Jesus Christ the Same Yesterday, Today and Forever
Pastor J. C. O'Hair
We might well wonder if the Holy Spirit did not have in mind the foolish healing theories that were to be propagated by the use of the statement, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever,” when He added, in the next verse, (Hebrews 13:9), “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines: For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.”
Your attention is called to those two verses, because it is a fact that those who teach that the healing miracles and other signs of the Lord Jesus and His apostles should be perpetuated, or restored, as a part of the program of the Body of Christ during this dispensation, never seem to understand God’s pure message of grace. Is it because their hearts are not established with grace? At any rate, they are not established in this “grace” message; and therefore, they are carried about with divers and strange “healing” doctrines. They teach that, because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”, He longs to carry on with members of the Church, which is His Body, the healings and other signs that were included in His Kingdom message and the commission which He gave to the Twelve, in Matthew 10:5 to 8 and Mark 16:16 to 18.
These healing preachers claim that the low spiritual state of the members of the Church, and their sin of unbelief, account for the absence of these miraculous healings and sign gifts. They say that God is not permitted to work all things today after the counsel of His own will, because Body-members will not work out with fear and trembling the salvation which God desires to work in them to do His own will. If there was first-century apostolic faith, there would be first century apostolic miracles, is their claim.
Some of these messengers of divers and strange doctrines are bold to teach that the oncefor- all sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross was for the healing of the believer’s body, just as much as for the salvation of his soul; that is, the believer can and should look to Calvary and claim salvation for the body here and now. They teach that as it would be unscriptural and foolish to ask God to save a soul, “if it be Thy will”, it is just as absurd and unscriptural to include “if it be Thy will”, when asking God to heal the body of the believer. Truly, this is a strange doctrine: contrary to the plain teaching of the Word of God. As some teacher has said, thus commanding God, is not the prayer of humility but the presumptuous orders of a dictator.
The greatest of all of the Lord’s saints gloried in his afflictions, but found the grace of God sufficient. II Corinthians 12:9 and 10. He said, “though the outward man perish (decay thoroughly) the inward man is renewed from day to day.” II Corinthians 4:16. Timothy, the beloved companion of Paul, who had as great faith as any man living today has, and who was as uncompromising a soldier of the cross as has lived since his days, was instructed to take wine for his oft sicknesses. I Timothy 5:23. Why? Why was Trophimus left at Miletus sick? II Timothy 4:20. Like all other saints of their time, and like all saints of today, Paul and Timothy had the Spirit, but were in bondage waiting for the redemption of the body. Romans 8:23. Like our bodies, their bodies were bodies of humiliation. Philippians 3:20 and 21.
Some of God’s most faithful and spiritual saints of today suffer much physical pain, while many self-appointed preachers of a perverted gospel are abroad in the land setting forth their strange unscriptural “healing” theories; demonstrating with hit-or-miss success, mostly miss.
As members of the Body of Christ, we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies, but we are not Israel with the kingdom gospel and Israel’s kingdom signs. Jesus of Nazareth was here on earth presenting Himself as Israel’s Messiah and King, and was approved by God by miracles and signs and wonders in their midst. Acts 2:22 He sent out the Twelve to the same Nation to proclaim that Kingdom gospel, saying to them: heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, cleanse the lepers. Matthew 10:5 to 8. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder. Why heal the sick and not raise the dead? First, miracles and signs were the credentials of the Apostles. Hebrews 2:2 and 4; II Corinthians 12:12.
When Christ was in the midst of Israel both the messenger and message were here, in fulfillment of Scripture. Christ’s ministry was to the circumcision. It was a ministry of confirmation and fulfillment. Romans. 15:8 and Matthew 5:17. Israel’s Messiah was to come with healing of the body, sight for the blind, hearing for the deaf and speech for the dumb. Isaiah 35:3 to 6.
Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision. As such, He was “Jesus of Nazareth”. Before the Word became flesh He was in the form of God. The Eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is unchangeable. He is now far above principalities and powers, in the highest heavenlies. He is not now a minister of the circumcision, but Head of the Church which is His Body. Ephesians 1:19 to 21. When we say that Jesus Christ on earth was Israel’s King, but is now Head of the Church, we acknowledge that, notwithstanding His unchangeable Deity, the Lord is not the same yesterday, today and forever, as to His form and ministry.
In the Gospel of John the statement is made, that the Record is given to prove that Jesus was Messiah, the Son of God. His unchangeable Deity is certainly declared in the Record. If, by perpetuating or duplicating the miracles of Christ, we are to prove that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, let us duplicate the seven miracles of John which witnessed to Israel the unique claim of the Lord Jesus. Seven is the perfect number. Christ was the perfect God-man. If we are to prove it by signs, let us include all seven in our religious program: “turn the water into wine”, “walk on the water”, “heal the nobleman’s son”, “feed 5000 people with one half pound of fish and bread”, “heal the impotent man 38 years afflicted”, “give sight to the man born blind”, “raise from the dead a man four days in the grave”.
What a spectacle we behold in the “healing” meetings today! First, the healing is limited to certain afflictions; and then, nine-tenths of those who respond in great sincerity and faith go away “unhealed”. Most of the preachers who use, or misuse, the Scriptures to support their Divine healing theories, slip away to the physician or the medicine-cabinet now and then. Some of these who carry on their traffic with human souls apparently make no attempt to explain their inconsistency in an occasional visit to the dentist for a little repair work, or the use of glasses for impaired eyesight.
In Matthew 8:16, in Mark 16:17 and in Acts 5:14 to 16, we learn concerning the sign healings of Christ and His Apostles, “healed all manner of disease” and “healed every one of them”. No hit-or-miss quack healing, or tricking the poor unfortunate victims, or a cure within a week or a month. Such quackery cannot convince any thinking person that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Our heavenly Father does hear and answer prayer for His children who are sick or in other trouble; but always according to His will. He raised up Epaphroditus. Philippians 2:20 to 24. All of us have some real blessed experiences in the matter of answered prayer. I am alive and well today by the grace and mercy of God. Many far more worthy than I are alive but in miserable health. And regardless of our various healing theories, the death rate of saint and sinner is one apiece. We look back to Calvary for soul redemption. I Peter 1:10 to 12. We look forward to our meeting in glory with our Lord for our body redemption. Philippians 3:20 to 22. In the meantime we accept Romans 8:28 as applying to both health and sickness.
No child of God would, for a moment, question the omnipotent power of God: His ability to restore to health any child of faith, but yet, every sane student of the Word of God knows by the experiences of the saints that so long as God extends this dispensation of grace there is no permanent cure for physical diseases, and no matter how sincerely and religiously the most faithful or spiritual Christian may look to Calvary for the healing of the Body, day by day that body is headed for utter corruption.
Among the members of the Body of Christ there is no trace to be found of the sign-gifts of I Corinthians 12:8 to 10, except in the counterfeit. These sign gifts served their place in that “Acts” program of God, which was “in part”. Look out the most zealous, sincere, faithful, gifted Bible teacher of this generation and you will fail to find one who has the miraculous gifts of I Corinthians 12:8 to 10.
Has the prayer of faith saved the sick? Thousands say “yes, I have had the experience”. Thousands of others, just as faithful and spiritual, are in their graves. Many other thousands, still in their sickness, testify that it has not worked for them. The statement, “the prayer of faith”, like all other Bible statements must be studied in the light of other Scriptures.
If healing is the proof that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, then it must be that there is more abundant proof in the testimonies of the “unhealed” that Jesus Christ is not the same yesterday, today and forever.