The issue of healing has been discussed broadly throughout human history, with different societies taking varying positions. As a result, the issue remains debatable, regarding how people perceive healing and how these views influence their healing options. It is believed that whether traditional or modern, every person has to undergo a healing process, mostly from bodily sickness in life (Muse & Moore, 2010).
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It is evident that perceptions towards healing have significantly changed, mainly because of modernity and advancement in medicine. Modern methods of treating disease have influenced people’s beliefs towards the topic of healing. In some cases, ancient approaches have been dropped to embrace current ways of restoring the wellbeing of individuals and ensuring that the society remains free from infections (Paterson, Albala, McCahill & Edwards, 2006).
The issue of healing has also been deeply discussed in religious circles. This is based on the fact that almost every religion in the world holds a unique stance, regarding the whole idea of healing (Purselle, Nemeroff & Jongsma, 2003). From Buddhists to Christians, healing dominates most of their teachings, with followers of a particular religion being taught the implication of suffering, diseases and the healing process from a divine point of view.
This essay mainly focuses on healing, miracles, and prayer from a Jewish point of views. Importantly, these findings will be appraised from a biblical and theological stance. In addition, the synthesis will draw insights from Brad Scott’s movie, In My Flesh I See God, in order to achieve a clear understanding of the issue. Moreover, views of Mike Clayton and Paul Nison will be assimilated in the analysis as a way of establishing better understanding of healing.
Healing and Prayer from a Messianic/Jewish perspective
As witnessed in other faiths and traditions, Judaism equally has a wide coverage on the topic of healing and prayer. Most of these beliefs are centered around illness and suffering, and what people have to know when looking for comfort and guidance based on the existing circumstances (Wickens, 2009).
Nevertheless, some of these beliefs and practices have continuously evolved throughout human history, with people gaining a wider understanding of healing and prayer. From a Jewish perspective, healing is a broad segment of one’s life, which integrates several aspects, including but not limited to prayer, meditation, songs and story-telling. In some cases, the use of names is also commonly practiced, where individuals dealing with serious illnesses are given a third name (Kavanaugh, n.d.).
According to Jewish beliefs, a name plays a major role, in restoring a person’s spirituality and identity. It is therefore believed that naming of individuals when they are under serious illness, should be aimed at restoring the spirit through the reaffirmation of the soul. Changing of names is common, when one is faced with a serious illness, which is considered as atonement in the presence of their maker.
In past centuries, some Jews believed that changing of the name was equivalent to deceiving the Angel of Death (Steinberg, n.d.). By gaining a new identity, it was believed that Jews reunited with God through the renewal of the covenant that was to be accompanied with healing from God.
Prayer is equally an important pillar, according to Jewish teachings. In fact, it is considered as a link between man and God, through which the needs and tribulations of man are known to God. Jews believe that healing comes from God, by answering a healing prayer, usually made by those who are sick (Flam, 1994).
Through prayer, sick people ask for courage and patience during suffering in order to acknowledge the healing power of God. Furthermore, a healing prayer made by Jews usually reaffirms the connection between man and God in sustaining the sick by replenishing their spirit and giving them hope for the future (Prince, 2009).
More importantly, the Bible affirms several forms of healing practiced by the Jewish and their use of prayer in connecting with God during serious sickness. On their way to Canaan, Israelites encountered a wide range of challenges, which included snake bites and diseases (Squidoo, 2012).
With regard to snake bites, many people lost their lives, after traditional healers failed to restore their health using herbs. As the leader of the people, Moses consulted God, who gave him a silver snake that became a source of instant or miraculous healing. With regard to the healing of the spirit and mind, other alternative approaches are also affirmed in the Bible. For instance, Saul’s evil spirits always calmed whenever he listened to music played by David (Doetzel, 2005).
From a Jewish point of view, the Bible contains several instances, in which healing and prayer are discussed. As the Supreme Being and maker of heaven and earth, God is believed to have power over everything, including human beings. As a result, there is nothing, which is impossible before God, including healing of serious illnesses (Rosner, 2002). Through these biblical scriptures, Jews are reminded that God is the healer of all diseases and giver of life and good health (Exodus 15:26).
From the Old Testament to the New Testament of the Bible, cases of healing are numerous, with each exalting the supreme power of God (Schindler, 1982). For instance, the ministry of Jesus Christ, which forms the basis of the New Testament, covers several cases where he prayed for the sick and healed them in the name of God, the Father.
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Apostle Paul also demonstrates the healing power of God by emphasizing that healing is mainly by faith and that God has invested His healing power in people (1 Corinthians 12:9). Through raising of the dead and healing the sick, it is evident that healing comes from God through prayer, by acknowledging Him as the source of life.
What the Bible says about Miracles from a Messianic/Jewish perspective
The issue of miracles has remained controversial throughout history, with the Bible recording countless instances of miracles performed by God through His chosen people. A miracle is generally considered as a sign, which is used by God to portray His omnipotent nature to the world. In fact, the first miracles, which have remained significant, occurred when the Jews were escaping slavery in Egypt. Most of these early miracles were performed by leaders, who had been chosen by God (Jacobs, n.d.).
