Sunday, May 28, 2023

Mr. Armstrong Understood the Concept of Spiritual Healing

I have posted before about physical and spiritual healing.  I have shown that Christ suffered to pay the penalties of suffering that both our spiritual and physical sins have brought on us.  By His stripes we are healed - Isaiah 53:5 - but that healing includes our spiritual healing as well as our physical healing, and we should acknowledge and give thanks for both.

But there may be some in the Church of God today who do not want to acknowledge the principle of spiritual healing.  They only want to say that the healing Isaiah 53:5 refers to is only physical healing - the forgiveness of our breaking the laws of physical health - physical sins that bring on the penalties of physical sickness, disease, injury, and disability.

They cannot say, "physical and spiritual healing".  The words won't form in their mouths.  They cannot give God thanks for spiritual healing - the spiritual healing of our character that happens as the result of God's Holy Spirit giving us power, love, and a sound mind - in other words, a healthy, healed character.

So they either say "physical healing" with no reference to spiritual healing, or they avoid the controversy and duck the question, perhaps out of fear of some of the brethren, by just saying "healing" without reference to it being physical or spiritual, knowing most will understand it as physical.

Why be afraid of the reaction of some brethren on this issue?  They know it will offend some brethren, those who make an idol out of Mr. Armstrong, and are dead set against anything that goes beyond his major teachings in Mystery of the Ages and his other writings and his sermons.  The fact is, in all of Mr. Armstrong's docrtinal writings, so it would seem, he understood the concept of "healing", and that word, to refer only to physical healing, not spiritual healing.  I suppose they think that the idea that the word "healing" in the Bible can refer to spiritual healing is a Protestant concept.  So for a Church of God leader to say that Christ's broken body and the stripes He endured, symbolized by the broken unleavened bread we take at Passover, pays the penalty of suffering for both physical and spiritual sins and enables our physical and spiritual healing - both - would seem like heresy to some brethren, as if the leader is watering down the truth we learned from Mr. Armstrong - truth those brethren think we should hold fast to.

So to avoid offending those brethren and losing their support, their tithes, and their attendance, the leader will not say, "spiritual healing" - those words won't come out of his mouth.

Yet, Christ suffered to make our spiritual healing possible, and that spiritual healing begins or continues to take place with the receiving of God's Holy Spirit, represented by Pentecost.  We all desperately need God's Holy Spirit and the spiritual healing it provides, and we should give God thanks for it.  But many brethren probably do not because their leaders do not, perhaps out of fear of the rejection of HWA-idol worshipers, who make an idol out of Mr. Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, and other major teachings of Mr. Armstrong - having faith in those teachings more than faith in God and His word, the Bible.  They think they are "holding fast", but they are not.  They are forsaking the Philadelphian example of Mr. Armstrong of being willing to learn new knowledge from God's word and believing the Bible more than man.

But I would like to remind those brethren of something they may have read in Mr. Armstrong's autobiography and never noticed or have forgotten.  

Mr. Armstrong was familiar with the concept of spiritual healing and the association of the word "healing" with the spiritual health of our character.  He may not have taught it in the context of Isaiah 53:5, but he knew the word "healing" can refer to our spiritual condition.

In the passage where Mr. Armstrong talks about his spiritual conversion, he says he was conquered by God.  He said that when he researched the Sabbath issue he was forced to admit his wife was right and he was wrong.  He said it was the bitterest pill he had to swallow but it was the only medicine that brought real healing.

He used that word "healing" in the context of his spiritual condition, not in reference to any physical disease he had.  Look up that passage in the autobiography and see for yourself.

Then look up the words "heal" and "healing" in the Bible, using a concordance or computer program or website that finds words in the Bible.  You will find one or more instances where healing is used in a spiritual context, including a passage where God says He will "heal" our "backsliding".  "Backsliding" is not a physical disease, it is a spiritual problem.  God says He will "heal" it.

The Bible also uses the term "cleansing" to refer to being spiritually changed to be like God.  Both "cleansing" and "healing" are used in this context, probably "cleansing" a bit more.

It is not unusual for God to use more than one symbol to represent the same thing.  For example, God's Holy Spirit can be represented by water, by oil, and perhaps by wind or air.

There may be distinctions between cleansing and healing in the spiritual context.  For example, Christ at His last Passover with His disciples said they were clean because of the word He taught them.  They had not yet received the Holy Spirit to dwell in them, so perhaps "cleansing" refers to repentance and faith, and "healing" is more in reference to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  I don't know.  I have not tried to research this in detail.  The reader may do so.

We should acknowledge that Christ paid a price in physical suffering so we can be healed spiritually as well as physically.  We should give God thanks for that.  We should appreciate it, especially this time of Pentecost when we think about the gift of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual healing it accomplishes in us.

We should be thankful for God's Holy Spirit, but we should be doubly thankful knowing that we can only receive it because Christ suffered for us.  He paid the price for our sins so we can be spiritually healed by the Holy Spirit.

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