5

In favor of miracles:

18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, 21 but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”

(Romans 15:18-21 ESV)

Against miracles:

And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

(Matthew 16:1-4 ESV)

Does God approve or disapprove of convincing unbelievers through miracles?

3 Answers 3

1

Again, let us examine the Bible evidence for all these signs and wonders.

The frequent Scriptural references to “signs and wonders” naturally fall into two obvious categories of the genuine and false. It is clear from Matt 12:38 & 39, 16:1-4, Luke 11:16, John 4:48, 6:26, 30, that the scribes and Pharisees had trouble distinguishing the two. See also 1 Cor 1:22, 14:22.

Genuine

The genuine signs and wonders attest their divine origin and serve to strengthen faith.

  • John 2:11, 3:2, 4:54, 6:2, 10:41, 20:30 are all references to Jesus’ miracles.
  • Acts 2:22, Mark 16:20 also refer to Jesus’ miracles.
  • Matt 10:8, Mark 16:17, 20, Acts 2:22, 43, 4:30, 5:12, 6:8, 8:6, 13, 14:3, 15:12, 19:11, Rom 15:18, 19, 2 Cor 12:12, Heb 2:4 speak of the signs and wonders accompanying the apostles’ ministry.
  • Ex 7:3, Num 14:11, Deut 6:22, 7:19, 10:21, 26:8, 29:3, 34:11, Neh 9:10, Job 5:8-11, Ps 105:27, 135:9, Isa 8:18, Jer 32:20, 21, Dan 6:27 recall the miracles done for ancient Israel, eg, to free them from Egypt.
  • Dan 4:2, 34 records Nebuchadnezzar’s hymn of praise for God’s signs and wonders.
  • In Luke 7:18-23, Jesus’ only answer to John the Baptist about Jesus’ identity (as Messiah) is to list His miracles: “the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are given the good tidings…

I pause to note in passing that Jesus lists these miracles to confirm the faith that includes the conversions of souls to the truth. That is, Jesus suggests that the conversion of souls is as much a miracle as healings, etc.

False or Lying Signs and Wonders

Pseudo (false) signs and wonders are invariably produced in order to deceive the wicked.

  • Matt 24:24, Mark 13:22 predict false signs and wonders performed by false Christs and false prophets
  • 2 Thess 2:9 predicts the rise of the lawless one accompanied by false signs and wonders
  • Rev 16:14 predicts that demons will perform false signs and wonders
  • Rev 13:13, 14 19:20 predict that the great false prophet (third beast of the Beast Trinity) will perform false signs and wonders

It should be remembered that Deut 13:1-5 contains a stern warning about the veracity of signs and wonders to see if they are genuine. Similarly, Matt 24:24 contains Jesus’ warning not to base one’s faith purely on Signs and Wonders.

CONCLUSION

All that the above survey shows is that miracles, whether from a God or a demonic source follow transcendental activity. Thus, there are true and false miracles. What should we conclude?

  • Jesus plainly taught John's disciples that the miracles confirm what they should have already known. That is, faith should NOT be based on signs, wonders and miracles as the devil is capable of performing such feats.
  • Miracles should only confirm what is already established by faith.
  • Put another way, faith should NOT be based on miracles, but they can be used to confirm faith as Jesus did with John's miracles
  • Deut 13:1-5 asks us to be very careful to determine the veracity of miracles.

Given all this, we must be very careful of miracles to ensure they are genuine and from the right source.

3
  • In neither of your answers to this type of question are you distinguishing between the two kinds of faith evidently presented by John in his gospel account. Both are genuine but only one leads to salvation and union with Christ.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 15, 2022 at 6:35
  • @NigelJ - then you have missed the point of the answers. One either has faith in false miracles or the true Christ. One does not place one's faith in even true miracles as stated above. We must place our faith in the source of the true miracles not the miracles themselves.
    – Dottard
    Jul 15, 2022 at 7:32
  • We must place our faith in the source of the true miracles not the miracles themselves. Agreed. These are the two forms of faith which John presents in his account. One unto salvation and one not so.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 15, 2022 at 8:48
0

Yes, God approves every נֵס Nes : 'miracle' performed by humans [Deuteronomy 13:3] as described originally in Devarim 13:4 for the purpose of מְנַסֶּה Menaseh : 'testing' our faith.

יהוה your-God is testing you, to know whether you really love YHVH your-God (כִּי מְנַסֶּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֶתְכֶ֔ם לָדַעַת הֲיִשְׁכֶם אֹֽהֲבִים אֶת־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם )
1
  • You prove just the opposite
    – Kapandaria
    Jan 3, 2023 at 10:30
0

In Exodus 8:7

And the magicians did in like manner with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 8:7, ASV)

You can see that magicians could do miracoulus things indeed, but this is not a miracle, rather this is a witch-crafting.

But! in Exodus 8:17-18

“And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: and there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as Jehovah had spoken.” (Exodus 8:18-19, ASV)

You see that certain things could not be accomplished through witchcrafting.

So it is very hard to distinguish between a true miracle from God, to a witchcraft act. Only the great witchcraft wizards, knows the limitations of witchcrafting, such as the inability to make lice out of dust.

Because of this difficulty, God in Torah warned us to not listen to signs and miracles, but he did allowed to accept future telling as a sign (short-term prophecies), because only God knows the future.

The following citations strength my view:

“If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and he give thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams: for Jehovah your God proveth you, to know whether ye love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after Jehovah your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death, because he hath spoken rebellion against Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of bondage, to draw thee aside out of the way which Jehovah thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5, ASV)

But instead of miracles, a good prophecy will be a sign:

“But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if thou say in thy heart, How shall we know the word which Jehovah hath not spoken? when a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22, ASV)

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