THE BIBLE STUDY PROJECT

Topically arranged messianic Bible studies
covering the broad range of Bible knowledge


"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away."

~ Matthew 24:35 ~


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A KEY DOCTRINAL OVERVIEW
AND EXEGESIS

A Compendium of Messianic Bible Studies

By Norman Manzon

PAGE 3 OF 4

MAJOR TOPICS IN SYSTEMATIC PROGRESSION:
PAGE 1:
The Scriptures; God the Triunity; Angels; Satan and Demons; The Doctrine of Man; Salvation
PAGE 2: Israel; The True Roots of Anti-Semitism; The Christian and the Law of Moses
PAGE 3: The Church; The Ministries and Gifts of the Holy Spirit; Divine Healing: Another Perspective
PAGE 4: The Future, the Afterworld and Eternity

16. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17. so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ~

CONTENTS: PAGE 3 OF 4

THE CHURCH
1. THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH
2. THE LOCAL CHURCH

THE MINISTRIES AND GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
2. THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS
3. DIVINE HEALING: ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

All Pages of A Key Doctrinal Exegesis:
Page 1; Page 2; Page 3; Page 4

CONTACT, DONATE, SOCIAL MEDIA, ETC.

~ THE CHURCH ~

1. THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH

For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks,
whether slave or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit.


~ 1 Corinthians 12:13 ~

CONTENTS

DOCTRINAL STATEMENT: THE BODY OF MESSIAH
I. "The body of Messiah began at Shavuot (Pentecost) with the
baptisM OF the holy spirit after the ascension of yeshua"
A. WHAT IS THE BODY OF MESSIAH?
B. The Body of Messiah Began at Shavuot (Pentecost)
C. When Will the Formation of the Body of Messiah Cease?
D. Once Messiah's Body is Fully Formed, God will
Remove it from the Earth

II. "all believers in Yeshua are members of the
universal body (community) . . . of the messiah"
A. The Nature of the Universal Body
B. All Believers in Yeshua Are Members of the Body
C. The Exclusiveness of the Body of Messiah
III. "Membership in the body is based solely on faith in Messiah"
A. Only Believers in Messiah are In the Body
IV. "This body is distinct from Israel and is composed of
both Jews and gentiles made one in messiah"
A. The Body is Distinct from the Nation of Israel

B. The Body is Not "Spiritual Israel"
C. The Body is Composed of Both Jews and Gentiles Made One in Messiah
D. The Primary Identity of Jewish Believers
V. "These members are under the solemn duty to keep
the unity of thE SPIRIT in the bond of love"
VI. The Figurative Expression Body of Messiah

VII. "We believe that all believers in Yeshua are
members of the universal . . .
bride of the Messiah"
A. Bride of Messiah
B. The Significance of The Designation

THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE BODY OF MESSIAH (CHRIST)

The Body of Messiah
We believe that all believers in Yeshua are members of the universal body (community) and bride of the Messiah. The body of Messiah began at Shavuot (Pentecost) with the baptism of the Holy Spirit after the ascension of Yeshua. Membership in the body is based solely on faith in Messiah. This body is distinct from Israel and is composed of both Jews and Gentiles made one in Messiah. These members are under the solemn duty to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of love. We believe that the ordinances of the local congregation are water immersion and the Lord's Supper. We believe that the purpose of the local congregation is to glorify God through worship, instruction, accountability, discipline, fellowship and outreach. Its eldership is open to men who fulfill the qualifications for elder as set forth in the New Covenant. The Scriptures encourage the active participation and regular assembly of believers in the local body.
(Matthew 16:15-18 Luke 22:24-27; Acts 1:5, 2:14-36; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 2:11-18, 5:23-27; Colossians 1:18, 3:14,15)

In this study, we will examine the universal body of Messiah. In our next, the local congregation. Each sentence of our Statement will be examined in detail, though not necessarily in its order of appearance.

A. WHAT IS THE BODY OF MESSIAH?

The "body of Messiah (or Christ)" is a biblical designation of what is commonly referred to in the Brit HaChadashah (New Testament) as the church. Colossians 1:18: And He is the head of the body, the church.

B. The Body of Messiah Began at Shavuot (Pentecost)

There had been perhaps 1300 or 1400 Pentecosts prior to the days of Yeshua (Jesus), but the body of Messiah began on the first Pentecost after His ascension. This sequence of points demonstrates this:

1. Previous to Yeshua's death, resurrection and ascension, He declared that His body or church was still future.
I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it
(Matthew 16:18). According to Dr. Fruchtenbaum, the statement is constructed in "a tense that cannot be interpreted as referring to a church already in existence" (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 097: The Universal Church, p. 9.).

2. The body was formed when the first believers were baptized by the Holy Spirit.
For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slave or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 12:13)

By combining the above points we see that Spirit baptism, which initiates the formation of the body of Messiah, was future to Yeshua's declaration prior to His death, resurrection and ascension.

3. After Yeshua's ascension He commanded His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were baptized by the Spirit.
Acts 1:1-5:

1. Truly, O Theophilus, I made the first report as to all things that Yeshua began both to do and teach 2. until the day He was taken up, having given directions to the apostles whom He chose, through the Holy Spirit; 3. to whom He also presented Himself living after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them through forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. 4. And having met with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father which you heard from Me. 5. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Spirit baptism had not yet occurred even at this point in time after Yeshua's ascension. The formation of the body was yet future.

John 7:38-39 also declares the futurity of Spirit baptism after Yeshua's ascension. Though Spirit baptism is not specifically mentioned here, it should be clear after our sequence of points that it is included in the giving of the Spirit spoken of here:

38. He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." 39. (But He spoke this about the Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Yeshua was not yet glorified.)

4. The believers were filled with the Holy Spirit on Shavuot or Pentecost.

1. And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. 2. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. 4. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

~ Acts 2:1-4 ~

A breathtaking event accompanied by audible and visible signs from Heaven occurred on this first Shavuot after Yeshua's ascension. The Spirit filled the believers; but were they baptized by the Spirit? The terms are not synonymous. Let's look further.

5. About twelve years subsequent to that Shavuot, the believers in Cornelius' household were baptized by the Spirit.
In Acts 10, Peter was summoned to the home of Cornelius, a Gentile, at which time the Spirit fell on all those hearing the word (v. 44).

In Acts 11:15-16, Peter described his experience to the church council in Jerusalem: 15. And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16. And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He said, John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Peter's declaration shows that what Cornelius and his household experienced was Spirit baptism.

6. Peter identified the Spirit baptism of Cornelius' household with that which occurred on the first Shavuot after Yeshua's ascension.
Peter said that what happened to them, the Gentiles, was what happened to us [Jews] at the beginning, which he identified with the event prophesied by the Word of the Lord in Acts 1:5: John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

As Acts 1 is preparatory to Acts 2, we can conclude that the beginning was the events of Acts 2. What happened to Cornelius' household was Spirit baptism. Thus, what happened to the Jews on the first Shavuot after Yeshua's ascension was Spirit baptism.

The body of Messiah, the church, began to form on the first Shavuot after Yeshua's ascension, for that is when believers were first baptized by the Holy Spirit.

C. When Will the Formation of the Body of Messiah Cease?

Beginning with the Gentile proselytes to Judaism who were baptized by the Spirit along with Jews on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10: Jews and proselytes), God has been calling Gentiles out of the world and adding them to Yeshua's body to be a people for His Name (Acts 15:14). This will continue until the fullness of the Gentiles has comes in (Romans 11:25). God will continue adding Jews and Gentiles to His body until the full number of Gentiles that He has foreordained has been reached. When the last Gentile will be added, the body of Messiah, the church, will be fully formed.

The body began to be formed on Shavuot, and its formation will cease when the fullness of the Gentiles has comes in.

D. Once Messiah's Body is Fully Formed, God will
Remove it from the Earth

Once Messiah's body is fully formed, God will resurrect all deceased members of the body and remove them and all living members from the earth and into His presence in Heaven in an event known as the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:12-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18); and so shall [they] ever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Only those in Messiah will be included (1 Corinthians 15:18,19,22; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). In Messiah (In Christ) is a phrase that is used exclusively of believers in Messiah's body. Old Testament saints (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2) and deceased Tribulation saints (Revelation 20:4) will be resurrected immediately or very shortly after the Great Tribulation.

II. "all believers in Yeshua are members of the
universal body (community) . . . of the Messiah"

A. The Nature of the Universal Body

There are countless local congregations, but there is only one universal body of Messiah. Ephesians 4:4-6:

4. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; 5. one Lord, one faith, one [Spirit] baptism, 6. one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.

The passage also shows that all in the one body are necessarily saved: even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; 5. one Lord, one faith....

A local congregation may be referred to as a local body and is expected to function as a body, but the term and the concept must not be confused with the universal body of Messiah. The body of Messiah is a designation which Scripture reserves for the universal church, which is composed solely of believers, and of all believers corporately, from Shavuot to the Rapture (Romans 7:4; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:12).

B. All Believers in Yeshua Are Members of the Body

This will be shown in a sequence of two points:

1. All believers are baptized by the Spirit into the body
Membership in the body is via Spirit baptism; and all believers are baptized by the Spirit at the moment of salvation. Paul wrote to the large church at Corinth that all had been baptized into the body, which includes even all new believers. 1 Corinthians 12:13: For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slave or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit.

2. All in the body are members of the body
1 Corinthians 12:27: And you are the body of Messiah, and members in part.

All believers are in the body, and each is considered a member. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that the significance of each being called a member is threefold:

1. As a member, he or she is to serve the body, just as each member of a human body contributes to the health and function of that body.

2. For his or her particular call to service, he or she is placed in the body exactly where the Lord wants him or her.

3. As each member of a human body is different from the others, the individuality of each believer in the body is fully retained. Thus he or she will serve the body differently, to one degree or another, than every other member.

C. The Exclusiveness of the Body of Messiah

There were believers in the promise of Messiah before the Day of Pentecost, and there will be new believers during the Great Tribulation and Kingdom Age. They will all experience the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom and the eternal ages to follow, but are not considered part of the church, the body of Messiah.

Understanding that the body of Messiah began at Shavuot and will be removed from the earth at the Rapture is critical for rightly dividing many portions of the Word of Truth. It enabled us to see who will and will not be raptured. It also enables us to rightly divide between those under the Law and those not under the Law; between Israel and the church; between believers in Heaven and believers on earth during the Great Tribulation; and more.

III. "Membership in the body is based
solely on faith in Messiah"

A. Only Believers in Messiah are In the Body

We've seen that Ephesians 4:4-6 shows that all in the body are necessarily believers: even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; 5. one Lord, one faith. one baptism.

John 3:18 corroborates this: He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

Condemnation in this context refers to eternal damnation. It is reserved for those who do not believe in Messiah. However, the body will be brought into the Lord's presence at the Rapture, and faith in Messiah qualifies one for entry into the body. If all believers are baptized into the body, and all unbelievers are condemned to Hell, it is inescapable that entry to the body is solely and exclusively by faith in Messiah.

A. The Body is Distinct from the Nation of Israel

We know that the body of Messiah is distinct from Israel for a number of reasons. Here are a few:

The body is described as one new man (v. 15) composed of both Jews and Gentiles in Messiah (v. 13).

11. Therefore remember that you, the Gentiles, in time past were in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision [the Jews] in the flesh made by hands; 12. and that at that time you were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. 13. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who were once afar off are made near by the blood of Messiah. 14. For He is our peace, He making us both one, and He has broken down the middle wall of partition between us, 15. having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the Law of commandments contained in ordinances) so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, making peace between them....

~ Ephesians 2:11-15 ~

Israel and the Gentile nations had already been in existence when the body of Messiah was formed, and the body is referred to as a new man. If it is new, then it is distinct from Israel as well as from the Gentile nations. Furthermore, Israel is a nation by natural generation, whereas the body of Messiah is a new man by virtue of regeneration, which is of the Spirit.

Another reason we know that the body is distinct from Israel is because no Gentile who joined himself to Israel was ever called an Israelite (for example, Ruth 2:2,21; 4:5,10), whereas all Jews and Gentiles who join the body of Messiah are called by the same designations: believers, Christians, saints, etc.

Another reason is because Israel is referred to as the married, then divorced, and yet to be remarried Wife of Jehovah (Jeremiah 3:1,20; Ezekiel 16:15), whereas the body of Messiah is referred to as the betrothed and yet to be married Bride of Messiah, the latter of which will be discussed below. There is no way to join the two metaphors into one.

Another is that only a small handful of Israelites under the dispensation of the Law had the Spirit "with" them (rare exceptions had Him "in" them, as well), whereas Scripture indicates that all believers from Shavuot to the Rapture have the Spirit "in" them. Furthermore, the Spirit did not always rest on those few Israelites permanently, whereas the Spirit is said to be with all members of the body of Messiah forever. The contrasts summarized: a few, all; with, in; temporarily, forever: (John 7:37-39; 14:16-17; Numbers 11:17-25; 27:18; 2 Kings 2:9-12; 1 Samuel 16:14; Psalm 51:11).

Another distinction is that the deceased in the body will be resurrected at the Rapture (see above), which will take place before the Great Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:2-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-13, etc.), whereas all Old Testament saints, including all Old Testament Israelite saints, will be resurrected after the Great Tribulation (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2).

Another is that the entire body of Messiah will be with the Lord in Heaven during the Great Tribulation (1 Corinthians 15:51-52), but only those Israelites saved between Shavuot and the Rapture will be in Heaven during the Great Tribulation.

Another is that the entire body of Messiah will spend an eternity in the blessed presence of the Lord, but only a minority from among Israel, a remnant (Isaiah 1:9, 10:22; Romans 9:27), will be saved.

It is true that the New Testament refers to Israel under Moses as the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) baptized (immersed) unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea (1 Corinthians 10:2); but the Greek word translated church simply means an assembly. According to Smith's Bible Dictionary, "Ecclesia, the Greek word for church, originally meant an assembly called out by the magistrate, or by legitimate authority." The "legitimate authority" that called out Israel from among the nations, and the body of believers from the world system, is the same: the Lord. However, the Israelites in the wilderness were an assembly by virtue of natural birth and location, and the body of Messiah is an assembly by virtue of the Spirit's call and organization. Sharing the word assembly in no way indicates that they are part of the same group any more than the Mickey Mouse Club and the Communist Party can be considered identical because they can each be called a group. Furthermore, the idea behind baptism is identification. No Israelite needed to be immersed to be identified with Israel or Moses, and they weren't. They were Israelites by birth, and became distinctly identified with the leadership of Moses when they made a clean break from Egypt by passing through the Red Sea. They were not immersed in the Red Sea. They passed through the Red Sea on dry ground. It was the Egyptians who were immersed in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16-29). The pillar of cloud also identified the Israelites with Moses as it was only they whom the cloud guided and protected, which is illustrated beautifully when the cloud guided the Israelites to the Red Sea, and then moved from in front of them to behind them to shield them from Pharaoh's army (Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19).

Israel and the body of Messiah are on two different tracks in the plan of God with a multitude of differences in the details. They are not one and the same, though there is some overlap. Jewish believers from Shavuot to the Rapture are simultaneously members of Israel and the body of Messiah.

B. The Body is Not "Spiritual Israel"

Certain scriptures interpreted outside their contexts seem to say that the body of Messiah is now the "true Israel" or "spiritual Israel" or the "Israel of God" or that all of its members are "inward Jews." However, this is not actually the case. Let's look at one example.

Romans 9:6: But it is not as though the word of God hath come to nought. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel (American Standard Version).

Such translations as they are not all Israel give the impression to some that there are others besides Israelites that are of Israel; but let's look at the expression in various other translations, including two literal translations: not all those of Israel are Israel (Modern King James); all the [ones] of Israel, these [are] not Israel (Analytical-Literal Translation); not all those of Israel are Israel (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible). The passage speaks of subtraction, not of addition or replacement! It starts out with the entire nation of literal Israelites, and then eliminates some! But what is it talking about?

The important thing to see is that the focus is on the salvation of Israelites. This is established by the enclosing declarations of Romans 9:3-4 and 10:1. 9:3-4: 3. For I myself was wishing to be accursed from Messiah for my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4. who are Israelites. 10:1: Brothers, truly my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is for it to be saved. Everything sandwiched between the two statements has to do with the salvation of Israelites. Even those passages in Romans 9 that speak of God's dealings with Gentiles are related back to Israel by Paul's line of reasoning.

Romans 9:33 sheds light on they are not all Israel, that are of Israel. 9:33: even as it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame. Interpreted in the same context, it, too, deals with the salvation of Israelites. It distinguishes between Jews who believe and Jews who do not. Those Israelites that believe on him shall not be put to shame, and those Israelites who do not believe on Him shall be put to shame. It is the closing verse of the chapter, and is an explanation of the opening statement, which is 9:3-4. They are not all Israel, that are of Israel distinguishes between Jews who believe and Jews who do not. There is no denial that Jews who do not believe are part of Israel, and no addition of believing Gentiles to Israel. It merely distinguishes between Jews who believe and Jews who do not believe.

To bring us back to the point, passages such as this do not make the church Israel or the "Israel of God" or "inward Jews" or a part of Israel or a replacement for Israel in any spiritual or physical sense.

To sum up,

1. The church, the body of Messiah, is distinct from national Israel.

2. Membership in the body does not obliterate one's national identity. Jews remains Jews, Gentiles remain Gentiles.

3. The church, the body of Messiah, is not the "true Israel," "spiritual Israel," the "Israel of God," "inward Jews," part of Israel, or any such designation. It is not Israel or a part of Israel in any sense.

Like Israel, the church is a people of God, but Israel and the church are on different tracks in the plan of God. To confound the two identities is to confound the two tracks, the doing of which has caused much misery for Israel and makes it impossible to rightly divide the Word of truth.

C. The Body is Composed of Both Jews
and Gentiles Made One in Messiah

The new man is distinct from Israel and from the Gentiles, but becoming a member of the new man does not obliterate one's Jewishness or Gentileness. Membership in Israel or in a Gentile nation is based on natural generation. Membership in the new man is based on regeneration, which is of the Spirit. There is no conflict between membership in the two, nor mutual exclusion. The apostle Paul identified himself as being of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews (Philippians 3:5), and he addressed Roman believers as you Gentiles (Romans 11:13).

No nation is cut off at the boundary of the body. It extends into the body as far as its membership does. When passages that seem to say otherwise are scrutinized in their contexts, it is seen that they do not contradict this. For example, when Galatians 3:28 says that there is neither Jew nor Greek, it is simply saying that national distinctions have no bearing on, and do not constitute a fissure within, the unity inherent in the body: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Messiah Yeshua. All one in Messiah is the context in which the passage must be understood. In fact, all indicates that there's more than one kind among whom the unity exists. In other contexts, distinctions are clearly maintained among believers. Paul identified himself as a Hebrew, and the Roman believers as Gentiles. Other passages distinguish between believing masters and slaves, and believing men and women within the body (1 Timothy 6:1-21; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16).

The body of Messiah, the one new man is composed of Jews and Gentiles who remain Jews and Gentiles forever (Revelation 21:24,26). Even the ascended Messiah in His glorified, spiritual, heavenly body (1 Corinthians 15:43,44,48) is referred to as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).

D. The Primary Identity of Jewish Believers

Jewish believers are members of Israel and the body of Messiah. Being included in the Abrahamic covenant by natural generation, they are to confirm their membership in Israel by making sure that they are circumcised if male, and by circumcising their male children. This has nothing to do with the Law of Moses, but with the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 17:10-12). However, their primary identity is in Messiah, and their primarily loyalty ought to be to Him.

  • That their primary identity is, in the Lord's eyes, in Messiah, is seen by the fact that the Lord will not allow them to remain on earth with their unbelieving Jewish brethren during the Great Tribulation, but will rapture them with all other believers in Messiah.

  • That their primary loyalty ought to be to Messiah and not to Israel may be seen by:

    1. the persecution the apostles were willing to endure from unbelieving Jews, being willing to count their standing in Israel, in relative terms, trash or dung that [they] may win Messiah (Philippians 3:8. See verses 1-9); and

    2. these statements of Yeshua:

    Luke 14:26: If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

    Luke 9:62: No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

V. "These members are under the solemn duty to keep
the unity of the Spirit in the bond of love"

These members refers to all members of Messiah's body.

Ephesians 4:3-4: 3. endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4. There is one body and one Spirit....

John 13:35: By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another.

1 John 4:7: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God....

This is a good context in which to examine...

VI. The Figurative Expression Body of Messiah

As the human body is a coordinated organism under the control of the head, so also is the body of Messiah. Yeshua is the Head, and we, His community of believers, constitute His body under His control.

Colossians 1:18: And He is the Head of the body, the church, who is the Beginning, the First-born from the dead, that He may be pre-eminent in all things.

Yeshua said, I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). To bring that to pass certainly does demand sovereign control.

Ephesians 4:15-16:

15. But that you, speaking the truth in love, may in all things grow up to Him who is the Head, even Messiah; 16. from whom the whole body, fitted together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of each part, producing the growth of the body to the edifying of itself in love.

Colossians 3:14-15: 14. And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. 15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you also are called in one body, and be thankful.

We are the body of Messiah. Each of us, in a coordinated, peaceful and loving manner under the control of Messiah our Head, is to serve the body that it may grow in numbers and maturity.

A. Bride of Messiah

The universal church, pictured as the body of Messiah, is also pictured as the bride of Messiah yet to be presented as a pure virgin to Messiah (2 Corinthians 11:2).

Revelation 21:9: And one of the seven angels who had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.

B. The Significance of The Designation

The designation bride of Messiah illustrates the depth of love that Messiah has for His body (Ephesians 5:22), that He will bring her sanctification to completion as a pure virgin (Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15), and that He is yet to wed her (Revelation 19:6-9) and escort her into His heavenly glories (Revelation 20-21). It also implies that the bride is to be subject to her Groom in everything (Ephesians 5:22-24).

20. Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21. to Him be glory in the church by Messiah Yeshua throughout all ages, forever. Amen.

~ Ephesians 3:20-21 ~

The Universal Church
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2008
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE CHURCH ~

2. THE LOCAL CHURCH

4. and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, 25. not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

~ Hebrew 10:24-25 ~

CONTENTS

THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE BODY OF MESSIAH
INTRODUCTION
1. What Is a Local Church or Congregation?
2. The Local Congregation or Church as Distinguished from the Universal
Body of Christ
I. "We believe that the purpose of the local congregation
is to glorify God through worship, instruction,
accountability, discipline, fellowship and outreach"

"The purpose of the local congregation is to glorify God"
"The local congregation is to glorify God through worship"
"The local congregation is to glorify God through instruction"
"The local congregation is to glorify God through accountability"
a. before God
b. to its elders
c. to one another
d. to a brother or sister we've offended
"The local congregation is to glorify God through discipline"
"The local congregation is to glorify God through fellowship"
"The local congregation is to glorify God through outreach"
II. "WE BELIEVE THAT THE ORDINANCES OF THE LOCAL CONGREGATION
ARE WATER IMMERSION AND THE LORD'S SUPPER

a. what is an ordinance?
b. "WATER IMMERSION"

C. "the lord's supper"
III. "Its eldership is open to men who fulfill the qualifications
for elder as set forth in the New Covenant"
A. "The Qualifications for elder"
B. "eldership is open to men"
1. i
ntroduction
2.
The Scriptures
3. The Underlying Theological Principles
4. How May the Theological Principles Be Applied Today?
5. Pastors' Wives as Pastors and Women Assistant Pastors
6. Afterwords

IV. "The Scriptures encourage the active participation and
regular assembly of believers in the local body"

In the study foundational to this one, The Universal Church, above, we examined those declarations of the AMC Statement that refer to the universal body of Christ or universal church. In this study, we'll examine those that apply to the local congregation or local church. Each applicable sentence will be examined in detail, though not in its order of appearance; but first, let's review the entire Statement.

THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE BODY OF MESSIAH

The Body of Messiah
We believe that all believers in Yeshua are members of the universal body (community) and bride of the Messiah. The body of Messiah began at Shavuot (Pentecost) with the baptism of the Holy Spirit after the ascension of Yeshua. Membership in the body is based solely on faith in Messiah. This body is distinct from Israel and is composed of both Jews and Gentiles made one in Messiah. These members are under the solemn duty to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of love. We believe that the ordinances of the local congregation are water immersion and the Lord's Supper. We believe that the purpose of the local congregation is to glorify God through worship, instruction, accountability, discipline, fellowship and outreach. Its eldership is open to men who fulfill the qualifications for elder as set forth in the New Covenant. The Scriptures encourage the active participation and regular assembly of believers in the local body.
(Matthew 16:15-18 Luke 22:24-27; Acts 1:5, 2:14-36; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 2:11-18, 5:23-27; Colossians 1:18, 3:14,15)

INTRODUCTION

1. What Is a Local Church or Congregation?
In the common perception, the local congregation or church is a group of Christians that meets regularly to hear a sermon, sing hymns or other songs, and perhaps engage in other activities perceived as Christian. Biblically, though, the ideal local church or congregation matches up to this definition offered by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum: "[A] local church is a group of professing believers in the Messiah who have been baptized and have organized themselves under the leadership of elders and deacons for the purpose of carrying out the Great Commission; for conducting the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper; for building up the Body through the worship of God, the fellowship of believers, the teaching of the Word, and the exercise of spiritual gifts" (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 106: The Local Church, p. 5. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press).

The Bible encourages informal fellowship, but even a fellowship that meets regularly for mutual ministry is not a full-fledged local congregation by biblical standards. Local congregations have organization, authority, responsibilities, and safeguards in place that informal fellowships do not. Modern evangelistic organizations, mercy ministries and other such groups, valid as they are, may not be considered local congregations either. It is important to distinguish between the local congregation and other groups of believers in order to rightly divide those portions of the Word of Truth that have to do with these matters, some of which will be discussed in this study.

2. The Local Congregation or Church as Distinguished from the Universal Body of Christ
To review, the universal body of Christ or Messiah is that organic unit which is composed of all true believers from Shavuot (Pentecost) until the Rapture, with Messiah as its Head. Whereas there is only one universal body of Christ, there have been countless local congregations or churches around the world throughout the Church Age. Whereas the body is composed solely of believers, a true local congregation must be led by believers, but may contain unbelievers as well as believers in its membership (Matthew 13:24-30, 31-32). Whereas the formation of the universal body takes place from Pentecost to the Rapture and all around the world, a local congregation may begin at any point in time during the Church Age, it exists in one locale (though some of its members may be itinerant ministers), and its longevity is not guaranteed.In theological terms, the universal body is sometimes called the invisible church as only the Lord knows who all of its members are, and the local body is called the visible church because it is visible to the natural eye.

Now, to examine the applicable sentences of our Statement:

I. "We believe that the purpose of the local congregation is to glorify God through worship, instruction, accountability, discipline, fellowship and outreach"

"The purpose of the local congregation is to glorify God"

In Romans 15:5-6, Paul told the church at Rome, 5: And may the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like minded toward one another according to Christ Jesus, 6. so that with one mind and one mouth you may glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"The local congregation is to glorify God through worship"

John 4:23-24: 23. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. 24. God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.

Acts 24:14 (Paul to Felix): But I confess this to you, that after the Way which they call heresy, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things that are written in the Law and in the Prophets.

1 Corinthians 14:25: And so the secrets of his heart become revealed. And so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

Philippians 3:3: For we are the circumcision who worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus.

"The local congregation is to glorify God through instruction"

1 Corinthians 4:17: For this cause I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved son and faithful in the Lord, who shall remind you of my ways which are in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every congregation.

1 Corinthians 4:19: yet in a congregation I desire to speak five words with my mind, so that I might also teach others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

1 Timothy 4:9-11: 9. Faithful is the Word, and worthy of all acceptance. 10. For to this we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the preserver of all men, especially of those who believe. 11. Command and teach these things.

2 Timothy 2:2: And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit the same to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

"The local congregation is to glorify God through accountability"

a. before God
1 Corinthians 11:28, 31: 28. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. . . . 31. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

b. to its elders
Hebrews 13:17: Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them: for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief: for this were unprofitable for you.

c. to one another
James 5:16: Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

d. to a brother or sister we've offended
Matthew 5:23-24: 23. Therefore if you offer your gift on the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, 24. leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

"The local congregation is to glorify God through discipline"

Galatians 6:1: Brothers, if a man is overtaken in a fault, you the spiritual ones restore such a one in the spirit of meekness....

Matthew 18:15-17.

15. But if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16. But if he will not hear you, take one or two more with you, so that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the congregation. But if he neglects to hear the congregation, let him be to you as a heathen and a tax-collector.

1 Corinthians 5:3-5:

3. For as being absent in body but present in spirit, I indeed have judged already as though I were present concerning him who committed this thing; 4. in the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are gathered together, with my spirit; also, with the power of our Lord Jesus; 5. to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Yeshua.

"The local congregation is to glorify God through fellowship"

Acts 2:46-47:

46. And continuing with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they shared food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47. praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Hebrew 10:24-25: 24. and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, 25. not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

"The local congregation is to glorify God through outreach"

Matthew 28:18-20:

18. And Yeshua came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. 19. Going, then, make disciples of all nations; immersing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20. teaching them to observe all things I commanded you. And, lo, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age. Amen.

Acts 8:4: Then, indeed, the ones who had been scattered passed through, preaching the gospel, the Word.

II. "We believe that the ordinances of the local Congregation are water immersion and the Lord's Supper"

A. What Is an Ordinance?

Two acts that the Lord commanded fall into a category of their own: water immersion and the Lord's Supper. Some theologians have designated them "ordinances," some "sacraments."

Dr. Fruchtenbaum offers this definition of an ordinance: "An ordinance can be defined as a rite or ritual or practice prescribed by the Messiah to be performed by the Church, as an outward sign of the saving truth of the Christian faith" (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 108: The Lord's Supper, p. 5. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press).

Scripture presents them each as a portrayal or representation, not as an act of substance in itself; nor does it present either of them as an agent of grace, which may, in this context, be defined as unearned, freely bestowed spiritual blessing from God. Those who believe that water immersion and the Lord's Supper are means of conveying grace refer to them as "sacraments"; but because they do not convey grace it is best to refer to them as "ordinances."

Dr. Fruchtenbaum also writes, "The best way of determining the qualifications of an ordinance is to apply three tests," (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 109: The Ordinance of Baptism, p. 5. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press) and presents them as follows:

1. Was it commanded by the Lord?

2. Was it observed in the Book of Acts?

3. Was the rite or ritual expounded upon in the Epistles?

The fact that the Lord saw to it that a particular act was recorded in the Book of Acts and expounded upon in the epistles indicates the seriousness with which He wants us to view them.

In consideration of the above, I would rewrite the qualifications of an ordinance as follows:

1. It is an act that the Lord commanded.

2. He inspired Luke to record instances of it in the Book of Acts.

3. He inspired a writer of the epistles to expound on its theological significance.

4. It is a rite or ritual that portrays the saving truth of the Christian faith.

Only two acts meet these criteria: water immersion and the Lord's Supper. They are the two ordinances of New Testament scripture, and only believers may partake of them, as we shall see.

B. "water immersion"

The qualifications of water immersion as an ordinance are:

1. It is an act that the Lord commanded: Matthew 28:18-20.

2. He inspired Luke to record instances of it in the Book of Acts: Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12-13, 36, 38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:5.

3. He inspired a writer of the epistles to expound on its theological significance: Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:11-12.

4. It is a rite or ritual (Acts 8:36-38) that portrays the saving truth of the Christian faith (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:11-12).

Some dispute the term immersion because it demands complete submersion in water. They prefer the term baptism because its perceived non-specific meaning allows for sprinking or affusion, the latter of which is the pouring of water on the head. However, the fact is, the meaning of the Greek word translated baptism means immersion. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,

baptism. But in general the term baptizo, as is common with such forms in the late Greek, is simply equivalent to bapto (compare Luke16:24) and means "dip," "immerse."

John the Baptizer immersed his disciples. John 2:23: And John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. He wouldn't have required much water if sprinkling or affusion were his method.

After Jesus was baptized, He came up immediately out of the water (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10). After Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, they had come up out of the water (Acts 8:39). Jesus, Philip and the Ethiopian had to first be in the water before they came up out of it.

Baptism by immersion was a Jewish ritual long before John's baptism. Here's a description of how it was performed:

Toward the beginning of the Christian era, the Jews adopted... the custom of baptizing proselytes seven days after their circumcision. A series of specific interrogations made it possible to judge the real intentions of the candidate who wished to adopt the Jewish religion. After submitting to these interrogations, he was circumcised and later baptized before witnesses. In the baptism, he was immersed naked in a pool of flowing water; when he rose from the pool, he was a true son [follower - ed. note] of Israel. After their baptism, new converts were allowed access to the sacrifices in the Temple.

"Baptism: A Pre-Christian History" by Ed Barnes of the Loudon Church of Christ, TN, http://www.discoveret.org/lcoc/news/00n0509.htm. Sources: The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, The Encyclopedia of Religion, The Jewish Encyclopedia.

To this day, Jews practice no form of baptism other than immersion.

From Old Testament days to the present, the key significance of water immersion is identification. The proselyte to Judaism identified with Judaism by means of immersion. Those who identified with John's the Immerser's message showed it by being immersed. Those who receive the Gospel are to ritualistically identify with it by immersion.

Water baptism is symbolic of the true baptism, the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5, which is Spirit baptism (1 Corinthinans 12:13), the dynamic of which is described in Romans 6:3-5:

3. Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4. Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father; even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5. For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection;

Immersion into the water represents the crucifixion, death and burial of the old man into and with Christ, and coming up out of the water represents the resurrection of the new man in and with Him. (Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ, and I live....) Immersion and coming up out of the water picture this clearly, but sprinkling and affusion do not picture it at all. It is immersion that Jesus commanded in the Great Commission: Going, then,make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.... (Matthew 28:19).

Water immersion is only for those who understand the Gospel and actively exercise faith in Christ, eliminating infants and all others who do not meet these conditions. Acts 8:36-38 makes this clear:

36. And as they passed along the way, they came on some water. And the eunuch said, See, here is water, what hinders me from being baptized? 37. Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, it is lawful. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38. And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch. And he baptized him.

C. "the Lord's Supper"

The qualifications of the Lord's Supper as an ordinance are:

1. It is an act that the Lord commanded: Luke 22:19-20.

2. He inspired Luke to record instances of it in the Book of Acts: Acts 2:42, 46, 20:7.

3. He inspired a writer of the epistles to expound on its theological significance: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:23-31.

4. It is a rite or ritual that portrays the saving truth of the Christian faith: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

The Lord's Supper is described in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26:

23. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; 24. And giving thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me." 25. In the same way He took the cup also, after supping, saying, "This cup is the New Covenant in My blood; as often as you drink it, do this in remembrance of Me." 26. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you show the Lord's death until He shall come.

At this last seder (Passover service and meal) before His death, the Lord commanded that His disciples eat and drink the traditional seder elements, the matzoh (unleavened bread) and the wine, to commemorate His death until His return, meaning that it is to be done by all of His disciples throughout the Church Age. We are to eat the unleavened bread to remember the sinless Lamb whose body was broken for us on the cross (leaven represents sin), and to drink the wine to remember His shed blood, the price of the New Covenant (1 Peter 1:18-19).The Lord said of both the matzoh and the wine, do this in remembrance of Me. He referred to them as memorials. If they actually became His body and blood, they would not be memorials, but the real thing, and the partaking of them would constitute a re-crucifixion of the Lord, whereas the Scripture says that His body was offered once for all time (Hebrews 10:10, Analytical-Literal Translation). There is no more reason to believe that the elements actually become the Lord's body and blood than there is to believe that He became a door when He said, I am the door (John 10:7, 9). He was simply speaking metaphorically.

Consistent with its meaning, the Lord's Supper is only for believers. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 reads,

27. Therefore whoever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. 29. For he that eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment unto himself, if he discern not the body.

These words were written to believers. If a believer can be unworthy to partake, how much more would one be unworthy who is in a state of unbelief concerning the Gospel?

III. "Its eldership is open to men who fulfill the qualifications for elder as set forth in the New Covenant"

A. "the qualifications for elder"

The formally ordained spiritual leaders of the local church or congregation are called its elders or presbyters, pastors or shepherds, or overseers or bishops, and they are one and the same. (Compare Acts 20:17 with 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:2 with 5:17; Titus 1 with 5 and 7; 1 Peter 5:1 with 5:2.) The common practice today is to have one pastor and a group of elders (often mistakenly called deacons) under his authority. This is not the biblical practice. A search of the Brit HaChadashah (New Testament) will reveal that all elders worked as a plurality, though they may have operated in different capacities.

Elders must minimally meet the qualifications for deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-12) as the deacons are the helpers of the elders. Above and beyond that, they must meet the qualifications laid out specifically for elders (1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9). The qualifications noted in both passages are very similar. Titus 1:5-9 reads,

5. For this cause I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed you, 6. if anyone is blameless, husband of one wife, having believing children, not accused of loose behavior, or disobedient. 7. For an overseer must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not full of passion, not given to wine, not quarrelsome, not greedy for ill gain; 8. but hospitable, a lover of good, discreet, just, holy, temperate, 9. holding fast the faithful Word according to the doctrine, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convict those who contradict [sound doctrine].

B. "eldership is open to men"

1. Introduction
Scripture declares that the elders in a local congregation must be men. We will first look at those scriptures, then the underlying theological principles that are cited in these and related passages, and then consider whether the way the principles were applied in the early congregations must be applied the same way today.

2. The Scriptures
1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 each states that an elder must be the husband of one wife. In addition, 1 Timothy 3:4-5 states that he must be 4. ruling his own house well, having children in subjection with all honor. 5. (For if a man does not know to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the congregation of God?)

Consistent with these scriptures, whenever the gender of an elder is indicated, and there are many such passages, it is invariably male. Nevertheless, various interpretations based on linguistic, cultural, circumstantial and, perhaps, other considerations, have arisen that allow the eldership of women. I have therefore made every effort to deal with the issue as extensively, carefully, honestly, and fairly as I could.

3. The Underlying Theological Principles
The underlying principles that are given for the headship of the man in the home and the congregation are the same, and are all theological, meaning that they must apply in all homes and congregations everywhere throughout the Church Age. One's cultural orientation and circumstance must always bow to theological principles. This will become clearer as we proceed; and as we proceed, we will be careful to separate the theological principles from the manner in which they were applied to eldership in the early congregations, and how they are to be applied today. It must also be stated that, although other applications of the principles will be noted, the issue of men and/or women in eldership is the only application that we will pin to the ground in this study.

The key principle is that of subjection. The Greek words used are hupotage and hupotasso. According to Strong's Concordance, hupotage means: subordination. According to Young's Analytical Concordance, it means: subjection, submission. Hupotage appears in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 in the context of the need for women to quietly receive instruction with all submissiveness, to refrain from teaching men, to refrain from exercising authority over them, and to maintain silence in the congregation. According to Strong, hupotasso means: be under obedience... be in subjection to, submit self unto. According to Young, it means: ... put in subjection unto, put under.... It is used in 1 Corinthians 14:34 in the context of the requirement of silence for women in the congregation. It is also used in Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5 and 1 Peter 3:1, all in the context of the need for wives to submit to their husbands' leadership in the marriage. The principle of the subjection of women to the men in the local congregation may also be found in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, which deals with the requirement of women, perhaps only married women (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 106: The Local Church, p. 42. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press), to wear a headcovering in honor of male headship. The passages dealing directly with congregational eldership are consistent with these, and must logically be viewed as relevant to the general requirement of the subjection of the women to the men.

The specific fundamental underlying theological reasons that are given for the necessity of the subjection of the woman to the man are these, which I have listed in a logical order:

1. 1 Corinthians 11:8: For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man.

2. 1 Timothy 2:13: For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

3. 1 Corinthians 11:9: Nor was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man.

4. 1 Timothy 2:14: And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

5. Ephesians 5:23: For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and He is the Savior of the body.

6. 1 Corinthians 11:3: ...the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Three levels of headship are mentioned here: God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the man, and the man is the head of the woman. The apostle's implication is that the principle of headship of the man over the woman begins with God the Father and cascades down the chain from God the Father to Christ to the man to the woman.

7. 1 Corinthians 11:7: For a man... is the image and glory of God. But the woman is the glory of the man.

Six of the seven passages appear in the context of the subjection of women to men in the local congregation. The exception is Ephesians 5:23, which speaks of the subjection of wives to husbands; but even here Paul uses the relationship to illustrate the relationship of the universal body of Christ, the bride, to her heavenly Groom, the Chief Shepherd (Pastor) of the church (1 Peter 5:4). Paul explained, I speak concerning Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:32). In the context of the issue at hand, one must note that God ordained that our Chief Pastor, the Lord Jesus, be born male, not female.

4. How May the Theological Principles Be Applied Today?
In view of the timeless theological principles cited by Paul, one must conclude that the women are to be in subjection to the men in all congregations. That being the case, is it possible in any culture or circumstance for a woman to be in subjection to the men if she is an elder over them with the authority to sit on the decision making counsel and to exhort, admonish and discipline them? How can it be? It is a logical impossibility.

All things considered, this writer cannot help but conclude that, in order to preserve the requirement for the subjection of women to men in the church or congregation throughout the Church Age no matter what the culture or circumstance, men must be in the positions of spiritual headship over the women, and no woman may be in spiritual headship over a man. An elder must be the husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6), a man (1 Timothy 3:5). If a woman is in a missionary situation, leads adult males to the Lord and begins to disciple them, it behooves her to bring them under capable male leadership as soon as possible.

5. Pastors' Wives as Pastors and Women Assistant Pastors
Some say that, if a man is a pastor, and his wife is in subjection to him, then the requirement for subjection has been met and she can therefore be a pastor. But this is not logical. She is still a pastor, and the men in the congregation would still need to be in subjection to her and, as we have seen, this must not be allowed. The principle applies to women as assistant pastors, as well. An assistant pastor is still a pastor.

An even stranger form of "logic" may be found today. In many churches, particularly charismatic churches, when a man becomes a pastor, his wife is automatically called pastor as well, and functions as one. Not only is she is not a man, but neither is she scrutinized as closely as her husband as to character, background, strategy and capability. Where in the Word is such a practice authorized? This is not treating the Word of God with reverence, but frivolity.

6. Afterwords
Those who would force the issue of female eldership face a wall of biblical evidence that resists them. Certainly, love must reign in the congregation, but it will reign in proportion to the degree to that its leaders and members honor the guidelines of Scripture. As a wife must lovingly submit to her husband's leadership in the marriage, so must women lovingly submit to exclusive male eldership in the congregation. Inversely, the men must guard the domain that the Lord has set aside exclusively for them. Paul warned, I have laid a foundation, and another builds upon it. But let every man take heed how he builds upon it (1 Corinthians 3:10).

One more thing: Although, in many churches, women are in positions they should not be in, they are still there by authorization of the pastor, and many of them do not realize that they should not be in those positions. Although rectification of such situations is to be sought, as long as women are in these positions and serving the Lord with a clear conscience, they are to be treated with respect and as under the authority of the pastor, though mistakenly so.

IV. "The Scriptures encourage the active participation and regular assembly of believers in the local body"


23. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for He is faithful who promised), 24. and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, 25. not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

~ Hebrews 10:23-25 ~

This passage cautions us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, and tells us why: that we may provoke one another to love and to good works, and to be exhorting one another. Such interrelationship cannot be carried out in front of a TV, computer or radio or other non-face to face medium no matter how good the service. And though we are to minister the Lord's love, truth and godly counsel to one another in informal fellowship, and though an informal assembly may carry out many of the functions of a properly constituted congregation, it is not such a congregation unless its leaders are ordained by an elder who, himself, has been appointed by a properly ordained elder. Only such an elder has the biblical authority to determine if the group's leaders meet the qualifications for eldership and if the group will, indeed, carry out the functions of a properly constituted congregation.

Functional congregations existed in Crete that did not have ordained elders, and they met no rebuke; yet, Paul told Titus, For this cause I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed you (Titus 1:5). Just as Paul appointed Titus to a position of spiritual oversight (overseer) over Crete, Titus was to appoint elders in functional congregations within the area in which his authority to do so was expected to be recognized. It is true that Titus was given spiritual authority over a given geographical area, and that in most non-missionary locales today such a situation does not exist. Nevertheless, it is reasonable that a congregation that seeks to function with as full authority as possible conferred by God and by man - both are biblical - ought to follow the principle of having its leaders examined by a recognized elder for ordination if they qualify. It is also reasonable that members of an assembly that is not fully constituted also consider being members of one that is, for only such an assembly and its elders have passed the examination of already recognized elders.

It is the formally organized local assembly with properly scrutinized and ordained elders that has been ordained by God as the forum in which believers might exercise their spiritual gifts and coordinate their efforts under spiritually mature oversight, guidance, judgment and discipline to accomplish all the purposes that the local congregation is biblically required to fulfill.

24. and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, 25. not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

~ Hebrews 10:24-25 ~


The Local Church
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2008
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

THE MINISTRIES AND GIFTS
~ OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ~

1. THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Be filled with the Spirit

~ Ephesians 5:18 ~

THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
I. CONFUSION IN TERMS
A. INTRODUCTION
B. SPIRIT BAPTISM AND SPIRIT-FILLING
II. INDWELLING: THE FOUNDATION FOR SPIRIT-FILLING
III. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT?
A. THE HEBREW WORD AND PASSAGES
B. THE GREEK WORDS AND PASSAGES
C. OBSERVATIONS
D. WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT
IV. HOW MAY A BELIEVER BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?
A. THE HUMAN SIDE
B. THE DIVINE SIDE
V. FILLING CAN BE SUSTAINED, LOST, REGAINED AND EXPANDED
A. A DEEPER LOOK AT EPHESIANS 5:18
B. THREE KEY PASSAGES
1. The Two Negative Exhortations
2. The One Positive Exhortation
VI. SPIRIT-FILLING AND MATURITY
VII. SPIRIT-FILLING AND WORKS OF POWER
VIII. EXTREMES AND THE BIBLE WAY
FOOTNOTES AND RECOMMENDED READING

The Filling of the Holy Spirit was written as a study in support of a statement within the We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations, and was first published in its email magazine, the Shofar. Cultural sensitivity to Jewish readers has been retained in the use of names and terms.

THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

We believe that the filling of the Holy Spirit is the ongoing process of God to which we yield whereby He sanctifies us (sets apart) and brings forth the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:13-14; Galatians 5:22-23)

I. CONFUSION IN TERMS

A. INTRODUCTION

There are many ministries of the Holy Spirit toward the believer. Each is distinct from the others and has its own specific name and function in conformity with scriptural use. These differences and distinctions must, of course, be maintained and honored in our thinking and in our speech.

There are two categories of ministries of the Spirit toward believers in the Church Age: those ministered to the believer at the moment of salvation, and those available to him during the entirety of his Christian walk. Two ministries of the Spirit that are often confused are Spirit baptism (baptism by the Holy Spirit) and Spirit-filling, both of which are often thought of as identical: as that ministry by which the Spirit especially empowers some, whether it be at the moment of their salvation or subsequent to it. We'll distinguish between the two, first by defining Spirit baptism, and then by focusing on the subject of our study, Spirit-filling.

B. SPIRIT BAPTISM AND SPIRIT-FILLING

Spirit baptism is that ministry of the Spirit which places the believer into Messiah and His body at the moment of salvation: 1 Corinthians 12:13: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. By that declaration, Paul indicated that everyone in the Corinthian congregation from babes in the faith to the most mature were baptized by the Spirit into Messiah's body. Of necessity, then, every believer is thus baptized by the Spirit at the moment of salvation, which is why there is no exhortation in Scripture to seek Spirit baptism. Galatians 3:27-28 shows that this baptism is not only into Messiah's body of believers, but into Messiah Himself, and that it makes us one in Him. 27: For all of you who were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah. 28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. It is also a permanent baptism: We are sealed into His body for the day of redemption, which is the resurrection or translation of the body at the rapture (Ephesians 4:30). It is the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5, of which water baptism is a picture in Romans 6:3-4 and Colossians 2:12. Furthermore, inasmuch as this baptism determines our permanent position in relation to Messiah and His body, it cannot increase or decrease. In addition, it is strictly a Church Age phenomenon as Messiah's body began to form on the Day of Pentecost.

