Are There Miracles Today? / Are Miracles Happening Today?
We’ve come to the final lesson in answering the question, “Are Miracles still Happening Today?” We’ve looked at several miracles that have taken place throughout history. We’ve seen from the bible that miracles have certainly never been an “everyday” occurrence. We’ve also seen from the bible, the purpose for miracles. If you are unclear on what a miracle is, please read, “DO MIRACLES EXIST TODAY ? – PART 2”.
If you are not sure what the purpose of a miracle is, please read, “DO MIRACLES EXIST TODAY ? – PART 3”.
If you would like to simply review all the lessons thus far, please start at the beginning with, “DO MIRACLES EXIST TODAY ? – PART 1. I believe all of this material is very good reading, and very informative when it comes to knowing God’s word, and understanding the very interesting subject of miracles.
Miracles Do NOT Occur Today !
To the thinking of many people, that’s a very bold statement, isn’t it? But yet when it comes to the bible, it is a plain “bible truth”, that God’s word teaches us clearly. Can I prove that? Yes I can. By looking at the words of God, in His Holy scriptures, we can learn and understand without a doubt, that miracles do NOT still happen today. Yes, the evidence of God’s miraculous creation is with us today, and is evident all around us.
God’s word “reasons” with us in Rom 1:18, “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been CLEARLY seen, being understood through what has been created, so that they are without excuse.” I’ve cited this verse a number of times, but one has to be almost blind to look around him and not conclude that there is a power greater than ourselves, that has created all these things we see around us, every day of our lives. And again, those who are “without excuse”, are those who deny the existence of God, and deny that God is the cause of all that has been created. But now that these things have been created, there is no longer any need for more miracles to sustain the creation.
Is The Word of God Proof ?
To a Christian, the answer to that is YES. The word of God IS proof that something is either true or false. If God’s word says that miracles were never meant to continue on after a certain point in time, then yes, that is proof that they have ceased to exist, and do not happen anymore. If God’s word says that the purpose for miracles no longer exists, then we must conclude that the miracles themselves, have also ceased to exist. If on the other hand, God’s word tells us that the need, and the purpose for miracles, still remains, then we must conclude that the miracles must still remain also. It’s really as simple as that.
Is God’s word Proof, to a Non-Believer ?
Unfortunately, NO. God’s word means nothing to a non-believer. If we are trying to show the truth to a non-believer, then we must first begin with a study on “Christian Evidences”. We first need to study the question, “Is There Proof that God Exists ?” And that is something that I will deal with on this website, but it is not within the scope of this lesson, to answer that question now.
For those who believe the bible
For the benefit of those who do believe that the bible is indeed the word of God, we will allow His word to give us the plain answer, “Do Miracles Exist Today ?”
Someone could question WHY, I didn’t make the statement in the previous three lessons, that “NO, miracles do not exist today”. The reason why is simple. In those previous three lessons, we were laying the groundwork for what comes next. Without being grounded in God’s word, we cannot UNDERSTAND God’s word. In other words, without seeing the WHOLE of God’s word on a given subject, you would have no basis for believing what I might say is true or false. But after knowing what God has said in His word throughout history, and by examining the miracles that God has performed throughout history, we have a foundation of “knowledge” of how and why God has done what He has done. Therefore we “know” that it is GOD’S word that affirms something, and not just my claim that something is or isn’t true.
The Purpose of a Miracle
I’ll ask you once again; Please be sure that you have read “DO MIRACLES EXIST TODAY ? – PART 3″, because in that particular lesson, we have allowed the bible, to tell us the purpose for the miracles that have occurred in the past. I can’t emphasize enough, the importance of understanding God’s purpose for performing miracles. Whether it was Jesus Christ Himself performing the miracle, or a prophet who lived under the old law, or an apostle of Christ in the first century AD performing the miracle, the purpose still remained the same. The purpose was always to confirm, and to prove, God’s presence, God’s power, and the truth of God’s word. Let me quote the words of Jesus from Mark 16:19-20.
