also because there is so much disease in the animals, which can be passed to people, we are wiser not to use flesh meat at all.

14. What reason did God give for limiting the diet of the people of Israel? Deuteronomy 14:2, 3.

"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing."

Note: It is impossible for a person to present his body a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, while he is indulging in habits that lessen physical and mental strength. We need a healthy body if our minds are to think clearly. Only as we are able to think clearly can we make right decisions. It is for this reason that Satan presents so many temptations to indulge in habits that weaken our ability to think and make good decisions.

15. What is Paul’s advice with regard to even good things? 1. Corinthians 9:25.

"And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible."

Note: Eating too much, or too often, of even good things will weaken our physical system and take away from our ability to think clearly. Temperance means to not use any harmful thing and use the good things wisely. ‘Pigging out’ is never temperate.

16. What effect does cheerfulness have upon health? Proverbs 17:22.

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."

17. How does physical labor help us? Ecclesiastes 5:12.

"The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep."

18. What does Solomon say about the use of alcoholic drinks? Proverbs 23:31, 32.

"Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder."

Note: Many Christians believe that the Bible approves of drinking alcohol, so long as it is done in moderation. This idea is largely based on the use of the term "wine" in the Bible. The word for wine in the Bible may mean either fermented, or fresh grape juice. The wine upon which the Bible says we are blessed in using is the new wine, or grape juice, that is found in the cluster, an obvious reference to freshly pressed grape juice. See Isaiah 65:8.

There is no blessing in that which tends to intoxicate and confuse the thinking. The use of alcoholic drinks has been a terrible curse to man. Jesus in the New Testament did not contradict the things He had inspired men to write in the Old Testament. As a loving Creator, He never sanctioned our using any substance that weakens our ability to make wise decisions.

19. What did Paul tell Timothy about purity? 1 Timothy 5:22.

"Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure."

Note: We have been given our body-temples as a loan from God. Any practice or habit that weakens our physical strength also affects our ability to think clearly. This affects our relationship with Jesus. There are many things beside what we eat that have an effect on our bodies. Today there are many mind-altering drugs that no one knew anything about a few years ago. These drugs all have one thing in common; they affect your ability to think. Satan knows that it is much easier to lead us into sin if our minds are not working right. When our minds are affected by drugs, they are not quick to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us. For this reason, as well as others, all these kinds of drugs are things that no Christian should have anything to do with.

Another poison that many people get tempted to try is tobacco. The tobacco companies present many advertisements that suggest it is a manly thing to use their product, or that it is something very socially proper to do, but there is nothing good or proper about the effects that tobacco has on our bodies. Besides damaging our lungs, tobacco has many other harmful effects on our body and our mind. This is another way that we can be guilty of defiling our body temple.

20. How do we know if we truly belong to Jesus? Romans 6:16.

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

21. What does God promise to those who follow the guidelines to health that He has given? Deuteronomy 7:12, 15.

"Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers. And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee."

Note: If we take hold of these Bible rules of health and put them into our lives, this is our ‘Health Insurance Plan’! God gave to Israel definite instructions in regard to their habits of life. When they fulfilled the conditions, this promise was fulfilled to them. "There was not one feeble person among their tribes." Psalm 105:37

When we do things wrong and bring poor health on our bodies through intemperance, or by indulging in things that are not good for us, we cannot glorify God in the same way we could if we followed His instructions to us. It is very important that we keep our bodies in the best possible condition living in harmony with the laws of nature. When we give ourselves fully to God, He will use us to His name’s honor and glory.

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