Herbert W Armstrong Library
Sign In  |  MyHWA  |    
Search:  
Ambassador College Thesis
The Origin of Medical Practice
QR Code
The Origin of Medical Practice
Charles S McMichael   
Church of God

Born: August 24, 1940
Died: September 3, 2001
Ambassador College: 1958
Office: Minister

Charles Sherwin McMichael: Director of the Work's Festival Department

Chapter VI:

Medical Practice Vital To Founders Of Babel!

   That a competent medical faculty, employing modern techniques to treat present-day diseases, was developed over forty centuries ago by the founders of Babel is an established fact. WHY it was necessary to feverishly build such an extensive practice has yet to be explained! The question of HOW it became a universal practice must also be dealt with here.

Historical Background at Babel

   The Bible and secular records make it clear that the earliest post-flood movement of the human family was down from the mountains of Armenia on to the Mesopotamian plain.
   Notice Josephus' recount!
   "Now the sons of Noah... Shem, Japheth, and Ham... first of all descended from the mountains [Armenia] into the plains [Mesopotamia], and fixed their habitation there" (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, I, iv, 1).
   With this archaeological background in mind, we may now proceed to the story of the famous leaders who misguided these ancient peoples. Remember, three individuals are indispensable to the origin of medicine in this period: Nimrod, Semiramis (Isis) and Gilgamesh (Horus) and principally NIMROD!
   Nimrod's father was Cush, the oldest son of Ham (Genesis 10:6). Cush, in Hebrew, means black. Nimrod, as the Chinese records reveal, was black though born of his white mother-wife, Semiramis. The Greek name for Cush was Aethiops from which the word Ethiopia comes. Cush is the ancestor of the black East Africans!
   Cush, a black man, felt discriminated against in a society of predominantly white leadership. Cush initiated the rebellion against God which Nimrod was to so thoroughly pursue. Cush put himself in the place of God. It was especially the Hamitic branch of the human family, under his leadership, that originally determined to rebel against God!
   The bitter feelings of inferiority which motivated Cush were later reflected in the behavior of his son Nimrod.
   These rebels planned a SEPARATE SOCIETY in opposition to God's way of life. Disguised as benefactors of mankind, their announced intention was to make a better world according to their philosophy, not God's. Their ideas are summed up in the words, "one race, one world." Thus the pattern for this world's civilizations was set!
   Cush played an important part in the fledgling rebellion. His mark is left on the government, politics, and philosophy of the early dynasty but he is NOT greatly noted for its medical development!
   As noted before, Nimrod is the great patron deity of ancient medicine. Let's notice why!

NIMROD Leads The Rebellion!

   The Babel project was not self-motivating. It arose against God's plan of separating the races. Notice: "Let us build us a city and a tower... let us make us a name, LEST WE BE SCATTERED ABROAD upon the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:4)!
   For a rebellion to be executed to this degree, with such organization and the resources to build a city it required a master engineer. Nimrod was the mastermind! He fomented the excitement, the contempt for God.
   God names things precisely what they are. He called him Nimrod derived from the Hebrew word marad meaning "to rebel." In other words, he was The Rebel in history!
   Read Genesis 10:8, "he began to be a mighty one in the earth." The words "mighty one" come from the Hebrew gibber meaning, not only a warrior, but a tyrant. Moffatt translates this verse: "Ethiopia [Cush] produced Nimrod, the first man on earth to be a DESPOT... !"
   Nimrod's character is further expressed in verse 9.
   We have still to discuss what is probably the most significant phrase of all, a phrase used twice: Nimrod was a mighty hunter "before the Eternal." This expression, when properly translated, means "in place of the Eternal," or "against the Eternal," or "OPPOSED to the Eternal" (Exploring Ancient History The First 2500 Years, pp. 11-67).
   Apparently, Nimrod understood the psychology of human nature. He knew how to appeal to the people. He convinced them that happiness and freedom lay in the transgression of God's law. He persuaded the majority of the human family to co-operate in the Babel project!
   Nimrod gradually put himself in place of the true God and led his people to believe that under his guidance, they would be out of reach of God's punishment. A rude awakening lay ahead!

Rebellion Brought a Penalty!

