The Book of Revelation and Its Apocalyptic Implications for the 21st Century (Vol. 1 no. 6)

The Idealist Interpretation: (Eternal Principles)

 The Idealist maintains that Revelation is not a predictive prophecy but a symbolic portrait of the cosmic conflict between the forces of good and evil. In this view, Revelation becomes merely a collection of stories designed to teach spiritual truth. Some refer to this method of interpretation as “Spiritual.” Mounce and Osborne provide a good summary of the idealist approach to interpreting Revelation. Idealist proponents hold that Revelation is not to be taken about any specific events but as an expression of those basic principles on which God acts throughout history.

The idealist approach continues the allegorical interpretation, which dominated exegesis throughout the medieval period and still finds favor with those inclined to minimize the historical character of the coming consummation. This modern approach argues that the symbols do not relate to historical events but rather to timeless spiritual truths. It relates primarily to the Church between the advents, that is, between Christ’s first and second comings. Thus, it concerns the battle between God and evil and the Church and the world in church history. The millennium in this approach is not a future event but the final cycle of the book, describing the church age. The Idealist employs allegorical interpretation to reduce Revelation to a symbolic exhibition of good versus evil. The more moderate form of allegorical interpretation following Augustine regards Revelation as presented symbolically in the total conflict between Christianity and evil. Or, as Augustine put it, “the City of God versus the City of Satan.” Idealist Calkins summarizes Idealism in five propositions:

  1. It is an irresistible summons to heroic living;
  2. the book contains matchless appeals to endurance;
  3. It tells us that evil is marked for overthrow in the end;
  4. It gives us a new and beautiful picture of Christ; and
  5. the Apocalypse reveals to us the fact that Christ is the author and reviewer of the moral destinies of men

The Futurist Interpretation: (A Blueprint of the End Times)

A literal reading of prophecy will primarily produce a ‘futurist’ interpretation. Thus, futurists interpret Revelation 4–22 as predictive of future, end-time historical events preceding during and after the return of Jesus Christ. Futurists, usually Premillennial and Amillennialists, spiritualize the 1000 years. Postmillennialism spiritualizes the resurrection that precedes it—a millennial kingdom on earth, followed by creating a new heaven and new earth. The earliest expositors held variations of this view, such as Justin Martyr (d. 164) Irenaeus (d.c. 195). This futurist approach has enjoyed a revival since the 19th century and is widely held among evangelicals today. The approach to interpreting Revelation that has gained perhaps the most extensive exposure of all systems of interpretation in recent times is the futurist interpretation. Several seminaries in the recent past have championed a literal interpretative approach to all of Scripture within a framework that understands related Old Testament passages and promises involving Israel and distinguishes between Israel and the Church.


The futurist interpretation is the basic interpretive framework behind the hugely popular left behind series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Futurism derives from the consistent application of literal hermeneutics (Note 8), the Golden Rule of Interpretation, across the entire body of Scripture, including Revelation. Contrary to the claims of many critics, it is not a priority view, which is imposed on the text. As evidenced by the testimony of the early Church, futurism is the most natural result of a plain reading of the text and the way that most unbiased readers would understand the book on their first reading. Futurism gets its label from its refusal to see unfulfilled passages fulfilled by approximately similar events in the past. Hence, it holds that many of the events in the book of Revelation await future fulfillment.

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The Book of Revelation and Its Apocalyptic Implications for the 21st Century (Vol. 1 no. 5)

The Historicist Interpretation – (The Road Map of World History)

Historicists view Revelation as a symbolic or allegorical prophetic survey of church history from the first century to the second coming of Christ. And this was the view espoused by most of the “reformers.” This view dominated Protestant for centuries. Revelation deals with human history, and the meaning of the symbols is to be found in the events of history. Some hold that the book deals with the period before the present; some see it as unfolding in the present, and some emphasize the future.


 The entire book is a symbolic account of the whole scope of world history, with the “beast” identified with various historical figures or people, from the Saracens to Mohammed, to the Pope, to Adolph Hitler. This view arose in the middle Ages and was adopted by most reformers in the 16th century, including Martin Luther. He popularized the idea that the “beast” was the Roman Catholic Pope. In turn, Catholic theologians were convinced that Luther was the “beast.” The historicist view has been vastly discounted, as it does not adequately address the prophecy in Revelation. The historicist view is reflected in most of the “older” commentaries, including John Knox, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, C. H. Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, and Albert Barnes. An example of a historicist interpretation is the belief that the strong angel of Rev. 10 symbolizes the reformation and that the harlot in Rev. 17 represents the Roman Catholic Church, an interpretation that the plain reading of the text does not agree with.


