A CRITIQUE OF THE SCRIPTURES
REGARDING DIVINE HEALING
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
Does God still heal the sick in answer to the prayer of faith, as promised in the Holy Bible? Do signs, wonders and miracles still follow the preaching of God's Word as they did following Pentecost? Are the heathen still awakened to belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour when they behold miracles of divine deliverance in His name, as happened in St. Paul's ministry?
Do unclean spirits still cry out in fear when driven from their captives as the blood of Jesus Christ is applied, as happened in Samaria through the ministry of Philip? Do sinners still weep their way into the Kingdom of God as the Gospel of Christ is proclaimed with unction and power, as under the preaching of St. Peter?
Is the Holy Spirit still alive and operating in the Body of Christ today, as is promised in First Corinthians 12: 1-11? Does the blessed Holy Spirit still lead, guide and direct the activities of the Church as He did at Ephesus?
Is Jesus Christ still obeyed and worshipped as the Head of the Church as He was by St. John on the Isle of Patmos? Does His Church obey Him and worship Him as did Thomas after seeing the resurrected Christ?
SCRIPTURES ARE STILL VIABLE!
In this apologetic, I will prove that the Holy Scriptures are reliable and viable today! And that God is unchanged and His Word immutable as always!
He is eternal, the same yesterday, today and forever! He is still approachable and always keeps His Word, regardless of what detractors and enemies of the Gospel might say!
The Holy Scripture is the only reliable and trustworthy source we have because they are the lively oracles of God, written with His finger and spoken by His mouth, given through His Son Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit to His Prophets and Apostles!
The BIBLE states: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds.
"Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His Power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High." (Heb.1: 1-3)
St. Peter said: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1: 20, 21)
St. Paul stated: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good work." (2 Timothy 3: 16, 17).
THE LAW OF THE LORD IS PERFECT!
King David stated: "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." (Psalms 19: 7-9)
The CREATION praises Almighty God and testifies to His amazing, magnanimous work. The heavenly bodies shout out His might, power and creative Genius. Again, His Word declares:
"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth SPEECH, and night unto night showeth Knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their VOICE is not heard." (Psalms 19: 1-3)
Presenting Christ to the Pagan, St. Paul stated: "Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from Heaven, and fruitful season, filling our hearts with food and gladness." (Acts 14:17)
The Bible states: "For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: Thou hast established the earth and it abides. They continue this day according to Thy ordinances: for all are Thy servants." (Psalms 119: 89-91)
GOD CANNOT CHANGE, LIE OR FAIL!
It is impossible for God to change, lie, fail or make a mistake! He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Eternal and Immutable, meaning that our Heavenly Father is all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present at once, everlasting and unchangeable!
God's Word, therefore, cannot change, mislead or fail: “God is not a man that He should Lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent (change): Hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19).
“For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it; He created it not in vain; He formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.
“…Who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the Lord? And there is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; and there is none beside Me. Look unto Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God and there is none else.
“I have sworn by Myself, the Word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” (Is.45: 18, 21-23)
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the END from the BEGINNING, and from ancient times, the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand and I will do all My pleasure.” (Is.46: 9,10)
Who could possibly tell the End from the Beginning? NO-ONE! Historians have a difficult time to get their facts straight from the past until the present, yet God knows the Future and wrote the History, ages before it happened. Although much of the Bible is history, there is a large part that is prophetic and we know that it is precise and perfect.
Not one word of all His prophetic utterances has failed! Any honest sceptic that reads the Bible and studies the prophecies about Jesus of Nazareth the Jewish Messiah and Saviour of the world, would fall on his face in tears asking for His mercy and forgiveness!
His Word is TRUE: “Every Word of God is PURE: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add NOT thou unto His Words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a LIAR.” (Prov.30: 5,6)
Our Lord declared: "Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth." (John 17: 17); “In hope of Eternal Life, which God, that cannot lie promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2)
IMMUTABILITY OF HIS COUNSEL!
“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the IMMUTABILITY of His Counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things in which it was IMPOSSIBLE for God to LIE, we might have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” (Heb.6:17, 18)
The Holy BIBLE says: "The grass withers, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God standeth forever." (Isaiah 40: 8); "But the Word of the Lord abides forever. And this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you." (1 Peter 1: 25)
Moses said: "Know therefore, that the Lord Thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations." (Deut.7: 9)
St. Paul stated: “…If we believe not, yet He abides faithful: He cannot deny Himself. Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth SURE, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His, and let everyone that names the name of Christ, depart from iniquity." (2 Tim.2:12,13).
