Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. – Matthew 7:17-19
As people who are trying to walk on a more Torah-observant path, many of us have done a good job of cutting out the old pagan and idolatrous practices that had crept into the church over the years. It has been inspiring to watch so many who have honestly evaluated their traditions and, sometimes at great personal cost, stepped away from those that were ungodly in origin.
But let’s think about it for a minute – do we believe that when we turn our backs on these things, the enemy gives up trying to trick us into participating with idolatrous practices? Or might he be concentrating his efforts on sneaking unnoticed into other areas of our lives?
My concern today has to do with some of the “alternative” healing methods that seem to be very common in Messianic circles. They are setting off my discernment alarm bells.
This post is probably going to step on some toes, so please take a minute right now to pray and ask for discernment before reading any further . . . really. Here’s a jump start: Father, we ask for your grace and mercy as we explore this area of healing. We ask that you would give us discernment so that we can abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. Amen.
Not many years ago, I was the “go-to gal” on homeopathic remedies in my little circle. I was the one all my friends would call when they needed to know what remedy to give for what symptom. I had books on homeopathy and I never went anywhere without my kit at my side, ready to treat whatever ailments arose in my children. We did muscle testing (applied kinesiology), cranial-sacral therapy, herbs, vitamins, essential oils, and were up for trying plenty more. When a friend, teaching a class on the spiritual roots of disease, raised some good points, I started to ask tough questions. Soon, there were some scriptures that made sense to me in a new way.
BASIC VERSES ON HEALING
If you diligently heed the voice of the L-rd your G-d and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the L-rd who heals you. – Exodus 15:26
Torah folks usually agree that it’s important to keep commandments and statutes. But we also tend to take back responsibility on ourselves or our doctors or alternative practitioners when it comes to healing, and then many of us apply some kind of worldly wisdom to heal ourselves.
What else does G-d say?
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the ekklesia, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the L-rd. – James 5:14
We are told to place our healing in the hands of our elders – and priests, in the name of HaShem. Yeshua, after healing lepers, told them to show themselves to the priests to confirm their healing and purify themselves according to the law of Moses. Other than an often cursory prayer request, our “default” these days is to go to the doctor or the cabinet full of herbs and oils when we get sick. We only take the matter to the elders when the doctors tell us they have nothing left to offer, but this trust in doctors is misplaced, according to the Word that is our standard. Consider the following:
Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. – Mark 5:25-26
Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. – Luke 8:43-44
Unfortunately, this woman has a history like many of us, who have spent money we can ill afford on treatments that will not help us.
And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the L-rd, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign. – 2 Chronicles 16:12-13
Over the course of two years of illness, Asa, who had been victorious with G-d’s help in other areas, didn’t seek Him for healing, and this is given as the reason that he died.
WHAT KINDS OF THERAPY?
Let’s consider the question, “How we determine whether a therapy is something we should try?” A common response is that we first investigate (often through reading testimonials or hearing a teaching) to determine whether it “works” or not. But if our plumb line is the Holy Scripture, then there are some OTHER questions we should really be asking first. Like “is this a fitting place for a child of G-d to look for healing?”
If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 13:1-3
Woe to the rebellious children, says the L-rd, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin. That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion. – Isaiah 30:1-3
MANY of the healing modalities being practiced today by believers have their origins in Egypt. From what I understand, Egypt had a HUGE medical community that was incredibly skilled in the use of herbs and remedies. They were able to embalm bodies to preserve them for “the afterlife,” even before Joseph’s day; but they were plagued by disease.
Look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. – Isaiah 36:6
For more on Egypt, its diseases and healing modalities, look here: Healing in Egypt.
Behold, the L-rd rides on a swift cloud,
And will come into Egypt;
The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence,
And the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. – Isaiah 19:1
The ultimate test is NOT whether or not the therapy “works.” Because we have an eternal perspective, we have to ask ourselves what the source of power is, that we are tapping into, and if there might be any negative spiritual impact on us from that. There is such a thing as false signs and wonders, and we need to pray for discernment, so that we don’t fall into deception.
Holistic medicine is dangerous, because it treats the “whole” person – body, soul AND spirit, according to its claims. It is one thing to treat the symptoms of the body, and another to tap into the spiritual powers of another religion for “spiritual healing,” as many alternative therapies claim to do.
“Empty your thoughts, let them be free and peaceful” is NEVER a command anywhere is scripture. That is unplugging the judgement G-d gave you and opening a door for some other spirit being to take up residence. We are asked to bring every thought into captivity under the lordship of Messiah, and to give up our own control in favor of faith and trust, but these are conscious acts of submission. He asks us to trust Him, and give up our cares and worries to Him, but never to empty our minds. “Inviting” anything is the same. If you “invite healing” or “invite the spirit” of whatever, that IS what you are doing.
Going back to the scripture at the top of this article, we need to apply the question of origins to all our healing techniques. It’s all about the roots. If a bad tree cannot produce good fruit, then we need to make sure we are not eating fruit from a bad tree. All it takes, these days, is a quick search on google, for “origins” and “(fill in your therapy of choice)”.
Anything “ayurvedic” is based in Hinduism. It is promoted by the same people who are doing “yogic flying” (aka transcendental meditation/astral projection). Out it goes. This includes oil pulling and neti pots, folks. Both are Ayurvedic healing techniques. Cast those bad trees onto your healing technique bonfire! Trust that your loving Creator has another way for you to be healed.
