• Language:

  • Language:

  • Articles

    Categories

  • LaNuovaRiforma

    Welcome to our website. Peace and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be your abundance and God bless you greatly. We wish to introduce.

    Read More
  • Signs Wonders Healing And Miracles For Who And By Who?

    Acts 2:41-44Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.43Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

    Question, out of the about three thousand saved, signs and wonders were done through who?

    Answer, the Apostles!

    Nowhere does it mention any other person doing signs and wonders. Interesting, let’s return then to the real Apostles.

    The exception to the twelve was Paul, who was chosen and instructed by the risen and ascended Christ in Arabia for 3 years GALATIANS 1:11-13.

    When he returned he had received all the same doctrine as the Twelve JOHN 14:26;JOHN 16:13.

    The real Apostle of Christ had to be in perfect accord with the doctrine of the twelve and had to have received it by Jesus Himself. In other words, he was commissioned to speak the very words of Christ 1 THESSALONIANS 2:1 3.

    When they spoke and operated their words were immediately followed by signs and wonders. The Apostles exercised a position of authority necessary to communicate the word of God as if indeed it were God Himself.

    This was because the doctrine to be revealed to the church by God was not yet complete and written so that the very words of the Apostles were authoritative and infallible because they were inspired by God.

    Just as God had communicated His word and revelation to Moses and Aaron, Elijah and Elisha, Jesus, now God was doing the same through the Apostles.

    I cannot stop repeating this, at cost of sounding repetitive. Sometimes, it is extremely important to repeat things, this is one of those times.

    The book of Acts is describing a transitional period of spiritual authority which was being transferred to the church, since Jesus had left the earth physically and sent His Holy Spirit to continue His works of foundation. The book of Acts describes the acts of who? The Apostles right? Mainly, it describes the work of two main protagonists, Paul and Peter. Peter the Apostle to the circumcised, Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles, GALATIANS 2: 7-9.

    For example the special authority, for the laying on of hands for certain tasks and situations and to confirm the Holy Spirit in only two episodes, was only given to the twelve and to Paul, perhaps a few more, but it was not a thing all believers did, independent of their spiritual position. The Bible does not ever show us of just any believers laying hands on any one especially to receive the Holy Spirit.

    A question often is asked and for many answered by the erroneous interpretation of Biblical facts, Can ALL believers do the same works as the Apostles did ? The answer is NO!

    The Scripture proves that only the Apostles could operate these miracles.

    Many will say now “Wait a minute, doesn’t Mark 16:17-18 declare

    “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

    First of all, please note that these verses are not found in the earlier manuscripts of this Gospel. Therefore, the authenticity that Mark actually wrote these verses is highly doubted by most scholars and because of this, this passage should not be used to build upon it an entire doctrine that teaches that all believers could have these gifts.

    It is also obvious that in the number of those who this passage mentions have believed, would be included the two groups of Apostles of Christ to whom definitely these gifts were given.

    However, the answer to this question is found by examining the text and the book of Acts as a confirmation. In MARK 16:14 we see Jesus that speaks to whom? To the eleven in this case and commissions them to preach the Gospel and to baptize all who believe.

    So we see Jesus is, in fact, speaking and commissioning them before His ascension.

    After that, the Apostles went and preached the Gospel, the Lord would operate with them confirming His word through the signs that accompanied them. MARK 16:19-20

    There is no other biblical reference that any other believer could do the same signs and wonders the Apostles did.

    This is what the Scriptures confirm to us, that first they would preach the Gospel and the miracles would follow to confirm the new spiritual authority of the church in the same way, after all, that the signs and wonders confirmed the word and authority of Christ. In fact ,these signs accompanied the Apostles when they operated not any believer.

    There are only a few episodes where one of the signs mentioned in Mark 16 is practiced by other believers other than the Apostles, this is the speaking in foreign tongues. That is the only one all the other signs were performed exclusively by those with apostolic authority and not by any otherbeliever.

    If this is true, and it is, if the signs and wonders had to accompany all those who believed instead of just the Apostles, then how would anybody know to whom the spiritual authority was conferred?

    Who would the true Apostles and founders of the church be? There would have not have been any distinction of who had the spiritual authority in the church.

    The reason after all, as we did see, was that during the period of the Gospels these signs and wonders have been given only to a selected group of men and not to any disciple.

    Looking at the book of Acts who was the one bit by a snake who did not die, not even got sick? Paul, a true Apostle of Christ ACTS 28:3-6.

    When in ACTS 9:36-42 Tabitha died, the believers of the town did not try to pray and raise her from the dead, they sent for Peter, a true Apostle of Christ.

    This alone demonstrates that the promise of MARK 16:17 was not for any believer, it was a promise for the Apostles.

    The signs of Apostolic authority were fulfilled in all perseverance confirmed by signs, wonders by the Apostles.

    2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

    The signs of Apostolic authority were signs and wonders, these confirmed that their spiritual authority was from God, same that confirmed in the past the authority of Jesus, the prophets and Moses. So the word of God was confirmed with the word of God by signs and wonders in the days of Acts because the revelation of God was not yet completed in the laying down of the foundation and because signs and wonders confirmed to Israel that God was performing this work. MARK 16:20;ROMANS 15:19;1 CORINTHIANS 2:4-5;HEBREWS 2:4.

