by Steven Chan
We need to understand the purpose of God in giving powers to the prophets or spokesmen of God to perform signs & wonders.
Miraculous powers were given to confirm the authenticity of the Word of God or God’s Will being revealed by God to man (Mark 16:20)
When God’s Will as revealed in the New Covenant or Will has been fully or completely revealed by Jesus and the apostles, the signs were no longer needed because the complete Will of God or the terms of the New Covenant have been revealed to man. Since the work of the apostles in revealing the New Covenant or Will has been completed then the miraculous signs and wonders also ceased towards the end of the first century following the death of the last apostle. With the completion of the revelation of the New Covenant, there is no new revelation from God that can be added to what has been already been revealed in the 27 books of the New Testament which we now have as our guide to what we need to do in order to do God’s Will (Matt 7:21).
Now let’s consider the above in light of the scriptures:-
- Jesus promised the apostles that they would remember whatever He had taught or revealed to them while He was with them – the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance all that Jesus had taught them (John 14:26). Additionally, the Holy Spirit would also guide the apostles into all truth which is God’s revealed word (John 17:17; 16:13).
- Following His resurrection from the dead, Jesus asked the apostles to remain in Jerusalem until they received power (to perform signs, etc) when the Holy Spirit indeed came upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2 and the apostles received power to speak in tongues. Empowered by the Holy Spirit they spoke or revealed the Word of God to the people and the Lord worked with them confirming their testimony with the accompanying signs (Heb 2:3-4).
- The apostle Paul wrote that these signs would cease when the perfect law of God (James 1:25) or the complete will of God of the New Covenant has been fully delivered.
“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” – I Corinthians 13:8-10 (NKJV)
The partial knowledge that Paul wrote about was the knowledge of the New Covenant which was being progressively revealed by the Holy Spirit to the apostles. But once the revelation of the New Covenant is completed or perfectly revealed then the partial would cease or be done away as per 1 Cor 13:10 – just like the scaffolding of the building will be removed when it’s completed. In other words, there would no further need for the apostles or miraculous signs to be performed. The New Covenant would have been completely revealed in the 27 books of the New Testament duly confirmed or authenticated by the signs performed by the apostles as empowered by the Holy Spirit. This revelation has been delivered once for all:-
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” – Jude 1:3 (NKJV)
No one can add to it or take away from it:
“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” – Revelation 22:18-19 (NKJV)
As discussed above, today we no longer have apostles or new revelation or the power to perform miraculous signs and wonders. We have the written/confirmed Word of God which will do well to take heed of:-
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but the holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” – II Peter 1:19-21 (NKJV)