We live in a fallen world with much sickness, disease, pestilence, poverty, and many other evils. While the kingdom of Heaven may have come, it has not yet manifested fully. In heaven, none of the evils mentioned above are present, nor is there sin. Everything is in order as it should be.
All of creation was made perfect, and God said it was good. However, after sin entered this realm, things got out wack. It was no longer the good and perfect world that existed at creation. People get sick, they die, there is lack or poverty, and sin abounds. Yet, God has sent His Son Jesus to make everything right and to restore all things. In the Old Testament, there were many instances where God intervened and performed a miracle or sign amid the people.
God Performs Signs
In The Old Testament, we see that God performed many heavenly signs, such as the rainbow, which is a covenantal sign, and when He caused the sun to stand still in the book of Joshua. Later, we see Him giving dreams to men like Joseph as a sign of things to come. Finally, when He allowed the ark to be captured by the Philistines, it was a sign to Israel of their idolatry and His power and later to the Philistines as their ‘god’ fell and worshipped YHWH. Many might consider this a wonder.
We see the star of Bethlehem as another sign in the heavens placed by God. Other signs mentioned were the sign of a virgin conceiving. While this is a miracle in itself, it was called a sign since it pointed to something, in this case, the birth of Jesus. Isaiah had told King Ahaz to ask for a sign about the two enemy kings and what would happen to the Northern Kingdom. He wouldn’t, protesting that he would not test the Lord, but the Lord gave the sign anyway.
When Elijah held the contest at Carmel, the sign was fire consuming the altar. This sign demonstrated which God was the real God. In the above examples, God sent signs as a reminder of who He was and to point to the time when He would come as a man. These all pointed to the fact that He was the one true God and that He was in covenant with His people.
Miracles Through People
Elijah and Elisha are different than all of the other prophets in one unique way. They are known as ‘sign prophets.’ While the others talked about signs and wonders and what God would do, Elijah and Elisha performed many miracles and signs and wonders. But, of course, God was working through them. John the Baptist was named the greatest of all prophets, yet he never performed any miracles. The words spoken by the prophets are the words of God and were given to bring the people back in line with the covenant and law. They were there as God’s mouthpieces to see justice and righteousness go forth.
Elijah raised a widow’s son from the dead, and God filled her jars with oil so she could pay her debts by the word of Elijah. He shut up the heavens so that it did not rain until he said it would. His ascension into heaven was itself a sign and wonder to those watching and later to all who heard about it.
Elisha asked for his inheritance as the senior prophet in training and received this double portion. Then we see Elisha perform crazy miracles like throwing flour in a deadly stew to make it edible and throwing a stick in the water to make an axehead float. Elisha could see the enemy’s plans and help Israel avoid disaster. He also raised a child from the dead and performed many other miracles. After he died, a dead man’s body was thrown in his grave, and the man was resurrected. Wow!
So what was the purpose for these signs and wonders?
Jesus performed many miracles, healings, and signs.
The gospels are full of healings, miracles, and other supernatural phenomena that came from the hands or ministry of Jesus. He raised people from the dead, cast out demons, healed many diverse diseases, and cleansed the lepers. Jesus Himself was a sign and a wonder. How? Everything he did pointed to the Father, but ultimately He was raised from the dead to sit at the Father’s right hand, and there He remains until He returns for His Ekklesia, church.
Jesus then told His disciples to make disciples of the nations, and while they were doing so, signs and wonders would accompany them. He told them to wait until the Holy Spirit was poured out on them, and then they were to go and do. We see Paul transformed by a wonder when He was blinded and later received his sight again. This began his transformation into the great church planter and miracle worker we know. He also wrote letters to help churches that became about two-thirds of the New Testament.
So Jesus worked many signs, wonders, and miracles and his disciples did the same. The mandate to do and disciple nations has not stopped, and neither has the accompanying signs and miracles. God is healing all over the world. Miracles are taking place, and we see signs in the heavens and elsewhere at the same time. But what is the purpose of these things?
That statement says it all. There is nothing else to add. Still, I mentioned earlier about a fallen world, and then later the Kingdom of Heaven coming down. When heaven comes in power to the earth, the result is sick bodies healed, people raised from the dead, missing limbs and body parts growing, and the blind seeing. The list is endless.
Miracles occur somewhere in the world every day. Sometimes there are financial miracles where money or provision shows up at the precise time needed. It may be someone getting out of a life or death situations. Miracles and signs or wonders occur with or without faith. Faith helps a person get to the place of breakthrough and is often the source of the miracle. Often angels show up unannounced, and miracles take place. Likewise, people who have given up run up on someone who just prays, and heaven shows up, and they are healed.
When Jesus healed, everyone got healed or delivered. He had a one hundred percent success rate. God desires to heal everybody. He loves to work miracles. But not everyone gets healed or receives that miracle they expect. There are many reasons why some do, and some don’t. My purpose here is to state that miracles, signs, wonders, and healings are still valid and never ceased, and it is always the will of God to be healed.
We pray “as it is in heaven,” and in heaven, there are no sick people, no one needs a miracle, and everyone is free. We are still on the earth where heaven has not been fully manifested. The gospel is preached somewhere every day. Many people listen and do not believe. Often, when a miracle takes place, those around them become believers and disciples.
The miracles and signs accompany the preaching of the gospel, and they ‘declare’ Him and His incredible, extraordinary power. John 11:4 says, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified in it.” NIV
Did you catch that? Lazarus was sick, and Jesus tarried. He died and was dead more than three days, and according to Jewish belief, it was impossible for Lazarus to be raised from the dead. Nevertheless, Jesus deliberately waits until the fourth day so that He, the Son of God, will be glorified.
The real purpose of miracles, signs, and wonders is to Glorify God and validate the gospel.
As disciples and followers of Jesus, we should always expect the gospel to be preached with accompanying signs and wonders. Whether we preach by serving, orally, or through media, we must expect God to be glorified and for people to be healed around us.
It must be normal and part of everyday life. I pray for more of the Holy Spirit and that we will be used and see healings and miracles every day.