Some years ago a survey was taken in a certain American city, and every inhabitant responded to 156 questions included in the survey. It was discovered that the prime interest of adults was that of health - not politics, history, or even the weather - but health, their health and the health of their families. What a paradoxical age is this one in which we live! A time when we have more doctors, hospitals, medicines; more medical knowledge of the care, treatment, and cure of disease; more pills, capsules, vitamins, etc.; yet seldom has there been a time when more sickness and general ill health has plagued the human family.
Millions are suffering the side effects of wrong living habits and harmful eating and drinking. We live in a world which is shattered by pain. The cries of the sick and diseased are the trademarks of modern society. In spite of incredible programs in medical research, the problems of health and longevity are still the most serious our society faces.
The Bible gives a simple, concise answer to the question of premature disability and death. Millions would still be alive today had they but heeded the warning of God in Exodus 15:26: "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee."
These words make it abundantly clear that anyone can actually postpone his own funeral. By obeying the laws of God concerning health and diet, disease may be mitigated or avoided altogether. It is apparent from this verse in the Bible that it is not the will of God for great, epidemic scourges to sweep millions into their graves. He wants us to prosper and be in health - body, mind and soul.
Why then do we see so much suffering and disease in the world today? The answer is that the majority are violating the laws of their being. Just as surely as the laws of nature operate, so there are laws of our body which are also predictable and certain. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Galatians 6:7. If a person falls from the roof, the law of gravity immediately takes over. Regardless of age, sex, or financial status, that falling body will hurtle downward to be injured or killed. In the same way, if we violate the laws of our body, we may expect the inevitable consequences of sickness or death.
Effect is always preceded by a cause. To those who have seriously studied the counsels of God and the current world health trends, there is no deep mystery. Experts are puzzled that cancer has continued its spiraling increase. While many diseases have been greatly reduced, and some eliminated altogether, cancer has mushroomed. Even with unprecedented funding and research there have been few significant breakthroughs in curbing the growth of this deadly malignancy.
We can easily understand the steady increase of lung cancer in the light of America's smoking practices. This trend will doubtless continue until more people muster the simple, moral courage to say "No" to imbibing a deadly poison. But few people understand that fully one-third of all cancers of the human body occur within the stomach. And one-half of all cancers are found in the organs of digestion, including the liver, pancreas, small intestine and colon.
The reason for this cancer concentration must be obvious to all of us. Except for the lungs, which are bombarded with hot tobacco tars, the stomach is the most abused organ of the body. Dr. James Ewing, one of the founders of the American Cancer Society, made this statement in a tract entitled The Prevention of Cancer: "The perpetual abuse of a normal stomach frequently gives rise to cancer, and an abnormally weak stomach may suffer the same fate from less abuse. In both instances abuse and overfunction must be regarded as the exciting cause. The stomach is not lined with copper but by a single row of rather delicate epithelial cells. The sole safe conclusion to be drawn from these data is that all forms of abuse of the stomach must be avoided if the high mortality from this very common disease is to be reduced."
It is simply hair-raising and blood-curdling to see what goes into the stomachs of American men, women and children. The great test seems to be whether it tastes good, or else whether it gives a pleasant after-effect. No wonder 50 percent of the population is suffering from obesity and that more than three million dollars are spent each year on diet formulas and exercise gadgets.
The amazing fact is that the average American consumes 1,488 pounds of food every year. This is undoubtedly a large factor in the one and a half million patients who fill American hospitals every day of the year. Have you ever noticed that three-fifths of the word DEATH is EAT?
Paul Bragg, in his famous cookbook, stated: "The average person is poisoning himself day by day with the food he eats. Most people eat with their eyes. If the food looks good, they do not question whether it is healthful or death-dealing. Few people know the right kind of food to put into their bodies to keep them well and strong or take the time to select this food if they do know. From birth to old age the average individual never experiences the taste of real natural food. Our tiny sensitive taste buds have been for generations so polluted by unnatural, artificially seasoned and stimulating foods that most of us are unable to appreciate the fine, delicate flavor of the natural foods. Foods must be fixed, hashed, mashed, smashed, boiled, broiled, stewed, baked, pickled, preserved, flavored, salted, creamed, dried, roasted, fried, greased, peppered, vinegar-laden, smoked, toasted, crushed, rolled, mealed, oiled, fermented, beaten, sweetened, spiced, soured, peeled, shredded, steamed, braised, colored and otherwise seasoned in order to offer an appeal to the civilized man." Then, he adds, "Civilized man is not satisfied with the food the Maker has supplied him and must do something with it before he feels it is fit for him to eat."
Small wonder, then, that 25 tons of aspirin are swallowed every day in the United States. According to the National Observer, this is 2 1/4 tablets for every man, woman and child in the nation; and that is every day of the week. If you didn't get your 2 1/4 tablets today, somebody else got a double supply, you can be sure of that!
One of the strangest paradoxes of American life is found in this area of health. Though people fear sickness above every other enemy, yet they do almost nothing about taking care of their health until after the disease has already struck. In a year's time, out of every medical dollar spent by the American people, 95 cents was spent to get well and 5 cents was spent on preventive medicine. Now this doesn't make a lot of sense. But in this field most people don't seem to excel in reason or good sense anyway.
It reminds me of a group of tourists in Spain who had gone there to visit one of the historic sites. Up on the side of a cliff, there was an ancient monastery which they wanted to visit. The only way to get up there was in a basket which was pulled up over a pulley by some of the monks. After they had toured the monastery, they were being lowered back down the side of the cliff. As they were getting into the basket to be lowered back down, they noticed that the rope was rather frayed. So they asked the monk in charge, "How often do you change the rope?" And the monk said, "Well, we change it every time it breaks, of course." That wasn't much comfort to those who were being lowered down in the basket.
More and more, the medical researchers are finding out that our diet has very much to do with our state of health. The body machine is actually made up of the fuel we feed into it. The quality of nerve, bone, blood and cell is dependent upon good nutrition and proper diet. The old adage is almost literally true: Millions are digging their graves with their teeth.
Our Bodies Not Our Own
Right at this point someone may be wondering what all this has to do with religion. Why would God be concerned about my eating habits? Isn't it a man's personal business as to how he cares for his body? These are relevant questions and cannot be ignored.
Fortunately, the Creator of our bodies did not leave us without answers to these questions. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31. Isn't that amazing? God is concerned about such small matters as what and how and when we feed our body system. The Bible reveals that God did not fabricate the delicate human machine and then leave it to operate alone. He has never released His ownership of the creative process or of the product itself.
The apostle Paul wrote: "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." 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. These words reveal that the proper care of our body is not only a spiritual obligation but a moral requirement. Even though we have control of our bodies, they do not really belong to us. We are only stewards of someone else's property.
No man has a right to say, "I'll do as I please with my own body, and it is my business alone." We can rob God by violating the divine purpose of the body temple to be the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
Paul refers to both the church and the individual member when he says: "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." 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17. This forever settles that a person can be lost for defiling the property of God.
