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Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 2)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:

The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span:

Our texts for this lesson are:

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, andthere is nothing too hard for thee: (Jer 32:17)

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (Job 42:2)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you…And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; … And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. … And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)

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? (Heb 2:4)

To begin our look at the Scriptures, I would like us to quickly summarize the above passages in the context of our subject “Can the miracles of the Bible be believed?” Basically, we can draw from the verses above the following truths:

1. Our God is able to do all things…. This includes giving His followers the ability to perform miracles, as a sign of their ministries authenticity (1 Corinthians 12:8-11). If it is His will…. He can do these things! (Jeremiah 32:17, Job 42:2, Hebrews 2:4)

2. Both in the Old and the New Testaments, God’s motive for bestowing this miracle working power upon His followers was to accredit their message and the place of worship He had established. This is why these types of miracles are called “sign gifts” or “accrediting gifts” from God (Exodus 3:14, 4:1-8).

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have noticed something very interesting. It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history. Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Miracle Workers Moses, Joshua Elijah, Elisha Christ, Apostles
Message Accredited Law Prophets New Testament
Worship Place Accredited Tabernacle Temple Church
Time Span*Dates Are Based Upon Martin Anstey’s Chronology 1530 BC – 1460 BC 835 BC – 765 BC 30 AD – 100 AD

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed. Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time. In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existance for approximately 70 years. In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed. Why? Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene. Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament. It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

We have seen the end of the last period of miracles being described in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10…

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. “(1Corinthians 13:8-10)

This verse is teaching us that the miraculous gifts of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, shall come to an end. At the time of Paul’s writing this letter, the NT was not yet completed. This is why he makes the statement that “we know in part and we prophesy in part”. However, when the New Testament reached completion, bringing about the completed Bible (that which is perfect) then the revelation of His Word, bit by bit, (that which is in part) would be finished and no longer needed. The completion of the Word acted upon the sign gifts of prophecies and knowledge, immediately bringing them to an end. (Note:The sign gift of tongues died out as that generation of gifted men died and went home to their Lord, shortly thereafter.)

Also remember, prior to the Word’s completion, the church had already been established in Jerusalem as the worship place of the True God, through the sign miracles of tongues and healings etc.

This fits perfectly with the other times of accreditation that the Lord used. It was 70 years long followed by a period of silence. Since the completion of the Word and the accreditation of the local church (30 AD-100 AD), we find that there existed another time of “miracle silence” that continues on today.

Accepting the fact that the New Testament and the local assembly are established by God is now simply an issue of faith in His Word. In our day, we need no sign miracles to accredit anything… we have the Word that has recorded these previous accreditations for us to rely on today. In the last days, the working of counterfeit miracles will be on the increase, empowered by Satan, performed to mislead even God’s elect (if it were possible). (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Matthew 12:38-39)

Does the Lord still perform miracles? Absolutely everyday, spiritual and physical healing is common place in today’s time.

Does the Lord still give men the ability to perform the “sign gifts” listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11? Absolutely not. He used the sign gifts to accredit the ministries He had ordained. There is no longer a need for these gifts to be exercised by men. We have a written record in His Word of the accreditation of these ministries.

In our next study, we will be examining the times of the Apostles’ deaths and how that affects the ending of the accrediting gifts of the Spirit.

Additional Information (Verses Referred To In This Study):

The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span:

Exo 3:14

(14) And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Exo 4:1-8

(1) And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.

(2) And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

(3) And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

(4) And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

(5) That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.

(6) And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.

(7) And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.

(8) And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

Job 42:2

(2) I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Jer 32:17

(17) Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

Mat 12:38-39

(38) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

(39) But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

1Co 12:8-11

(8) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

(9) To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

(10) To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

(11) But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

2Co 11:13-15

(13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

(14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

(15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

2Th 2:7-10

(7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

(8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

(10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Heb 2:4

(4) God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own

 

 

 

 

“Why Does Evil Exist? (Part #5)”

SIH STSTA ICON

That they may know[there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else

 “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].(Isaiah 45:7)

 [Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:…” (Habakkuk 1:13) 

 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  (James 1:13)

In above set of Scriptures, we find one of the supposedly contradictory texts of the Scriptures.  On one hand, from the lips of the Lord Himself, He clearly states that “I create evil”.  Then later in the Scriptures we find Habakkuk, as he speaks concerning the Lord, says [Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:  then, to add confusion to our subject, James states clearly that God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

In this series of lessons, we will be looking into two basic questions, first, “What Is God’s Role In The Existence of Evil ?” and, secondly, “What Is The Purpose Behind The Existence Of Evil ?”

