Gifts of Healing and Miracles
“The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever.”
“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken…I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”
Deu 18:15, 18-19
“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
In the Old Testament, we see many examples of God raising up leaders to guide, minister to, and intervene on behalf of His chosen people. We see people identified by God and anointed to be priests, prophets, and kings (Saul, David). We also see leaders like Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Esther, and Daniel. These men and women were chosen by God and empowered by the Spirit of God to perform leadership tasks in nurturing, guiding, teaching, and protecting the children of Israel.
“Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.”
“And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.”
2 Chr 15:1-3
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.”
1 Sam 16:13
“Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.”
“Then the Spirit of the LORD came on me, and he told me to say: ‘This is what the LORD says: That is what you are saying, you leaders in Israel, but I know what is going through your mind.’”
Eze 11:5 NIV
“So Moses went out and relayed to the people the words of the LORD, and he gathered seventy of the elders of the people and had them stand around the tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and He took some of the Spirit that was on Moses and placed that Spirit on the seventy elders. As the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied— but they never did so again.”
God loved His chosen people so much that He handpicked leaders, men and women, to guide, teach, lead, nurture, deliver, and rule them. These handpicked leaders were anointed or empowered by the Spirit of God upon them to prophesy, to deliver, to interpret dreams (Dan 2:27), to have divine favor (Est 2:17, Gen 39:4-6), and to heal (1Ki 17:17-24). But what about us?
The Bible says of us that, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” (Jhn 3:16). It stands to reason that if God loves us as much as He did His chosen people in the Old Testament that He would identify and anoint leaders for us. That is precisely what He did. We see leaders selected by God and anointed by the Spirit of the Lord in the New Testament.
"Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men….And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
Eph 4:8, 12-16
"And God hath set some in the church: first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracle workers, then those with gifts of healing, helpers, administrators, and those with diversity of tongues."
1 Cor 12:28
"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
1 Cor 12:4-11
“And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.”
“Now Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.”
“And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;”
In the New Testament, God calls these leaders “gifts,” but the giving of leaders by God was a concept also seen in the Old Testament. In Exo 3:9-19 we see God sending Moses in response to the cry of His people: “I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I see how the Egyptians are oppressing them. Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country." In 1Sa 8:1-22 we see God give Israel a king, King Saul, and later King David (1Sa 16:1-13).
Some of these Eph 4 gifts and their operation are not new. The Old Testament is full of references to prophets. Even Abraham is referred to as a prophet in Gen 20:7:
“Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.”
Though I am not very familiar with the operation of pastors in the Old Testament, relative to the function of the priests, they are mentioned in the Old Testament. Jer 3:15 says, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” According to the Strong’s Concordance, The Hebrew word rāʿâ, used for pastors in Jer 3:15, occurs 173 times in the Old Testament.
“KJV Translation Count — Total: 173x
The KJV translates Strong's H7462 in the following manner: feed (75x), shepherd (63x), pastor (8x), herdmen (7x), keep (3x), companion (2x), broken (1x), company (1x), devour (1x), eat (1x), entreateth (1x), miscellaneous (10x).”
(Blue Letter Bible, n.d.)
According to the following Scriptures in Jeremiah, these Old Testament “pastors” seem to have a function similar to pastors in the New Testament (feed the sheep, shepherd/keep the sheep):
“LORD, I have not abandoned my job as a shepherd for your people. I have not urged you to send disaster. You have heard everything I’ve said.”
Jer 17:16 NLT
“The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.”
“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
“For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.”
“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.”
The Ephesians Chapter 4 list of gifts God gave us includes apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The Bible says that the body of Christ is edified or built up through these gifts. Further, Eph 4:12-16 says that God uses these gifts to perfect/mature the saints, keep them from being deceived by false doctrine, and mold them into a unified body of Christ, an entity in which every part works together effectively in love.
I believe the Holy Spirit working through these gifts (commonly called the five-fold ministry gifts: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) accomplishes God's will for the body of Christ in Eph 4:12-16. In the passage below, we see Paul exhorting Timothy to preach and to “do the work of an evangelist.”
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
The Ephesians Chapter 4 list, however, is not an exhaustive list of the leaders/gifts God gave us in the New Testament. 1 Cor 12:28 talks of other leaders/gifts "set in the church" by God. Recently, the Holy Spirit showed me in this verse that "miracle workers" and "those with gifts of healing" were set in the Church (capitalized to represent the Church at large) to accomplish His will in the body of Christ. These people are mentioned just after apostles, prophets, and teachers. They are mentioned ahead of or alongside, if you prefer, those with administrative and helping gifts.
