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Home Forums Evidence for Biblical miracles Are miracles still happening today?

  • Historical Faith Society

    Administrator
    December 18, 2020 at 4:45 am
  • Deborah Hurn

    Member
    December 31, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Every act of God is a miracle that involves an intervention in the natural course of events. If we pray, then we believe miracles happen today and also believe it is permissible to request a miracle no matter how modest. All miracles are supernatural… that’s a truism. 🙂 If we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to effect changes of any kind in the universe, including changing minds, we believe miracles are still happening today. It is not for us to decide which miracles interrupt the laws of nature to create a result, and which use laws of nature to create a result. All we can observe (subjectively) is that some miracles are ‘naturalistic’ and some are ‘spectacular’. Not too many people today would expect to see spectacular miracles, but many people of faith (for various reasons) believe that most miracles of the biblical era were spectacular. In regard to the Red Sea crossing, if there were a ‘natural’ mechanism for achieving the same result (the drowning of the Egyptian army) *that still fulfils* the biblical descriptions of the event, then, on the basis of our common experience, that mechanism would be the better explanation.

    • Luke Frederick

      Member
      December 31, 2020 at 12:34 pm

      Great thoughts on this!

  • Luke Frederick

    Member
    January 1, 2021 at 8:42 am

  • Earl Coludrovich

    Member
    January 12, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    Miracle connections through time

    Moses – law, old Covenant,

    >against false worship Baal,

    >miracles water, miracles fire – burning bush, pillar of fire smoke,

    >Mountain – received Yahweh commandments,

    >blood – Passover,

    >escape from Egypt,

    >Resurrection ideas of Egyptians

    >Type as deliverance from false religion, sin, & death,

    >Name means “Deliverer”, “Saved from the water”

    Elijah – prophets,

    >strongly fought False worship Baal,

    >miracles water, miracle fire – Fire from heaven on offering,

    >returns to Mountain of God, mountain ascension near Bethel,

    >blood sacrifice prior to Baal false worshippers demise

    >Jezebel who has Egypt like Queen power,

    >Resurrection (Others, Elisha bones),

    >Type as deliverance from false religion, sin, & death

    >Hebrew Name means “My God is Yahweh”

    Yeshua or Yehoshua – Messiah, fulfilled old Covenant, established new Covenant,

    >fought false worship Baal & evil influences

    >miracles water, miracle fire – Holy Spirit,

    >sermon on the mount, Transfiguration, mountain ascension Mount of Olives,

    >Blood – Himself as Lamb,

    >Family went to Egypt as an infant escapes Herod and returned,

    >Resurrection of others and self,

    >Christ is the anti-type for Deliverance from false religion, sin, & death,

    >Hebrew Name means “Yahweh is salvation”

    Moses – Law and Old Covenant,

    Elijah – Prophets to prepare the way,

    Yeshua – Messiah, fulfill Old Covenant establish New Covenant

    Moses

    Exodus 3 God reveals Name – spelled out by purpose

    Exodus 19 God makes a Covenant with His people

    Elijah

    1 Kings 18:21 – 46, 19:1-14 False religion destroyed, Elijah returned to Mountain of God

    Yeshua

    Malachi 4:1-5

    Luke 1:17

    Matthew 3:17

    Luke 4:16-21 Jesus reveals himself

    Matthew 5:17 “Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill;

    Matthew 17:10-13 John Baptist / Elijah

    Transfiguration miracle on a Mountain is solid proof to his Disciples of the manifestation of Yahweh’s will, approval, and purpose being fulfilled over many years as spelled out by His Name – “I shall cause to become” as spoken on the mountain to Moses many years before (Ex 3). The Names of His chosen ones also reflect His purpose. “Deliverer”, “Saved from the water”, “My God is Yahweh”, “Yahweh is salvation”

    Mark 9: 1-11

    Matthew 17:1 -8

    Luke 9:28-36

    Resurrection

    Matthew 28

    Mark 16

    Luke 24

    John 20

    I would say every time we pray and receive the fire of His Spirit, we exercise our faith, taking in the Word of life in harmony with His purpose, it becomes a fountain of living water springing up today and every day eternal life . (Isa 55:1, John 4:14, 7:38, Rev 22:17)

    • Earl Coludrovich

      Member
      January 30, 2021 at 10:02 am

      Deeper meaning of Bread

      Moses

      Exodus 16:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.

      Elijah

      Elijah Flees to Horeb

      1 Kings 19: 1Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

      3Elijah was afraid <sup>a</sup> and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

      All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

      7The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9There he went into a cave and spent the night.

      The Lord Appears to Elijah

      And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 11The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 15The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

      The Call of Elisha 19So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”21So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

      Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath

      1 Kings 17:7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” 12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. 17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” 19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” 22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”

      Jesus the Bread of Life

      John 6: 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” 30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[a]” 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” 41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[b] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

      Luke 4:24-2624 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.

      Just as the seed is milled into many smaller pieces to form flour, so the Son of man provided many words comprised of alphabet characters which when formed into words and disseminated to the people as beautiful thoughts spoken, they could be consumed by the same people, and acted upon to gain everlasting life. These same Words could be saved for future generations so that their life saving effects of this new covenant could extend to all.

      Genesis 3:14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

      “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[a] and hers; he will crush[b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”

      Footnotes

      a Genesis 3:15 Or seed

      b Genesis 3:15 Or strike

      • Earl Coludrovich

        Member
        January 30, 2021 at 10:25 am

        Matthew 4:3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[a]”

        Footnotes

        a Matthew 4:4 Deut. 8:3

        Do Not Forget the Lord

        Deuteronomy 8 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land יהוה‎ promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how יהוה‎ your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of יהוה‎.

  • John Oliver

    Member
    January 24, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Yes, there miracles today.

    For evidence search Christian bookstores offline and online for detailed testimonies.

    For evidence turn into the Charismatic talk shows and clips of those online. I do not trust every story but there are many that seem very credible.

    For evidence search for missionaries that take the gospel to remote locations where there is witchcraft, voodoo, and such religions. God sometimes but not every time shows up in mighty ways to give credibility to the messenger that carries the gospel.

    For evidence talk with nurses that have worked in Emergency Rooms for years. There are instances of healings due to answered prayers that defy modern medicine. Again not every time but a few times.

    For evidence go to Speaker Meetings of 12 step recovery programs. There are individuals that had tried willpower and every kind of treatment but remained hopelessly addicted to alcohol or drugs. Then but by humbly and persistently working the 12 steps for years then they were set free. Those 12 steps include turning one’s will and life over to the care of God and being consistent in prayer as well as meditation. They will not use the name Jesus but still, that is a personal intervention in a human life. God spared them from a path of destruction for themselves and their family. Then give the credit to God or call it Higher Power. It was not self-will.

    • John Oliver

      Member
      January 24, 2021 at 11:57 pm

      It is natural to doubt that there are miracles today in our media-saturated culture that is controlled by secular humanists.

