Chapter 10 - Divine Healing

Divine Healing in Prophecy

The prophets of old predicted a special manifestation of healing power when Christ should appear. Isaiah, speaking of the coming of God’s “Servant,” for whose law men should wait, said that he was to be “a light of the Gentiles” and that he should “open the blind eyes … bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house” (42:6-7).
Christ claimed the fulfillment of these prophecies in himself. While preaching in the synagogue at Nazareth, he read aloud Isaiah 61:1-2 and applied it to himself.
Again Isaiah makes mention of these things: “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing” (35:4-6).
This prediction of healing manifestation by Christ was perfectly fulfilled, as we read in Matthew 8:16-17 and 11:4-5.
This healing work was also predicted by Malachi, who said, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (4:2).

Manifested by Christ

The Scriptures show that Christ manifested himself marvelously as a healer. This work of physical ministration went hand in hand with the message of salvation. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 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” (Matt. 4:23-24). (See also 9:2-6; 15:30-31.)
The Gospels abound with such instances. It is asserted by many that Jesus performed these works of healing for the purpose of establishing his claim as the Messiah. There is no doubt that this was one purpose, and a most important one; for Peter says that Jesus of Nazareth was “approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs” (Acts 2:22). Such manifestations of superhuman power were necessary in order to convince men that Jesus was no ordinary man.
The record shows, however, that another motive also figured in the case—Jesus’ compassion. “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them” (Matt. 9:35-36). “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (14:14).

Manifested by the Apostles

The same mighty power accompanied the preaching of the Apostles. “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of diseases” (Matt. 10:1). He then sent them out, saying, “As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (vss. 7-8). “And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them” (Mark 6:12-13).

Permanent in the Church

It is asserted by some today that divine healing ceased with the Apostles; but it is a historical fact, easily verified, that it was perpetuated in the early church. Of course, these divine works will quickly cease with unbelievers, but they “shall follow them that believe.” That they were intended to be permanent in the church is clearly shown by the Scriptures. The commission of world-wide evangelism given to the Apostles, in which these works were promised, was to continue “even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:19-20 with Mark 16:15-18). Therefore, in I Corinthians 12 we find all the special gifts of the Spirit placed in the normal church, the Spirit “dividing to every man severally as he will.” “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (vs. 28). If God has placed these functions in his church, who dares to deny the fact or to attempt to take them out?
When Christ sent his disciples forth to preach “he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease” (Matt. 10:1). The Apostles realized that they had this power; therefore when Peter and John met the lame man at the gate Beautiful, Peter could say to him boldly, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).
But this is not all. The ministry of healing belongs to all God’s ministers and is a part of their regular work. Knowing this, James could without hesitation instruct suffering men and women what to do in case of sickness. Here are his words: “Is 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).
Divine healing as taught in the Bible is not mind healing or Christian Science (?) healing. It is healing wrought by the direct power of God. Most of the cures performed by these counterfeit healing systems are easily accounted for on psychological grounds, as being subjective—the natural result of the power of mind over matter. Therefore they may succeed to a certain extent, particularly in treating functional disorders. But this principle is not new. Physicians in all ages have known how important it is to secure the favorable action of the mind of the patient, encouraging him in the belief that he will be restored to health; for when the patient despairs of life, it is difficult to do anything for him along natural lines.
But divine healing is objective —it is from without. It is the power of God bestowed directly upon the individual. Organic diseases yield to the mighty power of our Christ as readily as mere functional disorders. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). He has lost none of his power, he has not forsaken his people, and he is therefore able and ready to fulfill his promises.
Is it certain that it is his will to heal? First of all, let me say that the will of God is revealed in his Word. “And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” (Matt. 8:2). This man was sure of Christ’s ability to do the work, but was not certain of his will in the matter. “And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (vs. 3).
Yes, dear reader, it is his will to heal. “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.… Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16). It can still be said of him, “He was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (Matt. 14:14).
The subject of divine healing appears to be somewhat complicated, however, by the revelation of two aspects of God’s will. Thus, he has revealed his willingness to heal, saying that “the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up” (James. 5:15), but he has also declared that “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Heb. 9:27), showing thereby that a time will come in every life when the person will not be “raised up.” This, of course, does not mean that in the last earthly hours the individual cannot receive physical help in the way of alleviation of pain and suffering, but he will not be “raised up.”
The question for the person who believes in divine healing, then, is: “Is it God’s will at this time to heal me?” Can we find out God’s will in this matter? Yes. “Be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). It is by the “prayer of faith” that the person is raised up to health again; and faith for healing requires the special inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In fact, in many cases “we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26). We may be sure that the real “prayer of faith” for perfect healing and restoration cannot be offered when it is to the glory of God to take the person home to himself. But in other cases (which the Spirit of God will make clear to those who are spiritual, believing, and obedient) it is God’s will to heal; and we should “come boldly to the throne of grace” for this blessing.

