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Don Stewart :: Is the Devil Able to Miraculously Heal the Sick?

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Is the Devil Able to Miraculously Heal the Sick? What about Reports of Healings in Non-christian Religions?

Divine Healing – Question 20

The God of the Bible is a miracle-working God. He is able to heal the sick and infirmed as well as being able to raise the dead. There is no doubt about this. Indeed, from beginning to end, the Bible contains many examples of the Lord healing those who were ailing.

There Is a Personal Devil Who Gives Counterfeit Signs

The Bible also speaks of another spirit-being who is the archenemy of God and humanity. He is known by a number of names including Satan and the devil. Among other things, we are told that He counterfeits the truth of God.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about an individual who comes on the scene of history. This man has the power of the devil. Among other things, he is known as the “man of sin.” The evil individual is described in this manner.

Then the man of sin will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will destroy him by what he says. When the Lord Jesus comes, his appearance will put an end to this man. The man of sin will come with the power of Satan. He will use every kind of power, including miraculous and wonderful signs. But they will be lies (2 Thessalonians 2:8, 9 God’s Word).

Notice that this personage will be able to do miraculous and wonderful signs. While not specifically stated, some people believe that this may include “miracles of healing.” Yet the Bible says that whatever signs this being performs, they will be lies, false signs.

This brings up a crucial question: does the devil have the ability to heal the sick and infirmed? Are supernatural healing miracles attributed to him or is this something which God alone does? There are reports of miracle-healings in non-Christian religions. Should we believe that they actually take place? If Satan can heal through people in religions other than Christianity, then what is the difference between his healing miracles and the miracles of the God of Scripture? What are the answers to these questions?

The God of the Bible Is the Only One Who Heals the Sick

To begin with, it is God alone who heals the sick. The Bible is clear on this matter. Indeed, the Lord has made the following claim concerning Himself and His ability.

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand (Deuteronomy 32:39 ESV).

Note the claims. The Lord says that He is the only God who exists. Indeed, there are no other gods. This is demonstrated in the fact that He kills and makes alive, He wounds and He heals. These abilities belong to Him alone. Since they are unique to Him no other being in the universe, whether angelic or human, can do similar things. This is crucial for us to understand.

Nowhere Are Healing Miracles Specifically Attributed to the Devil

There is something else which we must take note of. While the Bible specifically says that the Lord alone heals the sick and infirmed we never find any specific reference in Scripture of Satan, or the devil, healing someone who is sick or infirmed. Never. While counterfeit signs and wonders are attributed to him and his representatives, healing miracles are never mentioned as one of these signs.

The Healing Miracles of God Were Always for a Purpose

This brings us to a crucial point. Every time we find a miraculous healing in the Bible it is always for a distinct purpose. In other words, we never discover that someone is healed merely for the sake of healing them. Indeed, the miracle healings in Scripture are signs that God exists and that He is in complete control of all things. Healing miracles always testify to this truth as well as giving glory to the God of Scripture.

This can be illustrated with a question that John the Baptist addressed to Jesus. When John the Baptist sent messenger to Jesus to confirm that He was the Messiah, Jesus answered as follows.

Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen–the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor (Matthew 11:4-5 NLT).

To demonstrate that He was the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus performed miracles of healing. John the Baptist, as well as the rest of the people, could now be certain that Jesus was whom He claimed to be.

Why did He perform these miracles of healing in their presence? It is because genuine miracle-working ability belongs to God and Him alone. Satan, who is a created being, does not have that power. Therefore, healing miracles of this sort could not have been performed by any other religious figure. This includes counterfeit healings. Otherwise the people would not be able to determine who was genuinely sent from God and who was not. Thus, the fact that Jesus used healing miracles as evidence that He was the genuine Messiah further indicates that this ability belongs to the God of the Bible and to Him alone.

Satan Performs Counterfeit Signs

Though Satan does not have the ability to perform authentic miracles of healing, he is able to produce counterfeit signs. However, these are deceptive works which he does through his messengers. Indeed, they are not the genuine thing.

The Bible says that the devil brought about certain false signs through his messengers during the period when the children of Israel were making their exodus from Egypt. Scripture says that the sorcerers from Egypt duplicated some of the signs that God performed through His spokesman Moses and his brother Aaron. The Book of Exodus relates the following took place.

Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs (Exodus 7:10,11 ESV).

As we read what took place between Moses and Aaron and the sorcerers of Egypt we discover limited ability on the part of Pharaoh’s men to duplicate the signs of Moses and Aaron.

Yet, they had no ability to cure the sick. On the contrary, one of the plagues against the Egyptians consisted of painful boils. Scripture records that the following took place.