   Many historians admit that the practice of medicine is one of the oldest professions on earth if not the oldest. Few know WHY! There is a reason, which also lies at the bottom of the world's ills today. Medicine was born of necessity!
   Long ago, the Creator God revealed a principle which governs the health of all mankind now, and in Nimrod's age!
   And it shall come to pass, IF thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS.... And all these blessings [including robust physical health] shall come on thee... (Deuteronomy 28:1-2).
   However, the promise did not end there. It also included a clause for disobedience and rebellion! Mankind was enjoying good health. Nimrod and his followers had not fully counted the cost of SIN PART OF WHICH IS PHYSICAL SUFFERING THROUGH DISEASE! Sickness is the natural consequence of living contrary to God's way of life. Notice!
   But it shall come to pass, IF thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS... all these curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee.... The Lord shall make the PESTILENCE cleave unto thee until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it [virtually no one today lives in the cities Nimrod established]. The Lord shall smite thee with a CONSUMPTION, [tubererculosis], and with a FEVER, and with an INFLAMMATION [rapidly consuming cancer], and with an extreme BURNING [mental anguish].... The Lord will smite thee with the BOTCH OF EGYPT [Elephantiasis, a horrible skin disorder], and with EMERODS and with the SCAB [odd skin diseases], and with the ITCH, whereof thou canst not be healed. The Lord shall smite thee with MADNESS [insanity], and BLINDNESS, and ASTONISHMENT OF HEART [heart attack].... Because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded thee... (Deuteronomy 28:15, 21-22, 27-28, 45.)
   God knew what would happen when they rebelled. He warned them through Noah and Shem! Nimrod and his rebellious followers KNEW of the prophesied punishment. Sure they did! One reason they built the tower was to protect themselves against another flood! All medical historians note the belief that disease resulted from "an offence to the gods" SIN was universal! In Mesopotamia every disease was regarded as DIVINE PUNISHMENT for deliberate or unwitting sin. However, the early founders of civilization did not listen to the warnings, and all nations were ravaged by the "modern" diseases of Deuteronomy 28, as history reveals.

WHY Medicine Was Developed

   Suddenly sickness occurred. Epidemics struck whole cities were immobilized! Epidemic and plague in every nation is the medical history of the years after Babel. As leader of the rebellion, the one who stood "before" God, it fell Nimrod's lot to deliver the people from disease as he had from wild animals.
   As previously quoted, Nimrod "was noted for his expertness in public health work and EPIDEMICS [his kingdom and rulership depended on it]. When the plague visited Keos [Greece] HE WENT THERE and restored the public health...." As we shall see, Nimrod visited many areas of the earth in the interests of medicine.
   As new sickness occurred, new drugs had to be found to fight them. This became a frantic, frustrating attempt to thwart the natural penalty of breaking God's law. The race against disease became such a hectic affair that Nimrod-the-physician was renowned for his "admirable ingenuity and quick invention." As Shun, the Chinese physician-god, he is reputed to have discovered as many as seventy drugs in one day! Whether this actually occurred is not important. The point is, it vividly shows the impression left on that ancient time of Nimrod's desperate effort to avert God's penalty through MEDICINE!

