Recently it has been reported there is a fungus called “Poison Fire Coral” which has toxins that can be absorbed through the skin and can cause a person’s brain to shrink and lead to multiple organ failure. This fungus was discovered in Cairns Australia and scientists warn that it may be growing wild across Australia’s tropical north. Several people have died in Japan and Korea after harvesting the fungus, mistaking the bright red fungi for edible mushrooms used in traditional medicine. They brewed the fungi in water to make a tea. The symptoms of eating this fungus is as follows:
“Just touching the Fire Coral fungus can cause dermatitis. If eaten, it causes a horrifying array of symptoms: initially stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and numbness, followed over hours or days by delamination of skin on face, hands and feet, and shrinking of the brain, which, in turn, causes altered perception, motion difficulties and speech impediments.”
Based on this description, this is an awful way to die because if this is left untreated, multiple organ failure will occur and cause a person’s brain to shrink leading to death.
The Spiritual insights that we receive from this type of thing is related to being curious about sin, to touch, and to ingest (bringing sin into our lives) leads to death. A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that viewing more than two hours of TV daily was linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and more than three hours of daily viewing increased the risk of premature death.  When we consider the scientific research on topics such as watching television for extended periods of time, scientists are finding links to health related diseases. There is a clear warning we are receiving here, the message is simple, cut back on the amount of time watching television can significantly affect our health for the better (i.e. reduce premature mortality rates). Many people around the world divide their days between working, sleeping, and watching television. It is reported that Eurpoeans spend on average 40% of their daily free time in front of the television set. Australians spend 50%. This corresponds to three to four hours of viewing time. This leads to reduced physical activity levels and an increase in unhealthy diets of processed foods. The most likely reason people spend so much time watching television and movies is to escape from their everyday problems, seek pleasure, and connect to the world in search for information and experiences. One of the less talked about the effects of television, is in its contribution to a false sense of reality. Television has the ability to distort reality through false information or omission of facts or truth. Television programming also undermines moral standards through depictions of or allusions to sex, and sexual contact. Violence on television also has the capacity to desensitize and instigate violence in everyday behavior. In addition, profanity and slander may also have significant effect upon the viewer. It should be obvious the spiritual consequences to these things, especially when one spends a significant amount of time, 40-50% watching television programming. The danger is by being entertained by these things, a person is joining his or herself with some very ungodly principles, some of which we are warned against according to the Torah.
- Anders Grøntved, Frank B. Hu, “Television Viewing and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and All-Cause Mortality: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of the American Medical Association, June 15, 2011.
One of the most significant problems with watching too much television is that it can hinder one’s ability to think. What occurs is by watching television, one receives a continuous flow of thoughts, information, quick ideas, opinions, analysis, and criticisms for just about everything. This leads to a slow process of losing our own ability to think critically. This is due in part to televisions ability to misinform and manipulate the truth. Because of this, television has had a huge influence upon our culture and society as a whole. And, because of this, television is extremely detrimental to the spiritual health of people everywhere. Because television can potentially be so spiritually potent in a negative way, it has become a major stumbling block for multitudes of God’s people leading to sin and ultimately to shipwreck their faith. Knowing the truth and drawing near to God are so important, and television draws us away from doing what is most important. Solomon wrote the following according to Mishley / Proverbs 9:1-4 on the importance of having wisdom.
