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Unleavened Bread Ministries with David Eells

Timothy's Wine, Paul's Thorn and Hezekiah's Figs

David Eells

I was recently sent this email: "My question is the verse in 1 Timothy 5:23 where Paul advises Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. God hadn't healed him and I'm confused about your teaching on healing". The question really is about whether God heals using remedies or simply through faith without them.

Notice that sin is the subject before and after the verse in question. {1 Tim. 5:22} Lay hands hastily on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. {5:23} Be o longer a drinker of water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities (Gr: astheneia; meaning "weaknesses"). {5:24} Some men's sins are evident, going before unto judgment; and some men also they follow after. {5:25} In like manner also there are good works that are evident; and such as are otherwise cannot be hid. The wine for the stomach is certainly out of text unless it speaks of deliverance from sin.

The word translated "infirmities" is actually "weaknesses" which is clearly seen in other texts where the same word is correctly translated. (1 Cor.1:25) ...the weakness of God is stronger than men. Now we know that God is not infirm or sick so this word has to be "weakness". (2 Cor.13:4) for he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth through the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him through the power of God toward you. We know that Jesus Christ was not crucified through infirmity, but weakness. He would not defend Himself when He was brought before Pilate and the Jewish leaders. Timothy had spiritual weaknesses for which the only cure was the spiritual wine.

The Stomach or belly was spiritually considered the seat of ruler ship for the carnal man. It represented being driven by the lusts (Gr: desires) of the flesh; driven by sin. {Phl.3:19} whose end is perdition, whose god is the belly, and [whose] glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. On the other hand wine was considered the cure for bondage to sin. Wine represents the blood of Jesus. {Mt.26:27} And he took a cup (of wine), and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; {28} for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins. {29} But I say unto you, I shall not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

Through our own blood we have inherited the lusts of the sinful flesh and through Jesus' pure blood that nature is destroyed. {Lev.17:11} For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life. His blood is in us to the extent that we repent and partake of the life of His Word. {Jn.6:53} Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves. {54} He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day. Partaking of the blood or wine is a matter of walking in His Word by faith in His blood that was given to us. {1 Jn.1:7} but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Another common misunderstanding is Paul's Thorn.

Paul was caught up to the third heaven and received wonderful revelations that tempted him to be proud. (2 Cor.12:7) And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted overmuch there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger (Greek: angelos,"angel") of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch. Paul says the thorn was an angel of Satan to buffet him. The word "buffet" means "to hit over and over". You can see that this evil spirit was given to Paul to fulfill God's purpose of humbling him.

(2 Cor.12:8) Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me. (9) And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. This angel of Satan was bringing about a humbling in Paul's life that God called grace. When Paul was in a position of personal weakness or inability to save himself, he got to see God's power to save. It should be the same with us. The Scriptures are full of instances where God purposely brought people such as Moses, Abraham, Jehoshaphat, Gideon, and Lazarus to a position of human weakness so that He could perform a miracle to save them and no one would get the credit but Him. Paul understood this. (2 Cor.12:10) Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses (K.J.V.: infirmities), in injuries (insults), in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. "Thorn in the flesh" is mentioned four other times in the Scriptures, and not once is it an infirmity. This word "weaknesses" is from the Greek word "astheneia" meaning "want of strength". The King James Version translated this word "infirmities", but the same Greek word in many other places, including this text, is translated "weak" or "weakness" (1 Cor.1:25; 2 Cor.11:29; 2 Cor.12:9,10; 2 Cor.13:4). The same Greek word "astheneia" in the following two verses shows us that "infirmity" is a bad translation. (1 Cor.1:25) ...the weakness of God is stronger than men. Now we know that God is not infirm or sick so this word has to be "weakness". (2 Cor.13:4) for he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth through the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him through the power of God toward you. We know that Jesus Christ was not crucified through infirmity, but weakness. He would not defend Himself when He was brought before Pilate and the Jewish leaders. Likewise, we are crucified when we are weak to save ourselves while we trust in God. In the previous chapter Paul lists what he calls weaknesses (2 Cor.11:23-30). He lists things such as shipwrecks, prisons, persecutions from enemies, and stripes. Not once does Paul mention sickness in the list. The point is that God uses evil angels to come against our lusts, to humble us, to chasten us, and to cause us to repent. (2 Cor.12:8) Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it (the angel of Satan or demon) might depart from me. (9) And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee. God was saying that He would deliver Paul from the individual buffetings, but not from the angel of Satan. Paul said as much to Timothy. (2 Tim.3:11) persecutions, sufferings. What things befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. (2 Tim.4:18) The Lord will deliver me from every evil work. In this, we see the sovereignty of God in both bringing the chastening and supplying the deliverance.

