desert with a standing grey dead tree

Is there a fundamental distinction between what is considered good (ṭayib) and that which is considered lawful (ḥalāl)?  Does the same relate to that which is considered impure or malignant (khabeeth)?   Why was it for previous nations that they weren’t prohibited from matters which are now considered unlawful in Islam?  Likewise, how is it that they are still prevented from many things which are deemed quite lawful? At times these