      BUT consider that IF biblical theology is correct THEN God is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent. That means that God knows everything, God is everywhere, and God has all power. Is that the truth or is it a religious lie?

      The Bible says that God is love.

      The Bible says that God is spirit.

      The Bible says that God keeps His covenants with His people.

      The Bible says God gives good gifts to those who ask.

      The Bible says that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and care for His sheep in gracious ways.

      There are dozens of other such simple summaries of biblical truths.

      To say that God does not perform miracles today is to IMPLY that God is

      uncaring

      aloof

      impotent

      too busy

      detached

      unaware

      unresponsive

      a poor shepherd

      a bad father

      less powerful than the world, flesh, and devil

    • John Oliver

      Member
      January 25, 2021 at 12:02 am

      When people pray privately and corporately are they communicating with a deity that can hear and understand them? When they petition God for personal matters or for the group then do they have faith that God can and will answer? Is prayer a real contact with a real and living God?

      Have you EVER experienced answers to your prayers? Do you know individuals that have experienced answers to prayers that had to be God?

      Go communicate online or offline church planters and Christians that are doing good works with those that are very poor, in prison, homeless, elderly, etc. Ask them for testimonies of answered prayers.

      Do you know missionaries that have witnessed answers to prayers?

      How big of an answer to a prayer is needed before it can be called a miracle?

    • John Oliver

      Member
      January 25, 2021 at 12:17 am

      God answered the prayers of my mother and her friends. Thanks to God for answering those many prayers God made a way for me to go into drug rehab in my 20s.

      My mind was like scrambled eggs.

      I was socially incompetent.

      I was on a path to self-destruction.

      God planted me in a loving Christian community for 18 months. It took that long for me to get back my right mind.

      Then I could hear and respond to the message of the gospel of salvation.

      God used the testimonies of those that had been delivered from alcohol and drug abuse on Unshackeled radio show https://unshackled.org/listen/browse-all-programs/ to give me hope and faith.

      When I came to faith alone in Christ alone I was no longer working hard to become a good Christian from the outside to the inside. At that moment I KNEW that I had been MIRACOUSLY born again from above.

      I have been a member of various churches over the decades. Nearly all the other members grew up in Christain households. They do not understand or appreciate the MIRACLE of rebirth like a former drug addict like me.

      There are thousands of recording on the website of Unshaekled https://unshackled.org/listen/browse-all-programs/ I challenge you to listen to a dozen of them and conclude honestly that God is not performing the MIRACLE of personal deliverance and rebirth TODAY.

    • John Oliver

      Member
      January 31, 2021 at 8:19 am

      The question is are miracles still happening today?

      The answer is found in considering the following.

      The gospel of John repeatedly indicates that Jesus performed signs. These were evidence that He was not just another teacher but He came from God.

      The 4 gospels are full of instances of Jesus performing healings and deliverances. He sent out His disciples with authority to do similar things. And they report that happened. These were to establish the credibility of the messenger so that the message would be received. That happened in the book of Acts. It happened with Moses before Pharaoh.

      Many of the bedtime Bible stories that have been read to children from the OT and NT involve some kind of divine intervention that might be called a miracle.

      Thomas Jefferson and others have attempted to deny, ignore, or explain away rationally all instances of the supernatural. If all those passages and references were blacked out then that redacted version of the biblical stories would be full of major gaps. The narrative would not make sense. Imagine taking the fight scenes out of an action movie or the songs out of a musical.

      The Bible declares that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever in Hebrews 13:8. What is recorded by eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ during His brief lifetime is the same about His character, compassion, and power today.

      The message of the gospel of salvation was carried by the original disciples throughout the Roman world by the power of the Holy Spirit. That continued under heavy persecution for centuries. The Reformation at the time of Luther and others like Him transformed lives in ways that could not be explained rationally. Likewise, there have been several major revivals that radically changed whole communities. Seen together these are evidence of the hand of God moving graciously on the souls of humans in amazing ways. And in many but not all instances there were signs and wonders accompanying the preaching of the gospel message as a way to give credibility to the messenger.

      Another grand miracle is how God Himself has preserved the Bible throughout these 2 thousand years. It has come to us today despite the vicious attacks of tyrants, neglect of carnal Church leaders, and sacrifice of martyrs.

      The wonderful programs by Patterns of Evidence at careful and thoughtful explorations of the essential passages of the OT where God Himself entered the affairs of humans. He did not just show up with wise words that might be forgotten but with miracles to give credibility to His message and His messengers.

      God has been using miracles that are sometimes called signs and wonders as His calling card for thousands of years. Then is it reasonable to conclude that God stopped doing that? Did God die? Has God gone on a vacation? Did science and technology displace God? Did God quit loving and caring about humans?

      Is it possible that secular humanism has dominated the media, academia, and educational systems so that we do not seek, expect, notice, or celebrate small miracles? Is it possible that God is still performing miracles but mostly on the margins of society away from the spotlights? Is it possible that we have failed to come to God with repentance, humility, and perseverance in our personal and corporate prayers? Is it possible that God is doing miracles but we lack the eyes to see and the ears to hear them? Is it possible that our pride, carnality, worldliness, idolatry, arrogance, selfishness, sinfulness, and more have hindered God from moving in our lives personally and corporately?

      Why are we so unwilling or unable to just let God be God and thus as the Almighty Creator come and intersect with His Creation in ways that serve His greater purposes?

      Why do we fail to acknowledge that there is a spiritual being that has far more power, wisdom, grace, and mercy than we could imagine?

      Why do we fail to accept that God is the greatest Father ever has before and will again intersect in the lives of His dear children individually and collectively?

      • Timothy Mahoney

        Member
        February 3, 2021 at 3:50 pm

        Hi John,

        Dr. Craig Keener who was in our film, The Red Sea Miracle II – has written extensively on miracles in his two-volume set called, Miracles. Here is an article and Podcast from

        Cross Examine

        Most modern prejudice against biblical miracle reports depends on David Hume’s argument that uniform human experience precluded miracles. Yet current research shows that human experience is far from uniform. In fact, hundreds of millions of people today claim to have experienced miracles. Frank interviews New Testament scholar Craig Keener not only about the reliability of the miracle eyewitness accounts of Gospels and Acts but also documented modern-day miracles. The evidence will leave with more than just something to think about.

        https://crossexamined.org/miracles-dr-craig-keener-part-1/

        Tim

        • John Oliver

          Member
          February 3, 2021 at 7:03 pm

          Timothy

          Thanks for this referral.

          John

        • Dan Geer

          Member
          February 3, 2021 at 7:31 pm

          @tim Thanks for the heads up on the Cross Examined podcast. I only began listening maybe last year, so I didn’t realize Keener was on the podcast. I’ll have to give the episodes a listen!

