Men do not perform supernatural miracles. Supernatural miracles are performed by spiritual powers. Therefore the performing of miracles by a man is either the gift of God’s Spirit, or the gift of an evil spirit.
In other words the ability to perform godly miracles, whether it is healing or some other impressive act; is a gift of God and not the action of the man himself. When we see a healing or perhaps one of God’s two turning water into blood; the glory belongs to God who gave the gift and not to the person.
That is the first thing: all glory belongs to God alone and we are NOT to be respecters of persons no matter how impressive they may appear to us.
The miracles of God serve many purposes. First they reveal the power of God to deliver his people and to keep his promises. When believers learn of the mighty miracles of God their faith in his deliverance increases and their faith and trust in the might of God to fulfill his Word is magnified. When we know of God’s miracles we know that we have an awesome God who is Mighty to Save.
As we are filled with faith in God and God’s promises, we are greatly encouraged and we are filled with zeal to keep the will of God and to please God and to keep his Word.
From miracles we also learn that faith without works is dead; and that we must add to faith the works of faith. If we say that faith alone is necessary and not the works of faith; ask, what if God said “follow me out of Egypt” and then did not part the sea? What if God said “have faith” and then did nothing?
If we trust [have faith in] God’s promises; what are we really trusting in? We are trusting that he will fulfill his promises, adding deeds to His words!
Therefore if we say that we have faith and love God: what is that but mere words; unless we add to those words, the works of faith and love? Which are the wholehearted keeping of the whole Word of God.
In doing miracles Almighty God has added his works to his promises; demonstrating that God’s promises are not mere words, but have true meaning and WILL BE FULFILLED in His Mighty Deeds.
From this we learn that we must also follow His example and add the works of faith to belief alone.
There are miracles of God and there are also deceitful miracles; how do we tell the difference?
Godly miracles always glorify God, and encourage people to follow and obey the whole Word of God; but the works of ungodly miracles always glorify a human being or a false religion that does not obey God.
We are to judge men by what they teach us to do: whether to serve the Eternal with a whole heart, being zealous to keep his Word: or whether they teach people to follow themselves and to quench any zeal to follow the whole Word of God.
Among the “Gifts of the Spirit” that Paul lists in 1 Corinthians 12, is the gift of “the working of miracles”. It is an extraordinary gift, for the very idea of supernatural events defies what we generally consider normal and plausible. To experience miracles shakes up our sense of what we think of as normal and “the way things ought to be”. The thought of something that has happened being a miracle tends to transcend what our five senses are accustomed to for the very nature of this gift supersedes natural laws and natural thinking. It is truly a unique gift that can be explained in no other way than “it is a miracle”.
So what are spiritual gifts, and what is their purpose? More specifically for the subject of this study: What is the purpose for the spiritual gift of “the Working of Miracles”?
The English definition for “miracle” is: 1. an extraordinary occurrence that surpasses all known human powers or natural forces and is ascribed to a divine or supernatural cause,esp. to God. 2. a superb or surpassing example of something; wonder; marvel. (The Free Dictionary)
The word “gifts” is the English rendering of the Greek noun charismata. (Strong’s #5486) It means a gift of grace, a free gift. So there is a very close association with grace and the Gifts of the Spirit.
Spiritual gifts are special endowments given to members of the Ekklesia for the benefit of the whole body. They are given by the grace of God through the power of the Holy Spirit and they are given to build up, edify and cause to grow spiritually the Spiritual Temple of God. And as Paul exhorts us, we are not to think more highly of ourselves for the gift or the gifts that we have received, but are to use them to benefit all the members of Christ’s body.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 12:5 So we, [even though we are individual members] being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us….
The primary purpose of a spiritual gift is for the edification and encouragement of the whole Ekklesia.
1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
Edify means to enlighten, to improve, to illuminate, to uplift, enhance, or to educate.
Just as the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, healing, extra faith, and all the other spiritual gifts serve to edify the Body of Christ, so the purpose of “the working of miracles” is to edify, enhance, uplift and encourage the members of the Ekklesia.
