The little website that could
(This post is a result of http://splatblogger.wordpress.com/pltlk/mark-11-23-24/. I have rewritten it somewhat to add in some additional thoughts and to improve clarity.)
There are three main scriptures which are used in reference to divine healing. They are
Isaiah 53:5 KJV 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.
Another verse, Matt 8:16-17 cites this verse:
Matthew 8:16-17 KJV 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.
However, the definitive scripture (the one most cited) for “by his stripes we were healed” is 1 Peter 2:24-25.
1 Peter 2:24-25 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. (25) For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
It was because I was having a great deal of difficulty with this scripture that led me down this path. Certain people that Peter was writing to were actually healed and he was simply telling them how they were healed. In this way Matthew 8:17 was fulfilled for them, at some point prior to Peter’s writing the letter, for them also. He wasn’t encouraging them to manifest that healing some time in the future by reciting “by His stripes ye were healed”. However, this is the approach that many WOF preachers seem to take.
Why do they teach this? Is it because they are smplifying it (maybe over simplifying it)?
In the process of trying to resolve this dilemna I eventually found myself in Mark 11:23-24.
Mark 11:23-24 KJV For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. (24) Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Notice that it does not say “believe that you have received them” in the KJV. Most bibles, even most study bibles, put this in the past tense. I believe they do this in error. The KJV, correctly, puts this in the present tense.
In verse 24 the greek word “lambanete” literally translates as “you are obtaining” which is present tense, not past, as most WOF preachers preach it.
This means that God is acting on your behalf even before you see the evidence of it and then the manifestation of it shall come. It does not mean, as some claim, that God is not acting at all, and that its up to you “to produce” that healing with your faith. This is the result of those that claim to it being “past” tense.
Hence, I was having difficulty with this. It is the propensity of some faith teachers to say that you have received it already (past tense), which requires even more mental gymnastics and always made me uncomfortable. They would use phrases such as “calling those things that are not as though they are” to justify that particular interpretation. To complicate matters further most of the modern study bibles actually do translate this as being in the past tense. In my opinion the KJV rendered it more correctly than some other translations that seem to have confused the verb tenses somewhat.
Its much easier to justify, to oneself, that God is working already on one’s behalf to bring about the answer to prayer, than to deny ones senses and call what you see a lie. This, in turn, leads to the doctrine of lying symptoms which I believe is a false doctrine. The problem with this teaching is that now it becomes wrong to reach for the medicine cabinet while standing in faith for your healing. While this may not be too bad for a headache, for someone who is a diabetic and on insulin this can be disastrous. I have not found one single scripture to say that our symptoms of sickness are a lie. Symptoms are real and any attempt to “mind over matter” symptoms are foolishness. The correct response, in my view, is that we thank God for what He is doing in the situation (present tense) and ask God to show us how to get relief from our symptoms while we are standing in faith for our complete recovery. It is wrong to stop taking prescription medication unless the doctors or God himself clearly tells us to stop taking them.
Now to reiterate Mark 11:23
Mark 11:23 KJV For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
What does the person believe in this verse? That it is already done? No! He believe that those things he says shall come to pass (future tense). Not that God is holding off until some time in the future, but that he is already acting as soon as we pray. However, it may take time to fully yield to the Holy Spirit in order to see the healing manifest.
Another good example is the following verse:
Acts 9:33-34 KJV And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. (34) And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.
What did Peter say to the man? Did he not say “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole”? Is this in the present tense or the past tense? If it was in the past tense it would be “has made thee whole”. Here Peter is showing that he believes in the present tense sense of “by His stripes”.
This also makes more sense in accord with the John G Lake teaching that the Holy Spirit is “released” into our physical bodies the more we believe it. (The scriptures in ephesians 3:16-20 suggest this also.) Of course the more we thank and praise God for what He is already doing, whether we see it or not, causes our heart to be strengthened, and our faith to increase in accordance with that.
I do, in a sense, understand what people might mean when they say “by His stripes we were healed” if they are thinking in terms of the payment for it. However, if they are trying to justify it in terms of “lying symptoms” I think they are off on some doctrine that I see no counterpart in scripture. I wonder if they are thinking about our emotional frame of mind when they talk about “lying symptoms”. Certainly, our emotions are a unreliable indicator of what God is doing in our situation. If this is the case, they would be better to term it “lying emotions”.
My distinction may be considered by many to be slight and “splitting straws” but for me it makes a huge difference in my ability to be at rest with “by His stripes you were healed”. There is too many people in the other camp that are into performance-faith where all the responsibility is on the sick person to perform. Now I don’t think its about our performance at all but just trusting and resting in His finished work but recognizing the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our physical bodies. For this reason I prefer to say “by His stripes He is healing us” rather than “by His stripes we were healed”.