The question as to whether God always heals is a moot one when we realize that He has already healed all believers but we must be believers. {1 Pet.2:24} who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed. Jesus gave us an example by healing all believers.

The reason Jesus said, "All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive (Greek: "received") them", is because all of our provision was accomplished at the cross. Notice in the following verses that all things have been received and that the only thing left is for us to believe it. Also notice the past tense of our sacrificial provision in the following verses: (Epe.2:8) for by grace have ye been saved through faith; (1 Pet.2:24) who his own self bare our sins in his body ...by whose stripes we were healed; (Col.1:13) who delivered us out of the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love; (2 Cor.5:18) ...who reconciled us to himself; (Gal.2:20) I have been crucified with Christ, and its no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me; (Gal. 3:13) Christ redeemed us from the curse; (1 Pet.1:3) ...the Father ...begat us again ...by the resurrection of Jesus Christ; (Heb.10:10) We ...have been sanctified; ... (14) He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified; (Epe.1:3) ...who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing, and God (2 Pet.1:3) hath granted unto us all things ... Jesus told us in his day which, of course, is also in the past that" Now shall the prince of this world be cast out" (Jn.12:31); "but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (Jn.16:33); "It is finished" Jn.19:30).This is why we are to believe we have received. The devil and the curse were conquered. We were saved, healed, delivered, and provided for.

Redemption from the curse is truly finished! In fact, God's "works were finished from the foundation of the world" (Heb.4:3), when He spoke the plan into existence. The only thing left is for the true sons of God to enter into those works by faith, believing they have received. Since the works are finished, we should believe and rest from our own works to save, heal, and deliver ourselves. (Heb.4:3) For we who have believed do enter into that rest. That is a spiritual Sabbath rest. (Heb.4:9) There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest (Greek: sabbatismos, "keeping of rest") for the people of God. This constant "keeping of rest" every day through the past tense promises is our New Testament spiritual Sabbath. (10) For he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. This rest is to believe these past tense promises.

(Heb.4:1) Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. (2) For indeed we have had good tidings preached unto us, even as also they: but the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with them that heard. Our faith in each of these promises brings us into more of the rest. For example, if we believe that "by his stripes you were healed," then we will not keep seeking a healing but will rest accepting that it was accomplished at the cross. This is true faith and always brings the answer. Through believing the promises, we enter into rest from our own works. For a child of God to say that they believe they have received and yet continue seeking to receive, usually through worldly methods, is to be double minded. (Jas.1:6) But let him ask in faith, nothing doubting: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. (7) For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord; (8) a doubleminded man, unstable in all his ways. Those who continue to work for what God has freely given believe in salvation by works. (Heb.4:10) For he that is entered into his rest, hath himself also rested from his works. (Heb.3:19) And we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.

Since the promises of deliverance from the curse are past tense, when we believe them, we must stop working. It is an evil heart of unbelief to not rest. God was angry with Israel because they would not believe His Word in their trial in the wilderness (Heb.3:8-10). (Heb.3:11) As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. (12) Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God .... (14) We are become partakers of Christ (His health, holiness, and blessing) if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end. When we believe we have received, we are put in a position of weakness because we cannot do anything to bring the desired result to pass. This weakness is our wilderness experience because there is no help from Egypt or the world. Only God's power saves in the wilderness. God says, "My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor.12:9). Our weapon against our enemies who try to talk us out of our covenant rights is the two edged sword of these past tense promises (Heb.4:11,12).

