God is not confined to natural laws. Neither does He dwell in a realm that is controlled by natural laws. He is above nature. He is above the laws of this physical world. He is supernatural. Four different Greek words are used in the New Testament to explain how God has supernaturally manifested Himself in our physical world.
WONDERS (teras): Teras is never used alone in reference to miracles. It is always used with other words that have reference to God's supernatural activity (Acts 2:22,43; 4:30: 5:12; 6:8; 15:12; Hebrews 2:4). Teras explains the reaction of people to a miracle (Mt 9:26; Mk 2:12; 4:41; 6:51; 7:37; Luke 8:56; 13:17).
SIGNS (semeion): Semeion is used when God wanted to signal to unbelievers His presence with those who preached His word (Mk 16:20; John 3:2; Acts14:3; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4).
POWERS, or mighty works (dunamis): Through powers, God wanted the witnesses to recognize a power that is greater than the natural laws which ordinarily work in our environment (Genesis 18:14; Exodus 5:2; Psalm 33:4-9; 107:23-32; Is 40:12-27B Acts 222: 19:11). Miracles manifested the power of the Father (Acts. 15:12), Jesus (Matthew 10:1), and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28).
WORKS (ergon): This word conveys the thought that though a miracle is a wonderful act to man, it manifested the natural environment in which God lives (John 5:36. 7:21; 10:24,32,38 14:11,12: 15:24). A miracle, therefore, clearly manifests the presence of God to all men.
PURPOSE OF MIRACLES
God does not work without a purpose. He did not work in a miraculous manner in order to satisfy the idle curiosity of man. He worked through miracles to accomplish a purpose.
A. Miracles manifested the glory of God.
1. When God revealed the realm of the supernatural through miraculous working, His glory was manifested to man in a manner that could not be denied (John 1:14; 11:40-42; 17:6-8; Acts 4:14-16).
2. The revealed glory of God is recorded in the Bible for us to read and study today (is 40; Psalm 19:1,2; Job 38,39; Romans 1:20).
B. Miracles manifested the glory of Jesus.
1. Miracles proved that Jesus was sent directly from God into this world (John 3:2, 4:48; 5:36; 6:14; 10:24,37,38; 11:15; 14:11).
2. Miracles manifested God's approval of Jesus as His Son (Acts 2:22).
3. Miracles proved that Jesus was the Christ (Messiah), and the incarnated Son of God (Matthew 112-6; Luke 7:20-22: John 20:30,31).
4. Miracles glorified Jesus when He was on earth (John 2:11).
5. Miracles proved Jesus to be God on earth with the authority to personally forgive sins (Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:9-12; Luke 5:26).
6. Miracles proved Jesus' supernatural power on earth over material substances (John 2:1-11), distance (John 4:46-54), time (John 5:1-9), creation (John 6:1-14), nature (John 6:16-21), misfortune (John 9:1-12) and death (John 11:1-46).
C. Miracles gave a divine witness to God's messengers.
1. God allowed His messengers to work miracles in order to manifest to the world that His messengers were sent from Him. He gave miraculous witness to Elisha (2 Kings 2), Moses (Exodus 7:8-13), Jesus (John 3:2), the apostles (Acts 2:43; 2 Corinthians 12:12), and the first century church (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:3,4). This miraculous witness of God is recorded in the Bible. The Bible is thus a sufficient witness for us today to believe in Jesus as the Son of God (See John 20:30,31).
2. Miracles proved that God was working with His people (Deuteronomy 13:1-4; Matthew 12:24-27; Acts 2:1-4,6-8,43; 3:6-10; 4:14-16; 5:12-16; 8:6; 9:36-42; 14:8-11; Hebrews 2:3,4).
D. Miracles confirmed that the word of God was from God.
1. Miracles proved that the inspired word of the Christ-apostles was from God and not from man (Mark 16:17-20: see John 14:26; 16:13,14).
2. Miracles proved that the Christ-apostles were God's messengers who had the authority to speak His word (Hebrews 2.3,4).
3. Since God's word confirmed by miracles and recorded for our reading, there is no need for miracles today to reconfirm the word. To seek for confirming miracles today is to deny the all-sufficient nature of God's word (See 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:16,17).
CHARACTERISTICS OF MIRACLES
A. In order for a miracle to be valid, the occurrence of the miracle had to be perceived through one or more of the five senses of man (See John 3:2; Acts 26:26).
B. True miracles could not be explained by the ordinary occurrence of natural laws. They were clearly understood by those who experienced them that something out of the ordinary had happened (Acts 4:14-16; 26:26).
C. The presence of the supernatural work of God was clearly seen in the working of miracles (1 Kings 18:17 46; John 3:2; 11:43-45).
D. A miracle did not occur over an extended period of time. A true miracle was instantaneous in order that it not be confused with the ordinary occurrence of natural laws (Matthew 8:3; 20:34; Mark 10:52; John 11:43,44).
E. Miracles in the Bible were not worked in a manner to be hidden from the beholders. Because they could be witnessed by everyone, they could not be denied by unbelievers (1 Kings 18:30-40; John 9; 11:45,46; Acts 4:14-16; 26:26).
F. Because miracles could be witnessed, their purpose of signaling God's presence to unbelievers could be accomplished (Mark 16:17-20; John20:30,31; Acts 2:22).
CESSATION OF MIRACLES
Though God has not ceased to work today, He has accomplished His purposes for working miraculously.
A. Miracles have ceased because God has accomplished His purpose for manifesting His glory through miracles.
B. Miracles have ceased because God has confirmed Jesus to be the Messiah and His Son (John 20:30,31; Acts 2:22).
C. Miracles have ceased because God has already proved His Christ-sent apostles and the fact that their message was sent from Him (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 2:3,4).
D. Miracles have ceased because the word of God has been confirmed to be from God (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:20,21).
E. Miracles have ceased because the medium through whom God worked miracles has passed away. God gave authority to the Christ-apostles to work miracles in order that their message be confirmed by God (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). Through the laying on of the apostles' hands, the apostles had the authority to pass on to others the privilege of working miracles (Acts 8:18). However, when the last person died on whom the apostles had laid hands to receive the miraculous gifts, the age of the open manifestation of miracles ceased (See 1 Corinthians 13:8-13). Though God continues to work in a non-miraculous manner today (Ephesians 3:20), He expects all to believe on Him as a result of His inspired word that is able to produce faith (Romans 10:17) and furnish the Christian unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Pt 1:3). God expects all men today to act in response to His Word in order to believe and obey the gospel (Romans 10:17; see John 20:30,31). The recorded message of the gospel needs no more miraculous confirmation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Though God will allow many to believe in false miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12), one must now believe the testimony of God's word. One must respond to the death of Jesus for our sins and His resurrection for our hope by immersion for the forgiveness of sins (Romans 6:3-6; see GI 3:26,27).
WRITTEN BY INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SCHOOL.
Photo Credit: Google.
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