Tag Archives: healing

Is Ancient History Important? — post by Michael J. Findley

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Pool of Bethesda ruins_2272 Author James Emery from Douglasville, United States Wikimedia Commons

What existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we observed and touched with our own hands-this is the Word of life! This life was revealed to us, and we have seen it and testify about it. (1 John 1:1,2a, ISV)

This defines the scientific method, which John applies to history.

Later on, there was another festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem is a pool called Bethesda in Hebrew. It has five colonnades, and under these a large number of sick people were lying-blind, lame, or paralyzed… (John 5:1-3 ISV)

Out of this crowd of sick people, Jesus picked one man.

One particular man was there who had been ill for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he asked him “Do you want to get well?”  (John 5:5, 6 ISV)

Jesus healed only one man out of the “large number of sick.” Each miracle had a purpose.

Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” The man immediately became well, and he picked up his mat and started walking. Now that day was a Sabbath. So the Jews told the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered them, “The man who made me well told me ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” (John 5:8-11 ISV)

The historical record of Jesus healing the man takes two verses. The issue of breaking the Sabbath takes up the rest of the chapter. Jesus healed this man with the intended purpose of using this healing to confront the Jews. When Jesus has the attention of the Jews because of the healing on the Sabbath, He makes a clear claim to be the Messiah.

“Just as the Father has life in himself, so also he has granted the Son to have life in himself, and he has given him authority to judge, because he is the Son of Man. Don’t be amazed at this, because the time is approaching when everyone in their graves will hear the Son of Man’s voice…” (John 5:26-28)

This is the entire point of this confrontation. The God who judges “everyone in their graves” is described in the Old Testament. Jesus is judging them for claiming to be the teachers of Israel and not understanding the Old Testament. As Jesus told Nicodemus, “You’re a teacher of Israel, and you can’t understand this?” (John 3:10 ISV) Jesus confronted the Jews over the keeping of the Sabbath because it demonstrated their failure to understand the Old Testament.

“You examine the Scriptures carefully because you suppose that in them you have eternal life. Yet they testify about me.” John 5:39 (ISV)

The Greek translated here “You examine” can be translated as a command. “Examine the Scriptures carefully!” The Greek words are exactly the same. It makes sense that Jesus intended the double meaning “You examine the Scriptures carefully,” pointing out that the Jews spent the time in study to examine the Scriptures carefully. But they missed the main point, so they needed to go back and “Examine the Scriptures carefully!” Jesus was pointing out that their Sabbath rules were yet another example of the Jews “straining out gnats and swallowing camels.”

The important point for this blog is that the modern world is committing the same sin these Jews did. The Jews studied the Old Testament without understanding. Modern scholars are ignoring the Old Testament in the mistaken belief that we can get along with one another by ignoring God’s Word.

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Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees J.J. Tissot Source/Photographer Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum Wikimedia Commons

How can you believe when you accept each other’s praise and do not look for the praise that comes from the only God? Do not suppose that I will be the one to accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope, because if you believed Moses, you would believe me, since he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:44-47 ISV)

Moses wrote that the Exodus, the Flood, and Creation were historical events. Moses provided us with information to date these events. We can take this information and correlate these events with other cultures to make a matrix to understand some of the important dates for all ancient civilizations.

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Healing by God Today

white hatSimony is profiting materially from a gift which God has given freely.

“Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me this power too, so that when I lay my hands on someone, he will receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter told him, “May your money perish with you because you thought you could obtain God’s free gift with money! You have no part or share in what we’re saying, because your heart isn’t right with God. So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your heart’s intent may be forgiven you. For I see that you’re being poisoned by bitterness and you’re a prisoner of wickedness!” Simon answered, “Both of you pray to the Lord for me that none of the things you have said will happen to me.” (Acts 8:18-24 ISV)

Simon was wrong, but he was also ignorant. When his sin was pointed out, he seems to have repented. Nothing more is said about Simon. Today we have charlatans with no ethics, morals, or understanding of the Word of God making public spectacles both of themselves and others for personal gain and self-promotion. These charlatans do not invalidate the legitimate working of God’s Holy Spirit. However, God does not work today in any way which will bring dishonor to His holy name.

