The image for this blog post (the MATSATI.COM Science and Spirituality article) is a microscopic view of hookworms which are parasitic nematodes that live in the small intestinal tract of the host. Typically we see these worms in dogs, cats, and humans. It has been reported incidents when people have unrelenting gastrointestinal symptoms that doctors can not diagnose, they simply give the reason as “irritable bowel syndrome” (IBS). Stool tests may reveal “normal” results, though symptoms include gas, bloating, and alternating bowel issues. This may not be IBS. Under such cases, additional testing should include the test for parasites. There is a parasite called Blastocystis hominis, a microscopic organism that is one type of parasite that can live on or in the body and wreak havoc on bodily functions. The types of parasites (worms) that may live in the intestines include roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. The symptoms may include unexplained weight loss, unbearable itchy skin, etc. These types of parasitic infections in people are most common in developing countries, and the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0508-npi.html) states there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who are exposed to and infected by various parasites every year. Infections may come from a variety of sources, including animals, blood, food, insects, and even the water we drink. In some cases the symptoms are mild, while in other cases, the results may lead to death. Some of the symptoms of parasitic infection may be skin disorders (eczema or psoriasis), joint pain which may also include the triggering of rheumatoid arthritis, mood changes such as depression or anxiety and when these do not respond to therapy, insomnia or sleep disturbances, or even metabolic changes as in the example of changes in weight, and blood sugar problems too. The intestinal symptoms that may go unexplained include: abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. One may find him or herself on a mood and energy roller coaster, fatigue and exhaustion along with sleep disorders, etc. In addition to this, the treatment of the parasite doesn’t necessarily mean that it is eliminated for good but may only keep them at bay for a while. The important point is that prevention, and/or elimination requires a lifestyle change, hygienically and by the way we we eat and how we prepare our food, these things have a huge effect on the gut microbiome (i.e. probiotics) and inflammation in the body.
The Spiritual insight that we receive from this analysis on being infected with parasites are related to sin (what we do in the body), lifestyle (how we live for God), and truth (discernment of God’s plan for our lives). The enemy of truth is this world is subtle and cunning. We are told according to Matthew 24 the following:
24:3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you. 24:5 ‘For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 24:6 ‘You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 24:7 ‘For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 24:8 ‘But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. 24:9 ‘Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 24:10 ‘At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 24:11 ‘Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 24:12 ‘Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 24:13 ‘But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 24:14 ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (NASB)
The disciples asked Yeshua of the end of the age and his response was there will be an increase in deception (false prophets) and there will also be an increase in lawlessness and wickedness, so much so, most people’s love will grow cold. Paul wrote to Timothy stating in 2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (KJV) Paul indicated a similar trend towards the end of the age of there being an increase in wickedness, and those having a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. (2 Timothy 3:5) Just as we see in the study of roundworm or hookworm parasitic infections, we have to be discerning, not only in the body, but also in the matter of truth such that we are able to understand the difference between a false teacher and a truth teacher. We must listen carefully to what is said (Mishley / Proverbs 18:13) and then stand upon the Word of God (Titus 1:9), that is coupled with the correct interpretation of the Word of God. The Lord God Almighty hates evil, and He also despises pride and arrogance. The point is our attitude matters, and we are not to be prideful or arrogant in our understanding of the truth! (Mishley / Proverbs 8:13). One of the problems with parasites is their corrupting nature via a secretive route entering into the body without our knowledge. We can see some of the physical effects but are unaware of the true nature of the symptoms. This parallels the corrupting nature of our culture, drawing secular and ungodly opinions and attitudes into one’s mind that stand against God’s Holy word. This is why it is so important to have knowledge of God’s will, Word and Ways so that we are not destroyed (see Hosea 4:6). Note this is the reason for studying God’s Torah! This coupled with the Spirit of God in our hearts, we are able to overcome this world. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul wrote of a kind of people who had a form of godliness while denying the power of God in their lives. This speaks to us today in the sense that people are hungry for spiritual truth but are reluctant to accept the holy standards that are set in the Scriptures. False prophets bring in “destructive heresies,” consider the theologies today that deny the power of God (dispensationalism) and blaspheme the truth, exploiting people with deceptive words (2 Peter 2:1-3). These false prophets, like the secular world system, want us to adopt unbiblical values, gain approval based on those values, and pursue ungodly goals (note the widespread acceptance of LGBT in both the secular world and the church).
