The Purpose of Miracles

The Bible is the record of God's dealings with man and His efforts to save man from his sin. There is a purpose for everything that appears in the Bible. That being so, there is a purpose for the miracles that are documented within.

 Hebrews 2:2-4 states, "For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?" This passage suggests that miracles are part of three items that normally occur together. These miracles were accompanied by a revelation, to promise and explain the event, "spoken by the Lord." This revelation is accompanied by miracles, signs, and wonders to confirm the revelation (God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders and with divers miracles). Jesus confirmed this in John 10:37-38, "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believed not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him." Peter, in Acts 2:22, described Jesus as a man approved of God among them by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in their midst. Paul applied this to the apostles in 2 Corinthians 12:12 stating, "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds."

 As you can see, miracles in the Bible were used to confirm the message and the messenger. However, since Old Testament times, God's people were warned of false prophets and teachers that could work wonders. In Deuteronomy 13:1-5 the people were told that if a dreamer of dreams or a prophet gives them a sign or wonder, and it comes to pass, but tells them to go after gods they had not known, they were not to harken to their words. They were to continue to follow God and put that prophet or dreamer to death.

 Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Jesus warned us of the false prophets and teachers that would prophesy and work wonders but would not be from God. John warned Christians in 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." How are we to try these spirits? I think you see a clue in Acts 17:11 when we are told, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Remember that Paul and his party were preaching and doing miracles, but these people in Berea accepted the Word because they received the Word and searched the scriptures daily to see if those things were so.

 Finally, if any preacher teaches that which does not comport with God's Word (even though it is accompanied with signs and wonders) we are not to believe them. Paul gave the final and best word on this when he wrote the Galatians in Galatians 1:8-9, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

 Charles Royal, Decatur, AL