Divine Healing




John Hoole – May 16, 2010





Today, we start on a mini-series on one of the subjects I feel least capable of teaching.  It is not because I don’t believe in Divine Healing – I do emphatically.  We will, in the following lessons, attempt to answer the many questions that arise on this topic


Our God is a healing God.  It is His name and His nature.  Whether under the Old Covenant or the New, God healed people’s bodies.  Because He never changes, He still heals today through the power of the Holy Spirit and people’s faith.


Over the last year there has been an enormous amount of attentions, both among politicians and news pundits, about “Health Care” in our country.  Let me give you short historical perspective.


Following the Second World War, a new confidence began to grow.  The postwar world witnessed a burgeoning economy, and the competition for reliable employment began in earnest.  Employment packages were sweetened with the promise of pensions and insurance.  These included coverage for on-the-job injuries, of course.  But then, over time, they were extended to include general medical care.


As the years went by, medical care grew to such an extent that it became a universal employment expectation.  The old horse-and-buggy doctor, who was reimbursed by their patients, became, for all practical purposes extinct.  He was replaced by an intertwined variety of medical offices, organizations and bureaucracies, all designed to remove the anxiety about potential illness and injury.  Pharmacies operated rather smoothly with doctor’s offices and hospitals.  People expected to be able to pay combined fees, not to the doctor, but to large medical organizations.


In the decades that followed, this system became the norm for “medical care.”  Large companies began to see that having a healthy workforce was good for business.  They began to define health, itself, as a quality-of-life issue.  Now, we have a full-blown crusade to take health care out of the hands of private organizations, and place it into the hands of the government.


My questions is this:  Can the state really bring health care?  And how do we define health care in the first place?


From the biblical perspective


From a biblical perspective, the answer to this question is simple.  First of all, Scripture defines health in terms of a relationship with the Lord.  Consider the following.


Proverbs 3:1-8 NIV


1       My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,

2       for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.

3       Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

4       Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

5       Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

6       in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 

7       Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

8       This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.


The NKJV reads:  “It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”


The KJV & ASV have the first phrase, “It will be health to your navel…”.


We would all do well to remember Solomon’s advice to this young man, since he clearly defines health.  In the concluding verse – verse 8 – the word “health” is translated from the Hebrew term marpe.  The Hebrew term, MARPE is a general work for healing.  It is descended from the Hebrew verb, RAPHA, meaning, “to heal” or “make healthful.”  You might at first wonder how Marpe can be a derivative of Rapha.  They don’t sound alike.  But when you read these words in Hebrew, can see a close relationship.


Here is the Hebrew for “MARPE” - aP@r=m^


         Here is the Hebrew for “Rapha” - ap*r*


“Marpe” has an extra letter, or symbol, to the right of the letters or symbols for “Rapha.”


Solomon is saying that keeping the teaching of God’s ways and methods and commandments will cause healthful forces to radiate throughout the body.


Look at the last phrase of Verse 8.


Proverbs 3:8 (Message)


Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!


The American Standard Version reads: It will be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones.


Solomon refers to bone marrow as the source of health.  Not until quite recently did medical research reveal the truth of this bit of Solomon’s wisdom.  Bone marrow is the source of red blood cells, which must constantly be replenished with a new a vital supply, capable of carrying oxygen and nourishment to every muscle, joint, bone, nerve and organ of the body.


The Bible even says, in Leviticus 17:11


“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls:  for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.”


Here, we discover a vital truth.  Blood gives life to the flesh in the same way that the blood of sacrifice gives life to man’s spirit.  The blood atonement, fully realized in Christ’s sacrifice, gives us the vitality that God intended when He created man in the beginning.


VIDEO OF DOUG CLAY (General treasurer of the AoG) - Click to go to video


It is the Lord, not the state, that gives true health to those who acknowledge His healing virtue with their whole heart.  The prophet Isaiah confirms this idea in one of the most well-known Messianic prophecies.


Isaiah 53:4-5 NKJV


4       Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

5       But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.


Here, the same Hebrew word for healing [RAPHA] is used by Isaiah to describe the effects of our Lord’s death and resurrection.  In a world of sickness and affliction, He is the great healer.


I find it amazing that not too many decades prior to the coming of Christ to earth, the writings of Jewish sages (rabbis) were teaching that when their Messiah actually came, He would do three things, taken from the Messianic prophecies of their prophets.


He would:


         1.      He would cleanse the leper.


         2.      He would heal those born blind.


         3.      He would cast out demons, who robbed people of hearing and speech.


Of course, He fulfilled these three signs many times over.  And still, they asked Him for a sign.  And John the Baptist sent word, asking for confirmation that Jesus was indeed, the Messiah.  How did Jesus answer these inquiries?


Luke 7:20-23 NKJV


20     When the men had come to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, 'Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?'"

21     And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.

22     Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.

23     And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me."


He mentions the very things their sages had been teaching.


The next time you hear someone pontificating upon the virtues of “health care,” remember the Lord.  Jesus Christ is the Great Physician on call day and night.  His surgery never closes and we don’t have to wait for an appointment.  He specializes in all kinds of troubles, whether sickness of the soul, afflictions of the body, or the ills of society.  And there are no fees, because our Redeemer has paid the cost in full.


The first pages of the Bible says, “God saw everything He had made, and indeed it was very good. (Genesis 1:31).  The last pages of the Bible says, “There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying no more pain.” (Revelation 21:4).


