The dictionary definition refers to a ‘miracle’ as being an event due to supernatural agency! When the word ‘miracle’ is mentioned people can become excited, especially the Charismatic sects, or the sceptical, as are the majority of ‘educated’ humans. What stimulates these feelings is that this subject is different to ‘normal living’, and some think they are going to see and experience something rather special. What does this mean, and are these unusual happenings real, and what is the source instigating them? For accurate information we need to look at what the Word of God, the Bible tells us about ‘miracles’, as that is the only source of Truth!
At the beginning of the Bible in Gen. 1 we find the first recorded ‘miracle’, namely the Creation of the world, by the Almighty. We know from Heb. 1:2, that He used the Agency of His Beloved Son for that purpose, and as shown in v3, He maintains Creation by the same Agency, Christ Jesus! Then in Gen. 1:26 these powerful words: God said, ‘Let US make man in Our image and likeness’. Adam and Eve were created, furthering this Creation ‘miracle’. This Creation ‘miracle’ is now becoming accepted by more ‘thoughtful’ Scientists; since the decoding of DNA in particular: see:
DNA, the tiny code that is toppling Evolution (By Mario Sieglie)
Evolution is not supported by FACT (Various comments)
The survival of the Fakest (Jonathan Wells PHD)
Soon after this however, we see the adversary of the Almighty, Satan, coming into the picture and tempting Eve, with his lies, see:
Eve and Adam and
The spoiling of what God had done in this present Creation happened very quickly, and Adam and Eve are driven from the beautiful garden that God had prepared for them and mankind, but before this in Gen. 3:15, we see the promise of the ‘miracle’ of the Saviour coming into the world, to undo what Satan had done; John 3:16.
Some 1500 years later in Gen. 6 man has become totally corrupt and defiled by the Enemy, even to the extent of fallen angelic seed corrupting humans, (Nephilim, who were they, and why:) and we are told that only Noah and his family have kept themselves free of his influence. Because of this God brought about a ‘miracle’ on the Earth in the form of a great flood, and only Noah and his family are saved, as they are the only family unsullied by Satan, (Gen. 6:8) and they were told to build an Ark for their survival. See: Ark of Noah
These ‘miracles’ recorded in Genesis are indeed dramatic and show the power of Almighty God, and His miraculous power and His interventions at that time. The fact that Satan also will work “wonders” at the “End Time” events; will be by permit of Almighty God for His overall and eventual purpose. See:
Approx. 400 years later, God starts to reveal His plan, by preparing a man named Abram. He is clearly a God fearing man, and he follows instructions to leave his land and travel to where the Almighty leads him. In Gen. 12, Abram is told by the Almighty’s appearance to him, that he would be given the land he had travelled to and that his ‘seed’ would inherit it, (Gen. 12:7). This begins a time of heart searching for Abram which spans many years, as his wife Sarai is barren, and both he and she are very old. Here the element of faith is being introduced by God, (see ‘Faith’ link below) and Heb. 11. However, in Gen. 17 when Abram is 99 years old, God appears to him again, (miracle), and tells him that He is making a Covenant with him and in verse 4 tells him he will be the father of many Nations, and that his name is to be changed to Abraham (meaning, father of a multitude). To establish this Covenant in verses 10-12, God instigates Circumcision for every male child at 8 days of age, as a witness to His promise! See: Circumcision; Also in verses 12-17 Abraham is to change his wife’s name from Sarai to Sarah, who by this time is 90 years old. He is told that she will be blessed and will have a son, and she will be the mother of Nations, and that kings shall be from her.
In Gen. 21 we see the fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham, and Sarah has a son, at near 100 years old, and they name him Isaac. Here we see the ‘miracle’ of this birth, and the establishment of the Jewish race, through whom the Almighty is to bring into the world the Messiah!
There are many recorded instances in the Old Testament, where the Enemy seeks to destroy this Messianic line from Adam to Noah to Mary the mother of Jesus, but the Almighty continually intervenes to preserve the line for His purpose. One very well known ‘miracle’ is the saving of the Jewish people led by Moses out of Egypt, where the Almighty divided the sea for them to walk through on dry land. He also preserved them with ‘miracle’ food (manna) for 40 years as they wandered in the desert.
