The writing of a paper on disabled souls is a project that has been on my mind for some considerable time. It upsets me to see how some people suffer with severe disablement, especially those that have such trials brought upon them from birth or at an early age. These are crosses that they have to bear for their whole lives subject to the latest advances in modern medicine. I have been a healthy individual all my life, apart from the relatively sublime occasional mild illness, and consider that I have thus far been blessed in this respect so that I have been able to concentrate my efforts on trying to understand God’s many messages for mankind. I do not think I would have been able to carry out this mission if I had been constantly struggling with severe lifelong infirmities.
One apparent exception to this thought is my period convalescing from a hernia operation during which I had the time available to write The Fourth Light. I think, however, this was a little different in that I was necessarily taking time out to allow my body to heal. This did not cause me any physical or mental suffering as such and did not cloud my mind with the thought of an endless disability.
Why write this paper now? Well I have recently come out of a rehabilitation programme for a torn rotator cuff which is most certainly a disablement, albeit a relatively benign one. This caused me to study the life attitudes of the more seriously disabled and it is to those that I dedicate this work.
God’s Creative Work
Well we might as well get stuck in at the deep end right away. From God’s own words we have the acknowledgement that it is God Himself who determines those who will have a natural disablement from birth. Clearly if someone suffers disablement from an accident or deliberate act from mankind that would be a different matter:
11 And Jehovah said to him, Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? [Is] it not I, Jehovah? (Exodus 4 GLT)
As if to amplify this, David thanks God for making him a healthy body, as indeed do I for mine:
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, [and] curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all [my members] were written, [which] in continuance were fashioned, when [as yet there was] none of them. (Psalms 139 KJV)
Whilst it is within God’s power to make the disabled ones according to His purposes, it is also well within the capabilities of mankind to cause their own disablements after birth either upon others or themselves:
21 And the Philistines seized him, and bored out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. And they bound him with bands of bronze. And he was grinding in the house of prisoners. (Judges 16 GLT)
7 And they killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and blinded Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with bronze fetters and caused him to go to Babylon. (2 Kings 25 GLT)
Israel’s enemies certainly seem to have had a fetish for blinding and fettering with bronze!
Moving on apace to Matthew’s gospel, I suppose we should think of a sterile man as having a form of disablement:
12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from [their] mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who made eunuchs [of] themselves for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to receive, let him receive it. (Matthew 19 GLT)
God’s Healing Work
The verses in the previous section follow on after the fall of Adam. Since Adam was created in the image of God, I think it clear to say that Adam was created as the perfect human being without blemish or any disablement of his physical body:
27 And God created the man in His own image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female. (Genesis 1 GLT)
The curse on Adam, after the fall, is seen early on in Isaac’s old age infirmity (these types of disablements are also covered in my earlier Old Age paper):
1 And it happened when Isaac [was] old and his eyes were dim for seeing, he called his elder son Esau and said to him, My son! And he said to him, Behold me. (Genesis 27 GLT)
Similarly, with Israel’s old age as recounted in both Old and New Testaments attesting to his poor eyesight and his need for a walking stick respectively:
10 And the eyes of Israel were heavy from age, he not being able to see. And he brought them near to him. And he kissed them and embraced them. (Genesis 48 GLT)
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, [leaning] upon the top of his staff. (Hebrews 11 KJV)
And so with Eli the priest:
15 And Eli was ninety eight years old, and his eyes were set, and he was not able to see. (1 Samuel 4 GLT)
Barzillai gives a broad-brush view of his infirmities including his failing powers of perception, taste and hearing due to his old age:
35 I [am] this day fourscore years old: [and] can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? (2 Samuel 19 KJV)
The Book of Zechariah identifies old men with their need for a walking stick (recall the earlier verse on Jacob in his old age):
4 So says Jehovah of Hosts: There shall yet be old men and old women sitting in the streets of Jerusalem; and [each] man [with] his staff in his hand because of [their] many days. (Zechariah 8 GLT)
Infirmity goes in step with Adamic man’s old age, including those of vigour in their younger days:
23 The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet. (1 Kings 15 KJV)
Even King David prayed for God’s support in his old age:
9 Do not cast me off now at the time of my old age. Do not forsake me when my strength fails. (Psalms 71 GLT)
Given this Adamic curse on mankind, God was then able to demonstrate His power to heal His faithful ones. The strength of one’s prayers can be seen earlier on in Isaac’s wife’s barrenness, which God subsequently healed:
21 And Isaac prayed to Jehovah for his wife for she [was] barren. And Jehovah was entreated for him, and his wife Rebekah conceived. (Genesis 25 GLT)
As He had already done with Sarah for her faith:
11 Also by faith Sarah herself received power for conceiving seed even beyond [the] time of age, [and] gave birth; since she deemed the [One] having promised [to be] faithful. (Hebrews 11 GLT)
And with Mary’s cousin, for the birth of John the Baptist and the added temporary disablement and healing of his prospective (and somewhat less-believing) father Zacharias, care of the angel Gabriel:
