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Monday, May 24, 2010

Mad Among the Graves of Israel: Jesus Sets a Captive Free

The Madmen of the Gadarenes, Who Wandered Among the Graves of Israel

Since the beginning of time, the discussion of what 'mental illness' is and what it is not has prevailed, with little definitive conclusion: mental aberations have been approached in as many ways as any human issue has. Psychologists, likewise have had a very difficult time dealing with the concept of mental illness, ranging from some who see it as behaviors needing modification, to others such as Dr. Thomas Szasz who in the book, Myth of Mental Illness described it as akin to a language which one chooses to express themselves in the world. Ancient thinking, long before the discipline of psychology arose, regarding mental aberration, sometimes ascribed it to 'devils' or 'evil spirits' in many cultures or later to even 'magnetic fields' such as in 'mesmerism'.

As a former university professor who taught psychology, like many other lecturers, my introductory lecture to 'Psychopathology' or Abnormal psych used to begin with considerations of what was normal and what was not, and how those ideas had evolved over the centuries. Surely, most Psychologists have steered far from the concept that mental illness is 'demonic': not only do they not entertain that it is, they find the proposition mental illness itself. About the closest psychological approaches have gotten, were the APA Convention Keynote lecture in the 1960s called "Psychology and Satan", comparing psychological reductionism to the'nihilistic satanic spirit" or to Rollo May, the eminent existential psychologist's description of the demonic as what overpowers a person in "Psychology and the Demonic". The notion though of faith, and devils, or the Gospel are anathema to most psychologists who seek only what they consider 'scientific' explanations of mental illness, which they find and dismiss on a regular basis, never reaching either a consensus or a solution.

The 'demonic' though does exist, and is accounted for by observation in all religions of the world: the Jews speak of dybbuks, Muslims hold exorcisms as do Catholics, and many cultures worship spirits of the dead. Animism in African cults or in Voodoo cults in the Carribean deal in the demonic all the time, and surprisingly, today, no police department in any major city is without an introduction to the concept since cult worship and satanic worship often arise in the investigation of linked crimes.

Whether or not one believes there is a devil or devils, is not a function of centuries: as many believe now as in ancient times, and probably just as many do not believe. What has been very carefully documented in many instances though, is a manifestation which is beyond mere human troubling, and which responds to prayer and the word of God, and even now to casting out.

Jesus and Paul both were accused of being madmen themselves such as in John 10:20 when Jesus was accused of being 'beside himself', or in Acts 26:24 when Paul was confronted with the statement..."much learning doth make thee mad." The Scribes and Pharisees, particularly the latter, tried constantly to ascribe the great miracles ,works and healings of the Messiah as due to having a devil, or by 'Beelzebub' the Lord of the flies, literally, but referring to Satan. Jesus, frustrated with their lack of understanding, explained that a house divided against itself will not stand, and that the power of God is the greater power in overthrowing the 'strongman' of vexation, or oppression of a devil. In the above passage by Paul though, his retort is direct and to the point:

"I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak forth the words of truth and soberness" Acts 26:25"

Madness in the Bible is found from early times, usually referred to as 'madness' but later referred to as 'beside himself' or 'lunatick'. Forms of what we call mental illness such as drunkenness are seen from early: it is one of the first things that occurs when Noah plants vineyards after the flood (Genesis 9...) Dt. 28:28 mentions madness, and Judges 9:23 speaks in first mention directly of an 'evil spirit'. When Saul fails to obey the prophet, and is prematurely divested of the Kingdom, an evil spirit comes upon him (I Sam 16:14-16), and it is David's music which calms him. Isaiah notes the madness of diviners in 44:25; and Jeremiah equates idolatry as madness in Jer 50:38. Oppression is said to make a wiseman mad (Ecc 7:7). It is in the New Testament though, that the issue of madness and demon or devil possession is taken on, and Jesus and his disciples make it clear that those held in bondage by 'vexation' of devils are not nearly as insane as those who choose the wisdom of this world over the wisdom of the Word of God.

I Cor 1:20 Where is thewise? where isthe scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom ofthis world?

1:25 Becasue thefoolishness of God iswiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and God hat chose the weak things of the workd to counfound the tings which are mightly.
It is with this backdrop that the Messiah confronts those vexed with devils: clearly Jesus believed in devils and people were astounded when he cast them out: persons long held as 'crazy' in moments were sane and sober. Even in his first acts of his ministry, when a devil possessed man rises to confront Jesus in the synagogue, Jesus begins setting those in bondage free. While it may be difficult for modern Christians to speak in this parlance, the Lord and Savior who could hardly have known less than we about his creation, counted much 'madness' as the possession of devils, and not a disease to be treated or behaviors to be modified. We are often too willing to receive his teachings about heaven and salvation, and yet act as if there was not a divine warfare going on: even in the face of observed cases of demon possession in the 20th and 21st century.

