Is every sickness to be healed?

sickness healing

I recently had a conversation with a hyper-charismatic, Ryan,  that spoke ill of people that “teach that God is sovereign and if it’s His will, you’ll be healed. If it’s not, you’ll die.” Or that  “It’s just totally up to God.” Instead, He wrote that the truth is: “God is not “in control” of everything that happens.”

Ryan also stated that every disease is not Gods will and all sickness should be healed.  Ryan said: “In Matthew 4:23-24 He was healing EVERY disease and sickness, that must mean that He viewed sicknesses and diseases as a work of the devil.  And we also know that it was for this reason that He came—to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). He never made excuses for sickness and disease to be there.  He always recognized them as enemies to be conquered.”

This was my reply:

Honestly Ryan, don’t hear my words as coming from some angry Calvinist that is too brain oriented and can’t have faith. I come from the charismatic movement, I was a youth pastor in it, for four years, I went to conferences, prayed for miracles, was “slain in the spirit” with Benny Hinn, and etc. I hung out with people who constantly cast out demons from every piece of furniture. I lived in this theology and I was drowning in it apart from Christ. I was trying to do miracles, and believing my head off. I would stay up the whole night trying to pray for something, and boy did I have faith in things happening. I confessed it and said it out loud repeatedly for hours but it didn’t happen. I would cry and shout until I lost my voice, but I couldn’t find the essence of the Gospel.

Regarding your statement that Jesus healed all so therefore all sickness should be healed.

1. We should imitate the character of Christ, not every single action.

If Jesus had healed every person oh physical suffering, Scripture does not explicitly state that we can or ought do the same. Jesus did many things that we are not intended to emulate, like stating that He is God or dying to appease God’s wrath. We shouldn’t go tell people we are perfect, because Jesus did. I know He did say we will do “greater works” but it is far more exegetically sound to state those works refer to the massive amount of conversions throughout history, as opposed to individual miracles wrought by Christs later followers. Especially seeing that greater types of miracles have never been seen.

2. Jesus did not actually heal everyone.

A. You quote Mat 4:24-25 as evidence that Jesus always healed everyone. Quite frankly it could be argued that this and other all passages you show are examples of hyperbole, which Scripture often uses. Take John 4:39 as an example. In this passage, a Samaritan woman spoke of Jesus and said: “He told me all that I ever did.” Had Jesus really told that woman everything that she had ever done in her life? Obviously that’s not possible in the short time they had. She was using hyperbole to make her point. Or take Luke 2:1, “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.” Again, that’s Biblical hyperbole. This degree did not reach places like North America, all of Africa, Australia, and etc. With situations like these we can either treat the Bible as untruthful, or understand it for what it is, a book written in the language of man, and the language of man often includes hyperbole.

B. There are indeed passages, including the one above, that could show that Jesus healed all. However, this is a snapshot of one time and place. There are other snapshots and time/places where Jesus doesn‘t heal everyone. To be consistent we must include both cases. Take this for example the Pool of Bethesda where “lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed” yet Jesus healed only one of them (John 5:2-9). The next verse shows Jesus is done and moves on. The multitude is left there and is not healed.

3. The early church did not practice this theology.

In 2 Timothy 4:20, Paul says, “Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.” Why didn’t Paul, who was chosen to be an Apostle by Jesus, not follow Christ’s teaching and heal him? Or what about Timothy, the God-appointed elder, why did Paul not heal him? Instead Paul tells him in 1 Timothy 5:23, “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” Even the Apostle Himself was sick and never claims he was healed:As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn” (Gal. 4:13-14).

Ryan, I promise I am not trying to put you down or ridicule you. I fear that people who believe Jesus always heals all diseases will leave Him when he doesn’t heal them. I am afraid that if you present a Jesus that is primarily interested in providing earthly comfort, then those who cant get their earthly comfort will leave Him because they only came for the physical healing. The mission of Jesus is far bigger than our earthly comfort, it is the will of His father, the atonement of our sins, and the salvation of a people for the Glory of God.

