The thorn in the flesh, which the apostle Paul describes in the New Testament has been misunderstood by millions. Religious teachings (and many of the current “loose” Bible paraphrases) often tells us that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a sickness or disease. Sadly, I have learned this is taught in most seminaries these days. From my research, however, this is just plain incorrect. The purpose of this letter is to provide you with more evidence from Scripture and practical common sense ways to apply His Word into your life regarding How God Heals. In fact, a rock-solid translation of the Bible tells us what that thorn was. It was a messenger of Satan. The thorn was not some sort of sickness and disease. You may say, does this information even matter, Dale? My answer? Oh my word, yes. You bet it matters as many lives are at stake.
As believers God has given us the name of Jesus and the authority to use that name when it comes to binding Satan and his forces. God is not going to deal with Satan for us. I’m talking about real practical stuff here. You must understand this information in order to have the benefits of this godly principle: God will not deal with Satan for you. He gave us authority to do that in His name.
Paul himself writes by the Spirit of God in Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” We wrestle against these evil spirits. You must speak directly to Satan and his evil spirits with the authority God has given to you. And in the name of Jesus – you and I cast them out! This is how it works, folks.
When Paul asked the Lord that the messenger of Satan depart from him, the Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for you. For My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (Please read this very carefully. I don’t want to hurt feelings. I don’t enjoy making anyone upset. But any time the Word is preached without compromise … the Word can be divisive. Let’s get back to the scripture, “Afterward when tribulation or persecution arises for the Word’s sake….” Mark 4:17. So hang on. I’m not teaching another minister’s material here. I didn’t make this stuff up. I have paid DEARLY for these shocking truths with thousands of hours of study and application. And these truths work in the real world.
God did not say that this messenger would not depart. God does not say no to Paul in this scripture. Religious tradition may, but not God’s Word. So what does this scripture mean? God was saying to Paul, that when you do not have the ability to humanly overcome, then you are to use His name to stop Satan’s attack. Jesus is saying, “use My power. And if you do … that power will excel on your behalf.” In other words, “Your faith in My name is enough.” And notice again, you cast out the devil.
The Greek word dunamis is translated strength in 2 Corinthians 12:9. It’s the same word that is translated as power when Jesus said, “You shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you.” Acts 1:8. Another translation reads it this way, “My grace suffices for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” In other words, when we are weak, He is strong. Philippines 4:13 puts it this way, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The truth of this scripture is just the opposite of the religious teaching that I have heard most of my life in the church. This tradition says that Paul did not have victory over the thorn in the flesh. Ridiculous. Of course he did. He had met Jesus face to face. Of course he had the power to overcome Satan because it wasn’t Paul’s power anyway. It was the power that comes when using the name of Jesus with authority.
Then Paul said, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in it for infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
Listen to this also. The Greek word translated infirmities means want of strength. It means weakness, indicating the inability to produce needed results. Paul lists the following things that buffeted him: prisons, stoning, beatings, shipwrecks and angry mobs. Paul lists them in detail in 2 Corinthians 11: 23 – 28. And notice this. When he lists all of the things that happened to him that buffeted him, sickness is not mentioned! Did you get that? Sickness was not mentioned.
When the mob came after Paul in order to stone him, in himself Paul did not have the strength. But he did have the power to overcome the situation. Three times the Lord’s grace provided for Paul. Three times His strength proved sufficient and Paul escaped out of their hands.
In Lystra they actually stoned Paul. He was literally stoned and showed such little life in his body, they thought that he was dead. They took him out of the city. But God had already said, “My grace is sufficient for you.” As the disciples stood around him, Paul rose up and, on his own power, went his way. Talk about a miracle! Paul hadn’t the strength to stop that angry mob. But when he was humanly helpless, God’s power was displayed mightily and God’s power brought great deliverance for Paul. It also was a great encouragement to those believers around him. Paul was not strong in himself, but he was strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. God’s power will work for you in the same way. His power worked for Paul, yes, but it will work just as mightily in your life too.
Satan’s messenger, the thorn in the flesh, the demonic being that was considered the messenger or angel from the devil, could gain no victory over Paul, even through the adverse circumstances, because the power of Jesus Christ rested upon him.
When Paul himself was weak – Paul in Jesus Christ was strong. Of these afflictions and persecutions Paul wrote to Timothy and said, “Persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra – what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.” 2 Timothy 3:11.
The Lord delivered him out of all of them. Out of them all! Paul said that he couldn’t even decide whether to stay here on the earth because the goal is to be with the Lord. But he declared that he needed to stay here for the Church’s sake (for the sake of the believers). Yet he yearned to be in Heaven with Jesus. Paul did not leave this world until he and God were ready. Satan’s angel, the messenger of satan which was the thorn in the flesh that we’ve heard so much about, never did overcome Paul. Paul had the power of God and was a man who understood his covenant with God. He ran his race and he won. Paul preached God’s Word all around the world. He wrote most of the New Testament and he caused revival wherever he went. He teaches us by his example that when human strength ends, the power of God does not just begin …it excels.
In the final analysis Paul’s thorn in the flesh has tragically greatly affected our teachings by yet another religious tradition. And sadly Satan has used this religious tradition to steal and kill and destroy believers all over the world. But in your life, that can change starting NOW.
Let’s discuss something else. Religious tradition also says that God gets glory from sickness because the world sees how marvelous the Christian bears the pain and the agony. I cannot disagree more with this way of thinking… because of the Word and knowing the God of the Bible. Listen, religious tradition never brings the right answer. Everyone knows that in this world there’s enough pain and agony to go around for everyone on the planet to have more than enough. What people want is a way out of sickness, not a way into it. Suffering has no appeal to people. But through religious tradition, Satan has sold his propaganda that suffering quietly and courageously is the will of God.
If you don’t have the seed of the word of God living in you concerning your healing, then you too will be helpless in the face of Satan when disease strikes you. If you allow the traditions of men to steal the authority God gave you in His word, then you too will continue to be helpless in the face of sickness. God has designed it in His infinite wisdom, that He will not do hardly anything for you if, like so many others, you make the Word of God of no effect by unbelief.
The word of God is the incorruptible seed. Satan doesn’t have the power to stop the word of God. Satan can try to deceive you yes, but he can’t stop you. Disease doesn’t have the power to overcome the Word of God in your life. Sickness and disease do not have power. Only you and I have the power to stop the Word of God from working in our life.
May I challenge you to put aside whatever religious traditions you have been taught? If you’re like me, very possibly your heart hasn’t agreed with these traditions anyway. That’s what happened to me on so many occasions. Realize now that only Satan can be the source of such powerless and defeated beliefs that are sold to the family of Almighty God.
And then when you study the Word of God concerning healing, when you do your own due diligence, use the incorruptible seed of the Word of God for your benefit. Use His Word to drive out the doubt and tradition that you’ve been taught. Then run your race to win.
Still aren’t convinced? Wow. Okay then. Do yourself a great favor. Study all three parts of this letter (Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh, Parts 1 and 2 and this eNewletter also. All are available under “Resources” at DBM website) with your Bible, Concordance and Expository Dictionary. You could also listen to the Audio Book called, “How God Heals.” When finished, put it into practice. Take action and ask God to reveal His truth to you as only His Holy Spirit can. Next, no matter what happens as a result, let us choose to walk in love as the Lord has commanded us. Love is always the TRUMP card. And remember, my sole purpose is only to help you. Written with God’s love.
Dale & Paula
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The above article is taken from “How God Heals” by Capt. Dale Black, copyright 2015. Save 50% by ordering through the DBM Store now.
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