THE STUDY:

Before we begin this portion of our study, let’s pick up with the summary from our studies so far …
1. “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can involve moral wickedness or the results of that moral wickedness on our lives
3.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
4.  The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
5.  The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.  Because of this He is in no way the cause of sin, nor its entrance into the world.
6.  Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world
7.  The Lord created the results of sin that we see taking place in the world.
8.  The Lord either allows the results of sin to take place, or in many cases, He actively brings them to pass.

If this is so, our next questions are “Why did the Lord allow the evil of sin to enter His creation and all of mankind knowing that only harm would result from it?”  “And why did He, through allowance or His direct intervention, bring to pass the evil results of our sin?”

To find the answer to the above questions, let’s refer back to one of our foundational texts, Isaiah 45:7…

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

In the verses preceding this text, the Lord clearly explains to us all why He brings to pass the results of our sin, and by implication, why He allowed sin to enter His sinlessly perfect creation… Please note verses 5-7…

I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:  That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else.  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

Why did our loving, kind, gracious Lord “form light and create darkness”…” make peace and create evil”?  It was to reveal Himself to us.  It was to clearly show us that He is the only true God.   This is what our text unmistakably tells us.

So in what way does the entrance of sin and its results into the world reveal God to us?  Lets take a look at three Biblical examples to help explain how He performed this…
1.  The Ten Plagues of Egypt
2.  The Life Of Job
3.  The Miracles of Christ (in our next lesson)

 

Example #1 – The Ten Plagues Of Egypt

In this account of the sinfulness of the Pharaoh of Egypt and the resultant effects of his sin on the nation of Egypt, we find a clear declaration of their purpose….

To Show The Egyptians His Identity As True God and Sovereign Over All…
And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.  Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.  But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, [and] my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.  And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.  And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.”    (Exodus 7:1-6)

 

To Show Pharaoh His Supremacy Among All Gods…
And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, [that] they may remain in the river only?  And he said, To morrow. And he said, [Be it] according to thy word: that thou mayest know that [there is] none like unto the LORD our God.  And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only.”      (Exodus 8:9-11)

 

To Show The Israelites His Identity As True God and Sovereign Over All…
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:  And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I [am] the LORD.  (Exodus 10:1-2)
One quick note about the term “hardening” Pharaoh’s heart…  Keep in mind, in our previous study, we saw that the Lord will never “tempt” any man, nor can He be the cause of sinful acts.  The best way for us to understand the phrase “hardening” is to understand that the Lord ALLOWED Pharaoh’s heart to become hardened due to Satanic intervention and the rebellious, fallen nature possessed by Pharaoh.

How did the Lord reveal Himself through the plagues?  Well of course, the greatness of His power is revealed clearly through the performance of the miracles but it goes far beyond that.  Keep in mind that the Egyptians worshipped many, many false gods (probably in the 100s).  In their belief system these gods were ordered in a hierarchy system with certain gods having authority and strength over others.

The plagues that were performed went directly against some of the most powerful and authoritative gods that the Egyptians worshipped.  The following is a list of some possible combinations of plagues and the gods they went against:
1.  water to blood – the god of the Nile river, Hapi
2. frogs – the god of fertility of fields and rivers (holds frog in her hand), Heka
3. lice – the god of the earth, Geb
4. flies – the god with a fly head, Kheper
5. murrain – the bull god – Apis
6. boils – the god of health – Imhotep
7. hail – the goddess of the sky – Nut
8. locusts – the god of the crops – Seth
9. darkness – the sun god – RA (the greatest god of them all)
10. death of firstborn – Pharaoh (believed to be a god) whose first born son would become a god as well
(Please keep in mind, I am certainly not a scholar concerning the Egyptian gods.  I have tried to the best of my ability to match up the proper gods with the proper plague, but there could be variations of the above list. Regardless of which plague goes against which god, the basic principle can be easily seen by the above listing.)

