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The second name of God was revealed to Moses and the Israelites in Exodus 15:26,
26 And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer” [Jehovah-Ropheka].
This revelation came in the context of the healing of the bitter waters of Marah, which “became sweet” (Exodus 15:25) after Moses threw a tree into it.
This revelation was given centuries after the revelation of Jehovah-Jireh. The first revealed the fact that God sees our need and provides for this lack; the second extended this to include the need for healing. Just as the first was based upon the sacrifice of the Son of God that was pictured in the ram caught in the bush, so also the second pointed to the cross (“tree”) as the basis of healing.
Marah literally means “bitter.” God used these bitter waters as a metaphor for the hearts of men. Heb. 12:15 says,
15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.
Heart bitterness, whose roots go back to Adam’s sin, is a universal problem. Adam’s sin brought death (mortality) upon all men (Rom. 5:12), which, in turn, is the root cause of all sin. Death also cut off all men from the tree of life and darkened their understanding. This lack of understanding creates bitterness, as the soul cries out, “Why am I in this condition?” The answer lies in Scripture, of course, but most of the world remains unenlightened, and even those who study the word of God are limited in their understanding.
So out of a heart of bitterness, men stumble in the darkness, blaming God for their troubles. And, indeed, God is responsible, in that He imposed the death sentence upon Adam for his sin and sold his estate into bondage. It remains for men, however, to come to grips with the awful seriousness of sin, its consequences, and the righteous judgment of God.
A root of bitterness is evidence that men think God has been unjust toward them. It is one thing to know that God is responsible for imposing mortality upon us, with all of its consequences; it is another thing to blame God for this. God’s responsibility is based on His sovereignty; to blame Him is to disagree with His judgments and to deny Him the rights of a Creator.
Being the Creator gives God natural rights that we must recognize.
The solution is the cross, represented by the tree that Moses cast into the waters of Marah. There is no natural explanation for the tree healing the waters. If trees had existed nearby that would have sweetened the water chemically, surely someone would have discovered this earlier.
It was illogical from the human perspective to think that by casting a certain tree into the water, it would become sweet. But spiritual logic and wisdom stand above the logic and wisdom of men.
Hence, Paul speaks of divine logic in 1 Cor. 1:17, 18,
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech [logos], so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. 18 For the word [logos] of the cross is foolishness [illogical] to those who are perishing [mortal], but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Paul was educated in Aristotle’s principles of logic, but he attributed such logic to the wisdom of men which, by comparison to God’s wisdom, is “foolishness.” The word logos is where we derive our word logic. The logic of the cross is illogical (foolish) to mortal men, but to us, “it is the power of God.”
The primary example of this, Paul says, is that God would send His Son to die on a cross to save the world. Yet in the days of Moses, the example was to put a tree into the bitter waters to make them sweet.
Christ’s death on the cross brought salvation to the world, but the beating that He took prior to His crucifixion is what brought us healing. So we read in Isaiah 53:5,
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed [“bruised,” KJV] for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.
When Jesus’ side was pierced, it was an open wound which was the solution to open and overt transgressions. The crushing or bruising that He endured was an inner wound that healed iniquity. Iniquity is an inner wound, which, I believe, is the deadly wound of death, or mortality.
Yet “by His scourging we are healed.” Each aspect of His crucifixion carried its own value. The law speaks of scourging as a method of judgment for crimes that did not involve payment of restitution. Deut. 25:2, 3 says,
2 then it shall be if the wicked man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall then make him lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of stripes according to his guilt. 3 He may beat him forty times but no more, so that he does not beat him with many more stripes than these and your brother is not degraded in your eyes.
The Jews in the first century normally beat people with just 39 stripes to avoid violating the law in case they miscounted. So Paul writes in 2 Cor. 11:24,
24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.
The KJV reads more literally,
24 Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one.
Paul’s back was scarred with 195 lashes!
Jehovah-Ropheka is our Healer. The name is derived from the Hebrew word rapha, “to mend by stitching, repair, cure.” The word is used also in Jer. 19:11 of Jerusalem, saying,
11 and say to them, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Just so will I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot again be repaired [rapha]’.”
Jerusalem’s sickness was said to be incurable. The prophet shows us the reason in earlier verses. It was due to their practice of human sacrifice in the valley of Ben-hinnom. This valley outside of Jerusalem was later known in Greek as gehenna. Hence, they were also willing to kill the prophets, for Jesus said in Matt. 23:31-33,
31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell [gehenna]?
Hades is the grave for men (1 Cor. 15:55 KJV), but gehenna is the graveyard for the earthly Jerusalem (as a city). There is no cure for Babylon, Jerusalem, or the world system as a whole. These will be eliminated in order to set all men free and bring healing to the nations through the leaves of the tree of life (Rev. 22:2).
In Exodus 15:26 we read how obedience to the voice of God is linked to healing as well. God says that He put diseases upon the Egyptians on account of their sin and removed those diseases from the Israelites on account of their obedience to His commandments. There is an “if” clause here, which makes healing conditional upon obedience. Faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17), and obedience is the evidence of faith (James 2:20, 26).
The original cause of all disease was Adam’s sin. Death, therefore, resides in us, which is the ultimate source of all disease. Yet sometimes our own diseases are caused by our own sin. If that is the case, it should be addressed first. This is suggested in James 5:14, 15,
14 Is anyone sick among you? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord [Jehovah-Ropheka?], 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.
Hence, when we are in need of healing, we ought to understand that in our quest to heal specific disease, there is a deeper need that needs to be addressed as well. Jehovah-Ropheka is our healer, and He heals on different levels. Many have been healed of disease or infirmity while still remaining mortal.
Mortality is healed by resurrection life, which believers receive today (Rom. 6:5) when they are begotten by the Spirit and transfer their identity from the old mortal self to the new immortal self. Yet the full problem is not resolved until they are either resurrected or changed with the group, as Paul described in 1 Cor. 15:51-53.
We can see, then, how Jehovah-Ropheka heals on many levels, both now and in the future. In that He heals today, we have the right to call upon Him for healing.