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Some Glorious And Incomparable Promises Of The Bible (Thomas Ice)

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This article is so important to us as Christians as it shows us the nature of God – God is reliable, consistent and can be trusted with our lives!  It also addresses the problem of Replacement Theology, which implies that God is not consistent or trust worthy and will help you know God more.

Enjoy!

Benjamin

During the firsthalf of World War II General Douglas MacArthur was forced to leave thePhilippines in the Pacific Theater by the Japanese. Upon his departure he made a promise to the Philippinopeople: “I will return.” GeneralMacArthur, through the strength and power of the American military was able tokeep his promise. If humanity canmake and keep promises of rescue and deliverance, how much more will our greatGod keep the glorious and incomparable promises He has made in His Word! Indeed, He has told us that He will oneday return and fulfill the great and many promises about the glorious future instore for those who know Him as their Savior.

Why are promisesimportant to God? Promises areimportant to God’s plan for history, because God keeps His word. History is a record of God’sfaithfulness to keep His promises. Thus, God delights in making seemingly impossible promises so that He,through the most difficult circumstances, demonstrates that He keeps Hispromises. Think of God’s record offaithfulness next time you are tempted by circumstances to go back on yourword. There are three greatpromises that God has made to His people that I want to examine in this article. These promises are Israel’s permanence,Christ’s second coming, and eternal life to all believers.

Promise of Israel’s Permanence

Scripture makesit clear that God’s integrity in history revolves around His chosen peopleIsrael. It is through Israel thatGod has chosen to leave His mark through out history. It is through Israel that God gave His Law, founded anation, caused His presence to dwell, mediated His Word, and sent the Savior ofthe world. It will be throughIsrael in the future that God will work to preach the gospel through out thewhole world, invoke the second coming, reign for a thousand years in Jerusalem,and place His eternal glory. Thus,God’s promise to Israel is that they have an eternal permanence in history andthroughout eternity (Jeremiah 31:35-36). Without Israel, the second coming cannot take place, since they must bethere for this glorious event to occur.

Replacement Theology

Most Americanevangelical Christians today have a high view of Jews and the modern state ofIsrael because of the positive influence of the dispensational premillennialview that national Israel has a future in the plan of God. Yet, there are those within Christendomwho deny that Israel has a permanent place in the plan of God. This view is known as replacementtheology.

What isreplacement theology? Replacementtheology is the view that the Church has permanently replaced Israel as theinstrument through which God works and that national Israel does not have afuture in the plan of God. This isalso known by the term “supersessionism.” Some replacement theologians may believe that individual Jews will beconverted and enter into the church (something that we all believe), but theydo not believe that God will literally fulfill the dozens of Old Testamentpromises to a converted national Israel in the future. Reconstructionist patriarch, R. J.Rushdoony uses the strongest language when he declares,

Thefall of Jerusalem, and the public rejection of physical Israel as the chosenpeople of God, meant also the deliverance of the true people of God, the churchof Christ, the elect, out of the bondage to Israel and Jerusalem, . . .[1]

Afurther heresy clouds premillennial interpretations of Scripture-theirexaltation of racism into a divine principle. Every attempt to bring the Jew back into prophecy as a Jewis to give race and works (for racial descent is a human work) a priorityover grace and Christ’swork and is nothing more or lessthan paganism. . . . There can be no compromise with this vicious heresy.[2]

