The Healing of the Nations

A recent news article entitled, “Billions Suffering Needlessly,” said:

“In spite of a few notable health gains, billions of people worldwide suffer needlessly from disease and preventable illnesses because of poverty and a lack of access to health services,” the World Health Organization said today.

In its first annual survey of global health, the organization said that more than two billion people, about 40 percent of the world’s population, suffered varying degrees of sickness at any one time. Much of this disease and illness, the report said, is preventable and tied to widening gaps in health, education and access to care between the rich and poor.

Officials said poverty was the greatest underlying cause of disease, suffering and death, with more than one-fifth of the world’s 5.6 billion people living under conditions that provide little or no resources for preventing or treating their illnesses. More than half the world’s people cannot get the most essential drugs and about a third of the world’s children are undernourished, the organization said.

The report, released simultaneously in Geneva at the 48th World Health Assembly and at a briefing here, noted that life expectancy around the world had increased to 65 years from 61 years in the last 25 years. In other promising news, infant mortality has fallen by 25 percent in the last 15 years and polio has been eradicated in the Western Hemisphere in the last three years. But such gains could easily be reversed, officials said.

“For many millions of people for whom survival is a daily battle, the prospect of a longer life may seem more like a punishment than a prize,” Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima, the W.H.O. Director General, said.

Dr. David Brandling-Bennett, deputy director of the Pan-American Health Organization, part of the world health agency, said in an interview that increased life expectancy through past health gains was now presenting new problems.

“The millions of lives that have been saved and the better chance of survival have led to an increase in the number of older persons throughout the world, many of whom develop heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases,” he said. “Unfortunately, developing countries are poorly equipped to deal with these new diseases.”

FROM THE TIME he was created and placed on this planet, Earth, man’s abiding concern has been to stay alive as long as he could, and do so with as much comfort as conditions might permit. Indeed, it was the Creator’s plan that man should live forever on this wonderful planet, which in course of time would be transformed into a veritable worldwide Garden of Eden, wherein man’s every need would be bountifully supplied, and where he might dwell in peace and happiness with all his fellows.

Sickness, sorrow, sin, strife and death—these words would never have found their way into man’s vocabulary, for the conditions they represent would have had no place in that lovely global paradise. All mankind would have enjoyed perfect health. There would have been no need for doctors, for hospitals, nor healing medicines; there would have been no heart-rending partings caused by death, no funeral processions, no cemeteries.—Gen. 2:8-17

How very sad that a single untoward act of disobedience should have changed all this, and brought such tragic consequences upon the entire human race! Deprived of fellowship and communion with his Creator, and shorn of access to the fruit of the trees in the Garden, mental, moral, and physical deterioration gradually but inevitably changed man from the image of God in which he had been created, to a pitiful, dying creature. (Gen. 3:17,22-29) And the intervening centuries have brought forth a race that, at best, has enjoyed a measure of health for a season; or, at worst, has been subjected to blindness, palsy, and heart disease; to malaria, tuberculosis, and cancer; but which, whether at best or at worst, has ended for all in the grave.


To his credit, it must be said that man has used as best he can what remains of his God-given intellectual and moral qualities to relieve the physical sufferings of his fellows, to cure diseases, and to extend life. Medical colleges are presently producing outstanding physicians and surgeons. Finely equipped hospitals with the latest diagnostic and therapeutic devices and comforts dot the land. Modern medical practice has surely come a long way from Zipporah’s use of a “sharp stone” (Ex. 4:25) to perform a circumcision on her son, or Job’s employing a broken pot fragment to obtain relief from his boils! And imperfect though it still is, modern medicine has achieved some eminently creditable results.

One of the most beneficial accomplishments of present-day medicine has been the development of anesthesia, which mercifully renders the patient unconscious to pain so that delicate major operations may be performed. Prior to the use of anesthesia as we know it today, the consumption of quantities of alcohol or of addictive opiates provided some small amount of relief from the terrible pain of surgery. Even the drawing of decayed teeth was an agonizing experience, to be put off until absolutely unavoidable.

