I received the following question:

You had mentioned before that there are many OT prophecies that say something like “I will come and heal My people”.  But I can’t find any.  Please advise.  Send me a few.

The point is that the miracles that the Lord worked were miracles that were predicted in the Old Testament that would take place in the days of the Messiah.  When John the Baptist sent messengers to the Lord to find out if He was the One they sought or if they should look for another, His reply was to tell John that “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”  (Matthew 11:5).  This was what was predicted in Isaiah 35:5-6 (as far as the healings,) “5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing.  For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.”  And regarding the preaching to the poor, Isaiah 61:1: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;”  Of course, these prophecies will only fully be fulfilled when the day of Christ comes in the future, but the fact that the Lord was doing these things then and there was proof to John and his disciples that He was the One Who was going to accomplish these things in the future: the Messiah Himself.  No other miracles, even more spectacular ones, would have proven the same point.  That it was these specific miracles was what was significant.

The fact that the Lord was only come to provide this healing for Israel in His first coming to earth is proven by the Lord’s own words, such as to the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:24,) as well as His Own command to His disciples (Matthew 10:5-6):  “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, ‘Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”

Returning to Isaiah 35, this chapter has special reference to Israel.  Notice the places mentioned in it: Lebanon, Carmel, Sharon, (verse 2,) and, most importantly, Zion (verse 10.)  Thus, as I have argued, the Israelites had special claim to the Messiah that the Gentiles did not.  As we see from His actions, the Lord would grant healing to every Israelite that came to Him, but not to the Canaanite woman until she showed such great faith as to identify herself as a “dog” at His word.

Now we do need to note that in the Kingdom, all nations will receive healing as well.  Yet the order is always that Israel will be blessed first, in order that the nations will be blessed through them.  Notice how that is made plain in Psalm 67:

1 God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

3 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.

5 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.

7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

Notice the order here, “God be merciful unto us, and bless us,” and then the result of it “THAT thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.” (emphasis mine)  Israel (“us” in this verse) must be blessed first in order for healing to come upon all the nations.  The same is true in the last verse of the chapter, “God shall bless US” (emphasis mine).  And what is the result of this?  “and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.”

This is all a working out of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 22:17-18: “17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”  God’s promise to Abraham was that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  Yet here again the blessing has to come to Israel first, and then it spills over to the nations.  Until the blessing had come to Israel, the nations had no right to expect it.  Thus, the least of the Israelites coming to the Lord could expect healing, but the Canaanite woman was refused in spite of her incessant pleading.  She surely had no less faith that the Lord could heal her daughter than any of the other people who came to the Lord for healing, and yet Israel had not yet been fully blessed, and so the time for the blessings overflowing to the nations had not yet come.  Notice that the woman was granted her request, though, once she both accepted the Lord’s judgment of her as a dog, and appealed to receiving the blessings that overflowed to her from the children.  This was her proper place on both counts, and so drew forth praise and healing from the Lord.  She received the “overflow” blessing that she asked for, even though the time for all nations to receive that blessing had not yet come.

In our day, we are not blessed through Israel.  A secret of God has been revealed that was not made known until the conclusion of the book of Acts (Ephesians 3:4-5), that all nations are now blessed equally before God, including Israel (Ephesians 3:6).  Salvation has now been authorized for the Gentiles to accept it apart from any action on the part of Israel (Acts 28:28).  Instead of being blessed because Israel was blessed first, we are now blessed on an equal footing with Israel.  This was never predicted in the Old Testament, and no one could have imagined it from any statement in the Old Testament or the parts of the New Testament preceding it until God unveiled it and revealed it to Paul and the other prophets at that time.  Now we live in a day when we do not have to worry about Israel being blessed before we can be blessed.  Now, all nations and all people are equal in God’s sight.

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