Historical Development

As it should be,the nature of Israel’s future has become a watershed issue in biblicalinterpretation that has caused a polarization of positions that we findtoday. Today most Reformedinterpreters do not believe in a national future for Israel, even though manyhave held such a view over the last 400 years. Why? Early inthe systemization of any theological position the issues are undeveloped andless clear than later when the consistency of various positions are workedout. Thus it is natural for themature understanding of any theological issue to lead to polarization ofviewpoints as a result of interaction and debate between positions. The earlier Reformed position includeda blend of some Old Testament passages that were taken literally (i.e., thoseteaching a future conversion of Israel as a nation) and some that were not(i.e., details of Israel’s place of dominance during a future period ofhistory). On the one hand, as timepassed, those who stressed a literal understanding of Israel from the OldTestament became much more consistent in applying such an approach to allpassages relating to Israel’s destiny. On the other hand, those who thought literalism was taken too farretreated from whatever degree of literalness they did have and argued that thechurch fulfills Israel’s promises, thus there was no need for a national Israelin the future. Further,non-literal interpretation was viewed as the tool with which liberals deniedthe essentials of the faith. Thus,by World War II dispensationalism had come to virtually dominate evangelicalswho saw literal interpretation of the Bible as a primary support for orthodoxy.

After World WarII many of the battles between fundamentalism and liberalism began towane. Such an environment allowedfor less stigma attached to non literal interpretation within conservativecircles. However, today, as we seea decline in literal interpretation within Evangelicalism as a whole, we see anerosion among Evangelical scholars for support for modern Israel.

TheModern State of Israel

The fact that thelast 100 years has seen a world-wide regathering and reestablishment of thenation of Israel, which is now poised in just the setting required for therevealing of the Antichrist and the start of the tribulation, is God’s grandindicator that all of the other areas of world development are propheticallysignificant. Dr. Walvoord says,

Ofthe many peculiar phenomena which characterize the present generation,: fewevents can claim equal significance as far as Biblical prophecy is concernedwith that of the return of Israel to their land. It constitutes a preparation for the end of the age, thesetting for the coming of the Lord for His church, and the fulfillment ofIsrael’s prophetic destiny.[3]

What one believesabout the future of Israel is of utmost importance to one’s understanding ofthe Bible. I believe, without ashadow of doubt, that Old Testament promises made to national Israel willliterally be fulfilled in the future. This means the Bible teaches that God will return theJews to their land before the tribulation begins (Isaiah 11:11-12:6; Ezekiel20:33-44; 22:17-22; Zephaniah 2:1-3). This has been accomplished and the stage is set as a result of thecurrent existence of the modern state of Israel. The Bible also indicates that before Israel enters into hertime of national blessing she must first pass through the fire of thetribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30; Jeremiah. 30:5-9; Daniel 12:1; Zephaniah1:14-18). Even though the horrorsof the Holocaust under Hitler were of an unimaginable magnitude, the Bibleteaches that a time of even greater trial awaits Israel during thetribulation. Anti-Semitism willreach new heights, this time global in scope, in which two-thirds of worldJewry will be killed (Zechariah 13:7-9; Revelation 12). Through this time God will protect Hisremnant so that before His second advent “all Israel will be saved”(Romans 11:36). In fact, thesecond coming will include the purpose of God’s physical rescue of Israel fromworld persecution during Armageddon (Daniel 12:1; Zechariah 12-14; Matthew24:29-31; Revelation 19:11-21).

If nationalIsrael is a historical “has been,” then all of this is obviouslywrong. However, the Bible says shehas a future and world events will revolve around that tiny nation at thecenter of the earth. The world’sfocus already is upon Israel. Godhas preserved His people for a reason and it is not all bad. In spite of the fact that history isprogressing along the lines of God’s ordained pattern for Israel, we see therevival of replacement theology within conservative circles that will no doubtbe used in the future to fuel the fires of anti-Semitism, as it has in thepast. Your view of the future ofnational Israel is not just an academic exercise.

Promise of Christ’s Second Coming

Though many may not realize its significance, the return of Jesus Christ to planet Earth is themost important event that will occur in the future. But what do we know about the coming of Christ? Is it only a heart-felt hope andhistorical hype, or do we have a clear and certain word from God on this event?