In contrast, Spirit-filling has to do with empowerment and growth, is available to the believer throughout his walk, and may be gained, lost, regained and increased. Therefore, Spirit-filling is encouraged in Scripture. In addition, Spirit-filling occurred prior to, as well as during, the Church Age.

II. INDWELLING: THE FOUNDATION
FOR SPIRIT-FILLING

One other ministry of the Spirit needs to be addressed, that of indwelling. Like Spirit baptism, indwelling is a ministry of the Spirit toward the believer at the moment of salvation (as are also regeneration, sealing and anointing).

Jesus told His disciples,

16. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17. that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

~ John 14:16-17 ~

The Spirit was with them, but not yet in them. According to John 7:38-39, the indwelling of the Spirit was to begin after the Son was glorified, that is, ascended into Heaven:

38. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" 39. But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The indwelling began at Pentecost, ten days after His ascension, and has been a ministry of the Spirit toward all believers from that day.

The indwelling Spirit may be compared to the fountains of the great deep in the days of Noah which, when broken up by God, in combination with the floodgates of the sky flooded the earth (Genesis 7:11); and the Spirit-filled believer may be compared to the flooded earth. All believers have the "fountains of the great deep" within them and are urged to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) unto full flooding.

III. WHAT DOES IT MEAN
TO BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT?

In preparation for answering that question, we'll make brief comments on the Hebrew and the Greek, look at all passages having to do with being filled by the Spirit, and then make some observations.

A. THE HEBREW WORD AND PASSAGES

The Hebrew word used specifically in reference to Spirit-filling is מַלֵּא, maw-lay, a verb. Strong renders it as "to fill" or "to be full of." It appears in:

1. Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2. "See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3. "I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, 4. to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, 5. and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.

~ Exodus 31:1-5 ~

Then Moses said to the sons of Israel, "See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31. "And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship;

~ Exodus 35:30-31 ~

B. THE GREEK WORDS AND PASSAGES

"Three different Greek words are used, and all translated by the English word 'to fill' or 'to be filled.'"1 They appear in:

Luke 1:15: For he [John the Baptizer] will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb.

Luke 1:41, in which Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit to pronounce a great blessing upon Mary.

Luke 1:67: And his [John's] father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit to prophesy of the ministry of Yeshua, pronounce a blessing upon Him and worship God.

Luke 4:1: Yeshua, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for the purpose of overcoming Satan's temptations.

Acts 2:4: On the Day of Pentecost, 4. they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Acts 4:8: Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke boldly of Yeshua and the culpability in Yeshua's crucifixion of his listeners, who had recently arrested him and were now challenging him.

Acts 4:31: And when they [Peter and his companions] had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

Acts 6:3: Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task [of fairly administering the daily serving of food].

Acts 6:5, in which Stephen, one of the seven men chosen in verse 3, is described as being full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 7:55: But being full of the Holy Spirit, he [Stephen] gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Yeshua standing at the right hand of God;

Acts 9:17: So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Yeshua, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

22. The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. 23. Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; 24. for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. 25. And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; 26. and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers. . . . 29. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. 30. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.

~ Acts 11:22-30 ~

Acts 13:9-11: 10. But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him [Elymas], 10. and said, "You who are full of all deceit and fraud. . . . 11. you will be blind and not see the sun for a time."

Acts 13:52: And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18: And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit. . . .

C. OBSERVATIONS

1. The most striking observation is that being filled with the Spirit is to be empowered, equipped and guided by God for service unto him. Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. It is the filling of the Spirit that equips us for the accomplishment of these good works.

Gleaning from the above, individuals are variously shown to have been equipped by the filling of the Spirit with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, boldness, and power - for the following tasks and privileges: artistry, craftsmanship, pronouncing blessings, prophesying, overcoming temptations, testifying and evangelizing in languages unknown to the speakers, testifying and evangelizing in the face of opposition, reporting on spiritual matters, administering practical matters, being entrusted with the delivery of contributions, seeing heavenly visions, encouraging the brethren, calling others into ministry, the working of miracles, being filled with joy, and worshiping God.

2. Not all believers are filled with the Spirit. This is seen in Ephesians 5:18, where Paul exhorted the Ephesians to be filled with the Spirit, and also in Acts 6:3, where the brethren were exhorted to select seven men who were full of the Spirit.

3. Ephesians 5:18 makes it plain that God desires for all believers to be filled with the Spirit, and urges them to do so through Paul.

4. Being filled with the Spirit can be an abiding state for New Testament believers, as is seen clearly in Acts 6:3 and 5, 11:24, 13:52, and Ephesians 5:18. This does not mean that the state of fullness was never lost due to sin, which is common to all believers, but that being filled was the normal state of those mentioned.

5. Filling was a phenomenon that occurred under the Dispensation of the Law as well as under the Dispensation of Grace, which began at Pentecost. Bezalel, Elizabeth, Zacharias and John the Baptizer were filled under the Dispensation of the Law.

6. Nowhere were Israelites under the Law encouraged to be filled with the Spirit. God sovereignly chose and filled a small handful of them to be filled for special tasks.

7. Scripture emphasizes the sovereign filling of certain individuals for the carrying out of particular tasks or the meeting of certain challenges in both Testaments. In the Old Testament, Bezalel was filled with the Spirit and thereby equipped with artistic design and craftsmanship for the construction of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-5). In the New, Ryrie notes that the Greek phrase used in certain passages "highlights the event of being filled rather than the resultant state of fullness"2. These "event" passages and others that emphasize the filling of certain chosen individuals for special purposes show the following: John was filled to serve as a prophet and be the forerunner and identifier of Messiah (Luke 1:15-16); Elizabeth was filled to bless Mary (Luke 1:41); Zacharias, to prophesy of Yeshua's ministry and bless God (Luke 1:67); the apostles, to preach to the multitude on the Day of Pentecost and be equipped for their foundational ministries (Acts 1:26; 2:4); Peter, to speak to the rulers, elders and scribes who challenged him (Acts 4:8); Peter and his companions, that God would grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence. . . and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness (4:29-31); Paul, for his pioneering role as "apostle to the Gentiles" and providing much of the New Testament (Acts 9:17), and again in Acts 13:9, for his judgment of Elymas.

8. Some were filled for special tasks from the earliest possible moments. John was filled from his mother's womb (Luke 1:15-16); the apostles were filled on the Day Pentecost (Acts 1:26; 2:4); Paul was filled from the moment of his conversion ( Acts 9:17).

9. Certain individuals are shown to have already been filled, and then filled again when faithfully meeting new challenges. Peter was filled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), again in his confrontation with the rulers, elders and scribes (Acts 4:8), and again after the prayer for boldness (4:31). Paul was filled at his conversion (Acts 9:17), again for his judgment of Elymas (Acts 13:9), and again after preaching faithfully in Antioch-Pisidia (13:52).

D. WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

In consideration of the above, to be filled with the Spirit means to be controlled by the Spirit: to be led and empowered by Him. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul exhorted, And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit. According to Dr. Enns, "The meaning of 'filled' (Gk. plerousthe) is 'control.'"3 Just as alcohol imbibed to the point of drunkenness controls a person, so does the Spirit when He is allowed to fill the believer.

In the broader context of Ephesians 5:18 (verses 15-33), being filled with the Spirit is associated with living carefully, wisely, making the most of your time, because the days are evil (verse 16); being strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man (verse 16); with understanding the Lord's will; with speaking godly things and singing godly songs to one another and to the Lord; with thanksgiving to the Lord; with subjection to one another in the fear of the Lord; with wives being subject to their husbands as unto the Lord; with husbands loving their wives as Messiah loved His body of believers; and with subjection of the body of believers to Messiah. Based on John 16:12-14 and 1 Corinthians 2:9 - 3:2, it may be reasoned that Spirit-filling maximizes the degree to which the Spirit teaches one spiritual truth and enables him to apply it in life situations. In Romans 15:13, it is associated with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope. In Philippians 2:1-4, it is the basis for spiritual fellowship. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Spirit transforms us into the Lord's image from glory to glory. Many of these points are made, implied or illustrated in other passages, as well, such as Acts 1:8, Romans 15:19, 2 Corinthians 3:2-6, Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 1:11 and 3:3, Colossians 1:9 and I Thessalonians 1:5. Also in the context of the Ephesians passage, the believer who is not filled with the Spirit is vulnerable to the opposite in every point, falling into the same libertine and destructive frame of mind as drunkenness. Some of Strong's and Thayer's definitions of the Greek word for dissipation are: excess, riot, an abandoned, dissolute life, profligacy.

To be filled with the Spirit is to be sanctified unto progressive holiness of spirit and daily walk and for personal growth in Him in every way; and to be equipped, guided and empowered for the Lord's service and honor.

Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled* it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink (Matthew 27:48). As a sponge may be soaked and dripping with a liquid, so may the believer be filled with the Spirit.

*
πλήθω, pletho, one of the Greek words used in reference to Spirit-filling.

IV. HOW MAY A BELIEVER
BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?

A. THE HUMAN SIDE

Inasmuch as filling is associated with power for service and spiritual growth, and that Paul urged the Ephesians, be filled with the Spirit (5:18), one must do as Paul urged:

1. Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

~ Romans 12:1-2 ~

Verse 1 speaks of the dedication of one's body for the Lord's service, and verse 2, the dedication of one's very spirit for the purpose of sanctification. It is a dedication of one's entire person, body and soul.

Dr. Fruchtenbaum illuminates the Greek:

Romans 12:1 encourages believers to present your bodies a living sacrifice as an act of an initial dedication. The word present is in the aorist tense, which emphasizes that there must be a one-time presentation of the body. Romans 12:2 teaches that a believer should then live a continuously separated life, allowing himself to be continuously transformed [Greek present tense], and not conformed to the world.4

The same thought is found in Romans 6:12-13:

12. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13. and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

The ultimate example of the dedicated life is presented to us in 1 Peter 2:21-24:

21. For you have been called for this purpose, since Messiah also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22. WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23. and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24. and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

When a believer so dedicates himself to the Lord for service and sanctification, he is filled by the Spirit that he may live just that kind of life.

B. THE DIVINE SIDE

The question is, Which Person or Persons of the Triune God fills the believer with the Spirit?

The issue: The Greek phrase en pneumati, which is found in be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and other passages, is variously translated "in, with, by, or through the Spirit," depending on context and translation. Dr. Ryrie notes these other verses in which en pneumati appears:

Ephesians 2:22: in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit;

Ephesians 3:5:
it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;

Ephesians 6:18:
pray at all times in the Spirit;

Colossians 1:8:
he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

He then asks, "Does it mean [filled] with the Spirit or by the Spirit?" and concludes, "The case can mean either or both." He then proceeds to answer our question: "The Spirit is the Agent who fills us with Himself."5

V. FILLING CAN BE SUSTAINED,
LOST, REGAINED AND EXPANDED

A. A DEEPER LOOK AT EPHESIANS 5:18

The literal meaning of be filled with the Spirit is "keep on being filled with the Spirit." The tense in the Greek "emphasizes continuous and repeated action."6 This, in turn, means that the believer must continually and repeatedly exercise his will to do those things that the Lord requires of him both inwardly and outwardly. He must respond positively as the Lord shows him attitudes, viewpoints and activities he is to drop, new areas of sanctification he is walk in, and new ministerial challenges he is to meet. In so responding, his capacity for filling expands as new areas of his life open up for the Lord, and the Spirit fills Him afresh to the level of his increased capacity. Inversely, if a believer slacks in his dedication or otherwise gives in to sin, he will become less than full of the Spirit; but if he repents, fullness will be restored.

B. THREE KEY PASSAGES

Scripture provides three terse exhortations, two negative and one positive, which, if followed, enable the believer to continually be filled with the Spirit.

1. The Two Negative Exhortations
a.
Ephesians 4:30: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. This is not to be taken figuratively: The Spirit is a Person, and can literally be grieved. The Ephesians 4 context makes it clear that grieving the Spirit is caused by sinning. Some of the specific sins mentioned are lying, anger, stealing, sloth, speaking unwholesome words. If one is to retain his filling, he must not sin.

b. 1 Thessalonians 5:19: Do not quench the Spirit. Quenching the Spirit is a specific kind of sin; and inasmuch as it is a sin, quenching the Spirit also grieves Him.

"Quench" is used of quenching a fire in Matthew 12:20, Ephesians 6:16 and Hebrews 11:34; and inasmuch as fire is a symbol of the Spirit (Exodus 3:2 and 13:21, Matthew 3:11, Acts 2:3), and 1 Thessalonians 5:20 exhorts, do not despise prophetic utterances, one may conclude that quenching the Spirit refers to the stifling or suppression of one's own spiritual gift or the gifts of others. If one is to be filled with the Spirit, he must not stifle or suppress his own spiritual gift or the gifts of others: he must not quench the Spirit.

The exhortation to not quench the spirit is addressed to all of the members of the church at Thessalonica (1:1-2), and is in the plural. All the members of the congregation were to be careful to heed the exhortation when they gathered together for worship. In application, pastors, the entire eldership, and other spiritual leaders must be especially careful here: They can either stifle the spiritual flames in their congregations, evangelistic teams, or other ministry groups, or fan them.

2. The One Positive Exhortation
Galatians 5:16: Walk in the Spirit (pneuma), and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. The majority of translators and commentators hold that pneuma refers to the Holy Spirit; a minority, the saved human spirit.

If one walks in the Spirit (or spirit), he will neither quench nor grieve Him. To walk in the Spirit (or spirit) is to avoid all that Scripture exhorts us to avoid and to embrace all that it exhorts us to embrace. Chafer points out, "Walking in the Spirit is a command in the present tense, that is, a Christian should keep on walking by the Spirit."7 It follows plainly that if one keeps on walking in the Spirit (or spirit) he will keep on being filled.

VI. SPIRIT-FILLING AND MATURITY

Being Spirit-filled is not the same as being spiritually mature. A newborn baby may be perfectly healthy, yet physically immature. Proper nutrition and exercise over a period of years will bring him into physical maturity. Similarly, a brand new believer might be Spirit-filled, but he is certainly not spiritually mature no matter how refined his personality or accomplished he may be in other areas of life. He needs to feed on the Word of God (1 Corinthians 3:2, 1 Peter 2:2, 1 Corinthians 10:3, Hebrews 5:14), apply his Bible knowledge to his daily walk (Ephesians 4:1, Colossians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:12), and be led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:18) in order to mature.

One who is Spirit-filled is not necessarily spiritually mature; but being Spirit-filled hastens spiritual growth unto maturity.

VII. SPIRIT-FILLING AND WORKS OF POWER

One of the words translated miracles is dunamis, which Strong renders as "force; specifically miraculous power." Special power is released by God for the working of a miracle.

Some in Scripture who were filled with the Spirit performed miracles of healing and judgment; yet, it does not follow that if one is Spirit-filled he will necessarily be called of God to perform a miracle. The effecting of healings and miracles are spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12): The Spirit distributes them sovereignly as He chooses (1 Corinthians 12:11), and He distributes them at the moment of one's salvation irregardless of how mature or Spirit-filled the believer may turn out to be (Romans 12:4-6, 1 Corinthians 12:7 and 11, 1 Peter 4:10). Therefore, no dedicated, mature, Spirit-filled believer need fret if he is not used to perform a miracle.

VIII. EXTREMES AND THE BIBLE WAY

In Charismatic congregations, members are urged to decisively dedicate themselves to the Lord's service and be empowered for that service through baptism by the Holy Spirit; and those who so dedicate themselves are so empowered. However, what really happens is that they are filled with the Spirit, not baptized by Him.

This writer knows two men who, by their testimony, lived rather lifeless Christian lives for more than twenty years and then received this filling thinking that they were being baptized by the Spirit, and their lives were permanently set on fire for the Lord. One became the pastor of a rather dead mainline church and brought it to life. Another led hundreds, perhaps thousands, to the Lord, including this writer, and has led many of them into lives of zealous discipleship and service. Sad to say, due to the confounding of the two ministries of the Spirit combined with misunderstandings of certain Bible situations involving Spirit baptism and speaking in tongues, these fillings in Charismatic settings are almost always accompanied by erroneous teaching and unbiblical practice. In addition, the emphasis is often more on power and spectacle than on the service to the Lord that the power enables, more on bedazzlement than worship: Now Herod was very glad when he saw Yeshua; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some miracle performed by Him (Luke 23:8). (Healings and miracles, yes, as the Lord wills, but with proper emphases, proportion and focus.)

So what's a little error if it causes people to be set on fire for the Lord? Truth mixed with error is like a mirror smeared with mud - and error muddies the mirror through which we already see the Lord dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12). It also corrupts the image of Yeshua we present to each other and to the world. Furthermore, error begets error begets error ad infinitum, and aberrations in doctrine and practice are thus progressively compounded.

On the opposite extreme are congregations who do not teach on the need for dedication nor urge their members to be filled with the Spirit, and their pews are filled with relatively lifeless believers. Indeed, it is often difficult to tell who is saved among them!

There is a healthy, middle ground - the biblical ground - that many congregations have struck. They teach on the need for dedicated lives and challenge their members to decisively and once and for all dedicate themselves to the Lord for sanctification and service, and thereby be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). That is the healthy middle ground - doctrinally. However, on the practical side, all too many of these congregations do not take the works of power seriously enough, but toy with them. For example, they pray for healings because it is part of the program, but in unbelief and without fervency (James 5:16: The fervent prayer of a righteous man is powerful in its working), and see no results. The healthy doctrinal ground MUST be accompanied by healthy biblical practice: They must pray aggressively and full of faith - yes, even outside the protective walls of their sanctuaries - as Peter and John prayed for the man at the Gate Beautiful (Acts 3:1-8) - and they will see similar results.

Therefore, let congregational leaders exhort their flocks to live dedicated lives, be filled with the Spirit, and follow up with healthy, Spirit-filled, faith-filled practice. And to whom it may concern: Be filled with the Spirit. No need to wait until you are in your congregation. Dedicate yourself now - and follow up with action!

Shalom!

FOOTNOTES AND RECOMMENDED READING

1. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Messianic Bible Study 066: The Ministries of the Holy Spirit, pdf, (ariel.org: Ariel Ministries Digital Press, 1985, 2005), 31-32.
2. Charles Ryrie, Dr., Basic Theology, (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991), 376.
3. Paul P. Enns, Dr., The Moody Handbook of Theology, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), 278.
4. Fruchtenbaum, op. cit., 33.
5. Ryrie, op. cit., 377.
6. Fruchtenbaum, op. cit.
7. Louis Sperry Chafer, Dr., Major Bible Themes, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1926), 121.


The Filling of the Holy Spirit
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2010
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

THE MINISTRIES AND GIFTS
~ OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ~

4. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. . . . 7. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. . . . 11. But one and the same
Spirit works all these things, distributing to
each one individually just as He wills.

~ 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 ~

For even as the body is one and has many members, and all
the members of the body, though they are many,
are one body, so also is Christ.

~ 1 Corinthians 12:12 ~

CONTENTS

THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE GIFTS
AND PRESENT DAY MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

I. INTRODUCTION
II. THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS

A. WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL GIFT?
1. Definition
2. Distinguished from Gifts Given to All Believers
3. Distinguished from a Natural Gift
4. Distinguished from an Office
B. WHO RECEIVES THE GIFTS?
C. WHEN ARE THE GIFTS GIVEN?
D. HOW ARE THE GIFTS ADMINISTERED TO THE BELIEVER?
1. The Distribution of the Gifts
2. The Placement of the Gift Holders

3. The Operation and Results of Gift Usage
E. ARE THE GIFTS REVOCABLE?
F. WHY ARE THE GIFTS GIVEN?
III. WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC SPIRITUAL GIFTS?
A. THE GIFTS NAMED IN SCRIPTURE
1. Romans 12:6-8
2. 1 Corinthians 7:1, 7
3. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
4. 1 Corinthians 12:28
5. Ephesians 4:11
B. CATEGORIES OF GIFTS
C. THE GIFTS EXPLAINED
1. Insight Gifts
a. Knowledge
b. Wisdom
c. Distinguishing of Spirits
2. Speaking Gifts
a. Prophecy
b. Teaching
c. Exhortation
d. Evangelism
e. Tongues
f. Interpretation of Tongues
3. Power Gifts
a. Workings of Miracles
b. Gifts of Healings
Where Do Exorcisms Fit In?
4. Leadership Gifts
a. Leading
b. Pastor-Teacher
c. Apostleship
1) Apostolic Qualifications
a) The "Inner Circle" of Twelve
b) The "Outer Circle" of Apostles
c) Common Denominator
2) The Purpose of Apostleship
3) Special Apostolic Endowments
5. Service Gifts
a. Serving or Helps
1) Definitions
a) Definitions of Service
b) Definitions of Helps
c) Some Observations
2) Usages
a) Usages of Service (diakonia)
b) Usages of Helps (antilapesis, words related to)
3) Differentiation from Other Gifts
a) Differentiation of Service (diakonia) from Other Gifts
b) Differentiation of Helps (antilapesis) from Other Gifts
4) Summary of Observations
5) Conclusions and Definition
b. Showing Mercy
6. Enablement Gifts
a. Faith
b. Celibacy
c. Giving

IV. SIMPLE AND COMPOUND GIFTS
V. GIVING UNDUE EMPHASIS TO ANY ONE GIFT CAN BE DIVISIVE
A. THE PROBLEM OF PRIDE
B. THE PROBLEM OF LOW SELF-WORTH
C. "THEY SHOULD ALL BE LIKE ME"

D. SUMMARY

VI. WHICH GIFTS DOES THE SPIRIT DISTRIBUTE TODAY?
Introduction
A. APOSTLESHIP
B. PROPHECY
1. First Century Functions of Prophecy
a. The Founding of the Body of Messiah
b. The Founding of Local Churches
c. The Creation of the Canon of Scripture
d. Other Purposes
2. Summary
C. TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION

D. HEALINGS AND MIRACLES
E. MAJOR OBJECTIONS

F. SUMMARY
VII. TESTING THE GIFTS
A. TESTING ANY OF THE GIFTS

1. Objective Evidence
2. Discerning the Spirit of the Gift

3. Testing the Spirits
B. TESTING THE SPEAKING GIFTS IN GENERAL
C. TESTING PROPHECY IN PARTICULAR
1. Introduction
2. Two Tests

a. The Fruit
b. The Mosaic Test
3. Not "Everybody Must Get Stoned"

4. Cautions Regarding Prophecy
VIII. WOMEN AND THE GIFTS
Introduction
A. RESTRICTIONS
1. Speaking in General
2. Teaching in Particular
3. The Pastorate
4. A Common Objection
5. Exception

B. LIBERTIES IN THE MEETING OF THE CHURCH
1. Singing and Praying Aloud
2. Non-Speaking Gifts
C. LIBERTIES IN THE BELIEVING COMMUNITY
D. EXAMPLES OF WOMEN IN THE BIBLE MINISTERING AFTER PENTECOST

E. WOMEN IN SECULAR CAPACITIES
F. SUMMARY
IX. FINAL THOUGHTS FOR PASTORS

THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE GIFTS AND PRESENT
DAY MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
We believe that at salvation the Holy Spirit imparts at least one spiritual gift to every believer for the purpose of edifying and equipping the body of Messiah. We believe that God sovereignly distributes Spiritual Gifts to believers and so giving undue emphasis to any one particular gift can be divisive. (Romans 8:13-14; 1 Corinthians 12:28-31; 13:1-3,13; 1 Corinthians 14:12, 19, 23, 27-28; Galatians 5:22-23)

I. INTRODUCTION

There is much disagreement concerning the nature and current applicability of the gifts of the Spirit. In this study, we will substantiate the claims in our Statement and attempt to shed light on the spiritual gifts. Our appeal will be to the Word of God, not to guesswork, wishful thinking, personal experience (easily misinterpreted), or the testimony of others (often inaccurate or exaggerated). Certainly, memories of personal experience and testimonies have their place, but doctrine must be determined solely on the basis of the only totally dependable source: the written Word of God.

II. THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS

A. WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL GIFT?

1. Definition
A spiritual gift is a specific God-given ability for Christian service.

2. Distinguished from Gifts Given to All Believers
There are certain blessings from God that are referred to as gifts and are endowed to all believers: salvation, eternal life, the Holy Spirit, justification, perhaps others. However, spiritual gifts are distinguished from the above gifts in that the spiritual gifts are distributed among believers: one in this manner, and another in that (1 Corinthians 7:7).

3. Distinguished from a Natural Gift
Three things should be noted:
a.
A natural gift is one that a person is endowed with genetically, such as musicality. It is present at birth though it needs to be developed into a talent or skill. A spiritual gift is one that is endowed by God at the new birth.
b. Some natural and spiritual gifts may appear the same outwardly, such as the gift of teaching; but one may have the natural gift of teaching without having the spiritual gift.
c. Spiritual gifts may be expressed through natural gifts. If one has the natural gift of musicality and the spiritual gift of teaching, he or she may use his gift of teaching through the writing and singing of songs that teach biblical truth. Many of the Reformation hymns are of this nature.

4. Distinguished from an Office
An office is a formally recognized position in a church or congregation, such as teacher. One may have the gift of teaching and even teach informally without holding a teaching office. One may evangelize informally without holding the office of staff evangelist.

B. WHO RECEIVES THE GIFTS?

1 Peter 4:10 tells us that each one has received a gift. The same point is made in Romans 12:4-6 and 1 Corinthians 12:7 and 11. Every member of the body receives at least one gift; and, as we shall see, some receive more than one.

C. WHEN ARE THE GIFTS GIVEN?

If each one has received a gift, then it is clear that all believers receive at least one gift at the moment of salvation. Also, no passage indicates that a believer may receive a gift subsequent to salvation.

What are we to make of 1 Corinthians 12:31, then? But earnestly desire the greater gifts. Why should believers desire the greater gifts if they cannot receive any more? The answer lies in the fact that Paul was exhorting the church as a unit, not the individual believers in it (1 Corinthians 1:1-2). 1 Corinthians 12:28 names eight gifts in descending order of greatness, naming those gifts first that are most essential for the establishment and health of the body: And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. If the Corinthian church was lacking in ministry from those holding the greater gifts, they were to draw out such ministry from those so gifted among them, or invite such ministry from elsewhere in the body.

D. HOW ARE THE GIFTS ADMINISTERED TO THE BELIEVER?

Six passages are helpful here:
1-3. 1 Corinthians 8:6: ... there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things. Romans 11:36 and Hebrews 2:10 make the same point.

4. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6: 4. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all [persons].

Note that the three verses are constructed in a parallel manner: varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; varieties of ministries, and the same Lord [Yeshua]; varieties of effects, but the same God [the Father]. Each Person is somehow related to the preceding aspect of the gifts named.

5. 1 Corinthians 12:11: But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

6. Ephesians 4:8: Therefore it says, "When He [Messiah] ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men."

Now, to draw some conclusions:

1. The Distribution of the Gifts
1 Corinthians 8:6, Romans 11:36 and Hebrews 2:10 show God the Father to be the source of the gifts; Ephesians 4:8 identifies the Lord Yeshua as the giver of the gifts; and 1 Corinthians 12:4,11 and 18 name the Holy Spirit as the distributor of the varieties of gifts. Now, Psalm 40:7 and John 6:38 show Jesus to be Servant to the Father, and John 16:13-14 shows the Spirit to be Servant to Jesus. We can deduce, then, that the Father entrusts the gifts to Yeshua who, in turn, entrusts them to the Spirit, who distribut[es] to each one [member of the body] individually just as He wills.

2. The Placement of the Gift Holders
1 Corinthians 12:5 declares that the Lord Yeshua is in charge of the ministries of the Spirit. As the builder of the church (Matthew 16:18), He decides where each of the living stones (1 Peter 2:5) is placed in it. He decides exactly where in the worldwide body of Messiah each individual believer with his particular gift or gifts is placed. It seems likely, as well, that the sovereign Builder decides exactly when in the Church Age each one of us, unique as we are, are placed in His spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5).

3. The Operation and Results of Gift Usage
Strong's Concordance gives the definition of the Greek word translated effects (above, in 1 Corinthians 12:6) as operation, working. Thayer's Greek Definitions proffers: (1) thing wrought (2) effect operation (sic). In other words, the verse tells us that God the Father operates the gifts through believers and brings about the results of the operation.

To sum up, the Father gives the gifts to Yeshua, who gives them to the Spirit, who distributes them among believers as He sees fit, Yeshua decides where in the body each believer is placed, and the Father operates the gifts through believers and brings about the results.

E. ARE THE GIFTS REVOCABLE?

Romans 11:9 declares, The gifts and the callings of God are without revocation. In context, the declaration applies to the God given gifts and callings of Israel; but as a general principle it applies to all gifts and callings, and includes the spiritual gifts and callings to ministry of all believers. The spiritual gifts are irrevocable.

F. WHY ARE THE GIFTS GIVEN?

The most inclusive statement as to the purpose of the gifts is Ephesians 4:11-16:

11. And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12. for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Messiah; 13. until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15. but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16. from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Two classes of gift holders are mentioned here. The first is composed of leaders responsible for the delivery of the Word of God: apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor-teachers (verse 11). The second includes all gift holders in the body (the we of verse 15, and the every joint and each individual part of verse 16), which includes those of the first group and all others. The first is given for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, that is, for the training and enablement of all believers to function in their gifts. The all inclusive second group is to the building up of the body of Christ (verse 12), that we may grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head even Christ (verse 15), to the building up of itself in love (verse 16).

Four ultimate purposes are given:
1. the building up of the body of Messiah (verse 12) in numbers and maturity
2. that we may all be established in the unity of the faith (verse 13) (which refers to sound doctrine)
3. in the knowledge of the Son of God (verse 13),
4. and in love (verses 15, 16).

Some of the same points may be found in 1 Peter 4:10; and 1 Corinthians 14:4,12.

A closer look needs to be taken at the phrase, to the building up of the body of Messiah (Ephesians 4:12). Each one's gift serves not only the local body, but the entire body of Messiah from Pentecost to the Rapture. Which of us today has not benefited from the work of the first century apostles or the great teachers and exhorters of the Reformation? How many have been saved on the foreign mission field because of the generous giving of those at home? Our gifts serve those who have come before, as well, as we help to complete what they have begun or continued to develop. They also serve those who will come after us, just as those who came before us served us.

Also with the entire body in view, Dr. Charles Ryrie points out, "...not every congregation need expect that it will have all of the gifts represented in it.... God knows what each group needs and will see that it is supplied accordingly." Similarly, "... not every generation may necessarily expect to have all the gifts" (Ryrie, Dr. Charles C. Basic Theology, p. 369. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1981). These assertions will be addressed.

G. WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC SPIRITUAL GIFTS?

"The Gifts of the Spirit" is no minor doctrine. Without the functioning of the gifts one wonders whether a soul would have been saved on the Day of Pentecost or whether there would be a body of believers on earth today. The proper functioning of the gifts is critical to the building up of the body of Messiah (Ephesians 4:12) and to a healthy witness to the unsaved. I have therefore decided to examine each gift in depth, hoping to ascertain a clear understanding of its nature and present availability - and I must say, once again: not on the basis of guesswork, wishful thinking, personal experience (easily misinterpreted), or the testimony of others (often inaccurate or exaggerated), but solely on relevant passages in the Word of God.

A. THE GIFTS NAMED IN SCRIPTURE

Paul names nineteen spiritual gifts, and they are identified as gifts in five passages, some in more than one passage:
1. Romans 12:6-8: prophecy, serving (ministry), teaching, exhortation (entreaty, encouragement), giving (sharing), leading (ruling, administration, presiding), showing mercy (comfort, sympathy, consolation).

2. 1 Corinthians 7:1, 7: celibacy (singleness, eunuch for the kingdom of heaven [Matthew 19:12]). Celibacy is not named in these scriptures, but is clearly implied. A secondary implication is singleness as to the marital state.

3. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11: wisdom (word of wisdom), knowledge (word of knowledge), faith, gifts of healings (gift of healing, healing, healings), workings of miracles (miracles, working of miracles, effecting of miracles), prophecy, distinguishing of spirits (discernment of spirits), tongues (speaking in tongues, various kinds of tongues, diversities of tongues, languages, diversities of languages, glossalalia), interpretation of tongues (interpretation of languages).

4. 1 Corinthians 12:28-30: apostleship (apostles), prophecy (prophets), teaching (teachers), miracles, gifts of healings, helps, leading (administrations), tongues.

5. Ephesians 4:11: apostleship (apostle), prophecy (prophet), evangelism (evangelist),
pastoring-teaching (shepherding-teaching, pastor-teacher, shepherd-teacher).

Gifts are not named as such in this passage, but in terms of the people who are endowed with them: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers. The same applies to some of the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30. The people who possess the gifts are named as gifts to the body, and they often hold the offices named by their title. However, it's the spiritual gifts that are our focus, and I have named the gifts that the possessors hold. All four of the Ephesians 4:11 gifts include the effective delivery of the Word of God.

There are two prevalent errors concerning the Ephesians 4:11 gifts:
1. The first error is the confounding of the gift holder and the office. One may think that a person with the obvious gift of evangelism is necessarily an evangelist of the local congregation formally representing that congregation in the office of evangelist. New believers often make this mistake; but such a person holds the office only after the leadership formally recognizes the gift holder as one of their staff evangelists. Conversely, some err in thinking that one who holds an office necessarily possesses the supporting gift. Would that it were so; but, unfortunately, it is not. Such people function poorly in their office. One should not be confirmed in an office without holding the supporting gift.

2. The second error is referring to this group as "the fivefold ministry." This error is the result of pastor-teacher being translated pastor and teacher in many translations, causing readers to perceive them as separate gifts. Pastor and teacher should be rendered pastor-teacher, as will be shown. The group, then, should be referred to as "the fourfold ministry."

B. CATEGORIES OF GIFTS

I have sorted the gifts into six categories. Some gifts can easily be placed in more than one, but I have placed each gift into the one category which seems to best represent its key characteristic or ministerial application. I have also sequenced the categories, and the gifts within each category, so that prior explanations lay foundations for subsequent explanations. The categories are of my own conception, and they are:

  • Insight Gifts: knowledge, wisdom, distinguishing of spirits.

  • Communication Gifts: prophecy, teaching, exhortation, evangelism, tongues, interpretation of tongues.

  • Power Gifts: workings of miracles, gifts of healings.

  • Leadership Gifts: leading, pastoring-teaching, apostleship.

  • Service Gifts: serving, showing mercy.

  • Enablement Gifts: faith, celibacy, giving.

C. THE GIFTS EXPLAINED

The name of each gift is followed by the references in which it is so named.

1. Insight Gifts

1a. Knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8).In some circles, the word of knowledge is defined as a direct word from God revealing something about another person, or some other knowledge. Biblically, however, such revelation is not a word of knowledge, but a word of prophecy.

In 1 Corinthians 12:8, the word translated knowledge in word of knowledge is gnosis. The same word is used in Romans 2:20 and 1 Corinthians 8:1, and refers to objective knowledge of the already extant Word of God. It is also used in 1 Corinthians 13:2, in which it is described as the ability to know mysteries, knowledge revealed for the first time in the New Testament. The gift of knowledge, then, is the pronounced motivation and ability to search out and discern the literal meaning of a passage, or related passages, of Scripture. It is the ability to properly understand the truths revealed to the apostles and prophets. Teachers of the Word need this gift.

b. Wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8). In 1 Corinthians 12:8, the word for wisdom in word of wisdom is sophia. 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 and James 1:2-8 use sophia in the context of applied spiritual knowledge. The gift of wisdom, then, is the pronounced ability to understand the proper application of the literal meaning of a passage or principle of Scripture. The gift may be applied to one's own decisions or as words of encouragement or exhortation for others. Exhorters, those who preach to move others to action, need this gift.

A word of wisdom is often misconstrued as direct revelation; but biblical wisdom is based on truth already revealed. Direct revelation is solely the domain of prophecy.

c. Distinguishing of Spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10). In 1 Corinthians 12:10, the word for distinguishing or discerning is diakrisis, which, according to Strong's, means judicial estimation, discerning, and is from diakrino, which is found in 1 Corinthians 14:29, and means to separate thoroughly... to discriminate... discern. 1 Corinthians 14:29 reads, Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment (diakrino). Distinguishing of spirits, then, is the God-given ability to determine the nature of the spirit that motivates a declaration or an action, whether it be of God, the devil, or the human spirit. In Acts 16:17-18, a slave girl publicly declared Paul and company to be the bond-servants of the Most High God; yet Paul discerned the demonic nature of the spirit motivating the girl, and cast the demon out of her. The prophet Nathan's first word to David was neither from God nor the devil, but from his own spirit (2 Samuel 7:1-7, 12-14; 1 Chronicles 17:1-6).

2. Speaking Gifts
Those with spiritual gifts of communication have the God-given ability to clearly and effectively communicate spiritual truth by one or more modes of communication, whether it be speech, writing or another mode.

a. Prophecy (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:10, Ephesians 4:11)
1) The Definition or Nature of Prophecy
In determining the nature of New Testament prophecy, let us note the following:
1] The LORD said to Moses,

20. But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. 21. You may say in your heart, "How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?" 22. When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

~ Deuteronomy 18:20-22 ~

The test described in verse 22 necessitates a prophecy of a near future event that could not be determined by the observation of a trend or by any other natural means.

2] The innumerable times in the Hebrew Scriptures that those identified as prophets introduced their prophecies by such phrases as Thus says the LORD.

3] The Book of Revelation, which John called the words of this prophecy (1:3) and the book of this prophecy (22:18-19) opens with clear statements that the book was to consist of direct revelations from God (1:1-2, 12-19).

4] The New Testament prophet Agabus prophesied two events that came to pass, the first of which, a famine, could only have been known by direct revelation (Acts 11:27).

5] This is important: The Bible nowhere indicates that the benchmarks of a prophet or a prophecy changed from the Old Testament to the New.

We can conclude, then, that all prophecy of both Testaments consists of direct revelation from God, and that the prophet was endowed with the ability to declare his prophecy inerrantly (without error) and infallibly (with unfailing accuracy). The New Testament gift of prophecy, then, is the ability to receive direct revelation from God and to declare it inerrantly and infallibly.

The prophetic ministry was essential for the writing of both Testaments, though only a minority of the prophets were used in this way. Of the New Testament writers, at least Peter, Paul and John had the prophetic gift, and twenty of the twenty-seven New Testament books were written by them.

2) The Content of Prophecy
Though all professed prophets needed to pass the test of accurate predictive prophecy, not all prophecies were of a predictive nature. At least the following classes of prophecy are found in Scripture, for which I've provided examples from both Testaments:
a) Future Events: details of Messiah's crucifixion (Psalm 22:1-21; Isaiah 52:13 - 53:9); the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).E
b) Direction from God: the call of Abram (Genesis 12:1); Paul's call to Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10 ).

c) Newly Revealed Spiritual Principles: God to Abram: I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse (Genesis 12:3), and the nature and test of true prophecy as revealed to Moses, above (Deuteronomy 18:20-22); that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body (Ephesians 3:4-7).

d) A Timely Message for a Nation: Jonah's warnings to Nineveh (Jonah 1:2; 3:2); Peter's evangelistic message to the Men of Israel (Acts 2:22-39).

e) A Timely Message for a Person: Nathan to David (2 Samuel 12:1-12); Agabus to Paul (Acts 21:10-11).

3) An Oft Misunderstood Verse
1 Corinthians 14:3 is a verse that is often misunderstood: But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation (comfort).

Some say that all who speak for edification and exhortation and consolation are Church Age prophets; but the verse does not define a prophet: it declares purposes of the gift. Also, the same purposes are met by some with gifts other than prophecy. For example, the teacher speaks to edification; the evangelist exhorts people to believe the Gospel; the exhorter may also speak for consolation - but none of these gifts necessitate direct revelation from God as does prophecy. Of all the gifts, prophecy alone requires direct revelation from God.

b. Teaching (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28).
The spiritual gift of teaching is the ability to communicate biblical truth clearly and persuasively. The possessor of the gift is characterized by a great desire to study the Word and teach it. He or she must first be able to search out and perceive the truth of Scripture, and so must possess the gift of knowledge as a foundation. He or she must also possess the ability to think logically and organize clearly, both for their own understanding and the understanding of their audience, which may be hearers, readers, etc. The gift was given considerable emphasis in the early church because of its importance in bringing believers to maturity, and must be given no less emphasis today (Acts 2:42; 4:2; 5:42; 11:26; 13:1; 15:35; 18:11, etc.). Paul's first eleven chapters of Romans is a great example of teaching.

c. Exhortation (Romans 12:8).
In Romans 12:8, Paul named the gift paraklesis. Dictionaries, translators and commentators variously render the meaning either as an appeal to the will (exhortation, persuasive discourse, entreaty), or as a word of comfort (comfort, consolation). Encouragement is another word used that can refer to either meaning. The two basic meanings are hardly synonymous. What did Paul have in mind?

Among those verses that clearly refer to the gift of exhortation, there are a few cases in which paraklesis or its verb form, parakaleo (to exhort) is used of comfort, consolation or encouragement, as in 1 Thessalonians 4:18: Therefore comfort (parakaleo) one another with these words; but in the overwhelming majority of cases they are used of persuasive discourse, as in Romans 12:1: Therefore I urge (parakaleo) you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice. In addition, in 1 Corinthians 14:3, exhortation is differentiated from consolation: But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation (paraklesis) and consolation (paramuthia). Strong defines paramuthia as consolation, comfort, which is the result of the gift of showing mercy (eleeo).

I therefore proffer this definition: When exhortation is used of a spiritual gift, it normally refers to the ability to persuade an individual to act on the basis of a word or principle of Scripture; but sometimes, to the ability to comfort, console or encourage.

d. Evangelism (Ephesians 4:11).
The word for evangelist is euaggelistes, which Strong defines as a preacher of the Gospel.

The gift of evangelism consists of a pronounced burden for the lost and the ability to present the Gospel clearly and in such a manner so that many people come to Messiah. In Acts 21:8, Philip is named an evangelist. In Acts 8:5-40, he preached the Gospel in the desert and in all the cities between Azotus and Caesarea, to crowds and to individuals, with many conversions. Peter and Paul clearly had this gift (Acts 2:14-42; Acts 14:19-21, etc.).

e. Tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10).
The Greek word used is glossa, the literal meaning of which is tongue. In English and other languages "tongue" is often used to mean a language. The same is true in biblical Greek. In examining the passages that explain or illustrate tongues (Acts 2:7-11; 10:46; 1 Corinthians 14:1-28), three key things may be noted:
1. Acts 2:4, 7-11 shows tongues as ordinary languages understandable by earthly people groups:

4. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (glossa), as the Spirit was giving them utterance . . . . 7. Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8. And how is it that we each hear them in our own language (dialektos, dialect) to which we were born? 9. Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10. Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11. Cretans and Arabs - we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.

2. The tongue was always unknown in meaning to the speaker. In Acts 2, the languages were known by the hearers, each understanding his own language (verses 8-11), but not by the speakers (verses 7-8). In meetings of the congregation, as we shall see, the language was unknown to the hearer, as well, and required one to interpret by the gift of interpreting tongues.

3. There is no passage that plainly shows that the language may be an angelic one, and there is certainly no passage that validates gibberish.

What about 1 Corinthians 13:1: If I speak with the tongues. . . of angels ? Was Paul indicating that he was capable of speaking in an angelic language? After all, angels in Heaven do speak. Revelation 4:8: And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within [seraphim]; and day and night they do not cease to say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY."

The whole tenor of the 1 Corinthians passage is one of hypothesis (if . . . if . . .) and hyperbole, speaking in extremes for emphasis: 2. If I . . . know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith . . . . 3. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned . . . . Consistent with the tenor of the passage, If I speak with the tongues . . . of angels was simply a hypothetic and hyperbolic way of indicating supreme eloquence. A similar hyperbolic expression is found in Acts 12:22 in which The people kept crying out in reference to Herod's oratorical skills, The voice of a god and not of a man!

The gift of speaking in tongues, then, is the God-given ability to speak in an earthly language unknown to the speaker.

Other points to note:
1. The mode of a tongue may be a prophecy, a word of knowledge, a teaching, a prayer, a song, a giving of thanks, or some other mode (1 Corinthians 14:6,13-16).
2. Tongues were not only spoken by apostles (Acts 2), but by common folk, as well (Acts 10:45-46; 1 Corinthians 14).
3. Tongues were spoken to the saved (1 Corinthians 14) and the unsaved (Acts 2; 1 Corinthians 14).

f. Interpretation of Tongues
(1 Corinthians 12:10)
1) The Nature of Interpretation of Tongues
1 Corinthians 14:13 and 27: 13. Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret . . . . 27. If anyone speaks in a tongue . . . one must interpret.
The passage shows that when one speaks in a tongue in the assembly, someone must interpret so that all understand what was spoken.

The gift of interpretation of tongues, then, is the God-given ability to interpret a tongue that the interpreter would not understand by natural means. Also, as the two verses show, the interpreter may be the speaker himself, or another.

2) The Purposes of Tongues and Interpretation
In 1 Corinthians 14:19, Paul said, in the assembly I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.

If that's the case, then why does God even bother with the gift? Why doesn't He simply stick to the plain-speaking gifts? Tongues and interpretation were used for evangelism and the profit and edification of the congregation (1 Corinthians 14:4,6,17,26), but so were the plain-speaking gifts. Were there uses of tongues and interpretation that the plain-speaking gifts did not have? The answer is yes.

Unique Functions Outside the Assembly:
1. to grab the attention of the hearers (Acts 2);
2. to signal that the message was from God so that the hearers might respond accordingly (Acts 2).In Acts 2, the message was evangelistic;
3. as a sign to the apostles that Gentiles were savable (Acts 10:45-46).

Unique Functions Within the Assembly:
As a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers, and also to ungifted men, those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, that the message is from God, leading to their worship of God (1 Corinthians 14:22-25).

Unique Functions Summarized:
1. Tongues were initiated by God on landmark historical occasions (Acts 2, 10), and at the discretion of any with the gift during normal congregational services (1 Corinthians 14:27-28).
2. It was always a sign except in the assembly when no unbelievers or ungifted were present.
3. It was a sign to the unsaved and the ungifted as well as to the apostles, depending on the circumstance.
4. When it was a sign, it showed that God was affirming a message or a work.

3. Power Gifts

One of the Greek words translated miracles is dunamis, which Strong's renders as force; specifically miraculous power. The understanding is that special power is released by God for the working of a miracle. There are two miracle gifts: the workings of miracles, and the gifts of healings. The second is a subset of the first. We will therefore view them together.

a. Workings of Miracles
(1 Corinthians 12:10, 28) and . . .

b. Gifts of Healings (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30).
The gift of workings of miracles is the ability to act as an agent of extraordinary works of divine power.

Miracles is in the plural emphasizing that there are various categories of miracles. The word workings is also plural emphasizing that like the gifts of healings, it is not with a person all the time. It came and went as God willed it.

Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 071:
~ The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p. 14. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press ~

The gifts of healings is the ability to act as an agent of extraordinary works of power in the realm of divine physical healing. "The word healings is plural because there are various classes of sicknesses," and "gifts is also plural.... In the Greek, plural often emphasizes repeated action. The statement gifts of healings shows that whereas with the other gifts, once one had them, it stayed with him and could be used at any time, in the case of the gifts of healings.... it is a gift that comes and goes" (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 071: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p. 14. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press).

To sum up Dr. Fruchtenbaum's statements: There are various categories of miracles and healings, and neither gift is operative at all times through the gift holder.

Paul used gifts of healings in many an instant, but at other times he could not. Certainly he would have healed his ministry associates of their ailments; yet he wrote, Trophimus I left sick at Miletus (2 Timothy 4:20).

Some workings of miracles were not healings. Some examples are: Paul's calling down blindness on Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:11); Peter's judging of Ananias and Sapphira with death (Acts 5:9-11); Paul's casting a spirit of divination out of a slave-girl (Acts 16:16-19).

