by Jerome Niswonger, MD, MPH


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about major changes in the lives of many people.  Theories abound regarding the proper diagnosis, treatment, prevention, origination of the virus, and many aspects of the disease process. There is no general agreement as to appropriate responses even among the so-called experts. The subjects of masks, vaccination, social distancing, hydroxychloroquine, and diet are but a few. The purpose of this paper is to attempt to give the reader some tools to help make an informed decision, not to decide for you.


General Health

There is universal agreement, however, that a healthy immune system is vital to good health and resistance to disease. This consists of at least two components:  the innate and the adaptive.

Innate immunity is the first line of defense against pathogens that enter the body. It is also referred to as natural or native immunity and consists of:  

    a) Protection offered by the skin and mucous membranes 

    b) Protection offered by the extensive immune cell system and proteins                 (enzymes)  

Adaptive immunity is also called specific or acquired immunity.  It is made up of:     a) T lymphocytes in the tissue between the body's cells                                   b) B lymphocytes, also found in the tissue between the body's cells        c) Antibodies in the blood and other bodily fluids

As one might expect, the functional capacity of the immune system gradually declines with age.

For a more extensive discussion please see:


Shall our immune system as a whole, with its respective yet interlaced innate and  adaptive systems, be subject to the continuing ravages of sin, or has our loving Creator provided a way to sustain and/or repair us into healthy, living testimonies for Him, to be vital carriers of the Third Angels Message?  

Role of Health Principles and Disease                                                            

Scripture instructs us: 

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. Ex. 15:26  

The Lord our Creator has given us His "health manual" to keep us from contracting the “diseases of the Egyptians.” Ellen White states:

“Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies. Every person should have a knowledge of nature’s remedial agencies and how to apply them. It is essential both to understand the principles involved in the treatment of the sick and to have a practical training that will enable one rightly to use this knowledge.” {MH 127.2} 

The Spirit of Prophecy further instructs us:

“The use of natural remedies requires an amount of care and effort that many are not willing to give. Nature’s process of healing and upbuilding is gradual, and to the impatient it seems slow. The surrender of hurtful indulgences requires sacrifice.  But in the end it will be found that nature, untrammeled, does her work wisely and well. Those who persevere in obedience to her laws will reap the reward in health of body and health of mind.” {MH 127.3}(emphasis added)

Please note, ‘The surrender of hurtful indulgences requires sacrifice.’ How many are willing to put forth the required effort to reap the reward of good health? Not many. It is easier to indulge in harmful practices and go to a doctor to get a prescription for a pill.

Diet has a significant role in our health manual. Scripture is clear in what God said we are to eat.

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. Gen. 1:29 (grains, nuts, fruits) 

However, after the fall, man’s diet markedly changed not by command from God but because of man’s rebellion. Note the profound effect diet had on 'their cup of iniquity.'

“The people who lived before the flood ate animal food and gratified their lusts until their cup of iniquity was full, and God cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood. Then the third dreadful curse rested upon the earth. The first curse was pronounced upon the posterity of Adam and upon the earth, because of disobedience. The second curse came upon the ground after Cain slew his brother Abel. The third most dreadful curse from God came upon the earth at the flood.” {CD 373.2} (emphasis added)

From the Spirit of Prophecy, diet and disease are closely related and extend to the present time.

“Those foods should be chosen that best supply the elements needed for building up the body. In this choice appetite is not a safe guide. Through wrong habits of eating, the appetite has become perverted. Often it demands food that impairs health and causes weakness instead of strength.... The disease and suffering that everywhere prevail are largely due to popular errors in regard to diet.”{ CG 380.3}(emphasis added)

Many view the COVID-19 pandemic as a curse. I would suggest that the remedy for this is found in the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy. Consider this statement from the pen of Inspiration:

‘The subject of health reform has been presented in the churches; but the light has not been heartily received. The selfish, health-destroying indulgences of men and women have counteracted the influence of the message that is to prepare a people for the great day of God. If the churches expect strength, they must live the truth which God has given them. If the members of our churches disregard the light on this subject, they will reap the sure result in both spiritual and physical degeneracy. And the influence of these older church members will leaven those newly come to the faith’… Testimonies for the Church 6:370, 371, 1900 {CD 455.2}(emphasis added)

Is Health Reform Salvational?

Those who teach the principles of health reform should be intelligent in regard to disease and its causes, understanding that every action of the human agent should be in perfect harmony with the laws of life. The light God has given on health reform is for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Men and women should be informed in regard to the human habitation, fitted up by our Creator as His dwelling place, and over which He desires us to be faithful stewards. “For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16. {7T 136.1} (emphasis added)

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been raised up to give the last message of mercy.

“Christ’s work in behalf of man is not finished. It continues today. In like manner His ambassadors are to preach the gospel and to reveal His pitying love for lost and perishing souls. By an unselfish interest in those who need help they are to give a practical demonstration of the truth of the gospel. Much more than mere sermonizing is included in this work. The evangelization of the world is the work God has given to those who go forth in His name. They are to be colaborers with Christ, revealing to those ready to perish His tender, pitying love. God calls for thousands to work for Him, not by preaching to those who know the truth for this time, but by warning those who have never heard the last message of mercy. Work with a heart filled with an earnest longing for souls. Do medical missionary work. Thus you will gain access to the hearts of people, and the way will be prepared for a more decided proclamation of the truth.” {RH December 17, 1914, par. 8} (emphasis added)

What an opportunity to be co-laborers with Christ!

(to be cont'd)