The Truth About Healing
Men have always feared sickness and death. Millions and even billions of dollars each year are spent on medicine and doctors to correct physical ailments of the human body. Much pain and grief results from the consequences of disease. Some of the most brilliant minds in the world dedicate their lives to research and study to find cures for various maladies that destroy the flesh. Their work has not been in vain, a measurable amount of good has been done, lives saved and pain relieved. Yet, sickness still remains with us, and no end seems to be in sight.
Sickness and disease in the human body resulted from the fall of Adam and Eve into sin. As long as man continues in sin, sickness will continue in the world. God told the people of Israel, “...If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and deep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:26). However, He also warned them that if they did not obey Him, “Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed” (Deuteronomy 28:60, 61). Israel possessed a promise from God. If they sinned, sickness would result. If they obeyed Him, He would not put any of the diseases of the Egyptians on them.
God kept His promise to be YHWH-Rophe, “the Lord that healeth thee.” When they sinned, He sent affliction. When they repented, He healed them. Such was the case when the people spake against God and against Moses. Therefore, the Lord sent fiery serpents among them to bite and poison them, “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people” (Numbers 21:7). God heard and answered Moses’ prayer. He directed Moses to put a fiery serpent upon a pole and command everyone that was bitten by a serpent to look upon the pole and they would live. So it was.
When Miriam and Aaron spoke against the leadership of Moses, God smote Miriam with leprosy (Numbers 12:10). Again, when they repented of their sin and besought Moses’ forgiveness, Moses prayed and after seven days of disgrace, Miriam was healed. Thus, we see that in the Old Testament disease was connected with the curse of sin. We also see, however, that God was YHWH-Rophe-Rophe, “the Lord that healeth thee”.
David spoke of God as, not only a forgiver of sin, but a healer of the physical body, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases” (Psalm 103:2, 3). God, being a God of mercy, desired for His people to possess good health. Jeremiah expressed God’s desire thus, “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds...” (Jeremiah 30:17).
God still desires to heal His people. God does not like for man to suffer affliction in his physical body. He, therefore, has made provision for us to be healed. As a result of the fall, man needed a Redeemer from sin and its curse. The Redeemer has come! He also made provision for man to be healed. The One of whom I speak is of course, Jesus Christ, God manifested in flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).
Jesus, born of the virgin Mary, fathered by the Holy Ghost, allowed Himself to be crucified on a cruel cross for man’s salvation. By doing so He not only made it possible for man to repent of his sins, be baptized in Jesus’ Name, and receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38) and the promise of eternal life (Romans 6:23), but to also call upon His name for divine healing (James 5:14-15). Isaiah prophesied of it, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Peter confirmed that it was so, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
James tells how to receive it, “Is there any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much’ (James 5:14-16).
Jesus’ ministry on earth proved His willingness, desire, and ability to heal. Jesus healed the sick, both physically and mentally. “And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them” (Matthew 4:24). At times it was said of Jesus’ “...he healed them all” (Matthew 12:15). Jesus’ power to heal knew no limitations. Whether an individual was oppressed or possessed by one or by thousands of demons, Jesus’ spoken word demanded that the demons flee (Mark 5:9).
Jesus’ message was a message of healing and deliverance. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18). Jesus did it all, even to the raising of the dead (John 12:1).
Jesus’ message of healing and deliverance did not end with His ascension into heaven. He commissioned His disciples to continue His work. He gave them power to accomplish it in His name. While He still abode with them His disciples were rejoicing that they could not only heal, physically, through His name but that devils were subject unto His name also (Luke 10:17). Jesus even designated healing power to be a characteristic of His people, “And these signs follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17,18).
Such were the signs that followed the early church. Peter and John having no silver or gold delivered the healing touch to the lame man at the gate beautiful, in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:1-9). Ananias prayed for Paul and Paul received his sight and the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:17). Philip preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in Samaria and unclean spirits came out of the possessed, and they that were lame were healed (Acts 8:7). Peter told Aeneas, a man sick with the palsy for eight years, “...Jesus Christ maketh thee whole...” and Aeneas rose immediately (Acts 9:34). Peter hearing that Dorcas had died, went to where she was lying and after praying commanded her to arise. Dorcas then opened her eyes and when she saw Peter she sat up (Acts 9:40). Paul, perceiving that a man who had been crippled from his mothers womb had faith to be healed, “Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked” (Acts 14:10).
One night when Paul preached until midnight a young man named Eutychus fell asleep and fell out of the window in the third loft. Even though he was taken up dead, Paul prayed for him and he was brought back in alive (Acts 20:9-12).
These signs did not end with the early church. They are available today and are in fact working within God’s church. The gifts of healing are included in the gifts given unto the church by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:9). As long as the church (body of Christ) is in existence these gifts will be also. Paul told us to desire these spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1). Those who would say that these gifts are not available to the church today are robbing God’s church of all He has for them, and are limiting the efficiency of the atoning power of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
Jesus Christ died for our sins. He desires for us to come to Him for salvation. If we do, we have the promise of eternal life. However, Jesus’ love for His church does not stop with salvation. He desires for man to be relieved of the curse of sin, which includes sickness. Therefore, in His atoning work on the cross of Calvary He made provision for man’s healing and, “...with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
All that is left is for the prayer of faith to be prayed, “Is there any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church: and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up...” (James 5:14,15).
“Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is still YHWH-Rophe, “the Lord that healeth thee,” today!