As I studied various aspects of the skeletal system, I was intrigued with the bone in the throat. This little member of our bony framework is set apart from all the others and has a very special lesson to teach us. What makes this bone so singular? It is the only one without a joint! It is held in position only by muscles and ligaments.
God has designed the body (and the church) for action. We have things to do, places to go, relationships to develop, knowledge to gain, God and people to serve. All this activity is made possible by joints. Yet there is a bone that has no joint, no direct association with other bones. We call it the hyoid bone. It represents a type of law that functions without regard to any action on our part, yet it greatly affects our life.
205 bones designed for moving the body, for adjusting to different positions, for reaching out and pulling in, for rocking and rotating and sliding and bending. And one bone not concerned about moving (at least not much). Hmmm. Many theologians talk about the “completed work of Christ”, that He did everything and all we have to do is “believe”. If this accurately described the body of Christ, His true believers, then we should expect to see all 206 bones unconcerned about our personal mobility. We would be as rigid as a tree. But that is not the case!
God is very busy in His universe, doing many things we have little idea of, and many more things we have nothing to do with at all. But when it comes to daily living and our personal salvation, God intends us to become actively involved.
While our salvation is wholly dependent upon Jesus, yet we have a work to do in order that we shall be saved. The apostle says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” The work that we are to do is not independent of what God is to do, but a work of cooperation with God. The power and the grace of God is to be wrought into the heart by the divine Worker, but some go astray here, claiming that man has a work to do that is wholly independent of any work of God. Another class take the other extreme, and say that man is free from all obligation, because God does the whole work–both the willing and doing. But the true ground to take is that the human will must be in subjection to the divine will. The will of man is not to be forced into cooperation with divine agencies, but must be voluntarily submitted. Man has no power of himself to work out his own salvation. Salvation must be the result of cooperation with divine power, and God will not do that for man which he can do for himself. Man is wholly dependent on the grace of Christ. He has no power to move one step in the direction of Christ unless the Spirit of God draws him. The Holy Spirit is continually drawing the soul, and will continue to draw until by persistent refusal the sinner grieves away the tender messenger of God. ST, February 12, 1894 par. 2
While God was working in Daniel and his companions “to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13), they were working out their own salvation. Herein is revealed the outworking of the divine principle of cooperation, without which no true success can be attained. Human effort avails nothing without divine power; and without human endeavor, divine effort is with many of no avail. To make God’s grace our own, we must act our part. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort. LHU 193
Yet there are some things in God’s kingdom that function without man’s assistance, that aren’t affected by humanity. But they are vital to man’s existence, well-being, success, and salvation. The hyoid addresses these laws. Why God put that kind of bone where He did and what lessons He wishes to teach us are the challenge of this chapter.
We can begin to understand its import as we examine where the Creator placed it in our body. As we seek for answers we shall be demonstrating a process by which we can discover beautiful and meaningful lessons buried in the created world.
The hyoid bone is located in the upper part of the neck, between the lower jaw and the larynx. So? Where do we go from here? In understanding symbolic language there are at least three things we must consider.
The first consideration in the process is honesty. We must not read into the answer a meaning inconsistent with its nature. For example if the color white is consistently used to denote “purity” we don’t assign it another attribute (like “humor”) so it would fit the analogy. The closer the likeness of one thing is to another, the greater the strength that figure or symbol has.
Secondly, the more thorough we are the more information we shall have from which to draw accurate conclusions. This is similar to triangulation in fire spotting—the mapping of fire tower reports from different directions. From the tower’s location the fire is described as at a certain degree on its compass. The more fire towers that report in, the greater the accuracy in locating the fire
Finally, we must always seek for divine inspiration to help us make our conclusions. What good is building a house if the Lord has not helped to build it?1
Let’s begin by asking ourselves some simple questions (please don’t underestimate the power of simplicity!):
What general function do necks perform?
What does the neck do physically for the body?
What allusions do Scriptures have to the neck?
What traditional expressions are made about it?
What conclusions can we draw about the figurative intent of the neck that will be consistent with its physical roles?
What general function do necks perform? (Think of anything that has a neck: lamps, animals, bottles, garments, land masses, etc.)
►Necks join one part to another
►Necks support something but are in turn supported by something greater
►Necks add some advantages to what they support
►What passes through the neck is vital to the function of the whole
►Necks are usually in a vulnerable position
►What originates in the neck usually modifies that which passes through it
►Necks often become a “billboard” to give expression to the whole object
What does the neck do physically for the body? (Consider your own neck.)
