“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple; and He healed them.”
Notice that it was after Jesus cleansed the temple, declaring it a house of prayer, that the blind and the lame came into the temple to be healed.
In Counsels on Diets and Foods, 25, Ellen White says, “In order to be purified and to remain pure, Seventh-day Adventists must have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and in their homes.” Keep that in mind. It goes on to say, “The Lord has given me light that when the Israel of today humble themselves before Him, and cleanse the soul temple from all defilement, He will hear their prayers in behalf of the sick.” Then, when we pray, He will hear.
Our churches are inundated with folks who are sick. Apparently our prayers are not being heard in behalf of the sick. Inspiration says, “He will hear their prayers in behalf of the sick, and will bless in the use of His remedies for disease. When in faith the human agent does all he can to combat disease, using the simple methods of treatment that God has provided, his efforts will be blessed of God.” Ibid. That promise is fulfilled when “the soul temple is cleansed from all defilement.”
In the very beginning of Christ’s work, He cleansed the temple (Matthew 21:12). At the end of His work, He said, “Your house is left unto you desolate.” Matthew 23:38.
The first chapter in the book The Ministry of Healing is called “Our Example.” If we are going to conduct evangelistic efforts, and if we are going to live a life according to heaven’s plan, we must pattern ourselves after the Great Gospel Medical Missionary. His example is our example. We need not study any other example but His.
Matthew 10 describes the mission of the church. One thing I learned in more than 30 years of evangelism is that many times we put our little placards out and our announcements, and we hope people will come. But I noticed that before Jesus began to do any public evangelism, He set the pathway; He put together a team.
The worst thing that can be done is to start an effort that cannot be finished. It is the worst thing, to get people excited and then not have any workers to work the field. I remember years ago we planted an acre of watermelon, honeydew melons, and cantaloupe on one of the pieces of property where we are living, about 25 miles from the ministry. Looking down from a helicopter I could see how organized and neat the rows were; it was pretty. That was a lot of effort for two families; what were we thinking? I tell you, the deer had a good time! That experience let me know that we planted far more than what we were able to manage and harvest. So, why start something that cannot be finished? It would be best not to start.
In Matthew 10:1, the Bible says, “And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power.” He gave them what? That word power here means authority. He gave them authority. His own credentials came from God, and He gave this authority to His disciples.
Healing and Religion
Healing and religion are inseparable. My faith, my belief is the very basis of my position in dealing with health, and the two cannot be separated. The State has no right to interfere with that position. The only church that is recognized by the State to practice natural remedies is the Church of Scientology. We are a called people who have been entrusted with the saving truths that this world needs, and part of our religious experience is the ministry of healing. But legally we cannot carry out a health work apart from being licensed as allopathic doctors. Every religion has a healing message, whether it is Hindu, Buddhism or Confucius. Because we have been running a facility for years in the state of Tennessee, I have studied the laws pertaining to that state. The law they call “alternative medicine,” or naturopathy or naturopathic medicine says, “Anyone using sunlight, water, botanical plants, that has not been licensed is subject to a $500.00 fine every time they practice this.” Sunlight, exercise, water—those are part of the eight laws of health! The ministry we operated in Florida had to be closed down in Lake City, because just to talk about or tell a person to eat fruit, grains, nuts, and vegetables was against the law.
God has given the church the mission; notice what the Bible says: “He gave them power [authority] against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” Matthew 10:1. The same God that called those twelve is the same God living today. “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach [that is the gospel], saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand, Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Verses 5–8.
Jesus said to preach the gospel and heal the sick. The mission of the church is to carry out the gospel connected with the health message. The health message is not the gospel, but it is the right arm. The arm is useless without a body! God has given this church spiritual gifts, as listed in I Corinthians 12:1–11, and specifically the gift of healing (verse 9). But most of us don’t believe those gifts; we have been falsely educated believing that this work is entrusted only to those who have been qualified as a physician.
Everyone should understand this house that God has built, your body, and the natural laws that govern it. The health message breaks down prejudices. At Missionary Education and Evangelistic Training (M.E.E.T.) Ministry, Huntingdon, Tennessee, we talk about movements. When you don’t have a movement, biologically, you become constipated. We belong to a movement, and all who are not moving are going to become spiritually constipated, which creates an environment for bacteria to grow. The Adventist Church is not only a church, not just another denomination, but we are also a movement. We have to be about God’s business.