The Old Testament also records many instances when Jehovah is with His people and they are adhering to Him in faithfulness, they then succeed in their endeavours. One such incident we see in 1Kings 18, where Elijah is fighting the priests of Baal, and we are told that the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he was successful in defeating them, with the Almighty’s help, a ‘miracle’.
When we come to the New Testament we see the Biblical account unfolding in a very special way, with the ‘miracle’ recorded of the birth of John the Baptist, to Elizabeth and Zachariah. We read in Luke 1 that the angel Gabriel appears to Zachariah and tells him that his wife Elizabeth will have a son, and that his name is to be John. Because she was past childbearing age he did not believe the angel, and because of that he is struck dumb until the birth. A few months later the angel appears to Mary, telling her that she too was to have a son. As she is a virgin she asks how this could be, and is told that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and that her son would be the Son of the Most High, and was to be called Jesus (meaning Salvation of Jehovah, or Jehovah Saviour, Comp. App. 98:X). Here at the beginning of the N.T. we see 2 ‘miracles’, being promised and the beginning of the fulfilment of Gen. 3:15; and also the lovely faith of Mary in immediate acceptance!
The first recorded ‘miracle’ that the Lord Jesus performed is at a wedding feast, where His mother and some of His disciples are present. When the wine ran out, at the request of his mother, Jesus turned water into wine, which was said to have a superior taste.
During His Earthly life Jesus performed many ‘miracles’ of healing, casting out demons, even raising Lazarus from the dead. These ‘miracles’ fulfil the prophecy in Isaiah 35, that the Messiah would perform these ‘miracles’ as evidence and confirmation of His Messiahship to Israel, saying “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart and the tongue of the dumb sing”. From those ‘miracles’ the Jewish leaders should have known who He was. Instead of that they tried to malign and defame Him, even in Matt. 12 accusing Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons. Here the Lord told them what they have done by accusing Him of this, saying they had committed the unforgivable sin, see: Knowing What The Unforgivable Sin Is, And Why It Is Important.
As is well known, the Jewish Pharisees encouraged by the Enemy Satan, sought to accuse him, and have him killed. Satan had been working hard on the Jewish leadership since the return from Babylonian exile under the righteous Ezra and Nehemiah. By the time of our Lord’s birth, the Pharisaic Sect had become dominant over the Essen’s and the Sadducees, and their corrupted Scriptures had expunged many if not most of the main Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament. See: Jewish Scriptures: and Corruption of the Bible Text: At the crucifixion they must have thought they had succeeded, instead He won the victory for sinners, as at His death He ‘became Sin’ for the world’s people who would accept it and Him! A ‘miracle’.
Then, the greatest of ‘miracles’ took place as He rose from the dead, securing the victory over death for anyone who will put their trust in Him, John 3:16.
During the Acts period, we see many ‘miracles’ taking place, by the Disciples, and Paul. These were of healing, casting out of demons, release from prison, preservation under persecution and stoning. A notable show of God’s power was expressed in the judgement for those who did wrong before the Lord, i.e. Ananias and Sapphira Acts 5:1-11, who lied to the Holy Spirit and were struck dead by Peter’s rebuke! (This example in the opinion of the writers will be the case in the Millennial period, and the whole of the "Sermon on the Mount" will apply; Luke 6:20-22).
The questions arise, what was the reason for these ‘miracles’ during the Acts period, and why did they cease at the end of Acts?
While Christ was on the cross He prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, Luke 23:34. That was a profound cry as the Jews were then given by God their Father until Acts 28:28, approx. 30 more years to accept what they had done, and to reverse that action i.e. the rejection and killing of their Messiah, which had they done so would have ushered in Zech. 12:10!
