Why I believe in Divine Healing


John Hoole - May 23 & 30, 2010





Did you know that each person here today is terminally ill?  Everyone one is going to die.  We don’t like to admit it, and sometimes we make decisions as if we were not going to die.  Men have searched for and proclaimed great cures for sickness and death.  We’ve heard of the “fountain of youth,” drugs that will stop the aging process, and other so-called miracle cures.      There have been some amazing discoveries in the medical field.  And yet time one-celled organisms, called germs, can outdo us many times.


Today we continue in our mini-series on the subject of HEALING.  The subject of biblical healing – or divine healing – is a subject of great interest.  It can also be a subject of great controversy.  There is no end, it seems, to the various views on the subject of healing.  And not all of them are Scriptural.  Some want to disprove it, saying it is not scriptural for us today.  Others have extreme views that say Christians need never be sick.  I am aware that this subject can be a minefield, but we will plot a course by the Word of God.


According to the Bible, our God is a healing God.  It is in His name and His nature.  Whether under the Old Covenant or the New, God healed people’s bodies.


Let me relate a very touching story from a pastor I respect.  He tells of a woman in a mental sanitarium in Southern California.  She’d been in the sanitarium for many years with an extreme depression.  She used to just sit on a bench every day staring at the ground.  There was no conversation, no response to anything or anyone around her.


One day a new doctor who’d never seen her came by and greeted her.  He said, “Good morning!” – She made no reply.  “What is your name?” he asked. – Still no response.  “Well, my name is Doctor Heven, - H-E-V-E-N, and I’ll be by to see you again tomorrow.”  Then he started away.  But she lifted her head and said to him, “What did you say your name was?”  Because he did not know the patient, he did not know how remarkable it was that she was saying anything at all.  He responded, “my name is Heven, H-E-V-E-N.”


Now, somehow in the confused processes of that wounded mind, that woman confused the word Heven with the word Heaven, and she began thinking about Heaven.  As she thought about Heaven, she thought about God, and she thought about God’s love made known to us in Christ.  The very next day, she was talking, and what she kept repeating was, “This is the day which the Lord hath made.”  And the day after that, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”  Within six days, she was saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  And within five weeks she had been released from the hospital, and for the next 14 years she carried out her responsibilities as a leading teacher in Southern California.


In a few minutes I will give you several reasons why I believe in Divine healing today.  Before doing so, let’s first cover a couple of basics.



Divine healing is an act of God’s grace and compassion.  It is the action of the power of the Holy Spirit by which the physical body is delivered from sickness and disease and restored to soundness and health.  In other words, Divine healing is the miraculous repair and restoration, of that which has been diseased or injured.




To help us understand more fully what Divine healing is, let’s look carefully at the words used for healing in the original texts of the Bible.  We will begin by investigating the New Testament Greek, then we look at the Old Testament Hebrew.  Let’s begin by reading a passage from Acts 3.


Acts 3:1-11 NKJV


1       Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.

2       And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple;

3       who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.

4       And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us."

5       So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

6       Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."

7       And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

8       So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them — walking, leaping, and praising God.

9       And all the people saw him walking and praising God.

10     Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

11     Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly amazed.




First, notice the end of verse 7.  It reads, “…his feet and ankle bones received strength.”  The Greek word, STEREOO, is translated “strength” in this verse.  This is the word from which we get our English word, steroid.


This Greek word is found only three times, all in the Book of Acts.  Here, it is translated “received strength.”  Later in this same chapter it is translated “made strong.”  God can provide strength to you and me during times of weakness.  Every disease that causes weakness, He has a cure fore – Holy Spirit steroids.


2.      IAOMAI – ee AH om ahee


Now notice verse 11 – “and the lame man was healed.”  One of the more common Greek words for healing is IAOMAI/IAMA.  Iaomai means: to cure, to restore, to heal.


This words is used by Peter, 1 Peter 2:24, when he quotes from Isaiah 53.  by whose stripes you were healed.  This is also the Greek word used in James’ instructions to call for the elders of the church, “so that you are healed.”  Clearly, this word is speaking of physical healing.


This is also the word used when listing the Gifts of Healings among the nine gifts in 1 Corinthians 12.  I also find it interesting that Luke, a physician, uses this word 13 times.  That is more than any other biblical writer.


3.      HOLOKLERIA – Hol-ok-lay-REE-ah


Once more in the third chapter of Acts, we find another Greek word related to healing.  It is still speaking of the man healed at the gate Beautiful.


