Is "modern medicine" really modern? Read the surprising facts about the true origin of today's medical practices, written by a staff member of the News Gathering Department of Ambassador College.
MEDICAL science is not modern — It is thousands of years old! Notice the Old Testament examples of going to a physician or doctor. King Asa sought the physicians to cure his foot trouble. "Asa...was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not the Lord, but to the physicians. And Asa... died!" (II Chon. 16:12-13.) Asa wasn't cured! King Ahaziah fell sick. He too sought the physicians — the representatives of Baalzebub, the god of medicine. But they could not cure him (II Kings 1:2-4, 16-17). Even in early New Testament times we have record of "a woman, having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any" (Luke 8:43). This woman's case is not uncommon today! Many of you spent all your living upon physicians" and yet weren't any better! But weren't these failures due to doctors who were ignorant and crude? Not at all! Medical practices today actually have not advanced very far beyond those of ancient medicine! Modern methods and drugs are not really so different from those used by doctors and physicians in ancient times! Let us examine the surprising facts from the record of history! Let's see what the Bible has to say about drugs used as "cures."
Origin of Medical Science
Now for the surprising facts! Leading doctors admit ancient medical records include "clear indications for surgical operations, shrewd diagnostic observations with rational prescriptions, and good hygienic regulations." So admits Dr. Arturo Castiglioni, former professor at the University of Padua, and Research Associate in the History of Medicine at Yale University in his book published in 1941 (A History of Medicine, page 49). What a contrast to what most of us have been taught! Medicine is as old as ancient Egypt! "The sources for the history of Egyptian medicine are found in a number of medical papyri, the three most important of which are: the Ebers Papyrus, the Brugsch Papyrus, and the Edwin Smith Papyrus," the last of which was written as early as 1700 B.C., during the days of Jacob and his twelve sons, and was evidently copied from a much more ancient manuscript. (From page 55 of Dr. Castiglioni's book.) "The heart was recognized in the Ebers Papyrus," declares Dr. Castiglioni, "as the center of the blood as was also the fact that there are vessels attached to it for every member of the body" (p. 50). "The Egyptian physician... knew of the importance of the examination of the pulse" (p. 51). Listen to what modern physicians say concerning the "oldest known medical writings," known as the "Edwin Smith papyrus:" "The clinical observations are so accurate and clear that it does not appear possible to the physician who reads these pages today that five thousand years have passed." (A History of Medicine, p. 55, 56). Yes, today's doctors are amazed to discover that contrary to the theory of evolution, ancient physicians were no mere ignorant, savage "medicine men." They possessed basically the same medical knowledge that doctors do today!
Ancient Knowledge of Disease
This eminent doctor goes on to say that this ancient medical papyrus presents "a clear concept of pathologic symptoms" and an exact estimation of prognosis [the course the disease will take] is arrived at... The brain is mentioned for the first time in history, its convolutions and meninges, showing clearly that it was recognized as the site of mental functions. It is with profound wonder that we recognize the knowledge of the suture of wounds and of the possibility of improving the appearance of old people with plasters which remove the wrinkles" (A History of Medicine, p. 55, 56). Haven't most of us been taught to believe that physicians of 5,000 years ago tried to cure disease and pain by means of "magic spells," and not by the "modern skill" of the doctor who uses drugs and knives today? It is time we stop assuming that medical science is modern and begin to examine its record and to see what God says about it! Did you know that MEDICAL SCHOOLS BEGAN IN ANCIENT EGYPT? Listen! "...throughout this very ancient and valuable surgical text the employment of magic is spoken of only once, while there is frequent mention of the art of the physician. The truly exceptional importance of this book is derived not only from the fact it accurately described a series of surgical cases, outlining the proper diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment," according to the standards of this "modern" world, "but also... even in this remote period there already existed organized schools of medical practitioners, well-versed in surgery, independent of the priestly castes" (A History of Medicine, p. 57). Think of that! It is well established that among all the peoples of antiquity the Egyptians enjoyed the reputation of being excellent physicians. Thus Homer extols (Odyssey, IV, 231) Egyptian medicine: 'Each is a physician with knowledge beyond all men'" (p. 59). Aren't doctors erroneously regarded just as highly today?
