When Did Miracles Cease?
“If that redemption were “completed” at the cross or on the day of Pentecost, then miraculous gifts were a useless commodity to the church”
Some today deny any teaching that suggests that the miraculous operations of the Spirit have ceased. On the other hand, some teach that they have ceased but use very inconclusive arguments to pinpoint the fact and time of the termination of these gifts. There are others still who properly interpret some passages regarding the end of these supernatural works of power, but who unfortunately misapply that interpretation and find themselves claiming practices which they either cannot perform or explain on any other basis than to claim such phenomena are miracles. Though not the purpose of this writing, the validity of those claims will be seriously doubtful in view of the following conclusions.
One may well ask, does the Bible teach anything definite and conclusive on the subject? In short, have miracles ceased? Can their point of terminus be determined scripturally? It is our conviction that God has clearly defined the boundaries of miraculous operations of the Spirit. The following reasons are, we believe, fully supported with Scripture. However, acceptance of truth and facts requires open-mindedness and objectivity. Feelings, void of direction from written revelation must be abandoned. Prejudices must be set aside. Preconceived opinions and traditions must yield to the staunch and invincible power of an “it is written” and a “thus saith the Lord.” It is to this end that the reader is prayerfully directed.
Miracles Lasted Till The End Of The Age
Miracles were to last until the completion or end of the Jewish age. To some, this statement does more than just raise a brow. However, a reinvestigation of things “most surely believed” among us serves at least two worthy purposes. One, it confirms and strengthens us if we were right the first time. Two, by contrast, it corrects and reproves our error when it is learned that previously held conclusions were wrong.
Before one rejects the affirmation above, one should at least hear the evidence. “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” (Jno 7:51). Failure to observe the principle contained in this text results in stymied growth in knowledge and understanding while simultaneously incurring condemnation for pre-judging without hearing evidence.
Continuing the point above, Jesus promised that those who believed and were baptized would have signs (miracles) to accompany or follow them. (Mk. 16:17). It is grammatically impossible to misconstrue Jesus’ words to mean the apostles in that text. Jesus (first person) was speaking to the apostles (second person) about those who believed (third person) the apostles’ teachings. The signs would follow those who believed (third person) hence, disciples made by the apostles’ preaching, (Mk. 16:16; Matt. 28:19). This is not to deny the miraculous power of the apostles for their very preaching evidenced their supernatural inspiration as noted in Mk. 16:20. The confirmation or proof of the apostles’ inspiration and miraculous power was their very ability to confer or impart miraculous gifts to believers through the laying on of their hands, (Acts 6:5,6; 8:17,18; 19:6; II Tim. 1:6). It is important, however, that one take into consideration the time frame of what is taught in Mk. 16:17-18.
In addition, Mark’s gospel reads, “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word with signs following. Amen,” (v.20). This is important! It says that the Lord worked with the apostles and confirmed their preaching by supernatural signs. The Lord was “with” the apostles in the “miraculous” confirmation of the word. Matthew’s account of the great commission affirms the same. “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age, (Mt. 28:20, NASV). Is one to suppose that the Lord miraculously confirmed the apostles’ preaching but not their teaching? Was he not “with” them in their teaching in the same way? Here, then, is the Lord promising to guide the apostles in inspiration and to confirm their words through imparting signs through them until the END OF THE AGE!
This is the Jewish age which lasted until 70 A.D.. It is the age in which the apostles were then living. How confusing it would have been for Jesus to direct the apostles to the end of the Christian age which is endless and had not yet begun when the very age in which they were living had not reached its consummation! During an earlier period of Jesus’ ministry he spoke of the Jewish age as “this age,” (Matt. 12:32). At the close of his ministry he prophesied that the end of the Jewish age would come after the gospel was preached for a witness unto all nations, clearly a post-Pentecost event, yet within that first-century generation, at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, (Matt. 24:3,14,34; Lk. 21-22). One cannot argue that the age here is the present Christian age without having the scriptures teach living apostles, present inspiration, and continued miracles till the end of the Christian age. That would be an especially long time since the New Covenant aeon has no end, (Eph. 3:21). Therefore, the scriptures limit the termination of miracles to the end of the Jewish age in 70 A.D..
Miraculous Confirmation Till the Revelation or Day of Christ
Next, the Scriptures teach that miraculous confirmation would cease at the coming or revelation of Jesus Christ. “Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Cor. 2:1; 2 Thes. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:8; Rev. 1:2,9). Second, by confirmed, the miraculous is understood. Paul’s writings make it abundantly clear that in addition to the word, (Mk.16:20), disciples also were confirmed by miraculous signs. Observe, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, IT was confirmed to us by those who heard. God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will”, Heb. 2:3,4). See also Rom. 8:9; 14,16; Phil. 1:6).