►It joins my head to the rest of my body
►>It supports my head, yet is supported itself by my body
►It allows my head much more freedom of movement than if it were attached directly to the body
►It contains major nerves, blood vessels, and air ducts vital to both head and body
►The neck is a vulnerable part of my body (I can die if my neck is strangled or broken)
►The voice box in the neck modifies the air passing through it for speaking or singing, and thyroid and parathyroid glands in the throat add important body regulating chemicals and hormones to my bloodstream
What do Scriptures say about the neck? (Look up “neck” in a concordance and read the different passages that use the word. Where’s the first time it is used? Where’s the last time? Take note of the various meanings.]
►Ornamentation/Honor: Gen. 41:42; Pro. 1:9, 3:3; Daniel 5:29
►Expressing emotions or feelings: Gen. 33:4, 45:14, 46:29; Acts 20:37; Ro.16:4
►Yokes: Gen. 27:40; Deut. 28:48; Isa. 10:27; Lam. 1:4; Jer. 27:2
►Showing attitudes: II Ki.17:14; Deut. 31:27; Ne. 9:29; Pro. 29:1; Isa. 3:16, 48:4
►Demonstrating Control: Ex. 13:13, 34:20; Lev. 5:8; II Sam. 22:41; Job 41:22
What traditional expressions are made about it? (Sometimes the figurative meaning of a word is so strong it is used in everyday expressions. Though it is not advisable to put much weight on this for interpretive purposes, it occasionally helps to underscore a meaning.)
►Necking—hugging and kissing
►Neck and neck—in a competition to mean equal or level
►Neck or nothing—willingness to risk everything
►Break one’s neck—put great energy to go out of one’s way
►Risk one’s neck—put one’s life in jeopardy
►To get it in the neck—to be reprimanded very severely
What conclusions can we draw about the figurative intent of the neck? (Here we prayerfully consider our answers in the questions above. We are looking for a meaning that will be consistent all the way through.)
►In the body—The neck is a vital member of the body used to attach two very important parts, and in so doing provides additional advantages to both parts.
►In the Bible—All these actions, though directed to the neck, express either honor/dishonor or acceptance/ rejection to some other part of the body or to the body as a whole.
►In common expressions—The element of representation is evident. The neck itself is never solely involved.
The neck, then, symbolically, could be a representation of the whole, like an ambassador. Its position close to the head speaks of its important contribution to the rest of the body. What is done to the neck is depicted as done to the entire person. When Belshazzar placed a gold chain about Daniel’s neck, he was showing honor to Daniel himself (Daniel 5:29), his person, not just to his neck.
Because the hyoid is located in the neck, it, as a bone, must give special honor to the Head. Yet it and the things around it provide vital functions to the whole body.
THE MEANING OF THE HYOID
The hyoid, being a true bone, represents some law (or set of laws) that is used to govern God’s kingdom. Its location in the axial (love-to-God) division defines its existence as helping us to better understand and serve God. And since it is not joined to any other bone it stands for law which functions without regard to anything we DO. It is a bone designed for support, like the foundation of a house, not action, like the family car.
The law or set of laws that fit in this category is natural law. Gravity is a function of natural law. It is not dependent on any human. No one has to get up in the morning to turn it on. It stays “on” all the time. Natural law controls the rising and setting of the sun. This goes on day after day, like clockwork, even if we lose our temper, fall into a deep state of depression, or reject the existence of a divine Creator. Natural law is consistent, predictable, and trustworthy.
The hyoid speaks of natural law operating in the body of Christ, His church, our body temple, irrespective of our feelings, attitudes, or actions. It works every time. We can depend on it. Its position in the throat and association with the food and air passages tells us that natural law is given to sustain the body as well as allow it to communicate with the outside world. In short, natural law effects the whole spiritual being, is vital to the body, and helps support the Head. By our action or attitude toward natural law, we will express honor or dishonor to the entire kingdom of God.
There are many things that “rule” us: traffic laws, employers, vehicles, television. But these have dominion over us by our voluntary consent. (If our employer is too overbearing, we can look for another job.) But there are some laws that rule without our consent or control. Natural law is in this category. It operates whether we like it or not. We might be able to modify its effect by using one law to counteract another, like using a hot air balloon to float over the countryside, but natural law is amenable only to God. When Christ stilled the storm by His word alone, His disciples knew this was not possible to mere mortals.
