Is pork nourishing?



Sometimes, we are asked the following question:

"Why did Ellen White say that pork was a nourishing food in 1858, but then later in the vision of Health Reform in 1863 she condemded swine as food?"

In a Former Adventist forum, one critic started a simular topic titled “Exposing Adventism – Pork is nourishing food.” The following is a quote from Ellen G. White which is supposed to prove Ellen changed her mind about the vision she had. Here it is just as our critic shares it:

"Those who labor with their hands must nourish their strength to perform this labor, and those also who labor in word and doctrine must nourish their strength; for Satan and his evil angels are warring against them to tear down their strength. They should seek rest of body and mind from wearing labor when they can, and should eat of nourishing, strengthening food to build up their strength;...

"I saw that your views concerning swine's flesh would prove no injury if you have them to yourselves; but in your judgment and opinion you have made this question a test, and your actions have plainly shown your faith in this matter. If God requires His people to abstain from swine's flesh, He will convict them on the matter. He is just as willing to show His honest children their duty, as to show their duty to individuals upon whom He has not Iaid the burden of His work. If it is the duty of the church to abstain from swine's flesh, God will discover it to more than two or three". -Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 206-207

Pretty convincing, huh? Especially since he bolded his favorite sections which he feels proves this was a “vision” she had. Now we will quote it again, but this time we want you to notice the sections we bolded:

"Those who labor with their hands must nourish their strength to perform this labor, and those also who labor in word and doctrine must nourish their strength; for Satan and his evil angels are warring against them to tear down their strength. They should seek rest of body and mind from wearing labor when they can, and should eat of nourishing, strengthening food to build up their strength;...

"I saw that your views (plural) concerning swine's flesh would prove no injury if you have them (plural) to yourselves; but in your judgment and opinion you have made this question a test, and your actions have plainly shown your faith in this matter. If God requires His people to abstain from swine's flesh, He will convict them on the matter. He is just as willing to show His honest children their duty, as to show their duty to individuals upon whom He has not Iaid the burden of His work. If it is the duty of the church to abstain from swine's flesh, God will discover it to more than two or three". -Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 206-207.

We want you to notice the construction of the first sentence. She says, “I saw that your views (plural) concerning swine's flesh would prove no injury if you have them (plural) to yourselves." Take note at her use of the plural words "views" and "them." Those views are their “judgments and opinions." The vision which she says she had is rebuking them on those views which they seeked to impose on others. If you read the entire letter in its proper context (you can read the whole context HERE), you will notice that they had the problem of thinking they should run the whole movement through their own ideas without consulting the Almighty first, or perhaps having a conference meeting with others to pray about it. They felt things should be run “their” way, they wanted the "control," when God had already chosen other faithful servants to continue the work. This is where Ellen G. White was correcting them on. If she were saying that what she saw in vision was about the eating of swine’s flesh, we feel the sentence would have rather been constructed like this:

"I saw that your view concerning swine's flesh would prove no injury if you have it to yourselves”

Now the rest of the quote reads:

“If God requires His people to abstain from swine's flesh, He will convict them on the matter. He is just as willing to show His honest children their duty, as to show their duty to individuals upon whom He has not Iaid the burden of His work. If it is the duty of the church to abstain from swine's flesh, God will discover it to more than two or three." -Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 206-207.

There is no hint that this came from what she “saw” in vision. This was her personal opinion. What she “saw” was concerning their “views” which they wanted to “impose” on the church. Here she is simply sharing her opinion, not a vision, on swine’s flesh. Prophets are also humans, who can grow in their understanding. God can reveal truths to the Christian as he continues to grow in the Lord. The Christian does not know all truths as soon as he becomes a believer. She herself says in the quote:

“If it is the duty of the church to abstain from swine's flesh, God will discover it to more than two or three.”

In another place she also said:

"Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered. Nothing must be done untimely. Some matters must be withheld because some persons would make an improper use of the light given. Every jot and tittle is essential and must appear at an opportune time." -1 Selected Messages, chap. 4, p. 58.

We should always consider "when" things were said. Sometimes individuals go for a time believing something, but later God reveals to them that their belief was always in error. We read of Peter for example, who at first believed that the Gospel message was only for the Jews, and not the Gentiles. Later we find that Peter has a vision in Acts 10 where God corrects him, making it clear that “of a truth… God is no respecter of persons” –verse 34. Then understood Peter that this message was to be proclaimed to all nations (Acts 10: 25, 11:18) not just the Jews, and that he should never show difference between races of people.

Like wise the apostles, and others who believed, thought that Jesus was to literally take control of Jerusalem and be King in their time. They did not understand that he was to die for the world. They did not understand the prophecies, which said that after three days he would rise to life. Some people tried to force him into being king (John 6:15). The apostles, three days after his death, were still in shock and unbelief (Luke 16:14). But they later learned what the prophecies said; that Jesus was to be raised from the dead. These are but a few of many examples in the Bible of what is called “progressive perspective.” The bible speaks about this concept:

"But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." -Proverbs 4:18

As we continue in our Christian walk, or path with the Lord, we will always continue to learn "more and more" as the light shines upon us. Let us not think for a second that at the moment of accepting Christ, we have all the light we need. God increases the light of truth in us as we grow in him, and he reveals to us our errors. The Prophets of the Lord are no exception. Notice what Nathan the Prophet told King David to do after hearing Davids idea on building a house for the Lord:

1 Chronicles 17:2
(2) Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee.

However, this was not the plan of God. Notice:

1 Chronicles 17:3-4
(3) And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,
(4) Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in

Nathan the Prophet believed that this was the Lord's will, but he had to be corrected on this. The truth was given to him that night in regards to this matter, and his way of thinking had to be changed. God had rather planned for David's son, King Solomon, to build him a house, not David:

1 Chronicles 17:11-12
(11) And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.
(12) He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.

The path of the just is as a light that shines more and more. God reveals his will, his truth, to his servants "more and more unto the perfect day." This was the case with Ellen White and her personal opinion on pork eating. She might have at first thought that pork wasn’t a bad thing in 1858 when the above letter was written, but later the truth about swines flesh was revealed to her in vision. The light of "Health Reform" was given to her, and her former ways of thinking was changed.

The bible warns:

Isaiah 66:16-17
(16) For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
(17) 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.

So it only seems right that the Lord would reveal to her the truth on this matter.