Healer: rapha (Strong’s 7495)
Root: רָפָא (resh, pey, aleph) [Sounds like: rafah]
We have attributed many names to God: the Almighty, the Provider, Lord of Hosts, the Shepherd. However, one of the names He gives Himself is often forgotten. YHWH calls Himself “Healer”:
And He [YHWH] said, “If you will listen diligently to the voice of YHWH your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, then all of these diseases that I put on the Egyptians, NONE will I put on you; for I am YHWH your healer [roph’eka].“
YHWH: I Will Heal
YHWH consistently tells His followers that He will heal them:
YHWH: See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal [e’re’pa], and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
YHWH: For I will restore you to health [e’rukah] and I will heal [er’pa’ek] you of your wounds, declares YHWH…
YHWH: Behold, I will bring to it health [e’rukah] and healing [u’ma’rapeh], and I will heal [u’rapha’tim] them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth.
Healing and The Word
The word of YHWH is an interesting phrase in the Tanakh that is ripe with symbolism. It is also frequently tied in with the concept of healing:
Then they cried out to YHWH in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them [w’yirap’em],
And delivered them from their destructions.
Let them give thanks to YHWH for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
Heal me [rapha’eni], O YHWH, and I will be healed [w’erapheh]; save me and I will be saved. For You are my praise. Look, they keep saying to me, “Where is the word of YHWH? Let it come now!”
In the story of Hezekiah’s grave illness, the word of YHWH comes to Isaiah with a message and specific instructions:
2 Kings 20:1-5
In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says YHWH, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’” Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to YHWH, saying, “Remember now, O YHWH, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of YHWH came to him, saying, “Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says YHWH, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you [ropheh lak]. On the third day you shall go up to the house of YHWH.
Interesting that the word of YHWH says that Hezekiah is to go up to the house of YHWH on the third day. Hosea, who lived around the same time as Isaiah, makes a prophetic statement talking about God’s healing, a revival, and being raised up on the third day:
“Come, let us return to YHWH.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us [w’yirepa’enu];
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him.”
Yeshua as Healer
Yeshua (Jesus) is, of course, known as a miraculous healer who died and rose on the third day. He is also referred to as the Word. The Gospel writer John starts off his writings saying this:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made… The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
It is the promised Messiah that takes the role of the Word. The Word becomes flesh and dwells among us. The writings of the prophet Isaiah strongly focus on the Messiah and in the following passage He is referred to as “healer”:
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed [nirpa lanu].
It is the Messiah that brings true healing. We are redeemed and forgiven and therefore, healed! It is by His painful sacrifice on the cross that we are healed physically, mentally, and spiritually!
Although His ultimate goal was to be our eternal Salvation, He also was a healer to individual people, while on earth:
Once again Jesus entered the synagogue, and a man with a withered hand was there. In order to accuse Him, they were watching to see if He would heal on the Sabbath.
Then Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, “Stand up among us.” And He asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”
But they were silent.
Jesus looked around at them with anger and sorrow at their hardness of heart. Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored.
At this, the Pharisees went out and plotted with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
In another instance Yeshua unintentionally heals a woman:
And a woman was there who had been afflicted for twelve years by an issue of bleeding. She had suffered greatly under the care of many physicians and had spent all she had, but to no avail. Instead, her condition had only grown worse.
When the woman heard about Jesus, she came up through the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she kept saying, “If I only touch His clothes, I will be healed.” At that instant, her bleeding stopped, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
At once Jesus was aware that power had gone out from Him. Turning to the crowd, He asked, “Who touched My clothes?”
His disciples answered, “You can see the crowd pressing in on You, and yet You ask, ‘Who touched Me?’”
But He kept looking around to see who had done this. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him trembling in fear, and she told Him the whole truth.
“Daughter,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you; go in peace and be free of your affliction.”
Spiritually Afflicted: Healing and Faith
Certainly healing and faith are intrinsically linked:
YHWH: “Return, O faithless sons, I will heal [erpah] your faithlessness.”
YHWH: I will heal [erpah] their faithlessness, I will love them freely. For My anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel; It will blossom like the lily, and it will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.
Healing may not mean what we think it does. Healing, in God’s eyes, might be making someone complete, and bringing them home to Heaven. Is that a failure, on God’s part, to heal? No… it’s a blessing. But we have a hard time seeing it that way. When we pray for healing we want someone to be fixed; we want their body to be fixed and patched up so we can continue to love them here on earth. Maybe we should be open to the fact that the greatest healing comes when we get to go to our heavenly home and face our Creator.
If you’ve experienced that profound feeling of losing someone you love, know that God will comforts the mourners:
YHWH: “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him [w’erpa’ehu]; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, creating the praise of the lips. “Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,” says YHWH, “and I will heal him [u’repha’tiw].”
Our God is Healer; He is also our Comforter. For not every time will physical healing, by our understanding, be the answer God chooses to give:
YHWH: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
Yes, we will all die. Our bodies will break down and we will face an end on this earth. God won’t heal our bodies forever because our bodies are just shells, but if you let Him, He will forever heal your soul. In eternity you will be the complete, strong, and vibrant one you were meant to be!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
YHWH builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.
Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.
Healing the brokenhearted relates to mental affliction; binding up wounds relates to physical affliction. But God also heals the spiritually afflicted. If you are suffering from a lack of faith God can heal you… if you are willing to let Him. He is faithful to those who love him. Any lack of faith you struggle with is covered by His complete faithfulness to you:
“And know that YHWH your God, He is God, God the faithful, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
Pray for healing. Pray for physical, mental and spiritual healing for yourself and those you love. But also be open to the fact that what we want is not always what the Creator has planned for us… Sometimes the best healing means going home.
Next week: Heaven