Mark 4:41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Discord and discontent came when Adam and Eve decided to be in charge of their own life— by eating from the Tree of Knowledge,2 where they learned how to become little gods.3 The temptation they faced and failed in is repeated daily by all of us, the temptation to ignore God and His natural laws, take things in our own hands and manage our own affairs. By doing thus we put God in second place.
Though natural law works without regard to human choice, we still must decide how to relate to it. Shall we cooperate with it or work against it? What we decide strengthens or weakens character.
God might have created man without the power to transgress His law; He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit; but in that case man would have been, not a free moral agent, but a mere automaton. Without freedom of choice, his obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. Such a course would have been contrary to God’s plan in dealing with the inhabitants of other worlds. It would have been unworthy of man as an intelligent being, and would have sustained Satan’s charge of God’s arbitrary rule. PP 49
CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURAL LAW
Within this category of law, effect follows cause. Solomon put it this way in Proverbs 26:2, The curse causeless shall not come..
By the laws of God in nature, effect follows cause with unvarying certainty. The reaping testifies to the sowing. Here no pretense is tolerated. Men may deceive their fellow men and may receive praise and compensation for service which they have not rendered. But in nature there can be no deception. On the unfaithful husbandman the harvest passes sentence of condemnation. And in the highest sense this is true also in the spiritual realm. It is in appearance, not in reality, that evil succeeds. The child who plays truant from school, the youth who is slothful in his studies, the clerk or apprentice who fails of serving the interests of his employer, the man in any business or profession who is untrue to his highest responsibilities, may flatter himself that, so long as the wrong is concealed, he is gaining an advantage. But not so; he is cheating himself. The harvest of life is character, and it is this that determines destiny, both for this life and for the life to come. Ed 108
The garden helps illustrate this “effect” aspect of natural law.
Preparation: The quality and quantity of the harvest depends on what you prepare for and how you prepare for it.
There was a portion of land that had the soil conditions and pH for growing grasses, but the owner decided to turn it into a large U-Pick strawberry field. Instead of preparing the soil for growing strawberries [which requires a different soil chemistry than grasses], the owner just went ahead and set out thousands of healthy strawberry plants. In time there were shoots growing everywhere with luscious fruit waiting to be picked. Just one problem, however. The pickers couldn’t find the strawberries. The grass was too thick! The owner hoed and hoed. He pulled and pulled. He sprayed and tried everything he could to get rid of the grass. But the ground was prepared for grass and not strawberries. Guess who won?
Even if we do not lose our souls, we shall realize in eternity the result of our unused talents. For all the knowledge and ability that we might have gained and did not, there will be an eternal loss. COL 362
The Lord has a great work to be done, and He will bequeath the most in the future life to those who do the most faithful, willing service in the present life. COL 330
Seed: The seed reproduces after its kind. We reap what we sow. If we don’t want a certain kind of plant in our garden, we don’t put those kinds of seeds in the soil! If we don’t want our children to speak disrespectfully to us, we don’t plant seeds of disrespect in them. Kindness brings forth kindness, forbearance gives fruit to forbearance.
Delay: The harvest is not always immediate. Everything develops, even an argument. Delay gives opportunity to change our course or settle in, so when the harvest does come we should be prepared for it. Give time for things to grow, like letting children be children for a while.
Harvest: The reaping is greater than the sowing. Don’t ever expect to get exactly what you plant. The servant that returned to his master exactly what was entrusted to him was called a wicked and slothful servant.4 One watermelon seed will produce many watermelons with hundreds of similar seeds in them. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.”5 One who tries to “get even” with an injustice done to him will always overdo it and is planting a crop of sorrow.
In the kingdom of God we recognize that our heavenly Father does many things over which we have little or no control. He has set in motion laws that must operate faithfully without regard to the human factor so His universe can maintain order and harmony. Rarely does He interfere with these. The sun shines on the good and bad. The rain falls on the sinner and the saint. Natural law is actually designed to help us to do many things— if we cooperate.
Nature is the great physician that will heal them of all their maladies, both spiritual and physical…. Nature is the great restorer of both soul and body. MM 232, 283
THE FUNCTION OF THE HYOID
The hyoid is the anchor point for certain muscles in the tongue used for speaking and in swallowing. Speaking and swallowing are two of the most important actions the body can do. Their results are powerful! One affects everyone around us as well as ourselves, and the other determines what the body or mind shall have to work with.
