Book Release

[The following is the epilogue to the new book, Following Jesus Through Troubled Waters. In order to understand the message of this unique book, you might want to read through the following epilogue. It will give you a good idea about the content of the book. The theme of the book is directed to Christians who are struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic. This book may help in better understanding how Christians should rejoice in these times of great apprehension. We would encourage you to forward the book on to all your friends. You can download the book free through the following link.]

http://www.africainternational.org/files/Book%20102.pdf

It is difficult to write an epilogue for a book as this. In many ways, we did not cover a great deal of expository Bible study in the book. On the contrary, we leaned more toward advice in reference to the present pandemic that is upon us throughout the world. If we lived in the early 1900’s during the Spanish influenza pandemic, we would have written in the same manner because of the impact the pandemic was having on the world at the time. The difference between then and now is that in those days there was little scientific research on the subject of pandemics. And besides this, there was not the news media throughout the world as there is today to inform us of the worldwide impact of the Covid-19 virus.

There is at least one good thing about the international news media of today. Combined with all the scientific research in reference to pandemics, the news media has educated all of us on the matter of the Covid-19 virus. Everyone who has kept up will all the news on the subject has become an “expert” in the field to the point that the experts are no longer functioning alone in the isolation of some obscure laboratory. What has been discovered in the laboratories today has been broadcast immediately to the entire world. The advantage of this is that we have all been informed concerning the Covid-19 virus. Though we have all been somewhat brought into a state of fear concerning the matter because of the world’s obsession with how Covid supposedly affects how we should be governed, as individuals we will learn how to deal with the pandemic. Humanity has a way of dealing with pandemics, and then, moves on.

Nevertheless, we have been informed concerning the insidious nature of this particular virus. The world survived the Spanish flu pandemic over one hundred years ago, and the world will do the same with this virus. We will survive. Thousands have already died, and thousands more will perish. But we are confident that civilization will survive, and carry on. This is especially true in reference to the church of our Lord.

Millions died from the Spanish flu pandemic, but at the time of this writing only hundreds of thousands have perished from the Covid-19 virus. This may change in the future, but not likely. Since many vaccines are being developed and will be administered to the general public worldwide, it seems unlikely that the world population will suffer anything close to what it suffered during the Spanish flu pandemic when over sixty million people perished worldwide.

One good thing that has come out of this pandemic is that we have all been informed concerning the system of inflection by which the Covid-19 virus moves among populations. Science has published enough information about the spread of this virus that all of us have been taught what health precautions we must take in order to guard ourselves, and the general public, from being infected with the virus. Since much of the world is as the population of Africa—over half the population of Africa lives in urban centers—there are some very important health measures that we are encouraged to take in order to protect ourselves and society as a whole. These are often common sense measures that should have been taught long before the arrival of Covid-19. The implementation of these health precautions will not only spare many from the Covid virus, but also from many other viruses that continually circulation among the populations of the world.

In reference to the Bible, we have all learned a very important truth. The general cleanliness principles of the Sinai law are as valid today as they were over four thousand years ago when they were given to Israel at Mount Sinai. If even these laws had been practiced as health measures today, we would have been spared the tragedy of many diseases that people suffer today. Though not a specific point of any Sinai precept, we too can wash our hands regularly in respect to those Sinai laws that deal with cleanliness. We can minimize body contact, especially contact with dead bodies. We can eat clean food, and food that is meant for human consumption. The Israelites needed no social distancing rules since they were all socially distanced from one another on farms that were scattered throughout Palestine. It is only when people started massing in urban centers did the problems surrounding worldwide epidemics begin to occur.

The scribes and Pharisees actually had a point when they came and complained to Jesus about the disciples of Jesus going to “McDonalds” in downtown Jerusalem and then not washing their hands before they ate their hamburgers and fries (chips). Unfortunately, they complained on the occasion in order to set a trap for Jesus by enforcing an application of the law that was foreign to the Sinai law. “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread” (Mt 15:2).

Of course the Sinai law said nothing about washing hands before eating bread. What the religious leaders had done was make a law in reference to the application of the laws that dealt with cleanliness. Where they went wrong was that they bound their applications (interpretations) of the law on the people. There was no specific precept in the Sinai law that commanded that one should wash his or her hands before eating. General cleanliness precepts were given, but the people had to be allowed to make a decision as to how they would apply the laws concerning cleanliness. The scribes and Pharisees implemented a good application in reference to not going to “McDonalds” and eating a hamburger without first sanitizing one’s hands. But their application was not a specific law. They only made their application (interpretation) of the law binding, and by doing such, they set aside the law itself.

