Fitness for the Crisis
In previous lectures we have spent a considerable amount of time looking at the war between good and evil, the things that will happen in the last days, and how you can prepare for those times right now. Tonight’s lecture focused on how your health plays a significant role in the battle for your mind.
Revelation 14:9 reveals that those who worship the beast receive a mark in their forehead, and in Revelation 13:16 reveals that the U.S. would cause people from all walks of life to receive a mark in their hand or foreheads. Right behind your forehead in the brain is the frontal lobe – the seat of thinking if you will. You could refer to it as the mind. In the end times those that will have the mark of the beast will have surrendered their thinking to that of the beast. The battle between good and evil is a battle for your mind, where you must determine if God can be trusted or if the devil can be trusted.
3 John 2 reveals that there is a link between physical and spiritual health. The evidence becomes more clear in Daniel 1. The story tells of a young man named Daniel, who with his three friends refused to eat the unclean food the king was offering them. They worked out a deal with the chief eunuch to eat healthy and as a result they looked well after the 10 day test. After three years when they stood before the king they excelled above the others in knowledge, discernment, wisdom, and skills. Their minds were sharpened because they chose to lead a healthier life.
We need sharp minds in the end times. The Bible warns of cunning deceit and tricks that will fool even the smartest. So it is no small matter that damaging the frontal lobe impairs your ability to fight in the battle between good and evil. We’re going to look at some things that impair your judgment and why they should be avoided:
Research today shows that alcohol does impair your judgment. You don’t have to look far to see its hand in driving, abusive relationships, or even making bad decisions. Even moderate drinking (one drink per week) damages your frontal lobe. Proverbs 20:1 reveals that alcohol deceives those who partake of it. 40% of state prisoners were under the influence of alcohol at the time of their offense. It seems like the more violent the crime, the more likely alcohol was involved. Proverbs 23:31-33 says that alcohol looks good at first, but its effects are devastating.
It is not just alcohol that impairs your judgment, other things have alcohol-like effects on you. Having a lack of sleep impairs your judgment as well. Would you trust your life in the hands of a driver who is sleep-deprived? Pulling all-nighters or continually skimping on rest impacts your ability to make wise decisions. Our human body has limits that should be respected. In addition, eating to beyond your fill just for the sake of it sends blood from your brain to your belly to aid in digestion. Philippians 3:19 talks about these people “whose god is their belly.” Sure, your body can adjust, but how likely do you feel like working after a huge buffet? How much easier is it to be a couch potato after a heavy meal? These habits can alter your ability to make sound judgments on a number of things.
The Bible uses two words for wine, yayin and oinos. It is through context that you can determine which is “good” and which is “bad” (i.e. grape juice v. fermented wine). Isaiah 65:8 says that the blessing of the wine is found in the cluster (of grapes). Thus, good wine is the juice that is fresh. Remember that back then refrigeration was virtually non-existent, so freshly squeezed juice would go into new wineskins. However, as it sat, it became fermented. This is what Jesus is referring to in Mark 2:22, where new wine goes into new wineskins, and old wine goes into old wineskins.
Some may argue that Jesus turned water into wine. However, when you look at the context of the story you see that the owner in charge of the feast indicated that the best wine is usually served first and the inferior is served later on. With the lack of preservation, it would make sense at a wedding feast to serve the freshest juice first so it does not go sour, then serve inferior drink later. But Jesus gave them the best at the end! It is also hard to see how Jesus would offer a substance frowned upon in the Old Testament with the consequences that come from its consumption.
It seems like widespread knowledge (in America at least) that smoking is bad for you. Caffeine is classified as a drug with addictive properties. These substances, like alcohol, impair your judgment.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reveals the principle behind avoiding these substances. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, that they have been bought with a price. Our bodies are temples, and should be respected as such. Jesus paid a huge price to save us. We only have one body, let us glorify God with it. John 10:10 reveals that Jesus came not so that we may have life, but that we would have an abundant life. God wants us to live happy and healthy lives. We acknowledge that some diseases are caused by genetics and thus beyond our control. But there are steps we can take to reduce the environmental causes of diseases on our health.
How did we get to where we are today? Originally in Eden God gave man a diet predominantly consisting of fruit (Genesis 1:29). Genesis 1:30 reveals that the greens of the earth (vegetables) were to be for the animals (Yes you still have to eat your spinach kids)! However, after being kicked out of Eden the variety of foods available became more limited, so God permitted man to eat meat. In Noah’s day God distinguished that there were clean and unclean animals. We looked at what the Bible says is clean to eat as far as meat is concerned:
Land animals – Leviticus 11:3 — if the animal has divided hoofs and chews the cud (re-chews food it digested), then it is okay to eat. Sheep, cows, and goats are examples that would fit in this category. The Bible goes on and lists animals that do not fit this criteria, namely rabbits, camels, and gasp pigs. Pigs are scavengers and will eat anything. In fact, you are advised to cook pork at a high temperature in order to kill all the parasites. In addition, you run the risk of consuming tapeworms from pigs, which can live in your intestines for months! God had a reason for limiting meat consumption, not to hinder our enjoyment, but to protect us and help us have an abundant life.
No, these rules were not for the Jews, there was no nation of Israel when these were issued.
Sea Creatures – Leviticus 11:10 — if the creature has fins and scales they are ok to eat! Tilapia, perch, trout, tuna, and others meet this criteria. Crabs, oysters, catfish, and other exotic eats do not fit this criteria. Why? These animals are also scavengers that feed on the waste at the bottom of the ocean. They clean up the water. Why put that in your temple? Again, God wants to protect us and help us have an abundant life.
Birds – The Bible lists birds that are clean and unclean to eat. While no specific principle is mentioned the listed unclean birds are birds of prey. Vultures, eagles, buzzards are such examples. Chicken, and turkey are examples of birds that do not feed on carrion and are safe to eat. This is not meant as a restriction, but God is wanting to protect you and help you have an abundant life.
Some will reference Peter’s dream in Acts 10 where the vision from heaven tells him to eat unclean meats. However, Peter himself explains later on that God was telling him not to call any man common or unclean. There is no mandate here saying that unclean animals are now safe to eat!
Romans 12:1 invites us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice – holy and pleasing to God. This is an act of worship. Taking care of our bodies is considered worship. We marvel at the power of the human body that God designed, and we realize how much our salvation cost the Son of God. It seems like avoiding these things is restricting and limiting, that we are missing out. But the long term rewards are great! And it is not just for being physically healthy, but