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"And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." (Gen.22:2-3)
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Br. Samuel Babu, Believers Brethren Assembly, (BBA), Majlis - Bahrain For the last few days, we have been relentlessly praying for Br. Samuel Babu, who suffered Cardiac Problems and was admitted in Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain. It was well pleasing for our Lord to call HIS child to the Eternal Home, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no tears, no sickness and no death. He went to be with the LORD around 10:30 PM Bahrain Time today (Friday 23rd 2015). Let us uphold the grieving family members to the Throne of Grace. May the Lord bestow upon them heavenly Grace, Peace and strength and console them with the word of God.
 
 
 
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

WHAT IS A MIRACLE?

Dr. Silas C. Nair

 

 

“I had a miraculous escape in the accident”. “It is a miracle that he passed the exam”. “It was a miracle that the dog did not bite him”. These are words that we hear often. Are these incidents miracles? No. Yet, we see them as miraculous. But, in our present study we are not concerned about such events. Our God is a God of miracles. Creation is a miraculous act of God. He created everything out of nothing. David says, concerning himself: I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Man is a miracle. Into this sin stricken world God appeared in the form of a man born of a virgin. His life, death and resurrections are miracles. In this lesson we are concerned about the acts of miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ. Modern man insists that the laws of nature are self-existent and is not caused by anything or anyone and because of this no deviation of those laws are possible. “Miracles do not happen and therefore it did not happen” is simply to avoid the discussion of miracles. If these so-called natural laws are laws designed by a Supreme Being, and it is so; it is reasonable that this Being has the power to intervene in the operation of these laws. Therefore we need to have a clear understanding of the term.

 

A. Introduction

 

What is a miracle? “A miracle has been defined as a work wrought by a divine power for a divine purpose by means beyond the reach of man”. Webster defines miracle as “An event or effect in the physical world deviating from the known laws of nature, or transcending our knowledge of these laws, as extra ordinary, anomalous, or abnormal event brought about by super-human agency” (p.13, “All the Miracles of the Bible” by Herbert Lockyer, Zondervan)

 

The miracles in the Bible are those wonderful phenomena accompanying the Jewish and Christian revelations at critical moments in history. It is the work of God beyond the ordinary powers of nature. At the same time God does not violate the laws of nature but only introduces something new into it. To illustrate: The grape vine draws ordinary water from the earth and produces sweet grapes. This is work of God in nature. It is the natural law, or law that God has designed. When Jesus Christ changed water into vine in the marriage of Cana of Galilee, he simply intervened in the operation of the laws that he had designed, and without the process of water passing through the grape vine, he changed water into vine. This is a miracle. This was done for a definite purpose, to manifest his glory (Cf.Jn.2.11).

 

B. What is the purpose of miracles?

 

Miracles have happened time and again in the Bible history is irrefutable. Miracle is an integral part of the Bible. Miracles are not only proofs of revelation but revelation itself. God called Moses and sent him to redeem his people from Egypt. Moses was reluctant. He asked God several questions (Ex.3-6): Who am I? What shall I say? They will not believe me. I am not eloquent. Israel has not hearkened unto me. If they ask me who has sent you, what is His name, what shall I say unto them? The answer to all these is the miracle that God caused Moses to perform. First it authenticated the messenger and then the message of God.

 

On the day of Pentecost Peter told the Israelites that Jesus of Nazareth was a man approved (authenticated) of God by the wonders and signs which God did by him (Acts 2.22). Nicodemus told Jesus: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God: for no can do these miracles that you do except God be with him” (Jn.3.2). Apostle John selected seven miracles that Jesus Christ performed and wrote: “These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through him” (Jn.20.31). Every miracle in the Bible has a divine purpose. The primary purpose is to authenticate the One who did it. The miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ proved who he is. To the Jews who did not believe his testimony he said: “Though you believe not me, believe the works: that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in Him” (Jn.10.38).

 

C. The Miracles of Jesus Christ

 

There have been a concerted effort to deny the miracles of the Bible in general and the miracles of Jesus Christ in particular. Those who do not believe say that natural or universal laws cannot be interfered with and such interference has been ruled out by them. They say that the acts of miracles of Jesus Christ are not miracles as such but the product of unknown natural laws and that His miracles of healing are faith cures only.