The historicist system of interpretation understands Revelation as setting forth the significant events of Christian history spanning the time of John until the present. Proponents of this method have tended to take Rev. 2-19, including the seals, trumpets, bowls, and the interludes, as prophetic of salvation history, that is, the development of church history within the world history. This view has also been called the Classicist. The Classicist view interprets Revelation as the symbolic history of the “Church” from apostolic times to the return of Christ and judgment. It denies a literal thousand-year reign of Christ and makes the predictions more general in their application through history. This view can lead to subjectivism and widely differing opinions as to the meaning and fulfillment of the symbols.

***The Idealist Interpretation tomorrow.


The Book of Revelation and Its Apocalyptic Implications for the 21st Century (Vol.1 no.4)

The book as prophecy: Because Revelation is written in John’s name, it is related to Old Testament (OT) prophecy, perhaps more closely than the apocalyptic. But it is not prophecy in the famous (and incorrect) modern sense of “predicting the future.” OT prophecy was overwhelmingly concerned with speaking God’s message to people of the prophet’s own time, interpreting God’s will for them in light of the current historical events. The prophets were primarily “covenant mediators,” calling the people to be faithful to God amid the ups and downs of history.

1. In this sense, Revelation is a message, not for the far future, but for the first century Church whose very existence was being threatened by persecution from both Romans and Jews. However, as a message to the first-century church, it is also a “word” of God to the church today since we accept it as Scripture.

2. This relation to OT prophecy also underscores the fact that the Book of Revelation is related to a particular time in history, a particular set of circumstances, and particular people. It does not mean it is irrelevant for us today; it just means we cannot make it address the issues we want it to address directly without first understanding what it meant to the early church.


Approaches to Interpreting Revelation

 Any keys to interpreting Revelation must be intrinsic to the text of the Revelation itself or otherwise available to the original recipients from their historical context (Note 6). The rich and varied cultural context of the ancient world must be the frame of reference for interpreting the names and symbols of the book, but also with sensitivity to how creatively they are used in the book. The visions and symbols should not be pressed into an allegory in which every detail has some meaning; most often, the meaning is in the entire vision and its impact rather than every detail. Apocalypses do not intend to give a detailed chronological map of the future; the message is more historically conditioned and theologically oriented. Rather than a future map, it is an encouragement for the present.

The Preterist Interpretation:

 Preterist (from Latin preter meaning “past”) holds that through the use of symbols and allegory, Revelation deals with events fulfilled in John’s time. It was written primarily to provide hope and comfort to the first-century Church persecuted by Rome. The symbols are drawn from ancient texts and contemporary culture to dramatize the plight of the Church and encourage its members in the face of troubled times. The “beast” (Rev. 13) is usually identified with the Empire of Rome or a particular Roman emperor. While the book does deal with the future, it is mainly focused on the first century and extrapolates and projects the first-century experience of the Church into the future. This view gained prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries as more knowledge of the history of the early Church and other apocalyptic writings from the period came to light. Many modern scholars, especially liberals and those who deny that the Revelation predicts specific future events, hold the preterist view.


 Preterism understands specific eschatological passages, which are in the future, as having already been fulfilled. All biblical interpreters understand that specific prophecies have been fulfilled, but Preterists differ in that they interpret a more significant portion of Scripture as already have come to pass. There are different types of Preterism resulting from differences in views on which passages have been fulfilled and what events they fulfilled. Mild or Partial Preterism (Note 7) holds that most of the prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled in either the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) or the fall of the Roman Empire (A.D. 476). Still, the Second Coming of Christ is futuristic. This form of Preterism is orthodox and is the most frequent view encountered today. Moderate Preterism has become mainstream Preterism as it appears to be the most widely held version of Preterism today. In addition to R.C. Sproul, some well-known moderate Preterists include Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Gary DeMar, and the late David Chilton (who converted to full Preterism after all his books were published). Complete, extreme, or consistent Preterism holds that all the prophecies of Revelation are already fulfilled. We are currently living spiritually in the “new heavens and a new earth” and deny a future bodily return of Jesus. Extreme Preterists believe that “the second coming must have already occurred since it was one of the things predicted in the Old Testament, which had to be fulfilled by the time Jerusalem was destroyed.” It means there will never be a future second coming, for it already occurred in A. D. 70.


