Supernatural Sign Gifts
One of the unique characteristics of true (Bible) Christianity is the dispensing of spiritual gifts from the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit to the members of a New Testament church for the functioning of that particular body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:7,8–“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the GIFT OF CHRIST. Wherefore he saith, When HE ascended up on high, HE led captivity captive, and GAVE GIFTS unto men.”
I Corinthians 12:4,11–“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same SPIRIT. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame SPIRIT, dividing to every man severally as HE will.”
Romans 12:4-6–“For as we have many MEMBERS in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one MEMBERS one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us…let us…”
I Peter 4:10–“As every man hath received the gift, even so MINISTER the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
According to Mark 16:17,18 some of the spiritual gifts were “sign” gifts.
“And these SIGNS shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
This study is concerned with such gifts.
THE PURPOSE OF SIGN GIFTS:
The Bible teaches that signs were given for the purpose of accreditation.
Mark 16:20–“And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”
Hebrews 2:4–“God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”
They either accredited God’s man:
Exodus 4:1-10–“And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice,…”
John 20:30–“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:”
Acts 2:22–“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:”
II Corinthians 12:12–“Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”
or God’s message:
Mark 16:20–“And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”
Acts 4:29,30–“And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.”
THE PROVISION OF SIGN GIFTS:
One of the characteristics of the Jewish heart is the need for a sign — I Corinthians 1:22.
“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:”
See also: Exodus 4:30,31; 31:13; Numbers 14:11; Judges 6:17; I Samuel 10:7-9; Isaiah 7:11,14; Ezekiel 4:3; Matthew 12:38,39; 24:3,30; Mark 8:11,12; and Luke 2:12,34. These references demonstrate the importance of signs to the Jews.
THE PROFILE OF SIGN GIFTS:
Mark 16:17,18 catalogs FOUR sign gifts:
* casting out devils
* speaking in tongues
* taking up deadly serpents (miracles)
In actual fact, the Lord’s prophecy in this passage has already been fulfilled, because every one of these sign gifts can be found in the Book of Acts. For example:
Acts 16:18–“And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” [CASTING OUT DEVILS]
Acts 2:4–“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other TONGUES, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” [SPEAKING IN TONGUES]
Acts 28:3-5–“And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a VIPER out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt NO HARM.” [DEADLY SERPENTS]
Acts 3:6-8–“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” [HEALING]
Therefore there is absolutely no Biblical warrant for seeking any further fulfillment of this passage.
Furthermore, if one does claim to have the `gift of tongues’ (for example) based on this passage in Mark 16, he cannot be selective! A modern-day tongue speaker would also be able to heal, handle snakes, and drink poisonous cocktails!
THE PASSING OF SIGN GIFTS:
According to I Corinthians 13:8, “tongues shall cease.”
Since the gift of tongues is one of the sign gifts, we may deduce that all the sign gifts were temporary. Consider the following as evidence that this is indeed the case:
1. As noted above, signs were specifically directed to the Jews.
2. The sign of tongues was to be a specific warning of imminent judgment upon Israel at various times in their history. Note the following:
Deuteronomy 28:49,64–“The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose TONGUE thou shalt not understand; And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.”
Isaiah 28:11–“For with stammering lips and another TONGUE will he speak to this people.” Isaiah 33:19–“Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering TONGUE, that thou canst not understand.”
Jeremiah 5:15–“Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.”
I Corinthians 14:21,22–“In the law it is written, With men of other TONGUES and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore TONGUES are for a SIGN, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:…”
3. In 70 A.D. this judgment came. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and the nation dispersed. There is no Biblical record of any sign manifested after this date — when the sign was fulfilled, the sign ceased.
4. Sign gifts ceased “when that which is perfect is come” — I Corinthians 13:8-10. This refers to the completed (written) Word of God. As the Books of the New Testament were written and circulated, the need for accreditation diminished accordingly. Today, we do not need signs to give authority to what is preached — we have the written WORD OF GOD, our only and final authority!!
The question of final authority lies at the heart of the `Charismatic Controversy’ — do we believe our feelings, our experiences, what others say they have received…or The BOOK??
5. The common interpretation of “when that which is perfect is come” is that it refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ — meaning that prophecies, tongues, and knowledge would cease only at the point when Christ returns. However, according to Joel 2:28-31, the exact opposite is the case: the return of Christ will in fact be accompanied by signs, wonders, dreams, and prophecies!!
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.”
The prophecy of Zechariah 14:1-4 pinpoints the coming Day of the LORD as coincidental with the second coming of Jesus Christ in glory.
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives…”
6. II Peter 1:19-21 teaches that the gift of prophecy (foretelling) was replaced by the written Word of God — a more sure word!
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
The context of this passage makes it all the more remarkable. In verses 16-18, Peter was hearkening back to the transfiguration of Christ–without doubt the greatest vision (Matthew 17:9) any man could experience this side of glory! Yet the apostle declares we have a more sure word, the Bible!
7. I John 2:20,21 emphasizes that the gift of knowledge has been replaced by the written Word of Truth.
“But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know ALL things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.”
THE PLACE OF THE SIGN GIFTS:
For all the emphasis given nowadays to speaking in tongues, it is surprising to note that there are only three recorded instances of the gift being used in the New Testament.
There is also one instance where the gift was abused — I Corinthians was written to correct the abuse of this gift, among other things.
The following references show the true measure of the importance of the gift.
I Corinthians 12:30–“Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” [Rhetorical, answer: NO!]
I Corinthians 13:1–“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”
I Corinthians 14:2-6–“For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue [foreign language] speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but RATHER that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?”
I Corinthians 14:18,19–“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.”
By the way, Paul understood at least three languages: Greek (since he wrote his epistles in it); Hebrew (Acts 21:40; 22:2), and Lycaonian (Acts 14:11,14).
THE PERIL WITH SIGN GIFTS:
There is an extreme danger in seeking after the sign gifts today. This is because Satan is also able to produce signs and wonders. He can duplicate and imitate the miracles of God:
Exodus 7:10-12–“And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.”
Exodus 7:22–“And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments:…”
Exodus 8:7–“And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.”
Mark 13:21-23–“And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For FALSE Christs and FALSE prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.”
II Corinthians 11:13-15–“For such are FALSE apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
II Thessalonians 2:9–“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and SIGNS and lying wonders,”
Revelation 13:13,14–“And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”
Satan is well able to provide any experience outside of the Word of God a Christian may seek.
— THE GIFT OF TONGUES —
The Charismatic movement, with its hallmark emphasis on “speaking in tongues” is one of the great religious phenomena of the 20th Century. Many Christians are confused or uncertain about the issue — often basing their beliefs on what they see, (or feel!) rather than on what the Bible says.
There are three things to take note of if we are to understand what the Bible really says about speaking in tongues:
THE BIBLICAL RECORD OF TONGUES:
Acts chapter 2 records the first instance of men speaking with other tongues. In the science of Biblical interpretation (hermeneutics), the “Law of First Mention” states that “the first mention of any given subject gives the key to its subsequent meaning.”
Applying this rule, we can immediately see that true Biblical “tongues” are known languages and dialects — not unintelligible gibberish! Acts 2:8-11 lists 16 known languages and dialects.
“And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Jud”a, aa, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”
1. This fits the standard Biblical usage of the word “tongue:”
Genesis 10:5,20–“By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his TONGUE, after their families, in their nations. These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their TONGUES, in their countries, and in their nations.”
Deuteronomy 28:49–“The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose TONGUE thou shalt not understand;” [The original “unknown tongue!”]
Ezra 4:7–“And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian TONGUE, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.”
Acts 21:40–“And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew TONGUE, saying,”
Acts 22:2–“(And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew TONGUE to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)”
Revelation 5:9–“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and TONGUE, and people, and nation;”
Revelation 7:9–“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and TONGUES, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”
Revelation 13:7–“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and TONGUES, and nations.”
2. The term “unknown tongue” in I Corinthians 14 refers to a language unknown to the hearer. This is made clear by I Corinthians 14:9-11:
“So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.”
In this case only God and the speaker would understand what is being said — I Corinthians 14:2,4.
“For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”
3. The hyperbolic expression “tongues of angels” (I Corinthians 13:1) means the ability to speak perfectly. Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14) and as such do not have tongues. However, whenever they have appeared in human form they have always spoken in the language of the hearer and have been perfectly understood! — e.g.:
Daniel 9:22–“And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.”
Acts 12:7–“And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.”
The FIRST QUESTION which should be asked of a modern-day tongue speaker is: “In what language did you speak?”
THE BIBLICAL REASON FOR TONGUES:
As noted above, speaking with tongues is one of the “sign gifts” listed in Mark 16:17,18.
1. The gift of tongues enabled the apostles to speak the “wonderful WORKS of God” (Acts 2:11) — not the `wonderful WORDS of God.’ i.e. they had no place in giving any “extra-Biblical revelation.”
2. The Bible specifically states that tongues are a sign to unbelievers — I Corinthians 14:22.
“Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:…”
A study of the three recorded instances of tongues being manifested shows that Jews and an apostle were always present:
* In Acts 2:1-13, tongues were a sign to unbelieving (unregenerate) Jews — thereby authenticating the Gospel preached by the apostles.
* In Acts 10:44-48, tongues were a sign to unbelieving (saved) Jews — thereby authenticating that God’s salvation had been extended to Gentiles.
