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Tradition teaches that Paul's thorn in the flesh was sickness or disease. The Word plainly tells us the thorn was a messenger from Satan - a personality. (God does not use Satan's messengers. He has His own messenger service!)

The word for messenger is also translated in other verses of the New Testament as angel. Watch this messenger of Satan deal Paul blow after blow in the following scriptures:
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.
(Acts 13:45,50)

After the incident at Antioch, the apostles shook the dust from their feet and went into Iconium. They spoke boldly in the Lord, and He gave testimony to the Word by granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, they were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra…And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
(Acts 14:5-6, 19-20)
The men filled with envy from Antioch and Iconium brought the persecution against Paul in Lystra, but they were only instruments used by the source of persecution - the messenger of Satan. Wherever Paul went, the evil spirit worked to incite the people against him. He was a thorn in Paul's side.

The Lord told Moses that if the Israelites did not drive out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, those inhabitants would vex them and be pricks in their eyes and thorns in their sides (Num. 33:55).

In like manner, Paul describes this evil angel as a thorn in his side. "There was given me a thorn in the flesh, Satan's angel to deal blows at me (Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech).

An evil spirit was assigned Paul in order to stop the Word from being preached. Paul had received an abundance of revelation, and Satan came to snatch that Word away (Mark 4:15).

Satan will see to it that no believer is exalted above the measure of the Word that actually lives in him. The Word that is alive in you is the Word that you steadfastly act on. You will have to stand in faith for every word of revelation knowledge that you receive.

God had given Paul the revelation of the authority of the believer. He had authority over Satan in the name of Jesus just as you do. To get results, Paul had to enforce this authority by directly commanding the evil spirit to resist in his maneuvers against him.

If you want results, do not ask God to deal with the devil for you. Just as God told Moses to drive out the inhabitants of the land, He instructs you to drive out the demons or evil spirits.
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
(Mark 16:17)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:7)
We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood
God has given you the name of Jesus and the authority to use that name in binding Satan and his forces. God will not deal with Satan for you, but when you take the name of Jesus and the Word of God and command him to stop his attack against you, all of heaven guarantees results.

Paul himself writes by the Spirit in Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." We wrestle against these evil spirits. You speak directly to Satan and his evil spirits in the name of Jesus and cast them out!

When Paul asked the Lord that this messenger of Satan depart from him, the Lord said, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (He did not say that the messenger would not depart.)

He was saying to Paul, "My favor is enough. For when you do not have the ability to humanly overcome, you use My name to stop Satan's attack, and My power will excel in your behalf. My favor is enough. You cast out the devil."

The Greek word dunamis translated strength in 2 Corinthians 12:9 is the same word translated power when Jesus said, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Acts 1:8).

The more literal translation is power. Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech reads, "My grace suffices for you, for power is perfected in weakness." (This is the opposite of tradition's teaching that Paul had no victory over the thorn in the flesh.)

Then Paul said, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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 Cor. 12:9-10).

The Greek word translated infirmities means "want of strength, weakness, indicating inability to produce results." Paul lists these buffetings - prisons, stoning, beatings, shipwrecks, and angry mobs - in detail in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. Sickness is not mentioned.

When the mob came after Paul to stone him, in himself he had no strength, or power, to overcome the situation. Twice the Lord's grace proved sufficient, and he escaped out of their hands.

In Lystra, they actually stoned Paul. Thinking he was dead, they took him out of the city. But God had said, My grace is sufficient for thee, and as the disciples stood around him, he rose up and went on his way.

Paul had no strength to stop that angry mob. When he was humanly helpless, God's power was displayed mightily and wrought great deliverance for him. Paul was not strong in himself, but he was strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Satan's angel, the thorn in the flesh, could gain no victory over Paul through adverse circumstances because the power of Christ rested upon him. "I have learned in any and all circumstances, the secret of facing every situation" (Phil. 4:12 AMP).

In the next verse, Paul shares this secret with you, "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me - I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me…."

When Paul in himself was weak, Paul in Christ was strong. Of these afflictions and persecutions Paul wrote Timothy: "Persecutions, sufferings, such as occurred to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra, persecutions I endured, but out of them all the Lord delivered me" (2 Tim. 3:11 AMP).

The Power of God Excels!
The Lord delivered him out of them all! He lived to be an old man and then said that he could not decide whether to stay here or to go be with the Lord. He needed to stay here for the church's sake but yearned to go be with Jesus.

Paul did not leave this world until he and the Lord were ready.

Satan's angel, the thorn in the flesh that we have heard so much about, never did overcome Paul and the power of God. Satan could do no more than vex him and be a thorn in his flesh. Paul was a covenant man; he ran the race and won.

Paul preached the Word around the world, wrote most of the New Testament, and caused revival wherever he went. When human strength ends, the power of God excels.

Paul's thorn in the flesh is another tradition that Satan has used to deceive and rob the church.

Tradition says that God gets glory from sickness because the world sees how marvelous the Christian bears the pain and agony. (Tradition never adds up to the right answer.)

Anyone knows that the world has all the pain and agony it can stand. What the world wants is a way out of sickness - not a way into it. Suffering has no appeal to the world; but through tradition, Satan has sold suffering to the church as being the will of God.

Disregard the Traditions of Man
How helpless you are in the face of Satan and disease without the seed of the Word of God living in you concerning your healing!

If you allow the traditions of men to usurp authority over God's Word, you will continue to be helpless in the face of sickness. God will be able to do nothing for you - you have made the Word "of none effect" in your life.

The Word of God is the incorruptible seed. Satan does not have the power to stop it. Disease does not have the power to overcome it. In your life only you have the power to stop the Word from working.

Lay aside what tradition has taught you. Your heart has never agreed with it anyway. Realize that only Satan could be the source of such powerless, defeated beliefs sold to the family of Almighty God.

As you study the Word of God concerning healing, this incorruptible seed of the Word will drive out the doubt and tradition that you have been taught.

Excerpt permission granted by
Eagle Mountain International Church, Inc.
aka:  Kenneth Copeland Ministries

Author Biography

Gloria Copeland
Web site: Kenneth Copeland Ministries
For the last 50 years Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have been passionately teaching Christians all over the world how to apply the principles of faith found in God's WORD to their lives.

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