18 And Zacharias said to the angel, By what shall I know this? For I am old and my wife is advanced in her days.
19 And answering, the angel said to him, I am Gabriel, who stands before God, and I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you [the] good news of these things.
20 And behold, you shall be silent and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which shall be fulfilled in their season.
21 And the people were expecting Zacharias, and they wondered at his delay in the temple.
22 But coming out, he was not able to speak to them, and they recognized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he was making signs to them and continued dumb. (Luke 1 GLT)
36 And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth! She also conceived a son in her old age, and this [is] the sixth month to her who [was] called barren; (Luke 1 GLT)
64 And instantly his mouth was opened and his tongue [loosed], and he spoke, blessing God. (Luke 1 GLT)
Hannah was barren until she had prayed to Jehovah and dedicated any prospective son to God. Consequently, God heard her prayer and enabled her to mother His prophet Samuel:
5 but unto Hannah he gave a double portion; for he loved Hannah, but Jehovah had shut up her womb. (1 Samuel 1 ASV)
19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before Jehovah, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and Jehovah remembered her.
20 And it came to pass, when the time was come about, that Hannah conceived, and bare a son; and she called his name Samuel, [saying], Because I have asked him of Jehovah. (1 Samuel 1 ASV)
As if in celebration, David gives special mention to this healing power of God on the barren women:
9 He causes the barren to live in the house [as] the joyful mother of sons. Praise Jehovah! (Psalms 113 GLT)
God’s promise to the children of Israel included the removal of sickness and the inability to bear children. The basic curse on Adam was not removed, however, so the aging process would not have been alleviated:
25 And you shall serve Jehovah your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will remove sickness from your midst.
26 There shall not be one miscarrying, nor one barren in your land. I will fulfill the number of your days. (Exodus 23 GLT)
God’s Disabling Work
However, this also came with God’s warning to the Children of Israel that He would strike them with disablements should they err from their destined path. God used disablement as a form of punishment upon Adamic man:
15 and if ye shall reject my statutes, and if your soul abhor mine ordinances, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant;
16 I also will do this unto you: I will appoint terror over you, even consumption and fever, that shall consume the eyes, and make the soul to pine away; and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. (Leviticus 26 ASV)
27 Jehovah shall strike you with the boil of Egypt, and with hemorrhoids, and with the scab, and with itch, of which you cannot be healed.
28 Jehovah shall strike you with madness, and with blindness, and with astonishment of heart. (Deuteronomy 28 GLT)
King Jeroboam’s arm was first disabled and then restored by God:
4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as [it was] before. (1 Kings 13 KJV)
King Uzziah was struck down with leprosy by Jehovah for not leaving priestly matters to the priests::
5 And Jehovah touched the king, and he was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, and Jotham the son of the king [was] over the house, judging the people of the land. (2 Kings 15 GLT)
19 And Uzziah was angry, and in his hand [was] a censer to burn incense; and when he was angry with the priests, the leprosy rose in his forehead, before the priests, in the house of Jehovah, beside the altar of incense.
20 And Azariah the head priest and all the priests turned toward him, and behold, he [was] leprous in his forehead. And they hurried him from there, and he also himself hurried to leave, for Jehovah had touched him.
21 And Uzziah the king was a leper to the day of his death, and lived in a separate house as a leper, for he had been cut off from the house of Jehovah; and his son Jotham was over the king's house, judging the people of the land. (2 Chronicles 26 GLT)
King Jehoram was similarly struck down with a diseased bowel:
18 And after this, Jehovah struck him in his bowels by disease for which there was no healing;
19 and it happened, from days to days, and as the time went out, the end of two years of days, his bowels went out because of his sickness; so he died of painful diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers. (2 Chronicles 21 GLT)
The Syrian troops were first blinded and then healed by Jehovah:
18 And they came down to it, and Elisha prayed to Jehovah and said, I beg You, strike this nation with blindness. And He struck them with blindness, according to the word of Elisha.