 Further, there will be no bodily resurrection of believers, which is said to have occurred in A.D. 70 in conjunction with the second coming. Full Preterists believe that we have been spiritually resurrected and will live forever with spiritual bodies when we die. Full Preterists say we are now living in what would be called the eternal state or the new heavens and new earth of Rev. 21-22. Proponents of this view include the originator of full Preterism, J. Stuart Russell, Max R. King, and his son, Tim, David Chilton,

Ed Stevens, Don K. Preston, John Noe, and John L. Bray. The book’s purpose to Preterists is to encourage Christians to endure because their persecutors assuredly will be judged.

***continuation tomorrow

The Book of Revelation and Its Apocalyptic Implications for the 21st Century (Vol. 1 no.3)

Nature of the Book of Revelation

 The Book Apocalypse: 

An apocalypse is a particular kind of literature with no modern equivalent. While there is only one OT apocalyptic book (Daniel) and one NT book that demonstrate some features of this type (Revelation), it was a common form of writing in the two centuries before and after the birth of Christ. There are several distinct features of apocalyptic writing:

  1. It arises out of a historical context of great turmoil, persecution, and oppression. The prophets looked forward to God balancing the scales of justice within history. Apocalyptic has given up on history and has become so pessimistic of change that it can only see God acting by bringing a radical end to history, destroying all evil, and beginning again with a new world.
  2. It is presented in visions, dreams, and otherworldly journeys. Several features intend to communicate a sense of mystery, revealing secrets long hidden in the mists of the past. Therefore, most apocalyptic writing is written under the name of a long-dead person of some reputation (Abraham, Moses, Enoch) who is instructed to keep the book for the “latter days,” which, of course, would be the time the book was written. Also, there is often a guide to reveal secrets or mysteries.
  3. It is Nature of the Book of Revelation

An apocalypse is a particular kind of literature with no modern equivalent. While there is only one OT apocalyptic book (Daniel) and one NT book that demonstrate some features of this type (Revelation), it was a common form of writing in the two centuries before and after the birth of Christ. There are several distinct features of apocalyptic writing:

  1. It arises out of a historical context of great turmoil, persecution, and oppression. The prophets looked forward to God balancing the scales of justice within history. Apocalyptic has given up on history and has become so pessimistic of change that it can only see God acting by bringing a radical end to history, destroying all evil, and beginning again with a new world.
  2. It is presented in visions, dreams, and otherworldly journeys. Several features intend to communicate a sense of mystery, revealing secrets long hidden in the mists of the past. Therefore, most apocalyptic writing is written under the name of a long-dead person of some reputation (Abraham, Moses, Enoch) who is instructed to keep the book for the “latter days,” which, of course, would be the time the book was written. Also, there is often a guide to reveal secrets or mysteries.
  3. It is carefully crafted literature, and it was not spoken (like prophetic sermons) but was composed. Therefore, it exhibits certain features of regular writing, such as structure, form, the flow of thought, creative use of language, etc.
  4. Its images and symbols are forms of fantasy rather than reality, and its language is cryptic, metaphorical, and highly symbolic. These symbols are not drawn from our modern World but the ancient World’s language, experience, and cultural “pool.” The assumptions that underlie the symbols are likewise not those of a modern scientific worldview of the 21st-century Western World, but those of the Ancient Near East 2,000 years ago. Strange multi-headed beasts, weird creatures, dragons, and odd combinations of standard images (locusts with scorpion’s tails and human heads) are common ways of writing. It purposely presents a world that does not exist except as a means of communication.
  5. It is a highly stylized and schematized way of writing. There are neat packages of time and events, all moving in a very systematic way. Sequences of numbers, people, or events are expected. Numbers, especially, take on symbolic value, even to the point of ciphering (specific numbers standing for certain letters of the alphabet). There are frequent uses of specific numbers, such as 3, 7, and 12 (and multiples, 144,000).
  6. However, simply because writing exhibits some of the features of an apocalypse does not necessarily mean that its message or theology must conform to that genre. That would be to ignore both the dynamic of inspiration (God’s word) and the author/community of faith (in human words). While the book of Revelation is modeled in some ways on the classic form of apocalyptic writings, the book’s message implies something far different from “traditional” apocalyptic writings.