A system of anesthesia called acupuncture, which has been employed by the Chinese for some three thousand years, has lately arrived in the United States. In preparing the patient for operation, the anesthetist inserts a varying number of needles in selected parts of the patient’s body. To produce the desired anesthetic effect the operator then either twirls the needles rapidly between his fingers, or applies a slight electrical current to the needles.


It was not until 1798 that the first successful vaccine was developed, specifically for use in the fight against smallpox. Prior to that time there had been no effective weapon against this disease, and it periodically ran rampant in many parts of the world, reaping a horrible harvest of victims. Today, thanks to the vaccine, smallpox is rather effectively controlled. Since that time, numerous other vaccines have been produced which have significantly reduced the ravages incident to other serious ailments, such as polio, influenza, tuberculosis, typhoid, whooping cough, and rabies. But constant vigilance is required to keep diseases in check. At one time, polio and tuberculosis had been thought to have been virtually defeated; but overconfidence subsequently led to carelessness, and each of these diseases has lately served notice that, in fact, they are not entirely dead.

The influenza germ seems continually to be altering its composition, requiring the constant development of new vaccines to reestablish control. A widespread and fatal outbreak of cholera can occur at any time and has occurred, occasioned by the contamination of seafood by sewage. And in spite of intensive efforts to come to grips with that elusive scourge—cancer—little real progress has been made to date to banish it.


In the field of surgery, some remarkable advances have been made to bring relief to man from the sufferings and ailments resulting from his fall. Perhaps one of the most burdensome disabilities for man to endure is blindness. There are still many forms of blindness which even today cannot be helped by medicine or surgery; but for other forms, new techniques have had remarkable success, restoring sight to many who, not too many decades ago, would have gone to their graves in darkness.

Even a victim of damage to the cornea of the eye can today be the fortunate recipient of a healthy, donated natural cornea which may have been stored as long as a year in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of minus 190 degrees centigrade, awaiting transplant to a grateful new owner. To such as these, how sweet must be the sight of a loved one, the glory of the cloud-flecked sky, the flowers, the ability to read one’s Bible!

Also, for a particular hearing defect, operating procedures have lately been devised by which it is possible to remove certain mechanical ‘roadblocks’ to the transmission of sound waves, providing the former sufferer with the joy of newly hearing the human voice, the song of the birds, the wind in the trees, the beating on the sands of the ocean’s waves.

In recent years surgeons all over the world have successfully engaged in efforts to transplant vital human organs such as the lung, liver, kidney, and pancreas; and even the human heart. Cosmetic surgery has also come into its own. Professional people to whom appearance is important may have their faces reshaped, and noses or chins made more beautiful. Victims of automobile accidents, or mishaps at the workbench, may have features restored or reconstructed out of plastic. Then for those suffering from less serious disabilities and imperfections there are countless helps in the form of eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, and even hair transplants.

However, these are minor improvements. When it comes to serious diseases there is less optimism today. The matter is well stated when, concerning the newly published book entitled, “Evolutionary Medicine: Rethinking the Origins of Disease,” the book reviewer said: “Gone is the heady optimism of the 1960’s and 70’s, when public health communities predicted triumphs over one disease after another. At that time, infection in general seemed to be in retreat; applying the familiar weapons of pesticides, antibiotics, and vaccines with overwhelming force promised victory over pathogens; and rapid advances in molecular biology were expected to unravel cancer in short order.

“But malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, and yellow fever came back. The emergence of Legionnaires’ disease, toxic shock syndrome, Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever, new kinds of diarrhea, nastier forms of familiar bacterial infections, and AIDS, refuted the presumption that, in principle, infection had been licked. Increases in the incidence of breast cancer, asthma, and autoimmune diseases, showed the problem was not limited to infectious diseases.”