19 And Elisha said to them, This [is] not the way, nor [is] this the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you seek. And he led them to Samaria.
20 And it happened, when they came to Samaria, Elisha said, Open the eyes of these, O Jehovah, and they will see. And Jehovah opened their eyes, and they looked; and, behold, [they were] in the middle of Samaria! (2 Kings 6 GLT)
Jehovah also decides who He will not heal from naturally occurring injury as was the case of King Ahaziah for initially requesting healing from a pagan god:
16 And [he] said to him, So says Jehovah, Because you have sent messengers to ask of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, [is it] because [there is] not a God in Israel to inquire of His Word? Therefore, you shall not come down from the bed on which you have gone up, for dying you shall die.
17 And he died, according to the Word of Jehovah that Elijah spoke. And Jehoram reigned in his place, in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, for he had no son. (2 Kings 1 GLT)
Similarly, remembering the all-powerful King Asa, from an earlier verse, who had diseased feet in his old age but made the mistake of not seeking God’s healing promise. Perhaps as a direct consequence, he died two years later:
12 And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease [was] exceeding [great]: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.
13 And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. (2 Chronicles 16 KJV)
Angels also had the power to disable men as was the case of the ones protecting Lot and his family:
11 And they struck the men at the door of the house with blindness, from the small to the great; and they struggled to find the door. (Genesis 19 GLT)
Respect for the Disabled
The Law tells man not to aggravate the lives of those with disablements. So it is God’s decision as to who will have a birth defect but He expects the rest of mankind to respect those with disablements. So that decision by God will effectively serve as a test on those able-bodied ones that come into contact with the disabled:
14 You shall not revile the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind; for you shall revere your God. I [am] Jehovah. (Leviticus 19 GLT)
18 Cursed [is] he who makes the blind to wander out of the way! And all the people shall say, Amen! (Deuteronomy 27 GLT)
Even at a regal standing, King Lemuel’s mother advises him as an boy to speak up for the disabled in matters of judgement:
8 Open your mouth for the dumb, in the cause of all the sons [of those] passing away. (Proverbs 31 GLT)
Likewise this from Job:
15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. (Job 29 GLT)
David makes a particular point in offering a permanent invitation to his friend Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, to join him at his table. 'So what?' one might ask. Well we are told both at the start and the end of the following account that Mephibosheth was lame in both feet. Now, while I believe that this invitation was open regardless of this disability, David obeyed the Law and did not discriminate against this malady. I cannot think why we are told of Mephibosheth’s disability otherwise:
3 And the king said, [Is] there not yet a man to the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him? And Ziba said to the king, [There is] yet a son to Jonathan, lame in both feet.
4 And the king said to him, Where [is] he? And Ziba said to the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel in Lo-debar.
5 And King David sent and took him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, of Lo-debar.
6 And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan the son of Saul came to David and fell on his face, and prostrated himself. And David said, Mephibosheth! And he said, Behold, your servant.
7 And David said to him, Do not be afraid, for I will certainly show kindness to you because of your father Jonathan. And I will give back to you all the land of your father Saul. And you shall eat bread at my table continually.
8 And he bowed and said, What [is] your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I am?
9 And the king called to Ziba the servant of Saul, and said to him, All that [belonged] to Saul and to all his house, I have given to the son of your lord.
10 And you shall till the land for him, you and your sons and your servants. And you shall bring in [the fruits], so that your master's son may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's son shall eat bread continually at my table. And Ziba had fifteen sons, and twenty servants.
11 And Ziba said to the king, According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so your servant will do. And Mephibosheth [was] eating at my table like one of the king's sons.
12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, and his name [was] Micha. And everyone living in Ziba's house were servants to Mephibosheth.