Jesus confronts two Men from Gadara

There are three accounts in the Scriptures, of Jesus' healing of the madman of the Gadarenes. Just before coming to the region around Gadara, which is on the shores of Galilee, many healings had already occurred: a Leper had been healed (Mk 1:40), the centurion's servant had been healed (Luke 7:2), Peter's Mother in Law was healed from a fever in Mt 8:14-15, followed by a multitude of healings that evening, and Jesus had just finished rebuking the winds and the sea in Mt 8:26. The disciples had already in astonishment declared "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" (Mt 8:27)

Coming into the Gergesenes , two men encounter Jesus both of whom are mentioned as being possessed with devils, but little mention is made of the second, and only in the Gospel of Matthew.

Map courtesy of Wikipedia

While some try and skew the 'extra' information, it is really typical of eyewitness accounts: in several passages of scripture, more than one person is mentioned as healed e.g. in the healing of Bartimaeus, and it is not a contradiction, but instead an issue of choice of report: since more detailed information was written down about a 'main' healing, some accounts in the synoptic gospels ('with one eye') some report only the main, and some include every detail.

The both are mentioned as coming out of the tombs, and "exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. Mt 8:28.

Luke describes the Mad man as one which had

...devils longtime, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. 8:27.

He is described in other passages as coming out of the city, and as spending night and day wandering the mountains and being driven out into the wilderness.
For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness. 8:29

The condition of the man is similar to other descriptions of those caught in the bondage of vexation or devil possession:
1. A loud voice: the word in Greek is Megas Phone, where we derive our english word megaphone. While 'loud voice' of the same origin is also used of Jesus' final words on the cross and others speaking merely loudly, it is of some interest in mention of devil possession as even modern clinical descriptions account some 'patients' as having 'rapid speech' which is loud, forced, and run-on speech. The devils in both the instance of the madman of the Gadarenes and in the demon possessed man in the Synagogue at Capernaum confront Jesus in the same way, and in similar voicing.
2. Adjuration- In 4 passages having to do with the same two instances just mentioned, the same pattern of encounter occurs, where Jesus is besought, or 'adjured' to not torment the devils.
...I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. Mark 5:7

3. Torment- It is interesting to note that the devils are beseeching Jesus not to torment them: for it is a slander of the Savior (he does not torment) but they do! The distress experienced by the 'minor leaguers' of Satan's armies, is the same distress persons living unclean lives have around people living pure lives: the descrepancy is painful: here the descrepancy is so wide it must feel like torment to the devils. Note also that the solution to torment is in I John perfect love, because 'fear hath torment' and 'perfect love casteth out fear.'

4. Homeless wandering- The devils drive their victim to and fro: wandering into mountains and wilderness, on the outside of the city. Their relations are broken by the bizarre nature of the vexation, and judgment is erased or impaired.

5. Cutting himself with stones-note the devils drive the man to self-destruction.

6.They fear an early destruction: Mt 8:29---"art thou come hither to toment us before the time. It is curious to note that the devils know their end: they know there is an appointed time for their destruction.

7. They KNOW who Jesus is, yet know they are not of him. They state emphatically they are not of him:
What have I to do with thee,Jesus [thou] Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. Luke 8:28

Note the four comparison verses, the first two regarding the devils at the Capernaum
synagogue,and the second regarding the madman of the Gergesenes:

Mark 5:7-And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.

Mar 1:24 Saying, Let [us] alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

Luke 4:34 Saying, Let [us] alone; what have we to do with thee, [thou] Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.

In each of these, there are shared characteristics of how the devils encounter Jesus. Note, that Jesus in cases of demonic possession addresses the devils and not the person, since the devils have often 'displaced' the person.

3. The devils are not of the Lord and Know it:
In each similar statement, the devil(s) possessing the man, ask "what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth/". They both know who he is, and are basically admitting that they are not 'of' him: they are saying they have no part in him. They also fear

4. Destruction- and they intuit that an encounter with the Messiah of Heaven means their destruction---this is so much so that it causes the torment mentioned above. We will note a little further in the study that their doom is indeed imminent, as they beg Jesus for a 'way out' of not having to return to the deep, or abyss.