There is going to be trouble in the land, much more than there is today, so pray. God has given the church the tools, the gift of healing, to preach the gospel with the medical missionary work. This is true healing based on faith, not to be mistaken by a false faith healing practiced by some popular churches today.
“And it came to pass on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before Him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude.” Luke 5:17–19
There was such a crowd of people that the man’s friends were blocked from bringing him in to Jesus. We too sometimes can crowd people out by our attitudes, with our thinking, with our lifestyle and other things that can prevent people from coming to Jesus. But this man’s friends did not give up, and they took the palsied man to the rooftop where they tore the roof open so they could let him down to Jesus. The Bible says Jesus looked up and saw their faith (verses 19, 20). This means I can bear up my own family, my community, my church, my wife or whoever, in the arms of my faith, and I can present them to Jesus and give Him the prerogative to divinely intervene in their lives.
I am here today as the result of my own mother bearing me up in the arms of her faith. And I remember one of my former workers that had been with us 14 years, and she prayed for her mother for 30 years to come into this message. She finally accepted the truth a little while before she died. Do not give up! If you have the faith of Jesus Christ, do not get anxious or sick over those folk, but bear them up in arms of faith, especially if they are old and you cannot preach to them anymore. Live the life yourself, bearing them up in your arms of faith, and watch God do something miraculous. Like my mother used to pray, “God, save the boy. Whatever it takes, save the boy.” And God sure did a work on me. My knees got weak, old arthritis moved in and stopped me cold. Did God answer my mother’s prayer? Yes He did, when He saw her faith.
“And when He saw their faith, He said unto him, ‘Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.’ ” Verse 20. Now understand this, healing and forgiveness go hand in hand, because sickness is the result of sin. This is not to say that you might have committed an act of injustice to bring it about. If there was no sin, there would be no cancer and no diabetes. So my focus as a medical missionary is to see people get well, but what good does it do for man to be free from sickness, and go to hell? God is not in the business of making healthy sinners. He wants to save people.
Now notice this in verse 21: “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” Now remember, the presence of God was there to heal, and here are leaders reasoning in their heart, questioning Jesus’ authority. They are about ready to impede the healing process. “But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?” Verses 22, 23.
I ask the same question to you. Which is easier for Jesus to do? To say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” or “pick up thy bed and walk”? Sin, healing and forgiveness are all tied together. There is nothing too hard for God. In order to have healing, there has to be forgiveness. So the Pharisees began to reason in their heart, because they were not in the same place that Jesus was. They were trying to prevent the healing, and that’s what takes place in the church. There are those who question the authority of God, and that often prevents the healing.
We have people who simply do not believe, who question, or who say, “That does not work,” or “God did not say that. You cannot use this; that is not of God.” No Scripture reasons are offered, just opinions. But we do not base our moves on opinions. It must be, “Thus saith the Lord.” It is not, “Thus saith the church” or “Thus saith the state.” It is only “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus Casts out the Evil Spirit
In Mark 9:17–25 it says, “And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto Thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to Thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto Me. And they brought him unto Him: and when he saw Him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And He asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if Thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.’ ” Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.” And we understand the story how it ended.
In verses 28, 29 it says, “And when He was come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And He said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but prayer and fasting.” Prayer and fasting. Healing crisis. We are holding on to known sin in our lives; we are not communing with God; we are sinners. The power of God is in every occasion such as this present to heal. God said in Matthew that, “My house shall be called the house of prayer.” He was quoting Isaiah 56:7. There is power in prayer. We need to become men and women of prayer. Less talking and more prayer and we will find there is healing power.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye might be healed.” Now notice what the Bible says: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16. What kind of man? When we think of a righteous man, we think about a person who is living up to the light. We are not talking about a person who is holding on to known sins.
In the work that we are called to do, we cannot afford to have our prayers not heard in behalf of the people with whom we are dealing. I must take inventory of my own life. Lord, search my heart and see if there is any sin in me. Know my thoughts; Father, I do not want my prayers to be hindered. (See Psalm 139:24; I Peter 3:7.)
“Satan is enraged at the sound of fervent prayer, for he knows that he will suffer loss.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 295. If we want to shake Satan’s kingdom, let us be men and women of fervent prayer. When God flooded the earth with water, the devil feared for his life. By fervent prayer we will transfer our anxiety from us to Him.