Prov 18:21 GW The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love to talk will have to eat their own words.
James 1:26 CEV If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless.
SPEAKING Controlling the tongue is vital, but nearly impossible unless God helps us.
James 3:8 GNB It [the tongue] is evil and uncontrollable, full of deadly poison.
Of all the different members of our body over which we have voluntary control, this one has the most power for good or evil and is the most in need of subjection to the control of God. To underscore this point the Creator placed at its base, its foundation, a supporting structure, the only unjointed bone in the body, as if to say, I have set in motion natural laws to aid you in gaining control of your tongue. The tongue no man can tame. I will do it for you if you will subject yourself to some universal principles. What a God!
Let’s look at a few of these principles, to see how natural law is used as an anchor for the tongue and swallowing muscles.
TEMPERANCE [avoiding what is harmful and using in moderation that which is helpful] When we observe nature it is quite obvious that she uses things moderately and, as much as possible, stays away from those things hurtful or destructive. Ever see a fat honeybee or hummingbird? They get their energy from what they take in “on the wing”. They don’t eat or drink more than needed. It will just be an extra burden to carry around. Same with trees. They ingest only what they can profitably use. Temperance is all throughout nature, and is a strong helper for us, too. The Bible says temperance comes before patience.
“And to temperance, patience.” (2Pet 1:5-6) The need of becoming temperate is made manifest as we try to take this step. It is next to an impossibility for an intemperate person to be patient…. No impatient man or woman will ever enter into the courts of heaven. RH 02 21 88.10
Patience follows temperance like persistence follows desire. One builds on the other. One reason we say things we wish we hadn’t is because we get impatient. Had we waited just a little bit longer things may have changed. Is there anything desirable in impatience?
The loud, harsh complaint, the fretful, fault finding spirit, are evidences of a narrow, conceited mind. Impatience brings strife and accusation and sorrow; but patience pours the balm of peace and love into the experiences of the home life. When we exercise the precious grace of patience toward others, they will reflect our spirit, and we shall gather with Christ. Patience will seek for unity in the church, in the family, and in the community. This grace must be woven into our lives. Every one should mount this round of progress, and add to faith, virtue, and temperance, the grace of patience. RH 02 21 88.11
Temperance, like all the laws of nature, brings its own reward.
Max was a massive man, a born driver. It seemed he never ran out of energy. At the age of four, in the daycare, he was in charge of the sandbox, even though it was shared by those twice his age. When he was twelve he had two paper routes, was on the softball team, and pulling straight A’s. As soon as he got his driver’s license at seventeen he bought his first vehicle. Not a sporty foreign job which he had money for, but a low-mileage five year-old van to start his delivery service. By the time he was twenty-one Max had three successful businesses running and was halfway toward becoming a millionaire. At this point a lovely but delicate young lady got his attention, and to win her affections he hurled at her the same drive and determination that ruled his life, only to find her recoil and withdraw. Every advance characterized by his relentless energy was met with resistance. It was only then that Max realized the need for moderation. To win her he must substitute gentleness for power and tenderness for raw strength. It took Max several years, but he learned the benefits of temperance, and finally won her heart.
When the seed of temperance is planted in the life, we can expect a good harvest. Temperance chokes out weeds of impatience. But temperance is not the only natural law that works to our benefit in controlling the tongue.
TRUTH [that which has its source in God; pure, unadulterated] Truth is something else man cannot control, but something he can choose to be benefited by. Truth is right-ness. Knowing when to do the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason. [The ecclesiastical group calls this “righteousness”. Same thing.] Only God knows all this so God is the only source. Sometimes it’s called wisdom. The Creator has written many truths in much of the fiber of nature. We notice it during migration and hibernation seasons, during conception, gestation, birth and growth. Truth is designed to benefit all of creation, for that, with love, was part of the divine plan to begin with. Truth can also have a direct effect on victory over the tongue, if we let it.
