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Healing and The Will Of God
When we started in ministry some forty years ago, we used to pray for the sick "Lord heal this person. If it be thy will". Then we would cover ourselves by adding "If it be not they will, please do not make the funeral too expensive..." If sick person died, it was" the will of God." If the person recovered, it was "the will of God." We covered all our bases!!
The trouble was, that I could not find this kind of prayer in the Bible!
This kind of prayer required very little faith and the Lord Jesus seemed to heal BY WORD OF PROPHETIC COMMAND rather than by this method.
For instance the Lord would say to the sick:
Mark 10:52 "Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way." (KJV)
One night in Newry, Northern Ireland, I was faced with a crisis. Men of violence came into the meeting, and a girl suffering from loss of sight asked for the Lord to do a miracle in her life. Without an instant miracle, I would be in serious trouble. One of our team, a pig farmer, suddenly found Divine oil appear on his hands. Prophetically he felt the power of God was present to heal. Boldly he went up to the girl and commanded her to be made well "in the Name of Jesus". The immediate miracle led not only to our deliverance from violence, but one hundred and twenty people found salvation in Christ! One conclusion was forced upon me.
JESUS HEALED THE SICK, RATHER THAN JUST PRAYED FOR THEM!
He did it by prophetic revelation, depending on the Father to show Him what to do. The word spoken in prophetic power, not only showed a state of affairs, but could also produce creative results.
For instance He only covered one of the three thousand waiting to be healed at the Pool of Siloam. When asked why He did this, he explained it in terms of His dependence on prophetic vision:
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (KJV)
Immediately however, I was faced with another problem. In many Churches people were being taught that they should not seek this kind of healing, since illness is " God's chastening."
One observation however, was surprising. At the same time they are advised to call the doctor to make them better! In doing so, how did the sick know that they were not fighting God? Why not pray for more sickness?
Because prophecy and divine healing must operate under the guidance of the Scriptures, I felt it was time to study what the Bible taught about the will of God in this issue. Then we would have a real basis for the prayer of faith that can heal the sick. (James 5:15)
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (KJV)
The main conclusion from both Old and New Testament, is that God is a healing God.
In the Old Testament I found there is a definite promise to those trusting God
Psalms 91:10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (KJV)
The late Rees Howells proved this in Africa during the 1918 flu plague, when everybody in his compound under the protection of God, was safe from the flu epidemic, where the heathen were dying like flies all around.
Further I noticed that health and not sickness are normal for those seeking God. Those actively seeking God and chastening themselves by fasting were not promised sickness but health.
Isaiah 58:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward. (KJV)
In fact it was part of God's nature to heal and forgive those that obeyed Him, not to make them sick. This seemed to be conclusive proof that God wanted His people to be healed !
Psalms 103:2-3 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (KJV)
Furthermore, when His people were sick in the Old Testament, they seemed to pray with evident expectation of healing from God. I found this to be true, even in those prophets who were open to depression, like Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. (KJV)
Not only that -- God promised healing for the whole nation of Israel, when they had been delivered from Egypt, as long as they obeyed Him! This was done on the basis of God's name and nature as a healer!
Exodus 15:26 And said, 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 keep 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. (KJV)
My mother read this promise, when my brother was in hospital due to have brain surgery for hydrocephalus. She immediately signed him out, believing God spoke to her to do so. Two men died subsequently in that hospital under the same operation. My brother has just retired from teaching Art in Canada, healed by the power of God ! This healing has lasted forty years or more!!
THIS IS A COVENANT PROMISE WHICH GOD HAS NO INTENTION OF BREAKING.
The Bible clearly sets this out for all people obeying God who come under the blessings which He promised to King David and his descendants:
Psalms 89:33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. (KJV)
Psalms 89:34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. (KJV)
If this was true under the old covenant (Old Testament) how much more under the new covenant (New Testament) which has better promises. (Hebrews 8:6)
In fact, even in the Old Testament, God healed many like Naaman, who were by no means in a Covenant relationship to Him:
2 King 5:1-2 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.
And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. (KJV)
I noticed in this story the positive attitude of the little maid that had been hurt and captured by Naaman. I also saw her great statement of faith in God's prophet, when nobody in Israel had actually been healed of this disease (Luke 4:27) according to the comment of the Lord Jesus himself on this incident. One individual child of God may, even then have tied Prophetic healing therefore, to attitudes of forgiveness and faith!
