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One aspect of salvation neglected by Evangelical Protestant churches over the centuries was the continuing healing ministry of Jesus Christ. This occurred partly because of an overreaction among many early Protestants against the superstitious practices of healing which were common in Europe in the Middle Ages. This chapter will aim to present a Biblical view of healing.


Four wrong views of healing


This chapter does not agree with four approaches to healing:


a)        The Dispensational view that physical healings ceased after the eleven remaining Apostles and Paul died or after the New Testament was completed. The extreme dispensational attitude to the Bible limited healings, praying in tongues, prophecies and other dramatic miracles to the age of the Apostles or the Early Church. 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 was taken out of context supposedly to “prove” this false doctrine. These verses were said to teach that when the books of the New Testament were finished and gathered together, healings and other dramatic miracles were no longer needed. The “perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10, however, is not the finishing of the New Testament, but refers to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is obvious in the wording of verse 12.

b)        The particular Evangelical view that physical healings are exceptionally rare modern occurrences which are always based only on God’s sovereignly in the sense of ignoring human faith response.

c)        The view that healing is not in the Atonement but is presently only a manifestation of the Kingdom of God.

d)        The idea that God wants to totally remove all aging processes or their effects prior to the resurrection of our bodies after death.


Healing is in the atonement


Physical healing has been provided for the human race in Jesus’ atonement. Proof of this is the New Testament Greek words used in relation to the salvation which Jesus Christ's atonement purchased, can also be used to describe physical healing. In Greek, the word for “save” is “sozo”. In some contexts, “sozo” means “save or free from disease or from demonic possession, be restored to health, get well” [1] or “to cure, heal, restore to health”. [2] “Sozo” is used in Matthew 10:22, Mark 13:13, Luke 19:10, John 3:17, Romans 5:9-10, 10:9, 1 Corinthians 9:22, Ephesians 2:5, 2:8, 1 Timothy 4:16, James 2:14, 5:20 and many other New Testament verses in relation to salvation in general. “Sozo” is used in Matthew 9:21-22, Mark 5:23, 5:28, 5:34, 6:56, 10:52, Luke 8:36, 8:48, 8:50, 17:19, 18:42, Acts 4:9 and 14:9 in relation to physical healing. In Luke 8:50, “sozo” is used in relation to the raising of someone from the dead.

In Luke 7:50, Jesus told a sinful woman “Your faith has saved you…”. This passage has nothing to do with physical healing. In Luke 18:42, Jesus used exactly the same form of the Greek word “sozo” when He told a blind beggar “…your faith has healed you.”

In Luke 7:3, a Greek word derived from “sozo” is used in relation to the healing of sickness. This word is “diasozo”. Luke 7:3 records: “So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant.”

The Greek word “iaomai” means “to heal” [3] and or “heal, cure”. [4] “Iaomai” is used in Matthew 13:15, John 12:40, Acts 28:27 and Hebrews 12:13 to refer to spiritual healing. In Matthew 8:8, 8:13, 15:28, Mark 5:29, Luke 5:17, 6:17 (in New King James Version or 6:18 in N.A.S.B.), 6:19, 7:7, 8:2, 8:47, 9:2, 9:11, 9:42, 17:15, 22:51, John 4:47, 5:13, Acts 9:34 and 28:8, “iaomai” is used in relation to physical healing. In Acts 10:38, James 5:16 and 1 Peter 2:24, the same word is used to refer to both spiritual and physical healing. Note 1 Peter 2:24 links this word to the atoning death of Jesus Christ.

Other Greek words related to the healing of diseases and sicknesses are “iama”, “iasis”, “therapeuo”, “therapeia” and “hugianio”. Forms of “iama” are used in 1 Corinthians 12:9, 28 and 30. Forms of “iasis” are found in Luke 13:32, Acts 4:22 and 4:30. Forms of “therapeuo” are used in verses like Matthew 8:7, 10:1, 10:8, 12:10, Mark 3:2, 3:15, Luke 6:7, 10:9, 14:3, Acts 4:14, 5:16, 8:7 and 28:9. Forms of “therapeia” are used in Luke 9:11 and Revelation 22:2. “Hugiaino means “to be in good health, be healthy or sound literally of physical health”. [5] A form of “hugianino” is used in 3 John 2: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

Matthew 8:16-17 also demonstrates physical healing and driving out of evil spirits were provided for in Jesus’ atonement: “When evening had come, they bought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses’.” Matthew here relates Jesus’ then-present ministry of healing and casting out of demons to Isaiah 53:4, which is one of the verses in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 prophesying Jesus’ atonement.

Isaiah 53:1-6 says: “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to hi own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Some argue that in Matthew 8:16-17, Matthew was saying Isaiah 53:4 was fulfilled not in Jesus’ death but only in His three year ministry prior to His death. But in context, Isaiah 53:4 is obviously like its surrounding verses referring to the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Some of the uses of the Greek word “iaomai” refer to both physical healing and casting out of demons. These are in Matthew 15:28, Luke 9:42 and possibly Luke 6:17-19. Also note the Luke 9:2 reference to “iaomai” seems to be closely linked to the power and authority Jesus gave the apostles to drive out demons and cure diseases mentioned in Luke 9:1.

