While I was driving 45 minutes each way on a sales call for the medical clinic I manage, I was also meditating on how many in Christendom hang their hats on miracles as the sign that someone is a believer. Simultaneously I was also considering how many in the Torah Observant Community have decided that because parts of Christianity they find distasteful believe in them, they will not.
Honestly, both sides have gotten pretty ridiculous about it and I really want to examine this topic from a perspective I don't believe I have ever seen or heard done before. One side really has manufactured some healings that are as fake as can be, the other side says they are ALL fake in response. It's time for an honest exposition from a position that neither has likely ever considered. This article won't take much of your time, as frankly Scripture is pretty clear about it.
Let's start with a Biblical basis for believing in signs and wonders and see if Scripture as a whole bears it out, shall we?
Mark 16:17&18 17 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. 18 They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.
This passage is quite literally immediately before Messiah ascended 40 days after His resurrection. I am not going to get deeply into Cessationism in this post, but I will say the fact He said this just before going to the right hand of the Father means, at the absolute least, it is for believers who came along at some point AFTER that moment. Many in Cessationist circles justify their beliefs with...
1 Corinthians 13:8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
The error in this is it really has nothing to do with Mark 16:17&18, it has to do with the fact that this chapter is telling us anything we do must be done in love, and is demonstrating that at some point the "gifts" named will be unnecessary, but while they are in operation they must be governed by love and compassion. Let's keep in mind this was to the same assembly as chapter 12 where he discusses the "gifts" and now he is making sure they are handled properly and responsibly. He isn't really emphasizing their end, yet. Context... it's all about context.
Two verses later he does give us a clue as to when they will cease.
1 Corinthians 13:10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
Perfection? It is widely accepted in most Christian and Messianic/Hebrew Roots circles and is not limited to just one segment of them, that when Messiah comes to reside on Earth as its eternal ruler and from that point forward to dwell with His people forever, THEN we will all be "perfect" because He is perfect and will be like Him. I am not going to spend much more time on this as it is sound and really doesn't (or shouldn't) need any exposition.
But I will add this...
1 Corinthians 13:9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!
Since both 8 and 9 only speak of the declaration gifts (tongues, prophecy, word of knowledge, and probably word of wisdom) from 1 Corinthains 12, it is entirely possible the power gifts will continue to operate. What that will look like or why it would be necessary is a discussion for another time.
Please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below if you have questions regarding this and I will happily assist.
1 John 3:2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.
Having this laid as a foundation, there is more to consider concerning WHO SCRIPTURE SAYS may or will operate in signs, miracles, and wonders. To establish this we need to look at the other side of this coin. Are they really signs of ALL believers or only some?
For this, we need to consult another passage of Scripture that indicates believers CAN operate in these "power gifts".
Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
These people may have ultimately been rejected, and regardless of what "Get away from me" means to any of us, it is undeniable that they operated in the power gifts. OH - AND it says MANY!! So, how many are MANY when it is said by the Son of God?? Can we mere mortals even comprehend much less verbalize a number that adequately illustrates this vast sum?
I want to consider something else also. Messiah spoke very highly of Yochanan the Immerser.
Luke 7:28 "I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!"
You might be asking 'what does this have to do with the topic?'. Well, it's like this. Unless it just wasn't recorded, John was never used to perform a single miracle. There are no freed demoniacs to the credit of his servanthood of our King. There are no signs associated with his ministry.
He immersed Messiah and the crowd saw Ruach HaKodesh descend and heard the Father's first of two Fatherly endorsements of Yeshua. That's an amazing experience to be certain and I am not belittling that. But that's it for John.
What John DID DO, is prepare the people by getting their eyes on repentance. He focused them back on the fact that Torah is both about outward AND inwardly allowing God' Instruction to change us. To sanctify us. Something no one had done for hundreds of years before Messiah arrived on the scene. So yes, a great man of great faith and devotion. Yet, the LEAST in the Kingdom of YHVH is greater than he...?
There is another place where Scripture mentions the least in the Kingdom.
Matthew 5:19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Here is where we find a Hermenutic connection providing context to a topic I have never seen anyone connect the dots to. I am no one special, and that is not my point. My point is I think BOTH Christendom and Messianics/Hebrew Roots followers have cut themselves off from a proper understanding and balance that brings a more complete picture of the fact that there will be some who are not Torah Observant who will make it into the Kingdom. But there are many who will not. YET they will all be able to walk in great miracles, signs, and wonders!! Even the least will do greater than John/Yochanan. How can I equate this to miracles, signs, and wonders?
John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
We've danced all around it, but now there it is in plain and simple language. There is nothing in the Greek to indicate there are other possible or likely options that would change the meaning to anything else.
I would add, at this point though, it is entirely possible the Greek in Matthew 5:19 is speaking of IGNORANCE of the need to obey Torah and that we've missed the mark there in teaching it is about purposefully ignoring this need. Which would then mean those told to depart in the story 2 chapters later (and discussed above - Matthew 7:21-23) were given the opportunity to do so and rejected it to operate as believers living in lawlessness, which is exactly what some translations say there. But make no mistake, it IS Torahlessness. Which we prove a lot on this site so I don't need to labor over it here.
But, I do believe we have sufficiently proven that from the least to the greatest in the Kingdom of God - ABSOLUTELY ANY BELIEVER CAN OPERATE IN THE POWER GIFTS!!