  • Francesco Gabellini

    Member
    February 1, 2021 at 4:21 am

    In my humble view, miracles still happen today, but often not in the way we expect them to.

    Now I will try to give a brief explanation regarding this answer of mine.

    It is natural that all those who believe in the existence of an intelligent and wise supreme creator have the desire to be able to have a good friendship with him and to be able to receive his help, perhaps even in an extraordinary way.

    However, sometimes our expectations may prevent us from seeing clearly how God is truly helping us, through miracles. For example, as our friend Timothy explained very well in his film about “Moses Controversy”, the way in which the individual pages of the Bible have reached us is already in itself a great miracle. Although the original writings have been written and then copied several times on highly perishable materials such animal skins, we have concrete evidence through the <st1:place w:st=”on”>Dead Sea</st1:place> scrolls that what is written in the pages of our Bibles is identical to what was originally written.

    Furthermore, over time, no other book has been as translated as the books of the Bible.

    Finally, it was exciting to discover that even the revolutionary invention of the powerful alphabet may have been encouraged by God himself through his humble servants of the past. All this I call an “extraordinary miracle” and we all benefit from it today.

    God is able to surprise us in the way he acts to help people who are well disposed towards him. So, if our desire is to benefit from God’s help through a miracle, we should turn to the Bible and study it carefully to understand how God wishes to help us. As the Timothy Movies demonstrate, this kind of Bible investigation can also be very intriguing. In the Bible we find the answers to many of our questions and therefore we can be sure that there is also God’s answer to the question: “Are miracles still happening today” ?

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New International Version)

    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    In my next post, I will try to make a brief analysis of the things we can learn from reading the Bible carefully and that could provide us with the answer to the question we have asked ourselves about today’s miracles. In the meantime, it will be my pleasure to know what you think of my humble post in this discussion.

    Greetings to all of you, lovers of the Bible.

  • Francesco Gabellini

    Member
    February 6, 2021 at 4:40 am

    I really like the method Timothy uses in his films, that is to ask questions concerning a sequence of evidence to look for and then find the answers to the questions both in the Bible and in external sources.

    So I will follow the same method as I try to find the answer to the question we asked ourselves in this discussion.

    To get to the final answer we should ask ourselves another 4 further questions in sequence.

    1) How often has God performed miracles throughout known human history?

    2) Toward what kind of people has God performed miracles in the course of known human history?

    3) What appears to be God’s goal in performing his miracles?

    4) Can we know if God’s goal has been achieved?

    So, now, I’ll try to answer one of these questions at a time in my next posts.

    Let’s start with the first one.

    1) How often has God performed miracles throughout known human history?

    To have the sure answer to this question we must face a problem that is posed in the Bible regarding miracles or so-called “signs and wonders”.

    Here are some scriptures from New International Version of the Bible (NIV)

    2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 “9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

    From this scripture we can understand that miracles are not only from God but can also be the work of God’s adversary, called Satan. We also understand that God has allowed Satan to perform these “signs and wonders” to bring out the difference between people who love truth and God’s righteousness and those who love wickedness.

    Matthew 7:21-23 “21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

    By linking this last scripture with the previous one, we understand that Satan can use people to perform his miracles, people who even claim to be servants of God himself.

    It is true that the scriptures mentioned here speak of events that would take place in the future compared to when they were written, but from the entire Bible we know that Satan has always acted fraudulently since the beginning of human history, so we can be sure that Satan has always tried to mislead people even in the past and he certainly did so with “signs and wonders”.

    So if we want to be people who prove “to love the truth” we must be sure that certain so-called miracles really come from God and not from Satan and this is not an easy task.

    Regarding a good part of the history of humanity (let’s say about 4,000 years) we have been helped by God through the Bible itself because in it we find described the miracles that have really been performed by God.

    So now we can proceed with making a summary accounting of all the miracles recorded in the Bible. This calculation cannot be accurate because it depends on how we count miracles. For example, in the case of the Exodus we could count a single overall miraculous event or various single miracles, starting from the burning bush and reaching the conquest of the promised land.

    Therefore, everyone can make his own personal account of the miracles narrated in the Bible. In any case, however, from a careful analysis of those events an important truth emerges which constitutes the answer to our first question.

    The miracles performed by God in the course of about 4,000 years of human history have been relatively few and many of them have been concentrated in two specific periods of history, namely the period of the Exodus and the period of the coming of Christ.

    Having found the answer to this first question, we can now move on to the second question, that is “Toward what kind of people has God performed miracles in the course of known human history?

    In my next post I will try to answer this last question. In the meantime, I will be pleased to know what you think, all you Bible lovers, of what I wrote in this post.

    Please be patient with me. I read in the “code of conduct” that we should write well and try to use proper spelling and grammar. I am trying to do my best but bear in mind that my native language is Italian.

    • Deborah Hurn

      Member
      February 6, 2021 at 5:43 am

      Francesco your English is perfect. Yes, I like Tim’s questioning process also.

      My understanding is that God performs miracles All. The. Time. I don’t distinguish between ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’ events because we have no way of discerning which processes defy the laws of nature or which are just minor ‘divine interventions’, a little ‘fiddling with the dials’. On earth, God performs miracles on the micro- (personal?) and macro- (political?) scales. If we pray for any kind of change in our own life or others’ lives or in the nations then we are asking God to ‘interfere’.

      I see the history of Israel as “one single overall miraculous event”, and I would take it back even earlier than the burning bush and bring it forward much later than the conquest. 😉

      For example, in the case of the Exodus we could count a single overall miraculous event or various single miracles, starting from the burning bush and reaching the conquest of the promised land.

      • Francesco Gabellini

        Member
        February 7, 2021 at 10:43 pm

        Deborah, thanks for your post and thanks for your kind words regarding my English. You have been very encouraging and this gives me the incentive to participate enthusiastically in this interesting discussion.

        Your post also gives me the opportunity to better explain what we can reasonably mean when we talk about “miracles”.

        I too am convinced that everywhere we can see “miracles” from God. The “big bang” was a miracle, the creation of the expanding universe was a miracle, the formation of solar systems and planets was a miracle, our wonderful planet with its extraordinary cycles is a miracle that continues over time, our very life is a miracle, including the extraordinary complexity of our brain and of DNA.

        However, we must take into account that in today’s view of things especially by many scientists, the things I have just described are considered “natural” and for many even coming from “chance”.

        Therefore, also out of respect for the point of view that others may have, we should consider as “miracles” only those events that go beyond our current scientific understanding.

        From this definition of “miracle”, that is “event that goes beyond our current scientific understanding”, we can understand that the difference between “natural” and “supernatural” shifts over time according to our knowledge.

