Keep in mind what our Heavenly Father says are miracles:
THE HAND OF GOD—Part 1
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).
- The singular purpose of miracles was to bear witness to God Himself (e.g. on Mt Sinai), a prophet or an apostle. (Heb. 2:3-4).
- The definition of a miracle is a work that no man could possibly do—above natural ability (John 3:1-2).
- God foretold future events through the prophet to bear witness that the prophet was from God (Eccl. 8:7; 10:14; James 4:13-14).
- In opposition to a miracle is God’s work where His hand is not seen (Luke 23:44; 1 Chron. 14:15; Psa. 108:10-13; Matt. 10:29 and Acts 5:1-11).
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.
- 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?
- Did God foretell (through a prophet or an apostle) that certain events would take place which appeared to be from “natural causes?”
- Keep in mind:
- Take each event in scripture separately and try not to confuse two accounts.
- 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 (miracle—John 15:24)
- What He has said was the purpose of His witness to his apostles and prophets messengers (Heb. 2:1-4).
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.
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.
–PAUL M. WILMOTH
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