Posted - 22 Jan 2006 : 21:39:46
| Healing: Wayman Mitchell - Chapter 5
The Confirming Element
My firm conviction is that healing provides confirmation of the gospel message and messenger. This generation, mirroring that of the First Century, is immune to philosophy and platitude. It demands reality. For many years we have preached a 'changed life' as the valid proof of salvation. Healing validates the gospel. Jesus healed in His generation as a sign of His authority. If we don't believe Him, Jesus says, "believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him (John 10:38)." In most of the world demonic activity is in evidence everyday and as occult, experiential religion gains credibility the demonstration of God's power becomes more significant. We must have a tangible reality of the power of God.
Healing from disease, fear and oppression comes in the practical demonstration of faith in the reality of Jesus' authority that is both judicial (legal) and powerful (mighty). It does not come merely in intellectual understanding. Without the power of God being a reality in lives, there will be no whole-hearted loyalty to Christ or him kingdom. The impact healing has on evangelism was one reason I was eager to share my Mexico City experience with the fellowship. I saw very clearly how healing moved the people watching as well as those healed to faith in God. I knew it would do the same everywhere.
Very clearly God intended to work with and confirm the gospel and his ministers by a supernatural demonstration of power over sickness and disease. He intended that the devil would be clearly portrayed as the root of all affliction. By healing He would show his dominion. The experience of the New Testament church was that God confirmed their ministry with accompanying signs. Mark concludes his gospel with, "they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs (Mark 16:20)." Jesus aggressively confronted the demonic in his ministry because God was with Him and God was in partnership with the New Testament church in evangelism. Luke writes 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)." John plainly describes Jesus' conflict with the devil. "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8)." The healings of Jesus in Luke chapter 5 dramatically make the connection between healing and the 'presence' of the Lord. "Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them (Luke 5:17)." Healing is not the work of the devil but the result of the presence of the Lord, our healer, to heal. The same is true on our ministry as we aggressively confront the devil.
Religious onlookers (Pharisees and teachers of the law in Luke 5) always present a special problem for the ministry of healing. The confrontation with religion can result in an acute crisis, as the apostles found out. Threatened and beaten, they were thrown into prison (tantamount to a death sentence) after healing the lame man. This confrontation was provoked by the dramatic evidence of power to heal in Jesus' name. After being released from prison they gathered for prayer and said,
'Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.' And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all they filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all (Acts 4:29-33).
Healing was plainly part of the apostle's ministry. Equally clear from the scripture is the fact that the disciples did not intend to lay healing aside. They prayed for it. The result was an even greater release of power, grace and boldness in evangelism.
The writer of Hebrews understood healing was a confirmation if the witness if Jesus Christ. The gospel is confirmed by three things. Jesus brought it, the apostles saw it and the Holy Spirit validates it with signs. Look at the scripture. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him [the apostles], God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will?" Miracle healing is the will of God. Healing does not usurp or seize from God his initiative or volition. It is not presumption. Healing is already the will of God and He does not have to be appeased, persuaded or prevailed upon because it is His nature to heal. He is Jehovah-Rapha.
Demonstration is part of God's plan. God allows men to test him in the tithe, that is, men can for some reason put God on the spot concerning His tithe. "Test me," He says, "see if I am able" to provide, and God, of course is able. It has also been my experience that God is pleased to demonstrate the spiritual nature and his power over disease. Years ago I was with Harry Hills in Bullhead City conducting a 'School of Healing.' As we prayed for the sick, we had little success dealing with lower back pain when we simply prayed. If, however, we sat these people in a chair and demonstrated their legs were unequal in length and then prayed we had outstanding results. This kind of demonstration became especially effective stirring faith in a congregation. I now will take time early in a crusade to sit people with back pain down and call for new converts and skeptics to come and watch as the short leg 'comes out.' It is then easy to have these people stand and demonstrate their healing by bending or twisting their backs. It is especially wonderful when people watching see this dramatic demonstration of God's power. The healing is confirmed, not by the leg growing out, but by the recovery from pain and disability.
By praying for back pain this way, we clearly demonstrate the spiritual nature of man and disease. Bones are 'solid.' Yet something happens and the bones are changed after prayer is made over bitterness, anger, witchcraft or some other spiritual issue. Dealing with back pain this way has become such a tool that I rarely hold people's legs to show people the difference in lengths for very long because I know that they'll be healed before I can gather new converts and skeptics to watch. In Anchorage, Alaska, a man with a pronounced limp and serious back pain came for healing. He had broken his leg and it had healed nearly an inch and a half shorter than his other leg. Walking caused him the pain. I asked him to sit down in a chair. I knelt down and lifted his heels off the ground to check his legs. I couldn't help but marvel at the difference in length. Suddenly his short leg simply 'grew out.' He was healed before I even had a chance to pray! Nonetheless, with a high degree of success, many different back and leg conditions can be demonstrably healed using this method in prayer.
