What Does it Mean That “By
His Stripes We Are Healed”?
Editor: Jan Lilleby
This article is found on a website, …gotquestions.org, and I found it very interesting because there is a misunderstanding out there regarding this. In Pentecostal/Charismatic circles this is most often taken as a “guarantee” from God, that we as believers can just grab miraculous healing. The brutal punishment and afflictions laid upon Jesus Christ, as He was crucified, are used not only to give us salvation and forgiveness of sins, but also healing from sicknesses!
But as we scrutinize this topic to learn whether this is so, it is revealed to us by the Scriptures that the stripes and sufferings and death of Christ, were not for anyone’s sicknesses and earthly troubles physically, no, it all has to do with our fallen nature and spiritual lacking.
I can add to this article from gotquestions.org that it is proven that the ‘stripes and wounds’ of Jesus were for the sake of the national salvation of Israel. God points to the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom, as we read Paul quoting Isaiah 6 to the Sanhedrin Counsel at Rome, Acts 28:25-28. It goes,
Ampl. Bible – verse 27, “For the heart (the understanding, the soul) of this people (Israel) has grown dull (stupid, hardened and calloused), and their ears are heavy and hard of hearing and they have shut tight their eyes, so that they may perceive and have knowledge and become acquainted with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their souls and turn (to Me and be converted), that I may heal them.” (My emphasizing).
It does not say “that I may heal their sicknesses and diseases” – leaving no other realistic alternative than to understand that God offered to Israel to restore Israel as a nation – the same issue which His disciples brought up, after Jesus’ forty days of teaching on the Kingdom of God (the millennia) as we read Acts 1:6,
“So when they were assembled, they asked Him, Lord, is this the time (Jesus spoke of the baptism with the Holy Spirit in v. 5) when You will reestablish the kingdom and restore it to Israel?”
But someone might object still: What then of Jesus’ healing the sick in His earthly ministry? And to – sort of – trying to fill this ‘gap’ they come up with yet another heresy to try to defend the present one regarding ‘healing in Jesus’ stripes’ – they go quoting Hebr. 13:8 on Jesus being the same today as He was in the past, thus He will heal the sick in our time. But I have dealt with that heresy in another article here on my website. Hebr. 13:8 speaks not of Jesus still doing things…healings for instance…but it is regarding His unchangeable everlasting character and person! He IS THE SAME, and it never meant DOES THE SAME.
When checking out what usually comes from Pentecostalism and the Charismatics, we find that Hebr. 13:8 plus quoting Isaiah 53:5 on the stripes of Jesus, are absolute favorite quotations in every campaign they arrange, especially when the topic is miracles/healings! Among the first known evangelists and pastors using these passages, we find T.L. Osborn, A.A. Allen, Oral Roberts, William Branham, and a long, long list of followers up until our time. Several of their historic campaigns can be viewed on YouTube. You can hear them and see them as they kept on in their derailed Bible quoting. Yes, they promoted lies as they took these Bible passages over into a misunderstood sphere…into a ‘dream-scenario’ using it as a magic occult formula.
So, here starts the article of gotquestions.org:
“Stripes,” (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24) in the language of the King James Version of the Bible, and in some others, means “wounds,” as seen in more modern translations such as the New International Version. These stripes were administered by whipping the bare backs of prisoners whose hands and feet were bound, rendering them helpless. The phrase “by His stripes we are healed” refers to the punishment Jesus Christ suffered—floggings and beatings with fists that were followed by His agonizing death on a cross—to take upon Himself all of the sins of all people who believe Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
The whips used were made of braided leather, with pottery shards and sharp stones affixed to the ends, which tore open the flesh of the prisoner with each cruel swing of the whip. When we picture this terrible, inhumane form of physical punishment we recoil in horror. Yet the physical pain and agony were not all Jesus suffered. He also had to undergo the mental anguish brought on by the wrath of His Father, who punished Him for the sinfulness of mankind—sin carried out in spite of God’s repeated warnings, sin that Jesus willingly took upon Himself. He paid the total price for all of our transgressions.
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Peter wrote, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.” In Isaiah 53, Jesus’ future life on earth was foretold in the clearest of terms, to include his eventual torture and death: “But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds (stripes) we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).
Although these two verses are central to the topic of healing, they are often misunderstood and misapplied. The word “healed” as translated from both Hebrew and Greek, can mean either spiritual or physical healing. However, the contexts of Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 2 make it clear that they are referring to spiritual healing, not physical. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). The verse is referring to sin and righteousness, not sickness and disease. Therefore, being “healed” in both these verses is speaking of being forgiven and saved, not being physically healed.
Matthew uses Isaiah 53:5 and speaks of its fulfillment in the context of Jesus’ healing ministry: “Many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases’” (Matthew 8:16–17). Jesus was not actually bearing sin in Matthew 8, but He was bearing some of the consequences of sin; thus, Jesus showed Himself to be the true Messiah prophesied by Isaiah. In healing the multitudes of their physical ailments, Jesus proved His power to also heal them of their spiritual ailments (cf. Mark 2:8–12). Matthew finds in Jesus’ healing miracles a foretaste of Jesus’ atonement for sin: the bearing of the diseases was emblematic of the removal of sin. The ultimate cause of sickness, the sin of the world, would be borne later on the cross, and our ultimate physical healing, with resurrection, will come at the end (1 Corinthians 15:42).