Miracles and the Revelation of God - Part 2
Malcolm Horlock, Cardiff, Wales
In the previous article we noted that, according to the biblical narrative, there have been relatively few periods (or epochs) of human history when miraculous works were performed by God-empowered men. We identified three such periods, the description ‘God-empowered men’ embracing the person of our Lord Jesus, of whom the apostle Peter declared that ‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him’.1
The evidence is that, in each of these periods of history, the cluster of miracles called attention to a new revelation from God, and attested the authority of those who performed the miracles. That is, that one major function of the burst of miracles and signs was to accredit a God-inspired revelation given at the time. This was true of the three great divine revelations: the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel.
In the case of the first epoch (that of Moses and his successor), we note that, at the outset, God enabled Moses to perform three miracles to convince the Israelites that the God of their fathers had appeared to him. Of the first, we read, ‘Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’”. So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod”. And he said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you”’.2 It is significant that it is recorded later that ‘Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people . . . believed the Lord and his servant Moses’.3 Moses, the man chosen by God to deliver His law to the nation of Israel, was the first prophet empowered to perform miracles. The many miracles associated with Moses, and his immediate successor Joshua,4 affirmed the divine authority of the law.
As regards the second epoch (that of Elijah and his successor), we note the words of the widow of Zarephath to Elijah, following the miraculous healing of her son: ‘Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth’.5 That is, the miracle served the dual purpose (i) of providing Elijah with his credential to be accepted as God’s messenger, and (ii) of confirming the truth of God’s message through him.
We should note, also, the way in which the supernatural fire which fell on Mount Carmel to consume Elijah’s burnt offering (together with the stones of his altar, the wood, and the dust) served to accredit Elijah as God’s servant. We hear him pray beforehand, ‘Let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and I am your servant’.6
Although there had been several notable prophets before their time,7 Elijah and Elisha can be said to have ushered in the prophetic era – coming in advance, as they did, of the writing prophets.
It is true that Elijah left no book, and, indeed, that the historical narrative contains very little that he said which was extraordinary. Yet no other Old Testament prophet, apart from Moses, looms anywhere near as large as Elijah. By way of example, we can note the near-final words of Malachi, ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet . . .’,8 thereby presenting him as the very last man to be mentioned in the Old Testament.
With reference to the third epoch (that of our Lord and His ‘successors’), it was to be expected that any thoughtful Jew of the day would refer back to the previous occasions when major revelations from God had been ushered in by a flurry of miracles, and to demand equally compelling miraculous evidence to confirm, and validate, the divine origin of what they claimed and taught. And that, not only for the truth and authority of the message heralded by the Lord Jesus Himself, but also of that brought by His apostles, and the New Testament prophets.9
In this case, we need to consider separately the claims of the New Testament concerning the Lord Jesus, and the apostolic church.
First, we think of testimonies given to the Saviour. We begin with the connection which Nicodemus made between our Lord’s signs and His teaching, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him’.10 We turn to the words of the Lord Himself to the unbelieving Jews during the feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), ‘If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me; but if I do, though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him’.11 Then, we hear the apostle Peter’s declaration on the Day of Pentecost to his multi-national Jewish audience, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through him in your midst’.12 Scripture makes it clear, then, that the cycle of miracles which surrounded the person of our Lord were the authenticating evidences of His divine mission and message.
Second, we ponder that which is said concerning the apostles and the New Testament prophets. It is clear that these men played an altogether unique role in the history of the church,13 and that, as those who received and transmitted God’s revelation by way of their preaching and teaching,14 they constituted ‘the foundation’ of the church, which is God’s house(hold), building, and holy temple.15
It was to be expected, therefore, that they would perform miraculous signs to accredit both (i) themselves as God’s servants and messengers, and (ii) the message which they declared.
And so we read, for example, of ‘the apostles’ Paul and Barnabas16 that ‘they stayed there (Iconium) a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands’. That expression ‘bearing witness to the word’ links well with the closing sentence of Mark’s Gospel, where we read of the original disciples that ‘after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs’.17
I referred, towards the close of my previous article, to what the writer to the Hebrews says concerning the ‘great salvation’ enjoyed by believers; namely, that ‘at the first’ it ‘began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard him, God also bearing witness (‘with’ them, literally) both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will’.18 I understand this to mean that those who had heard the Lord personally testified to what they had heard, and that God verified their testimony by the signs and wonders which accompanied their ministry.
