Jack Carroll - Divine Healing

Two Gospels are being preached in our day: 

1)     Gospel of the broad way.

2)     Gospel of the narrow way.

 

The first appeals to the natural selfishness of the human heart, preaches Jesus as Saviour, promises present prosperity, healing of bodily diseases, and a sure home in Heaven at the end (Matthew 7:15-23).

 

The second makes no appeal to human selfishness, teaches that true discipleship leads “across the will of nature,” preaches Jesus the only Saviour as Lord and Master (Romans 10:9-10; Philippians 2:9-11); promises present adversity, Philippians 1:29; 1 Peter 4:12-19,  assures all who believe that the more faithful and true they are the surer they will be to be “sick”, suffer from infirmities, and fill an early grave (Matthew 25:36; Philippians 2:25-30; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20).

 

There can be no mixing of these two gospels — one leads to death and hell while promising the opposite, the other leads to life and heaven but promises trouble, adversity, reproach, suffering, sickness here, with the assurance that when “the former things are passed away there will be no more tears, death, sorrow, crying, pain.”  (Revelation 21:3-4).

 

The present world-wide craving for signs and wonders have given rise to a host of religious and semi-religious movements which appeal to the selfishness of human nature and are making many converts.  They all claim power to heal the body and widely advertise their apparent success.  Some claim that the healing is similar to that in the New Testament.  There is simply no parallel or similarity between the two and there is much evidence to prove that just as we are approaching the end of the age, Satan, knowing his time is short is seeking to counterfeit the work of God in New Testament days, and is giving “his ministers” power not only to appear as “angels of light” and “ministers of righteousness” but power also to work “signs and wonders” in order to hinder, discourage, and deceive.

 

The USA has been the birthplace of many of these movements, such as:  Christian Science, Darwinism, Sanfordism, Mormonism, Pentecostalism, and a few score other divine healing cults which have been the direct cause of many unnecessary deaths.  Almost without exception, all the religious frauds and fakers of the last twenty years have made a hobby of divine healing and have succeeded in getting a following of “cured people” in exactly the same way as a multitude of patent medicine vendors have succeeded in robbing the public by making claims for the curative powers of their nostrums which exist only in the imaginations of themselves and their dupes.  Innumerable testimonies have been given both to patent medicine vendors and the divine healer with the same seriousness and same amount of truth.

 

The New Testament healing was genuine and fulfilled the purpose of God at that time.  The healing was instantaneous and complete.  Some are asking in our day, “Was it God’s purpose for signs, healing, etc., to continue to the end of the age?”  “Should we look for similar manifestations of His power today?”  After giving these questions careful and serious consideration, I am absolutely convinced that the New Testament clearly teaches that it was not God’s purpose as the Gospel was preached to the Gentile world for these manifestations to continue and that we have no right to look for such today.  “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man.”  The testimony of God’s people in the world today is similar to that given by Noah in his day.  Noah did no signs or wonders, but invested all he had and all he was in the ark and gave himself utterly in warning the people to flee from the wrath to come.

 

In the latter days of the apostolic ministry when it was manifest that the Jews would not be convinced and when the apostles were reaching out to the regions beyond and preaching the Gospel to the Gentile world, there is no mention of healing, signs and wonders.  The present world-wide revival of so-called Divine healing, etc., is simply a new attempt of Satan, the father of lies, the adversary of God and man, to deceive and bring men to eternal ruin.  In Matthew 16:4, Jesus said, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.”  The scriptures clearly teach that at the end of this age, Satan would be intensely active in seeking to counterfeit the work of God and deceive man.

 

In II Thessalonians 2:8-12, Paul warned the saints that in the last days there would be a great manifestation of Satan’s power and “that by all power and lying wonders with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish because they receive not the love of the Truth that they might be saved, and for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie.”  These signs and wonders wrought by Satan and his ministers (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) will increase with the years, ripening ultimately into the full manifestation of Satan’s power as described in Revelation 13 (note especially verses 13 and 14).

 

Jesus taught His disciples to expect a world-wide revival of signs and wonders insomuch that if it were possible they would deceive the very elect.  “Behold I have told you before” (Matthew 24:25).  All the workers of iniquity from Jannes to Jambres to our own day have succeeded by their “signs and wonders” in proving to the satisfaction of those over whom they had power that they were of God and as Jesus prophesied “deceive many” (Matthew 24:11; 7:21-23).  The study of the following scriptures will prove that the signs and wonders would be on the side of the False Prophets, not the true, in the closing of this age (Matthew 7:21-23; 24:11-24; 1 Timothy 4:2; 2 Timothy 3:8-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11; Revelation 13:13-14; 16:14.

 

When Paul was asked for the seal or proof of his apostleship, he did not point to the miracles he had wrought, but rather to the men and women in Corinth who had heard and obeyed the Gospel which he preached and were now, as a result, partakers of Divine Nature.  This is the only seal or proof of apostleship which God’s true servants seek today.  This they covet above all else and this God has given them in every land.  They have no desire to compete with the “workers of iniquity,” who by the power of Satan do signs and lying wonders in the name of Jesus and deceive the multitude (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).  They are content with the anointing which enables them to go forth in His name as strangers and preach the Gospel which results in men and women who are dead in trespasses and sins becoming alive to Jesus (Ephesians 2:1).

 

To have fixed in our minds that all the miracles wrought by Jesus during His ministry had a special spiritual significance and were intended to teach spiritual lessons is important.  All the physical diseases mentioned in the Gospels were typical of possible spiritual diseases.  Nowhere is it said in the Gospels that the main purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to perform signs and miracles, but the exact opposite is clearly stated by Jesus Himself in Luke 4:17-18.  On this occasion the people of Nazareth had gathered to see a wonder worker, not a preacher bringing to them the message of God.  He did not work a wonder to satisfy their curiosity, but preached the Good News which they deliberately rejected and in their fury sought to take His life.  The main purpose of the anointing of Jesus was to preach the Gospel and produce true spiritual results, not physical.  It is important to keep this in mind.  The purpose of the miracles wrought by Jesus was twofold:  1) to illustrate and teach spiritual truths; and 2) to convince the Jews that He was the One of Whom all the prophets had spoken, and to leave them absolutely without excuse for their unbelief and their rejection of Him as the Messiah (John 3:2; 7:31; 9:32; 10:37; 15:24).

 

It is impossible to understand the Old and New Testaments apart from keeping clear in our minds that the Jews as a nation were peculiarly favoured of God, and that in spite of their sins, transgressions, iniquities, unfaithfulness, and unbelief, He was mindful of His covenant and kept His promise with them — ultimately sending in the fullness of time Jesus as their Messiah and Saviour.  With regard to physical disease, there was no doubt in the mind of any Jew as to God’s ability to heal the diseases of His people when in true repentance they turned to Him.  They were all familiar with the teaching of Moses in the Old Testament, that if obedient, the children of Israel were promised, with other blessings, freedom from diseases (Exodus 23:25; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Exodus 15:26).  The outward material blessings promised to the obedient Israelites were typical of the inward spiritual blessings promised to obedient Christians.  The outward material blessings promised to obedient Israelites were typical of the inward spiritual blessings promised to obedient Christians. The physical diseases from which disobedient Israelites suffered were typical of the spiritual diseases from which disobedient Christians suffer today.  It was a fixed belief among the Jews that disease was the result of sin against God, disobedience to His commandments (see John 9:2).

 

In Solomon’s prayer in I Kings 8:33-39, he recognizes the danger of defeat in battle, drought, sickness, coming on the people of God as a result of sin.  This is illustrated as follows:  Miriam (Numbers 12:1-16); Gehazi (2 Kings 5:20-27); Asa (2 Chronicles 16:10-12); Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:18-20); Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:20-23).

 

In Old and New Testament days it was firmly fixed in the mind of every Jew that sickness was the result of sin, and this being so it would have been very difficult for them to believe in a Messiah that was to “save them from their sins” if He had not the power to heal them of the diseases which in their minds were the result of sin.  In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses said, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you like unto me.”  Moses came unto the children of Israel in Egypt with signs and they naturally believed the prophet who was to come would be like Moses in this respect.  In Matthew 11:1-6, we read of Jesus sympathizing with doubting John and giving His disciples convincing proof that He was truly the Messiah.  Healing of physical diseases by Jesus was intended to give the Jews indisputable proof of His Messiah-ship.  The words of Jesus in Matthew 15:21-28 prove conclusively that His ministry of healing was for theHouse of Israeland not for the Gentiles.  It may be well to note here that the healing commission of Matthew 10:5-16 was tothe lost sheep of thehouse of Israel’and not to the Gentiles or Samaritans.

 

In proving His Messiah-ship to the Jews, Jesus not only healed their diseases but claimed power to forgive their sins (Mark 2:1-12).  Nowhere in the New Testament is freedom from disease promised to believing Gentiles.  Diseased Jews considered themselves as being under God’s displeasure.  This is not true of believing Gentiles.  The New Testament clearly teaches that in this age a true Christian can “be sick” and in no sense be displeasing to God or out of fellowship with Him.  The following examples prove this — fellowship with Him. The following examples prove this — Epaphroditus was sick nigh unto death (Philippians 2:25-30).  Timothy was encouraged to use a little wine for his stomach’s sake and his often infirmities (I Timothy 5:23), “Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick” (II Timothy 4:20).  Paul said, “I will glory in mine infirmities” (2 Corinthians 12:5-10).  Infirmities mean bodily weakness (Matthew 25:36).

 

There is no evidence that the apostles sought miraculous healing for themselves nor is it suggested that their failure of seeking this for others was displeasing to God or the result of unbelief.

 

Paul prayed that the thorn in his side might be removed, but God permitted this to remain for a definite purpose (II Corinthians 12:7-9).  In order to understand James 5:12-16, it is necessary to remember this epistle was written in the early days of the Christian church to Jewish Christians who were familiar with the Old Testament teaching regarding the close relationship between “sin and sickness.”  It is very evident in reading this epistle that these Jewish converts had sinned grievously against God and each other, and as a consequence were sick and in sore need of help.  James makes use of a distinctly Jewish custom to show them how to get right with God and man and get the healing they were most in need of.