As it pertains to healing, this is such a powerful revelation. I had always thought of gifts of healing as something that operated by Holy Spirit according to His will (1 Cor 12:11 NLT “It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts.) He alone decides which gift each person should have.” And what I believed was not inaccurate; it was just incomplete. The revelation I’d had of healing and miracles was that of some less frequently manifested gift of the Spirit.
But the Holy Spirit gave me the revelation in Scripture that healing and miracles were so important to God that He planned them to be part of the Church's structure and operation. God intended for people who work miracles and have gifts of healing to be present in the Church right along with apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, administrators, helpers, those who interpret tongues, etc.
It was a wonderful revelation! It was plainly written in Scripture, but I had not seen it. God set gifts of healing and miracles in the Church just like He did the Eph 4 gifts of apostles, pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets, and those with gifts of administration and helping gifts.
I’d like to examine two New Testament men who operated in the Eph 4 and 1 Cor 12 gifts. Those men are Stephen and Phillip.
“Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’ And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.”
Act 6:2-8 (NKJV)
“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.”
Act 8:5-8 (NKJV)
“On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.”
Act 21:8 (NKJV)
We have seen prophets and pastors in both the Old and New Testaments. What about miracle workers and those operating with gifts of healing? Were those gifts seen in operation in the Old Testament? Yes! God’s leaders in the Old Testament performed miracles (Moses, Daniel, Elijah, Elisha, Sampson, Joshua, etc.), and healings (Elijah (1Ki 17:17-24), Elisha (2Ki 4:18-37)). *See also Appendix A, “42 Miracles and Wonders Performed by Moses. The apostles and the seventy-two sent out by Jesus performed miracles and healings.
If God’s leaders in both the Old and New Testament performed miracles and healings, why wouldn’t we expect the same today? The same Holy Spirit that empowered the Old and New Testament saints is present to move and operate today. Why is it that we in the body of Christ so readily acknowledge and expect the Church to have apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, administrators, and helpers but not miracle workers and those operating with gifts of healing? How has the Church come to diminish the place and the contribution of these gifts in comparison to others that God "set in the church?"
I believe that the devil has attacked and purposely suppressed the revelation of these gifts. Before I describe how the devil has attacked and suppressed the revelation of healing and miracles in the body of Christ and Christian teaching, I’d like to share why I believe he has done so.
As I considered the devil’s motivations, I believe the Holy Spirit made me think about Jesus and why the large crowds followed Him. I believe Jesus attracted large crowds because of the many miracles and healings he performed. Acts 10:38 says, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." Crowds of people assembled to see Jesus perform a miracle or in hopes of being healed. Jesus’ preaching was intertwined with his performance of miracles. Everyone who came to see a miracle or receive healing heard Jesus’ teaching.
In a sense, revival, in the form of a willingness to hear the gospel, was sparked by the healings and miracles Jesus performed. Perhaps the reason the Church doesn't see great revivals anymore is that they aren't aided by the presence of healings and miracles. For my Charismatic and Pentecostal readers, yes, great revival can happen just by a mighty outpouring of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Still, the pattern laid out by Jesus is irrefutable.
If it is true, and I believe that I have shown that it is, that healings and miracles can lead to revival and people coming to believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then it would be in Satan’s best interest to stop it. How does he try to stop it? There are a number of ways the Scriptures show us:
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
Jhn 10:10 (NKJV)
"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."
2 Cor 4:4 (NIV)
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge,…"
"The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred."
"Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."
From the Scriptures above, we can see that Satan's job is to "steal, kill and destroy," while Jesus' mission is to bring abundant life. Satan steals abundance from us using all of the following means referenced in the Scriptures: blindness, lack of knowledge, choking the word, the deceitfulness of other things, and religious tradition.
If Satan can blind you to the truth about miracles and healing and their importance to God, you won't be healed. If Satan can keep you ignorant of the many Scriptures that emphasize healing as a core part of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, you will be destroyed for lack of knowledge. If Satan can get you to accept religious traditions that say healings and miracles have passed away or they are not for all, despite the fact the Bible says God set these gifts in the Church, you won't benefit from these gifts.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Heb 13:8 (NKJV)
“For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
“…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.”
It was God’s will to do miracles and healings/prevent sickness in the Old Testament. He sent Jesus to destroy the works of the devil (e.g., sickness) in the New Testament. Jesus did this as The Holy Spirit empowered him. Jesus raised up other leaders who, by the power of the Spirit, did similar things in line with Jesus’ exhortation:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
Jhn 14:12 (NKJV)
The leaders that Jesus selected raised up other leaders, who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, did miracles and healings. God set healings and miracles in the Church. His will has not changed. In the next chapter, we will look at some modern-day examples of men and women who operated in the gifts of miracles and healing, and we will look at what the devil has done to steal/destroy the operation of these gifts in the body of Christ.
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