Third, by revelation of Jesus Christ, the return or parousia of Christ is meant, (1 Pet. 1:7,8). Fourth, by end, the termination of the Jewish aeon is under consideration, just as in Matt. 28:20. Fifth, that end is here seen as harmonious with the day of Christ. (See Matt. 24:3,14,27,30,34; 1 Cor. 15:24). A summary of these facts reveals that miraculous confirmation would last till the revelation or day of Jesus Christ which is equivalent in time to the end of the Jewish age. This Corinthian text is poignant in its teaching. Miraculous gifts and confirmation by signs continued till the second coming. It is little wonder that the Pentecostals and others believe the gifts to be future. The traditional and popular viewpoint theorizes the second coming as yet future and thereby encourages neo-Pentecostal dogmatism and charismatic fanaticism. One cannot scripturally “interpret” the gifts as past and hold on to a “practical” belief of a yet-future coming. From an “interpretive” standpoint, the time of cessation coincides chronologically with the parousia or revelation of the day of Christ. Will we speak as the Bible speaks?
That Which is Perfect is Come
Third, attention is turned to a more comfortable haven that is used to teach both, the end of miraculous gifts and a denial that such was to occur at the coming of Christ! There have been numerous debates as to whether “that which is perfect” refers to Christ or to the second coming. One thing is certain, one must not place an interpretation on 1 Cor. 13:8-10 that conflicts with or contradicts Matt. 28:20 and 1 Cor. 1:6-8 above. It should be clear after examination that this passage will also concur with the truth set forth above.
There are three important contrasts that serve to illustrate the point of termination of miraculous gifts. One, “that which is in part” versus “when the perfect comes.” Two, dim vision or “seeing in a mirror dimly” versus “face to face” vision. Three, the illustration to clarify these differences of childhood or infancy versus manhood or adulthood. For a clearer picture and greater clarity observe the chart below:
It is clear from the chart that the coming of the perfect is the end or termination of the gifts. Equally clear is that the state of manhood, the opposite of infancy or childhood is equal to the coming of the perfect. It should be no new revelation then that “seeing face to face” is also a point marking the end of miracles and is equal to the coming of the perfect and full-grown man.
Many have objected to “that which is perfect” being a reference to the coming of Christ. Is is said, “that which,” literally, the thing, is neuter gender and therefore cannot be speaking of Jesus. Some have sought to answer this by showing that Jesus is referred to as “that holy thing” which was conceived in Mary’s womb, (Lk. 1:35, KJV). It is interesting that those who argue that the grammatical construction and neuter gender cannot refer to Christ are only limiting it to his person rather than interpreting it more broadly to refer to the perfection of the system, covenant or resulting state of things which his coming would bring to completion. The fact that the “coming of Christ,” the “day of the Lord,” and the “end” are taught as the terminus of miracles is undisputable as 1 Cor. 1:7,8 shows. Therefore, quibblings over the “gender” of the term “perfect” will not deliver one from the necessary inference of the coming of Christ in this text.
Further, others see in this the completed revelation of God’s word in written form as opposed to indwelling men. While it is agreed that the new testament was fully committed to writing before the perfect arrived, the position that the “perfect” is the time of the completed written record is believed untenable. Inspiration is a miraculous manifestation in and of itself and the writing of the new testament through the exercise of that gift was of necessity completed before the gift of inspiration ceased. John was told, “…What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia…,” (Rev. 1:11). Later in the vision he was told, “…Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, nations, and tongues, and kings,” (Rev. 10:11). Therefore, John’s inspired utterance continued beyond his written revelation as he remained or lived to see the day of Christ, (Jno. 21:22).
Inasmuch as his written revelation contained prophecies, (Rev. 1:1,19), the fulfillment of which is always a miracle, then it follows that IF THERE ARE YET PROPHECIES TO BE FULFILLED, WE ARE YET IN THE MIRACULOUS AGE! However, with the cessation of inspiration at the coming of the perfect, additional miraculously inspired writings were an utter impossibility after that time. Moreover, this fact has nothing to do with the death of an apostle or any disciple of the first century. It also explains the cessation of demon possession and the supernatural powers of evil spirits which were independent of apostles’ hands or disciples’ vital signs. The cessation of prophecy and demon possession was linked to the fulfillment of old testament prophecy. “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive,” (Zech. 13:2-4). The context of chapter 14:1-6 makes clear that “that day” in Zechariah 13 is the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D..
In seeking to teach our charismatic and “faith-healing” friends about the “when” of the terminus of miracles, one must bear in mind that “when the perfect comes” teaches only the fact of that terminus. It clearly tells us what would happen when the perfect came, i.e., gifts would cease. It does not state, per se, when the perfect came. Does the context of 1 Cor. 13:8-12 furnish any clues concerning “when” the perfect arrived? The choice appears to lie between the equivalents of the manhood state or the “face to face” vision. The choice that allows a necessary inference and inescapable conclusion as to when the perfect came is the parallel time of “face to face” vision. Seeing face to face is the opposite of seeing dimly through a mirror during the period of the miraculous. Face to face vision is achieved or realized in the New Jerusalem, the holy city which came down from God out of heaven, when the saints behold the Lamb on the throne of glory with the Father in the new paradise at the coming of Christ, (Rev.21:1-3; 22:3-5.