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The Book of Revelation and Its Apocalyptic Implications for the 21st Century (V.1 no.2)

The Jewish expectation foresaw the future kingdom as a place of peace and plenty. John makes it unmistakably clear that God’s restoration of the kingdom, His fulfillment of the covenant, does not follow the lines of these expectations. John states the deep context of the lives of Christians that are members of God’s kingdom, His priestly people, but live in a world whose destructive and dehumanizing values, John sees as Fallen Babylon, a realm of being in rebellion against God. There is no other book of the Bible except the book of Daniel that has been subjected to the vagaries of interpreters as Revelation. The truths in the book of Revelation have their foundation in the prophecy in Daniel. There are two extreme cases, the futurists and the history, but the original method of interpretation must be independent of dogmatic presuppositions. Hastings Dictionary (Note 3) says: “Revelation must be interpreted by the general principles applicable to apocalypses as a form of literary expression.” The literary and critical analyses of Revelation do not coincide. The analysis does not differ fundamentally from that of other writers. A book on the New Testament theology written by George Eldon Ladd (Note 4) says the interpretation of Revelation has been the most challenging and confusing of all the books of the New Testament. Several distinct approaches emerged from the history of interpretation.

Revelation’s genre is apocalyptic though it has both epistolary and prophetic features. Ladd suggested in 1957 that Revelation be labeled “Prophetic – Apocalyptic.” It may be due to the centrality of prophetic material; both the prophecy and the apocalyptic center on future Salvation for the faithful and sure judgment for the unfaithful. While we may recognize the shadows of contemporary events in the Revelation, we must conclude that the elaborate symbolism of Jewish apocalyptic literature was employed in the interests of a prophetic forecast of the consummation of God’s redemptive purpose. (Note 5). There are four schools of interpretation of the Revelation. This paper examines the four: Preterist, Historicist, Idealist, and Futurist.

Keys to Understanding Revelation

 The symbolism of Revelation lies with the knowledge of Hebrew theology, the Law and the Prophets (Isaiah 8:20), and the ancient Jewish culture. Moses’ vision saw the purpose from beginning to end with the coming of the Messiah and John’s vision on the purpose of God (Elohim) from the end back to the beginning. Some future events that have been prophesied in Revelation are repeats of past events. For example, the seven plagues that will be poured out on Mystery Babylon correspond with the seven last plagues that Moses and Aaron poured out on Egypt (Exodus 8 -12). Many Biblical scholars have tried to interpret the vision of John with various methods, such as the contemporary historical method and the literary-critical method. Scholars cannot use philosophical methods to interpret a divine vision and Revelation given to the Apostle John. These methods will not honestly explain the interpretation of Revelation because this comes from the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20-21). The contemporary historical method believes that the Jewish apocalypses refer primarily to the time or era of the writer. This method also believes in the literal interpretation of prophecy and that no spiritual or symbolical method should be used. The literary-critical method believes that Revelation was a series of visions, written at different times and places before and after the temple’s destruction at Jerusalem.

Two great scholars: George Ladd and Dennis Bratcher, describe the Bible as follows:

Ladd’s postulation – “The Bible is the word of God given in the words of men in history.” 

Bratcher’s postulation– The Bible is God’s word in human words.” Revelation exhibits the conjecture of these scholars.

Based on the postulation of Ladd and Bratcher, one can assume that:

  1. Because it is God’s word, the Bible has: (a) ongoing relevance, (b) authority, and (c) testimony to the nature of God. These cannot be investigated or proven; they are accepted by faith as given, so we cannot study the Revelation from any of these perspectives.
  2. Because it is in human words, the Bible has:

(a) historical and cultural particularity, (b) human creativity and expression features, and (c) concerns familiar with human existence today. These can be investigated with various tools; this is the study’s starting point. The process of doing so is described in two terms: exegesis and hermeneutics.

***to continue tomorrow


The Book of Revelation and Its Apocalyptic Implications for the 21st Century (

I am serializing the above title in sixteen pieces starting from today. #bible #revelation #apocalyptic #21stcentury #joesoboyejo #learnwithjoes

The necessity and significance of this topic are to look into the great lessons of John’s visions as foundational for the proclamation of the ‘true gospel’ and peace in times of extreme persecutions. Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, in How to Read the Bible, Book by Book, refers to the content of the Book of Revelation as:

A Christian prophecy cast in apocalyptic style and imagery and finally put in letter form, dealing primarily with tribulation (suffering) and Salvation for God’s people and God’s wrath (judgment) on the Roman Empire. (Note 1)

 Revelation combines three distinctive literary types: Apocalypse, Revelation, and a letter. The apocalyptic writings are viewed as revealing heavenly secrets focusing on God’s judgment of the wicked and his deliverance of the righteous. Revelation, as a Prophecy, depicts a response of trust and obedience. Revelation is not just futurology but also redemptive, historical, theological, & psychological for the Church’s thinking throughout the age before Christ’s final coming. Apostle John describes the imagery in cryptic language and symbolism, which are hard to understand. Eschatology is the primary theology of Revelation.

