Do Miracles Exist Today ? / Are Miracles Still Happening Today ?
This is Part 3 of the answer to the question, “Are miracles happening today? Please read PART-1, of this study, and also PART -2. We’ve looked at the bible’s definition of what a miracle is, and we’ve looked at some of God’s miracles, and defined the purpose for those miracles. Today we will get deeper into God’s purpose for performing miracles. We’ll look at a few more miracles, again observing God’s purpose for performing the miracle. Always keep in mind that no matter who God chose to use as His “instrument” in performing a miracle, the POWER to perform the miracle, always comes from God Himself.
The Miracle and It’s Purpose
Please be sure to read “DO MIRACLES EXIST TODAY ? – PART 2“, for a detailed definition of what a miracle is. A miracle is not just some act of nature that “seems” miraculous to our understanding, such as the conception of, and the birth of a child. But a miracle by God’s definition in the bible, is an event brought about by the supernatural power of God, which is “beyond” God’s natural laws, the “laws of nature”.
There is a purpose for everything that God has ever done, and that includes His miracles. God’s purpose for creating man was so that He could share His eternal love. Jesus said in Jn 3:16,
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God wants to share His love with us eternally. And God created the earth and all things in it, for MAN. God commanded man, in Gen 1:28,
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
God’s will and purpose, by His own words, is for man to RULE over all of the rest of creation. And of course we must rule as God would rule, with love.
I’m going to cite some miracles, along with their purpose. This will give you an understanding of WHY God has chosen, at various times, to override His natural laws, and perform a miracle. Space won’t permit me to go into great detail with each example, but I hope that you will take the time to read about each event for yourselves in the bible. So let’s begin..
Genesis Chapters 1&2, Creation
The miracle of the creation of all things is recorded in the first two chapters of Genesis. God created “Nature”, and all the “Natural Laws” that go with it. The purpose for the miracle of the creation was really for God’s own pleasure. God wanted to share, His eternal love with others.
Genesis Chapters 6&7, Judgment
In these chapters, God gives us the account of the great flood, when God destroyed every living thing upon the face of the earth, but saved righteous Noah, and his wife, and his three sons, and their wives, Gen 7:13.
The purpose of the great flood, was to execute judgment upon the wickedness of mankind, Gen 6:5-7.
But of course all of mankind had the chance to turn from their wickedness and obey God. Noah is called “A preacher of righteousness” in 2 Pet 2:5.
Noah preached to his fellow man for all the while as he built the ark. But in the end, only eight people were willing to obey God by entering the ark, so they could be saved. God choose the ark as the means of salvation, but mankind wouldn’t accept God’s way. God’s salvation was in the ark, and there was NO salvation outside of the ark. Today, there is salvation only in Christ. Outside of Christ there is NO salvation. But most people are unwilling to be IN Christ, and IN His church. The church is the present day “Ark of God”. God places those that He saves, in the church. To be in Christ, is to be in His church, there is no separating the two.
God choose to use “nature” to destroy the inhabitants of the earth. But God didn’t allow nature to “take it’s course” so to speak. But rather, He intervened, and manipulated nature, with His supernatural power, to carry out His will.
Genesis Chapters 18 & 19, Judgment
In Genesis chapters 18 & 19, we are given the story of how God executed judgment against the inhabitants of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and three other cities in that same vicinity. We read in Gen 18:20, “And the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.”
Then we read in Gen 19:24-25, “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”
This is another example of God using nature to execute judgment on the wickedness of man. And again, God manipulated nature to suit His needs.
Exodus Chapter 3, God Declares His Word
Here in Exodus chapter three, God appears to Moses in a burning bush, but the bush is not consumed. We read in Ex 3:2, “And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush, and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.”
In this verse, the phrase “angel of the Lord”, means “a messenger of the Lord”. But yet, in verse 4, it says that “God called to him from the midst of the bush”. And in verse 6, it says, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
It is therefore concluded by most students of the bible, myself included, that this was Christ who appeared to Moses. Christ IS the word of God, Jn 1:1. And only Christ, could be called a messenger of God, and yet be called God Himself, at the same time.
So here we have a miracle of God, the burning bush which was not consumed by the fire. And the clear purpose of this miracle was to PROVE to Moses, that the one speaking to him was God. The miracle was used to CONFIRM to Moses, that this was the word of God.
Exodus Chapter 4, Moses Confirms God’s Word
In Chapter 3, Moses was sent by God, to the people of Israel, who were in bondage in Egypt. God’s purpose for sending Moses was to release Israel from their slavery, and so He sends Moses to tell them, that God has heard their cries, and that He is going to free them from their bondage. Moses says to God, in Ex 4:1,
“What if they will not believe me? What if they say, The Lord has not appeared to you?”
Now listen to how God answers Moses, in verses 2-5.
“And the Lord said to him; What is in your hand? And he said, A staff. Then He said; Throw it on the ground. So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from it. But the Lord said to Moses; Stretch out your hand and grasp it by it’s tail. So he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff, in his hand —- That they may believe that the Lord, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you!”
Let’s read what else God had to say to Moses
Ex 4:6-9, “And the Lord furthermore said to him; Now put your hand into your bosom. So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. Then He said; Put your hand into your bosom again. So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.
And it shall come about that if they will not believe you, or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. But it shall be, that if they will not believe even these two signs, or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile, and pour it on the dry ground, and the water which you take from the Nile, will become blood on the dry ground.”
I have gone to the length of letting you read all these verses, to show you clearly, the purpose of the miracles that God was performing through Moses. You see, Moses would be able to duplicate all these “signs” as God called them, and the signs would serve as “witnesses”, God said. And the purpose for the “signs”, which served as “witnesses”? God told us very clearly, in verse 5, when He said,
“That they may believe that the Lord, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you!”