The promise of seeing face to face is equal in time to the coming of the New Jerusalem and the paradise of God. “And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond servants shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads, (Rev.22:4). Therefore, seeing face to face which is equal to the coming of the perfect in the Corinthian text, is equal in time to “seeing His face” in the New Jerusalem at the second coming. It is the full open-faced, unmirrored revelation or unveiling of God’s glory in Christ, a glory that was ready to be (about to be) revealed in the apostles’ own generation, (1 Pet.1:5,7-8; Rev.1:1-3). Again, the search for the time of the end of miracles points repeatedly in the same direction – past and historical – to the same time, the coming of Christ at the end of the Jewish age in 70 A.D..
Redemption Of The Purchased Possession
Fourth, one is challenged by the word of God to accept that miracles would last until the “redemption of the purchased possession.” “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory, (Eph. 1:13,14). Paul speaks of the laying on of hands to impart miraculous gifts to the Ephesians at their reception of the gospel, (Acts 19:1-6; Mk. 16:17-18). Of this miraculous endowment he says three things: One, they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Two, that sealing is referred to as the earnest of the Spirit. Three, the earnest of the Spirit (miraculous gifts) would continue until the completed redemption of the purchased possession or the receiving of the inheritance.
The words sealed and earnest are both terms which indicated miraculous operations of the Spirit. The reader is urged to consider some excellent comments on these terms in The Work of the Holy Spirit, pages 173-182 by Franklin Camp. Thayer’s lexicon states that earnest means “money which in purchases is given as a pledge that the full amount will subsequently be paid,” (p.75). It seems reasonable, then, that God gave miraculous gifts as a pledge until the redemption was completed or the inheritance was received. If that redemption were “completed” at the cross or on the day of Pentecost, then miraculous gifts were a useless commodity to the church as it relates to the same. Further proof that the redemption was not complete was the “futurity” of the inheritance which would be received at the second coming, (Matt. 25:34; Eph. 1:13,14; Heb. 9:15).
From these scriptures, and the fact that the church could not enter upon the fullness of the inheritance in a state of infancy or immaturity, (Gal. 4:1,2), then it follows that the inheritance was received upon the church’s attainment of full-grown status which we are clearly told was accomplished through the miraculous, (1 Cor. 13:11; Eph. 4:13-14). Why give the gifts to accomplish spiritual manhood and completed redemption/inheritance if the church was born full-grown on the day of Pentecost? Completed redemption/inheritance are joined to the cessation of miraculous gifts. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” A progressively received inheritance (see Heb. 28 and note the present participle “receiving”) does not deny the efficacy or negate the power of God through the death of Christ, but rather it demonstrates God’s own purpose and time in accomplishing the counsel of His own will.
The purchased possession is the church. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood,” (Acts 20:28). The completion of that redemption was clearly future at the time of the writing of Ephesians, about A.D. 58, though not removed from that first-century generation. When was that redemption completed? This is vital to an understanding of when those gifts would cease. Paul writes, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption, (Eph. 4:30). This day is none other than the revelation or day of Christ as taught in 1 Corinthians 1:7-8.
When did this redemption occur? Luke writes, “And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: for your redemption draweth nigh…Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled,” (Lk. 21:27-32). There again is the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven. The apostles are admonished to look up and lift up their heads when they recognized the events transpiring in fulfillment of the Lord’s words for then their redemption would be at hand or near. All of those things, of which redemption was included would be fulfilled in that first-century generation. The reference is clearly the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh…For these be the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled,” (Lk. 21:20-22). Therefore, the redemption of the purchased possession was completed in A.D. 70, at the fall of Jerusalem which corresponds in time to the end of the Jewish age and coming or parousia of Christ. This was the “day of redemption” and the termination of the “earnest” or miraculous gifts.
The Unity of the Faith
Fifth, Paul states that the gift of inspiration to apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers would continue till “we all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (full-grown) man, (Eph. 4:11-14). It has been demonstrated that the full-grown man (perfect) state is equivalent in meaning and time to “when that which is perfect is come,” and the “face to face” presence of Christ, (1 Cor. 13:8-12; Rev. 22:4). Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another. Therefore the “unity of the faith” equals to the “face to face” presence in the revelation of Jesus Christ at the end of the Jewish age.
According to the Days of Egypt
Finally, God through the prophet Micah promises that marvelous things (miraculous gifts) would last for a period of about 40 years. “According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvelous things,” (Mic. 7:15). The Israelites wandered in their pilgrimage from Egypt and quest for the promise land for a period of about 40 years, (Heb. 3:17). God says according to those days he would show marvelous things. It is argued by Pusey (see Barnes Commentary on Micah) and by Guy N. Woods (see the Woods-Franklin Debate, p. 156) that the “marvelous things” here are miraculous gifts and equate with Joel’s prophecy concerning the out-pouring of the Spirit in the last days. That period, if reckoned from Pentecost till 70 A.D. is about 40 years. On the other hand, if it incorporates the ministry of Christ and the miracles he performed in the last days, (Heb. 1:2), then it yields a more precise calculation of 40 years. In either case, the reference is too clear a matter to be trifled with for the end of the Jewish age, the line of demarcation in the close of national Israel’s history is the Seer’s reference.
