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 (Essential Biblical Doctrines)
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I.       What Is A Miracle?

A miracle is a mighty act or manifestation of the true God. In fact, manifestations of the natural world are miracles in and of themselves. However, since people are so used to natural phenomena, natural manifestations are no longer considered special. For the foregoing reasons, we call extraordinary supernatural events miracles/wonders. Let us examine the following biblical miracles:

A.     Miracles in Nature

1.        The Red Sea was divided (Ex 14:21, 22).

2.        The pillar of cloud and of fire in the wilderness (Num 9:15–22).

3.        Water coming out of the rock (Ex 17:5, 6).

4.        The ground split apart (Num 16:31–33).

5.        The sun and the moon stood still (Josh 10:12–14).

6.        Rain after a three year and six month drought (Jas 5:17, 18).

7.        The storm stilled (Mt 8:23–26).

8.        Transforming a limited quantity into an abundant amount, e.g., the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves and two fish (Mt 14:16–21; cf. Mt 15:34–38; 1 Kgs 17:13–16; 2 Kgs 4:1–7).

9.        Capturing a great deal of fish in a net (Lk 5:4–7; cf. Jn 21:6–11).

10.     Naturally seeing tongues of fire (Acts 2:1–3).

B.     Miracles Dealing Specifically With People

1.        People

 a.      The clothes of the Israelites did not wear out, nor did their feet swell (Deut 8:4, 29:5).

 b.      Samson was endowed with great strength (Judg 15:14–16).

 c.      Elijah was taken up to heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kgs 2:1–11).

 d.      Gehazi became a leper (2 Kgs 5:26, 27).

 e.      The Syrian soldiers were struck with blindness (2 Kgs 6:18, 19).

 f.       Daniel’s three friends were cast into a burning fiery furnace; yet, they were all unharmed (Dan 3:24–27).

 g.      Nebuchadnezzar became insane (Dan 4:24–33).

 h.      When Daniel was in the lions’ den, the lions’ mouths were shut so that he was not hurt (Dan 6:22).

 i.        Jonah did not die in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights (Jon 1:17; Mt 12:40).

 j.        The Holy Spirit caught Philip away from the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:39, 40).

2.        Healing

 a.      A paralytic was healed (Mk 2:1–12).

 b.      The man with a withered hand was healed (Mk 3:1–5).

 c.      The woman, with an issue of blood for twelve years, was healed (Mk 5:25–34).

 d.      The man with dropsy was healed (Lk 14:2–4).

 e.      The lepers were cleansed (Mt 8:3; Lk 17:11–14).

 f.       The blind men recovered their sight (Mt 9:27–30; Lk 18:35–43; Jn 9:1–7).

 g.      A deaf man with a speech impediment was healed (Mk 7:32–35).

 h.      The fever of Peter’s mother-in-law was healed (Lk 4:38, 39; cf. Jn 4:52, 53).

 i.        Malchus’ right ear was healed (Lk 22:50, 51; Jn 18:10).

 j.        Those who were bitten by snakes were healed (Num 21:8, 9; Acts 28:3–6).

3.        Exorcism

 a.      A dumb demoniac was cured (Mt 9:32, 33; Lk 11:14).

 b.      A blind and dumb demoniac was cured (Mt 12:22).

 c.      The daughter of a Canaanite woman, who was demon possessed, was cured (Mt 15:21–28).

 d.      A demoniac in the synagogue at Capernaum was cured (Mk 1:23–26).

 e.      The epileptic boy was cured (Mk 9:16–27).

 f.       Seven demons were cast out of Mary Magdalene (Lk 8:2).

 g.      The woman with a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years was cured (Lk 13:10–16).

 h.      Unclean spirits were cast out by Philip (Acts 8:5–7).

 i.        The spirit of divination in the slave girl was cast out by Paul (Acts 16:16–18).

4.        Resurrecting the dead

 a.      The resurrection of the widow of Zarephath’s son (1 Kgs 17:17–24).

 b.      The Shunammite’s son was raised to life (2 Kgs 4:32–37).

 c.      Jairus’ daughter was raised from death (Mk 5:35–43).

 d.      The widow’s son of Nain was raised from death (Lk 7:11–15).

 e.      Lazarus was raised after having died four days (Jn 11:39–44).

 f.       The resurrection of the Lord Jesus himself (Jn 20:1–18; cf. Jn 10:18).

 g.      Dorcas was raised to life (Acts 9:40, 41).

 h.      Eutychus was restored to life (Acts 20:9, 10).

