The HEALING OF MAN
or The Healing of the Wounds of War in Man
Based on the 4th of 5 Messages on The War of Ages by Rev. Chris Coleborn at the 7th PCC Annual Conference, 6-10 Jun 2006
Many and various are the scars and wounds from the great war of all ages. All wars of course leave shocking wounds and scars. All wars leave wounds in and upon the souls and bodies of mankind as well as in and upon the created world around us. So too, even more so are there sad, hurtful wounds incurred from ‘The War’.
In this talk we concentrate upon the wounds caused to both the souls and bodies, the feelings and minds and the world of mankind and their healing in the great Peace that comes in the victory of the Seed of the Woman.
We will consider:
The Wounds of the War
The Healing of Men
Something of What it will Mean
1. The Wounds of the War
There are the obvious wounds to people’s bodies caused by this great war of all ages and the symptomatic wars of it seen in history. These wounds are visible and often tragically graphic. It is sadly, the very nature of war that men and women, children, old and young are hurt and wounded in their bodies. These wounds cripple, deform, handicap and even cause death.
But we must not forget the unseen, internal wounds of the mind and spirit. When the curse came, at the outbreak of the war of all ages, it resulted in afflictions very deep to souls and bodies. Hearts are broken, minds collapse unable to endure more. There are internal hurt, pain, sorrow, loss, grieving, despair and depression, tears, grief and trauma are the most awful and grievous wounds of war. People’s minds, souls, wills, consciences, feelings and thinking, in the struggle to survive the war, are at times broken, malfunction, wear out and hurt!
So much destruction to people’s psyche has occurred. Sometimes too, God’s children, in common with their fellow man, suffer in physical ways too from the physical wars of history. The destruction and pain to body and spirit caused by rape, pillage, destructions of homes, loved ones, work, play, and the upheaval of people’s lives where they have lost control, death and suffering of loved ones, concentration camps etc. all leave wounds and scars that even a normal life time cannot heal. (For example: Recently two old men in their eighties who, as boys 65 or so years ago were in a Nazi concentration camp during the last war, revisited the camps to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the rescue and liberation of the camps, cried uncontrollably as they stood by the barbed wire fence where once they were imprisoned and thousands died in the gas chambers, some their loved ones their souls. It was as fresh to their hearts and memories as if it was only yesterday. All the long years they had carried this burden.) Grief and trauma still was there in
My father and his mates and a great uncle, suffered as Prisoners of War on the death railway in Thailand. They suffered unspeakably and to their lives’ ends they could barely speak of those days. They suffered nightmares and disabling flashbacks.
Others have suffered traumas of childhood and adulthood. I have a minister friend who is now in his eighties who suffered the death of his two parents as a young boy and was in an orphanage. I know of a lady who lost her four boys through a degenerative illness – all in their early twenties, and her husband died from shock the day their first boy died. All of us know stories of suffering. There is childlessness. There are diseases, accidents and innumerable situations and circumstances in life which create pain and distress.
We even, who may not have experienced such things personally, find it too painful to dwell upon what others have endured. (For example: A documentary I saw of Nazis rounding up Jews in Paris to deport to concentration camps and probable death. The practice was to first separate the males from the females, then the children from the adults. This documentary briefly showed the Nazi soldiers separating boys from their fathers. At the time my eldest son was about four. This documentary showed a little four year old boy being torn from his father’s arms and put into the back of a truck to be shipped by stock cars to the gas chambers of the death camps, and the father was held back by soldiers with bayonets on their rifles pointing at his chest and his little boy sitting at the back of the truck, waves sadly and you can just hear his plaintive little voice on the sound track as he cries, "Goodbye daddy …, goodbye daddy …" This image caused me deep vicarious pain which I still feel deeply myself whenever I think of it.)
Yes, war is horrible and cruel beyond most of our imaginations, and leaves wounds – the wounds of war! Wounds that damage in so many ways bodies, minds and the created world around us. Broken and hurt so they cannot function as they ought to do.