But how much does the average individual know about his own body and how to take care of it? Doesn't it seem strange to you that the average parent knows more about the physical needs of the chickens in the pen, or a dog in the house, than he does about the needs of his own children? The average man knows more about the needs of his automobile than he does about the physical needs of his own family! Why is there such an incredible amount of ignorance concerning the way to take care of this sacred body temple? The Bible assures us that the human body is to be cared for, preserved and maintained according to the rules laid down in the Bible. The trouble is that most Americans simply follow their appetite in matters of eating and drinking.
What are the guidelines laid down in the Bible about caring for and feeding the body? God asks the question, "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? ... eat ye that which is good." Isaiah 55:2. And how can we tell what is good? Surely not by the taste or the advertising or by colorful labels. Most Americans, following the law of appetite, hastily fill their grocery baskets with the products which have been most loudly touted by the TV hawkers. With no regard to content, they collect everything that appeals to the taste and sight. As little baby birds open their mouths to whatever mama will put in, so the gullible consumers blindly accept the choices of the media marketers.
There is only one way to know what is good for this very complex body system, and that is to consult the One who made it. Only the manufacturer has the best operating manual for its products. Automobile makers always provide such instructions for keeping their vehicles in top running condition.
When God made the body, He also gave specific operating instructions, including fuel and maintenance. Notice this counsel in Genesis 1:29, "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." No one has been able to improve on it. Nuts, fruits, grains and vegetables are still recognized by the best nutritionists as the finest possible diet.
No one need be reluctant to espouse the ideal vegetarian diet commanded by a perfect God for the perfect bodies He created in the beginning. Today, under the increasing curse of sin, those bodies have degenerated in both size and stamina, but no argument or scientific data has been able to challenge the wisdom of God's original arrangement.
But notice how the American people have departed from the simplicity of that original recipe. Today the average eater's plate is loaded with heavy meat protein, carbohydrates and pastries. In the beginning, God did not even allow for the use of meat. Apparently flesh was permitted in man's diet for the first time only after the flood waters had annihilated all vegetable matter - but only certain meats. God gave this instruction to Noah: "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of the beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female." Genesis 7:2.
Don't miss the significant fact that the law of clean and unclean animals extends all the way back to the beginning of human history. Many have assumed that only the Jewish people were forbidden to eat the unclean animals. Not so. There were no Jews in Noah's day, yet the distinction is clearly made. Why were extra clean animals taken into the ark? Because all vegetation would be wiped out in the flood, and for the first time, God would allow man to eat meat.
But only the clean meat! If Noah and his family had eaten any of the unclean animals, that species would have ceased to exist because only a male and female had been preserved to perpetuate the species. There were seven pairs of the clean animals in the ark. Only they could be spared for food without endangering the continuity of their kind.
Since it is evident that even some Genesis-kind animals were unclean, how do we determine where the line is drawn between the clean and unclean? God has not left us to wonder about this important issue.
In Leviticus 11:3-11 the requirements are clearly laid out: "Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. ... 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. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you ... ye shall not eat of their flesh."
How fortunate we are that the One who made us also prescribed the kind of food that should and should not be eaten. We may not be able to explain why some are unclean and others clean, but we can trust the Creator to know the difference, and in His great love for us He has revealed it for our good. All animals which do not have a split hoof and chew the cud are not to be eaten.
Is it any surprise to us that Satan has created an appetite for the very foods God forbade? And should it be any surprise that epidemic disease has followed the violation of God's dietary principles? The forbidden swine is a perfect example of how presumptuous appetite has overruled God's sensible restrictions. Unlike some of the other unclean categories, we can show abundant scientific evidence why pork is totally unfit for food.
Pork contains a microscopic worm called trichina, and if it gets into the system, the disease trichinosis results. Governments warn that there is no inspection for the parasite, and a Readers' Digest article stresses that there is no cure for the disease.
Under the title "Must Our Pork Remain Unsafe?" these statements are made about trichinosis: "A single serving of defective pork, even a single mouthful, can kill or cripple or condemn the victim to a lifetime of aches and pains. For this unique disease, trichinosis, there is no cure. With no drugs to stop them the worms may spread through the entire muscular tissues of the human system.
"One of two things then happens, depending on the intensity of the infection. Either death ensues or a successful effort is made by nature to throw an enclosure, or cyst, around each of the teeming parasites, which then become dormant, although they remain alive for years. Don't blame your doctor. All that the best doctor can do as yet is to conserve the patient's strength and try to relieve the painful, local symptoms as they appear." Reader's Digest, March, 1950. What these symptoms are, the layman had much better not worry about. Trichinosis can simulate to some degree almost any other malady. That pain in your arm or leg may be arthritis or rheumatism or it may be trichinosis. That pain in your back may mean a gall bladder involvement, but it may mean trichinosis.
Dr. Samuel C. Gould, a Washington health official, who has made an extensive study of trichinosis, states that the average American consumer eats at least 200 infested pork meals during his lifetime. Just because the meat may be stamped "U.S. Government Inspected and Passed" does not mean it has been tested for trichina infestation. Every bit of the pork would have to go under a microscope to make that determination.
The Public Health Service advises consumers to cook the pork thoroughly in order to kill the trichina worms. Someone has observed that eating dead worms is not very highly appealing to the palate either. The fact is that God calls it unclean and an abomination. Why is it so hard for Christians to accept the judgment of God over the perverted craving of appetite?
Some have asked why God created the pig if it should not be eaten. The answer to that is self-evident. The pigs, along with buzzards, snakes and hyenas, are great scavengers of the earth's filth and refuse. All creatures serve a purpose, but all are not suitable for assimilation into the human system as food. We might not be able to figure that out in our own wisdom, but the counsels of God have revealed it beyond all doubt or question.
Arguments have been advanced that there is better sanitation since God made those Old Testament laws, and the pig is now quite fit to be eaten. One is hard put to believe that land or sea animals have become less polluted by the passing of time. Today there are chemical poisons infecting land, sea, and atmosphere to such an alarming degree that constant government directives are being issued. Environmentalists keep us posted hour by hour on the massive accumulation of deadly pesticides, insecticides, and other contaminants in every order of nature.
And if reason doesn't convince us that the unclean animals are still unclean, we have the revelation of God's Word on the matter. Isaiah writes: "For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord." Isaiah 66:15-17.
This text is talking about the second coming of Jesus and proves that the nature of those animals will not experience any change that will make them fit to eat - not even down to the very last day of this earth when Jesus comes. The swine is placed in the same category as the abomination and mouse, and God plainly declares that the eaters thereof "shall be consumed together." None can say that the warning has not been given in language that everyone can understand.
Seafood Not Fit to Eat
It should be noted that only the marine animals that have fins and scales are counted as "clean" in Leviticus 11. All others are an abomination to God. This eliminates oysters, shrimp, crabs, clams, eels, catfish, lobsters and crayfish. Again, the scavengers have been forbidden as articles of diet.
Are there sound, scientific reasons for accepting God's appraisal of these shellfish and other seafood? It is quite common knowledge that these creatures feed largely on the raw sewage and pollutants in the water.