 

It was natural for these Jewish Christians to associate in their minds sin with sickness.  Gentile Christians would not have done so and were not encouraged by any servant of God to believe that sickness of body was the result of sin.  Paul, Timothy, Trophimus, Epaphroditus, and many others (Matthew 25:36) were sick and no elders were called to pray for them — they were not anointed with oil, they were not asked to confess their sins in order to be healed.  Timothy was advised to use a simple recognized remedy and no doubt all availed themselves of whatever known remedy or help that was within their reach.  If it were the regular custom for Gentile Christians to practice what James wrote to the Jewish Christians and thus seek for miraculous healing, there would be no excuse for the bodily sickness of those mentioned above.  This sickness of body would be looked upon by all as an evidence of their wrongness with God and with one another.  This in itself is conclusive proof that miraculous healing of bodily disease was neither expected nor sought for among Gentile Christians in New Testament days.

 

There are two commissions given in Matthew’s Gospel:  1) a limited commission, largely a ministry of healing, “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” not to “Gentiles nor into any city of the Samaritans” (Matthew 10:5-8), and 2) a world-wide commission, wholly a ministry of teaching to “all nations.”  No hint or suggestion was given here that miracles of healing were to be in evidence, and as the apostles were no longer limited in their ministry, they reached out to the regions beyond (Matthew 28:18-20).

 

Paul, though a Jew, was preeminently the apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:1-2; 2:7-8).  His commission is given in Acts 26:17-18 and is wholly spiritual.  He loved his brethren in the Jewish church and while he sought to reach them with the Gospel, he looked upon the Gentile world as his field, and in his letters to the Gentile Christians there is not a single word or line to encourage them to seek or expect physical or material blessing.

 

The epistle to the Romans was written to the Gentile Christians (Romans 1:13; 11:13-25; 15:8-16), making clear God’s purpose for them in this age and also showing that the Jews would be no longer considered a special privileged people (Romans 9:25-31; 11).  While he refers to “signs and wonders” in his own previous personal history, there is absolutely no hint of any encouragement given to the Roman Christians to seek for the manifestations that were in evidence in Corinth (Romans 15:19).

 

The church at Ephesus was a Gentile church (Ephesians 2:11-12; 3:1; 4:17).  The Jews always looked and hoped for temporal, physical, and material blessings, hence their demand was for signs and wonders (Matthew 8:5-10; Luke 11:16; John 3:2; 5:36; 9:32-34; 11:41-42; John 15:24; 1 Corinthians 1:22).  God in His mercy gave the Jews “signs” in Palestine and Corinth, but they were not brought to repentance but rather hardened their hearts.  In contrast with the Jews, all the blessings promised the Gentile Christians were “spiritual,” not physical or material.  This is clearly stated in Ephesians 1:3.  The Ephesians were Gentile Christians and all the blessings referred to in this epistle are spiritual.  In 1st and 2nd Timothy there is no encouragement given to the Gentile saints at Ephesus to seek for “signs and wonders,” but there is a warning given them to beware of deceivers (1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:6-9).

 

Owing to the number and attitude of the Jews in Ephesus, Paul during the mission there wrought special miracles in order to convince them of His apostleship, but in the epistle written ten years later to the saints at Ephesus there is no mention of “signs,” etc.  In 1st and 2nd Timothy, there is a mention of Timothy and Trophimus being sick, but no mention of a miracle performed to cure them.  In Philippians, Ephaproditus is mentioned as being “sick unto death” and no hint of a miracle wrought to heal him (Philippians 2:25-30).  In Galatians, Thessalonians and Titus, all were written mainly to the Gentile Christians — there is no mention of Divine healing, tongues, etc.  In II Thessalonians 2:9-10, it is clearly stated that the “ministers of Satan” would in the last days perform “signs and lying wonders” in order to deceive men and women.

 

There are several reasons why we cannot believe in Divine Healing as it is taught and practiced today:

1)     There is no similarity whatever in the so-called divine healing of today and the complete, immediate, permanent cures performed by Jesus in proof of His Messiah-ship.

2)     Those who preach and practice divine healing have no marks of being sent of God, are unlike Jesus andHis sent onesin manner of life, methods, and doctrine, making merchandise of the word of God, “traffic in the souls of men.”

3)     The people who believe in and support divine healing preachers are not only deceived by them but are unlike New Testament Christians in manner of life, doctrine, and worship.

4)     Nowhere in the Bible is it taught that Gentile Christians were to expect miraculous leaving of bodily disease.

5)     The same class of cures advertised by divine healing preachers are being duplicated all over the world by belief in relics, holy places, holies, by Christian Scientists, Spiritualist, Mesmerists, Quacks, Knaves, Fakers, Christian and Heathen all making gain out ofpatients.”

6)     The divine healing preacher appeals solely to human selfishness promising cures without doctors or nurses, medicine, operations, hospitals, and all the inevitable worries and expense connected with serious or prolonged illness.  This accounts for the crowds that flock to see and hear a well-advertised healer.