Healing and the Atonement

Moriel received the following question:

We are preparing to do a show on the “Word faith” movement.,   I met with a Pastor who is a big proponent of this movement.,   He claims that in Isaiah 53:5, the word “healed” means physical healing as well as spiritual healing.,   Thus he claims if we have enough faith we should be healed of any physical problems we face.

If you would be so kind as to help me with the correct Hebrew translation of that word I would be deeply appreciative.

Jacob’s Response:


Your question is practical but not the kind I like to reply to from a linguistic perspective unless I am in dialogue with someone who knows Hebrew. I will touch on the linguistics because you asked me to but then I will endeavor to explain an easier way to refute that word-faith nonsense.

A linguistic argument is in this case only part of the counter argument to word-faith preachers. If you do not know Hebrew grammar the elements of a “nifal” and “vav ha hepuk” would have no meaning to you let alone to the person you are debating so I won’t try to explain it in any depth. In Hebrew, future tense can refer to the past and past tense to the future where there is “vav ha hipuk”, ‚   and present and past tenses in the binyan “nifal” verb structure can be the same. But lets not go there. I only mention it in brief in specific reference to the way you phrased your question.

The term can have both meanings in the context. In essence verse 4 of Isaiah 53 applies to physical illness and is past tense, while verse 5 of Isaiah 53 is about spiritual and psychological healing and is present tense (it is again ‚   more complex than this but I can’t effectively explain nuances of ancient Hebrew grammar by e mail).

The simpler way to address this garbage (which is doctrinally and theologically to something called “over realized eschatology”) is as follows.

First – ‚   We interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament revelation of Jesus.

Second – ‚   We interpret the Gospels in light of Apostolic commentary – that is the epistles. If we want to know what the Old Testament means, we interpret it in light of the New Testament. And if we want to know what the gospels and direct teachings of Jesus mean, we interpret the gospels in light of the writing of the apostles which explain it.

Third – We always look at:

* TEXT (the original meaning in the original languages)

* CONTEXT ( what the passage is speaking about; not a verse in isolation; while ‘atomization’ is sometimes used in scripture it is never used as the primary basis to establish doctrine)

*CO-TEXT (what other passages speak of and explain the same subject being addressed; these co-textual passages mutually illuminate each other and are designed to be read in parallel).

Full and present “Healing in the Atonement” advocates only look at text or at most text and context. They cannot look at co-text or their foolish argument collapses.

Let us consider the New Testament references to Isaiah 53: 4-5 in light of text, context, and co text;

1) ‚   1 Peter chapter 2 verse 24 cites Isaiah 53 and refers to spiritual healing; this is clear. This corresponds to verse 5 of Isaiah 53.

2) ‚   Matthew 8: 16-17 cites Isaiah 53 and refers to physical healing. This corresponds to verse 4 of Isaiah 53.

Both meanings of physical and spiritual healing are in Isaiah 53 and both meanings are cited in the New Testament.

3) Romans 4 25 cites Isaiah 53 and gives a comprehensive meaning uniting both the physical and spiritual aspects of the Old Testament passage referred to separately in Matthew 8 and 1 Peter 2.

If we read Romans 4:25 in context starting in verse 19, we see it opens with physical degeneration (the illness that comes in this particular case with old age when Abraham had a geriatric testosterone deficiency before Viagra and Sarah was post-menopausal). As “father of all who believe” Abraham the patriarch and Sarah the matriarch are corporate solidarity figures; that is they are actual historical figures who are representations of us. Yet despite the maladies of old age and hormonal dysfunction, a Divine intervention related to ‚  faith in God and His promise supernaturally facilitated impregnation. Read in context this is the literary prelude to verse 25 which relates infirmity to sin and culminates with the resurrection.

In other words, Romans 4:19-25 teaches that fallen man exists in what theologians term a “hamaertosphere”; that is a sin infected environment that includes us as infected by sin and requiring both justification to redress the sin and resurrection to redress the consequences of sin which is death. The sin causes human ‚  infirmity to begin with and both the cross of Jesus followed by the resurrection are the cure. Thus ultimate healing both physical and spiritual begin with Christ’s justification of us on the cross and complete in the resurrection. Yes – healing is in the atonement, but it only becomes a total and full reality with the resurrection.

Because the promised absolute physical healing is only fully guaranteed and realized in the resurrection/rapture and ‚  not in this present life in a fallen world, Paul writes “the old man is wasting away.” Otherwise we would not ever physically die as Word-Faith guru deceiver Kenneth Hagin or the other word-faith deceiver Oral Roberts did themselves. Before he died, Hagin stated on TV that because of his faith he hadn’t had a headache in forty years. Perhaps not, but he had four documented cardio-vascular failures. With a string of coronaries it is no wonder he never had a headache. He was too busy having heart attacks.

The term ‘nerapa lanu’ in Isaiah 53:5 is in the present active first person plural of the infinitive ‘lerapa’ to heal from the root/ shoresh ‘rafua’ (having ‘therapeou’ as its Greek equivalent in the New Testament and Septuagint) and in context this verse 5 applies to spiritual and psychological healing only. Total healing is in the atonement guaranteed to true believers to be fully received in the resurrection or rapture. Any Divine healings before that are only partial and temporary. If a guaranteed healing in this life were true for instance why did Paul leave Trophimus sick in Troas ( 2 Timothy 4:20) as one example, and why do Christians still give up the ghost?

A guaranteed fully realized healing in the atonement before the resurrection ‚  is a stupid doctrine believed only by ignorant people and taught by money preaching connivers who do not often really even believe it themselves. It is neither scriptural or logical.

There is of course much more to the subject than this, such as healing when an illness is caused by a specific sin as we read in James’ epistle (which in turn relates to Psalm 32 and John chapter 5 etc.) but this is too involved to exhaustively explain by e mail. Suffice it to say that when God uses illness as an instrument of correction for sin in the life of a believer, there is a third aspect of ‘healing in the atonement’ in that once the sin is repented of. But this subject ventures beyond the parameters of your question and again would require a detailed exposition to explain properly. There is a recorded teaching I did some years ago and is still available I think on an MP3 on healing.

Whenever I address this subject I always try to include a caveat. I know Christians who died physically before their time because of false word-faith doctrines when they claimed healings God did not give them and ceased taking vital medication. As the Lord said, “MY PEOPLE PERISH FOR A LACK OF KNOWLEGE” and this can apply both physically and spiritually.

Misunderstanding what scripture means by ‘healing in the atonement’ can kill people. In the UK, the crown coroner, Sir Montague Levine, once appeared on national TV news and declared in an autopsy report that a young Pentecostal woman, on whose remains he had just completed a post mortem and submitted an affidavit for the coroners findings after she drowned in her bath when she stopped taking vital anti epilepsy medication, would be alive had she not gone to a Morris Cerullo crusade who was promoted in London by Kensington Temple and the Elim movement. This young woman did not lack faith – she threw away her pills. But she had faith in faith not in Jesus and she believed false doctrine and tragically went to a premature grave as a terrible result. Jesus can and does heal people, but when He does they don’t die from what He healed them from. The preachers who feed the sheep of Christ to these money preaching wolves are false shepherds and those who teach these false doctrines will be held accountable (James 3:1).

For another point of view,


PDF ““ version – CETF # 57 ““ see Pages 9-11


HTML ““ Version ““ also available as down-load to KINDLE and E-PUB

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