The prophetic promise of the second coming of Jesus Christ to earth is the subject of manypassages in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. What are some of the more prominent texts? They include some of thefollowing: Deuteronomy 30:3; Psalm2; Isaiah 63:1-6; Daniel 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Zechariah 14:1-4; Matthew 24-25;Mark 13; Luke 21; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 11:26; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 5:1-4; 2Thessalonians 1:6-2:12; 2 Peter 2:1-3:17; Jude 14-15; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-21.

The most graphicportrayal of Christ’s second coming is found in Revelation 19:11-21. In this extended passage Jesus Christis described as leading a procession of angels and saints or armies in heavento claim the earth, destroy the armies of the world, and defeat the Antichristand False Prophet.

This passage shows that Christ’s return will be one that entails great physicaldestruction and many deaths. Forthose who are not Christ’s own, it will be a terrifying and terribleevent. For those of us who knowHim as their Savior, it will be a time of great joy, vindication, andanticipation.

The Bible depicts the career of Christ as revolving around two major aspects. Titus 2:11-14 speaks of Christ’s twoappearances on earth. The firstphase is related to His coming in humiliation to die for the sins of mankind. The second phase is when He will comein power and glory to reign over all mankind. Hebrews 9:28 is a single verse that explains and contrastsChrist’s two comings. The writerof Hebrews says “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sinsof many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, tothose who eagerly await Him.” Jesus is coming again. Thisis a glorious promise and hope for all believers.

Promise of EternalLife

Eternal life is the gift of God given to all who believe in Jesus Christ and have accepted Hisoffer of salvation based upon His death and resurrection (John 10:10; Ephesians2:8-9). In the Bible, eternal life emphasizes a quality of life, a quality that can only be imparted by GodHimself. This life does not, ofcourse, make us God, we are and will always remain creatures, however, it is aquality of life that comes from the God who has the quality of eternality. Therefore, eternal life should not beconfused with endless or eternal existence which everyone will experience. Eternal existence will be common to theredeemed and the unredeemed, but the destinies will be very different. Christians will enter into heaven andthe presence of God; unbelievers will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation20:11-15).

For those of us who have trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are given the promise ofeternal life the moment we believe. John says, “the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He whohas the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have thelife” (1 John 5:11-13). If you havetrusted in Christ, then you have eternal life in the present that will continuethroughout eternity in heaven for the believer. Believers have the hope of eternal life in heave with ourLord for eternity.

Conclusion

Anyone familiar with God’s word knows that He has a wonderful plan for history and Hispeople. These are indeed gloriousand incomparable promises through which He implements His plan. What should the response of thebeliever be to God’s promises? ThePsalmist rightly advises, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation,and call upon the name of the Lord”(Psalm 116:12-13).

When we think about the significance of the glorious promises that our Lord has in store forus as His people we respond with a thankful heart. Let us remember that for the believer this present life ifthe worse things will ever be for us. But, for the unbeliever, this present life will be the best they willever experience. Let us claim theprecious promises that He has made to us in the present so that He will make usfit for eternity.

Necessity of an Interval between the Rapture and the 2nd Coming

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Necessity of an Interval between the Rapture and the 2nd Coming

 

by: Thomas Ice

 

Building upon the article “The Rapture & The Second Coming: An Important Distinction” in our previous issue of Pre-Trib Perspectives, we now will see that a gap of time is needed between the rapture and the second coming in order to facilitate certain events spoken of in the Bible. Such a needed time interval provides strong support for pretribulationism.

 

A PRE-TRIB INTERVAL

Numerous items in the New Testament can easily be harmonized by a pre-trib time gap of at least seven years, while other views, especially postribulationists, are forced to postulate scenarios that would not realistically allow for normal passage of time. The following events are best temporally harmonized with an interval of time as put forth by pretribulationism.1

 

THE BEMA JUDGMENT

2 Corinthians 5:10 teaches that all believers of this age must appear before the judgment seat of Christ in heaven. This event, often known as the “bema judgment” (see also Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 4:2-5) from the Greek word bema, is an event never mentioned in the detailed accounts connected with the second coming of Christ to the earth. Instead, the second coming brings with it God’s judgment of unbelievers, usually expressed by some form of the Greek word krinô. Thus, it can be established from the biblical text that the bema-judgment applies only to church age believers, while the krinô-judgment is for unbelievers.