II.    Why Does God Perform Miracles?

A.     God’s Purpose

1.        To execute his deliverance

 a.      The ten plagues were miracles delivering the chosen people out of Egypt (Ex 3:20, 7:20–12:36).

 b.      The Israelites received manna in the wilderness to keep them from starvation (Ex 16:4, 5).

 c.      The Lord delivered Peter when he began to sink into the sea (Mt 14:28–31).

2.        To execute his judgment

 a.      The flood destroyed the wicked generation in Noah’s time (Gen 7:4, 17).

 b.      Fire and brimstone from heaven destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:24, 25).

 c.      Ananias and Sapphira deceived the Holy Spirit and died immediately (Acts 5:1–11).

3.        To glorify his name

 a.      God’s name is proclaimed through his mighty deeds (1 Chr 17:21).

 b.      The paralytic walked again for the glory of God (Mk 2:12).

 c.      Lazarus’ death was for God’s glory (Jn 11:4).

B.     For People

1.        Miracles convince people to believe in God

 a.      The official believed in God after his son was healed (Jn 4:46–53).

 b.      Many believers were added to the Lord through the signs and wonders performed by the apostles (Acts 5:12–16).

 c.      The procounsul believed in the Lord when he witnessed God’s power working on the sorcerer (Acts 13:12).

 d.      The mighty signs and wonders done by the Holy Spirit caused the Gentiles’ obedience (Rom 15:18).

2.        Miracles confirm the true message

 a.      The Lord worked with the apostles and confirmed the message they preached by the signs that followed (Mk 16:20).

 b.      The Lord gave testimony to the word of his grace by working great miracles through apostle Paul and others (Acts 14:3).

 c.      Signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit bear witness to the gospel of salvation (Heb 2:3, 4).

3.        Miracles confirm the divine commission

 a.      Signs and wonders proved Moses was chosen and sent by God (Num 16:28–30, 17:1–11).

 b.      The Lord works miracles to testify Jesus is the Christ (Mt 11:2–6; Jn 5:36, 10:37, 38).

 c.      The signs of Paul’s apostleship were done among the people in all patience, with signs and wonders and mighty deeds of God (2 Cor 12:12; cf. Lk 9:1, 2).

 d.      The true church with the abidance of the Holy Spirit should abound with all kinds of miracles (Mk 16:17, 18; Lk 10:19; 1 Cor 12:9, 28).

4.        Miracles strengthen the believers’ faith

 a.      The power of Christ’s miracles resolved the doubts of John the baptist (Mt 11:2–6).

 b.      Thomas dispelled his doubts upon seeing the miracle of the resurrected Lord (Jn 20:24–28).

 c.      Miracles caused early believers and others to fear God and to hold the apostles in high honor (Acts 5:11–13).

 d.      Paul reported the miracles and wonders God performed among the Gentiles at the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:12).

5.        God’s miracles surpass sorcery and magic

 a.      Aaron’s rod swallowed up the Egyptian magicians’ rods (Ex 7:10–13).

 b.      The magicians acknowledged they were overpowered and the plague, performed through Aaron, was “the finger of God” (Ex 8:18, 19).

 c.      Simon the sorcerer believed in God upon seeing Philip perform God’s great miracles (Acts 8:9–13).

 d.      Elymas the magician was struck with temporary blindness because he opposed Paul (Acts 13:8–11).

6.        Miracles disclose God’s judgment

 a.      Most of the Israelites died in the wilderness because of their unbelief, even though they saw God’s power and should have had faith (Ps 106:19–26).

 b.      Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum will be severely condemned, because they saw Christ’s many miracles yet did not repent or believe (Mt 11:20–24).

 c.      Those who have seen miracles, yet remain in unbelief, will be condemned (cf. Jn 15:22–24).

 d.      The Lord Jesus’ resurrection was a miracle in the Lord’s generation (Mt 12:39–41). Moreover, the Holy Spirit’s descent today confirms the Lord’s resurrection (Acts 2:32, 33). Thus, those who see the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, i.e., speaking in spiritual tongues (Mk 16:17; Acts 10:44–46, 16:17; 1 Cor 14:22), yet do not believe in the saving Lord will not be excused from their sins (Jn 16:8; Acts 17:30, 31).