The ministry of healing and casting out of demons Jesus exercised in His earthly walk, which is partially referred to in Matthew 8:16-17, was based totally on His future-at-that-time atoning death. This is just as all forgiveness of sin, justifying and saving of Abraham and other Old Testament believers was provided for by Jesus’ future death. As 1 Peter 1:18-20 reveals, Jesus death was planned by God even before the foundation of the world.

1 Peter 2:24 also reveals physical healing is in the atoning death of Jesus Christ: “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.” Peter here quotes Isaiah 53:5 as a reference to the atonement. Remember Matthew 8:17 quotes Isaiah 53:4 – a verse intimately linked with verse 5.

Also note as stated before, the Greek word “iaomai” used in 1 Peter 2:24 for “healed” is used 20 other times in the New Testament to refer to physical healing alone, two other times to refer to both physical and spiritual healing (see Acts 10:38 and James 5:16) and only four times to refer purely to spiritual healing (see Matthew 13:15, John 12:40, Acts 28:27 and Hebrews 12:13).[6] This adds further weight to the idea 1 Peter 2:24 either refers to physical healing alone or to both spiritual and physical healing, and not just to spiritual healing alone.

Also, note the equivalent Hebrew word for the Greek word “iaomai” found in 1 Peter 2:24 is “rapha”. This is because 1 Peter 2:24 is a quote of Isaiah 53:5 which uses the word “rapha” for the English word “healed”. The word “rapha” occurs about 65 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It refers to physical healing in many cases (see Genesis 20:17, Numbers 12:13, 2 Kings 20:5, 20:8 and Psalm 103:3), the healing or restoring to normal of bad water (see 2 Kings 2:22), the turning of salt water into fresh water (see Ezekiel 47:8) and spiritual healing of people (see Psalm 41:4, 147:3, Jeremiah 3:22 and Hosea 14:4). “Rapha” is used in Exodus 15:26 when it says one of God’s Names is “the Lord our healer” or “YHWH Rapha”: “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.” So the Isaiah 53:5 mention of “rapha” refers either to physical healing or to both spiritual and physical healing together.

Jesus Christ used the incident of the people of Israel having to look on the bronze snake in Numbers 21:5-9 as being an illustration of His atoning death on the Cross. John 3:14-17 says: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Those sinning Israelites who had been bitten by snakes as punishment for their sins, were both forgiven of their sin and physically healed as they in faith looked upon this bronze snake provided by God. In this situation, both physical healing and forgiveness of sin were linked closely. Because the bronze serpent symbolised Jesus’ death and physical healing was provided through it, this shows Jesus’ death related to our physical healing.


YHWH Rapha


In the Old Testament, God revealed various aspects of His character and will through the names by which He identified Himself to His people. God identified Himself as the Lord our Provider (see Genesis 22:8 and 14), the Lord our Healer (see Exodus 15:26), the Lord our Sanctifier (see Leviticus 20:8 and Ezekiel 20:12), the Lord our Righteousness (see Jeremiah 23:6), the Lord our Peace (see Judges 6:24), the Lord Ever Present (see Ezekiel 48:35) and the Lord our Banner (see Exodus 17:15).

It is impossible to have a list of Names which totally reveal all aspects of God’s character. God is an awesome Being with no limitations and no beginning or ending. So as limited creatures, we could never be able to understand all the features of His character. But in the Bible, He has expressed many of His Names to help us understand Him. God also calls Himself El Shaddai (see Exodus 6:3), I AM (see Exodus 3:14), El Elyon – God Most High (see Genesis 14:18-22 and Psalm 78:35), the Ancient of Days (see Daniel 7:13) and other Names in His written Word.

In many nations, including English-speaking ones, a person’s name is only a symbol by which we can identify him or her as a specific person. But among the Hebrews, a person’s name was related to the person’s character or will. For example, the name Nabal meaning “foolish, senseless” [7] described the same person’s character (see 1 Samuel 25:25).

God sometimes renamed various people to express changes in their character and/or His will for them. For example, He changed the names of Abram (meaning “exalted father” [8]) to Abraham (meaning “father of a multitude” [9]) (see Genesis 17:5) and Simon in Greek or Simeon in Hebrew (meaning “hearing” [10]) to Peter (meaning “stone” [11]) (see John 1:42).

God Himself operates by this same principle in relation to His own Names. His revealed names express various wonderful features of His character and will. Therefore, when He calls Himself the Lord our Healer or in Hebrew “YHWH-Rapha”, we see clearly:


·         one aspect of God’s character is to heal His people of physical sicknesses.

·         it is His will to heal.


In Exodus 15:25-26, we see the divine Name “the Lord our Healer” or “YHWH Rapha” relates to physical diseases and not just to spiritual healing. The name “Jesus” means “Joshua” or “Jehovah is salvation”. [12] Jesus Christ is YHWH our Saviour. Jesus can rightly also be called YHWH Rapha. It should not surprise us the New Testament emphasises much about Jesus’ ministry of healing physical sicknesses.

