Time or Eternity? ™

Miraculous Powers

In Miracles on April 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

Webster defines a miracle as a work “performed by supernatural power; effected by the direct agency of almighty power, and not by natural causes.” The Encyclopedia Americana adds, ” An event produced by the interposition of an intelligent power for moral purposes.” But these definitions present only one side of the miraculous. Not all miracles are performed by “almighty power,” or for “moral purposes.” But whatever their source, such manifestations are beyond the power of human beings to accomplish or even to comprehend.

Through all the history of mankind there have existed two antagonistic, wonder-working powers. One has sprung from the source divine, and is manifested for the benefit and elevation of mankind. The other has its origin with the prince of evil, and is exercised with the intent to deceive, overthrow, and finally destroy the human race.  In and out, through the warp and woof of earth’s history, has the miraculous power of the counterfeit met the power of the true on the battle-ground for human souls. Through it all the purpose of Satan has been to discount and bring discredit upon the work of the Holy Spirit of God in the earth. Through this channel Satan has been able to turn the hearts of men from the mighty works of God. By it he has been able to bind millions in the chains of deception, away from God, and outside the promises of everlasting life.  This evil wonder-working power was first manifested when a reptile was made to converse with Eve in the garden of Eden.  The first recorded clash of these two supernatural powers on earth occurred when Moses and Aaron, servants of the true God, in the presence of Pharaoh, met the magicians, who represented the evil, supernatural power of Satan. See Exodus 7.

It was the custom then to prove the possession of divine authority by the performance of miracles. So the Lord provided Moses with the necessary evidence. He said:—  “When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.” When the king saw the miracle, he at once called for the “wise men and the sorcerers,” to ascertain if before him stood two men who really represented a higher cult, or religion, than was familiar to him. Moses and Aaron were really making known to the king the God of Israel through miracles.  The wise men of Pharaoh’s realm were those who advanced doctrines, and decreed rites and ceremonies and the sorcerers were the magicians who performed the necessary miracles to convince the people of the truth of those doctrines.  But miracles, while a sign of power, prove nothing as to the source of that power.   The Scripture test in all cases is this, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8: 20) Briefly stated, the thought is, any miracle which does not exalt Christ and the law of God, that does not elevate and purify, is of Satanic origin. The acceptance of the offering of Abel by its consumption by fire; the protection afforded the three Hebrew children in the furnace of flame; the shutting of the mouths of the lions when Daniel was cast into their den,are examples of the kind of miracles described by Professor Newman as being “grave, simple, and majestic.” Though awe-inspiring, bearing the imprint of Divinity, they terrify only the wicked, bringing to the humble believer comforting assurance of communion with God, and protection because of obedience to His requirements. Such miracles stand the test of Isa. 8:20.

The possession of the two men of Gergesa by devils transforming them into beings “exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way,” and the case of the man’s son possessed of a dumb spirit which tore him, so that he foamed and gnashed his teeth and pined away, are illustrations of some of the methods adopted by the destructive wonder-working power. All along down the ages this latter power has seemingly been working side by side with divine agencies in a malignant effort to neutralize the work of Christ to save humanity.  In previous chapters it has been clearly shown that for ages there has existed a wonder-working power now known as Spiritualism. This is the evil power which has all along antagonized the work of Christ. No one of ordinary intelligence would dream of denying the existence of this power to-day, and yet to insist that the miracle-working power of God is not now present among His people, is virtually to claim that the counterfeit power has overcome the power of God, and that now man is left a prey to Satanic agencies.

We find in Acts 21: 8, 9, that Philip the evangelist had “four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.” That the gift here referred to was the gift of prophecy in the sense of foretelling events, and not in the sense of teaching, is evident from what is recorded in the same connection concerning Agabus, the prophet who foretold what later befell Paul at Jerusalem.  But we need not multiply evidence upon this point. We know of no church historian who does not admit that miraculous powers continued in the church long after the death of the last of the apostles. Indeed, we might go further, and say that church history affords abundant evidence that miraculous powers never entirely ceased from among God’s people. But while the gifts of the Spirit of God have never been wholly withdrawn from the church, there have been seen at every step Satan’s counterfeits. Too often religious enthusiasts and fanatics have been, unwittingly, it may be, the devil’s instruments and agents in thus bringing discredit upon the power and work of the gospel.

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