God's Word is steadfast and true! He promised: “So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Is. 55:11)
Jesus Christ said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall Not pass away.” (Matt. 24:35). What did our Lord and Saviour mean? He meant what He said! He never exaggerated or deceived anyone. You cannot fault His prophecies, which have come to pass exactly as He said; while others are still being fulfilled on a daily basis as I write these words!
JESUS BELIEVED THE SCRIPTURES!
There are hundreds of reasons why I believe the Bible to be the inspired, authoritative and infallible Word of God. The premier reason, however, that I know the Bible is God’s holy and inerrant Word, is that Jesus of Nazareth believed the Old Testament Scriptures and lived by them.
He died and rose again according to the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms! And He will return according to the Holy Scriptures!
Our Lord declared: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt.5: 17, 18)
In His discussions with the scribes and Pharisees He referred back to the Holy Scriptures: “Have you not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female…” (Matt.19: 4); “Have ye not read so much as this, what David did when himself as an hungered, and they which were with him…” (Luke 6: 3); “He said unto them, What is written in the law? How readest thou?” (Luke 10: 26); “Is it not written in your law….” (John 10: 34)
JESUS also used the Scriptures in defeating Satan during His Wilderness Temptation: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt.4: 4); “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matt.4: 7); “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” (Matt.4: 10)
Our LORD referred to Adam and Eve (Mark 10: 6-9), Moses (John 5: 46), Jonah (Matt.12: 40), Sodom and Gomorrah (Matt.10: 15); Noah (Matt.24: 37) and David (Matt.22: 43).
Jesus of Nazareth believed that the Old Testament Scriptures are inspired (Matt.22: 43), authoritative (Matt.4: 4, 7, 10) and infallible (John 10: 35). And that, I repeat, is the premier reason I believe the Holy Word of God is true!
FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST!
I have no faith in modern-day theologians because they are mere men who often take Scriptures out of context to prove their own secretly held doctrine and belief system. Some are swayed by secular-minded theologians with an anti-miracle bent. I have perfect confidence and faith in Jesus Christ, True God from Eternity and True Man through His Virgin Birth!
St. Paul's commentary on Jesus states: “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the Express image of His Person, and upholding all things by the Word of His Power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High.
“Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?
“And again, when He bringeth the first begotten into the world, He sayeth: And let all the angels worship Him. But of the Son He sayeth, Thy Throne O God is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom.
“And Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands: They shall perish: but Thou remainest; and they all wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shall Thou fold the up, and they shall be changed, but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.” (Heb.1: 3-12).
HEALING IN THE ATONEMENT!
To understand the importance God Almighty has placed on the Doctrine of Divine Healing we have to study the Atonement in the Word of God! The Book of Isaiah is considered the Gospel of the Old Testament and the 53rd Chapter as defining the Atonement.
“Surely He hath borne our sicknesses (heb. makob) and carried our pains (heb. nasa): yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are Healed.” (Is.53: 4,5)
Here is the three-fold healing that our Heavenly Father has provided for His people. He was wounded for our transgressions, promises healing for our spirit; the forgiveness of sin. The chastisement of our peace provides healing for our soul, peace for our mind. With His stripes we are healed provides healing for our body!
ST. MATHEW clearly shows us that divine healing for our bodies was included with the forgiveness of sins for our spirit, and peace for our soul and mind:
“When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed of devils: and He cast out the spirits with His Word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Matt. 8; 16, 17)
Jesus took upon Himself our weaknesses (infirmities) and bare in His body our sicknesses (diseases). The words took and bare imply substitution and that is what Jesus did for us and the entire world of sinful, sick and suffering mankind!
As our SUBSTITUTE, Jesus of Nazareth took upon Himself our infirmities, and carried our sicknesses to Pilate's Judgment Hall where He was scourged, and then to the Cross on Mount Calvary where He poured out His Blood to atone for our sins!