While God certainly works through standard medical procedures, such as the efficient, kind, and skilled efforts of nurses, doctors, and hospitals, God also miraculously heals today like he did in New Testament times.

Because of the endless harassment of self proclaimed “skeptics,” every one of the people I know who were personally healed do not want to talk about the experience. Today the charges by those in power would not be that the healing took place on the Sabbath or if the healer was a sinner. Instead the skeptics would harass the one healed with endless testing, examining records to see if he really had the disease to begin with, fights, disagreements, and it would sound very much like the man Jesus healed of blindness. Here is the complete story from John 9.

Jesus was walking along, he observed a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that caused him to be born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that God’s work might be revealed in him. I must do the work of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is approaching, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he spread the mud on the man’s eyes and told him, “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated “Sent One”). So he went off, washed, and came back seeing.

Then the neighbors and those who had previously seen him as a beggar said, “This is the man who used to sit and beg, isn’t it?” Some were saying, “It’s him,” while others were saying, “No, but it’s someone like him.” He himself kept saying, “It’s me!” So they asked him, “How, then, did you gain your eyesight?” He said, “The man named Jesus made some mud, spread it on my eyes, and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So off I went and washed, and I received my sight.” They asked him, “Where is that man?” He said, “I don’t know!”

So they brought to the Pharisees the man who had once been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and healed his eyes. So the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had gained his sight. He told them, “He put mud on my eyes, then I washed, and now I can see.” Some of the Pharisees began to remark, “This man is not from God because he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a sinful man perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they asked the formerly blind man again, “What do you say about him, since it was your eyes he healed?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

The Jews did not believe that the man had been blind and had gained sight until they summoned his parents and asked them, “Is this your son, the one you say was born blind? How does he now see?” His parents replied, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But we don’t know how it is that he now sees, and we don’t know who opened his eyes. Ask him. He is of age and can speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, since the Jews had already agreed that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be thrown out of the synagogue. That’s why his parents said, “He is of age. Ask him.”

The Jewish leaders summoned the man who had been blind a second time and told him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” But he responded, “I don’t know whether he is a sinner or not. The one thing I do know is that I used to be blind and now I can see!” Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he heal your eyes?” He answered them, “I’ve already told you, but you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don’t want to become his disciples, too, do you?” At this, they turned on him in fury and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! We know that God has spoken to Moses, but we do not know where this fellow comes from.”

The man answered them, “This is an amazing thing! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he healed my eyes. We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he does listen to anyone who worships him and does his will. Ever since creation it has never been heard that anyone healed the eyes of a man who was born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn’t do anything like that.” They asked him, “You were born a sinner and you are trying to instruct us?” And they threw him out.

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out. So when he found him, he asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus told him, “You have seen him. He is the person who is talking with you.” He said, “Lord, I do believe,” and worshiped him. Then Jesus said, “I have come into this world to judge it, so that those who are blind may see and so that those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were near him overheard this and asked him, “We aren’t blind, too, are we?” Jesus told them, “If you were blind, you would not have any sin. But now that you insist, ‘We see,’ your sin still exists.” (John 9 ISV)

I understand that unbelievers will not be convinced by the following. After all, I am in the position of Doctor Luke, not an eyewitness, but a faithful investigator. “I, too, have carefully investigated everything from the beginning and have decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:3,4 ISV

I was not personally involved in any of these events. I understand that many of you will choose to not believe for that reason alone. So be it. I am not putting these experiences on the level of the Word of God. Though it is possible to deceive me, I have investigated enough of these healings that I believe the accounts to be genuine.

I am only going to include two accounts in this article, though I know of more. This is written to glorify God by testifying that God is still a God of the miraculous today. I also do not wish to cause problems for the people involved.

The first account happened many years ago. A child with a deformed leg had visited many doctors over a period of years and was told that his condition was something he would have to live with. Believing in the words of the Book of James, his parents requested that the elders of their Church anoint their child with oil and pray for him.

Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will save the person who is sick. The Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. (James 5:14, 15 ISV)

He had never done anything like this before, and at the time the pastor related this to me, he had not done this since. He presented the request to his deacon board and they agreed. Without much faith, the pastor, the deacons, the child and at least one of the parents assembled in his study with the doors closed. Each of them prayed, the pastor poured a very small amount of oil on the child’s head, and … nothing happened. The child left and the pastor and deacons remained in the office. In just a few minutes they heard a knock on the door. The child stood there with two normal legs. There was no sound or light. No one even saw the healing take place. It was completely private. However, there were medical records before and after. This family’s experiences with the medical profession at that time caused them to request complete privacy.

The second instance is very recent. Two Muslim women, a mother and daughter, living in the Middle East, were contemplating suicide. The mother had Multiple Sclerosis. She had visited the hospital for years with multiple MRIs to verify her condition. All the male family members left on a trip and that was when they planned to commit suicide, since the daughter could no longer handle the burden of caring for her mother. The mother heard about Jesus the Messiah through a TV program that same day. She called on Jesus to prove that He was real by healing her MS. They decided to commit suicide the next day.

Though her request does not follow any specific scriptural promise, the next day she did not have any of her usual MS symptoms and was taken to the hospital. The hospital preformed an MRI and said that she no longer had any evidence of MS. When she testified that she prayed to the Jewish Jesus, her life was threatened.

Every modern case of real healing that I have researched had many similarities. There was medical evidence and treatment both before and after. They were very few people involved. It was never a public spectacle. No one profited financially. Just like the blind man in John 9, there were problems with people in power. If you are ever involved in healing, expect great opposition, both from spiritual forces and unbelievers. But the most important point is that the healings glorified God.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ISV)

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I, the Lord, Am Your Healer

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And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

Exodus 15:26

Most believers in Christ fall into two camps — People who believe in faith healers and people who believe that the gift of healing, along with others, like speaking in tongues, ceased at the end of the New Testament period. Just as God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, God does not want or desire diseases for His children. Yet, both sin and disease exist. C.S. Lewis wrote about the Problem of Pain. How could a God of love allow pain? How could a God of love allow disease?

The purpose of disease is clearly laid out in God’s Word. Since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment. Sin and disease are part of this material existence. We are sinners both by birth and by choice. We have inherited the sin nature of Adam and we choose to sin. Disease can come simply through our sin nature because of choices other people made or because of choices we make.  When a culture is obedient to the Word of God, that culture is freer from disease than that culture would be if it were disobedient.

It is not an issue of individuals but the principles by which the culture as a whole lives. They are not pushing people into poverty by government theft, they do not have sexual license but uphold marriage. Both poverty and sexual license result in more disease. People care about the conditions under which animals and food sources exist. They are not consumed by greed to the point of polluting food sources. Violating the principles of God’s Word has consequences, and one of these consequences is disease.

The purpose of divine healing by God in this generation is as a sign gift. It is to bring people to Himself. They must understand that even people who are healed are still going to die, and may still get other diseases. When Jesus healed people, it was a very small percentage of those who were sick, and he had a specific purpose in each one. In the days of King Ahab, a famine ravaged all of the people, but one woman was chosen to shelter Elijah and receive food. Many lepers lived in the days of Elisha, but only Namaan was healed. We must understand that our life is like a vapor. We certainly wish to be healed physically in this brief lifetime. All diseases can be a means to bring people to accept the Lord as Messiah. This is looking at the larger picture to see disease as a tool to bring people to repent of their sins. We must realize that life is brief and everything should be seen as a means to glorify God.

So God says if we obey Him that He wants us to be healed. What cause explains why  disease and death still exist? Disease is a judgment on sin. Gehazi received the leprosy of Naaman as a judgment on his sin. All sins that we commit affect other people.

The ultimate result of sin will be the destruction of the heavens and the earth, after which we will see a new heaven and a new earth, free of disease. God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.

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