Moses was one of these leaders, who witnessed and performed miracles for the Jews to believe in the Supreme God. Among these miracles included, the burning bush that was never consumed, the ten plagues and the separation of the Red Sea as the Jews were being pursued by Pharaoh’s army. Notably, the Red Sea miracle has remained significant in the lives of Jews and is marked annually (Garber, 2010).
In understanding the Jewish perspective on miracles, it is important to note that the Bible is full of miracles, which were performed to reveal the power of God, cutting across, from the Old Testament to the New Testament. In the Old Testament, miracles were mainly performed by kings, prophets and leaders appointed by God (Taylor, 2000).
On the other hand, miracles recorded in the New Testament were mainly performed by Jesus, his disciples and apostles. Nevertheless, they had a significant role in Jews’ believe in God as the Supreme Being.
From a Jewish perspective, miracles usually indicate God’s intervention in a given situation. As mentioned before, the whole issue of miracles has always been a source of controversy in several religions around the world (Licona & Watt, 2009).
Some people believe that miracles can equally be explained using natural terms, even though they are always considered to be divine. Despite these discrepancies, miracles are still recognized in Jewish religion. Some of the scriptures however have been interpreted variedly, drawing arguments from people. A good example is the Talmudic debate, which triggers opposing positions from Jewish believers.
In discussing the issue of miracles from a Jewish perspective, it is worth noting that, the question of whether miracles happened and still happen is of paramount significance. In fact, some people believe that events, which were considered as miracles in the past can easily be understood and synthesized using laws of nature (Swenson, 2011). Modern Jews rarely relate the occurrence of extraordinary events to the existence of supernatural power. However, their faith in God cannot give them a chance to denounce the occurrence of miracles.
In my flesh I see God
Brad Scott discusses how the Hebrew language is founded in the creation of God. He argues that the Bible of is heavily woven by the Hebrew language through agriculture and biology, an analogy, which he attributes to the revelation of God’s power, through His word. In other words, Scott is keen to show the presence of the word of God in agriculture, through its design and how it is embedded in human DNA.
Furthermore, he is determined to explore the role of agriculture and biology in human life by noting that man relies on several plants as a source of medicines to cure several diseases. When a tree is produces good fruits, this could be likened to the word of God. Whereas the word of God viewed as words full of wisdom, a good seed can only be obtained from agriculture. Importantly, the word of God changes its form once an individual dies (Scott, 2010).
This can also be drawn from the book of Job, to Scott compares his discussion. He notes that the flesh was meant to be preserved regardless of the tribulations and pain. The division of people into distinct languages is echoed by Scott even though these people may be living on the same island, partitioned according to their language. For the continuity of life, families have been scattered across the world. In the New Testament, Jesus emphasized on the need of depending on the word of God and not bread alone.
How does this compare to healing? The Jewish depended on agricultural products as a source of alternative healing products. This implies that experts considered medicinal healing to be the most preferred before considering other forms of healing like divine healing, channeled through prayers to God (Scott, 2010).
In the clip, it speaker affirms that God heals the sick through prayer and gives direction in the identification of the most appropriate plants and animals in treating various diseases. Additionally, God does not destroy life and the soul. He allowed Job to be tormented physically, but his soul remained untouched until his health was restored.
Food as medicine to heal the body (Biblical perspective)
Perhaps the best medicine to heal our bodies is food, which is found from plants and animals. God created man and gave him dominion over everything on earth. This power also included the permission to use part of His creation as food. When food is eaten, the body benefits by absorbing relevant nutrients, which utilized in several ways, including the protection of the body from some infections or healing of illnesses (Jackson, 1923).
Nevertheless, Jesus warned that man should only depend on food but also on the word of God. In essence, healing does not come from food alone, despite the fact that it might be a source of healing. One has to appreciate what God says about healing and what has to be done before divine healing is guaranteed.
According to Mike Clayton, the understanding of the word of God is quite important. The interpretation and meaning of the word of God has to be governed with standards that are based on its original meaning and language. He noted that serious errors occur when different standards and scales are applied to interpret God’s word. For instance, the modern world has substituted these standards with theological teachings, which have created a gap between God and man, as a result of misinterpreting the Bible.
God’s teachings can therefore be honored if proper principles are observed, which restrict the consumption of some food because of the presence of impurities. The concept of food as medicine is well depicted from the life of Paul Nison, who survived death by resorting to balanced diet. This was after Nilson had tried all forms of healing in vain (Nison, 2010).
Several religions equally recognize food as a source of healing. For instance, Jews are required to adhere to the kosher. In general, kosher allows Jewish believers to feed on food, which is free from fats (Eby, 2011). It is obvious that high level of fats in the body is unhealthy and may lead to complications such as obesity and high blood pressure.
The Torah gives guidelines, regarding food consumptions, with believers being asked to exercise self –control in choosing what to eat. The Seventh Day Adventist church also restricts eats from eating certain foods, which are considered unclean or unhealthy. They include pork, alcohol, tobacco, coffee and shellfish among others.
From the above analysis, it is evident that healing is a debatable issue, which is well documented in the Bible and a common element in the Jewish religion. According to the bible, healing comes from God. This stance is also affirmed by Jews when they pray to God to intervene in their sickness. With regard to miracles, they form the basis of the support for the existence of God even though they are viewed variedly.
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