St. Peter confirms: “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, by stripes ye were Healed.” (1 Peter 2: 24)
The Holy Bible is its own best commentator! Why did Jesus Christ spend two-thirds of His time healing the sick and casting out evil spirits and only one-third of His time teaching and preaching? Some theologians try to skirt the issue by saying that His miracles were performed only to prove that He was the Son of God. That, of course is a foolish statement!
HEALING FULFILLS GOD'S WORD!
How many miracles did He need to prove that? Seven, twelve, a hundred? He healed multitudes, meaning thousands upon thousands! He healed them all. There is not a single Scripture saying that He turned anyone away!
The Scripture teaches that Jesus healed the SICK to fulfill the Word of God and the prophecy of the Messiah: “Lo, I come to do Thy will. O God.” (Heb. 10:7)
“And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to HEAL the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (Luke 4: 17, 18)
St. John stated: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” (John 20: 30,31)
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written everyone, I suppose that even the whole world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21: 25)
St. John believed that all the libraries in the world would not have room for the books which could be written of His mighty works! Here is a list of a few of the miracles of healing Jesus of Nazareth performed on the sick, suffering and tormented people to whom He ministered!
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and and all manner of disease among the people.
"And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic and those that had the palsy; and He healed them.” (Matt.4: 23-24)
St. Luke reported: “Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying and saying, Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God. And He rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that He was Christ.” (Luke 4: 40, 41)
St.Peter states: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power: Who went about doing good and Healing ALL that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.” (Acts 10: 38)
JESUS MOVED WITH COMPASSION!
The Bible states that Jesus healed the sick and suffering because He was moved with compassion on them. His heart of LOVE and COMPASSION reached out to the people who were hurting, and He healed them all!
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with COMPASSION on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matt.9 35-3). “And Jesus went forth, and saw a multitude, and was moved with COMPASSION toward them and He healed the sick.” (Matt.14:14)
Again, the Holy Scripture tells of Him healing multitudes of sick, diseased and infirm people: “And when they were gone over, they came to the country of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place had knowledge of Him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto Him all that were diseased; and besought Him that He would only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as TOUCHED were made perfectly whole.” (Matt.14: 35,36)
CHRIST: CONSECRATED FOR EVERMORE!
Jesus of Nazareth was deathless until He willingly laid down His life as God's Pascal Lamb and took our sins and sicknesses upon Himself. He remained SINLESS through His conception, birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension! Hallelujah!
The Bible states: “By so much was Jesus made a surety (guarantee) of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but This Man, because He continueth Ever hath an unchangeable priesthood.
“Wherefore He is ABLE also to SAVE them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an High Priest became us, Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
“Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this He did ONCE, when He offered up Himself ... the SON, Who is consecrated for evermore.
“...We have such a high priest, Who is set on the right hand of the throne. A Minister of the Sanctuary, and of the True Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” (Heb. 7: 21-28, 8: 1,2)
CHRIST THE HIGH PRIEST!
1. Christ was sinless in His conception and in His birth. He was conceived by the Blessed Holy Spirit and born of a chaste virgin. The Heavenly Father dispatched the Archangel Gabriel to inform her that she was chosen to bear the Christ Child.
2. Christ was sinless in His life. He challenged the elders and doctors of the law to convict Him of any sin. They could not! The Roman Governor who examined and questioned Him repeatedly said to His accusers, “I find no fault in Him. And God Almighty our Heavenly Father, spoke at His baptism and on the mount during His transfiguration: “This My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” (Matt.3: 17; 17: 5)
3. Christ was sinless in His death. He gave His precious life for the sins of the world. He died vicariously for us as God's pascal Lamb. The Passover lamb had to be perfect in all respects. There could be blemish in it.
Jesus of Nazareth was God the Son from Eternity and was incarnated (God in human flesh) so that He die for the sins of the world and rise again in power for our justification. (Rom.4: 25)
If there would have been any sin in Him, He would not have been able to rise from the dead, because the Bible says: “The soul that sinneth shall die.” (Ezek 18: 20); “The wages of sin is death...” (Rom.6:23). He would have been held there until the Great Judgment Day, but because He was SINLESS, He conqoured death, hades and the grave! (Phil. 2: 5-11)
The Bible states that Jesus Christ is our Passover: “Behold the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sins of the world.” (1 John 1:29); “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (1 Cor. 7: 7)
Jesus of Nazareth died on the 14th of Abib, AD 33 (possibly AD 29). At precisely 9:00 AM (third hour) Israel's High Priest tied the Passover lamb to the horns of the Altar in the temple.