Let us remember too, when the great enemy, the serpent led mankind to fall and turn their back upon the Lord, a curse fell. It was a curse we brought upon ourselves by our listening to the rebellious talk of the Evil one and becoming rebels against our good God. This curse fell upon men’s hearts, minds, feelings, consciences, understanding, knowledge and bodies. It brought also to the creation around us death, destruction and misery. It brought sorrow, grief, heart-break, rejection, loneliness and all that causes pain in the soul. It has brought too the handicaps and besetting faults that afflict us, and cause us to be weak, and often fall in the good fight of faith. It brought diseases, handicaps and death. Sad things happen to children, old people, men and women in the prime of their life.
The curse of this war has fallen on all aspects of our life as individuals, families & societies. We see it in all aspects of our life. In our work, play, living and dying. It hurts us day by day in thousands of ways. Yes, the whole human race and the whole universe have received dreadful wounds from this war.
So, there is much, (in a yet wonderful life and world) to cause us to cry for ourselves and for others.
In more ways than one, we all are casualties in this war. These wounds are described in some ways in Genesis 2:17 & 3:17-19 & 23-24,—
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
"And unto (man the Lord) said, Because thou … hast eaten of the tree … cursed is the ground for thy sake … in sorrow … all the days of thy life … in the sweat of they face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground … dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
"So (the Lord) drove out the man… (from the garden of Eden)."
Why talk about these things? Well for several reasons it is very important that at times we in moderation stop and honestly look at and remember these things. It is important to make us realize that just as such things are horribly real in the world, so we realize the wonder, reality and greatness of Jesus Christ’s work and healing. Also, unless we realize how bad the bad news really is, we will not appreciate and value as a treasure above all else, the Saviour and His healing – so gracious, glorious and complete.
But the wonderful news is that in the coming of the Seed of the Woman, and in His crushing of the head of the serpent, He undoes the curse. He brings healing and restoration. The wounds of war are wonderfully, amazingly healed.
In the Seed of the woman, who came to roll back the curse, a time of healing of the dreadful wounds caused by this war has come. In Jesus, the Peace Maker, as well as the Captain of the Lord’s Host, the time of mending what was broken has come, the recovery of what was lost, the healing of what was hurt, the wonderful, full restoration of all things.
Paradise and our original spiritual, mental, emotional, physical perfection and well being was lost at the beginning of this war. Now all is to be gloriously restored in the victory of Jesus, the Seed of the Woman.
This brings us then to:
2. The Healing of the Persons of Men
One of the wonderful things about the care our Captain has for us, is that it is full-orbed. He cares for us in our spirits and souls. He cares for us in our bodies. He cares for us in our world. He cares totally.
And we need that care, for our wounds and sores that hurt so badly at times are to be found in all areas of our existence. They affect us spiritually and physically and handicap our functioning in life. They affect our relationship to God our Creator. They affect our relationship to our neighbour. They affect our relationship with ourselves! They affect our relationship to the world around us.
How wonderful that the Great healer of the world has come: Malachi 4:2 (cf Lk 1: 76-79). The prophet is moved by the Lord to describe the work of the Seed of the Woman in this way,—
"The Sun of righteousness (shall) arise with healing in His wings…"
Jesus’ ministry on earth so wonderfully illustrates this work of healing also. He went about doing good, healing the sick, restoring, bringing peace, joy, happiness, forgiveness. He raised the dead. He gave the blind their sight. He healed the lepers. He gave the deaf their hearing. He restored the wasted and wounded lives of people. This was the good news that the early church so eagerly spread abroad as we can see in Acts 10: 38,—
"…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed …"
Again and again we read of how this great One went forth when He was among us, and seeing the multitudes, as sheep without a shepherd, "was moved with compassion toward them, and … healed… them" (Mt 14:14).
The Lord throughout the Bible uses the language of healing when Christ Jesus comes again.
Psalm 103:1-3,—"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and…forget not all His benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases …"
Psalm 147: 3,—"[The Lord] healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."
Isaiah 53:5,—"With whose stripes we are healed"
Jeremiah 30:17,—"For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD …"
1 Peter 2:24,—"By whose stripes ye were healed."
Revelation 22:2—" In the new Jerusalem is the tree of life, which was for the "healing of the nations."
