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Article 08 - Duration of the Miraculous Age
The Miraculous Age And Its Duration
Jon Gary Williams
I. Miraculous Measures of the Holy Spirit
A. Christ had the Spirit "without measure" (John 3:34). This denotes that others were given the Spirit by measure - or in a lesser form.
B. The baptismal measure
1. Who administered this measure? Christ (Jn. 1:33; Matt. 3:11)
C. The laying on of hands (or secondary) measure
2. To whom was it given? Apostles (Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:1-5; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 2:13- 15)
3. Some miraculous powers were exclusive to the apostles.
a. Only the apostles could raise the dead. (Acts 9:40; Acts 20:9,10)
b. Paul spoke of the "the signs of an apostle" (II Cor. 12:12; Cf. Acts 19:11,12)
1. Who administered this measure? The apostles (Acts 8:14-18) Note: Only the apostles could pass on the power to perform miracles. (Cf. Rom. 1:11 - "that I [Paul] may impart unto you some spiritual gift")
2. To whom was it given? To some Christians (Acts 8:12-18)
3. The miraculous "gifts" given through the apostles' hands are listed in I Cor. 12:8- 10.
II. The Purpose Of Miracles
A. To confirm (verify) the truth - the spoken word (Mk. 16:20; Heb. 2:3,4)
B. From 30 A.D. (when the church began) until about 55 A.D. none of the inspired books of the New Testament had been written. During this time the gospel was proclaimed by the spoken word and was "confirmed" by accompanying miracles.
C. From about 55 A.D. until about 100 A.D., as the spoken word was being confirmed, the books of the New Testament (God's final will to man) were being written.
D. By the close of the first century, when the New Testament had been completed and confirmed, there was no longer a need for miraculous gifts.
III. The End Of The Age Of Miracles
A. According to I Cor. 13:8-10, when the "perfect" thing would come, the things that were "in part" (partial things - miraculous gifts) would be "done away." (Note: To identify the "perfect" thing is to know when the miraculous gifts ceased.)
B. What was the "perfect" thing?
1. Some claim that the word "perfect" refers to Christ. However, this cannot be, for this word is neuter gender and cannot refer to a person. It can only refer to a thing.
C. When God's final will (the New Testament) was confirmed, the miraculous gifts had done their work and, hence, "vanished away." This was achieved near the close of the first century A.D. (Note: By this time, the apostles and most of those who had the apostle's hands laid on them had passed on.)
2. What thing is there that can qualify as "perfect"? The only answer is God's final will to man, the New Testament. It is called "the perfect law of liberty" (Jms. 1:25; Cf. II Tim. 3:16,17).
The church in it's infancy needed the support of miraculous gifts. However, the time came when it would no longer need them and would lay them aside. In I Cor. 13:11 Paul uses himself as an example of this. He said that in infancy he needed the support of "child-like" things, but when he became full grown he put them away. Likewise, as the church grew into adulthood, it no longer needed the partial gifts and, hence, they ceased.