Can Satan heal people?

Question: My friend was in a class at her church that was conducting an “Other Faiths” Bible Study on Sunday nights. One of the lessons spoke about the beliefs of Islam and their view of Jesus. My friend asked, “Well, why do they not believe Jesus is God if they believe He performed miracles.” One of the other students said, “The devil can perform miracles.” “Even healing?” she asked. The teacher then made the comment, “The devil has the power to heal…even Jesus said so in the scripture.” She was so stricken at what she was hearing that she couldn’t ask him where in the Bible he was getting this info. I told her that I had never heard of such information as Satan having healing powers. I know that each of us as believers, who are obedient, living in God’s will, has the power to declare healing. It’s just that oftentimes we don’t declare that power.

Answer: In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says to some who claim to have prophesied in his name and done many miracles and expelled demons in his name, that he doesn’t know them. How did they do those things, if indeed they did (and Jesus does not contradict that part of their testimony), if they were not His? Deuteronomy 13:1-5 mentions the case of a prophet who foretells by dreams and announces miraculous signs that actually take place, but prophesies of false gods. How can a false prophet do that? In Revelation 13 we’re introduced to the Beast and the False Prophet, servants of Satan who seek to rule and deceive the world by creating an image of the Beast that the False Prophet is able to give breath to so that it speaks and people worship it. Verse 14 says he was “given power” to do this, but it does not say who gave him the power. The most likely answer is that this power was given him by Satan. Satan was allowed to do powerful (“miraculous”) things to harm Job and his children. We read of demons that make people appear to be sick or handicapped (Luke 9:37-42; 13:10-13). It is possible that if Satan wanted to deceive people he might release a demon-influenced person from the demon-caused debilitation and it would look like a healing. However, we are never given an indication that Satan can actually heal a real disease.

I would also suggest that there are times when we cannot declare a healing because God has not willed for us to be healed. When Paul asked God three times to remove a “thorn in the flesh” (a “messenger of Satan” we are told), an unspecified ailment he suffered, God said no, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12: 7-10). It seems that only God has the power and the wisdom to determine who does and who doesn’t receive healing (Exodus 4:11) and that Satan is not even used as an agent in healing. All he can do is counterfeit God’s healing.

As to Islam and it’s resistance to accepting Jesus as God, it is true that those who don’t know God can do “miraculous” things by the power of Satan, but not things that result in people genuinely turning from sin to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus’ miracles were indeed miracles of true healing and even bringing dead people back to life and pointed people to the true God. He also claimed to be the Messiah and accepted worship as God. The miracles he performed witnessed to the truth of his self-claims to be the Son of God, in fact, the one known as Yahweh to the Jews, God Himself. Moslems should, indeed, accept this about Jesus but will not allow themselves to accept this truth because it will counter all they have accepted from the teaching of Muhammed, who himself never claimed to do any miracles.

The Jews should have accepted Jesus and his miracles by testing his power and how it matched with his teaching.  The religious leaders who claimed Jesus was casting out demons by the power of Satan (Mark 3:22-29) should have instead examined his teaching and made the judgment that he was not leading them to idolatry but to the true God, and should have approved him to the masses.  This was their biggest failing.

Randall Johnson

20 thoughts on “Can Satan heal people?

  1. What do you mean “Satan can heal” yet then say “we are never given an indication that Satan can actually heal a real disease”?

    • I did not say that Satan can heal. I suggested that he might choose to release someone from demonic oppression that caused illness and it would look like he healed the person, but that only Jesus can heal people miraculously. As I have thought of this some more it seems to me that as humans have learned ways to promote healing so Satan might have knowledge of ways to promote healing, but I still see no indication in Scripture that he has supernatural power to heal like Jesus did.

      • Your answer is a bit redundant. You said satan can not heal scriptural you but can unleash demons to make people sick. Yet when the Pharisees claimed Jesus was working miracles with the power of demons he explicitly said the devil can’t cast out Devils. A kingdom divided amongst itself can’t stand. So then satan can’t send demons into a persons life then remove them! So the answer would be No Satan can not heal.

    • I don’t know for sure how Satan seems to heal people. I am not saying that he does heal people. It is possible that he knows how to fake healings and may use that to mislead people. This would be just like those “healers” who perform “surgeries” by reaching their hands supposedly inside people’s bodies and pulling out something nasty that looks like they did surgery, but in fact they palmed some chicken flesh or something.

      Satan does have knowledge we don’t have and that can be used to make it look like he prophesied something, or he can use his demons to accomplish things that are beyond our power to accomplish. It is also possible, as perhaps you are suggesting, that he uses the placebo affect in some people, convincing them that if they do something he directs they will be healed and because they believe it will heal them they experience some kind of relief.

      But only God can do true healings.

      • This is confusing.

        There’s nothing in the Bible that suggests Satan healing. IMHO, it’s all a trick of the eye by magicians pretending to be physicians. As for someone thinking they are healed, that only works if there was nothing really wrong with the person in the first place, i.e., hypochondriacs.

        I also have a hard time with the idea that our spiritual enemy doesn’t know something scientific or medical until we do. Pretty sure he already had that knowledge long before we did.

