Posted - 22 Jan 2006 : 21:38:14
| Healing: Wayman Mitchell - Chapter 3
A Spiritual Adversary
The necessary revelation is simply, "God wants me well." One writer put it: "The devil wants you begging; Jesus wants you living. The devil wants you crawling; Jesus wants you walking. The devil wants you whining; Jesus wants you dining. The devil wants you down Jesus wants you up." The enemy is the devil. God is not punishing with sickness. At the root of all sickness is the devil. He gives energy and power to all disease and infirmity. The Bible is God's self-revelation. In its pages we learn how to relate and approach God in obedience to his revealed will and not according to our feelings, moods or human reasoning. The lack of power in many churches is because many are unaware of who God is and how to approach Him. They have lost the revelation of The Lord-Our-Healer and the truth of Jesus' dynamic healing ministry-someone has counted twenty-seven miracles attributed to Jesus in the Scripture as well as ten occasions of general healing in large numbers of people with a wide variety (every kind) of diseases. Jesus, never passive about sickness, treated it as the enemy. There are two primary hindrances to healing. First is ignorance concerning the will of God. Lilian Yeomans said, "I believe that one of the greatest hindrances to healing is the absence of a certain definite knowledge as to God's will. There is lurking in most everyone a feeling that God may not be willing, that we have to persuade Him to heal us." Secondly, we tent to be very passive about disease and infirmity. There is a reluctance to believe and aggressively pursue healing.
"Aggressive action in the company of faith pleases God, and He anoints it."
Jesus makes aggressive action a necessary ingredient for kingdom living, saying "…from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force (Matt 11:12)." Likewise in Luke, "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it (16:16)." Aggressive, or violent, action in the company of faith pleases God and he anoints it. See 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 (Acts 10:38)." Importantly, Jesus heals because he is God 'The Healer.' He does not heal as some special event but because it is his nature.
The language and context of Isaiah's great messianic prophecy clearly point to Jesus actually carrying our sickness and diseases. In His death, and shed blood, is provision for physical healing as part of salvation. "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded by our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isa 53:4-5)." Matthew applies this prophecy directly to the healing ministry of Jesus. "They brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying 'He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses (Matt 8:16-17).'" Peter also uses this scripture, only he applies it to believers. "[Jesus] bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed (1 Pet 2:24)." The story of the leper ties the nature of God together with his willingness. Jesus, "moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed (Mark 1:41).'"
The most significant insight concerning healing comes in the revelation of God as Jehovah-Rapha, The Lord-Our-Healer.
Most brought Israel from the Red Sea … And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water … when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters … [and Moses] cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statue and an ordinance for them. And there He tested them, and said, 'If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you (Exo 15:22-26).'
The redemptive name, 'The Lord our Healer,' has been replaced in many churches with a theology of suffering that evades responsibility, trusts in formula prayers, is filled with unbelief and waits doubtfully in inaction. Biblical healing, however, is always actively pursued and the result of dominion over the power of the devil. It is aggressive faith that pleases God. Aggressive faith is possible only through understanding God's will is to heal the sick. God has, "qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us form the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins (Col 1:12-14)."
The blood of Jesus is the token or proof of the covenant God has with man. We have redemption through His blood. This blood is known and recognized throughout the spiritual world. Just as the blood of Abel speaks out of the dust of the earth, Jesus' blood speaks of the final complete victory of Jesus over the powers of hell and the devil. It is proof that man is qualified to receive from God because of Jesus' atoning death on Calvary. This reality was powerfully demonstrated one Easter Sunday. My son, Greg, preached and was using the elements of the Communion Table to stir faith in the congregation. He had begun to minister to the sick and the mother of one of our members came for healing. She had arthritis. When she realized she was healed, she said to Greg, "I have a deaf ear, too." The usual method we used at that time was to demonstrate both their deafness and, after prayer, their healing by having them plug their good ear and repeat things whispered or spoken behind them where they could not see or read the lips of the speaker. We would get just behind them and whisper things like "praise God," "hallelujah," or start counting "one, two, three." If they were able to repeat the phrases we moved back and repeated the procedure. We used to do this before prayer to provide proof of their deafness but I have stopped doing this because in several cases the deaf spirit left (played opossum), and when I tested them, they could already hear. Later, after the service, the deaf spirit would return. Now I demonstrate only their healing. If, after prayer (casting out the deaf spirit), they are able to repeat the phrases it is a great demonstration of their healing. Most times I am able to move several yards behind people and demonstrate their ability to hear clearly out of an ear that moments before had been totally closed.
