Christ commanded His Church: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel." This is the most basic commission given to the Church. In order for the Church to be able to fulfill its commitment, God granted the Church with a series of gifts and virtues, which include the power to heal. These temporary gifts must be distinguished albeit never seen apart from the blessings already achieved by Christ Jesus. It is imperative to make clear this difference in order to work in accordance to Heaven's priorities. As we just have declared, Heaven's main interest is to preach the Gospel. This is the reason why we must proclaim this message: Heaven's blessings are the things from above, not the worldly interests of this passing age.
To speak of the things which are eternal, perfect and objective is to speak of those things Jesus achieved through the Gospel. To speak of the things which are provisional, imperfect and subjective is to speak of the things man accomplishes through his own endeavors. When comparing these two states of things, we can easily grasp the meaning of Paul's words: The things "from above" belong to the coming New Eon, while those things "from below" belong to this passing evil age. This is the way it is. All comes from God (except sin).
The Scripture clearly defines that the first things-which belong to this present age-are less worthy than the things from the coming new age. In other words, the first things are just figures of the things to come. Through them we are able to see, ahead of time, the future. For example:
1.The first Adam vs. the last Adam (Romans 5:14).
2.The worldly homeland vs. the heavenly homeland (Hebrews 11:13-16).
3.The earthly Sanctuary vs. the heavenly Sanctuary (Hebrews 9:24).
4.The present life vs. the everlasting life (1 Corinthians 15:53).
The true Church's emphasis must be in full accordance to these biblical realities. Any pretension to alter or distort this clear biblical order must be firmly rejected, for it is against the Word which declares God's will.
By the light of the precepts hereby exposed, we can conclude that the Gospel is the greatest and most wonderful blessing we have ever enjoyed. The Gospel is God's final purpose brought by Him at this present age in order for us to enjoy beforehand the coming expectations of the world of happiness from beyond. It is the Gospel also the true Church's main theme in its preaching. Christ gave the order; Paul, as a loyal servant of his Master, carried out His mandate. Let us see: "in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ" (Romans 15:19); as well as Peter: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:36-38).
The Divine Healing An Illustrative Teaching Method
Let us begin this brief analysis by the light of the following statement. The main purpose of the temporary healing is:
A. To acknowledge the Christ as the only reliable way through which God grants His blessings.
B. To be a figure or illustration of the final restoration we all will be object of at the end of time.
C. To bring evidence of God's will and power to heal us.
1) John 11:28-44: It narrates the story of Lazarus' resurrection. When considering this extraordinary miracle, we must pay heightened attention to Jesus' words in regards to Himself and the distinctive circumstances prevailing at the moment: "And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me" (verse 42). Through His words Christ determined that:
(a) It is He, the Christ, the legitimate medium through which God channels His restorations.
(b) It is always God's will to bless us. It is therefore evident that Lazarus' provisional life was restored because he believed and trusted in Jesus. In John 3:16, the Scripture teaches us that it is God's love the reason why we receive all blessings. Healings are a teaching method. In Lazarus' particular case, we can clearly see beforehand the future resurrection of all of us who believe-for we are also Jesus' friends.
2) John 5:1-8: It narrates the case of the invalid of Bethesda. This is an illustration of man's total inability to achieve salvation, by his own means: "I have no man to put me into the pool" , said the ill man. Jesus asked him before: "Do you want to be made well?" , which represents the fact that God never forces anyone to accept His salvation. Faith is the believer's action to accept. This miracle represents the total health already achieved solely by Christ, without man's deserving.
3) Luke 8:43-48: On the narrative of the bleeding woman healed, there is a clear illustration that demonstrates that there is only one foundation for the believer's salvation, that is, the virtue only found in Christ (verse 46). As Paul the apostle declared on regards to the Gospel: "...for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16). Notice how the faith of the woman, which is the object of the miracle, was the channel or medium by which she was healed (meaning, saved). By faith, she received the gift of Christ, which was seen through the restoration of her prefigurative and temporary physical health.
4) Luke 5:17-26: In another great miraculous healing, Jesus healed a paralytic (a symbol of man's sinful condition), who was brought on a bed by a group of men before God. Can anyone have any doubt that this scene clearly presents the Church's role within God's plan for redemption? For this is the Church's work: To lead all of those who are paralyzed in spirit (keep in mind that we are paralyzed) to trust and depend of the historical acts of Jesus of Nazareth. Notice the narrative of these passages. In verse 20 it reads: "When He saw their faith, He said to him, Man, your sins are forgiven you." Without a doubt, the Church works by faith leading the souls to the feet of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins through the Gospel, which is Christ crucified. This is the way the Church binds.