The plagues were like a “faceoff” between the Lord and these different gods.  Each one of these resulted in the Lord actually using their gods to be a plague and to bring evil (harm) to the Egyptians, and in some cases the Israelites.

The Lord, through the plagues that resulted from the rebellious sins of Pharaoh, clearly manifested to both Israelites and Egyptians, His phenomenal power and His absolute supremacy over all of the Egyptian gods.  Truly, He revealed to all that “I am the LORD.”  This could only have happened through the existence of sin and its harmful results.

All of these truths are reaffirmed to us:
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”   (Romans 9:17)

 

Example #2 – The Life Of Job

In Job 42:1-7, we find Job describing what he had learned throughout his long period of evil (harmful things) that he had received from the hand of Satan, under the Lord’s allowance…
Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every [thing], and [that] no thought can be withholden from thee.  Who [is] he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.  Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.  I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.  Wherefore I abhor [myself], and repent in dust and ashes.  And it was [so], that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me [the thing that is] right, as my servant Job [hath].”  (Job 42:1-7)

 

Job, as he had gone through these many trials had come to recognize:
1. “I know that thou canst do every [thing]” –  the unlimited power of the Lord
2.and [that] no thought can be withholden from thee.– the unlimited knowledge of the Lord
3. “Who [is] he that hideth counsel without knowledge? – our futility in understanding all of His workings
4. “therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. – Coming to an understanding of the above three principles, worked within Job a spirit of humility and great reverence.
5. “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.  – Although, prior to His experience, Job had mental knowledge of all these things, it was only after experiencing God’s greatness in his life that he came to understand these truths in his heart. He had previously “heard” of Him but, now, he has “seen” Him. This would result in his life being affected by these great truths as compared to simply possessing a head knowledge of them.

To summarize, just as with the Egyptian plagues, a sincere, heart-felt recognition of God’s person and a genuine humility were gained through this experience of Job’s.

That which could not be learned of the Lord through the teachings of His Word, were learned through this life experience by Job.  This is a very important point that deserves to be emphasized in our study. We can possess a great mental understanding of the person of our Lord and yet never come to genuine experiential knowledge of them.   We could be taught all we want about the Lord’s supremacy and greatness, but it is through experiencing Him during the “evil” times of our lives that we can come to a much clearer, life-changing understanding of them.
If we were truthful, we would all have to say that if we are His child, we have learned much about Him through our daily walk with Him (which includes feeling the results of sin in our lives).  This is all a part of why He has chosen to allow sin and the results of sin into this world.  For us to come to a greater understanding of Who He is, What He does, and our need to submit to Him.
In our next study we will look at the miracles performed by Christ, Himself, as a source of understanding how the Lord is glorified by the harmful events that take place in this world…

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
Anything that clearly reveals the Lord to those who are lost is an act of love, grace and kindness.  Although they may result in suffering on earth, they can reap the benefits of eternity with the Lord.

What we have seen in our study so far….

We have attempted to come to a very basic understanding of the term “evil” as used in the Bible.  We have come to see that:

1.  “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3.  “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4.  “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5.  “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6.  “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7.  “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8.  “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness
9.  Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”  
10.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
11.  It is only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
14. The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.
15. Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world
16.  The Lord is the author and sovereign controller of the results of sin upon mankind
17.  The Lord uses the evil (harmful) things of this world to reveal Himself to mankind
18.  In the 10 Plagues of Egypt, the Lord revealed Himself by defeating 10 of the main gods of the Egyptians
19.  In the life of Job, Job came to experience truths about the LORD, that he had previously known in his mind but was unable to grasp in his heart.

 

May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek His truth.

 

 

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Do You Believe In Magic ? How About Miracles?

SIH STSTA ICONIn 1965 the Lovin Spoonful band asked the question “Do you believe in magic?” , this became a top 10 song for their group. (Listen to this song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBVOYkhNb1o&feature=related)

Although the “magic” the song spoke of was the magical effect of music on it’s listener… it is still a great question to ask in many different contexts.