Essential oils – yes, they smell good. And they are being promoted as a “Biblical” type of healing. But a little bit of research turns up some very disturbing things about the founder of YLEO. A Critical Look. Just a few of the points raised here: his medical education claims are fraudulent, he and his team have reportedly been responsible for the deaths of several people – including that of his own child, and he’s on his third marriage. Though he fraudulently claims to be a doctor, he makes no claim of Christianity or Judaism. He also claims to have learned his “raindrop therapy” technique from a Native American medicine man – who wants no responsibility for what he is teaching. His own website says he has altered his technique so many times that his staff can’t keep up. This is bad company. This man has no moral compass, let alone a relationship with our one true G-d. Can this tree bear good fruit?
Look up the origins of essential oil therapy, and guess what? Egypt – and China and India (again, as an “integral part of Ayurvedics”). History of Essential Oils. I seriously doubt this is what the Bible is talking about the elders doing when they anoint you with oil.
There are even therapies being used by otherwise Torah-pursuant believers, that were originated by folks who openly say that they were consulting “spirit guides.” I hope this is as disturbing to you as it is to me. If not, maybe take another look at Deuteronomy 18.
I highly recommend this article for a scriptural perspective, if you have ever used or looked into Energy Medicine.
WHAT IS OCCULTISM?
By definition, occultism is something that holds itself up as the answer, but is covering (occluding) the real answer. In the spirit realm, according to the Be In Health ministry, occultism comes from fear. We are afraid of the stuff that attacks our bodies, so we want to control that stuff. Anything that we engage in, to control symptoms and attempt to cover ourselves would fit under this category. Our job as believers is to OBEY, and trust Him to cover us. When I was so preoccupied with figuring out for myself which therapies to use and how to implement them for each and every ailment, my focus was on that, and I had no time for other pursuits I knew the Father had called me to, because I was too busy using my “free” time to pursue this knowledge.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me.'” – Exodus 8:1
I was also trusting in this other stuff as my healer. Once I realized that my knee-jerk reaction to sickness was to go to these remedies instead of the G-d I ostensibly worshiped, I realized I was holding these modalities up as idols in my heart.
“For the L-rd shall judge his people . . . and he shall say, ‘Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.'” – Deuteronomy 32:36-38
HERBS USED IN SCRIPTURE
There are some godly uses in scripture of what could be called “herbal remedies,” but interestingly, they do not come from man’s knowledge. In the desert, when the children of Israel came to water that was bitter, G-d told Moses how to deal with it by throwing a nearby tree into the water.
“And he cried unto the L-rd, and the L-rd showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, and said, ‘If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the L-rd thy G-d, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the L-rd that healeth thee.'” – Exodus 15:24-26
I would call that an herbal remedy, but whether there was something in the tree that effected the healing of the waters, or it was just a test of obedience, I don’t know. It’s up to Him – not Moses, and not me.
Other examples of this would be in 2 Kings 2, where Elisha heals the waters of Jericho with salt, and 2 Kings 4, where Elisha is feeding the prophets, and they cry out that there is “death in the pot.” Elisha throws in a handful of flour that fixes it right up.
I don’t know about you, but I find these instances encouraging! They reassure me that our heavenly Father has everything under control, and brings to mind 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but G-d is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
When we have a test and take that opportunity to look to Him for help, He will provide the remedies we need, and they will be something common and nearby that He will use for our healing, not “a hair from the great Cham’s beard.”
The Father has more important things for believers to be worried about than running after the purest, most potent, organic South American jungle plant that has been sold to us as THE thing that will cure our ailments. The enemy is the one who wants to keep us busy with running to and fro after things that will waste our time and potential for eternal profit. Egypt, in scripture, is a place of slavery. Did you ever notice how many people who get sucked in to the world of healing and remedies never find just one answer, but are kept forever chasing their tails for the next treatment, whether for themselves or others? While no doubt well-intentioned, if our loving Father has a simpler remedy to offer, why not take Him up on it, and go on about His business? Leave the Greek thinkers to their heroic quests, and pursue the living G-d!
Too many remedies that call for things like “eye of newt” and “root of hemlock, digged in the dark,” as rendered in Macbeth, are nothing less than witchcraft – which brings us to our next point.
Did you know that the Greek word from which we derive “pharmacy” is the same word used for “witchcraft” in the Apostolic scriptures?
Here’s the Strong’s entry:
5331. farmakei÷a pharmakeia, far-mak-i´-ah; from 5332; medication (“pharmacy”), i.e. (by extension) magic (literally or figuratively): — sorcery, witchcraft.
and the source of that one:
5332. farmakeu/ß pharmakeus, far-mak-yoos´; from fa¿rmakon pharmakon (a drug, i.e. spell-giving potion); a druggist (“pharmacist”) or poisoner, i.e. (by extension) a magician: — sorcerer.
These should really make us stop and think.
And please don’t think I’m saying that all doctors, medicines or herbs are bad. I have seen great healings and miracles take place with their use, and I’ve seen doctors and nurses who are truly G-d’s servants, doing His work as He directs their lives.
My bottom line is this: we need to consult with Him for direction before we endeavor to heal ourselves. When Yeshua walked the earth, He made it clear that He considers healing – both physical and spiritual – to be His business. And He heals those who come to Him and ask. Notice that He wasn’t going around seeking sick people. THEY were coming to HIM. And when Yeshua sent out His disciples, He commanded them to “heal the sick” (Matt. 10, Luke 10). I doubt He was sending them to Naturopathic School.
Here comes the altar call, If this is you – If you recognize that you have set up idols in your heart (Ezekiel 14) – for healing or anything else, please take this opportunity to repent and change your ways. Start listening to Him for guidance in this area, too. He promises us FREEDOM from the slavery of Egypt!
(A final note: when you begin listening for guidance [especially if you have participated in occultism], it’s very important to follow 1 John 4:1-3: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of G-d; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of G-d: Every spirit that confesses that Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh is of G-d, and every spirit that does not confess that Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh is not of G-d.”)
Thanks for reading and considering. May we all be blessed with freedom as we enter the upcoming Passover season!