In conclusion, it has been the purpose of this writing to allow the Bible to speak on the cessation of miraculous gifts. God has given definite scriptural boundaries for the end of miracles. They may not coincide with commonly held views. Nevertheless, the harmony and consistency of all the above passages undeniably point in one direction – past history, to one time – the end of the Jewish age and coming of Christ in A.D. 70. Not once in scripture is the death of an apostle or disciple mentioned as a point of termination though this is a commonly held tradition among many brethren. The completion of the written record of the new testament is also questioned and shown to be inconclusive as a point of termination. The writing of the new testament of necessity preceded the end of miraculous inspiration and the fulfillment of the day of redemption which it prophesied. In addition, the reason there were no inspired books, apostles, teachers, pastors, prophets, evangelists or otherwise after the end of the Jewish age is that none had any divine authority to continue prophesying or inspired utterance after vision and prophecy were sealed up, (Dan. 9:24; Zech. 13:2-4).
From that point on even to this very day, apostolic authority and all other authority rests in the word which stands completed and fulfilled. Neither an apostle nor even an angel from heaven could add anything to , or take anything away from, to alter the perfect law of liberty which had been revealed before 70 A.D., (Gal. 1:8,9). Once this message was confirmed in the fulfillment of all things further inspiration and confirmation was no more needed then than it is needed today! Were the apostle John and other disciples of the miraculous period any less equipped or competent to live in a post-miraculous age than the generations of their succeeding counterparts? Did they not experience the state of the perfect just as we are today? To argue for inspired apostles after the fulfilled, confirmed arrival of the “perfect” is to deny that very confirmation and perfection. Lastly, the end of the age, the revelation or day of Christ, the full-grown man, the coming of the perfect, seeing “face to face,” the redemption of the purchased possession, receiving the inheritance, and the unity of the faith are all equivalents in time and meaning having occurred in 70 A.D. with the fall of Jerusalem. The Bible makes abundantly clear that this is the time of the end or cessation of miracles.
What do YOU think ?
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- 23 Jan 2004
Mr Bell you do not feel miracles can occur today such as healings and such? Bottom line God performed miracles back then he can do so today. I know, Im living proof. Now to place a limitation on God is not wise. There are many people today healed of many illnesses and diseases that medical science has no explanation of. Many of whom where told they had a terminal illness and would die shortly. My brother for one. I myself had a very serious problem and one day I walked into a Christian church during praise and worship. It was not a healing service or any special kind of service but in an instant my condition left me and I had suffered for 3 years previous up till that day. God indeed still heals today. You may say that doesnt line up with Fulfilled Eschatology but truth be known, there is still a need for miracles today. Miracles happen to me all the time. Jesus said that whatever you believe, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed and say to this mountain be removed it will be removed. The bible also teaches all things are possible with God and that includes miracles. Some things in life just dont fit neatly into a little box. God Bless
- 27 Jan 2004
Bell is right,the scriptures fully explain.God still heals today because of His own good pleasure not because of any gifted person. Tony Hill
- 18 Jun 2004
I agree that God still works miracles, as my wife is proof of that. How else can God glorify Himself and reveal Himself to those that truly believe and have faith in Him. Steve
- 19 Aug 2004
After 30 yrs of believing contray,I do now embrace to the greater degree of what you have share.Yet I still am greatful that miricles,healings and marveleous words of great councel are at large in the body of Christ. I have yet to determine why and how they operate.I can only add that He again knows best how to minister to those who are His. Thank You
- 06 Jan 2005
I can agree on almost all of what is said here- certainly to the end of the great outpouring and the ceasing of scriptural revelation. But a recurrent theme in the church today has to do with the supernatural experiences some of us have. God is still Spirit, and human eyes cannot see Him. Likewise, praying in spirit, not with human words out loud, but within our souls, is still a valid principle, and to develop the ability to see and hear Your Father God in the spiritual realm are principles which are NOT to cease. And the ability to experience Gods’ sensible presence in corporate and personal worship is not listed as ceasing either. While Bell’s comments on the end to an apostolic age are valid, I think we need to stop acting as though God were dead, and unable to let us experience the supernatural ocassionally. We preterists need to be a little less puffed up with our knowledge, and stop relating to God as though He were far removed from us. In fact, since all things are fulfilled, that Holy City of Revelation now exists on Earth, and to sojourn into it is not accomplished by any natural means. I never hear anyone talking about going freely in and out of there, as the Word says we may, since I think it scares those of us from the modern pretorical camp. I am not offering up any finite explanations about that as of now, but suffice it to say that if we were willing to acknowledge the soul and spirit components of our lives, put them into Gods control, and not be so afraid to hear Him, speak to Him, and experience Him in a supernatural way in that spirit world, we could certainly become a more powerful agent of His real Kingdom on Earth,and be the people He turned over this Kingdom advancement to in Revelation. Do you remember, a Kingdom WITHOUT end, the increase of peace and the rule of our Christ forever?
Date: 07 Oct 2005
Absolutely Crazy. That is how I would define the above. There is nothing to be gained from the study of the above except to see how foolish the preterist are in their beliefs. Jesus is coming to those that watch for Him with expectant hope. He will return in like manner as He left. There can be no doubt about that.