    The context of the Scripture is the key to the correct interpretation of the word. Taking out of context one can make the word say what they want. Taking things out of context inevitably brings to making doctrinal errors of gigantic proportions that create the confusion that reigns in certain churches today.

    In fact, the study of the word of God by His grace and by the Holy Spirit’s help has taken me to recognize many doctrinal errors in which I myself had fallen, convinced that the Bible taught these. Let’s remember however, that the Bible is interpreted by the Bible and the Spirit gives anointing and knowledge to have the ability to interpret it and apply it to our life.

    Oh, many will say sarcastically “you are a Bible scholar then, well, you know that knowledge puffs up with pride, when you lose yourself in the study of the word and try to rightly divide it”. They will call me a doctor of the law and accuse me to be a Pharisee.

    Am I? I am however in good company, because ALL the Apostolic doctrine teaches us to study, to learn, meditate God’s word, studying it and working hard as workers to be approved by God so we can learn to rightly divide the word of God without being ashamed.

    I think if we are honest with ourselves we can see that the Scriptures and the doctrines of the NT have the emphasis on the teaching and the study of the word of God and not so much to say upon the manifestation of signs and wonders and the spiritual gifts.

    There are only three chapters on that doctrine and they were written to straighten out the misuse of the spiritual gifts, and the emphasis in those three chapters is not on the manifestation of the gifts but of love 1 Corinthians 13 and prophecy, which prophecy, translates into the proper use and teaching of the word of God for the edification of the church 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. The emphasis is on the manifestation of the Spirit, on the fruit of the Spirit, not the gifts. The teaching of sound doctrine and the manifestation of love rather than the focus on the signs and wonders.

    Having said this, many use other Bible passages out of context to confirm erroneous and false doctrines. Let’s take one on this subject as an example ACTS 4:23-33.

    Let’s summarize the event: Peter and John (Apostles) are ordered by the Sanhedrin not to teach and preach the doctrine of Christ and the Gospel. After that they get back together with the other Apostles and together they prayed this:

    Acts 4:29-31 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

    In verse 33 the confirmation was that it was the Apostles who were filled with the Spirit and preached with boldness and And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

    It is clear from Scripture that in this passage we are not speaking of the church in general as many teach and believe today and that this Scripture can be applied to any believer. It is speaking specifically about the Apostles. In fact, let’s take any doubt out of it.

    In Acts 4:23 it states, “And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.”

    The word ‘companions’ was added by the translators, the verse should not have that word so it would read, “went to their own”. The word their own in Greek is idious it means of their own kind, of same affinity, this word defines that they went to those the same as they were, Apostles. Otherwise, why not say they went back to the church, brethren, disciples.

    All the signs and wonders were done by the Apostles, all we need to do is read through Acts and to be honest with our selves to understand and see that these miracles were exclusively part of their own ministry and office.

    After all, the book is called the book of the Acts of the Apostles, not of the church or of the believers, and not all are Apostles 1 CORINTHIANS 12:28-31.

    Signs and wonders belong to the Apostles. That was their trademark, it was not for all believers of the church. Scripture makes this fact more than evident.

    2 Corinthians 12:11-13 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

    Previously in this study we took a journey in the book of Acts to confirm that Scripture does not show the confirmation of the visible baptism with the Spirit or the filling of the Spirit through the speaking in tongues. Now we will take another journey in the book of Acts to confirm that the Scripture demonstrates that signs and wonders were not done by any believer but done exclusively by the hands of the Apostles of Christ.

    ACTS 2:43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the Apostles.

    ACTS 3:1-11 A paralyzed man is healed by Peter (Apostle)

    ACTS 5:15 Peter’s ( Apostle) shadow whom it would land on would heal

    ACTS 8:5-7 Philip (Apostle) preaches in Samaria and the word is confirmed by miracles and healing

    ACTS 9:36-42 Peter (Apostle) raises Tabitha from the dead

    ACTS 14:3 They ( Paul and Barnabas Apostles) stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

    ACTS 14:7-10 Paul and Barnabas (Apostles) preach the word and Paul heals a paralytic from birth

    ACTS 19:11-12 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,(Apostle) so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. (Notice the word unusual miracles)

    ACTS 20:6-12 Paul (Apostle) raises from the dead a young man

    ACTS 28:7-8 Paul (Apostle) heals Publius and all the sick on the island of Malta

    Has the word of God been clear enough for you in regard to this subject? So I ask you who was operating signs and wonders? Can all believers then have these gifts? I believe the word of God gave us the answer.

    Another erroneous doctrine taught by the false apostles and prophets is in regard to the gift of healing. By the laying on of their hands they want to heal believers in the church.

    If they were real Apostles they would know that the healing miracles were for the real Apostles only and that also this gift was for a sign as we have explained several times, a sign that confirmed the word being preached was from God and this sign given for Israel. God was confirming His work and authority through the real Apostles of Christ.

