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False Signs and Wonders in the Last Days

We’re continuing to look at the Apostle Paul’s insight into life in the Last Days before the return of Christ.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.  They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
II Thessalonians 2:9-12

Paul goes on to tell us that these times will end in a Day of Judgment.  Of course, that’s what Jesus taught as well.

According to this passage, Satan will be very active.  There will be all kinds of unholy signs, wonders, and miracles.  There’s going to be a display of Satan’s power like never before.

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:8

I like what Paul says here because it tells us the triumph that Christ will have over the lawless.  But there’s more to look forward to.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.  They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

Paul says that there are going to be counterfeit miracles.  That gives me hope, because if there’s going to be counterfeit miracles, then there’s going to be the real thing, as well.

Remember what Jesus said.  The wheat and the weeds are going to grow together, blossom together, and mature together.  That means that if Satan is doing his worse, then God will be doing His best.

Some people ask, “How can Satan do miracles?  What kind of miracles does he do?”   The same things God does.  Satan can perform healings as well as other powerful signs and wonders.  Even today we’re seeing a rise in these things.  There are psychic “hotlines” throughout many different media outlets that attract thousands of people.

Maybe you thought that Satan could only do bad things.  Let me explain it to you.

Pretend that I came to your house tonight under cover of darkness.  While you were asleep, I broke into your house.  I then proceeded to empty your wallet, your cash box, and other valuables.  Let’s say that I stole a thousand dollars from your house.

You wake up in the morning and you’re horrified.  You see the window broken into and all your money is gone.  Later on that day, we run into each other.  You exclaim, “You don’t know what happened to me last night!  I was robbed.  A thousand dollars was taken.  Somebody broke in and stole my money.”

What if I then tell you how awful I feel about your loss?  I tell you that I just feel like blessing you.  I then reach in my wallet, and I take out the thousand dollars I stole from you and say, “Here, you take this with my blessing.”

You’ll then walk away thinking that I’m the most wonderful person in the world.  You never realized that I was the one who took your money to begin with.  I stole it from you, and then I gave it back.

In the same way, if Satan stole your health, he can give it back if it suits his purposes.  Don’t be deceived by the traps laid out by the enemy in these Last Days.  Only Jesus Christ is The Healer.  He’s the only One worthy of putting our trust in.

Question: How have you witnessed a rise in demonic activity in our generation?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on November 5, 2018 in Healing, Return of Christ, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Mercy for Healing

There are certain words that we use in the church that have become watered down.  We use them a lot without really understanding their Biblical significance.

As we continue through the Gospel of Mark, we will talk about one of these words – mercy.

Then they came to Jericho.  As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Mark 10:46-48

The first thing I see in this passage is that this man believed something about Jesus.  His faith was so strong that a crowd of people couldn’t turn him from his course.

We need to know the whole story.  There’s a reason why we’re told that he was the son of Timaeus.  The Hebrew word, timaeus, means to be spiritually unclean or defiled.  He had carried the stigma of this his entire life.

The crowd looked at him and saw the son of a defiled, worthless father.  They couldn’t see any reason that Jesus would bother with someone like him.

What made the difference was that Bart knew the truth about the Lord.  It’s manifest in the words that he shouted.

“Jesus, Son of David.”  That was the title he used in calling the Lord.  That was a Messianic title.  It means that Bart was trusting Christ as the Messiah and Savior of Israel.  He was coming to Jesus because of who He was, and not just because he wanted a healing.

This blind man had been praying and meditating on the words of Christ.  How do I know this?  Even the disciples of the Lord only knew He was Messiah because of a revelation from God (Matthew 16:15-17).  So, in spite of his blindness, this man was spiritually sensitive.

“Have mercy on me!”  This is the key to the whole passage.  He wanted to be healed, yet asked for mercy.  Our generation has no concept of what this word means in the Bible.

Mercy is the favor God shows to His obedient sons and daughters.  It’s the privilege of sonship.  For a more detailed teaching on mercy, click here.

What this shows me is that Bart did not choose to identify with his earthly, unclean, father.  Instead, he found his place as a son of Abraham.  Thus, he had the right to call upon the Messiah as his Lord and Healer.  The Lord responded to his cry.

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet!  He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Mark 10:49-52

This is very applicable to us in our generation.  How do we approach God?  Do we come to Him based upon our need?

We should come to Christ on the basis of who He is.  Lord, Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer, etc.  We should also see ourselves correctly – as a child of God – holy and righteous in His sight.  This makes all the difference.

Question: How does your view of Jesus and yourself affect your ability to receive from God?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Faith, Healing, Sonship

 

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Healing Priority

There are those who don’t believe that Jesus paid the price for all to be healed.  That goes against everything that the Lord and His disciples taught in the New Testament.  This incident in the life of Christ is an example of how Jesus viewed it.

Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.  He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.  In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet.  The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia.  She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
Mark 7:24-26

Here we see that a Gentile woman had a daughter with a demon, manifesting itself through a serious sickness.  When she heard that Jesus was in her area, she went to Him.  The woman was desperate for her daughter to be healed and she begged Jesus to do something about it.

