What is temperance?
Ellen White stated that temperance is “to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful” (Patriarchs and Prophets, 562). In other words, temperance is abstaining from the bad and moderation in the good.
What were the issues with the Babylonian diet?
- The drink provided was alcoholic. The word for wine in the Bible can refer to fermented or unfermented grape juice. And the Bible is clear in its stance on the fermented: “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper” (Prov. 23:31, 32). This text does not refer to regular grape juice!
- The food had been offered to idols.
- The blood had not been drained in slaughter. “You must not eat meat that still has blood in it” (Lev. 17:12, NIRV).
- The Babylonian diet included unclean meat (Leviticus 11).
What was the Daniel diet?
“Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink” (Dan. 1:12, KJV). The term pulse has roots from the word for seed and is a reference to the diet in Genesis. “And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food’ ” (Gen. 1:29). The book of Daniel begins with Daniel and his three friends choosing the Edenic diet.
We are not saved through vegetarianism or veganism. However, the book of Daniel does reveal the correlation between diet and spiritual understanding. The key to understanding the prophetic books of Daniel is not limited to the intellectual dimension alone, but also includes the physical dimension—namely, what we choose to ingest into our bodies.