At that same hour, outside the City walls of Jerusalem, God's Pascal Lamb Jesus of Nazareth was nailed to a Roman Cross on Golgotha.
For six long hours God's Pascal Lamb suffered the untold agonizing and unspeakable death of crucifixion. At NOON, darkness engulfed the entire area, as God the Father transferred the sins of the entire world upon His Son.
The Prophet declared: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. 53: 6)
The Bible states: "Surely, He hath borne our sicknesses (heb.makob), and carried our pains (heb.nasa); yet we did esteem Him stricken of God, smitten of our God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions (in His body), He was bruised for our iniquities (in His body), the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed." (Is.53: 4,5)
BY HIS BLOODY STRIPES WE ARE HEALED!
“Who His own SELF bare our sins in His own BODY on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; By whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2: 24)
At 3:00 P.M. Jesus cried: “It is finished”. He spoke in Greek saying: 'Tetelestai', taken from the verb 'teleo' which has three essential meanings: 'It is finished; It is fulfilled; It is paid.”
“And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost.” (Luke 23: 46)
Immediately, His Spirit went to Abraham's bosom awaiting His resurrection from the dead! (Luke 23:43; Luke 16: 22-26)
The Bible says: “That is, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their sins unto them... for He hath made Him to be sin (sin offering) Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor.5: 19, 21)
Although God had to judge His Son in our place, the Holy Spirit was in Jesus Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. When Jesus died, He guarded His body, protecting His blood from degradation. (John 16: 32)
At that 3:00 PM Israel's High Priest ascended the steps to the altar in the Temple and sacrificed the Passover Lamb!
An earthquake shook both the Temple and Mount Golgotha. Rocks were rent, the ground moved and the Temple's Veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was TORN in two from top to the bottom, letting everyone know that God had left the Temple!
Only Jesus Christ was qualified to be God's Passover Lamb and rise from the dead in power and glory to forever be our Heavenly High Priest!
4. Christ was sinless in His resurrection & ascension. If He were not sinless, He would not have been able to rise from the dead. If there was even a scintilla of sin within Him, death would have held Him fast. He was entirely pure and righteous, having never sinned. He was God the Son from eternity, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
He came to earth as the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, the God-man. Through His incarnation, Jesus Christ took upon Himself human flesh, was begotten of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, without sin. A special body was made for our Saviour:
The Bible says: “Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a BODY Thou has prepared for Me.” (Heb.10: 5). The Septuagint version of the O.T. which is older than most Hebrew versions uses the word “body”. It makes the same statement in Psalms 40:7 as St. Paul used in Hebrews!
Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by God the Father. (Rom.10: 9; 1 Peter 1: 21; Gal.1: 1; Eph1: 17, 20). The Scripture also states the Holy Spirit raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Rom. 8:11). And Jesus Himself stated: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it again. This He spoke of His body.” (John 2: 19)
“Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of My Father.” (John 10: 17, 18).
Jesus of Nazareth was sinless and raised Himself from the dead, together with His Father and the Holy Spirit in a united action, as the Triune God!
5. Christ is sinless for ever and ever. He is our Heavenly High Priest. The Bible states: “For such an High Priest make us, Who is Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
He was the perfect Sacrifice. He is the perfect Mercy Seat. He is the perfect High Priest. He is HOLY. He is Harmless. He is Undefiled. He is Separate from sinners. He is made Higher than the heavens. Jesus Christ is God! Jesus said: “Come unto Me all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you life.” (Matt. 11: 28)
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a PROPITIATION (satisfaction, expiation) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are passed, through the forbearance of God.” (Rom. 3:24, 25; 1 John 2:2; Heb. 9:5)
THE AMAZING HEALING POWER!
God's Word has an amazing Healing Power! There is Divine Healing in the shed Blood of Jesus Christ. There is Healing Power in the precious name of Jesus Christ! And there is Healing Power through the baptism of the Holy Ghost!
That God is a HEALER is no secret. That His WORD has amazing Saving, Healing and Creative power is well known. But, that His power to save, heal and deliver is readily available at absolutely no cost, except total consecration to Christ, is not widely known!
