by Ed Stevens

We read in Genesis 2:7, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (v. 17) Adam was told, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (literally, "dying thou shalt die"). Mother Eve and he did eat of it. 'Did they die that day ? Yes, for in their sin of disobedience they died spiritually, being cut off from God's fellowship. This condition was inherited by all Adam's posterity. Hence we read in Eph. 2:1, "And you hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins"; and in Matt. 8:22, "Let the dead bury their dead"; and in I Tim. 5:6, "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth."

Spiritual death in separation from God brought with it and because of it, also the blight of physical degeneration. In the day of their fall Adam and Eve became subject also to physical death, beginning progressively to head for the grave. Their bodies gradually became dying bodies, subject to eventual disintegration in death. This too, was inherited by their posterity.

In due time the Lord Jesus came to this earth to redeem man from the Adamic curse and, indeed, to remove the curse with its sickness and death from the earth entirely. Therefore His message was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," referring to His promised reign on a curse-freed earth. The credentials of his Kingship was the performing of many miracles, even raising the dead, which power was also given to His disciples. These miracles were referred to in Heb. 6:5 as "the powers of the age to come." This "age" could only begin with Israel's national acceptance of Christ her Messiah. Though she had Him crucified she was still offered the kingdom throughout the Acts period (Matt. 23:34; Acts 3:19-21). This accounts for the miracles of healing, etc., during that period. When Israel was finally set aside (Acts 28:28) these "powers" disappeared, not to reappear till the return of Christ, when Israel "shall look upon Him whom they have pierced" and shall then believingly "mourn for Him" (Zech. 12:10). That is why the divine healing of the Bible record had no permanence. All have to admit that this is true also of all so-called "divine healing" and other cures today. Recovery is merely a respite, a postponement of death. Is not death merely sickness in its last stages ? Do not healers and their
disciples in common with everyone else, succumb to the need of medicine, spectacles, false teeth, operations, artificial limbs and finally the undertaker ?

Both the saved and the unsaved are still under the physical curse which Adam brought upon the human race. All must agree that "It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27). The absurd teaching of certain cults concerning permanent "health through the divine life within", etc., is therefore mere deeeit—Satan's trap to lure souls away from eternal salvation through saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Cures through mental adjustment (exploited by so-called "Christian Science") there have always been.

"Healers' " Stock-in-trade Texts

A favorite Scripture verse with people who go after spectacular "healing" is Heb. 13:8: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever." Rom. 15:8 tells us that "Christ was a minister of the circumcision (Israel) to confirm the promises made to the fathers." Is He thus engaged today? Has He not rather grafted the Gentiles into the "olive tree" of His favor, in place of Israel, the "broken off" branches (Horn. 11:15-24) ? Is Christ offering the kingdom with its "powers" to Israel today? No! Is He today sending forth another "twelve" and "seventy" saying to them as in Matt. 10:1-8 and Luke 10:1-9, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons; freely ye have received freely give" ? If so where is the Bible reference ? Will Christ be healing bodies "forever"? If so the curse lasts forever. Why not let the context of Heb. 13 explain to us that Jesus Christ is ever the same in loving care for His own: "He will never leave thee nor forsake thee; so that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me" (v. 5, 6). Heb. 13:8 refers to our Savior also as ever-living and eternally the same as to His Diety. His administrations, however, differ in different dispensations. Let us remember that His statement in Matt. 9:12, "they that are sick need a physician" is still as true today as it was then.

Matt. 8:17 is much used as though it supports present day healing through Christ's atonement: "Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses" — "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet." See Isa. 53:4. Note well, it was "fulfilled" during Christ's earthly ministry. Sickness then was "lifted", which is the meaning of the word "bare". It was a temporary sign of the promised kingdom. In that future time the full benefits of the atonement will have universal fulfillment, as can be seen by reading Romans 8:21-25; Isa. 35:5,6; 65:19-25.

