Your health is a matter of CAUSE and EFFECT! There are REASONS for sickness and there are LAWS which will promote better health. The MAKER'S INSTRUCTION BOOK reveals those laws of good health. You need to understand and apply them!
by: William F. Dankenbring
(Tomorrow's World Article - January 1972)
God gave to the ancient Israelites basic laws of health which — if obeyed — would quickly prevent or stamp out the terrible incidence of disease afflicting our modern world.
Does that sound shocking?
Biblical health laws reveal in plain language the way to avoid much illness and disease. They reveal how to prevent contagious diseases and widespread epidemics. They show how to avoid a host of modern maladies. In this article we will give you the documentation — the proof.
Strictly speaking, of course, the Bible is not a "health textbook" or medical manual. But it does lay the foundation of knowledge, and reveals many health laws which stumbling, groping mankind has required thousands of years to discover — yet all this time these laws have been written in the pages of that Book which is so often ignored or lost in a seldom-perused corner of the family bookshelf.
The Bible is God's Instruction Book for mankind. It tells how the human body and mind best function. It reveals the basic keys to the abundant, radiant, robust and vigorous healthy life.
Why has mankind generally ignored this source of health information ?
Why did so many physicians overlook and ignore it for countless centuries, consequently having to learn the hard way about preventing sickness and disease?
Let's take a brief look at some of the major discoveries of medical science regarding health, and see what the Bible says about them.
The Black Death
During the l4th century bubonic plague struck Asia and spread to Russia, Persia, Turkey, North Africa and Europe. Perhaps one third of the European population died in those tragic years.
Relentlessly, the plague invaded every city, hamlet or village. Millions lost their lives to the "grim reaper." Panic and confusion were rampant. Death was everywhere. The toll was so great that bodies were thrown into huge pits, mass graves.
What led to the incredible spread of the "black death"? Modern science now knows that unclean streets, poor sanitation, and filth were great contributors. In the l4th century, cities in Europe were filthy, laden with garbage. Refuse was simply thrown in the gutter in London and Paris.
The Jewish physician Balavignus lived in those times and saw that miserable sanitation was a major factor in the spread of the disease. He instituted a cleanup movement among the Jews. The rats, consequently, left the Jewish ghettos and moved into the "Gentile" sectors of the city. As a result, the Jews' mortality rate from the plague was only five percent of what it was among their non-Jewish neighbours!
The general population soon saw the difference, but instead of emulating the Jewish hygienic measures, the people began to suspect the Jews of causing the plague and poisoning wells — and a general massacre was launched. Balavignus himself, persecuted and tortured, was finally compelled to "confess" that he and others were responsible for the disease.
How was the black death finally conquered? Declared David Riesman, professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania: "Isolation of the sick and quarantine came into use. These practices not only eliminated the plague as a pandemic menace for the first time in history but also led to general laws against infectious diseases, thereby laying the foundations upon which modern hygiene rests" (Medicine in the Middle Ages, p. 260).
Laws of Quarantine
Another plague which prevailed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Europe was leprosy. England, Sweden, Iceland and Norway showed alarming gains in the numbers of leprosy cases in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. But when the authorities began to institute the quarantine, in the form of segregation of leprosy cases, the plague was again brought under control.
In Norway rigid national quarantine was introduced in 1856 because of the widespread severity of leprosy. "Ninety years later the health authorities were able to report that Norway had only five percent of the number of lepers that were there before segregation. Similarly favorable reports come to us from Finland and Sweden, where enforced segregation of lepers had also been instituted," writes D.T. Atkinson (Magic, Myth and Medicine, p. 64).
Where did these quarantine laws come from ?
This same author tells us, "It is most singular that a description of leprosy, as found in the thirteenth chapter of Leviticus, could have been written so long before our time. It is to be noticed that such an accurate description of this dread malady as it appears in the Biblical narrative is not to be found in the literature of any nation for the next seventeen hundred years" (ibid; p. 25-26).
Astounding? Why should it be, since the Bible was divinely inspired by the God who created mankind?
Speaking of the Biblical laws regarding leprosy, Atkinson states: "The laws of health laid down in Leviticus are the BASIS OF MODERN SANITARY SCIENCE. Moses ordered that cases of leprosy should be segregated, that dwellings from which infected Jews had gone should be inspected before again being occupied, and that persons recovering from contagious disease were not to be allowed to go abroad until examined. The modern quarantine harks back to these sanitary regulations of the Old Testament" (p. 58).