13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the table of the king. And he [was] lame in both his feet. (2 Samuel 9 GLT)
Jesus makes a similar statement by expecting the able-bodied to look after the interests of the less well-endowed thereby confirming the Law and its intent in the matter of the disabled:
13 But when you make a banquet, call the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
14 and then you will be blessed, for they have nothing to repay you. For it will be repaid to you in the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14 GLT)
35 For I hungered, and you gave Me food to eat; I thirsted, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in;
36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. (Matthew 25 GLT)
Again, while not specifically aiming this at the disabled, Paul similarly asks the Galatian congregation to support each other in their infirmities:
2 Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6 GLT)
Disrespect of the Disabled
There a number of scriptures, that I find disrespectful of the disabled, coming from God as well as from King David and others. This disrespect stems from the perception that those ones have limited abilities directly caused by their disablements.
Going back to God’s creative work, I find that I have a bit of an issue with this next piece of the Law. God is basically saying that no disabled man can serve as an Aaronic priest. At face value this seems to be highly biased and discriminatory of God in that it was He that made the disabled that way and then He proceeds to exclude them from office. The only way that I can justify this in my mind is to consider that God knows each and every one of us intimately both physically and spiritually. Consequently, I can only think that He would make those disabled whom He did not deem to be spiritually fit for such high office:
16 And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying,
17 Speak to Aaron, saying, No man of your seed throughout their generations shall draw near to offer the bread of his God if there is a blemish in him.
18 For no man in whom [there is] a blemish shall draw near, a blind man, or one lame, or disfigured, or deformed;
19 or a brokenfooted man, or a brokenhanded man,
20 or one humpbacked, or one emaciated, or with a spot in his eye, or a scurvy one, or one scabbed, or one with crushed testicles.
21 No man of the seed of Aaron the priest in whom there is a blemish shall come near to offer the fire offerings of Jehovah; a blemish is in him; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God.
22 He shall eat of the bread of his God, of the most holy things, and of the holy things.
23 But he shall not enter into the veil, and he shall not draw near to the altar; for a blemish is in him; and he shall not pollute My sanctuary; for I [am] Jehovah who sanctifies them. (Leviticus 21 GLT)
Also, in what seems to me to be something of a disrespectful manner, David likens himself to a deaf and dumb man looking for God’s help to hear and speak.
13 But like a deaf one I do not hear; and I [am] like a dumb one [who] does not open his mouth.
14 And I am as a man who is not hearing, and who [has] no rebukes in his mouth.
15 For I hope in You, O Jehovah; O Lord my God You will answer. (Psalms 38 GLT)
David also continues this theme by likening the heathens' idols to totally disabled men who do not have the use of their limbs and faculties:
4 Their idols [are] silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
8 They that make them are like unto them; [so is] every one that trusteth in them. (Psalms 115 KJV)
It is likely that the following passage was derived from Psalm 115 in that the Jebusites, who inhabited Jerusalem, prayed to such idols causing the Jebusites to ironically threaten David with the blind and the lame:
6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither.
7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same [is] the city of David.
8 And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, [that are] hated of David's soul, [he shall be chief and captain]. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. (2 Samuel 5 KJV)
Jesus’ Healing Work
Jesus adds a further dimension to God’s making of the disabled. There are many examples in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ power of healing the disabled and infirmed (my earlier paper Jesus Christ Superdoc reports on much of this). By Jesus making the blind man see (one account among many), in the Gospel account by John, Jehovah was giving mankind the opportunity to witness and have faith in the miraculous workings and saving grace of His Son, the promised Messiah:
1 And passing by, He saw a man blind from birth.
2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, Teacher, who sinned, this one, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither this one nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God might be revealed in him.
4 It is necessary [for] Me to work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night comes when no one is able to work.
5 While I am in the world, I am [the] Light of the world.
6 Saying these things, He spat on the ground and made clay out of the spittle, and anointed clay on the blind one's eyes.
7 And He said to him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, which translated is Sent. Then he went and washed, and came seeing. (John 9 GLT)
In this earlier account from the Gospel of John, it would appear that an angel had the ability to heal the infirmed albeit through a very restricted mechanism. So Jesus’ healing power was shown to be much more all-encompassing and therefore greater than that of a ‘mere’ angel:
3 In these was a great multitude of the infirm lying, blind ones, lame ones, withered ones, awaiting the stirring of the water.
4 For an angel from time to time descended in the pool and agitated the water. Then the [one] first entering after the agitation of the water became well, whatever disease he was held by.
