Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 7)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 7)

Three passages are critical to our understanding of the miracles about which our New Testament speaks. One of them is the passage above, with which this series of articles began, and around which it is based. The other two will be discussed below.

This being the final of a 7-part series, we will give a brief summary of the previous articles. We have thus far argued that: Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 7)”

Snakes, demons and gasoline (part 6)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 6)

(This article is part of a continuing series. The previous article can be found here).

What, if any, limitations did God put upon miracles, according to the Scripture? We noted in the previous article that miracles were certainly limited in that only apostles could confer miraculous gifts to others.

But someone might respond, “If there are still apostles living today, then miraculous gifts could still be exercised and passed on by them.”

The Mormon religion, for example, believes that there are modern-day apostles. If this was the case, then it would seem at least possible for miracles to be both performed and passed on by the laying on of their hands. Could this be true? Continue reading “Snakes, demons and gasoline (part 6)”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 5)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 5)

(This article is part of a continuing series. The previous article can be found here).

As we now turn our attention to the duration of miracles, we must first note some other significant limitations about the miracles recorded in the early days of the church:

Miracles were limited to apostolic ministry.

In the book of Acts – which records the early weeks (chapters 1-7), months (8-9), and years (10-28) of the church’s existence – there are numerous miracles recorded. Without fail, aside from those worked directly by God, these miracles were wrought either by (1) an apostle, or (2) someone on whom an apostle had laid hands. But did those on whom the apostles laid hands confer this gift to others? Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 5)”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 4)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 4)

(This article is part of a continuing series. The previous article can be found here).

Are miracles still occurring today? That is not the same question as, “Do people still claim to witness miracles today?” People claim to witness miracles regularly. But a claim must be substantiated.

This is a somewhat touchy subject because if you say, “God is no longer working miracles as He did in the first century,” people might hear that as, “God is not active in people’s lives,” or, “God is no longer capable of performing a miracle,” or, “God does not provide healing at all,” or perhaps worse, “God doesn’t care about us.” Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 4)”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 3)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17.) (Part 3)

This article is a continuing series; the preceding article can be found here.

Have you ever seen someone raised from the dead by the word of a prophet?
Have you ever witnessed someone drinking a sufficient amount of poison as would kill them, but with no effect?
Have you ever heard someone instantly speak fluently in a language with which they were previously unfamiliar?
Do you know of a person who goes to cancer clinics and pronounces patient’s cancer to be in full and instantaneous remission? Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 3)”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 2)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 2)

In the previous article (here), we gave four reasons why modern snake-handling as a religious act is not what Jesus was referring to in Mark 16:17-20. In this second article, we will continue the exploration of the modern phenomenon of snake-handling, and why it is not the fulfillment of what Jesus prophesied.

Jesus certainly said that miracles would accompany the disciples in their ministry. He listed several examples of the kinds of things they might expect: Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 2)”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 1)

“These signs shall follow them that believe…” (Mark 16:17)

Some years back, when I lived in Appalachian Kentucky and conducted a weekly radio program, I aired a program that argued against snake-handling as a biblically-sanctioned religious activity. Some might say that was a more dangerous stunt than the snake-handling itself. During the course of that program (I still have all the manuscripts), I said concerning Mark 16:20:

This passage no more authorizes the use of snakes in worship than it authorizes the drinking of bleach…Yet, if the passage teaches one, it surely teaches the other, does it not? Why snakes and not bleach? Why not snakes and bleach? I’ll tell you why, because you can get away with handling a snake for a long time – especially if you know what you’re doing – but you can’t get away with drinking bleach even once!

Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 1)”

What is our verdict?

“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offence that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15 ESV).

As the nation of Israel approached the Promised Land, God insured that they would have a fair system of justice. One aspect of this was that eye-witness testimony was only good if it could be corroborated. It wasn’t enough just to have one person testify against someone else.

There was a good reason for this. One person might give false evidence because he did not like the person. There was even a part of the law to deal with this. Continue reading “What is our verdict?”

Seven purposes of Jesus’ miracles

” ‘Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.’ And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak” (Luke 7:14-15).

There were several people who became instruments of God’s miraculous power in biblical history: Moses, Elijah, the apostles – including Judas – were all instruments of God’s miraculous power. Did this prove they were divine? Of course not.

What about Jesus’ miracles? Did they prove he was divine? Jesus’ miracles – taken alone – no more point to his deity than miracles performed by these other individuals of the Bible prove their deity. However, the miracles of Jesus do collaborate with other evidences to build the case for his deity. Interestingly, Jesus’ miracles also served several other purposes: Continue reading “Seven purposes of Jesus’ miracles”

Complex King Nebuchadnezzar

Nebuchadnezzar is one of the more complex individuals in the Bible. He’s impulsive and emotional yet at other times he was thoughtful and reasonable. In the first few chapters of Daniel, we see all of them in action.

Nebuchadnezzar asked the impossible in chapter two when he demanded that someone tell him his dream and then interpret it perfectly for him.

Fear spread through the kingdom as the King’s murderous rage threatened to exterminate his magicians, astrologers and sorcerers. Continue reading “Complex King Nebuchadnezzar”