        For example, if by hypothesis I could talk to an ancestor of mine who lived three centuries ago and told him that I can speak in real time with another human being who lives on the opposite side of the earth, this in the eyes of my ancestor would be definitely defined as a “miracle”. And why would my ancestor call it a “miracle”? Because the existence of invisible electromagnetic waves and their nature was completely unknown to human beings who lived at the time while now for us the use of cell phones makes this experience completely “natural”. It is possible that in the future even the possibility of dividing large masses of water or the possibility of giving life to a dead body may become scientifically understandable and then what for us now seems a “miracle” could become completely “natural” in the future.

        This is why our definition of “miracle” should be related to the degree of scientific knowledge we have at the moment.

        So when I talk about “natural” things in my posts I will refer to things that can be scientifically understood based on our current knowledge while when I talk about “supernatural” things or “miracles” I will refer to events that go beyond ours current scientific understanding.

        • Deborah Hurn

          Member
          February 7, 2021 at 11:17 pm

          Francesco, the approach you are proposing is known to sceptics (that’s the British spelling) as “God of the Gaps”. This phrase means that there is only ‘room’ for ‘God’ explanations in the areas of science that we don’t yet understand. As science (knowledge) increases, therefore, the number of phenomena that we ‘need’ God for decreases. Atheists mock theists by listing some of the natural phenomena once described as acts of God (‘miracles’) for which laws and mechanisms are now known. Yes, the current digital age with its amazing instant communication provides many examples of what would once have been considered miracles.

          To the sceptics, therefore, the age of ‘superstition’ is in retreat, the scientific gaps will all eventually be closed, and the believer in miracles will have no grounds for their belief in an interventionist God. I think we need to side-step this trap. God is the original great Scientist. All the natural laws and processes, including life, are His creation and domain. We don’t have to keep shifting the definitions of what now constitutes a miracle (whatever we cannot yet explain). Everything is spiritual. We are living in one big miracle. God can manipulate events as little or as much as He decides is necessary to bring about desired outcomes. More and more it seems God prefers to use the natural laws He has created to create a ‘naturalistic’ effect. This is a challenge to faith, but so it should be.

  • Francesco Gabellini

    Member
    February 8, 2021 at 11:44 am

    After answering the first question and considering that the miracles performed by God in the course of about 4,000 years of human history have been relatively few and many of them have been concentrated in two specific periods of history, now is the time to answer the second question.

    Toward what kind of people has God performed miracles in the course of known human history?

    Speaking of “miracles” or things that are beyond our understanding, we cannot help but mention two events that directly affected the lives of many people. They are described in chapters 6 and 11 of the book of Genesis and are the flood in the days of Noah and the confusion of tongues in the city later called Babel.

    However, apart from these two events just described, God begins to work miraculously towards a specific category of people. Beginning with Abraham and progressing along his lineage, God manifested himself in ways beyond our understanding with Jacob, with Joseph, and then with Moses and Joshua.

    Then, once the people of Israel had settled in Canaan (the promised land), God continued to work a few single miracles through different Judges and different Prophets.

    We can say with absolute certainty that of all the miracles made by God for Abraham’s descendants, the most extraordinary and still fascinating ones today (the PoE series of films is a demonstration of this) are those performed through Moses.

    And through Moses himself, God foretold to the people of <st1:country-region w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:place></st1:country-region> that another prophet like Moses would be sent to that people, as recorded in the scripture of Deuteronomy 18:18.

    Deuteronomy 18:18 (NIV) “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.”

    As we know, in order to make the people of Israel believe in Moses, God gave Moses the power to perform “miracles” which he did first only before his people and then also before Egyptians.

    So it was logical to expect that the “prophet like you” mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18 would have to show similar credentials to be heard by the people and thus perform miracles comparable to those of Moses.

    Jesus Christ proved that he was that “prophet like you” by giving abundant evidence that he had God’s backing in what he said and did. Jesus did not open the waters of the sea, he did not transform wooden sticks into snakes but he did miracles even more extraordinary than those of Moses, even going so far as to give life back to dead people, something that Moses never did.

    Then, God gave some apostles the opportunity to perform several miracles which are described in the book of Acts. These miracles helped many people understand that the newborn Christian congregation had God’s backing.

    After this brief analysis, what answer can we give to the question found at the beginning of this post?

    If we want to give a superficial answer, we could say that God has behaved in an extremely partial way because he has turned his attention and his power only towards a single people.

    Throughout human history, many peoples have suffered from oppression by other dominant peoples. Unfortunately, slavery was a practice that dates back to the beginning of human history and has come to be practiced even in times very close to us.

    God did not choose to help and free all the oppressed but only those who belonged to the people of <st1:country-region w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:place></st1:country-region>.

    On the other hand, however, we have a disturbing question that arises spontaneously. If God worked extraordinary miracles to free some 3 million Jews from the oppression of the Egyptian people, why didn’t he do the same to free some 6 million Jews from the oppression of the German people in the Nazi period?

    It is therefore evident that God’s apparent preference for the people of <st1:country-region w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:place></st1:country-region> was only temporary and was not due to some sort of partiality.

    In fact, the apostle Peter recognized about God what we read in the scripture of Acts 10: 34-35

    Acts 10:34-35 (NIV) “Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”

    Therefore God is not partial and does not show favoritism.

    At this point, however, another question spontaneously arises.

    If the reason why God performed so many miracles in favor of the people of Israel both in the time of Moses and in the time of Jesus was not partiality and wanting to favor only that people, why did God act that way?

    This logical reasoning leads us directly to our third question which I will try to answer in my next post, which is ” What appears to be God’s goal in performing his miracles?”

  • Eric Smith

    Member
    February 10, 2021 at 5:35 am

    There is a two volume book set by Dr. Craig Keener which documents miracles all over the world. You saw him on the red sea miracles discussion panel, actually. The title of the set is “Miracles”.

    As for myself, my wife’s retina in one eye was in danger of becoming detached. One day, the eye doctor looked in and asked if she ever had corrective surgery for it to which she said “no”, because she hadn’t.

    He told her that was interesting because he could see a pattern on her retina edge that looked exactly like what one would have if they had laser surgery to fix a detaching retina.

    • Eric Smith

      Member
      February 10, 2021 at 5:45 am

      The full title is: Miracles The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts

  • John Oliver

    Member
    February 14, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    Jesus healed a great many people while on the earth. So how are those supernatural incidences not miracles and signs that He is divine?

    Jesus Christ made a super bold claim when He said that He came from God and spoke for God Almighty. He taught authoritatively about what pleased and displeased the only True God. He taught about angels and final judgment. Any person can say anything about spiritual matters that cannot be seen. But any person cannot instantly heal seriously sick people.

    Just one example is that anyone can say your sins are forgiven. But for that same person to be instantly healed cannot be done by just any rabbi. Matthew 9:4-8

    His healings are an expression of His love and character. They are proof of His claims of divinity. In the gospel of John, he declared I AM 7 times, and closely associated with that claim was an outward sign related to that claim.

