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Michael Brown: Israel’s Divine Healer

Brown makes an important statement on p. 185 regarding equating “healing” only with spiritual healing.

It is incorrect to state that in the prophetic books, sickness and pain are merely figurative expressions representing sin and alienation, as if “healing” is equated there only with forgiveness and reconciliation.

Brown elaborates that healing/restoration was understood to encompass all areas of life. This gives ground for challenging the commonly published idea in biblical studies that healing is only for one’s soul/spirit and not the body also.

Few who teach divine healing are aware that Matthew 8:17 departs from the LXX (the Septuagint: translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek) in its translation of Isaiah 53:4. While the LXX spiritualizes the diseases and sicknesses “borne” by the Servant, Matthew translates literally, “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses” (NKJV). Along this line, Brown says, “Some Christian expositors and proponents of divine healing have noted that from Matthew’s viewpoint, Isaiah 53:5 is speaking of physical healing and thus healing of the body is considered to be part of ‘the atonement.’ Others, pointing to” 1 Peter 2:24 “… have sought to establish that what is in view in Isaiah 53 is actually spiritual healing in ‘the atonement.’ The citation in Matthew 8:17 is then explained as follows: ‘The Lord took away the diseases of men by healing them. He died for our sins, not for our diseases.’ However, these divisions are completely unscriptural, and they do not do justice to the context of either Matthew 8:16-17 or Isaiah 53:4-5. A. Edersheim’s rebuke should have been enough for the general readers, for whom his work was intended: ‘I can scarcely find words strong enough to express my dissent from those who limit Is. liii. 4, whether on the one hand to spiritual, or the other to physical “sicknesses.” The promise is one of future deliverance from both, of a Restorer from all the woe which sin had brought.’ Yet it is with these very readers that his words have gone unheeded” (p. 197). Brown further writes,

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Category: Biblical Studies, Fall 2001

About the Author: Raul L. Mock is one of the founders and directors of the Pneuma Foundation and editor of The Pneuma Review. Raul has been part of an Evangelical publishing ministry since 1996, working with Information Services and Supply Chain Management for more than two decades. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter and twin boys and live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. LinkedIn

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