Understanding Ellen White’s message on Meat eating

Ellen White gives the below reasons for why we should not eat meat.

I have never felt that it was my duty to say that no one should taste meat under any circumstance. To say this . . . would be carrying matters to extremes.I have never felt that it was my duty to make sweeping assertions. Letter 76 (June 6), 1895.  I advise every Sabbath-keeping canvasser to avoid meat eating, not because it is regarded as sin to eat meat, but because it is not healthful. 

Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design,–that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat-eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it.
Two reasons one it is unhealthy and the other God is asking as to go back to the original diet. (I ll be posting an article on this. Is Going back to original diet Biblical? Thorough out the Bible we can see the principles of going back to the blue print.) She writes to say no one should taste meat under any circumstance is carrying matter to extremes.
But Ellen White struggled for many years to leave flesh diet even though she believed and preached it. We should remember this message is from God not from Ellen White.

Since Ellen White ate meat they use this as a reason for rejecting her as a prophet and her message. Let us remember Ellen White is not our example.  Even after coming to the knowledge of  truth it takes time to leave some Old habits. Essential thing is a heart willing to obey. God helps us to obey His principles.

There is real common sense in dietetic reform. The subject should be studied broadly and deeply, and no one should criticize others because their practice is not, in all things, in harmony with his own. It is impossible [in matters of diet] to make an unvarying rule to regulate everyone’s habits, and no one should think himself a criterion for all.  MH 319, 320.

In a letter to a non Adventist she writes.

I am happy to assure you that as a denomination we are in the fullest sense total abstainers from the use of spiritous liquors, wine, beer, [fermented] cider, and also tobacco and all other narcotics. . . . All are vegetarians, many abstaining wholly from the use of flesh food, while others use it in only the most moderate degree.

Ellen White applies the term vegetarian to those who habitually abstained from eating flesh food, yet were not necessarily total abstainers. So Ellwn White is not a hypocrite in teaching vegetarian diet and sometimes eating meat.
It took time for her to leave meat eating. Other wise she took meat when other food is not available or the meat (butter) is from healthy animals.

Since the camp meeting at Brighton (January, 1894) I have absolutely banished meat from my table. It is an understanding that whether I am at home or abroad, nothing of this kind is to be used in my family, or come upon my table. I have had much representation before my mind in the night season on this subject. {CD 488.1}

We purchase butter for cooking purposes from dairies where the cows are in healthy condition, and have good pasture. Counsels on Diet and Foods p. 488
“Two years ago [1894] I came to the conclusion that there was danger in using the flesh of dead animals, and since then I have not used meat at all. It is never placed on my table. I use fish when I can get it. We can get beautiful fish from the saltwater lake near here. I use neither tea nor coffee. As I labor against these things, I cannot but practice that which I know to be best for health, and my family are all in perfect harmony with me. You see, my dear niece, that I am telling you matters just as they are.”

A few weeks after the duck eating experience in the Rockies in October 1873, Elder and Mrs. White were in California and she on February 15, 1874, reported that since they had been in that state they had dropped meat entirely, having “bought meat once for May Walling while she was sick,but not a penny have we expended for meat since.”–Letter 12, 1874, p. 1

Now as to my own experience: Meat seldom appears on my table; for weeks at a time I would not taste it, and after my appetite had been trained, I grew stronger, and could do better work. When I came to the Retreat, I determined not to taste meat, but I could get scarcely anything else to eat, and therefore ate a little meat. . . . {7MR 349.3}

   “Not a morsel of meat or butter has been on my table since I returned.We have milk, fruit, grains, and vegetables. For a time I lost all desire for food. Like the children of Israel, I hankered after flesh meats. But I firmly refused to have meat bought or cooked. I was weak and trembling, as every one who subsists on meat will be when deprived of the stimulus. But now my appetite has returned, I enjoy bread and fruit, my head is generally clear, and my strength firmer. I have none of the goneness so common with meat eaters. I have had my lesson, and, I hope, learned it well. . . .
“In regard to our diet, we have not placed butter on our table for ourselves for years, until we came to the Rocky Mountains. We felt that a little butter, in the absence of vegetables and fruit was less detrimental to health than the use of much salt or sugar, sweet cake and knickknacks. We do not use it now, and have not for many weeks.”–Letter 1, 1873, p. 12
Often while there [at the Rural Health Institute, St. Helena, Calif.] I was compelled to eat meat because there was nothing else that I could eat.At times I would be so faint and dizzy for the want of good wholesome food that I fairly reeled through weakness. [The cook] has not made it her study to prepare wholesome dishes in order that flesh meat as a food may become less and less necessary.–Letter 4, 1884, p. 3. (To Brother and Sister Maxson, February 6, 1884.)

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The Glad Tidings

A bible student who wants to publish the defense of what he believes based on the word of God which he believes forms the foundation of what he believes.

6 thoughts on “Understanding Ellen White’s message on Meat eating”

  1. Hi.
    My question or observation rather, is that EGW says that meat was not eaten til after the flood. But Abel made his sacrifice consisting of the choice parts and some of the fat. What was done with the rest? Surely the Creator would not have us discarding meat in this fashion. Further in the Bible, it becomes clear what was to happen with the leftovers of this offering. Keep in mind that it was the choice parts, not the entire animal. I can understand becoming vegetarian for health, as too mush meat is not healthy, but to claim it is for Biblical reasons is utterly false.

    1. Hello Herb! As you probably already know, God had established the plan of salvation and the sacrificial system after sin (Genesis 3:21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.) that was to signify the coming of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Remember Hebrews 9:22 “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin”. Furthermore, Matthew refers to Abel as righteous, and therefore someone who followed GODS word. . . . so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. (Matthew 23:35). Abel didn’t eat the meat, the meat simply went back in to the earth. Ecclesiastes 3:20 20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. The sacrifice in it’s essence signifies the loss and waste of life. The innocent victim who doesn’t deserve death, but because of the persons sin pays a cruel price that should have been placed on the sinner. The whole thing is a waste my brother.

  2. I’m really glad I have found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossips and internet and this is actually annoying. A good website with interesting content, that’s} what I need. Thanks for keeping this website, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  3. A balanced view on the question meat eating, this we need so to avoid judging others as if we are better than them. Meat eating is only not good on the basis of health and a call to original design.

  4. God’s perfect plan never entailed death. We were to dwell with our God forever until sin was introduced and we were separated from him. Animals were never meant to be killed. The answer is simple if you embrace the truth of the Gospel, which is God is love. There will be no more sin nor death in heaven. The people in the last days are to be a peculiar people. A people who reflect the character of God, and bring back the original plan which was laid out in the Garden of Eden before sin. With that said, it’s something that involves study and prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into truth and light and he will. God bless you all my brethren! My wish is that we will all come to know GOD so that he can say on that great day that he knew us!

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