5. As mentioned, they know who He is. Some have a problem with that, and wonder how the devils would call out his name: his name then and now is Holy. They are though of a non-earthly nature: the fallen angels were once angels of heaven. James notes regarding the depth of belief required of God, that 'even the devils believe and tremble': it is not merely assenting to who He is, but trusting in the fullness of the covenant. They declare his name sometimes correctly, and sometimes in a grandiose sense (Well, God is grand, indeed, but in an exaggerated false piety), such as Jesus, thou S.on of God, and Jesus [thou]Son of the most high or most high God. In the Capernaum incident it is "thou Jesus of Nazareth", or "the Holy One of God. In Acts, with the woman with the spirit of divination (Python) it is likewise: 'these are the servants of the Most High God' repetitive, and one can only imagine, with an aberrant over-religiosity. They know him indeed, but as an adversary.

The devils also appear to know two other things: 1) that there is a time for their destruction already set (Art thou come hither to torment us before the time; and 2) that He is about to cast them out, because they beseech, beg or adjure him to grant them a preferable host of the swine, rather than to be 'hostless'. They beseech him to 'Let us alone', fearing the torment, but it is they who are on 'private property',having destroyed and vexed God's creation.It is a paradox to hear in the Word, devils begging for mercy.

The Casting Out, and the Swine Host

While their are two men mentioned in parallel passages, since the emphasis is primarily on the one we refer to as the 'Madman of the Gadarenes, or Gergesenes', references will be toward him. As he 'comes out of the city' he encounters Jesus, who has just arrived from across the Galilee. He is naked, and out of control,

Luk 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in [any] house, but in the tombs.

It is curious that as devils 'overthrow' a person, they appear to overthrow reason, moral sense, and a sense of what some philosophers have called 'being in the world'.(dasein: as devils are mentioned to seek 'desert places' they drive their host away from normal society and healthy relationships into isolation. In this case it is literal: the Mad man of Gadara lives and wanders among the tombs and mountains. As Jesus approaches the man, though, just as he encountered the devil inthe Capernaum synagogue, he does not speak to the man, but to the devil, and reacts to what the man says, as being from them: in the extreme form then,it appears that the 'overthrow' of the person is so great, that the demonic presence has all but cast him out.

These devils, though, present a name when asked, which is not present in other times of casting out devils.

Luk 8:30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.

The giving of the 'name' of the devil(s) is interesting, and also indicates the degree of overthrow. The word 'Legion' in Greek means roughly the same as in English,


Vine's Lexicon describes a legion thusly:

otherwise spelled legeon, "a legion," occurs in Mat 26:53, of angels; in Mar 5:9, 15, and Luk 8:30, of demons. Among the Romans a "legion" was primarily a chosen (lego, "to choose") body of soldiers divided into ten cohorts, and numbering from 4,200 to 6,000 men (Gk. speira, see BAND). In the time of our Lord it formed a complete army of infantry and cavalry, of upwards of 5,000 men. The "legions" were not brought into Judaea till the outbreak of the Jewish war (A.D. 66), as they were previously employed in the frontier provinces of the Empire. Accordingly in its NT use the word has its other and more general significance "of a large number.

The naming then of a legion of devils inhabiting a human host, makes it easy to see why the extremity of behavior would be seen. They had crowded out the human personality or 'self'. In the commanding out of 'Legion' though, the devils request Jesus to send them into another host:

Luk 8:31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

Following the loud voice cry of the demoniac discussed above, the casting out is a simple command:

Go. Matthew 8:32

The demons are sent out of the man, and into a herd of swine which was grazing nearby. (Luke 8:32) It is not known nor made clear why Jesus would grant such a request, but one conjecture might be that he was 'killing two birds with one stone': swine were unclean animals, not suitable for food or product in Israel, as commanded by Torah. The Rabbi of Nazareth was in a sense giving his opinion of swine herding in the region, when he permits the devils to go into the herd of swine, which then go mad, and rush over a cliff. They essentially end up in their infernal destination, despite their 'adjuration'.

One other note, though, regarding the 'legion': it was not only the size comparison which is eminent, but also that as we have mentioned before, in the divine warfare, both the angels of God and the devils of Satan or in Hebrew 'shatan', are organized by rank, order and authority: the divine battle involves intent, rank, and reason: it is beyond most of us to comprehend the unseen to that degree, which is why obedience, trusting and unwavering, regardless of human logic is required to accomplish the work of God. The result? the whole herd runs violently down the steep place into the sea and perishes in the water. They are as violent and irrational in the swine as they are in the man.