    The miracles and foreign languages were gifts that were given as signs for Israel. Let us remember why was the sign gift of foreign languages given by God?

    1 Corinthians 14:21-23 In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord. 22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

    Paul explained that foreign languages was a sign gift given for unbelieving Jews. He says this was confirmed in the law, a OT prophecy, remember? ISAIAH 28:11-12. The Lord is speaking to His people (Israel). Paul declares that for this God has given the sign gift of tongues. It’s for unbelieving Jews,this is the context of Isaiah and 1 Corinthians 14, we are talking about Jews.

    Like tongues, healing and miracles the real Apostles never operated them upon believers in the church except raising from the dead two believers.

    The miracles and healing were really not for the church. Scripture confirms this fact as well.

    The prescribed method to obtain healing from physical and spiritual illness is found in the book of James (Apostle of the second group).

    James 5:13-16 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

    James did not say if a person is sick to find the brother with the gift of healing. He did not instruct to call the Apostles to lay hands on the sick and by the gift of healing that operates in them the person would be healed. No, absolutely not. He simply stated very important things, however, that need to be examined together.

    He says to he person that is sick, Let him call for the elders of the church, not the Apostles, the ones who had the gift of healing.

    What are the elders to do? Manifest their gift of healing? No, they will pray over the sick person, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.

    The prayer of faith, not the faith of the sick person, but the faith of who prays, will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up, or heal him.

    This confirms all the more that it is the elders that govern the church, not the Apostles, because today the Apostles are not.

    So the method in the church, to receive healing, physical and spiritual, is not signs and wonders but the prayer of faith of the elders.

    This also confirms scripturally that the gift of healing was not for the church, and it was operative only by the Apostles of Christ.

    I firmly believe in healing by the power of God through the prayer of faith of the elders,and of the church.

    In fact, as it says ahead in this passage the prayer of the righteous avails much.

    It does not say the gift of healing avails much, that is a different thing from praying for a sickness that the Lord heals. Many times the Lord healed me and others around me without medical intervention, many times, and for this I thank God and praise Him.

    I do not, however, despise doctors and medicine as I am convinced that God allows that at times we find healing through medical means. I am also convinced, however, that no healing that is provided by medicine would be of any use or would even work if God would not permit it.

    We always have to pray and put our complete trust in the Lord, because at the end of the day it His will that is done. When we are healed it is He who heals us, always. We have to always give Him the glory, not to man. I believe that God does not despise medicine and doctors. I believe instead that He still wants to see in whom we really and truly put our trust. I am convinced that one day in spite of all the medicines, surgeries, medical tests, resuscitation it is ONLY BY GOD’S MERCY AND WILL that any person is ever healed, believer or not.

    There is no type of information that the Lord or the Apostles have ever rebuked Luke because he was a doctor, and I do not believe that Luke had to abandon his medical practice because he became a Christian. In fact ,there are biblical evidences that medical remedies are used in the life of believers. In the OT how was king Hezekiah healed? 2 KINGS 20:1-7. Through God’s will and medicinal means.

    What advice did Paul give Timothy for a remedy of his stomach problems and other infirmities. To do what, ask for a miracle? No, drink a little wine not just water.

    1 Timothy 5:23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.

    That was medical advice for the day. Many will claim that if you gave this kind of advice today you are not spiritual. Let me ask you, was Paul spiritual? I do not think there has ever been, apart from Jesus, another believer like Paul.

    I am not saying that one does not have to seek God for healing. I am sure that was not Paul’s idea either. All I am saying is that sometimes His remedies are not always supernatural. Please do not put words I did not say in my mouth.

    Let’s return to what the Scripture says in regard to sickness and healing and the gift of healing for the church.

    Philippians 2:25-27 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

    Why was Epraphroditus sick unto death when he was with Paul who could have healed him with his Apostolic gift of healing? Why did he not do it?

    God had mercy on him and he was healed, how? Most likely through prayer and not the result of the gift of healing. Now, some will say to justify the erroneous doctrine that the gift of healing is for the church and for today, that it is possible he was healed by the gift of healing even though Scripture does not say how.

    It does not say how he was healed, but the text gives us the idea that his sickness had a certain course and length,but we cannot assume anythingfrom what is not written.

    However, I do want to say that we must presume instead that the procedure used was in concert with Apostolic doctrine and that most likely it was the healing method mentioned in James 5, because it is Apostolic doctrine for the sick believer.

    However, in another occasion this is written:

    2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.

    Incredible! Paul left brother Trophimus at Miletus sick? Where is Paul’s love? The gift of healing then? Why had no one healed miraculously and instantly this brother? What conclusions can we draw from this passage? Was the brother or Paul lacking faith? I do not really believe so.

    You see the faith of the person who receives the healing is not so much the issue as the faith of he who prays and anoints with oil. The lack of faith on the part of the person receiving is always the excuse the false apostles and healers give when the miracle does not occur. This, however, is only an excuse to justify their powerlessness and errors. Faith was never placed as a requirement for healing performed by the Apostles and never for the church.

    In addition, it is the faith of who prays to God that heals the sick not so much he who receives the healing. No, the miracles by the Apostles were never based on faith except two incidents.