In summary, we read in scripture of miracle-working men only during three very special periods in human history, each of which represented a significant development in God’s revelation of Himself and of His truth. And I suggest that this casts light on one important feature of that which took place on the so-called ‘Mount of Transfiguration’.
It was, of course, Moses and Elijah who there appeared in glory with the Lord Jesus, and who conversed with Him.19 That is, for a short time one night20 the three men who represented fresh revelations from God ‘stood’ together.21 This would explain why Moses and Elijah appeared there, and not any other of the Old Testament worthies22 – not even Abraham and/or David.23
It is clear from that which God said to the three apostles who had been selected to witness24 the event, that the key issue raised by the presence of Moses and Elijah on the mountain was that of God’s ‘revelation’ to men. Note carefully the last two words25 which came out of heaven26 according to all three accounts:
- ‘Behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.27 Hear him!”’28
- ‘A cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son. Hear him!”’29
- ‘A voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son. Hear him!”’30
And these words ‘hear him’ stand out the more starkly when we contrast that which had been said by the same ‘voice’ when it had earlier sounded out of heaven at our Lord’s baptism:
- ‘Suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”’.31
- ‘A voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”’.32
- ‘A voice came from heaven which said, “You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased”’.33
We can hardly miss the point that there was no suggestion on the banks of Jordan that men should ‘hear’ the Lord Jesus.
Furthermore, I believe a case can be made for regarding Moses as the representative of the law of God, and Elijah as the representative of the Old Testament prophets. I have in mind (i) our Lord’s words, ‘The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached’,34 and (ii) the fact that Moses and Elijah are not only the last men mentioned in the closing chapter of the Old Testament revelation,35 but that Moses is introduced there in connection with ‘the law’ (‘Remember the law of Moses’), whereas Elijah is characterized there as ‘the prophet’ (’Elijah the prophet’).36
In connection with the Lord’s words ‘until John’,37 I note also that what Malachi said of Elijah (‘he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers’)38 is linked by Luke directly to the ministry of John the Baptist. For Luke records the declaration of the angel of the Lord to Zacharias concerning John that ‘he will also go before him (the Lord) in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children’.39 Again, it is in that very context that Luke characterizes John as a ‘prophet’, recording the prophetic words of Zacharias, ‘and you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest’.40
But the Father’s stated requirement on the mountain was that Peter and his companions should now attend only to the revelation brought by the Lord Jesus.41 For the two great Old Testament worthies associated with God’s former revelation of Himself and His ways must take a back seat in the presence of our Saviour.42 Because, in contrast with every mere prophet, our Lord, being God’s Son, brought God’s full-orbed revelation and final word to men.43
The first book of the Old Testament told how, after two angelic visitors from heaven had left Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, he was found in the presence of ‘the Lord’ alone.44 Now the first book of the New Testament tells how, after two human visitors from heaven left the disciples on the mountain, they were found in the presence of the Lord alone; ‘When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only’.45
I suggest that the evidence both of scripture, and of common sense, is that there was (and is) no need to repeat continually the miraculous evidences which were necessary at first to confirm the truth of an altogether fresh revelation from God. For this reason, it was not necessary, for example, for the remarkable miracles performed by Moses to be repeated throughout later centuries; the law had been fully accredited, and established as having come from God.
For a similar reason, I do not expect to find that miracle-working men (such as functioned during the apostolic era) have continued throughout the subsequent history of the church.