The interpretation of Revelation has been a source of much controversy. Some held that it had a message only for the 1st- century world; others maintain that the book is a prophecy to be fulfilled totally in the future. Undoubtedly, John spoke to the situation of his day that is also relevant for 21st- century churches. The letters to the seven churches indicate a crisis, probably brought on by the Roman persecutions of the Christians.

John painted a vision of God’s final triumph over evil that has sustained many Christians in later eras from this understanding. The 21st-century churches are badly divided by sectarianism and are buried under an avalanche of false doctrines incorporated in prosperity theology. There is no indication through the witness of church members that faith offers any effective defense against sin’s pervasive influence. The church ministers are embroiled in personal empowerment, and churches have lost their power. The author critically examined all the implications and the imagery of the seven churches in Revelation. The world needs the reality of Jesus’ incarnation in the Church to believe the proclamation of the gospel. The significance of this study is to encourage Christians in Africa to have endurance in the face of persecutions and be faithful witnesses to the Good News amid Fallen Babylon.

The ‘Revelation to John’ – The Apocalypse is recorded in the book of Revelation. In Revelation, John developed significant theological themes utilizing O.T. Scripture, Jewish interpretative traditions, and early Christian tradition. Irenaeus (ca. 180) dated Revelation to the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, A.D. 81- 96 (Note 2). Tradition asserts that the apostle John wrote Revelation during his exile on Patmos. Some scholars do not accept this attribution because of the stylistic differences between Revelation and the other works attributed to John, ‘the Gospel and Epistles.’ Still, John is clearly stated in the greetings and doxology. The author identifies himself as John (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8). From as early as Justin Martyr in the second century A.D., it has been held that this John was the apostle, the son of Zebedee (Matthew 10:2). Revelation is a panoramic symbolic vision given to the Apostle John in A.D. 95 to the seven Churches in Asia (Rev. 1:19-21).

In Revelation, John interprets the significance of the cross and resurrection for the future, be it near or distant. He declares their meaning for time and history until the end. God is on his throne (chap. 4); Christ has won the victory (chap. 5); God is at work amid apparent chaos (seals, trumpets, and bowls). The real victors are those called out in Christ from every tongue, nation, and people (chaps. 5, 20). Although God’s work in history has been hidden except to eyes of faith, the final stanza will reveal that history has indeed been his story (chaps. 17, 20). The victory won by the cross is on display in history, and God will ultimately be revealed all in all (chaps. 21, 22). John clearly understands himself and his readers as participants in God’s kingdom. It confirms all that John has said up to this point concerning the kingdom’s restoration. Participation in the kingdom brings tribulation and, therefore, requires patient endurance. This study is divided into six headings starting with an Introduction.

The five other headings are:

  • Keys to understanding Revelation.
  • Approaches to Interpreting Revelation.
  • Apocalyptic and Epistolary Introduction.
  • The seven churches in Revelation in 21st century African Pentecostal Churches.
  • The Apocalyptic implications of John’s vision to the 21st century African Pentecostal churches.

***Continuation tomorrow

The Pentateuch & Modern Medicine (7) – Final/Endnotes


 The uniqueness of the medical benefits from the Mosaic laws transcends generations and centuries, supporting theism belief in God. Some scholars term these laws as a ceremonial function of the priests but have prevented infectious and epidemic transmission of diseases. In essence, obedience to God’s laws confers health benefits. Humankind will continue to enjoy spiritual and physical fitness as long as they obey God’s laws. Therefore, the duty of the priest included the protection of the community from infectious disease.

Similarly, the priests also possessed some knowledge of medicine, as witnessed in the treatment by Elijah of the dead son of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17-23). On restoring her son, the widow acknowledged Elijah as a man of God in whose mouth “the word of the Lord is the truth” (v. 24). Whether these miracles resulted from natural phenomena or not, they were carried out by God’s agents, the priests, and prophets, whose function was to act on the Lord’s behalf. Modern medicine agrees to the prophylactic and curative dimensions of the Pentateuch laws. That is the Truth of the Christian Scriptures.


End Notes:

Note 1. law-or-pentateuch/

Note 2. Leprosy (Lev. 13), secretions of bodily fluids (Lev. 15), physical defects (Lev. 21: 16-24) were unacceptable to the priests that served the Lord (Hab. 1:13).

Note 3. Microorganisms are tiny single-celled living organism too small to be seen by the naked eye. Microorganisms that cause diseases are called bacteria.