One of the areas of today’s entertainment that I enjoy is magicians practicing their craft.  David Copperfield, Doug Henning, David Blaine, Penn and Teller, Kevin James the list goes on and on.   It never ceases to amaze me how their “magic” looks so real, it almost makes me a believer.  And yet, in actuality, it is only an illusion they have created for the benefit of their audience.  In other words, today’s magic is complex deception meant to entertain and amuse.

What about the sign miracles performed in the Bible?  Were they real, or just deception, that was intended to entertain?  Could they be believed in?

Let’s see what God’s Word says….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: (Jer 32:17)

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (Job 42:2)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you…And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.  And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; … And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. … And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)

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?  (Heb 2:4)

THE STUDY:

To begin our look at the Scriptures, I would like us to quickly summarize the above passages in the context of our subject “Can the miracles of the Bible be believed?”  Basically, we can draw from the verses above the following truths:

1.  Our God is able to do all things…. This includes giving His followers the ability to perform miracles, as a sign of their ministries authenticity (1 Cor 12:8-11).  If it is His will…. He can do these things! (Jer 32:17, Job 42:2, Heb 2:4)

2.  Both in the Old and the New Testaments, God’s motive for bestowing this miracle working power upon His followers was to accredit their message and to prove He was the only true God.  This is why these types of miracles are called “sign gifts” from God (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)   A listing of the sign gifts can be found at 1 Cor 12:8-11.

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have noticed something very interesting.  It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history.  Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Group 1                 Group 2                               Group 3

Miracle Workers:      Moses, Joshua        Elijah, Elisha, Prophets     Christ, Apostles

Worship Accredited:  Tabernacle             Temple                               Church

Message Accredited:  Law                         Prophets                            New Testament

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed.  Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time.

In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existance for approximately 70 years.  In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no  sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed.  Why?  Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene.  Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament.  It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

We have the end of the last period of miracles being described in 1 Cor 13:8-10…

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. “(1Co 13:8-10)

This verse is teaching us that the miraculous gifts of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, shall come to an end.  At the time of Paul’s writing this letter, the NT was not yet completed.  This is why he makes the statement that “we know in part and we prophesy in part”.  However, when the New Testament reached completion, bringing about the perfect Bible (that which is perfect) then the revelation of His Word, bit by bit, (that which is in part) would be finished and no longer needed.  The completion of the Word acted upon the sign gifts of prophecies and knowledge, immediately bringing them to an end.

(Note:The sign gift of tongues died out as that generation of gifted men died and went home to their Lord, shortly thereafter.)

Also remember, prior to the Word’s completion, the church had already been established in Jerusalem  as the worship place of the True God, through the sign miracles of tongues and healings etc.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

How do we know the church is where we are to worship?  We can read all about the wonderful miracles the Lord performed as the New Testament church was being established that proves to us it is His place of worship.

How do we know the Bible is truly His Word?  We can look in the Bible and see where all the segments of the Bible have been accredited previously… the Old Testament which is made up of the law and the prophets, and the New Testament.  They have all been clearly proven to be the Words of the True God through the sign miracles that were performed.

It is now simply an issue of faith in His Word. In our day, we need no sign miracles to accredit anything… we have the Word that has recorded these previous accreditations for us to rely on today.  In the last days, the working of counterfeit miracles will be on the increase, empowered by Satan, performed to mislead even God’s elect (if it were possible). (2 Thess 2:7-10, 2 Cor 11:13-15, Matt 12:38-39)

Does the Lord still perform miracles? Absolutely everyday, spiritual and physical healing, to name a few, are common place in today’s time.

Does the Lord still give men the ability to perform the “sign gifts” listed in 1 Cor 12:8-11? Absolutely not.  He used the sign gifts to accredit the ministries He had ordained.  There is no longer a need for these gifts to be exercised by men.  We have a written record in His Word of the accreditation of these ministries.

As Christians, our responsibility is to be on guard, always watching for the workings of Satan and the deceptions that only he can perform…

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. (Mat 24:23-25)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”