By: Zach Collins
This is the second part of a two-part article, the previous being written by Griffin Collins, which examines a recent event that occurred in an adjacent community that was called, “Festival of Miracles.” I appreciate Griffin’s thoughts on the matter, and I would like to build upon those thoughts by channeling another scriptural approach. The intent of this article is to scripturally explore a false notion perpetuated by Ankit Rambabu and the fundamental belief at the heart of this “festival”, that miracles still exist today, and common men can perform those miracles. The name “festival of miracles” implies that “miracles” would be occurring and, by implication, these “miracles” would be coming through the hands of modern-day “miracle workers.” Unfortunately, this is a common belief amongst many today. However, is this belief supported through scriptural truth and, thus, by a scriptural foundation? Many have been quick to condemn this false teacher but will not refute his teaching that miracles still exist today. Let’s look to the Bible for example and biblical precedence to see what God says about miracles, today.
Much like the word “love”, the word “miracle” is commonly misused in our culture. We attribute this word to anything that occurs that we cannot quantify or explain. Many false teachers prey upon this common misusage. Those who teach that miracles exist today and, further, that they can “perform” miracles rely upon three factors.
1. First, emotions and indirect evidence. They put a person in an emotional state and then, through indirect or unseen evidence, convince the person that a miracle has occurred in their life. If you are ignorant of biblical miracles, they can easily prey on you.
2. Second, a standard. However, this standard is not based upon the Creator, but rather the creature. In other words, what I feel is greater than what God has said. They set a standard based on emotion and worship the god of self. God supersedes man.
3. Third, personal benefit. Often, there is a two-fold benefit for these modern-day “miracle workers.” Not only does the person who believes they have been “healed” believe they have benefited, this person will be apt to contribute to the benefit of the “healer.”
Many of our problems surrounding this subject come from a lack of knowledge regarding the Biblical definition and example of miracles in the Bible. Many believe that a miracle is, simply, an unusual event. This is scripturally unsupported. A miracle is not a natural event, nor is a miracle an awe-inspiring natural event. A miracle, by biblical definition, is an event outside of natural laws that is caused by divine influence. It is a sudden disruption of natural events through supernatural means. A miracle is characterized by the word supernatural, not the word natural.
The Bible is full of miracles. In fact, for a moment, let us notice a consistency among two biblical miracles, in holy writ, that will help us understand the purpose of miracles today.
1. Miracle #1, the healing of the Blind Man (John 9:1-41). Jesus heals a man that was blind since birth. This was a miracle, as it defied natural law. In this instance, we understand that it was not a normal occurrence (v. 32), it brought about immediate results (v. 7), and there was no need for a recovery time.
2. Miracle #2, the healing of the man with a withered hand (Matthew 12:9-14). Jesus healed and restored a man’s withered hand to normalcy. This was a miracle, as it defied natural law. In this instance, we see that this was not a normal occurrence (v. 13), it brought about immediate results (v. 13), and there was no need for recovery time.
Today, many attach the label of “miracle” to normal occurrences, which take prolonged results and much recovery time. Biblical miracles were supernatural, immediate events brought about by a divine force, that being Jesus or the Apostles (John 20:30-31; Hebrews 2:1-4). Let us ask some simple, attainable, questions to understand how we know miracles, their need, and their purpose have ceased today.
1. How do we know miracles have ceased today? First, miracles were recorded through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit today to cause belief within our hearts (John 20:30-31). The greater purpose of miracles in the Bible was not to entertain, but to explain that what Jesus and the apostles taught was from God. These signs and miracles that followed the apostles worked with them to confirm the word through these signs (Mark 16:20). If the Bible has already been confirmed, we do not need for it to be reconfirmed today.
2. How do we know that the need for miracles has ceased? Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles to teach and remind them of the things they needed to teach and record (John 14:26; John 16:12-13). Once these teachings were written down through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), we do not need these miraculous reminders today (Jude 3). The perfect inspired word of God came, and, therefore, miracles ceased as foretold by Paul (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; James 1:25).
3. How do we know that the ability to give miraculous gifts has passed away? Miracles, in the New Testament, were passed onto some believers through the apostle’s hands, not ordinary men (Acts 8:14-19). Only the apostles could pass this gift. So, logic dictates if none of the apostles are living today, the miraculous ability has ceased.
Those who claim the existence of miracles or miraculous abilities today fail to demonstrate a couple of things. First, the miracles they claim to perform do not resemble the miracles in the New Testament of Jesus or the Apostles. Jesus performed miracles of a visible and obvious nature, while these charlatans perform miracles of an invisible nature that are not obvious to the healed or the audience. Secondly, miracles in the New Testament caused belief, it did not require belief. It is common for modern-day “miracle workers” to say, “You were not healed because you do not have enough belief…” If modern-day “miracle workers” require belief as a pre-requisite to the miracle, this is in direct contradiction to the purpose of miracles in the New Testament, to invoke or cause belief (John 20:30-31).
What occurred this past week in an adjacent community was not a “festival of miracles”, as it was so mistakingly named but rather a “festival of conspirators”, conspirators who sought to pervert the gospel of Jesus, perpetuate false doctrine, and prey upon those who are emotionally and spiritually vulnerable. We must always be aware of false prophets, for they seek to distort the truth and draw away disciples after them (Acts 20:30).