The Scriptural Questions
I posed a question in the first part of this article regarding the divine healing of our bodies, “Is Divine Physical Healing Really Promised to All of Us”
In that first piece, I confessed that my own failing health was probably the catalyst in raising the issue and wrote more about what we see as a lack of divine healing today.
I’d like to take a look at what Scripture has to say.
It seemed to me that a good way for me to dive into this would be to invite a staunch believer in the doctrine to argue his case and I found such a man in Colin Melbourne.
I know little about him outside of the article he wrote for the online magazine, Born Again. He credits much of what he wrote to the writings of T.L. Osborn, E.W. Kenyon and F.F. Bosworth. The name of the article, Scriptural Proof of God’s Will to Heal Everyone.
The meaty part of the article is Melbourne’s listing of five scriptural proofs. So, I’m jumping right in! Let’s see if I can address all five!
1. God’s healing covenant (Exodus 15:26 RSV) – “If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord, your healer.”
a. First, this promise is made with Israel approximately 1500 years before Christ, not with the New Testament Church.
b. Next, this is not a promise as much as it is a bilateral covenant (contract), you do/don’t do this and I will do/not do that.
c. What is required of us we are incapable of delivering. We must keep all of God’s commandments and statutes. That is something a human being is incapable of doing. (Romans 8:3)
2. Christ’s Atonement (Isaiah 53) – This passage is a wonderful prophetic look at the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. The language, the anguish foretold is astounding. This is the price paid for our redemption. This author makes the argument that based on the language of this passage, ALL believers possess the promise of divine healing. The key verse here is, “…and with His stripes we are healed.” (v 5)
a. First, you have to understand here that Isaiah is speaking poetically in this prophetic passage. In much the same way that Hebrews 4:15 lets us know that Christ has been tempted as we have, we’re being told here that He also has been grief stricken and sorrowful, He’s been frail, weak and sick – He’s not just God Himself, but a man as well.
b. With the words, “…and with His stripes we are healed”, the author attempts to make an argument that ALL believers have healing waiting for them. He is adamant about all of us possessing this promise, so much so that if we can find one instance in Scripture of someone not receiving a healing after prayer for it, his argument crumbles under the weight of an exception. I found four:
- Paul prayed three times for healing and deliverance from a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7) just to be denied.
- Daniel laid sick for several days before recovering just as we would and then “went about the king’s business”. (Daniel 8:27) No mention of divine healing
- Timothy had frequent stomach problems (1 Timothy 5:23) and was told by the Apostle Paul to drink a little wine to settle things down.
- Paul left Trephimus behind in Miletus too ill to travel. (2 Timothy 4:20). Either Paul didn’t like him or…
c. Most importantly we have to realize that when speaking of healing, Scriptures are also referring to the healing of the soul – our spirituality, our relationship with Christ, our sin. Consider this passage from Hosea:
“When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me. They kept sacrificing to Ba’als and burning incense to idols…but they did not know that I healed them.”
Now a reading of Isaiah 53:4-5 from a view of redemption fits as well:
“Surely He has bourne 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: upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed.”
In the next post’ I’ll share some of my thoughts and a discussion as to why this matters. Don’t worry, the ship isn’t going down yet.