Q. I have always believed that ‘By his stripes we are healed’ was exactly that, if we have faith, and ask for healing and truely believe in that healing, we will be healed. However, a minister says this interpretation is incorrect and that in Isaiah 53-5 it is referring to spiritual healing, not physical healing. As I respect your teaching so much, would you please tell me what your interpretation is?
A. It helps to look at Isaiah 53:4-5 together because they’re part of the same thought and between them we can see that both physical and spiritual healing are included.
In Isaiah 53:4 the Hebrew words translated infirmities and sorrows mean sickness, pain, and affliction in addition to grief and sorrow. These words all apply to physical ailments. Although He was stricken and afflicted, it was to relieve our physical suffering.
In Isaiah 53:5 the words translated transgressions and iniquities refer to our sins, for which he was physically pierced (crucified) and emotionally crushed (abandoned by God). By His stripes (the result of whipping) we are healed. The Hebrew word for healing is rapha, which means a physical healing. The same word was used in Exodus 15:26 where it became one of the names of God. Jehovah Rapha, The Lord Who heals you. You could say that He was crucified to pay for our sins, but He was beaten with whips so we can be healed from our sickness and disease, and relieved of our pain.