Similarly, Arturo Castiglioni in A History of Medicine tells us, "The laws against leprosy in Leviticus 13 may be regarded as the first model of a sanitary legislation" (p. 71).
Sanitation and Hygiene
The Old Testament contains many injunctions which relate to health. If the world would have obeyed them, its disease toll would have been drastically cut.
Until the close of the 17th century, hygienic conditions in cities were generally deplorable. Excrement and filth were often dumped into the streets. Flies, breeding in the filth, spread and carried disease to millions.
However, the principle of burying excrement and filth was given by the Scriptures over 1400 years before Christ. God told Moses and the children of Israel: "Thou shalt have a place also. without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: and thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee" (Deut. 23:12-13).
Says medical historian Arturo Castiglioni, "The regulations in Deuteronomy as to how soldiers should prevent the danger of infection coming from their excrement by covering it with earth constitute a most important document of sanitary legislation" (A History of Medicine, p. 70).
Castiglioni declared, "Study of Biblical texts appears to have demonstrated that the ancient Semitic peoples, in agreement with the most modern tenets of epidemiology, attributed more importance to animal transmitters of disease, like the rat and the fly, than to the contagious individual" (ibid; p. 71).
Three thousand years later, when the bubonic plague devastated Europe, this knowledge had generally been lost. Some blamed noxious fumes in the air; others attributed it to the stars; some thought it was caused by a conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn; yet others blamed the Jews, and many blamed God.
Generally, the world did not wake up to the importance of hygiene and cleanliness until about the end of the 18th century. Yet vital principles of sanitation and cleanliness were expounded by God to Moses almost 3,500 years ago!
The Biblical laws of cleanliness, washings, and purification were not all merely customs or rituals. They protected the camp of Israel from the dangers of contagious diseases and deadly plagues!
States Dr. D. T. Atkinson, "In the Bible greater stress was placed upon prevention of disease than was given to the treatment of bodily ailments, and in this no race of people, before or since, has left us such a wealth of LAWS RELATIVE TO HYGIENE AND SANITATION as the Hebrews. These important laws, coming down through the ages, are still used to a marked degree in every country in the world sufficiently enlightened to observe them. One has but to read the book of Leviticus carefully and thoughtfully to conclude that the admonitions of Moses contained therein are, in fact, the groundwork of most of today's sanitary laws. As one closes the book, he must, regardless of his spiritual leanings, feel that the wisdom therein expressed regarding the rules to protect health are superior to any which then existed in the world and that to this day they have been little improved upon" (Magic, Myth and Medicine, Atkinson, p. 20).
Unfortunately, even in our modern world people are beginning to lose sight of the vital importance of sanitation and hygiene in combating and preventing illness and contagion. Our modern cities are becoming increasingly congested, polluted, filthy and dirty. Garbage strikes pose serious health problems. Our air is becoming unfit to breathe because of pollution; and our water is becoming increasingly contaminated with industrial chemicals, urban wastes, and a host of modern pollutants unheard of even twenty years ago!
Could the continuing decrease of sanitation, and the growing violation of Biblical hygienic and health principles, be contributing factors in the escalating incidence in modern degenerative and contagious diseases around the world?
Think about it.
The Bible and Heart Disease
At first one might think it strange that the Bible would have something to say about cardiovascular disease or arteriosclerosis — but it does!
In 1970 heart disease claimed 750,000 victims in the United States — it is far and away the number-one killer. Similar statistics could be cited for England, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations.
Modern researchers have pinpointed several contributing causes of heart disease including improper diet, overweight, smoking, lack of exercise and nervous stress. What does the Bible have to say about heart disease? Much more than you probably imagine!
First, the Bible clearly recommends a balanced life — "moderation" in all things (see Phil. 4:5). It condemns gluttony and overeating (Prov. 23:20-21). Secondly, many Biblical principles condemn smoking and cigarettes as a lust of the flesh which denies the body. (Write for our free booklet You Can Quit Smoking and our free reprint "Should a Christian Smoke?")