III. Requirements When Performing/Receiving Miracles

A.     Miracles Should be Performed in Jesus’ Name

1.        The Lord Jesus told his disciples to perform miracles in his name (Mk 16:17).

2.        Demons were subject to the disciples in Jesus’ name (Lk 10:17).

3.        Peter asked the lame man to stand up and walk in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:6, 16).

4.        In contrast, itinerant Jewish exorcists could not cast out demons, even though they made use of Christ’s name (Acts 19:13–16).

5.        Those who work miracles in Jesus’ name, in faithful reliance on the Lord, should know his will. Never use Jesus’ name in vain, instead always petition the Lord’s name according to his will (Ex 20:7; Jn 17:12; 1 Jn 5:14).

B.     Have Great Confidence in Jesus Christ When Performing/Receiving Miracles

1.        Miracles are done in great faith by those who have great faith.

 a.      Elijah believed that God would send rain even though he did not see any sign of rain from clouds (1 Kgs 18:41).

 b.      Moses trusted God would open a way for Israel, even though he was at a dead end (Ex 14:13, 14, 21).

 c.      The Lord Jesus told the disciples, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you” (Mt 17:20).

2.        Those who desire to be healed should believe in Jesus and his mighty power.

 a.      The unceasing cries of the two blind men illustrated their belief Jesus was the Son of David—the Savior (cf. Mt 22:41, 43); additionally, their cries show their trust in Jesus’ power (Mt 9:27).

 b.      Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed” (Mt 8:13).

 c.      Paul perceived that the cripple had faith to be healed (Acts 14:9).

3.        For those incapable of believing and trusting (e.g., babies or demoniacs), their family or household should possess a strong faith.

 a.      The Canaanite woman prayed for her demon-possessed daughter (Mt 15:22).

 b.      The centurion made petition for his servant (Mt 8:5–13).

 c.      The four people bringing the paralytic to the Lord showed a great faith (Mk 2:3–5).

4.        The sick, who have little or no faith, should be strengthened and encouraged.

 a.      Jesus told the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe” (Mk 5:36).

 b.      Jesus told Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (Jn 11:40).

 c.      Jesus told a demoniac’s father, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23).

C.     Miracles Are Done Through God’s Spirit

1.        The Lord cast out devils by the Spirit of God (Mt 12:28).

2.        Miracles cannot be done without God’s presence (Jn 3:2; Acts 10:38).

3.        Paul subdued the devil because he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:9–11).

4.        The ability to heal the sick and work miracles are not due to human power, but rather they are the spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:9, 10).

D.     Miracles Often Happen After Fervent and Unceasing Prayer

1.        Elijah prayed three times to resurrect the widow’s dead son (1 Kgs 17:21, 22); he prayed seven times for rain to end the long drought (1 Kgs 18:42, 43).

2.        The request of the Canaanite woman was finally granted by the Lord through her incessant prayers and petitions (Mt 15:22–27).

3.        Despite opposition and rebuke, the blind man near Jericho cried out loudly for Christ’s favor and blessing; as a result, he was healed by the Lord (Lk 18:38–43).

4.        The Lord said “But this kind [of demon] never comes out except by prayer and fasting” (Mt 17:21).

E.     Miracles Often Happen After Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins Through Confession

1.        The Lord forgave the paralytic’s sins before he healed him (Mk 2:5–12; cf. Jn 5:5–9, 14). Some sicknesses may be related to sin (cf. Jn 5:5–9, 14).

2.        Confession of one’s sins and faults to another may be necessary before praying for healing (Jas 5:14–16).

3.        Elijah prayed for rain after the Israelites rejected Baal and repented (1 Kgs 18:39–44).

4.        God does not hear a sinner’s prayers (Ps 66:18; Isa 59:1, 2; Jn 9:31).

IV.  How Does God Work Miracles?

A.     Through Hands

1.        By the laying on of hands

 a.      Jesus laid his hands on the sick (Lk 4:40).

 b.      Jesus laid his hands on the woman with a spirit of infirmity (Lk 13:11, 13).

 c.      Paul laid his hands on the father of Publius to heal him (Acts 28:7, 8).

 d.      The Lord said the power of healing by the laying on of hands would be given to the disciples (Mk 16:18).

