my new dawn

no mrsa

Posted on: October 9, 2010

How God Protected the Israelites from Disease

By David Stewart, PhD

The Dual Purpose of Holy Oils and Incense

In Exodus 30:22-31, 34-36, God gives recipes for a Holy Anointing Oil and a Holy Incense with instructions on their uses. The anointing oil is to be used, not only to anoint and consecrate the Levite priests, but also to clean the altar of sacrifice, all of the instruments of the altar, including the laver, a bowl of water next to the altar for washing hands between sacrifices. This cleaning ritual was done daily.

If you think about it, a place where animals were sacrificed every day, sometimes hundreds in a day, could create an environment that would promote the growth of harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. These could, in turn, cause chronic sickness among the priests and personnel of the synagoge as well as epidemics among the people at large. But the Bible does not mention any instance of diseases caused by the environment of the altar and its surroundings.

It turns out that the ingredients of the Holy Anointing Oil (Oils of Cinnamon, Cassia, Calamus, and Myrrh) are all highly antimicrobial being effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Because the priests and their assistants actually used the anointing oil to clean and wipe all of the articles and surfaces on or around the altar on a daily basis, a pathogenic environment was never allowed to develope. Meanwhile, as the oil was applied during the daily cleaning process the priests and assistants were breathing them into their bodies and, were thus boosting their immune systems to resist any form of microbial attack.

Thus you can see that the Holy Anointing Oil was for more than ceremonial purposes and for more than a support for worship.

But What About Airborn Bacteria?

While the application of Holy Anointing Oil on and around the altar of sacrifice killed all contact bacteria, what about airborn bacteria? Well, it seems that God thought of that, too.

The Holy Incense described in Exodus 30 contains Myrrh, Frankincense, Galbanum, and Onycha. It turns out that all four of these resins or oils are also highly antimicrobial, capable of killing bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Being diffused into the air, the Holy Incense killed all airborn microbes.

In fact, for more than a hundred years, Onycha oil dissolved in ethyl alcohol (called “Tincture of Benzoin”) was the hospital antiseptic of choice all over the world. It wasn’t until after World War II that drug companies finally persuaded medical authorties that their synthetic antibacterial agents were better and less expensive.

Synthetic antiseptics may be cheaper, but they are not as effective as those based on nature’s ingredients. The extended use of commercially antiseptics in hospitals has eventually led to the creation of resistant strains of deadly bacteria (like MRSA) against which modern medicine has no remedy. If hospitals would have continued using Tincture of Benzoin with natural Onycha, instead of man-made pharmaceuticals, to keep their premeses free of harmful microbes, we would not have MRSA and the other resistant strains of pathogens that threaten us today.

So God’s plan for protecting the Israelites from any potential health threats that could have been posed by the sacrifice of animals was complete. His instructions, given to Moses, protected the Jews from both contact microbes and airborn microbes. At the same time, these fragrances lift our spirits and stimulate our pineal gland, which is the seat of our intuition in the brain and the focal point for praise, prayer, and meditation. These aromas also clarify our minds as well.

Therefore, these oils, as used in the ancient tabernacles, synagoges, and temple, supported the Jews in multiple ways–physically, mentally, and spiritually–and still do today.

Reprinted from The Raindrop Messenger, a free eline newsletter, with permission from Dr. David Stewart. To subscribe or download back issues, visit

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