Healings as totally deserved rewards or by God’s grace


Many Christians today do not understand the Old Testament teaches two types of physical healings from God:


·         The first is a totally deserved reward given under the Mosaic Covenant and Law for perfect obedience to all the commands of the Mosaic Law every day.

·         The second is through God’s grace and mercy to those who have sinned by them either disobeying the Mosaic Law or the Law of God on their conscience.


Exodus 15:26, 23:22-25, Deuteronomy 7:12-15, 28:22, 28:28, 28:35 and 28:59-61 relate to receiving physical healing as a totally deserved reward for perfect obedience to all the commands of the Mosaic Law every day.

Exodus 23:22-25 promises God would take sickness away from the Israelites if they obeyed all He commanded: “But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off. You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars. So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.”

Deuteronomy 7:12-15 speaks similarly: “Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgements, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.”

In Exodus 15:26, God linked the absence of diseases among the Israelites to their obedience to all His commandments and statutes: “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.”

The above three promises of being kept from disease and sickness were not conditioned on partial obedience to God’s commands and statutes found in the Mosaic Law. Even 99% obedience was not good enough to deserve the receiving of the fulfilment of these promises. As Deuteronomy 28:1-68 reveals, any disobedience to God’s commands and statutes made the Israelites deserving of the curse of sickness and disease. Deuteronomy 28:15 says the Israelites would be cursed if they did not obey all God’s commands and statutes: “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.”

Some of these curses are listed in Deuteronomy 28:22, 28, 35 and 59-61: “The Lord will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew they shall pursue you until you perish…The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness…The Lord will strike you in the knees and the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head…then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues – great and prolonged plagues – and serious and prolonged sicknesses. Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed.”

Healing is one component of salvation. So if we say we can be healed through partial obedience to the Mosaic Law, we are saying we can be saved by works of the Law. The latter conclusion is contrary to Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:4-5.

Also note Exodus 15:26, 23:22-25 and Deuteronomy 7:12-15 promise not just healing of the sicknesses and diseases the Israelites could suffer. These verses promise God would not willingly permit these sicknesses and diseases to some on the Israelites at all ever, if they perfectly obeyed all His commands and statutes. Exodus 15:26 promises: “I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians.” Note also the previously quoted words of Deuteronomy 7:15.

In Mosaic Covenant times, no believer was healed or kept from sickness or disease as a totally deserved reward. This is because all Old Covenant believers sometimes sinned or disobeyed the Law (see 1 Kings 8:46, 2 Chronicles 6:36, Psalm 143:2 and Ecclesiastes 7:20).

Deuteronomy 34:7 records: “Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor abated.” Some Christians wrongly believe Moses was so healthy up until the age of his death at 120 years because of his obedience to the Law. But note Moses murdered a man (see Exodus 2:12). Also, he disobeyed God’s voice at Kadesh (see Numbers 20:1-12). According to Exodus 15:26, 23:22-25 and Deuteronomy 28:1-68, Moses did not deserve to receive God’s healing and protection from disease and sickness. Moses did not perfectly obey God’s voice.

Some claim Joshua 14:6-15 proves God kept Caleb in strength and good health to the age of eighty-five because of his obedience to the Law of Moses. But as shown by 1 Kings 8:46, 2 Chronicles 6:36, Psalm 143:2 and Ecclesiastes 7:20, Caleb sinned. So he could not have received health from God as a totally deserved reward for obeying the Mosaic Law.

Others argue Caleb received this health solely by believing and confessing God’s healing promises in the Law. But this is a false idea. As shown earlier, all God’s promises in the Mosaic Law about being healed and protected from sickness and disease are conditioned on perfect obedience to all of its commands and statutes every day. None of the Law’s promises about physical healing are based purely on God’s grace and mercy to imperfect believers with no emphasis on obeying the commands and statutes of the Mosaic Law.

In context, Joshua 14:6-15 relates to the fulfilment of God’s grace promise to Caleb made in Numbers 14:24 over 40 years earlier. Numbers 14:24 records: “But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendant shall inherit it.” At that same earlier time, God had said the other Israelites would all wander the wilderness for 40 years and die before entering the Promised Land (see Numbers 14:30-35). Numbers 14:29-30 records God’s Words to these Israelites: “The carcasses of you who have murmured against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.” So in order to fulfill His gracious Word to Caleb, God had to keep him strong till the time just after this 40 year period ended when he was 85 years.

Caleb believed God’s promises recorded in Numbers 14:24 and 30. But note these were not healing promises to all believers. They were specific promises only to Caleb and Joshua. It is wrong to argue we can apply Numbers 14:24 and 30 to ourselves as New Covenant believers. We cannot use these verses to claim we can live to 85 years. It would be just as silly to claim we can only live to the age of 53 because Hezekiah – the man of faith – only lived to 53, or only live to about 31 years because John the Baptist – anther man of great faith – only lived to that age. God’s specific will for Caleb, Hezekiah, John the Baptist and you is different in some matters.

