A Study on Healing in the New Testament

Healing… before the Cross/Resurrection:

In the Gospels, before the Cross, healing was apparently used mainly as a tool of evangelism, to draw the people and convince them of the power in Christ, His divinity. Christ, Himself, healed ALL who came to Him. In addition, He gave each of the twelve disciples the gift of healing as part of their evangelical mission.

Christ healed everyone (Matt 4):

And Jesus was going about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the reign, and healing every disease, and every malady among the people,

and his fame went forth to all Syria, and they brought to him all having ailments, pressed with manifold sicknesses and pains, and demoniacs, and lunatics, and paralytics, and he healed themMatthew 4:23-24 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

Disciples were all given healing gift (Matt 10):

And having called to him his twelve disciples, he gave to them power over unclean spirits, so as to be casting them out, and to be healing every sickness, and every malady.

`And, going on, proclaim saying that, the reign of the heavens hath come nigh;

infirm ones be healing, lepers be cleansing, dead be raising, demons be casting out — freely ye did receive, freely give. Matthew 10:1,8 (YLT)

Healing… after the Cross/Resurrection:

After the Resurrection, in the new, growing church, it is apparent the gift of healing was given to select, but not all believers, as demonstrated below in 1 Corinthians 12.

for to one through the Spirit hath been given a word of wisdom, and to another a word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;

and to another faith in the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healings in the same Spirit;

and to another in-workings of mighty deeds; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; and to another [divers] kinds of tongues; and to another interpretation of tongues:

[are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all powers?

have all gifts of healings? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

and desire earnestly the better gifts; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 29-31 (YLT)

In modern day, whether in person or through the testimony of documentaries such as those made by filmmaker, Darren Wilson [Finger of God, Furious Love, Father of Lights, etc], we can see evangelical teams witnessing on the streets around the world and healing the sick and lame. There are times not everyone is healed, however. It seems to be determined by the will of the Spirit for His purposes.

Yet, it also seems there are some unique individuals who are able to heal every person they lay hands on. This would indicate they have the gift of healing, specifically.

Perfectly in line with Scripture, we might conclude God can use anyone to heal when He wishes to reach the lost. However, some in the body of Christ possess the gift of healing to benefit both the body of Christ and non-believers.

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Revelation 12 Study

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[Readers, this post is very informal, and may not be final. It is my personal notes from studies I did on September 23, October 5, and October 21, on Revelation 12.]

9/23/2017

September 23, 2017, was a day the constellations demonstrated the Revelation 12 passage:

REV 12.1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: REV 12.2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

On September 23, I saved a screenshot (above) from my cell phone app, StarTrackerLite, which shows in real time the positions and movement of the stars and planets. The constellations show Virgo (i.e., the ‘woman’) with the sun at her neck, the moon at her feet, etc, just as Rev. 12 described.

Studying that photo, I noticed two things.

  1. The position of Jupiter does make her look pregnant, or as if she is giving birth! Jupiter is the ‘King’ planet, so Virgo is pregnant with the King! That makes the identity of Virgo, Mary, and in greater, symbolic terms, ancient Israel! She was the one who brought Christ forth into the world. However, she is also the one who KNOWS He is the King. Therefore, through the birth, the woman transforms to become Israel of God, the family of God, now followers of Messiah.
  1. Note the position of constellation Virgo – under the constellation Leo. Virgo is literally ‘following’ Leo in her trajectory. Again, the symbolism of Virgo as Israel of God, following Leo, the Lion. The Bible tells us Christ is the Lion of Judah! The constellations, in sync with Scripture, identity Virgo as those following Christ.

The significance of the above in relation to Rev. 12, I believe, is that ultimately, the woman who will be under attack by the ‘dragon’ is going to be Israel of God, in modern times the body of Christ, His church.

10/5/2017

Studying Rev 12:6, trying to make sense of the ‘wilderness’ to which the ‘woman’ flees for protection from the dragon for ‘1260 days’.

Researching definitions of ‘wilderness’ in Greek, in Strong’s Bible dictionary. All shown below.* Note, most interesting is the comparative word in Strongs, #5561. See below in blue.

Oddly, upon studying these word meanings, a song started ‘playing’ in my head: ‘This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York islands… from the Redwood forest to the gulf stream waters… this land was made for you and me.’ 

Hmmm. I haven’t thought of that song in perhaps years. A message from the Spirit? He often speaks to me by putting songs in my mind.

