COULD THE APOSTLES HEAL
AT THEIR OWN WISHES?
Whether talking of Peter, John, James, Philip, or Paul – there is no word in the New Testament that supports the idea of the apostles performing miracles and healings all by themselves.
For instance, we cannot find one single incident among them, anticipating that they advertised… ‘Healing meeting tonight’ – ‘Come to the portico of Solomon by the Temple, and God shall heal your sickness!’
When reading of signs, miracles and healings in Acts, we do not find that they promised beforehand that God would perform such wonders for them.
In this regard, we do find a sound word of teaching by Paul, 1. Cor. 12:11, AMP Bible web version -
“All these things [the gifts, the achievements, the abilities, the empowering] are brought about by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, distributing to each one individually just as He chooses.”
Paul, after teaching on the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit in verses 1 to 10, he comes to a conclusion which we have to notice: The Holy Spirit works miracles, yes, but ONLY AS HE CHOOSES. It all lies in the hands of God, by His Holy Spirit.
And it says nothing of the Spirit eventually announcing miracles beforehand. He operates entirely spontaneous, as we learn from Acts’ report of how the apostles ministered to the people.
Thus it is entirely unbiblical and in grave error to actually advertise ‘Healing Meetings’ – and so make the believers expect miracles to happen to them. The ‘Crusading Emperors’ are/were known for this false way of advertising their campaigns abroad. The infamous Benny Hinn, Morris Cerullo, Reinhardt Bonnke, and before them – T.L. Osborn…and many others used this method to make people coming expectantly. “Jesus Heals Today” was (and still is) one of many kinds of slogans.
In the time reported in Acts, 28-62 CE, there were no such incidents happening in which the apostles advertised the miracles/healings beforehand. They never promised that people would get healed if they came to a meeting.
Because they knew how the Holy Spirit operated, they did not raid hospitals to heal the sick there. They did not go streets up and streets down, healing every sick person they met. There actually were no ‘Healers’ in their time. Like we see in our time, with the falsehood that goes with it. Hordes of TV-Evangelists and TV-Healers are filling the media and Internet, and all of them into error and heresy. God does not work this in our time. Their teaching and methods used in such ‘healing campaigns’ are not at all supported by the Bible. Not in any manner.
When God did not make His apostles operate by their own wishes and initiative in the apostolic era – when such gifts really were in full operation – then we know for sure that no such thing are operating in our time, as we find that such gifts and power ended as the apostles died within the first century. The well known lie and heresy of Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles 1906-1913 – which formed the early Pentecostal movement, is the very spiritual foundation for all these heretic ‘miracle workers’. It was all a fabrication by man, dreamers and spiritual Hillbillies declaring falsely that ‘Pentecost Has Come’.
SIGNS GIVEN FOR ISRAEL’S REPENTANCE TO JESUS
From reading Mark 16:20 we learn that healings and miracles were given as SIGNS, we are pointed in to know that God used miracles as signs so the Jews (Israel) could believe that He had sent the apostles.
The speaking in tongues, just as well as healings and miracles, all were given as SIGNS to testify of Jesus Christ as the Messiah of God, so that Israel could repent and Jesus returning shortly from heaven.
All signs and miracles in Acts were given for Israel only, so the nation could repent and get Jesus establishing the promised millennial Kingdom on earth.
Acts 3:17-22 is all about this,
«17“Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance [not fully aware of what you were doing], just as your rulers did also.
18And so God has fulfilled what He foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ (Messiah, Anointed) would suffer.
19So repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins] and return [to God—seek His purpose for your life], so that your sins may be wiped away [blotted out, completely erased], so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord [restoring you like a cool wind on a hot day];
20and that He may send [to you] Jesus, the Christ, who has been appointed for you,
21whom heaven must keep until the time for the [complete] restoration of all things about which God promised through the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
22Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR COUNTRYMEN; YOU SHALL LISTEN TO HIM and OBEY everything He tells you.”
THE INCIDENT WITH PAUL AND THE SICK EPAPHRODITUS
Phil. 2:25-27 on the sick Epaphroditus,
“However, I thought it necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, [who has been] my brother and companion and fellow soldier, who was also sent as your messenger to take care of my needs.
26For he has been longing for all of you and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.
27He certainly was sick and close to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.”
It seem to me that when anyone was sick, but only in private situations (not publicly, in the streets or in meetings) – the Holy Spirit chose not to heal as if it was to make a SIGN out of that healing.
In such cases, the believers had to bring this in prayer before God, and await His mercy. Paul is explicit: “But God had mercy on him”.
He recovered from his disease and got well, and Paul witness that this also was a relief to him, for he was very worried over Epaphroditus. Paul could not just, like, lay hands on him…and whoopi…instant healing, just like when Paul healed the lame man at Lystra in Acts 14:8-19. He didn’t even lay hands on him, but just commanded him to stand upon his feet. You see the difference?
What we see in this, is how much importance God and the Holy Spirit laid on healings used as SIGNS to make Israel believe in Christ.