Psalm 6:2, 103:3 and 107:17-21 refer to physical healing for sinners by God’s grace and mercy. Psalm 6:2 says: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.” In Psalm 103:3-4, David links physical healing with the forgiveness of sin and God’s lovingkindness and mercies: “Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” Psalm 107:17-20 says: “Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”

In Old Testament times, God healed people by His grace and mercy only on the basis of Jesus’ future death. Galatians 3:13 reveals Christ redeemed believers from the curse of the Mosaic Law. This curse included sickness and resulted in death. 1 Peter 1:18-20 reveals Christ's death was foreordained before the foundation of the world.

Under the Mosaic Covenant, believers obtained forgiveness of their deliberate and unintentional disobediences to the Mosaic Law through repentance and faith on the basis of Jesus’ future death as symbolised by their involvement in the offerings of animal sacrifices. God’s forgiveness provided the basis on which He healed the Israelites of their diseases and illnesses or prevented them from suffering these.


Divine healing is an act of God’s grace and loving mercy


Before they recieve Jesus Christ as their Master and Saviour, all humans are bound by sin and disobedience to God’s will, as Romans 3:9-18, 3:23 and Psalm 143:2 show. As a result, no human can deserve or earn anything from God (see Romans 4:1-5). Therefore all benefits or good things God gives humans are based on totally unmerited grace and mercy. Romans 11:32 states: “For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.”

Many of the people who received miracles of healing from Jesus Christ knew these were acts of God’s undeserved grace and mercy. This is evident in the fact their appeal to Jesus for healing focussed on His mercy. Refer to Matthew 9:27-29, 15:21-28, 17:14-23, 20:30-34, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 17:11-19 and 18:35-43. Luke 18:35-43 states: “Then it happened, that as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ And he said, ‘Lord, that I may receive my sight.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.’ And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”

The Jews who prayed “Lord, have mercy on me” when asking for physical healing, probably did this because they understood they deserved to be punished with sickness and disease for having not perfectly obeyed the Mosaic Law every day. They knew they could only receive physical healing as an act of God’s totally undeserved mercy. It is sad but many modern Christians do not have the same revelation.

Matthew 14:14 shows Jesus Christ healed because of His compassionate attitude towards sick people: “And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” Matthew 9:35-36 says similar things. Jesus’ compassion was closely linked to His awesome grace and mercy towards sinful human beings.

In Philippians 2:26-27, Paul says a physical healing which saved Epaphroditus from death was an act of God’s mercy: “since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”

In Romans 8:32, Paul emphasises that God wants to give believers all things freely by His grace: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us al things?” In Greek, the expression “shall he freely give” above is a form of the word “charizomai” which means “to show favour or kindness…to give freely, bestow graciously” [13] or “give freely or graciously as a favour”. [14] “Charizomai” is derived from “charis” – the Greek word for grace.


Healing is not a deserved reward for believers who have ever sinned


We can never earn or deserve a healing or any other type of miracle. This is because miracles are acts of God’s grace. The word “grace” in the New Testament is defined as a “gift” or “favour” or “benefit” or “kindness” that cannot be earned or deserved no matter what we do. Gifts of God’s grace are totally free. In Greek, the word “grace” is “charis” which means “that which is given freely and generously” [15] and “the friendly disposition from which the kindly act proceeds, graciousness, loving-kindness….in this respect there is stress on its freeness…”[16] Romans 4:1-4 proves gifts from God can never be earned.

Many Christians do not realise faith is the thankful hand which receives or accepts whatever God freely offers. Faith is not something which merits anything from God. Our faith is not the means by which we can earn or deserve salvation. Instead our faith says “yes” and “thanks” to what God reveals in His written Word and by His Spirit He is wanting to give us. As a result He imparts to us. The same applies to receiving healing.

Healing is not a reward for our faith. Healing is instead a manifestation of God’s totally undeserved grace and mercy based on Jesus’ death. Sadly, I have heard numerous preachers talk about healing as though it is a deserved reward for having a strong faith. They seem to suggest that faith earns healings. Such attitudes are based on legalism, not the grace of Jesus Christ. Such legalistic teachings are not much different from those seen among those churchgoers who teach miracles and healings are rewards for holy living, good works, saying certain numbers of prayers, saying many rosaries, participating in certain numbers of communion services and so on.

If God were to reward us according to what we really deserve, He would immediately give us the curses of Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and Leviticus 26:14-39. Remember Genesis 2:16-17 and Romans 6:23 show  sin makes us deserving of physical and eternal spiritual death. It is only God’s extraordinary grace and mercy that results in Him not immediately imposing physical death on every sinful human being.

Deuteronomy 28:22, 28, 35 and 60-62 record the type of sicknesses and diseases we deserve to be “rewarded” or punished with if we do not perfectly obey the Law of Moses every moment of every day: “The Lord will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish…The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart…The Lord will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head…Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed. You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.”