Prevention magazine of September, 1972, carried an interesting article entitled "Shellfish Are Dirty and Dangerous." The author appeared reluctant to take a stand, but he was committed to telling the truth on this sensitive subject. He wrote: "They're succulent; they're delicious; they're even nutritious. But, because of the nature of the mollusk and the sewage-like pollution of its habitat, we must in good conscience advise you to avoid shellfish, no matter how they tempt you, and even though those around you seem to be swallowing them with delight. The day of reckoning cometh.
"Why are shellfish so dangerous? Because they are many times more polluted than the filthy waters they inhabit.
"Unfortunately they choose to live and love and multiply in estuaries along coastal regions. These estuaries are particularly subject to discharge of sewage, sewage effluent, and other water-borne pollution from municipal discharges, from suburban home drainage and agricultural runoff.
"The polluted aspect of their habitat is one danger. The fact that they are filter feeders compounds the danger.
"Oysters, for instance, because of their way of obtaining and absorbing food, have been found to concentrate polio virus up to 20 to 60 times the level of the surrounding seawater.
"No other animal food offered on the menu of your favorite eating place would be served to you along with its feces. Yet this is the case with seafood. It is served whole; complete with its intestinal tract."
Can you imagine anyone finding such fare to be a culinary delicacy? Over and over again outbreaks of hepatitis have been traced to the eating of seafood. After feeding on raw sewage, the creature is harvested and sold. The disease is simply cycled from man to mollusk and then back to man.
Again we must confess the loving concern of an all-knowing God for the health and happiness of His creation. And those who deliberately flaunt the divine laws will finally suffer the tragic consequence that disobedience always produces.
Alcohol - A Curse
Now let us consider how to glorify God in what we drink or inhale into the body. The Bible says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, ... do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31. Among all the popular poisons which are imbibed by modern man, one that is particularly pernicious and destructive is alcohol. Glorified as a symbol of gracious living, it has, in fact, been the most malignant social disease known to civilization. No wonder the Bible declares that no drunkard will be in heaven.
In these days of compromise, most of the great religious bodies have changed their attitude toward social drinking. From total abstinence they now take a stance of moderation. In essence this is exactly the same position the brewers take - no drunkenness. But is that a safe posture to take toward alcoholic beverages? Statistics reveal that one out of every ten that start drinking become either alcoholics or problem drinkers.
The claim is made by many Christians that the Bible endorses moderate drinking of alcohol. This is based largely on the use of the term "wine" in the Scriptures. But the recommended wine of the Bible is not alcoholic. The word wine is used for either fermented or unfermented drink. God declared, "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them." Isaiah 65:8.
This wine in the cluster has to be the fresh juice of the vine. This is the only kind God ever declared to have a blessing in it. There is no blessing in the intoxicating, befuddling bottle of fermented poison. Inspiration declares, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Proverbs 20:1. "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." Proverbs 23:31, 32.
Did Jesus go contrary to the Old Testament and turn the water into alcoholic wine? It is unthinkable that He should do so. He obeyed the Word of God. The wine He created was the unfermented kind. We now know the actual physiological effect of alcohol on the body. Research has proven that intoxication is caused by a process which deprives the brain of oxygen. This deprivation destroys brain cells, affecting, ultimately, the reasoning powers of conscious thought. Would Jesus, the Creator of the body, condone something that would weaken moral inhibitions, reduce the power of effective decision, and finally destroy the sacred body temple of the Holy Spirit? Never. And what can we say about the use of tobacco?
Nicotine - Most Deadly Poison
Books could be written about the massive research into the noxious effect of nicotine on the body. Since the Surgeon General's first release on the subject, every new study has documented more supporting information. Nicotine is possibly the most deadly poison known to man. Millions have died as a result of its malignant influence. By constricting the arteries of the body, nicotine forces the heart to over-exert. Lungs have become riddled with carcinoma. Fetuses have been fatally affected. Hardly an organ of the body escapes the insidious effect of the fatal nicotine poison.
Is it a sin to use tobacco? There is no sense in denying a patent truth. Anything that defiles the holy body sanctuary is a sin. God says He will destroy those who do it. We dare not call it less than it is. It is a sin, and no Christian should presumptuously shorten his life by introducing it into his body.
Few church members would consider taking even small, microscopic doses of arsenic or strychnine into their body, yet they take something just as lethal. Slowly the cigarette tars coat the delicate membranes of the lungs until death results. It is exactly the same when men and women deliberately inhale the toxic fumes of tobacco until the accumulative effect causes death. It is suicide on the installment plan. It is morally wrong to take God's property, violate our stewardship, and rob Him of His possessions.
And what can we say about the waste of money on tobacco? Most smokers spend $50 or more every month for their indulgence. By retirement time this would amount to $25,000. Enough to guarantee a late-life nest egg, even if Social Security fails. Yet many of those who waste that money on tobacco come to the end of life penniless and dependent on welfare or relatives. What an unspeakable tragedy! No wonder God said, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6. How much better it would be to simply place the $25,000 in a neat pile and strike a match to it. At least it would not be serving as a destroyer of life.
We can surely see by now what a serious matter it is to desecrate the physical body and mind which were created for a specific, spiritual purpose. This principle of being accountable to God for the way we take care of our bodies is rooted deeply in the Bible, but millions are becoming health conscious today just to avoid the painful effects of neglecting their bodies. And it is so true that reason and good judgment alone should provide enough motivation for a balanced diet-and-exercise program.
But sometimes logic, and even scientific evidence, has a tremendous conflict with appetite, social custom and addiction. Caffeine is a dramatic example. There is a growing catalog of research which points to caffeine as a pernicious enemy of good health. It is a powerful, habit-forming drug which has fastened millions in a vise of addiction. Many find it just as hard to give up caffeinated drinks as to stop smoking or drinking. It has been indicted for its adverse effect upon heart, stomach, nerves and even the fetuses of expectant mothers.
Merck Index of Drugs lists quite a variety of caffeine symptoms and indicates that seven grains of the drug is a medical dose. Most cola drinks, tea and coffee contain from one and a half to three grains. Many people take far more than a medical dose at every meal. The effect is to stimulate the cells of the body to operate on a higher level of activity than God ever intended. One physician described it this way: "We in America have become a nation of tea and coffee drunkards."
Incredible as it seems, this country consumes 275 billion pounds of coffee every year. That averages 17 pounds for every man, woman and child. Doctors warn heart patients and those with stomach ulcers to leave off caffeine, along with smoking. Another coffee factor has recently been established as cancer-causing. This is, by far, the most serious charge which has grown out of the coffee research. Although the carcinogen has not been identified as caffeine, it is definitely associated with coffee drinking.
Tea, in addition to its content of caffeine, has another harmful constituent, tannic acid. This powerful chemical is used for dyeing leather. The detrimental effect of sugar concentration in the caffeinated drinks provides still another reason for eliminating it from the diet. The murderous effect of refined sugar threatens the well-being of every habitual user of soft drinks.
It is not uncommon to see secretaries or bosses sitting at their desks with a cigarette in one hand, a cup of coffee nearby, and a Coca-Cola on the credenza. Who hasn't heard their common rationale: "If I don't get my coffee (or coke) I get a headache"? They are telling the truth. The caffeine does take away the headache, but so would a tenth of a grain of morphine. The temporary, sedative effect is to deaden the pain, but the daily dosing of delicate nerve-endings wears off, leaving them more jangled, and demanding more and more sedation.