Blessings to you man.

UPDATE: I went back to Ryans website, and found out that my comment had been deleted. I guess brother Ryan was not interested in hearing other views.

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6 responses

  1. 1. Hey, if your hyperbole argument stands, how do you explain that Jesus forgives ALL your sins? Does ALL really mean ALL?
    If it doesn’t say that Jesus deliberately HEALED the sick, that doesn’t mean that He DIDN’t HEAL the sick. If the Bible is silent in certain stories about healing, how can you assume that it didn’t happen? john says, “If we wrote down everything Jesus did, all the books would not fit his works.” so, you have to assume that the Healer healed even if the Bible was silent about it. That is His character. That is what He did. As a matter of fact, healing was so ordinary, that the disciples had to write about a specific time where He couldn’t heal (in his own hometown because of unbelief). If i came home everyday, and kissed my wife and my son was writing my life story, after the 6th or 7th day, he would no longer write about me kissing my wife because it became so normal. If i would then come home and not kiss my wife, that would probably be included in my life story. 2. On your first point, you make no sense. You are comparing apples and ducks. Actually, the Bible explicitly says that we will do greater works. Greater means “more in quantity.” This is in reference to His works. Plainly said. Not more in quality. But more in quantity. How can you imitate His character and not know His works? How can you, my friend, know His character apart from His works? So, according to your uneducated extrapolation of Scripture, we will do greater works of character. So, therefore, we will be holier than Him, more righteous, and more loving. hmmm… sounds like heresy.3. on point 3, actually, the early church did practice healing. It was James, who was the pillar or the head of the church at one point, who said, “If ANYONE is sick (It really does mean anyone), let him call the elders and they will pray for him, and the prayer of faith, SHALL heal the sick (Shall means shall). Peter walked by the sidewalk and people were healed. Paul ended up on an island, and healed everyone. Enough said. We have no clue of the situations of the other scriptural points. Did paul have contact with the man he left sick? Did he refuse to pray for him because of God-given revelation? For all you know, Paul could have come to the city for a couple hours and didn’t run into the man knowing he was sick. We don’t know. If Timothy had stomach issues, Paul instructed him into a healthier lifestyle. If I were obese, with my obesity contributing to high blood pressure and diabetes, Paul would write to me and say “Hey, start exercising and stop going to McDonald’s instead of praying over me.” People, 2 thousand years later, would look at that and try to make doctrines out of that. That is nonsense.4. Your title: Is every sickness from the devil? please define which ones are from God and which ones are from the Devil. The bad ones from devil and good ones from God? If sickness is not from the devil, then they are from God. If that is not true, then they both share in sending people sicknesses. Please, also, define which sickness we are to pray for and which sick people we are to turn away from? Because the Bible is silent on this issue. I would love to hear from a (I assume) student of the Word. As far as I am concerned, we are not in position to figure that out. People say, if I would heal that man, he would turn away from God. Do you know that for sure? Are you in a position to determine that?Look at this story: Jesus healed ten people. 9 were jewish, 1 was samaritan. 9 people from the nation of God, 1 person from an unclean nation. The samaritan came back to worship Jesus. That is a 10% conversion rate. Statistics that would not look good today. Of course Jesus was concerned, but He still healed them. I am sure that an all-knowing God knew ahead of time.
    If we would simply follow instruction of the Bible and go into the world to preach and heal and cast out demons, we would have no time to try to understand everything.
    By the way, which demons are we to cast out?
    Who are we to preach to?

    • Gena, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      I shall submit my conclusion first: Where have you ever seen a Christian community that lives up to your demands? Where have you seen a community that heals everybody, literally. Jesus healed in 10 instances by peoples faith, and in 25 by His will without even asking for theirs (could the dead He raised believe? No!)

