18 December 2020 |
An article in the Adventist Review released jointly by the General Conference Department of Health Ministries, General Conference Biblical Research Institute, and Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy and School of Public Health answers some of the objections being raised against the vaccine, such as those made publicly by lay evangelist David Gates and reported here. “There are rumors and conspiracy theories that use the COVID-19 vaccine as an interpretation and/or fulfillment of prophecy,” explain the authors. To the objection that the vaccine is the mark of the beast, a spokesman for the BRI explained that
Adventists hold to the conviction that the end-time controversy will center on the law of God, and particularly on the fourth commandment (Rev 14:12). … For this reason, it should be made clear that Seventh-day Adventists understand the ‘mark of the beast’ to be not a literal mark but a sign of allegiance that identifies the bearer as loyal to the power represented by the beast.
Gates had warned Adventists that the vaccine “contains DNA material from fetuses and detestable things. That vaccine has the ability to modify every DNA of your bodies and incorporate those detestable genes into our DNA. Every cell will now be an abomination to God.…” The BRI statement replied that
the abiding biblical instructions forbidding the consumption of unclean food and blood (Lev 11:1–20; 17:11–12; Acts 15:20) do not apply to vaccines for the obvious reason that vaccines are produced as medication to save lives, not to serve as food.
The statement concludes that
we encourage responsible immunization/vaccination, and have no religious or faith-based reason not to encourage our adherents to responsibly participate in protective and preventive immunization programs. We value the health and safety of the population, which includes the maintenance of ‘herd immunity.’ We are not the conscience of the individual church member, and recognize individual choices. These are exercised by the individual. The choice not to be immunized is not and should not be seen as the dogma nor the doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church [emphasis added].