Supernatural Intervention

   Nimrod's medical efforts met a certain success. For centuries, thereafter, physicians felt confident in the mode of medical practice he established. He became so revered, even the pronouncing of his name at the bedside of the sick was believed to contain great curative power. Any deviation, from the medical code he established, which failed, was considered a CAPITAL offense!
   "In the letters like those quoted earlier in the thesis the writers expressed perfect confidence in the professional skill and ability of the doctors...." Even today, historians do not hesitate to say "the proportion of cures to deaths of patients appears HIGHER than it is today" (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 197).
   The question which must be raised, after such a statement, is how did Nimrod develop a system which produced such a high rate of successful treatment? The evidence is that he did, but HOW?
   The answer to this question is vital to learning the lesson of medical history! Nimrod faced a losing battle against disease. This consequence of their sin had not been foreseen surely they would be forced back into at least nominal obedience of God's laws.
   The rebellion was not yet lost!
   Babel was Satan's master project in leading the human race away from God in the years immediately after the Flood. He did all in his power to keep it from failing! Satan knew that it is impossible to avoid paying the penalty of transgression. Once man has sinned, there is sure retribution. He also knew certain of the physical penalties can be modified or delayed!
   Delaying the penalty would establish the rebellion. Relieving man from the immediate penalty would deceive him into believing his freedom to sin was assured. The tower gave him a sense of security against another flood medicine became assurance against the penalty of disease. The tragic consequences would be paid, but later, at a time when mankind was so removed from God, severe suffering alone would not bring them back.
   History reveals SATAN led Nimrod to establish the Art of Medicine! The "god of this world" understood the principle of antibiotics! He well knew which substances would have a devastating effect on bacteria. It required no effort on Satan's part to determine the substances which were available for man to use as drugs it simply had to be revealed!
   All available records, secular and Biblical, maintain that the origin of medicine was supernatural. And it was! It is this facet of the early beginnings of medicine, which encrusted with fabulous tradition, have left it open to the charges of mythology! All modern criticism to the contrary, history remains adamant the origin of medicine was "of the gods."
   "Almost every nation of antiquity came to refer the origin of Medicine to the IMMEDIATE INSTRUCTION of the gods" (Hamilton, The History of Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy, p. 9). Another historian adds, "... but even the gods themselves condescended to import their therapeutic secrets to mankind" (McKenzie, The Infancy of Medicine, p. 12). Yes, the art of medicine was revealed to man!
   In spite of such an amazing revelation, historians generally conclude that HOW ancient physicians learned the specific effectiveness of their remedies is of no importance!
   When in fact, THIS IS VITAL! The ancients communicated daily with the spirit world. The priest-physicians even contacted "their spirits" for advice in individual cases! As we shall see, it was through this intimate association with the spirit world that ancient physicians could maintain their rate of success.
   Diagnosis, in difficult cases, was based on astrology, dreams, auguries, and visions. Basically, there were three divisions in the medical priesthood (using the Mesopotamian names) the ashipu or exorcist, the asu or physician in the modern sense of the word, and the azu or diviner. The latter's chief responsibility was divination. He was a medium for visions and knew how to interpret them!
   The relationship between doctor and patient went as follows. The patient sought out a physician, as is done today. In difficult cases, all of which were catalogued for future reference, the priest-physician would resort to a guiding spirit! As all hospitals were originally temples, this was a simple procedure. The physician then made the prognosis. As both the patient's future and his own fate (per Hammurabi's Code) depended on his findings, ancient doctors were brutally frank!
   Terse examples of ancient prognosis have been found. "The favourable prognosis was expressed with the words: 'I [the physician] will cure this disease'; if the prognosis was doubtful: 'Nothing can be done in this case'; or if UNfavourable: 'The patient will die'," (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 55).
   As previously noted, Satan knew that the course of certain diseases could be altered AND he knew which specific substances would have a moderating effect on each ailment. There were some illnesses which could not be halted at all by medication even as today, physicians freely admit: "There is no cure for the common cold." Many times the patient heard the dreaded report of imminent death. No hope was held out on the basis of experimentation, as ancient doctors were not allowed to freelance through trial and error with their medications.
   The Bible records an example of just such doctor-patient reliance on the supernatural as late as 892 B.C.
   And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber... and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of BAALZEBUB the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease. (II Kings 1:2).
   Ahaziah's servants were sent to the priest-physician of the temple in Ekron. In such matters, a priest was always the mediator between Satan and man. The priest was to then inquire as to WHETHER Ahaziah could be healed with their medications or was doomed to die. In this case, the God of the Bible intervened to foretell the outcome: "Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die" (verse 4).
   All diagnosis and treatment in ancient history, to the age of Hippocrates, was based on supernatural revelation!

Nimrod Spirit Possessed!