Acts 3:16 NIV


16     By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.


First, notice the words “made strong.”  That, again, is our first Greek word – STEREOO.  Now, look at the words “complete healing.”  This is the Greek, Holokleria.


This is a very interesting word – having is root in two other Greek words.


         Holo – whole, all, complete.


         Kleria – your inheritance.


                   Healing is part of our inheritance in Christ Jesus.


4.      SOZO – SOD-zo


Mark 6:56 (NIV) reads:


56     And wherever he went — into villages, towns or countryside — they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.


That last word in this verse is the Greek is SOZO.  This word is translated healed 16 times.  What is interesting about this word is that it is used of another act by our Lord.  Eighty eight times this word is used of salvation – To Save.


Theologians have a word for one of the great doctrines – Soteriology – doctrine of salvation.  It is taken from the Greek word, SOTER, which means “Savior.”  Soter and Sozo come from the same root.


This brings up an important thought.  It is a fundamental fact that as human beings we are not only flesh, but spirit.  Healing of our bodies or saving of our souls really is related.  The two – flesh and spirit – are joined together, and to distinguish what is of the body and what is of the spirit is often impossible.  The Bible teaching on this bond is not at all a side-issue.  It, rather, is at the core of scriptural revelation, for both the body and the spirit are part of our salvation in Christ.


One of the early church fathers was Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp who lived in Smyrna.  And Polycarp had been a disciple of the apostle John.  Unlike Polycarp, who wrote very little, Irenaeus was a prolific writer.  I have read some of his writings, including Adversus Haereses.  In English, that means, Against Heresies.  In it, Irenaeus writes, “The body is capable of salvation.”


Romans 8:23 speaks of the "redemption of the body."


Justin Martyr, who lived roughly the same time as Irenaeus, wrote: “God saves man, not part of a man; not his soul alone, but the body also.”


5.      THERAPEUO – ther-ap-YOO-o


One more Greek word is used of healing in the New Testament.  It is the word, Therapeuo – we get our English word “therapy” from it.  This word is used more than 40 times, and all but 7 are found in the Gospels.  It is also mostly found in the past tense – HEALED.


Luke 8:1-3 NIV


1       After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,

2       and also some women who had been cured [therapeuo] of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;

3       Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.


There are some who say all divine healing must be instantaneous.  The use of this word would argue that may not be so.  Our word “therapy’ speaks of repeated treatment for some malady.  One Greek source I have looks at these verses, and how these women had been so traumanized, that although they were helped by their first meeting with Jesus, they kept coming back, or stayed around Jesus, for the needed therapy.


We also have the example of the 10 lepers in Luke 17.  Jesus heals them, then tells them to go show themselves to the priests.  In verse 14, we read, “as they went, they were cleansed.”


We have looked at the various Greek words used on the topic of healing.  In the Old Testament, there is really only one root Hebrew word, with several derivations.  We mentioned it briefly a week ago.


6.      RAPHA – Raw-FAH


I saved this word for last because it is the first of several reasons why I believe in Divine healing.  Earlier in our lesson today, I said, “according to the Bible, our God is a healing God.  It is in His name and His nature.”




1.      It is in His name.


One of the major reasons I believe in healing is that it is one of the names of God.  God often revealed Himself through His covenant names.


Ex 15:26 NKJV


26.    …"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."


That last phrase is where we find the Hebrew words “Jehovah Rapha,” one of many compound names of our Lord.


1.      Jehovah Jireh                   The Lord who will provide  (Gen. 22:8-14)

2.      Jehovah Rohi                   The Lord my shepherd   (Psalm 23:1)

3.      Jehovah Shalom               The Lord our Peace  (Judges 6:24)

4.      Jehovah Tsidkenu            The Lord my righteousness  (Jer. 23:6;  33:16)


And here in Exodus 15:26, we find the name Yahweh Rapha, which means, the Lord our healer.  Here we have God linking His personal name, YHVH [Yod-He-Vav-He], which means, I Am, with the word Rapha – or Healer.  I am the Lord your Healer.  The fact that He heals is part of His name.


Nobody should have any doubts about God's identity.  His name tells us who He is.  And part of that name is "He Heals!"  His name, Yahweh Rapha, was not His name exclusively for Israel - but for everybody.  What God is in one place, He must be everywhere.  Psalm 47:7 tells us, "God is the King of all the earth."


2.      Healing is part of God’s character


It is part of God's character to put right what is wrong.  That is what the whole Bible is about - wrongs being righted.  This includes suffering and disease.


1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV


34     Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.


We need to get this straight – God is a good God, not a bad god.