2.        By touching

 a.      Jesus touched the leper and his leprosy was cleansed (Lk 5:13).

 b.      Jesus touched the eyes of the two blind men and restored their sight (Mt 9:29).

 c.      Jesus touched the eyes of the two blind men near Jericho and restored their sight (Mt 20:34).

3.        Taking the sick by the hand

 a.      The Lord took Jairus’ daughter by the hand and she was raised to life (Lk 8:54, 55).

 b.      Jesus took Peter’s mother-in-law by the hand and the fever left her (Mk 1:30, 31).

 c.      Peter took the lame man by the hand and lifted him up (Acts 3:7).

4.        By anointing the sick with oil (generally consecrated olive oil), and generally anointed by hand.

 a.      The disciples healed the sick by anointing them with oil (Mk 6:13).

 b.      Anoint the sick with oil in the name of Jesus and pray for them (Jas 5:14).

The above mentioned examples show that miracles are often connected with the hands (Acts 5:12, 19:11). Nevertheless, faith is a much more important factor than following ancient customs (e.g., anointing the head with oil). According to the diverse levels of a needy person’s faith, miracles of healings and blessings are granted accordingly.

B.     Other Methods in Healing

1.        The seriously sick with little faith

 a.      Jesus spat on the eyes of the blind man at Bethsaida (Mk 8:22–25).

 b.      Jesus spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the blind man’s eyes with the clay, and told him to wash in the pool of Siloam (Jn 9:6, 7).

 c.      Peter told the people to go out of the house, and then knelt down and prayed by himself to raise Dorcas to life (Acts 9:40, 41).

2.        The sick with greater faith

 a.      By a word of the Lord the paralytic stood up and walked (Mk 2:10–12).

 b.      By a word of the Lord the blind man at Jericho recovered his sight (Lk 18:41–43).

 c.      The Lord Jesus answered a leper’s inquiry by saying, “I will [to clean you]; be clean.” And the leper was cleansed at once (Mt 8:3).

3.        Other incidents of sick people with faith

 a.      The woman, with an issue of blood, touched the garment of Jesus and was healed (Mk 5:25–34).

 b.      The sick were brought out into the streets on beds and couches, hoping that Peter’s shadow might fall on them and cure them. This was the expression of their eagerness for healing. The sick were all healed (Acts 5:15, 16).

 c.      The handkerchiefs or aprons brought from Paul cured many diseases, and caused many evil spirits to come out of the sick (Acts 19:12).

 d.      The Bible records many special cases of healing accomplished because of the Lord’s great mercy and compassion. Thus, regardless of one’s level of faith, a sick person may be healed through the Lord’s mercy.

·         The widow’s son who had died at Nain was raised (Lk 7:13–15).

·         The man with a 38-year infirmity was told to stand up and walk, and he did so (Jn 5:5–9).

C.     Demoniacs and Exorcism

1.        Demoniacs

 a.      Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven demons (Lk 8:2).

 b.      A man at Gerasenes was possessed by many devils, and his name was “Legion” (Lk 8:27–30).

 c.      Demons may cause one to be out of control (Mt 17:15, 18).

 d.      A dumb man was demon-possessed (Mt 9:32, 33).

 e.      A slave girl who had a spirit of divination appeared very good, for she followed Paul and other co-workers crying out that they were proclaiming the way of salvation. However, the spirit in her was evil (Acts 16:16, 17; cf. 2 Cor 11:14).

 f.       The practice of divination, astrology, sorceries, enchanting, charming, mediumship, wizardry, or necromancy is evil and usually relates to demonic workings (Deut 18:10–12; cf. Acts 8:9–11).

2.        Methods of exorcism

 a.      The laying on of hands is not used in casting out demons. Rebuke the devil/demons and never submit to its request.

 b.      The Lord Jesus rebuked the devil and told it to be silent (Lk 4:33–35).

 c.      The Lord commanded the unclean spirit to get out of a man (Mk 5:8).

 d.      The Lord Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying, “You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again” (Mk 9:25).

 e.      The Lord cast out the spirits with his word (Mt 8:16).

 f.       Paul cast out the devil in the name of Jesus (Acts 16:8).

 g.      The devil is not willing to depart from any person it inhabits and dwells in (Mk 5:7–10). One casts out demons in the name of Jesus by faith, and fasting is necessary in most cases (Mk 9:28, 29).