The spiritual gift of “working of miracles” is found in 1 Corinthians 12:10 which together in Greek forms the phrase energéma dunamis
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
The Greek word for “working” is energéma (Strong’s # 1755): a working, an effect, operation.
The Greek word for “miracle” is dunamis: (Strong’s #1411) (miraculous) power, might, strength.
From the definitions in Strong’s, the Greek phrase literally translates as “working of powers”. The working of miracles is a manifestation of God’s Spirit, therefore it is subject to the divine will of the Father and His purposes and is not subject to the one who acts as God’s agent whom He is performing the miraculous work through.
John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
In the next verse God gives us another reason for doing miracles: that we may be in wonder (or marvel in a right way) of God!
John 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
There is always a definite goal when God does miracles, either by direct miracles or through human instruments. Jesus’ object in performing miracles was not merely to astonish and dazzle those who witnessed them for the sake of showing wonderful powers. When the people asked Jesus for a startling sign from heaven, He refused to honor their request (Luke 11:16-17). King Herod hoped to see a miracle to satisfy his curiosity not because he was interested in Jesus’ teachings. Miracles are never done for that kind of reason, to amaze and entertain those that witness them.
Luke 23:8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.
When Jesus performed miracles He was here on earth as a man, and they were done to confirm His identity as the Messiah and to back up His purpose. Jesus’ miracles, a manifestation of God’s marvelous power, were the Father’s way of authenticating His Son’s mission among the people of His day. They were recorded by the apostles and became part of Scripture written for all those who would come after and read of His great miracles.
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
The miracles were usually done to grab peoples attention to the accompanying preaching of the Gospel and of drawing men to salvation.
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
Matthew 9:34 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Luke 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 9:2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
If miracles are done as a means of sensationalism or for drawing attention to the greatness of the one performing the miracle, than that prophet or that teacher is not of God. We must look at the spiritual fruits in addition to the miracles, for by the person’s fruits we can know that miracles are either of God or of Satan.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
We know that Simon Magus was able to perform miracles (Acts 8:9) and the Bible speaks of one that is to come in at the end of this age that will deceive the people because of his miracles.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
The Gospels are full of the many miracles performed by Jesus during His earthly ministry. After the apostles were imbued with power from on high (given the Holy Spirit) they, too, regularly performed miracles of all kinds including casting out demons, healing’s, raising people from the dead, striking people dead, causing blindness, and much more (Acts 2:43, 3:1-10, 5:1-16, 9:36-43, 13:4-12, 19:11-12). There were other believers who did not have the office of apostle who performed miracles as well, which included Stephen (Acts 6:8) and Phillip (Acts 8:4-8).
Miracles are given by God to reveal the power and glory of God’s presence and to create a sense of awe and wonder and also to build faith in God’s promises.
Look at what the early church members prayed as they gathered around the apostles who were suffering persecution.
They prayed for more boldness to be able to do the Lord’s work, but they themselves were bold in asking God for more power and for the granting of more miracles to be done through the hands of the apostles and by those preaching the Word.
If only, we, in the modern day Ekklesia, would dare to pray in this manner and pray to God for the gift of performing more of God’s miracles; for healing’s to take place, and for signs and wonders that would be done in Jesus name and for GOD’S GLORY. We know that end time occurrences of mighty miracles are going to take place (See the whole Book of Revelation). Yet such prayers from us would not be answered positively because we have no zeal to live by every Word of god and instead exalt corporate church and the false traditions of men.
Acts 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 4:24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 4:25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
4:26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 4:28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
4:30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
The members of this small group of believers had great faith that God’s presence was with them, that He heard their prayer and that He could perform the things that they had asked of Him. After the members prayed, God validated His presence and also His approval of their request by sending a miracle in their midst, shaking the very place where they prayed.