Thirdly, the Bible tells us we should exercise regularly and moderately throughout our lives. I Timothy 4:8, correctly translated, shows that bodily exercise profits "for a little while" — that is, in this life. Fourthly, the Bible admonishes us to avoid nervous stress, anxieties, and worries which can trigger heart attacks. Many scriptures could be cited to prove this. (See, for example, Proverbs 15:13; 17:22; Psalms 119:165; Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:27; Philippians 4:7.)
Perhaps the most interesting point of all, however, is the fact that medical science has proved there is a correlation between heart disease and cholesterol in the bloodstream. Cholesterol, a fatty, waxy material which your body needs in limited amounts, is a curse to health when it clogs vital arteries. Diets high in cholesterol may cause the blood to be burdened; excessive amounts collect on the inside of the coronary arteries. Fatal coronary heart disease has been related to diets containing high levels of cholesterol and fat, though other factors are also involved.
But what does this have to do with the Bible? Simply this: Dr. Paul Dudley White, the heart specialist who treated President Eisenhower while he was in the White House, once quoted Leviticus 7:23, "Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat," Animal fats are high in cholesterol. Therefore, Dr. Paul Dudley White asserted, "It is conceivable that a few years from now we medical men may repeat to the citizens of the United States of America the advice that Moses was asked by God to present to the children of Israel 3,000 years ago."
How could Moses have known? But, of course — it wasn't Moses' words but GOD'S instructions which the Bible records! Here is further evidence that the Biblical health laws "scooped" modern medical science by 3,400 years!
Bible Dietary Laws
Proper diet is also important in the prevention of disease.
In Leviticus 11 we read of important dietary laws which God gave His people. Among other things, He forbade them to eat the flesh of pigs or swine, rabbits, or shellfish (Lev. 11:6, 7,9-12). Were these laws merely ceremonial, ritualistic, and therefore, abolished today?
Not at all! Writes Dr. Louis Lasagna, "Many of these make good medical sense,.. The prohibition of hare and swine as sources of food certainly must have diminished the incidence of disease, in view of the capacity of these animals to transmit tularaemia and trichinosis, respectively. The transmission of gastrointestinal infections (including typhoid fever) via polluted shellfish or water also testifies to the apparent wisdom of the Hebrews in warning against such sea food and impure water" (The Doctors' Dilemmas, p. 85).
If you would like more information on this subject, write for our free article "Is All Animal Flesh Good Food?" It will explore the meaning of these vital dietary laws to our present generation. Suffice it to say, however, that Dr. Lasagna's comments on the ancient dietary laws of the Hebrews show that those were indeed wise and good laws!
The Bible Versus Venereal Disease
The fastest spreading contagious disease in the Western world today is venereal disease. In the United States, someone contracts venereal disease every 12 seconds! Dr. Geoffrey Simmons of the Los Angeles County Health Department predicts that by 1975 the present two million annual cases of V.D. in the United States will rise to five million. But why? What is the cause?
Medical authorities frankly admit that V.D. is spread through sexual contact. Homosexuals account for nearly one fifth of the reported cases! As long as there is promiscuity, free sex, and homosexuality, there is bound to be venereal disease.
But the solution to this terrible worldwide curse is as simple as it is ancient: "Shun immorality! Any other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body" (I Cor. 6:18, Moffatt translation).
What does the Bible say will happen to those who devote themselves to sexual vice, who dishonour their own bodies? God says: "... their women have exchanged the natural function of sex for what is unnatural, and in the same way the males have abandoned the natural use of women and flamed out in lust for one another, men perpetrating shameless acts with their own sex and getting in their own persons the due recompense of their perversity" (Rom. 1:26-27, Moffatt).
The growing incidence of this ancient plague speaks eloquently that the solution is prevention! Thousands of years ago the Biblical standards of morality safeguarded against this plague which blights the lives of as yet unborn generations. There is no safe, reliable "cure" for this disease — except prevention. Why do millions insist on hiding their eyes from this obvious truth?
When God created mankind He said, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). If this one basic, scriptural principle were obeyed, today, the world would see the end of venereal disease. It would be totally stamped out!
The Bible, clearly, is a remarkable book. Its various portions, written from 4,000 to 2,000 years ago, speak authoritatively regarding health and disease prevention. The Bible not only gave laws of sanitation and hygiene thousands of years before the world in general stumbled across those laws by "accident," but it also gave other fundamental principles of prevention of disease which the world still refuses to face!