It is well known that several of the so-called ‘Apostolic Fathers’46 and ‘Early Church Fathers’ claimed that miracle-working powers continued in the church through the centuries following the days of the apostles. For a scholarly assessment and critique of such claims, I would point to B. B. Warfield’s classic work, Counterfeit Miracles.47
In his article, ‘Does God want Christians to perform miracles today?’, J. C. Whitcomb asked pertinently, ‘If God is indeed giving to certain men the power to perform healing miracles today, why are there so few of them, and why are their powers so limited, and why are the results so doubtful?’ Good question, Dr. Whitcomb. For I state the blindingly obvious when I say that miracles either (i) of the magnitude we find performed during the three eras we have noted (such as parting the waters of the Red Sea, shutting up heaven that it gave no rain, raising the dead, walking on water, feeding vast multitudes with very small provisions etc.) or (ii) of the quantity we find then (when, for example, every sick person in a whole village or town was healed, regardless of his or her ailment or condition)48 are simply not occurring today. For such to happen nowadays would indicate that someone had come with a fresh revelation from God to surpass that which was made known by our Lord Jesus! Perish the thought!
Dr. Whitcomb then added, ‘By contrast, the miracles of Christ and His apostles were fantastically abundant, utterly spectacular, and totally undeniable . . . The question we must ask . . . is not whether God still has the power to perform those kinds of miracles today, but whether it is His plan’.49 The issue isn’t what God can do, but what He wills to do. I do not question the truth of John the Baptist’s statement to the Pharisees and the Sadducees that ‘God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones’.50 But if somebody asks me to believe that, with God’s help, he has the power to turn pebbles into people, I reserve the right to be cynical, and to challenge his claim! And in so doing I would not be doubting God’s ability to do that very thing if He willed to do so. In other words, it is not a question of God’s power (for He is all-powerful), or His authority (for He is sovereign), but of His will and purpose.
Let me make it clear that I am not denying that God Himself does ‘perform miracles’ today, if by ‘miracles’ we mean ‘miracles’ in the broader sense of (i) extraordinary providences and/or (ii) occurrences which defy natural explanation. For He most certainly does work such ‘miracles’, and often in gracious response to the prayers of His people.51 But I do not accept that in our day we have miracle-workers and faith-healers able to perform divinely-given miraculous signs, such as God used in biblical times to authorize a new revelation from Him.52
We do well to consider the definition of ‘miracle’ offered by the 18th-century Baptist theologian Augustus Strong, ‘A miracle is an event in nature,53 so extraordinary in itself, and so coinciding with the prophecy or command of a religious teacher or leader, as fully to warrant the conviction on the part of those who witness it, that God has wrought it with the design of certifying that this teacher or leader has been commissioned by Him’.54 Dr. Strong continued, (i) ‘Since only an act directly wrought by God can properly be called a miracle, it follows that surprising events brought about by evil spirits or by men, through the use of natural agencies beyond our knowledge, are not entitled to this appellation. The scriptures recognize the existence of such, but denominate them “lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2. 9) . . . not all supernatural occurrences are divine’,55 and (ii) ‘Miracles, therefore, do not stand alone as evidences. Power alone cannot prove a divine commission. Purity of life and doctrine must go with the miracles to assure us that a religious teacher has come from God’.56
In summary, there have been three periods of history when clusters of miracles were performed by God-empowered men; namely, the days of Moses and his successor, the days of Elijah and his successor, and the days of our Lord Jesus and His ‘successors’. In each case the miracles served to accredit both (i) a fresh God-inspired revelation (whether the Law, the Prophets, or the Gospel) and (ii) the one who brought that revelation. The Father’s words ‘Hear him!’ which sounded on the so-called Mount of Transfiguration directed the attention of the disciples who were present there away from the two men who had been associated in Old Testament times with God’s former revelation of Himself, and focused their minds and gaze on Him who brought God’s full and final word to men. ‘They saw no one but Jesus alone’.
- Acts 10. 38; cp. the Lord’s own claim that He ‘cast out demons by the Spirit of God’, Matt. 12. 28.
- Exod. 4. 1-5.
- Exod. 14. 31. For the unique role played by Moses, we note his inspired epitaph: ‘Since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel’, Deut. 34. 10-12.
- ‘Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses’, Deut. 34. 9.
- 1 Kgs. 17. 24.
- 1 Kgs. 18. 36.
- Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Nathan.
- Mal. 4. 5.
