God’s name, Jehovah Rapha means the Lord God who heals. Raised in the Christian faith, one of the most difficult attributes of God’s character and nature to understand for me was regarding healing. Raised in a denomination that seemed to put little emphasis on God as God who heals, I saw outside of my childhood denomination that others strongly emphasized that element of His character.
That wasn’t really a major problem to me until one day, about sixteen years ago, when I was asked to teach a Sunday School lesson based on the name Jehovah Rapha. I guess you could say, I was faced with a faith crisis. What did I believe about God who heals? Did He still heal today as He once did in the Bible? Why was there such a wide gap between Christians’ beliefs about God regarding healing?
You see, I had heard everything from God doesn’t still heal today, to hearing testimonies of His healing, and even seeing televised healing crusades of people experiencing miraculous healings. My point is, I realized that I was not sure what I believed.
My Search To Understand The God Who Heals
I had four weeks to prepare for my Sunday School message on Jehovah Rapha and I knew that for me to teach, I needed to know where I stood about the God who heals. For the next four weeks I lived buried in Scripture focusing on everything God’s word said about God as the healer and about every term related to heal used in the Bible.
Using the Strong’s Concordance, I studied those terms in detail, as well as, the context in which they were used. I discovered 154 forms of the term, heal used in the Bible.
Here are the different English terms related to heal used in the Bible:
- Heal, Healed, Healer, Health, Healing(s), Health
Once identifying all these terms, I studied what they meant in the original language.
- The Old Testament original language is mainly Hebrew with a tiny bit of Aramaic.
- The New Testament original language is Greek.
The primary term used for heal or healed in the Old Testament in the original Hebrew language is rapha. If you are interested in doing your own research, the Strong’s number for rapha is 7495.
Here is what I learned about the term rapha.
- Part of Speech – Verb
- Basic definition – to heal, to make healthful, to make fresh
- Basic emphasis – describes the process of healing or restoring to normal
- First Use in the Bible – Genesis 20:17
And God healed Abimelech, his wife, and female servants. Then they bore children.
5. First time God revealed Himself to His people as Jehovah Rapha – Exodus 15:26
“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight,
give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes,
I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians.
For I am the LORD (Jehovah) who heals you. (rapha)”
The Divine Message Of The God Who Heals
First mentions in the Bible reveal important truths so we need to slow down and discover the divine message of these two firsts.
First, let’s look at Genesis 20:17.
Remember that the part of speech of rapha is a verb. Verbs usually express action or being. In Genesis 20:17, rapha expresses an action, and the action is healing.
Now notice that God is the subject in this first use of rapha. So, God did the very first action of healing.
Then in Exodus 15:26 we see the first time the personal name of God paired with rapha.
Before we dive into Exodus 15:26, let’s discuss, Jehovah.
A few years ago, I did an in-depth study of the personal name of God, the one in which we derive Jehovah. I feel the necessity to take a side step from our study of rapha to point out a few important elements that I learned about God’s name, Jehovah, during that study.
His name, Jehovah:
- God chose this name for Himself as His personal name to introduce Himself and reveal Himself to His people.
- This name indicates being itself. So when He says “I am Jehovah Rapha”, we must understand He is indicating His being and that healing is His very nature or essence.
- Finally, God’s name, Jehovah is always used in context with what He is doing. i.e. His actions…
You need to know that there is so much more about God’s personal name that we could discuss, but I wanted to explain the key elements that help us with our specified topic of understanding the God who heals us.
Now back to Exodus 15:26 where God says,
“…I am the LORD (Jehovah) who heals you. (rapha)”
God wants His people to know Him as the God who heals and whose very essence is healing. Therefore, one of His basic actions toward us is to heal or to make us healthful (full of health). I want to remind you that the basic emphasis of rapha describes the process of healing or restoring to normal.
Here is the crux of what I learned during that study, our God is the God who heals, and He can do that in an instant or in process. However, learning the theology through a study isn’t the same as experiencing it. However, once I learned it, I was set up to experience God as the God who heals.
There is so much more I could share with you about my study of Jehovah Rapha, but for this particual post, know that by the end of my four weeks of in-depth study. I believed that God was and still is the God who heals and that His healing power is available to anyone who believes.
A few months later I would get the opportunity to choose for myself and access that healing power. I will tell you that story in a later post.
If you are interested in an in-depth Scripture study related to healing and the God who heals,
- Here is a document with every term related to heal, the Strong’s numbers, and the Scripture addresses that they can be found in.
- This past blog post, What Hopeless Situation Are You Facing Today, is a perfect combination with this lesson on healing!