John 10:10 NIV


10     The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


If it involves stealing, killing or destroying – it is from the devil. If it involves abundant life – it’s from Jesus.


James 1:17 NIV


17     Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.


When God gives – it is a good gift.  God doesn’t hand out chunks of coal for Christmas – He gives good gifts.  It’s part of His character to give good things.  God is for us, not against us.


3.      Jesus never changes


He did not come from glory to earth for only those people who happened to be alive during that time in history.  He did not come to bring relief to a few thousand people back then.


I take great encouragement in Acts 1:1, where Luke makes reference to the Gospel he wrote.  He calls it his "former book," which he says spoke "about all that Jesus began both to do and teach."  That is the beginning, not the ending of what Jesus wants to do.  He is not finished yet.


Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV) tells us,...


8       Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.


Remember that what Jesus was, He still is – “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  What Jesus was on the cross, He is on the throne – the Lamb slain from the foundations of the earth.  He never changes – He is the eternal God.


Malachi 3:6 says: “For I am the LORD, I do not change…”  What Jesus was, He is - constantly and forever.  What He was then, He is now.  If we look forward, we see that He will be what He was and is.  He is not becoming Great - He is great and always has been.  He was a healer - He still is.


4.      Healing was prophesied


If we truly believe that Jesus never changes, then every prophecy concerning this aspect of God's character become a promise to us.         And every time Jesus healed in the New Testament, it was a statement that He keeps His promises.


Isaiah 53:4-6 (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.

6       All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.


This Passage by the prophet Isaiah speak about the coming Savior, and how healing will be part of what He provides.


Isaiah 53 is the prophecy.  Matthew 8:16-17 (NKJV) is the fulfillment.


16     When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick,

17     that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses."


Every healing in the earthly ministry of Jesus was a demonstration of who and what He is.  They were meant to encourage our faith.


5.      We are part of Christ’s body


1 Corinthians 12:27 NKJV


27     Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.


Christians are a part of the body of Christ. As part of His body, we are healed.  Jesus is not sick.  He paid the price in full for health and healing.


6.      Believers are commanded to heal the sick


Why would Jesus tell His followers to heal the sick if the sick were not going to be healed?  Mark 16:15 tell us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  In the verses that follow is a list of things that will accompany the preaching of the gospel.  And in verse 18, He says, “they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.”


7.      Sick believers are commanded to ask for healing


James 5:14-15 NKJV


14     Is anyone among you sick? 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.

15     And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.


Would Jesus have instructed us to ask for healing if there was not going to be divine healing?  If there is not divine healing today, there is no reason to ask for is.


8.      The Gifts of Healings is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit


1 Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV


8       for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

9       to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

10     to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.


Like the previous reason, why would God gift believers with that of Healing if, indeed, there was not going to be any healing.  He has gifted the church with each gift because He knew we would need each of them.


9.      Healing is in the atoning, redemptive act of Jesus


We read in Isaiah 53, earlier, a prophecy of Jesus bearing our sins and our iniquities, but adds that he also took the stripes on his back for our healing.


Psalms 103:1-3 NKJV


1       Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

2       Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

3       Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,


Once again, the forgiveness of our sins are coupled with the healing of our diseases.  I will probably say more about healing as part of the atonement in a later lesson.


10     I also believe in healing because Jesus said, "I will!"


God didn't simply tell us, "Trust Me!"  He has given us story after story in Bible that create in us a trust of who He is, and what He wants to do today.


Matthew 8:1-3 turns the spotlight of God upon a leper.


The three chapters in Matthew prior to this one is the record of the Sermon on the Mount.  The next chapter begins this way:


1       When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.

2       A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

3       Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"  Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.


The leper said, "If you are willing, You can make me clean."  Isn't that the crucial question for many of us?  Will God do what He can?  The first thing we need to know is that He can.


Psalms 91:1 NKJV


1       He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.


Do we believe He is Almighty?  If He could not heal the sick He would not be Almighty - thus not God.


In Jeremiah 32:27 NKJV, we read God's own question:


         27     Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?


He doesn't answer that question, because no answer is needed.  God calls Himself "the God of all flesh."  Can God heal flesh?


But now, back to our story of the leper.  We know he can, but will He?  The story in Matthew 8 gives us the answer.  Let's remind ourselves of the leper's statement.  "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."   Verse 3 gives us Christ's response.


Matthew 8:3 NIV


3       Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.


Four verse later we find Christ's response to a Roman centurion's request for healing his servant.  Jesus said, "I will come and heal him" [verse 7].  Those two word - I will - reveal the heart of God.  In the matter of healing, God says, "I Will!"