      It seems you say everybody can be healed. Fine. It seems you state that all normal Christians can do this. Fine. It seems you state I am a weak Christian because I can’t. Fine.

      At my old church I have two young guys in wheelchairs that have spent many years driving up front to receive healing. They still haven’t. You can state they don’t have faith, the whole church doesn’t have faith, and etc. Fine. You have faith. Come and heal them. Please. I will recant every doctrine I have ever held and follow you. Heal them. Heal them all. Take me to a hospital. Let me walk behind you as you heal every single person in the whole hospital. From cancer to those who’s limbs are missing. Please, I beg you, take me. If healing is the mission, then please heal them all.

      Now let me respond to your points by number, if you are interested:

      1. Of course with hyperbole we aren’t arguing that every time we use “all” its hyperbole. However, we do have Scriptural precedent for “all” being used to represent the idea of many, not literally every single one. We must use context to understand what is hyperbole and what is not.

      Either way the point here is that the mission of Jesus does not consist of healing, instead he used miracles to confirm his message, that He is God. The problem with a simplistic “Jesus healed all” or “all who had faith” theology is that Jesus did not really heal “all” people. It’s not logical. If Jesus healed literally “all” how could Peter have later met a cripple in Jerusalem whom he healed? Obviously there were those who were not healed.

      You might say that those who weren’t healed didn’t have faith, but of the 35 miracles recorded in the Gospel accounts the faith of the recipient is exercised in only 10 of the accounts. Healing of the lame man (Jn.5:1-9) the cleansing of a leper (Mt.8:2-4) healing a mans withered hand (Mt.9:2-8) the healing of the man born blind (Jn.9:1-7) healing the blindness of Bartemaeus (Mt.20:29-34) The women who had a blood flow (Mt.9:20-22; Mk.5:24-34) Peter who walked on water to Jesus (Mt.14:24-33) the miraculous catching of the fish (Lk.5:1-11) and the second miraculous catch (Jn.21:1-11) The cleansing of the 10 lepers of which only one had faith (Lk.17:11-19).

      2. You consider it heresy to have the character of Jesus but not do all of his works. So is it heresy to not die on a cross? Is it heresy to not walk on water? Is it heresy to not rise from the dead by your own power? Is it heresy This is what I mean, Jesus is God, he has a very unique ministry, to reconcile mankind to Himself through His death. Jesus is God, we are humans, we can imitate him, have his character, but we can’t have His Godhood. We can show his love, and preach the message he preached, but we can’t copy his actual actions like defeating satan.

      3. While there are plenty of miracles in the early church, all of them are contained to the Apostles, who were divinely and uniquely gifted to build the church. (You don’t think there are currently twelve literal apostles, do you? And I don’t mean “messenger” I mean Apostle with a capitol A). But there is no evidence that all were healed by the Apostles as well. Many miracles were done all in new places to spread their message, but all were not healed.

      4. You ask which sicknesses are from God and which from Satan? If you want to understand the complexity of it all, look to Job, whom God allows to be tested by sickness. While satan harms, it is God who permits it to happen for His glory. Also lets look at two stories where the common culture assumed sickness was from sin and satan. The first is Lazarus, who became sick, but when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4). Also another man was sick, and others assumed it was because of this mans sin, in response Jesus said “Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3).