 

His miracles are a part of his teaching and show his authority. We read of Jesus Christ nine times in the synoptic gospels that he was ‘moved with compassion” (and three mores times in types). His miracles are expressive of his love towards mankind. “His miracles were parables in deeds; and his parables were miracles in words”.

 

Peter was speaking to the Men of Israel on the day of Pentecost said: “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you, by miracles (dunamesin = works of power), wonders (Terata) and signs (semeion), which God did through Him” (Acts 2.22). The above three words, miracles (works of power), wonders and signs describe the mighty signs did by the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Dunamis, “power, inherent ability” is used of works of a supernatural origin and character. They manifest the mighty power of God. The word points to “new and higher forces working in this lower world of ours” (Heb.6.5). This is the efficient cause of the miracles. The different renderings of this word are: “wonderful works” (Matt.7.22), “mighty works” (Matt.11.20; Lk.10.13); “miracles” (Acts 2.22; 1 Cor.12.10 etc.).(Lockyer)

 

Semeion has reference to the “significance of miracles as being seals by which God authenticated the miracle worker and a proof of the genuineness of the revelation through him”. This is the final cause of the miracles.

 

Terata indicates “the state of mind produced on the eye witnesses by the sight of miracles”. Wonder is the most frequent word used (Mark 2.42; 4.416.51; 7.37). This is “something strange causing the beholder to marvel. A sign is intended to appeal to the understanding. a wonder appeals to the imagination and a power indicates its source as supernatural (Vine).

 

There are other descriptive words of miracles. They are “works (Jn.5.36; 7.21; 10.25,32); “great things” (Lk.1.49); “glorious things” (Lk.13.17); “strange things” (Lk.5.26); “wonderful things”(Matt.21.15); etc.

 

In his humility, Jesus did not use the prerogative of his deity, but performed miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit (Cf. Matt.12.28).

 

He healed multitudes. But He did not heal everyone. Though he did not send anyone who came to him empty handed, he was selective. At the pool of Bethesda there lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed waiting for the moving of the water. But he selected only one and healed the paralyzed man (Jn.5.3-5). Because of unbelief he was not able to perform miracles at Nazareth. (Matt.13.58; Mk.6.5,6). How unfortunate that His healing did not always lead those he healed to repentance or salvation. Ten lepers were healed, but only one came back to worship and glorify him. Lazarus was raised from death but the Pharisees wanted to put him to death, because many believed because of Lazarus!

 

Another aspect of Christ’s miracles is that there was neither failure nor relapse of anyone healed. What a warning it is to the imposters of our day.

 

All the miracles performed by Jesus are not recorded in the gospel. As to the specified miracles various expositors in their writings differ as to the number. Fausset deals with 40, whereas G. Scroggie deals only with 35. R.C.Trench, in his writings expounds about 33 miracles. Herbert Lockyer in his work “All th Miracles of the Bibles” deals with 48 of Jesus Miracles. Apostle John especially has been very selective in recording the miracles performed by His Lord. M.C.Tenny in his New Testament Survey, Categorizes the signs of Jesus in the Gospel of John as follows: “They illustrate different areas of His power, and collectively bear witness to the central doctrine of the Gospel, His Deity.

 

1. The changing of water into wine Jn.2.1-11 – Power over quality;

2. The Healing of the Nobleman’s son Jn.4.46-54, power overspace;

3. The healing of the Impotent man, Jn.5.1-9, power over Time;

4. The Feeding of the five thousand, Jn.6.1-14, power over quantity;

5. The Walking on the water, Jn.6.16-21, power over Naturallaw;

6. The Healing of the blind man, Jn.9.1-12, power over misfortune;

7. The Raising of Lazarus, Jn.11.1-46, Power over death.

(p.190, New Testament Survey, M.C.Tenny, Wm.B.Eerdmans)

 

D. The age of miracles

 

We do not find ‘miracles’ spread out throughout the Bible. Following four periods may be noted as the period in which we find miracles recorded in the Bible.

 

1. The period of Moses and Joshua. This was the time the Jews were redeemed from the Land of Egypt and the Jewish nation was established.

2. The period of Elijah and Elisha. This was the time of apostasy and idolatry.

3. The period of Babylonian captivity. Daniel and his companions was the subject of miracles during this period.

4. The period of Jesus Christ and His apostles. This was the time of introduction of Christianity and establishment of the Church.

 

 

 [Essentials of Theology and Life]
 
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