The Solution to Mental Illness
There are an estimated 20 million Americans who are mentally, ill — suffering various forms of neuroses, psychoses, and emotional mental problems.
The National Association for Mental Health admits, "We know very little about the causes of mental illness, and until we know much more, we cannot identify any sure way to prevent mental illness."
Wrote Dr. Sarnoff A. Mednick in Psychology Today, "We have been working on the problem of schizophrenia, however, for more than 100 years, and at this point it is fair — in fact necessary — to say that we know very little definite about the origins of this disease. Zero" (Mednick, "Birth Defects and Schizophrenia," Psychology Today, April, 1971).
When medical authorities admit they don't know the causes of mental illness, or how to prevent it, perhaps we should look to another source — another Authority — for counsel and advice. What about the Bible?
Does the Bible say anything about mental and emotional illness? In view of the amazing statements in the Bible pertaining to other modern afflictions, it would be surprising if the Bible didn't say anything about mental illness.
God warned 3,400 years ago that if men insisted upon breaking His laws and commandments, and living their own ways, the result would be disastrous. God said if we broke His laws we would be smitten with mental illness — "The Eternal will strike your minds with madness, blindness, and dismay, till you grope at noon like a blind man in the dark, and fall into disaster" (Deut. 28:28-29, Moffatt).
The original Hebrew word for "madness" in this verse is shiggaown and refers to insanity. Fully 25 percent of our hospital beds today are occupied by victims of schizophrenia!
What is the solution to the plague of mental illness devastating millions of lives today? If our modern nations would obey God's laws, God would remove these curses which we have, brought upon ourselves (Deut. 28:58-62; Lev. 26:40-46).
Obedience to the laws of God is the key to mental health. "Great peace have they which love thy law," David wrote in the Psalms (Ps. 119:165). God's Law is the way to a long life, happiness and peace (Prov. 3:1-2).
God's Law, summarized, is the law of love — outgoing concern for others (Matt. 22:36-40). Love is the fulfilling of God's Law (I John 5:3; Rom. 13:10). Perfect, mature love casts out fear, worry, anxiety, depression, and the negative emotions which can wreck mental health. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (I John 4:18). This kind of love is outgoing concern for the welfare of other people, as opposed to self-centred, selfish concern for one's own self. It is the attitude of giving service to others, helpfulness. Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
This kind of love is the essential key to mental health and emotional well-being. It conquers the negative emotions of jealousy, envy, fear, hatred, vanity, worry, anxiety, inferiority, etc.
If a person has true love for others, he will radiate cheerfulness and joy. Cheerfulness and joy are tremendous antidotes for mental illness. Modern clinical evidence supports the statement of Solomon who declared, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Prov. 17:22). Also see Proverbs 12:25 and 15:13.
The Great Paradox
Paradoxically, the world has come to acknowledge many of the health principles outlined in the Bible, but still refuses to acknowledge the Source.
When will men cease to overlook the Source Book for good health?
God's laws were designed to PREVENT illness — to maintain vibrant good health. But the world only gives lip service to them and ignores their source. What a paradox!
It is time we admitted that thousands of years ago when pagan, Gentile nations — steeped in idolatry and superstition — were propounding all kinds of weird remedies and quack cures for illness, there was a nation free from idolatrous superstition, which was taught principles of health and disease prevention which are still valid today!
What does this momentous fact mean? Just this: The Bible is no mere book of men — its authorship is divine! Biblical health laws prove — along with the proofs of Biblical prophecy — that the Bible was divinely inspired by the Eternal God!
There is a Creator God. He "manufactured" the human race. And He wrote an "Instruction Book" that goes along with His product, and tells how it is best operated. Just as any automobile manufacturer sends an instruction book along with each new automobile, so God gave us an Instruction Book — the Bible — which tells us how to live, and how to have robust, radiant health and vitality!
The Bible is the foundation of all knowledge, including the knowledge of health. If society will build on its fundamental precepts wisely and soundly, we can avoid the tragedy of increasing sickness and disease. We can begin to eliminate the terrible scourges of modern disease.
Biblical laws are the keys to abundant health. They were devised for your protection and well-being. But if you break them, they will break you.
Will you begin to obey those laws?
Your future health — physically, mentally and emotionally — will depend in large measure on how you answer that question!