The conclusions reached by this book reviewer were echoed recently in a New York Times article on “Malaria’s Genetic Game of Cloak and Dagger.” We quote: “The most frightening things in life are not the, unknown, but the familiar demons that refuse to leave. Among the greatest forces shaping the course of human history, sometimes scooping entire populations off the map, is infectious disease; after a brief, charming fantasy that the age of infectious diseases was behind us, the entire medieval bestiary of scourges has returned with teeth bared and claws extended: tuberculosis, cholera, typhus, virulent pneumonia and that festering tropical fever with the singsong, Latinate name, malaria.

“Not long ago, there was heady talk of eradicating malaria through a one-two punch of DDT, to control the mosquitoes that transmit the disease; and of the drug chloroquine, to treat patients already infected with the malarial parasite. Now mosquitoes throughout the tropics are immune to most insecticides, while chloroquine-resistant strains of the most lethal malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, are sweeping across sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America. Each year, nearly half a billion people develop malaria, and one million to two million die of the disease, most of them young children.”

The article then tells how recent studies have revealed that the parasite causes malaria to switch proteins and fools the immune system of the human body. Many research laboratories are working on this problem. In spite of their hard work and efforts, the strains of this deadly disease continue to outrace the body’s immune system’s battle against it and science.

Truly, the increase of knowledge that has come about in the latter days, and which has catapulted the industrial nations of the world into unprecedented growth and affluence, has also manifested itself in the medical world. But, in spite of everything the medical profession can do to alleviate the distresses and pains of a suffering world, it amounts, in the end, to but a temporary relief; for, ultimately and inevitably, all mankind go down to their graves. The funeral processions never cease, the cemeteries require ever more ground.


Is this the most that a suffering world may hope for? Can man expect but a few short years of intermittent joy and sorrow, and then death? “Is there no balm in Gilead?” (Jer. 8:22) Joyously, the Bible proclaims that indeed there is! Whereas man brought suffering and death upon himself by disobedience, yet the loving Creator has not abandoned his original purpose that man should live happily and everlastingly upon this earth.

And that is the glorious theme and blessed promise of God’s Word from beginning to end. It is referred to in the Bible by the Apostle Peter as “the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21) This wonderful prospect is opened to view by reason of the offering for sin which was made by Jesus on behalf of all mankind. “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”—I Cor. 15:21,22

At his First Advent, Jesus wrought many miracles on behalf of the afflicted among whom he found himself. On one occasion, a blind beggar sitting by the side of the road learned that Jesus was about to pass by. He had no doubt heard of this one who had healed so many sufferers—but perhaps had entertained no hope of ever coming into contact with him—and we can easily imagine with what excitement he tried to attract Jesus’ attention, calling out to him.

Jesus approached him, and asked, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” The blind man said, “Lord, that I might receive my sight.” How Jesus’ heart must have been touched by the blind man’s plight! And Jesus said unto him, “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus.—Mark 10:46-52

On another occasion Jesus was told of the illness of the servant of a centurion who sought Jesus’ aid on behalf of his ailing servant. As Jesus was approaching the home of the centurion, the man sought to restrain him, saying he was unworthy to have Jesus enter his home. ‘Merely say the word’, said the centurion, ‘and my servant shall be healed!’ “For I also am a man set under authority, … and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; … and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth.” Jesus marveled at the man’s humility and his faith. Jesus said unto the people, “I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” And when they returned to the house, they found him whole, that had been sick.—Luke 7:1-10


Then there was the time our Lord found the impotent man lying near the pool called Bethesda, whose waters were supposed to have healing powers. In answer to Jesus’ inquiry, the man explained that he had no friend to place him in the pool, for others stepped in before he could be placed in the waters. Pitying the man, Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” And we read that, “Immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked; and on the same day was the Sabbath.”—John 5:1-9

He cured the man with palsy; he restored to life the son of the widow of Nain, he raised his very dear friend Lazarus from the dead. And he cured ten lepers, of whom but one returned to offer him thanks. “Where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17) Jesus asked; and surely there must have been a touch of sadness in his voice.

