SIGNS AND MIRACLES WERE
TONED DOWN BEFORE
We learn from the New Testament that the apostles continued the ministry of Jesus after He had gone up to heaven. They were given SIGNS to attesting that they were sent by God to Israel.
The twelve should bring the Gospel of the Kingdom of God on earth to Israel, and Jesus should return from heaven as soon as Israel had repented as a nation.
The SIGNS and miracles followed their ministries…as we can see throughout Acts period.
The final miracles and healings reported in Acts were those performed by Paul, as he cured several sick people at Malta, Acts 28:7-10 – however, notice that prior to these healings Paul had performed a SIGN – in that he did not have any negative effects after a snake bit his hand. The islanders there started to speculate whether Paul was one of the gods! Thus – the Lord had started to have these heathens pay Paul special attention. And THEN Paul went on and he cured many sick people. AMP Bible web version -
“In the vicinity of that place there were estates belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed and entertained us hospitably for three days.
8And it happened that the father of Publius was sick [in bed] with recurring attacks of fever and dysentery; and Paul went to him, and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him.
9After this occurred, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and being healed.
10They also gave us many honors [gifts and courtesies expressing respect]; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all the things we needed.”
This healing of Publius’ sick father, is the only incident telling of an apostle first praying, and then laying hands on the sick. A similar incident to what Peter did when raising Tabitha from the dead. FIRST he prayed, and then he called Tabitha to stand up. The Lord had to make a SIGN regarding Paul…and He used the incident with the snakebite. I believe that this sign opened up for Paul to care for the sick ones.
This passage in Acts 28 of Paul at Malta, may be the only passage where I dare ‘read in’ …even though it says nothing of it…that Paul most probably must have told them of Jesus Christ. It seems logical since after all, it is Paul we are talking of…and not just some ‘nobody’ hanging around. Why Luke did not mention this in his writing, I cannot find a plausible reason. At least: Paul must have prayed in Jesus’ name when healing Publius’ father.
But as for Jesus, and His ministry on earth before He was crucified, such SIGNS were seen with Him in the early period of it. But as it drew nigh to the Passover in 28 CE, when He would be crucified, Jesus began to tone down the testimonies of His miracles.
He started to tell people to keep quiet about all His miracles and SIGNS, and even He told them not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah.
So, many Christians are puzzled over this. Jesus came on at full force early, starting with the wedding in Cana. He made vine out of water! He multiplied a little food supply in a basket, some fish and some loaves of bread – and God performed a miracle so great that nobody could really explain what happened. They fed 5000 people, and there were lots of food left over after the meal! (John 6:1-14). He did same thing not much later feeding 4000 (Mat. 15:32-39)…so this kind of miracle happened twice. He walked on the Sea of Galilee, He stilled the storm by saying a word. He raised Lazarus from the dead…and a vast number of miracles, which were healings of the sick and setting demon possessed free.
But – as it closed in on the Passover when He would be crucified, He toned it all down. He deliberately wanted to ensure that the evidence of the SIGNS and healings and these wonders, did not convince their leadership that He really was Messiah of God. He had to be hung on that cross – He had to ensure He would take upon Him all the sin of the world, and so giving mankind salvation, as many who would take to the faith in Him.
But after this was done, and He finally sent out His apostles as we see in Acts, there were no more restrictive attitude in regard to SIGNS and miracles. God wanted these SIGNS to follow His apostles everywhere they came, to attesting to the people that they were sent by Him.
Mark 16:20 is a perfect testimony of this,
“And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord was working with them and confirming the word by the signs that followed.]”
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES OF SIGNS BEING TONED DOWN
Mat. 16:16-21, AMP Bible web version -
“Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of the living God.”
17Then Jesus answered him, “Blessed [happy, spiritually secure, favored by God] are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood (mortal man) did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades (death) will not overpower it [by preventing the resurrection of the Christ].
19“I will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you lose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven.”
20Then He gave the disciples strict orders to tell no one that He was the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). (Editor’s emphasize)
21From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples [clearly] that He must go to Jerusalem, and endure many things at the hands of the elders and the chief priests and scribes (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), and be killed, and be raised [from death to life] on the third day.”
Mat. 17:9 - after the transfiguration at the mount,
And as they were going down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Do not tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
They had not only seen Jesus enveloped in a sharp super-natural heavenly light; they actually heard the voice of God speak to them, and they also witnessed Moses and Elijah appearing and talking with Jesus! The voice from above said:
“This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased and delighted! Listen to Him!”