We know that God answered this prayer for the very next chapter informs us of the account of Ananias, and his wife Sapphira. God performed a miracle through Peter that struck down this couple for lying and wanting to be thought highly of by the others. Their death in this manner was so amazing that the news spread abroad quickly and brought great fear upon the rest of the Ekklesia who heard of it. God granted the performing of other miracles that brought credibility to the apostles’ ministry and to the Gospel message and more people were convicted and turned to the Lord.
Acts 5:11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 5:13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 5:15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
The miracles continued even after the early days of the brotherhood and were performed to focus the people on God and on His awesomeness. Miracles were also done to protect the church from false prophets and from hate-filled enemies as we read of ones being blinded or struck down by the apostles. God sometimes performed miracles to deliver the apostles from prison and from death. As the miracles were witnessed by some and made public to others, God used the fear they invoked to help those He was calling to repent of their sins and to turn to Him.
Acts 9:32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. 9:33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 9:34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. 9:35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.
And right after this event, Peter was used by God to raise a beloved sister in the faith who had died, back to life again. This too became well known in Joppa and many more came to believe in God because of this well publicized miracle.
Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 9:41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. 9:42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
Those who witness God’s miracles realize His GREATNESS and that it is He alone that is doing supernatural things. They are so filled with awe and wonder that they want to give Him the praise and to give Him the credit and glory. They know in their hearts that there is no other explanation for the things that have happened, or are happening, other than God doing it and that it is really God that is manifesting His presence and involvement in theses events.
Those within the Body of Christ with the spiritual gift of working of miracles often have a heightened sensitivity to the presence and power of God through His Holy Spirit. They generally have an extra measure of faith and an extra desire for God to reveal Himself and draw many to faith in His Son Jesus Christ. They never want to draw attention to themselves or to try to point the people to their own greatness or gift. These people desire to help others to come to know the truth of God and want to direct them to salvation through Jesus.
The ones with this gift know very acutely their own weaknesses and past failures and are so appreciative for what God has done for them, that they want to make known God’s tremendous mercy to all men and women. We know that the apostle Paul had this gift and we can read of many instances of God’s miracles in his life and how Paul went on to perform many miracles for others.
Acts 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 19:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
The following was Paul’s attitude for he realized that whatever he was able to accomplish, including the awe-inspiring miracles of God, were all because of God’s abundant grace bestowed on him. Paul knew in his heart that he had done nothing to deserve any kind of special calling or appointment, it was all because of God’s choosing and because of God’s great mercy. And God wanted Paul to extend the same kind of grace that he had been given to others that God was calling to become His children. Freely had Paul received and Paul felt a need to freely teach God’s grace and mercy to others.
1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled [strengthen] me, for that he counted me faithful, putting [appointed] me into the ministry;
Paul was able to say of himself and the grace that had been bestowed upon him:
Ephesians 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 3:11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Those with the gift of miracles have total faith in God’s sovereignty and God works when and how He desires, but because of their love of God and wanting to please Him, they are constantly listening to the prompting of God’s Holy Spirit. This gift is often accompanied by prayer and strong petition by these individuals for God to reveal His knowledge and His glory to others. They do not claim any kind of power that they themselves might have but always give credit and glory to God for His mighty works.
God will often give this gift to those individuals who may seem to be the least in His Ekklesia, those who are humble and are also faithful in all of His ways. They may seem poor or weak to the people of the world or even to others in the Ekklesia, but God says in His Word that God has chosen the poor of this world but are rich in faith. (James 2:5) To be RICH in faith is what matters the most when it comes to receiving the gifts of God, for all the gifts require faith in order to exercise them. To have faith in God and in His goodness one must continually rely on His grace and that person will point others to God the Son and to God the Father as the author of all good things and all miracles, never pointing others to the miracles themselves.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
In addition to being appreciative for all that God had done, those with the gift of miracles must also have an extra amount of faith to be used by God to perform miracles. They must have total faith in God, in all of His promises, be in complete agreement with His Plan and Purpose for all humanity and that He is well ABLE to perform whatever it takes to bring that Plan and Purpose to fruition.