The most pathetic proof of this drug-slavery is to be found in expectant mothers. With all the accumulation of medical data proving the damaging effect of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine on the fetuses, pregnant women still pour the poison into the bodies of their unborn babies. It might be possible to understand a woman willing to risk her own life and health by a perverse indulgence in chemical poisons, but how could she so deliberately endanger the life of her child? The answer to that question reveals the depth of the drug problem in American society.
The big question, of course, is how to quit. After the will has been weakened by years of indulgence, how does one find the power to resist the powerful craving for these narcotic-type drugs? Most will only find deliverance from outside themselves. First, there must be a decision to stop - a willingness to give up the physical pleasure associated with the habit. All available effort should be mustered for the conflict. Then pray. Claim the mighty promises of the Bible for total victory.
Don't try to taper off on the use of something that is morally and physically wrong to indulge. It just doesn't work. It is much like cutting off the dog's tail a little at a time to make it easier on the dog! It is actually more painful that way. A habit is a habit. If you cut off the "h" you still have "abit" left. Take off the "a" and "bit" remains. Remove the "b" and "it" is still with you. Even after taking away the "i" you are left with "t." And if your problem is tea-drinking, you still don't have the full victory.
Someone may object that we are trying to take away too much. After all, you can overdo anything. Too many potatoes or beans can also be very harmful to some people. Indeed they can, and a true definition of temperance should read like this: A total abstinence from things that are harmful, and a moderate, judicious use of the things which are good. Doesn't that make a lot of sense? It also contains a lot of good, sound religion.
Impressive evidence that a person can postpone his own funeral was presented by Paul Harvey in his news column. Under the title Eat Right, Live Longer, Harvey described the results of a western survey on longevity. The study focused on the death certificates of California Seventh-day Adventists in comparison to non-SDAs. Comparing the records of the Adventist (who teach against drinking, smoking, or using caffeine) with others, the survey revealed that Seventh-day Adventists have a life expectancy almost six years greater than other Californians.
Seventy percent fewer Adventists die from all types of cancer, 68 percent fewer from respiratory disease, 88 percent fewer from TB and 85 percent fewer from pulmonary emphysema. Adventists have 46 percent less strokes, 60 percent less heart disease. Perhaps as a by-product of abstinence from alcohol, they have only about one-third as many accidents.
Again we are faced with the reassuring truth that all of us can add years to our lives by simply obeying the practical, ageless principles laid down by our Creator in the Bible. Rather than feeling cheated or short-changed, we ought to rejoice that God loves us enough to share with us His secrets of long life and happiness. The apostle John wrote, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John 3:2, 3.
Do you have the faith and courage to accept the inspired prescription that can lengthen your life and tranquility? Seize it right now as the course which can prepare you well for both time and eternity.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit --
Rest if you must, but don't you quit!
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a person turns about
When they might have won had they stuck it out,
Don't give up though the pace seems slow --
You may succeed with another blow,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victors cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown!
Success is failure turned inside out!
The Silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit!
Its when things seem worst that you mustn't quit!
The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads onto way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
While many of you may already be involved in a Gospel tract ministry, many more recruits are needed to match the staggering task before us.
Be a Tract Missionary
Spotting a rough-looking youth at a service station about to get into his car, I quickly walked over and handed him a tract, saying as I did so, “I have some good news I’d like to share with you.”
“Thanks,” he said, “I could use some of that,” and with those words he was off. How thankful I am that in those fleeting moments God could use me and a Gospel tract to offer this young man hope. How many others does God long to reach through you and me by way of Gospel literature? Regardless of our other responsibilities, all of us could be tract missionaries.
WHY GIVE GOSPEL TRACTS
God has entrusted YOU with the Gospel. Giving Gospel tracts helps you fulfill Jesus’ command to proclaim His truth to all people in the entire world (Mark 16:15). Many who never go to church or read the Bible will accept and read a tract. Through tracts, the Holy Spirit reaches many in private who have closed their hearts to public Gospel appeals. Tracts can go anywhere to places and people you could never reach otherwise. They can speak any language and minister to those in any culture. Tracts are concise. Many who shun reading for lack of time or interest will read a short, attractive tract. Tracts open doors for further witness and nurture. Sometimes a seeker’s questions invite your personal testimony. (Giving tracts should not be a substitute for word of mouth testifying). Often those desiring additional help write to the address printed on the tract.
Tracts are inexpensive. How else could we accomplish so much for so little? No other investment compares with the treasures laid up in heaven. The influence of tracts is measurable. Eternity alone will reveal the multiplied effects of tracts circulated from person to person and from generation to generation. Tracts are effective. Countless thousands have been touched by their message. They offer hope and healing to the despairing and brokenhearted, and eternal life to those dead in sin. Many are crying for help. In addition to the unspoken pleas of those groping in darkness, missionaries are pleading for literature to reach the masses. Christian literature evangelism is one of our greatest opportunities. Time is running out! Ripened grain is going to waste. Jesus is coming soon! With the relentless efforts of Satan’s agents to withstand the truth, only God knows when our opportunities may expire.
HOW TO GIVE GOSPEL TRACTS
(1)PRAYERFULLY. Ask the Lord to deepen your love for him and to give you a heartfelt concern for others. Pray that the Holy Spirit will prepare you and those He wishes to reach through your tract ministry. Water the seed of God’s Word by praying for those whom you have contacted.
(2)CONGENIALLY. Offer your tract tactfully and kindly with a friendly smile and an appropriate comment expressing your persona; interest. Be pleasant and avoid arguing.
(3)APPROPRIATELY. Be alert to the needs of others. Equip yourself with tracts appropriate for a variety of people, occasions, and circumstances.
(4)FAITHFULLY. Compare scriptures such as Ezekial 33:8,9; II Corinthians 5:10-20; Psalm 126:6; and James 4:17 with the spiritual needs around you. Then ask God to help you to be His faithful ambassador. Invite others to help.
(5)TRUSTINGLY. Leave the results of your efforts with God. Give tracts with assurance that God will give the increase. He has promised that His Word will not return unto Him void, but it shall accomplish that which He please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto He sent it (Isaiah 55:11). Claim His promises and look forward to meeting in heaven those with whom you have shared the Gospel.
WHEN TO GIVE TRACTS
Keep a variety of tracts nearby to give to those who come to your door. Enclose tracts with your letters, greeting cards and bills. Hand tracts to those you meet at the store, at the service station, or at a hospital. Always carry tracts in your pocket, your purse, or in your car. Stock up when planning a trip. You can mail tracts to shut-ins, new parents, graduates, or to the bereaved. Give tracts to the sick or lonely. Share them with your dentist, your doctor, and your bank teller. Work with others in distributing tracts on the streets or from door to door. Take advantage of special occasions when large crowds gather. Obtain permission to place tract racks in Laundromats, hospitals, rest homes, airports, ect. Invest in tracts. Multiply what you can do personally by giving funds to equip other tract missionaries. Watch for opportunities. Remember your stewardship of the Gospel. Scattering God’s Word as a tract missionary will enrich and bless your own life and the lives of countless others. Fred W. Miller
Reprinted by permission from
CHRISTIAN LIGHT PUBLICATION
OUR TRACT TESTIMONIES
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The subject of jewelry, which includes all ornaments, even rings, must be approached first of all with a sweet spirit. Truth never has to lower itself to a hard or unkind approach. Truth always manifests the fruit of the Spirit; one of which is gentleness. One of the proofs of Truth is the kind and Christ-like spirit it portrays. lt does not return railing for railing because it is the nature of him who, when he was reviled, he reviled not again.
