There is a term I learned from a former pastor who used it whenever he was discussing phrases or statements made by well-meaning, but biblically ignorant church folk when challenged to believe something from the Word of God that is beyond their current level of faith. The term is “Religious Escape Clause.”
The most prevalent example of such is one I’ve already covered in a previous article from my prayer series: “if it be Your will.” Since I’ve already delved into that one and refuted it thoroughly in that article, I will refrain from repeating myself here. Let it suffice to say that our use of this phrase whenever we pray any prayer based upon God’s promises to save, heal, provide, or protect, it is both totally unscriptural and we are operating in the sin of unbelief.
In this article, I want to address a second such Religious Escape Clause that keeps cropping up in non-charismatic circles and occasionally even among charismatic believers: the idea that God heals people by putting them out of their misery and taking them into heaven; in other words, divine euthanasia.
It is indeed an essential truth of Christianity that tears, sickness, pain, and sorrow do not exist in heaven because only those who have accepted Jesus free gift of life by faith in His resurrection and submission to His lordship are allowed there — sinners are welcome to enter into God’s kingdom here on earth, but after death it’s too little, too late and they are barred from entry. No sinners, no sin, therefore no results of sin. So yes, indeed, going to heaven is a healing of sorts because our physical bodies are resurrected there with none of the aches, pains, weaknesses, genetic defects, and chronic illnesses that beset us on this earth.
But the question on the table is whether it’s scriptural to state that God chooses to use death and a subsequent entry into heaven as a means of healing the sick.
To see whether this concept is true biblically or not, we must first examine:
- What the Bible says about death
- What occurred during Jesus’ earthly ministry because He is God-in-Sandals.
- Where, if ever, God has limited Himself through His Word to not do so.
The Origins of Death
Let’s set the Wayback Machine to the Book of Genesis and see the origins of death:
Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17
From this passage, we can safely conclude the following:
- Adam was created as an eternal being
- Death was — and is — the penalty for disobedience
- Death was never God’s original intention for mankind
We all know the rest of that story: Adam and Eve violated God’s command and death entered their bodies. Though it took 930 years for Adam’s created-perfect body to die, indeed it did die. Since every animal on this planet begets offspring after its own kind, every human being since then has had a body with the “death gene” built into it and, despite the best efforts of modern medicine to extend the human lifespan, human effort will never defeat death because death has spiritual roots, not physical ones. The only One Who has ever defeated death is Jesus Christ and even He had to physically die to accomplish that feat of arms.
If you take the time to study the concept of death in the Bible, you will find that throughout both testaments, death is always regarded as a curse, never a blessing from God!
Jesus’ Earthly Ministry
Now let’s take a look at the Person of Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. Nowhere in any of the Gospel accounts do we see a single instance where it was even hinted that Jesus laid hands on someone to heal them, that person died, and Jesus explained to onlookers that that person was now healed in heaven.
Indeed, in every instance where someone came to Him for healing or deliverance from demonic oppression, He healed and delivered them in this life. Yes, those people eventually died and inherited their eternal reward, but they were indeed miraculously delivered from their physical or spiritual oppression while they were alive and they remained alive after that moment for some unspecified period of time.
It is an essential doctrine of Christianity — not to mention that it’s the absolute TRUTH — that Jesus was the very Person of God on this earth. On top of that, one of God’s many amazing character attributes is that He is immutable (unchanging). Because of these truths, we can safely conclude that God has not changed His will or desire to heal since then. Indeed, one of His covenant names in the OT is Jehovah-Rapha, the God Who heals us. Since the biblical context of Him proclaiming Himself as Jehovah-Rapha was specifically relating to physical healing, we can and should conclude that physical healing is intrinsic to His very nature.
You will also never once find an instance in the Gospels or the Book of Acts of where people glorified God because someone died, yet there are multiple occasions where people glorified God because someone was miraculously healed or delivered from demonic possession. So this is yet one more nail in the coffin of the false doctrine that God inflicts sickness, disease, or calamity so that we will inexplicably glorify Him afterwards.
The Bottom Line
God heals the sick and raises the dead to bring glory to Himself. Sickness, disease, death are never His tools, methods, or will when dealing with His children.
Don’t take my word for it; check it out for yourself — I dare you!
Thanks for reading!