Many of God’s miracles are allegories of the realities of the Kingdom of God. They look forward to when God is going to transform the hearts of mankind and restore the earth to a beautiful crown jewel of righteousness and justice.
As we have been studying in the past few weeks FAITH is foundational for the other gifts to work and is paramount for exercising God’s spiritual gifts and especially so for the working of miracles.
The working of miracles as a gift of the Spirit can be viewed as doing something very difficult, for in our minds things that seem impossible would be hard for us humans to do. We see the impossible as well, just so incredibly impossible. Yet something that is impossible in the natural world is no problem for the Great God that can make a human being out of clay and who can raise the dead back to life again. God can bring a brand new person into existence that never existed before and make it grow with a fully functioning mind and body that scientists have as yet to figure out all the complexities.
Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.139:15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Miracles are simple for the Creator who made all things and sustains all things by His great power. With God all things are possible and when there is a problem it is always on the side of those who do not have faith in God enough to believe that He can do all things.
Matthew 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Mark 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
Difficulty in doing miracles is always with the one that lacks faith and never with God. When God is the agent performing the work, it is absurd to think that anything is too difficult for God.
As we know, the Bible is full of miracles with the very first verse in the Bible describing one of the monumental of miracles. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). And He did it all with just His word. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light”. (Genesis 1:3)
If we can believe that this statement is true, then we should not have any trouble with believing the rest of the Bible because it gives to us right from the beginning the proper concept of God, that He is the Almighty One capable of bringing even vast galaxies, the sun and the moon and all the stars into existence from nothing.
John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
God our Great Creator is all wise, all omnipotent, and all-powerful; it was He that created the entire universe and everything on earth including man. A God who is powerful to do all that is powerful enough to do miracles!
The reason people have difficulty in believing in and accepting miracles is because they do not believe in nor do they accept God. Even though in realty natural phenomena are also part of God’s miraculous works. Skeptics can only think in the realm of the natural world. For most people they have excluded the supernatural from their thought process as they can only believe in the things that seem explainable and natural. When you talk to these people about a miracle they are automatically skeptical, they do not believe in miracles because they do not believe in God. Just like the proponents of evolution, they have a need to rationalize or deny all miraculous or supernatural manifestations to uphold their own convictions that there really “is no God”.
There are many otherwise brilliant and educated men and women who say that the Bible is actually mythology and that the authors stole their stories from other cultures and their religious ideology to create their Bible with its own legends to help explain the varied aspects of the natural world. According to these skeptics they believe and teach that the “mythology” of the Bible also seeks to establish super heroes whom the people can look up to and admire.
Modern day men who do not believe in the Bible and just do not want to acknowledge that there is a supernatural God and that He can do stupendous supernatural things that defy all logic. They do not want to admit that God is in charge of things rather than their own intellectual limited mindset that says that “there is no God”. All of these manifestations can be easily explained as the result of natural phenomena and natural occurrences, they say.
For example, one of the greatest miracles all time is the parting of the Red Sea so that the Israelites could escape the advancing army of Pharaoh that wanted to annihilate them. There are writers of books and articles who want to explain it all away saying it was only possible according to natural laws and therefore down play all that the Bible says that happen.
The book of Exodus is full of supernatural miracles beginning with the deliverance of Israel out of bondage from Egypt and the plagues that God poured out on the Egyptians. Yet there are those who seek to explain away these miracles of God’s judgments upon the Egyptians as mere natural phenomena. The grand finale of all the miracles done in delivering the children of Israel out of Egypt was the parting of the raging waters of the Red Sea that allowed God’s people to cross dry shod, but the Egyptians, attempting to do so themselves, were drowned.
The intellectuals and unbelieving scholars that refuse to admit that a miracle-wielding God was the agent of those miracles try to reason that the parting was really at the Sea of Reeds, which is quite shallow. Their explanation is that sometimes the Sea of Reeds, when the wind is blowing for a period of time, it will blow the water back and then it is only ankle deep. And in reality it is very shallow and thus, with this wind they were able to pass over in ankle-deep water.