Mishley / Proverbs 9:1-4
9:1 Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; 9:2 She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine; She has also set her table; 9:3 She has sent out her maidens, she calls From the tops of the heights of the city: 9:4 ‘Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!’ To him who lacks understanding she says, 9:5 ‘Come, eat of my food And drink of the wine I have mixed. (NASB, א חָכְמוֹת בָּנְתָה בֵיתָהּ חָצְבָה עַמּוּדֶיהָ שִׁבְעָה: ב טָבְחָה טִבְחָהּ מָסְכָה יֵינָהּ אַף עָרְכָה שֻׁלְחָנָהּ: ג שָׁלְחָה נַעֲרֹתֶיהָ תִקְרָא עַל-גַּפֵּי מְרֹמֵי קָרֶת: ד מִי-פֶתִי יָסֻר הֵנָּה חֲסַר-לֵב אָמְרָה לּוֹ:)
Solomon personifies wisdom. This is a very important observation. Wisdom, based upon the Concise Oxfords thesaurus, is synonymous with “intelligence, sense, common sense, shrewdness, astuteness, smartness, judiciousness, judgment, prudence, circumspection; logic, rationale, rationality, soundness, advisability.” Solomon says Wisdom has mixed “her” drink and prepared her food. She has prepared the table and calls to us to eat and drink of what she has made. This is a significant point because when one makes wisdom a part of his or her life, he gains intelligence, common sense, and rationality. Wisdom is described as nurturing, causing growth spiritually, and for understanding about this world and its devices, deceptions, and teaches us to avoid sin. If this is true, then what may be said of that which comes through the television, idolatry, immorality, sexual perversions, lies, covetousness, murders, and witchcraft? Could these things which lead to sin be personified in a similar way as wisdom? Watching sexual perversions on television, to be entertained by them, causes one to sup at the table of immorality and disobedience. This is why Solomon describes wisdom as being precious (Mishley / Proverbs 2:1-10), being of the greatest value, and beautiful. Today, most mainstream television is both spiritually and morally toxic. When we consider television as a mode for communication, when one sits in front of the television, it is working on our minds, sending thoughts, ideas, and godlessness into the mind. Take for example, the godless producers and script writers cause God’s people to accept things that were not previously accepted in the history of entertainment. For example, a lot has been done concerning the homosexual agenda through television and movies to cause our culture to accept this as a normal lifestyle. Adulterous behavior is considered normal by television standards, where the commandments of God are ignored or ridiculed often very subtly. This has an effect upon the mind and one’s spiritual state. What exactly are the spiritual dangers of watching television today? Read what Paul wrote in Galatians 5:19-21.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is why Moshe states what he does at the end of the Torah in Parashat Haazinu according to Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:46-47, מו וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם שִֹימוּ לְבַבְכֶם לְכָל-הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מֵעִיד בָּכֶם הַיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר תְּצַוֻּם אֶת-בְּנֵיכֶם לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשֹוֹת אֶת-כָּל-דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת: מז כִּי לֹא-דָבָר רֵק הוּא מִכֶּם כִּי-הוּא חַיֵּיכֶם וּבַדָּבָר הַזֶּה תַּאֲרִיכוּ יָמִים עַל-הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם עֹבְרִים אֶת-הַיַּרְדֵּן שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ: 32:46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 32:47 For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” (NASB) Moshe describes the importance of instructing our children in God’s Word, and how God’s Word is not empty, but it is the very life that we are to live! These things are connected to the “science and spirituality” on the fungus called “Poison Fire Coral” which has toxins that can be absorbed through the skin and can cause a person’s brain to shrink and lead to multiple organ failure. The parallel is to sin, as to touching sin, bringing sin into our lives, those things described in Galatians 5:19-21, entering right into our homes, into our lives, and into our hearts. It is the ungodly philosophies coming into our lives through television, that deceive many people and turn them away from the knowledge of God and of His truth in the Scriptures. Many shows feature hatred, unforgiveness, murder, anger, violence, deception, cheating as well as occultism, witchcraft and all kinds of ungodly behaviours. What we sow in our minds has a dramatic impact on what we will do. Remaining in the word is essential for remaining in Him, in the Messiah! Yeshua explained this when he said let His word abide in us (John 15:7). The writing of God’s Word into our hearts and minds, is what Moshe is describing here in Parashat Haazinu (Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:46-47). Obedience is a central aspect of abiding (John 15:10). But remember, just knowing something about God, or even about the Bible is not the same thing as personally trusting in the Lord God of Israel and in Yeshua His Messiah! The greatest