Short Responses to Arguments against our Health Message

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The following are a few verses used by the critics to try to debunk our health message. If there is a verse you do not see here and would like a response, contact us!

Taken from: The Call to Return to Eden by Edwin M. Cotto


Matthew 15:11: “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

By simply reading the whole chapter, one will notice that these verses are more about eating with unwashed hands then on just eating. Jesus’ final words on the subject make this clear:

“These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” -Matthew 15:20.

When Jesus voiced verse 11, he was speaking about the “heart” –verse 18-19. Jesus explains how from the heart come, among other sins, evil thoughts. If a person, for example, teaches that it’s okay to eat pork when the bible says not to (Leviticus 11:7; Isaiah 66:17), this is contrary to God’s scriptures and is therefore an “evil thought” proceeding from his heart. Such a person will fall into the category of the people that Jesus was speaking about.

Conclusion: The issue here is not on eating, but on eating with unwashed hands. Jesus did not teach with verse 11 that it is ok to eat meat or pork, neither did he teach that it’s ok to eat with unwashed hands, for Jesus wouldn’t teach such a thing. What if the person eating with unwashed hands just finished handling a dead animal of some kind? Such a person could contract a fatal illness, and we can place the blame on Jesus’ words. On the contrary, Jesus was all for cleanliness. Jesus was a Jew, and cleanliness was a part of Jewish law. Jesus rather taught with these words to focus more upon the matters of the heart, which of course are of far greater importance.

1 Timothy 5:23: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”

Some claim that with this verse, we are allowed to drink “even a little” wine. Yet a closer examination of this verse reveals that this is not so. The verse says to drink the “little wine” for “thy stomach’s sake.” Alcohol (or liquor) will not help our stomachs; rather, it damages it, along with the liver. The verse also says, “… and thine often infirmities.” The word “infirmities” is the Greek word “astheneia” which means “weakness.” This same Greek word is translated “diseases” in Acts 28:9 and “sickness” in John 11:4. Alcohol is known for causing weakness of the liver over years of consumption and all sorts of diseases. Are we suggesting that Paul is saying to drink something that causes weakness as a remedy for weakness? The obvious conclusion then, is that Paul is speaking of “wine” as in fruit juices. The many nutrients and vitamins in fruit juices are known for healing various diseases in the stomach and liver.

Numerous examples of people chosen by God in the bible do not drink wine at all. Ill list two examples:

1) “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous.” -1Timothy 3:1-3.

The words, “given to wine” is translated from the Greek word “paroinos” meaning “near wine” according to Strong’s Concordance. In other words, it is literally meaning, “not even near wine.” The man or women desiring to work in the Lord’s work will not even get near any form of alcohol.

2) “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.” -Luke 1:15-16.

John the Baptist was fit to work in the Lord’s work, not only because he was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mothers womb, but also because he never distressed the Holy Spirit by filling his body (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit -1 Corinthians 6:19; 3:16-17) with disease causing toxins like wine. Don’t you desire to work for the Lord?

Conclusion: Paul here is not speaking about drinking wine with alcohol because alcohol will not help relieve illness nor will it benefit the stomach in any way. Rather, he is speaking about fruit juices like grape juice.

1 Timothy 4:1-5: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.”

Let’s examine each verse one by one:

(verse 1)
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

(verse 2)
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

(verse 3)
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

Some have felt that this is speaking about the Adventist church, but note that Paul is saying that the individuals teaching to abstain from meats also teach not to marry. The Adventist church does not forbid to marriage. The Roman Catholic church does however forbid eating foods on certain of its holiday celebrations and does forbid marriage through its institutions of the nuns and priests.

Notice also that the Greek word translated “meats” in this verse is “broma” which simply means “foods.” When the bible is speaking about flesh foods, it translates it “flesh” – see for example Romans 14:21. This is not speaking about meat as food, but of non-meat foods. Further evidence of this is seen in the rest of this verse which reads… “which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving.” What did God create to be received (or eaten) with thanksgiving? It was natural foods, not flesh meat (Genesis 1:29). Flesh meat was merely “allowed” either because circumstances made it impossible to eat vegetables, like with Noah’s case after the flood when all vegetation was destroyed, or because of the ignorance of the children of Israel who complained so much that God allowed clean meats to be eating, yet with the warning that they would die, and they did (Numbers 11:33). Thayer’s Greek Definition defines “broma” as “that which is eaten, food.” Normally this word is used in general of foods (plural). But here we have added information about this broma, that God created it to be received with thanksgiving. Animals were not created to be eaten, but natural foods were.