    There were others before Him and since that have made similar claims that they are messengers of God. There are individuals alive today that claim to be some kind of messiah and have many followers. But they could not do the healings and deliverances that Jesus Christ did during His brief lifetime.

    In the 4 gospel accounts, there are brief stories of amazing healings. If what was written happened just as it was described then what is the important difference between such healings and what we call a miracle?

    Notice what Jesus said in Luke 7:22 https://biblehub.com/luke/7-22.htm So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Asn He said that there is an assumption that it was popular knowledge that such wonders happened at His hands.

    A careful reading of the Bible reveals short phrases that have huge implications. Often in the Scriptures, it says something like and there He healed them all. Here are just a few examples. https://biblehub.com/matthew/12-15.htm and https://biblehub.com/matthew/4-23.htm and https://biblehub.com/matthew/9-35.htm

    Such healings that happened often would have spread by word of mouth. That would have led to multitudes coming to Him to be healed and bringing their sick family members. When they came they also heard His teachings.

    The modern critics that attempt to explain away each of the stories of healings in the gospels have just a tiny account of all the healings that happened.

    Later in His ministry the religious leaders and others questioned and doubted that He was from God. And as proof, He referred back to His many works.

    Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” John 10:37,38

    Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. https://biblehub.com/john/14-11.htm

    This is more than an account about amazing happenings 2000 years ago. That is because of what it declares in Hebrews 13:8 https://biblehub.com/hebrews/13-8.htm Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

    Also, pay attention to Revelation 1:8 https://biblehub.com/revelation/1-8.htm “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

    God is not dead. God has been healing supernaturally in the past and has been recently and is currently. I refer you to carefully study the testimonies of these people on Youtube and elsewhere Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, and Praying Medic. God used those individuals as His instruments for a great many healings.

  • Francesco Gabellini

    Member
    February 19, 2021 at 9:54 am

    So far we have considered the first two steps of our investigation sequence.

    In the first step we saw that the miracles performed by God in the course of about 4,000 years of human history have been relatively few and many of them have been concentrated in two specific periods of history.

    In the second step we saw that, although God worked many miracles especially in favour of a single ethnic group, that is, in favour of the Jews, this does not mean that God wanted to favour only one people because “God does not show favouritism” and therefore in doing many miracles in favour of the Jewish people it is evident that God had a different goal.

    Now we are ready for the third question:

    What appears to be God’s goal in performing his miracles?

    Finding the answer to this question is not an easy task.

    In our Biblical reading, the historical account of the miracles that were done by god is very compelling and easy to spot. But to find “why” God performed those miracles requires a deeper reading and study that is attentive to detail.

    Let’s try to do this in-depth analysis.

    The key figure in our research should be the forefather of the Jewish people, Abraham, because it is to Abraham that God has given some interesting explanations. Although God performed only one miracle for Abraham, namely the miraculous birth of a child when he and his wife were biologically too old to have children, the whole sequence of events that led God to perform miracles starts from the very special relationship that God had with Abraham.

    Let us now pay attention to what God said to Abraham as we read Genesis 22:17-18

    “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (NIV)

    In this scripture we have 3 key points.

    The first part talks about the blessing of Abraham’s lineage that would multiply. The second part talks about his people settling in a land that was previously inhabited, namely the promised land of <st1:place w:st=”on”>Canaan</st1:place>. But it is the third part that should attract our attention the most.

    Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed

    Here we have the answer to our question: God’s primary purpose in working miracles for Abraham’s offspring is “the blessing of all the nations of the earth“.

    But now a further question naturally arises: how can miracles done in favour of the people of <st1:country-region w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:place></st1:country-region> both in the time of Moses and in the time of Jesus can be beneficial and blessing for all peoples of the earth?

    Let’s go even deeper to find the answer to this intriguing question that could affect any of us.

    What will be the subject of Tim’s next film gives us the opportunity to better understand God’s work. It was in fact at <st1:place w:st=”on”>Mount Sinai</st1:place> that God explained to the Israelites what kind of privilege he intended to offer them.

    Exodus 19:5-6 (NIV) “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

    It seems that the ultimate goal of blessing people all over the earth was to be achieved through the establishment of “a kingdom of priests”.

    However, even though the people of Israel had an organization of priests, that is, the tribe of the Levites, it was not yet clear how the entire people of Israel could be offered the possibility of becoming “a kingdom of priests”.

    This remained a mystery until the arrival of Jesus Christ.

    Ephesians 1:9-10 (NIV) He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

    Therefore, having organized the people of <st1:country-region w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:place></st1:country-region> in a certain way, with a specific law that provided a norm of behaviour that made the Israelites completely different from the surrounding peoples, had to have its full fulfilment in the arrival of the Messiah or otherwise called Christ.

    The Christ was to be the key person who could explain how the establishment of “a kingdom of priests” could bring a blessing to the peoples of the whole earth.

    Jesus was that key person.

    That is why during the ministry of Jesus, God again began to perform extraordinary miracles even more emotionally involving than those performed by Moses, such as the resurrection of several people.

    It is sad that most of the Jewish people living at the time of Jesus did not recognize Jesus as a key person for the realization of God’s will.

    Matthew 21:42-44 (NIV) “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

    43 “Therefore I tell you that the <st1:place w:st=”on”><st1:placetype w:st=”on”>kingdom</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st=”on”>God</st1:placename></st1:place> will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

    44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.

    Then, according to Jesus’ words, the privilege of becoming “a kingdom of priests” for the blessing of people of all nations was taken from the Jews and given to all who would follow Christ by becoming Christians.

    This is why the power to perform miracles was also given to the first disciples of Jesus by God.

    It had to be clear to everyone that, from that moment on, God’s favour had shifted from the people of <st1:country-region w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:place></st1:country-region> to the diverse people of Christians, who no longer all belonged to a single ethnicity but who came from different ethnic backgrounds.

    By reading the book of Acts of the Apostles, we can read about the various miracles that God worked through the early Christians, including some resurrections of dead people.

    Do we have any evidence that God’s purpose was accomplished with the establishment of Christian’s organization ?

    We are ready now to ask ourselves the last question of the sequence.

    Can we know if God’s goal has been achieved ?

    Finding the answer to this last question will be the goal of my next post.

  • Francesco Gabellini

    Member
    March 2, 2021 at 1:40 am

    We are now in a position to examine the last step of our “pattern”.

    So far we have considered the first three steps of our investigation sequence.

    In the first step we saw that the miracles performed by God in the course of about 4,000 years of human history have been relatively few and many of them have been concentrated in two specific periods of history.

    In the second step we saw that, although God worked many miracles especially in favour of a single ethnic group, that is, in favour of the Jews, this does not mean that God wanted to favour only one people because “God does not show favouritism” and therefore in doing many miracles in favour of the Jewish people it is evident that God had a different goal.

    In the third step we understood from the scriptures what could be the purpose that God wants to achieve by performing Miracles like those he did in the time of Moses and Jesus.