The SIGNS were WITNESSES, to PROVE that the Lord God had appeared to Moses, and that the WORDS that Moses spoke, were GOD’S words! I am stressing this point, because this is of paramount importance as we continue to let the bible answer the question, “Are Miracles Happening Today?”
If we can clearly understand WHY God used miracles in the past; If we can understand the PURPOSE of miracles, we will be better able to understand and ACCEPT, God’s answer to the question, “Do Miracles Exist Today?”
A New Testament Scripture To Consider
The Apostle John wrote in Jn 20:30-31.
“Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that believing, you may have life in His name.”
John plainly affirms that the SIGNS (in other words the miracles) that were written down for us, that were done by Jesus, and preserved for us to read, were written for a specific purpose. And that purpose is that by reading about these miraculous works, we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, our faith would lead us to the obedience required to inherit eternal life. The purpose for which these “signs” were performed, was to testify to mankind, that Jesus is the Christ. They were originally done, for the same purpose, that they were written down for. That we should believe that Jesus is the Christ.
Jn 8:24, Jesus plainly states, “If you believe NOT that I am He, you will die in your sins”.
Belief in Jesus, as the Christ, the Messiah, that had been predicted for thousands of years, is so crucial, that if we do NOT believe it, we will die in our sins. There’s nothing that’s more important than to believe in Jesus Christ!
Miracles have been performed at various times throughout the history of mankind, as a SIGN, as an INDICATION, as PROOF to us that God’s word, is truly GOD’S word, and not just the word of man. And the word of God has been written down for everyone to read, so that ALL may believe that Jesus is the Christ, and by believing, all may have the opportunity to have life in His name, in other words, by His authority.
Aside from the miracle of the creation, and the miracles performed by God in bringing judgement upon mankind, ALL other miracles have been for the same purpose. That purpose being to CONFIRM that the words spoken by someone, whether spoken by God Himself, or by a messenger of His, were indeed the words of God Himself. And to PROVE that those words are factual, and true, and trustworthy; SO trustworthy, as a matter of fact, that you can trust your SOUL to those words.
John Chapter 11; Proof Given By Jesus
In the eleventh chapter of the book of John, the story is told of Jesus raising His friend Lazarus from the dead. Jesus was informed of the illness of Lazarus, days before He went to the home of Lazarus. Jesus didn’t go immediately and cure Lazarus of his illness. He waited, and consequently Lazarus died. When Jesus did arrive and was brought to the grave site, which in those days was a cave in a hillside, which was then sealed off by a large rock, Jesus said, in Jn 11:39
“Remove the stone”. And Martha, a sister of Lazarus said to Jesus, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” But here was Jesus’ reply in verses 40-42.
“Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” And so they removed the stone, and Jesus raised His eyes and said, Father, I thank thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that thou hearest Me always, but because of the people standing around, I said it. That THEY may BELIEVE that thou didst send Me.”
Jesus then proceeded to raise Lazarus from the dead by calling to him and saying, “Lazarus, come forth”. V-43.
Verse 45 tells us, “Many therefore of the Jews, who had come to Mary and beheld what He had done, believed in Him.”
The Purpose of The Miracle
What was the purpose of the miracle just performed by Jesus? It wasn’t to heal Lazarus, because Jesus could have done that days earlier. And it wasn’t just to restore the life of one of His friends, because if that were it, Jesus wouldn’t have allowed him die in the first place. No, the purpose of the miracle was, “That they may believe that Thou didst send Me”
Miracles Performed by the Old Testament Prophets
There were many, many miracles that were performed by the hands of the Old Testament prophets, which were made possible by the power of God. And all of these miracles were also for the purpose of confirming that the prophet’s words were that of the God of heaven. The great prophet Elijah is a good example.
King Ahab who believed in other gods, challenged the truth of the words of Elijah. And so King Ahab gathered up 450 of his “so-called” prophets and confronted Elijah. So Elijah offered these false prophets a challenge. Elijah proposed that two oxen be sacrificed and placed on wood for burnt offerings to their respective gods, but that no fire be started for the sacrifice. Then Elijah said, in 1 Kings 18:24,
“Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the God who answers by fire. He is God! And all the people answered and said, “That is a good idea.”
Verses 26-29 say, “Then they took the ox which was given to them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal, from morning until noon saying, O Baal, answer us. But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the alter which they had made. And it came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep, and needs to be awakened.”
So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom, with swords, and lances, until blood gushed out of them. And it came about when midday was past, that they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.”
That must have been disheartening to these people, don’t you think? But, they were calling on a god that didn’t exist, and so they got no answer. So Elijah took his turn. He rebuilt the alter to God, that the worshippers of Baal had torn down. Then he prepared his ox and cut it up. He arranged wood for the fire, and laid the ox on the wood, and he dug a trench around the alter and filled it with water.
Now here’s what happened in verses 36 thru 39.
“Then it came about at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said; O Lord the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known, that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word. Answer me O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that Thou, O Lord, art God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again.
Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood, and the stones and the dust, and “licked up” the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces, and they said, The Lord, he is God; the Lord, He is God!”
What was the clearly stated purpose of the miracle?
Elijah had said in verse 36, “Today let it be known that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word.” …
“And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, The Lord is God, the Lord is God!” Verse 39.
This great miracle was performed by the power of God, as a “clear sign” that Elijah was a prophet sent by God, and that the words spoken by Elijah, were indeed, God’s words.
The Final Lesson on Miracles
Watch for the final lesson on miracles, which will come shortly. In this next lesson, we will look at the verses of the bible that tell us of the use of miraculous gifts in the first century church, and of whether they were to continue on throughout all time, or if they were to cease at some given point of time. Don’t miss God’s word on, “Are Miracles Still Happening Today?” Thanks for listening, and may God bless you all.