“So then then, after the Lord had spoken unto them (Jesus had just spoken to His apostles), He was taken up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they (the apostles) went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, CONFIRMING the word, with SIGNS that followed.”
As the apostles went everywhere preaching the word, the Lord provided the power to work miracles (signs) for the purpose of CONFIRMING that the word preached, was God’s word, and not just the word of the men who spoke. The scripture says this so plainly, it is impossible to misunderstand. One cannot misunderstand, but one CAN, refuse to believe! The signs (miracles) that followed the preaching of the word, PROVED, that the word preached was from God!
Let me remind you of a verse of scripture that I have already cited in a previous lesson. The passage is in Mark 2:8-10. The same incident is recorded in Mathew 9:5-6. Jesus had just told a paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven. But some of the Jewish scribes that were there, thought in their minds that Jesus was blaspheming.
They said in Mark 2:7, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But Jesus answered their very thoughts, and said, in verses 8-10, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier; To say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, Arise and take up your bed and walk?
Now listen closely to what Jesus says next. “But in order that you may KNOW that the Son of man has the authority to forgive sins..” He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, take up your bed and go home!”
And the next verse tells us that the paralytic did just that. He arose, picked up the bed that he had been carried on, and went home. And all those that had seen it, were amazed and were glorifying God!
Was it a good and humanitarian thing to do, to heal the paralytic? Of course it was. But the purpose for the healing is clearly stated by Jesus Himself. “But In order that you may KNOW, that the Son of man has the authority to forgive sins!”
When Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven”, those were God’s words. And the miracle was to CONFIRM the words of God. The miracle was to PROVE that Jesus was speaking as God. The man’s sins were forgiven! You can’t SEE the forgiveness of sins, can you? But you CAN see a paralytic take up his bed a walk!
Miracles were for the purpose of confirming the word of God!
In the church, during the first century, many Christians had the ability to know things, and to DO things miraculously. These miraculous abilities were called “Spiritual Gifts”, 1 Cor 12:1.
In that verse, the apostle Paul tries to clarify, to the church at Corinth, the origin, and the purpose, and the proper use, of these “spiritual gifts”. He writes in verse one, “Now concerning “spiritual gifts” brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.”
He actually begins his teaching, in verse 4, and goes through verse 11. Here’s God’s teaching on the “spiritual gifts”, given to the first century church, in 1 Cor 12:4-11.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God, who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit, FOR THE COMMON GOOD”.
Now let me pause here for just a second, to stress this point. The ability that these early Christians had to effect miracles, were all for one purpose. That purpose was, “for the common good”. That’s important. The purpose wasn’t for any one person’s good, or for a select group of people. But rather the purpose was, “for the COMMON good”. In other words it was for the benefit of ALL believers.
We’re going to see that the purpose for these gifts, was to, more fully, REVEAL God’s word, and to CONFIRM, that this IS, the will of God. And that purpose was to reveal it to EVERYONE. And that includes us today. The revelation of God’s will in THAT day, and the miraculous confirmation of that word, is just as much proof to us today, that those words are the word of God, as it was to the people of the first century.
Once something is confirmed, there’s no need to confirm it over and over again, is there? When God had finished His creation of the world, there was no need to create it over and over again.
One of the most crucial points of Christianity is that Christ died ONCE, for the sins of the world. There’s no need for Him to die over and over again.
We read in Heb 9:26, “..But now, ONCE at the consummation of the ages, He has been manifested to put away sin, by the sacrifice of Himself.” Verse 28 says, “So Christ also, having been offered ONCE, to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation, without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”
Let’s get back to the “spiritual gifts” of the first century. We’ll pick it up in 1 Cor 12:8-11. “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another is given the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit. To another faith, by the same Spirit, and to another, gifts of healing, by the one Spirit; and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one, individually, just as He wills.” And it’s all done “for the common good”.