   Keep in mind Babel was Satan's master plot to lead man astray. The direction that civilization was to go was revealed through its leaders. SATAN first revealed the knowledge of medicine after the Flood through Nimrod, the great physician! "It is no exaggeration to say that science [medicine] owes most to the shining individualism of a few chosen spirits" (Garrison, History of Medicine, p. 45). There is more truth to this statement than meets the eye!
   Greek history records of Dionysus or Nimrod: "His medical practices were derived from his powers of PROPHECY AND INSPIRATION..." (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 67). This phenomenon is also preserved in Indian history where it is believed that Brahma, the creator god and personification of the world spirit (Satan), transmitted medical knowledge in the earliest times to Atri Nimrod!
   The Chinese History Of Nimrod (Shun) adds more understanding to how medical knowledge became available to mankind. The Chinese Classics by James Legge, volume III, part 1, page 115, reveals China's first physician was a black man Nimrod. Furthermore, he is depicted as having eyes that shone with "double brightness!" In modern terminology, Chinese history has retained a unique description of the facial appearance of a demon possessed person!
   His condition, recognized worldwide, is further substantiated by the Egyptian name for Nimrod Osiris. Osiris has the meaning of many eyed or overseer. Today, we would call such a person clairvoyant.
   "This term or title 'Osiris' implies one having unusual powers of perception. The traditional sense of this word is that it refers to a person who has many eyes to see that things are done right" (Exploring Ancient History The First 2500 Years, p. 11-91).
   Based on the Biblical description, it could have been assumed Nimrod was in this spiritual condition. These accounts, however, provide concrete, historical proof! The POINT IS, Satan used Nimrod to insure the effective commencement of a medical practice at Babel 4000 years ago!

Medical Practice Universal!

   The occurrence of a competent medical practice in ancient societies is universal. "Hence, they [prescriptions] were recorded in writing at an early date, and in ALL ancient civilizations medical texts are found among the oldest literary documents preserved" (Sigerist, A History of Medicine, p. 21).
   HOW did a similar system of medicine, one based on drug therapy and surgery as directed by the spirit world, become common to all nations?
   As previously quoted, "Isis, Osiris, and Horus were UNIVERSALLY worshipped even beyond the boundaries of Egypt." The early inhabitants of the Indus Valley, principally Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, possessed "a large number of statuettes of a woman alone or with a child.... Serpent and dove are her attributes.... This is the GREAT MOTHER, the goddess worshipped all over the Near and Middle East.... In the Indus Valley she was apparently worshipped in every home" (ibid., p. 141)!
   The culture of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa flourished in the second to third millennium B.C. thus were contemporary with The Old Kingdom of Egypt. The great Mother Goddess of India was none other than Isis or SEMIRAMIS!
   This trinity of healing gods was known intimately throughout Europe and the Middle East and generally around the world. "Historical researches have shown that there is an identity of all forms of ancient social and MEDICAL CUSTOMS, and a unity of all folk ways. Man's instinctive actions, in all countries... tend to converge to a common point" (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 25).
   That common point is the Middle East and the building of the Tower of Babel, 2256-2254 B.C. NIMROD was its principal purveyor!
   Apollo was the Homeric god of medicine; but it was Askelpios who was the real healer of men. Both are two of the many names of NIMROD. Today he is the real emblematic god of healing, whose portrait and twin serpents appear on all doctors' seals, diplomas, charters and books. HE IT WAS who presided over a great healing cult that developed into a WORLD-WIDE ORGANIZATION which for centuries... conferred great benefits upon the world (ibid., p. 54).
   As the threat of disease expanded, the demand for new, more powerful drugs increased. Egyptian doctors were eager to obtain new plants with healing properties. The need for additional medication forced the importation of drugs from foreign countries.
   Drug traffic had begun! In the Ebers Papyrus we find prescriptions calling for cinnamon, pepper, and ginger. Seemingly common agents, these spices grew thousands of miles distant from the Nile in China, India, and Ceylon. These are but a few examples of the valuable drugs and minerals, which were imported from afar. However, they represent telling evidence of the intense interest in procuring medicines from every possible source!
   Nimrod, himself, began this practice! This is precisely the reason Chinese annals record him being in their country to thoroughly analyze indigenous plants and herbs. The result was he may have discovered some seventy drugs in one day. Obviously, his search for new medicine was frantic!
   Apparently, Nimrod traveled to the far reaches of the earth to locate sources for new drugs and to instruct local leaders in the art of medicine. History specifies that he not only attended to the medical needs of Mesopotamia and Egypt, but he also TAUGHT HIS ART to adjacent peoples!
   Again notice the Greek record:
   Medicine and surgery... came to Greece through a long line of other civilized peoples from a remote antiquity. Dionysus [Nimrod] was the god of... health and healing. Born in Thebes and bringing to Greece the customs, lore, and science of his native Egypt, he settled on the slopes of Mount Nysa... Later on, he set out on a TRIP AROUND THE WORLD TO TEACH... (ibid., p. 208).
   Sometime after the erection of the Tower of Babel, while the building of the city was still in progress, God scattered the rebellious people abroad.
   And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded... this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language.... So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth... (Genesis 11:5-8).
   Nimrod's worldwide excursion, taken some time after the dispersion of the nations, was significant to the old world! It revived the breath of rebellion and renewed his dominion. Arriving in person among the scattered peoples, his trip helped to further establish the way of life initiated at Babel also helping to set the uniform pattern in medical practice evidenced worldwide!
   Notice a partial record of this trip:
   OSIRIS moreover built Thebes in Egypt.... They say that Osiris was much given to husbandry [including the medical properties of plants and herbs]... called by the Greek Dionysus....
   He was honored under the name Hermes as:
   One of an admirable ingenuity and quick invention in finding out what might be useful to mankind. It is reported that Osiris, being a prince of a publick spirit and very ambitious of glory, raised a great army with which he resolved to go through all parts of the world that were inhabited and to TEACH MEN.... For he hoped that if he could civilize men... by such a public good and advantage, he should raise a Foundation among all mankind for his immortal praise and honor.
   Having settled his affairs in Egypt and committed the government of his kingdom to his wife Isis.... Then marching out of Egypt, he began his expedition. He marched away through ETHIOPIA... every country received him for his merits and virtues as a god [his prowess was remembered from Babel]. Thence he passed through ARABIA... to INDIA and the UTMOST COASTS [records indicate this included CHINA] that were inhabited. He built many cities in India.... He left likewise many other marks of his being in those parts [including a medical practice as the histories of those nations record].... Thence passing to the rest of ASIA, he transported his army... into EUROPE.
   To conclude, Osiris having traveled through THE WHOLE WORLD, by finding out... what was fit and convenient for man's body, was a benefactor to all mankind. He brought back with him into Egypt the most precious and richest things that every place did afford [of course the knowledge of new drugs] (Williams, The Historians' History of The World, pp. 281-283).
   Medical knowledge was essential to the founders of Babel. Without it, their rebellion was doomed to failure! Mankind would have been forced back to obedience to God. SATAN'S intervention through Nimrod preserved the rebellion. Nimrod's historic, worldwide trip served to perpetuate the confusion and provide a semblance of unity to "all forms of ancient social and MEDICAL CUSTOMS!"