That Easter morning as we began to demonstrate her healing, she could at first hear clearly and then she couldn't. Then she could, and then she couldn't, and finally she was unable to hear my whispering behind her. I felt inspired, in desperation perhaps, to whisper, "the blood of Jesus sets me free." The ear instantly 'popped open' and she could hear normally. This was astounding to me as well as to all those watching. Very obviously the blood of Jesus was a key to her healing. Now, after prayer, I frequently demonstrate this demonic response to 'the blood of Jesus.' Often people will hear me say, 'the blood of Jesus,' but be unable to hear anything else. It makes a great demonstration and shows clearly that deafness is a spirit. The spirit of deafness may be stubborn and resist leaving, but demons recognize 'the blood of Jesus' as the final authority, the proof of their defeat nearly 2000 years ago.
Action Is Necessary
That Sunday I felt inspired to speak the words, "the blood of Jesus sets me free." I had already discovered it was often necessary to pray more than once. That is, to persevere. I will almost always pray three times for people. Done properly, you can press the battle in prayer and not get distracted by the devil's games. In a significant number of cases it is the third prayer that brings healing. Persevering that Easter Sunday morning led to an inspiration or 'word of knowledge' that brought the healing. In other cases perseverance will lead to insight concerning spiritual problems that must be dealt with for healing to occur.
The recent Redlands crusade's most notable miracle came because someone persevered. A severely crippled man, on crutches, came for prayer. He had been injured in a fall and was in pain. After prayer he was significantly better and said so, but he wasn't totally healed. I asked him, as I often do, to stand to one side and watch while I went on ministering to others. I do this for several reasons. One, as he watched, his faith would grow. Secondly the crowd watching would not perceive a defeat which could prompt unbelief to grow. Third, it must be remembered that the crowd is an important part of the crusade and their interest must be maintained. It is easily lost in long drawn out personal interactions. As this man stepped aside, Larry Monteith, one of our evangelists, began to talk with him and encourage him to act out his faith. Larry got him to move, to test himself for pain, to move some more. Without my further involvement he was totally healed and able to put down his crutches. Larry recognized, as I have for many years, the importance of acting on faith. This miracle, perhaps the most significant of the crusade, did not occur in the 'limelight' but off to the side as someone worked with a man not totally healed but 'touched.' The passive approach to healing in most churches would have left this man 'feeling better' but not healed. The passive 'waiting on God' theology taught in many churches is a substantial hindrance to healing. It teaches that faith is an intellectual exercise.
Faith, indeed, is something you believe. But it is also something you say and something you do. Faith must be demonstrated. Following prayer meeting one morning, one of our pastors, Jim Duran, came to me for prayer. He had severe pain in his back and was unable to straighten up or walk very well. I got one of our evangelists, Harry Hills, to help me and together we prayed for Jim's back. Nothing happened. Jim was still in pain. A lot of pain. Desperate, I said, "Move your back" Jim tried, we prayed again. About the third time Jim tried and we prayed, the pain left and he was completely healed. It was obvious to me, and those watching, that action was a necessary ingredient to Jim's healing. This is true in many, many cases. The old theological cliché, "I'm waiting on God," simply implies unbelief. The man at the pool of Bethesda waited 38 years, and he had not acted on Jesus' command, he would still be there. This 'waiting' mentality is as detrimental to healing as it is to receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
God has determined that the human will must be involved in faith. The young Oregon girl whose demon of destruction had ruled and ruined her life was delivered the moment she involved her will with the will of God. The devil, a master at deception and exploitation, seizes any opportunity to afflict and dominate human life. He is especially proficient at exploiting trauma. Often people will heal but where the devil has gained an advantage because of bitterness, anger, or unforgiveness, the deformity, loss of feeling, or pain remains. In a Tucson rally I prayed for a young man who had broken his ankle two years earlier. Even though the bones had healed, he still suffered from pain. After prayer he was not healed. Having seen this kind of result many times, I asked him, "Who has really upset you or hurt you?" He replied, "My father." I led him in a simple prayer of forgiveness, casting out hate and pain. I then asked him to put some weight on the ankle and the moment he did the pain left. This is quite common in cases of broken bones and traumas such as knife, bullet and surgical wounds.
Faith involves more than intellectual assent or a casual "I hope so." It involves confession and speaks in this way.
Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, Who will descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).' But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom 10:6-10).'
Faith also involves believing action. This is shown repeatedly in the gospels. Those 'not yet healed' were told to 'go' and do something. As they obeyed, they were healed. When Jesus saw the lepers, "He said to them, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And so it was that as they went [not yet healed], they were cleansed (Luke 17:14)."