      • 1.) once again, you speak as the entire Christian community speaks. “If the Bible says it is true and it doesn’t work, therefore the Bible isn’t true.” That kind of logic applies to science. A theory is proved or disproved. the Bible is no theory. it is fact. Just like you said, you will “reject your doctrine (or theory)” if what I say works. That is our problem. I think the time has come to reject the “If practice works, therefore theory stands” mentality.
        Why doesn’t it work today? I don’t know. I don’t pretend to know. All i know is that the Bible commands us to do it.
        Now, when the Bible says that Jesus healed all, it means he healed all that were there at that time at that specific meeting. Jesus was confined to a single place at a single time. Obviously, there were people who couldn’t come.
        2.) With hyperbole, I guess we can pick and choose where to believe the Bible and where not to believe according to our convenience. I understand now.
        3.) I consider it heresy to think you will be holier than Him. If we truly have His character, then the outward life will show it. The Bible says, “Be holy as I am holy.” “Be perfect as My father in heaven is perfect.” We can’t surpass that. But Jesus clearly says that we will do greater things. Obviously, it doesn’t refer to His character because we in no way can surpass that.
        The Bible is clear that your outward life should be in harmony with what’s found in your heart. As a matter of fact, I will know your character and what’s in your heart simply by talking to you and observing your way of life. If you are a lover, you love.. if a healer, then heal, if a doctor, you heal, etc. I shall know you by the fruit you grow. A tree is judged by the fruit it bears, regardless of what is inside the bark. I think you get my point. You can’t know a man’s character without knowledge of his way of life. Character needs to be lived. It needs to be displayed. God is a healer. How do we know that? Because He healed. God is a forgiver. How do we know? Because He forgave. God is a saviour. How do we know? Because He saved. How do we know His characteristics or His character traits? By observing the life He lived.
        I love it how Paul said to the Corinthian church. “I didn’t come to preach Christ to you with wisdom of men, but with the demonstration of Spirit and power.”
        Paul shows a distinction between character and ministry. They are not the same. I know of people that had great ministries but they themselves had multiple character flaws that eventually brought them to destruction. My point, We can’t do greater things than Him when it comes to His character alone because His character IS the standard. We can’t go above because he lived without sin and I can bet that no one did that. That place refers to His ministry.
        4. Job lived in a time where there was no covenant between God and man. When the devil came to God, God’s reply, “See, he is in your hands.” That simply means “Look, he is in your territory.” Today, the Bible says that the same devil comes and testifies against us but we are covered by the blood of Christ. I honestly don’t see how the story of Job pertains to our time. Even job had an inaccurate image of God. This is our application from that book: Job 42:10 in KJV “and the Lord turned the CAPTIVITY of Job when he prayed for his friends. Also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” That is a New testament revelation in an old testament book. We were held captive, but God turned our captivity and gave us a double portion.
        5. Im not saying that the focus of our mission is to go and heal the sick. Jesus didn’t do that. Jesus didn’t seek out the sick. He came to seek the lost (referring to lost in relation to salvation). I understand that. Jesus went and preached the gospel, and, whenever he encountered sickness, he healed. What does it mean, “Your faith has made you whole.” There is a part we play. Once Jesus couldn’t heal and once the disciples couldn’t cast out a demon. The reason for both, according to Jesus, is lack of faith.
        Certainly, people will get sick. But there is healing.
        Honestly though, How can you pray for a sick person when he comes for prayer to you, if you don’t believe that healing is available for him? How can you begin to fulfill what James wrote about healing the sick with oil if we can’t believe that healing is for today?
        6. If you’re saying that the first church is our example in everything, then how do you explain Peter refusing to eat with gentiles? My point is that Paul fought with false teaching in the church. they weren’t perfect people. Our example is Jesus.
        7. Simple math. You mentioned 12 Apostles. If there were 12 Apostles, name them please.
        According to Acts 1:13 KJV “And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where they abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, and Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.” That’s eleven. verse 26: “And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” So that’s twelve. Then Paul comes along who also calls himself an apostle. That’s 13. So, is it 12 or 13? By the way, the Bible doesn’t use a big “A” when it refers to disciples. It is a little “a”.
        8. You drifted off a little bit. You are using the words healing and miracles interchangeably. The Bible shows a clear distinction. There is a gift of miracles and gifts (plural) of healing. There is a difference.
        Either way, you said that Jesus healed (or did miracles) to show His deity. How do you explain the fact that He healed and then told people He healed not to say anything to anybody. Matthew 8:4 “And Jesus said to him (After healing the man of leprosy), ‘See that you say nothing to anybody.'” I would think that He should have told the man to go and tell as much people as possible.
        9. Last point. Whenever it was for the glory of God, in ALL instances (not a hyperbole), the person was either healed or raised from the dead. I have a hard time believing that people are given life by God to live a life of sickness and disease only to be healed miraculously. In both the instances, I believe that the initiator of the sickness was not God. God used that life (Lazarus and Blind man) to demonstrate his power. Today, if a person comes to God, you can say that the sickness was for the glory of God because ultimately, God will receive the glory.
        Sickness is a tricky thing. Paul does mention “In the name of the Lord Jesus……to deliver such a man unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 for 5:1-5. It is complex. I believe destruction of the flesh refers to sickness. When one is delivered unto Satan, the grace of God is lifted and the man is given up to Satan. It would make sense why the devil wants to kill that man and destroy him. The devil doesn’t want that man to repent. Again, the initiator is not God but sin. I know this doesn’t apply to every case. Maybe it explains some. The rest, I don’t know. I just think we should just obey what the Bible says.
        By the way, it does say in Mark 16:20, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”
        God bless and good night.