Conditions for Healing

The plan of healing set forth in the New Testament is not arbitrary, but conditional. We must understand and conform to the standard of the Word if we hope to receive its benefits. Faith is always required of the individual who is seeking healing when he is capable of exercising it, or of someone else. For confirmation of this statement consult Matthew 8:13; 9:2, 29; Mark 5:34, 36; 9:23; John 4:50.

Sources of Disease

But there are other conditions of a more particular nature, and these are dependent upon the reasons for the disease and the source from which it came. The Scriptures plainly teach that sickness and disease are now brought upon us by causes proceeding from three different sources: (1) nature, (2) Satan, (3) God himself. These we shall consider separately.
A large part of men’s afflictions are directly traceable to natural causes. “His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust” (Job 20:11). Overwork and mental strain, as in the cases of Daniel and Epaphroditus: “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days” (Dan. 8:27); “He Epaphroditus was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him.… Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me” (Phil. 2:27, 30). “In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine” (Hos. 7:5).
Satan afflicts. “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond?” (Luke 13:16). “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). “So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown” (Job 2:7).
The afflictions which God administers are not always permissive, as in the case of Job, but are frequently direct. God is not the author of moral evil, but he is the direct author, in many cases, of physical evil, either in the entire destruction of wrongdoers, as in the threatened overthrow of the Ninevites (Jonah 3:10), or in the destruction or affliction of individuals as a direct punishment for sin. God has always dealt with men thus. “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity” (Rom. 11:22).
The cases of this kind are numerous, “O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand” (Acts 13:10-11). “Because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee” (Deut. 28:20-21). (See also Lev. 26:14-16; II Sam. 12:15.)
In view of these three causes of sickness and disease, how precious are these words of the psalmist! “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases” (Ps. 103:1-3).
It is evident that God is the only one who can heal all diseases. If an affliction or sickness originates in natural causes, it may possibly be cured by natural means. Such diseases constitute the special province wherein earthly physicians are able to operate. If a disease is a direct imposition of Satan, he may remove his hand of affliction, thus effecting a cure of the individual. It is also possible that Satan may have the power to remove afflictions originating in natural causes. But when God himself punishes men by affliction, because of their sins, he alone can reach such a case and effect a cure.
This makes clear the special conditions that the applicant must meet in order to obtain divine healing. If by intemperance or carelessness we are ourselves responsible for our afflictions, then when we call for the elders of the church we are instructed, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (Jas. 5:16). If we are living to please God, and Satan imposes sickness upon us we can rebuke the devil in the name of the Lord, and God will grant healing. But when God has himself laid the hand of affliction upon us because of our own sins, then conditions are entirely different. Neither man nor Satan can effect the cure. The conditions for divine healing in such cases are well set forth in the circumstance concerning Miriam. Before healing can be obtained, sin must be confessed. “And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.… And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee” (Num. 12:11-13). The instruction given in James covers this point: “If he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (5:15).
I cannot close this chapter without saying that at the present time these signs are following “them that believe.” The primitive gospel of salvation and healing is now being proclaimed by a Holy Ghost ministry with the results set forth in the Scriptures. Personally, I have witnessed the healing of many thousands of people, of nearly all diseases, including deafness, total blindness, heart trouble, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and others. From childhood I have known this truth, and I have frequently been healed myself.
“Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men”; for he is the one “who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.”

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