Specialists in Egypt
In this modern world up until 25 to 50 years ago there were very few specialists. But such was not the case in ancient Egypt! "Herodotus says (II, 84): '... All places abound in physicians; some are for the eyes, others are for the head, others for the teeth, others for the intestines, and others for internal disorders'" (p. 59-60). Specialists are nothing new! "But," many ask, "what about modern drugs and medicines, haven't these just been recently discovered?" Dr. Howard W. Haggard, in his widely read history of medicine, Devils, Drugs and Doctors, reports: "The narcotic drugs... were used in the past as they are used today" (p. 97). Dr. Castiglioni goes on to say, "The Papyri that have been mentioned contain an enormous number of prescriptions. The Ebers Papyrus alone contains almost a thousand, the components of which are not yet all known to us... Medicines were prescribed in all the forms still in use today" (p. 51-52). Solomon was right when he said, "There is no new thing under the sun." Ancient physicians even as far away as China "knew about preventive inoculation for smallpox... in 1105 B.C." (Medicine and Man, p. 53). Modern "science" considers valuable the ancient Chinese "concoctions of toadskins, as a treatment for dropsy... The virtue of toadskins," say the "eminent" scientific writer Ritchie Calder, "lies in its richness in bufagin, which produces a free flow of urine, so helping to drain the tissues, and in adrenalin, which slows down the heart ratio, increases the blood pressure and speeds up the secretion of sugar" (Medicine and Man, p. 53). Modern medicine prescribes the same drugs and medicines used by the ancients and often produced from the same slimy, filthy sources — but more about this later. Let us continue the history and "progress" of medical science. Much of the medical knowledge of the Egyptians was passed on to the Greeks, though some of it was lost through the ravages of war.
Modern Practices Came From Ancient Greece
"The medical art AS WE NOW PRACTICE IT, the character of the physician as we now understand it, both date for us from Hippocrates" — who lived in ancient Greece about 300 B.C., according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, edition XI, article "Medicine." This article goes on to say, "Hippocrates... recognized... in acute diseases, a natural process which the humours went through... The duty of the physician was to forsee these changes, 'to assist or not to hinder them,' so that the 'sick man might conquer the disease with the help of the physician.' The times at which crises were to be expected were naturally looked for with anxiety; and it was a cardinal point in the Hippocratic system to foretell the courses and event of the disease... The Hippocratic physicians...in this...have perhaps never been excelled." Around 200 B.C. in Greek-dominated Egypt in the use of drugs and in the art surgery and obstetrics "The Alexandrian practitioners could compare most favorably with those of modern times." When we compare the doctors and physicians of ancient times with those of today we find that contrary to the fable of evolution physicians were often as competent or even more competent in administering their drugs and using their knives than many today. But medical science has always been a strange mixture of truth and error.
Medicine a Mixture of Truth and Error
The Britannica continues: "In the treatment of disease the Hipprocratic school attached great importance to diet, the variations necessary in different diseases being minutely defined. Medicines were regarded as of secondary importance, but not neglected, two hundred and sixty-five drugs being mentioned at different places in the Hippocratic works... The highest importance was attached to applying all remedies at the right moment, and the general principle enforced of making all influences — internal and external — co-operate for the relief of the patient... In chronic cases diet, exercise and natural methods were chiefly relied upon... A treatise on the diseases of women, contained in the Hippocratic collection... [is] of remarkable practical value" according to physicians of today. Ancient physicians also recognized the vital importance of diet in preventing diseases. It is the doctors' primary duty to teach people how to live healthily, not to try to cure them after they become sick. But today doctors are so busy giving drugs to the sick and afflicted that they have no time to teach them how to keep well! Doctors have gotten away from their function just as they usually did in ancient times. So medical science came out of Egypt. It spread through the ancient world and was especially practiced at Ekron. People believed then that they could be healed only through "medical science" — but what does God say?