I would like to begin this article with a quote from Bro. James Kilgore, the Assistant General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church.
" - Author James McCarthy devotes an entire chapter to the practice of "Dactyliomancy." This is the practice of divination by means of finger rings. He further states, ASTROLOGY, CRYSTALLOMANCY, SORCERY, NECROMANCY, CONJURATION, INCANTATION and ENCHANTMENT were all part of this practice.
There are good folks who try to contend that the wedding ring is not classified as jewelry. If rings are not jewelry, then why must a person go to a jewelry store or jewelry department to purchase them? Ask any sinner if rings are considered jewelry; they will answer in the affirmative. Almost every dictionary in the land will define rings under the category of jewelry. World Book Encyclopedia, page 95 under jewelry states, "Jewelry includes: rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, brooches, and various ornaments for the hair." In no instance in Holy Scripture, neither by priest, prophet or apostle, was the marriage vows solemnized by the putting on of a ring. God performed the first wedding in the garden of Eden, and no where can we find that he married Adam and Eve with rings. If it did not originate in the scriptures, then where did it come from? The editor of the Daily Tribune, Bay City, Texas, wrote on page 10, in the June 22, 1962 edition: Re "Wedding Rings" - The romantic tradition of giving a ring stems from what seems to be a barbaric custom. - The author then credited Pope Innocent the 3rd as the originator of the wedding ring, in the celebration of marriage in the church.
The Apostle Paul in his discourse on marriage, never made mention about rings being used to symbolize the marriage ordinance. Neither Paul or any other Apostle taught or advocated the wearing of jewelry for any occasion, but, you would almost think by the strong, gospel-like stand some men take in defence of this type of ornamentation, that they had. Do we have any Biblical support for this custom? The answer is NO! You would almost think there was a Romans 17:1, reading something like this: "I the Apostle Paul, have received another commandment from the Lord, that when you are married, you put on rings to show the world you are married." Neither Jesus, or his disciples ever taught the wearing of a wedding ring.
You say, "l don't wear a wedding ring, but my wife does. "Why don't you?" Some could interpret what you are saying as to mean; "l don't want men looking at my wife - but I don't mind if women look at me as being available." If this is not the case, could it be that down inside your heart you are convicted that it is wrong, and would feel totally uncomfortable with one on? The Bride of Christ, in the book of Revelation did not wear a ring to show she was a bride. She wore fine linen, clean and white; which was the righteousness of the Saints. However, the great whore, who was drunk with the blood of the saints, was decked with gold, precious stones and pearls.
God has taught us a very true yet painful lesson that cost us men and time. The battle did not have to take as long as it did, but some within our ranks were still afraid to drive the sword into Agag. Even today, there are places where the sniper fire can still be heard on the fringes. The lesson God had to teach us was, "Godly Consistency" - in other words, you have no voice, no volume, no momentum to preach against T.V. if you preach on T.V. or advertise on it. You have lost the case through the legal loophole of inconsistency. I am afraid we are coming to another battlefield where we must learn the same principle, only through another issue. You have no power, authority, strength or credibility to preach against jewelry if you still allow certain kinds in the church. Your consistency will be challenged. T.V. is either all wrong or all right. Time has proven - you cannot compromise with the Devil. If you are not 100% against it, in time, you will be 100% for it. You cannot remain static, the overwhelming pressure will pull you like a vacuum. Naturally speaking, the tree always falls in the direction it leans. Someone said . . .
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, as to be hated needs but to be seen, yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, we first endure, then pity, them embrace.
You cannot allow wedding rings in the church and ever win the battle against jewelry. If we are blind to our own state of inconsistency, the world is not. We have joined hands with ROME, in using a Biblically condemned ornament to symbolize God ordained ordinance.
Let's be honest with ourselves. The same scriptures that we use to preach against earrings, bracelets and necklaces, also condemn rings. If you are going to make an exception to God's rule and accept one as being justified and right, then fairness and consistency demand you accept all as alright. Some have pulled their finger out of the dike and wonder why the world is coming in. Remember!, T.V. almost took us into the SEA!
. . . wedding band yes, but engagement ring no! Why not? You have got just as much scripture to allow the engagement ring as the wedding ring. If reason is placed in the judgement seat and allowed a louder voice than scripture, you must be fair. Well, where do you draw the line? Yes, that is what everyone is asking.
Listen. . . FRIENDSHIP RING stands up to present her case. Oh! it is emotional and as moving as the engagement ring. Next. . . COLLEGE CLASS RING; the debate is hot and heavy, but due to much research and scholarship and remembering the long hours of study and mental discipline, he has won reason over to his right to exist and live in the camp of the redeemed. Next. standing in the long court aisle is MR. TIE CLASP with a bulging briefcase of reasons and arguments. Next. . . Oh yes! MR. CUFF LINK and MRS. BETTY BROOCH and behind them the door opens and ALAS! the hallway is filled, down the steps and out into the street. . . NECKLACES, BRACELETS, EARRINGS, ANKLE BRACELETS, PINS, TRINKETS, NOSE RINGS, GLISTENING PEARLS, SPARKLING DIAMONDS, and GLITTERING JEWELS of all manner from New York, Paris, London, Africa, India, Europe and Asia; they all want entry into the Church of the Living God. Remember, they are all relatives; if you let mother in, she will pull in the whole family sooner or later. The next generation will use our "exception" (compromise) as their license and the wind will become the whirlwind.
BUT LISTEN . . .
LET HISTORY HAVE HER SAY!
Rings Through The Ages
Margaret Blake in her book "Wedding Customs and Folklore," states "Wedding rings are also important in divination."
Some holiness people will denounce rings worn on the ears as worldly and sinful, and rightfully so; but let a woman remove the two gold rings from her ears and place them on the third finger of her left hand and they now conclude it as acceptable. In other words, gold rings worn on the ears are a sin but by being transferred to the finger, it ceases to become sin. Is it just the location on the body that determines the sin? Someone says, "I'm embarrassed not to wear a ring, I'm afraid someone will think I am living in adultery." What do you wear to prove to the world that you are a Christian?(Bride of Christ). You say, "Nothing, my life and my testimony show the world that I am a Christian." The same should hold true in a marriage. Two people should live in such respectable fidelity that the world can tell by their conduct that they are married and if there is ever a question, wouldn't their marriage license settle all doubt? Remember also, in Luke 2:1-7, God didn't care what the world thought about Mary being with child. In our present generation, thousands of unmarried common-law couples wear rings which actually prove nothing.
