Monday, March 26, 2012

Redemption from the Curse of Sickness

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us....
—Galatians 3:13

DEUTERONOMY 28:15-22,27-29,35,58-61

15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
21 The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
22 The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish....

27 The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, 
and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
28 The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart:
29 And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee ....

35 The Lord shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head....
58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;
59 Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
60 Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

We can readily see from these Scriptures that sickness is a curse of the law. The dreadful diseases enumerated here—in fact, every sickness and every disease, according to the 61st verse—are part of the punishment for breaking God's law.

The King James Version of these Scriptures would lead us to believe that God Himself puts sickness and afflictions upon His people, for it reads, "The Lord shall smite thee...."

Dr. Robert Young, author of Hints to Bible Interpretation, points out that in the original Hebrew, the verb is in the permissive rather than the causative sense. Actually, it should have been translated something like this: "The Lord will allow you to be smitten ... The Lord will allow these plagues to be brought upon you ...."

Many other verbs were translated in the causative sense in the King James Version. For example, Isaiah 45:7 reads, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." Does God create evil? No. That would make God a devil. God may permit evil, but He does not create it.

Amos 3:6 in the King James Version declares, "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" If God commits evil, then He has no right whatsoever to judge man for sinning. But God has not done evil; He only permits evil. There is a vast difference between commission and permission.

When King Saul backslid, First Samuel 16:14 says, "the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him."

What actually happened was that Saul's sin broke fellowship with God, and God permitted the evil spirit from the devil to trouble him.

The original Hebrew of these Scriptures was in the permissive tense, but because the English language has no corresponding permissive tense, the verbs were translated in the causative.

No, God does not send plagues and sickness upon His people as these verses seem to indicate. God's Word does not teach that these things come directly from God.

When God's people broke His commandments, they no longer were under His divine protection. All He could do was permit the devil to bring those afflictions upon them. Their sin and wrongdoing brought those dreadful plagues upon them.

Deuteronomy 28 lists several diseases in the curse of the broken law. Among them are: pestilence, consumption (tuberculosis), fever (including all types, such as typhus, scarlet, typhoid, smallpox and all other eruptive fevers), inflammation, extreme burning, the botch of Egypt, emerods, scab (all skin diseases), itch, madness, and blindness.

According to verse 60, we can add to this list "all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of." And verse 61 makes it all-inclusive: "Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law."

We can conclude from these Scriptures that sickness and disease are a part of the curse of the law—and they should come upon us. But praise God, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law" (Gal. 3:13).

Sickness: Blessing or Curse?

Is sickness a blessing or a curse? God's Word declares it is a curse. Some people would have you believe God "blesses" His children with sickness and disease. (If He does, I would prefer to let someone else have that "blessing.") But, according to God's Word, sickness is a curse, and health is a blessing!

Disease is broken ease. Sickness is pain and suffering. It makes slaves of family and friends who must care for sick loved ones. Disease and sickness are enemies of mankind.

Sickness is a thief and a robber. It has robbed many a young mother of her health, beauty, and joy. It has robbed her husband of his wife, and has deprived her children of their mother, for she is no longer able to fulfill the duties of a wife and mother.

Disease has robbed many young men, coming upon them in the midst of young manhood, filling them with anxiety and fear, robbing them of faith.

Sickness and disease rob people of happiness, health, and money which is needed for other things.

Sickness: Is It God's Will?

Sickness and disease are not the will of God for His people. He does not want a curse to be upon His children because of their disobedience; He wants to bless them with health.
"Oh, yes," some people have said to me, "I believe God was Israel's Healer under the Old Covenant, and He wanted the children of Israel to have health, but we're not living under that covenant."

That's true. But if the Old Covenant provided for healing and the New Covenant (or Testament) does not, I wonder if the New Covenant is as good as the old? Thank God, the Bible says that the New Covenant is better:

6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a BETTER covenant, which was established upon BETTER promises.

Let me remind you that our text is from the New Testament:
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13).
It is not the will of God that we be sick. In Bible days, it was not God's will for the children of Israel to be sick, and they were God's servants. Today, we are God's children. If it was not His will for even His servants to be sick, it could not be His will for His children to be sick! Sickness and disease are not of love. God is love.

In Luke 13, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. A woman came in who was bent over. She could have had arthritis or something of that nature, because her body was bent in a stationary position. Jesus called her to Him and said, "Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity" (v. 12).

When the ruler of the synagogue became angry because Christ healed the sick woman, Jesus said, "Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" (v. 16). Jesus said it was Satan who had bound this woman.

In preaching to Cornelius' household, Peter said:

ACTS 10:38
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

This Scripture makes it clear that the people Jesus healed were oppressed by the devil.
Some people today would have you believe that God sends sickness upon people to bless them. They'll tell you, "Stay away from those meetings where they pray for the sick to be healed. That's of the devil."

If they are right, then God and the devil must have swapped jobs lately! Two thousand years ago, Satan was oppressing people and Jesus was healing them.