One of the key deceptions today in our culture is coupled to the word “tolerance.” Based upon a Torah centric viewpoint, we are told how to treat others, and how to be rational individuals discerning truth. The word tolerance is defined how we treat others, and the word rational is what we do with “ideas.” We do not have to tolerate ideas, this is contrary to the truth because of the deception that enters into our lives through false ideas. We are to sort between the truth and a lie. This leads to a conflict between the worldview of the people of God as opposed to the worldview of secular life. The question about the Torah and its correct interpretation is related to “what defined Israel’s spiritual relationship to their God?” and how we too understand our spiritual relationship with God for those who seek to join themselves with the God of Israel. According to the Scriptures, the document that defined Israel’s relationship with God was the Torah, a Hebrew word which literally means “teachings” or “instructions” in the righteousness of God. The rabbis believed the books of the Torah were delivered to Moshe letter by letter, word by word, sentence by sentence. (This is what the Scriptures say in Devarim / Deuteronomy 5-6.) This divinely inspired book was then given to the Children of Israel. For the people of Yeshua’s day, the Torah of God given through Moshe formed the central teaching document that regulated and governed every aspect of one’s life, culture, family, relationship, marriage, society, and spiritual connection to God, and one’s relationship with the surrounding nations. The Torah was the foundation stone upon which the nation and the people of Israel, the writers of the Bible, and those who joined themselves with the God of Israel stood. The Torah is the central document which defines sin and is the source text for discerning between the truth and a lie. As everyone knows, evil disguises itself. This is similar to the study we did on engineered bacteria, CD47 protein, and the immune system. Tumors often express the gene turning on the CD47 protein which results in the surface of the tumor being coated with this protein. This protein signals the immune system to treat this as a good cell thus allowing the tumor to grow and eventually killing its host. Evil disguises itself in a similar fashion, as it is connected to popular culture, it sounds good, nice, and friendly, but has devastating consequences to the heart, mind, and soul of a person. Having an absence of the teaching on the Torah, especially for its validity for our lives today, people are not being taught the whole counsel of God. It’s important to anchor our lives in God’s character (2 Peter 1:3) as it is defined according to the Torah, and to know His standards for unchanging truth, so we will not be cast adrift by the empty, always-changing philosophies of the world (2 Timothy 2:15). 1 John 4:1 instructs us to test the spirits in order to determine whether they are from God. When it comes to truth verses an error, there is no such thing as a safe dose of poison. Error is poison and we must be careful about what we allow to enter into our lives. This is why we are told throughout the Scriptures the wisdom there is in surrounding ourselves with those who love the Lord, who have a clear understanding of God’s ways according to the Scriptures, and encourage others in truth. Paul wrote this way in Ephesians about the “belt of truth” (Ephesians 6:14) and the armor of God, for our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the “powers of this dark world” (Ephesians 6:12-17). Just as we see in parasitic infections, much testing must be performed in order to properly diagnose the problem. The Torah says “Distance yourself from words of falsehood.” (Shemot / Exodus 23:7) This is the only sin regarding from which the Torah warns us to “distance” ourselves.
Bekhor Shor, Exodus 23:7 Part 1
Distance yourself from a false matter – put distance between yourself and those who speak lies, and gossipers, since on this the text already warned: ‘you must not carry false rumors’ and then ‘do not
The reason this is the only thing the Torah tells us to distance ourselves is due to the nature of deception and falsehood leading to all sorts of evils, moral, ethical, and idolatrous. By telling the truth we emulate our Creator. The Talmud calls speaking the truth is a segulah (a treasure, Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 97a). The Talmud also describes those who do not merit to greet the divine presence, and one of them is liars. (Talmud Bavli Sotah 42a) Studying the Torah naturally draws us back to sin in regards to what we do in the body, and lifestyle as it is related to how we live our lives for God. The one who has an honest heart will not find it difficult to understand that he must check himself to discover the intention of his heart, whether it is concerned to make an excuse for sin, or to work hard at living the way the Lord God wants us to live by the power of His Holy Spirit in our lives, through faith in His son Yeshua the Messiah! Anything that weakens our hatred of sin, may be identified as false, and deception. God’s Word makes holiness in our lives more attractive, therefore we seek the Lord daily to help us in our walk before Him, just as the psalmist writes, Tehillim / Psalms 4-5 “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (KJV) This knowledge of the parasitic creatures reminds us to take great care to draw near to the Lord God in heaven, to continue to have faith in Yeshua His Son, and asking the Lord to keep us from ungodliness and worldly lusts as we live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, while we look for the blessed hope and appearing of our Savior, Yeshua the Messiah! (Titus 2:11-13)