5 But a certain man was there, being in infirmity thirty eight years.
6 Seeing him lying, and knowing that he had already [spent] much time, Jesus said to him, Do you desire to become well?
7 The infirm one answered Him, Lord, I do not have a man, that when the water is agitated he may throw me into the pool; but while I am coming, another goes down before me.
8 Jesus said to him, Rise up, Take up your cot and walk!
9 And instantly the man became well, and took up his cot and walked. And it was a sabbath that day. (John 5 GLT)
Similarly from Mark’s gospel:
40 And a leper came to Him, begging Him, and falling on [his] knees to Him, and saying to Him, If You desire, You are able to make me clean.
41 And being moved with pity, reaching out the hand, Jesus touched him, and said to him, I am willing. Be made clean!
42 And [He] having spoken, instantly the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean. (Mark 1 GLT)
10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on the earth, He said to the paralytic,
11 I say to you, Rise up and take up your cot and go to your house.
12 And at once he rose up. And taking his cot, he went out before all, so as all to be astonished and glorified God, saying, Never did we see [it] this way. (Mark 2 GLT)
32 And they brought a deaf one to Him, hardly speaking. And they begged Him, that He put [His] hand on him.
33 And taking him away from the crowd privately, He put His fingers into his ears; and spitting, He touched his tongue;
34 and looking up into Heaven, He groaned and said to him, Ephphatha! (which is, Be opened!)
35 And instantly his ears were opened, and the bond of his tongue was loosened, and he spoke correctly. (Mark 7 GLT)
22 And He came to Bethsaida. And they carried a blind one to Him, and begged Him that He would touch him.
23 And having taken hold of the blind one's hand, He led him forth outside the village. And spitting into his eyes, laying [His] hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.
24 And having looked up, he said, I see men as trees walking.
25 Then He placed [His] hands on his eyes again, and made him look up. And he was restored and saw all clearly. (Mark 8 GLT)
Jesus was able to expel some powerful disabling demons that His disciples were unable to, even with their received gifts of the spirit:
25 And seeing that a crowd is running together, Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, Come out from him, and you may no more go into him!
26 And crying out, and convulsing him very much, it came out. And he became as if dead, so as [for] many to say that he died.
27 But taking hold of his hand, Jesus raised him up, and he stood up.
28 And He entering into a house, His disciples questioned Him privately, [Why] were we not able to cast it out?
29 And He said to them, This kind can go out by nothing except by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9 GLT)
Matthew waxes lyrical on Jesus’ healing abilities on the sick and maimed:
24 and his fame went forth to all Syria, and they brought to him all having ailments, pressed with manifold sicknesses and pains, and demoniacs, and lunatics, and paralytics, and he healed them. (Matthew 4 YLT)
5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this [man], Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth [it].
10 When Jesus heard [it], he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, [so] be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.
15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.
16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with [his] word, and healed all that were sick:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare [our] sicknesses. (Matthew 8 KJV)
32 And as they were going out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man having been possessed by a demon.
33 And the demon being cast out, the dumb one spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, Never was it seen this way in Israel. (Matthew 9 GLT)
27 And Jesus passing on from there, two blind ones followed Him, crying and saying, Have pity on us, Son of David.
28 And coming into the house, the blind ones came near to Him. And Jesus says to them, Do you believe that I am able to do this? And they said to Him, Yes, Lord.
29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith let it be to you.
30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus strictly ordered them, saying, See, let no one know. (Matthew 9 GLT)
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5 The blind receive their sight, 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.
6 And blessed is [he], whosoever shall not be offended in me. (Matthew 11 KJV)
22 Then one having been demon-possessed was brought to Him, blind and dumb. And He healed him, so that the blind and dumb one could both speak and see. (Matthew 12 GLT)
30 And great crowds came to Him, having with them lame ones, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others. And they flung them down at the feet of Jesus. And He healed them;
31 so that the crowds marveled, seeing dumb [ones] speaking, maimed [ones] sound, lame [ones] walking, and blind [ones] seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. (Matthew 15 GLT)
30 And behold! Two blind ones sitting beside the way, hearing that Jesus was passing by, [they] cried out, saying, Have pity on us, Lord, Son of David!
31 But the crowd rebuked them, that they be quiet. But they cried out the more, saying, Have pity on us, Lord, Son of David!