The power of the truth should be sufficient to sustain and console in every adversity. It is in enabling its possessor to triumph over affliction that the religion of Christ reveals its true value. It brings the appetites, the passions, and the emotions under the control of reason and conscience, and disciplines the thoughts to flow in a healthful channel. And then the tongue will not be left to dishonor God by expressions of sinful repining. RH 04 21 85.9
COMMUNICATION [to be connected with another in any way so as to correctly exchange thoughts or information] All nature communicates with itself. When birds sing their morning songs, plants respond.6 Monkeys announce intruders to everyone, like barking dogs. A finger is smashed and the whole body hurts. Dolphins whistle. Crickets “chirp”. Ants rub antennae. Bees dance. Even rocks and trees record secrets of their age. Communication is also a natural law. It happens whether man is involved or not. Before sin, Adam and Eve entered into that communion with nature, learning many of its mysteries.
The whole natural world is designed to be an interpreter of the things of God. To Adam and Eve in their Eden home, nature was full of the knowledge of God, teeming with divine instruction. To their attentive ears it was vocal with the voice of wisdom. Wisdom spoke to the eye and was received into the heart, for they communed with God in His created works.
The book of nature, which spread its living lessons before them, afforded an exhaustless source of instruction and delight. On every leaf of the forest and stone of the mountains, in every shining star, in earth and sea and sky, God’s name was written. With both the animate and the inanimate creation–with leaf and flower and tree, and with every living creature, from the leviathan of the waters to the mote in the sunbeam–the dwellers in Eden held converse, gathering from each the secrets of its life. CG 45
Keeping in touch is part of the Plan. God is always in tune with His creation, whether they are in tune with Him or not. He even knows the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7)! We don’t have to “report in” every hour for Him to know all this. It happens, no matter. As we participate in this openness with our Creator, it, too, will have an impact in controlling our speech. It’s a natural law.
Those who keep in a prayerful frame of mind will be able to speak a word in season to those who are brought within the sphere of their influence; for God will give wisdom whereby they may serve the Lord Jesus. “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” You will open your mouth with wisdom, and in your tongue will be the law of kindness. PH130 43.4
WATCHFULNESS [careful and diligent observation to prevent or escape danger, to avoid mistakes and misconduct, or to do good] Life brings with it sensitivity and awareness. At any level of creation we notice creatures responding to their environment. God has provided a variety of senses for this purpose, some of which we partially comprehend. Mankind is astounded by a dog’s sense of smell, an owl’s night vision, a bat’s hearing, a white blood cell’s awareness of an intruder, a plant’s sensitivity to people. And often, when one sense is lessened, another is strengthened to compensate. A blind person’s hearing becomes a lot more acute than that of a sighted person. Man doesn’t make that happen. God does. Sensitivity is a natural law.
One reason for that sensitivity is to avoid danger, to avoid getting ourselves in trouble. Ever watch birds eat? They are constantly on guard. Try sneaking up on a fly? Nearly impossible. Notice what the Psalmist considers as a vulnerable spot in his life and where he goes for help.
Psal 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
Watchfulness requires participation on our part, cooperation with God who gives the senses. Motherhood is a classic example of this need and her part in it.
Mischievous hands and restless feet create a great amount of labor and perplexity for the mother. She has to hold fast the reins of self control, or impatient words will slip from her tongue. She almost forgets herself time and again, but a silent prayer to her pitying Redeemer calms her nerves, and she is enabled to hold the reins of self control with quiet dignity. She speaks with calm voice, but it has cost her an effort to restrain harsh words and subdue angry feelings, which, if expressed, would have destroyed her influence, which it would have taken time to regain. ST 09 13 77.4
A loose tongue, one unrestrained, is the source of much wickedness.
I was shown the case of Bro. Harmon Lindsay’s wife. . . . There is much talking which is sinful, and should be avoided. She should set a strict watch before the door of her lips, and keep her tongue as with a bridle, that her words may not work wickedness. PH098 5.1
Those who persist in setting a watch over their tongue shall become a power for good in this world and the world to come. Take note of the way Mrs. White chose to use her tongue. This is not possible without God’s help.
There is a time for silence7, a time to keep the tongue as with a bridle, and I was determined to utter no word of doubt or darkness, to bring no shade of gloom upon those with whom I was associated. I have said to myself, I will bear the Refiner’s fire; I shall not be consumed. When I speak, it shall be of light; it shall be of faith and hope in God; it shall be of righteousness, of goodness, of the love of Christ my Saviour; it shall be to direct the minds of others toward heaven and heavenly things, to Christ’s work in heaven for us, and our work upon earth for him. RH 02 11 90.3
ACQUAINTENCE WITH GOD The strongest help we have to overcome an unruly tongue is a personal relationship with God.