(verse 4)
For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

Notice first, that it says “creature” and not “animal” or “beasts.” There are three other Greek words that are translated “beasts” that literally mean an “animal.” These Greek words are ktenos, therion and zoon. None of these are used in this verse. According to Strong’s Greek definition, the word translated “creature” here simply means “a formation, a produce.” Thayer’s Greek Definition has two meanings for this word:

Thayer Definition:

1) thing founded
2) created thing

We learned with verse 3 that that “thing founded” that God created to be received, or eaten was natural foods, and not animal meat.

If our critics interpret this word to mean flesh, they will run into the following two problems:

It will include all types of insects!

If “creature” hear means anything other then natural products of plants, they will be forced to include insects in their reasoning. But, we’re sure they wouldn’t dare say that a spider was created to be eaten; that it is “good and not to be refused.” Shall we add some worm to that plate as well?

It will include THEM!

This word “creature” can also include human being. Notice the following verses:

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” -Mark 16:15.

“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” James 1:18

Would our critics suggest that Paul was advocating cannibalism?

The only logical conclusion is that Paul is talking about those who would forbid the eating of foods that God originally created for our diet.

(verse 5)
For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

This word “sanctified” in the Greek means to “make holy.” Notice that it says it is sanctified by “the word of God” and by “prayer,” not just prayer. This means that the prayer will have to agree with what the word of God says in regards to that food! Where in the word of God does it teach pork can be made holy for food? Or humans for food? In other words, we are not to just pray over a, lets say, a venomous spider to then then eat it, because eating a venomous spider, mosquito or any type of forbidden insect is condemned “by the word of God” – Leviticus 11:23. Our prayer should rather be that God sanctify the “broma” of natural foods which is in accordance with the proper diet God wants us to have.

God does in fact want his people to return to the original plan he had for mankind with Adam and Eve. He wants our entire being to be changed, not just mentally, but physically as well. Eating foods that we should not being has been shown to affect the mind in such a way that it can dilute even our decision making. This is why Paul says to protect the body, because it is “the temple of the Holy Spirit” -1 Cor. 3:16-17. The Holy Spirit is the one helping us make right decisions, and by mistreating our bodies with unhealthy foods, we can end up closing our understandings to truths the Spirit might want to show us. Who can deny that it is more difficult for a sick person to study and rightly divide the word of God then for a healthy person? Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were children, “in whom was no blemish.” They were, “skillful in wisdom, and cunning in knowledge.” –Daniel 1:4. What did they eat? Natural foods. They refused to eat the filth upon the king’s plate, but told him to prove them for ten days as they eat only vegetables. The result? “Their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh then all the children which did eat the portion of the kings meat.” -Daniel 1:15.

Conclusion: The warning in verse 3 is against groups who forbid marriage and to abstain from “foods,” not just flesh meat. Any act (such as eating certain things) that is against the “word of God” is not sanctified simply by prayer. It must be in agreement with Gods word as well.

Genesis 9:3: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”

Time and place must be considered when studying God’s word. At this time, the flood had just ended, and Noah had just exited the Ark. We are not told that there was vegetation, but rather that the earth was “dry” – Genesis 8:13-14. There was much food taken into the Ark for him, his family and the animals to eat, some of which might have been eaten after they stepped out. Yet because this could run out, and the earth was simply “dry,” God provided a way for Noah and his family to survive. This is when he told them to eat of “every moving thing that liveth.” The only reason God told him he can eat animals at this time was so that they could survive:

“Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.” -Genesis 7:3.

God obviously didn’t intend for this practice to last forever among his people, since years after he showed how he did not desire for his people to eat flesh meat at all (Leviticus 11:13, 33).