The Gadarene

The Gadarene vexed by the devils, does one thing prior to the healing by casting out when he sees Jesus: he falls down and worships him:

Mar 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

The worship of the Lord, in humility and praise often exacts what nothing else can: a solution beyond human reasoning. Whether it is instigated by the remnants of the person, or the remnants of his will, or whether it is of the legion, the worship still shows that the incarnate nature of Jesus, God-made-man was somehow immediately recognizable to all who encountered him, even those in a dissensioned condition. While it is a little lengthy, consider the times in the New Testament, when people ran to Jesus falling on their knees in worship:

[Select for Copy; Double click to (de-)select all] Mat 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Mat 9:18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
Mat 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
Mat 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
Mat 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 28:9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
Mat 28:17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
Mar 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
Mar 15:19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing [their] knees worshipped him.
Luk 24:52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
Jhn 9:38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

The worship of Jesus, such a seemingly blasphemous thing in the Jewish mind, would indeed have been blasphemy if he had been merely human: indeed in Acts, when two of the apostles heal, a whole town attempts to worship them as gods, and they hurriedly rebuke them for doing so! (Acts 10:25) The worship of Jesus though was a wondrous thing, which not even onlookers seemed to think strange, and while the Pharisees tried to rebuke him on many points of doctrine and practice, until the very end, they say nothing. (until he has laid his life down). No mere man could command worship without it being a major issue: Jews were dying rather than declare Caesar a god.

more to follow....

Publius's Father: The Healing of a Great Fever by Paul

By the end of the Book of Acts, there is little that Paul and his fellow apostles have not seen. He has been shipwrecked, brought before Kings, beaten half to death, stoned, imprisoned, and by the end of the account of the history of the apostles, the shipwrecked Paul winds up on the island of Melita with a "barbarous people" who showed them "no little kindness". The first act of kindness is to try and warm the castaways from the sea with a fire. As Paul sits before the small comfort in the cold and rain, the world adds insult to injury: as Paul gathers sticks to add on the fire, a viper jumps from the heat and fastens itself to his hand.

The people of the Island of Melita are not Christians nor Jews: like so many that Paul encountered in his travels, they are pagans, with the various gods of the region, usually of the Greek variety. Even these kindly pagans, though have the idea of divine providence or imminent justice: they expect that Paul, pulled from the sea must have done something terribly wrong,positing him to be a murderer, that "vengeance suffereth not to live". (Acts 28:4)

.there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.6Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. Acts 28:4-6

Two aspects emerge in the thinking of the Melitans encountering Paul on the shore that day:

1. Immanent Justice: He must have been a murderer because even after having been saved from the sea, he was bitten by a deadly viper, and

2. Divine nature or Intervention: Because he survived the viper bite, which would have killed most men, he must be a god or of a divine nature.

The belief that a god could come in human form was not strange nor odd to this Mediterranean people: most of their gods were in human form such as the gods on Mt. Olympus, such as Zeus, Diana, Apollo, Mercury and so forth, or lesser divinities which took the forms of nature. Paul was bringing healing and word of the true Messiah, the Living God incarnate though, and he must have spoken with care to express true doctrine. The healing that was about to occur on Melita though, was not without a preliminary dissension in the Melitan's thinking, that because Paul escaped both the sea and viper bite that he must be a god. At least one other place in Acts 14 , the same error is made of Paul and Barnabas following a healing:

Act 14:11 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
Act 14:12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
Act 14:13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.
Act 14:14 [Which] when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard [of], they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
Act 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

IN Acts 14, the two are horrified at being treated as Olympian gods, and use the occasion to turn the people's attention away from idolatrous practice to the true God and his gospel, but the people quickly turn in violence and run them out of town.

In Melita though, the people are kind, and when they see Paul survive the storm and the viper, great kindnesses are extended, including an invitation to stay at the house of a 'Chief man of the island', named Publius, with whom they stay three days:

Acts 28:7 In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.

While staying with Publius, the last healing mentioned by an apostle takes place: the healing of Publius's Father.

The Healing of Publius' Father of a Fever and Bloody flux
The kindness of Publius in inviting this charismatic stranger into his home, resulted in yet another wonder of God: Paul heals the man's father.

Acts 28:8-9 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 So when this was done others also, which had diseases in the island, came and were healed.