The problem with Miracles and the power to witness about Him is that too many have been talking about themselves too much in an attempt to show their good and well behaved lives thus robbing God of His life to be lived in us. It is all Him, I repeat, all Him. For that simple trust and complete leaning on Him of our way He will place a new heart into us. It will be a heart like that of Christ. A new center of the will, mind, and affection. It will no longer be our will but will be His will, His mind, and all affection will be centered on Him. We will love Him with His own heart. Our old heart cannot love God nor does it want to. It has one love and purpose and that it to center ourselves in His place. Why does there seem to be the loss of the power and miracles in our ability to speak of Him? The church has replaced His life in our self with its own ability to live the life.
When Jesus talked about being blessed in the Sermon on the Mount He was talking about the state of someone who had committed their way to Him completely and the condition of that person would result in the blessed state spoken of.
Salvation is the Work of God and it is the greatest miracle ever spoken of. The one who ceases trying to make it on His own will experience the change God is speaking of. His ability to do nothing other than sin will be replaced with a life that no longer wants to go his own way but will have the heart spoken of by David in Psalms 51:10. A heart that only God can create. Man cannot, by his own efforts, be like God. The being like God is not something that you and God do. It is something God alone can do. It is done after the guns are thrown down and the person walks out with their hands up to the sky in surrender and God begins the transformation in the sinner. The sinner is the one who went his own way and falls far short of what was told in the garden. God has set out to show what it is like to be like Himself and to show that you can’t do it. Never could man do it and God never for one moment thought that man could do it.
6. This is why I shall block her way with thorns,
and wall her in to stop her in her tracks;
God causes our way to fail If we are his. You are not His unless there is total surrender of your way. When that discernment is present at the Table of the Lord, When we take our eyes off of ourselves and place them completely on Him as we partake in this Christian path we claim to be in we will see those powers and miracles that Preterist and others claim ended. Let us place our eyes completely on Him when we come to the Table of the Lord. We, who know that our old man is on a path of complete destruction and our new will be the only one to survive this work that God has begun in us.
Date: 06 Oct 2005
I cannot see that a technical sciptural reason is suffice to negate the evidence of miracles or the spiritual gifts. In Revelation John is told to be silent and to NOT write what he saw in regard to the seven thunders. There are other instances where the author was told not to write what he saw.
By this evidence it would seem thet the Canon is not complete as these mysteries heve not been revealed.
I went to a Pentecostal meeting where an Evangelist was preaching, I attend a Baptist Church. The call was given for salvation and some went forward, then after the call was given for those who wanted the “fullness of the Holy Spirit”
I prayed that God protect me and that if this was not for me, I would be shielded.
I fell on the ground and felt a surround of light and love. My mouth uttered noises and words that I have never learned. I said “Gel a la lie Alakhime” (phonetic) I did not know what I had said until recently. A man (arab christian) from Jerusalem said I was speaking in Hebrew and praising God. It was 20 years ago that this happened and God settled this matter in my spirit once and for all. I have never again spoke in tongues or felt the need to.
My wife was miscarrying and I did not know what to pray for. I prayed that the child be put on the mercy seat in front of God and I put my unborn child in the hands of God. I trusted Him.
My wife lost the baby, I stlii trusted. A year to the day my youngest son was born, we didn’t know what to call him. My christian father suggested Matthew. He was named so. Years later we were looking through a name book and I glanced at the name Matthew…it means “Gift of God”….
You tell me what it was? My Lord is faithful and just, Praise his Holy Name and I KNOW what he did.
I don’t need a complex scriptural argument to convince me of His Love, His Care and His attributes. Anecdotal…you decide.
Praise His Wonderful Name.
Date: 04 Dec 2005
It seems unanimous up to the present time, the responses are all in favor that God still does miracles. This response will be no different , God still does miracles and reveals Himself supernaturally to His children. God heals, speaks, supplies all our needs, comforts, and fills with His Spirit. Faith is the Key element God does according to our faith , if you choose to believe that God is not doing these things then for you so be it.
William, I think you did a good job of bringing many scriptures together but I didn’t see any scriptural mandate that spiritual gifts are now done away with. I do agree that Scripture is sealed and there is not to be any more Scripture written; but in no way do I agree that God no longer does miracles. Respectfully, in Him Tim Terry
Date: 16 Apr 2006
I’m always amazed at the agonizing that cessationist go through to,(in there own way), disprove that Jesus Christ is the SAME, yesterday, today and forever. HE IS THE SAME . . . same Savior, same Healer, same Baptizer, same Miracle Worker, SAME, SAME, SAME!!!
“Now we have the completed word of God so there’s no need for miracles” ???? HELLO . . . they had the very WORD of God Incarnate among them — the WHOLE & COMPLETE WORD OF GOD walked among them and yet He knew they needed to see other miraculous signs to add to the validity of his claim. How is some think people have changed from then til now? You mean people no longer doubt, no longer believe the Word of God even though it’s written and cannonized? No longer refrain from studying? That’s nonsense. Of course they’re the same. Same doubting, unbelieving type of people that lived in Jerusalem during Christ’s earthly ministry. And people are still, to this day, seeing and then believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, many times, AFTER they’ve witnessed the gift of healing administered by someone so empowered by the Holy Spirit of the Living God!