    God explained to Abraham that through his offspring he would bring a blessing to people all over the world and this blessing for people of all the earth would be brought through the establishment of a kingdom of priests, a commission that God had initially offered to the people of <st1:country-region w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:place></st1:country-region>. Sad to say, the people of <st1:country-region w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:place></st1:country-region> as a whole failed to take this opportunity because they failed to recognize the person sent by God to organize this kingdom of priests, Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke abundantly of this kingdom and said that it would be entrusted to a people who would produce its fruits.

    Now we have the last question: Can we know if God’s goal has been achieved ?

    The answer to this last question is very important because it could help us understand if God intends to perform Miracles in our day or not. I am not saying that God is unable to work miracles today. He is the almighty and can do anything he desires. What I am wondering is if it is part of his purpose to perform miracles in our day.

    To understand the answer to our last question through the scriptures, we must first understand better the nature of the commission that God has intended for some people and that is to be a “Kingdom of priests”.

    Jesus had tried extensively to explain this subject to his disciples but it seems that for some time they did not have clear what he meant.

    Even after his resurrection they still manifested their thinking that was not yet in line with what Jesus had tried to explain.

    Luke 24:21 (NIV) “but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem <st1:place w:st=”on”><st1:country-region w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:country-region></st1:place>. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place”

    Acts 1:6 (NIV) “Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to <st1:place w:st=”on”><st1:country-region w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:country-region></st1:place>?

    After the descent of the holy spirit at Pentecost they understood better the role they should have played in God’s purpose and it is clear to us today too that when Jesus spoke of the “kingdom” he was certainly not referring to the <st1:place w:st=”on”><st1:placetype w:st=”on”>kingdom</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:placename></st1:place>. History tells us that <st1:city w:st=”on”>Jerusalem</st1:city> and the <st1:place w:st=”on”><st1:placetype w:st=”on”>kingdom</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:placename></st1:place> were completely destroyed in AD 70.

    Let us now also try to understand better what this “kingdom of priests” consists of.

    Luke 22:29 (NIV) “And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me.”

    John 18:36 (NIV) “Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

    2 Timothy 2:12 (NIV) “If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us”

    Hebrews 4:14 (NIV) “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.”

    Revelation 17:14 (NIV) “They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers”

    Revelation 5:9-10 (NIV) “ And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

    All these scriptures put together make us understand several things. First of all we understand that the main king and high priest of this kingdom of priests is Jesus himself. This kingdom of priests is based in heaven and will be made up of faithful people who will come from every tribe, language, people and nation. These people will go to heaven to carry out an important assignment, that of reigning or ruling over the earth which, apparently, will also be inhabited in the future.

    This is why God gave Jesus and his disciples the power to perform many miracles. It had to be clear to everyone that, once the messiah arrived, that is the one who would be king of kings and high priest, he would open the way for the formation of a kingdom of priests which would be the key instrument to bring blessings to people of all the inhabited earth.

    Even people totally foreign to the people of <st1:country-region w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Israel</st1:place></st1:country-region>, such as an Ethiopian eunuch or the centurion Cornelius, had the opportunity to join that kingdom of priests, recognizing that the true God was acting in favour of the early Christians.

    But now the important question arises: Once the Christian congregation was firmly established, would it have been necessary, from God’s viewpoint, to continue working miracles?

    Let the scriptures give us the answer to this question.

    As is well known, God gave the early Christians many so-called “gifts of the spirit” and among these were gifts of healing, gifts of prophecy or the gift of speaking different tongues.

    1 Corinthians 12:28-31 (NIV) “And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

    Surely the early Christians greatly appreciated this help that came from God. The apostle Paul, however, helped them to have a balanced and realistic view of these gifts and his subsequent words are very significant for us today as well.

    1 Corinthians 13:1-10 (NIV) “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.”

    The apostle Paul made it very clear that those miraculous gifts would be temporary. Once Christianity was firmly established, those miraculous gifts would cease.

    What would continue forever among true Christians is something different from what many might expect. Yet, considering the violent and corrupt society that existed then, it would have been another kind of miracle: Love never fails.

    Jesus too had given clear indications regarding this.

    John 13:34-35 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

    Interestingly, Jesus did not say that his disciples would be recognized by the gifts of healing or the gifts of tongues or some other miraculous gift. He said they would be recognized by the love they would have for one another.

    Such miraculous gifts would therefore pass away with the passing away of the apostles and of those who had received these gifts through the apostles, and thus we read that these powers were “missing in the 2nd-century church, the writers of those days speaking of them as a thing in the past—in the apostolic age, in fact.”—The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by J. D. Douglas, 1980, Vol. 1, p. 79.

    Of course, all humans have the capacity to love, and others besides Christians engaged in acts of humanitarian kindness. But people in the Roman world recognized that the love shown by Christians was different. Tertullian, who had been a jurist in <st1:city w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Rome</st1:place></st1:city>, quoted the remarks of people of the Roman world regarding Christians, saying: “‘Look,’ they say, ‘how they love one another . . . and how they are ready to die for each other.’” (Apology, XXXIX, 7) John Hurst, in his History of the Christian Church (Volume I, page 146), relates that people in ancient Carthage and Alexandria, during periods of pestilence, drove away from their presence those who were afflicted and stripped from the bodies of the dying anything that might be of value. In contrast, he reports, Christians in these places shared their possessions, nursed the sick, and buried the dead.

    After all these steps of the pattern, you should now be able to understand the meaning of my first sentence: In my humble view, miracles still happen today, but often not in the way we expect them to.

    I know this may be disappointing for some but, isn’t it better to trust biblical truths than to risk being disappointed because we have false expectations ?

    I can imagine that what I have written in this post may raise many other questions that perhaps do not fit into the subject of this discussion. If you want to ask me other questions you can find something helpful in my Bio.

  • Francesco Gabellini

    Member
    March 2, 2021 at 1:54 am

    We are now in a position to examine the last step of our “pattern”.

    So far we have considered the first three steps of our investigation sequence.

    In the first step we saw that the miracles performed by God in the course of about 4,000 years of human history have been relatively few and many of them have been concentrated in two specific periods of history.

    In the second step we saw that, although God worked many miracles especially in favour of a single ethnic group, that is, in favour of the Jews, this does not mean that God wanted to favour only one people because “God does not show favouritism” and therefore in doing many miracles in favour of the Jewish people it is evident that God had a different goal.

    In the third step we understood from the scriptures what could be the purpose that God wants to achieve by performing Miracles like those he did in the time of Moses and Jesus.

    God explained to Abraham that through his offspring he would bring a blessing to people all over the world and this blessing for people of all the earth would be brought through the establishment of a kingdom of priests, a commission that God had initially offered to the people of Israel. Sad to say, the people of Israel as a whole failed to take this opportunity because they failed to recognize the person sent by God to organize this kingdom of priests, Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke abundantly of this kingdom and said that it would be entrusted to a people who would produce its fruits.