These men’s logic might satisfy some who refuse to believe in God and His wondrous works, but that logic does not explain how the Scripture says that the sea stood up on both sides or how God could drown the whole Egyptian army in ankle-deep water. We have all heard of such nonsensical logic of those who try to get people to not believe in the accounts of God’s miracles written in the Bible.
What was one of the purposes that God performed such an incredible miracle? He tells us in verse 18 that He was going to do this great miracle so that the Egyptians would know that He was the Lord and to impress upon Pharaoh that there is no other God than the true God; none of the pagan gods that Pharaoh and the Egyptians worshiped can do what God is able to do.
Exodus 14:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 14:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. 14:3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.
The miracle was also meant to instill in the Israelites the sure knowledge that God was their Great Deliverer and that He was powerful enough to protect and save them. The physical idols [god’s] of Egypt were nothing as compared to the Almighty and even the magicians of Egypt could only replicate the first few miracles before admitting that these miracles were from God.
God wanted the people that He was calling out to be a people unto Himself, to exalt Him alone.
Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14:14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
14:15 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: 14:16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
Later, the prophet Isaiah declared this very principle when he spoke on behalf of God; that God alone is the true God and no one else can save as He is able, no one else can do the miracles that God can do. This is a concept that all of humanity is going to learn at some point in each individual’s lifetime.
Isaiah 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 43:11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. 43:12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. 43:13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?
Those that God calls are to be witnesses for Him alone and the very first things they are to come to understand is this vital principle that is spoken of in Exodus, Isaiah, and throughout the entire Bible. He chooses those that He wants as His instruments in which the miracles appear to be coming forth but it is really He that performs all miracles.
Acts 28:3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 28:4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. 28:5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. 28:6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
Paul had the gift of working of miracles but he never exalted himself as someone that was great, but rather used the miracles to prove that God was REAL and that God is able to do such things.
Just think of what God is capable of doing; what He is going to do; as He has said; He is going to keep all His promises including the promise of the resurrection from the dead.
When Paul was brought before King Agrippa to defend himself against the accusations made against him, Paul said, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8).
It is nothing for God to raise the dead. Think about it. God took some inanimate matter, some dirt (or clay) and formed it into a human body and then breathed life into it and it became a living human being. God then called the man He had made, Adam, which means reddish clay. (See Strong’s #119 and #120) If God can make a brand new living person out of a clump of dirt, would it be that hard for Him to make alive a person that had died and whose body had turned to ashes?
In Matthew we read of the account where Satan tempted Jesus and wanted Jesus to perform miracles to either save Himself or to show/prove who He really was.
Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The encounter that took place here between Jesus Christ, and the forces of evil was of utmost importance, for Christ was being tested by the most brilliant, clever but evil spirit being that has ever existed; and the destiny of the world would be decided by how Christ responded to Satan’s enticement to sin.
We know that Christ did not succumb to Satan’s temptations and that Christ never sinned even once. But what was the very first bait that Satan threw out to Christ? Christ had not eaten for 40 days and was close to starvation and Satan tempted him by basically saying “use your powers to solve your problem of hunger by performing a miracle of making stones into bread”.
Satan tempted Christ and he tempts us by implying that all we have to do is ask for miracles to take care of all of our personal problems. This is subtly suggesting that the working of miracles is for our selfish desire, to satisfy our own whims and needs, or for capricious reasons.
Next, Satan tempted Christ to put Himself in a precarious position so that God would have to work a miracle to keep Him from harm therefore forcing God’s hand and to prove to others that He really was the Son of God. These first two temptations involved the working of miracles but they were working of miracles for the wrong reasons.
Jesus Christ was very much in need of food and was very physically weak at the time of this exchange with Satan; but Jesus was able to see through Satan’s bait. Jesus used his hunger for food to make a point and what did He say in response to Satan’s urging of Him to make stones into bread? “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
The point that Jesus wanted to emphasize is that we are to live by every word of God, the whole Word of the Bible, and not depend on miracles per se, or demand that God provide us with the kind of miracles we think we should have.