Let me share with you a good example of the power of the true gospel through our past provision. A few years ago, I ran across a lady who had two large, inoperable tumors. She listed for me several famous preachers she had been to, who had prayed for her to be healed. She said to me, "David, I just don't understand why I have not been healed". I said, "You just told me why you have not been healed. You are looking in the wrong direction. Turn around and look behind you for 'by whose stripes ye were healed' (1 Pet.2:24). You are looking forward to a healing that happened behind you. You have little hope, but no faith. Faith 'calls the things that be not (in this case healing) as though they were' (Rom.4:17). Faith looks back at what was accomplished at the cross, but hope looks forward to what will be accomplished. Jesus said 'All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for believe that ye receive (Greek: "received") them, and ye shall have them' (Mk.11:24). That is the gospel, sister, that you must believe". With these few words, I saw the light come on in her eyes; and her face brighten up. I said, "Now we are going to pray one more time; but this time believe the Scriptures, and believe you have received whether you see an instant manifestation, or not". She agreed, so I rebuked the infirmity and commanded her to be healed in Jesus name. She instantly felt the tumors leave. We rejoiced and thanked God together. I said, "Sister that is the first time you believed the true gospel concerning your healing. If you would have done that when those other preachers prayed, you would have been healed".

We have been told that God now uses modern methods for delivering us from the curse. God's method is always free. It is salvation by grace, which is the unmerited, unpaid for, favor of God. Neither Jesus nor His disciples charged anything for healing, deliverance, or any other form of salvation. The world's method always costs. The poor often go untreated until they die. In God's kingdom, all are treated on condition of faith. God desires to use the same method He used in Scripture, the word of faith, because it is the only one that does not give glory to man. For instance, if a Christian receives a recovery from some disease while under the care of doctors and medicine, everyone wants to know what the medicine was or who the doctor was. God will not share His glory with another. I am not condemning those who use doctors or medicine. I am offering the good news that Jesus has already healed you almost 2000 years ago. All we have to do is read the New Testament once to find out that God did not use the methods of man. In the coming wilderness we will need to understand this.

Soon God's people will not be able to buy or sell with the world. Then all will be forced into a wilderness experience where there will be no idolatry with the gods of this world. For the people of God there will be a great lack of doctors, medicine, lawyers, bankers, psychiatrists, insurance, public assistance of all types, food, clean water, and everything else. Then we will see God's power in man's weakness (2 Cor.12:9,10). The church's methods of obtaining provision today are the same as the world's methods and are therefore acceptable to it.

God has a peculiar method for ministering deliverance from the curse that costs nothing, gives no glory to man, and proves His sovereignty. (1 Cor.1:28) and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, [yea] and the things that are not, that he might bring to naught the things that are: (29) that no flesh should glory before God. We see here that God chose to use something that does not exist in the physical realm in order to destroy the things that do. The "things that are not" are the promises in the Word that we do not see fulfilled. The "things that are" are the cursed things of sin, sickness, and lack, which God wants to "bring to naught". For instance, if you are sick, that is a thing that is; but "by whose stripes ye were healed" is a thing that is not in the physical realm. God chose faith in this promise that is not in order to bring to naught the sickness. Jesus and the disciples used God's method for dealing with the curse by "calling the things that are not, as though they were" (Rom.4:17). They just commanded it done according to the promises. They did not choose the things that are, like doctors, medicine, psychiatrists, and such to bring to naught the things that are, like sickness, torment, poverty, and such. The things that appear in this cursed realm are the things that are. (Heb.11:3) By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear.