    The false apostles cannot perform them because they do not have the gift, they are not real apostles, they cannot have the gift.

    The dead believers they raised from the dead did not have to exhibit faith, right?

    Yes, I know you will tell me that Jesus almost always made faith an issue in healing. Perhaps, and this would confirm however what we are talking about,in other words, wen we go to God not man for healing we need to exhibit faith to be healed, however the healing of the Apostles was not based upon faith of the receiever.

    The Apostles had aspiritual gift that operated by the will of the Holy Spirit not by the faith of those who received the healing. Only in two episodes of Scripture in Acts faith is connected with the healing ACTS 3:16;ACTS 14:9.

    Even Paul implored God to remove what many think, as I do, to be a physical infirmity 2 CORINTHIANS 12:7-10. Paul did not look for another Apostle or “brother” with the gift of healing, he prayed to God three times, and the Lord healed him. No! The Lord did not free him from his infirmity but answered him

    2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

    It isuncertain to know exactly what Paul’s affliction was. Many think that Paul had a problem with his eyes, there is evidence in the Bible that points in that direction.

    Others say that they were persecutions and sufferings for the name of Christ, but I do not think so, because Paul seemed to count it a blessing to suffer for Christ.

    In fact, Paul, after the Lord’s answer to his prayer he begins mentioning the word infirmity as the first word he uses. This indicates that most likely he was talking about a physical infirmity.

    In fact, the word in Greek is astheneíais which means weakness of physical nature, especially disease, sickness or infirmities. It is the same word in verse 9 in God’s answer, the word weakness is astheneia singular of astheneíais.

    There is, however, another passage that really gives the impression that Paul did have a physical infirmity regarding his eyes and that he did not receive healing from, it was with him probably till the end if his life.

    Galatians 4:13-15 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. 14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15 What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.

    It seems his infirmity had something to do with his eyes, it was physical and he uses the same terminology he used in 2 CORINTHIANS 12:7-10 in regard to the thorn in his flesh that he asked God to remove.

    Healing is not always automatic and is not a given right for a child of God, in other words, it is not always guaranteed.

    God has His reasons, is He not sovereign? Does He have to do what we want, how we want? Who is God, us or Him? Does He not do all things for our good, do we trust Him? He is not obligated to do anything we think He is obligated to do. Let’s be careful. The pot does not say to the potter why have you made me this way. The Scriptures warn us:

    Isaiah 45:9-10 “Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands?’ 10 Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’ ”

    There are no doubts in the Scriptures, and therefore in my mind, that God even today heals and does miracles through His power and still many spiritual gifts are operative today; but we have to, however, retain a balance and objectivity with the Scriptures and the will of a Sovereign God.

    What the Bible teaches us is that the office of Apostle of Christ was a position to which were appointed a group of selected and unique men, selected by Jesus and who were witnesses of His resurrection, others chosen asApostles who also had seen the risen Christ. These gifts were not simply spiritual gifts given to all believers for all times.

    If these gifts, signs and wonders were operative today then why not take all these healers and miracle workers, prophets and apostles to preach and operate these miracles in the hospitals,which are full of sick people, spiritually and physically sick people, who need healing and salvation. Whilethey are there, stop by the morgue and raise some dead people.

    If they or you are able to repeat the signs, wonders and miracles of Acts, since you say it is possible, do it! Then if you can prove that this occurs, with medical confirmation without a doubt, since you would be in a hospital, then I will say that God still operates as He did through the real Apostles. Until then it remains a theory and something that does not function in practice. I will only believe that these are erroneous doctrines still being taught today, errors that gives false hope to people who when disillusioned because these miracles do not occur, walk away from God and give Him the blame for not doing the miracle. It seems to me a diabolical plan to discredit and give God and His church a bad reputation,

    2 Peter 2:2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.

    Personally I will trust the properly interpreted and taught written word more than anysigns and wonders.

    Many will continue to say that these things do not occur because there is lack of faith on the part of those who are to receive the miracle or on the part of the person that has to perform it. I told you that the word of God shows that faith or the lack thereof is not the key to the performance of the Apostles’ miracles. Scripture instead demonstrates that the Apostles, the prophets, the signs and wonders and healing found in the book of Acts are not for today’s church.

    The gift of powerful operations, for example, in other words the casting out of demons is it for the church? Is it for today? Is it for all? Can believers be possessed by demons? These are erroneous doctrines that today many errant teachers teach and amongst them many false apostles. Only the Apostles of Christ had the ability to cast out demons and even this was not for the church.

    Today the casting out of demons, or exorcism if you want to call it that, happens in the life of a person at salvation.

    I personally have witnessed the freeing of people from demon possession as a result of becoming born again.

    If the Holy Spirit lives inside the believer then NO DEMON CAN co-exist in the same place 2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-18.

    When the Holy Spirit comes to live inside a believer, demons flee at the presence of God without doubt. This has happened to me as well as the demon possessed man in Mark 5. After having received Christ I found myself in my right mind and set free.