Wow, talk about having a form of Godliness but denying the very power thereof!! Woe to those of you who neither believe or receive! You go ahead and maintain your obstinence and unbeleiving heart . . and while you’re at it, your sickness and diseases and plight filled lives — I choose to believe, receive and walk in a victorious life that contains all the fullness Christ offers, including the miraculous! BTW, in just the last 30 days I watched the miraculous happen in my 76 year old father who laid dying in intensive care in Oregon. I flew out from Florida when the Doctors advised my mother that the family should come immediately as his body had gone completely septic after a failed resection of his bowels. He was absolutely, unequivically dying. The Doctors stated to my mother and to other family memebers, “we can’t do anything else for him”, we don’t what else to do”,
“we’ve called in consults from other experts and there’s nothing more that can be done”. Those words and others like them were relayed to me by phone. To which I responded, “the doctors may not know what to do but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords does. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever and He can miraculously raise him up. Long and glorious story short, my father is now home, he is no longer septic, his body is healed, he’s regaining weight, he’s walking on his own, he’s eating well, he’s regaining his strength, he’s lifting up holy hand unto the Lord for His miraculous healing hand, he’s rejoicing in the fact that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday today and forever!
So you go ahead and doubt and attempt to disprove the continued miraculous working of the Spirit of the Living God, you continue to not receive from Him, but as for me and my house, we BELIEVE, We’ve seen and tasted of how good the Lord is!
Date: 18 May 2006
Of course God heals today, just not through the laying on of hands by mere humans today. Hyper-reactive Dispensationalists are so quick to have whiplash reactions and they continue to fail at understanding the plain Truth of Scripture. Great article .Keep up the good work . Preterism is rule number one.
Date: 22 May 2006
I beleive what the author is saying is that the sign gifts have been taken away, not that miracles from the very hand of God have ceased. Chuck
Date: 27 Jun 2006
I disagree with your interpretation of 1 Cor 13:8-13. This is the most famous (and only) passage that cessationists quoted to support the ending of spiritual gifts.
But they have misinterpreted and even twisted it to support their lack of faith and unbelief. Their belief in the cessation of spiritual gifts belittles the power of God and reduces their faith to just another religion.
Cessationism is a cult, and amount to changing God’s words. (Rev 22:18-19)
Now let me explain to you the correct interpretation of 1 Cor 13:8-13.
Taken on its own, these few verses seem to indicate that spiritual gifts will end. But if you read it in context of the entire chapter 13, it is certainly untrue.
1. This chapter is about love. The Corinthian church has many spiritual gifts, but are divisive and bickering (1 Cor 12).
2. Therefore, 1 Cor 13:1-7 addresses the fundamental problem, which is the lack of love among the Christians. They spoke in tongues, prophesy, gave words of knowledge, but lack the human touch and compassion for their listeners.
3. But isn’t this is how new or immature Christians behave? Although they are self righteous, and over-zealous in criticizing others and passing judgement. This is what verse 12 talks about. The child is an immature Christian, using his spiritual gifts without the fruits (love, joy, peace, etc)
4. V8-9 … prophecies, they will cease… tongues, they will be stilled … knowledge, they will pass away. This is the favourite verses of cessionists. But they have left out the first 3 words in v8, “Love never fails”.
5. Let me explain what is v8-9 really means.
– All prophesies will cease because when the prophesied event happens, the prophecy ends.
– Tongues will be stilled because no one can continue speaking away without pausing to rest and drink water.
– Knowledge will pass way, because as new knowledge supersedes the old. Just like a digital camera superseding a film camera.
It’s common sense, and this is the power of the Word of God, where a simple mind can already understand. But a theologian wise in his own way gets stumbled.
6. What is this “perfection” in v10 means? Cessationists equates perfection to the completion of the New Testament, and the subsequently the ceasing of spiritual gifts. As there is no other passages of scripture to support their version of perfection, every cessationist theology I’ve read is a long-winded, beating around the bush attempt to confuse the reader with feeble arguments from 1 Cor 13:10.
7. Let me then explain perfection. It is found in 1 Cor 14:1, “Follow the way of love”. Therefore perfection here refers to the use of spiritual gifts with fruits of the spirit, and practicing faith with good works.
8. Perfection is best summed up by 1 John 4:18, which states:
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Thus, perfection is doing everything in love.
I’ve been a Christian for 25 years. I’ve been a cessionist to charismatic. I’ve seen spiritual gifts happening in the church and missions field. So the cessationist doctrine is a faithless denial of the powers of God.
To a cessionist, it seems that when a sick person is prayed for and recovered immediately, it is the works of Satan. But if he recovers after a long time, it is the work of God. How ridiculous!