V.     Important Points To Remember In Peforming Miracles

A.     Guard Against Opposition and Resistance from the Devil

Signs and wonders release people from the devil’s bondage and begins to bring them back to God (Lk 13:11, 16). When great miracles are performed, the devil will greatly attempt to oppose, hinder, and resist God’s work (1 Cor 16:9).

1.        Slander

 a.      The Pharisees blasphemed the Holy Spirit and Jesus by saying Jesus cast out demons by the prince of the demons (Mt 9:34, 12:22–24).

 b.      The Pharisees tried to convince the blind man Jesus healed that Jesus was a sinner (Jn 9:24).

2.        Indignation

 a.      The scribes were filled with madness when they saw Jesus restored a man’s withered hand on the sabbath (Lk 6:10, 11).

 b.      The priests were filled with indignation when they saw that the apostles healed the sick and demoniacs by Jesus’ power (Acts 5:16–18).

3.        Rejection

 a.      The people of Gadarene begged Jesus to leave them after Jesus cast the devils out of a demoniac (Mt 8:34).

 b.      Bar-Jesus tried to turn away the deputy from the faith (Acts 13:6–8).

4.        Persecution

 a.      The Lord raised Lazarus to life. Afterward, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council to put Jesus to death (Jn 11:47, 53, 12:10).

 b.      When Paul healed a cripple at Lystra, the Jews persuaded the people to stone Paul (Acts 14:9, 10, 19).

B.     Remember to Give All the Glory to God

1.        Miracles happen because of God’s power and grace; they are not the direct result of human power or religious piety (Acts 3:12).

2.        Elisha cleansed Naaman’s leprosy, but he did not accept Naaman’s gifts of gratitude—he knew it was God’s doing (2 Kgs 5:15–17; cf. Mt 10:8).

3.        Paul cured the cripple at Lystra, but he refused the honorable tribute of the city (Acts 14:11–15; cf. Ps 115:1; Lk 2:13, 14).

4.        Any servant of God should never take pride in miracles God does through him or her. Also, a sacred worker should never look down on his co-workers, since it is God who grants his workers spiritual gifts (Mt 7:22, 23; Lk 10:20; 1 Cor 12:28–30).

5.        Give God glory through your behavior. The Lord said to the healed, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you” (Jn 5:14; cf. 2 Pet 2:20).

VI.  False Miracles

True miracles are performed by God’s will and power. The Bible says, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things” (Ps 72:18, 136:4).

“The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders” (2 Thess 2:9). Since the Lord’s coming is soon, Satan is working hard by utilizing false signs and miracles.

How do we discern the work of Satan? From antiquity to the present, Satan deceives the world and distorts the truth, thus revealing his satanic power.

A.     False Miracles by Sorcery

1.        The Egyptian magicians turned rods into serpents, but Aaron’s rod swallowed them up (Ex 7:11, 12).

2.        The Egyptian magicians and sorcerers turned the water of the Nile into blood (Ex 7:20–22).

3.        The Egyptian magicians also brought up frogs from rivers and pools (Ex 8:6, 7).

4.        Simon the sorcerer practiced his magic in Samaria, and Simon was mistakenly thought to be the “power of God which is called Great” (Acts 8:6–11; cf. 13:6, 7, 19:19).

B.     False Miracles by False Prophets and False Christs

1.        “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Mt 24:24). The false messengers work signs and wonders by the power of Satan (2 Thess 2:9).

2.        The beast, coming up out of the earth with two horns like a lamb and speaking as a dragon, is the false Christ who has the power to work great signs and wonders. It can even make fire come down from heaven (Rev 13:11–13).

3.        False prophets can perform wondrous things (Rev 16:13, 14, 19:20).

4.        The Holy Spirit “expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim 4:1). Therefore, every believer should be very cautious in discerning the spirits. One should never be seduced by any strange power or miracles, especially if the performers of such miracles and power do not agree with the Bible (Deut 13:1–5; cf. 2 Cor 11:3, 4; Gal 1:6–9).

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