The Berean Expositor
Volume 47 - Page 155 of 185
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but Acts 19: 12 tells us `So that from his (Paul's) body were brought unto the sick
handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went
out of them'. On at least one occasion (Acts 5: 16) we read `and they were healed every
one'. So it continues until the end of the period covered by the Book of Acts.
For evidence of the situation following Acts, we can only turn to the later epistles of
Paul. After the healings (including `every one'), and even `special miracles' of which we
have been reading, we are confronted with `Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in
labour, and fellowsoldier' who has been `sick nigh unto death'; with Trophimus `I have
left at Miletum sick'; with advice to Timothy "Drink no longer water, but use a little
wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities". But there is no hint that any, at
all, were healed. How can this situation be reconciled with that found in Acts?
In II Tim. 2: 17, 18 Paul writes of `Hymenaeus and Philetus, who concerning the
truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already and overthrow the faith of
some'. We are given no indication of the grounds of their argument. It has been thought
by some that they based their reasoning on the resurrection of the saints mentioned by
Matthew (27: 52-53)--"And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints
which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the
Holy city, and appeared unto many". Yet, as we have seen, there were others raised from
the dead during the course of several years following this, and it appears at least equally
likely that Hymenaeus and Philetus argued that as now the dead were no longer being
restored to life, the resurrection must therefore be past. It is certain that we have no
record in Scripture of either healings or the raising of the dead, after the end of Acts.
Has the church of today a ministry of healing?--a ministry of healing which includes
the raising of the dead, which ensures that whoever is living and believing in the Lord
Jesus Christ shall be no means die until the coming of the kingdom? If it has, then we
can only conclude that there is something terribly wrong with the church today, and that
there has been something terribly wrong with it from about the middle of the 100A.D.
Apart from straining at a doctrinal gnat and swallowing a theological camel in the
process, the facts demand an approach other than that usually taken. The facts are that up
to the end of the Book of Acts there were `special miracles', extraordinary healings and
raisings from the dead; from that point onwards there is no record whatever, in Scripture
(and we dare not seek evidence elsewhere), of any healing or raising of the dead. The
only solution which accepts these facts without seeking to distort them, or to provide
extra-Biblical evidence or reasoning, is that provided by `right division': that with the
end of the Book of Acts came the end of a dispensation, that henceforth God is dealing
with mankind on a different basis. The Covenant People had rejected the King, and
following that rejection the earthly Kingdom, with its evidential signs and miracles, is in
abeyance. We can only conclude that the church of today has no ministry of healing, and
to teach to the contrary can only lead to disappointment and error, and serves to
`overthrow the faith of some'. Clearly this is not to say that God cannot now `save the
sick', for that would be unwarrantably to limit the Grace of God: it does mean that the
prayer of faith today has its basis in the assurance given in Rom. 8: 28--"We know