5) John 9:1-12: There is the narrative about a man born blind, whose eyes were open by Jesus and he was able to see. Let us remind you, my dear readers, that we are all blind in spirit (Romans 8:7). It is Christ who opens our eyes and gives us sight (John 9:39). Therefore, whenever a man acknowledges that Christ is the Lord, he accomplishes this because Jesus, through His Spirit, opens one's eyes (Be sure to read 1 Corinthians 12:3).
6) Luke 6:6-10: It narrates when the Lord restored a man with the withered hand (verse 10). It is known by all that a withered hand shrinks and wrinkles losing its vitality, just as a raisin shrinks smaller than the normal grape due to the loss of its water content-Jesus fully restored this man's shriveled hand. Salvation is, as we have already established, the restoration of all things. Being the fact that Christ miracles are a previous figure of the things to come at the End of times, they will always be total restorations, not incomplete mendings.
To summarize some of the ground we have already covered, we want to emphasize on the basic characteristic of Jesus' miracles: Total restoration for the ill. There was never an incomplete or partial healing. Their main objective was to give evidence of His power to do what He promised to do: The final resurrection and glorification of us, the believers, that is, it leads our attention toward the total health we will enjoy in the coming future. If these two elements are not present in any given miracle, then such miracle is not biblical, therefore, it is counterfeited.
7) Another argument to make our case is found on the following passages, which Jesus read about Himself on the Book of Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19). This Scripture uses terminology related to temporal miracles to point to eternal things. In this case, it addresses the total and eternal health which brings as a result total freedom. The acceptable year of the Lord is the coming new age, which already begun in Christ. In other words, we start from that which is relative and temporary to that which is absolute and eternal. This is the principle applied on this article. Through this didactic principle we prove that miracles are a mean not an end in themselves.
One more thing to consider is the fact that Our Lord Jesus never used His miracles to seek fame. They were not used as propaganda to call the "crowds" attention, who were mostly after the "loaves and fishes". Jesus' miracles were an astoundingly clear evidence of God's great love and power for those who believe. These were just means not intended for nothing more than its determined purpose. When the Pharisees demanded from Christ a sign or miracle, Jesus replied that neither a sign nor any other visible evidence was to be given, but the sign of his own resurrection (Be sure to read Matthew 12:38-40). Many were the times when Jesus requested people to keep silence about the miracles He made (Matthew 8:4; Luke 5:14).
Miracles do not constitute a reliable evidence of our relationship of good-standing with God
The Scriptures clearly establish that it is the Gospel (the knowledge of the historical and objective work of Christ) that which really distinguishes the true Church and the legitimate ministry. Notice what the revealing angel told to John: "...I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus..." (Revelation 19:10). The testimony of Jesus constitutes His representative acts on behalf of mankind, in simple words, the Gospel. Paul, within the context of this unique, true and historical Gospel, declared: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8). By the light of these passages (Revelation 19:10 and Galatians 1:8), it is clearly established that the Gospel is the sole and exclusive sign by which we can distinguish that which is true from that which is counterfeited.
Are miracles a sign? Jesus said: "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matthew 7:21-23). According to this Scripture, it is clearly evident that miracles are not a reliable evidence of legitimacy. Important detail: Even when they were able to perform miracles, they had no business with the Lord Jesus! That is why Christ will tell them, "depart from me." Notice that their claim was that their miracles were performed "in the name of the Lord"- as they will claim "in that day" (verse 22).
Our brother John the seer also speaks on this respect: "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth..." (Revelation 13:13-14). We would be easily deceived if we let ourselves be enticed by such frequent miracles executed today by Pentecostalism, as it is warned by the Inspired Word. This is the reason why it is so important for us to take heed to the Bible's advice-for we must be able to distinguish whether a spirit is from God or not. John earnestly urges us to do so (Be sure to read 1 John 4:1-3).
The summary of all is this: The Scripture clearly declares about the miracles performed by Christ and His apostles. These distinctive miracles had certain peculiarities we must consider in order to avoid being deceived by counterfeited miracles that, though claimed to be "in the name of God", work in opposition to God's purpose.
By divine inspiration we have discovered the preeminence of the Gospel and the great need to search for the things from above (that is, the coming new age). The things from above are complete and absolute, while the things from below (that is, the worldly things of this evil age) are incomplete and relative. Being this the fact, God has promised us "the things from above", such as total health, a new heaven and a new earth, and many other things which we will see "in that day."
God has made a compromise to fulfill those promises to His people (the believers). God has no compromise to perform miracles or wonders in this evil age of corruption every time we ask for it. That is called, as declared by James 4:3, to ask with wrong motives. It would be also a way to support unbelief (Matthew 12:38-39). It is also Catholicism, for it enthrones this evil age of corruption by supplanting the the longing to live in the Kingdom of Heavens. There is no doubt at all that God, as He did in the past, performs miracles today. But His main objective is not to perform miracles, but to preach the Gospel. His command was clear: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel." The true spirit of evangelism does not consist of constant manifestations of power, but of the preaching for eternal salvation (Revelation 19:10).