If you can truthfully say you see nothing wrong with an engagement and wedding ring, then prove it to yourself by this simple test. Attach your wife's engagement ring and wedding ring to each of her ears and then let her sing a solo behind the pulpit on Sunday night. You say, "I could never do that. . . Why? You say, . . . it becomes jewelry then." If they don't convict you as being wrong then the location should not matter. I Timothy 2:9, says, "That the women adorn themselves, - not with gold. '' The scripture does not make allowance for any special location. You say, "It's the reason behind it that causes me to accept the wedding ring and reject the earring." My friend, let me kindly ask you one question; is the reason based on Scripture or Custom? When Custom comes into conflict with scripture, which do we obey? The Apostles said, "We ought to obey God rather than men."
Child of God, can't you see we are dealing with a major principle and not a minor issue? For too many years customs have blindfolded us to consistent Bible Holiness. We have taken a scripturally condemned ornament and used it as a symbol for a Biblical ordinance. This is confusion twice confounded. The prophet said, "The customs of the heathen are vain."
Some say, "You are wanting to destroy my marriage when you preach against wedding rings." The beautiful God-given ordinance of marriage was around thousands of years before Pope Innocent Ill decreed every couple should wear a ring, it is a love for God and each other that keeps the marriage together, not a ring.
I Corinthians 14: 37, If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. What was one of the commandments of the Apostle Paul? I Tim. 2:9, That women adorn themselves --not with GOLD. Who among us is spiritual enough to change that commandment? 1 Peter 3:3, Let it not be the outward adorning of -- wearing of gold --. Deuteronomy 7:25, -- thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is ON THEM, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an ABOMINATION to the Lord thy God. Numbers 31:50, "We have therefore brought an oblation for the Lord, what every man hath gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the Lord."
Some have fallen into the ditch of the "Impossible Choice", they will say, "l would rather have my ring than a bad spirit." You cannot choose the lesser of two wrongs and come out right. We must stand against jewelry with a sweet yet firm spirit. You will never make the weak strong by weakening the strong. I quote from Elder B.E. Echols tract, "The jewelry controversy", Page 2, "And when the people heard these evil tidings (of verse 30) they MOURNED (and some church folks today do a lot of mourning, grumbling, or complaining when they think they may have to part with those dear wedding-bands, golden cuff buttons and flashy tie clasps, secret society rings and pins, etc.); and no man did put on his ornaments." This is exactly how it should be with us Pentecostal believers today. God does not want His holy people decked with jewelry LIKE THE WORLD (Tit. 2:11-14 with I Tim. 2:7-9) AND THE DEVIL (Ezekiel 28:11-15). If our old pioneers preached like that; should we not listen and take heed? Years ago I sat and listened as Sis. S.G. Norris, told about a time in the early days of Pentecost when the Spirit of the Lord moved upon her. She related that during a worship service she reached down and pulled off her expensive wedding ring and put it in the missionary offering. Is this not what happened to Israel in Exodus 35:22? "And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered an offering of gold unto the Lord."
Thousands of people observed as the beautiful "Spirit of Holiness (Rom. 1:4) swept the final service of the General Conference of the United Pentecostal Church, October 4, 1981 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After a stirring message by Bro. James Kilgore touching on the subject of sacrificing for the Gospel's Sake; numerous Gold Wedding Rings and Diamonds were removed and consecrated to be sold to send missionary families across the world to preach the Gospel. With this beautiful spirit, we can evangelize the world before Jesus Comes." .... let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us,. . .Heb. 12:1.
. . press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Ph. 3:1
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: (1Peter 3:3-5).
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works (1Timothy 2:9-10).
These Scriptures forbid the following:
Plaiting the hair.
Wearing of gold.
Wearing costly array or apparel.
They encourage the following:
The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit
Being in subjection into their own husbands
Adorn themselves in modest apparel
Adorn themselves with shamefacedness and sobriety
Women professing Godliness
Women with good works
Obviously what is prohibited and forbidden may not be included under that which is encouraged!
The question here is: why would the Apostles command us not to do these things if there was no sin in doing them? The answer must be, that the Apostles saw these as worldly evils that have no place in the life of a Christian. A study of jewelry through history, gives us insight, on why these Apostles saw evil and sin in this practice.
Idols were decorated with gem stones, rings, bracelets, neck chains, ankle ornaments, leg ornaments, chains, nose jewels, hoods, veils, earrings, nose rings, and carefully painted faces. Anyone may examine these idols in museums to verify these facts. The worshipers of these idols made themselves like unto these idols. With cosmetics and jewelry, they changed themselves from the image of God into the image of idols. The prohibition of idolatry alone would suffice to declare that wearing jewelry and face cosmetics are wrong.
Apostolics have suffered mockery, abuse, and persecution, because we follow the Scriptures and do not wear jewelry. Many feel we are making a lot to do about nothing. Is idolatry nothing? Is rebellion against the Apostle's Doctrine acceptablet? Is idolatry and all associated with it not sin? Should we adorn ourselves after the likness of idols, and decorate our bodies after the image of male and female gods?
The Scriptures above come to us from two notable Apostles, Peter and Paul. Both are in agreement that those professing Godliness should not wear jewelry. The Apostolic Messianic Fellowship will follow these Apostles. Those still in bondage to idolatry, will make excuses why they will disobey Peter and Paul and wear jewelry anyway. Those who are Pentecostal will make the argument that it's a matter of opinion or personal conviction, while Apostolics believe it a matter of Scripture and Godliness. There is a difference between being Pentecostal and being Apostolic! We believe and follow the Scriptures as our rule of conduct, our procedure of practice, and governing our acts of faith. A true Christian will not wear jewelry.
The Apostles lived in a pagan world, exactly as we have today. By pagan, we mean those who still worship and follow the customs of idol worship. There are few idols of the ancient world still worshiped today. The idols and gods of our day come from Hollywood movies, television, and the music industry. Worshipers will dress like these idols, talk like these idols, act like these idols, fix their hair like these idols, paint their face like these idols, wear the jewelry these idols wear, dance before these idols, shout and scream before these idols, mutilate their bodies unto these idols, burn incense and surround themselves with smoke and fire before these idols, wear the clothes these idols wear, and follow the sexual apostasy of these idols. The television, movie, and music industry, have largely replaced old gods and idols, but nevertheless as idols, substitute the true God, and the holiness example with depravity. These all play a vital part in demonstrating the debauchery with which jewelry is worn in idol worship.
Although God forbid mutilating the body, marking it with holes, cuts, and tattoos, they do it anyway. Should we allow these evils among us?
And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them (2Kings 17:15).
The heathens of the world would like to bring their 5,000 year old idol traditions into the Church of the living God. It is remarkable to note, that God did not design or permit the Priest in the Old Testament to wear finger rings, earrings, bracelets, or ornaments around the neck, as worn by the priest of pagan idols. The Priest of God were representatives of God. Therefore, we may rightly claim, that God denied the Priesthood resembling the false priest and idols the heathens served. The Priest and people of God did not wear these ornaments, because they were ways used to serve idols. In the same manner, Christians and Jews dressed in Godly apparel, and this was holiness unto the LORD. It follows succinctly then, that Jesus Christ did not wear bodily ornaments in the form of finger rings, earrings, bracelets, or neck ornaments, in his office of the Supreme High Priest.
