Differences In Bible
Miracles & Modern
While Jesus was on earth he made some
very startling claims. He claimed to be divine, and the Jews so understood him
(Jn. 5:18; 10:33). He claimed to be the Son of God (Jn. 10:35-37). He claimed to
be the Messiah (Jn. 4:25-26) and the Savior of the world (Jn. 14:6). But anyone
could make these claims. We were on a call-in radio program where a man would
occasionally call denying that Jesus was the Messiah, and claiming instead that
he was the Messiah. However, Jesus did more than simply claim to be the things
noted, he proved that claim by the miracles he performed. Let's consider
1. Power over nature. He stilled a storm (Matt. 8:26-27).
over material things. He fed 5,000 men with a few loaves and fishes (Luke
3. Power over all manner of diseases (Matt. 8:16).
4. Power over
the spirit world (Matt. 8:16).
5. Power over life and death (Jn.
These are not merely powers, but ones performed in a confirmation
of his claims (Jn. 20:30-31).
The apostles, too, were able to perform
miracles, not to prove that they were divine, etc. - for they never claimed such
but, in fact, they denied it (Acts 14:11-15). Their miracle-working power was
given to them to confirm the word which they were preaching. "How shall we
escape if we neglect so great a salvation; which having at the first been spoken
through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing
witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by
gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will" (Heb. 2:34). The Bible
shows that after the apostles received the commission to "go into all the
world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mk. 16:15), they went
forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the
word with signs following" (Mk. 16:20).
From these facts and many more, it may
be safely concluded that there is no need for miracles today.
The Bible has sufficient proof in
writing that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (Jn. 20:30-31), and
the word of God having been adequately confirmed is sufficient. Anything we need
to know about life and godliness is furnished completely when we take all the
Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3).
Although this is true, it does not keep
many people from claiming to perform miracles today. But there is a vast
difference between what is done in our day and the miracles performed by Jesus
and the apostles. Let us consider some of these differences.
1. The miracles of the New
Testament were not limited to healing. As already noted, there was power to
still the tempest. Yet in 1950 a storm blew Oral Roberts' tent down injuring 50
people, most of whom were treated at local hospitals, not by Roberts. Where have
you heard reliable evidence of turning water into wine? Not even A. A. Allen,
noted healer, could have done this, though he died of acute alcoholism. Who
today is feeding 5,000 men with a few loaves and fishes? For the most part,
today's "miracles," in sharp contrast to these, are limited to "healings" and
these are not of any organic illness. We are told by those who are supposed to
know that most of these illnesses are in the mind, so when Roberts or others
convince those who think they are ill that they are not sick, they are "healed"
but not miraculously.
2. The apostles were not
"selective" in their miracles or in their healings. An advertisement for an Oral
Roberts campaign states "Prayer Cards Given Out at Afternoon Service ONLY"
(emphasis his, HH). Anyone who has attended such services should know why this
is done - to screen out the undesirables. Whoever read where those who were
healed by the apostles needed a prayer card?
3. Miracles in the New
Testament were not conditioned on the faith of those being healed. How much
faith did dead Dorcas have (Acts 9:36-40)? The lame man who was healed by Peter
in Acts 3 was not even expecting to be healed, much less believing that he would
be. Yet today, those who are not healed are told that they do not have enough
faith. What a compound tragedy this is! The sick are not only left with their
sickness, but are made to feel guilty because they are the ones to blame for
lacking in faith!
4. As in Acts 3:7 the lame
man was healed "immediately." If you have attended many "healing" campaigns, no
doubt you have witnessed people, being "worked into a lather" with much emotion,
exertion, and sweating over the ones to be healed. Not so in that done by the
5. The miracles of the New
Testament were so powerful that even the enemies of the apostles admitted
"that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest unto all
that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it" (Acts 4:16). In our day,
numerous ones could deny the "miracles" that were supposed to have been wrought,
and they have denied them and that
From the Alabama Baptist (9/12/74),
there is this headline: "Noted Surgeon Follows Up Reports on Faith Healings,
Says He Found None." The article tells how Dr. William A. Nolen of Litchfield,
Minn., noted surgeon and author of the book, Healing: A Doctor In Search of a
Miracle, wrote, "After following up on the cases of 26 patients who thought they
had been 'healed' at a famous faith healer's religious service here, says he
couldn't find a single cured patient in the group." The book is even more
extensive than that with the same results.
various times some of our brethren have offered high financial rewards for proof
of any genuine healing of organic illnesses. To my knowledge, they have never
had to pay off.
6. After the apostles were
baptized in the Holy Spirit, there were no failures. Acts 5:16 is typical,
"they were healed every one." Instances could be multiplied where Oral
Roberts and others failed frequently, some even dying after they had been
pronounced "healed." Jack Coe had an ingenuous reply to this. He claimed that he
had healed many people who did not know they had been healed for they still had
the same symptoms!
7. No collections. One of the
most obvious differences between today's "healing campaign" and those in the
Bible has to do with money. One does not read in the New Testament where the
apostles or others took up a collection as a part of their "healing campaign."
(In fact, one does not read in the New Testament of "healing campaigns" with all
the self-produced publicity and high-pressure propaganda that is so
characteristic of today's "miracle worker"). If memory serves me correctly,
several years ago I attended one of these and, before the meeting was over,
collections were taken-up 9 times! On the other hand, the Bible tells us that
Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none" (Acts 3:6), but he did not
follow it up with a collection. Quite a contrast.
8. In the New Testament the
apostles performed miracles which confirmed that their teaching was God's
revelation. I have never heard a modern miracle worker claim that his teaching
is a new revelation that is to be considered as a part of the word of God. But
if they are doing what the apostles were doing or if they believe that they are
doing what the apostles were doing, their teaching should be considered as much
a part of the Bible as that which John or Paul wrote. In this case we would need
a "loose-leaf Bible" to which we would continue to add their revelation. After
all, Paul is emphatic when he says, "the things that I write unto you are
the commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37).
From these considerations and many
more, it can be readily seen that when today's miracles are compared with what
we read in the Bible, there is no