Sickness in God’s very good world is like weeds growing among wheat.  But make no mistake – God did not sow the weeds.  He says, in Matthew 13:28, “An enemy did this.”     God the Father sent Jesus Christ who “went about healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).


Healing is the Creator’s protest against the sabotage of His work by the devil.  God planted cures in nature which medical research keeps find.  But the God who heals naturally also heals supernaturally.  Scripture denies that sickness is God’s will and it credits healings to God.  Today, His hand touches far more people than many of us realize.  Throughout the world many supernatural healings take place very year, proving that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever(Heb. 13:8).


Healing the sick was a regular and common part of the public ministry of Jesus.  It was both an evidence of the truth and the power of the message He preached and an expression of God’s love and compassion for hurting humanity.  Everywhere He went, people flocked to Him, bringing the sick, the lame and demon possessed.  Jesus preached and taught that the Kingdom of God was at hand.        Then He demonstrated its presence by healing the sick in the power of the Holy Spirit, by feeding the hungry, or by casting out demons.  His healing ministry is woven into the very fabric of what He did and why He came.


Here are but a few of the Scriptures about a God who does not change.  He healed in both the Old and New Testaments, and does still today.


Exodus 15:26 NKJV


26     and said, "If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you."


In Exodus 23:20-25, we read God saying, “I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.”  Malachi writes: “But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings;… (Malachi 4:2).


Matthew 4:23-24 NKJV


23     And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

24     Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.


Matthew 14:14 NKJV


14     And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.


When one thinks about Divine Healing, many questions come to the fore.  This past couple weeks, I have thought of the questions I have heard or been asked about healing.  Here are some of them, but certainly not all.



As I stated a moment ago, these are but a few of the questions people have about Divine Healing.  One not on the list is one most of us are asking: Why are there not as many miracles today as there was fifty or a hundred years ago?  Or, why do we hear about many miracles and healings in foreign lands, but not in America?


How many of you have heard of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir?  As their name implies, they are from Brooklyn, New York.  How many of you know who is the pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle?  Jim Cymbala is the pastor, along with his wife, Carol, who is the director of this great choir.


When considering the miracles that happened 50 or 100 years ago, I remember reading some comment in one of Jim Cymbala’s books.  In “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire,” Cymbala writes about some of the large, but almost empty church in New York City.


I quote from page 137 in this book:


“Brooklyn has historically been known as “the borough of churches.”  We have countless building that once housed active, vibrant congregations.  Unfortunately, they are almost empty today.  As the neighborhoods “changed,” as drugs became more prevent, the momentum faded.


“Many parishioners died or move into the suburbs but generously left large endowments.  Today these church may have pitifully few people in the pews on Sunday, but they can still pay a pastor’s full-time salary and keep the enterprise going (because of these past endowments).


“One of the most famous is a downtown church we used to rent for special outreach events.  The sanctuary, which seats 1,400, was packed in the 1930s and 1940s, but it has not been used for regular Sunday worship since the 1960s.  The congregation currently meets in the basement.


“Contrary to Romans 5, grace is not abounding more.  Is this because the pulpits are not declaring truth?  In some cases, yes – but in many cases, no.  That may surprise you if you have assumed that the decline is always due to theological liberalism or false doctrine.  But many groups who own these silent sanctuaries are as orthodox as a church could be.  If you quizzed them about the divinity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, or their adherence to the Apostles’ Creed, they would pass with flying colors.


“So what is missing?” Cymbala gives his assessment with this statement (on page 138):


“The absent element is what is expressed in the final sentence of the prayer recorded in Acts 4:  “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders” (Acts 4:30).


This is the statement that grabbed my attention, and leads to the comments I have that follow.


1 Thessalonians 1:5 NKJV


5       For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, …


It is not the words that are missing from churches today, but a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit that is behind the Word proclaimed.


It is said that Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) once called upon Pope Innocent II to discuss some church concerns.  When Thomas arrive, the Pope was counting a large sum of money.  Noticing Thomas, the pope remarked, “You see, Thomas, the Church can no longer say ‘Silver and gold have I none.’ ”  Thomas responded, “True, Holy Father, and neither can she now say, ‘Arise and walk!’ ”  That may be an amusing anecdote, but it should be a message each of us hear loudly.


It takes more than academic rigor to win the world for Christ.  Correct doctrine is very good and we should defend it.  But by itself, correct doctrine is not enough.  Proclamation and teaching are not enough.  God must be invited to “confirm the word with signs following” (Mark 16:20).


Hebrews 2:4 (NKJV) adds:


4       God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?


In other words, the gospel must be preached with the involvement of the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven.  The apostles prayed for God to do supernatural things.  They wanted people to know their belief was more than positional or theoretical.


The faith of the apostles was, and ours must be, a faith based not just on the cross but also on the empty tomb.  Here is a statement I gave in an earlier lesson – let me make it again.  The cross, as poignant as it is , is understandable and explainable from a human perspective.  An innocent man was murdered by crooked politicians and religious leaders.  But the empty tomb – what can one say?  Only a supernatural God could accomplish that.




Let me close with a couple comments.  Many healthcare policies have a co-pay.  In other words, in order to be seen by a doctor or get medical treatment, you must pay something in advance.  But, you know, as Christians, we’ve got a good deal.  Christ is our Co-payment.  In other words, He knows what we need – He feels what we feel, and the Bible says that He is currently seated at the right hand of the Father.  And He is making intercession for us to a God who has the ability to heal.  How cool is that?