Divine Healing is Not New
From Divine Healing, by John G Lake
Beloved, I feel a personal responsibility in speaking to you on the subject of divine healing. This truth was very little known and still less understood prior to the arrival of Brother Tom Hezmalhalch and myself upon these shores, in connection with the introduction and the establishment of the Apostolic Faith Mission in this land.
We had prayerfully considered this subject on our way from America to this country, and had come to the decision that the present was an opportune time to separate this truth from the dogmas and traditions which bound it, and to send it forth on broader lines in harmony with our conception of the truth as it is revealed to us in the Scriptures.
You will therefore appreciate my feelings as I undertake to address you tonight on this subject.
It is affirmed by the thoughtless that we teach new doctrines. It is not so, for…Divine Healing Is Not New.
It has come to us through a process of progressive revelation running parallel with man’s history and perfected in the vicarious death and suffering of our Lord on Calvary.
In its stages of evolution and development, it finds its illustration and parallel in the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which advances from a revelation from God to man in the patriarchal age to that of God dwelling and abiding with man in the Mosaic age, and reaches its climax in the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the Christian dispensation—which is God in man, whereby man becomes the habitation of God through the Spirit.
In Exodus 15:26, God revealed Himself to the people of Israel under His covenant name of Jehovah-Rapha, or “the Lord that healeth thee.”
There at the waters of Marah, after they had escaped from the Egyptians and Egyptian medical practitioners by crossing the Red Sea, God made with them…an Everlasting Covenant.
There he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, and said, “if thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
The covenants of God are as unchangeable and eternal as Himself. The covenant of divine healing stands today as steadfast and irrevocable as the day it was made by the eternal, immutable God at the waters of Marah. It is writ large upon the pages of Holy Writ. Saints have rejoiced in it; prophets have confirmed it; David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, sang in inspired verse of its validity:
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases (Psalm 103:1–3).
Jesus Christ, who was God manifest in the flesh, demonstrated the perpetuity of that covenant in Himself, “healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23); by communicating the power of healing the sick to all believers (see Mark 16:15–17); and through the Holy Ghost, placing “the gifts of healing” (1 Corinthians 12:9) as a perpetual manifestation of His power and presence in the church through all ages.
Jesus Christ, like any great reformer, had a specific mission to fulfill. This was outlined in the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah. (See Isaiah 61:1–2.) In the synagogue at Nazareth, at the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus announced the essential points embraced in that ministry imposed upon Him, and which He said was now being fulfilled. Healing was one of the conspicuous features of that ministry, as we read in the fourth chapter of Luke:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18–19)
Like a true reformer and the Son of God, He put His mission into immediate effect and practice. How did He do it? Read the fourth chapter of Matthew, and you will see the evolution of the ministry of healing:
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
In the ninth chapter of Luke, we read of the first step taken by our Lord suggestive of the broadening, progressive scope of this ministry of healing, by sending forth…Twelve Other Men with Power to Heal.
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1–2)
And He said unto them, “Take a thousand pounds a year.” Is that it? [Voices: No!] Then what is it?
And he said unto them, take nothing for your journey, neither staves, not scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.(verse 3)
Oh, my! That is not much like your modern preachers! Today it means the finest house in town, the highest salary, the smartest carriage and horses! Everybody bows down before this display of so much worldly pomp and temporal greatness! These are some of the reasons why the church has lost spiritual power and stands impotent in the presence of sickness and suffering. To hide her feebleness and inefficiency, she takes refuge under the discreditable subterfuge that the gifts of healing have been withdrawn and the age of miracles is past. No wonder infidelity is eating the heart out of the church of God! Has Jehovah-Rapha, the eternal covenant God, changed? Or, is the modern disciple of a different stamp and pattern than they whom Jesus called in the days of His flesh? Truly, the change is in the disciple and not in the one unchangeable Lord and Master. I find that the old-time power is to be had today by the old-time men who are willing to walk and work and suffer and die to get this gospel of Christ to people everywhere.
He endued the twelve with the power. And in the tenth chapter of Luke we read how the Lord took an additional step to the extension of the scope of the ministry of divine healing by sending forth…Seventy More Men with the Power to Heal.
“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also” (Luke 10:1); and in verse 9 we read that Jesus commanded them to “heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” There were now eighty-three men endued with this power: Christ Himself, the twelve disciples, and the seventy more. At the close of the forty days separating the event of the crucifixion from that of the ascension, our Lord still further extends the range of the ministry of healing by furnishing…Every Believer with the Power to Heal the Sick.
Every person, in every age, in every land, who has faith in the living, eternal, covenant-keeping God is empowered to lay hands upon the sick, and “they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). The general terms of that great extension of the ministry of healing are found in that great and final commission given in Matthew 28: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (verse 18).