The Bible Answer
King Ahaziah died in the hands of those physicians who were the representatives of Baalzebub, the god of medicine (II Kings 1:2-4, 16-17). They could not cure him. Notice that they thought their god cured the sick and afflicted through their medicines — just as doctors do today. But who was "Baalzebub"? Baalzebub, the god of medicine, was the "god of dung" or the "god of filth." Ancient physicians guided by their god Baalzebub used filth to try to prevent or cure disease, just as today doctors inject people with polio vaccine made from monkey pus. "The inoculation of human pus from small pox cases had been known since far distant times" (A History of Medicine, p. 641). Haven't most of you had pus and other filth put into your system in the form of diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox, polio or other "shots"? Baalzebub was called by various names in various parts of the world. In ancient Greece he was known as Aesculapius and "appeared in the form of a serpent" –a type of Satan! (A History of Medicine, p. 122.) "The Semitic people of Syria, Palestine, and Phoenicia worshiped the god of healing Esmun...who was often represented as holding a rod in his hand about which are twined two serpents" (p. 121). This is the emblem of Mercury, the Greek god of commerce and thieves and is the emblem of modern medical science (pp. 74-75). "The serpent was by no means confined to the Greeks. It figures in almost all primitive medicine...The serpent was synonymous with wisdom...it knew both good and evil — poison and antidote — and...was the ally of the doctor" (Medicine and Man, p. 59). Even in ancient times men believed God worked through the doctors with their knives and drugs. But they did not realize that this was not the true God of the universe, but it was "the god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4), Satan the Devil. He appeared as a serpent in the garden of Eden and deceived Eve into taking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Yes, Satan the Devil is the founder and perpetrator of modern medical science!
Medical Symbols from Egypt
Have you ever wondered what the Rx symbol on doctors' prescription means? It is a symbol identifying modern medical science. But where did it originate? From Babylon and Egypt! Read what Ritchie Calder, "one of today's outstanding scientists," has to say: "When the new-fledged doctor fresh from his course in twentieth-century medical science examines his first patient and writes the first prescription, he avows himself a neophyte [new member] of a pagan, magical cult. He may not know it as he scribbles his instructions to dispense the latest antibiotic or the newest sufa drug, but, at the top of his prescription, he writes Rx...and in this act he invokes Horus, the bird-headed god of the Egyptians... As Sir William Osler pointed out, it is the 'Eye of Horus,' the Egyptian amulet dating back 5000 years... Horus became the god of healing and his eye the protecting device. Horus was none other than the Egyptian form of Nimrod reborn (Gen. 10:8-9), the founder of this world's society which is in rebellion against God. He was worshiped as the sun-god. "During Roman times, Galen (130-200 A.D.) advised his fellow physicians to sprinkle their writings with Egyptian symbols to impress their patients, and one of those symbols was the Eye of Horus, At first it depicted two eyes, which became corrupted into two Roman 'R's,' back to back,... and later to a kind of 'Z,'... which was the sign of Zeus, or Jupiter, and this, in turn, was rationalized back to Rx. "Like the sacred snake of Aesculapius, the crest of the physician, this is a reminder that modern medicine is the heir to a long tradition of myth and magic. And the influence of ancient Egypt was immense" (Medicine and Man, pp. 53-54). But let us go on with the story. Much of the medical knowledge of ancient Egyptians and Greeks were lost during the Dark Ages. Gradually over the centuries men began to discover once again in early modern times the medical facts that had been known thousands of years before. Men today have looked at the ignorance and squalor that existed in the Dark Ages and have assumed that man is always getting better and better! But this is not true.