“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
Mark 7:27

In Jesus’ response, the Bible literally says that it’s not proper etiquette, not right in appearance to give her the children’s bread.  Of course, God never worried about surface appearances.  Jesus had no problem eating with tax-collectors and prostitutes.

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”
She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Mark 7:28-30

Some of the other Gospel writers say that the little girl was healed from that moment.  Many people use this for an example of supernatural healing, but there’s more going on than meets the eye.  Some teachers look at this and say that the daughter was healed because the woman had great faith.  So, therefore, it takes great faith for healing.  NO!!!!  We sometimes miss the whole point.

According to Jesus, healing is the children’s bread.  In this response, we can see God’s priority.

Did you hear what the Lord said in verse 27, above?  First, fill up the children with all they want to eat.  In other words; first heal the church, then the world.  So in this statement of Christ, we see two kinds of healing.

The first is a covenant healing which is by right.  I’m not trying to be arrogant when I say this.  He calls us His children.  Parents obligate themselves to feed their children.  God decided to do it this way.  It’s all a part of a normal faith relationship.

The other healing is for those outside the covenant, by special faith.  This is because it originally takes faith to enter the covenant.  A majority of Jesus’ ministry was covenant healing.

The sick person came to the Lord, He laid hands on them, and they left healed.  There was no stirring up of their faith required – He just did it.

That’s because healing was a part of the covenant that God’s people had entered into.  A quick search of the words heal and healing will show the many places that God promises to heal His people in the Old Covenant.

At this point, we’ve entered a Better Covenant.  Through the blood of Christ, we have the fulfillment and not just the shadow.  How much more does the Lord desire to bring healing to those who are in Christ?

As I’ve said before, the church needs a greater understanding of Jesus Christ the Healer.  For a fuller explanation of divine healing, click here.

Question: How do you see the New Covenant as being better than the Old?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2018 in Faith, Healing, Power of God

 

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The Trial of Sickness

As we continue our look at Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we come to a point where the Apostle makes a personal comment.  He speaks about his first visit to that area.  He was the first to bring the message of Christ to these people.

I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong.  As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.  Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn.  Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.  What has happened to all your joy?  I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
Galatians 4:12-15 (NIV)

Paul brought the Gospel to this region.  When they heard it, they accepted it as from the Lord, Himself.  They turned to Christ wholeheartedly and were saved.  Paul has a fond memory of this time.

But there is a controversy surrounding this passage.  There are those who use it as a proof text to show that God doesn’t want to heal everyone.  They say that this verse shows that Paul suffered from an ongoing eye problem that was never healed.  And, therefore, healing isn’t for everybody.

I believe that Jesus Christ paid for our healing on the cross.  It’s freely available to all who believe.  For a more in-depth look at this subject, you can read my Healing 101 Series and my Healing 201 Series.

For now, I simply want to look at what Paul is actually saying in this passage.  Normally I like the NIV translation because of its simple language.  In this case, however, it hasn’t been very accurate with the original Greek.

I believe that the NKJV is closer to the original.

You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.  And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
Galatians 4:13-14 (NKJV)

In these verses, Paul refers to the sickness in two ways.  He first calls it an infirmity in his flesh.  The next thing he calls it is a trial in his flesh.  This is a very important statement in understanding sickness.

Remember this – trials are NEVER meant to be permanent.  Paul said that it was – past tense – in his flesh.  By referring to his sickness as a trial that happened in the past, he is also testifying that his healing has already manifested.  He has no permanent, ongoing eye problem.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

What is the end goal of a trial?  To bring you to the place where you’re not lacking anything.  Are you lacking health?  Consider it a trial bringing you to a place where you’re physically healed and whole.

Christ is the Healer.  Paul believed it.  James believed it.  I believe it.  Don’t let anyone, who doubts the Scripture, steal your joy.  Jesus paid the price for your healing.  Trust Him to bring it to pass.

Question: Do you have a testimony of God’s healing power?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2017 in Faith, Healing, The Gospel

 

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Where Did We Lose It?

SunriseIn my last post, I talked about divine healing from James’ perspective. It sounds to me, from his writings, that he had a 100% success rate in the area of praying for the sick. Without a doubt the early church had a higher walk than we do. The miraculous was an everyday occurrence.

But, if you think about it, that’s to be expected. If we look at the life of Jesus, we see the exact same thing. He had a 100% healing rate as well.

The example of Jesus. There is no hint, in the Gospel record, of anyone coming to Him for healing and leaving disappointed. We are the ones who make excuses for not being healed.

“Maybe this is the only way God could teach me a lesson.”

There’s no record of Jesus ever refusing to heal someone because He wanted them to “learn something” they couldn’t get any other way. Praise God that you got closer to the Lord during your illness. We learn many things during times of affliction. But to think that the reason you’re not healed was for the purpose of teaching you something, goes against the clear Word of God.

The example of the disciples. From the Scripture we know that the disciples had a front row seat in observing the life of Christ. They ate, slept and traveled with Him. They saw His highs and lows. They saw Him with the crowds, as well as how He lived His life in private.