The Bible tells us, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). Jesus never changes! From the beginning to the end of His public ministry, Christ was combating Satan. His battle was not with men, but with demons who indwelt men.

Don't ever tell anyone sickness is the will of God for us. It isn't! Healing and health are the will of God for mankind. If sickness were the will of God, heaven would be filled with sickness and disease.

Remember, Jesus in His earth walk was the will of God in action. He came to unveil the Father to us. He is the Word of God. He is God speaking to us. (See John 1:14; Heb. 1:1,2.) If you want to know what God thinks about sickness, look at Jesus! He went about healing the sick!

ISAIAH 53:4,5
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs [sicknesses], and carried our sorrows [diseases]: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Redemption from the Curse of Sickness 21
5 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.

Matthew quotes a portion of these Scriptures:

17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

The Holy Spirit, looking back at Calvary, wrote in the past tense through Peter:

1 PETER 2:24
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.

I read from the pen of Dr. John Alexander Dowie about how he received light on the subject of divine healing. Dr. Dowie was pastor of a Congregational church in Newtown, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, when the bubonic plague struck there around 1875. People were dying like flies. Dr. Dowie buried 40 members of his congregation in less than a month. Four more died and were yet to be buried, and many more were stricken with the plague. There was no cure.
After visiting the many sick members of his flock one day, Dr. Dowie returned home and sat in his study, his arms folded upon his desk, his head upon his arms, weeping before God.
"God, is everybody going to die?" he cried. "Are You going to take everybody? Where did this plague come from? Are You the author of this?" He was heartsick at the thought of the families that would be torn apart by the plague; at the children who would be left orphans.
"Then the words of the Holy Ghost inspired in Acts 10:38 stood before me all radiant with light, revealing Satan as the Defiler, and Christ as the Healer," Dr. Dowie wrote many years later. "My tears were wiped away," Dr. Dowie said, "my heart was strong. I saw the way of healing, and the door thereto was opened wide, so I said, 'God help me now to preach the Word to all the dying around, and tell them how 'tis Satan still defiles, and Jesus still delivers, for "He is just the same today."'"

He did not have long to wait. Within minutes, two young men burst into his study, pleading breathlessly, "Oh, come at once. Mary is dying!" Dr. Dowie ran down the street after them, not even pausing to take his hat. He was furious that Satan should have attacked this innocent young member of his flock.

Dr. Dowie entered Mary's room and found her in convulsions. Her medical doctor, having given up on her, was preparing to leave. He turned to Dr. Dowie and remarked, "Sir, are not God's ways mysterious?"

The revelation Dr. Dowie had just received from the Word of God was burning in his heart. "God's way!" he thundered. "How dare you call that God's way! No, sir, that is the devil's work!"

He challenged the physician, who was a member of his congregation, "Can you pray the prayer of faith that saves the sick?"

The doctor replied, "You are much too excited, sir, 'tis best to say God's will be done," and he left.

"Excited! The word was quite inadequate for I was almost frenzied with Divinely imparted anger and hatred of that foul destroyer, Disease, which was doing Satan's will," Dowie wrote.
"'It is not so,' I exclaimed, 'no will of God sends such cruelty, and I shall never say "God's will be done" to Satan's works, which God's own Son came to destroy, and this is one of them.'Oh, how the Word of God was burning in my heart....'"

Furious at Satan's attack, Dr. Dowie prayed the prayer of faith for Mary. Years later, he said he prayed something like this:

"Our Father, help! and Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray.
Plead thou for us, oh, Jesus, Saviour, Healer, Friend, our Advocate with God the Father. Hear and heal, Eternal One! From all disease and death deliver this sweet child of Thine. I rest upon the Word. We claim the promise now. The Word is true, 'I am the Lord that healeth thee.' Then heal her now. The Word is true, 'I am the Lord, I change not.' Unchanging God, Then prove Thyself the Healer now. The Word is true, 'These signs shall follow them that believe. In My Name, they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.' And I believe, and I lay hands in Jesus' Name on her, and claim this promise now. Thy Word is true. 'The prayer of faith shall save the sick.' Trusting in Thee alone, I cry, oh, save her now, for Jesus' sake, Amen!"

The girl's convulsions ceased immediately, and she fell into such a deep sleep that her mother feared she had died. "She isn't dead," the triumphant Dr. Dowie assured them. "I saw that Christ had heard and that once more, as long ago in Peter's house, 'He touched her and the fever left her.'"

After several minutes, Dr. Dowie awakened Mary. She turned to her mother and exclaimed, "Mother, I feel so well!"

Remembering how Jesus had ministered to the little girl He had raised from the dead in Bible days, Dr. Dowie asked, "And you're hungry?"
"Oh, yes," she agreed. "I'm so hungry."

Dr. Dowie instructed Mary's nurse to fix her a cup of cocoa and some bread and butter. Quietly thanking God, he went into the next room, where her brother and sister lay sick with the same plague. After prayer, they, too, instantly recovered.

