The Place of Physical Healing In View of Paul’s Post-Acts 28 Prayer Verses
Acts 28:28 Be it known therefore unto you (Israel), that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
Paul clearly is “THE Apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom 11:13). Yet, prior to Acts 28:28 and from the time of his conversion, Paul went “to the Jew first” (Rom 1:16) offering them vital revelation information concerning the efficacy of the cross of Christ, which they will need knowledge of in the tribulation and in the kingdom on earth. Thus, Paul’s first six epistles are for both Jew and Gentile for their two respective, different, callings.
However, in Paul’s seven so-called ‘prison epistles’ (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus and Philemon) that were written AFTER the Acts 28:28 when there was a break with Israel because these are purely ‘grace epistles’ for the Gentiles, not concerning Israel but “the church which is His body” (Eph 1:22b-23a). These epistles are purely ‘grace age epistles’ for the members of the Gentile “body of Christ.” They are free of Israel’s religious rites and rituals that pertain to Israel only, such as, water baptisms, Sabbaths, the Lord’s Table, food restriction, etc.; cf. Col 2:16-17).
Paul’s Post-Acts epistles consist of the full present complete blessing upon “all men” who will believe Paul’s grace gospel during this age of “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2), wherein there are no more distinctions at all between Jews or Gentiles racially – “all are one in Christ” (Gal 3:28).
These verses listed below are in view of the present fullness of God’s favor, blessing, and enduement with power, within each member of the “body of Christ.” Thus, we now having all the riches of Christ within us to be our ALL-sufficient life-supply for enduring whatever trials life brings, as occurs unto all men. Believers today have need of nothing and they cannot be separated from continuing ever-present love and constant favor of God regardless of the circumstance they face. God is spirit (John 4:4) and the blessing we enjoy are spiritual, such we have the resurrection life of Christ in us to be our daily life supply.
Having such all-sufficiency and ever-present enduement with His resurrection life, prayer here in these verses below concern higher matters than the temporal physical issues of our individual human lives. These prayers of Paul mainly concern;
1) Prayer that that the word of God, the mystery gospel of “Christ in you” (Col 1:27) would ‘have free course,’
2) Prayer is for “the knowledge of His will” and
3) for the expression of the knowledge of the riches of Christ’s life and character IN the believers as result of receiving Paul’s gospel of the grace of God and the INDWELLING CHRIST.
Thus, NO ‘prayer’ here concerns one’s physical situations, health or material wealth.
Ephesians 1:16-18 (I Paul) Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit Of Wisdom And Revelation In The Knowledge Of Him: 18 The eyes of your Understanding Being Enlightened; that ye may Know What Is The Hope Of His Calling, And What The Riches Of The Glory Of His Inheritance IN The Saints,
Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in Knowledge and in all judgment;
Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the Knowledge Of His Will In All Wisdom And Spiritual Understanding;
1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and Fulfil All The Good Pleasure Of His Goodness, And The Work Of Faith With Power:
2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, That The Word Of The Lord May Have Free Course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
1 Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, Without Wrath and Doubting.
2 Timothy 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Let’s now consider the application of Paul’s foregoing view of prayer in this age of His glorious grace.
Grace believers have received Christ not only as Savior and also His resurrected overcoming “Spirit of life” as their new all-sufficient LIFE. During this age of “the grace of God” we have already been “Blessed with ALL Spiritual Blessings in Heavenly Places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 1:3). In their elevated and glorified position, believers today have died with Christ already and been raised already, being now seated together with Him and in Him far above all principality and power.
The pure grace believer’s hopes are not linked to Israel’s program and hope that is tied to the physical or a renewed earth, the physical realm, at all. Our hope is of the “new heaven,” now being eternal citizens of heaven itself. Our destiny is not to sit upon thrones on earth to judge Israel and the nations with the Twelve Apostles to Israel. Rather is to demonstrate the overcoming power of His indwelling life as our all. Ours is to be a demonstration the Lord’s wonderful grace and His overcoming power. As such believers we should come to find Christ as our ALL by our daily experience of His overcoming life within us. We KNOW and embrace the truth that ALL things are working for the good for we who are being conformed to the image of His Son. We live with an eternal viewpoint in mind as we face life’s issues.