The Bible indicates that each individual within the Body of Christ will appear before the bema in association with Christ’s return for the church (i.e., at the pretrib rapture). Dr. Robert Gromacki notes:

the judgment will occur immediately after the coming of Christ for believers. . . . Earlier, Paul wrote: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come . . . (I Cor. 4:5). Thus, this is not an ongoing judgment that each Christian experiences on earth or right after death. It is a once-for-all event that occurs right after the appearing of Christ (I Thess. 4:13-18).2

Since the normal transaction of such an evaluation would require some passage of time, the pre-trib gap of seven years nicely accounts for such a requirement.

 

CHRIST’S BRIDE IN HEAVEN

In conjunction with the bema judgment, Revelation 19:7-10 pictures the church as a bride who has been made ready for marriage (with “fine linen,” which represents “the righteous acts of the saints”) to her groom (Christ). The bride has already been clothed in preparation for her return at the second coming with Christ to the earth (Rev. 19:11-18). It follows that the church would already have to be complete and in heaven (because of the pre-trib rapture) in order to have been prepared in the way that Revelation 19 describes. This requires an interval of time which pretribulationism handles well.

Apparently the bride’s preparation and the bema judgment are different illustrations of the same event. The bema focuses on the process of judgment, while the bride pictures the results. Dr. Ed Hindson explains:

Whatever view one holds in regard to our Lord’s return, one thing is clear in prophetic Scripture, the marriage occurs in heaven (Rev. 19:7-9) before the triumphal return of Christ with His redeemed church at His side (Rev. 19:11-16).

Non-pretribulationists are at a virtual loss to explain how the church got to heaven prior to returning with Christ at the battle of Armageddon. At best, some suggest they are “caught up” after the Tribulation only to return immediately with the Lord. This arrangement, however, leaves little or no time for the wedding!3

 

THE 24 ELDERS IN HEAVEN

The 24 elders of Revelation 4:1-5:14 are best understood as representative of the church. Dr. Charles Ryrie explains:

In the New Testament, elders as the highest officials in the church do represent the whole church (cf. Acts 15:6; 20:28), and in the Old Testament, twenty-four elders were appointed by King David to represent the entire Levitical priesthood (I Chron. 24). When those twenty-four elders met together in the temple precincts in Jerusalem, the entire priestly house was represented. Thus it seems more likely that the elders represent redeemed human beings, . . . the church is included and is thus in heaven before the tribulation begins.4

If these elders refer to the church, then it would mean at least two things: 1) It would necessitate the rapture and reward of the church before the tribulation and would require a chronological gap for them to perform their heavenly duties during the seven-year tribulation. 2) It would also show that the completed church was already in heaven before events of the tribulation begin.

 

THE JUDGMENT OF GENTILES

It would be impossible for the judgment of the Gentiles to take place after the second coming if the rapture and second coming are not separated by a gap of time. How would both saved and unsaved, still in their natural bodies, be separated in judgment if all living believers are translated at the second coming? This would be impossible if the translation takes place at the second coming, but it is solved through a pretribulational gap.

Dr. John F. Walvoord points out that if “the translation took place in connection with the second coming to the earth, there would be no need of separating the sheep from the goats at a subsequent judgment, but the separation would have taken place in the very act of the translation of the believers before Christ actually sets up His throne on earth (Matt. 25:31).”5 Once again, such a “problem” is solved by taking a pretrib position with its gap of at least seven years.

 

POPULATING THE MILLENNIUM

At the second coming, non-martyred Believers who come to faith in Christ during the tribulation are not translated, but carry on ordinary occupations such as farming, building houses, and the bearing of children (Isa. 65:20-25) during the subsequent millennium. This would be impossible if all saints were translated at the second coming to the earth, as posttribulationists teach. Because pretribulationists have at least a seven-year interval between the removal of the church at the rapture and the return of Christ to the earth, this is not a problem because millions of people will be saved during the interval and thus be available to populate the millennium in their natural bodies in order to fulfill Scripture.

Dr. Steven McAvoy concludes:

The fact that the judgment of the nations occurs before the millennium and thus provides for the population of the millennial earth, constitutes a strong argument for pretribulationism. For a posttribulational rapture would leave no sheep for this judgment. If pretribulationalists are correct in placing this judgment before the millennium then posttribulationalism suffers a serious blow.6

 

ISRAEL’S FUTURE

A time interval is needed so that God’s program for the church, a time when Jew and Gentile are united in one body (cf. Eph. 2-3), will not become commingled in any way with His unfinished and future plan for Israel during the tribulation. Dr. Renald Showers notes:

All other views of the Rapture have the church going through at least part of the 70th week, meaning that all other views mix God’s 70-weeks program for Israel and Jerusalem together with His program for the church.7

A gap of time is needed after God completes His program with the church, so that He may conclude His plans for Israel. Only with an interval of seven years, as postulated by pretribulationists, can God’s program be harmonized in a non-conflicting manner.

 

CONCLUSION

The pretribulational rapture of the church not only fulfills a biblical need to see a distinction between the translation of church-age saints at the rapture, before the second coming, but it also handles without difficulty the necessity of a time-gap, which harmonizes a number of future biblical events. This requirement of a seven-year gap of time adds support to the likelihood that pretribulationism best reflects the biblical point of view.

 

ENDNOTES

1 Many of the points in this article are taken from John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question: Revised and Enlarged Edition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979), pp. 274-75.

2 Robert G. Gromacki, Stand Firm in the Faith: An Exposition of II Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978),pp. 84-85.

3 Edward E. Hindson, “The Rapture and the Return: Two Aspects of Christ’s Coming” in Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, eds, When the Trumpet Sounds (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1995), p. 156.

4 Charles C. Ryrie, Revelation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1968), pp. 35-36.

5 Walvoord, The Rapture Question, p. 274.

6 Steven L. McAvoy, “A Critique of Robert Gundry’s Posttribulationalism” (Th.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1986), p. 203.

7 Renald Showers, Maranatha Our Lord, Come! A Definitive Study of the Rapture of the Church (Bellmawr, N.J.: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 1995), p. 243.

Strange Fire in the House of the Lord (J. Lee Grady)

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We need to be careful. Current fads involving angels, ecstatic worship and necromancy could push us off the edge of spiritual sanity.

No one fully understands what Nadab and Abihu did to prompt God to strike them dead in the sanctuary of Israel. The Bible says they loaded their firepans with incense, ignited the substance and “offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them” (Lev. 10:1, NASB). As a result of their careless and irreverent behavior, fire came from God’s presence and consumed them.

Zap. In an instant they were ashes.

 

When Moses had to explain to Aaron what happened to the two men, he said: “It is what the Lord spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near to Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored'” (v. 3). Although we don’t know the details of what Nadab and his brother did with the holy incense, we know they were careless and irreverent about the things of God.

“We want the miracles of God, but we also want the fear and reverence of God. We cannot allow this strange fire to spread unchecked.”

This ancient story has relevant application for us today. We don’t use incense or firepans in our worship, but we are expected to handle God’s Word with care and minister to His people in the fear of the Lord. In other words: No funny business allowed. We aren’t allowed to mix God’s Word with foreign concepts or mix our worship with pagan practices.