“God is just as willing to restore the sick to health now as when the Holy Spirit spoke these words [Psalm 107:17–20] through the psalmist. And Christ is the same compassionate physician now that He was during His earthly ministry. In Him there is healing balm for every disease, restoring power for every infirmity. His disciples in this time are to pray for the sick as verily as the disciples of old prayed. And recoveries will follow; for ‘the prayer of faith shall save the sick’ [James 5:15]. We have the Holy Spirit’s power, the calm assurance of faith, that can claim God’s promises. The Lord’s promise, ‘They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover’ (Mark 16:18), is just as trustworthy now as in the days of the apostles.” The Ministry of Healing, 226.
We are still living in the days of the apostles. We are His people, and there needs to be power in God’s church. We should become the head and not the tail. And once again, we can bear them up in the arms of our faith.
“It presents the privilege of God’s children, and our faith should lay hold of all that it embraces. Christ’s servants are the channel of His working, and through them He desires to exercise His healing power.” Through whom? Through us! He didn’t say through just certain people, He said, “Through them He desires to exercise His healing power. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to God in the arms of our faith. We should teach them to believe in the Great Healer.
“The Saviour would have us encourage the sick, the hopeless, the afflicted, to take hold upon His strength. Through faith and prayer the sickroom may be transformed into a Bethel.” Ibid.
Keep it Simple and Live It
I tell our staff at our little lifestyle center that’s why we keep it small and simple. I tell them it is not just about the herbs, it is not about the fever bath, it is not about all that we cleanse. As soon as clients walk on these grounds, they should know that they are in the presence of God. And when you walk into that room, they should sense the presence of God with you. It is not your herbs, it is not your vitamins, it is the Spirit that empowers you, and we have seen results of that, whether they are Jehovah’s Witnesses, whether they are atheists, they come out of that place serving God.
That is the key. Every facility should become a Bethel, and those people who minister are the ones that make it that way. You can have all the experience, all the medical techniques, and all the herbs, but if the spirit of God is not working, it avails nothing. “The prayer of faith will move the arm of God.” The Signs of the Times, September 4, 1879. When God’s arm moves, all heaven and earth have got to shake; then you tell me, if my prayer can move the arm of God, nothing is impossible.
Prayer the Key
The prayer life of Jesus was in constant communing with God. He could not function without communing with His Father. It was not two-minute prayers. He agonized; He stayed there; it was a dialog with God, and He was embraced. That is the prayer life that we all need, an intense prayer life. And you know what hinders our prayers? If we regard iniquity in our heart, if we have ought against a brother over anything, God will not hear our prayers (Psalm 66:18).
We need to be cleansed, for judgment first begins at the house of God. God wants to remove every encumbrance. We are living in the great Day of Atonement when our sins are by confession and repentance to go beforehand to judgment. God does not now accept a tame spiritless testimony from His ministers, for such a testimony would not be present truth. The message for this time must be meat in due season to feed the church of God. But Satan has been seeking gradually to rob this message of its power that the people may not be prepared to stand in the Day of the Lord.
At this time, while we are living in the antitypical day of atonement, Christ has come into His temple; He wants to cleanse the temple from all that separates us from God—our sins, jealousy, murmuring—so we can be one with Him. He will purify the sons of Levi as silver (Malachi 3:1–3). It takes fire and water to purify silver. God says He wants to purify you, He wants to see a reflection of Himself in you.
“When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69. Christ is looking for the picture of Himself in you. He’s not looking so much for many more buildings to be erected, but for a portrait of Himself in you.
“And it came to pass, when He was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought Him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Luke 5:12. When the leper said to Jesus, “If thou wilt,” he said, “Jesus, You can choose to make me clean, if You want to.” He didn’t ask, “Is it possible?” He said, “Lord, You can make me clean.” So we need to understand that God can make us clean, and we know it is His will.
I want you to notice something in verse 13: “And He put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.” How long did it take for Jesus to cleanse the leper? He did it immediately. I hope we can get this point.
Of all the diseases to which mankind is heir, there is none more loathsome than leprosy. I remember seeing a documentary on a leper colony. We saw a leper smoking his cigarette and fire was burning his finger, but the man could not feel the fire. Leprosy gets to the very nerves and desensitizes. The individual lives for years with this dread disease slowly eating away portions of his body until he longs for death as a relief. The trials we experience are nothing compared to that. From the earliest times, leprosy has been a type of sin. It is a very fitting type. It is of that loathsome spiritual disease which destroys the soul.