        Satan or not, I’d still rather go to the doctor than leave it up to the spiritual realm. 🙂

  2. well i dont know either but i have another question ive been meaning to ask a conservative christian-have you heard of this fellow called Bill Wiese and how he claims to have had an out of body experiance which outs as a vison were he went to hell for 23 minutes and big-lizardmen
    tortured him and there were big snakes and spiders and billions of souls screaming do you think it sounds like a vison of hell or is he going to hell for lying himself, i mean didnt God show biblical prophets like Daniel lots of things about heaven and hell and they were not allowed to say much about it but this guy is allowed to

    • Montel, I honestly am not sure what to make of this fellow’s experience. It doesn’t confirm the reality of hell for me and I will not take it as an accurate description, either. It is too subjective a thing to base doctrine or expectations on. I wouldn’t say he is going to hell for reporting this. I just hope he doesn’t build a ministry or church on it. This is not enough of a basis for a ministry or church and cannot be the focus. The focus needs to be the whole counsel of God.

  3. Has anyone ever heard of someone getting healed by a person with gold in their hands? I believe that only God can truly heal and why would someone use gold for a healing.

    • Unless we’re ready to assume that everyone Jesus healed was a believer, the answer to your question is yes. My mom tells the story of her great great grandfather who was a Presbyterian pastor in the San Luis valley in southern Colorado. A native American chief had a son who was very ill and asked my mom’s great great grandfather to come and pray for him. His medicine man had failed to heal him. He prayed and the son was healed and so he became a Christian. We see this same dynamic occurring in Acts (28:1-10) and in Jesus’ ministry also (John 9).

    • It seems Satan is an angel who led a rebellion against the Lord and took with him perhaps a third of God’s angels (Revelation 12; Job 1). This means he doesn’t have a body that can be killed. He is spiritually dead, as are all who have rebelled against God, Adam and his race included. He will be eternally dead, separated from God, in the Lake of Fire in the future (Revelation 20). We don’t know why God has permitted him to continue to this point but we know that His plan is perfect.

  4. Hello… I know someone who has apparently done deep research going back to the Romans and I can’t go into a ton of detail at all because I don’t know about this and I’ve only danced around the edges of it and he talks about Christianity Today and how the teachings are all wrong… That we should keep the Sabbath that we should keep the feasts and so on. …
    I have a very difficult time understanding and studying deep into things so it’s difficult for me to get an answer unless God revealed it to me… for a very long time it has been on my heart about the Sabbath and possibly the feasts but definitely the Sabbath…. because I never understood why everybody thinks we should keep the other nine Commandments but not that one… It seems to me people are just doing what they want to do and coming up with reasons why they shouldn’t or don’t have to… Many will say it’s because certain scripture was only meant for the Jewish people but I don’t feel or see that to be true… But I am highly against what this man is saying in general because I feel he’s a legalist to me when you get all bound up in that belief basically I feel what you’re doing is denying what Jesus did on the cross… But I just wanted your opinion about this I’m sure you probably ran into it before these people who have went back to the Roman Catholicism or what have you and said that our bibles are wrong and so on and so forth… You know they supposably have deeply study this and when they talk about it it sounds right but then again deception wouldn’t be the exception if it didn’t sound good or feel good and so on… I try to be so careful not to fall in deception because I know how easy it is but I wouldn’t want 2 believe something that wasn’t accurate either… I do sometimes struggle believing that the Bible hasn’t been messed with because that’s what humans do and I know that God can protect the Bible but why would he protect the Bible and not protect a small child from being raped? You see what I’m saying? Everything that has touched this Earth has been tainted by man it would stand to reason the Bible was to… But I just wanted to know your opinion about this because I struggle with it very much and I thank you in advance

    • I think you are asking whether the command to keep the sabbath on Saturday like it was kept in Israel is still in effect today. Some in the church have argued yes and some no. I believe that even those who say it is not necessary to observe it that way still believe that the principle of sabbath is still in effect. It seems to me that Romans 14 argues that we don’t have to keep the sabbath the way Israel did. It says,

      One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. (Romans 14:5-6 ESV)

      It does not matter which day you think is better than another (Saturday, the original sabbath, Sunday, the day most Christians have been observing, or another day) but it is still important to recognize and observe sabbath, that is, realize that my working is not the ultimate reason I am provided for but that God is my provider and rest is His prescription and requirement for our welfare and to reflect His own pattern in creation.

      I would argue that there is great reason for God to make sure that the Scriptures remain protected because that is our standard for knowing the truth about the gospel. But we don’t have to hope that is the case. The huge amount of texts (copies) of the New Testament that we have give us a complete history of the transmission of our Scriptures. We see numerous variations on a small scale but nothing major that affects our doctrine or understanding of who God is and what He is offering us in the gospel. We can relax knowing that He has indeed preserved our New Testament and Old Testament intact.

      • Hi this is Jeanette and I want to thank you so much for your quick reply… I agree with what you said and it makes sense and I will study Romans 14 more. …
        The person I was talking about and it was trying to convince me of his way of believing was also telling me that by celebrating Christmas we are celebrating a pagan holiday… And I also disagreed with that because I believe that God looks at the heart and even though we probably don’t have the day right we are still celebrating his birth…. I wish I could help this person but from what I have seen with people who believe this way is that they are truly stuck there and only God can deliver them… To me it seems like a huge bondage that I want no part of but I can’t say it didn’t take me a little bit in some aspects but that’s mostly because I’m always so concerned with getting something wrong but I do need to trust Our Father to do what he said he would do which was to direct our steps….
        Anyway, thank you again….this was very helpful. ..

        Blessings~

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