Job 22:21 Acquaint now thyself with him and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
The hyoid’s lesson is that God is constantly working in our behalf, no matter how we treat Him or what we think of Him. But we work at a great disadvantage if we ignore His helps, despise His favors, and recoil from His gentle touches. The more we learn of Him (through His spoken and written word), the more trust we shall have in His direction, and the greater will be our peacefulness. When the heart is at peace, who can irritate it? And if we are not irritated, the easier it will be for self-control.
God has not left us without divine assistance in controlling the tongue, the greatest of battles. If we willingly submit, putting our trust in Him, the loving Creator sets in motion natural forces that will change, wonderfully change even the most hopeless, discouraging outlook for the glory of His name8.
SWALLOWING The tongue is an amazing organ. Even though it is classified as a skeletal muscle (one with voluntary control), it performs in “automatic” when it comes to chewing our food. Can you imagine having to consciously move food from one side of the mouth to the other, lining it up to be crushed or torn by the teeth, then getting out of the way so it doesn’t also get mashed? And doing this with every chew? This automatic feature also kicks in when we learn to do something over and over again, like playing a musical instrument or performing a routine task . . . or speaking well of others. The Lord is so good!
Swallowing is also a voluntary action. It denotes acceptance. Its purpose is to nourish or strengthen the body. We swallow not only food and drink, supplements and medicine, but also thoughts and ideas, feelings and attitudes. These latter things have just as much ability to build up or heal the body as does the former. Take the experience of Jay, as reported by one teacher.
Jay was having trouble focusing in Geometry class. I would illustrate on the board how to solve a particular problem, then give the class a similar one. After a few minutes I would go over the new problem on the board and show how to get the answer, using the same approach as with the first problem. A half hour or so of this routine would usually get the class through a new concept in problem solving, but not with Jay.
One evening, during a particularly frustrating tutoring session with this young man, I happened upon a new idea. I noticed Jay always printed his assignments. He never used cursive writing. People have different reasons for printing, but I suspected Jay’s was the result of a thinking pattern— not joining thought with thought. I told him so and challenged him to start practicing joining his letters together while, at the same time, asking the Lord to help his mind connect old concepts with new.
A week later, during our private time together, I noticed Jay was not only getting answers to the problems, but doing them in his head! I asked if he had been practicing writing. With a big smile he said, “Yes, Sir. And I’ve noticed some of my other classes are a little easier, too!” Jay never prints anymore.
This student was “fed” a new thought, “chewed” on it awhile [subjected it to judgment or reason], and finally decided to “swallow” [accept] it. The result? A strengthening of the mind.
Not everything we swallow, however, will build up the body or brain. Eating the wrong kind of mushrooms, even though thinking they were harmless, could bring sudden death. Swallowing a recreational drug for some “fun” could cause permanent damage to the brain or other organs. Certain music or video entertainment numbs the delicate organs of the brain to simple tastes. We need to be careful what we swallow. That’s why the hyoid is in our throat!
Since the hyoid is the anchor point for both the tongue and swallowing muscles, what we “swallow” should be based upon the same natural laws as those we use for controlling the tongue, so let’s look at them again.
Pro 30:8-9 BBE Put far from me all false and foolish things: do not give me great wealth or let me be in need, but give me only enough food: For fear that if I am full, I may be false to you and say, Who is the Lord? or if I am poor, I may become a thief, using the name of my God wrongly.
In our mortality there is a limit to our capacities. If we take in more than we can properly process, even of good things, it turns to corruption. We need to know what our limits are, and live within them.
Proverbs 25:16 Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
Proverbs 27:7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
Temperance always works for our good, if we work with it. Temperance, however, does not run on automatic. Fullness is not a sensation the eye and ear have.9 Neither the gaining of silver.10 These receptors must be moderated, lest we overfill ourselves and deny the Lord. As the Psalmist did with the lips, so Solomon goes to the Lord for help with what he takes in (swallows).
TRUTH Light is the symbol for knowledge, understanding, wisdom. It is a positive, active power in the universe. It dispels darkness. The Word of God should ever be our standard for whatever we accept. When the sun is supposed to be shining and all we see are shadows, something has come between us and the Light. That something is called Evil. And that we want to avoid at all costs! Truth is as light to the mind.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
1Timothy 4:5 For it is sanctified [cleansed, purified] by the word of God and prayer.