Another popular verse with "healers" is Isa. 53:6 (along with I Pet. 2:24) : . .. the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed." The shallow, flesh-appeal teaching that this refers to physical healing is eagerly accepted by multitudes who think first and last of the welfare of their fleshly bodies rather than the redemption of their souls. Undoubtedly, this verse refers to the healing of man's spiritual disease of total depravity brought on through Adam's fall and consequent disruption of fellowship with God. In Mosaic law "a controversy between men" was settled by the "wicked man" being "beaten according to his fault by a certain number," up to forty "stripes." In the "controversy" between God and sinful man the "stripes" of God's just wrath for man's sin fell upon His beloved Son instead of upon fallen man, whose spiritual healing was thereby made possible. This wonderful grace of God is vividly declared in Romans 5 and II Cor. 5:19-21, which when understood and believed prompts the sinner to say, "Heal me 0 Lord and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved, for thou art my praise" (Jer. 17:14). David prayed, "Lord be merciful unto me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee" (Ps. 41:4). Please read I Cor. 15:1-5 to know how to believe on God's Son to be instantly healed spiritually and thus eternally saved.

Healing In The Atonement

Alas, that true Christianity is brought into skepticism and disrepute by the world in general because of the apparent dishonesty and inconsistency of the many so-called "divine" healers and their deceived followers! While they teach that bodily healing is included in the gospel of our salvation, and that all converts are eligible for healing of all physical ailments, these "healer preachers" (male and female) prove the falsity of this doctrine in their own lives. They recite many "testimonies" and experiences but sooner or later it is disclosed that they themselves have had ailments for years, having had normal need of physicians along with their children. In some eases they have died of an overdose of pills! All the while they warned others not to "backslide" lest sickness return. What Hypocrisy!

The salvation of our souls through faith in Christ's atoning blood is not only instantaneous, but complete and permanent. It is noteworthy that practically all the various sects having false teaching on healing deny the eternal security of the believer. The moment we are saved we are made spiritually whole before God. If bodily healing were included in our salvation as a present possession should we not also be made perfectly whole physically that same moment? Then, if this were lacking one's salvation could be questioned. Also, if healing today were in the atonement then it should be permanent and incorruptibility would be available without the return of Christ. It is entirely unbiblical, of course. Please read I Cor. 15:51-54.

When our Lord descends from heaven 'both sleeping and living believers will be "caught up to meet Him" in "changed", glorified, incorruptible bodies (I Thes. 4:13.16). In Eph. 1:14 Paul refers to this as being the final installment in the "redemption of the purchased possession".

When Christ's millenial reign upon earth begins, then people will receive perfect and permanent healing as prophesied in Isa. 35:5,6, "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. . . ". "He will swallow up death in victory and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces"

Natural And Supernatural Healing

Faith healing charlatans skilled in mass-psychology, knowing also that a large percentage of diseases are either mental or are naturally cured, set up large shows in tents. They become wealthy thereby. Hospitals are avoided but their dupes remain loyal followers.

Anger is often displayed by those who have had a "wonderful experience" in healing when the plain Word of God is presented to them on this subject. Certainly, every recovery from sickness is a healing allowed of God "In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:10). Certainly, God brings alleviating healing to His children and sometimes as though by a miracle, when it is "according to His will" (I John 5:14). However, spectacular phenomena as "a sign to them that believe not" is not His order today. He is not granting "signs and wonders" in miraculous healing via handkerchiefs, shadows, etc., today as in the book of Acts period, chiefly for Israel's benefit during her probation (Acts 4:29,30; 19:11,12; 3:19-21). Please remember that. I Cor. 12 with its list of sign-gifts was written during this period. Only then were seen the "signs" recorded in Mark 16:17-18.

Seemingly miraculous healings may occur today in circumstances having no sanction from God's Word. Was it then through the power of Satan who ever counterfeits the things of God to lead souls astray ? God's Word abundantly supports our believing this can be true. II Thes. 2:9-12 tells us that when men "receive not the love of the truth God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie" and that as this age closes. Satan will deceive with "all power and signs and lying wonders". Be warned:

"Many shall say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out demons? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye workers of inquity." Matt. 7:22, 23.