Note 4. In miasma theory, diseases were caused by the presence in the air of a miasma, a poisonous vapor in which were suspended particles of decaying matter that was characterized by its foul smell. The theory originated in the middle ages and endured for several centuries. That a killer disease like malaria is so named – from the Italian mala “bad” and aria “air” – is evidence of its suspected miasmic origins. In 19th-century England the miasma theory made sense to the sanitary reformers. Rapid industrialization and urbanization had created many poor, filthy and foul-smelling city neighborhoods that tended to be the focal points of disease and epidemics. By improving the housing, sanitation and general cleanliness of these existing areas, levels of disease were seen to fall, an observation that lent weight to the theory.


Note 5. Glossary: Contagion is a historic expression referring to the transmission of disease between people by means of direct contact.

Note 6. Waller, J. (2004). Discovery of the Germ (London: Icon Books); Worboys, M. (2008). Spreading Germs: Disease Theories and Medical Practice in Britain, 1865-1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, new edition).

Note 7. James, Hastings. (2001). Hastings Dictionary of the Bible (346). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc.

Note 8. James, Hastings, 2001, 346.

Note 9. James, Hastings, 2001, 532.

Note 10. See Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, translation. S. P. Tregelles, London, Samuel Bagster, 1859, pp. 829-830; L Koehler and

W Baumgartner, Hebraisches und aramaisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament, Leiden, E J Brill, 1990, 1418-1425.

Note 11. Since it was not considered appropriate to receive payment from the study or teaching of the Scriptures (Pirke Aboth 4:7) the practice of medicine often provided the rabbi with an income. Many Talmudic sages were accomplished physicians, e.g., R Hanina Ben Dosa (first century) or R Ishmael Ben Elisha (second century). See F Rosner, Medicine in the Bible and the Talmud: selections from classical Jewish sources, Hoboken, NJ, KTAV Publishing House, and New York, Yeshiva University Press, 1995, 15.

Note 12. It was during this period that many Jewish physicians were engaged in the translation and transmission to the west of the corpus of classical Greek medicine preserved and augmented by the Arabs. See S. W. Baron, “A social and religious history of the Jews”, vol. 4, Meeting of East and West (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1957- 1967), 3, 32-33.

Note 13. Roth, C. The Jewish contribution to Civilization, (London: Macmillan, 1938), 191-216, and Cohen, H. & I. Carmin (Eds.), Jews in the world of science: A biographical dictionary of Jews eminent in the natural and social sciences (New York: Monde, 1956).

Note 14. Pathology is the medical specialty concerned with the determining causes of disease and the structural and functional changes occurring in abnormal conditions. Early efforts to study pathology were often stymied by religious prohibitions against autopsies, but these gradually relaxed during the late middle Ages, allowing autopsies to determine the cause of death, the basis for pathology. The resultant accumulating anatomical information culminated in the publication of the first systematic textbook of morbid anatomy by the Italian Giovanni Battista Morgagni in 1761, which located diseases within individual organs for the first time. The correlation between clinical symptoms and pathological changes was not made until the first half of the 19th century.

Note 15. Bacteriology is a branch of microbiology dealing with the study of bacteria.

Note 16.

Note 17.

Note 18. medicine/Medicine-in-the- 20th-century

Note 19. Michael J. Behe. (2006). Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution.

New York: Free Press, 232.

Note 20. Phelps, E. (2006). Emotion and cognition: Insights from studies of the human amygdala. Annu Rev Psychol, 57, 27-53.

Note 21. Salzman, C., & Fusi, S. (2010). Emotion, cognition, and mental state representation in amygdala and prefrontal cortex. Annu Rev Neurosci, 33, 173-202. Schiller, D., Freeman, J., Mitchell, J., Uleman, J., & Phelps, E. A. (2009). Neural mechanism of first impressions. Nature Neuroscience, 12, 508-514. Gilbert, D. (1998). Ordinary Personology. The handbook of social psychology (Vol. 2, 89-150).

Note 22. Bergdolt, K. (1999). History of medicine and concepts of health. Croat Med Journal, 40, 119-122.

Note 23. William R. Vis, M.D., is a member of the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians.

Note 24. William R. Vis, M.D. (1950). Medical Science and the Bible. In Modern Science and Christian Faith (2nd ed., 238). Wheaton, IL: Van Kampen Press.

Note 25. Vis, 1950, 244.

Note 26. Dr. Edward Neufeld was a Professor of Ancient Cultures at Fairleigh Dickenson University in New Jersey.

Note 27. Neufeld, Edward. (1970). Hygiene Conditions in Ancient Israel (Iron Age).

Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 25. Reprinted in E. Campbell, &

  1. Freedman (Eds.), The Biblical Archaeologist Reader. Sheffield: The Almond Press, 1983.

Note 28. Edward Neufeld, 1983, 172

Note 29. Donald J. Wiseman. (1996). In I. Howard Marshall, A. R. Millard, & J. I. Packer (Eds.), New Bible Dictionary (3rd ed.). Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press. s.v. Health, Disease and Healing.