This loving, compassionate man had come from the heavenly realms and the fellowship of his Heavenly Father in order to redeem mankind from sin and death. And how the sorrow and suffering of those about him must have appalled and saddened him! How he must have yearned for the time when his sacrificial work here on earth would be finished, and for the day when the fruits of that work would bring the blessings of life and health to the people!


All those whom Jesus healed, and those whom he restored to life, eventually found their way to the grave. Jesus knew this would happen. In performing those miraculous cures and restorations to life, Jesus was merely presenting to his followers and to the world some simple but forceful foreviews of those greater and everlasting miracles of restitution that would be performed in the kingdom. And to his disciples, who had witnessed many of these works, he said, “Greater works than these shall [ye] do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12) Jesus’ faith in that glorious outcome was firmly rooted in the promises of God.

And how glorious are those promises, which God has spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets! “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,” God had said to Abraham. (Gen. 22:18) Jesus knew he was that ‘seed’ of promise; and the Apostle Paul confirms it, adding that wonderful statement that all who are Christ’s are counted in as part of that seed of blessing! (Gal. 3:16,29) “Greater works” (John 14:12) than those which were done by Jesus shall be the privileged lot of all who are faithful to death. ‘Greater’ works because they shall include all who have gone down into death, and shall be brought forth from the grave to be given an opportunity for everlasting, perfect life.

The Prophet Daniel foretold that the dead would be raised, after Michael should stand up. He wrote, “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” Jesus knew that he was the Michael here spoken of, and in quoting from this prophecy of Daniel he made it clear that “all that are in the graves” would hear his voice, and come forth.—Dan. 12:1,2; John 5:28,29

The Prophet Isaiah described the Edenic beauties and abundance that shall exist during the kingdom reign of Christ and the church, when the work of restitution is undertaken. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. … 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. … And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. … And the ransomed of the Lord shall return [from their graves], 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. 35:1,2,5,6,8,10


The raising of the dead foretold by the Prophet Daniel will not be for but a few short years as it was with Lazarus; nor will the healing of the blind, the deaf, and the lame which Isaiah so beautifully describes be but a temporary blessing. All who hear and heed the voice of “that Prophet” in the kingdom will be restored to healthy, happy, everlasting life. For in that day “shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings.” (Mal. 4:2) In that glorious thousand-year day the work of restitution shall go forward, healing all who will, even as when Jesus healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath back there in Israel.

And not only will the people be given whole bodies in the kingdom, but more importantly, and necessarily, will their hearts be healed; for everlasting life will be gained only by those whose hearts are brought into full harmony with the righteous laws of the kingdom; only by those who love the Lord and their fellows. The Lord said he would “make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah”—which covenant shall be shared in by the whole world—when he would put his law “in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer. 31:31-33) In that happy kingdom “the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.”—Isa. 33:24

These are the precious blessings that, so long ago, were promised should come through the ‘seed’ of blessing, of which ‘seed’ the faithful overcoming followers of Jesus, the bride of Christ, are a part.


The revelator tells us that the Heavenly Father himself will be an interested and loving observer of the kingdom work. “He shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Rev. 22:1,2) The blessings of life which were lost by Adam when he disobeyed, and the tree of life which was withdrawn from his reach, will be graciously restored for the benefit of the entire resurrected race.

Yes, the people of all nations of earth will be truly and everlastingly healed! And when “the Spirit and the bride say, Come. … And let him that is athirst come,” (Rev. 22:17) how joyously will the nine lepers, along with the whole world of mankind, then raise their voices in rapturous praise and thanksgiving to the Heavenly Father, and to their Lord Jesus! With what gladness will the blind man pass among the people, telling all that Jesus had restored his sight! And can we not see the centurion going about proclaiming Jesus’ wonderful power to heal! Then will the whole world unite in singing that song of grateful praise that was composed so long ago by the Psalmist David:

“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.”—Ps. 103:1-5

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |