Bible Diet

On my last trip to the health food store I bought sprouted grain bagels made by Food for Life.

The line of products is called Ezekiel 4:9. I’ve loved sprouted grain breads for years because they’re moist and dense and much more flavorful than bread made from dry grain. But what’s with naming the bread after an Old Testament verse?

Being pretty Bible illiterate, I had to trot out the old Revised Standard see what it was all about. I’m so unlettered it took a good long while to figure out the book of Ezekiel is toward the end of the Old. At least I knew which half to search. A quick scan through the first three chapters seemed to involve God’s sending the prophet a bunch of visions. First Ezekiel sees the image of the four-sided head – man, ox, lion, eagle. I’m pretty sure those are also the archangels who show up in Revelation, only this time they had separate bodies. Then Ezekiel sees the wheel. This bit I remember from a gospel hymn. I hear it in Paul Robeson’s big deep voice: “Ezekiel saw the wheel, way in the middle of the air. Big wheel run by faith. Little wheel run by the grace of God.”

God orders Ezekiel in the second and third chapters to scare the crap out of the Israelites because they haven’t been doing what they were supposed to. At some point in the distant past, I had marked the beginning of Chapter 2, where God tells Ezekiel he must talk to the people of Israel “… whether they hear or they refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that there was been a prophet among them.”

Before Ezekiel can take his message to the children of Israel, he has to undergo a bunch of tests. The New Testament lifts that, too, when J.C. hangs out in the desert for forty days. Ezekiel gets it much worse, though he isn’t crucified at the end. He eats a scroll that tastes sweet because it contains the words of God. He is bound and gagged, so that the people of Israel will believe again when the Lord looses Ezekiel’s bonds. Then he has to create a replica of Jerusalem and mount a symbolic siege against it. For 390 days he was supposed to lie on his left side and take on the punishment for the house of Israel. Then for forty days he was to lie on his right side and suffer the punishment for the house of Judah. (He beat J.C. by more than a year.)

Finally we get to the diet: “And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt, and put them into a single vessel, and make bread of them. During the number of days that you lie upon your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it.” verse 4, chapter 9. Later on, God tells Ezekiel he can only eat this barley cake once a day, and all he can drink is water, “the sixth part of a hin.” A hin seems to be about a half-gallon, which these days is only half of the RDA. It certainly isn’t enough for life in the desert. Heck, I drank that much water in my first two hours on the ground in Colorado, (See Rocky Mountain Dehydrated,” February 25) and that wasn’t even full desert. I’d say after more than a year of sprouted bread and a little water, Ezekiel would be hallucinating big time.

David Plotz tried the combination of grains as cereal for Blogging the Bible. He said it tasted OK but needed some sugar. It was a definite no go for a year’s worth of meals, however. Plotz calls the prophet Zeke and swears the man was sprinkling something extra on his matzo and brisket. (Matzo, I get. That was the manna or maybe the unleavened bread. But brisket? I didn’t know they had delis in biblical times.)

Anyway, I like my Ezekiel 4:9 bagels, slathered with veggie cream cheese, or with peanut butter. No need for honey or jam or any sweet stuff. I drank water with it but had some coffee on the side. I also ate other less healthy stuff for lunch and dinner. No plans for 390 days of Ezekiel 4:9 for me, either.

A little weirdness finished this whole episode. When I went looking for a bookmark so I could return to the passage, I found one in the Gospel of John in the New Testament. I think he’s the same guy who wrote Revelation. The heading over John, Chapter 6 was, “I am the Bread of Life.” Jesus is telling the people in Capernaum that the bread he conjured to feed the multitudes came from God, as did the manna that fed the ancestors when they were following Moses around in the desert. There’s some larger meaning here about nourishment, which I will puzzle out in the coming days.

BTW, Food for Life has another product line called Genesis 1:29, which they’ve apparently trade named. That verse follows the creation of Adam and Eve. “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.” He goes on to say that all living breathing things have green plants for food. Just goes to show that Adam and Eve were vegetarians, at least until that snake came along.

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2 Responses to “Bible Diet”

  1. James Says:

    very good. I like this article.

  2. Betsy Says:

    ahhh religion…the cause of many wars and a most expedient way to get unearned money into the coffers of every religious organization or religious-leaning organization. Is it no wonder so many people have a hard time believing in God? Bible based diet is just another way to use God to make money.

    I believe in God. but I think that his word and his intent have been so distorted by men for their own gains over the centuries that it is hard for me to cowtow to rules that end up being mostly man-made.

    I agree with what you said in a previous e-mail that there are angels around the postcard book, but I am jaded enough to let those reading it find them on their own, rather than to push angels on them. My religious mother would find that statement offensive. Oh well. Like you, I believe that God, or the higher power or the universe will lead me where it wants me to go.

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