2 Cor 4:16-18 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man (of the body) perish, yet the inward man (of the soul) is renewed day by day. 17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and Eternal Weight of Glory; 18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Many believers today are confused about the matter of God and ‘physical healing’ as was promised to Israel in the coming kingdom on earth. Some ignorantly say there is no “divine” healing today. The simple answer to the question is that God can and does heal whomever He wishes according to His plan of the ages and His mercy. It doesn’t behoove us as His body members to question His decision today on healing as we should not on any other matter occurring in our lives. The issue is; what is His plan for us individually as members of His body while we are yet on earth.
Does He use doctors as healers? Once again, He can and may or may not use any means any time, as He wishes. The Scriptures give us information of His plan during current “dispensation of the grace of God.” So, let’s see “What saith the Scripture? (Rom 4:3)”
As we read Mark 16 and various scriptures referring to a time before Acts 28:28, there is no question that healing had been done by the power of God at the hands of the Apostles. As we look at Acts 19:11-12, we see that “…God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul.” Verse 12 speaks of Him using handkerchiefs and aprons to heal people. He also chased “evil spirits” from people. Even as late as Acts 28:8, we find Paul shaking off the viper and healing Publius’s father.
Yet, something then changed.
After Acts 28:28 we see that Paul left behind one of his most trusted fellow workers “sick” (2 Tim. 4:20). Why didn’t he heal him? Remember, the reason for the miracles that actually were “sign gifts” of the Pentecost era that were to give credence to the kingdom gospel that “the twelve” were preaching to Israel. Recall that Paul says it is that “the Jews require a sign” (1Cor 1:22). They were to be God’s testimonial of Jesus as “The Christ,” “The Messiah” prophesied through the ages of the Jewish past. But we know from the record that Israel fully rejected every offer of the Kingdom blessing. So, presently Israel and its prophesied program for Israel to take place in the physical on earth is fallen and set aside for a time. (Rom. 11:10-12, 15, 25)
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that Blindness in Part Is Happened To Israel, Until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Now in Paul’s latter seven epistles, after Acts 28:28, we read of healing only of a different sort. In Philippians 2:25-27, we that Epaphroditus, one of Paul’s most dependable fellow-servants was “sick, nigh unto death. But God had ‘mercy’ on him!” The mighty Paul did not seek to heal him, but rather it is stated that “God had ‘mercy’ on him.” Paul, evidently, no longer had power to heal, even his closest companions.
Now read 2Tim. 4:11, where we find Luke, the physician is with Paul. Then again, we find in Colossians 4:14 that Luke, is with Paul. Why did he need a physician if he could still heal? Paul no longer could heal anyone. Notice 1Tim.5:23 where Paul counsels, “…a little wine for the stomach.” Does this sound like someone who still had power to heal? When God dismissed His people (Israel) in Acts 28:28, there was no longer need for “the sign gifts” to demonstrate the kingdom being offered. God was no longer offering the Jews the Kingdom. Yet, He will bring them back at a future time – but only for the remnant of ‘true believers’ among Israel. They will one day inherit the glorious eternal kingdom He has for them on the new earth.
The key to our present age is seen in this Pauline verse.
Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
This great fellowship or communion is the previously hid mystery or secreted plan of “Christ within you.” Paul wrote his seven final epistles exclusively to “the Church which is his body.”
These are neither Jews or Gentiles, but all those of all races who would receive His gospel of “the mystery” (Eph 3:9). Paul’s last seven letters reveal the fuller detail of the “mystery.” These letters speak to His people who are not His bride but “His body.” Yet, the Lord one day will be ‘present’ (Parousia) with His Bride (Israel on earth), but … today He Is In Us as the members of His very Body. During this day of pure grace the Jews are no longer His distinctive people. Today neither the Jews nor any other nationality is favored – today among believers “all are one in Christ.” God’s plan for this day of His indwelled “body of Christ” had been “kept a secret,” a mystery, but this is now revealed.
Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, Colossians 1:26-27 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: