Tuesday, April 21, 2009

by Bonnie Calhoun

Today is a study of the Advanced Medical Knowledge in the Bible.

Keep in mind that man's medical knowledge was virtually nada until the beginning of the twentieth century. Even the existence of germs was unknown until around A.D. 1890. Yet the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah, or the Law, recorded by Moses approximately 1491-1451 B.C., reveals surprising advanced scientific principles. God inspired Moses to record these medical commandments to protect the health of His chosen people.

Moses, in Leviticus 17:11, declared, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood." This statement revealed advanced scientific knowledge at a time when the level of pagan medical knowledge was abysmal. Moses' statement was incredibly astute because doctors have discovered that our blood is essential to many of our body's life processes.

The blood carries nutrients and material that produce growth, healing, store energy as fat and support every organ in our body. When the blood supply is restricted to any part of the body, that part begins to die. Blood is essential to fighting disease, clotting wounds and growing new skin and cells.

For centuries ignorant doctors used to "bleed" their patients by draining large amounts of blood from their bodies in a vain attempt to defeat disease. They did not realize that our blood is the key to our flesh. Truly, as the Bible declares, "the life of the flesh is in the blood."

Moses was adopted and grew up as son of "Pharaoh's daughter", which gave him access to the knowledge of the royal and priestly colleges of Egypt, where, I might add, the main ingredient in almost any medical cure, was dung...animal or human! Yet the Torah contains detailed medical laws regarding the careful kosher inspection of meat and exacting sanitation regulations regarding the burial of bodies.

Next week we will get into the Laws written to prevent infectious diseases.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Last Supper

by Bonnie Calhoun

As we wait with anticipation of the commemorative anniversary of our Lord and Savior's rise from the grave...Hallelujah!...let's look at what transpired before that glorious day...particularly the Last Supper.

You would not necessarily think it important to consider the table setting of the Last Supper or where the disciples sat. however, just the opposite is true. If we understand this, it explains why certain things we read about in the Last Supper narratives were said and done.

First, we need to consider the table setting itself. The Passover meal was a celebration of the Exodus and it was required to eat this meal in a manner usually reserves for the wealthy.

That is to recline around the table, enjoying one's freedom in the Land. It would be impossible to recline around a table such as we eat at today. However, we do know that they are around a U-shaped table, called a triclinium.

The table is placed low on the floor to allow for the people around it to recline on their left side while eating with their right hand. Everyone is facing the same direction around the table, often making it hard to speak to those behind you.

When looking at a triclinium, the left arm is the place of the most important guests, the cross arm is the place of the fairly important guests, and on the right arm we find the less important people, with the last seat on the end being called the Servant's Seat. If there is no servant present to serve the meal, then the person in the Servant's Seat had the job of waiting on those who had need of more food or drink.

Certain other seats had special functions. On the most important left arm, the second seat was that of the host. It was the custom that the first seat on the end was that of a trusted friend of the host. Why? This person helped protect the host, who might be a king or an important official. This person was also the food taster.

Seat #3 is the traditional seat of the most honored guest at the banquet. Therefore the left and right hand of the host were considered important places. This is why John's mother made a request of Jesus, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at Your right and the other at Your left in Your kingdom" (Mt. 20:21).

It is obvious that Jesus was seated in seat #2, as He was the host. We also know that John was in seat #1, because John 13:23 tells us that John, "the disciple whom Jesus loved," was reclined next to Him. We know it was the right side because Peter motioned to John to ask Jesus which one would betray him. The Bible says, "Leaning back against Jesus, he asked Him, 'Lord who is it?'" (Jn. 13:25).

Around a triclinium, the only way to talk to the person behind you, is to lean back. Since the custom was toalways lean on your left side, that places John on Jesus' right.

Since Jesus responded to John's question as to who would betray him, Jesus said, "He who had dipped his hand in the dish with Me, will betray me" (Mt 26:23). There was only that seat close enough to Jesus for the person to dip in the common bowl.

There is also another indication that Peter was in this last seat, because it would have been this persons job to carry around the basin and water to wash the hands of the guests. Whether this occurred or not is not recorded. However, Jesus did something very unusual, with regard to washing, to make a point.

Always the Teacher, Jesus used this opportunity to teach His disciples about being a servant, by His example. He got up and took the basin and water and started to wash their feet. Peter then realized his error in not washing everyone's hands in the beginning, and was grieved when he saw the Lord's selflessness when he had acted so selfishly.

The conversation in John 13:6-9 records their exchange"

Peter: "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

Jesus replies: "You do not yet realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand

Peter then declare: "No, You shall never wash my feet!"

Jesus: "Unless I wash you, you have no part of Me."

Peter responded: "Then Lord, not just my feet, but my hands and my head, as well."

Jesus later told them" "I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than the one who sent him. (Jn. 13:12-17)

Only later do we see that God's way is the best way and that our way is often selfish and self-serving.

Maybe we all need to spend a little time in the "Servant Seat" to learn that "whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant: (Mt, 20:26b).

In the Book of Acts, we see that Peter did become one of the greatest leaders of the early Church, full of the Lord and carrying His Gospel forth to the world.

Have a happy and blessed Easter!