Falling out or being 'slain in the Spirit' may occasionally have a spiritual benefit. In praying for the sick, however, I would rather they not fall down. Generally I will hold people by the hand, lay my hand on their shoulder or perhaps even behind their back or neck if I suspect they might fall. If they do fall, I want them to be helped up as soon as possible. Too often the devil is out to 'psyche' or 'con' people into believing that all the work is done. Often the devil simply plays 'opossum' until he gets people away from the crusade. Then he manifests anew and convinces them they can never be free. It is diversion the devil wishes to employ and confrontation he wishes to avoid. It is best to continue working with people until the issues have been satisfactorily resolved and you are satisfied a genuine healing or deliverance has taken place. It is not to anyone's advantage to fall, get up thinking they are healed, and leave the meeting without the necessary repentance, faith and demonstration of healing. The devil must be confronted and dominion gained. Sometimes not everyone is healed. The dynamic involved is faith. In these cases understand that we are called to "heal the sick, cast out demons and preach the Kingdom of God." We are not called to explain everything. God is present and He rules.
A charismatic couple had attended our church in Prescott for awhile when one day the wife called me about strange manifestations in their home. I asked, "Like what?" She replied that they had a cuckoo clock and occasionally the cuckoo would come out and cuckoo. That seemed pretty normal to me. She said, "It doesn't have any works." Immediately I agreed that it was strange. I visited their home and discovered a number of jade statues which they said were worth about $3500. I suggested they break them up. They did and the cuckoo stopped its cuckoo. Objects have always been associated with the occult and demonic. A talisman, from the Greek work for consecration, are consecrated for religious use and used to ward off evil spirits. In Greek culture they were used in initiations to the mystery religions. Often they are carried on a person but they can also be household decorations or pictures. Often crystals, jade or other stones carved into statues, many traditional crafts and engravings or carvings from many countries are prayed over (consecrated) by spiritualists or priests. They are invested with spiritual power in direct opposition to God's command. Many times these are purchased for the express intent of protecting the home from evil. Often believers receive these objects as gifts. Unaware of their spiritual nature and personality, they bring them into their homes or wear them.
"False Gods … here is another arena in which I have found God is pleased to demonstrate His authority."
In Melbourne I prayed for a man who had been deaf in his right ear for thirty years. I got him to remove a Saint Christopher medal from his neck but he was still not healed. I asked him, "You wouldn't happen to have any scapulars on you, would you?" He reached into his wallet, removed two of them, threw them down on the ground and was instantly healed. Here is another arena in which I have found God is pleased to demonstrate his authority. Early crusades in Malaysia were filled with difficulty, partly due to the government's anti-Christian rule and partly because we could not find a way to make a mass prayer work. As a result I began to minister to individuals. One night a woman totally deaf for eighteen years was brought for prayer. She was an excellent lip reader I was amazed she was deaf. Just talking with her you would never suspect it. We were in a crusade and over 700 people watched as God wonderfully opened her ears. She could hear! This was demonstrated to everyone and she left the crusade. The next night she came back. Somehow, overnight, she had lost her healing. I asked her if she was involved in witchcraft or had any idols. Her friend, standing nearby and holding her purse reached inside it and pulled out a crucifix. Her ears were instantly opened. This open demonstration of the power of God over other gods is important in getting and keeping converts in many nations of the world. Removing and sometimes even mocking religious objects is a powerful way to demonstrate God's rule over the multitude of gods worshipped in Asia and elsewhere in the world.
In Sam Sirverajah's church in Kaula Lumpur I prayed for a Tamil man suffering kidney failure and desperately in need of a transplant. He was from a Hindu background, and as he came for prayer I noticed he was wearing a very elaborate leather talisman. He did not want to remove it. I told him, "If you want my prayer you'll have to take that off. I'm preaching Jesus and not any other religion or any other gods." He still did not want to remove it so I asked him to stand aside and watch. After watching a number of notable miracles he decided he wanted prayer. He removed the talisman and was totally healed by Jesus. It has been over two years since that time. He is still healed and not suffering any kidney failure. A very wealthy Hindu man suffering with great pain from serious back problems came to me for prayer also in Malaysia. As I sat him in a chair to check his legs I noticed a gold chain and a one-inch long cylinder hanging from it around his neck. I found out later it contained writings blessed by a Hindu priest. I asked him, "Can I have that talisman? You can keep the chain." He said, "I wear it for protection." That was exactly the issue. Was he trusting Jesus or some other god?" This is, I believe, the reason open demonstration pleases God. Most people in the world have a multi-faceted religion. Even though they speak about Jesus and may attend services, they often are practicing at the old altars. When they become focused in faith on Jesus they are healed. And those watching see the reality of Jesus' power. He gave me the talisman and was healed. Miracles are astounding proof to all that the answer for life is Jesus and why I contend for healing in my ministry.