Dr. Paul Enns notes,

An examination of New Testament healings by Christ and the apostles is noteworthy. These healings were: instantaneous (Mark 1:42); complete (Matthew 14:36); permanent (Matthew 14:36); ... unconditional (including unbelievers who exercised no faith and did not even know who Jesus was [John 9:25 (also Acts 3:1-7; 9:32-34 and 35-42; 20:9-12; 28:8 - N.M.)]); ... subordinate (secondary to preaching the Word of God [Luke 5:15, 16]); significant (intended to confirm Him and the apostles as the messengers of God and their message as a word from God [John 3:2; Acts 2:22; Hebrews 2:3, 4] (also Acts 5:5-11; 13:8-11 - N.M.); successful (except in the one case where the disciples' lack of faith was the cause of failure [Matthew 17:20]); and inclusive (the supreme demonstration of this gift was in raising the dead [Mark 5:39-43; Luke 7:14; John 11:44; Acts 9:40])

Enns, Dr. Paul. Moody Handbook of Theology, p. 272.
~ Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1989 ~

Where Do Exorcisms Fit In?
Just as physical healings are a subset of miracles, so exorcisms are a subset of miracles; also, some exorcisms result in physical healings, and some do not. An example of an exorcism that does not result in a physical healing is Paul's casting the spirit of divination out of the slave-girl (Acts 16:16-19). An example of an exorcism that does result in a physical healing is related in Matthew 12:22 and Luke 11:14. Matthew 12:22: Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Yeshua, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. Luke 11:14: And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. It seems likely, then, that exorcisms that result in physical healings are among the gifts of healings within the broader gifts of miracles, and that those exorcisms that do not effect physical healings are within the scope of miracles, but not of healings.

It must be noted that, just as one without the gift of evangelism can lead people to Messiah, so God may heal a person in answer to the prayers of a believer without gifts of healings (or work a non-healing miracle in answer to the prayers of one without the gifts of miracles); but just as the evangelist is far more effective in evangelism than others, so is the one with gifts of healings far more effective in seeing people healed than others. Also, it is probable that the healings of all those with the gifts of healings will show the same characteristics that those of Jesus and the apostles did (above), whereas the healings effected through the prayers of those without gifts of healings may not show all of the above characteristics; for example, healings that are speeded up, but not instantaneous.

4. Leadership Gifts

a. Leading (Romans 12:8; 1 Corinthians 12:28). In Romans 12:8, the word is proistemi, which Strong defines as "to stand before, that is, (in rank) to preside." In 1 Corinthians 12:28, it's kubernesis, which means "pilotage, that is, (figuratively) directorship (in the church): - government."

The spiritual gift of leading, then, is the God-given ability to lead a group within the congregation, or the entire congregation. It is the ability to see the big picture, to establish priorities, to make wise decisions, to organize people, to give clear and authoritative direction, and to inspire confidence in those being led. The gift of leading is foundational and essential to all in positions of group leadership, whether those positions have to do with pastoring, works of mercy, maintaining the physical plant, or some other form of ministry.

b. Pastor-Teacher (Ephesians 4:11). Ephesians 4:11 reads, And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.

Let us note three things:
1. In pastors and teachers, "the word 'and' is not in the Greek text. A proper translation of this passage should be pastor-teacher" (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 071: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p. 6).

2. The word some precedes each of the following: apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors. However, there is no some before teachers. In other words, there is a some before each of the first four gifts, and one before pastors [and] teachers. This, too, is evidence that pastors and teachers should be linked with a hyphen.

3. Vincent's Word Studies says, "The omission of the article from teachers seems to indicate that pastors and teachers are included under one class. The two belong together. No man is fit to be a pastor who cannot also teach...."

There are those with the gift of teaching who do not have the gift of pastoring; but there are those with the gift of pastoring-teaching, and the gift of teaching is part of the package. There is no pastoring gift without the accompanying teaching gift. If a person does not have the teaching gift, then they do not have the pastoring gift either. Paul considered it crucial that pastor Timothy faithfully and consistently teach the Word (1 Timothy 1:3, 5; 4:11; 6:2, 17). One of the reasons the Western church is filled with immature, worldly believers is because of the abundance of pastors who do not have the gift of teaching.

We've examined the gift of teaching; but what is involved in the gift of pastoring?
The word for pastor is poimen, and it means "a shepherd." A shepherd's job is to lovingly lead the flock to green pastures and fresh water, retrieve the strays and the lost, protect it from predators, bind up the wounded, keep them from fighting among themselves, discipline the offenders, tend to the sick and the wounded, and shelter the flock from inclement weather (Psalm 23, Ezekiel 34). One operating as a congregational pastor must care for his flock in the same way by teaching the Word, applying it in all situations, and facilitating the full operation of the gifts.

The pastoring gift is a leadership gift, and must, of necessity, include the gift of leading, as well.

To sum up, one with the teaching gift need not have the gift of pastoring and leading, but one with the pastoring gift must, of necessity, possess the gifts of teaching and leading, as well.

One more thing: As with all the gifts, pastoring-teaching is a gift, and its possessor may or may not hold a congregational office. Those with the gift may function in their gift without being the pastor of a congregation. Whether men or women, they may serve as youth leaders, home group leaders, principals of Christian schools, and the like. In these capacities they may lead, teach, and fulfill the roles of a shepherd.

c. Apostleship (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). There were two circles of apostles, and members of each needed to meet certain qualifications.

1) Apostolic Qualifications
a) The "Inner Circle" of Twelve
These apostles needed to meet three qualifications. The first is brought out in Mark 3:14: And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him.... They were personally and unmistakably chosen by God.

The other two qualifications are brought out by Peter in regards to the man needed to replace Judas:

21. Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us - 22. beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us - one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.

~ Acts 1:21-22 ~

The qualifications brought out here are:
1. They needed to have walked with Yeshua from the time of His baptism until His ascension; that is, for the entire duration of His earthly ministry to the nation, to all His disciples, and to them in particular; and

2. They needed to have seen Yeshua in His resurrection body - not in visions or dreams - but with their physical eyes so that they might be oral witness[es]... of His resurrection. Having seen Him taken up, they certainly did see Him in His resurrection body.

The eleven apostles remaining of Yeshua's pre-Pentecost group had met all three qualifications (Luke 6:13; Acts 1:1-4, 9). Matthias, the replacement apostle for Judas, likewise met the two qualifications of Acts 1:21-22, and was also chosen by God through the drawing of lots (Acts 1:23-26. Cf. Proverbs 16:33).

b) The "Outer Circle" of Apostles
The members of this circle did not walk with the original twelve - indeed, Paul had not even been saved - but they did witness Him in His resurrection body. Yeshua made a number of post-resurrection appearances, one of which was to more than five hundred brethren (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).James, the half-brother of Yeshua (1 Corinthians 15:7), and Barnabas (Acts 14:14) and Paul were outer circle apostles. Notice the credentials Paul presented for his apostleship: Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9)? He saw the Lord; and, of course, he was chosen (Acts 9:1-15, esp. v. 15).

c) Common Denominator
The common denominator between the two apostolic groups? They were personally and unmistakably chosen by God, and they beheld the resurrected Lord with their natural eyes. (Cf. also Luke 24:45-49).

2) The Purpose of Apostleship
In Ephesians 2, Paul says of the Ephesians,

19. you... are of God's household, 20. having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21. in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22. in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

~ Ephesians 2:19-22 ~

The gift of apostleship can be summarized thusly: The gift of apostleship required one to have been chosen by God and to have seen the resurrected Lord with their natural eyes for the purpose of founding the universal church and serving as its first chief leaders. Apparently, unlike all other gifts, all with the gift of apostleship sooner or later served in the office of apostle.

3) Special Apostolic Endowments
To serve effectively, the apostles were especially qualified, gifted and endowed with authority. Their especial qualification, giftings and endowments were, and served, as follows:

a) They Were Eye Witnesses of the Lord's Resurrection.
As eye witnesses of His resurrection, they preached the Gospel with great authority (Acts 2:14-41; 14:1, etc.), the resurrection being the very victory song of the Gospel without which our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.... your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins, and we are of all men most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:14-19). They thereby served to populate the early church with thousands (Acts 2:41; 4:4) and to extend its reach to all people groups: Jews and proselytes to Judaism (Acts 2:1-47); Samaritans (Acts 8:14-17), and non-proselyte Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48).

b) They Were Prophets.

In Ephesians 3:2-5, Paul declared,

2. if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you; 3. that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. 4. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5. which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit

According to verse 5, all apostles received special, direct revelation from God, the keynote of prophecy. When they spoke as prophets - that is, when they declared or implied they were speaking on behalf of the Lord - they spoke inerrantly and infallibly (Ephesians 3:2-5). (Peter and Barnabas did not declare they were acting or speaking on behalf of the Lord in their dissimulation of Galatians 2:11-13.) In addition, select apostles were chosen from among them for the prophetic task of writing inerrant and infallible documents that were to become Scripture.

c) They Possessed the Authority to Bind and to Loose.
Matthew 16:19 records the final statement that Yeshua made to Peter: whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

"Binding" and "loosing" were rabbinic terms, and were used in legislative and judicial senses. Legislatively, to bind meant "to forbid something," and to loose meant "to permit something." Judicially, to bind meant "to punish," and to loose meant "to release from punishment" (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 043: The Confession of Peter, p. 9). The apostles were given the authority to bind and to loose in the church, and they did so in all of its aspects. Legislatively, they permitted, regulated, and forbade certain things (Acts 15; 1 Corinthians 14, 1 Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:4-9, etc.). Judicially, they called punishment down on individuals (Acts 5:1-10; 1 Corinthians 5:4-5, etc.) and released individuals from punishment (2 Corinthians 2:6-8). This authority enabled them to found and organize the church along godly lines.

d) They Possessed the Signs of an Apostle.

Truly the signs of an apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles
(2 Corinthians 12:12. Cf. Romans 15:19 and Hebrews 2:3-4). God provided the apostles with special credentials that affirmed their apostolic call to all inquirers: the ability to perform signs and wonders and miracles (Acts 2:43; 19:11-12, etc.).

5. Service Gifts
The service gifts are characterized by the humblest kinds of assistance or comfort.

a. Serving
(Romans 12:7) or Helps(1 Corinthians 12:28). Serving and helps are very close in meaning. We will therefore address them simultaneously.

1) Definitions
a) Definitions of Service

In Romans 12:7, the word for service is diakonia. According to Strong, it is derived from diakonos, and means, "attendance (as a servant, etc.); figuratively (eleemosynary [pertaining to alms or charity - N.M.]) aid, (official) service (especially of the Christian teacher, or technically of the diaconate): - (ad-) minister (-ing, -tration, -try), office, relief, service (-ing)."

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says that that the word is "from root meaning 'to run on errands,' and so attendance, aid as a servant, ministry, relief, and hence, service."

b) Definitions of Helps
In 1 Corinthians 12:28, the word for helps is antilapesis. Strong defines it as "relief: - help." The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says, "it has been usually understood as referring to the deacons, the following word kubernēseis, translated “governments,” being explained as referring to the presbyters.

From Dr. Paul Enns in The Moody Handbook of Theology, p. 275-276:

Helps (Gk. antilempsis) denotes "helpful deeds, assistance. The basic meaning of the word is an undertaking on behalf of another (Reinecker, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, p. 430)." The word is similar to serving, as some see these gifts as identical. Certainly they are quite similar if not the same. The word occurs only here in the New Testament, but the related Greek word, antilambanesthai, occurs in Luke 1:54; Acts 20:35; 1 Timothy 6:2. (A. T. Robertson and Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians in The International Critical Commentary [Edinburgh: Clark, 1914], p. 281)

c) Some Observations
1] The basic definitions of the two words are quite similar: helping.
2] Both words may apply to the humblest kinds of service.
3] Both words may be used in reference to the work of deacons.
4] Service may be applied to "Christian teachers."

2) Usages
a) Usages of Service (diakonia)
1]
Diakonia is used in the most general sense possible, applying to all the gifts: 1 Corinthians 12:5: And there are varieties of ministries (diakonia), and the same Lord.
2] It is used abundantly of the office and service of the apostles and elders: Acts 1:17; 6:4; 20:24; 2 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Timothy 4:5.
3] It is used of a mundane task, the daily serving (diakonia) of food (Acts 6:1).

The usage of diakonia could not possibly be broader, from the apostolate to the serving of tables.

A kindred word, diakoneo, is used of the humblest kinds of practical service: of angels ministering to, and women waiting on, Yeshua (Matthew 4:11; 8:15; 27:55); of delivering an offering to the poor saints in Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-26); of ministering to Paul in prison (Philemon 1:13).

b) Usages of Helps (antilapesis, words related to)
Let us see how antilambanesthai is used in the three verses cited by Enns. In Luke 1:54, it refers to the help (antilambanomai) God gave to Israel in sending Yeshua. In Acts 20:35, the help (antilambanomai) referred to is material provision for the weak earned by the hard work of the provider. In 1 Timothy 6:2, believing slaves are to serve their believing masters so that the latter may partake (antilambanomai) of the benefit of their slaves' service.

The help rendered in these passages is not always to the needy, as a master would be hard-pressed to be needier than his slave. What is common to the passages is servanthood from the heart in ways that span everything from salvation to digging ditches.

3) Differentiation from Other Gifts
a) Differentiation of Service (diakonia) from Other Gifts
In Romans 12:6-8, service is differentiated from prophecy, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading and showing mercy. Likewise, its kindred word, diakonos, deacons, the helpers of the elders, is differentiated from overseers in Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3.

b) Differentiation of Helps (antilapesis) from Other Gifts
In 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, helps is differentiated from apostleship, prophecy, teaching, miracles, healings, leading, tongues and interpretation of tongues.

4) Summary of Observations
a) Both words have broad and parallel usages. Service is used in reference to apostleship and to the helping of prisoners; helps is used to refer to service provided by God and by slaves.

b) Both words are differentiated from other gifts, including leadership and speaking gifts.

c) In 1 Corinthians 12:28, helps "has been usually understood as referring to the deacons (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: ibid.)" in contradistinction to elders, being placed just before elders in the sequence.

5) Conclusions and Definition
The gift of service, diakonia, and the gift of helps antilapesis, are synonymous. Inasmuch as both words are used in reference to the broadest range of Christian giftings and ministries, we can conclude that all Christian ministry is service and helps. However, inasmuch as both service and helps are: 1] differentiated from other gifts including leadership and speaking gifts, 2] that the diakonos are the servants of the elders, and that 3] diakoneo is used of the most humble and practical kinds of service - when service/helps is used as a gift differentiated from the other gifts, it is the motivation and capacity to help others in humble and practical kinds of service.

Enns statement continues, "The gift of helps means "to take firm hold of some one, in order to help. These 'helpings' therefore probably refer to the succoring of those in need, whether poor, sick, widows, orphans, strangers, travelers, or what not" (Enns, p. 275-276). I would add that it may also be expressed by driving those who have no cars, repairing plumbing, cleaning the houses of the sick, and the like. It may also be exercised by the congregation's office, maintenance, set-up, benevolence, kitchen, and similar kinds of workers.

b. Showing Mercy (Romans 12:8). In the Greek the two words are one, eleeo. Strong defines it as "compassionate (by word or deed)." It is almost universally translated as showing mercy, but at least Young's Literal Translation renders it doing kindness.

In Scripture, showing mercy is always expressed by doing, not merely emoting; and the deeds fall into the categories of blessings for the body and blessings for the spirit.

Blessings for body, as in Matthew 9:27: As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, "Have mercy (eleeo) on us, Son of David!" Also Matthew 15:22; 17:15; 20:30-31; Philippians 2:27, etc.

Blessings for the spirit, as in Romans 11:30-32: 30.

For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy (eleeo) because of their disobedience, 31. so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy (eleeo) shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32. For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy (eleeo) to all. Jude 1:22-23: 22. And have mercy (eleeo) on some, who are doubting; 23. save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy (eleeo) with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

Also Romans 9:16-18; 1 Timothy 1:13,16.

The gift of mercy, then, is the pronounced God-given ability to bless people, body or soul, from the heart. It may take the form of comforting the sick and ministering to them in practical ways, offering a word of condolence to the bereaved, encouraging the downhearted, reaching out to save the lost, etc. Those who have the gift have the pronounced capacity to empathize, and to emote sympathy and concern in a godly way.

6. Enablement Gifts

Enablement gifts enable the exercise of other gifts more effectively. Those with the gifts of faith or celibacy are enabled by those gifts to exercise other gifts more effectively. Those with the gift of giving enable others to exercise their gifts more effectively.

a. Faith
(1 Corinthians 12:9). All believers have saving faith, but not all have the spiritual gift of faith. The word is pistis, and it means persuasion... moral conviction (Strong). Saving faith results in salvation, which is not a work, but the gift of faith is directly responsible for the accomplishment of many great works. In 1 Corinthians 13:2, the gift of faith is essential for moving mountains: ... if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains....

In Acts 6:5, seven men were chosen by the apostles to oversee the fair distribution of food to the widows, but Stephen was distinguished from the others in that he was introduced as a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 11:24, Barnabas likewise was introduced as full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. As it would have been unnecessary to say that they had saving faith, we can conclude that they had the gift of faith. Look at the great works that these men accomplished.

Stephen performed great wonders and signs among the people (Acts 6:8) and stood his ground in argument with his opponents; and when they brought him before the Sanhedrin he stood fast and preached a message that cut to their hearts unto the point of his martyrdom, and then prayed for them with his very last words (Acts 6:8-7:60).

In Acts 4:35-37, Barnabas is noted for his magnanimous giving and great trust in the apostles so that the needs of all were met. In Acts 9:27, he had faith in former persecutor Paul and introduced him to the apostles. In Acts 11:22, he was sent by the apostles to oversee the large number of those coming to the Lord in Antioch; and he worked closely with Paul in preaching and in danger for the duration of Paul's first missionary journey (Acts 13:1 - 15:39).

Paul, too, must have had the gift of faith in order to persevere in his call to be an apostle of Gentiles (Romans 11:13) through all manner of severe persecutions and hardships (2 Corinthians 11:24-28).

The gift of faith, then, is an unusually large measure of trust given by God for steadfastness in the promises, commands and commissions of God.

In light of the persecutions and other challenges that they endured and overcame, these men and women must be among the many, both known to us and unknown, who had the gift of faith: Jan Hus, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, George Mueller, Mary Slessor, Hudson Taylor, William Booth, Corrie ten Boom, Richard Wurmbrand.

b. Celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:1, 7b). In Matthew 19, before the post-Pentecost gift of celibacy was given, Yeshua spoke of a particular state of celibacy as a gift from God:

10. The disciples said to Him, "If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry." 11. But He said to them, "Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. 12. ...who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."

Those who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven were given the ability by God to do so.

Paul discussed the gift of celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7: 1.

1. It is good for a man not to touch a woman. . . . 7b. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. 8. But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. 9. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. . . . 26. I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. . . . 32. But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33. but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34. and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

The spiritual gift of celibacy is the God-given ability to refrain from sex without being overcome or distracted by desire. Not all who are celibate have the gift. Indeed, God requires celibacy of all who are not married; but those who have the gift handle celibacy especially well.

The gift of celibacy facilitates singleness in regards to marriage, and Paul points out the advantage of the single state, particularly during times of distress, as is brought out in verse 26. The reason given is the greater liberty that the single person has to build others up in spiritual things as opposed to attending to the valid, but natural, concerns of the spouse (things of the world).

Neither Yeshua nor Paul disparaged marriage nor required celibacy of congregational leaders. Indeed, Yeshua restricted voluntary celibacy to those who are able to accept it (Matthew 10:12); and Paul said, But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Corinthians 7:9). Neither did either of them say that meeting one's responsibility to spouse and children is not serving the Lord; they merely emphasized the advantage of the celibate state in enabling service in regards to the need of the human spirit, and encouraged it among those who could handle it well.

In 1 Corinthians 7:8, Paul implied that he the gift. He was therefore able to travel and minister extensively and at a moment's notice, and was at far greater liberty to place his life in danger than he would have been had he been married. Certainly this gift enabled him to be as fruitful as he was!

c. Giving (Romans 12:8). The word is metadidomi. Strong defines it as "to give over, that is, share" and Young's Concordance defines it as "to give a share of."

It is used equally of sharing or imparting things spiritual and things material.

Of things spiritual:
Romans 1:11: ... that I may impart (metadidomi) some spiritual gift to you....
1 Thessalonians 2:8: ... we were well-pleased to impart (metadidomi) to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives.....

Of things material:
Luke 3:11: The man who has two tunics is to share (metadidomi) with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.

Ephesians 4:28: He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share (metadidomi) with one who has need.

We have a situation here that is similar to the one we had with service/helps: The word is used broadly, yet, in Romans 12:8, the gift of giving is differentiated from speaking and other gifts: from prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, leading and showing mercy. Similarly, we can conclude that all Christian ministry must be done in a spirit of giving; but as a specific spiritual gift, it refers to the pronounced God-given desire to share materially or financially to meet a need. It is may be possessed by those of moderate or abundant means, but all who have the gift are to give with liberality (Romans 12:8). The essence of the gift may be captured in Paul's soaring statement, And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor... (1 Corinthians 13:3); and as with Lydia (Acts 16:14-15), the Lord does raise up people of means in this gift to serve in the support of the ministry.

This completes our study of the nature of the individual gifts.

One more thought:

IV. SIMPLE AND COMPOUND GIFTS

Certain gifts seem to be stand-alone gifts, such as the gift of knowledge, and may be thought of as simple gifts: They do not require the support of other gifts in their possessors. Other gifts, however, require a combination of gifts, and may be thought of as compound gifts. The gift of pastor-teacher is a compound gift: It requires the gifts of leading, pastoring and teaching; and teaching, in turn, requires the gift of knowledge as well as the abilities to organize materials and communicate clearly.

These concept of simple and compound gifts are offered as tools. However, I do not believe that we can dogmatically slice and dice each gift down to its subatomic components as some teachers - I'm sure you can't think of any! - are wont to do!

V. GIVING UNDUE EMPHASIS TO ANY ONE GIFT CAN BE DIVISIVE

Paul makes this very clear in 1 Corinthians 12:12-25:

12. For even as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14. For the body is not one member, but many. 15. If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16. And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18. But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19. If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20. But now there are many members, but one body. 21. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22. On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23. and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24. whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25. so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

Paul identifies two causes of division here:

A. THE PROBLEM OF PRIDE

In verse 21, he identifies the outlook of one who, because he possesses a certain gift, thinks he is more valuable to the body than another with a different gift. Perhaps the evangelist feels that he is of greater value than the one with the gift of service. After all, he, the evangelist, is not the lowly fix-it man who struggles with the plumbing. He's the guy who leads the multitudes to Messiah.

The evangelist is not rendering due honor to the one who fixes the toilet he uses after his glorious performance. It is for this very reason that Paul cautioned, also in the context of the gifts, For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (Romans 12:3).

Paul's solution to this pitfall of pride is found in verses 22 though 25: the members who seem to be weaker are necessary. In fact, they receive more personalized care because they are in greater need of it. It seems that he is referring to the fact that those parts of our physical bodies that are least presentable are honored by being clothed, whereas those parts of our bodies that are more presentable, such as our faces and hands, are not so honored.

B. THE PROBLEM OF LOW SELF-WORTH

In verses 15 and 16, Paul addresses a cause of division found at the opposite pole, the outlook of one who deems himself of less value than another who has a different gift. The one with the gift of service may deem himself of lesser worth than one with the gift of evangelism. After all, the evangelist is always leading people to Messiah and basks in the applause of the crowds, whereas he is hidden away in the bathroom struggling with the plumbing. Jealousy and resentment are the fruits of this outlook.

Paul's solution to this pitfall is found in verses 15 though 18 and 22 though 25: the body requires a variety of members, and the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary (verse 22). Indeed, all parts of the body are essential to its completeness and function: 19. If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20. But now there are many members, but one body.