        • Gena, thanks again for stopping by.

          I’m just being a realist. If my interpretation of the Bible states something should happen today that never ever happens, its not the Bible that is wrong, but my interpretation. I wholeheartedly believe in all the miracles of Jesus and the Apostles (12 to the Jews, and Paul a special Apostle to the Gentiles; Rom 11:13). However, I see miracles being used mainly to attest to the truth of the early church, and since then they are less common. I don’t think that it is the primary emphasis or goal of Jesus.

          And being born in the Pentecostal movement, having spent years and years studying under prominent teachers, I find that the things that are taught are nether accurate in exegesis or hermeneutics, nor are they actually happening In that I let God be God and admitted my hyper charismatic way way wrong.

          • Thanks for your honest reply.
            I understand your frustration with not seeing an authentic move of the Spirit. But truly, that doesn’t change the teaching of the Bible. I am hungry for an authentic move of God. If you read writings of A.A Allen (Although a controversial figure), T.L. Osborn, F.F. Bosworth, John G. Lake, Smith Wiggelsworth, E. W. Kenyon, and Charles and France Hunter, you soon begin to realize that miracles and healings are for today. They all lived within the last 150 years. I truly believe that as Jesus said, “Your traditions and teachings of men make the Word of God of no effect.” In other words, our lack of faith nullifies the Word of God. IT is no coincidence that everyone died in the wilderness except for Joshua and Caleb simply because they were the only ones to believe even though the promise was for all. I can give you plenty more examples where God promised, but because of doubt, it didn’t happen. It is too powerful. I think this is one of our issues in America. If we don’t get well, it’s ok, we will go see the doctor. In India/Africa, if they dont get well, they will die, so, they believe for healing and hold on to the Word much more readily.
            God bless.

          • Also, miracles/healing is definitely for today because, along side with gift of prophecy is gifts of healing and gift of miracles. They are therefore for today because Paul says that prophecy will cease in Heaven and only love will remain. So, gift of miracles/healings, will also cease in heaven. As long as we are sick, healing is available. Also, you mentioned that it is not logical that Jesus healed all. You are correct. Of course it is not logical. By logical, I understand that you mean that it is not normal, or not physically possible. I would add, that it is not logical that the disciples would collect 12 basketfuls of leftover bread and fish when they only had 1/4 of a basket to start with. It is not logical that a man would walk on water. It goes against the laws of physics. Also, it is not logical that water would be turned into wine in a second without the process of fermentation. Also, it is not logical that the sun would stand still or even move back in time in two separate instances. It is not natural. It is supernatural.
            Even His disciples asked, “Who is this Man?” If Paul came to preach the Word with the demonstration of Power and Spirit, today, we need it more because Paul himself says that hard times will come where people will pervert the truth.

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