- ‘The miracles of the Apostles stand in the same relation to those of Jesus, as the miracles of Joshua to those of Moses, or the miracles of Elisha, to those of Elijah. They are a continuation and a complement. In the most ancient epoch of the history of mankind (from Adam to Moses . . .) biblical history does not record one single miracle, properly speaking . . . The first miraculous acts in the domain of nature, are the signs given to Moses at the moment he entered upon his office . . . Then, six or seven centuries elapse, and no miracle occurs; but it re-appears at the moment when the existence of monotheism is seriously threatened by the invasion of the grossest paganism, in the times of Elijah and Elisha’, F. L. Godet, the article titled ‘Miracles’ in the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge.
- John 3. 2.
- John 10. 37-38; cp. v. 25. See also the message which Jesus sent to John the Baptist, Matt. 11. 2-6.
- Acts 2. 22. ‘“Miracles” is the general word, which Peter defined further as “wonders” (miracles eliciting awe) and “signs” (miracles signifying something)’, Thomas Constable.
- That the names of the apostles are inscribed on the foundation stones of the wall of the New Jerusalem, Rev. 21. 14, may again suggest that they occupy a special place in the church.
- They enlightened men concerning ‘the mystery . . . which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ through the gospel’, Eph. 3. 3-9. The order ‘apostles and prophets’ both in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 20 and chapter 3 verse 5 is significant, establishing that the ‘prophets’ in view are New Testament prophets as distinct from the prophets of the Old Testament. Contrast the order followed by Peter in 2 Peter chapter 2 verse 2, where his reference to ‘the holy prophets, and . . . us, the apostles’ indicated clearly that he had in mind the prophets of the Old Testament. Once a mystery has been revealed, it no longer remains a mystery, and therefore does not need to be revealed again.
- Eph. 2. 19-21. By its very nature, a foundation cannot be continuously re-laid. Of necessity, it can be laid only at the commencement of the erection of any structure.
- Acts 14. 3-4; cp. Acts 2. 43; 4. 30; 5. 12; 6. 8; 8. 13. Recall also the claims made by the apostle Paul, Rom. 15. 18-19 and 2 Cor. 12. 12.
- Mark 16. 19-20. I am happy to accept the judgement of J. N. Darby on verses 9-20; ‘I read them as scripture’, quoted from the footnote to Mark chapter 16 verse 9 in his New Translation (Morrish edition). It may be helpful to quote the comment of F. F. Bruce, ‘Our conclusion with regard to these twelve verses, then, is that while we cannot regard them as an integral part of the Gospel to which they are now attached, no Christian need have any hesitation in reading them as Holy Scripture’; taken from the close of his article ‘The End of the Second Gospel’, published in The Evangelical Quarterly 17 (1945): pp. 169-181.
- Heb. 2. 3-4.
- Luke 9. 30-31. They ‘spoke of his decease which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem’. And what stark contrasts there were between the Lord Jesus as He was seen then, and as He was seen on the so-called ‘Mount of Transfiguration’. We might consider, not only (i) His companions (for Moses and Elijah – two men of immense moral and spiritual stature – would then, in fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy, be replaced by two malefactors, Isa. 53. 12; Matt. 27. 38; Mark 15. 27-28; Luke 22. 37), but (ii) His countenance (for His face which ‘shone like the sun’, Matt. 17. 2, would then, following the blows received from men who struck Him with their clenched fists and who slapped Him, Matt. 26. 67, be ‘marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men’, Isa. 52. 14), (iii) His clothing (for garments which had shone ‘as white as the light’, ‘exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them’, ‘white and glistening’, Matt. 17. 2; Mark 9. 3; Luke 9. 29, would then be stripped from Him, in fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy, to provide the spoil for His execution squad, Matt. 27. 35), and (iv) the cloud (for the bright cloud which enveloped Him during the night season would then give place to a supernatural darkness which enveloped Him through the early hours of the afternoon, Matt. 27. 45, and the well-known and much-loved voice which spoke out of the cloud would then be awfully silent, offering no response to His agonising cry, ‘My God, why have you forsaken me?’, Matt. 27. 46).
