Video: Healing in Heaven? Absolutely!Mar 07, 2017
A quick read through the Bible reveals something that sounds somewhat odd: Healing actually happens in Heaven.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. When we get there, there's no need for healing. Everything has changed, right?
* No more sickness
* No more disease
* The causes of suffering are gone!
After all, Heaven is where God intimately "wipes every tear away from [our] eyes" (Revelation 21:4).
Bear with me, though- for a second. You see, when we see healing occur now, we actually witness the presence of that future. Now. Physical healing- and physical health- demonstrates the presence of the Kingdom.
(Side note: I really believe this about physical health. I believe that one of the reasons we're drawn to health + beauty is because it's indicaitve of the image of God. Beauty didn't come from Satan- he doesn't create anything. He only perverts that which is glorious and good... things like music, astronomy, sex... and beauty.)
Between two trees
In another post, I wrote that healing + health was present in the Garden of Eden- before sin ever entered the equation. In other words, health + healing weren't results of sin, they were always God's creation intention.
Genesis 1:29-30 reads, “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so” (NIV, italics added).
The Hebrew word used here, which we translate as “food,” is oklah (the Old Testament was originally penned in Hebrew; the New Testament was written in Greek & Aramaic).
Oklah includes the things you eat, but it is more. Oklah includes medicines. Notice, these were here in the beginning.
By the way, a philospher of old actually said, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” (Hippocrates). Maybe he was on to something.
* Health + Healing existed in Eden- it's how things began
* Health + Healing exists in Heaven- it's how things "end" and continue indefinitely
Incidentally, we see the Tree of Life in both locations. And, it's the leaves of that tree that are connected to healing. Right now, we live "between two trees." So, when we see health + healing, we're getting a snapshot of both how things were created to be AND we're seeing a glimpse where things are going because of the radical redemption achieved by Jesus.
Heaven comes here
Yes, when we see healing manifest on earth, we’re actually seeing Heaven come down, breaking into the world in which we live. Most of the Gospel presentations you've heard probably go something like this, "Believe in Jesus, and when you die you'll go to Heaven." That is, the message is presented as moving you from here to Heaven.
But Jesus didn't speak about going from here to there; He spoke about getting "there" to come "here." Think about it...
* Jesus told the disciples to tell people the Kingdom of God had come near when they healed them (Matthew 10:7, Luke 10:9)
* Jesus said that when He drove out demons, it was a sign that the Kingdom was present (Matthew 12:28, Luke 11:20)
Interestingly enough, at least one character in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament caught a glimpse of "there" while they were still here- specifically, the prophet Ezekiel & the apostle John. They both learned something interesting when they saw what "there" looks like.
John writes, “On each side of the river stood the tree of life… And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2 NIV).
Ezekiel says the same thing: “Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food [oklah] and their leaves for healing” (Ezekiel 47:12 NIV, emphasis added).
Notice what the both saw:
* A river of life
* A tree of life
A real tree or a just a parable?
About a year ago I was eating lunch with a pastor-friend. He's actually the first guy who invited me to teach this message of healing + health in his church.
As I talked about the trees and healing (including essential oils, anointing oils, etc., that we see throughout the Bible), he said, "Gee... I just now dawned on me. That was a real tree." Then- "That IS a real tree. I mean, it's there right now... if we believe the Bible is true, that means we could go there right now and see that tree!"
Whereas most people think about the tree of life- and its presence in Heaven- in symbolic terms, simply spiritualizing it, we need to remember that the first time we see the tree in Genesis it is an actual tree in the physical world. Adam and Eve could have eaten its fruit. They could have climbed this tree or sat in its shade. It wasn’t symbolic; it was real.
It is real!
Presumably, then, the Tree of Life in Heaven is as real as Heaven itself. You can eat its fruit (every month). Your kids can climb it. You can get a kite tangled in its limbs...
When we see "there" break into "here," something real is happening- something that you can see, sense, and feel... something that you can actually experience.
Why did Jesus ask the obvious?
That said, not everyone wants the presence of the future now. Some people would rather wait. Again, that sounds odd, but think about it like this...
I always wondered why Jesus asked people things like, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
He asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” (see Mark 10:51). The answer might seem obvious to us (he wants to see); but Jesus asked for certainty.
He asked the invalid at the Pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to be made well…?” (John 5:6). Again, we'd all assume the most obvious issue (he couldn't walk) was the one he'd want fixed...
The implication, though, is that some people don’t want the presence of the future now. When the presence of the future comes, it changes what's happening now, in the moment, because the healing power of Heaven literallly comes near in a physical, real way.
As odd as it seems, sometimes it’s difficult to let go of the old identity. In other words, allowing the presence of the future to come now is sometimes complex. If you die and "go," it's automatic...
... but to actually, proactively choose the presence of the future, to choose healing + health requires something more. It requires letting go and embracing an experience of the unknown.
Created to choose
Since I began studying this a few years ago, I've wondered over and over, "Why would there be healing in Eden- before sin- and in Heaven- after the effects of sin are done...?"
Someone told me that healing was in the Garden because God knew that people were going to sin- and that we would need help. That makes sense on one level. But, it doesn't account for why healing is in Heaven...
After mulling it over, here's what I've come to: we were created to choose health, in the same way we're created to choose intimacy.
Adam & Eve weren't robots in the Garden. Obviously. If they were, they would have never made the decision they made. A robot would have been programmed to divert disaster. Adam & Eve had a free will and chose to act upon it. In fact, theological debate aside, any way in which they chose to act would have been an exercise of free will. They were relational beings- not animatronics.
You and I aren't humanoids, either. We can choose intimacy with God- or not. We, too, are relational creatures.
That means we can choose health + healing- or we can resist it.
I know. I resisted it for years. In fact, basic nutrition and health stats suggest that most people resist health (again, for clarity, when I use the term healing I'm referring to something God does; when I use the term health I'm referring to wellness choices you and I make).
I'll be honest. I resist intimacy now.
* With God
* With my wife
* With close friends
Embracing the future of that unknown- a future in which we are fully known AND fully accepted is sometimes hard, right?
Yet in the future, in Heaven, we choose intimacy and we choose health. Both. And, when we live the presence of the Kingdom now it's that future which we're embracing. Why? Because that's where healing and intimacy come from... Heaven.
You might also like The Healing Workshop
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