America certainly did fit the descriptions (from Strong’s for ‘wilderness’, see below) at the time the colonists came… She was ‘an expansive land, largely unpopulated (at the time), between two limits…’ (either way you look at it we are still between two limits: 2 oceans on east/west coasts… 2 neighbors on north/south coasts).

America happens to contain the densest population of the followers of Messiah… so far, still a land of religious freedom. If America is potentially the land made to protect the ‘woman’, then what does the ‘1260 days’ really mean?

And when is that time ‘up’?

10/21/2017

Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast forth to the earth, he pursued the woman who did bring forth the male, rev.12.14 and there were given to the woman two wings of the great eagle, that she may fly to the wilderness, to her place, where she is nourished a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent; rev.12.15 and the serpent did cast forth after the woman, out of his mouth, water as a river, that he may cause her to be carried away by the river, rev.12.16 and the land did help the woman, and the land did open its mouth and did swallow up the river, that the dragon did cast forth out of his mouth; rev.12.17 and the dragon was angry against the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, those keeping the commands of God, and having the testimony of Jesus Christ. (YLT)

Revelation 12:13-17 again mentions the wilderness, a land which protects the ‘woman who brought forth the male’ for a period of time. Having established I believe the woman to represent both Mary and Israel of God… or, all who follow Christ, then it may be logical to presume the land which houses the largest numbers of His followers might, in fact, be just that land.

In these last centuries, the primary land protecting Christians has been America. Indeed, if you consider the words above from Revelation 12, America fits the description. She has taken in the largest number of Christian refugees, prevented persecution of Christians within her borders and provided a safe and prosperous place for them to live and thrive. Certainly, there are other countries that also continue to protect Christians, but none more pronounced than the U.S. in the last nearly two and a half centuries.

As to the very specific, albeit cryptic, reference to ‘a time, and times, and half a time’, during which the land is able to protect the woman, we need to consider the meaning. There are many who have taught in solidarity this is a reference to the 3 1/2 years of the tribulation. But, could it also (or instead) be referring to the few hundred years one nation has offered refuge and protection to the people of God in the last centuries?

IF the land is America, if we agree she has protected the largest number of Christ-followers as indicated in Revelation 12… we can look at the dates the first Christians fled to her in search of religious freedom and see if the years since then might come anywhere close to fitting into the ‘time, times and half a time’ pattern.

First, there was a lost Colony that first arrived around 1585 (Approx. 432 years from present.) The enduring Colonies were established beginning 1607, with Jamestown, a business venture. (Approx. 410 years from present.)

Puritans arrived Plymouth in 1620, desiring to start a new, pure church, fleeing the corrupt church of England. (Approx. 397 years from present.)

Based on the numbers above, 450 years fits the pattern of a ‘time, times, and half a time’. With that in mind, the above 3 scenarios would yield 18 years, 40 years, or 53 years remaining, respectively.

This is just something to think about, by no means a conclusive study. It is merely one possibility to ponder. I’ve learned over the years, prophetic passages can apply to multiple events or time periods, so one meaning does not necessarily cancel out another.

Research, from Strong’s Bible dictionaries:

*Wilderness: (g2048) ερημος, — er’-ay-mos; of uncertain affinity; lonesome, i.e. (by implication) waste (usually as a noun, (5561)* (χωρα) being implied): — desert, desolate, solitary, wilderness.

Transliterated: eremos;  Pronounced: er’-ay-mos of uncertain affinity; TDNT 2:657; adjective Trans & freq in the AV- wilderness 32 times, desert 13 times, desolate 4 times, solitary 1 time; 50 occurrences of Greek word in AV

1. solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited a. used of places 1. a desert, wilderness 2. deserted places, lonely regions 3. an uncultivated region fit for pasturage b. used of persons [Also, ominously:] 1. deserted by others 2. deprived of the aid and protection of others, especially of friends, acquaintances, kindred 3. bereft a. of a flock deserted by the shepherd b. of a woman neglected by her husband, from whom the husband withholds himself.

*(5561) χωρα, — kho’-rah; feminine of a derivative of the base of (5490) (χασμα) through the idea of empty expanse; room, i.e. a space of territory (more or less extensive; often including its inhabitant): — coast, county, fields, ground, land, region.

Transliterated: chora;  Pronounced: kho’-rah from a derivative of the base of 5490 through the idea of empty expanse; n f Trans. & freq. in the AV- country 15 times, region 5 times, land 3 times, field 2 times, ground 1 time, coast 1 time; 27 occurrences of Greek word in AV,

1. the space lying between two places or limits. [Blogger’s note: could that be between 2 major oceans, OR with 2 border neighbors?? Does any other country in the world fit this description?]

