There is no Jehovah-Rophi, no Covenant

In Exodus 15:25-6, we are given a snapshot of the "covenant" idea of God -- one that involves God being the "all in all" for God's chosen/elect:
25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."
Jehovah-Rophi, the God who heals. But does God heal? Today?

Well, let's start with the easy stuff -- some recorded instances of healing that Jesus [supposedly] performed:
  1. Leper 1 (Matt 8:2-4, Mark 1:40-5, Luke 5:12-5 [ignore the contradiction in when the healing occurred -- before going into the house or after])
  2. Paralytic (Matt 9:2-8, Mark 2:3-12, Luke 5:18-26)
  3. Peter's Mother (Matt 8:14-7, Mark 1:29-31)
  4. Nobleman's son (John 4:46-53)
  5. Withered hand (Matt 12:9-13, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 6:6-11)
  6. Malchus's severed ear (Luke 22:47-51)
  7. Hemorrhage (Matt 9:20-2, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-8)
Now, many other supposed healings are recorded in the gospels, but these suffice to show as examples where a "teaching" was attached to the miracle. Griffith Thomas writes,
It is noteworthy that one of the words frequently used of these miracles in the Gospels is the ordinary term, works (erga). They were the natural and necessary outcome of His life, the expression in act of what He Himself was... (Christianity Is Christ, p. 50, 1965)
What does this really mean? Well, the idea that Christ ushers in the "new covenant", in a phrase. And so, we really ought to establish just what God promised in the covenant. If you numerically count the promises made in the Abrahamic covenant, as this fellow has done, you will find 60, give or take a couple, depending on how you compound the sentences. The Biblical basis for the covenant is:
Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-27 -- promises to Abrham
Genesis 17:10, 11, 23-27 -- covenant made with circumcision
Genesis 22:16-18 -- covenant summarized, oath sworn by God
Genesis 26:1-5 -- reconfirmed to Isaac
Genesis 28:13-15; 35:9-12 -- reconfirmed to Jacob
I am not a theologian, and thus I will not attempt to expound at length as to the intricacies of the old and new testaments [covenants]. I will simply make a point, which I open for criticism, but I do not fear being shown wrong:
  • The Hebrews understood their covenant to be a holistic one -- God's promises of blessing were for their livestock, families, bodies, minds, hearts, behaviors...etc. Thus, they understood disease and sickness from the perspective that God could and would heal it, so long as they were in covenant with God. They did not believe that their healing would come in an afterlife only.
Many instances in the OT, the Jews' individual or collective faithfulness to God is juxtaposed against the fulfillment of God's covenant, insofar as healing, or as striking the unfaithful with plagues. Never is it implied that some "neutral, 3rd-party diseases" existed, nor that "neutral, 3rd-party health" existed.

Now, based upon this premise, the words of Griffith Thomas may become more clear -- if Jesus was to usher in a new covenant, with "better promises", what would we expect? We would expect for God to continue the blessings of Abraham, and to either extend them in scope of number, and/or in scope of persons they are offered to. From some of the claims of Jesus, by which Jesus promises the disciples new powers to cast out demons and heal the sick, and from the NT ministry of Paul et al, it is clear the blessings were increased, and offered to the Gentiles as never before. Furthermore, most Christians believe a part of Jesus' ministry had to have the indelible mark of the Messiah, from prophecies like Isa 32:3-4, 35:5-6, in which miracles and healings were promised as a sign.

Thus the healings of Jesus ought not have only represented individual discrete acts of benevolence [or at least, they shouldn't, since God is no respecter of persons], but signs and fulfillment of the era of the new covenant. Considering that the Bible claims that long after Jesus died, rose, and went back to heaven, the disciples were doing miracles of healing, there is no logical reason to suppose that this covenant was intended only for a short while. Why, then, are the miracles and healings absent in the so-called Body of Christ? Why is there so much sickness and disease in those within the supposed covenant?

The new covenant was made with perfect blood, offered by a perfect priest, according to the writer of Hebrews, and so its effect is greater. When God's people err, God no longer strikes them down with plagues. Conversely, there is a greater expectation of health and longevity, given that God's people now trust in the "better promises" of the new covenant. The blood of Jesus supposedly functions as a "sin filter", through which God sees the "new creature" (2 Cor 5:17) whose body and mind are being renewed with the indwelling of God's presence. Indeed, this supposed cohabitation of the body with the Holy Spirit, before the NT impossible, is the singular greatest reason to expect a holistic health -- mind, body, and spirit. God still Jehovah-Rophi?
The miracles are harmonious with the character and consciousness of Jesus; they are not external confirmations but internal constituents of the revelations of the Heavenly Father's love, mercy, and grace, given in Him, the beloved Son of God, and the compassionate Brother of men... (A.E. Garvie, Is Jesus God?, 4th ed., p. 51-2, 1966)
Indeed, the question must be posed as: has God, or God's character, or God's covenant, changed since the days of Paul, Peter, and James, when miracles of healing were still recorded? Furthermore, there is a greater expectation of healing through the covenant of Jesus than through the covenant of Abraham:
Isa 53:4-6 (NIV) 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

1 Pet 2:23-25 (NIV) 23When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Since the Bible clearly relates sin to physical death and physical illness throughout, and since the popular derivation of this teaching has resulted in numerous equivocations of sin with disease, Christians, doing their best to remain faithful to the covenant, and trusting in the blood of Christ for their righteousness, have a vexing problem: the prevalence of disease, and the lack of miracles and healings to alleviate it. After all, if there sins are "washed away" with the blood of Jesus, if they have been made righteous...where is the evidence thereof? If the Bible makes it clear that the effects of sin are done away with by the Cross, why do they linger on?