* In Acts 19:6, tongues were a sign to unbelieving (“thought-they-were-saved”) Jews — thereby authenticating that salvation was not through an ordinance, but through Christ.
The SECOND QUESTION which should be asked of a modern-day tongue speaker is: “To which group of Jews did you speak?”
THE BIBLICAL RULES FOR TONGUES:
There are strict rules laid down in the Bible concerning anyone speaking in a foreign language in a church meeting. Even if the gift of tongues were for today (which it is not!), these same rules would apply.
1. Only three such persons are to speak — I Corinthians 14:27.
“If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three…”
2. Such persons are to speak in turn — I Corinthians 14:27.
“…and that by course;…”
A meeting where everyone is speaking in `tongues’ all at the same time is both unscriptural and confusion!!
3. One person must interpret — I Corinthians 14:27.
“…and let one interpret.”
4. If no interpreter is present, there is to be NO speaking in foreign languages — I Corinthians 14:28.
“But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.”
Why? See: verses 2,4,6,8,14,16-19,23.
5. Speaking in a foreign language is to be controlled — I Corinthians 14:32.
“And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”
6. Women are forbidden to speak in tongues –I Corinthians 14:34.
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak;…”
— THE GIFT OF HEALING —
The so-called `gift of healing’ is another trademark of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. The Book of Acts records four specific miracles of healing plus three general statements that healing occurred. In considering the account of the healing of the lame man in Acts 3, note the following:
1. Peter and John did not claim any special power or ability. They gave all the glory to God.
Acts 3:12–“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?”
2. The apostles healed the man where he was. They never held healing meetings!
3. The afflicted man did not seek to be healed. He wanted money!
4. The healing was complete. There were no relapses with any apostolic healings.
5. The miracle was a minor thing, Gospel preaching was the major focus of the apostolic endeavor. Nine verses give the account of the healing–16 verses summarize Peter’s preaching, through which about 5,000 men were SAVED!! (Acts 4:4)
6. The apostles did not require faith — healing requires power, not faith.
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT DIVINE HEALING:
The Word of God teaches divine healing, but opposes the practices of so-called divine healers! God is omnipotent and His power extends to His ability to heal the physical body. He can heal anyone at any time in any way He wills. Nevertheless, the evidence of Scripture confounds the charlatans of Christendom who generally operate by any or all of the following methods:
* selective sicknesses — psychosomatic illness, no broken bones please!
* sideshow stooges — people who are miraculously healed at every town!
* surging sensationalism — emotional pulsating music, rhythmic repetition, climactic clowning
The issue is not, “Can God heal?” but rather, “Is the gift of healing operational today?” Consider the following:
THE HEALING MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST:
See, for example: Matthew 4:23,24
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing ALL manner of sickness and ALL manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”
The Gospels record 18 specific miracles of healing by the Lord Jesus Christ. A careful study of these reveals the following facts:
1. Christ healed people where He found them — no special healing meetings were ever conducted.
2. Christ healed ALL manner of sickness — no screening process was employed to eliminate the hard cases.
3. Christ’s healings were complete — no failures, relapses, no convalescence.
4. Christ’s healings were free of charge — no offerings, no books, no handkerchiefs, no gimmicks.
5. Christ generally healed without touching — no theatrics.
6. Christ never prayed before He healed someone.
7. Christ discouraged testimonies — Mark 7:36.
Mark 7:36–“And he charged them that they should tell no man:…”
8. Christ’s healing ministry was related to Israel.
9. Those He healed were generally either unsaved, or were saved at the same moment.
HEALING IS ONE OF THE “SIGN GIFTS:”
Healing is listed with tongues in Mark 16:17,18. As seen previously, the sign gifts were given to confirm or authenticate the message and the messenger of God.
Because healing is a sign gift, it was transitory and therefore not available for today.
Like the miracle manna, which ceased when Israel entered Canaan, the gift of healing was done away with when the written Word of God (New Testament) was completed.
CONTINUING PHYSICAL HEALING IS NOT PROVIDED FOR IN THE ATONEMENT:
Matthew 8:16,17 is stated to be the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 53:5.
Isaiah 53:5–“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Matthew 8:16,17–“When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:” That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”
The healing we receive today is soul-healing — salvation by grace through faith in Christ!
I Peter 2:24–“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
DOES GOD HEAL PHYSICALLY TODAY?
God not only can, but most certainly does deal the physical bodies of people today. Clearly, however, the criterion is, “If it be Thy will.”
1. Many Great Christians Were NOT Healed. It is not always God’s will to heal.
PAUL — II Corinthians 12:8,9.
“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
EPAPHRODITUS — Philippians 2:25-30.
Philippians 2:25-30–“Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been SICK. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.”
TIMOTHY — I Timothy 5:23.
“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”
TROPHIMUS — II Timothy 4:20.
“Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum SICK.”
2. Clear Instructions Are Given For Whenever Church Members Fall Sick. See: James 5:13-15.
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders [pastors] of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”
The “prayer of faith” is not wishful thinking or dramatic pronouncements of healing — “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the WORD OF GOD!” (Romans 10:17) And the Word of God says not all will be healed!
ALL TRUE HEALING IS DIVINE HEALING:
The natural processes of our bodies were created by God. Even the healing of a cut is marvelous!
SATAN IS ALSO ABLE TO WORK MIRACLES:
This fact was also covered previously. Note that Satan works through men:
Acts 8:9-11–“But there was a certain MAN, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, THIS MAN IS THE GREAT POWER OF GOD. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.”
Matthew 24:4,5–“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no MAN deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall DECEIVE many.”
Romans 16:17,18–“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own BELLY; and by good words and fair speeches DECEIVE the hearts of the simple.”
Revelation 13:14–“And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those MIRACLES which he had power to do in the sight of the beast;…”
— THE GIFT OF PROPHECY —
Although not listed with the sign gifts in Mark 16, certain elements of the gift of prophecy were temporary. Prophecy must be understood as being two-fold in its Biblical concept — foretelling and forthtelling.
The foretelling aspect of prophecy has “failed” [ended]– I Corinthians 13:8.
“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”
The gift of [predictive] prophecy ceased when “that which is perfect is come” — i.e. the written Word of God.
Today, any exercise of the spiritual gift of prophecy is limited to the motivation to proclaim the Word of God, to speak out against sin and error. It is a God-given ability to be persuasive in preaching the Word of God, to be able to use the Word of God to bring to light things concealed, to be able to bring a man’s conscience into the Light of God’s presence.
The only source of prophecy for worthy consideration is the Word of God, the Bible. See: II Peter 1:19-21.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the SCRIPTURE is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
THE EXERCISE OF THE GIFT OF PROPHECY IS LIMITED TO PREACHING THE WORD OF GOD:
The gift of prophecy is listed with the present-day permanent spiritual gifts — Romans 12:6-8.
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether PROPHECY, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or MINISTRY, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on TEACHING; Or he that exhorteth, on EXHORTATION: he that GIVETH, let him do it with simplicity; he that RULETH, with diligence; he that showeth MERCY, with cheerfulness.”
A study of the use of this gift of prophecy in the New Testament shows it to be:
1. Bible Preaching.
It is the ministry of proclaiming the Word of God — forthtelling!
“…according to the proportion of FAITH;”–Romans 12:6c.
Romans 10:17–“So then FAITH cometh by hearing, and hearing by the WORD OF GOD.”
The Book of Acts uses the expression `preaching and teaching’ interchangeably with “prophets and teachers,” thereby demonstrating that the prophet is a preacher. Compare:
Acts 13:1–“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain PROPHETS and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.”
Acts 15:35–“Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and PREACHING the word of the Lord, with many others also.”
2. Preaching Directed To The Church — I Corinthians 14:4b,5,22b.
“…he that prophesieth edifieth the CHURCH. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the CHURCH may receive edifying. “…but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.”
3. Preaching With Specific Goals.
Acts 15:32–“And Judas and Silas, being PROPHETS also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words…”
I Corinthians 14:3–“But he that PROPHESIETH speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”
Acts 15:32–“And Judas and Silas, being PROPHETS also themselves…confirmed them.”
I Corinthians 14:31–“For ye may all PROPHESY one by one, that all may learn…”
I Corinthians 14:3–“But he that PROPHESIETH speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”
I Corinthians 14:3–“But he that PROPHESIETH speaketh unto men to…comfort.”
I Corinthians 14:31–“For ye may all PROPHESY one by one, that all may…be comforted.”
THE OFFICE OF PREDICTIVE PROPHET HAS CEASED:
There were prophets in the early days of Christianity who foretold events–Acts 11:27,28.
“And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.”
The writers of the New Testament books were all prophets.
Romans 16:25,26–“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the SCRIPTURES OF THE PROPHETS, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:”
The writings of the apostles and prophets (the New Testament) is the foundation for the Lord’s churches:
Ephesians 2:20–“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”
Like Paul, the apostles and prophets received “…the revelation of the mystery…” directly from the Lord.
Galatians 1:11,12–“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
However, since the canon of Scripture has closed, no new revelation of God or from God can be expected or received.
I Corinthians 13:8-10–“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall FAIL; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be DONE AWAY.”
As noted previously, “that which is perfect” refers to the completed revelation and recording of Scripture. Note the warning of Revelation 22:18–the final Book God wrote.
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:”
(David W. Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368, firstname.lastname@example.org) — The following is chapter four of The Charismatic Phenomenon, Peter Masters and John C. Whitcomb, copyright 1982, used by permission. )