Are Signs and Wonders for Today?
Author: Bruce W. Roeser
One of the most confusing topics in the church today is the concept of miraculous signs and wonders – how the Holy Spirit is working today.
The denominational church teaches in many cases that the believer is a conduit for God’s power in some supernatural way. The believer is often taught that God will speak to them in some way apart from the written Word of God as if we were under control of the Force like a Jedi Knight. The trouble with this is that it is inconsistent with the scriptural view for this dispensation.
The problem is, once again, that the denominational church (and most believers today) have not taken the time to study the Word in enough depth to observe the changes taking place during the Acts period. Once again it is a failure to “rightly-
Just as seriously – the reason that people reach wrong conclusions when they study the Word of God is simply because they choose to “hear what they want to hear” rather than hear what is said. Tradition, religion and denominationalism rely heavily on this to lead people into conclusions they might not reach once they examine the fact.
In order to anchor this or any other subject of doctrine we need to establish where our final authority is. For the purpose of this (and any other study on this website) our final authority is always based on the Majority Text – also known as the Received Text (A.K.A. the Textus Receptus). At present there is only one English translation of this text. This translation is known as the Authorized Version or more commonly the KJV. This fact is not open to debate within this website (other than the lessons that particularly deal with the subject) since to do so would side-
We cannot deny that there were signs and miracles shown during the early Acts period. We also cannot deny the fact that there were signs even among Gentiles before the close of the Acts period.
Some folks believe that all true believers possess the miraculous powers of Pentecost. The Lord in giving his “great commission” explicitly said:
Other folks believe that certain people are granted the power to work miracles, especially miracles of healing. During the early Acts period, the Lord gave healing powers to specific individuals and it was obvious that they had the power of God.
Acts 3:11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.
Acts 4:14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
As to the alleged evidence of the present-
Miracles and Spirituality
The usual reason given for the lack of “spiritual power”, ability to heal or display other spiritual signs and wonders is lack of spirituality or lack of faith. Is this a credible statement? Let’s have a look at the Corinthian Church as an answer to this idea.
The Corinthian Church – far from being perfect, could be described by a number of different characteristics.
Dishonest and Oppressive
However – even in the midst of all these failures the Corinthian church abounded in miraculous gifts! Is it possible, then, that Christ was driving the situation there rather than basing things on the performance of the individuals?
Note above it says “severally as he will”. It would appear that the distribution of spiritual gifts is not based on the merits of the individual to whom they are distributed.
1Cor 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
Note here that Paul makes a point of saying that, even during that time, that they should excel to the edifying of the church … not excel in healing, prophesying or impressing everyone with their signs and wonders! Read the entire chapter of 1Cor 14 and understand the context. It is easy to see that the gift of tongues (speaking in foreign languages) was present and visible at this period in church history – however it is clear that the purpose of speaking in tongues was to deliver information. This bears no resemblance to the tongues movement of today.
1Cor 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
The signs were given during times of great crisis in Israel’s life – E.G. Moses, Aaron & Elijah and Elisha.
It was predicted by the prophets that miracles would abound at Messiah’s coming:
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Rom 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
The signs and wonders were a sign to Israel that confirmed the promises made by the prophets. Israel always required a sign. (And so do we in this present age it seems).
Why did even Paul perform miraculous signs and wonders? Because even though Paul was entrusted with another commission “The Gospel of the Grace of God” he confirmed Peter’s message to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. God was providing Israel with confirmation that Paul, the Chief of Sinners, was specifically chosen. Once that fact was established then Paul’s delivery of the Grace Message of the new dispensation would be ratified by God to the Jews.
After God performed miracles through Paul, he was then of sufficient credibility to make the following statement. Though he was speaking directly to the Gentiles at this point, no doubt, many Gentiles “required a sign” also as the program to get to God was previously through Israel and it would make sense that Gentiles would be a sensitive to the credibility of the signs as the Jews would be.
2 Pet 3:14-
In Paul’s early letters, it was already becoming apparent that the miracle gifts were being withdrawn. Even in Peter’s writings it was pointed out that “signs and wonders” should not be used as the basis for doctrine but that we have a more sure word of prophesy and that it is not subject to anyone’s private opinion or interpretation. I.E. let it say what it says.
2 Pet 1:16-
If miraculous signs of healing were still present then why does the creation “groan” while it waits for physical redemption? (Rom 8:22-
Late in Paul’s ministry he pointed out very clearly that the gift of healing was being withdrawn.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
1Cor 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
Gal 4:13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
2Tim 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
1Tim 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
If the sign gifts such as healing were still present why didn’t Paul just heal Trophimus and Timothy by a “laying on of hands”?
If these “faith healers” that we see running around today can really heal people – then why do we still have hospitals? Instead of making millions in promoting their “faith healing” shows they should be going to the hospitals and healing.
Once again …
The entire program has changed. Signs and wonders were an instrument used to confirm things for Israel … not the Body of Christ.
The gift of healing was being withdrawn as Paul wrote his early epistles. It has been replaced with something better.
Note that Paul says here that “when I am weak, then am I strong.”. Why would he say that if he were able to heal himself physically or if such healing were available today?