Even though God is most definitely a miracle-working God and He uses miracles on behalf of His people from time to time, we are not to demand miracles for our own selfish reasons; but rather it is God who decides how and when He will perform miracles and they will always be pursuant with God’s WILL and according to God’s Plan and Purpose not ours.
God is the one that is Sovereign over all and is in total charge, not we ourselves. All of His miracles will be in accordance to His will and purpose for us as individuals and for humanity as a whole. Those who are given the gift of the working of miracles will realize this and understand this principle or else God cannot use them. Reading about the servants of God who did perform miracles for Him, the accounts attest to the fact that they did understand that the miracles were always for the purpose of furthering the Plan of God and according to God’s infinite wisdom in what He wanted to happen.
We see the example of Jesus Christ and how God the Father equipped Him to do the job that God had given Him to do. It is the same with God’s other servants, for God gives them gifts by the power of His Holy Spirit to empower them to fulfill a responsibility within the Ekklesia to serve and to edify it in some way. But we must always remember that the empowering is to do God’s will and to not to think of them as a means to selfishly fulfill our own will or to even to do what we may think is right and good, but may not be what God would have us to do.
We are to live by every Word of God and that is where our reality needs to come from. Satan’s reality is warped and he tries to impose his perception of reality onto mankind and to live by what we think is right and according to what we think we need; not according to what God determines is right and according to His divine purpose (Genesis 3:5).
Eve allowed herself to listen to Satan and to comply with what he told her; on the other hand Jesus saw right through Satan’s cleaver reasoning and that is why Jesus said what He said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Our realty is not in the things of this world but rather our reality is in the Word of God.
Psalm 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Truth is the Word of God. God’s Word is ultimate truth and it alone reveals God’s will and purpose. Jesus understood exactly what to say in the face of Satan’s temptation and we, too, need to know God’s Word so completely that we can reject Satan when he tempts us. We also need to know the difference between the miracles of God and the kind that are used to deceive and throw us off track.
Understanding this principle is very important in discerning the truth when we come up against false teachers and false prophets and even if they should be able to perform wonderful signs and wonders. For as we get closer and closer to the return of Christ, we will encounter this phenomena even in greater miracles just as we have been warned in God’s Word.
We know that besides false christs and false prophets, an even more powerful False Prophet is foretold that will arrive on the scene soon now; and it behooves us to be able to see that even though the most stupendous miracles are being performed it does not mean that the person is from God. Jesus warns us that it is possible that His own elect could be deceived. We must not let this happen!
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Revelation 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 13:12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
2 Thessalonians 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Jesus tells us in Mathew 24:24 that many false prophets and false christs will arise and that even a great false prophet will have power to do signs and wonders but they will be doing them to point the people to themselves and to their greatness and to, in reality, rebel against God.
They will lead many to their own destruction and not to the truth of God. We are to be very skeptical when we hear of certain kinds of miracles, because miracles may be the means by which we can be deceived and led astray. We have to always ask if the miracle or miracles witness to God’s truth and to His laws; and is the miracle in accordance with the will of God? We must also be able to detect if the one doing the miracle is even hinting that we are free to disobey God and His Word; then the miracle is not a witness to God’s truth and we need to turn away from such a one.
Deuteronomy 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 13:2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 13:4 Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. 13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Learning of the miracles of God in the scriptures helps to build faith in God’s power to deliver his faithful even to the point of raising the dead who have died in Christ. As we learn of the mighty deeds of God, we learn of God’s greatness and power to deliver his people.
Belief in the scriptural miracles is a gift of God; that is God gives us belief and faith and then our faith is increased through learning and keeping God’s Word, which increased faith is a fruit of following the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
If miracles produce faith then the children of Israel would have had the faith to go in and possess the land because they witness more miracles than anyone on earth had ever witnessed.
Numbers 14:11 And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
Hebrews 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 3:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 3:10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
Many people in this world do believe that Jesus rose from the dead which is the greatest miracle of all time, but how many of them actually have the works of faith? How many have the faith to do as God says and to follow Him whithersoever He goes?
