Friday, November 28, 2014

Tests for determining true from false miracles: True miracles confirm God's Word

Deuteronomy 13:1-3a “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams...".

Introduction and Review
A couple of days ago we looked at the first test for determining true from false miracles: This overall series on the miraculous has been concerned with both defining miracles and demonstrating their reality. This particular portion of the series is aiming to discern between true and false miracles, since God in the scripture reveals certain "tests" for doing so. The proposed definition of a miracle that emerged from our study is the following: "A miracle is an irregular, direct act of God that has attending signs the confirm God's personal identity, message and messenger."

We saw a couple of days ago that a true miracle will point people to the True and living God, whereas a counterfeit miracle will point to anything or anyone else but God. Today we consider how a true miracle will confirm God's Word.

True miracles confirm God's Word
Deuteronomy 18:21-22 states: "You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." Bible prophecy can be classed under the general designation of miracle, being that it is irregular, is directly done (or in this case 'spoken') by God, includes a sign (written words, or additional signs by the prophet or apostle communicating them) and confirms the message, messenger and God Himself (whether salvation or judgment). 

Why did Moses labor so hard in writing what He did under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? There were false prophets claiming to speak in the name of the Lord in His day. Men such as Balaam in the book of Numbers convinced thousands of Israelites to follow him and commit immorality. (Numbers 22-25) In this case we have a prophet claiming to speak for God, however are his supposed "prophecies" corresponding to the words of scripture previously revealed? Does his message accurately predict the future? 

Isaiah 41:21-33 poses a similar test of judging whether a religious claim or a prophet is true or false based upon whether or not they accurately predict the future and describe the past. 

A true miracle will serve to point back to the scriptures and to the God revealed in them.  If any alleged miracle, sign or wonder does not point back to the Bible, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the source of the miracle or prophecy is either a human sleight-of-hand or occultic activity.

More tomorrow.....

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