But note Galatians 3:13 reveals Jesus’ death resulted in believers not having to undergo all these terrible sicknesses as a punishment: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)” Because of His incredible love for us, God has imposed the death penalty on Jesus Christ at the Cross so we could avoid the sicknesses, diseases and other death-causing punishments recorded in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and Leviticus 26:14-39.

Galatians 3:10 stresses everyone who does not perfectly obey the Law of Moses every day deserves all these terrible curses. Therefore, we only avoid these through God’s awesome mercy and grace founded on Jesus’ death.

So we should never pray, “Lord I believe you will heal me because of how devoted I have been to you over the years.” Neither should we look at healthy unbelievers and say to God, “I deserve healing more than they do!” Such attitudes reveal a legalistic self-righteous attitude which has a poor understanding of God’s unlimited totally undeserved grace and mercy.

Unbelievers are only alive at present because God has chosen to be gracious and merciful towards them. Romans 1:23 and 6:23 reveal unbelievers deserve immediate death because of their sins. But except for Jesus’ death, believers deserve physical death also. Here again, God’s awesome mercy is revealed in His treatment of both unbelievers and believers.

Isaiah 38:1-22 records how Hezekiah became sick and was told by God he was going to die. He was 39 years old at the time. Verses 2-3 record how Hezekiah asked for healing partly on the basis of his own godly life: “Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” God granted Hezekiah’s request about healing. God gave him another 15 years (see verse 5). Hezekiah died at the age of 54 years (see 2 Kings 18:2). Hezekiah partly understood God had healed him as an act of mercy and grace, as Isaiah 38:17-18 infers. In these verses, he referred to not dying despite his sins. But he still seems to have had an attitude that his healing was partly a deserved reward. For 2 Chronicles 32:25 records that Hezekiah became proud and did not respond properly to the undeserved benefit shown to him: “But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favour shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem.” The word “favour” in this verse is “gemul” in the original Hebrew. This same Hebrew word is translated in Psalm 103:2 as “benefits”. Psalm 103:2-5 links this word to forgiveness of sin, redemption from death, God’s lovingkindness or grace and tender mercies: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.”


Is God willing to heal all who come to Him?


There is nowhere in the New Testament which unmistakenly teaches born-again Christians to pray “if it be thy will” about healing. All of the New Testament passages about healing indicate God’s willingness to heal sickness and disease. For example, James 5:14-16 declares: “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. 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. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Note verse 15 here promises “the Lord will raise him up”. It does not say, “The Lord may possibly heal him”, even though this is what many take it to mean.

Luke 9:11 records what Jesus Christ did: “But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.” This verse does not say Jesus only healed some of these who needed healing who came to Him. Matthew 8:16 reveals Christ healed all and not just some of the sick who came to Him: “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.”

Matthew 12:15 shows at a later time Jesus healed all and not just some of the sick among the multitudes who came to Him: “But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there; and great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all.” Luke 4:40 records that not just some of those who were brought to Jesus with various diseases were healed: “Now when the sun was setting, all those who had anyone sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.”

Luke 6:17-19 states: “And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.”

Mark 1:34 and 3:10 use the word “many” when referring to how many were healed by Jesus. But note these usages of many are not in a comparative sense of many verses all. In these two verses, Mark uses “many” to emphasise the large number who were healed, but not as a relative comparison between many and all. We see this when we look at Luke’s record of the same events mentioned in Mark 1:34. In Luke 4:40, Luke says Jesus healed all who were sick, not just many of the total amount.

Jesus’ ministry was a perfect expression of God the Father’s will. This can be seen in John 5:19, 5:30, 6:38, 8:28, 12:49 and 14:10. John 5:19 records: “Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.’” In John 6:38, Christ stresses: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” Therefore if you wish to see what is the will of God the Father, look at Jesus Christ's ministry. Remember they both are YHWH-Rapha.

In Acts 10:38, Peter preached that Jesus healed all and not just some or many: “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” This verse partly relates to the healing of sickness and disease. Job 2:1-7 and Luke 13:16 record Satan’s influence in much sickness and disease.


Mostly received by faith


Sometimes miracles of healing are performed by God even when no faith is expressed by the sick person or anyone else. But mostly, miraculous healings do not occur unless at least one person trusts God to perform them. Matthew 9:27-29 states: “When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, ‘Son of David, have mercy on us!’ And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you.’”

Matthew 8:5-13 records an example of someone having faith in Jesus Christ for a healing for someone else: “Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one “Go,” and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.’ And his servant was healed that same hour.”

Mark 6:5-6 demonstrates a lack of faith can block the flow of Jesus’ healing power: “Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.” In the later section “Errors about Healing”, many other Scriptures linking healing to faith are given.


Reasons Christians are not healed


James 5:14-16 previously quoted implies that two reasons a sick Christian may not be healed are:


·         the elders who are praying have a lack of faith.

·         the sick person has not confessed and repented of certain sins.