"Modern" Drugs and Medicines
When we look into the practices of modern medicine we find that drugs, after physical rest are the most often used therapeutic measures at the physicians' command. But what do doctors admit about their own drugs? "A former Harvard professor of anatomy said once it would be worse for the fishes but better for mankind if all drugs were thrown into the sea. Of another Harvard professor of Therapeutics it was told that his qualification for the chair was that no man living knew better the worthlessness of more drugs...In spite of these sayings, drugs continue to be the mainstay of treatment" (p. 20 of Modern Methods of Treatment by Logan Clendening, M.D. Assistant professor of Medicine, Lecturer on Therapeutics, Medical Department of the University of Kansas; Attending Physician, Kansas City General Hospital). Backing up this statement, Chapman Pincher, of the London Express Service, in an article in the El Paso Herald Post of December 4, 1958, reported the findings of the noted British physicians "Dr. William Summerskill...and Dr. Arthur Alvarez... first class observers working under the eminent chief, Dr. Avery Jones...[Their] results [of tests proving the harmful effects of the most common drugs] are to be made known in the Lancet, the senior medical journal of the world." Wrote Chapman Pincer: "The drug with no ill effects has yet to be made... With all drugs, which must affect the body mechanism to produce any results at all, the doctor who prescribes them knows he must balance the risks against advantages."
The Effects of Drugs
The use of drugs, in an attempt to take away the penalty for broken physical laws, had produced some horrifying consequences. The February, 1956, issue of the well-known medical magazine, Today's Health, stated: "Some new disease symptoms may be caused by highly processed foods or by wonder drugs." "... antibiotics may alter the nature of bacteria in the intestinal tract, some of which are helpful and useful, Dr. Karver N. Puestoq, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, told the American College Gastroenterology." Men, rather than trusting God for healing, are producing new diseased as they try to get rid of the ones they already have brought upon themselves by wrong living habits. In the process, thousands are slowly dying from man's attempted cures. "Penicillin has been called 'the queen of drugs,' but can this description still be upheld in view of the increasing number of severe and fatal reactions reported in medical papers?... Penicillin came into general use in 1943," says this article, "but the first death from penicillin therapy was not reported until 1946. Another three years elapsed before a second fatality occurred. During the last 10 years, however, severe reactions have been reported with increasing frequency and the number of fatal cases has multiplied rapidly. By 1955, some 560 severe reactions had been reported, 81 of them fatal, and by 1957 it was estimated that some 1000 deaths from anaphylaxis due to penicillin had occurred in the United States alone" (Los Angeles Times, Feb. 1, 1959). These facts clearly prove that drugs are poisons. They do harm to the body. This is why "pharmacy," in the original Greek language from which the word comes signified the use of any kind of drug... and hence also poison and witchcraft" (Encyclopedia Britannica, edition XI, article "Pharmacy").
Bible Describes Modern Medicine
God says that "pharmacy" translated "witchcraft" in Galatians 5:20 — is one of Satan's deceptions, trusting in chemicals instead of God to get rid of disease or pain. It is a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:20) — a lack of faith. The word "witchcraft" in this verse is a mistranslation of the King James Version. The original Greek is pharmakeia and means "medication" or "pharmacy" (see Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). It is carnality to trust in medication to remove disease or pain instead of trusting God "who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseased" (Ps. 103:3). We need to ask ourselves, "Just what is healing?" Healing is God's forgiveness of physical sins. In Luke 5:18-26 a man sick with the palsy was brought to Christ. Christ startled the people by saying "thy sins be forgiven thee." Why did He say that? He goes on to tell us, "that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins" (v. 24) — what kind? Sin against our bodies, physical sins that cause disease, suffering and ultimately premature death. To show that He has power to forgive physical as well as spiritual sins, Christ said to the sick man, "Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house" — Christ healed him by forgiving his physical sins. Healing is the forgiveness of sins — and God alone can forgive sins (v. 21). (See also John 5:2-14.) In Isaiah's prophecy concerning the first coming of Christ and His suffering for us, God says: "Surely our diseases He did bear, and our pains He carried....He was wounded because of our transgressions" — of the physical laws that govern our health — "And with His stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:4, 5 [Jewish Translation]; I Pet. 2:24). Therefore if we trust in chemicals to take away our diseases and pains we are guilty of spitting on and rejecting the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us. Yet Jesus said that the "sick need a physician" (Mark 2:17). But which physician? The word "physician" means "healer." Doctors admit that no drug or medicine can heal. Jesus Christ's broken body pays for our physical sins in full when we repent and turn to Him. God is the only real Physician. Trusting in anything else to remove our diseases is idolatry! God says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me...I am the Eternal that healeth thee" or "the Eternal your Physician" or "your Healer" (Ex. 20:3; 15:26). Today there is a crying need for doctors who know God's health laws to tell people how not to become sick. Jesus said to the man whom he had healed, "Behold, thou are made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing befall thee" (John 5:14). Yes, we need doctors to tell us which health laws we have broken so we won't make the same mistakes and bring more suffering on ourselves. Mr. Armstrong's booklet "Does God HEAL Today?" explains this thoroughly. Be sure to read it.