Note 30. Late Dr Rendel-Short was a Professor of surgery and lecturer in physiology at the University of Bristol in England, as well as examiner and Hunterian Professor of the Royal College of Surgeons

Note 31. Rendle Short, A. M.D. (1949). Modern Discovery and the Bible (2nd ed. rev., 120).

London: Inter-varsity Fellowship.

Note 32. The Egyptians believed drinking the milk of a pig, perhaps an animal sacred to them, produced scale disease. Analogies occur in other cultures across the world where people are believed to descend from certain animals or plants, which are then deemed sacred or totemic. Eating these animals or plants would allegedly likewise produce skin diseases. Touching a sacred and therefore dangerous object often requires washing oneself and the clothes worn during the act before entering society, a city or a house, all symbols of

the body in the collective sphere. Frazer, J. G. (1944). The golden bough: A study in magic and religion (473). New York: Macmillan.

Note 33.

Note 34. Hartley, J. E. (1992). Leviticus (200). Dallas, TX: Word Books.

Note 35. Milgrom, J. (1991). Leviticus, [1], 1-16: A new translation with introduction and commentary. New York: Doubleday.

Note 36. Milgrom, 1991, 773.

Note 37. Milgrom, 1991, 773.

Note 38. Anzieu, D. (1995). Le moi-peau (170). Paris: Dunod.

Note 39. Douglas, M. (1999). Leviticus as literature (189-190). Oxford: University Press.

Note 40. Josephine O., Soboyejo. (2004). Pause! Talking Sex: God’s Perspective (44). Lagos: Vicod Press.

Note 41. A comment by G. Alan Marlatt, Ph.D., director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington.


The Pentateuch & Modern Medicine (6)


 In avoiding addictions, one will be spared from alcohol, drug, and tobacco-related diseases (Pr. 20: 1; 23: 19-21, 29-35). The general meaning and thesaurus of addiction are Habit, Compulsion, Dependence, Need, Obsession, Craving, and Infatuation. To be an addict is to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively. Addiction is the quality or state of being addicted. The causes and meaning of addiction vary from person to person depending on perspective and background:

  • Addiction to some is a failure of morality, a spiritual weakness, sin, or crime by people who will not take responsibility for their behavior. To these people, if addicts want to self-destruct, let them; it is their fault; they choose to abuse themselves.
  • For the teetotaler and politicians, it is a self-control problem.
  • For sociologists, it is poverty.
  • For educators, it is ignorance.
  • Psychiatrists or psychologists will say personality traits, temperament, and character are at the root of addictive personalities.
  • Biologically oriented people will consign it to the genes and heredity.
  • Social-learning & cognitive-behavior theorists will say it is a case of conditioned response, intended or unintended reinforcement of inappropriate behaviors.
  • To Anthropologists, addiction is culturally determined
  • Dan Quayle, an American citizen, blames addiction on the breakdown of family values.
  • The most popular theory is addictive behavior diseases.

There are various types of addiction that break family values and turn upside down the unity in a family. They include:

  • Work,
  • Sport,
  • Television,
  • Food,
  • Alcohol,
  • Hard Drugs,
  • Caffeine,
  • Steroids,
  • Theft,
  • Gambling,
  • Exercise,
  • Love,
  • Sex, among others.

Paul summarizes addiction in his Pronunciation in the Scripture,

  • All Addictions are immorality and Greed
  • Addiction is evil & a Sin
  • They are forms of Idolatry because they demand an allegiance, which is due to God alone, and
  • Addiction is slavery – Romans 6: 16

The new view on addiction is that addiction theories and policies are woefully outdated. Research shows that there are no demon drugs, nor are addicts innately defective. Nature supplies all people with the ability to become hooked, and all engage in addictive behaviors to some degree. However, the brain, mind, and behavior specialists are re-thinking the whole notion of addiction. With help from neuroscience, molecular biology, pharmacology, psychology, and genetics, they challenge their hard-core assumptions and famous “certainties” and find surprisingly common characteristics among addictions.

They use new imaging techniques to see how addiction looks and feels and where cravings “live” in the brain and mind. They conclude that things are far from hopeless, and they rapidly replace conjecture with facts. “Everyone engages in addictive behaviors to some extent because such things as eating, drinking, and sex are essential to survival and highly reinforcing (Note 41)”. The fact remains that personality without God tends towards addiction. When a man realizes that he is God’s creation and everything about him, including his activities, is from the hand of God, and without God can never be whole or happy, addiction will only then become extinct. According to King Solomon, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness to those that please Him. Those addicted are looking for these things that only God can give.


