I’m often confused by Christians who believe that God created everything and became a human and that souls can receive salvation by faith in Jesus, but they are challenged by concepts of the physical and spiritual impacting each other. In a real sense, that’s what this site is all about: some people can physically see what exists in the spirit realm, and they can even see the spirit impacting the physical and the physical – like sound or objects – impact the spiritual. It’s hard, I know, for Westerners to consider this at first glance. It’s a worldview conflict for those of us raised in a scientific materialist culture; we have a hard time accepting how closely the physical and spiritual really operate.
The power to heal and drive off evil has long been attributed to objects that have been blessed by God and spoken words can charge the atmosphere with physical change. Prayers, worship, sermons, and other spiritually charged words spoken outloud in faith have a force in them.
The principle is this: you want a specific answer to your prayer, then pray specifically. If you are a Christian, then you are seated right now in heavenly places with Jesus, next to the Father. You can approach the Father as only a child could. And if you ask him for bread, he’s not going to give you a stone. If you ask for the Holy Spirit to help you with something, a demon won’t take God’s place.
Another principle that should be noted is this: The Kingdom of God is here on the earth, but not fully here on the earth yet. This concept of history and God’s authority is so simple and yet explains so much.
The Kingdom of God: Here and Not Yet
The story of history is this: God created the cosmos and it was good. Sin and dark spiritual forces marred it and introduced what Jesus called “This Age”, illustrated above as the Kingdom of Darkness (more properly termed, the “Domain of Darkness”, because the Kingdom of Darkness has no king. It has a prince). A “kingdom”, by the way, means the rule and reign of a sovereign, not a bordered territory.
The promise given after Sin marred everything is that in “The Age to Come” everything would be good again: no sin, no sickness, no demons, no death, no problems… Paradise! This is the Kingdom of God, where everything that happens is God’s will, and since God is good and light, it’ll all be perfect: heaven on earth. Many Old Testament prophecies describe what this would look like on the physical earth.
With Jesus’s first advent, Jesus declared “The Kingdom of God is near; here and is coming.” He proved it was here by overturning the works of the enemy: casting out demons, healing the sick, feeding the poor, and overturning death and injustice.
Jesus was declaring that the Age to Come was breaking into the present, from the future. It was here now, but not fully here yet. The now and the not yet.
Jesus declared the rule and reign of God was there, and he proved it with his works. Except the Kingdom wasn’t and isn’t fully here yet, and won’t be until Jesus comes the final time.
Until then, we live in the overlapping ages, the tension of the kingdoms, a war zone. When we pray for people for the healing of their sickness, and someone gets healed, the future kingdom has broken into the present: their future bodies are manifesting in the present. (Notice how healing prayer isn’t a function of faith in healing, but of faith in God and activity of the Kingdom. If you’re praying for healing and trying to muster up faith, you’ve missed the point).
It’s by Jesus’ stripes that we have been healed and will have perfect bodies in the Age to Come. But if they didn’t get healed yet, the future did not break in, but they’re still already healed in their future state.
Sometimes when people come to Jesus and they’re saved, they’re saved not just from hell in the future but also from the hells of their existing lives: their addictions and hurts and bad behaviors right away. You can tell by the radical transformation of their lives. Their future state in the Kingdom has manifested more fully in their lives.
Other people come to Jesus, but their lives don’t show such a dramatic change. While they are saved from a future hell, perhaps they haven’t been fully saved from their current hells. They show a gradual change over time. They are “working out their salvation” in the present life, although their future life, they are saved. The future hasn’t fully manifested in their present lives yet.
This Kingdom conflict provides the backdrop, the worldview of every spiritual and physical battle that goes on.
What does this have to do with Blessed Objects?
A lot. From the days of the last prophets in the Old Covenant, “from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” The domain of darkness has the world in its sway, and the Kingdom of God is invading, one person saved/healed, fed, and clothed at a time, slowly expanding, becoming salt on the meat of the planet to preserve and change it, shining as light in the darkness, exposing evil, and overturning the works of evil.
