Basic Battle Training
Chapter 18: Diversions: Miracles?
There are millions of people today, involved in thousands of churches that have a fervent belief in the continued work of God in the miraculous. There are likewise great movements claimed by the likes of Benny Hinn, Morris Cerullo, Pat Robertson and others who say they have the ability to heal with the power of God Almighty.
In virtually every city across the United States there are numerous denominations that continue to proclaim the miraculous in every service and in every possible way. Television and radio echo these pronouncements with the likes of TBN, The 700 Club and the like.
The power resident in what men believe is legion when it comes to the influence it wields in the unbelieving world. If miracles are true and obvious, there can be great influence in the salvation of souls and credibility of the message. On the other hand, if they are fictitious, the influence benefits Satan in his effort to discredit God and keep souls from Him.
The study that follows will establish a "benchmark" for the claims of the miraculous by tracing the history of God’s miracles within Scripture. With this benchmark set we can then judge the claims of God directed miracles in the world today. Our intention here is to instruct from the Bible alone, to eliminate the problematic deception of’ “man’s word”, and strengthen the Church …and thereby the viability of its witness!
The Miracles of God and His men found in Scripture
If there is one thing that characterizes the miracles of the Bible, it is their proportion. Almost without exception, all of the miracles of Scripture are: Epic, Undeniable, and Very Obvious. Though many "claim" these works today, most of what is seen is far from this standard.
The Biblical record, and thus our “benchmark” is as follows:
The Cosmic Miracles
- Genesis 1: 6-day creation
- Exodus 10: Darkness over Egypt
- Joshua 10:13: Joshua stopped the sun
- Isaiah 38:8: Sun went backwards 10 degrees
- Matthew 2: Star in the east bring wise men
- Matthew 27: Darkness at the crucifixion
Other “Control of Nature” Miracles
- Joshua 3:16: Joshua parts the Jordan
- 2 Kings 2:8, 2:14: Elijah parts the Jordan
- Genesis 19: Sodom & Gomorrah
- 1 Kings 18: Elijah calls fire
- 2 Kings 1: Elijah calls fire upon 2 army units
- 2 Chronicles 7:1: At the dedication of Temple
- Exodus 14: Moses parts the Red Sea
Resurrections from the Dead
- 1 Kings 17: Elijah raises widow’s son
- 2 Kings 4: Elisha raises Shunamite’s son
- 2 Kings 13:21. Elisha resurrects dead man
- Mat. 9:25: Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter
- Mat. 27:52-53: OT saints arose
- Luke 7:15: Jesus raises widow’s son in Nain
- John 11:44: Jesus raises Lazarus
- Mat. 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20: Jesus’ raised
- Acts 9:40: Peter raises Dorcas
- Acts 20:11: Paul raises Eutychu
- Exodus 4:6-7: Moses’ hand leprous
- 1 Kings 13:6: King Jeroboam’s hand
- 2 Kings 5: Naaman cured of leprosy
- Mat. 8:3; Luke 17:14: Jesus heals the lepers
- Mat. 8:13: Jesus heals centurion’s servant
- Mat. 8:15: Jesus cures Peter’s mother-in-law
- Mat. 8:32: Jesus casts out devils (See also: 9:33; 15:28; 17:18; Mark 1:26)
- Mat. 12:27: Others cast out devils (See also: Mark 8:38; Luke 10:17; Acts 19:12)
- Mat. 9:7: Jesus heals palsy
- Mat. 9:22: Jesus heals issue of blood
- Mat. 9:30: Jesus heals the blind (See also: 20:34; Mark 8:25; John 9:7)
- Mat. 12:13: Jesus heals withered hand
- Mark 7:35: Jesus heals deaf
- Luke 1:20, 64: Zacharias restored
- Luke 13:11: Jesus heals “spirit of infirmity”
- Luke 14:4: Jesus heals the dropsy
- John 4:51: Jesus heals nobleman’s son
- John 5:9: Jesus heals impotent man
- Acts 3:7: Peter heals lame man
- Acts 5:15: Healing of misc. sick
- Acts 14:10: Paul heals the cripple
- Acts 28:5: Paul is unharmed by viper
- Acts 28:8,9: Paul heals “several”
- Genesis 21: Sarah (age 90) gives birth to Isaac
- Mat. 1: Jesus born of virgin Mary
- Luke 1: Elizabeth gives birth to John the Baptist
· Acts 16: Earthquake releases Paul & Silas
· 2 Kings 2-6: Elisha healed the waters; called the she bears; multiplied oil; de-poisoned food; multiplied food and struck men blind.
· Mat. 14:20, 15:37: The loaves and fishes
· Mat. 17:27: Coin from mouth of a fish
· Acts 2: Tongues (Known languages)
· Acts 5:5,10: Ananias & Sapphira
· Acts 9: Paul’s conversion
· Acts 12: Angel releases Peter from prison
· Acts 13:11: Paul strikes sorcerer blind
This then is a written record, by God, of the miracles He performed through history. Again we emphasize the scope and magnitude of these acts:
Epic, Undeniable, and Very Obvious
This benchmark then must become a viable guide in assessing the "miracles" of today. Is this what is seen on television or at the greatly heralded rallies of our time? Are the contemporary "miracle workers" anywhere near these men and acts of Scripture? Are any of the 1000’s of churches in your areas that proclaim to have "miracle services" even close to these standards?
Why Miracles at all?
The obvious Biblical reason for the miracles of the New Testament was not compassion on the actual sick but rather the determinate will of God. While it is sure that God does have compassion on sick and handicapped folk, and does at times of His determination heal them, this was and is not the central focus of the miracles in Christ’s time.
Rather, God’s work with the supernatural was typically used to verify His Word, or the messenger carrying such. This was certainly the case in the time of Christ and the Apostles as 2000 years of covenant with the Hebrews was abruptly changed. With this New Covenant and the monumental changes that came with it, only with the supernatural (cumulating with the resurrection) was there any hope of conversions and followers.
Jesus and the Apostles demonstrated the power of God in Word and deed to the effect that none could rationally deny the Hand of God. So it has been through history.
All the miracles of the Bible are reasoned, obvious and eminently believable. The so-called miracles of today are not in this Biblical league and are righteously viewed as a sham by most people. While we in no way seek to "limit God" or His intentions for the Last Days (where they are cited to re-occur), we still are forced by the clear Biblical definitions and examples to define what we can clearly see with our own eyes.
With this said, we also do not claim here that miracles never happen. We believe God is able, and in certain circumstances willing, to miraculously heal or manifest Himself for His specific reasons. With this, we encourage each of you to be influenced only by His Word, the guidance of His Spirit, and your own objective eyes and mind.
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