32 And stopping, Jesus called them, and said, What do you desire that I do to you?
33 They said to Him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.
34 And being moved with pity, Jesus touched their eyes. And instantly their eyes received sight, and they followed Him. (Matthew 20 GLT)
14 And blind and lame ones came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. (Matthew 21 GLT)
And Luke also, not to be outdone:
21 And in the same hour He healed many from diseases and plagues and evil spirits. And He gave to many blind [ones] ability to see.
22 And answering, Jesus said to them, Going, report to John what you saw and heard, that "blind [ones are] seeing again," "lame [ones are] walking about," "lepers [are] being cleansed;" "deaf [ones are] hearing;" dead [ones are] being raised; poor [ones are] being given the gospel. [Isa. 35:5, 6; 61:1] (Luke 7 GLT)
2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.
3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
4 And they held their peace. And he took [him], and healed him, and let him go; (Luke 14 KJV)
We also have Jesus' expelling of demons that had disabling effects on Adamic mankind:
14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was dumb. And it happened as the demon [was] going out, the dumb one spoke. And the crowds marveled. (Luke 11 GLT)
The story of God using His powers to first blind Saul and then restoring his sight by the laying on of hands from the disciple Ananias was the means by which He was able to turn a zealous enemy of Christ into, arguably, His most influential adherent in Paul:
8 And Saul was lifted up from the earth, but his eyes being opened he saw no one. And leading him by the hand they brought [him] to Damascus.
9 And he was three days not seeing, and did not eat or drink.
10 And there was a certain disciple in Damascus named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias! And he said, Behold, Lord, I [am here].
11 And the Lord [said] to him, Rising up pass along on the street being called Straight and seek a Tarsian, Saul by name, in [the] house of Judas. For, behold, he is praying.
12 And [he] has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in and putting a hand on him, so that he may see again.
13 And Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how many bad things he did to Your saints in Jerusalem.
14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all the ones calling on Your name.
15 And the Lord said to him, Go, for this one is a chosen vessel to Me, to bear My name before nations and kings and the sons of Israel.
16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name.
17 And Ananias went away and entered into the house. And putting hands on him [he] said, Brother Saul, the Lord has sent me, Jesus, the One who appeared to you in the highway on which you came,that you may see and be filled of [the] Holy Spirit.
18 And instantly it was as if scales fell away from his eyes. And rising up at the thing [happening, he] was baptized. (Acts 9 GLT)
Paul, refers to this infirmity in his letter to the Galatians:
13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, [even] as Christ Jesus.
15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if [it had been] possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. (Galatians 4 KJV)
And Paul himself was given the gifts of the Spirit to enable him to carry out his own healing:
8 And a certain man was sitting in Lystra, powerless in the feet, being lame from his mother's womb, who had never walked.
9 This one heard Paul speaking, who, looking intently at him, and seeing that he had faith to be cured,
10 [he] said with a loud voice, Stand upright on your feet! And he leaped up and walked about.
11 And seeing what Paul did, the crowd lifted up their voice in Lycaonian, saying, The gods have come down to us, becoming like men. (Acts 14 GLT)
As well as his own disabling:
8 But Elymas, the conjurer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.
9 But Saul, who [is] also Paul, being filled with [the] Holy Spirit, and looking intently on him,
10 [he] said, O son of the devil, full of all guile and of all cunning, hostile [to] all righteousness, will you not stop perverting the right ways of [the] Lord?
11 And now, behold, [the] hand of the Lord [is] on you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sun until a time. And instantly a mist and darkness fell on him, and going about he sought [some to] lead [him] by the hand. (Acts 13 GLT)
So we can see that there were many and various disablements that are Adamic man’s lot in this life and Jesus was able to cure them all. The disciples were also able to heal, in a more limited way, through their received gifts of the spirit.
The Lot of the Disabled
The Prophet Micah, in his end-times prophecy makes special mention of the disabled in that their trials in life will be eventually rewarded by God’s saving grace:
6 In that day I will gather the lame, declares Jehovah, and I will gather the banished, and the one I have afflicted.
7 And I will set the lame [in place] into a remnant, and her who was cast off into a strong nation. And Jehovah shall reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, and to forever. (Micah 4 GLT)
Similarly with the Prophet Zephaniah:
19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all those who afflict you. And I will save her who is lame, and gather her who was thrust out. And I will give them for a praise and for a name in all the land of their shame. (Zephaniah 3 GLT)
In the Kingdom, God will allow no-one to be disabled. Those disabled in this life will be restored to their natural good health in all respects. This was prophesied even as early as the Prophet Isaiah:
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf opened.
