Miraculous Divine Healing
There are many religious groups today claiming divine powers to heal people of physical diseases. The number grows nearly every day. Every single one of them claim that miraculous divine healing continues through their “ministries” and they base this claim on exactly the same distorted biblical principles. They preach conflicting doctrines, often openly attack one another’s doctrines, and yet claim that God is working through them to heal people. If that doesn’t make God inconsistent, what do you suppose it would take to do so?
So-called “faith healing” is not healing received from doctors, medicines, therapy, or hospital care. Rather it is healing that allegedly results only from supernatural causes. It is not a healing resulting from natural processes. It is a counterfeit of the healing one reads of in the Bible, as in the instantaneous cure of the leper, the palsied, the blind, speechless, deaf, and the lame.
Jesus and His disciples cured all of these by supernatural powers. No one today can duplicate those miraculous deeds. The purpose of this lesson is to vividly and forcefully demonstrate this from the Scriptures. I affirm that all those who claim to possess the same miraculous powers Jesus had and gave his disciples are fakes, frauds, charlatans and imposters.
I affirm they feed off of sincere people who are duped and deceived into thinking that these so-called “faith healers” have some divine power granted to them by the Almighty. I confidently affirm that no man today can do what Jesus and his apostles did by direct miraculous divine power.
Which Group Has the Power to Heal?
There are over a hundred branches of followers of the late Joseph Smith, Jr. who are called various kinds of Mormons. They all lay claim to the power of miraculous divine healing. Then there are the followers of Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Science sect. They claim a number of “Christist” healings.
Some may remember Amiee Semple McPherson and the “Four Square Gospel” movement. She claimed the power of divine healing. Any of the many branches of Pentecostals will affirm they have the power of miraculous divine healing and that they have their share (if not all) of it. The Catholic Church has its brand of miraculous cures. So who is right? The answer we firmly give is that none of them are right. The Bible clearly teaches that miraculous divine healing ended at the end of the “apostolic age,” or the age during which the apostles worked on earth.
Nine miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. These were bestowed on various members of the first century church.
“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (verses 7-11).
The Holy Spirit divided the gifts among members of the early church. Not all had the same gifts. Verses 29 and 30 of the same chapter read,
“Are all apostles, are all prophets, are all teachers, are all workers of miracles, have all the gifts of healing, do all speak with tongues, do all interpret?” Here is a clear affirmation that not all Christians could work miracles of healing.
1 Corinthians 13 continues with the same topic of gifts from the Holy Spirit. In this chapter Paul shows the limited duration of the gifts. He says,
“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge it shall vanish away. For we know in part; and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Cor. 13:8-10).
Notice that when the perfect is come all that is in part will be done away. That which is in part includes prophecy. When the gift of prophecy failed then tongues and supernatural knowledge vanished also.
No divinely inspired prophecy ever failed. The only sense in which prophecies were to fail is that a time was coming when the gift of prophecy would no longer be exercised by members of the church. That knowledge would cease does not mean all knowledge would disappear from the earth, that no one could know anything. It simply means that the gift of knowledge would no longer be given by the Spirit. All of these gifts were to be “done away” when the perfect was come.
The perfect thing that was to come would bring to an end the need for supernatural gifts, including healing of physical diseases. Whatever the perfect thing is, when it came, the gifts ended. The word perfect comes from an original word that means “complete, whole, or entire.” It applies to anything that has all its parts in the right places, properly related to each other, and adjusted to function correctly. To say, “when that which is complete is come” is the same as saying “when that which is perfect is come.”
Some affirm that the perfect is either Christ or the blessed age to come. Both of these views are wrong. While there are statements referring to Christ as “that which” you will look long and hard to find Paul using such a reference. Rather he extolled the Christ, exalted Him, and spoke of Him with absolute reverence.
That which is perfect or complete is revelation. Prophecy was “in part.” It served to reveal God’s will to man. Knowledge from the Lord through the Holy Spirit provided information for the church before the Bible was complete. Before the completion of the New Testament all knowledge and instruction had to come through supernatural means.
The Holy Spirit was given to the apostles to guide them into “all truth” (John 16:13). James says,
“But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing” (James 1:25).
James called the revealed law of God “perfect.” Jude speaks of the faith as “once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
Miraculous divine healing was not primarily for the benefit of the sick, the lame, the blind or the deaf; it was primarily to confirm the word preached. In Mark 16:19,20 Mark reports, “they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following.” The signs were to confirm what was preached. Signs, wonders, and miracles were performed to create belief. On one occasion the Lord said, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). And, Paul said that “tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (I Corinthians 14:22).
During the time prior to the completion of the New Testament the only confirmation of preaching was the ability to do something supernatural, such as raising the dead, cleansing lepers, or instantly healing the sick. The Hebrew writer tells us that the word is confirmed once and for all.
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will” (Heb. 2:24).
Question: is the word of God confirmed or not? Some quibble, “There are numbers of people to whom it is not confirmed.” That dodges the point. God confirmed it whether men accept it or not. It has been confirmed as God’s word whether anyone believes it or not. Those who still believe in miraculous divine healing stand in opposition to the fact that God confirmed His own word. What an unenviable position!
We take our stand safely that no one today has the power manifested by Christ and His apostles in the first century. We confidently affirm such power is neither possible nor needed now. We urge all to accept God’s word as full, final, inerrant, and confirmed. We urge all to believe and obey it from the heart.
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