Bible Study Commentary on the Names of God
Israel encounters Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer
by I Gordon
|Type of healing||Scripture||Notes|
|Physical healing - fertility||Genesis 20:17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed (rapha) Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again.||The healing of Abimelech is the first mention of 'rapha' in the Bible. It is physical healing of the body - in this case, fertility so that Abimelech, his wife and slaves could again conceive children.|
|Healing/restoration of water||2 Kings 2:21-22 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, "This is what the LORD says: 'I have healed (rapha) this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.' " (22) And the water has remained wholesome to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.||Elisha was in the town in Jericho but the water was bad. God healed (rapha) the water to bring it back to it's proper state and thus cause the land itself to be productive for the people once again.|
|Healing of the land||2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal (rapha) their land.||This 'rapha' involves bringing the nation of Israel back into a right relationship with their God. It involves healing of the entire land - probably in restoring God's blessing to the land as stated by the Mosaic covenant (Deut 28) but also involves a spiritual healing of restoring the people of Israel back into a right relationship with their God.|
|Heart, emotional healing||Psalms 147:2-3 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. (3) He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.||One of the reasons Jesus came was to bind up the broken hearted (Luke 4:18 NKJV). This is a healing of inner sorrows.|
|False spiritual healing||Jeremiah 6:14 "They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace.||A false superficial healing by false teachers and prophets in Jeremiah's day who said all will be well (giving temporal false comfort to the people) but it was a lie.|
|Healing of the body and soul||Psalms 41:3-4 The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health. (4) As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You."||David knew that he had sinned against the Lord and this (in this case, not all) seems to be linked with a physical sickness. He asks the Lord to heal his soul, indicating his feelings of guilt and need of forgiveness to restore a sense of peace.|
|Spiritual healing||1 Peter 2:24-25 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (25) For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.||This is Peter's comment on the famous Isaiah 53:5 passage mentioned below. In context the 'healing' mentioned is to do with coming back into a right relationship with God our Father, the Shepard and overseer of our souls.|
|Healing Jesus provided on the cross1||Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.||This healing provides all types of healing but all in its time. The cross restores a spiritual relationship with God. It bring peace and well being to our soul. The cross also provides for a new body in the future where the need for all physical / spiritual / emotional healing will be once and forever GONE!|
|"Christ is the Good Physician. There is no disease He cannot heal; no sin He cannot remove; no trouble He cannot help. He is the Balm of Gilead, the Great Physician who has never yet failed to heal all the spiritual maladies of every soul that has come unto Him in faith and prayer."
James H. Aughey
"Begin to rejoice in the Lord, and your bones will flourish like an herb, and your cheeks will glow with the bloom of health and freshness. Worry, fear, distrust, care-all are poisonous! Joy is balm and healing, and if you will but rejoice, God will give power."
A. B. Simpson
One important question is did Jesus provide physical healing at the cross? Is healing in the atonement? In other words, can we claim and expect physical healing today based on what Jesus did on the cross on the same basis that we claim and expect forgiveness of sins? What does it mean that 'by His stripes we are healed'? Some teachers, predominantly those in the faith prosperity area claim that physical healing is our right today and it is just a lack of faith that prevents it. Yet when we look at how Peter quotes Isa 53:5 in 1 Peter 2:24 we see that the healing provided at the cross is spiritual healing - coming back to God as the shepherd and overseer of our souls. We see Peter clearly teaches that Christ bore our SINS on the cross, not our sicknesses. That is not to say that God doesn't heal physically today - Far from it! And it is not to say that the gift of healing is not available today - Far from it! Praise God that He does heal. But we need to be balanced on this for it causes a LOT of guilt in people that are sick today when you start to say that if you only had faith you would be healed. An overview of the New Testament shows that quite a few godly men were sick and NOT ONCE do we read anything like 'well, Christ bore your sickness and by His stripes you are healed, so just believe in faith and the healing is yours!' Some examples of sickness in the New Testament include the Apostle Paul (Gal 4:13), Timothy had frequent stomach problems (1 Tim 5:23), Trophimus (2 Tim 4:20), Epaphroditus (Paul's fellow worker and soldier) fell ill and nearly died (Phil 2:25-30). Paul also had a thorn in his flesh which may have been physical and even though he petitioned God about it three times, God said No, I am not going to take it away for my grace is made perfect in weakness! (2 Cor 12:9) The fact is that our bodies are growing old and breaking down and as Walter Martin said, 'the death rate is still one per person and we're all going to make it'. So is healing in the atonement? Well, YES, but in this regard: The atonement provides not just a new spirit and forgiveness but also a new body... but all in its own time. Our new body awaits the return of Jesus. Then, and only then, will all complete physical and spiritual health be obtained. We may experience healing and praise God for good health. But all good health, if the Lord does not return, is temporary! I'm sorry to say that our bodies are dying. We await the new body that will never experience any weakness or sickness ever again! ↩
Related Series Posts
- The Knowledge of the Holy: An introduction - Knowing the Almighty
- The Knowledge of the Holy: God's revelation and the revelation of God
- The Knowledge of the Holy: Knowing the Unknown God
- The Knowledge of the Holy: Moses' encounter with the glory of God
- Knowledge of the Holy: Isaiah's vision of Jesus!
- Abraham finds Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider
- Israel encounters Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer
- Moses learns of Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our Banner
- Gideon experiences Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our Peace
- Believers experience Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness
- Ezekiel sees Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is there!
- David rests upon Jehovah Roi - The Lord is my Shepherd