Other reasons why Christians are not healed are:


·         the sick person does not trust properly in Jesus Christ. Mark 6:2-6 relates to this: “And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by his hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ And they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.’ Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.” Acts 14:9 links healing to the faith of the sick person: “This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed.” But as shown later by me, God sometimes heals sick people regardless of whether they have faith in Him or not.

·         it is not God’s timing to heal straight away. John 11:1-44 records Jesus waited two more days after being told Lazarus was exceptionally sick. Jesus allowed Lazarus to die and then raised him from the dead. 2 Kings 20:5 may indicate God healed Hezekiah after 3 days of waiting.

·         God is healing the person in stages, like in Luke 8:22-25.


Verses wrongly used


Some Bible teachers suggest 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 and 2 Timothy 4:20 reveal it is not God’s will to heal all believers in New Testament times. These teachers claim Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was a sickness. But it is impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the thorn of 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 was sickness. Many ingenious methods have been used supposedly to prove this, but none have been without some flaw.

Also, do you think you have had the abundance of revelations Paul had as recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4: “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord; I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago – whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows – such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” If not, do you really think you can compare yourself to how God treated Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9? Paul said God gave him the thorn in the flesh because of the abundance of revelations he received.

In 2 Timothy 4:20, Paul said: “Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Milletus sick.” But observe as stated earlier, John 11:1-44 shows sometimes God does not heal immediately, but heals later in His timing. So 2 Timothy 4:20 cannot be used to prove God sometimes does not want to heal believers.


An amazing contradiction


It is amazing that so many thousands of Christians who believe God does not desire to heal believers, usually spend so much time and money buying medicines and seeing doctors trying to get out of what they believe is His will.


The healing mandate Jesus gave His Church


The New Testament expresses Jesus Christ – our YHWH Rapha – gave a tremendous mandate or commission to His followers to be ministers of His healing power.

First, Matthew 10:1-8, Mark 6:7, 6:12-13, Luke 9:1-2 and 9:6 record Jesus commanded the twelve Apostles to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, heal the sick and cast out demons.

Secondly, verses such as Luke 10:1, 10:9, 10:17-19 and James 5:14-15 reveal this divine mandate to heal was not just limited to the twelve Apostles. Jesus included another seventy-two leaders in His commissioning of vessels of His healing power.

Thirdly, Mark 9:38-40 and Luke 9:49-50 prove Jesus did not limit His ministry of healing and other miracles to some select group of leaders. Luke 9:49-50 states: “Then John answered and said, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is for us.’” Jesus’ words apply here to modern church leaders who say His ministry of healing and casting out of demons was only for the Apostles and leaders of the Early church. Jesus says, Do not stop him about non-apostolic Christian ministries of healing.

Fourthly, John 14:12 expresses that all believers will be given God’s power to do the types of things Jesus did: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” The words “he who believes in Me the works that I do, he will do also” refers to preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, casting out demons, encouraging other believers, showing love and so on. 1 Corinthians 12:30 shows the flow of healing gifts through believers varies, but all can pray for the sick and see God work.

Fifthly, in Mark 16:17-18, Jesus stated signs of healing miracles, praying in tongues and casting out demons will accompany the lives of ordinary believers, not just special leaders: “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Sixthly, in James 5:14-16, the Lord commanded that all elders of every church in every age should pray prayers of faith for healing over sick believers: “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. 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. Confess your trespasses to one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”


Vessels must not take glory for the healings


Acts 5:12 speaks of the Apostles performing miracles. But note all believers who have successfully prayed for the healing of others should have the humble attitude Peter manifested after being used by God to heal a lame man. Acts 3:12 and 16 records: “So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?…And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.’”

Peter here claimed no glory for himself about the miracles. He did not foolishly boast it was his or John’s spiritual power or holiness that had caused the miracle to happen. In verse 16, he even said the faith for this miracle was something Jesus had inspired in them. The expression “faith that comes through Him” relates to this. So Peter did not boast about his faith.

It is wrong to call any healing ministry “a faith healer” or “a healer”. Healing ministries are merely vessels or avenues through whom Jesus Christ does His healing ministry, as Acts 14:3 states: “Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” Acts 19:11 uses similar wording about Paul: “Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul.”

1 Corinthians 12:30 demonstrates that some believers are given gifts of healing by God. These are to be used for the benefit of others. But these gifts are not under the primary control of the person, but are operated as the Spirit wills, as 1 Corinthians 12:11 and Hebrews 2:4 show.

Since the beginnings of the Pentecostal movement in the early 1900’s, there have been many ministries of healings and miracles. Healings, casting out demons and other great miracles can operate in any believer’s life. These things should be a normal part of the ministry of all local elders and pastors. But the Bible reveals travelling ascension gifted ministries are often given special ministries by God in these areas (see Acts 3:1-8, 5:12-15, 8:5-7, 14:3, 19:12 and 28:8-9). This is generally true, but not in all circumstances. For example, John 10:41 records the great prophet John the Baptist was not given a ministry of miracles by God.



A sovereign healing


John 5:1-13 records an example of a sovereign healing by Jesus Christ: “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, ‘It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.’ He answered them, ‘He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ Then they asked him, ‘Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk?’ But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.”