Arguments For Using Medicines
But some argue that God sanctions the use of medicine in Revelation 22:2, where He says that in the New Jerusalem there will be "the tree of life...and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." This is prefigured in Ezekiel: "the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine" (Ezek. 47:12). "There," these people reason, "that proves we should use drugs, pain killers and medicines." Those who say this are in utter ignorance of God's Word and His plan! Notice what these verses really mean. We read that those punished by God are going to ask, "Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? (Jer. 15:18). The reason is they trust in the wrong god. The true God answers them. "In vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured," because "thou hast no healing medicines!" (Jer. 46:11; 30-13). Only God can heal disease and remove pain by forgiving physical sins. The tree of life that will be in the new Jerusalem typifies God's Holy Spirit just as did the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:22). The nations will receive healing then just as we must now, through the everliving power of God's Spirit. That tree is merely the symbol of it. It is not on earth today — it will come down "out of heaven" in the Jew Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2; 22:1-2). Some doctors say that God was the first to use anesthetics to perform surgery when He "caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman" (Gen. 2:21-22). They claim this gives us the license to do the same. Why do weak, helpless, mortal, fallible men want to become God before they are qualified? There are some things that are not our prerogative — some things that only God is qualified to do. Christ went to heaven and He told His disciples: "Whither I go, ye cannot come" (John 13:33). God also says: "I will render vengeance to mine enemies" (Deut. 34:41), but He commands us: "Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath" (Rom. 12:19-21). Again God says, "I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal" (Deut. 32: 29). God commands us not to kill and not to trust in drugs, and surgery or anything else physical to heal our diseases and pains — that perprogative belongs to God alone. We are not yet God; let's do our job and trust Him to do His — He can do it so much better that we can. The use of drugs, pain killers, tranquilizers, surgery and all the rest of man's attempts to heal prevent the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us from being applied to suffering humanity. Why is man so unwilling to accept the only way to real health and happiness — the way of faith and obedience to God? God doesn't deny us anything that is for our good. He denies us those things that will cause us unnecessary pain and misery and death. God speed the day when all men will realize the truth and will be healed!
Using Medicines Is Witchcraft"
Those who don't repent of trusting in the false god of medical science — falsely so called — are going to suffer the excruciating agonies of the seven last plagues (Rev. 9:21; 15:1; 16:1-21). Again the King James mistranslates the Greek word, pharmakeia, this time as "sorceries" — this word means "the use or administering of drugs" (see Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon). But those who still won't repent even after the millennium and trust in God to apply the beating Christ received as payment for our physical suffering will have no part in the eternal Kingdom of God (Rev. 22:14). "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable,...and sorcerers, and idolaters...shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:7-8). The word here translated "sorcerers" comes from the Greek pharmakeus which means one who prepares or administers drugs — "a druggist" or "a pharmacist" or a "poisoner" (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). Drugs are poisons, and every "poisoner" is going to end up in the lake of fire unless he repents. Either we trust God to heal our diseases, and learn to have a happy abundant life now and for all eternity, or trust in medical science — which won't help us and which God terms "sorcery," "witchcraft" and "idolatry" — and suffer agony now and an excruciating death — the second death in the lake of fire. The choice is OURS. WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?