It was done so that ALL could know that the word spoken by these first century Christians, was indeed the word of God. Even so that we today, can KNOW without a doubt, that this word which has been preserved for us, is the word of God. The word was spoken, and it was confirmed, and it was written down, so that we may believe! It’s just like what the apostle John wrote concerning all the miracles that Jesus performed.
“Many other SIGNS therefore, Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. But these have been written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name.” Jn 20:30-31
Christ’s church, in the first century, didn’t have the bible like we have today, to tell them God’s word, and to guide them into all righteousness. (Righteousness is the keeping of God’s commands) And so without the written word, God was revealing His will to His church as it grew. And the church grew in number very fast. On the day of Pentecost, about three thousand souls were added to Christ’s church, by God Himself.
Acts 2:41 says, “So then those who had received his word were baptized, and there were added that day, about three thousand souls. Verse 47 tells us, “..And the Lord added to the church day by day, those who were being saved.” So you see from these verses that no one can be saved without being in Christ’s church, for the simple reason that when God saves someone, He ADDS them to His church. That is what is meant by the phrase, “IN Christ”.
It means to be IN the covenant relationship with Christ, and to be IN the church that Christ died for, the church that “God purchased with His own blood”, Acts 20:28. To be saved, is to be IN the church. You cannot separate salvation from Christ’s church. To be saved, is to be in the church! That’s very simple isn’t it?
God’s word tells us how to be saved
God tells us through His word, what to do to be saved; We DO what God has told us, then God saves us, and He adds us to His church at the same time. You’ve heard the word “sanctified” haven’t you? Well, “sanctified” has a two-fold meaning. It means to be “purified”, and to be “set apart”.
When a person is saved, they are “sanctified”; they are purified and set apart. The purification comes through the cleansing of our sins by the blood of Christ. When Christ’s blood cleanses us of our sins, we are “purified”. At the same time, God “sets us apart”, by adding us to His church.
Col 1:13 tells us, “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, IN whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Christ’s kingdom is His church. Before we’re saved, our spirit is of this world, the “domain of darkness”. After God washes our sins away by Christ’s blood, He takes our spirits out of this world, and He transfers them into the kingdom of His beloved Son, which is His church. The church belongs to God. And it belongs to Christ. The bible calls it “the church of God”, in 2 Cor 1:1, and calls it “the church of Christ”, in Rom 16:16.
Either way is correct because the church belongs to God and to Christ. To ascribe a man’s name to the church, is to take the glory and honor away from God and Christ, and attempts to give it to a mere man. God forbid! Do you remember the saying that I used in a previous lesson, “Call bible things by bible words”? Well, it couldn’t apply more perfectly than right here. We should NEVER ascribe a man’s name, to the church that belongs to the Lord. It is the Lord’s church, not a man’s church.
But the church grew rapidly, because the bible tells us in Acts 4:4, that shortly after Pentecost when about three thousand souls were added that day, that now the number of men alone was about five thousand. There’s no reason to think that there wouldn’t have been an equal number of women also, so the total number in the church was probably ten thousand already. Shortly after this, we read in Acts 8:1, “..And on that day, a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea, and Samaria, except for the apostles.”
How do you continue to reveal the word of God to ten thousand people, who have now been scattered about, when there is no bible to consult? Well, I’ll tell you how God did it. He imparted “spiritual gifts” to the people belonging to the first century church. And He imparted these gifts through the apostles, who had already been given the power, directly from Jesus, to work miracles and signs, in order to confirm that the word they preached, was God’s word.
So, church members of the only church on earth at the time, the church of Christ in Jerusalem, were scattered about because of a great persecution at the hands of the Jews who didn’t believe, that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah. And one of the places that these Christians went was into Samaria, which was to the north of Jerusalem. Word got back to the apostles in Jerusalem that church members had gone up to Samaria and were preaching God’s word. Now listen please to Acts 8:15-18
“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they simply had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the holy Spirit. (they received the ability to perform miracles) Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying; Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands, may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Now that’s quite a mouthful! We learn some very important things in those verses. First we learn that the “spiritual gifts” that were prevalent in the first century church, were imparted to Christians, through the laying on of the apostles’ hands. That’s why this man Simon, wanted to purchase such power. Only the apostles had the ability to impart these spiritual gifts, and Simon wanted to buy that power for himself. Well, Peter answered Simon with these words in verse 20, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God, with money!”