    Now we have the last question: Can we know if God’s goal has been achieved ?

    The answer to this last question is very important because it could help us understand if God intends to perform Miracles in our day or not. I am not saying that God is unable to work miracles today. He is the almighty and can do anything he desires. What I am wondering is if it is part of his purpose to perform miracles in our day.

    To understand the answer to our last question through the scriptures, we must first understand better the nature of the commission that God has intended for some people and that is to be a “Kingdom of priests”.

    Jesus had tried extensively to explain this subject to his disciples but it seems that for some time they did not have clear what he meant.

    Even after his resurrection they still manifested their thinking that was not yet in line with what Jesus had tried to explain.

    Luke 24:21 (NIV) “but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place”

    Acts 1:6 (NIV) “Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel ?

    After the descent of the holy spirit at Pentecost they understood better the role they should have played in God’s purpose and it is clear to us today too that when Jesus spoke of the “kingdom” he was certainly not referring to the kingdom of Israel. History tells us that Jerusalem and the kingdom of Israel were completely destroyed in AD 70.

    Let us now also try to understand better what this “kingdom of priests” consists of.

    Luke 22:29 (NIV) “And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me.”

    John 18:36 (NIV) “Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

    2 Timothy 2:12 (NIV) “If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us”

    Hebrews 4:14 (NIV) “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.”

    Revelation 17:14 (NIV) “They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers”

    Revelation 5:9-10 (NIV) “ And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

    All these scriptures put together make us understand several things. First of all we understand that the main king and high priest of this kingdom of priests is Jesus himself. This kingdom of priests is based in heaven and will be made up of faithful people who will come from every tribe, language, people and nation. These people will go to heaven to carry out an important assignment, that of reigning or ruling over the earth which, apparently, will also be inhabited in the future.

    This is why God gave Jesus and his disciples the power to perform many miracles. It had to be clear to everyone that, once the messiah arrived, that is the one who would be king of kings and high priest, he would open the way for the formation of a kingdom of priests which would be the key instrument to bring blessings to people of all the inhabited earth.

    Even people totally foreign to the people of Israel, such as an Ethiopian eunuch or the centurion Cornelius, had the opportunity to join that kingdom of priests, recognizing that the true God was acting in favour of the early Christians.

    But now the important question arises: Once the Christian congregation was firmly established, would it have been necessary, from God’s viewpoint, to continue working miracles?

    Let the scriptures give us the answer to this question.

    As is well known, God gave the early Christians many so-called “gifts of the spirit” and among these were gifts of healing, gifts of prophecy or the gift of speaking different tongues.

    1 Corinthians 12:28-31 (NIV) “And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

    Surely the early Christians greatly appreciated this help that came from God. The apostle Paul, however, helped them to have a balanced and realistic view of these gifts and his subsequent words are very significant for us today as well.

    1 Corinthians 13:1-10 (NIV) “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.”

    The apostle Paul made it very clear that those miraculous gifts would be temporary. Once Christianity was firmly established, those miraculous gifts would cease.

    What would continue forever among true Christians is something different from what many might expect. Yet, considering the violent and corrupt society that existed then, it would have been another kind of miracle: Love never fails.

    Jesus too had given clear indications regarding this.

    John 13:34-35 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

    Interestingly, Jesus did not say that his disciples would be recognized by the gifts of healing or the gifts of tongues or some other miraculous gift. He said they would be recognized by the love they would have for one another.

    Such miraculous gifts would therefore pass away with the passing away of the apostles and of those who had received these gifts through the apostles, and thus we read that these powers were “missing in the 2nd-century church, the writers of those days speaking of them as a thing in the past—in the apostolic age, in fact.”—The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by J. D. Douglas, 1980, Vol. 1, p. 79.

    Of course, all humans have the capacity to love, and others besides Christians engaged in acts of humanitarian kindness. But people in the Roman world recognized that the love shown by Christians was different. Tertullian, who had been a jurist in Rome, quoted the remarks of people of the Roman world regarding Christians, saying: “‘Look,’ they say, ‘how they love one another . . . and how they are ready to die for each other.’” (Apology, XXXIX, 7) John Hurst, in his History of the Christian Church (Volume I, page 146), relates that people in ancient Carthage and Alexandria, during periods of pestilence, drove away from their presence those who were afflicted and stripped from the bodies of the dying anything that might be of value. In contrast, he reports, Christians in these places shared their possessions, nursed the sick, and buried the dead.

    After all these steps of the pattern, you should now be able to understand the meaning of my first sentence: In my humble view, miracles still happen today, but often not in the way we expect them to.

    I know this may be disappointing for some but, isn’t it better to trust biblical truths than to risk being disappointed because we have false expectations ?

    I can imagine that what I have written in this post may raise many other questions that perhaps do not fit into the subject of this discussion. If you want to ask me other questions you can find something helpful in my Bio.

  • Francesco Gabellini

    Member
    March 11, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    I would like to add a few more thoughts to support my opening sentence.

    I think that miracles still happen today, but often not in the way we expect them to.

    As we saw from my earlier Scriptural discussion, the apostle helped early Christians to understand that the miraculous gifts that were used to consolidate Christianity would be eliminated.

    It should have been evident to everyone at the time that certain extraordinary miraculous events were being performed by God not for a single person but for Christianity as a whole.

    Understanding this should also help us understand that we cannot cultivate unrealistic expectations for our individual person.

    Here are some examples to explain what I am saying.

    Acts 7:59-60 (NIV) “ While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

    Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”

    Acts 12:1-3 (NIV) “It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.”

    Acts 12:7-8 (NIV) “Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.”

    In these scriptures there are 3 Christian faithful of the first century: Stephen, James and Peter.

    Stephen was put to death by stoning and James, the elder brother of John, was put to death with the sword. In their case, God did nothing to save them from that kind of death.

    Peter had been put in prison and he too was surely close to the same death that had been inflicted on James. But in his case, God did something “supernatural” to get him out of prison and then to keep living.

    Should we think that God did not intervene in the case of Stephen and James because they were not faithful enough as Peter was? Not at all.

    God intervened in the case of Peter because, evidently, Peter would have had a very important role in the establishment of early Christianity.

    So we deduce that the really important thing for which God intervened in a “supernatural” way in the first century was not the salvation of the individual but the establishment of true Christianity.

    Firmly establishing true Christianity was so important because the Christian congregation would provide the “kings and priests” needed to then bring the blessing to all inhabitants of the earth, none excluded.

    Once Christianity was consolidated the “supernatural” miraculous gifts would cease.

    What would continue forever among true Christians is something different from what many might expect: “Love never fails”.

    It was true Christian love that allowed another kind of miracle. The early Christians showed love for their contemporaries and for others who would live in the following centuries by writing down what we can read today in the Christian Greek scriptures.