Yet as I minister in various churches around this country I am finding that strange fire is spreading in our midst-even in churches that call themselves “Spirit-filled.” Pastors and leaders need to be aware of these trends:

1. Deadly visitations. In some charismatic circles today, people are claiming to have spiritual experiences that involve communication with the dead. One Michigan pastor told me last week that some church leaders he knows promote this bizarre practice and base it on Jesus’ experience on the Mount of Transfiguration. The logic is that since Jesus talked to Moses and Elijah on the day He was glorified, this gives us permission to talk to dead Christians and our dead relatives.

Although little is said about these experiences from the pulpit (since the average believer is not ready to handle this “new revelation”), people in some streams of the prophetic movement are claiming to have visitations from Aimee Semple McPherson, William Branham, John Wimber or various Bible characters. And we are expected to say, “Ooooooo, that’s so deep”-and then go looking for our own mystical, beyond-the-grave epiphany.

That is creepy. Communication with the dead was strictly forbidden in the Old Testament (see Deut. 18:11), and there is nothing in the New that indicates the rules were changed. Those who seek counsel from the dead-whether through mediums and séances or in “prophetic visions”-are taking a dangerous step toward demonization.

2. Ecstatic rapture. Not long after ecstasy became known as a recreational drug, someone in our movement got the bright idea to promote spiritual ecstasy as a form of legitimate worship. The concept evolved from “spiritual drunkenness” to the current fad in which people gather at church altars and pretend to shoot needles in their arms for a “spiritual high.” Some preachers today are encouraging people to “toke the Holy Ghost”-a reference to smoking marijuana.

I hate to be a party pooper, but the Bible warns us to “be of sound judgment and sober spirit” (1 Pet. 4:7). There is plenty of freedom and joy in the Holy Spirit; we don’t have to quench it by introducing people to pagan revelry. Christian worship is not about losing control. Those who worship Jesus do it “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), and our love for God is not measured by how violently we shake or how many times we fall on the floor.

Recently I told a friend in Pennsylvania that when people get tired of this drug imagery it won’t be long before we see some Christians having sexual experiences at the altar. “It’s already happening,” my friend said. He described a recent “worship concert” in which one of the musicians simulated sex while stroking a microphone and whispering sensual phrases to Jesus. What is next-orgasmic worship? God help us.

3. Angels among us. Angels have always played a vital role in the life of the church. They are “ministering spirits” sent to protect, guide and strengthen believers (Heb. 1:14). But suddenly angels have become the rage in some segments of our movement. People are claiming to see them everywhere, and often the stories don’t line up with the Word of God.

During the Lakeland Revival last year in Florida, a man from Germany took the stage and claimed that an angel walked into a restaurant while he was eating a hamburger, took his intestines out and replaced them with a gold substance. Others have testified that angels took them to heaven and operated on them. And many are claiming that angels are dropping feathers, gold dust and precious gems on worshippers.

I know God can do anything. He can make an iron axe head float, hide a coin in a fish’s mouth and use a little boy’s lunch to feed a multitude. Those were genuine miracles that He can still do today. But we still have to use caution here. There are counterfeits. If we promote a false miracle or a false angel in the Lord’s house, we are participating in strange fire.

I know of a case where a man was caught planting fake jewels on the floor of a church. He told his friends he was “seeding the room” to lift the people’s faith. I know of others who have been caught putting gold glitter on themselves in a restroom and then running back in a church service, only to claim that God was blessing them with this special favor. Where is the fear of God when Christians would actually fabricate a miracle?

This is a time for all true believers with backbones to draw clear lines between what is godly worship and what is pagan practice. We want the miracles of God, but we also want the fear and reverence of God. We cannot allow this strange fire to spread unchecked.

 

J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma. He will be ministering from Feb. 17-27 in England. If this article was forwarded to you, we encourage you to sign up to receive “Fire in My Bones” weekly in your own mailbox. Click here.