- It is more than likely that this scene on the mountain took place at night. I note, for example, that we are told He withdrew ‘up on the mountain to pray’, Luke 9. 28 (something it was His custom to do at night, Luke 6. 12), that His disciples ‘were heavy with sleep’ and that there was a point when they (His disciples) became ‘fully awake’, Luke 9. 32, and that it was on ‘the next day’ that they came down from the mountain, Luke 9. 37.
- Luke 9. 32.
- Not even Enoch (who, in common with Elijah, had been taken by God to heaven without dying, Gen. 5. 24; Heb. 11. 5; 2 Kgs. 2. 1, 11), nor Jonah (the only prophet to whom Jesus directly compared Himself, Matt. 12. 40; Luke 11. 30).
- This is the more noteworthy in the light of the prominence afforded to Abraham and David in the very first verse of the New Testament: ‘The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham’, Matt. 1. 1. ‘The non-chronological order of David and then Abraham indicates that Matthew had more in mind than a simple chronological list of Jesus’ ancestors. As the Gospel unfolds, it becomes clear that the Jews needed to accept Jesus as the promised Son of David before He would bring the blessings promised to Abraham. Jesus presented Himself to the Jews first. When they rejected Him, He turned to the Gentiles’, Thomas Constable. And so, whereas in Matthew chapter 10 ‘the Son of David’ confined His disciples’ preaching (as, by and large, He confined His own, Matt. 15. 24) to ‘the lost sheep of the house of Israel’, Matt. 10. 6, in chapter 28, ’the Son of Abraham’ extended the mission-field of the disciples to encompass ‘all nations’, Matt. 28. 19 – which expression is the very same (panta ta ethné) as is used in the Greek Old Testament rendering of Genesis chapter 22 verse 18, ‘in your seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed’.
- Cp, ‘We . . . were eyewitnesses of his majesty’, 2 Pet. 1. 16.
- In Greek (akouete autou), as in English.
- The ‘voice’ that came ‘out of’ the ‘bright cloud’ which overshadowed those on the ‘high mountain’, Matt. 17. 1, 5, is said by Peter to have been borne ‘out of heaven’, 2 Pet. 1. 18 (literal translation). This is reminiscent of the way that the ‘voice’ of God which had spoken to Israel ‘out of the midst of the fire’, Deut. 4. 12, 33, 36, on Mount Sinai, Exod. 19. 18, was said by Moses to have come ‘out of heaven’, Deut. 4. 36 (cp. Exod. 20. 22).
- Compare Peter’s report of the Father’s declaration ‘on the holy mountain’: ‘He (“our Lord Jesus Christ”) received from God the Father honour and glory when such a voice came to him from the Excellent Glory: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”’, 2 Pet. 1. 17.
- Matt. 17. 5.
- Mark 9. 7.
- Luke 9. 35.
- Matt. 3. 17.
- Mark 1. 11.
- Luke 3. 22.
- Luke 16. 16. Note the combination of ‘Moses and the prophets’ in verses 29 and 31, and compare Matt. 11. 13; John 1. 45.
- Contrast ‘the prominence given to Abraham and David in the very first verse of the New Testament’, Footnote 23 above.
- Mal. 4. 4-5. Note the comments about Mal. 4. 4-6 in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series: ‘Moses represents the literary collection of the Torah in the Hebrew Bible, while Elijah represents the literary collection of the Latter Prophets. Thus the association [of Moses and Elijah] serves to invest the Latter Prophets with the same divine authority accorded to the Torah and the Primary History of the Hebrew Bible’, Andrew E. Hill, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, p. 362.
- Luke 16. 16.
- Mal. 4. 6: a case of ‘bridging the generation gap’, J. G. Baldwin, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series), p. 276.
- Luke 1. 17.
- Luke 1. 76; cp. Matt. 11. 9-10; 21. 26.
- This functions as a rebuke, of course, to Peter for his well-meant but unthinking suggestion that they ‘make three tabernacles: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’, Luke 9. 33, thereby placing our Lord on the same level as Moses and Elijah.
- All three gospels which record the scene stress that, following the Father’s command, ‘Hear him!’, both Moses and Elijah disappeared from sight, leaving Jesus only. Mark says of the three apostles, ‘when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves’, Mark 9. 8; cp. Matt. 17. 8; Luke 9. 36.