Throughout all of Scripture comes the joyful sound of the coming of peace and healing in the Messiah and his victory. Even at His birth the angels sang, you will recall, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Lk 2:14).
In other ways and language too, the Lord speaks to us of His coming to bring healing to individuals and to mankind.
Isaiah 30:26 looks to the day when "… the LORD bindeth up the breach of His people, and healeth the stroke of their wound."
In Isaiah 61:1-3, we have the beautiful and famous words of Jesus,—
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to … comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn… beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness …"
Likewise, we read—
Joel 2:25,—"I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm …"
Revelation 21:4,—"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…"
One of the most wonderful examples of the healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ to a man ravaged and wounded very sore by the Enemy, is the Gadarene demon possessed man (See Lk 8:26-36).
We should not think that the healing of the wounds of war must wait until the final end of the war. Oh no, because Jesus has already fought the deciding battle, (in His death on the cross and His resurrection and ascension), the victory is assured. His healing power already is at work. It is a process begun now in the hearts, minds and souls of those found among those who stand behind and with Him in the great issues of life. For example, the Gadarene demon possessed man - Luke 8:26-39. I know too a man of Aboriginal background, traumatized as a child, once full of anger, bitterness, hatred, deep unhappiness – no meaningful relationship to another person, who had his life put together by Christ Jesus. He too came to his right mind, and now has stable, responsible work, a wife and children and much respected and appreciated. Such too is the witness of the days of George Whitfield in the days of the Great Awakening in Britain, when the utterly forsaken coal miners of Bristol were transformed by the healing power of Christ Jesus. This healing is begun now and completed at the day of His second coming and the resurrection of our bodies to full health and eternal life.
If Jesus’ coming is not in our time on earth, the day He calls us to himself will be a day of perfect healing of the heart and mind and soul, though our bodies rest in the grave. The healing of our bodies must yet wait until the day of His second coming for their resurrection to fullness of health and eternal life and vigour. But that shall surely come too. Something of this truth we confess in the words of our Shorter Catechism, no. 37, Q. "What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?" A. "The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection." (It is the restoration of that state in which God first created us). Shorter Catechism no. 10, "God created man … after His own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures."
How wonderful, and what hope and assurance, to know that no matter what we may now suffer, no matter what hurts and wounds may fall upon our body and spirit, no matter what griefs and sorrows may pierce our hearts, in Christ Jesus there is to be found wonderful healing, restoration and recovery – and at the end of the healing process, the enjoyment of life to perfection for evermore. This truly is our Christian hope – one of the great graces with faith and love that is our inheritance in Christ Jesus.
3. Something of What this Healing Will Mean
What will it be like for us personally, for all redeemed mankind – the followers of the Seed of the Woman – to be perfectly healed of the wounds of this dreadful war?
In many ways our healing is so glorious and wonderful that it is beyond our ability wondering and understanding. Isaiah 64:4 speaks something of these things being so sublimely incredible that we really cannot understand them—
"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him."
Also in 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read,—
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.
Now while the next verse reminds us that we can begin to see these things now, nevertheless, the glory of what we shall be is way above all that we could even remotely comprehend.
This was the experience of John Walsh, John Knox’s son in law in his last hours before glory. "Hold Lord, I cannot bear any more …" It was also too the experience of Samuel Rutherford in his last hours before glory, "Glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land".
Hebrews 12:22-23 give us in principle of what it will mean for our souls – our spiritual being – our character – where the essential, conscious ‘I’ exists, to have all the wounds of this war the fall and the curse fully removed—
"But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first born, (The Seed of the Woman) which are in heaven … and to the spirits of just men made perfect."
We shall be perfect people in our essential inner being. All our knowledge, all our thoughts, our feelings, our words and deeds will be righteous and holy. Our wisdom, our understanding of all things, our love, our sense of justice and goodness and truth will be without any flaw or lack. Our joy, our peace, our contentment will know no bounds. It will never cease. It will only grow and develop. Anything that mars or causes pain or disturbs these perfections will not exist in us or in the world around us any more. It will be indeed ‘heaven’!