Before we allow anything to become a part of our body, mind, or spirit, we want to be very sure it is wholesome, nourishing, beneficial, strengthening. Our experience is limited. Our foresight is miserably shortened. We desperately need the viewpoint of Someone who can see farther than we can and who knows more than we do.
Prayer connects us to God, and through that connection we learn what is appropriate and inappropriate. Something naturally happens when we honestly seek God’s thought on the matter. Our perceptive faculties become more acute, our reasoning abilities sharper, our natural tendency to self-destruct weaker. From the One who does not lie comes this three-fold invitation and promise:
Matt 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened.
Luke 21:16 Watch ye [be circumspect, attentive, ready] therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
We still have our part. We are not to accept something just because its source has in the past been agreeable.11 Food spoils. Water gets polluted. Metal rusts. There is nothing that the hand or mind of man has touched that can be received without question. Even our best thoughts and intentions are not as good as God’s.
Isa. 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Psalm 146:3,5 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help…. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.
ACQUAINTENCE WITH GOD
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
There is nothing so depressing and scary as to think that you are all alone in this world, with no one to comfort you when you are hurting, or inspire you when the spirit is low, or to warm you when the body or heart is cold.
One of the characteristics of cancer or life-threatening diseases is this feeling of aloneness. Annette had it when she was so sick. We had both grown up on the west coast and found ourselves in New York, with its unique accents and approaches to life. More than once I heard her say she felt like she was on an island, all alone. There was no mistaking the fear in her eyes. So we moved back to the West coast, close to where she grew up. The familiar surroundings, visiting with friends and relatives, apparently had a positive effect. Slowly the fear began to fade and she entered into a higher level of recovery.
Friendships not only help in physical recovery, they also influence our decision-making. If we hang around the wrong crowd we shall reflect their thoughts and feelings.
Esther 5:14 Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.
If you remember the story, Haman was hanged on those gallows. Oh, if his friends had encouraged him in right ways, as Jonathan did with David!
1Sam 23:16-17 And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.
The greatest benefit we can derive from a friendship, however, is not man with man, but rather man with God. Imagine having the all-powerful, all-knowing, always-present God for your friend! What more could we want. . . or need? The Bible clearly emphasizes that the Creator and Sustainer of the universe wants to be our friend.
He visited with Adam & Eve in Eden. (Genesis 3:8)
He counseled with Abraham, His friend (Genesis 18)
He encouraged Jacob when fleeing from the wrath of his brother (Genesis 28:12-15)
He spoke with Moses as friend to friend. (Exodus 33:11)
Isaiah 54:5 For thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
The hyoid provides the foundation that makes it possible for us to swallow, to accept something into our body, as well as for the tongue to perform its tasks. That foundation is composed of natural laws designed to work for our benefit. The more we align ourselves to those divine standards, the greater will be our health and happiness, peace and joy.
Some cannot be impressed with the necessity of eating and drinking to the glory of God. The indulgence of appetite affects them in all the relations of life. It is seen in their family, in their church, in the prayer meeting, and in the conduct of their children. It has been the curse of their lives. You cannot make them understand the truths for these last days. God has bountifully provided for the sustenance and happiness of all His creatures; and if His laws were never violated, and all acted in harmony with the divine will, health, peace, and happiness, instead of misery and continual evil, would be experienced. 2T 368.1
Here is the true knowledge which should be desired, and possessed by every Christian. This knowledge will not lead to ungodliness. It will not break down the constitution, or bring a gloomy cloud over the mind; but will impart substantial joys, and true happiness. This wisdom is divine, and flows ceaselessly from a pure fountain which gives peace, joy and health. APM 32.3
What a God is our God! He rules over His kingdom with diligence and care, and He has built a hedge—the Ten Commandments—about His subjects to preserve them from the results of transgression. In requiring obedience to the laws of His kingdom, God gives His people health and happiness, peace and joy. CT 454.1
The first angel of Revelation 14, who has the everlasting gospel to give to a dying world, starts his message with the injunction, “Fear God, and give glory to Him…”12 He then identifies God as the One who created all things— of which man was the crowning act. One of the greatest ways we can bring glory to our Creator is to honor Him in our bodies, to show the world what He can do with a willing mind and a thankful spirit.