Beloved, has He lost any of that power? Never! He is still the Son of God.
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.(Matthew 28:18–20)
Is He with us still? Yes, bless God. Is He changed? No. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29). God has never repented of having placed the gifts of the Holy Ghost in the church. In the name of Jesus Christ, I challenge any man to show by the Word of God that the gifts and power of God were withdrawn. We have lost the old-time faith—that is where the trouble is! Having forsaken God to lean upon the arms of flesh, and the fountain of living waters for broken cisterns that can hold no water (see Jeremiah 2:13), let us honestly acknowledge our sin and return to the Lord our God.
Having examined the general terms of that extension of the ministry of healing, let us now consider the peculiar characteristic, the trademark of God’s endorsement, which was to be the accompanying circumstance, the continuous sign and symbol of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is given in the sixteenth chapter of Mark:
Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:14–18)
“And these signs.” These are God’s own mark and endorsement of the faithful preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We know the goods by the trademark that they beat. These signs are God’s eternal trademark, issued by the Son of God, and sealed in His own blood. The devil has tried to rob us of it by telling the preachers and teachers that these verses are an interpolation, and not found in the Sinaitic manuscript of the New Testament. The Sinaitic manuscript was, however, only written in the fourth century. That these verses are authentic has been proved from the writings of the church fathers, which were written prior to the Sinaitic manuscript, and less than two hundred and seventy years after Christ.
This is a matter of history. Lord Hailes, an eighteenth century Scottish writer, is our authority. He tells us that at a dinner at Edinburgh, it was decided that a compilation of the New Testament be made from the New Testament references and quotations found in the writings of the church fathers, previous to ad 300. The whole was completed some years ago and found identical with our present edition, except that it lacked seven verses in Hebrews, and these have since been forthcoming. Preachers and teachers of God’s Word, don’t make any more infidels with such an excuse, but rather confess that the faith to get results is lacking, that the Word is true, that the failure is on the human side.
Have you noticed how frequently church officers and members say, “Oh, I don’t believe this or that portion of God’s Word!” Why don’t they? How could they when the Word of God is continually twisted out of its original sense and meaning by those whose vocation should be to guard it as a sacred deposit? This wresting of the Scriptures is responsible for the unwarranted belief that the gifts of the Holy Ghost have been withdrawn.
Jesus said, “These signs shall follow [not the doubter, but] them that believe; in my name [the name of Jesus] shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Someone asks, “What does it mean to cast out devils?” It means that the man with the Holy Ghost dwelling within him is the master and has dominion over every devilish force and counterfeit. At Johannesburg, someone said, “Your power is hypnotism.” One night, God demonstrated through us the falsity of that accusation. The power that is within the true Christian is the power of the living Christ, and “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
I can best illustrate this by introducing an incident in my own personal ministry.
The Power of God against Hypnotism
In the Johannesburg Tabernacle, at a Sunday evening service about a year ago, God instantly healed a lame girl. She came from Germiston. She had been suffering for three-and-a-half years from what the doctors said was either an extreme case of rheumatism or the first stage of hip disease. She was not able to get up the steps without assistance when she came to the platform to be prayed for. They asked her, “How long have you been sick?”
She said, “For three-and-a-half years.”
“Have the doctors treated you?”
“Yes; for two-and-a-half years, and then they gave me up.”
“Who has been treating you for the last year?”
Just then, a well-known hypnotist arose in the audience and moved forward and took the front seat. The leader said, “Never mind about the hypnotist; Jesus is going to heal you right now. In two minutes you will be well.” They laid hands on her and prayed, and instantly the Lord delivered her, and she walked up and down the platform several times to demonstrate to herself and the audience that she was well.
The leader said:
I stepped back and looked at her, my heart going out in praise to God for His mercy, when suddenly the Spirit of the Lord descended upon me in power—not in any gentle influence, but with a mighty intense power—a spirit of revulsion against the spirit in the hypnotist. I stepped on the platform directly in front of him and said, “Are you the man who has been hypnotizing this woman?”
He replied, “Yes, I am.” He rose to his feet and looked towards me in a challenging attitude.
I said to him, “In the name of Jesus Christ, you will never hypnotize anybody again.” And before I realized what I was doing, I reached over the front of the platform, grasped his collar with my left hand, while with my right I slapped him on the back, saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, you come out of him now.” I said, “go and hypnotize another if you can.”
He laughed at me and said, “Do you mean to tell me that I cannot hypnotize anybody?”
I said, “Yes, sir, that is the end of the thing. The devil that caused you to hypnotize people is out.”
He worked all night in an endeavor to hypnotize some subjects, and in the morning at six came to my house saying, “This is a mighty serious business, mister, this is my bread and butter.” He wanted me to give him back the power to hypnotize.