Date: 21 Jan 2007
in regards to what you said here:
“It is grammatically impossible to misconstrue Jesus’ words to mean the apostles in that text. Jesus (first person) was speaking to the apostles (second person) about those who believed (third person) the apostles’ teachings. The signs would follow those who believed (third person) hence, disciples made by the apostles’ preaching, (Mk. 16:16; Matt. 28:19). This is not to deny the miraculous power of the apostles for their very preaching evidenced their supernatural inspiration as noted in Mk. 16:20. The confirmation or proof of the apostles’ inspiration and miraculous power was their very ability to confer or impart miraculous gifts to believers through the laying on of their hands, (Acts 6:5,6; 8:17,18; 19:6; II Tim. 1:6). It is important, however, that one take into consideration the time frame of what is taught in Mk. 16:17-18.”
are you suggesting that I cannot perform signs and wonders because the guys that Jesus were specifically talking to didn’t lay hands on me? and why would this be in the Bible if it doesn’t apply to me, but only to the Apostles? and if it doesn’t apply to me, how are you supposed to know what applies to me and what doesn’t apply to me? what if NONE of it applied to me? then why would I read the Bible at all???
My Bible says that God is the same yesterday today and forever.
My Bible says that God IS the Healer… if He IS the Healer, why wouldn’t He DO what He’s supposed to do?
My Bible says One generation will commend Your works to another. Meaning that God’s anointing gets passed down generation to generation.
and I KNOW that if I were satan, i would do EVERYTHING in my power to take God’s power out of church. And I hate to give credit to him, but satan’s done a good job of trying to convince the church that God doesn’t do miracles anymore.
Date: 21 Jan 2007
from what i’ve seen, heard, and experienced myself.. you can not convince me that God doesn’t work miraculously today. thats rediculous.
i wouldn’t want to be a “faithless generation”
Date: 13 Feb 2007
William Bell is one of the best Bible teachers ever. This article is concise and thorough, as well as very easy to follow. If one has an open mind for God and truth as found in scripture, this article has to be one of the best ever written on the subject.
My prayer is that all of Bell’s writings are read and studied by seekers of truth throughout the world.
We have been blessed to have William Bell’s writings available to us for greater understanding.
Dave Hester, Detroit, Mi
Date: 03 May 2007
Mr. Bell, this was an article that is plainly seen to be truth from the scriptures. I believe that one of the reasons why some people don’t want to accept the fact that man no longer has the gift of miracles is because they believe that they “see” man doing miracles in front of them today (usually in a “church building” or in a “healing service/conference”). God is the One, and the only One, who according to His Providence, Sovereignty, and Counsel, does miracles like the ones written in the above comments. It is very clear that you never said that miracles done by the hand of God do not exist today, but that no man has the gift of miracles since 70 A.D. Again, not as your opinion, but based on scriptures from the Word of God. Certainly miracles happen everyday. The elect of God are born again, babies are conceived, are formed in the womb, and are born, and people who have been terminally diagnosed with an illness are miraculously cured after doctors have said that there is no hope a glory because this gift has ceased.
ate: 27 Jul 2007
Dear Brother in Christ,
. .Having read the bulk of your essay, I wish to highlight your principle concluding statement:
. . .”In conclusion, it has been the purpose of this writing to allow the Bible to speak on the cessation of miraculous gifts. God has given definite scriptural boundaries for the end of miracles. They may not coincide with commonly held views. Nevertheless, the harmony and consistency of all the above passages undeniably point in one direction – past history, to one time – the end of the Jewish age and coming of Christ in A.D. 70.”
. .The final statement is crucial, but, as so many others who are constrained by their theology, you assume that “the harmony and consistency of all the above passages …” is your “correct” interpretation of them. That, invariably, is a handy and conclusive way of stifling debate. Unfortunately, it also nullifies anything else which might be of value otherwise to those in the Christian Community who not only differ with your Post-Millenial Weltanschauung but cringe at your ignorance of demon-possession in our day and age.
. .Finally, I should be obliged for any references among the Early Church Fathers conjoining the events of 70 AD with the Parousia. The latter event could hardly have gone unnoticed, could it? And how do you explain away the fact that average, ordinary Christians were running around loose, laying on hands and anointing with oil, hence, healing the sick and casting out demons until the 8th Century when the Church confined such activities to the province of ordained priests?
. .Ignorance of the facts is one matter; refusing to believe them is spiritual stupidity. Your disposition of what God is doing today with the pejorative “The traditional and popular viewpoint theorizes the second coming as yet future and thereby encourages neo-Pentecostal dogmatism and charismatic fanaticism,” is another indication of how blindly compelled you are by your theology. What is perhaps infinitely worse is that you do to the Holy Spirit precisely that which did the Pharisees in accounting His works to Beelzebub. Congratulations!
. .My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, should you wish to discuss this further.
Date: 22 Sep 2007
Although, I don’t fully agree with the author, I must make a point in his favor. I don’t believe that the point being made is that God has ceased to work miracles, including healing and tongues. Rather, He has ceased doing that in the form of Spiritual Gifts through the Church in order to signify or validate the testimony of the apostles. I understand the Scriptural version of a Spiritual Gift possessed by a member of the church that they were able to perform it frequently, not isolated, such as a miraculous healing today in answer to prayer.
I know of cases where people have been healed and even raised from the dead (missionary experience) in answer to prayer. I also know of brothers in Christ who I believe have spoken in tongues in private to God as Paul described in 1 Corinthians. But I know of no Christians today who can go anywhere and speak the Gospel to anyone in any language at will. Nor do I know of any who can go around healing and performing miracles when they preach the gospel.