Children are sent to school to be taught the sciences; but the science of human life is wholly neglected. That which is of the most vital importance, a true knowledge of themselves, without which all other science can be of but little advantage, is not brought to their notice. A cruel and wicked ignorance is tolerated in regard to this important question. So closely is health related to our happiness, that we cannot have the latter without the former. A practical knowledge of the science of human life, is necessary in order to glorify God in our bodies. It is therefore of the highest importance, that among the studies selected for childhood, Physiology should occupy the first place. How few know anything about the structure and functions of their own bodies, and of Nature’s laws. Many are drifting about without knowledge, like a ship at sea without compass or anchor; and what is more, they are not interested to learn how to keep their bodies in a healthy condition, and prevent disease. HR 08 01 66.4
To us it is written: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”13 By learning the lesson of the hyoid, by cheerfully, willingly, and obediently submitting to the natural laws of God’s kingdom in regard to what we accept into our body and mind as well as to how we use our tongue, we can become object lessons of health and prosperity, and show the world what can be done with redeemed sinners and dedicated saints.
Deuteronomy 9:6 Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people. (For God’s sake may this not be said of us!)
The Lord gave His word to ancient Israel, that if they would cleave strictly to Him and do all His requirements, He would keep them from all the diseases such as He had brought upon the Egyptians; but this promise was given on the condition of obedience. Had the Israelites obeyed the instruction they received, and profited by their advantages, they would have been the world’s object lesson of health and prosperity. The Israelites failed of fulfilling God’s purpose, and thus failed of receiving the blessings that might have been theirs. But in Joseph and Daniel, in Moses and Elijah, and many others, we have noble examples of the results of the true plan of living. Like faithfulness today will produce like results. 9T 165.4
God is very much involved in our lives, whether we know it or not. Our impotence does not affect God’s power. But His power can affect our weakness and helplessness. That’s what the hyoid bone teaches.
But there is one more thing.
We talked about swallowing and how the hyoid helps make it happen, just like NATURAL LAW can help with those things going into and out of our mouths. Before we close the chapter on this idea, let us look at a couple verses in Revelation.
Rev 12:15-16 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
Historically we understand this verse applies to the New World that was opened up for escaping pilgrims. But is that as far as the verse can go? Is not the serpent still trying to flood God’s people with false doctrine today? Is there nothing to “swallow” these up and save us?
If the hyoid has anything to “say” on the subject, it would be a resounding YES!!! Nature and natural law is God’s second book, another witness14 to truth. It makes the swallowing possible!
God designed that nature should be to man a lesson-book to guide him from the path of disobedience back to God. SD 241
The same law obtains in the spiritual as in the natural world. MB 92
In the natural world God has placed in the hands of the children of men the key to unlock the treasure house of His Word. CG 46
Next to the Bible, nature is to be our great lessonbook. 6T 185
In other words, the natural and the spiritual are inseparable! Just to make sure the picture is coming through loud and clear, here’s an additional thought from the inspired pen.
The natural and the spiritual are to be combined in the studies of our schools. The operations of agriculture illustrate the Bible lessons. The laws obeyed by the earth reveal the fact that it is under the masterly power of an infinite God. The same principles run through the spiritual and the natural world. Divorce God and His wisdom from the acquisition of knowledge, and you have a lame, one-sided education, dead to all the saving qualities which give power to man, so that he is incapable of acquiring immortality through faith in Christ. The author of nature is the author of the Bible. Creation and Christianity have one God. FE 375
So we are flooded with new doctrines, scientific “evidence”, miracles, new translations, and countless other “proofs” that the foundations laid in our beginnings were too primitive and need revamping. Just when we think that we are going to be overwhelmed, the Lord directs us to another witness. Natural law opens her mouth and swallows every argument.
Let them be taught to see the harmony of the natural with the spiritual. COL 25
Perhaps this is why the health message, with its base on natural law, is considered the right arm of our last day message? And isn’t it interesting that the two witnesses (olive trees, candlesticks) of Revelation 11 also have power over the natural world?15 Hmmm.
What a God!
The (Prophetic) Ossification Timetable
1 Psalm 127:1
2 Genesis 3:10-11
3 Genesis 3:22
4 Matthew 25:26
5 Luke 6:38
7 Ecclesiastes 3:7
8 PK 260
9 Ecclesiastes 1:8
10 Ecclesiastes 5:10
11 Acts 17:10-11
12 Verse 7
13 1 Peter 2:9
14 Deu 19:15 at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
15 Verse 6