The gifts of Pentecost in Acts 2, were a confirmation of the extra-ordinary power of the Gospel period, as Jesus had foretold. In Acts 1:3 we read the Lord came back to Earth and was with His Disciples for 40 days, teaching them about the Kingdom, a ‘miracle’. This Kingdom is the Millennial, (a 1000 year period) which He came to proclaim to Israel, and at His resurrected time with them, He reiterated His Father’s Kingdom on Earth, which is the Millennial period. Had Israel accepted Him up to Acts 28:28, that Kingdom would have been de-facto immediately! 40 days is a very significant number because it represents Divine order applied to Earthly things, see: Comp. Bible App. 10; (there are many examples of 40 in Scripture, always in the dealing of God with Israel). A very well known one is the 40 years of "wandering" in the Sinai desert, (Ex. 16:35 and Deut. 29:5 etc.), due to their unfaithfulness to Jehovah)! and in this case represents ‘probation’. The probation in question was Israel’s second chance to accept Him, and was in response to our Lord’s prayer for them from the cross; “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”; Luke 23:34. When that probationary period was complete at the end of Acts, Israel was set aside (Lo-Ammi); and miracles ceased, as they were all for the purpose of evidence and confirmation of Christ Jesus Messiah to His people, the Jews! The fact of the number 40 probationary period, is underlined by the historical fact that Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jews killed and dispersed 40 years after they had crucified Jesus at Calvary!
If the Jews had acknowledged Him during that period of extended grace, and Paul’s mission to the main Synagogues, then the change in Dispensation would have begun, which would have ushered in all the prophecies in the Old Testament of Messiah’s Reign, and John the Baptist would have taken the role retrospectively as Elijah, and the Risen Jesus would have returned. As it is, the Jews are set aside until a future time. This we see in Acts 28:28, and the many explanations by the Apostle Paul.
After Acts 28:28, ‘miracles’ ceased in the open and spectacular way that had taken place during the Acts period, because the Jews were set aside ‘Lo-Ammi’, until the ‘Body of Christ’ is complete, see: Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ:
Since that time there have been many groups saying that they can perform ‘miracles’ i.e. Montanists AD100 – 1000, Pentecostals 1800s, Charismatics, recent; in the same way as the Acts period. This is clearly wrong, and leads many people to despair, because the Enemy sends his lying spirits to confuse people with counterfeit performances; none of which yet match the authentic! Much damage has and is being done by these groups.
It is clear from the above that ‘miracles’ are an important part of the Almighty’s plan for the world, in support of His people and purpose and have been so since the beginning of this Creation at Eden. However, it is also clear that we need to understand the rules or conditions of each Age to establish what can be expected regarding the Almighty’s dealings.
In the Old Testament, there are many recordings of the preserving of His people Israel. They never however completed their main purpose to evangelise the world regarding the One True God, so at Acts 28:28, the same purpose was passed to those Gentiles (and Jews) who are true Christians! Also during His time on Earth and during the Acts period, ‘miracles’ were common. However, since the rejection of their Messiah by Israel, they have been set aside, and are ‘Lo’Ammi’, (not My people) and will continue to be so until the ‘Body of Christ’ is complete. When the events of Revelation commence it is apparent that Holy Spirit Power is again active with Israel, as they are then re-adopted (Ammi) and their prophetic progress is again in train! When the Old Testament is read, it is clear that the majority of miraculous events relate to Israel, when they are in God’s progress!
This Age is commonly called the Age of ‘Grace’, where one lives by faith, see: Faith and trusts in what the Word (the Bible) tells us, that Christ is the only way of Salvation, Acts 4:11-12. Christians trust that the time is short before the Messiah’s return to this Earth, when He will deal with the Enemy, and set up His Earthly Kingdom, ‘The Millennial’, a ‘miracle’, yet to be.
However, prior to that marvellous event, Satan will perform his most powerful counterfeit marvels and miracles, which will deceive many, for his purpose of attempting to convince the world’s population that he is the Messiah; and therefore God! That will be a terrible time on Earth.
It is clear from all Scripture that Almighty God uses His great power in miracle form for demonstration, protection, healing, destruction, Creation, and in many other forms; all with one purpose as expressed in John 20:31; “that you might believe”, which related to Israel at that time, but now applies to any person on Earth “that believes” in Christ Jesus!