Most people believe that there are strings attached, a price to pay, good works to do, a guru to follow, and that God favours only a few! Divine Healing is a Gift from God to those who are fearful, hurting, sick and diseased. And He offers it freely through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, through Whom He defeated sin, fear, sickness, death and the Devil!
The Bible states emphatically: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil, for God was with Him.” (1 John 3: 8)
“For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same; that through Death He might Destroy him that had the power of death, that is the Devil: And Delier them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb.2: 14, 15)
The first question we must address is: “What are the works of the devil?” And the answer lies in the Ministry of Jesus Christ. What did He Do? He came to seek and to save them that were lost! He was filled with compassion upon the lost, fearful, poor, sick and tormented! He preached the Gospel, forgave the sinful, healed the sick, cast out evil spirits and even raised the dead!
THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL!
After more than fifty years in Christ's Ministry declaring His Gospel across the world, conclude that the Works of the Devil are five-fold: Sin, Fear, Sickness, Disease and Death, Poverty and Demons!
Jesus forgave Sinners when they repented and sought forgiveness. He delivered people who were filled with Fear by giving them His peace. He healed the sick and diseased, and He raised the dead.
He helped the poor by multiplying the loaves and fishes. He raised a young man back to life so that he could look after his widowed mother. And He cast out multitudes of demons and unclean spirits from those who were bound!
The works of Jesus were discussed openly and rumours came the ears of John the Baptist, who was in prison. Doubts had crept into his heart and he needed reassurance, so he dispatched two of his disciples to Jesus.
“When the men were come unto Him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto Thee, saying, Art Thou He that should come or look we for another? And in the same hour He cured many of their infirmities and plagues and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind He gave sight.
GO YOUR WAY AND TELL JOHN!
Then JESUS answering said unto them, Go your way and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he that is not offended in Me.” Luke 7: 20-23)
If divine healing, miracles and deliverance done in Jesus’ Name by the Blessed Holy Spirit offend you, my preacher friend, you need to have a talk with Jesus or leave the ministry! Get used to it. Christ’s Ministry is one of supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit which delivers people from the power of darkness and the works of the Devil. Period!
For those who are skeptical about the validity and reality of the Ministry of Healing and Deliverance, it might be worth your while to reread Christ's answer to John the Baptist! Jesus stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth and read from Isaiah the Prophet, declaring Himself the Messiah of Israel:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, He hath sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty to them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4: 18, 19)
Jesus Christ was laying out the standard that He wanted His Church to uphold. He is the Head of the Church and He is a Miracle Worker! He proved that by healing ALL who came to him. He didn't turn away anyone. He met and Defeated the devil in His great temptation during forty days of fasting and prayer.
After our Lord's victorious wilderness Temptation, He returned in the Holy Spirit's Power and began ministering in their synagogues, where He encountered sick and suffering people, as well as those who were demon possessed.
“And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue one with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us. I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace and come out of him.
JESUS' DOCTRINE OF AUTHORITY!
“And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him.” (Mark 1: 22-27)
Why would the Church want to go back to the old doctrine of the scribes? Jesus set the agenda for His Church to have Power and Authority over the Enemy; Power and authority over sin, fear, sickness, disease and Satan!
Reading these marvellous Words from the Holy Bible makes a true servant of God desire to have more of God's power and authority over the Devil and his evil works; not less!
It is almost bizarre to hear preachers and theologians twist the Scriptures and represent God in such a low light as if He has regressed and placed the Church into something less than what He started on the Day of Pentecost. And less than His own New Doctrine and that of His primitive Church!
I believe that those born again believers whose pastors reject the Full Gospel and reject Christ's Original Command to the Church, would do well to read His injunction to the scribes:
“And He said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandments of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (Mark 7:9); “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” (Matt. 22:29). St. Paul commands: “Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Tim. 3: 5)
OUR LORD'S GREAT COMMISSION!
We call it, 'The Great Commission' and it certainly is that! After His resurrection, our Lord was not satisfied with the unbelief He found among His disciples. Here is what the Head of His Church stated:
“Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat and upbraided them with their UNBELIEF and HARDNESS of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel unto every creature.
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover.