2. a region or country i.e. a tract of land a. the (rural) region surrounding a city or village, the country b. the region with towns and villages which surround a metropolis 3. land which is ploughed or cultivated, ground.

All quoted verses and research from:

God; Strong, James. A Complete Bible Reference Study Library (4 in 1): [Illustrated]: KJV Bible with Strongs markup, Strongs Concordance & Dictionaries, Lexicon Definitions, and Bible word index (Kindle Locations 122365-285296). Bestbooks. Kindle Edition.

Resist Hate = Embrace Love

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus/John 16:33

Last night, I had a terrible time sleeping. Tossing and turning, I felt unrest in body and soul. I told God, ‘I feel braced for bad news.’

His answering whisper in my soul was from the verse above: ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’

After sleeping less than two hours, I awoke early, still anxious. He led me to a song by Rich Mullins in my inspirational playlist. The words that penetrated my soul went something like this:

There’s bound to come some trouble in this life… hold onto Jesus, hold on tight. He’s been there before and He knows what it’s like. You’ll find He’s there.

After listening to the sweet melody and comforting words of this classic Rich Mullins song, I searched His Spirit as to, ‘what next?’ I felt pressed to switch on the news, something I almost never do, for I don’t watch daytime TV.

The headlines were screaming across several channels: 50+ Dead, 200 injured… over 400 taken to hospitals in Las Vegas. Largest mass shooting in U.S. 

As my mind and emotions struggled to take in the devastating, overwhelming news and images, I realized God had been prepping me all night long. He was one step ahead, leading me, letting me know He was still in control.

God is real. He talks to His kids. He wants us to understand He does not prevent all pain in this world, but He promises to be with us no matter what we face.

 

One of the things we hear a lot these days is the phrase, ‘resist hate’. That is actually good advice. But I find many who proclaim it seem to lack real know-how. You see, to fight a negative, you must replace it with a positive. To resist hate, we must embrace Love.

Love is more than a concept. It comes from somewhere, a very pure, living source, a Person. His name is Jesus, the Creator who made us and gave all for us, Who loves us without end. He is Truth. He IS Love. In His presence, hate cannot survive.

So, connect with the source today. Embrace Love. The world so desperately needs Him.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12

Heart of God

Yesterday morning brought one of those unusual God-moments, a touch of love in the midst of my human nonsense. Some will think I am a nut. I am a nut. A nut for the Savior Who loves me no matter what mess I make!

My dietary health has been a challenge the last couple of years. As a result of long ignorance on the diet/immune system connection, my digestive system suffered at the hands of an often unhealthy diet. I’ve been trying to do better since I realized the cause, but admit it is a struggle. Old habits are hard to break.

Yesterday morning I woke up late, and in my hurry I wondered if I could eat cold pizza for breakfast instead of making myself something healthy which would take longer. Wallowing in guilt over that decision, I gingerly asked the Lord if He thought it would be okay for me to eat just one piece of cold pizza.

I heard His Spirit say in a rather formal manner, “I will authorize it… one piece.” I was a little surprised He answered at all, to be honest, and moreso over the permission. Amazed and relieved, I started munching on a slice of cold pizza with my coffee.

After a few bites I thought, this would be better if I heated it! So, I turned on our countertop griddle and attempted to heat the half piece remaining. As I ate the freshly heated half, so much better than the first, I thought to myself, I really want to heat another piece and I’ll just call it breakfast and lunch!

Another guilt wave hit me. I knew the Lord had only ‘authorized’ one piece. But knowing I was going to do it regardless, shamelessly petitioned Him for grace anyway. Again, I was shocked at the generous reply in my spirit, “eat it with your homemade dressing”.

My homemade salad dressing is extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar with spices. That type of vinegar is an excellent detoxing tool. I was surprised and thought, what a good idea! And I was grateful for the grace even though still ashamed.

After pouring some dressing into a little cup for dipping, I went to return the container to the fridge. Before closing the door, I heard the Spirit say, “more”. So, I drizzled more into the cup and headed back to the fridge again.

A second time, I heard the Spirit say, “more”. I obeyed, but as I looked on the growing amount, perhaps a full half cup at this point, I wondered how on earth I was going to eat all of that dressing. Oh no, did He want me to drink it? Detox drinks are made every day with apple cider vinegar. I cringed at the thought. It would serve me right for cheating with pizza for breakfast!