danger, as we see in the Scientific research, is not just the danger of not having knowledge of something dangerous, but of people becoming numb to the point of remaining in a state of indifference, no longer being concerned about the truth of eternal importance. This is like what we read the Lord God Almighty saying through Moshe in Devarim / Deuteronomy 29:19-21, יח וְהָיָה בְּשָׁמְעוֹ אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הָאָלָה הַזֹּאת וְהִתְבָּרֵךְ בִּלְבָבוֹ לֵאמֹר שָׁלוֹם יִהְיֶה-לִּי כִּי בִּשְׁרִרוּת לִבִּי אֵלֵךְ לְמַעַן סְפוֹת הָרָוָה אֶת-הַצְּמֵאָה: יט לֹא-יֹאבֶה יְהֹוָה סְלֹחַ לוֹ כִּי אָז יֶעְשַׁן אַף-יְהוָֹה וְקִנְאָתוֹ בָּאִישׁ הַהוּא וְרָבְצָה בּוֹ כָּל-הָאָלָה הַכְּתוּבָה בַּסֵּפֶר הַזֶּה וּמָחָה יְהוָֹה אֶת-שְׁמוֹ מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם: כ וְהִבְדִּילוֹ יְהוָֹה לְרָעָה מִכֹּל שִׁבְטֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל כְּכֹל אָלוֹת הַבְּרִית הַכְּתוּבָה בְּסֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה הַזֶּה: 29:19 ‘It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry.’ 29:20 ‘The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. 29:21 ‘Then the Lord will single him out for adversity from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant which are written in this book of the law. (NASB) This person who witnessed the miracles of God, the destruction of the nations and their evil practices, boasts in his heart that he is stubborn and unwilling to hear the Lord, and does not believe anything will happen to him by the choices he makes to disobey God (to walk in his own way or to do what he feels is right in his own eyes). Remember, Solomon wrote that there is a way that seems right, but the end therof leads to death! (Mishley / Proverbs 14:12) This is a serious thing, there is an eternal obligation to authentically living in the light of God’s truth. There is a cost associated with our faith, taking up the cross is difficult because the works of the flesh do not want to die. This may also be why the connection to God and Yeshua is so weak in the lives of God’s people today. When one draws in the world, into our homes, into our hearts, one loses his or her connection to God because these ungodly things drives the Spirit of God away. This is why most people are more concerned about television, or the outcome of some sporting event than with their eternal souls or reaching out to a lost and dying world. The differences between the research and the spiritual parallel here is touching the fungus called “Poison Fire Coral,” the toxins work pretty quickly, as opposed to the effects of ungodliness we receive from television occur slowly and accumulate over time. This reminds me of a study that was done in Japan in the Journal Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B Physcial and Biological Sciences, titled “Agricultural aspects of radiocontamination induced by the Fukushima nuclear accident — A survey of studies by the Univ. of Tokyo Agricultural Dept. (2011–2016)” (Proc Jpn Acad Ser B Phys Biol Sci. 2018 Jan 11; 94(1): 20–34. doi: 10.2183/pjab.94.002 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5829612/) the nuclear fallout following Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, the 137Cs was found to have a cumulative distribution in the plant life meaning there was an increasing amount of radiation with time, the cumulative distribution is an additive process, since the plant life does not have a way to release the 137Cs (Cesium 137 and 134). This is how the effects of sin occur in our bodies without the renewal of the washing of the water of the Word as Paul describes in Ephesians 5:26. The importance of remaining in God’s Word, and removing the immoral and ungodly influences is a very Torah centric principle both the Tanach and the Aposotlic writings teach us. The point is, our relationship with God is not about the ego or the tickling of the ear in the name of spirituality or religion. We have a relationship with God, a covenant relationship in the Messiah Yeshua. Jude warns us to earnestly contend for the faith that was delivered to God’s people. The fact of the matter is the Torah is relevant and valid for us today because of its essential message of holiness, and the practicality of holiness for our daily lives. Jude reminds us that God is the same “yesterday, today, and forever,” and His moral will was not suspended following the birth, death, and resurrection of Yeshua. Yeshua amplified the teachings of the Torah, he raised the standard and insisted that the commands are meant to be obeyed from the heart based upon intent, not on an external appearances (see Matthew 5:21-48). We can take these things as a warning for us, we either ignore the warning and fall into the consequences listed in Devarim / Deuteronomy 29:19 of the stubbornness of the heart, or take our lives, what we see, and what we do very seriously, and seek the Lord God in heaven to help us to overcome this world, its devices, and its sins. Yeshua promises those who put their trust in Him he says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). May God watch over you, keep you, and give you the glorious liberty to obey Him in truth according to His eternal Word!