Previous      Chapter VI      Next
Publication Date: 1969
Back To Top
|  Fundamental Doctrines of the Church of God  |  Comments or Suggestions?  |  FAQ  |   Holy Day Information   |   Site Map   |   Donations   |
|  Sabbath & Holy Day Services   |   Weekly Bible Study Services   |   Video Groups   |
Follow Us: HWALibrary - Mobile Site
Copyright © 2016 Herbert W Armstrong Library
Important Notice

Please Note:

The address and phone number for the Worldwide Church of God given for material are no longer valid for obtaining the material offered in booklets, magazines, telecast and radio broadcast.

HWALibrary.com has all material offered on this site 100% free. You do not need to call or mail your requests, simply do a search for the material offered on our site.

The Worldwide Church changed their name and beliefs after Mr. Armstrong's death.

Visit our FAQ page for instructions on downloading audio and video files.

Sabbath Services

Sabbath Services:

Hello, and welcome to our Sabbath and Holy Day service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Services are posted every Sabbath or Holy Day. Our service consists of 3 hymns, a Sermonette, a hymn, the Sermon and a final hymn.

Continue to the Sabbath Service page.

Bible Study Services

Bible Study:

Hello, and welcome to our Bible Study service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Bible Study services are posted each Wednesday. Our service consists of an opening hymn, a Bible Study and a final hymn.

Continue to the Bible Study Service page.