Occasionally, we hear someone tell of instant healing experienced with a seeming"electric shock" passing through the body, either with or without the contact of a so-called healer's hands. Sometimes a vision is claimed in connection with healing. They will cling tenaciously to the belief that it was all of God, making their experience superior to the plain teaching of God's Word. In the light of that Word as well as medical science we can accept one of two explanations here. Either Satanic power and deception was permitted of God or the mysterious sudden activity of that complex unity called the mind, the will, soul, spirit was fighting death at the turning point of a disease, the battle being either won or lost in a positive momentary experience.

God's Word Forewarns!

Many tents are to be seen these days throughout the land advertising great healing campaigns and drawing huge crowds. That supernatural carryings-on are witnessed need not be doubted. All too few realize, however, that the supernatural is not always necessarily of God. The Scriptures plainly reveal that demon power as a counterfeit of God's power can be exercised by men, and that unwittingly.

"They sacrificed unto demons which were not God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up whom your fathers feared not" (Deut. 32:17, margin).

"And it came to pass on the morrow, that an evil spirit from God came upon Saul and he prophesied" (I Sam. 18:10). Here we have an Old Testament case of speaking in tongues as it were, under the power of a demon. Beyond doubt it has its counterpart in the tongues movement of modern times. As foretold in Isa. 28:11, God had a program to convince unbelieving Israel during the Acts period only: "For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people" (Israel). Tongues ceased (I Coy. 13 :8 ).

The apostle Paul warned about the possibility of "another Jesus" being preached, receiving "another spirit" and hearing "another gospel" (II Cor. 11:4). Investigation will usually show that these healers are not clear on the true gospel of the grace of God. In the same chapter (v. 13-15) Paul also warned against "false-apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works". You will not hear "healers" preach those things!

Just as the true apostles of old healed the sick, having "signs and wonders and mighty deeds" (II Cor. 12:12), so to be a modern counterfeit "apostle", Satan also provides power to heal, etc. We must believe, thus, that a man (or woman) can through "another spirit" piously preach "another Jesus" along with "another gospel" (see Gal. 1:6-9) and can by the old-time conventional method of laying on of hands impart to deceived hearers bodily healing. Indeed, even an evil spirit can thus be passed on to one who is in the required receptive mood. It is common for such men to claim the power of discernment in the audience as to hidden ailments. God's Word is our only safeguard! Such places should be shunned like a plague.

We repeat, after Israel was set aside (temporarily) the miraculous sign-gifts of healing, tongues, etc., ceased. We can know this from the last epistles of Paul, that great healer, as he writes of "Luke, the beloved physician", "Trophimus have I left at Miletum, sick" (Col. 4:14; II Tim. 4:20). For Timothy he prescribed: "Drink no longer water (only) but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and oft infirmities" (I Tim. 5:23). Epaphroditus, Paul wrote, "was sick nigh unto death but God had mercy on him" (Phil. 2:27). None have been brought back from the dead after that occurred with Eutychus (Acts 20:9,10). Also, the maimed have not been "made whole" (Matt. 15:31).

James 5:14, 15 (on healing) was written during the Acts period—"to the twelve tribes", please remember. Paul "the apostle to the Gentiles" (Rom. 11:13; 15:16) gave us no such instructions for healing the sick.

It has pleased God to withhold until the return of His Son, the transforming of these "bodies of our humiliation" to be "fashioned like unto His glorious body" (Phil. 3:21). "It doth not yet appear what we (believers) shall be but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is" (I John 3:2). Thank God, "though our outward man perish (wastes away), yet the inward man is renewed day by day" (II Cor. 4:16). Our Lord's words as addressed to His faithful servant, the apostle Paul, include all His own: "My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness". Spiritual Christians will say with Paul: "Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (II Cor. 12:9).

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