Verse 13 reveals the healed man had no idea who had healed him. This indicates the man was not exercising faith in Jesus Christ to heal him. Here we see God does not always require faith for Him to heal someone.


Sending anointed handkerchiefs and aprons


Acts 19:11-12 records Paul sent out handkerchiefs and aprons to physically sick and demon-afflicted people: “Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” If the Holy Spirit leads a minister to do as Paul did above, God can work through this. This is as long as the minister and the unwell person do not trust in the handkerchief or apron as though these have some sort of miraculous power. The handkerchief or aprons are merely points of contact similar to the spittle Jesus put in a blind person’s eyes when healing him (see Mark 8:22-26) and to the staff God instructed Moses and Aaron to strike the dust of the ground with in order miraculously to cause a plague of lice on Egypt (see Exodus 8:16). Spittle and staffs have no miraculous powers in themselves.

Tragically, ministries have sent handkerchiefs or prayer cloths or other natural objects with a promise that if the person believes and sends in a money donation, God will give them whatever they want. These ministries quote Scriptures such as John 14:14, 16:23, Mark 10:22-24 and Matthew 21:22 out of context to suggest God will give the person anything, even if the prayer request is contrary to other Bible verses. (Refer to my book “Praying With Powerful Faith” for a detailed study of these verses.)

Such practices are totally wrong. In Acts 19:11-12, we do not see Paul sending an accompanying request for a money donation with his anointed handkerchiefs and aprons. Also, note he sent these for the purposes of healing and casting out demons – two things specifically promised to believers (see Mark 16:17-18 and Luke 10:17). Paul did not send the handkerchief and aprons with a promise that if the person believed and sent him some money, God would give the person whatever he wanted.

“Anointed” handkerchiefs and aprons sent with an accompanying request for money and a promise God will heal us whatever we want if we also believe, are similar to the indulgences sold in the 1500’s by the Dominican priest Tetzel. It is sad but even some godly ministries have been tricked into following the above unbiblical use of handkerchiefs and aprons.


Do not limit God to any formula!


God is not limited to some specific formula or technique for healing. He can heal through the faith of the sick person, the faith of others or sovereignly without anyone exercising faith.


Healing through faith intercessions of others


In my own family, I have seen a number of ways which God heals. For example my nephew was diagnosed by specialist doctors as having leukemia. My mother kept interceding for him over many months. Then the Lord totally healed him. He went back to the specialists and was told the leukemia had gone. He has never had any symptoms of leukemia since that time, a period of over 20 years. Sadly, my nephew, his mother, father and sister have not surrendered their hearts to Jesus Christ in response to this wonderful healing. This shows people can witness miracles and still not repent.

My older sister, the mother of my nephew mentioned above was marvellously healed by God through the faith of my mother and myself. After an operation, my sister contracted a terrible infection in the area of the cut done across her midriff by the surgeon. It became so swollen and infected, we were warned she could die. My sister continually requested prayer. After a number of days in great danger, she went to have a shower. While there, the whole infected mess fell off onto the shower floor. My sister was healed totally as a result.


Healing through a Word given to another


I experienced a healing through a Word of wisdom years ago. I injured my left knee while running. This injury prevented me from doing any further running. But while I was walking no one could notice anything wrong with my leg. I went to a healing prayer meeting the same night I hurt it. I asked others to pray for my uncle.

After we had finished praying for my uncle, a godly elder said to me the Lord had told him one of my knees was damaged. I said this was true. But to test whether he really had a Word from God, I said, “Which knee?” He replied correctly. He then prayed. I was immediately healed. I felt no special anointing or feeling in my knee while it was being healed.





Healing through faith expressed in obedience to the Holy Spirit


Many years ago, I had a very severe dose of influenza. I was supposed to play for the church soccer team a few days later. I confessed my sins as James 5:16 encourages sick believers to do. Also, I thanked God much over these few days that His healing power was ministering to me. Then on the morning of the game, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to go to play even though I was still outwardly very weak and ill.

I would not have gone to play unless the Holy Spirit guided me to do this. I have heard of Christians with broken legs foolishly throwing away their crutches without a clear Word of the Lord to do this and ending up hurting themselves even more. The key is obedience to the Holy Spirit. For example, Naaman the Syrian was told by God’s prophet Elisha to wash in the River Jordan (see 2 Kings 5:10). There is nothing about washing in the River Jordan that causes God to heal anyone. The key was this was what God the Holy Spirit told Naaman to do through Elisha. When Naaman obeyed, he was totally healed.

The Holy Spirit guided me to be the goalkeeper at first. As I began, I felt incredible supernatural energy surge through me. After half-time, I felt so well I began to play out on the field. In that second half, I was able to run more than I did at previous times at normal full health. I played some of the best soccer I had ever played. At the end of the game, I was totally healed. I did not have any influenza symptoms return.