Date: 13 Oct 2007
Very good exposition on this. I believe that 2 Corinthians 3 is the proof text on this in that 1 Corinthians 13:12 is a parallel passage of 2 Corinthians 3:18 and James 1:23. All are referring to the Word of God. More specifically, 2 Corinthians 3:7,11,14,16 describes how that which was “in part” was the Old Testament which was glorious, but succeeded or “done away” by that which was “perfect” or the New Testament. Considering that First and Second Corinthians were written between 56 AD and 60 AD respectively, “that which is perfect”, or the written New Testament, was not completed yet. Likewise, that which is perfect in the Greek neuter would refer to a “thing” or an object, i.e. the New Testament. I might differ slightly on the dates of this, putting the end of these gifts no later than 96 AD when John completed Revelation. In either case, numerous Apostolic Fathers were quoted in the 2nd and 3rd centuries as referring to these gifts no longer being practiced.
Finally, when considering the recent “historical” record of the reemergence of these “gifts”, I suspect that many who practice these today, without them being of the Holy Spririt will fulfill what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:21-23. God Speed, Dr Michael Williams
Date: 31 Mar 2009
Then why do equivalent miracles still happen?
Date: 04 Apr 2010
I do not know why people still have problems in beleving what they read in the bible. My mother put it best. She was raised Southern Babtist. It took here two years to convert to the teachings of the Church of Christ. She said there had to be more. It just seemed to simple. For those of you who do not know these people, they are non denominational church, who study the old christians, in the new testament, and trie to live as close as posiable from there example. The bible is not complicated. If it is writen it is true. The bible says, One Church, One Babtism, One Spirit. Come on people, open your eyes and see the truth. The words above are true. That dosen’t mean God dosn’t do mircles himself. But he says we as his teachers, preachers,ect. we do not need the gifts of miricles by our hands to teach and validate his word. He gives us free will to choose to take it and live by it, or live in sin. His word is perfect. He tells us this. In my opinion any man who claims in todays world to preform miricles in his name, is only drawing attention to himself and is self centered and like the attention. They take the poor peoples money. Most all of these so called evangilist that I have seen today are nothing but men who think they are better than other people. They get POOR unsupecting people to send them money for there evangilisim. Meanwhile those people that send them money each week, and lay there hands on there
TV’S hoping for some small miricle for themselfs or family members, while they go without meals, and daily nesesitys, while these evangilist fly around in there fancy, private jets, have there collectors edition Harley Davisions, stored in a climet controled enviromet, storage areas, and live like kings. I say shame on them. The bible tells me the rich man raised his eyes up in HELL. If it is writen then it is true. Please people, stop following blindly and listing to MEN.
Make sure your preacher, speaks from the Bible and is telling the truth. This writing above is nothing but the TRUTH. Are we that ingnurant to just walk thru this life, and just say IT DOEST MATTER WHAT WE DO, GOD IS IN CONTROL. I’m more intelegent than that. If your sick, do you not go to the doctor, or do you just pray, and wait for a miricle. I don’t. I beleive God Made us in his own image, and gives us gifts such as doctors, new medical break thru’s everyday. You are stupied if you beleive otherwise. We are saved by Gods Grace. That comes in many ways each day, and yes sometimes it may be a miricle, and sometimes it is the flu shot, and sometimes it is the rain a farmer needs for his crops, so he can provide for his family.
People, do as this man has done and stop following MEN BLINDLY, and study for the Truth. Thanks Mr. Bell for trying to get people to study. Some people just need to use there coman sense and there Brain. These are both gifts from God. Maybe if there are more articles written like this, more people will see the real truth in the bible, and stop all this comercializing, Christian beleifs and get back to the real bible. Thank you Dewey
Date: 07 Jun 2010
YOU HAVE TO BE JOKING! ARE YOU WORKING FOR GEORGE SOROS OR THE VENETIAN ILLUMINATI. THE BLACK JESUITS. REALLY?
Date: 05 Sep 2011
Folks if miracles did cease then no one can be saved today. Salvation is the greatest miracle of all, how can you be born again and have a changed heart unless Jesus does it.
Date: 05 Feb 2013
i believe that the signs and wonders were to isreal and when isreal was dismissed as a nation (till the fullness of the gentiles is come in )the signs and wonders stopped.we are living in an age of fullness in christ.the signs and wonders we see today are counterfiet and are mainly performed by money charletons.
Date: 05 Sep 2011
Folks if miracles did cease then no one can be saved today. Salvation is the greatest miracle of all, how can you be born again and have a changed heart unless Jesus does it.
Date: 15 Nov 2010
I pray the grace of God in our LORD Jesus forgive people for the way they speak to one another in the comment section. Father, I praise You that you have fulfilled all things, just as You said you would. Seeing Your signature in the ceasing of gifts after the forty years of testing – both after Egypt and in 70AD – is a wonderful testimony of the truth of Your word. Thank you for making it easy to see how you follow your patterns as set forth in Your word. Destroy the idols of man. Do not let us be deceived. Give wisdom. Amen.