Is sicknesses and diseases from God?

This is a very important question. The Bible clearly tells us what the will of God is regarding this subject. The problem in the Church however, is that even preachers do not understand and do not interpret God’s will correctly. 

Only good gifts out of the hand of God?

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.

Malachi 3:6

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

These verses have been misinterpreted many times through the years. James 1:17 in particular is definitely one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible.

Let us look at a few facts about God. He is the one who said the following:

Isaiah 45:7

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things

He is also the One who created hell, a very bad place where people and demons will be tortured and tormented. He is also the one who created sickness and diseases as tools to punish people (See Deuteronomy 28 below). He did not even spare His own Son. He punished Jesus Christ in our place.

Isaiah 53:4-10

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

This is very interesting. God the Father did all those things to Jesus, His only Son!?

Let us take a look at the actions of God regarding the people of Nineveh:

Jonah 1:1-2

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

Jonah 3:4-10

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

This incident clearly describes the will of God when it comes to sin, repentance and restoration or healing.

Look at the nation of Israel. Now this is very interesting if you wish to understand the character of God. It is unbelievable what God promised He would do to Israel if they disobeyed Him:

Deuteronomy 28:15-68

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: (It is very interesting here to note that God promised to chastise his own chosen people, if they do not obey Him and His commandments. Also note how He chastised them)

Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.

Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.

Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.

The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.

The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.

The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.

And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.

The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.

And thy carcass shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.

The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.

The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart:

And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.

Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.

Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them.

Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long; and there shall be no might in thine hand.

The fruit of thy land, and all thy labors, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:

So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.

The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.

The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.

And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.

Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.

Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.

Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.

Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.

All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.

The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.

He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.

Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:

And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.

Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;

Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.

The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;

A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young:

And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.

And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:

So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave:

So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates.

The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter,

And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;

Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.

Moreover He will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.

Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.

And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.

And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.

And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:

And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:

In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.

And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.

It is very important that you take note that every word that the Lord promised the nation of Israel, yes, His own chosen beloved nation, He did keep! They did disobey His commandments and they did serve other Gods. The Lord had no other choice but to bring all these curses and these awful bad things over the nation of Israel. Through the years every single promise or “threat” came over that poor nation. They chose death and they chose the curse and that is precisely what they got. Also take note that it was the Lord who did all these bad things. Take note that it was He Himself who did these evil things. Had they obeyed God the opposite would have Happened! He would have blessed that nation like no other nation ever was. He Himself said that He created good and evil, referring to His judgment:

Isaiah 45:7

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things

This is the character of God in terms of judgment. He is a good and a wonderful God but He is also a just God. Although He loves people, disobedience needs to be punished. God cannot allow people to live a life of hate, greed, lust and cruelness. He cannot allow people to commit all sorts of atrocities and bad things. He cannot allow people to serve false gods like the creation, man-made objects, humans, demons and even the devil himself. It is an abomination to do that. We belong to God, He created us and we need to serve Him. We need to obey Him. We need to live according to the will and the ways of God.

Contrary to what people so often say, sickness and diseases do come from God. He created hell to punish those who disobey Him. He also created sicknesses and diseases as a tool to punish people. In fact, sicknesses and diseases will cause havoc in hell one day. Yes, He did create hell and He did create sicknesses and diseases. God did not change. He is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.

Even in the New-Testament, God’s character did not change when it comes to punishment. Although His character did not change, a lot of other things did change. The New-Testament God also had to punish people for their sins. He however decided to punish Jesus Christ on that cross so that we do not have to be punished. He brought all the sins and the punishment of all mankind on that one Person, His only Son. Read Isaiah 53 again and you will see how the Lord Jesus Christ was punished by God the Father. He did not use the devil to punish His Son. No, He did it Himself as a loving compassionate Father. I believe He did it with tears in His eyes. He did not enjoy that! It was a very hard thing to do!

This New-Testament God even showed in the New-Testament how He feels about sin. Again He chose, like He did with the nation of Israel, to chastise only His beloved children.

Hebrews 12:6

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth

This verse in the Old-Testament?