Note that this healing, like so many of the others, including those of Jesus, sets the stage for the preaching of the Gospel. Healing is a sign of God's power and imprimatur; while the Jews looked for and required a sign, the wonders of God were also a draw to gentiles as well. When one sees the power of God in a magnificent way, one is very likely to at least listen to what is said next by the people of God who are the conduits for the wonder, in this case a healing. Almost every healing is accompanied by the preaching of the Gospel, also in power, explaining the source of the power, the healing virtue, which is the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

The Healing

Not a great deal of description is given regarding this healing by Paul. Paul enters in, prays,and lays hands on Publius' father. We have seen in other healings that the laying on of hands is taught as foundational, along with the basics of doctrine:

font color=blue>Hbr 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Hbr 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

We have also seen that even the merest touch is not required when it is the voice of God who heals: the commands of the apostles and Holy Spirit filled disciples, filled with 'living water' carried the weight and authority of Christ: even today, when modernity snubs Holy Spirit healing, a servant of Christ walking in belief, obedience and power speaks a healing, he or she does it with the Lord's permission: this is no "Heroes" type power owned by the person, but the power of God working through the person to touch those who are infirm.

It is only a fever, so common an ailment which confronts the father, but it is stopped as is the hemorrhaging, both end. A simple healing before an unbelieving group of islanders, turns into requests for healing, and belief, as well as honor for God's apostle:

Acts 28:10 Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.

Nothing else is mentioned of the healing or the ones that follow, but it must have been quite a harvest among the islanders, for Paul and the others stayed a full 3 months before moving on th Syracuse, Rhegium and Puteoli, and finally to Rome.

Some last thoughts on the healing: Implications for faith

In summary, a few observations are notable regarding how the pagan people of Melita encountered Paul and his survival, and later his healing of the Chief man's father:

1. Assimilation and Accomodation: When the pagan people of Melita did not understand what they saw was divine power ; without knowledge they could only attribute it to a 'god'. When people see something not in their experience, most first try to draw it into constructs they already have, e.g. a 'power' belonging to one of the 'gods'; only when they can conceive of the thing being a brand new thing outside their understanding, do they then attempt to bring it as a new idea into their understanding, and 'make room' for it.

Paul played on this a bit when he spoke in Greece and pointed to their 'unknown god', a god that was supposed to sort of 'cover' them in case they had forgotten any. Paul did not endorse the worship of pagan or Greek and Roman gods, but instead, uses the pagan construct, to bring the living God into view, for those who had no concept of the slain Lamb of God who rose from the dead. He never endorses nor aligns with idolatry nor does he or the others allow themselves to be seen as 'gods', but quickly rebukes them, but he understood how to begin to speak of Messiah to non-Jewish people.
2. Immanent Justice-We referred before to the idea of "Immanent Justice": these terms are often found in 'Developmental Psychology' when explaining how young children think. The 'barbarous people' of Melita, have the idea of 'just punishment' or 'immanent justice', that if something bad happens to someone, they are being judged for some unseen evil deed. When they see Paul bitten by a viper right after a shipwreck involving prisoners, they must feel that he really did whatever crime with which he was charged. He shakes it off, unharmed, as promised. (they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover (Mark 16:18). Some Appalachian churches even today use practices like 'snake handling' believing that true believers are tested by whether venom affects them, but that is not the spirit of the passage: Jesus refers to the event not harming believers, because the sovereign life of walking in Christ is above the natural life. To deliberately have snakes bite worshipers is to tempt or test God, to put him on trial, which we are not to do, and there is a difference between trusting his promises, and daring him to be right. In any event there is providential thinking.

3.When Paul lives the attribution is that he is good. Regarding the healing:

4.-It is immediate, as with the healings of Jesus

-It involves laying on of hands with prayer

-Multitudes show up on the island to receive healing after hearing of it. The apostle is blessed and honored in departing Melita.

This last healing in the Book of Acts in the last chapter of Acts bears the marks of all the other healings: some claim healings lapse and wane, and are only in the time around Pentecost, but this is certainly not true: this healing is in power, and in order, and leads to the salvation and healing of many. Though many today count the end of Acts to be the end of healings, tens of thousands can attest to the healing power of Jesus Christ, Yshua Ha Meschiach, Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah, through His presence in the Holy Spirit which indwells believers. Before ascending in a cloud into Heaven, Jesus , Emmanuel,"God with Us" promised that He would be the author of a Temple which could not be destroyed. The Power of God, in Healing and Prophecy, prophecy being the Testimony of Jesus Christ, is still alive today for the health and well being of His bride, the Church. Belief and the Power of God is not a dispensational age.

Till next time,
Elizabeth K. Best
2. 84.