God's method is to use the Word and not the physical things that appear, just as in the Gospels and Acts. In anointing with oil, it is obviously not the oil but the faith that heals. Oil was just a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Paul's handkerchief did not heal; it was the power from his faith (Acts 19:12). Some might think that once Jesus used things that are when He made clay with His spit to heal a blind man in John 9:6,7. It was not smearing the clay in his eyes that healed him, but washing it out of his eyes. Clay symbolizes the Adamic nature and the things that are (Job 10:9; 33:6; Isa.29:16; 45:9) just as man was made from clay. In other words, our eyes must be cleansed of seeing through eyes of clay. We need the spiritual eyes to see the promise as done by faith. (2 Pet.1:3) seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life (Greek: zoe, "God's life") and godliness.... To have spiritual eyes, we must see that Jesus has already given us His life and blessings. We need to be cleansed of fleshly eyes that keep us from God's blessings. The natural man (of clay) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, and he cannot know them because they are spiritually judged (Greek: "examined" or "seen") (1 Cor.2:14). By the way, the spit from Jesus mouth symbolizes that which comes out of the mouth of the Lord that gives life to man, the Word or manna (Dt.8:3; Jn.1:1-3; 6:33,51).

I once knew a preacher who said, "The reason Paul did all those miracles was because Luke the physician was with him". Wrong! Not in one verse do we see Luke using physician skills, which could never result in a miracle. The Greek word "Iatros" falsely translated "physician" just means "healer". "Iatros" is also used of Jesus as "healer". Translators put their modern ideas here. "Physician" means "one who practices medicine", which Jesus and the apostles never did. The term used for drugs or medicine in the Greek is "pharmakia" (English: pharmacy) and is translated "witchcraft" or "sorcery", which Paul called a work of the flesh in Galatians 5:20. The nations are deceived with pharmakia (Rev.18:23). Luke was a healer in the same way Jesus and the other disciples were.

It should seem strange to these people that Jesus and his disciples did not use "the things that are" to administer healing or deliverance. If Paul's handkerchiefs had the power to heal, why could it not heal before he touched it? It only acted as a medium to carry the healing anointing to the sick by faith. I have prayed over handkerchiefs, water, or people as mediums and seen healings. A brother came into our meeting whose wife was very sick. He was very troubled and on the edge of tears about this. The brother was not yet convinced that he needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Asking the Lord in my thoughts what to do, it came to me to pray over him to impart healing power to him, which we did. Then I said, "Now brother, go lay hands on your wife, and she will be healed". He was not convinced that healing was our right today; but he went home to lay hands on his wife. When he did, she was healed; and he came back excited. You see, it is not the medium; it is the healing power manifested through it, or in this case him, by faith. Jesus imparted authority to the disciples to heal before they received the Holy Spirit.

So how do we use God's method of "the things that are not"? By "calling the things that are not as though they were" (Rom.4:17). In other words, agree with the promise and call it done. God chooses to use "the things that are not, that he might bring to naught the things that are: that no flesh should glory before God". (1 Cor.1:28,29). God does not desire to use man's inventions so that He only can brag. God's salvation is not by our works. It is by getting our eyes off the problem and on the promise. 2 Corinthians 4:17,18 teaches that our affliction will be temporary if "we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen". When the Israelites got their eyes off the snake bite (curse) and on the serpent on the pole (Christ who became our curse [Jn.3:14]), they were healed (Num.21:4-9).

This faith in the body is the clue to the answer of the question of why Isaiah commanded a plaster of figs for Hezekiah's boil. (Isa.38:21) Now Isaiah had said, Let them take a cake of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover. The figs here represent the Body of Christ or Israel as in Jesus' warnings about bearing fruit. (Lk.13:6) And he spake this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. (7) And he said unto the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why doth it also cumber the ground? (Rev.6:13) and the stars of the heaven fell unto the earth, as a fig tree casteth her unripe figs when she is shaken of a great wind. Jesus identified the righteous as being under the fig tree when He saw Nathaniel there as an Israelite without guile (Jn.1:47-50). Notice that in the verse before the "cake of figs" was laid on the boil faith was expressed to God for Hezekiah's healing as the saints in the "house of Jehovah" were praising God for this. It was the figs faith that sucked the poison out of the boil. (Isa.38:20) Jehovah is [ready] to save me: Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments All the days of our life in the house of Jehovah. The cake of figs was a natural parable that represented a spiritual happening just like in Jesus' parables of planting wheat and corn, etc.

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