    I was out of my mind. I recall the thoughts I had, the compulsions and actions. I was completely enslaved and bound by demonic activity. But glory be to God, He freed me completely. I did not need casting out of demons by men, Jesus did it. The Holy Spirit came and cast out demons from me. We indeed are living in a world filled with demon possessed people. The majority of unsaved people probably are in some way either possessed or greatly oppressed by demonic presence, not taking away the responsibility of their ownsins of course.

    The casting out of demons today is a powerful action of the Holy Spirit through the new birth. The specific gift of casting out demons was not for believers but to show the power of God through the Apostles and a sign for a wicked and perverse generation that sought for a sign, Israel, to prove their unbelief. Do you remember what Jesus said to the Jews in regard to this?

    Matthew 12:43-45 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

    Jesus is describing the result of the powerful miracles He did in their midst and that the Apostles themselves did after Him, and He says that the casting out of demons while rejecting Him, in other words without real conversion in Israel, would have produced a future even more enslaved to the power of demons.

    Only if God regenerates you and His Spirit comes to dwell in you then you can have the certainty to be set free from demons. In fact, Jesus tells Israel thatit would be sowith that wicked generation.

    And so it was with that wicked generation that rejected Messiah. God cast out demons from them but other spirits even more wicked returned and the state of that generation was worse than at first.

    It is then evident that all of these powerful works that were done by Jesus then by the Apostles were signs and wonders to confirm and demonstrate the unbelief of the Jews. I believe that the Spirit even today powerfully operates, He operates through regeneration and salvation through the Holy Spiritand the gifts He still gives as He wants.

    Apostolic gifts and signs were for Israel and are not gifts given to believers today because there are no true Apostles and because God is no longer communicating with Israel, for now, not for the same reasons He did then.

    As we did see, God heals today through the prayer of faith, it is always the power of God. God sets free and it is always the power of God, only through His power and will operating through regeneration and salvation, through faith and not through the specific gifts of the Apostles.

    Nevertheless, it is still the power of God is it not? The gift of faith where do we put it then? That gift exists and it is given today, so healing is no problem, being set free is no problem, there is no problem with the power of God today.

    The problem is not that God does not exhibit His power. The problem is the same today that it was in Corinth then. We are the problem, those of us who are not satisfied to exercise the gifts the Holy Spirit still gives, how He wants, to whom He wants. It is the believers who are todayas Israel was then,demonstrating their unbelief by not being satisfied of how God demonstrates His power.

    It is that some want to have the attention of the powerful gifts to be upon the individual, that is to attempt to usurp God’s glory, His glory He gives to no man.

    The Corinthians were carnal not spiritual as they thought they were. Today, unfortunately, the great part of the Pentecostal/Charismatic church behaves exactly the way the church behaved in Corinth.

    If God truly appeared or if He really gave a true revelation or prophecy to them, to stop using that gibberish called the gift of tongues today, which are defined as the same gift of Acts 2 but are not as Scripture demonstrates, would He be obeyed? Would instead the church retain that revelation to be false because it is not conformed to their spirituality and doctrines of which many of them are convinced?

    I believe that Scripture demonstrates these gifts are not for today, no tongues, neither revelations, prophecies, nor Apostles, nor signs and wonders, but all this is not enough. When a human being becomes obstinate it is hard to move. Our, I say our pride, is a monster, especially spiritual pride. To admit to be wrong is a difficult thing to do, but it is the first step toward repentance and blessing to flow mightily in the church again.

    After all revelation from God exists in 1 Corinthians 14 but it is ignored and disobeyed. The word of God is disobeyed and still some can think God’s going to bless them. That is the epitome of spiritual pride and self deception.

    The real Apostles never, ever preached in their doctrines that tongues, signs, wonders and miracles were something the church had to seek after or even put into practice within the church.

    Instead they taught to seek sanctification, holiness, the fruit of the Spirit, being filled with the Spirit, in other words be conformed to the image of Christ’s character, the emphasis was never placed upon tongues, signs and wonders, miracles, but upon the edification and growth of the church through the teaching of sound doctrine expressed in love EPHESIANS 4:11-16 .

    Miracles are God’s exceptions and prerogatives and He does them today when and how He wants not through an Apostolic gift or a sign,perhaps through the gift of faith.

    Let us remember what Scripture teaches us, the Jews were those who sought signs and miracles, even from Jesus. Jesus condemned their unbelief calling them a wicked and adulterous generation that seeks signs. God wants that we walk and live by faith and not that we seek for signs, miracles and wonders.

    John 2:23-25 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.

    Jesus Himself did not commit Himself to their belief, those who believe because of the signs they see. He does not commit true faith which brings to salvation to those who seek signs and wonders.

    It’s an illusion to think that signs, miracles and wonders can generate any type of faith necessary to please God even as believers. This is confirmed by the people of Israel who witnessed signs, wonders and miracles at Moses’ times and continued in unbelief; the signs and miracles of the prophets yet they continued in idolatry and unbelief; the signs and wonders and miracles of Jesus and they rejected Him as Messiah, rejected the Kingdom of God offered to them, continuing in unbelief to this day.

    It were the Jews that always sought after signs and God gave them in abundance but they remained hardened in unbelief. This proves that are not the signs and miracles that the Holy Spirit uses to give faith, it is ROMANS 10:17 faith that comes by hearing God’s word.

    There is another passage besides Romans 10:17 that demonstrates two important things.

    The first one regarding howone obtains faith to believe in Christ, and the second one regarding the fact that to be anointed by God to be a prophet, one who speaks for God and who is interpreter and preacher, teacher of His word, is not at all necessary toperform signs and miracles.

    John 10:40-42 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

    It’s the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the preaching of the word that talks about Him that brings about faith as Romans 10:17 confirms, not the signs and wonders of the person, not even Jesus’

    The belief that comes from the miracles is not true faith that can save this is why Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, that is what this passage means, they did not exhibit true faith see JOHN 6: 26-71

    1 Cor 1:21-24 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    Paul, probably the greatest of the Apostles, said these things, the power of God is the Gospel, the word of God, ROMANS 1:16-17

    The word of God with the power of the Holy Spirit is that which saves, frees ans sanctifies the believer.

    2 Timothy 3:15-17 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth: your word is truth

    Miracles increase faith? Faith comes by hearing God’s word, not seeing miracles.

    Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing and by hearing the word of Christ

    This, of course, is valid also for the believer. In fact that which proves and strengthens our faith are trials and difficulties together with the word of God, not signs and wonders, healing and miracles.

    At this point I would like to share a story, let’s call it a modern day parable, a story with a spiritual moral. I know that now some of you will want to attack me by saying that I tell stories to prove my point.

    To my defense I have two things I would want to say, until now I used nothing but Scripture, and for second, what will you say about Jesus who told many parables? Can’t I use the same method of my teacher and Lord? I believe so, perhaps some do know the story, however…the story goes like this:

    There was a believer who lived in a rural and isolated place, distant many miles from other habitations. One day, after many weeks of rain the area became flooded. Without means of communication the brother remained alone and isolated. Knowing that no one would have found him, he prayed to the Lord for a miracle to save him from certain death. When the water reached the gutters the brother climbed on the roof while the level of the water also climbed inescapably.

    The brother declared his faith to the Lord, being certain that the Lord would perform a miracle at any moment. Suddenly out of nowhere a boat appeared with rescuers in it. Not being able to reach the roof because of the high tension wires a rope with a lifesaver was tossed to him. While the rescuers were encouraging the brother to grab the lifesaver he declared that he would wait for God’s miracle to save him. After a few attempts to convince him they had to go to reach the other areas in need. They did, however, radio a helicopter in the area to come and rescue the man.

    Meanwhile, the water had covered the roof almost completely and the man had to hang on precariously to the chimney, there once more he declared his faith in a miracle of God.

    Immediately a helicopter appeared. Having lowered a cable with a harness, the rescuers waited and waited hoping that the man would grab the cable and wear the harness, but in their disbelief the man did not. Minutes later a strong current ripped the man away from the chimney and he drowned.

    Seconds later the man found himself in the presence of the Lord who was waiting for him with open arms. The brother, however, with a surprised expression asked the Lord ,“Lord, how is this possible? I trusted in a miracle. I know you are the God of miracles, signs and wonders. I believed in your ability to perform a miracle and save me, instead you allowed me to die, why?”

    The Lord answered, “My dear child, you expected a miracle. I sent you a boat and a helicopter to save you and you refused my help. You thought that I would perform some powerful wonder to save you. I gave you two opportunities and you chose to test me instead. Do you not remember when the devil tempted me in the wilderness when he told me to jump from the pinnacle of the temple? Do you not remember what I answered? It is written, you shall not tempt the Lord your God.”

    The moral of the story is exactly this. The greater part of the times, those who seeks after miracles, signs and wonders believing to be exhibiting faith, are instead tempting God and demonstrating in reality to have less faith than they believe to have.

    They believe that miracles, signs and wonders are the norm when instead they are the exception. Thisis a sign of false humility and it is nothing else but tempting God. Seeking after these things makes one lose faith actually and settle for sight, rejecting the providence of God.

    Often the faith of those who seek after miracles, signs and wonders is nothing else but presumption disguised as faith. God provides for His children in powerful and marvelous ways often shielded to our knowledge by and through His hidden counsel.

    Do you remember those four men of God, Joseph, Peter, Paul and Silas?

    All four where imprisoned, all four where freed from prison but Joseph in a different way from the others, even Peter was freed in a powerful way but was freed differently than Paul and Silas. Were any one of those three methods God used more valid than the other? No!

    God operates powerfully in different ways and in different situations: Joseph freed by God’s providence and will, through God-controlled circumstances of life, occurs most of the time today. Peter freed through answered prayer, by angelic intervention, still occurs today; and Paul and Silas freed through God’s providence, in the use of a natural event used by God for His purpose, still can occur today, and they do.

    However, most often God operates in the lives of His children as He operated in the life of Joseph. Demonstrating His power in the midst of trials and difficulties of our life. He gives us help in our times of need by His providence and provisions always using all things for our good.