The Healing Church (Abraham Israel)

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The Healing Church
By Abraham Israel

The Church of Jesus Christ is a healing church because He has already provided healing and health for every member of it through the atonement on the cross. The atonement provides protection of the spirit, soul and body through the Blood that was shed and the healing of the spirit, soul and body through the Body that was broken [stripes] for us on the cross of Calvary (1 Thess 5:23-24).First and foremost of all, the most important truth for the sick person to get healed is that, He must believe that it is God’s will for Him to be healed. The church as a whole needs to understand that sickness is an oppression of the devil. As the word of God clearly points out in Acts 10:38, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”. As we see in this preceding verse Jesus went about doing good and healing because sickness is an evil oppression of the devil by which Satan steals, kills and destroys the life of people. If sickness is the will of God for some people, Jesus would have healed some and would have said to others that they should persevere with the sickness in faith so that God will be pleased with their life. Only a religious deceiving spirit will make people think like this. This is deceitful pride. Instead, the good news is Jesus healed all those who came to Him and all who still come to him in faith.

Sickness is a curse because in God’s original plan for this planet earth, there was no sickness in the Garden of Eden. Sickness is absolutely due to the curse that came upon mankind because of one man’s disobedience to God’s decree (Rom 5:12, 18-19). But Jesus came to rescue all mankind from death and restore all that was lost through the fall of man and the curses that came upon every human being as a result of it (Galatians 3:13).

Jesus said, “I am the life” (John 14:6) and also He said, “…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” When we have this life of Jesus in us by believing what He has done for us on the cross, it will repel the urge to sin and will give us the power to say no to sin and to the consequences of it which is sickness. Sin is the root cause of sickness in our life. Sickness and life don’t go together. Even the natural life that is in our body repels all kind of sickness and that is what we call it as immunity. Our body was not designed to be a “temple of sickness and devils”, but to be “the temple of the living God” (2 Cor 6:16).

Jesus came only for this purpose that is “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3: 8) . So only Jesus healed all that came to get healing and in several scriptures Jesus rebuked the sicknesses and healed the oppressed (Matthew 8:16-17; Luke 4:38, 39).Why should Jesus rebuke the sickness if it is a inanimate thing and not a person that is the cause behind it? Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea when He knew that Satan was behind it to kill all of them in the sea (John 10:10; Matthew 8:23-27). It is the same with the sickness that people experience that eventually makes them die slowly. This clearly points to the devil and his evil co-workers as the root cause of all sickness.

It is God’s will to be healthy and prosperous in all areas of our life (3 John 2). Hence the one and only hope for mankind to receive all these God’s blessings is through Jesus Christ who was sent by God for this purpose of saving all mankind from Satan’s evil oppressive curses (John 3:17). For this reason He came to this planet earth and died for the whole human race to be blessed by God. The removal of disease is included in Christ’s redemptive work, along with the removal of sins (Isaiah 53:4; Matt 8:16-17). Here the word ‘bore’ means substitution and not sympathy. In that way He took our weaknesses and was substituted for our sickness [curses]. What makes the fact that He achieved for us to be manifested in our life is the faith that we have in Him and His substitutionary work.
Salvation and healing are for every one who believes. So faith in the heart plays an important role for those who pray for the sick and also for the one who receives the healing from God. As believers in Jesus Christ, Jesus has given us the power to cast out devils and heal diseases (Luke 9:1-2). And Jesus said in Mark 16:15-18, “15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who [what?] believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they [here the Bible does not say ‘they may recover’ but] will recover.”

This is the promise that is given to every believer. So we need to keep our eyes on the promises of Jesus and should lay hands on the sick believing Jesus will heal them. Then in the succeeding verses in Mark 16:19-20 the Bible says, “19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” Here we see how Jesus faithfully confirmed the word of His promise to these people who took Jesus at His word and did what he told them to do. Jesus did not leave them alone, but He worked with them confirming what He had promised to them. We also will see the Lord working with us and confirm the same promise through the accompanying signs, if we believe Him now and preach the healing Gospel every where expecting the same thing to happen now. It will happen because Jesus is still on the throne sitting at the right hand of the Father.

