In the articles entitled “The Message of Revelation 18:1-4” and “The Work of the Third Angel”, we have seen how God has commissioned His last day church to proclaim the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12 and another angel’s message of Revelation 18:1-4.
Connected with the work of the third angel is the work of health reform. Sister White has described this work of health reform to be as the “right arm to the body.”
“Again and again I have been instructed that the medical missionary work is to bear the same relation to the work of the third angel’s message that the arm and hand bear to the body. Under the direction of the divine Head they are to work unitedly in preparing the way for the coming of Christ. The right arm of the body of truth is to be constantly active, constantly at work, and God will strengthen it. But it is not to be made the body. At the same time the body is not to say to the arm: ‘I have no need of thee.’ The body has need of the arm in order to do active, aggressive work. Both have their appointed work, and each will suffer great loss if worked independently of the other.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 6, page 288.
1. Medical Missionary Work
The medical missionary work is an important part of the gospel work and cannot be separated from it.
“The Lord has a special work to be done. This work is not to be done in accordance with man’s planning. Medical missionary work is to be closely connected with the ministry of the Word, bound up with the third angel’s message, the last message of mercy and warning to be given to a guilty world. The work of health reform is to be bound up with the gospel. These cannot be separated; for God has united them. When these parts of the work are carried forward on correct lines, the third angel’s message will be given in accordance with God’s purpose.” – Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, page 134.
2. The True Medical Missionary Work
Sister White received her first health reform vision in 1863. Since then, a number of health and medical institutions have been set up by the church to do the medical missionary work according to the instructions given by God.
These medical missionary institutions would provide treatment to the sick according to the methods of treatment as instructed by God through our last day prophet, Sister White. These treatments often involve using natural remedies without the use of drugs and the teaching of health reform principles to both the sick and the healthy.
In regard to the drugless remedies, Sister White has this to say:
“A practise that is laying the foundation of a vast amount of disease and of even more serious evils is the free use of poisonous drugs. When attacked by disease, many will not take the trouble to search out the cause of their illness. Their chief anxiety is to rid themselves of pain and inconvenience. So they resort to patent nostrums, of whose real properties they know little, or they apply to a physician for some remedy to counteract the result of their misdoing, but with no thought of making a change in their unhealthful habits. If immediate benefit is not realized, another medicine is tried, and then another. Thus the evil continues.” – Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, page 126.
What are the natural remedies which God has given us to use?
“Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies. Every person should have a knowledge of nature’s remedial agencies and how to apply them. It is essential both to understand the principles involved in the treatment of the sick and to have a practical training that will enable one rightly to use this knowledge.” – Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, page 127.
3. Training for Life’s Conflict
“We cannot be too often reminded that health does not depend on chance. It is a result of obedience to law. This is recognized by the contestants in athletic games and trials of strength. These men make the most careful preparation. They submit to thorough training and strict discipline. Every physical habit is carefully regulated. They know that neglect, excess, or carelessness, which weakens or cripples any organ or function of the body, would ensure defeat.
“How much more important is such carefulness to ensure success in the conflict of life. It is not mimic battles in which we are engaged. We are waging a warfare upon which hang eternal results. We have unseen enemies to meet. Evil angels are striving for the dominion of every human being. Whatever injures the health, not only lessens physical vigor, but tends to weaken the mental and moral powers. Indulgence in any unhealthful practice makes it more difficult for one to discriminate between right and wrong, and hence more difficult to resist evil. It increases the danger of failure and defeat.
“‘They which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the price.’ 1 Corinthians 9:24. In the warfare in which we are engaged, all may win who will discipline themselves by obedience to right principles. The practice of these principles in the details of life is too often looked upon as unimportant—a matter too trivial to demand attention. But in view of the issues at stake, nothing with which we have to do is small. Every act casts its weight into the scale that determines life’s victory or defeat. The scripture bids us, ‘So run, that ye may obtain.’ Verse 24.
“With our first parents, intemperate desire resulted in the loss of Eden. Temperance in all things has more to do with our restoration to Eden than men realize.” – Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, page 128-129.
4. Practising a Meatless Diet
Practising a meatless diet ensures better health. It is in fact a divine requirement for ministers, gospel workers and also the well-instructed members of the Church to give the proper example of practising a healthful vegetarian diet. Consider the following statements from the pen of inspiration:
“While we do not make the use of flesh food a test, while we do not want to force any one to give up its use, yet it is our duty to request that no minister of the conference shall make light of or oppose the message of reform on this point. If, in the face of the light God has given concerning the effect of meat eating on the system, you will still continue to eat meat, you must bear the consequences. But do not take a position before the people that will permit them to think that it is not necessary to call for a reform in regard to meat eating; because the Lord is calling for a reform. The Lord has given us the work of proclaiming the message of health reform, and if you cannot step forward in the ranks of those who are giving this message you are not to make this prominent. In counterworking the efforts of your fellow laborers who are teaching health reform, you are out of order, working on the wrong side.” – Ellen G. White, Letter 48, page 1902.