Temporary healings take place only when there is a legitimate need to assist in the edification of the Body of Christ. In the past, they were used as a teaching mechanism; today they have become whimsical caprices contrary to faith. True miracles do happen silently without such propaganda. Life in this evil age of corruption must continue its daily turmoil. Believers go down to the tomb to await for the fulfilment of the promises given unto them. (Remember: These promises are already fulfilled in Christ, which are, total health and everlasting life.)
The constant prayer of those who seek temporary miracles are, in fact, the result of a heart full of incredulity. These people need to see to believe. Paul earnestly exhorts us to "believe and you will see the glory of God" , which is His New Kingdom. "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).
We have also declared that true biblical healings are known because they are complete, not partial. These are full restorations (though temporal), not partial mendings. Just as the lamb that resembled the Christ was to be unblemish, in much the same manner, temporary healings resembled perfection within their limited sphere-because of the perfect work of redemption they were figures of. Therefore, true healings main characteristic is their wholeness.
We therefore conclude that miracles or wonders are not a reliable evidence of good standing before God, for it is also true that this power, which opposes the Lord, is also capable of performing deceiving miracles. Only those which are just a figure of the Gospel's total health, must be considered biblical and coming from our heavenly Father.
By the light of the reality hereby exposed, we are impelled to uncover and refute such frequent claims of power seen during those noisy concentrations as antagonist to the Word of God. God has no need for gold or silver refills because He has no need for partial remedies any average dentist can perform. God rather give you a brand new tooth!
Why am I so sure? Because during these massive concentrations of healing, God's purpose is never accomplished, that is, to preach the good news of the Gospel. Only the human ego of both, the presumed instrument and the presumed healed, is exalted. There is not even the slightest trace of Christian nor educational purpose (which were seen in the Bible's miracles) behind such miracles. Therefore, let them be accursed! Let us yearn earnestly as Paul, the manifestation of the sons of God, which is, the coming New Eon. In order to achieve this, it is imperative for you, my dear brotherly readers, to fully understand the order of priorities as clearly declared in the Scripture and be fully convinced of which is the basic characteristic of true healingsand which is the sound and sole purpose of performing them.
Summary and Review :
1) You must be able to distinguish what is legitimized by the objective and representative Gospel of Christ, not by the Spirit's work within the so-called believer (Remember Matthew 7:22-23). If what is done or accomplished exalts glory to God, through the Gospel, and places man in its proper ground (that is, in a state total incapacity and vileness); then, such must be recognized as coming from God and on behalf of His purpose. But if, on the contrary, that which is being manifested places merits in man and leads our attention toward the Spirit; then God's purpose-which is also the purpose of the Spirit of truth (John 16:13-14), that is "to gather all things in Christ" -is being perverted. Therefore, said spirit is not from God, and such manifestation is a fake. True healings ushers our attention to the Christ of history, and not to the Spirit's work within the believer. In accordance to this statement, Christ declared: "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself" (John 12:32).
2) Watch keenly any given performance of healing and evaluate them closely. It must be a complete restoration, not partial. Remember: They are a figure of the perfect and absolute health found in Christ. Therefore, these must be in accordance to God's purpose and must present such distinctive characteristics, as total restoration, which gives clear and indubitable evidence that any performed miracle is from God. If such characteristic is not present, then such miracle is false.
3) Remember this: The last things which belong to the coming new age is far more superior than what belongs to this passing age. The things from below are relative and imperfect; the last things (from above) are absolute and perfect. The Lord declared: "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell" (Matthew 5:30). Notice that emphasis must be made to that eternal and not temporal: "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39). Therefore, the right and proper emphasis must be the Eternal Gospel, not the temporary healings.
4) God's promises are determined to be fulfilled in the Final Day. Paul calls it "that Day" on 2 Timothy 4:8. It is therefore, necessary to acknowledge the fact that it is quite impossible to stop the course of events through constant prayers in order to attain temporary relief, when, eventually, if we retain the Word (the Gospel) we will attain total health and everlasting life. The age of the first Adam has not ended yet (Be sure to read 1 Corinthians 15:49), that is, the death process will continue till the day we can say: "...Death is swallowed up in victory" (1 Corinthians 15:54).
5) Life itself is a constant miracle! The written Inspiration declares: "For in Him we live and move and have our being..." (Acts 17:28), and also: "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers..." (1 Peter 3:12). And in its due time, the Lord will restore the health of those who ask for it in faithful silent prayer, for the sake of those ill and on behalf of the Gospel. God preserved Paul's life because of His mission (Philippians 1:25). This is the way God works in order to assist those who must prevail. He does so without those noisy spectacles of power where the Gospel is never preached.
Let God bless you and allow you to discern these biblical truths. You will need to do so, "for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).
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