Jewelry carries with it not only the history of idols but the idea of amulets containing magic spirits. An amulet is an item that is alleged to contain spirit powers that protect the person wearing it. The magic power is a demon spirit or a devil-god, in whose image the amulet bears testimony.
Amulets had incantations performed over them, so that all who wore replicas of them, received the protection of that spirit or god. Thus, wearing these symbols, gave testimony an individual was a believer and worshiper of those protective spirits and gods. At no time, did the true God ever borrow these magic rites and symbols unto himself and his Chosen people. No one can separate the association of magic, spirits, and other gods from jewelry. The meaning is quite clear. God's people do not pick up the traditions of idolatry to decorate their bodies.
It was a practice among heathens to make cuts in their body, mark their flesh in various manners, and to wear jewelry that once belonged to a dead loved one. Passing these pagan charms, magic relics, or jewelry down in the family, became a tradition. One had to mark themselves after the manner of a dead loved one, in order to wear what the departed had worn in life.
Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:28).
Cutting the flesh includes the making of holes in one's ears and nose. Making marks includes tattoos or other scars where the creation of the human body is distorted and altered from the image of God, in which likeness it was created. As such, these rings, earrings, bracelets, and neck ornaments, became heirlooms. Many would rather repeat the sins of an ancestor, than to admit their ancestors were in violation of the First Commandment.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth (Exodus 20:3-4).
If the people of God were forbidden to have other gods, and to make any form of a graven image representing these idols or their magic powers, then the original wearing of jewelry is a practice of idolatry. If God's people did not wear them, and if the Priest did not wear them in the Tabernacle, they of necessity came from man's inventions of idols, or of some other man-made fetish or devil-god.
There are Scriptures that prove the wearing of jewelry was considered pagan and a violation of the ways of God. Jacob made his wives give him all their jewelry. He buried them under an oak tree. He knew if his father saw Rachel and Leah in this idolatry, he would receive a rebuking. Much more, he knew he was going back to Bethel, and the God of his fathers did not approve of the wearing of earrings, jewelry, and possession of idols, magic charms, and amulets:
And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem (Genesis 35:3-4).
Bethel is translated "House of God." The vision of the ladder and the angels, is a direct Revelation of Jesus Christ (St. John 1:51). It behooved Jacob then, to present his wives to God at Bethel, in a holiness condition, that had no connection to paganism or idolatry. He took their strange gods and the earrings which had to have an idolatrous connection, and buried them forever. Now they could go to Bethel and home to Jacob's father Isaac, as women of God. There is no record that these matriarchs ever desired to have these idols back, or went back to wearing earrings and other jewelry. I know of no one who would deny that these were the Church, the elect, the called out ones, of that day. There was no reason for Jacob to make his wives give up their jewelry if it was not a sin. If these women could give up these pagan inventions for God without the Holy Ghost, what should Christians do today with the Holy Ghost? Our bodies are the Temple of God (1Corinthians 3:17). Has anyone ever produced the Scripture where the Tabernacle in the Old Testament had any form or likeness of jewelry upon the exterior of it in any fashion?
The ring to the left was found in Babylon. It is that of the serpent of Eden. The serpent with tail in its mouth, came to form the circle of finger and earrings. The circle in jewelry symbolism, means eternal. Wedding rings come from this idolatry and still carry the meaning of "forever" today. Wearing a ring is to adorn a symbol of satan, even if the serpent is removed, to hide the meaning behind the symbol.
The spirits of demons embodied in jewelry usually take the form of rebellion. This is the first attitude a person will manifest, who has the jewelry spirits upon them, when told it is not Godliness or Holiness to wear it. Those with the Holy Ghost, and who love truth and Godliness, do not have those possessing spirits, and off the jewelry comes with joy. Those controlled by the jewelry spirits will argue, fight, quit church, and refuse to take their jewelry off, in honor of their body being a Temple of God. They have the opinion that God will have them with jewelry, or they will find another Church where the spirits there, accept it. These individuals believe they can reject the Bible record, history of jewelry, and the admonitions of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and still be saved?
To our knowledge, the Jews that went down into Egypt (70 souls), did not wear jewelry. They picked up this custom during the four hundred years of exposure to Egyptian idols, while in Egyptian slavery. Jacob made his wives take their jewelry off. We need more husbands like this today, and more wives who will take it off without demanding a divorce. Israelites took back up the wearing of jewelry before they came out of Egypt. It was with these ornaments, that Aaron made a golden calf. It was with this jewelry, that the Jewish nation was almost wiped off the earth in God's anger (Exodus 32:9-10). Earrings were worn by Ishmaelites (Judges 8:24). Holes in a person's ears was a sign of slavery (Deuteronomy 15:17).
For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mountHoreb (Exodus 33:5-6).
The Jews removed their jewelry for a number of years and then went back and picked it up again. With jewelry comes a proud look and a haughty attitude. This Jezebel spirit (2KIngs 9:30) caused Israel to be cast off to Babylon. God became very angry at the Jewish women who went back to the ways of false gods and idols. Read what God said he would do about it:
Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails (Isaiah 3:16-23).
The beauty of holiness is the fresh and pure creation of God without decorating it with that which comes from worship of idols. Look at the world; look at the perverts of television, movies, and music; look at those marketing jewelry, these all bear testimony that God is not in it. When we raise holy hands before the LORD, there will be no jewelry on either hand or wrist. When we give our body, mind, and soul, unto the LORD, there is no longer a place for jewelry to testify of idols. This is Godliness. This is Holiness. This proves the Temple of God has no agreement with idols (1Cor. 6:16).
This information explains why converts to Christ and members of the Apostolic Faith are urged not to wear jewelry. The Pastor will not baptize anyone wearing jewelry or those who intend to put it back on after baptism. No Minister may preach in our services, that wears jewelry. Membership in the Church is open to all, but we believe the Spirit will lead and guide all to give up jewelry.
Roman Catholic and Protestant Confessions about Sunday
The vast majority of Christian churches today teach the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, as a time for rest and worship. Yet it is generally known and freely admitted that the early Christians observed the seventh day as the Sabbath. How did this change come about?
History reveals that it was decades after the death of the apostles that a politico-religious system repudiated the Sabbath of Scripture and substituted the observance of the first day of the week. The following quotations, all from Roman Catholic sources, freely acknowledge that there is no Biblical authority for the observance of Sunday, that it was the Roman Church that changed the Sabbath to the first day of the week.
In the second portion of this booklet are quotations from Protestants. Undoubtedly all of these noted clergymen, scholars, and writers kept Sunday, but they all frankly admit that there is no Biblical authority for a first-day sabbath.
Roman Catholic Confessions
James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of our Fathers, 88th ed., pp. 89.
"But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify."
Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism 3rd ed., p. 174.
"Question: Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
"Answer: Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her-she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority."
John Laux, A Course in Religion for Catholic High Schools and Academies (1 936), vol. 1, P. 51.