C. "THEY SHOULD ALL BE LIKE ME"

There is another pitfall, the tendency that some have to think that everyone should be like them. Some with the gift of evangelism would have people think that that they should never leave a supermarket without preaching the Gospel to everyone inside. Some teachers give the impression that everyone should to be a Bible scholar. Some with the gift of mercy cannot understand why others wouldn't pull off the highway to pray for someone's hangnail. It behooves us to remember that, whereas we are all called to minister in various capacities at various times, the great burden and responsibility for each gift holder is the development and use of his or her particular gift. We must not judge or put an undue burden on one another for not carrying the same particular burden of ministry that we do, or for not being as effective as we are in its exercise. Romans 12:6: Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, [each of us is to exercise them accordingly]....

D. SUMMARY

Inasmuch as it is God who moves each gift from Source to receiver to result; that God is not one to show partiality (Acts 10:34); and that God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), let us remember: when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding (2 Corinthians 10:12). Whether our profile in ministry is high or low or of greater or lesser authority, or whether we receive greater or lesser honor from men, we will avoid being divisive by adhering to these principles and admonitions, and thereby purify of our own service unto the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Ephesians 4:16). Between 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, chapters on the gifts, Paul inserted chapter 13 in which he implores the use of the gifts in love, concluding, But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love (13:13). Love is the very root of the gifts, as God is love (1 John 4:8,16), and ought to be the fruit of the gifts, as well (Galatians 5:22-23).

VI. WHICH GIFTS DOES THE SPIRIT DISTRIBUTE TODAY?

INTRODUCTION

Some deny that a particular gift is in use today because they have never seen it in genuine action. Some assume a gift is in use because it was in use in the first century or because they want it to be. None of these reasons is valid.

In answering the question, the following principle will be used: unless Scripture makes it absolutely clear that a gift cannot or will not be given today, it will be assumed that the Spirit may give the gift today - may, not does.

It has been shown in section II F that each use of a gift at any time during the Church Age benefits the entire body from Pentecost to the Rapture. Therefore, a gift used in the critical, foundational first century benefits all future generations of the body, and may therefore not be given beyond the first century. Also, without a doubt, one of the two foundational gifts (Ephesians 2:20), the most versatile and power laden of all gifts, is no longer given, as will be shown. It cannot therefore be automatically assumed that any other single gift is given today, especially one from among those that can most readily be seen as supernatural in origin.

We will first determine which gifts may be given today, and then review various tests that need to be applied to each ostensible use of one of those gifts to determine whether the professed use is genuine or spurious. In this consideration it is especially important to understand the nature of each gifts. It is therefore suggested that the individual gifts in section III above be studies or reviewed.

Those gifts that can most readily be seen as supernatural in origin require special consideration because of unjustified acceptance or rejection, or because of widespread abuse or misuse.

A. APOSTLESHIP

No one beyond the first century could see the resurrected Lord with their natural eyes, and those who did see Him are long gone. Therefore, there can be no question that the gift of apostleship is not given today, and even the most gifted of church planters or founders of other great works must not be called apostles.

For the same reason, there can be no apostolic succession today. Even when the apostles were alive they did not arrange for apostles to succeed them. In every case in Scripture in which an apostle was chosen, he was chosen directly by the Lord. In addition, the Lord saw fit to record how Paul spelled out the qualifications for the selection of church elders (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). If He intended for there to be successor apostles, who would be superior in authority to church elders, He may very well have had their qualifications recorded, as well; but He did not.

B. PROPHECY

The prophetic gift was used in the first century for the carrying out of various ministries. Each of these needs to be considered individually.

1. First Century Functions of Prophecy

a. The Founding of the Body of Messiah

Paul wrote the Ephesians that they are

19. God's household, 20. having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21. in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22. in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

~ Ephesians 2:19-22 ~

Three things must be noted:
1. Paul is not saying that the apostles and prophets were used for the founding of local churches, but of the whole building, the universal body of believers;
2. Prophets are tied right in with apostles as being layers of the foundation of the whole building; and
3. The gift of apostleship is not given today.
Therefore, prophecy is no longer needed for the founding of the body as those foundations were laid by the end of the first century.

b. The Founding of Local Churches
At least some first century churches were formed as a result of prophetic preaching and teaching (Acts 2:14-47; 13:13-52). However, no passage states or implies that a prophet is required for the founding of a local church. Indeed, multitudes of true, evangelical and evangelistic churches are in existence today that had no prophet in their foundations.

But may they be used for that purpose in certain instances? God may certainly choose to, and no passage can prove that He may not. However, we must keep in mind that prophets were essential to the formation of the early church for the purpose of identifying the Messiah. Today, we have the written Word and the Word-based ministries of evangelists, teachers, and believers in general. Nevertheless, God may choose to reveal His Son through a prophetic dream or vision, particularly in places where the Word has never penetrated, and thereby plant the seed for a local church.

c. The Creation of the Canon of Scripture
In Revelation 22, John wrote,

18. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19. and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away from his part in the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

The book of this prophecy is the Book of Revelation; but it is not insignificant that these words appear at the very end of Bible, which, in its totality, is a prophetic word inasmuch as God supervised the writing of it (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21). The canon of Scripture is closed. Prophecy is no longer employed for the creation of Scripture.

d. Other Purposes
Scripture indicates that multiple prophecies were given that were not for the founding of the body or local churchs or the creation of Scripture. Such were the multiple prophecies permitted in the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 14:29-32), and possibly those of Phillip's daughters (Acts 21:8-9). There is no biblical reason to assume that such prophecy may not be given today. Why can't a warning of disaster akin to Agabus' prophecy of impending famine (Acts 11:28) be given, or an informative word to a missionary akin to that given by Agabus to Paul (Acts 21:10-11)? No passage of Scripture closes that door.

2. Summary
Prophecy is no longer employed by the Lord for the founding of the universal body of Messiah or the creation of Scripture. However, Scripture does not close the door to the possibility that God may employ prophecy for other purposes.

C. TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION

As was shown above, tongues was used in various modes and for various purposes. It is possible that God may utilize the gift today in one or more of these modes and for one or more of these purposes.

D. HEALINGS AND MIRACLES

Some say that gifts of healings and workings of miracles are not current because they were signs of the apostles and the apostolic ministry has ended; but healings and miracles were given to some who were not apostles. In 1 Corinthians 12:28, apostleship, healings and miracles are listed as separate gifts: And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings.... Ananias was not an apostle, and he healed Saul of his blindness (Acts 9:17-18).

E. A MAJOR OBJECTION

1 Corinthians 13:8-10: 8. Love never fails; but if prophecy, they will be done away; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be done away. 9. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10. but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.

Some hold that the perfect refers to the completed canon of Scripture. Therefore, prophecy, tongues and certain other gifts are no longer given. If that's the case, then the gift of knowledge is no longer given, as that's mentioned also. Are we to believe that God gave us the Scriptures, but did not gift some to see especially clearly what it says? Of course not! In pages 30-31 of Gifts of the Holy Spirit (available at Ariel Ministries), Dr. Fruchtenbaum maintains that grammatical and contextual considerations indicate that the perfect must refer to the completed body of Messiah at the Rapture. The gift of knowledge is needed until then, and the passage ties it in with prophecy and tongues.

The verse cannot be used to eliminate the possibility of any gift being given today, but it does prove that at least part of the partial, the gifts, is still being given.

F. SUMMARY

Apostleship is the only open and closed case of a gift not being given today. Whether or not the professed use of any other gift is genuine must be determined in each case by biblical tests.

VII. TESTING THE GIFTS

Human claims and testimonies are subject to error in memory, wishful thinking and exaggeration, and are, at times, complete fabrications. They must therefore be taken with a grain of salt until they are proven to the satisfaction of unbiased and skilled scrutiny.

A. TESTING ANY OF THE GIFTS

Certain tests may be applied to the professed use of any gift.

1. Objective Evidence
Does the person exhibit the characteristics of one who has the gift? If one who exhorts puts people to sleep rather than stirring them to action, then he does not have the gift of exhortation. If one has a very poor success rate in leading people to Messiah, he is not an evangelist. If one who claims to speak in tongues is fluent only in gibberish, then that person does not have the gift of tongues. And so on.

2. Discerning the Spirit of the Gift
Those who have the gift of discerning spirits can tell whether or not one is using a gift in the Holy Spirit or a demonic spirit. Church elders should identify such people and put them to work. Others need to test the spirits.

3. Testing the Spirits
A person may have a gift and yet use it in the wrong spirit, or he may not have a gift and profess to be using it. We may test the spirits (1 John 4:1) to determine whether or not a gift is used in the Holy Spirit or a demonic spirit. This has more than one aspect.

1) 1 Corinthians 12:3: Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

If, while professedly using a gift, one confesses the deity of Yeshua, then that confession is of the Spirit. If one declares, Jesus is accursed, then that confession is diabolic.

2) 1 John 4:1-3:

1. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3. and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

If, while using a gift, one confesses that Yeshua of Nazareth is the Messiah and has come bodily, then that confession is of the Spirit. If the person denies it or refuses to confess it, that person is operating in a demonic spirit.

To sum up, if one confesses both the deity and the humanity of Yeshua, then that confession is of God. If he denies either, or declares that Jesus is accursed, then the confession is of a demonic nature.

B. TESTING THE SPEAKING GIFTS IN GENERAL

Acts 17:10-11:

11. The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 12. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

These Berean Jews tested the word that they heard against the written Word, an example we all ought to follow. If the word heard contradicts Scripture, throw it out. If it is consistent with Scripture, receive it. However, the spirit in which a true word is delivered also needs to be tested by one of the above methods. The slave-girl in Thyatira spoke truth, yet her motive was demonic. Paul recognized the spirit of divination in her, and cast it out of her (Acts 16:16-18).

C. TESTING PROPHECY IN PARTICULAR

1. Introduction
In Matthew 7:15-16, Jesus said, 15. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16. You will know them by their fruits. (See also 2 Peter 2:1.)

There are a plethora of false prophets and prophecies, both inside and outside of churches. Some such prophets are sincere but mistaken, and others are bold-faced deceivers. What they have in common is false prophecy, and all false prophecy is dangerous. Lives have been uprooted and heretical cults have arisen on the basis of false prophecies. One must be exceedingly careful before receiving or giving a prophecy.

2. Two Tests
Scripture names two tests that are specific to prophecy.

a The Fruit
Yeshua said, You will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16).

The fruits or deeds or of the flesh are named in Galatians 5:19-21:

19. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20. idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21. envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.

If one's prophecy bears the fruit of things like these, it is a false prophecy.

b. The Mosaic Test
As was shown, no passage of Scripture indicates that the nature of prophecy changed from the Old Testament to the New. Therefore, the Mosaic test of a prophet is as valid today as is was in Mosaic times.

Deuteronomy 18:20-22:

20. But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die 21. You may say in your heart, "How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?" 22. When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

One who claims to be a prophet needs to prophesy a near future event that cannot be determined by natural means, and is quite improbable. To pass the test, the prophecy must come to pass in every detail.

Agabus passed such a test.

Acts 11:27-28:

27. Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28. One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.

Matthew Henry writes, "Several of the Roman historians make mention of it, as does also Josephus" (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible). This is the kind of proof that affirms a true prophet! Because Agabus had thus proved his credibility, when he prophesied the precise manner in which the Jerusalem Jews would arrest Paul and deliver him to the Gentiles, Paul and the brethren took him seriously (Acts 21:10-14).

The New Testament does not carry forward the injunction to execute a false prophet. Nevertheless, false prophecy was treated very seriously in apostolic days. In Acts 13:8-11, Paul struck the false prophet Elymas with blindness. However, ...

3. Not "Everybody Must Get Stoned"
Bob Dylan's refrain in his song by the same title was never meant as a prescription for all prophets who err. Nathan spoke erroneously in the name of the LORD, and the LORD did not even issue a rebuke; He simply told him the correct words to speak (2 Samuel 7:1-7, 12-14; 1 Chronicles 17:1-6).

The difference between Elymas and Nathan? Nathan's heart was right with the LORD, but Elymas acted presumptuously, the word used in Deuteronomy 18:20. Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions gives the meaning of the Hebrew: "to boil, boil up, seethe, act proudly, act presumptuously, act rebelliously, be presumptuous, be arrogant, be rebelliously proud." Paul's words to Elymas show that this was true of him. Acts 13:10: You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness.... Elymas was a son of the devil (unregenerate), full of all deceit and fraud, and opposed Paul and Barnabas' witness to Sergius Paulus.

So, let's not be too quick to drag each other to the stone yard for a mistake, or we'll all be stoning each other to death! On the other hand, let all would-be prophets note the gravity of prophesying falsely in the eyes of the Lord and the potential for damage in the lives of people.

4. Cautions Regarding Prophecy
Because of the great abuse and misuse of prophecy today, I would add or emphasize the following cautions:

  • Reject any who claim that their message constitutes Scripture.

  • Assume that the prophecy is spurious until it is proven genuine.

  • Be suspicious of prophecies that contain only generalities as they are all too easy to make, especially in churches that welcome them and do not test them.

VIII. WOMEN AND THE GIFTS

INTRODUCTION

Dear Ladies, Pastors and Eavesdroppers,

I have agonized for a great many hours over the relevant passages, taking great pains to not add to, subtract from, or misinterpret, the intended meaning of the writer, nor to restrict or place a burden on you that is not of God. I have resisted taking my cues from what seems reasonable, from widespread and accepted practice, and from the fruitful ministries of gifted women - in short, from the path of least resistance - but from the Word of God only; and so must we all. As with all studies, we need to approach this one with the confidence that God knows best and be ready to walk out the results, even to the crucifying our flesh (Romans 12:1, 8:13; Galatians 5:24; Colossians 3:5). Proverbs 3:5-6: 5. Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

In section III B of The Local Church, above, I present many more scriptures than appear below to show that the following and similar injunctions are not based on temporal situational or cultural reasons, but on timeless theological truths, and therefore apply in all churches throughout the Church Age. Please give section III B of The Local Church a thorough and unbiased study, and then proceed below - cross, nails and hammer at the ready.

A. RESTRICTIONS

All of the gifts that the Spirit may distribute today He may distribute to women. However, Scripture does place restrictions on women in the use of some of the gifts that He does not place on men. Scripture also shows many ways that women may serve in their gifts, and I will show these.

Scripture restricts women in three concentric circles of church ministry. From the inside out, they are: the pastorate, teaching, and speaking in general. From the outside in, speaking includes teaching, teaching may take place apart from a pastorate, and a pastorate must include teaching. We will address these realms from the outside in.

1. Speaking in General
1 Corinthians 14 focuses on the proper exercise of speaking gifts for the ministry of the Word when the whole church assembles together (v. 23).

Paul writes,

34. The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.

Some say that the injunction to silence applies only to married women and/or only in those cultures in which women are expected to restrain themselves thusly. However, please note:

1. Women are referred to categorically in verses 34 and 35, meaning all women. Paul did not say, wives are to keep silent, but women.

2. The tenor of the Law (the Pentateuch) is the expected and rightful general deferment of women to men (1 Peter 3:5-6. Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3,7-9; Ephesians 5:22-27; 1 Timothy 2:13-14). In the context of spiritual leadership, it is noteworthy that the Levitical priesthood was for men only.

3. If the injunction were culturally based, why would Paul refer to the Law, whose relevance in this context is equal across the board among all churches throughout the Church Age?

4. Paul singles out women in this and similar passages, and places no such restrictions on men. If, in the Corinthian case, the problem was merely wives asking questions of their husbands, why did Paul address only the wives, and not admonish the husbands to not answer them?

The injunction to silence applies to all women when the whole church assembles together (v. 23) for the ministry of the Word. All absolutely unnecessary speaking is prohibited.

2. Teaching in Particular
In 1 Timothy 2:11-14, Paul writes,

11. A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

Paul is instructing Timothy in his pastoral responsibilities. Therefore, at the very least the injunction to silence applies in all meetings under Timothy's authority. Women may not give biblical instruction to men in any meeting authorized by a church's eldership, but are to remain quiet. This includes the worship service, Bible classes, home Bible studies and the like. She may not even teach men off the cuff during business meetings.

Why not? Notice how, in verse 11, receiving instruction is paired with submissiveness, and in verse 12, teaching is paired with exercising authority. Teaching Scripture is an exercise of spiritual authority, and Paul teaches that a woman may not exercise spiritual authority over a man in any meeting for which a pastor is ultimately responsible. Why not? Verse 13 gives one reason, and verse 14 another: 13. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Note that the reasons given are not at all cultural or situational, but theological, and they apply in all churches everywhere. Notice also that verses 11 and 12 broaden the scope of meetings at which silence is enjoined beyond the worship service context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

3. The Pastorate
I have shown in section III B of The Local Church that women are not permitted to serve in the office of pastor. Biblically, that refers to any elder.

4. A Common Objection
Some point to 1 Corinthians 11:5 to show that Paul did not object to women speaking in the meeting of the church as he raised no objection to it here: But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. But consider:

1. From verses 3 through 13, Paul was dealing solely with the matter of head covering, and it is normal for people to deal with only one issue at a time; and

2. He addressed the matter of speaking in the meeting of the church directly in 1 Timothy 2:12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, and that's where we need to get our instruction from.

5. Exception
The only exception that I see is if a woman leads men to the Lord, even in mass evangelism meetings, and begins to disciple them. This is suggested in the case of Priscilla (Acts 18:26), quoted below. However, she must transfer all discipleship and pastoral responsibilities to men in good standing with a local church as soon as she is able.

B. LIBERTIES IN THE MEETING OF THE CHURCH

1. Singing and Praying Aloud
The injunction to silence in both passages is in reference to speaking to men. Singing is not speaking, and praying is speaking to God. Therefore, I do not see the passages forbidding either as long as they are not used for the purpose of teaching or exhorting when men are present.

2. Non-Speaking Gifts
In all church meetings no matter what their nature, women may use their non-speaking gifts to the same extent that men may.

C. LIBERTIES IN THE BELIEVING COMMUNITY

In the believing community at large, women may exercise all gifts, even leadership and speaking gifts, among women, children, and non-adult males, as is brought out by a number of examples immediately following. They may also serve as leaders of youth and women's groups, principals of Christian schools, and the like. However, the key question at hand is, may they exercise their speaking and leadership gifts among men in the context of the ministry of the Word? I do not see that Scripture is explicit in this matter. Therefore, I would say that, if they are ministering to brand new believing men, as in the case of Priscilla, or to believing men who are not connected to a local church - fine, so long as there is genuine effort to transfer such responsibilities to men approved by a local church lest the woman find herself entrenched in the position of a de facto pastor over men.

D. EXAMPLES OF WOMEN IN THE BIBLE
MINISTERING AFTER PENTECOST

In order of appearance:

  • Tabitha... was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did
    (Acts 9:36).

  • Lydia provided a place in her home for Paul, Timothy and Luke. (Acts 16:1-15)

  • Evidently, Eunice and her mother Lois trained Eunice's son Timothy in the knowledge of the Scriptures. (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15)

  • Priscilla (named first) and her husband Aquila took [Apollos] aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:26). This was a situation in which Apollos, being acquainted only with the baptism of John (verse 25), preached Jesus, but did not know of His death, burial and resurrection.

  • Philip's four daughters were prophetesses (Acts 21:9).

  • [Phoebe] herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well (Romans 16:2). Phoebe may have been a deaconess in the church at Rome (16:1). If this was the case - and it is unclear whether there were formally recognized deaconesses - then it must be understood that, biblically, deacons were the servants of the elders, and did not function as so-called deacons do in many churches today, as elders.

  • Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis were workers in the Lord. (Romans 16:12)

  • Euodia and Syntyche shared [Paul's] struggle in the cause of the gospel. (Philippians 4:2-3)

  • Older women are to instruct younger women in proper conduct and family matters
    (Titus 2:3-5).

  • The chosen lady of 2 John 1 was either the discipler of her literal children or her children in ministry; it is not clear which. Whichever the case, she had John's blessing. If the former, then she exercised her pastoral gift as a mother. If the latter, then she must have abided by the restrictions that Paul laid down some three decades earlier.

E. WOMEN IN SECULAR CAPACITIES

Women may lead, teach and exhort men in any secular realm and capacity, even as heads of state.

F. SUMMARY

Except for singing and praying, women must remain silent in all authorized meetings for the ministry of the Word at which a man is a participant. If a woman leads or teaches at a meeting for the ministry of the Word that is not under the auspices of a local church and at which a man is a participant, she is still exercis[ing] authority over a man, and she may not do that. She must keep silent except in transitional evangelistic or missionary-like situations. In secular realms and capacities, women are free to lead, teach and exhort at will.

IX. FINAL THOUGHTS FOR PASTORS

Programs need to be established for the maturation of the saints in the use of their gifts. All training must include study of the relevant Scriptures, and mentoring in many cases. Those with speaking gifts should be provided rigorous training in the Scriptures.

Scripture places much emphasis on the teaching and preaching of the Word (1 Timothy 1:3, 5; 4:11; 6:2, 17). However, worship services are not meant to be monopolized by one man or a pre-selected group. Ample time needs to be provided for the exercise of the speaking gift - no Ph.D. required - not even an elementary school education. Neither should the service be allowed to proceed in a lawless manner: all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner (1 Corinthians 14:40), and there are more rules for the conduct of the gifts than I have addressed (cf. 1 Corinthians 14). 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 sums it up: 19. Do not quench the Spirit; 20. do not despise prophetic utterances, 21. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

Transitioning to biblically ordained parameters may prove stormy and people may even leave your church, but the transition needs to be made.

The Spiritual Gifts
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2009
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

THE MINISTRIES AND GIFTS
~ OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ~

3. DIVINE HEALING:
ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

I, the LORD, am your healer. Exodus 15:26

CONTENTS

THE AMC STATEMENT ON DIVINE HEALING
I. INTRODUCTION
II. ORIGIN OF ALL PHYSICAL AILMENTS
III. IMMEDIATE CAUSES OF PHYSICAL AILMENTS
A. IN ALL HUMANITY
1. Genetic or Hormonal
2. Accidents Apart from Sin
3. Attacks by People or Animals
4. Personal Sins
5. Attacks by Satan
6. Direct Divine Judgment
B. IN BELIEVERS IN PARTICULAR
IV. TYPES OF HEALING
A. NATURAL
B. SUPERNATURAL
C. FAKED OR IMAGINED
V. DO SUPERNATURAL HEALINGS OCCUR TODAY?

VI. SOURCES OF SUPERNATURAL HEALING
A. DIVINE HEALINGS
B. SATANIC HEALINGS
VII. HUMAN AGENTS OF SUPERNATURAL HEALING
A. BELIEVERS
B. UNBELIEVERS
VIII. MAY SATAN HEAL THROUGH A BELIEVER?

A. DOES HE HAVE THE MEANS?
B. DOES HE HAVE A REASON?
C. WOULD THE LORD ALLOW HIM?
IX. IS THE HEALING SATANIC OR DIVINE?
A. INTRODUCTION
B. BIBLICAL TESTS
X. OTHER PERSPECTIVES IN DIVINE HEALING
A. THREE MAJOR PERIODS OF HEALING
B. HEALINGS BY JESUS
1. The Frequency and Magnitude of Jesus' Healings
2. Jesus' Healings and Faith
C. HEALINGS BY THE APOSTLES
D. HEALING VIA GIFTS OF HEALINGS
1. Not All Have Gifts of Healings
2. Not Always Operative in the Gift Holder
3. Not Necessarily Meant to Operate in Every
Congregation

E. HEALINGS IN THE HIERARCHY OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS
XI. OTHER MEANS OF DIVINE HEALING
A. THE SICK PERSON'S OWN PRAYERS
B. THE PRAYERS OF BELIEVERS IN GENERAL
C. FASTING AND PRAYER
D. REPENTANCE
E. "THE PRAYER OF FAITH"
F. APART FROM HUMAN INTERVENTION
Xii. WHY GOD MAY WITHHOLD A HEALING
A. LACK OF REPENTANCE
B. SANCTIFICATION APART FROM KNOWN SIN
C. PREVENTION OF SIN
D. WRONG MOTIVE IN SEEKING HEALING

E. TO PROMOTE CHARACTER AND WITNESS
F. GOD'S FUTURE GLORIFICATION THROUGH HEALING
G. TIME TO DIE
H. IT'S A SECRET
I. SUMMARY
XIII. "WE BELIEVE THAT GOD HEALS
IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS WILL"

XIV. "HOWEVER, PHYSICAL HEALING CANNOT BE CLAIMED
SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE ATONEMENT"

XV. FAITH AND DIVINE HEALING

A. THE NATURE OF FAITH
1. True Faith
2. True Faith vs. Imagined Faith
3. Confessing or Claiming a Healing
B. TRUE FAITH AND DIVINE HEALING
XVI. OTHER KEY MISUSES OF SCRIPTURE
XVII. PARADE OF ERRORS AND DECEPTIONS
XVIII. A NICE CLEAN BABY

FOOTNOTES AND RECOMMENDED READING


THE AMC STATEMENT ON DIVINE HEALING

We believe that God heals in accordance with His will. This may occur miraculously, medically, or naturally. Supernatural healing may occur in response to prayer and in accordance with God's sovereign will. However, physical healing cannot be claimed solely on the basis of the atonement. (1 Corinthians 12:28-30)

I. INTRODUCTION

This is a study on the divine healing of physical ailments.

