Q. In Isaiah 53:5 I believe ” and by his stripes we are healed”, Is speaking of a spiritual healing not a physical healing. It sounds like you believe it is a physical healing. (A well known commentator) says it is not a physical healing. I’m confused…Can you help me?
A. You’re referring to Isaiah 53:4-5 “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 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.”
Let’s look at the literal meaning of the Hebrew words Isaiah used. In verse 4 the word translated infirmities (grief in the KJV) appears 24 times in the Old Testament. 20 of those times it’s translated sickness or disease. It comes from a root that means “to become weak, sick, or diseased”. The weight of evidence favors a physical ailment. The one translated sorrow always means physical or mental pain.
The word translated healed in verse 5 is from one of God’s names, Jehovah Rapha, or God our Healer. The same word is used in Exodus 15:26 where God 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.” The context of the passage is clearly physical disease.
I believe that verse 4 speaks of physical healing and verse 5 of spiritual healing, as from sin. Both are available through faith in the Lord’s death on our behalf.
In James 5:13-15. the Lord’s brother instructed us, “Is 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. And 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. Therefore 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.”
This passage confirms that because of the Lord’s death, we can be healed. This is not to say that we’ll live forever but that within the span of our natural life we can be healed from the diseases that afflict us.
I have participated in several miraculous healings, and so I know from personal experience that physical healing is available through prayer. I also believe that the faith to be healed is almost non-existent in the Church today. I believe this is partly because of the inexcusable abuses of this gift by men and women intent upon profiting from the desperate conditions of others rather than glorifying God, and partly because of the false teaching that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer operative in the Church.