Does it require the physical presence of Christ, or one of the Apostles, to perform these miracles and healings? The Bible testifies to the contrary:
Matt 18:19-20 (NIV) 19"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

James 5:13-16 (NIV) 13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
So, Christian [Evangelical/Fundamentalist, especially], is your Book wrong, or are you really saved? How many pastors have spent countless hours trying to defend God's promises in the face of evidence contrariwise? How many faithful, devout, obedient Christians have spent months or years trusting in God for a healing, repenting [blaming themselves], being anointed with oil, coming together with fellow believers to pray, in faith, believing Matt 18? How many died? How many slowly rotted away from cancer? [see also Matt 7:7, 17:20, 18:19, 21:21, Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, James 5:15-16...and the list at the bottom]

As Aaron poignantly pointed out, all the words and doctrine mean little to those who are unsteeped in theology -- but the evidence and power of God in your lives mean everything. If you claim that you are in some sort of covenant with God, and you're keeping up your end, and you got a blood transfusion at a hospital that had Hepatitis C, HIV, whatever, 20 years ago, what are those watching to think? Paul supposedly got bitten by a poisonous snake, and it inspired faith in those around him. Had Paul fallen down and died, as you most surely will, there would be no inspiration of faith, no "power" to back up the words (c.f. 1 Cor 2, 1 Thess 1). Was God's faithfulness to Paul greater than to you? Do you maintain that God is no respecter of persons (2 Chron 19:7, Job 34:19, Acts 10:34-5, Rom 2:11-2, Gal 5:6, 1 Pet 1:17, 2 Pet 3:9)? Why then are so many left unhealed? So many who faithfully pray and cry out to God to fulfill the covenant oath? Semi-joking, why does God hate amputees?

I will close with a compilation of Scripture, put together from various sources, that I edited and rearranged, for you to consider. It is a long list, but it is quite essential for you to face the failed promises of your God before attempting to pretend that a plain reading doesn't render the failure of God's covenant:
  • Exodus 15:26 "I will put none of these diseases upon thee...for I am the LORD that healeth thee."
  • Deut 7:12-15 "12 If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your forefathers. 13 He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you. 14 You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor any of your livestock without young. 15 The LORD will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you." [emphasis mine]
  • Deut 32:39 "39 See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand."
  • Psalms 25:20 "O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee."
  • Psalms 34:10 "...they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing."
  • Psalms 42:11 "Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."
  • Psalms 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
  • Psalms 55:22 "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
  • Psalms 91:3 "Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence."
  • Psalms 103:3 "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;"
  • Psalms 107:20 "He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions."
  • Psalms 119:93 "I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me."
  • Proverbs 3:7-8 "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."
  • Proverbs 4:20-22 "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh."
  • Isaiah 53:4 "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:"
  • Isaiah 53:5 "With his stripes we are healed."
  • Isaiah 40:29 "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."
  • Isaiah 40:31 "They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength."
  • Isaiah 50:7 "For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed."
  • Jeremiah 17:14 "Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise."
  • Jeremiah 30:17 "I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds."
  • Jeremiah 33:6 "Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.
  • Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."
  • Matthew 7:17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit."
  • Matthew 8:17 "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
  • Matthew 15:13 "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up."
  • Matthew 17:20 "And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."
  • Matthew 18:18-21 "8 Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."
  • Matthew 21:21 "And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen."
  • Mark 5:23 "23and implored Him earnestly, saying, 'My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.'"
  • Mark 6:5 "5And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them."
  • Mark 11:24 "24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you."
  • Mark 16:18 "18 they [disciples of Jesus] will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
  • Luke 10:19-20 "19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20"Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.""
  • John 8:36 "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
  • John 14:12-14 "12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it."
  • Romans 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
  • Romans 8:11 "He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
  • Romans 8:26 "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities."
  • Romans 8:32 "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
  • 2 Cor 1:9-10 "9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,"
  • 2 Cor 1:18-22 "8 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." [emphasis mine]
  • 2 Corinthians 2:14 "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ."
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:3 "But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil."
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
  • Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
  • James 5:16 "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
  • 1 Peter 2:24 "By whose stripes ye were healed."
  • 1 John 3:8 "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
  • 3 John 1:2 "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
In closing, I would simply ask what a believer, devout, doing their best to follow the commandments of the Jesus and Lord that they love, is supposed to make of God's failure to heal them? That God is trying to teach them something? That the devil is messing with God's promises? Perhaps a believer thinks these things, in order to retain some semblance of sanity and trust and faith in a good God of covenant. However, the clear and unequivocal statements above must be dealt with. Is the covenant simply true: "If X, then Y", where X = you are obedient, you are a Christian, you are in covenant, you trust in the blood of Christ, etc., and Y = God will keep you from disease, God has given you victory over sin and death, by Jesus' stripes, you are healed, etc.? Is it clear and simple and true?

Has your God separated your sins from you as far as east is from west? Has God cast them into the sea of forgetfulness? This should be reflected in how you live your life, the state of your mind...and that of your body. Are you "covered" with the blood? Are you redeemed? Are you made new? Are you made whole? Do you have evidence of a covenant between yourself and your Maker, wherein you are different, better, healthier than before, or than those without the covenant?

Ought reconciling the promises of God and the clear teaching of the Scriptures require a 4-year degree in theology? Do the Scriptures teach that the covenant is unreliable, its effects capricious, its possessors unsubstantiated? Should God's covenant and subsequent promises be so ambiguous and flippant? Does the lack of consistency speak to us of God's truth and faithfulness, or are we somehow to blame for not understanding the original languages of the Bible and having a Th.D. so that this all makes some semblance of sense?

The answer to all is clear and simple -- "No."