After seeing these things however, I was immediately challenged by some Bible teachers, that some Old Testament teaching did not fit this picture.
Objection: WHAT ABOUT JOB?
It was suggested to me that God had made Job sick, in order to chasten him and do a spiritual work in his life. When I read the Bible more carefully, however, I came up with some amazing conclusions:
Job 2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. (KJV)
His sickness was allowed by God, but was instigated by the Devil, who accused Job of only serving God for what he got out from Him. God, who knew Job better than Satan, allowed this test to reveal what was already in Job's heart, not to change his character! Believers who only serve God for what they get out of Him, are certainly not going to respond to such tests in the positive way that Job did ! - even under pressure from his wife ! (Job 2:9)
Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. (KJV)
Sickness is not called "a blessing" even under the Old Testament! In fact, the main bLessings for the Nation of Israel were quite the opposite. Salvation and deliverance for Israel included deliverance not only from Egypt, but also from all sickness and feebleness among the tribes.
Psalms 105:37 He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes. (KJV)
This would seem to mean that not only did God deliver and heal the Nation, but that He was able to keep them HEALTHY! In the case of Job, he died an old and healthy man! (Job 42:17) The Epistle of James exhorts us to hang on to this most important fact! (James 5:11)
To be fair, however, the Old Testament talks of God "wounding " as well as healing . (Deut 32:39)
WHY DOES GOD WOUND AS WELL AS HEAL?
Here we need a careful balance of what the Bible teaches: Wounding is from disobedience and going after other gods.
Deut 32:37-38 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection. (KJV)
Sickness can come in where sin has taken place.
The Bible teaches that God is ultimately responsible for everything. Even the Devil can only do what God permits!
Teach that "God is GOOD " and the "Devil is BAD" and you may be accurate... but you may also leave room for a thought that both are equal as well as opposite. This I have seen as a danger over the last forty years of global ministry, because many people are left with "two gods" instead of One! Be careful of diochtemy of good God and bad devil equal in power. God can use devil to make people sick but He is still on the throne of Heaven!
WHAT DO I CONCLUDE FROM THIS STUDY ?
Isaiah 28:21 For the LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim, he will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon-- that He may do His work, His awesome work, and bring to pass His act, His unusual act.
Normally a person can expect God to heal. It takes special prophetic revelation for the contrary to happen - where all too often, the contrary has been taught to explain why healings do not take place. In point of fact healing power was not lost to the Church through God withdrawing it, but through disobedience to His laws and holiness.
Malachi 4:2 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. (KJV)
One of my farmer friends in Co Fermanagh, Ireland, read this promise as a believer. He felt a prophetic anointing on these words and signed himself out of hospital, when suffering from TB. Two days later, on the back of a horse on his own farm, the disease left him, and has never come back in the last thirty years!
Proverbs 4:22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. (KJV)
JESUS DID NOT PRAY FOR THE SICK -- He healed them through the PROPHETIC WORD!
The Gospels reveal God's will is "healing in Christ" in the New Testament
In this context, I discovered that:
Christ, the living word, perfectly reveals God's will. If it were not God's will to heal all, why do we read that Christ went throughout Israel healing all?
Matthew 4:23-24 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. (KJV)
Christ linked His work with the Old Testament revelation of God as the Healer
Matthew 8:16-17 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." (KJV)
Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (KJV)
1 Peter 2:24 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. (KJV)
A woman came into one of our meetings in Northern Ireland, and walked out of the hall, before I had finished teaching. " Why are you leaving ?" I called out. "I have just realized," she replied, "that if he carried my sickness as well as my sins on the Cross, then I do not have to carry them as well. I immediately found that my legs were healed and now I am able to walk without pain ..."