“Let not any of our ministers set an evil example in the eating of flesh meat. Let them and their families live up to the light of health reform. Let not our ministers animalize their own nature and the nature of their children. Children whose desires have not been restrained, are tempted not only to indulge in the common habits of intemperance, but to give loose rein to their lower passions, and to disregard purity and virtue. These are led on by Satan not only to corrupt their own bodies, but to whisper their evil communications to others. If parents are blinded by sin, they will often fail of discerning these things.” – Ellen G. White, Manuscript 133, 1902 (Counsels on Diets and Foods, pages 397, 398).
“There are many who feel that they cannot get along without flesh foods; but if these would place themselves on the Lord’s side, resolutely resolved to walk in the way of His guidance, they would receive strength and wisdom as did Daniel and his fellows. They would find that the Lord would give them sound judgment. Many would be surprised to see how much could be saved for the cause of God by acts of self-denial. The small sums saved by deeds of sacrifice will do more for the upbuilding of the cause of God than larger gifts will accomplish that have not called for denial of self.
“Seventh-day Adventists are handling momentous truths. More than forty years ago the Lord gave us special light on health reform, but how are we walking in that light? How many have refused to live in harmony with the counsels of God! As a people we should make advancement proportionate to the light received. It is our duty to understand and respect the principles of health reform. On the subject of temperance we should be in advance of all other people; and yet there are among us well-instructed members of the church, and even ministers of the gospel, who have little respect for the light that God has given upon this subject. They eat as they please, and work as they please.
“Let those who are teachers and leaders in our cause take their stand firmly on Bible ground in regard to health reform, and give a straight testimony to those who believe we are living in the last days of this earth’s history. A line of distinction must be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve themselves.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 9, pages 157-158.
5. Sanitariums as Missionary Agencies
The medical missionary work, as conducted by the regular conferences of the church today, has strayed so far from the true medical missionary work as instructed by our Lord through His last day prophet, Mrs. Ellen G. White.
One can enter an Adventist hospital today, and see the worldly method of healing being used. It has been argued by some of the supporters of such method of healing that the drugs of today are different from the drugs used when our last day prophet was alive. It is true that a number of better drugs have been discovered. But one can walk into a pharmacy today and look at the various containers of drugs being made available for prescription to patients and cannot help but notice the word “POISON” on each container of the drug medications. So, today’s drug medications are still poisonous and should be used only in situations where a natural remedy cannot be found to be suitable for treatment.
“Christ is no longer in this world in person, to go through our cities and towns and villages, healing the sick; but He has commissioned us to carry forward the medical missionary work that He began. In this work we are to do our very best. Institutions for the care of the sick are to be established, where men and women suffering from disease may be placed under the care of Godfearing physicians and nurses, and be treated without drugs.
“I have been instructed that we are not to delay to do the work that needs to be done in health reform lines. Through this work we are to reach souls in the highways and byways. I have been given special light that in our sanitariums many souls will receive and obey present truth. In these institutions men and women are to be taught how to care for their own bodies and at the same time how to become sound in the faith. They are to be taught what is meant by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. Said Christ: ‘The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.’ John 6:63.
“Our sanitariums are to be schools in which instructions shall be given in medical missionary lines. They are to bring in sin-sick souls the leaves of the tree of life, which will restore to them peace and hope and faith in Christ Jesus.
“Let the Lord’s work go forward. Let the medical missionary and the educational work go forward. I am sure that this is our great lack—earnest, devoted, intelligent, capable workers. In every large city there should be a representation of true medical missionary work. Let many now ask: ‘Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?’ Acts 9:6. It is the Lord’s purpose that His method of healing without drugs shall be brought into prominence in every large city through our medical institutions. God invests with holy dignity those who go forth farther and still farther, in every place to which it is possible to obtain entrance. Satan will make the work as difficult as possible, but divine power will attend all truehearted workers. Guided by our heavenly Father’s hand, let us go forward, improving every opportunity to extend the work of God. – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 9, pages 168-169.
6. The Colporteur as a Medical Missionary
The colporteur work is a combination of the gospel work and the medical missionary work. The following statement describes the work of the colporteur:
“The preaching of the word is a means by which the Lord has ordained that His warning message shall be given to the world. In the Scriptures the faithful teacher is represented as a shepherd of the flock of God. He is to be respected and his work appreciated. Genuine medical missionary work is bound up with the ministry, and the canvassing work is to be a part of both of the medical missionary work and of the ministry. To those who are engaged in this work I would say: As you visit the people, tell them that you are a gospel worker and that you love the Lord.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 6, page 323.
We have seen that God has ordained the medical missionary work to be the right arm of the third angel’s message. This work of health reform and temperance assists in the proclaiming of the last warning messages of God as contained in Revelation 14:6-12 and Revelation 18:1-4.
May God’s people see the importance of the health and sanitarium work and also to discard the incorrect way of treating disease. God’s physicians are to use natural remedies in the form of “pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power” (Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, page 127) whenever possible and teach people the true principles of healthful living so as to avoid disease and to have good health and strength to do the work of God for these last days.
Prayer: “Our Father in heaven, thank You so much for giving us the light on health reform. Please help us to carry out this work of health reform by obeying the laws of health and also to do the medical missionary work. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
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Questions for Thought:
1. What is the right arm of the third angel’s message?
2. Is the Lord calling for a reform in regard to meatless diet?
3. What is God’s method of healing to be used in our sanitariums?