 Prayer, meditation, and treating others minimize the damaging effects of stress (Lv. 19: 13-18; Ps 23: 27: 1-3, 91: 3-7).

The Pentateuch & Modern Medicine (5)

Bodily Discharges

 There are four types of bodily discharges mentioned in Leviticus 15, and all the four rendered one “unclean” for at least seven days and required sacrifices to be declared “clean” again. The four types of discharge are:

  1. A chronic male discharge verses 1-15.
  2. Emissions of semen verses 16-18.
  3. A woman’s discharge during menstruation verses 19-24.
  4. A chronic female issue of blood verses 25-30.

The four bodily discharges have to do with fertility (or periods of infertility) and the proper function of the sexual organs. The literary structure of this chapter balances two types of discharge, chronic and intermittent, dealing with both sexes, making four specific cases. Verses 2-15 relate to a chronic discharge in the male, a “running issue out of his flesh.” The exact nature of the disease is not known. Some suggestions have been hemorrhoids or gonorrhea, or some venereal disease.

The latter is based upon the Greek version of the Old Testament (Septuagint), and most commentators accept this diagnosis. The striking thing about the uncleanness associated with these discharges is that not only the affected person became unclean but also people and objects that came in contact with him, and these, in their turn, could become secondary sources of uncleanness. The type of uncleanness was more “infectious” than the uncleanness of skin diseases dealt with (in chapters 13 and 14) or unclean animals (in chapter 11). For example, any “bed” (verse 4-5), chair (verse 1 or “saddle” (verse 9) became unclean and also a source of secondary pollution. Verses 16-18 contain regulations governing an occasional emission of semen. The “seed of copulation” (Literally “outpouring of seed”), in intercourse (verse 18), or at other times (verses 16-17), also caused pollution (compare Exodus 19:15; Lev. 22:4; Deut. 23: 10-11; 1 Sam. 21:5; 2 Sam.11: 11). It required no sacrifice, but the man and woman had to wash and wait until evening, verses 16-18. The practical effect of this legislation was that when a man had religious duties to perform, whether this involved worship or participation in God’s holy wars, sexual intercourse was not permitted. Verses 19-24 relate to women and the intermittent discharges associated with menstruation. Then specific rules governing a chronic emission are dealt with in verses 25-30.


Circumcision is the surgical removal of the prepuce or foreskin of a male. The word ‘circumcise’ literally means “to cut around.” As a religious rite, circumcision was required of all of Abraham’s descendants as a sign of the covenant God made with him (Genesis 17:9-14; Acts 7:8). The Mosaic Law repeated the requirement (Leviticus 12:2-3), and Jews have continued to practice circumcision (Joshua 5:2-3; Luke 1:59; Acts 16:3; Philippians 3:5). The rite of circumcision was given to Abraham in Genesis 17. All the males among God’s people were physically marked (on the sexual organ) as set apart for the Lord.

Abraham and all his “seeds” were to “walk before God faithfully and be blameless.” In the light of circumcision as a covenantal sign, an entire chapter (Leviticus 15: 1-33) is devoted to the productivity and proper use of the sexual organs. Wives of circumcised men have a much lower risk of contracting cervical cancer because the lack of a foreskin reduces the male’s ability to harbor and transmit the human papillomavirus. Circumcision saves newborn babies from blood clotting. Blood clot level in newborn babies shows that circumcision on the eight-day (Gen. 17:12) is the safest time to have surgery in a male’s life.

Flu Virus

 Modern research shows that most new deadly strains of influenza arise under conditions where people are in close contact with pigs and birds. Pigs function as a bridge between the bird and human forms of influenza – originate in China, Hong Kong & other areas where people live close to pigs. 1, 17:13; Dt. 23: 12-13, These bible passages dispose of excrement and blood properly. Effective disposal will save people from contagious diseases and epidemics.

Fornication / Adultery

 Exodus 20: 14; Pr. 5 warn the people of committing fornication or adultery. The best way to protect oneself against sexually transmitted diseases is by avoiding fornication and adultery. The health reasons avoiding fornication or adultery include unwanted pregnancies, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) like HIV/Aids, Chlamydia, Genital Herpes, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B & C, Human Papillomavirus, Syphilis, and reproductive impairment caused by STDs. The risk of sexually transmitted diseases leading to death or inability to reproduce (have children) is the primary health reason for sexual abstinence until marriage and fidelity in marriage (Note 40).