That is one way to avoid long sermons and appeals for offerings!
In fact, reading the New Testament again, found there are more references to Christ healing the sick, than His forgiving sinners. This brings a tremendous challenge to a Church which limits itself to "preaching the Gospel" including only deliverance from sin!
"He Himself" implies that healing the sick is more demanding of faith in that it provides visible proof of forgiveness:
Matthew 9:5-8 For whether is easier, to say, 'Thy sins be forgiven thee'; or to say, 'Arise, and walk?' But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,)Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. (KJV)
Christ never avoided the challenge to demonstrate this power. Should we avoid this challenge today? Is God just interested in saving souls from Hell and not rescuing bodies from sickness? Is there anything too hard for Him ? Are there limits to what He can do through modern prophets?
Christ revealed God's will by healing all classes of disease:
Matthew 9:35 And 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. (KJV)
Matthew 12:15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;(KJV)
Matthew 14:35 And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; (KJV)
Matthew 14:36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. (KJV)
Do we believe every WORD of the Bible is true ? Then see Him as our model. **EVERYONE ON WHOM HE LAID HIS HANDS WERE HEALED**
Luke 4:40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. (KJV)
This does not conflict with doctors, who are pledged by Hippocratic oath, to heal all of the sick. In fact Luke was a doctor ! Luke the doctor, records that there was a power that went out of him and healed people.
Luke 6:19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. (KJV)
The Greek word for virtue was DUNAMIS, and it is found also in Acts 10:38. This must follow logically from what the Bible teaches:
If God did not want all healed, Christ would have disobeyed Him in general healing.
Was this practice follow by New Testament Apostles and Prophets ?
Some brief examples make this clear:
ST PETER PREACHED HEALING UNDER THE LEADING OF THE SPIRIT AND PRACTICED IT
Acts 3:2-8 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 of them that entered into the temple; And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, "Look on us." Then Peter said, "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." And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with the into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God (KJV)
Acts 3:10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. (KJV)
Notice the prophetic WORD OF COMMAND followed by immediate results. This also led to a general EXPECTATION of miracles in the community (which is sometimes lacking today in my experience, except in the poorer countries in which we minister round the world)
Acts 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. (KJV)
New Testament Evangelism INCLUDED greater healing than the local witchdoctors could perform. We see this in the Book of Acts in Samaria. Is not this the way to challenge the modern Occult revival?
PHILLIP PREACHED GOD'S WILL IN SAMARIA AND HAD RESULTS THAT EVEN AMAZED THE WITCH DOCTOR
Acts 8:5-13 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the great power of God." And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. (KJV)
Here is one important fact that emerges. Divine healing is bigger than faith healing and draws attention to Christ and not to the healer or the faith of the person being healed.
What about the writers of the Epistles ?
ST PAUL PRACTICED AND PREACHED HEALING.
We see His prophetic insights and power in action at Lystra:
Acts 14:9-10 The same heard Paul speak: who steadfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, "Stand upright on thy feet". And he leaped and walked. (KJV)
ST JAMES WROTE OF HEALING FOR ALL.
James 5:14-15 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. (KJV)
This practice of sin being confessed, is in the context of local Elders healing !
ST JOHN EXPRESSED THE SAME TEACHING FROM GOD in his prayer for the readers of his Epistle
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (KJV)
Given this therefore, we conclude that...
Jesus reveals perfectly the will of God when He says "Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (Heb 10:7 KJV) That was the reason for His coming ... to do God's will.
John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (KJV)
The only time He was ever asked whether it was God's will was for healing, Christ replied that it was
Mark 1:40-41 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, "If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, "I will; be thou clean." (KJV)
Jesus not only healed the sick Himself, He also taught that all believes would lay hands on the sick and they would recover.
Mark 16:17-18 And these signs shall 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. (KJV)
With this background laid, remember that the Lord does not change and does not have respect of persons.
Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (KJV)
Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God. (KJV)
So if you are one of Jesus' followers and Jesus said that His followers can heal the sick.. guess what??? You can heal the sick through the power of God.
The following lessons reveal HOW this may be done.