I explained to him that it was not I but Jesus who had cast out the devil. I added, “Brother, it looks to me as if the Lord wanted you to earn an honest living.”
He cancelled his engagement at the theatre where he was billed to give exhibitions, and last heard of, he was working in the mine and earning an honest living.
That demonstrated there is a mighty manifestation of the Spirit of God that has dominion over every other power. It is still true that in His name we shall cast out devils.
Brother Fisher and “They Shall Take Up Serpents’’
This afternoon I heard a brother ask, “What about ‘They shall take up serpents?” Let me tell you a story. Brother Fisher of Los Angeles, California, told me this incident in his own life. He was a Baptist minister at Glendale, a suburb of Los Angeles.
One morning my wife called me up on the telephone and said the water pipe beneath the house was broken. I went home about ten in the morning. I opened the little door in the basement of the house and, on putting my hand in to feel for the pipe, I was bitten by a serpent. At once I commenced to swell. The poison worked into my body fast. What was I to do? I said, “God, Your Word says, ‘They shall take up serpents.’ I trust You for this; You must heal me or I die.”
That afternoon and evening my sufferings were terrible. By midnight my blood was so congealed I was well nigh insensible. Oh, I shall never forget that sense of death creeping over me, steadily, surely, until three in the morning. I could pray no more. I ceased to struggle, I fell to the floor, and that instant God healed me. The life of God thrilled through my body, and I was healed. It is true, “They shall take up serpents.”
Brother Tom and “They Shall Take Up Serpents’’
Let me give you another illustration of “taking up serpents.” It is an event in the life of Brother Tom Hezmalhalch, one of the pastors of the Apostolic Faith Mission in Johannesburg. Brother Tom, as we call him for short, is a man of great faith and simple trust in God. (He has since returned to America.)
In Southern California, during one of the harvest seasons, I had an honest young infidel working for me. The young man was engaged in loading, and I was pitching sheaves on the load, when he said, ‘Brother Tom, do you believe in the Bible?’
I said, “Every word of it.”
He said, “Do you believe in Mark 16:18?”
I said, “I do.”
He answered, “I have never yet met the person who does.”
I prayed silently to Jesus, that if He wanted to convince this young man of the truth of His Word, that He send along a snake, and I would take it up. Soon I heard a hissing sound from under the sheaves. I said, “Jesus sent you along; I want you.” I grabbed the snake some distance from the head, and I lifted it up to my friend on the wagon. He looked at me and then said, “Kill it! Kill it!”
“No,” I said, “Jesus sent it along; I am going to let it go about its own business.”
After a while he laughed, and said, “Tom, that was only a common Californian snake.”
I judged from his expression he was not satisfied with the test. I prayed again. “Jesus, why did You send along a common snake? If you want to convince this man, send along a venomous one.”
Not long after, I heard the hiss of another snake. I cried, “Hold on there; I want you,” and laying hold of it as I did the former one, I held it up to my friend, saying, “How about Mark 16:18?”
He turned pale and said hastily, “Drop it! Drop it! Kill it.”
I put it quietly down after stroking its head and body with my other hand, and said, “Go on, Jesus sent you here, I’ll not kill you.”
When my friend could speak, for he was pale and shocked, he said, “Tom, did you know what kind of a snake that was?”
I said, “No.”
He replied, “That was a deadly viper, and if it had bitten you, you would be a dead man.”
I said, “It could not bite. Jesus would not permit it.”
I don’t pretend to have that kind of faith, but I am not going to belittle it in the man who has. I am, I trust, man and Christian enough to praise God when I see someone going further than I can.
“If They Drink Any Deadly Thing, It Shall Not Hurt Them”
You ask, “What about, ‘If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them?’” History abounds with instances in which the early Christians were compelled to drink the juice of the deadly hemlock, but through faith in Jesus, one of the deadliest of poisons became as harmless as water. According to your faith be it done unto you. (See Matthew 9:29.)
My own sister’s son, Fred Moffatt, when a child, entered his father’s workshop and ate some Paris green. My sister and brother-in-law sent for me. I quoted the words of our Savior, “And if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” Upon this precious promise of God we rested, and Jesus healed the child. (His parents now reside at 4 Milbourn Road, Bertrams, Johannesburg, and their son was a student at the Marist Brothers Schools and has since returned to America.)
I have outlined the development and progressive revelation of divine healing from the covenant at Marah, and on through succeeding dispensations until it is perfected in the redemption wrought by Christ on Calvary. The blessings of healing in the old as well as the new dispensation flow from the atonement that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, made for man’s sin and sickness on the cross of Calvary.
In Matthew, we read:
He cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Matthew 8:16–17)
In the general epistle of James, through the inspired writer, the Holy Ghost instructs the Christian what to do when sick.
Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”
In spite of the clear, convincing testimony of the Scriptures and the ever accumulating cloud of witnesses who testify of healing received through faith in Jesus, many preachers and teachers are still found blindly rejecting the truth to their own final discomfiture and undoing.
God Has a Controversy with the Church in Africa
Your own prophet, the Reverend Andrew Murray, was healed of God at Bethshan, London, England, of a throat disease that medical skill had proved itself impotent to heal. Thirty years ago the reverend gentleman wrote a book containing the fundamental teaching on divine healing. Why was it withdrawn from circulation? Why is it not possible to obtain this book at any of the Christian literature depots in Africa?
Why? Because the preachers foresaw that the members of their churches would call upon them for the exercise of that faith which saves the sick! They feared the ordeal which would test their faith in God and the value of their own prayers! Instead of confessing their spiritual poverty and inefficiency and reaching out to touch the springs of life and power in God, they fell back into a state of even greater spiritual apathy and inertness, being satisfied with the cold externals of religious forms and observances, which without the indwelling life-giving power and presence of the Holy Ghost have no saving grace or spiritual virtue.
Divine Healing Is the Seal of God’s Acknowledgment
Divine healing is the seal of God’s acknowledgment and the proof to the world that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. John the Baptist was in prison. He was troubled with doubts as to whether Jesus was the Christ. He sent two of his disciples to Jesus to put the question, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3). Jesus’ answer was to appeal to the signs of His ministry. These were, and are still, God’s answer to doubt or unbelief:
Go and show John again these things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. (Matthew 11:4–6)
These are still God’s seal and endorsement of the preaching of the true gospel. The preaching that lacks the signs that Jesus promised lacks the divine attestation by which God confirms the preaching of as own true gospel. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).
And at the end of the age as at the beginning, the command of Jesus Christ to all workers everywhere is:
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:15–18)
The results now, as then, will be, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” (Mark 16:20).
My Grace Is Sufficient for Thee
The other evening I was riding home after a heavy day’s work; I felt very wearied, and sore depressed, when swiftly, and suddenly as a lightning flash, that text came to me: “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:9). I reached home and looked it up in the original, and at last it came to me in this way: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” I said, “I should think it is, Lord,” and burst out laughing. I never fully understood what the holy laughter of Abraham was until then. It seemed to make unbelief so absurd. It was as though some little fish, being very thirsty, was troubled about drinking the river dry, and Father Thames said, “Drink away, little fish, my stream is sufficient for thee.”
Or, it seemed like a little mouse in the granaries of Egypt, after the seven years of plenty, fearing it might die of famine. Joseph might say, “Cheer up, little mouse, my granaries are sufficient for thee.” Again, I imagined a man away up yonder, in a lofty mountain, saying to himself, “I breathe so many cubic feet of air every year; I fear I shall exhaust the oxygen in the atmosphere.” But the earth might say, “Breathe away, O man, and fill thy lungs ever, my atmosphere is sufficient for thee.” Oh, brethren, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your souls.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. (Psalm 36:8)
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
But my God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
Jehovah fills to the brim the vessels faith presents to Him.
The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you, if surrendered to Christ, is the shaped tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him then. Do not push away the instrument lest you lose its work.
A Nickel for the Lord
Yesterday he wore a rose on the lapel of his coat, but when the plate was passed today, he gave a nickel to the Lord. He had several bills in his pocket and sundry change, perhaps a dollar’s worth, but he hunted about, and finding this poor little nickel, he laid it on the plate to aid the church militant in its fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. His silk hat was beneath the seat, and his gloves and cane were beside it, and the nickel was on the plate—a whole nickel.
On Saturday afternoon he met a friend, and together they had some refreshments. The cash register stamped thirty-five cents on the slip the boy presented to him. Peeling off a bill he handed it to the lad and gave him a nickel tip when he brought back the change. A nickel for the Lord and a nickel for the waiter.
And the man had his shoes polished on Saturday afternoon and handed out a dime without a murmur. He had a shave and paid fifteen cents with equal alacrity. He took a box of candies home to his wife and paid forty cents for them, and the box was tied with a dainty bit of ribbon. Yes, and he also gave a nickel to the Lord.
Who is this Lord? Who is He? Why, the man worships Him as Creator of the universe, the One who puts the stars in order, and by whose immutable decree the heavens stand. Yes, he does, and he dropped a nickel in to support the church militant.
And what is the church militant?
The church militant is the church that represents upon the earth the triumphant church of the great God.
And the man knew that he was an atom in space, and he knew that the almighty was without limitations, and knowing this he put his hand in his pocket, and picked out the nickel, and gave it to the Lord.
And the Lord being gracious, and slow to anger, and knowing our frame, did not slay the man for the meanness of his offering but gives him this day his daily bread.
But the nickel was ashamed, if the man was not.
The nickel hid beneath a quarter that was given by a poor woman who washes for a living.