Law ahead of its time
this section, we want to look at one or two more evidences
which show that the Bible cannot have been written by
ordinary people. In Session 3 Section 2 we looked at
fulfilled prophecy. What follows now is really an extension
of that section.
first five books of the Bible Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy contain the
code of laws under which the Israelites lived. Together
they are called “The Law of Moses”. There are several
aspects of the Law of Moses which show how remarkable
the Bible is, especially considering it was written
thousands of years ago.
are some of the provisions of the Law that helped to
keep the Israelites healthy.
Leviticus 13 v 45 and 46
were commanded to live separately from the rest of the
people. The Biblical term “leprosy” includes a whole
group of infectious diseases, along with the modern
leprosy. The modern practice of isolating sufferers
of infectious diseases from other people was derived
directly from the Jews.
Numbers 19 v 11 to 19
a Jew had handled a dead body he was regarded as “unclean”.
He was to be quarantined for seven days, and had to
undergo an elaborate washing procedure before he was
regarded as fit to mix with society again. Until about
a hundred years ago surgeons used to handle the dead
and the dying and then go straight into the operating
theatre without washing. Thousands of their patients
died through infection. Many of them might have lived
if those early surgeons had kept this principle from
the Law of Moses.
Deuteronomy 23 v 12 and 13
This Passage is clearer in the New International
Designate a place outside the camp where
can go to relieve yourself. As part of your
equipment have something to dig with, and
when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover
up your excrement.
Law of Moses had strict rules for disposal of sewage.
It was not until the eighteenth century that Western
Europe began to see the lifesaving wisdom of this
part of the Law. Even now some countries are still learning
the wisdom of proper sewage disposal .
Deuteronomy 14 v 4 to 20
chapters in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy
14) are filled with lists of the birds, animals, insects
and fish which may and may not be eaten. With a few
exceptions the lists agree with modern ideas about healthy
and unhealthy food. The flesheating creatures,
the rats, the reptiles and most insects are forbidden;
the vegetarian birds and animals are permitted.
main differences from modern practice are that pork
and shellfish were forbidden by the Law, yet are
eaten today. There were good reasons for the Law’s strictness.
Today public health inspectors, backed by an elaborate
laboratory service, can ensure that pigs and shellfish
are reared under healthy conditions. The Israelites
had no such facilities.
know now that two serious diseases, cysticercosis and
trichiniasis, can be caught through eating the flesh
of pigs infected by parasitic worms. In a primitive
society the only safe way to avoid these diseases was
to steer clear of pork.
for shellfish, they are quite harmless if they grow
in water free from sewage. But if human excrement is
present, they feed on it, and then may harbour the germs
of typhoid and other intestinal diseases. Modern science
helps us to take precautions against this, but the best
thing for the Israelites was not to eat shellfish.
has taken mankind a long time to realise that the world’s
resources are limited and need to be carefully conserved.
Meanwhile, human foolishness and greed have done considerable
damage to the beautiful world in which we live.
of this harm could have been prevented if more people
had obeyed the Law of Moses. Here are four examples:
Deuteronomy 22 v 6 and 7
Israelites caught a mother bird sitting on a nest, they
must not take both the mother and her eggs or young.
They could take the eggs or young birds, but had to
let the mother go free to continue the species.
only modern man had listened to Moses, the museums of
the world would not now be full of stuffed examples
of extinct birds. We would not have a saying, “Dead
as a dodo”. The beautiful Passenger Pigeon of North
America, and the Great Auk of the North Atlantic, would
still be thriving in their millions as they were at
the beginning of the last century.
Leviticus 25 v 1 to 7
seventh year the Israelite was not allowed to cultivate
the land. Under modern farming methods this is not necessary,
but with more primitive methods of agriculture, constant
cropping was liable to destroy the fertility of the
Law of Moses provided an effective method of preventing
human greed from ruining the good earth, but mankind
disregarded the Law. All over the world manmade
deserts sprawl where once there were fertile fields.
The deserts of Iraq, the coastal belt of North Africa,
the dust bowls of the United States all these
might still be rich farmland if the Law of Moses had
Deuteronomy 20 v 19 and 20
presentday warfare anything goes or almost
anything. There are, it is true, a few “rules of war”,
dating back to the first Geneva Convention in 1864.
However, they are limited in scope, and not all countries
recognise them. Even those that say they accept them
sometimes break the rules when a conflict arises.
the Vietnam War America introduced a new military tactic.
It was called “defoliation”. The US airforce sprayed
many thousands of tons of weedkiller over enemyoccupied
territory. Vast areas of jungle where enemy troops once
hid were turned into a temporary desert. Rice crops
and fruit trees were also wiped out, and great numbers
of Vietnamese went hungry in consequence. Such is “total
war”, as it is practised today.
Israel were forbidden to treat nature so ruthlessly.
Even under the stress of war they were not allowed to
chop down fruit trees to make defensive barriers. Though
this might have reduced their own casualties, or even
turned defeat into victory, they still must not do it.
Moses told them why not: “for the tree of the field
is man’s food”.
the Jewish Law of 3500 years ago was in this respect
far wiser and far more civilised than American law (or
British law, for that matter) today.
Exodus 20 v 8 to 10
strength was the most precious of all natural resources
in a world where machine power had not yet come to replace
muscle power. The Law of Moses introduced a revolutionary
new principle to conserve human strength a compulsory
day of rest once a week.
the times of the early Israelites, people’s welfare
was not usually considered by most nations. Yet the
astonishing fact about the Sabbath law was this: it
applied to everybody in the land, Israelite and foreigner,
master and slave alike. Such an act of generosity towards
slaves was most unusual. Yet Israel’s Law commanded
great medical historian, Karl Sudhoff, has said:
Judaism given nothing more to mankind than the establishment
of a weekly day of rest, we should still be forced
to proclaim her one of the greatest benefactors of
acknowledges that the idea of a day of rest, which came
from the Law of Moses, is a great advantage to us.
this evidence shows what a remarkable book the Bible
is. This encourages us in our confidence in God and
to reproduce extracts from God’s Truth by Alan
Hayward is gratefully acknowledged.