Do not have a condemning heartless attitude to the unhealed


Some Pentecostal and Charismatic preachers have imposed a heartless overgeneralised Biblically imbalanced attitude on the Church by directly or indirectly blaming all those who are not healed for having a lack of faith or sin in their lives.

Verses such as Matthew 13:58, 14:29-31, 17:14-21 and James 1:5-8 prove a lack of faith can result in God not performing miracles. Matthew 13:58 states: “And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” James 1:5-8 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” Therefore, it is very important Christians pray in faith for healing.

Psalm 38:2-10, 2 Chronicles 26:16-21, 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 and James 5:16 show sin can result in believers becoming sick or even dying. 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 says: “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” The fact that sickness can cause disease is another crucial reason why it is important for us to confess and turn from our sins.

But only God knows the true reason why a person is not healed. Luke 8:22-25 reveals that God’s healings sometimes come in stages. God may be delaying the full manifestation of the healing to some later time of His choosing.

Unwell Christians need compassion, sympathy and above all else, the prayers of faith of other believers. Physically sick believers do not need the fault finding of Christians who are privileged enough by God’s grace to be well themselves at the time. Recently I spoke to a Bible College student who has a love for and faith in God stronger than most people I have met. She has had multiple operations over the last 20 or so years because of a serious illness. Instead of encouraging her, some people of so-called “faith” have told her she has a pitiful faith or must be very evil inside.

It is wrong to judge our own and other believers’ level of maturity in Christ and faith solely on the basis of the amount of sickness in our own or others’ lives. This is especially since many non-Christians have good health while not believing God for healing and having plenty of sin in their lives at the same time. I refuse to set myself up as the judge of believers who wear glasses, have partially deformed legs caused by polio when they were little, have warts on their noses and so on!

If you are known as a great man of faith who has witnessed many healings, be careful about judging the inner attitudes of the unhealed. This is especially since the wording of James 5:14-15 shows it is sometimes the faith or lack of faith on the part of those praying for the sick that God requires as the means of grace for the sick to receive God’s mercy-based healing power: “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. 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.” Note these verses say it is the elders who should pray the prayer of faith. The verses say nothing about the sick person praying the prayer of faith. Despite this, the sick person should still pray in faith, but the passage puts more emphasis on the faith of the elders.


Modern Job’s comforters


Those modern Pentecostals and Charismatics who condemn every unhealed believer as lacking in faith or not willing to turn from their sins, are similar to Job’s comforters. Job’s comforters had an overly simplistic view of the reasons why people become sick. They believed all sick people must be more sinful than others (see Job Chapters 4, 8, 11, 18, 20 and 22).

Poor Job needed some sympathy and encouragement. His sickness had caused him to become skin and bones (see Job 19:20). He was in pain (see Job 2:7). Young children and his other close friends abhorred him (see Job 19:17-19). His bad breath offended his wife (see Job 19:17). But instead of encouraging him, his three so-called comforters only condemned him.

In John 9:1-3, we see Jesus’ disciples also had an overly simplistic view of the causes of sickness: “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind’. Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.’”


Fifty-five per cent of verses focus on the faith of those praying


Also, note out of all the healings recorded in the New Testament in which faith is mentioned, eleven of these say it was the faith of the people praying for the sick or demonised person(s) which received the miracles. Refer to Matthew 8:5-13, 15:21-28, 17:14-21, Mark 5:35-43, 9:14-27, 16:17, Luke 7:1-10, 8:49-56, John 11:17-44, Acts 3:1-16 and James 5:14-15. But only nine verses or passages say it was the faith of the sick person which received the healing. Read Matthew 9:22, 9:27-29, Mark 5:25-34, 10:46-52, Luke 8:43-48, 9:40-48, 17:11-19, 18:35-43 and Acts 14:9.

There are three other passages which talk about “their faith”. These are in Matthew 9:2, Mark 2:1-5 and Luke 5:20-26 – each referring to the same event. In these three passages, it seems it was the combined faith of the paralytic and his friends which received the miracle from Jesus Christ.

Therefore, if we wish to “blame” anyone for the lack of healing miracles in the church, we can lay the responsibility slightly more at the feet of healing evangelists and healing ministries than on the unwell themselves.

But I do not believe we should blame either the healing evangelist or ministry or the sick person, because only God knows all the surrounding circumstances of each individual case. I have mainly quoted the above Scriptures to encourage healing ministries to be more humble and slower to blame suffering unwell believers for their present lack of healing in their bodies.




[1] Bauer, page 798.

[2] Perschbacher, page 399.

[3] Vine, page 295.

[4] Bauer, page 368.

[5] Ibid, page 832.

[6]  Some original Greek manuscripts use “iaomai” in Luke 4:18 as well.

[7] Brown, Driver and Briggs, page 614.

[8] Ibid, page 4.

[9] Bauer, page 1.

[10] Geoffrey Bromiley Editor), “The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia”, Volume 4, William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1988, page 513.

[11] Bauer, page 654.

[12] Vine, page 333.

[13] Vine, page 265.

[14] Bauer, page 876.

[15] Louw and Nida, page 569.

[16] Vine, page 277.

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