There is much perplexity in the body of Messiah on the matter of divine healing as well as abuse and just plain error. I have therefore chosen to address the subject fairly extensively in an attempt to throw out the bathwater while saving the baby. It is not the purpose of this study to cover all aspects of divine healing, but to substantiate the claims in our Statement, to set divine healing in a biblical perspective, to address some key contemporary issues, and to deal with many claims and passages of Scripture used erroneously or deceitfully.

This study follows on the heels of a series on the spiritual gifts, which include gifts of healings - double plural explained below - and will pull together many of the principles and facts in those studies, mostly in a summary manner, and then some. A thoughtful reading of those studies, particularly the sections on gifts of healings and apostleship, would be a good, and in some cases, necessary, foundation for this study. One important point that I've established and wish to emphasize is that Scripture neither says nor implies that God may not choose to heal today (Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Page 1, II.J.4), and this will be presumed throughout this study.

Please note that throughout this study, such words as "sickness" and "illness" are meant to convey every form of physical malady. Also, it is important to establish a foundation of understanding the causes and divine purposes for physical malady before we study divine healing proper; and this we will do.

II. ORIGIN OF ALL PHYSICAL AILMENTS

Without exception, the root cause of all physical malady is the sin of Adam (Genesis 3:16-19). The judgment for his sin included:
1. physical conditions that cause injury and illness, and
2. death, the doorway to which is injury, illness, or senescence (the aging process, the gradual deterioration of the body).

III. IMMEDIATE CAUSES OF PHYSICAL AILMENTS

A. IN ALL HUMANITY

1. Genetic or Hormonal
Some maladies are genetic in total, such as, Down syndrome, or genetically based, such as a propensity for diabetes. Some are hormonally based, such as, hypoglycemia and hyperthyroidism.

2. Accidents Apart from Sin
Some accidents are simply part of life on a cursed earth: toddlers bump their heads, autos collide on slippery roads, etc.

3. Attacks by People or Animals
These include assaults, wars, dog bites, and the like.

4. Personal Sins
It is probable that all sins lead to some form of physical degeneration to one degree or another. This degeneration may begin with an afflicted conscience, which causes the body to turn against itself in different ways. Some sins have a more obvious effect on the body. Some well known examples are: sexual promiscuity leading to venereal disease, intemperate use of alcoholic beverages leading to cirrhosis of the liver, daredevil activities leading to injuries, or holding a grudge (unforgiveness), which may lead to abdominal ulcers or high blood pressure.

5. Attacks by Satan
Satan afflicted Job with boils (Job 2:7); caused a woman to be doubled over for eighteen years (Luke 13:11-16); began the destruction of the Corinthian sinner's body (flesh, 1 Corinthians 5:5); caused the blindness and deafness in the man in Matthew 12:22 and Luke 11:14; and the blindness, deafness and apparent epilepsy in the boy in Mark 9:17-27. It is important to recognize that all attacks by Satan on believers and unbelievers are permitted by God for some divine purpose, as with Job (Job 2:7), and as with the armies of the world, which Satan will gather for bloody battle for the outworking of God's purposes in the Great Tribulation (Revelation 16:14).

6. Direct Divine Judgment
God may judge by means of illness or an immediate death stroke apart from the agency of Satan or man as with the plague in the days of David (2 Samuel 24:15).

B. IN BELIEVERS IN PARTICULAR

God may afflict His own believing children with physical maladies for the sake of testing, sanctification, discipline or the securing of their salvation.

1 Corinthians 11:30-32: 30. For this cause [partaking of the Lord's supper unworthily] many are weak and sickly among you, and many have died.... 32.
We are [all] disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

At times, God will use Satan in these matters, as in allowing him to afflict Job with boils for the sake of sanctification (Job 2:2-7, 42:1-6); to afflict Paul with a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! (2 Corinthians 12:7); to discipline the Corinthian man (I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh [body], so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus [1 Corinthians 5:5]), and the same for Hymenaeus and Alexander, that they may learn not to blaspheme (1 Timothy 1:20).

IV. TYPES OF HEALING

A. NATURAL

Natural healing refers to the healing of physical maladies by the body's built-in healing mechanisms, and may include the assistance of medical applications such things as herbs, medicines, poultices, body casts, therapies and surgeries. For our purposes, the purely natural and the medical may all be thought of as natural as they are both physical in nature.

B. SUPERNATURAL

A supernatural or miraculous healing is one which involves supernatural intervention in addition to whatever natural healing processes may be operating.

C. FAKED OR IMAGINED

Of course, faked or imagined healings are not healings, at all. Sadly, it has been discovered that many of the healings of some prominent "healers" have been staged. In addition, many who come forward for healing imagine that they are healed when they are not, either because of wishful thinking, or to call attention to themselves, or because they have been instructed to "confess" their healing when none was in progress (this will be discussed later), or some other reason. If a healing is claimed but not obvious, it behooves the observer to require medical verification before believing it.

V. DO SUPERNATURAL HEALINGS OCCUR TODAY?

Miracles of healing have been reported and attested to throughout history right up to the present day. It seems irrational to believe that none are of genuine healing miracles. In my early years as a believer, I personally observed numerous immediate and undoubted healings, such as the lengthening of short legs up to three or four inches so that both in the pair were even. (One fellow had worn a lift in one shoe to even the length of his legs. After prayer, his short leg lengthened, he got rid of the lift in his shoe, and had not worn it again even when we inquired several weeks later.) At times, I observed such healings from a distance of mere inches, and many have observed them right along with me. In addition, others whom I trust have testified that they have seen or performed healings, as well, some quite dramatic.

VI. SOURCES OF SUPERNATURAL HEALING

There are only two possible sources: God and the Devil.

A. DIVINE HEALINGS

Many passages of Scripture show that God has healed, such as:

6. The LORD furthermore said to him, "Now put your hand into your bosom." So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7. Then He said, "Put your hand into your bosom again." So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.

~ Exodus 4:6-7 ~

Mark 1:34: And He healed many who were ill....

B. SATANIC HEALINGS

Scripture shows that Satan is able perform true and astounding miracles, including healings.

  • Pharaoh's sorcerers turned wooden staffs into serpents (Exodus 7:10-12), water into blood (7:20-22), and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt (8:5-7).

  • The False Prophet of Revelation will give life to the lifeless image of the Antichrist. (Revelation 13:11-15)

  • Revelation 13:3 tells us that Satan will resurrect the Antichrist: 3. I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast....
    Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes, [A]s if it had been slain "does not simply mean apparent death, for it is also used of Messiah in Revelation 5:6. This is simply an idiom for a resurrected individual and real death is involved"1.
    The results of Antichrist's resurrection show that its source will be Satan:
    4. they worshiped the dragon [Satan] because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast....

Satan will give life to a lifeless image and raise a dead man back to life. There should be no doubt that he can heal any physical ailment.

VII. HUMAN AGENTS OF SUPERNATURAL HEALING

Just as God and Satan can perform healings, even so both believers and unbelievers can be agents of supernatural healing.

A. BELIEVERS

The Book of Acts is replete with examples of healings performed by believers. Some examples are: mass healings by the apostles (Acts 5:16; 8:7), and the prophet Ananias' healing of Saul of Tarsus' blindness (Acts 9:17-18). Also, gifts of healings is differentiated from the gifts of apostleship and prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:28), indicating that the Lord intended for some who are not apostles or prophets to be given gifts of healings.

B. UNBELIEVERS

22. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23. And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS."

~ Matthew 7:22-23 ~

Note:
a. Did they perform genuine miracles? It is inconceivable that anyone
will be able to feign incredulity before the Lord at the white throne judgment from whose presence earth and heaven fled away (Revelation 20:11). The incredulity of the "many" must be predicated on the genuineness of the miracles they will declare.
b. The Lord
never knew them; they are unsaved.
c
. Yet, their miracles are done in the Name of the Lord.

Luke 11:19: And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?
Some unsaved Pharisees were capable of exorcisms, and some exorcisms result in physical healings, as those of the blind mute and the boy with epilepsy (Matthew 12:22; Mark 9:17-27).

Though healings of the body are not specifically mentioned of the many and the Pharisees, it is almost certain that they are included.

VIII. MAY SATAN HEAL THROUGH A BELIEVER?

Three questions are involved: 1. Does he have the means? 2. Does he have a reason? 3. Would the Lord allow him?

A. DOES HE HAVE THE MEANS?

Does Satan have the means to heal through a believer?

1. Satan can enter into a believer, even fill (control) him. In Ephesians 4:27, Paul exhorts individual believers, neither give place to the devil. Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes, "The Greek word for give place means 'give a beachhead.' It is a military term for gaining an area of control from which a full-scale military attack can be launched"2; and "a beachhead [is] an area of control, which is in enemy territory"3. In Acts 5:3, we see that Satan filled the heart of Ananias, a believer.

2. Is Satan able to launch "a full scale military attack" through true believers? Martin Luther printed pamphlets to incite murderous attacks against Jewish communities; and indeed, such attacks ensued. It is also a fact of history that Luther's anti-Semitism was an inspiration for Hitler's "final solution."

The false prophet will give life to a lifeless image, Satan will raise a dead man, he can fill a believer and launch "a full-scale military attack" through him. Satan's attacks through Luther, were frontal, but often his attacks are more of an inside job, being internally subversive, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

There should be no doubt that Satan has the means to heal through a believer.

B. DOES HE HAVE A REASON?

In Matthew 4:9, Satan offered to "bless" the Lord with rulership over the kingdoms of the world if He would but worship him; but he was after a prize: getting the Lord to sin so as to disqualify Him as the sinless Lamb of God.

Satan's design is to mislead, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24). He will "bless" the believer if permitted to in order to mislead him further or to entrap or cripple him in an area of greater consequence than the state of his health (See also 1 Corinthians 11:3-15). He would heal through a believer if it serves his ends.

C. WOULD THE LORD ALLOW HIM?

I have not turned up a passage that is specific to that question. Nevertheless, inasmuch as the Lord permits him to move through believers in other ways, it is safe to assume that He would allow him to heal through believers, as well. The believer must therefore do his best to determine the spirit working through a healer.

IX. IS THE HEALING SATANIC OR DIVINE?

A. INTRODUCTION

It stands to reason that the more imbalances that Satan has established in a healer's personality, such as perverse sexual tendencies, a hunger for power or control or recognition, or a covetousness for donations; or in a group, such as a spirit of pride in relation to non-healing groups; or, be it in the healer or the group, serious aberrations in doctrine or practice, the more likely it is that healings carried out by that healer or group are energized by demons.

When such problems exist, and yet the true Gospel is upheld and healings are done in the Name of Jesus, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to determine the source of the healings. However, Scripture does provide us with tests that will determine, or help us determine, if a healing is energized by God or Satan.

B. BIBLICAL TESTS

  • If there is one with a gift of discerning spirits and he is free to function in an unbiased manner, let him declare the source.

  • If the appeal for healing is to Satan or a demon or is carried out by means of occult practices, the source is the Devil.

  • If the healer or group does not hold to the full divinity and humanity of Jesus (1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 John 4:1-3), or does not believe the Gospel as spelled out in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, it can be presumed that the healing is of the Devil.

It may similarly be presumed that the healings are of God if all of the following tests are passed:

  • The leader or healer truly loves the Lord.

  • He is of a placid personality, not in undue need of recognition or control, is balanced sexually, and is free of other serious imbalances.

  • His appeals for donations are not showcased in his meetings, are not intimidating, unduly eloquent or drawn out or filled with promises of reward that the Bible does not substantiate.

  • The doctrines that he and his group represent are reasonably sound. (The Devil is the father of lies [John 8:44]; and what better lie for him to support than a perversion of Scripture?)

  • One more test: Jesus said, If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? (Matthew 24:26). This indicates that Satan will not cast out a demon. Therefore, if a true exorcism is carried out, it is by the Spirit of God; and if that's the case, it is a good sign that other works of power carried out by that group are also by the Spirit of God.

    I came to Messiah from a background of intense occult practices, pantheistic and polytheistic religions and hallucinogenic drugs. If you have never been there I cannot convey how far out I got. I can only assure you that for several years after my salvation I still had intense psychological problems that I can only classify as demonic. During those years I underwent perhaps three successful exorcisms, and clearly remember that after each one I experienced two things: first, for several days I felt that something was missing; and second, I experienced significant and permanent relief. I can only conclude that the something that I felt was missing was a demon, and that the expulsion of the demon is what brought the relief.

    I have said repeatedly throughout my studies that testimony must never be used to determine doctrine, and I am not using it for that purpose. I have already established two relevant doctrines by Scripture: first, that no Scripture indicates that God will not or may not choose to perform exorcisms or healing miracles in this day and age; and second, that Satan will not cast out Satan. My testimony is that demons were cast out of me. I must therefore conclude that it was God who cast the demons out and that He does operate in the realm of true exorcism today; and if He moves in the realm of true exorcism through a person or group, then there is no reason to doubt that if that individual or group also moves in the realm of physical healings, it is God who is energizing those healings.

If one applies the above tests in any given healing situation and is still not sure of the source, it would behoove him to do three things:
1. be quick to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19) lest he attribute the work of the Lord to the Devil;
2. exercise personal caution as regards that healer and group (Ephesians 6:11); and
3. no matter how severe his physical condition, he must be very cautious about submitting to a healing ministry if Satan may be the moving power.

Finally, let every group and believer recognize that divine healing is a wonderful gift that the Lord may desire to impart at any time and in any place, and that vigilance should be exercised in recognizing opportunities for inviting the Lord to do His wonderful work.

X. OTHER PERSPECTIVES IN DIVINE HEALING

There are a number of other perspectives which, if understood, will help to provide a balanced approach to various aspects of divine healing.

A. THREE MAJOR PERIODS OF HEALING

"Miracles did not happen at random throughout Scripture but occurred in three major periods: in the days of Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, and Christ and the apostles. There were select miracles outside that scope of time, but not many. Miracles were given to authenticate a message, and in each of the above mentioned periods, God enabled His messengers to perform unusual miracles to substantiate the new message they were giving"4.

Each of the three periods that Enns mentioned contained healing miracles that authenticated the messages of God's select leaders. A fourth such period of miracles will be the Great Tribulation in which the resurrection of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:11) will authenticate their message; but only two miracles of divine healing are recorded of that period: the resurrection of the two witnesses.

God has ordained that the unfurling of His story in history have its mountaintops and valleys. We are somewhere between the apostolic age and the Great Tribulation (which the church will not experience). We should not fret, therefore, if we are not among those who see divine healings, or see them as often as we'd like.

B. HEALINGS BY JESUS

Two issues need to be addressed here: the frequency and magnitude of Jesus' healings, and the matter of faith in regard to His healings.

1. The Frequency and Magnitude of Jesus' Healings

2. Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3. and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?" 4. Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5. the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. 6. "And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me."

~ Matthew 11:2-6 ~

John, languishing in prison, began to wonder whether Jesus was really the prophesied Messiah. Jesus assured him by summarizing His miracles and the preaching of the Gospel to the poor.

Plainly, astounding and frequent healings were part of Yeshua's prophesied messianic credentials (Cf. Psalm 146:8; Isaiah 29:18; 35:5-6; 61:1), the signs of His messiahship (John 2:11, 23; 3:2, etc.). Let us also remember that His Father gave Him the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). It is unreasonable to expect, on the basis of Messiah's ministry, that healings of the same magnitude and frequency should be commonplace today.

But what about John 14:12? Jesus said, Truly, truly, 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.

One common explanation of what the greater works will be are healing miracles (and perhaps other good works) that will be greater in number, but not in power, for it is impossible to perform works of greater power than resurrections. The body of Messiah, then, taken as a whole from Pentecost to the Rapture, will do the greater works.

As I see it, there may be one catch to that explanation: He did use the pronoun he, which refers to the individual believer, and that needs to be dealt with.

Jesus presented the reason for the greater works that he, the individual believer, will do: because I go to the Father. What is it that His departure to the Father rendered possible? The permanent indwelling of the Spirit into the heart of every believer; and He spoke extensively of the coming of the Spirit after His departure in that very discourse (John 14:7-29). It may very well be that the greater works that Jesus said that the individual believer will do because I go to the Father will be the leading of others to Messiah that the Spirit may abide permanently in their hearts, as well.

However, let us suppose that the first explanation is the correct one. We're still left with the fact that it is impossible for anyone to perform healings of greater magnitude than Jesus, and that it is unreasonable to expect, on the basis of Messiah's ministry, that healings of the same magnitude and frequency should be commonplace today.

2. Jesus' Healings and Faith
At times, Jesus required faith of those who came for healings, and at times, He did not. This fact has given rise to conflicting teachings. Let's examine the matter.

As forerunner of Yeshua, John the Immerser cried out, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2), and Yeshua Himself: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:7).

Jesus came with the offer of establishing the prophesied Messianic Kingdom in that generation (which we now look forward to as the Millennium) on the condition that Israel as a nation would receive Him as their Messiah (Matthew 23:37-39; Hosea 5:15). As it turned out, their leaders rejected His messianic claims by concluding that His power was not of God, but only of the Devil: This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons (Matthew 12:24). Jesus consequently rescinded the offer of the kingdom to that generation, and the purpose of His ministry radically changed. No longer did He minister to demonstrate His messiahship, but to prepare His apostles for ministry in the now necessary Church Age. Before His rejection, faith was not required of those coming to be healed as healings were an essential element in His messianic credentials (e.g., Matthew 8:14-17; 12:9-13). After His rejection, faith was required (e.g., Matthew 9:27-30; John 9:1-7). Even corpses did not get away cold. (Very punny!) Jesus required belief of Martha for the resurrection of her brother Lazarus (John 11:21-27, 39-44). (For more on the Kingdom and the ramifications of Jesus' rejection, the author recommends Dr. Fruchtenbaum's mbs 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of Messiah, and Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology and The Footsteps of the Messiah, all available at www.ariel.org.)

Two points:
1. To summarize, Jesus did not require faith before His rejection, but did after His rejection.
2. One should not assume that faith is required in post-Pentecost healings because Jesus required it after His rejection. Different age, different ball game. Faith requirements in this day and age will be examined.

C. HEALINGS BY THE APOSTLES

Yeshua had His signs and the apostles had theirs. 2 Corinthians 12:12: The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles. Also, Matthew 16:16, 20.

Acts 2:43: Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

The age of the apostles is long gone (The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Page 3, J.1.), and no one should expect the frequency or magnitude of the great miracles and mass healings that were given to the apostles as signs (e.g., Acts 9:36-43; 19:11-12; 20:9-12).

D. HEALING VIA GIFTS OF HEALINGS

All apostles had gifts of healings. Some other believers are given gifts of healings, as well.

1. Not All Have Gifts of Healings
Each one has received a gift (1 Peter 4:10), and that statement necessarily includes brand new believers, showing that gifts are given at the moment of salvation; and no passage shows that gifts are given to individuals subsequent to that moment. Also no one has all the gifts, nor is any single gift given to everyone (1 Corinthians 12:12-25).

When Paul exhorted, But earnestly desire the greater gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31), he was exhorting the local body as a unit, not the individuals in it (1 Corinthians 1:1-2). Paul's statement was in the context of 1 Corinthians 12:28, which speaks of greater and lesser gifts. If the Corinthian church was lacking in the ministry of the greater gifts, they were to draw out such ministry from those so gifted among them, or invite such ministry from elsewhere in the body.

The point is that no one should strive for gifts of healings if he or she does not have it, nor should they be taught that they can acquire it.

2. Not Always Operative in the Gift Holder
"The word healings is plural because there are various classes of sicknesses," and "gifts is also plural.... In the Greek, plural often emphasizes repeated action. The statement gifts of healings shows that whereas with the other gifts, once one had them, it stayed with him and could be used at any time, in the case of the gifts of healings.... it is a gift that comes and goes"5. Not even the apostle Paul could always heal, whether it be himself or others (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; 1 Timothy 5:32; 2 Timothy 4:20).

Since the gift comes and goes in those endowed with it, one should expect gaps, perhaps even large gaps, in the healing ability of those so gifted.

3. Not Necessarily Meant to Operate in Every Congregation
Ephesians 4 states that the spiritual gifts are given to the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12), referring to the entire body as a unit from Pentecost to the Rapture. This means that it may not be God's will for every congregation to have all of the gifts, and all other passages on the gifts are consistent with this. It is therefore not necessarily true, as is so often taught in healing circles, that those congregations that do not operate in the power gifts are missing out, or are less spiritual than "we are;" nor is it true, as is also taught, that we should turn away from them because they have a form of godliness, but are denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). To teach a turning away from such congregations of true believers is to teach division: God has simply not chosen to embed the power gifts among them. Furthermore, 2 Timothy 3:5 is not even talking about true believers, but counterfeit believers - unbelievers - even as Jannes and Jambres who withstood Moses... men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith (verse 8).

E. HEALINGS IN THE HIERARCHY OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS

In 1 Corinthians 12:28, Paul lists eight gifts in descending order of importance: And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

Of the gifts that God may give today, prophecy and teaching are of greater importance than miracles and healings. True prophecy is a rarity at best, and teaching and study of the Word are greatly emphasized in the New Testament (e.g., 1
Timothy 1:3, 5; 4:11; 6:2, 17). Good, solid teaching is to be sought out more than healings.

XI. OTHER MEANS OF DIVINE HEALING

Some of the following may be applied in combination or in sequence.

A. THE SICK PERSON'S OWN PRAYERS

In Isaiah 38:1-5, Hezekiah became mortally ill; but he prayed, and the LORD added fifteen years to his life.

B. THE PRAYERS OF BELIEVERS IN GENERAL

Even those without gifts of healings may pray successfully for healings, either for themselves or for others, and they need not even be in the presence of the sick person.

1 John 5:14: This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Note the condition: if we ask anything according to His will.

C. FASTING AND PRAYER

In certain cases, fasting is necessary for physical healing. Of the demon that caused epilepsy in the boy, Jesus said, But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21).

One may choose to fast while praying for the healing of any ailment as fasting focuses the mind on praying. Psalm 35:13: But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fasting, And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.

D. REPENTANCE

If an illness is caused by a sin, such as an ulcer caused by unforgiveness, then repentance may bring healing. In some cases, it won't, as when a daredevil activity (prompted by pride or abandon) causes a paraplegic condition.

If a sin brings about the indwelling of a demon and the demon causes an illness, then the demon must be expelled in order for healing to take place. Whether repentance alone will suffice for the expulsion or whether exorcism is necessitated, repentance must precede the expulsion.

E. "THE PRAYER OF FAITH"

The nature of the prayer offered in faith is often misunderstood. Before examining the passage, let us remember that believers may become sick even unto death by taking the Lord's supper in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:30-32), and that Paul committed the sinning and impenitent Corinthian man and Hymenaeus and Alexander to Satan for the destruction of their bodies (1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20).

15. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 16. and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 17. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

~ James 5:14-17 ~

The passage says that when the prayer of faith for healing is prayed over a person his sins will be forgiven. Forgiveness of sin on the basis of coming for prayer for healing? Good deal! What syphilitic adulterer wouldn't come for healing and forgiveness so he can commit adultery again all fresh as a daisy? No, the passage is not teaching forgiveness on the basis of coming for prayer for healing. Scripture plainly teaches that the condition for forgiveness is always and only true repentance, which is necessarily preceded by confession (agreeing with God in contrition of heart), whether inward or oral: 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Now, verse 17 says, Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed, indicating that confession of sin must precede the prayer of faith. Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes, "The word sins is used to show repeated action."6 The prayer of faith, then, is prayer by the elders for the healing of an ailment brought about by repeated sin. Albert Barnes writes, "The case supposed all along here (see Jam. 5:15) is, that the sickness referred to had been brought upon the patient for his sins, apparently as a punishment for some particular transgressions"7; and John Gill: "... the sense is, if he has been guilty of any sins, which God in particular has taken notice of, and on account of which he has laid his chastising hand upon him...."8 Without a doubt the prayer of faith includes the healing of one that the eldership had committed to Satan (he must call for the elders of the church, showing humility before the ones who committed him), and may also include the healing of others whose sickness had been brought on by sin.

So the necessary progression in the prayer of faith is this: repeated sins, sickness, confession, forgiveness, prayer of faith, healing. The prayer of faith applied under the right circumstances will always bring healing. Verse 16: the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.

F. APART FROM HUMAN INTERVENTION

It is implied in Job 42:10,12 that God healed Job of his boils (2:7) apart from prayers for healing from anyone, including Job himself. Also, Matthew 27:52-53.

XII. WHY GOD MAY WITHHOLD A HEALING

There are various reasons why God may withhold a healing from even His most dedicated and devoted of children no matter how fervent their prayers and mature their walk.

A. LACK OF REPENTANCE

We have seen two situations in which God authorizes the judgment of illness for sin:
1. partaking of the Lord's supper in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:30-32); and
2. the delivery of impenitent and seriously sinning
believers unto Satan for the destruction of their bodies (1 Corinthians 5:3-5; 1 Timothy 1:20).

Inasmuch as illness is the judgment of God in these cases, He will certainly not effect divine healing before repentance; and no amount of praying for, commanding, claiming or confessing a healing will suffice. Where physical malady is the direct, natural result of sin apart from the intervention of God, such as venereal disease contracted during fornication, or injury sustained as a result of picking a fight, it is unlikely that God will effect divine healing before repentance in such cases, as well.

B. SANCTIFICATION APART FROM KNOWN SIN

In Job 1:8 and 2:3, God declared Job to be a righteous and upright man: Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil. And Job demanded of God: Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? (7:20). From Job's perspective, if he was taken in any sin, he did not know it. Nevertheless, despite God's and Job's assessments, God allowed Satan to afflict him with boils (2:7), and left him in that condition until he learned to trust Him (Job 38-42, esp. 42:1-6).

God deals with all of His children in a similar manner whether it be for sin known or unknown to them: 6. For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.... 10. but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

When God chastens for sanctification, whether it be by means of illness or otherwise, He will not relent until the job is done.

C. PREVENTION OF SIN

Paul prayed three times for the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh; yet God refused to heal him in order to keep him humble - lest he be exalted above measure due to the abundance of the revelations - for the rest of his life (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

D. WRONG MOTIVE IN SEEKING HEALING

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.... (James 4:3).

One may seek a healing in order to be in the limelight, or to write a book about it and get rich and famous, or some other impure motive. One may request a healing to make a fool of the healer or to prove that God does not heal. God will not prove Himself with a healing in the face of such attitudes (Mark 8:11-12;
Luke 11:16), just as Jesus did not yield to the temptation to prove His power as the Son of God when Satan tempted Him (Matthew 4:3,6), for God cannot be tempted by evil (James 1:13). Whether the wrong motive is carried by the sick person or one praying for the healing of the sick person, God will not honor impure motives. If a healing does come, it will not be from God.

E. TO PROMOTE CHARACTER AND WITNESS

At times, God chooses not to heal so that he may forge character in the fire of adversity.

3. but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4. and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5. and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

~ Romans 5:3-5 ~

In 1967, Joni Eareckson-Tada broke her neck in a diving accident and became a quadriplegic. She pled for God to heal her, but He did not. Once she accepted her condition, God began to use her mightily to testify of His ability to bring great, overcoming spiritual victory irregardless of one's handicap or other debilitating situation. At the time of this writing, Joni has a many-faceted worldwide ministry to both saved and unsaved, to the glory of God.

F. GOD'S FUTURE GLORIFICATION THROUGH HEALING

In John 9:1-11, we read of a man who was born blind and remained blind until manhood so that the works of God might be displayed in him in the Lord's good and perfect time - and the Lord's good and perfect time was not until the man attained adulthood. Similarly, in John 11:4, Jesus said of Lazarus' sickness unto death, This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it; and He allowed Lazarus to remain dead four days (verse 39) before He resurrected him (vv. 43-44).

In each case, the Lord allowed sickness to remain until the preordained perfect moment for His glorification through healing had arrived. In the first case, the healing of the man born blind fulfilled a rabbinic sign of messiahship. In the second, it was to again demonstrate His messiahship through the stunning resurrection of Lazarus one day later than the rabbis thought it possible: They believed that the spirit of a deceased person hovers over his corpse for three days, and then departs; and after the departure, resurrection was no longer possible. In both instances, Jesus delayed healing until the perfect moment had arrived to demonstrate His messiahship.

In view of these things, if the Lord has chosen a future moment for healing unto His glorification, it is unthinkable that He would answer prayers for healing until that moment.

G. TIME TO DIE

Barring instant death from a severe blow to the body from within or without, there is always a transitional stage of declining health before death. If the Lord chooses for someone to die by means of declining health, who can guarantee that He will stay His hand by means of divine healing? God added fifteen years to Hezekiah's life as a result of his prayer (Isaiah 38:1-5), but who can deny that this was an exceptional case? Furthermore, Hezekiah ended up dying after all. Who can claim that we have a right to be healed because we are God's children or for any other reason when God has ordained, it is appointed for men to die (Hebrew 9:27)? And who can claim healing because of some presumed right to longevity? God even chooses when babies die. 2 Samuel 12:15,18: Then the LORD struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick.... 18. Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died.

It has been taught that by healthy living, prayer and faith we can live as long as Moses and maintain the level of health that he had right up to his death: Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated (Deuteronomy 34:7). In the same vein it has been taught that if our health and longevity do not match that of Moses', we are being "ripped off." Well, that touches home, as I typed it with my glasses on, and I'm fifty-five years shy of one hundred and twenty!

What did Moses have to say about all of this - before he died, of course! As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years (Psalm 90:10). Who wrote Psalm 90? Moses!

So how did he remain so healthy until he died? It's possible that God actively sustained Moses' vitality to uphold His chosen senior citizen as he confronted Pharaoh, schlepped through deserts, dealt with rebellions, battled enemy nations and put up with millions of stiff-necked Israelites from age 80 to 120. Whatever the case, Moses said seventy years was the norm, and that's what we need to go with - though this Norm hopes to live well beyond seventy for maximum service to the Lord!

There is no justification for taking what God did for one person, whether it be Hezekiah or Moses or any other person, and then claim it as a standard for all - unless Scripture declares it as a standard; and in the cases of Hezekiah and Moses, it does not.

H. IT'S A SECRET

Deuteronomy 29:29: The secret things belong to the LORD our God....

If, after pondering God's word on divine healing, we are still puzzled as to why He will not bless us or another with a healing, we must simply be content to know that there are some things that God has chosen to not reveal to us.

I. SUMMARY

God may choose to withhold a healing:

  • to bring about repentance unto sanctification from sin that is known or unknown to us;

  • for the prevention of sin;

  • because of wrong motivation;

  • to promote character and witness;

  • for His future glorification through healing;

  • because it is time for the sick person to die;

  • for reasons known only to Him.

It is important to remember that, with God, spiritual concerns always trump physical concerns. Indeed, as we have seen, God may even cause ill health for the accomplishment of spiritual purposes, and no amount of praying for divine healing will suffice until God has completed His work.

XIII. "WE BELIEVE THAT GOD HEALS
IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS WILL"

Having established the facts that God does heal today and that He also withholds healings for various reasons, we need not belabor the point. God does heal, but only if it's according to His will, which will always be in accordance with the outworking of His divine purposes.

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).

Note again the condition: according to His will. If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

XIV. "HOWEVER, PHYSICAL HEALING CANNOT BE CLAIMED
SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE ATONEMENT"

In the Hebrew Scriptures, 'atonement' refers to the covering of the sins of Old Testament saints pending removal by the vicarious sacrifice of the coming Messiah. Relative to the work of the cross, 'atonement' may be defined as the totality of what Jesus accomplished by means of His sacrifice.

The sacrificial work of Messiah on the cross laid the foundation for every redemptive objective: the reconciliation of the world to God, the forgiveness of sins, the glorification of the bodies of the saints in Christ at the Rapture, the salvation of all Israel (every living Israelite at a given point in the future, per Romans 11:26, etc.), the establishment of the Messianic (Millennial) Kingdom, the creation of the new heavens and earth, and more.

Three things should be noticed about such events:

1. Though the foundation for all of them was laid at Calvary, it is plain that not all of them are "facts on the ground" even today, two thousand years later. Some are clearly First Coming events, and the others, Second.

2. None of these events took place before the cross.

3. Each event takes place either instantly or in a very short period of time. The reconciliation of the world to God occurred when Jesus' sufferings were completed (2 Corinthians 5:19); the forgiveness of sins for the believing individual takes place in an instant (Ephesians 1:7); the salvation of all Israel will take place within a day (Zechariah 13:1); the establishment of the Kingdom will occur very shortly after the Lord returns; and so on.

The question at hand is: Did the atonement provide for the perfect healing of all physical ailments of God's children in this day and age between the two Comings, or must such healing await Second Coming fulfillment? Let us examine the matter according to the above three points.

1. Perfect health is not a "facts on the ground" condition of all of God's children today; and in light of all that can bring malady to one degree or another - from genetics to accident to infection to sanctification to judgment to senescence (the ageing process) - it is a virtual impossibility that even one individual can ever attain, much less sustain, perfect health in these mortal bodies. Even righteous, dedicated, filled-with-the-Spirit, filled-with-faith Paul needed to endure his thorn in the flesh until he died. And is it possible for anyone to avoid or pray his way out of the disease of senescence? Does not senescence bear all the symptoms of an incurable and progressively degenerative, debilitating and universally fatal disease?

2. Unlike the redemptive events for which the atonement laid the foundation, divine healings took place before the cross, even before Yeshua was born (Judges 13:2-4; 1 Kings 13:4-6; 1 Kings 17:17-24, etc.). Therefore, divine healings that occur today provide no proof that all are entitled to divine healing today on the basis of the atonement.

3. Scripture does not promise perfect health for those in Christ (saints from Pentecost to the Rapture) before their resurrection or Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:42-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18); and for all other saints, before their resurrections, each in his own order (1 Corinthians 15:23); and the Rapture and all of these resurrections are yet future.

At our resurrection or Rapture, our healing will take place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52). In the 1 Corinthians 15 passage, Paul considers it a given that our bodies are now perishable (subject to decay, destructable by bacterial infection), in a state of weakness (Strong's: feebleness [of body or mind]; by implication malady; moral frailty: - disease, infirmity, sickness, weakness) and mortal (subject to death). In the same passage, he tells us that, at the Rapture, that which is now perishable, weak and mortal will be transformed into that which is imperishable, powerful and immortal - and not before.

To sum up, we can neither attain perfect health in these mortal bodies nor pray down divine healing for every fly bite, nail fungus, broken bone, cold and cancer. Divine healing is simply not a First Coming "facts on the ground" Bible promise or atonement event. God heals according to His will, and only He knows all the factors involved in any given case.

XV. FAITH AND DIVINE HEALING

God may choose to heal at any time on His own initiative (e.g., Job 2:7 with 42:10,12; Matthew 27:52-53); yet, in Scripture, faith is often mentioned as a factor in divine healing.

To review a key matter:
1. Jesus did not require faith as He healed to display His messianic credentials,
2. He did require faith after Israel rejected Him as Messiah, and
3. His policies regarding faith have no bearing on faith requirements today because a new age or dispensation was born with the advent of the Church Age on the day of Pentecost, and the new dispensation ushered in a new package of requirements and privileges.

We will first examine the nature of faith, and then bring out the key points of what Scripture has to say in the matter of faith in relation to healing in our Church Age.

A. THE NATURE OF FAITH

1. True Faith
Hebrews 11:1 declares, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Faith is an assurance, a conviction, not of things that are seen, but that are hoped for, not seen.

Verse 3 implies what faith must be based on: By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God.

How were they to understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God? Well, those Hebrews had the Bible, which informed them. Genesis 1:3. Then God said, "Let there be light".... 6. Then God said, "Let there be an expanse.... 9. Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear". The faith by which they understood that the worlds were prepared by the word of God was based on the written Word of God.

Let's consider a different case.

8. At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother's womb, who had never walked. 9. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, 10. said with a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And he leaped up and began to walk.

~ Acts 14:8-10 ~

In this case there was no written word, and we don't even know if Paul mentioned divine healing; but we do know that the man almost certainly heard Paul preaching the Gospel (verses 6,7) and, as a result, had faith to be made well, and he was.

Here's the point: So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). True faith is based on a word from God, whether written or heard or implanted in the heart some other way.

2. True Faith vs. Imagined Faith
True faith is never conjured faith. It is never a personal hope that is not based on a word from God. Nor is it ever faith in faith itself. Faith in faith is dream stuff. Faith in faith is not faith that is based on a word from God, but on faith itself, and is not true faith at all. Faith in faith is an exercise in circular reasoning that circumvents the necessity of a word from God. It is imagined faith; and imagined faith for divine healing has no more power to move God to heal than an imagined automobile has power to transport. Faith in God's ability to heal is always valid, but that is no guarantee that He will heal at any given moment. Faith in God's written promise to heal the one who, under the right circumstances and in the right spirit, is the subject of the prayer of faith, is valid faith because God promised the healing (James 5:16). Faith that God will heal where He has not promised it in His written Word or in the heart is invalid faith. If one has faith that God will heal, and He does not heal, then that faith was not faith at all, but imagined faith.

This writer vividly remembers a godly pastor whose body was riddled with cancer publicly, vigorously and repeatedly shaking his afflicted leg at the instruction of a visiting "healer" to exercise his faith to bring about his healing. He walked out of the room on crutches as painfully afflicted as when he entered, and died of cancer shortly after that. Sadly, the pastor did not possess true faith for the healing, nor did the healer have a gift of healing for the pastor.

3. Confessing or Claiming a Healing
Akin to faith in faith or the drumming up of imagined faith is the matter of confessing or claiming one's healing. Often at healing meetings the one prayed for is told to confess or claim his healing even though none is apparent. There is no passage of Scripture that promotes this. If true faith is present, then any positive statement concerning the hoped for healing will be an overflow of what's already in the heart, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:24). If true faith is not present, then confessing or claiming one's healing is empty human effort, and will produce no result. Furthermore, claiming anything of God in a demanding way, as is often done, is the epitome of arrogance.

Confessing or claiming one's healing is often promoted on the basis of Romans 4:17: God... calls into being that which does not exist. Well, if we were God it would work; but for us mere mortals, our confession needs to be based on a truth or promise or assurance from God, just as Abraham's faith to be a father of many nations was based on a promise from God, as shown in the same passage. Here's the full verse: as it is written, "A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU" in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

God made a promise to Abraham, and Abraham believed God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. It was not Abraham who was to call into being that which does not exist, but God. Scriptures need to be read carefully and taught faithfully!

I am compelled to repeat: There is no promise or formula in the Scriptures that guarantees divine healing for church saints except in the case of the prayer of faith properly carried out under the right circumstances.

B. TRUE FAITH AND DIVINE HEALING

Two classes of cases will be examined here, and deductions will be made.

1. Acts 28:8: the father of Publius lay sick of fever and dysentery: unto whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laying his hands on him healed him.

There is no indication that Publius' father exercised faith. What is recorded is that Paul simply walked in and healed him. Similar examples may be found in Peter and John's healing of the lame man at the gate Beautiful (Acts 3:1-7); Peter's healing of bed-ridden Aeneas (Acts 9:32-34); Peter's resurrection of Tabitha (9:36-40); and Paul's resurrection of Eutychus (Acts 20:9-12). From these examples we see that if one with gifts of healings has a healing gift for someone at a particular time, then faith is not required of the sick person: the healer can heal at will.

2. In the case of the man at Lystra (Acts 14:8-10), Paul saw that he had faith to be made well, so he prayed for him, and he was healed. From this we can deduce that, if one has the faith to be healed, we should pray for him, but always deferring to one with the gift of healing if such a one is present.

XVI. OTHER KEY MISUSES OF SCRIPTURE

There are passages of Scripture that are used erroneously or deceptively in the realm of divine healing whose claims we have not addressed. We will examine three of the most common.

1. Isaiah 53:5: But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. It is commonly said that we can claim our healing now on the basis of the phrase, with his stripes we are healed.

Without a doubt, the word for healed, rapha, is used of physical healing in Exodus 15:26, 21:19, Leviticus 13:18, and other places. Yet, as regards its use in Isaiah 53:5: In consideration of immediate and broad contexts, the use of parallelism in Hebrew poetry (the immediate repetition of a brief declaration in different ways), the fact that the overwhelming emphasis in Scripture in regards to the atonement is on spiritual healing, and the fact that rapha is used elsewhere metaphorically of spiritual healing (e.g., Ezekiel 34:4 and Zechariah 11:16), a powerful case stands for the metaphorical use of rapha in Isaiah 53:5 for spiritual healing. Yet, even if one holds that it is physical healing that it refers to, it still cannot be used to claim divine healing in this day and age for reasons already discussed.

2. Galatians 3:13: Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE."

Though the verse plainly speaks of the curse of the Law of Moses, which the Galatians were being wooed to come under, the curse in the passage is often taken to refer to every form of affliction from the time of the Fall, which includes illness. Well, if we are to use this verse for healing on demand, we may as well stand in our yards and command the weeds to leave, throw away our deodorants for we will sweat no longer, and make no preparation or adjustment in our lives for death for we shall not die, for weeds, sweat and death are all part of the Adamic curse!

The fact is, the physical aspects of the curse are still in effect even for God's people, and there will still be elements of the curse in the Millennium, including the death of those believers who are in their natural bodies (Isaiah 65:20). It is only in the New Jerusalem in the Heavenly Ages that Scripture says there shall be no more curse (Revelation 22:3). But for now, in regards to perfect health or healing on demand, Paul describes the situation as it plainly is:

22. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

~ Romans 8:22-23 ~

(The redemption of our body refers to the glorification of our bodies at the Rapture, for which we now groan.)

3. Mark 16:17-18. 17. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18. they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

The passage is often taken to mean that all believers should have the ability to lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

Let us note two things:
1. It is commonly agreed that the authenticity of verses 9-20 is in question as they are not found in the oldest and best manuscripts. What Dr. Charles Ryrie says is representative: "These verses do not appear in two of the most trustworthy manuscripts of the N.T. ... The doubtful genuineness of verses 9-20 makes it unwise to build a doctrine or base an experience on them (especially vv. 16-18)."9

2. No single spiritual gift is given to everyone (1 Corinthians 12:11-25), But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills (verse 11). Therefore, even if the passage does belong in Mark, it cannot mean that all will be given the ability to lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. It must mean that within the body there will be some who will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

XVII. PARADE OF ERRORS AND DECEPTIONS

Length restrictions limit the types and numbers of scriptures that can be answered here, and there are many. Suffice it to say that, if they do not line up with clear teachings on divine healing in this day and age, they are misunderstood or misused in some way. They are used out of context, or misunderstood due to lack of understanding of the culture, or because of a logical fallacy, or for some other reason.

The passage may apply to an individual, and to no one else, as does the passage on Moses' health and longevity, yet is upheld as a standard for all. It may be addressed to Israel, and apply to no individual or other group, yet is applied to the church or everyone in the church. It may be used out of time and/or people context, or understood literally when it should be understood figuratively, all of which have been done with Jeremiah 30:17: I will restore health to you, which is in reference to Israel's national health on the basis of her future national salvation, and has absolutely no bearing on physical health for Christians. (The chapter speaks of restoring Israel to the Land, freedom from attack and captivity, and the rebuilding of the Land. If such a passage can be quoted for healing on demand, then one can with equal validity quote, Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs, And the LORD will lay bare their secret parts [Isaiah 3:17] to prove that God wants Christian women to have scabs on their heads and their private parts exposed.) It may be reading healing on demand into a statement when it is simply not there, as has been done with James 1:17: Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow, and with Hebrews 13:8: Jesus the Messiah is the same yesterday and today and forever. It may be the salutation of a letter, as 3 John 1:2: Beloved, I pray that in all respects you [Gaius] may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers, or a letter's complimentary closing, as 1 Thessalonians 5:23: may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus the Christ, which do not indicate God's will for the present, but are prayers for the readers' or hearers' well being cordially expressed in a letter.

I have seen these and dozens of misused scriptures like them listed online and in books thrown out at readers en masse. No doubt, some compilers of such lists are well-intentioned, but are novices in biblical understanding; but in other cases, I cannot help but believe that passages are chosen despite knowledge of their limited meanings, the philosophy being, "Anything that may give the impression of saying what I want it to say will do." This is willful deception, pulling the wool over the readers' eyes, intentionally handling the word of God deceitfully (2 Corinthians 4:2). Let the reader beware and be discerning: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

There are more ways to misunderstand or deceive than have been noted; but just as one studies a genuine dollar bill in order to recognize the counterfeit, so let the reader learn what Scripture says on divine healing in order to recognize error. A good course in hermeneutics, the science of interpreting the Scriptures, would come in mighty handy in the matter of divine healing and in many other areas of biblical study. A free-of-charge online course by Dr. David Cooper is recommended below.

XVIII. A NICE CLEAN BABY

I introduced this study as an attempt to save the 'baby' of divine healing while throwing out the 'bathwater' of error and misuse that often accompanies it. The latter half of this study was necessarily weighted toward the latter, and I do not want to leave the reader with a dirty bathwater taste in his mouth. I must therefore conclude with two notes of encouragement:
1. God does bring miraculous healing today, and many churches need to be far more aggressive in pursuing it than they are, especially since there may be some in their midst with gifts of healings; and
2. God, in His wisdom, heals, but only where and when He knows that it's best. That knowledge ought to bless us with the security of being in the arms of One much wiser than we: The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27). Therefore, whether the Lord responds to our supplications for healing or not, let us 16. Rejoice always; 17. pray without ceasing; 18. in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Shalom.

FOOTNOTES AND RECOMMENDED READING

FOOTNOTES

1. Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah, pdf, p. 275.
2. Fruchtenbaum, mbs 019: The Darkness of Demonism, pdf, p. 21.
3. Fruchtenbaum, mbs 077: Satanology: The Doctrine of Satan, pdf, p. 31.
4. Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), p. 271-272.
5. Fruchtenbaum, mbs 071: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, pdf, p. 20.
6. Fruchtenbaum, mbs 128: The Book of James, pdf, p. 43.
7. Albert Barnes, Notes on the Bible (download from www.e-sword.net).
8. John Gill, Exposition of the Entire Bible (download from www.e-sword.net).
9. Dr. Charles Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible (Moody Press, Chicago, 1978).

RECOMMENDED READING

Cooper, Dr. David. Hermeneutical studies at http://www.biblicalresearch.info/page7.html. Simply go down the links in succession.

Divine Healing:
Another Perspective
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2009
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

All Pages of A Key Doctrinal Exegesis

Major Topics in Systematic Progression

Page 1

* THE SCRIPTURES
* GOD THE TRIUNITY
* ANGELS
* SATAN AND DEMONS
* THE DOCTRINE OF MAN
*
SALVATION

Page 2

* ISRAEL
*
THE TRUE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM
* THE CHRISTIAN AND THE LAW OF MOSES

Page 3

* THE CHURCH
* THE MINISTRIES AND GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
* DIVINE HEALING: ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

Page 4

* THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY

~

A Key Doctrinal Overview and Exegesis
~ messianic Bible studies ~
© Norman Manzon 2005 - 2015.
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines


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