Hebrews 11 is called the Faith Chapter and speaks of the miraculous works in the lives of God’s servants, but Paul begins each account of miraculous works with “by faith” or “through faith” these things were done.
Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (See whole chapter)
It is our faith that makes it possible to experience miracles. The whole chapter eleven of Hebrews shows that the men of God started out with faith and then they were able to perform the miracles of God. They did not witness the miracles and then have faith.
The fact that miracles do occur is beyond question. The Bible provides us with many accounts of the miracles of God. The more important question is: What is their purpose? Those who know God understand that He does not perform miracles just for the sake of doing miracles or for the sake of entertainment of some kind, like we would go to watch fireworks or a light show.
God is working to produce sons and daughters of God and all of His miracles will have some element of advancing His grand purpose, in the way that He sees best. We may experience His miracles without even knowing what He is doing yet for He keeps some things hidden until He wants us to know them. But we can know and trust that there is always a divine purpose for everything that God does and miracles will always be supportive of His Plan and Purpose.
Paul also writes in Hebrews and implies that we have been given so very much and that we really have no excuse if we should neglect to heed the things we have heard and have learned, which things have even been verified with signs and wonders, various miracles and the gifts of His Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2:2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
This passage also speaks of a general precept regarding miracles. Miracles from God always bear witness to truth. Miracles serve to back up who God is sending or what He is doing, or sometimes they are for the purpose of validating the decisions we have to make or to show us where God wants us.
But we also know that John the Baptist has no record of ever doing a miracle in the Bible. God, it seems, did not perform miracles through John and yet Jesus says of John that he was one of the greatest servants of all time. So in the case of John’s ministry it is apparent that miracles were not needed.
The great miracle performed by John was the preaching of sincere repentance to godliness and the preparing of many to receive Christ when he came.
John preached the truth and his was a ministry of repentance; that in itself was a kind of miracle. So by this we can see that what humans perceive as extraordinary miracles are not necessary to do the work of God. It just depends on God’s will and how He wants a work to be done. In Hebrews 2:4 Paul tells us that miracles do have a confirming value, so God grants them according to His purpose when He wants them.
The called-out children of God are laborers together with God in doing His work here on earth whether it involves miracles or not.
Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and we look to Him to supply all our needs, whether it is through miracles or not. Believers trust God’s Word more than anything else and we use the gifts that God gives to us to serve Him and His people and not ourselves.
By allowing us to do His work helping Him to call others, to teach and minister to His other children, God is forming character in us and He equips us by graciously granting us the gifts of His Spirit.
God miraculously intervenes just enough to supply our daily needs, to give us the strength to finish the course and to help us overcome obstacles. Occasionally, He will do something miraculous to encourage us and to let us know that He is in control and that He is in our midst.
The gift of working of miracles is a fantastic gift but we must always look to God and to His Word first and see miracles for what they are, they are a tool in the hand of God to work the works to bring about His wonderful Plan of Salvation and the future Kingdom on earth; but we must never let the miracles in and of themselves turn our head.
The greatest miracle is the spectacular miracle of changing a sinner into godliness.
The most fantastic miracle of all is transforming a carnal minded human being into the very likeness and mind of God! To take people who are worldly and in bondage to sin; and make into the very children of God with the kind of nature that God has is an astounding miracle.
Deliverance of people from bondage to sin and transforming them into the holy children of God, who will inherit all things with Christ and live forever with Him is truly the greatest miracle! God through His prophets foretold that He would do a marvelous Work in the future:
Habakkuk 1:5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
Habakkuk 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. 3:2 O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.
Isaiah 29:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
God’s disciples are commanded to go into all the world to preach and teach the Gospel message of the Way of Salvation to all men and God says He will confirm the Word with miracles. The Working of Miracles is a Gift of the Spirit to help God’s servants to do God’s WORK here on earth.
James Malm and Constance Belanger
Note- Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2015, which I then completed for posting.