Social distancing to contain the Covid-19 virus may be questionable since the contagion factor is still somewhat vague. Tuberculosis and influenza, as well as Covid-19, are all airborne viruses. However, tuberculosis and influenza are transmitted more by droplets, and not dispersed as an aerosol, that is, as a microscopic mist. And since the scientists are now concluding that the Covid-19 is an aerosol dispersed virus, then the social distancing formerly suggested by the scientific world must go far beyond the suggested two meters. In other words, the Covid-19 virus hangs in the air up to several meters away from the infected individual who coughs or sneezes. When the ambient temperature outside the human body is cooler than one’s body temperature, this means that the Covid-19 virus will hang in the air for a greater period of time in the winter than in the summer. If one is not in a ventilated area, the virus can just hang in the air, awaiting someone to pass through the mist and subsequently inhale from the unseen cloud of contamination.

When found on surfaces, it was first assumed that within 72 hours the Covid-19 virus died. But recent studies have revealed that in laboratory conditions, the virus has remained active for up to three weeks on surfaces. That is not encouraging when considering the contamination of indoor restaurants. But then the scientists have correctly suggested that all flat surfaces be sanitized. It is good to sanitize our hands, but it is an extra precaution to sanitize all the flat surfaces of public places, including buses and taxis.

Wearing a face mask in public places is good advice. It is good advice because millions of people have never been taught to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. In fact, it is quite amazing to discover how many people from childhood were never taught by their parents to wash their hands or cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. One advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the Ebola epidemic, is that people have been taught to be clean. The Sinai law taught the principle that “godliness is next to cleanliness”—this statement is not in the Bible—which principle of life should be taught from childhood. The principle was based on the fact that godliness entails obedience to God’s principles for cleanliness that were inherent in the cleanliness laws of the Sinai law.

Everyone should probably download and read the book, None of These Diseases that was written by Dr. S. I. McMillen and first published in 1962. Later editions were coauthored by Dr. David E. Stern. Over one million copies of this book have been sold. McMillen did a masterful job in going through the Sinai laws in order to point out how many of those laws were connected with diseases about which the world at that time had no knowledge. It was not until the arrival of modern science that the reason behind the Sinai cleanliness laws was revealed, and thus why God gave the laws in the first place. When those laws were taught to the Israelites, the people protected themselves from many diseases. We must do the same in our world today which is overpopulated in many urban centers around the world.

If God was concerned about the health of His people throughout the Old Testament, then He is still concerned today. Since the giving of the Sinai law to the Israelites, we have learned a great deal about diseases and infections, which things the Israelites never knew. By learning how diseases and infections are transmitted from one person to another, we have learned why God prescribed for His people certain instructions in the Sinai law to prevent the transmission of such, and subsequently, germs and viruses that cause diseases. We are without excuse today if we scientifically know what causes many diseases and infections, and yet ignore taking the advice of the scientific community as to how to avoid such diseases and infections.

If the Israelites did not maintain the “cleanliness laws” of the Sinai law, then they were without excuse for breaking the Sinai law as a whole, though God never explained the purpose why He gave the laws concerning cleanliness. The Israelites may not have understood the reasons why the cleanliness laws were given, nevertheless, they had to keep the laws regardless of the scientific reasons for the laws that we know today.

If we violate cleanliness laws today that are explained to us by the scientific community, we are not breaking the law of God, as was the case with Israel. However, we are revealing that we are somewhat foolish by knowingly violating those principles of cleanliness that will aid in our continued health. Violating cleanliness rules simply because we believe that God will take care of us, leans on the side of foolishness, if not tempting God. If we become ill because we willingly violated cleanliness rules, then we cannot blame God. The science of health is a blessing from God. Honoring rules of good health is common sense. One may not have been taught some of the common rules of good health when young, but it is time to educate ourselves on these matters. It is now as Paul wrote. “When I was a child I spoke as a child. I understood as a child. I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Co 13:11). It is now a time for one to educate himself or herself in reference to healthy living, and thus put away the ignorance of childhood in reference to one’s own health and the health of others. This is the implementation of love in which Paul wrote the preceding statement.

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