We also learn from these verses, that when someone obeyed the word of God, by believing His word, and repenting of their sins, and by being baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, they did not automatically receive “spiritual gifts”. A person is “sanctified” when he obeys the word of God, but he does not receive any miraculous ability from God. “When Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money”.
Only the apostles
ONLY the apostles of Christ, and no one else, had the ability to bestow “spiritual gifts” upon others. This is a FACT that is borne out clearly in these verses of scripture. What do you think was the natural result, when all the apostles died, and when all those whom they had laid their hands on died? It doesn’t take a scientist to figure it out does it? All it takes is faith in God’s word. When all those people had died, “spiritual gifts” ceased to exist!
A select few people were inspired by God, to commit His word to writing, so that the word of God could be distributed throughout all the churches. The apostle John was the last to die, and shortly before he died, he completed the book of Revelation, somewhere around the year 100 AD. God’s word had been preached, it had been confirmed by “signs” and “wonders” at the hands of Jesus, and also at the hands of his apostles. The word was now written down, and the men who were THERE, and who walked WITH Jesus, and who were the WITNESSES of these miracles, have confirmed the truth of God’s word. Does the word need to be confirmed over and over again? No it doesn’t! The complete revelation of God’s word has been given long, long ago.
In a book written sometime near the end of the first century, the apostle Peter, wrote in 2 Pet 1:3, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us, EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
John’s revelation would be the very last, of God’s word, that was to be revealed, ever! As a matter of fact this same apostle John warns us in his letter that we call 2nd John, “Anyone who goes too far, and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; The one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting, participates in his evil deeds”. 2 Jn, v’s 9-11
Pretty strong words, aren’t they? The point is, God’s word has been FULLY revealed. Don’t listen to anyone who wants to tell you that they have a NEW revelation. Don’t listen to anyone who wants to go TOO far. Because this person isn’t abiding in the teaching of Christ. And if we bid someone well, who goes beyond the teaching of Christ, then we are partakers with him, in his evil deeds.
God says, Miracles Will Cease
We saw in 1 Cor 12:8-10, a list of nine “spiritual gifts” given by God, to first century Christians, through the “laying on” of the apostles hands. Some of these “gifts” were to further reveal the word of God, and others were to confirm that the word was God’s word.
But in chapter 13, the apostle Paul tells the church of something “better” than these spiritual gifts. In the last verse of chapter 12, Paul said, “But desire earnestly the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.” He then goes on to speak of the excellencies of Love, which is eternal.
Paul wrote, in 1 Cor 13:8-10, “Love never fails! But if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away with. If there are tongues, they will cease. If there is knowledge (miraculous knowledge that is), it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophecy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
“Perfect” means “complete and fully grown”
The word of God and the will of God, were partially revealed by the means of miraculous gifts. But when God’s word and God’s will, have been completely revealed, When the fully grown word has been revealed; then the partial means of revelation would be done away with. The word of God was completely revealed by the end of the first century AD. No further revelation was needed.
The revealed word provides “everything pertaining to life and godliness” 2 Pet 1:3 The word was preached, the word was confirmed, and the word was written down so that people of all ages, “might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name”. Jn 20:31
The word of God is the power of Salvation!
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation, to all those who believe..” Rom 1:16
Please leave any questions or comments in the space provided below. You can also ask questions on the page titled, “ASK A SPIRITUAL QUESTION”. Thank you for being a part of this study, as we have allowed the bible, to answer the question, “Are Miracles still Happening Today”. May God bless you in the study of His word.