In Epaphroditus’ case we cannot find any remarks on his healing from sickness as a SIGN…so that many Jews started to believe on Christ.
If God wanted to make a SIGN He would have healed him instantly AND PREFERABLY IN PUBLIC.
PAUL AND TROPHIMUS LEFT BEHIND
2 Tim. 4:20,
“Erastus stayed on at Corinth, but I left Trophimus sick at Miletus.”
Here, as opposed to the case with Epaphroditus, Paul had left Trophimus at Miletus sick. He did not get to heal him by the gift of healing, which had been so evident in Paul’s ministry all the time. Why so?
I believe that the Holy Spirit CHOSE not to work this healing by Paul’s ministry for a reason. God only knows. Paul could not choose to do this wanted healing all by himself, or just because he wanted to see him healed. It is very evident so.
This verse does not say that Trophimus was not healed. But Paul had to get onboard the ship to go to Israel, so he could not spend any more time to care for him. This means, that Trophimus was left in care of the Ephesian assembly, and for all what we know, he might have recovered. I believe he was, if you are asking me.
If the apostles were able to heal at their own pleasure, then Trophimus would have been healed.
Peter healing the lame beggar near the temple gate in Acts 3, was given as a mighty SIGN. But if Peter had taken this beggar (have someone to carry him) inside in more silent quarters, and gotten him healed, this effect would not have been the same. The whole place was astonished by such a miracle, and a great number of Jews came to faith in Christ. And the Pharisees got angry, again…and reprimanded Peter, John and the others.
Peter raising Tabitha from the dead was a mighty SIGN – even if that happened not in a public place or a meeting, but inside a sleeping room. But it is obvious that there was no need to have dead risen in public, for the whole congregation of believers brought this out to the entire town of Jaffa, Acts 9:36-42. Notice that Peter fell on his knees and prayed to God, before he spoke to her to stand up, v. 40. I am sure Peter asked God for His mercy and grace!
But when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, this was a SIGN so great it shook the whole region there, in Judea! He had lain in the tomb for four days. John 11:38-48,
38So Jesus, again deeply moved within [to the point of anger], approached the tomb. It was a cave, and a boulder was lying against it [to cover the entrance].
39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be an offensive odor, for he has been dead four days! [It is hopeless!]”
40Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe [in Me], you will see the glory of God [the expression of His excellence]?”
41So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes [toward heaven] and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
42“I knew that You always hear Me and listen to Me; but I have said this because of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You have sent Me [and that You have made Me Your representative].” (Editor’s emphasize)
43When He had said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44Out came the man who had been dead, his hands and feet tightly wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] cloth wrapped around his face. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and release him.”
45So then, many of the Jews who had come to [be with] Mary and who were eyewitnesses to what Jesus had done, believed in Him. (Editor’s emphazise)
46But some of them went back to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47So the chief priests and Pharisees convened a council [of the leaders in Israel], and said, “What are we doing? For this man performs many signs (attesting miracles). (Editor’s emphazise)
48“If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our [holy] place (the temple) and our nation.”
Just think about it: Jesus delayed his travel back to Judea for two days, knowing Lazarus would be dead when they arrived there! Why?
He explained to them the IMPORTANCE OF MIRACLES GIVEN ISRAEL AS A SIGN. (See verse 42 in which Jesus explained it to them).
Miracles given as SIGNS runs all through the New Testament, except for Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon. In other words, in all the scripture written in the time of Acts, 28-62 CE.
Acts testifies that such SIGNS were attached firmly to the apostles of Christ, and nobody else. After these apostles died, Paul and John as the last ones, in the first century – there were no more SIGNS, no more tongues speaking, or prophesying, or healings…whatever. And God never sent a supposed repetition of Acts 2 Pentecost in Los Angeles 1906, like the Pentecostal movement is propagating.
Much the same effect of a SIGN was the case when Peter healed Aeneas, as the people in two towns – Lydda and Sharon – heard of it, and many came to faith in Christ, Acts 9:32-35. In this case he simply (led by the Spirit) spoke to Aeneas telling him that Jesus Christ was now healing him. It could be different all depending on the case at hand. Actually – it was Jesus Who healed Aeneas…since that was what Peter told him. It was used by God as a SIGN.
Acts 5:12-16 is maybe the strongest word on the importance of healing miracles being used by God as SIGNS to Israel,
«12At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders (attesting miracles) were continually taking place among the people. And by common consent they all met together [at the temple] in [the covered porch called] Solomon’s portico.
13But none of the rest [of the people, the non-believers] dared to associate with them; however, the people were holding them in high esteem and were speaking highly of them.
14More and more believers in the Lord, crowds of men and women, were constantly being added to their number,
15to such an extent that they even carried their sick out into the streets and put them on cots and sleeping pads, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on one of them [with healing power].
16And the people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing the sick and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.”
Having read this, we are again reminded of Mark 16:20,
“ And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord was working with them and confirming the word by the signs that followed.]” (Editor’s emphasize).