Recently a friend asked the question: How do you respond to someone who uses the last part of Mark 16 to support miracles today?

I would show them how the scripture, Mark 16:17-18, testifies that the miraculous powers would follow those who believe, but, it does not tell how long those powers would follow God’s children.

Acts 2:39 recounts how long the promise was to be in effect.  The promise was only for two generations, to “you and your children.”  Some argue that the “all that are afar off” refers to unlimited time.  However, that is not what the scriptures teach.  The Greek word for “afar off’ is Strong’s #3112 (makran) –literally “at a distance.”



copyright Amaris GlottIn the 1930’s, Strange as It Seems was a radio program of strange and unusual tales about fantastic people and events, based on the daily syndicated newspaper. Succeeding that production was a show called Stranger than Fiction. Opening lines for the two programs might be:

  • The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.” uses every letter of the alphabet!
  • Butterflies smell with their feet.
  • A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle; a group of geese in the air is a skein!



Keep in mind what our Heavenly Father says are miracles:


The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein (Psa. 111:2).

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Rom. 11:33).

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge (Psa. 19:1-2).


In this study, we want to distinguish between the miracles (witness of God) and His ordinary work in the world (John 15:23-24). Study each of the following scriptural accounts very carefully (making notes as you go). The following questions can be asked to discern God’s ‘unseen’ work.

  1. What did the people actually see? Was a prophet or an apostle seen doing some miracle? Did the participants see a prophet or apostle do a “miracle,” which was and action beyond man’s natural ability to do?
  2. Did God foretell (through a prophet or an apostle) that certain events would take place which appeared to be from “natural causes?”
  3. Keep in mind:
  4. Take each event in scripture separately and try not to confuse two accounts.
  5. These are plain statements by God about how He works and yet man does not see anything with his naked (physical) eye. The events may appear to be from natural causes to those looking on, but God shows in these accounts that He does them.
  • God’s definition of His witness (miracleJohn 15:24)
  • What He has said was the purpose of His witness to his apostles and prophets messengers (Heb. 2:1-4).

Genesis 11:1-9

1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.

4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Nothing about the confusion of tongues was explicable to anyone involved, but by faith in God’s own testimony we believe He caused it to happen.

What Does God Call a Miracle?

“If any man speak, let him speak as of the oracles of God….” (1 Peter 4:11)

If we would just remember that, it would save us so much time and error and grief. So many times I have heard discussions among brethren about what a miracle is, and whether we have them today, and we seldom, if ever, look to the Bible for our answers. To the contrary, I hear the “miracle of birth” and the “miracle of the growing seed” (man’s wisdom) mentioned almost every time! Oh! that we had the attitude in 1 Cor. 2:13, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches…!”

What does GOD call a miracle? For instance, many would like to call the act of God healing a loved one in answer to prayer, a “miracle.” What kind of healing in the New Testament times was called a “miracle?” Look at these sample passages: John 4:50-54; John 9:6-16; John 11:43-47; Acts 3:2-7;4:16,22; Acts 8:6-7; Acts 19:11-12. Notice that in every case, where we are told how fast the healing was done, it was instantaneous, and in every case, it was complete and permanent. It is safe to say that the healings today, in answer to prayer, are never like that. They all take some amount of time to come about. They are the natural healings that God has done since the foundation of the world, to sinners and saved alike.

We cannot call every act of God a miracle, because God Himself does not use the word “miracle” in this way. In John 3:1-2, one of the proofs that Jesus was from God was that no normal man could do the miracles He did, unless he were from God, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” There is no doubt that God is intricately involved, day by day, in the things that happen on this earth. For instance, Matthew 10:29-31 says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Every sparrow that falls to the ground is under the care and control of the Father, but God never calls this a miracle. Again, the Spirit says in Acts 17:24-25, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” Every breath that I draw is an act of God, but it is in no way a miracle, because God does not call it that. “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power….” (Heb. 1:2-3) The continued existence of the universe is the result of the work of God, but it is not a miracle.

The events that God called “miracles” in the Scripture are things that 1) could only be done thru the aid of the Holy Spirit, 2) were instantaneous and complete, and 3) were done as a witness of the gospel (Heb. 2:3-4). We need to be careful to use words and definitions which the Holy Ghost teaches, and not the ones that men invent. To do anything else is to add to the words of God, and can cause heresy.

–Brett Johnson


Have miracles ceased? Not too long ago a friend asked, “Where do you preachers get that ALL miracles have ceased?” He later indicated that if miracles have ceased then there is no need to pray for the sick. We hear others make statements like these: “Every time a baby is born a miracle takes place”; and “When a seed is sown and comes up as a plant instead of a seed, that is a miracle.” Some are even teaching today that conversion is a miracle wrought by God on the sinner. That is Calvinism and puts ALL the burden of salvation on God. I understand that one prominent preacher among us is teaching that there is nothing for a man to do in the plan of salvation: it is entirely up to God. That, of course, would mean either universal salvation or else it would be God’s fault any time an individual was lost. Both ideas are absurd and not substantiated by ANY passage of Scripture.

In 1 Corinthians 12-14 Paul deals rather completely with the miraculous spiritual gifts in the church at Corinth. In chapter 13 he uses three examples to show that ALL miracles were to cease. In verse 9-10 he compares knowing in part and prophesying in part (the Miraculous Age) with that which is perfect and complete. Paul said that during the time of miraculous gifts they only know in part. They did not have the complete revelation. But when that revelation was perfected (completed) then that which was in part (miracles) would be done away. In verse 11 Paul compares the period of miracles as childhood and the period of complete revelation as manhood. The church in her infancy needed miraculous spiritual gifts in order to reveal, confirm and teach the precious gospel of Christ. After the complete will of Christ was revealed and confirmed and written down for all ages, there was no further need for those gifts. They passed out of existence. Just as one uses scaffolding in building a building and then removes the scaffolding after the building is completed, the age of miracles served the early infant church as a type of scaffolding until the complete will was perfected, revealed and confirmed. Finally in verse 12 Paul compares the Miraculous Age to looking into a glass darkly, getting only a faint picture. The age following is compared to looking face to face.

Why would anyone want to take the church back to the period of infancy? What purpose would miracles serve today? If one does not believe the Word of God which has been confirmed by miracles, he would not believe in the face of a miracle today either. Much confusion also exists because men do not recognize the definition of a miracle. A miracle occurs when God’s laws are by-passed (as the resurrection of Lazarus) or when something stands in opposition to the laws of Nature (as in the parting of the Red Sea). There may be other definitions that can be added, but this should enable us to see that the birth of a child, the growing of a plant from a seed, or conversion are not miracles; they all occur according to God’s divine laws.

Reader, read the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Study it carefully. You can easily see that all miracles have indeed been done away because we no longer have any use for them. They fact remains that we either have the entire Word of God and thus do not need miracles, or else we do not have the entire Word of God and thus still need miracles today. It is obvious from 1 Corinthians 12-14 that the former is true.


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