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Some people claim they have seen miracles, but are those events really the same as miraculous signs in the Bible? Where is the proof that God has enabled men today to raise the dead, walk on water, calm storms, and instantaneously remove obvious physical deformities such as leprosy, blindness, and deafness? What does the Bible say?
First we must understand the purpose of miracles. When Jesus and the apostles did miracles, the New Testament had not been written. Men could learn the gospel only by hearing an inspired man speak by the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit. But how could the listener distinguish a true prophet of God from impostors? If a man could perform works that were impossible by human power, people would have proof that he could also speak for God. That was the purpose of miracles (Acts 14:3; Mark 16:20).
But do we need miraculous signs to confirm God's word today? The apostles received all truth during their lifetime (John 16:13). They wrote this truth in the New Testament, so it now provides us to every good work (2 Tim. 3:16,17). John 20:30,31 says that the Scriptures record the miracles of Jesus so we can believe in Him and have eternal life. What more do we need?
Since the Scriptures have been completed, we now need neither spoken revelation nor miraculous confirmation. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 predicted that, when the process of revelation had completed its work, so that God's perfect will had been made available to man, miraculous powers would cease (see also James 1:25; Jude 3).
Surely God still answers prayer today, working through natural processes. But where is the proof that He is performing miraculous signs today, as in Bible times?
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2/5/2005
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