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Can People Perform Miracles Today?
Bible study on miracles.

Many people believe they can do miracles, or their religious leaders can do miracles. Some of these miracle workers have been exposed as nothing more than magicians, while others have spent time in jail for various crimes. Others, no doubt, truly believe God has empowered them to do miracles.

What does the Bible say about receiving miraculous power? Can people do miracles today?

Zechariah: Prophesy from God Would Cease
Zechariah prophesied that a time would come when all prophesy from God would cease, and all that would remain would be false prophets (Zech. 13:2-3 ).

The time in which all prophesy from God ceases is only revealed in God's word (Rom. 10:17). We must go to God's word to learn when the time foretold by Zechariah would come.

In the remainder of this article, we'll examine Scriptures whereby we learn that we are living in the days prophesied by Zechariah. All prophesies from God have ceased, because miracles have ceased. Anyone claiming to prophesy of God is a false prophet.

What was the Purpose of Miracles?
God testified that Jesus, the apostles, and prophets were speaking His word, through miracles (Mk. 16:20; Heb. 2:1-4). In this way, He confirmed His word (Heb. 2:3).

After God's word was confirmed, the need for miracles no longer existed. Hence, Paul tells us that miracles were temporary, telling us there's a better way to live than with miraculous power (1 Cor. 12:31).

Miraculous Power was Conferred by an Apostle Laying Hands Upon a Person
In the Bible, Christians could not perform miracles unless an apostle laid hands on them (Acts 8:14-17; 19:5-6).

Since Paul was the last apostle (1 Cor. 15:8; cf. Acts 1:21-25), there are no apostles on earth today.

Since there aren't any apostles on earth to lay hands on people, it is impossible for people to perform miracles today.

Miracles Were Temporary
Paul tells people doing miracles in the first century, there was a better way to live than with miraculous power. Love is better than miracles (1 Cor. 12:31).

Paul tells us that miracles were temporary, and that they would cease (1 Cor. 13:8-12).

Miracles would cease when the "perfect" came, then the "partial" (miracles) would be done away with (1 Cor. 13:10) and they would "know fully" (1 Cor. 13:12).

What is the "perfect" that would be present at the time miraculous power ceased?

  • It is something that existed near the end of the first century, because the apostles died and people could no longer receive miraculous power (Acts 8:14-17; 19:5-6).
  • The "perfect" is the "perfect" law of liberty (Jas. 1:25; 2:12), the written word (i.e., New Testament) which was widely circulated by the end of the apostolic period.

Note that the "perfect" law of liberty is the doctrine and law of Christ revealed in the New Testament.

  • Liberty and perfection are in Christ (Gal. 2:4; Col. 1:28). Therefore, Christ's law (1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2) is the perfect law of liberty (Jas. 1:25; 2:12).
  • Jesus said that we will be judged by His word (Jn. 12:48); and James said that we will be judged by the law of liberty (Jas. 1:25; 2:12). Therefore, Christ's word by which we will be judged, is the perfect law of liberty.

The "perfect" (1 Cor. 13:10) was present on earth when Christ's law and doctrine (Gal. 6:2; 2 Jn. 1:9) had been fully revealed. Hence, there was no further need for miracles after God's word had been fully revealed (Heb. 2:1-4). At that time, man was fully equipped to live by faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Today, Christians are blessed to live by a "more excellent way" (1 Cor. 12:31) than those to whom Paul wrote in Corinth.

People Today Aren't Speaking in Tongues, Like in the Bible
When people spoke in tongues in the Bible, they spoke in known human languages (Acts 2:4-13).

On the day of Pentecost, the apostles spoke in tongues (Acts 2:4). These tongues were known human languages (Acts 2:6) which they hadn't learned to speak (Acts 2:7).

If someone spoke in Bible tongues today, it would be like a person who had never studied French immediately speaking fluent French. People claiming to speak in tongues today do not speak known human languages. They do not speak in the tongues we read about in the Bible.

There are religious leaders today, who tell people that they are lost in sin if they can't do miracles (speak in tongues). Fortunately, this is not the truth. As a matter of fact, we know that some Christians in the Bible couldn't speak in tongues or do any miracles, and they were saved (Acts 8:12-16; Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31).

Some People do Miracles to Deceive Others
Simon the Sorcerer was a man who used magic, deceiving people into believing he was doing miracles (Acts 8:9-10), deceiving people into thinking he was the Great Power of God (Acts 8:10).

Bar-Jesus was another one of these men (Acts 13:6). He was a false prophet who used magic to turn people away from the faith (Acts 13:6-8). Paul says he was "full of all deceit and fraud" and calls him a "son of the devil" and an "enemy of all righteousness" who would not "cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord" (Acts 13:9-10).

In 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12, Paul tells us that false prophets and false teachers will use false wonders (i.e., fake miracles) to deceive people.

  • This lawlessness was already at work in the first century (cf. Acts 13:6ff).
  • Their work is the activity of Satan.
  • They are doing signs and false wonders (fake miracles).
  • Their fake miracles are the deception of wickedness for those who perish.
  • They didn't receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
  • God allows them to do fake miracles, deceiving people who do not love the truth so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

People cannot do miracles today. The apostles are dead, so there's no possible way for people to receive miraculous power.

If a religious teacher claims to have miraculous power, we should be suspicious of what he teaches, knowing that some false teachers use fake miracles to deceive people. As with all teachers, we should scrutinize his teaching with the word of God, knowing that people can't do miracles today, knowing that false teachers use fake miracles to deceive people.