Proverbs 3:12

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth

This is the reason why we see so many really bad people getting old without much hardships, sicknesses and financial problems. We see them living wonderful carefree lives without much problems while we see good Christians suffer. Many of them are poor, sick and suffer all sorts of hardships. It is not God’s will that Christians should suffer though. No, His will for us is to prosper and to really lack nothing. The problem is that when Christians get lost or when they are tempted into committing all sorts of sin, God needs to step in and protect us. He does it by warning us against the danger of our actions. He speaks to us. He urges us not to sin but if we stubbornly ignores His pleas, He will get more serious with us. He will chastise us exactly as He did with the nation of Israel. He will make us poor and He will cause us to get sick if we do not listen to His warnings and His pleas.

An example of this we can find in Revelations 2:20-23

Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

We read this in the letter that the Lord Jesus Christ wrote to the church of Thiatire. Yes, this letter was addressed to the church. In this church (congregation) were children of God who did not stay obedient to His will and His commandments. God gave a woman in this church a chance to repent but she did not. He declared that He will cast her on a sickbed. He promised that He will kill her children. He also threatened that He will cast those people in this church, who were committing adultery with her, into great tribulation if they did not repent. This was Jesus Christ making these threats. His message to the congregation of Thiatire was clear, “repent or face the consequences”. Those consequences were sicknesses, tribulations and even death. This was the New-Testament God showing His character!

This is exactly what God did with Ananias and Sapphira. They were Christians who lied to the Holy Spirit. As a result of that God killed them both. I believe that they were still saved but they had to be chastised for what they did. Even today many Christians die because of sicknesses that God put on them as a result of a stubborn refusal to repent. On a sickbed people have a chance and a choice to repent and to ask God to heal them. He will heal them and they will be restored if they truly repent.

God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We already saw above that the God of the Old-Testament did bring sicknesses, diseases, poverty, death and all sorts of calamities over His own (the children of Israel). We also saw above that the God of the New-Testament did exactly the same.

God does not do this to unbelievers. He does not threaten them with sicknesses or death if they do not repent. He allows them to live a full life in order to give them a chance to convert to Christianity. If they do not choose Christ as their Savior, at an old age the curse will suddenly come over them and they will die without Christ. We see this in Isaiah 65:20 and other Scriptures in the Bible:

Isaiah 65:20

There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child (child of God) shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner (person who rejected Christ) being an hundred years old shall be accursed

Isaiah 65 is a prophesy that predicted the “time of grace” of the Messiah. It predicted that there will be a time of grace when not only good people, but also bad people will have the grace to become old. Both sinners and believers will live to be a hundred years old. The believer will die in Christ but the sinner will suddenly receive the punishment he or she deserves because of their sins. Jesus carried the punishment of his sins for him. He had a hundred years of grace to decide whether he is going to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior or not. When his time of grace is however running out, he will suddenly die without Christ. Because he rejected the blood of Jesus, now, he will have to carry his own punishment. In hell he will be tormented and all sorts of diseases and sicknesses will come over him.

It is important to understand that many Christians and sinners do not get that old. The reason for that is because they live dangerous and reckless lives. They actually bring sicknesses and diseases over and on themselves. They even cause their own deaths prematurely.

On top of that Christians are also chastised by God. This is the reason why it is sometimes obvious that Christians suffer more than unbelievers. If God does not chastise us we might end up in hell. He loves us too much to allow us to get lost. He will always protect us in order to make sure we are safe and saved.

Hebrews 12:6

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth

If we judge ourselves and alter our lifestyles and ways of living according to God’s will, we will always be safe and well. If we as Christians fail to do that, and live just as we want to, then we might end up doing bad things. We might go from bad to worse. If we carry on with such an attitude we might eventually go astray. That is why God cannot allow this. Paul wrote about the consequences of such a dangerous attitude to the congregation of Corinth:

1 Corinthians 11:30-32

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

The congregation of Corinth was known to be a lukewarm congregation. These Christians were involved in all sorts of bad habits, sins and things that really did not fit blood-washed, Spirit filled children of God. God had to chastise them! The chastisement served to bring them to their senses. Chastisement was orchestrated by God to cause Christians to repent.

This is what Paul meant when he wrote the following:

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

In this Scripture Paul states that it is better for the flesh to be destroyed so that the spirit may at least not be condemned but saved. This is exactly why God does cast people on a sickbed as we have seen in Revelations 2 above. In this Scripture however, the congregation officially, after a meeting, delivers a person over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that he can repent. I have written a whole chapter on this subject, “discipline in the congregation”, in my book, “House churches; How? Why?”, which is currently only available in Afrikaans. If he repents at least his spirit is saved although he suffered in the flesh. In the book of Mark we see this same principle from another angle:

Mark 9:47

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire

In a Christians life, sickness and calamities always mean one thing: Something is wrong! This is usually a wake-up call! It is red lights flashing!