He was their example for how they were to live their lives after He returned to the Father. It’s not surprising, then, that the apostles of Christ also had a 100% healing rate in the Scriptures. There’s no hint that they ever prayed for someone with no results.

The next generation. The power of the Lord manifest through His people didn’t even end there. The next generation of believers – those first saved under the apostles – had the same success. Men like Paul, Philip, James and Jude walked in the power of the Spirit to a degree we can’t even imagine.

Were they any different from us? Was their God different from our God? No way! That’s what led me to ask the question – is something missing?

Where we lost it. It wasn’t until the next generation of believers that we start to see a change taking place in the life of the church. In talking to the Corinthians, Paul makes note of the fact that they were acting in carnality – like a bunch of babies. He then makes the following indictment.

That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 11:30

This was not an acknowledgement of what church should be like. Rather, it was a warning that something was wrong and needed fixing.

It should also serve as a warning to us. It should drive to seek the Lord and the power of His presence. It should bring us to a place of seeking and listening in the spirit.

Question: How much are you willing to change in order to position yourself for the next move of God?

© 2016 Nicolas Zaccardi

 
 

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Healing Principles – Intercession

HandsThis will be my last post on the principles that govern the healing that Christ provided for us on the cross. In my last article we saw how healing is based upon a Word from God. We need to really grasp this point.

Healing is not based upon my need. Neither is it based upon my love for the sick person or my desire to see them get well. Healing is initiated by a Word from God for me to take authority over that sickness.

That explains what James said in his letter.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:16

We see two important thoughts in this verse. First of all there’s confession of need. I already talked about this one in a former post in this series. If nobody knows about your sickness, how can they be in prayer for you?

The word confess literally means to speak out where you’ve missed the mark. This includes if you are missing the mark of God’s perfect health.

The second thought is just as important, yet highly overlooked in our generation. James says to pray for one another for healing. I believed that we’ve totally misunderstood what he’s saying here.

He’s not talking about laying hands on people to bring healing. This verse is speaking about our daily routines. We should be praying and interceding for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Then, from time to time we will receive a Word for someone’s healing…or other situations they may be going through.

The last line of this verse clinches that for me. It says that the energized prayer of the righteous is a mighty force.

Energized prayer – I believe he can only be talking about prayer in the spirit by using that term. Paul talks about it in that way as well.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Romans 8:26

When I intercede in the spirit for my fellow believers, I’m praying beyond my limited knowledge. Then the Holy Spirit is free to give me a Word for their healing. That’s the precise way that the healing ministry of Jesus took place.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
John 5:19

The whole ministry of Jesus was Word based. He heard from the Father, and then did what He saw. Of course, that meant spending a large amount of time in the spirit, listening to the Father’s voice. That’s the biggest hurdle for us. We need to take the time necessary to operate at this level.

I believe that the day is coming when the church will finally be so upset by our lack of power, that we’ll press in and learn to hear God clearly. That’s what will initiate the final harvest before the coming of the Lord.

We need to be a people of prayer. Prayer in the spirit and intercession for others should be a part of our daily walk. This will bring us to where we need to be as God’s people.

Question: What would the church look like if this was in place?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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Healing Principles – The Word

BeamI’m taking a few posts to talk about the Biblical principles surrounding divine healing. I believe that God wants to use the church to the same degree that Christ healed the sick when He walked the earth. The problem is that we don’t understand all of the things involved.

One big key to healing is found in the book of James.

Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
James 5:14-15

I feel that in this modern age we really don’t get what James means by the prayer of faith. I get the impression that we think it’s all about quoting the Bible and tacking on “in Jesus name” at the end. James has a whole different perspective.

Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
James 5:17-18

The example he uses is Elijah stopping the rain from falling in Israel. What would cause him to do something like that? There’s an assumed chain of events that led to his famous prayer.

He was at home, in prayer, when suddenly he heard a Word from God. That’s the only explanation for the boldness he had. God spoke to him and said that the rain would stop when he delivered the message to the king.

This is the very example that James uses to illustrate healing prayer. The assumption is that to pray this kind of prayer, you must have heard from heaven. It’s based upon hearing a Word from God.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

This verse literally says that faith comes by hearing the rhemaWord of God. That’s the Word that God Himself speaks to us. But in order to hear this Word, we have to spend time in His presence listening to His Spirit.

That’s what we find so hard to do in this generation. We want everything to come instantly. No waiting on the Lord in prayer. We just want the perfect spiritual formula that will assure us the answer every time we pray it.

Unfortunately that’s not how God operates. Over and over again in the Scripture we see that healing is associated with receiving a Word from God.

He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
Psalms 107:20

If we want to see more healings in the body of Christ then we have to do it His way. We must spend more time in prayer and prayer in the spirit. That’s how we will position ourselves to hear from God. Faith will rise within us. Then the Word of healing that we speak will be powerful and effective.

Question: How have you seen divine healing operate through God’s people?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Faith, Healing, Prayer, Word of God

 

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