"Some theologians have held that God likewise directly determined the Sunday as the day of worship in the New Law, that He Himself has explicitly substituted the Sunday for the Sabbath. But this theory is now entirely abandoned. It is now commonly held that God simply gave His Church the power to set aside whatever day or days she would deem suitable as Holy Days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days as holy days."
Daniel Ferres, ed., Manual of Christian Doctrine (1916), p.67.
"Question: How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holy days?
"Answer. By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of, and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same Church.'
James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore (1877-1921), in a signed letter.
"Is Saturday the seventh day according to the Bible and the Ten Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the seventh day -Saturday - for Sunday, the first day? I answer yes . Did Christ change the day'? I answer no!
"Faithfully yours, J. Card. Gibbons"
The Catholic Mirror, official publication of James Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.
"The Catholic Church, . . . by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday."
Catholic Virginian Oct. 3, 1947, p. 9, art. "To Tell You the Truth."
"For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the[Roman Catholic] church outside the Bible."
Peter Geiermann, C.S.S.R., The Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1957), p. 50.
"Question: Which is the Sabbath day?
"Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.
"Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
"Answer. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."
Martin J. Scott, Things Catholics Are Asked About (1927),p. 136.
"Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that worship should be changed from Saturday to Sunday .... Now the Church ... instituted, by God's authority, Sunday as the day of worship. This same Church, by the same divine authority, taught the doctrine of Purgatory long before the Bible was made. We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory as we have for Sunday."
Peter R. Kraemer, Catholic Church Extension Society (1975),Chicago, Illinois.
"Regarding the change from the observance of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday, I wish to draw your attention to the facts:
"1) That Protestants, who accept the Bible as the only rule of faith and religion, should by all means go back to the observance of the Sabbath. The fact that they do not, but on the contrary observe the Sunday, stultifies them in the eyes of every thinking man.
"2) We Catholics do not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith. Besides the Bible we have the living Church, the authority of theChurch, as a rule to guide us. We say, this Church, instituted by Christ to teach and guide man through life, has the right to change the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and hence, we accept her change of the Sabbath to Sunday. We frankly say, yes, the Church made this change, made this law, as she made many other laws, for instance, the Friday abstinence, the unmarried priesthood, the laws concerning mixed marriages, the regulation of Catholic marriages and a thousand other laws.
"It is always somewhat laughable, to see the Protestant churches, in pulpit and legislation, demand the observance of Sunday, of which there is nothing in their Bible."
T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18,1884.
"I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' The Catholic Church says: 'No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.' And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church."
Protestant theologians and preachers from a wide spectrum of denominations have been quite candid in admitting that there is no Biblical authority for observing Sunday as a sabbath.
Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism , vol. 1, pp.334, 336.
"And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day .... The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church has enjoined it."
Canon Eyton, The Ten Commandments , pp. 52, 63, 65.
"There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday .... into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters.... The observance of Ash Wednesday or Lent stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday."
Bishop Seymour, Why We Keep Sunday .
We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy Catholic Church."
Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, a paper read before a New York ministers' conference, Nov. 13, 1893, reported in New York Examiner , Nov.16, 1893.
"There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week .... Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament absolutely not.
"To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years' intercourse with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question . . . never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated.
"Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history . . . . But what a pity it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!"
William Owen Carver, The Lord's Day in Our Day , p. 49.
"There was never any formal or authoritative change from the Jewish seventh-day Sabbath to the Christian first-day observance."
Dr. R. W. Dale, The Ten Commandments (New York: Eaton &Mains), p. 127-129.
" . . . it is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath - . . 'Me Sabbath was founded on a specific Divine command. We can plead no such command for the obligation to observe Sunday .... There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday."
Timothy Dwight, Theology: Explained and Defended (1823), Ser. 107, vol. 3, p. 258.
" . . . the Christian Sabbath [Sunday] is not in the Scriptures, and was not by the primitive Church called the Sabbath."
Disciples of Christ
Alexander Campbell, The Christian Baptist, Feb. 2, 1824,vol. 1. no. 7, p. 164.
"'But,' say some, 'it was changed from the seventh to the first day.' Where? when? and by whom? No man can tell. No; it never was changed, nor could it be, unless creation was to be gone through again: for the reason assigned must be changed before the observance, or respect to the reason, can be changed! It is all old wives' fables to talk of the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day. If it be changed, it was that august personage changed it who changes times and laws ex officio - I think his name is Doctor Antichrist.'
First Day Observance , pp. 17, 19.
"The first day of the week is commonly called the Sabbath. This is a mistake. The Sabbath of the Bible was the day just preceding the first day of the week. The first day of the week is never called the Sabbath anywhere in the entire Scriptures. It is also an error to talk about the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation of such a change."
The Sunday Problem , a study book of the United Lutheran Church (1923), p. 36.
"We have seen how gradually the impression of the Jewish sabbath faded from the mind of the Christian Church, and how completely the newer thought underlying the observance of the first day took possession of the church. We have seen that the Christians of the first three centuries never confused one with the other, but for a time celebrated both."
Augsburg Confession of Faith art. 28; written by Melanchthon, approved by Martin Luther, 1530; as published in The Book of Concord of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Henry Jacobs, ed. (1 91 1), p. 63.
"They [Roman Catholics] refer to the Sabbath Day, a shaving been changed into the Lord's Day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it seems. Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning the changing of the Sabbath Day. Great, say they, is the power of the Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments!"
Dr. Augustus Neander, The History of the Christian Religion and Church Henry John Rose, tr. (1843), p. 186.
"The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a Divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic Church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday."
John Theodore Mueller, Sabbath or Sunday , pp. 15, 16.
"But they err in teaching that Sunday has taken the place of the Old Testament Sabbath and therefore must be kept as the seventh day had to be kept by the children of Israel .... These churches err in their teaching, for Scripture has in no way ordained the first day of the week in place of the Sabbath. There is simply no law in the New Testament to that effect."
Harris Franklin Rall, Christian Advocate, July 2, 1942, p.26.
"Take the matter of Sunday. There are indications in the New Testament as to how the church came to keep the first day of the week as its day of worship, but thereis no passage telling Christians to keep that day, or to transfer the Jewish Sabbath to that day."
John Wesley, TheWorks of the Rev. JohnWesley, A.M., John Emory, ed. (New York: Eaton & Mains), Sermon 25,vol. 1, p. 221.
"But, the moral law contained in the ten commandments, and enforced by the prophets, he [Christ] did not take away. It was not the design of his coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken .... Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of God and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other."
Dwight L. Moody
D. L. Moody, Weighed and Wanting (Fleming H. Revell Co.: New York), pp. 47, 48.
The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since. This fourth commandment begins with the word 'remember,' showing that the Sabbath already existed when God Wrote the law on the tables of stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away with when they will admit that the other nine are still binding?"
T. C. Blake, D.D., Theology Condensed, pp.474, 475.
"The Sabbath is a part of the decalogue - the Ten Commandments. This alone forever settles the question as to the perpetuity of the institution . . . . Until, therefore, it can be shown that the whole moral law has been repealed, the Sabbath will stand . . . . The teaching of Christ confirms the perpetuity of the Sabbath.