It usually has nothing to do with food and eating habits. It usually has nothing to do with exercise or the lack of exercise. Contrary to what the medical profession has taught us through the years, both these factors have very limited influence or effects on us in terms of sicknesses and diseases. I discussed this in detail in my book, “The truth about sickness and other calamities”, which is currently only available in Afrikaans. Take note that this book is in the process of being translated into English.

Basically we can only cause sicknesses by eating too much, resulting in excessive weight and pressure on our organs and joints. We can also cause sicknesses by not eating enough. We know that sailors used to get scurvy because of the lack of fresh vegetables and fruit. It is very important to follow a healthy and well balanced diet. This means enough of all the necessary nutrients our bodies need. Apart from this sicknesses and diseases are mainly caused by sin, unbelief and God by means of chastisement!

This may look like God is a very strict and intolerable God who hasn’t got any grace for His own people. In fact, the opposite is true. Most sicknesses and calamities that Christians face are in fact a result of their own sins and their own doing. We say wrong things and we do wrong things resulting in bad things happening to us. Most diseases in Christians lives are in fact caused by the sins of worry, stress and fear. The Bible says over and over again, “Do not fear”. Worry, stress and fear are killing us! Not only does these sins cause most sicknesses, it also causes death! God and the devil have nothing to do with all these things. We actually reap what we have sown. This is also true for sinners.

The major causes for sickness and other calamities are therefore sin and unbelief. This is what the Bible say. This means that when we get sick, we as Christians need to pay attention to it. We need to ask God what caused the illness or calamity. Innocent people do not become sick. This is a lie from hell. We become sick because we slipped up seriously somewhere. We need to repent so that we can be healed again. If we do, healing is guaranteed! We see that in the book of James:

James 5:14-15

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Sicknesses and calamities caused by God are actually very rare compared to sicknesses and calamities we bring over ourselves. God is very patient with us. He warns us and He counsel us through the word (Bible) and through our spouses, family and friends. He warns us against dangerous conduct all sorts of ways in order to change our behavior. If we do not listen however, He will gradually increase the degree of problems coming our way. If we however choose to stubbornly ignore these counselings and warnings, eventually God will cast us into serious calamities and even put diseases on us until we repent. If we do not repent these things may and will cause death. At least we are still saved. Apart from loosing wonderful time with our families we are at least not lost. God is so full of love and grace. He will never allow us to go astray unless we willfully choose to go astray.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning

People think that because of this Scripture in the Bible, God does not bring calamities and diseases over or on people. Well we have seen in the Scriptures above that this belief is simply not true. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He did it in the Old-Testament and He did it in the New-Testament. In fact He still does it today. This Scripture speaks of the general goodness of God. It does not refer to His will and actions in terms of punishment and judgment. 

People think that sicknesses and diseases come from the devil. Now make no mistake, the devil will tempt us into all sorts of sins which cause diseases. He however has no power or authority to put diseases on us. He is not God! He is not a lawful king of a kingdom. Only a king can make laws in his kingdom. Only a king can enforce those laws in his kingdom. Only a king can punish his subjects when they contravene those laws. Only God can throw you in hell. Only God can punish or chastise people with sicknesses, diseases and other calamities. The devil cannot throw you into hell. He cannot make you sick. He can only tempt you into sin, unbelief and depression which automatically cause sicknesses as a natural result of those sins. If we sin by using drugs, that drugs will destroy our bodies. It is a natural result of sin.

We always have a choice. We do not have to listen to the devil. We can choose not to sin. This emphasizes the fact that he has no authority over us. He cannot kill you or do anything to you other than deceiving you.

I have written this post to make it as clear as daylight that we have been set free completely by Christ Jesus on that cross. We are not subject to all sorts of calamities and sicknesses out of our control. No, God gave us full control over our lives when He delegated His power and authority to us. We always have a choice. We can always choose the blessing or the curse. We can always choose life or death. It is solely up to us! We do not have to believe these lies anymore. When the Son has set you free, you are free indeed!

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