Do We Have Miraculous Divine, Healing Today? (II)
Canoga Park, California
That miraculous divine healing was performed during the first century as the New Testament reveals, no believer in the Bible denies, but that such manifestations of the Spirit were to continue for all times to come is denied.
Why is it judged incredible by some that, once a thing has served its purpose, it is removed? When a carpenter completes the construction of a house, he dismantles the braces and scaffolding. They served their purpose and were no longer needed. In like manner, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit were given to confirm the word (Mark 16:20), and to establish in the faith those new born babes in Christ in the first century who did not have the completed written word as their guide (Ephesians 4:8-14). Having served these purposes, those miraculous gifts expired by divine limitation.
This brings us to the second question which was introduced in a former article and has a bearing on how long miraculous gifts lasted: "Who could perform them?" We know that the power came from God, but to whom did God give this power? Who was authorized to use it?
Only the apostles, and those upon whom the apostles laid their hands, could Perform miracles, one of which was healing the sick. This is clearly stated in Acts 8, as well as implied by the circumstances pictured in the chapter.
Philip (the evangelist - not the apostle), after having had the laying on of the apostles' hands (Acts 6:5, 6, "went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed unto them the Christ. And the multitudes gave heed with one accord unto the things that were spoken by Philip, when they heard, and saw the signs which he did (Acts 8:5, 6)
"Now when the apostles that were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John" (Acts 8:14), Peter and John are two of the apostles. Why send them to Samaria? "Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: for as yet it was fallen upon none of them"(verses 15, 16). Philip was already down at Samaria and could do these signs and miracles, why did he not impart the Spirit to them? For a very good reason-he could not! He was not an apostle. Even though he had the gifts, he could not pass them on to others. Now look at the rest of the passage: "Then they laid their (apostles') hands on them (the Samaritans), and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given" (verses 17,18). What was it that Simon saw? "That through the laying on of the apostles hands the Holy Spirit was given," and it looks as if people ought to be able to see that today!
Since only the apostles and those upon whom they laid their hands could do these signs, and those who had received such power from the apostles could not pass it on, it follows as the night follows the day that when the last apostle died and those upon whom the apostles laid their hands also died, miraculous works ceased which includes divine healing. To pray for the sick, in keeping with God's natural laws and in harmony with his present provisions for us, is altogether right. To expect God to work a miracle in the healing of the sick is altogether wrong.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 27, p. 2