So preaching the gospel in obedience to His command is very important for us to see healings and signs to take place when we minister the word. God expects us to do this in obedience to His command. It is not an option to consider but a command to all of us personally because we are believers.
The word of God is the personification of Jesus Christ (John 5:39, 46-47; Luke 24:27, 32). Hence we need to preach Jesus who is in its pages (John 1:1; Acts 8:1, 4-8, 35). As the Bible says, “He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.” (Ps 107:20). God delivers people from sickness, disease, sin and death only through the word of God. Once people receive His word, healing and deliverance will follow. So speak the word! The word will deliver you and those who hear you speak, because the Bible says it is a double edged sword and will separate the spirit and soulish thoughts and will help you to receive the Word of God from the throne room of Heaven in your spirit (2 Tim 4:2; 1 Tim 4:16; Heb 4:12).
So God Himself expects both the message of forgiveness and healing to be preached in Jesus Name. So preaching only forgiveness of sins with out God’s power to heal is to make the word powerless by unbelief. So only even the disciples of Jesus prayed to God, “29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29-31).

And also in the above verse we can see that only the genuine touch of God’s hand can heal somebody who needs healing. In the Bible God’s hand always represents the power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Only when we are constantly in communion with the Holy Spirit by being filled with the Holy Spirit again and again like the apostles, then only we can bring this healing power of God in to the natural physical realm. He [the Holy Spirit] will make us speak in the Name of Jesus and will speak through us to bring deliverance to the multitudes (Acts 1:16; Luke 1:70; Mark 13:11; Acts 13:9-12). Speaking the word of God by being filled with the Spirit will only bring true healing and deliverance to the multitudes.
When we obey His Great commission (Matt 28:16-20) and step out to preach the full Gospel [not just the half] and proclaim His word [i.e. the message of forgiveness and healing] then it is God’s responsibility to confirm His word through sign accompanying it and He is faithful and will surely confirm His word. This Healing manifestation of God’s power is for all [i.e. irrespective of whether someone is a believer or an unbeliever] through the proclamation of the preaching of God’s word or in other words Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Then a question may arise, what about the believers in the church? Is it for them too? We must understand that it is God’s nature to heal that gives us healing not our goodness or our faith only. It is not about the methods that we use but about the God whose very Name is the Healer. God says about Himself in His Word, “…For I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). The Word of God says and asks the question “Is any one among you sick (James 5:13)? Among whom if we ask ourselves, he is speaking to the church and the Believers.
“14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses [Therefore confess your sins] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:14-16). So in the church if a believer is sick, the first thing the believer must do is to call for the elders of the church and request him to anoint him with oil and pray against the sickness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The oil is used as a tangible symbolic substance to indicate the releasing of the power of the Holy Spirit by faith in the broken body of Jesus that brings the healing power in manifestation and the Lord will raise him up. And also with the healing, [only] if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. What a wonderful package Jesus has given to us to receive through His atonement on the cross and through the church. This is the reason the church is essentially a healing church! Hallelujah!

Some people say this verse speaks for sickness that comes as the result of sin only. So they reason out that the promise is for sicknesses that come as the result of sin and not for every other sickness. But the word says, [only] …if he had committed sins”. This tells us that with the healing, forgiveness of sins is only an option, if it is the result of sins.
It conveys the idea that no matter what is the reason for sickness, God promises to raise them [the sick persons] up if only the church will believe His healing power and will move in faith towards its manifestation. It is the wonderful privilege of the church to receive healing from the Lord who has promised His church that He will heal and raise people from their sickness no matter what reason it has come.
And the elders who pray for the sick must pray the prayer of faith. If it is done by the church in obedience to His word the Lord will once again manifest His power as usual in His church. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! God has given healing for every believer as a package with the forgiveness of sins. The church needs faith to flow in the healing power of the Lord! Are you ready for it! Amen!

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