And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the kiln, and let Moses throw them in the air in the sight of Pharaoh. It shall become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and become boils breaking out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.” So they took soot from the kiln and stood before Pharaoh. And Moses threw it in the air, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils came upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians (Exodus 9:8-11 ESV).

The miracle-workers of Pharaoh did not have the ability to heal the Egyptians of this infirmity. Indeed, they could not cure themselves of this ailment! Their power to duplicate God’s signs was limited. They did not have the same ability that God gave to Moses. They certainly did not have the ability to heal the sick and infirmed.

The Lord Had to Grant Satan Permission to Harm Job

In another illustration of the limited ability of the devil, we find that Satan actually had to ask the Lord for permission to harm the patriarch Job. The Bible says.

Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless–a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.” Satan replied to the LORD, “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!” (Job 2:3-5 NLT).

Since the devil had to ask permission to harm Job this shows he has no power over sickness or infirmities; whether to inflict disease upon someone or to heal them. Any authority which he may have has to be granted by the Lord.

Therefore, any so-called miraculous healing sign which Satan is able to do must have God’s approval beforehand. Otherwise he cannot do it. Period.

Are There Genuine Healing Miracles in Non-Christian Religions?

From the evidence we find in Scripture we must conclude that the God of the Bible alone has the ability to heal the sick and infirmed. So what do we make of the reports of miraculous cures performed by those in non-Christian religions? People, such as witch doctors, supposedly have performed miracles. Miracles of healing have also been attributed to other religious leaders. Should we reject them as truly having occurred?

Yes we should. According to Scripture, a genuine healing miracle not only defies the normal course of nature it always testifies to the God of the Bible. In other words, miracles or healing never take place merely for the sake of bringing the person back to health. Indeed, they always occur to give testimony to God and His power. Otherwise there is no healing miracle.

Furthermore, “claims” of miracle-healing are not the same as proof. To be a genuine miracle, one must offer evidence that cannot be denied. This is where the so-called healing miracles in non-Christian religions fail. Nobody doubted the healing miracles of Jesus Christ. The same cannot be said for healing miracles in non-Christian religions. In fact, there is no compelling evidence that the do indeed take place. The devil cannot miraculously heal the sick.

Summary – Question 20
Is the Devil Able to Miraculously Heal the Sick? What about Reports of Healings in Non-christian Religions?

The God of Scripture has worked miracles of healing. Indeed, Scripture makes it clear that supernatural healing miracles have been performed by Him in the past. This is well-documented in both testaments. Furthermore, nothing stops Him today from supernaturally healing the sick and infirmed whenever He decides to do so.

The Bible also says that there is a personal evil spirit-being known as Satan of the devil. Among other things, the Bible says that he performs counterfeit signs through his messengers. Some people even claim that the devil, like God, has the ability to supernaturally heal the sick. Therefore, we can find miraculous healings in non-Christian religions through these representatives of the devil. Does the Bible teach this?

It does not. In fact, the only genuine healing miracles that have ever been performed have had their origin in the God of the Bible. Scripture makes it clear that God, and God alone has the ability to heal the sick. No other being, human or angelic, can do this

This is illustrated in the life of Jesus Christ. In responding to questions about John the Baptist, Jesus specifically referred to His miracles to support the claim that He was the long-awaited Christ. They were confirmation that He was indeed the One whom He claimed to be. Since Jesus used these healing signs as compelling evidence that He was the Messiah we should not expect to find them anywhere else. Otherwise how would anyone be able to determine who was sent from God and who was not?

On the other hand, Satan has never performed a genuine miracle of healing. Indeed, while he is said to have performed “counterfeit signs,” Scripture has never attributed a healing miracle to him.

We find an example of this in the story of the Exodus of Israel from Egypt. The Bible says that Pharaoh’s sorcerers were able to duplicate some of the early signs which Moses and Aaron performed. However, when the Lord sent a plague of irritating boils on the Egyptians the sorcerers could not duplicate this. Neither could they cure anyone of these boils; including themselves. This further illustrates the limitations of the power of Satan. He has no power over disease.

In the case of Job, Satan had to ask permission of God to harm Job. This further highlights the fact that the devil can do nothing toward humanity without God allowing it. Therefore, miracles of healing are not something he is able to do and God does not give him permission to do them.

There is one more important thing to stress. Healing miracles always occur for a specific purpose. Indeed, they always are done to further the program of God. Thus, unless there is a specific purpose for the miracle of healing, it will not take place.

Therefore, any reports of healing in non-Christian religions should be rejected simply because they do not testify to the God of the Bible nor do they further His plans. Consequently, Satan does not, and cannot, perform miraculous healings. In fact, there is no compelling evidence that satanic healing miracles have ever taken place.

Why Does James Tell Sick People to Be Anointed with Oil? ← Prior Section
What Would Constitute a Modern-Day Miraculous Healing? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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