Worldwide Good Health
—By Science or Faith?

THE newspapers, magazines, and books of today often contain information on the latest developments concerning the attainment of good health. As medical science discovers new ways of combating disease and illness, the information is published almost immediately. And yet, in spite of remarkable advances, medical science has been unable to provide a cure for all man’s ailments and diseases. Cancer continues to be a scourge, the ulcer is called the badge of our civilization, and heart disease has become and continues to be the Number One killer. Also, new diseases have surfaced into man’s environment. Some, apparently unknown before by medical science, were found in recent times in the remote areas of South America and Africa. One of these newcomers was noticed about three years ago during an American Legion convention in Philadelphia. It keeps recurring and has been dubbed “Legionnaire’s Disease.” It caused consternation in the garment district of New York City when several people were identified as having contracted this disease.

When medicine and science fail in their attempt to cure, some people turn to faith healing. In the United States the Evangelical movement, involving some forty-five million people, and composing several religious groups, is principally responsible for the recent surge in seeking this avenue of healing. These groups have been classified into the general categories of “Fundamentalists” and “Pentecostalists.” The Pentecostalists in particular practice “miraculous healing” through prayer. They have influenced other groups who have joined the movement, and consequently many who are sick and infirm have placed their hopes in such healing efforts. A large fifty-million-dollar hospital complex is being built in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is called the City of Faith Hospital, and its purpose is to combine medicine and faith healing.

The desire to be cured of ailments and afflictions and to gain good health does not belong to our generation alone. Medicine men, witch doctors, and medical doctors have been known far back in history. Everyone has always wanted good health. But what people want and what they are willing to work for and what they receive are all different. Many people want good health to come easily (in a natural way). They would like to inherit good health. Too few people are willing to work strenuously for it by observing good health habits. But then some people cannot have good health, no matter what they might do to acquire it.

Even those who inherit good health, who work hard to maintain good health habits, and who survive the vicissitudes of life, eventually die of old age. The aging process is inescapable. The Russians were among the first in modern times to do basic research on the aging process. Their scientists suggested some twenty years ago that old age is like a disease in which cells deteriorate. Very little information has been made public after their initial experiments, but since publication of the Russian experiments, other biochemists have done research in this field. About two years ago at Santa Monica, California, a symposium on the biochemistry of aging was held, sponsored by the Intra-Science Research Foundation. In reporting on “getting old,” the symposium was asked: “Is it a phenomenon that happens naturally at the molecular and cellular level? Or is it the sum total of disease and other stresses and strains that human beings and other animals face from the moment they are born?” According to the participants of the symposium, the answer appears to be a little bit of both.

Some of the findings reported at the symposium were from the Children’s Hospital Medical Center at Oakland, California—that cells from a babe double about fifty times before they eventually die, while cells taken from a middle-aged man will double about half that many times. Also, it was found that a cellular clock in the nucleus of the cell has a memory which determines how many cell reproductions will occur. This clock can be frozen (inactivated) and restarted, with no loss of function.

In Haifa, at the Technicon-Israel Institute of Technology, it has been found that as cells age they lose their ability to handle enzymes and proteins and become clogged with unnecessary proteins. Probably the most significant finding was that “diseases of aging”—such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and an increased susceptibility to infectious diseases—result from a breakdown in the body’s immune—defense system, involving disease-fighting cells that mature in the thymus gland. Scientists hope that by extracting these disease-fighting cells (as they have done from calf thymuses at the University of Texas) or by synthesizing them, it might be possible to restore a rundown immune system. About twenty children born with deficient immune-defense systems, wherein any disease would kill them, are being treated somewhat successfully with the extract from calf thymuses.

In this world no one can truly have good health. What we call good health is the best form of health available under the circumstances of this present life. This is so because of man’s imperfection. Ever since sin entered into the world (about 6,000 years ago), the curse of death has been upon man. At birth, paradoxically, man starts to die. When the breath of life enters his lungs at birth, the dying process starts and he becomes subject to all diseases. The finest physical specimens of manhood can be stricken with a deadly disease and die overnight. Paradoxically, isolated examples of longevity have occurred even though bad health habits were practiced. Heredity is known to be a factor for longevity, but regardless of how long a person lives, his ultimate end is death.

The curse upon mankind is the death penalty clearly stated by God in Genesis 2:17: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Sickness, pain, disease, and old age are all a part of this curse. Furthermore, the ground was cursed to bring forth thorns and thistles. Today we know that all kinds of unseen pestilences are there, too. If we had microscopes for eyes and were bacteriologists, we would be appalled at the myriads of bacterial colonies surrounding us on every hand. Some are useful. Many are not. The hazards to life are not always apparent to us because they are often invisible.

In an interesting article published several years ago, entitled “The Most Dangerous Experience of Life,” the author stressed how the probabilities of surviving at birth were very much against the child. But somehow the child managed to live. Today in our modern society he has a better chance to live because of the advancement of medical science. But even today, having lived through this experience, the child now must battle adversity and avoid the many pitfalls into poor health. This is because of the curse of death.

How can the teachings of faith healing be reconciled with this curse of death? Does belief in Christianity offer special blessings of health and relief from the curse of death? A common fallacy encountered in the doctrines held by many churches is that of applying scriptural promises which belong to the next age (the Millennial Age of God’s kingdom) to the present age, or time. These groups fail to rightly divide the Word of truth. (II Tim. 2:15) Scriptures applying to this present age should not be applied to the next age, and vice versa.