The agents of change are those in the Jesus’ church. Jesus mentioned his church just twice in all four Gospel accounts. In both situations, it was in the context of binding and loosing on earth and in heaven, to bind up evil and loose heaven’s resources: to pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it in in heaven.” The verb tense that Jesus used in those verses indicates that sometimes the binding and loosing comes from heaven first and Jesus’ church cooperates with it. Other times, its the church doing the binding and loosing, according to God’s purposes. The job of Christians is to participate in the binding and loosing, either in initiating it or responding to when God initiates it: to pray God’s Kingdom come, God’s will be done. Amen and amen!
Jesus declared that all authority has been given to him, and then he instructed his followers to go into the world and do what he did. He has authority, and we go, acting as his extensions of who he is, and as such his authority is implemented through us. Not everything has been brought under his subjection yet, but ultimately, it will be when he comes again, ending this Present Age and ushering in fully the Age to Come.
Jesus modeled healing and deliverance, and he rarely did things the same way each time. The power isn’t in the practice or ritual but in the presence of God. The healing isn’t in the formula but in the Father, who wills for everyone to be healed and saved from demonic oppression now and in the future. Jesus only didwhat he saw the Father doing, and through the Holy Spirit, he empowers his followers to do the same thing with love and power.
Changing Your Experience to Match Reality
Your present or past experiences should not define your thinking of what Jesus promised and God declared in scripture. So many people have not experienced the things in the Bible, so they believe those things “aren’t for today.” Others have seen abuses and errors and sinful behavior by Christians, and think the whole message is flawed. No. Messengers may be flawed, but the power is real, and make no mistake: Prayer changes reality. Prayer changes matter. Prayer changes spirit. That physical objects can convey spiritual blessing, then, is a principle of the Kingdom of God manifesting on earth.
The biblical account is not meant to limit, but to unleash the power of God against the enemy.
The Biblical precedent for objects having spiritual properties include:
- Healing from touching Jesus’ clothes
- Healing from touching Peter’s shadow (probably meaning the fell within his aura)
- Handkerchiefs and aprons touched by Paul were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them
- James instructs prayer and anointing with oil for the sick
- Human touch healed countless people in scripture.
- A dead man touched Elijah’s bones and came back to life.
- Oil conveyed spiritual power
- Crystals (as on the high priests vests) somehow conveyed spiritual power.
- Clothes worn by Elijah somehow conveyed a spiritual blessing
- Clothes worn by Jesus somehow conveyed healing power
- Touching the Ark of the Covenant somehow killed a man despite his eagerness to help and his faith in God.
- Water somehow washed away the sickness in a leperous man.
- Touching blood imparted all sorts of spiritual power, mostly bad.
- Walking over land while declaring authority of it someone cleansed it.
- The bread and wine taken in communion commutes power of some kind.
Healing properties then and now are attributed to different kinds of oil, in fact. Francis MacNutt’s excellent Deliverance from Evil Spirits contains a chapter on deliverance through “blessed objects.” 1 According to MacNutt, ancient Christians also prayed over salt and water.
Salt is a preservative which stems off rottenness, and is associated with being a change agent against corruption and sin bringing “salvation/healing.” In the Old Testament, salt conveyed the purity of the covenant between God and Israel. In the New Testament, Jesus commanded his people to be salt – representatives of the covenantal relationship between God and Jesus – and light. (It’s true this command to be salt and light came before the New Covenant, but it’s easy to see how Christians can adapt Jesus’ teaching in the context of the New Covenant). In the Old Covenant, the soiled cursed the clean, but in the New Covenant, the clean cures the soiled.
Water is associated with baptism, washing evil away, rebirth, spiritual warfare and the Holy Spirit.