When I finally sat down with my second piece of hot pizza and half cup of dressing, still feeling bad about myself, I struggled to soak as much dressing as I could into each bite. It seemed to be going nowhere fast. I dreaded being convicted to drink it, so I knowingly cheated, pouring the whole amount all over the pizza, most of it dripping off onto the plate. My hope was I would have an excuse to throw it away when I was finished eating!

More guilt. I had become completely nonsensical! Working every angle to get around what I feared would be the Lord’s condemnation and anticipated punishment.

Can you relate? How many times do we do exactly the same, in all types of situations, trying to maneuver ourselves around God?

By this time, I vaguely realized if I’d just cooked myself a couple of eggs, it would have taken less time than all the pizza manipulations! Still more shame washed over me.

When finally I took the last bite and gave up wrestling my conscience over breakfast, I looked down at the plate and saw something that made me gasp… and laugh.

There swimming in a pool of wasted olive oil, vinegar and spices was a blob of pulpy tomato sauce in a very distinct shape. It had oddly formed a perfect heart, looking all the more real with its bright red, fleshy appearance.

The little, lifelike heart in the midst of the mess I’d created whispered a clear reminder of the very real heart of God, of His wish for me to chill out and rest in His love. I laughed and laughed over His cuteness in the midst of my ridiculousness.

He knew the amount of dressing would be overwhelming, knew exactly what I would do… saw all my manipulations, and still waited for the perfect opportunity to show His heart and encourage me not to take myself so seriously.

Now, I know some people think, there is no way God does anything like that. Perhaps you grew up being taught God is as black and white as the words printed on the pages of your Bible. Maybe some stiff adult convinced you He is austere, He doesn’t play! Well, I’m here to tell you, you need to think again!

I’ve seen God’s humor so many times over. Think of how silly and playful so many of us are, we humans. He made us in His image, remember? So, He has a sense of humor, too. Only, unlike most humans, His is combined with purity and love. It is never sarcastic or mean-spirited, and He doesn’t pull pranks. His humor is sweet, cute and innocent.

God knows life has enough difficulty. I believe He interjects moments of humor to give us joy and help us lighten up. Just like how we crave those times with our closest family and friends, I think the Savior wants to share moments of love and laughter with us.

Open your mind, and get to know another side of God today. Draw near to Him, surrender to His love and pray for His Holy Spirit to fill you. Then, watch for Him to give you messages of love… to play with you in ways that let you know He is with you, that He loves you… that you can relax in His presence.

He is just that personal… and extraordinary.

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How Do We Save America?

Long before this blog began over a year ago, and many times since, I have found myself mourning, weeping, crying out to God for America. For some reason, He has pressed into my soul an urgent passion on behalf of what was (and in His eyes, I believe, still is) His country.

As a nation, we reflect Him less now than we did a century and a half ago, when writers like Herman Melville and Alexis de Tocqueville were declaring America distinctly and almost universally “Christian”.

But we still house the majority of God’s people, having the densest population of the followers of Christ/Messiah, Yeshua. So, the influx of non-believers, and the secularization of our culture and laws has still not changed the fact the most Christians in the world live in the U.S.! This land is God’s land, it was founded upon Biblical principles and the hope of religious freedom.

The blessings of being God’s land are obvious. Richest nation in the world, abundant resources, country that has most reached a helping hand to those in need and taken in the majority of the world’s refugees…

But we are slipping, are we not? Many ask why, and in my experience, many believers want to continually point fingers at non-believers. ‘It must be their fault, they come with their pagan ideas and worldly values and are voting out our laws which were based upon God’s Word.’

Maybe that is a little of it. But the greater truth we do not want to face is, churches and people who also call themselves Christian have allowed their teaching and values to become severely diluted with the world’s values. Christian pastors and priests, and parishioners have allowed their churches’ teachings to stray far from the Word of God!

This past Sunday, I attended a service where the speaker did little more than give a speech worthy of a social/political rally instead of a message for God’s people in His house. To be honest, it smacked of rebellion, and I did not hear the name of Jesus except at the end of one prayer. I was more than appalled, and found myself doing spiritual warfare praying during the service, going so far as to rebuke a spirit of revolution that is spreading in our land like a wildfire from hell!