    Other true Christians who lived in later centuries showed love for us by protecting delicate Christian manuscripts from the fierce destructive persecution of the Roman emperors.

    Other true Christians who lived in later centuries showed love for us by faithfully copying those writings over and over again.

    Other true Christians who lived in later centuries showed love for us by translating those writings into our languages even at the risk of their own lives, such as William Tyndale.

    So, a miracle that is perhaps different from what many expect, is the fact that we can now read and study the holy scriptures, which Tim brought out very well in his film “Moses Controversy”.

    If we want to benefit from a “miracle” from God today, it is to consider the Bible a very precious gift and to show our appreciation by reading and studying it every day.

    If, on the other hand, we expect something “supernatural” from God as help, such as asking God to be healed if you have an illness or to be resurrected if you have a fatal accident, it could lead to great disappointment.

    There are thousands of people who go to certain places they consider “holy” hoping to get miraculous healings, but the vast majority of them return home disappointed.

    And in those rare cases in which it is said that some of them have been healed “miraculously” one wonders if this healing is truly from God.

    Luke 6:17-19 (NIV) “ He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.”

    Acts 5:15-16 (NIV) “As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around <st1:place w:st=”on”><st1:city w:st=”on”>Jerusalem</st1:city></st1:place>, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

    When the true power of God was truly in place it healed everyone, all of them, and not just one in a few thousand.

    I hope that what I have written has further clarified what I meant.

    In my next post, I would like to mention additional examples of “miracles” that we can reasonably and scripturally expect in our day.

  • Francesco Gabellini

    Member
    April 7, 2021 at 11:00 am

    As I wrote before, I’d like now to mention additional examples of “miracles” that we can reasonably and scripturally expect in our day.

    If you remember, my opening sentence in this discussion was: “I think that miracles still happen today, but often not in the way we expect them to”.

    It is understandable that each of us may have the desire to be able to see with our own eyes something similar to what some people saw in the time of Moses or other people in the time of Jesus.

    So it is understandable that the news of a person who had died and then came back to life could arouse our interest, as Timothy also pointed out in his film “Red Sea Miracle Part <st1:metricconverter productid=”2”” w:st=”on”>2”</st1:metricconverter>.

    However, according to the scriptural reasoning I have done above, the scriptures state that, once Christianity was consolidated the “supernatural” miraculous gifts would cease.

    Does this mean that we cannot expect any miraculous events to occur in our day?

    Let us consider the three definitions of the word “miracle” found in the <st1:city w:st=”on”><st1:place w:st=”on”>Oxford</st1:place></st1:city> dictionary.

    – An act or event that does not follow the laws of nature and is believed to be caused by God

    – A lucky thing that happens that you did not expect or think was possible

    – A very good example or product of something

    Let’s also consider the etymology of the word “miracle” according the Online Etymology Dictionary.

    The word “miracle” comes from the latin verb “mirari”, meaning “to wonder at, marvel, be astonished”.

    If we put all the definitions together and also take into account the etymological derivation, we understand that any event that arouses awe or wonder in us human beings, regardless of the source, can be called a “miracle”.

    The feeling of witnessing a miracle is just a matter of different points of view.

    For example, for many of us what a computer can do could be arousing a lot of astonishment and we could almost be led to think that a computer can go beyond the natural laws we commonly know. But that changes dramatically for someone who has designed and built a computer and who has been able to use natural laws in a way that is “unknown” to ordinary people.

    Following this reasoning then, the “miracle” is perceived as such only by those who do not have a “total” knowledge of the natural laws involved.

    Therefore, God would not necessarily have to go against natural laws to perform a miracle but could simply use the natural laws known by Him “totally” in a way still unknown to us.

    This reasoning can be applied to many things described in the Bible and not just the spectacular ones.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV) “ Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the <st1:place w:st=”on”><st1:placetype w:st=”on”>kingdom</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st=”on”>God</st1:placename></st1:place>? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the <st1:place w:st=”on”><st1:placetype w:st=”on”>kingdom</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st=”on”>God</st1:placename></st1:place>. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    9 types of human behaviour are listed in this scripture which were very common in the first century and which are also very common in our times.

    The apostle Paul says that several members of the Corinthian church previously had those characteristics but that, thanks to God’s help, they were able to change their wrong behaviour.

    We can imagine the amazement of the citizens of <st1:place w:st=”on”><st1:city w:st=”on”>Corinth</st1:city></st1:place> who saw some of their fellow citizens completely change their previous behaviour and perhaps many of them also thought that this was a “miracle”.

    If something like this could happen in our society, the communities we live in could become much less dangerous.

    But this kind of “miracle” is something we can really expect to happen in our day as well.

    As I wrote before, if we want to benefit from a “miracle” from God today, it is to consider the Bible a very precious gift and to show our appreciation by reading and studying it every day.

    The Bible itself can produce many “miracles” if taken seriously.

    Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

    The Bible or “word of God” can be “alive and active” for us if we allow its power to influence our life.

    I have personally experienced the power of God’s word in my life.

    I grew up in a traditionally religious family but had never read the Bible on my own.

    At the age of 16, for various reasons, I became an atheist and continued to have no interest in the Bible.

    In my youth as an atheist, I had a very unruly life and got into several bad habits.

    One of these bad habits was particularly bad for my physical health.

    I was a heavy smoker and for this reason I had serious problems with my lungs.

    Many times I tried to quit smoking but each time, in a short time, I started smoking even more.

    The turning point in my life was when I started reading the Bible on my own.

    Some people sparked my curiosity about the Bible when they told me that there were things written in it different from many traditional teachings.

    Then I began to read and study the Bible thoroughly and found wisdom in it that could not come from human intellect alone.

    In short, my life changed completely and I stopped being an atheist but what I consider “miraculous” was the way I managed to quit smoking.

    I found in the Bible the right motivation to be able to quit smoking by meditating on the scripture of 2 Corinthians 7: 1

    2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV) “ Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

    The “promises” to which this verse refers are those given a few verses before.

    2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (NIV) “Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”

    I felt like I could hear God’s voice saying to me personally, “What you are doing is “contaminating the body and spirit” that I have given you. But if you make the effort to stop contaminating yourself with smoke, “I will receive you, I will be a father to you and you will be my son”.

    Meditating on these words for a long time helped me quit smoking.

    What happened to me is something that I had thought was impossible to happen as I had tried multiple times in the past without ever succeeding.

    That’s why I consider what happened to me a “miracle”.

    Over time, I have learned of many other experiences similar to mine of people who, thanks to the power of God’s Word, have been able to radically change their way of life and greatly improve their life experience.

    These are the “miracles” that we can reasonably and scripturally expect in our day.

    Does this mean that mankind will no longer see extraordinary “miracles” from God like those that people saw in the time of Moses and Jesus?

    Not at all because the Bible speaks of a time when God will again do extraordinary “miracles” that will amaze so many people.

    I will write something about that in my next post.

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