“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16: 14- 20)
How can anyone dispute Christ's Will in healing the Sick today as He did during His earthly Ministry and through His apostles, disciples and the Early Church in general. He issued a Command and He made a Promise, to be with them until the end of the world. He kept His Word and He is still keeping His promise, which is good UNTIL the END of the age!
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power in given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
“Teaching them to observe all things (includes healing) I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway (the entire distance), even until the END of the world (age).” (Matt.28: 18-20)
“...For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb. 13: 5). Jesus used a double imperative here, saying: “I will never, no never leave thee. I will never, no never forsake thee.”
THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!
He also promised to send His blessed Holy Spirit to empower them and He did! He kept His Word then and He keeps His Word today. He said: “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.
“And in that day, ye shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: Ask and ye shall receive, that you joy may be full. At that day, ye shall ask in My Name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you. For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.” (John 16: 23, 24, 26, 27)
“And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on High.” (Luke 24: 49); “But ye shall receive POWER, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto Me...and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
They went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, confirming His Word with Signs following! He backed up what He had promised.
Let us not forget that He is the same Yesterday, Today and Forever. (Heb. 13:8). And that, “God is not a man that He should lie, neither the Son of man that He should repent (change His mind): hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good.” (Numbers 23: 19)
St. James wrote to the Church: “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the SICK, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5: 14, 15)
ELDERS MUST PRAY FOR THE SICK!
St. James was so concerned for sick and diseased persons who were unable to get to Church for the healing prayer, that he issued a call for elders to be ready to answer any call and visited those persons to administer the Prayer of Faith for their healing.
Oil, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, was used in conjunction with the prayer of faith which is a believing prayer. St. James’ letter was sent to all the Churches so that all might be able to take advantage of this great gift to the church from our Lord.
In his 'Notes on the New Testament' JOHN WESLEY wrote: On James 5:24 says: “Having anointed him with oil - This singular conspicuous gift, which Christ committed to His apostles (Mark 6:13) remained in the church long after the miraculous gift ceased. It seems to have been designed to remain always, and St. James directs the elders, who were the most gifted men, to administer it. This was the whole process of physics in the Christian Church, till it was lost through unbelief.”
Dr. A.B. SIMPSON stated: “We believe that God is healing before any evidence is given. It is to be believed as a present reality and then ventured on. We are to act as if it were already done.”
You may ask: “Why would Dr. Simpson advocate faith contrary to sense knowledge?” Naturally, because he trusted in the highest authority, the Words of Jesus – the Holy Scriptures, rather than in the realm of feelings or natural senses!
DR. A.J. GORDON in the 'Ministry of Healing' wrote: “But now comes a very suggestive fact; that wherever we find a revival of primitive faith and apostolic simplicity, there we find a profession of the chaste and evangelical miracles which characterized the Apostolic Age. These attend the cradle of every spiritual reformation as did the birth of the Church itself. Waldenses, Moravians, Hugenots, Coveranters, Friends, Baptists and Methodists, all have their record of them.” - pp. 64, 65)
R. KELSA CARTER wrote: “On James 5: 14-16: In order to this, he must feel that other are of more importance to God than himself, and also be willing to confess his desire, his helplessness and his faith to God. Ah, confession is ever necessary. We must honour Jesus before men. Having thus prostrated Self and confessed his belief, he is to be anointed with oil in the name of the Lord.” - Faith Cure Movement (circa 1899 A.D.)
DR. CHAUNCY CRANDALL, M.D. writes: “Miracles are not about who we are or what we deserve. They are about how God sees us and what God wants for us. I believe completely in supernatural healing and I'm clear about God being the healer, not me.” - 'Raising the Dead'
DR. ORAL ROBERTS writes: “Jesus gave His disciples power. This is an impartation of power that is against something – against the sin in your life, against the sickness in your body, against any evil spirit or fear that torment your mind or spirit. This is the power that is given to a man who has Christ. It is not a power we possess by ourselves or within ourselves. It is not resident within the individual. This power is in every person who has Christ, but it is in an accelerated form in a Minister of the Gospel who is fully committed to Him.
“Sickness is torment: it is the devil's oppression. It is a frontal attack of Satan against the Kingdom of Heaven. Really, Satan isn't striking at you or me. He is striking against God. But Christ, in His power, comes to deliver us. Healing is God's counter- attack against Satan.” - Commentary on Matthew
----MORE TO FOLLOW m.s.