The Bible teaches that there are two salvations. The coming age, or the “Millennial Age,” is the time in God’s arrangement when the people of earth will be blessed and healed and elevated to the condition of perfection that was once enjoyed by Father Adam in the Garden of Eden before he sinned. This great work will be carried out by Jesus.

During this age God, by his arrangement, is calling out from the people of earth a few who are willing to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24) This is a walk of sacrifice and self-denial. And just as Jesus gave his flesh for the life of the world (John 6:51), so his footstep followers also give up their rights to a life in the flesh here on earth. Their hope is to be resurrected from death to be with Jesus on the divine spiritual plane of life. The Scriptures further teach that these will be associated with Jesus in accomplishing the great work of restitution in the Millennium, during which time all the families of the earth will be blessed. (Heb. 2:9,10; II Tim. 2:12) Now is not the time for the people to receive these wonderful benefits. Their blessing comes after the work of this age is completed.

It is true that Jesus and the apostles healed many people. But they never used this gift to alleviate their own afflictions. The miracles of Jesus were intended to give the world proof that he was the Messiah (the Christ) and to provide samples of the work to be done in God’s kingdom. Likewise, the healing done by the apostles was to prove that they were associated with Christ and also to witness concerning the kingdom. These gifts were to cease once the church was established (see I Corinthians 13:8).

There were incidents in the personal lives of the Apostle Paul and the Early Church when it would have been opportune to use healing by faith. When the Apostle Paul was intercepted by Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was blinded so severely by the Lord’s glory that he could not see. Subsequently the Lord gave him partial relief, but the remaining blindness, or afflictions, was called by Paul “a thorn in the flesh.” Paul thought that to be freed of this affliction would open the way to better service for the Lord, and he sought the Lord three times to remove it. But the answer was “No.” Instead, Paul relates, “And he [the Lord] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (II Cor. 12:9) The apostle learned to live with this and all his infirmities, saying, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (II Cor. 12:10) So it is with all good Christians—by faith they have found the Lord’s grace sufficient for them while enduring severe trials and afflictions. Prior to the relating of this encounter with the Lord, the Apostle Paul listed some of the afflictions he had endured. These are found in II Corinthians 11:23-30. Included were “weariness and painfulness,” caused by faithfulness in his ministry. No relief was sought by the apostle from these trials and infirmities; he accepted the fact that the Lord’s grace was sufficient.

Paul’s advice to Timothy, who had a stomach ailment, was not to attend a prayer meeting for the purpose of being healed but rather, as recorded in I Timothy 5:23, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” Nor did the Apostle Paul tell the brethren at Philippi that he had a special prayer meeting to heal Epaphroditus, who had been sick nigh unto death. Epaphroditus was chosen by the brethren of Philippi to take a gift to the Apostle Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome. During this mission Epaphroditus became ill, risking his life to complete his task (see Philippians 2:25-30, RSV).

Our Lord’s goal also was to do the Father’s will. In Isaiah, the 53rd chapter the prophet showed how Jesus would make it possible for others to have better health. Thus we read in the Scriptures: “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”—Matt. 8:16,17

The people who received the benefits of Jesus’ miracles and were healed of their afflictions all eventually died. The time had not come for these miracles to be permanent blessings. They were foregleams of the miraculous power that would be used on behalf of all people in God’s kingdom. God, who pronounced the curse of death upon mankind, intends to remove the curse, as promised in Revelation 22:3, “There shall be no more curse.” This is guaranteed through the ransom price provided by Jesus. At present the ransom is being used on behalf of those invited (the church) to share in the sufferings of Christ during this Gospel Age. But when the church is completed, there will no longer be a need for this present evil world and attendant sickness, pain, and death. It was necessary that the church be tried in the same environment that was used to try their Lord. God will reverse these conditions in his kingdom, as described in Revelation 21:4: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

What is the answer to the question, “How will worldwide good health come?” Will it be by science or by faith? It will come neither by the medical science of today nor by the faith healing of today. It will come through the kingdom of God. As prophesied by Isaiah concerning that kingdom: “And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.” (Isa. 33:24) God’s kingdom has as its objective the restoration of righteousness in this earth and the elimination of sin. Good health cannot come until sin is eliminated. They go hand in hand. Jesus made the same association. In Mark, the second chapter, an incident is recorded about a man sick with palsy, whose friends persisted in bringing him to Jesus. The account reads: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.”—Mark 2:5-12

One of the blessed prophecies of God’s kingdom is found in Psalm 103:1-5: “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

The reference to youth being renewed means that no longer will people die of old age. Isaiah 65:20 is more direct when it says: “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” According to this prophecy, neither the extreme of immaturity nor that of senility will be present in God’s kingdom; and those who are incorrigible, refusing in a hundred-year period to obey the laws of that kingdom, will die, not from old age, but because of their refusal to conform to God’s laws.

The cause of old age, or the failure of cells to reproduce properly, will no longer exist. Possibly the most beautiful prophecy along this line is Job 33:21-25, which tells of the present deterioration of man’s flesh (cells) and his downward course to the grave (because of the curse of death), when a wonderful event happens. The ransom of Jesus delivers all men from going into the pit (grave), and their flesh (in the resurrection) becomes fresher than a child’s: “His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness: then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down into the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth.”

No physical handicaps, diseases, or obstacles will be in that kingdom, as described in Isaiah 35:5,6: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” Nor will that old lion (Satan) be around to cause trouble. (Isa. 35:9; I Pet. 5:8) The happiness of that time has been portrayed so well and so beautifully in the closing words of Isaiah’s prophecy: “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”—Isa. 35:10

Praise ye the Lord!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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