The Word of Faith people (WOF'ers) read Matthew 8:17 which says,
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esias the prophet saying,
Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
And they really believe it.
By the way, for those who say they are taking that verse out of context, the entire chapter 8 of Matthew is about Jesus physically healing the sick. And for those who say that it means Jesus carried our sicknesses while He was on earth, then you will also need to believe that He took our sins upon Him while on the earth, and not at the cross, because in that passage sin and sickness are presented on an equal level.
Is. 53:4, 5 syas:
4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted
5. 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 (bruise-note the singular) we are healed.
The words borne and carried found in both the Is. 53 and the Matt.8 passages carries the meaning of actual transference of sin and sicknesses upon Him. In other words, it is a substitutionary redemption from sin and sickness. In the Hebrew in Is. 53 here is what Alexander MacLaren says,
"Of these two words expressing the Servant's taking their burden on His shoulders (nasa and sabal) the former implies not only the taking of it, but the bearing it away; and, the latter emphasizes the weight of the load."
Delitzsch is a Hebraist respected and referred to by theologians and pastors outside of the WOF movement. Here is what he says about Is. 53 and Matt. 8:17:
"Freely but faithfully does the Gospel of Matthew translate this text, 'Himself took our infirmities and carried our sicknesses.' The help which Jesus rendered in all kinds of bodily sickness is taken in Matthew to be the fulfillment of what in Isaiah is prophesied of the Servant of Jehovah. The Hebrew verbs of the text, when used of sin, signify to assume as a heavy burden and bear the guilt of sin, as one's own; that is, to bear sin mediatorily in order to atone for it. But here. Where not our sins, but our sicknesses and pains are the object, the mediatorial sense remains the same.
It is not meant that the Servant of Jehovah merely entered into the fellowship of our sufferings, but that He took upon Himself the sufferings that we had to bear, and deserved to bear; and therefore, He not only bore them away, but also in His own person endured them in order to discharge (bold type mine) us from them. Now when one takes sufferings upon himself which another had to bear, and does this, not merely in fellowship with him, but in his stead, we call it Substitution."
In verse 5 of Isaiah 53 it says:
With His stripes we are healed.
This is transferred into the NT in I Peter 2:24. The Greek word for healed here is iaomai. It is found 28 times in the New Testament, always in reference to physical healing. The word for physician in the Greek is iatros, a relative of iaomai. Therefore, the first century Christian, upom hearing this, would not necessarily read this as "spiritual" healing.
However, I do realize that the context here implies spiritual healing. Can we not then believe that Jesus took our spiritual sicknesses, our emotional pain and also our physical infirmities and pain upon Himself in the Atonement (the cross)?
There are types in the OT that we can see relating to this. One type is in Numbers 21:8 where the children of Israel because of their sin began to die in the wilderness. Moses was told by God to put a serpent on a pole and hold it up to heal the people. Almost every theologian tells us this is a type of Christ on the cross taking away our sins. But sadly, most of them then refuse to go one step further and relate the actual event of the OT example to what Christ also did at the cross--physical healing.
Another type is found in the OT yearly sacrificial lamb.
Listen again to what Alexander Maclaren says,
"Hebrew thought drew no sharp line of distinction between diseases of the body and those of the soul, as we are accustomed to draw. All sickness was taken to be the consequence of sin."
So to the Hebrew mind, it seems that when the lamb was sacrificed it was to cover sin and to prevent sickness and other disasters. This is also seen in Deut. 28 where a litany of horrible things is promised to those who do not keep the law. And, in the first part of the chapter, a list of the nice things that will happen if they do. Since sin compromised the ability to keep the law, the lamb was the substitute. Faith in the sacrifice would cover, but not take away the sin for another year. Since in the Hebrew mind, sin and sickness were entertwined (and we certainly see this in the Is. 53 and Matt. 8 passages), it isn't a stretch that they might have seen that lamb as a cover for sickness also.
Jesus, the Unblemished Lamb of God did the same thing for those who believe in His sacrifice and the effectualness of it--He took way forever, not just covering them for another year.
In the OT, God reveals Himself fairly completely with what theologians call His seven redemptive names. One of those names is Jehovah Rapha.
Jehovah means "I Am." Rapha means "Healing." Therefore, God is saying "I Am Healing." One of the leading WOF teachers correctly points out that it doesn't mean God has healing (i.e. to dispense when He wants to), but He IS Healing. The implications of this are rather staggering.
Jesus never told anyone who came to Him for healing that it "wasn't God's will." As long as they seemed to have the requisite faith, they or their loved ones, servants, etc. received their healing, deliverance and so forth. The only place the Bible says He COULD not do great healing works was His home town of Nazareth because the text says "because of their unbelief" (see Mark 6:5). Now here is an interesting twist to bring that into reality today. There is a verse in Hebrews (13:8) that says this:
"Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever."
I hope you get the point. If Jesus healed at the point of faith then, why has He suddenly stopped today? Was healing ONLY a sign for the Jews? Well, we've already seen that God is Healing. That is WHO He is, for everyone. God doesn't change for one peoplel and then change back for another.
In John chapter 1 it talks a lot about Jesus being the Word. The Greek word for this is logos. Kittel in the THeolgoical Greek Dictionary of the New Testament points out that the accepted meaning of that word in the Roman-Greek world was character as expressed through speech and writing. In other words, the Logos' character was revealed through what he or she spoke and wrote.
If Jesus' character was to heal in the first century, because of the fact as we've already seen God is Healing, why would it suddenly change now? Why would Jesus the Son and God the Father be different in character today than They were then. So then to say that God doesn't heal today (classic cessationism which thankfully few follow today) or to even say God heals when He wants to (mostly followed today) is absurd and totally in refutation of Their (the Father and Son and the Spirit) character.
James 5:14,15 says,
14-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:
15 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.
Notice what it doesn't say--MIGHT be healed
The WOF teachers point this out and I have never heard it pointed out anywhere else, to pastors' and theologians' shame IMO. Notice also that it is the elders that pray the prayer of faith, not necessarily the sick person (although I think their faith could be helpful). This is often where some WOF'ers miss it. But notice that the elders must pray the prayer of FAITH, NOT the prayer of unbelief. By the way, as I said in my previous post on faith, this is not a golly-gee-I-hope-so type of faith. It is a sure thing as the Greek meaning in James 1 states. If elders cannot pray that way, then IMO they shouldn't be praying for the sick.
In conclusion, people aren't getting healed very much in our churches today. Why? First, our leaders are not understanding the healing character of God and that He never changeth.
Second, faith seems to be a requisite both in the OT and the NT to receive healing. The faith however is not placed in the actual act or even GOD. And it certainly isn't placed in apostles, prophets, healers, pastors and other assorted ministers. It is placed on an historical event--the Atonement. When I said not in God, I understand that it is God from whom the healing power emanates. But we cannot leave what Jesus did on the cross out. That is exactly what the Third Wavers are doing. Straight from God to the hands of the healers, prophets, apostles and assorted others. Somewhere, Jesus gets lost in the shuffle. But if one reads the entire book of Hebrews, one will get the idea that God doesn't want Jesus and his work at the cross to get lost in the shuffle. That is why I like some of the things the WOF'ers say about healing because they are continually forcing us to look back at the cross.
If we can get these angles straight and pray in faith, we might see a lot of healing in the future. And if we don't? Have we lost anything? I think not. At least we will be forced to go back to the cross and its implications.
Now the BIG question that remains is:
Why don't some get healed? I've answered that in part today certainly. And, in future posts down the road, I will tackle that specifically.
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