    Now, not to see the power, providence and intervention of God in the book of Esther, for example, where no miracle, sign or wonder is performed and where the name of God is not even ever mentioned, is not really understanding how God works in every day life.

    It is clear as Scripture well affirms that signs, wonders and miracles were the norm only in certain limited periods of the history of God’s people, so again they were not the norm, they were the exceptions. There are those instead who want to make them the norm notexceptions.

    Do you read the Bible, entirely? If you do you will see that in the majority of the times visible signs and miracles are not what demonstrate the power of God, but it is God’s hand that is visible in the lives of the believers through the trials, difficulties and the every day providence of God is the power of God who does remove obstacles as big as mountains often hidden from our view, to those who receive His graceful help.

    There are those who throw away God’s help like the brother in the parable because it is not in the form of a sign, wonder or miracle, often missing on the blessings of God while too busy looking elsewhere for something God stopped doing 1900 years ago.

    For this very attitude God condemned Israel. Why? Because no matter how many signs, wonders, miracles He did, in the periods of divine revelation, they remained unbelieving. You know why? They substituted the continuous search for signs and wonders to real faith, they walked by sight not by real faith, sight being signs, wonders and miracles. They also believed those to be the norm and not the exceptions.

    However, in the life of those who believed by faith and not by sight, God demonstrated His power, providence and provision such as has happened in the lives of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, Esther, Mordecai, Ruth, Job, David, Daniel and all the faithful protagonists of the Bible.

    We need to also look at the healing Jesus and the Apostles performed. We see that these miracles were immediate and permanent as well,only attributable to God. The blind see, the deaf hear, the dumb speak, the lame walk and the dead rise. The demons are cast out. These, by the way, are not the false exorcisms that the Roman church does. These were demons subjected to the word of God and by the Spirit of God. They obeyed the commands of Jesus and the Apostles and instantly, not with long exorcism rituals and prayers etc., were cast out.

    I am sure that if you humbly made it thus far, many now will say that the Scripture says in Hebrews 13:8 Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

    Though many will say as I did once, not understanding well the council of Scripture, that, you see Jesus is the same He was then and will be tomorrow, He does not change, so He must still do things as He did in the book of Acts.

    I will tell you, you are rightabout one thing, Jesus is the same, the person, God incarnate is immutable in His character and power, attributes, principles and commandments. Jesus is the same, always. However, to make a whole doctrine on this verse to support the Pentecostal belief system regarding signs and wonders for today, that Jesus is therefore obligated to operate today in the same way He did in the book of Acts or when He gave His revelations in the OT confirming them with signs and wonders is actually a violation to all that Scripture teaches.

    God has operated in the past in certain ways and stopped to operate in those ways for very long periods of time, until a new period of revelation would necessitate the He would confirm His word with signs and wonders and always in conjunction with the nation of Israel.

    So now all of a sudden it comes in handy for some to say that God has not changed His method of operation, but this reasoning actually is contrary to HEBREWS 13:8, and it is used to confirm erroneous doctrines. This verse that is always quoted to justify biblical ignorance regarding signs and wonders confirms instead what Scripture teaches exactly what we have been saying up till now. In fact, it is true, God has not at all changed His ways of operation. Since His word confirms that He operated signs and wonders in determined and limited periods of time it means that He continues to do so and has done it even to this time.

    In fact, God operated up until Acts in agreement with the other two periods of time in the OT. So since Jesus is God and He does not act independently from the Father, neither the Holy Spirit operates independently from Jesus and the Father, it means that Jesus who does not change, will operate in agreement with how God has operated during the other periods of history, as Scripture shows us without the realpossibility to argue the point.

    God is always in agreement within Himself and with His word. In fact, He really is the same yesterday, today and forever so we learn what it really means that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

    Those who declare themselves apostles or prophetsare in some way attempting to usurp the office and spiritual authority and are trying to continue to build the foundation of the church which has already been built 2000 years ago. The Pentecostal/Charismatic movement erroneously interpret Scripture falling in the same error the Roman church falls,they believe and teach apostolic succession. They base this on Ephesians 4:11-12 where Paul says, “And He Himself (Christ) gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,”

    That which Paul declares here though is a continuation of what he was saying in Ephesians 2:20, in other words, that the Apostles and the prophets were the foundation of the church, so Jesus gave some to be Apostles and prophets, the others instead are those who continue the building of the church upon the foundation already laid, the foundation of the doctrines given by true Apostles and prophets of God, these are the evangelists (missionaries), the pastors and teachers.

    These are the ones today with the task of interpreting and teaching in theory and in practice the unity of the Christian faith in the doctrine of the Apostles edifying the church upon the already laid foundation of the Apostles and prophets of the NT. The evangelists (missionaries) pastors and teachers continue today as an office without the signs and wonders of Apostolic authority and confirmation.

    They are the ones that have become the pillars and leaders of the church after that the Apostles of Christ all have gone to be with the Lord. Even an overseer or bishop is never called an Apostle.

    The Apostles wrote the doctrines for the church, God inspired doctrines, and all was written and was completed in the canon of Scripture. Now the Holy Spirit speaks through the teaching, preaching and correct interpretation of Scripture.