Another thought in regards to unclean animals is that God did not intend for Noah and his family to eat these, since of these sorts only two of each kind were to enter the Ark (Genesis 7:2). This means that if Noah and his family spent their time eating unclean animals like pork, their wouldn’t be pork today since there were only two pigs after the flood. Another reason why God never intended for Noah and his family to eat the unclean animals at this time, was because God has simply never allowed it. Even later when the Hebrews complained and begged for flesh meat, God set laws on not eating unclean animals (Leviticus 11).

Conclusion: God only allowed Noah and his family to eat animals after the flood because the flood destroyed all vegetable life on the earth, leaving it “dry;” so in order to survive God allowed the meat eating. Even though God allowed it here, he still allowed it with exceptions. One of them was to not eat the unclean animals, simply because there were very little of them (Genesis 7:2) and they are needed to cleanse the earth. Today we are not living in the condition Noah’s time was after the waters destroyed everything. There is plenty of vegetable’s to go around: thus animal eating is not needed for survival.

Acts 10:11-15: “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”

Apparently this was a “vision” Peter had (verse 17). We need to study to understand what a vision actually means. If not, we run into numerous problems. For example, John had visions of a giant beast with ten horns and seven heads (Revelation 17:3). Daniel had a vision of a Lion with wings (Daniel 7:4). Are we to take visions literally? No, symbols in visions always symbolize something. Let’s examine the vision Peter had:

(Act 10:10)
And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,

(verse 11)
And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

(verse 12)
Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

(verse 13)
And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

(verse 14)
But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

Take note first, that Peter’s concerned in regards to eating unclean meats proves that Jesus did not abolish the animal laws as some would say. Peter, who was by birth a Jew, was among the group of disciples they later called “Christians” – Acts 11:26. Yet since he first began to follow Christ he was a Christian since the very word “Christian” simply means “a follower of Christ.” Peter, the Christian, did not believe these health laws were abolished at the cross.

(verse 15)
And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

(verse 16)
This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

After this took place “thrice” which means “three times,” the vessel was taken back to where it came from, and Peter did not eat the unclean animals. Yet, why did this take place three times? Notice, that as soon as the vision ended, “three” men came to see Peter (verse 19). These three men then took Peter to a centurion man named Cornelius (verse 22-23) who was not of the Jewish nation, but was instead Italian (verse 1). When Peter arrives at Cornelius’s home, he finds many people there (verse 27). Apparently these people were not Jews, because Peter then says in verse 28 that it was not customary for Jews to gather together with people of other nations. The three men sent by Cornelius to Peter must have therefore also been non-Jews. Read closely Peters own words:

“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” -Act 10:28.

It appears that it was when Peter saw this company of non-Jews that he finally understood the vision he had previously seen. The animals he saw in the visions were “unclean” animals, yet Peter gives us the clear understanding that God was talking to him about “man” as verse 28 says; that it, people outside the camp of Israel. Peter then concludes:

“…of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:24.

Peter further declares:

“In every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” -Act 10:35.

After Peter’s powerful sermon, the Holy Spirit, which fell upon the Jewish disciples at first (Acts 2:4) now fell upon the Gentiles:

“And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” -Act 10:45.

Clearly, the whole point of the vision Peter had, was not on eating meat or unclean meat, but rather about taking the gospel news to “all the world” and to “every creature” –Mark 16:15, even to non-Jews.

Conclusion: This chapter teaches how the gospel Peter was preaching to the Jews first, who were common to him, must now be preached among the Gentiles, who were un-common or unclean to Jews. There is no indication that God was trying to teach Peter that he was now allowed to eat anything he’d like. By simply reading further on into the chapter, one can see that this is not the case at all. Peter, the Christian, still believed in the health laws even after the ascension of Christ to heaven.

… more coming soon!


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About The Author

Edwin Cotto

With over 13 years of experience in apologetics, evangelism and youth directing, Edwin has worked with various ministries both in English and Spanish. Having had the opportunity to travel to various states in the USA, and also to Venezuela and Mexico, he has enjoyed the privilege of conducting evangelistic meetings and apologetics seminars. His education includes training in the Medical Field, Adult Education at Valencia College, Biblical Hebrew with the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, and Evangelism with Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. He is furthering his academic studies in theology while also working as a bible worker for the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Ordained as an elder, Edwin's passion for ministry begins first at home with his wife and kids.

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