My precious friends and co-believers in Christ, remember the words of Jesus when He said in Matthew: “If your enemy compels you to go with him one mile (carrying his load), go with him two.” (Matt 5:41)

The message of Christ in the New Testament is peace and humble service, not rebellion and revolution! The people of God do not need to ‘rise up’, they need to fall upon their knees in repentance to the Lord, fasting and prayer!

When ministers stand up and teach the whole truth in the Word of God, and we as believers respond and become clean, surrendered to the Lord and filled with His Holy Spirit… then we will be ready to move forward as a mighty army, NOT to war, but to LOVE the non-believing world as Christ loved us. And then, maybe then, who knows what God might do in our land?

JOEL 2:12 “Therefore also now, says the LORD, turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And tear your heart, and not your clothing, and turn to the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and may change His mind on judgment. 14 Who knows if He will change His course, and leave a blessing instead?

15 Blow the trumpet in the land of God’s people, observe a holy fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, call out the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and babies; let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and let them say, Spare Your people, O LORD, and give not Your heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: saying in the midst of the people, ‘Where is their God’?

18 Then will the LORD be jealous for His land, and pity His people.”

Scripture from: Strong, James. A Complete Bible Reference Study Library (4 in 1): [Illustrated]: KJV Bible (with blogger edits to modernize and clarify), Strongs Concordance & Dictionaries, Lexicon Definitions, and Bible word index (Kindle Locations 83503-83529). Bestbooks. Kindle Edition.

American Restoration Begins In Us

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14

The solar eclipse that traversed across America today had many Bible teachers warning us for weeks. Would it be the day of Christ’s return? Or, more soberly, of God’s pending judgment, if our nation does not turn from the downward slide away from God and His principles? To those questions, I honestly admit I have no answers.

But, what I want us to do is stop for a moment and recognize the core truth in the profound promise above from II Chronicles 7:14. Notice, God did not say, “If all the pagan will turn from their wicked ways, I will heal their land.”

God said, “If My people will do these things… humble and purify themselves and seek Me… I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” If only the people of God do what we are called to do, then His healing and restorative grace falls upon our nation!

My friends, we do not need everyone in America to come to faith and repentance in order to save our country! We so often get caught up blaming non-believers for turning the culture away from God and destroying our nation. But the truth is much simpler and closer to home.

It begins in us! A pure and faithful body of Christ is healing for America. And just as a strong Jerusalem was good for ancient Israel, a strong America is good for the entire world.

May God restore His people… and thus America, and bless her once again. May He continue to use her as a beacon of hope and refuge to people around the world until He returns. May He lift up the hurting children of God all over the world, and make His people worthy to welcome their Savior in the final day.

You and Me Time

Do you have a relationship that is extra special in your life? A spouse, friend or family member, someone you make time for just because you enjoy the relationship and are blessed by it? How does it feel when you have not seen that person in a while? Something is missing, you feel out of sorts or lonely, perhaps… Have you ever had the thought or made the statement to that person, we need ‘you and me time’!?

This morning, as I rose to face the challenges of the day, I said to Jesus, ‘Lord, I don’t know where to begin.’ He said back quickly in my spirit, We need you and Me time.

Isn’t that amazing? He is so personal and loving. He knew the thing I most needed to settle my busy mind and sort my day was to sit in fellowship with Him. I needed to soak in His calming presence and our loving relationship. And He needed it, too. We don’t often think in those terms, but He desires our presence maybe more than we desire His.  He craves ‘you and Me time’ – those loving moments together!

So, with His prompting, I poured a steaming cup of coffee, grabbed my laptop and curled up on the sofa. The first thing I did was play a few worship songs. Godly music so quickly saturates the atmosphere around me and makes it holy. As I respond to the words, and use them to love my Father, Savior, and welcome His Spirit, His presence surrounds me with unconditional love and joy.

Reading and pondering His Word are the next step. It doesn’t have to be more than a verse or two. But getting Scripture inside us arms us against the assault of lies that constantly come from the world every day. Truth from His Word keeps our mind wise to the enemy and lights our steps.

Another thing I do is talk to the Lord, and listen. It is so common to think of prayer as mainly a one-way street. But it is actually a conversation.

When we learn to walk surrendered and filled with the Holy Spirit, we begin hearing the Lord speak to us. To grow our ability to hear Him, we must regularly embrace quiet… and listen. Over time, we begin recognizing His voice. He loves to surprise us at times how clearly His Spirit whispers words of love and guidance into our soul.

So, have you had your ‘You and me time’ with Jesus today?

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 NKJV

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Revelation 3:20 NLT