When God’s voice speaks to us, or when the word of God convicts us, and we say, “Not now, Lord,” every time we violate our conscience it becomes dead, dead, dead. Sin eats us away while we do not even feel it. It is not safe to ignore the voice of God. Leprosy is a very contagious disease and everything the leper touches is contaminated. Sin is also a dreadful disease and the earth, the air, and the water are all cursed by its touch. It affects our flesh, our garments, and our home. Leprosy affects every aspect of our lives. In the book of Jude 23, it says that we have spots in our flesh—selfishness, pride; flesh deals with our character, who we are. Therefore, this leprosy of sin, affects our moral disposition. It contaminates our whole life.
Leprosy a Type of Jealousy
We read in Numbers 12:1–15 the story of Miriam the sister of Moses. The illustration here is of her complaining and murmuring that caused her to become leprous. So, leprosy is a type of jealousy and murmuring. God will not hear our prayers in behalf of the sick while ever we suffer with the leprosy of sin. He wants to cleanse us first and then use us to help others.
Leprosy a Type of Covetousness
We find in II Kings 5:1–27 the story of Naaman who was a leper. The prophet Elisha told him to go and dip in the Jordan seven times, and he came out whole. Elisha refused the payment that Naaman offered him, but not Elisha’s covetous servant who caught up with Naaman, lied and accepted gifts on Elisha’s behalf. The gifts did him no good. Leprosy is a type of covetousness. If we are holding on to covetousness desiring something that does not belong to us, we have leprosy.
In Leviticus 13:45, the leper had to go around and put his hand over his mouth, meaning that the very breath that he breathed was contaminated. Our words, if we are not careful how we speak, can hurt somebody, because life and death is in the tongue.
It is our tongue, our words, our influence that are contagious. They affect the whole person. Our tongues and our whole lives need to be cleansed. God wants to remove the leprosy out of our characters, move into our body temples and bring healing so He can hear our prayers.
Jesus said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. Do not continue to hold on to known sin, such as pride, selfishness, self-exaltation, or any resentment but pray, “Father turn the tables; please, cleanse this temple so I can become a house of prayer. I want my life to be a dwelling place.”
Cleansing the Leper
Two birds were to be taken to the priest. One was to be killed in an earthen vessel over water and the other was to be dipped in the blood before being set free. (See Leviticus 14:4–7). The bird that was set free represents you and me, dipped in the blood of that dead bird which represents Jesus. The work of Christ in cleansing the leper from his terrible disease is an illustration of His work in cleansing the soul from sin. The man who came to Jesus was full of leprosy, and the deadly poison permeated his whole body. The disciples sought to prevent their Master from touching him, for he who touched a leper became unclean himself. But in laying His hands upon the leper, Jesus received no defilement. His touch imparted life-giving power, and the leper was cleansed.
Thus it is with the leprosy of sin which is deep-rooted and deadly and impossible to be cleansed by human power. “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores.” Isaiah 1:5, 6.
Now notice this: “But Jesus, coming to dwell in humanity, receives no pollution. His presence has healing virtue for the sinner. Whoever will fall at His feet, saying in faith, ‘Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean,’ shall hear the answer, ‘I will; be thou made clean’ [Matthew 8:2, 3].” The Desire of Ages, 266.
This statement is so dear to my heart. It says, “In some instances of healing, Jesus did not at once grant the blessing sought. But in the case of leprosy, no sooner was the appeal made than it was granted. When we pray for earthly blessings, the answer to our prayer may be delayed, or God may give us something other than we ask, but not so when we ask for deliverance from sin.” Ibid.
You can pray for a car, for a van, for a house, and God may say, “Wait,” but when it comes down to sin in our life, God does not wait. He is ready to answer instantly.
“It is His will to cleanse us from sin, to make us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life. Christ ‘gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.’ [Galatians 1:4].” Ibid.
We can be made whole. God will hear our prayers.
Thomas Jackson is a health evangelist and Director of Missionary Education and Evangelistic Training (M.E.E.T.) Ministry in Huntingdon, Tennessee. He may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at: 731-986-3518.