Many Seventh-Day Adventists love to cite Daniel and his friends abstinence from the kings food in Daniel 1:8 as a prescriptive text for being a vegetarian—inserting their health message into scripture. This is ultimately coming from Ellen G. White, their prophetess, who claimed to be given their message of health through a vision and said that anyone who rejects it, rejects God. It is important to note that the SDA Church upholds Ellen White as divinely inspired and correcting of inaccurate interpretations of scripture.
She also claimed that you are what you eat and meat eating weakens your moral faculties and incites animal passions. Not just that but it renders the mind incapable of understanding truth and corrupts the lifeblood of a person supposedly. Since it beclouds your mental capacities and she said that anything that does so is a sin, that would mean meat eating is a sin according to her, despite her claim that meat eating isn’t a sin. She also claimed that anything that does not make good blood is a violation of God’s law which would, by her own standard, make meat eating a sin.
Regarding Daniel and his friends, she states that flesh meat had not been a part of their diet in the past, neither should it in the future. This contradicts scripture.
One only needs to read all of Daniel to see that in Daniel 10:2-3 we’re told that Daniel’s fast and abstinence from meat and wine was only for 3 weeks. To fast from something means to temporarily abstain from that thing. The fact that we are told her fasted from meat and wine means he would have consumed them before and after. Daniel and his friends were also Jews. As such, they would have partaken of the passover lamb like every other faithful Jew (Exodus 12:3-4; 7-8).
Interestingly enough, Adventist theologians like Angel Rodriquez from the Adventist Biblical Research Institute have rightly recognized this, tacitly admitting that Ellen White contradicted the scriptures on this subject, yet as an Adventist, Mr. Rodriquez must submit to Ellen White as the correct interpreter of scripture.
This story is not a lesson on what the normative diet for all of humanity should be. It is an example of a situation where God’s servants were in a position of being faithful where they were. In their case, it had to do with fasting for a season and God providing for His people despite the physical obstacles placed before them, just like when Daniel was thrown into the lions den. When Daniel and his friends fasted, the true God sustained them better than everyone else who wasn’t fasting. It was a testimony to God’s working and for Him to be recognized and glorified in His people who were surrounded by pagans. It isn’t teaching us that the entire planet needs to be a vegetarian. Let alone that if you aren’t you won’t be fit for heaven.
Ellen White claimed that “whatever contradicts God’s Word, we can be sure proceeds from Satan.” We’ll let you connect the dots.
To see an in-depth discussion on the book of Daniel and how the Adventist Church is in error regarding it, watch our stream with a Daniel scholar on this subject.