6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing. For waters shall break out in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. (Isaiah 35 GLT)
7 everyone who is called by My name, and I have created him for My glory; I have formed him; yea, [I have] made him.
8 Bring out the blind people, yet there are eyes; and the deaf, yet there are ears to him.
9 Let all the nations be assembled, and let the peoples be gathered. Who among them can declare this and cause us to hear former things? Let them give their witnesses, that they may be justified. Or let them hear and say, [It is] true. (Isaiah 43 GLT)
Jeremiah also gives special mention to the disabled as being among those to be saved into the Kingdom:
8 Behold! I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the recesses of the earth. Among them the blind, and the lame, the pregnant one, and the travailing one together, a great company shall return here. (Jeremiah 31 GLT)
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian congregation he applauds his own mental and physical infirmities as brought about through the work of Satan on him. His infirmities allowed him to have a proper perspective on life as God would have it. So it would seem that those with permanent disablements would be seen kindly by God and therefore not tested to the extent that the able-bodied will be for entry into the Kingdom. While they may be having a tough time in this physical life, it would appear that they will find the path to a good spiritual life much easier to grasp than their able-bodied brothers. Another message that we can take away from this account is that God will allow Satan to afflict the able-bodied if it suits His purpose; Job (see my earlier paper on Job) is the perfect example of this as is Paul:
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12 KJV)
Whilst not targeting the disabled specifically, Paul also wrote a similar message to the Roman congregation:
3 And not only so, but we glory also in afflictions, knowing that affliction works out patience, (Romans 5 GLT)
Paul also acknowledges that all of mankind is blighted both physically and spiritually although only whilst awaiting the fruits of adoption into God’s Kingdom
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body. (Romans 8 KJV)
Similarly, in Peter’s first letter, it would appear that some (even limited) suffering is required to make us closer to God’s expectations of us:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you]. (1 Peter 5 KJV)
Jacob’s Dislocated Thigh Bone
Then we have the strange tale of Jacob’s wrestling match:
24 And Jacob was left alone. And a Man wrestled with him until the ascending of the dawn.
25 And He saw that He had not prevailed against him. And He touched on his hip socket, and Jacob's hip socket was unhinged as he wrestled with Him.
26 And He said, Send Me away, for the dawn has ascended. And he said, I will not let You go unless You bless me.
27 And He said to him, What [is] your name? And he said, Jacob.
28 And He said, Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have wrestled with God and with men, and have prevailed.
29 And Jacob asked and said, Please reveal Your name. And He said, Why this that you ask about My name? And He blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Face of God, because I saw God face to face, and my life is delivered.
31 And the sun rose on him as he passed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.
32 On account of this the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that [is] on the hip socket until this day, because He touched on Jacob's hip socket, [on] the sinew of the thigh. (Genesis 32 GLT)
The only reason that I have added this section to this paper on The Disabled is that we have a case of God deliberately causing a minor but not insignificant injury to one of His faithful followers. So, what does this strange account mean?
Jacob must have realised that the man with whom he wrestled was an angel sent from God. Even though he was deliberately injured by the angel and presumably in some pain, Jacob continued to resist him until he had been blessed of God.
Jacob had been expecting a violent attack on himself and his entourage from his estranged brother Esau, so the last thing he needed was an injury that would prevent him from defending his company. The blessing that God had placed on Jacob that day was that Esau actually welcomed him with open arms and did not therefore pose any threat to his brother.
There are several lessons from this, I think. Firstly, Jacob’s perseverance with the angel in wanting a blessing went well in his favour as demonstrating his faithfulness towards God despite the pain of his injury. Secondly, he was sent away in a weakened disabled state which was to emphasise to him that his dependence on God was of greater benefit to him than his own physical strength in the matter of his perceived confrontation with Esau. God had moved the goalposts by removing any physical threat from Esau. There is a lesson for all of us in this I think! Speaking as one who has seen God's work and justice in this life, I can certainly say that He works in unexpected ways to achieve even better results than we ourselves could have wished for!
Jewish Lords' Witness
Date of Publication: 29th November 2019