Once again man will be like what we were in the Garden of Eden before the fall. Once again we shall walk with the Saviour in the cool of the evening, and behold the King in His glory. Once again all who have fallen asleep in Jesus will joyously meet and forever be together with the Lord.
We read in Revelation 21:4-5a—
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new."
Something of the wonder of these things is expressed by Mr. Steadfast at the conclusion of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. He says,
"I see myself now at the end of my journey, my toilsome days are ended. I am going now to see the Head that once was crowned with thorns, and that Face that was spit upon for me.
I have formerly lived by hearsay and faith, but now I go where I shall live by sight, and shall be with Him in whose company I delight myself. …
Glorious it was to see how the open region was filled with Horses and Chariots, with trumpeters and pipers, with singers and players on stringed instruments, to welcome the pilgrims as they went up, and followed one another in at the beautiful gate of the city."
Others have sought to convey something of what it will mean to at last lay down our heavy burden and learn war no more. One of the most moving story I recall reading, and too long to quote here, but I commend it to you, is the description of when the little boy Fransje dies and goes to heaven in, He Gathers the Lambs, page 270 -272.
But don’t forget the body too. Our physical being shall also have all wounds and scars and damage caused by the war at last removed. Our body, we are told, shall be like unto Jesus’ glorified body (cf Phil 3:21). All signs of the ravages of age and illness shall be removed. It will be a perfectly healthy physical body – (around 20 years of age?). It will be able to function at the peak of ability. Our brains and the implications for our knowledge and appreciation of all around us regarding our senses is profound –able to reach heights we can barely appreciate.
It seems our bodies also will not be subject to the same physical laws that now operate in creation. For example, Jesus’ body could pass through walls and move from one place to another, it seems in an instant of time. Imagine the most healthy person, at the utter peak of physical perfection this world has ever known, and that is still far less than the body you and I shall know when we have at last in the resurrection.
Imagine the wisest, knowledgeable, gracious, good, understanding, brave, perfectly formed and healthy persons in body and spirit you may have ever met in this life. Imagine them all in one person! They would be far less that what we shall be and have in the Messiah’s great land after the final victory.
While some things will be different, it will be glorious for those who enter into this victorious healing and peace. Samuel Rutherford’s last words as he saw that land was, ‘glory, glory glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land’.
While it is true, that only what is clearly revealed in Scripture can be the sure and certain things believed by us. And while it is true that there is so much we do not know, there are yet some things we can wonder about if we do not make them dogmas of our faith.
What a most comforting and victorious conclusion to the whole matter of this war of all ages, its declaration, progress and end? There will be perfect, glorious healing for our souls and bodies.
Remember this healing is coming. Healing from Christ of all the wounds of our soul and mind and spirit and body. Begun now and completed in glory. If you are hurting, wounded and sore, remember His healing work. We will yet have perfect cause to praise Him yet. What a comfort to know these things – what hope, victory and inner strength in the Lord it affords.
It has been a most wonderful blessing to many to know these things. There are examples of how this has been such a real encouragement to others. Let me mention Merv Devereaux, Nick and ourselves and little Mark. What glory awaits us!
May the Lord bless us from His Word, by the Spirit of the risen and living Christ, and give us good hope and cheer in the glorious future that is ours.
"When a saint dies, he has no cause at all to grieve because he leaves his friends and relations whom he dearly loves. For he does not properly leave them, he enjoys them still in Christ, because everything that they love in them, and love them for, is in Christ in an infinite degree, whether it be nearness of relation, or any perfection and good received, or love in us, or a likeness in dispositions, or whatever is a rational ground of love" (Jonathan Edwards, Miscellanies #h).
With this in mind, returning to Mark 13:32, it is not difficult to see how the Son, the God-Man did not know the day of His return. The knowledge of when this day would be, had by the appointment of God, not surfaced from the divine nature of our Lord into His consciousness as the God-Man. This is the way I understand the text in question.