- Heb. 1. 1-2. See also John 1. 17-18 (cp. Exod. 33. 20; 1 Tim. 6. 16) and John 14. 9 (cp. Matt. 11. 27).
- Gen. 18. 2, 22; 19. 1.
- Matt. 17. 8. All three gospels which record the scene stress that, following the Father’s command, ‘Hear him!’, both Moses and Elijah disappeared from sight, leaving the disciples in Jesus’ company alone; see Mark 9. 8; Luke 9. 36.
- The Apostolic Fathers proper are the earliest non-apostolic Christian writers of the apostolic and immediately post-apostolic days. They are reputed to be ‘those who were historically connected with the Apostles . . . those who are known, or may reasonably be presumed, to have associated with and derived their teaching directly from some Apostle, or at least to those who were coeval with the Apostles’, J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, pp. 3-4.
- See especially pages 6-18, 22-25 (together with footnote 22 on pages 239-240), 29-38, 51, 61, 67, 97-98. Two quotations may be of particular interest: (i) ‘The writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers contain no clear and certain allusions to miracle working or to the exercise of the charismatic gifts, contemporaneously with themselves’ (page 10), and ‘In point of fact the great majority of the [alleged] miracles of healing which have been wrought throughout the history of the church, have been wrought through the agency of relics’ (p. 98)! The full text of Counterfeit Miracles can be read at: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/warfield/warfield_counterfeit.html, and can be downloaded free from: https://archive.org/details/counterfeitmirac00warf.
- Matt. 8. 16; 9. 35; 12. 15; 14. 35–36; Acts 5. 16; 28. 9.
- Pages 6-7. The article, ‘Does God want Christians to perform miracles today?’ can be accessed at http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/grace-journal/12-3_03.pdf.
- Matt. 3. 9; Luke 3. 8. ‘The allusion is probably to . . . Isa. 51. 1-2, “Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father”. Also likely is a pun in the original – whether in Hebrew, banim (“sons”)/’abanim (“stones”), or in Aramaic, benayya (“sons”)/’abnayya (“stones”)’, James D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, p. 364.
- ‘Laws which bind nature I admit; laws which bind God I do not’, J. N. Darby, Letters, Volume 3, p. 410.
- It is true that, miraculous powers will be bestowed on God’s ‘two witnesses’ of the end times, Rev. 11. 3-6. But it is important to note that the supernatural acts performed by these ‘two prophets’, vv. 3, 10, will be patterned on the earlier miracles of Moses and Elijah, the purpose of which had been to authenticate the God-inspired revelation of the Law, and of the prophetic era of the Old Testament. It seems, therefore, that their message will comprise (mainly at least) that of the Law and of the prophets. ‘The repetition of the miracles of (Moses and Elijah) would accredit their (the two witnesses) mission to Israel’, F A Tatford, The Final Encounter, p. 350.
- ‘All which we term laws of nature are but the operations of divine power, in a regular and uniform manner’. Benjamin Godwin, Lectures on the Atheistic Controversy. 1835, Lecture 5, p. 259 (Kindle Location 3622).
- A. H. Strong D. D., Ll.D., Systematic Theology, p. 225. The complete Systematic Theology can be downloaded from http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books%20II/Strong%20-%20Systematic%20Theology.pdf.
- Ibid. p. 248. Interestingly, most English translations (including KJV, NKJV, RV, ESV and Mr DARBY’s New Translation) never use the word ‘miracle’ to describe any of the ‘signs and wonders’ to be performed by (i) false Christs and false prophets, Matt. 24. 24; Mark 13. 22; cp. Matt. 7. 22, (ii) the False Prophet, Rev. 13. 13-15 with Rev. 19. 20; 20. 20, or (iii) the ‘lawless one’, 2 Thess. 2. 9. Nor do they use the word in connection with the activities of Jannes and Jambres, Exod. 7. 11, 22; 8. 7; 2 Tim. 3. 8, or of Simon of Samaria, Acts 8. 9-11.
- Ibid. (c) p. 243. Cp. Deut. 13. 1-3; the acid test of a true prophet in those days was his fidelity to the law of God.