    If Apostles’ and prophets’ offices or ministries were in the church as they were in the days of Acts then God would still be giving new and continuous revelations to the church. These would then have to be included to be part of Scripture, because the revelations and prophecies and doctrines of the true Apostles were authoritative and infallible.

    In this case, if these things could be true, the revelations and prophecies of today would be equal to the inspired and revealed word of God we have in the Bible. This cannot ever be! The revelations and prophecies for the church are completed in the inspired, infallible and authoritative word of God we have, the Bible!

    This is what many religious sects and church denominations declare today to have, revelations and prophecies directly given them by God. Extra-Biblical revelations and prophecies? How can we then condemn religious sects such as the Mormons, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Roman church, if then we teach that revelations, prophecies, visions and dreams in addition to the Bible are equal and in many cases are considered above the Bible?

    What has been said before, many denominations specially those who claim to be Pentecostal/Charismatic, believe and declare the same exact thing that the church of Rome believes and declares – Apostolic succession, although not papal, well almost at papal level – miracles, signs wonders, prophecies, visions and dreams placed at the same level as Apostolic doctrine and Scripture. It seems hypocritical to condemn the Roman church and the others for these things, while many denominations and believers who call themselves Evangelical practice the same erroneous doctrines.

    The church fathers, meaning the successive generations of leaders after the Apostles up to the Roman apostasy, did not teach that the Apostolic and prophetic offices were still operative and continued, not even the spiritual gifts of power. Attanasius, Ireneus, Hyppolitus, Augustine, Martin Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Finney and great theologians such as Hodges, Spurgeon, A.H. Strong etc. remained satisfied to continue to build, to edify the church upon the foundation and prophecies of the Apostles and prophets of the days of the NT. In fact, we see in church history that the only apostles mentioned after the Bible was completed were false apostles.

    The true Apostles have completed the canon of Scripture that today is the word of God. They completed their task, divinely laying down the foundation of the church.

    So if the Pentecostal/Charismatics say that there are still Apostles like the ones described in Acts the gifts should at least be exclusively for them and not for all believers. We cannot have the cake and eat it too, or the Scripture says one thing or it says another, so far it has been saying that only the Apostles had these gifts as signs of confirmation of the authority of the word they spoke and wrote and that they were those who laid the doctrinal foundation of the church.

    As we did see at the beginning of the study and throughout it as well, this method God used to confirm new revelations had already been put to use. It was in this fashion that God confirmed His word to Israel through signs and wonders, every time period of God’s new revelations was marked by signs and wonders. We have seen this pattern during the giving of the Law and while God was revealing Himself as the God of Israel.

    We have seen this pattern at the beginning of the time of the Prophets and then when Jesus came as Messiah of Israel offering them the Kingdom, and now as it spills over into the birth of the church.

    The Apostles, the men who laid the foundation of the church and have sown the Gospel confirming their spiritual authority given to them by Jesus Himself confirmed once again by signs and wonders.

    We understand then, that the office or position of the Apostle had to be temporary, for a specific time and period and that they did not continue for all of the church age to now. What does Scripture say in regard to this? Who are the representatives of the church in heaven before God? Apostles? No! As we said the Apostles are the foundation of the church, REVELATION 21:14.

    The representatives and leaders of the church are the elders Revelations 4:4. This corresponds with Apostolic doctrine of the NT, where it is taught that the elders of which pastors and teachers are part of as well are those who govern the church. Not Apostles.

    In that period the Apostles led the church until they appointed pastors, elders ACTS 14:23;2 TIMOTHY 2:2;TITUS 1:5. So the Apostles in the same office of the ones in the book of Acts should not exist any longer. Many, however, retain to be Apostles by the authority of Christ today – same authority, same gifts, same revelations. These are liars or at the very least they do not comprehend and do not rightly interpret Scripture.

    The ethnic groups that formed the people of the world were already included and confirmed part of the church. The doctrines, prophecies and revelations were written for the church through the books of the NT that we have in the Bible. Elders were appointed in the churches and from that time forward the pastors and elders are the spiritual authority in the church. The office of Apostle of Christ is not needed any longer, nor can it be duplicated. New revelations we do not need, they are all written for us (they are the foundation of the church) and they are complete for the church.

    I want to conclude this section by saying that the church has hurt her understanding of God’s ways by taking two words and applying to them the philosophies of this world as well as the world’s view of them. These two words are love and miracles. The Bible tells us exactly what these two words really mean to God.

    We have cheapened the meanings of these two words, we have minimized their value and characteristics. Now we, even the church, are very confused as to what real biblical love and God’s miracles really are. Making miracles too common a word and having exalted the false ones has reduced not only their value but also polluted the real miracles which occur.

    Let us remember a miracle is not the rule, it’s the exception. Let’s go back to the word and learn what these two words really mean…Not every answered prayer can be called a miracle, God’s providence is not always miraculous and we better get right, what Agape really means, biblical love, God’s love, pure, action and sacrificial, unselfish, faithful and true. No one is denying God’s miracles, it’s just that they are not operated by Apostles nor by gifts of the Holy Spirit any longer.