"As I went away from the home where Christ as the Healer had been victorious," Dr. Dowie recalled, "I could not but have somewhat in my heart of the triumphant song that rang through Heaven, and yet I was not a little amazed at my own strange doings, and still more at my discovery that HE IS JUST THE SAME TODAY."

From that day on, Dr. Dowie ministered to his flock on divine healing and prayed for their healing. He never lost another member to the plague.

But isn't it strange that the doctor, who was a member of Dowie's church, would treat people and give them medicine, but when they got beyond the aid of medical science, he called it the will of God?

It puzzles me that people will take medicines and do everything they can to get well, but if you suggest they have someone pray for their healing, they'll say, "It may not be God's will to heal me."

Why didn't they question the will of God in the first place? If it isn't God's will for them to be well, they shouldn't take any medicine or treatment. They would be out of God's will trying to get well!

I do not mean to discredit the medical profession. Doctors are fighting the same devil we are. I merely want to point out that this is human reasoning and wrong thinking, and it has robbed many people of the blessings of healing and health.

Dr. Lilian B. Yeomans was a doctor who practiced medicine and surgery many years ago in one of New York City's largest hospitals. She began to take small amounts of dope to steady her nerves and help her sleep when she felt exhausted from overwork. Eventually she became so dependent on drugs— especially morphine—that she became an addict. She daily took 50 times the normal dose of morphine normally prescribed for an adult male plus other drugs.

Although Dr. Yeomans took all of the celebrated cures of her day and desperately tried to stop taking drugs, she steadily grew worse. A nurse described her as "a skeleton with a devil inside." Her friends considered her case hopeless.

Dr. Yeomans had been saved as a young woman, but had backslid. When she found herself at death's door, she immersed herself in her long-neglected Bible, got back into fellowship with God, and was healed in 1898 of the terrible drug habit that had almost claimed her life.

After receiving this healing, Dr. Yeomans preached the Gospel for 40 some years. When she and her sister inherited some property, they turned it into a "faith home," taking in people beyond medical help who were seeking healing for their bodies.

Dr. Yeomans said they got nearly all of these people healed by working with them until they got enough faith built up in their hearts (spirits) to receive healing from God. In one of her books she gave the following example of building faith in a patient.

One day a woman in the last stages of tuberculosis was brought to the home. Doctors had given her up as beyond medical aid. When the ambulance brought the woman in, Dr. Yeomans knew she was dying. Had she still been practicing medicine, Dr. Yeomans would have begun to administer strong drugs immediately.

Instead, the woman was carried to an upstairs room, and Dr. Yeomans began reading the Bible to her. She spent about two hours reading Scriptures concerning divine healing; especially from Deuteronomy 28 and Galatians 3:13.

Then she instructed the dying woman to repeat to herself every waking moment, "According to Deuteronomy 28:22, consumption (or tuberculosis) is a curse of the law. But according to Galatians 3:13, Christ has redeemed me from the curse of the law. Therefore, I no longer have tuberculosis."

The next morning, Dr. Yeomans asked the woman if she had been repeating what she'd instructed her to say. She answered that it seemed as if she'd said it 10,000 times, but she couldn't understand what it meant. Dr. Yeomans read more Scriptures to her and asked her to continue repeating the same words.

The next day the story was the same. On the third morning, the woman still did not understand. Dr. Yeomans had not even prayed with her yet, even though she'd been in her "faith home" three nights. (I think sometimes we pray for people too quickly. We should instruct them more in the Word first.)

On the afternoon of the third day, Dr. Yeomans and her sister were helping prepare the evening meal when they heard a commotion upstairs. Their new patient came rushing down the stairs, shouting at the top of her voice, "Sister Yeomans—did you know? Christ has redeemed me, and I no longer have tuberculosis! It's gone now!"

You see, Dr. Yeomans realized that the way into the heart is through the mind. She knew if the woman would say to herself often enough, "According to Deuteronomy 28:22, consumption is a curse of the law. But according to Galatians 3:13, Christ has redeemed me from the curse of the law. Therefore, I no longer have tuberculosis," the truth eventually would register on her heart.

I challenge you to take those Scriptures and insert in place of consumption the name of any disease you or a loved one desire to be healed from, because Deuteronomy 28:61 says every sickness is a curse of the law. It will work for you, too.

Just before her death, Dr. Yeomans published a book of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs called Gold of Ophir. These were the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16) the Spirit of God gave to her sister.

Dr. Yeomans said that when she and her sister prayed, her sister would sing songs or psalms in tongues and then sing the interpretation. Sometimes she would sing them out in prophecy. Dr. Yeomans wrote them down and collected them into this book. One of those spiritual songs given by the Spirit of God to Dr. Yeomans' sister was based on Galatians 3:13:
Christ redeemed me from the curse of the law, As He hung on that shameful tree, And all that is worse is contained in the curse, And Jesus has set me free.
Not under the curse, not under the curse, Jesus has set me free;
For sickness, I've health; for poverty, wealth, Since Jesus has ransomed me.
(By Kenneth E. Hagin)

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