There are a few believers who claim to have been given the gift of healing and other manifestations of the Holy Spirit, but the vast majorities within Christendom believe that such ability was temporary, ending with the death of the Apostles and the complete canon of Scripture; but is this really the case?
Matthew 4: 23-24
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria, and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.
Mark 16: 17-18
And these signs will follow those who have believed: In My name (1) they will cast out demons; (2) they will speak with new tongues; (3) they will take up serpents; and (4) if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; (5) they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.
NOTE: Did Jesus mean for miraculous works to be available for the fortunate few in His generation up to the First Century, but not continue in effect until He returns again?
Luke 10: 19
“Behold, I give you [the “seventy” disciples] the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
NOTE: There are Bible scholars who question the verses of MARK 16: 9-20, because these are not contained in the earliest manuscripts, but the gospel of LUKE seem to contain essentially the same information as in MARK.
*Mark 16: 20*
And they went out and preached everywhere, the LORD working with [through] them and “confirming” the word through the accompanying [miraculous] signs.
NOTE: This is the reassurance of authenticating the truthfulness (veracity) of the word and the power in serving the only true and Living God.
John 14: 12
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 the Father.
Acts 1: 5
“For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit [Ruach ha Kodesh] not many days from now.”
Then Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
NOTE: This is perhaps one of the most misunderstood verses in the entire New Testament because a believer can receive remission of sins but it does not automatically mean they will receive the [a special] “gift” to service or ministry of [from] the Holy Spirit.
Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken [like as of an earthquake??]; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
5: 12a, 15
And through the hands of the Apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people (Cp. 4: 33). So that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them [for healing].
Then Philip (Cp. 6: 5a) 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.
But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshiach], both men and women were baptized. Now when the Apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had not fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the LORD Jesus [for the remission of sins]. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
NOTE: This is very instructive and reinforces the comment at Acts 2: 38 because here is a specific case where people believed and were baptized for the remission of sins but had not as of yet received [the gift of] the Holy Spirit.
9: 17, 18b
And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the LORD Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
NOTE: Some Bible teachers and theologians today contend that another reason for believers not performing miraculous works is that an Apostle has to lay hands on an individual, like Peter and John coming to Samaria in order for this to take place. In this instance, however, there is no mention that Ananias was an Apostle (Cp. 9: 10-11).
Now God anointed Jesus [Yeshua] of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit [Ruach ha Kodesh] and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
COMMENTARY: If only the Christian Church today really understood the awesome responsibility and authority that she has, namely, to proclaim and re-introduce to an unbelieving world that the Kingdom of God is more than just a religious experience but rather it is the divine government and power of the Creator impacting and changing society in all areas. There are far too many individuals in hospitals, mental institutions, or living with cancer, diabetes, immune disorders, heart attacks, birth defects, addicted to alcohol and drugs, pornography, sickness, diseases, blindness, paralysis or lameness, suicidal tendencies or clinical depression, etc., and all the average believer does [including the author] is attend worship services for the traditional Bible study and hearing a sermon preached, singing hymns, praying, and tithing. On a few limited occasions when a visitor seeks a miraculous healing and it doesn’t happen, the petitioner’s lack of ‘faith’ is often used as the reason for this failure.
Among various denominations within Christianity are echoes of the popular refrain about receiving the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost but what is the evidence of this experience? It is more than just “repentance” [teshuvah] and living under the Lordship of Jesus [Yeshua], even if a believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (Cp. 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20). To be sure, there are members of Pentecostal and Holiness congregations who speak in tongues and even priests in the Catholic Church practice the centuries-old rite of performing exorcisms, but outside of these and a few scant other such practices, the Christian Church as a whole is woefully lacking in manifesting to a significant extent the miraculous healing gift of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 4: 20
For the kingdom of God is not in word [preaching or teaching, only] but in power [of the Holy Spirit]. SEE 1 Corinthians 12: 1, 4-11.
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July 27, 2010
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