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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Root of False Teaching Regarding Physical Healing

I recently published an article here on the topic of physical healing and, in particular, the teaching that it is always God's will to heal. I see that hundreds of people are linking to my blog from that article so I wanted to write a couple of follow up posts on that topic. I already wrote one at this link here.

Generally, whenever you see Bible teachers promising that God wants to heal you right now in this life, they often use this language describing the atonement: "purchased your healing," or "bore stripes in His body," or "made payment" for your healing. For example, see this link.

What a lot of people never ask is "What verse in scripture are they basing this on?"


A friend of mine, Mike Sasso, who pastors Calvary Chapel Eagle sent these notes to me this week after seeing the article I posted on this topic. As he points out, a misinterpretation of Isaiah 53:5 is really at the root of a lot of this false teaching regarding healing. Please consider his study on this topic:

Isaiah 53:5 - By His Stripes we are healed? Is this verse promising “physical” healing, “spiritual” healing, or both?
The question is: “Is healing provided in Christ’s atonement?”
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are HEALED.”Isaiah 53:5, KJV.
There are a number of factors to consider in answering the “HEALING” question here...
1. First of all notice that twice in Is. 53:5 the equivalent of “SIN” is mentioned – “Transgressions” & Iniquities”. These are definitely “Spiritual” issues! And these are definitely “Atonement” issues connected with words such as “Wounded” and “Bruised”…
2. Second, notice that “Physical” healing is NOT specifically mentioned at all in this verse. (V:5)
3. Third, consider the CONTEXT of this book. Right from the beginning of this book Isaiah begins an analogy of equating the spiritual condition of Israel to “sickness”. Read carefully Isaiah 1:4-6… “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is SICK, and the whole heart FAINT. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Isaiah 1:4-6, KJV.
4. Fourth, we will discover that Peter specified that the “healing” provided at the cross was “spiritual”. 1Peter 2:24-25 [It’s a question of the “Atonement”. (see also Rom 5:10-19)] “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24,25, KJV.
5. Fifth, of all the healings recorded in the book of Acts, Isaiah 53:5 is nevera to. And in all NT teaching on healing, never are we told to claim the promise of Isaiah 53:5, “by his stripes we are healed”. (Cp. also James 5:14-16)
6. Sixth - We see many examples in the NT of good men of God not receiving their healing. If healing was guaranteed as a part of the atonement then this would not be the pattern. (2Cor 12:7-10, Gal. 4:13-15, 1Tim 5:23, Php 2:27)
7. Seventh - Why would God give “Gifts of Healing” to the church? (1Cor. 12:9,28)If healing was already provided in the atonement we would not need this gift. Cp. Gifts of forgiveness 

What about the promised “PHYSICAL Healing” alluded to in 53:4? “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4, KJV. 

The NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORS offer further insight…
8. The only time we ever see Isaiah 53:4 quoted in the New Testament is Matt. 8:17… (Notice the context) “16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” Matt 8:16,17 Matthew is saying that Isaiah 53:4 was fulfilled during Jesus earthy ministry, NOT at the cross. It is God’s nature to heal. Jesus reveals God’s nature to us. Thus, Jesus healed people. Healing was available before the crucifixion and continues to be available after the cross. But the crucifixion was not needed to provide physical healing. The atonement of the cross of Jesus Christ was needed to provide forgiveness of sin and “spiritual” healing. (Heb. 9:22) The ONLY TIME Is. 53:5 is quoted in the New Testament it is obviously referring to “SPIRITUAL” healing… “24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24,25, KJV. So then, according to the New Testament authors Matthew and Peter, Isaiah 53:4 is referring to “Physical” healing, while Isaiah 54:5 is referring to “Spiritual” healing. Jesus’ life and presence brings physical healing. Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection brings spiritual healing.
Conclusion: The phrase “By his stripes we are healed” found in Is. 53:5 is NOT referring to physical healing. The phrase refers to the healing of the spiritually sick condition of sin. “By his stripes we are healed” – Is 53:5 is NEVER quoted in the New Testament in reference to physical healing!

Then what does the Bible teach about physical healing? Is it available for believers today? “

Healing” is a part of God’s nature. God is a “healing God”. One of the names of God is Jehovah Rapha = “The Lord that Heals”… “… I am the LORD that healeth thee.” Exodus 15:26b, KJV. Healing is offered repeatedly throughout scriptures in both the old and new testaments: Ex 23:25, 2Ki 20:5, Job 5:18, Ps 41:3,4, 103:3, 147:3, Isa 57:18, Jer 8:22, 33:6, Ho 6:1, Jas 5:11-16. The cross was not needed to provide physical healing. The atonement of the cross of Jesus Christ guaranteed “spiritual” healing to believers, NOT “physical” healing. 

“But he was wounded for our TRANSGRESSIONS, he was bruised for our INIQUITIES: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5, KJV. “Who his own self bare our SINS in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were HEALED. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24,25, KJV.

Thank you, Pastor Mike!

The following article also goes into depth on the same topic:

The Bible Never Promises Immediate Physical Healing in the Atonement

You can also watch this radio broadcast where Pastor Mike addresses this issue.








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