MacNutt suggests that blessed oil is more effective than blessed water, because water evaporates quickly, but since oil stains, care should be taken when sprinkled on cloth. He suggests salt may be more effective yet, since it will remain far longer. MacNutt doesn’t say so, but he is conveying an idea rooted in an understanding of how sound impacts certain objects.
How Sound Relates To Healing and Deliverance
The sound released by prayer, praise, preaching, reading scripture out loud and worship affect things in the spiritual and the physical realm. Sounds are vibrations that travel through the gaseous matter (air) and imprint themselves on some kinds of solid matter. Sound can also travel through solid matter. Sound affects things. The Bible records that God actually is enthroned on the sounds of praise. Think about that from physical standpoint.
Verbal praise to God – the sound of humans praising God – affects matter in such a way that the Psalmist declared God’s rule and reign is established through it.
The impact is so significant that if humans did not praise God, the “rocks would cry out” in praise. I suppose that means the vibrations recorded in the crystal structure of rock would continue vibrating and fill the vacuum of praise.
Biblically, this is demonstrated multiple times, but the creation account recorded in Genesis is a good example. The sound of the voice of God released God’s will and changed matter. It brought order to the chaos on a macro-scale. Prayers do the same thing today (on a micro-scale, and in the context of kingdom conflict).
Actually, the vibrations caused by sound can be recorded in matter, and they can affect the air around it in certain conditions. Have you ever listened to a recording of a congregation singing praise and worship to God… and the atmosphere around you changed? God inhabits praise… even recorded praise.
How sound interacts with different kinds of matter may explain the healing power that was stored in the clothes referenced in the verses above, and it may account for why historically salt and oil that have been prayed over have been successfully used in healing and deliverance.
[Edit Note, 12/10/2018: My thoughts on Quantum physics have changed, and references to quantum vibrations are incorrect. That doesn’t mean spiritual impressions aren’t made on physical opjects… it just means mechanism can’t be explained by quantum mechanics. Still, I’ll leave the errant text here to stimulate thought. My thoughts were re-shaped in part by our Peeranormal podcasts on Quantum Physics and spirituality, starting here].
Perhaps something is going on at the quantum level. The spoken word resonates, creates vibrations on quantum levels, and when the Holy Spirit is behind the spoken word, creative powers (meaning, power to change reality, to shape chaotic systems into order, to affect creation) are released. In one of the accountss of creation in the Bible, the spoken Word released the Holy Spirit, who was hovering over chaotic matter, and organized it according to the Will of God.
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. 2
This concept is affirmed in John 1, a retelling of the creation account through the lens of the Word became flesh (Jesus).
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 3
All three members of the Trinity dwell in a Christian through the Holy Spirit. When a Christian prays over something like oil or salt, perhaps the vibrations of the prayer infused with the power of the Holy Spirit imprint themselves onto the matter at a quantum level.
Salt and oil apparently are effective materials in this situation.
Salt and Crystals and the Spirit World
Salt has a crystalline structure. Crystals apparently are able to receive an imprint that affects both the physical and the spirit world. An example of how crystals can relay information physically is if you’re reading this on a Liquid Crystal Display monitor. Vibrations are stored on them, and those vibrations can be drawn out in certain situations.
A less technological example is when some people see ghosts re-enacting bloody charges on a rocky battlefield. The blood shed and the violence poured out imprint itself on crystals in the rocks, and in certain circumstances, the scenes are replayed, like a film projector casting an image into the air.
Perhaps something even more is going on at the quantum level. Biblically, this may be reflected in the vest worn by the High Priest in the Hebrew religion. The author of Exodus 39 states that sardius, topaz, carbuncle, emerald, sapphire, diamond, jacinth, agate, and amethyst were all embedded into this vest. What physical and spiritual properties were imbued in these crystals and rocks?
Different scholars have speculated, and ultimately, it’s not that important, because they have been replaced by a Solid Rock on Whom we stand: Jesus.