God Himself talked to them and saying straight forward, that Jesus was His beloved Son!
Even if we find Jesus performing healings in the temple just two days before His crucifixion, He did so since He knew that the Sanhedrin Counsel of Priests already had decided to kill Him. Thus He got on with full measure of miracles and healings again. He received great cheer calls from many children who saw what Jesus did for the sick.
Mat. 21:14-17 is very touching, and could bring on tears in our eyes -
“And the blind and the lame came to Him in [the porticoes and courts of] the temple area, and He healed them.
15But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful and miraculous things that Jesus had done, and heard the boys who were shouting in [the porticoes and courts of] the temple [in praise and adoration], “Hosanna to the Son of David (the Messiah),” they became indignant
16and they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus replied to them, “Yes; have you never read [in the Scripture], ‘OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED and PROVIDED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF’?”
17Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.”
Notice verse 15 and the madness and evil having possessed that flock of Pharisees with the Chief Priests and scribes – the very leaders of Israel, who should rather embraced Jesus, kissed Him and welcomed Him in the temple! Can you imagine such spiritual almost possessive blindness? They were so filled with hate and indignation against Jesus, that they admitted He had done marvelous miracles, and yet – they would have Him killed.
THE ISAIAH 6 SYNDROM OF ISRAEL
Ah…but I think I can explain this phenomenon. We find Jesus’ own teaching of this in Mat. 13:10-17 – quoting Isa. 6 to them; the very same passage also quoted by Paul in the presence of the Sanhedrin Counsel in Rome 60 CE, told in Acts 28:25-28. AMP Bible web version -
«10Then the disciples came to Him and asked, “Why do You speak to the crowds in parables?”
11Jesus replied to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
12For whoever has [spiritual wisdom because he is receptive to God’s word], to him more will be given, and he will be richly and abundantly supplied; but whoever does not have [spiritual wisdom because he has devalued God’s word], even what he has will be taken away from him.
13This is the reason I speak to the crowds in parables: because while [having the power of] seeing they do not see, and while [having the power of] hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand and grasp [spiritual things].(Editor’s emphasize)
14In them the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL HEAR and KEEP ON HEARING, BUT NEVER UNDERSTAND;
AND YOU WILL LOOK and KEEP ON LOOKING, BUT NEVER COMPREHEND;
15FOR THIS NATION’s HEART HAS GROWN HARD,
AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY HARDLY HEAR,
AND THEY HAVE [tightly] CLOSED THEIR EYES,
OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART, AND TURN [to Me]
AND I WOULD HEAL THEM [spiritually].’
16But blessed [spiritually aware, and favored by God] are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
17I assure you and most solemnly say to you, many prophets and righteous men [who were honorable and in right standing with God] longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
God allowed Israel to become stricken with spiritual blindness, deafness and a blocked mind which could not comprehend what God spoke to them.
Jesus knew this, and as I wrote above – He willfully played with it: He toned down His miracles, like, Hush-hush, when Calvary came in sight…some time before this He had also began to speak to the people in parables. So they could understand? No, so they SHOULD NOT UNDERSTAND and thus reject the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He knew He had to be crucified for the sin of this world. He knew He was the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice and so He willfully played along so He would end up at the cross. No wonder He said the prayer as He hung on the cross, Forgive them Father, for they know not what they are doing. God had stricken them with this blindness, deafness and lack of understanding.
This is why Christ sent out His apostles to them, after His ascension. Since now the sin had been atoned for at the cross, it was the will of God that Israel should repent and believe on Jesus and be baptized. God no longer wanted His people to be spiritually blind and deaf and not understanding. The apostles followed their calling to the very end, as told in Acts. Jesus would have come back from heaven in the times of the apostles, if only Israel, the entire nation had repented and believed on Jesus Christ. Peter’s second speech in Acts 3 tells all about it. Heaven should house Jesus until the times of refreshing arrived (when Israel had repented) - and the Kingdom of God on earth, in Israel, would have been established.
This Kingdom on earth shall indeed be established; it is no longer so far into the future. But before this can happen, God shall take the Church into heaven like told in Col. 3:1-4 – and we shall be appearing with Christ in glory up in the heavens. Then God will send down to Israel Moses and Elijah (Rev. 11) to set things straight with Israel, to bring her back as a nation for God.
In our time, since the apostles died in the first century there has been no signs, no miracles, no divine healings, no casting out of demons,….no nothing!
Signs and such were only given for the sake of Israel so they could come to faith in Christ. After Israel’s destruction in 70 CE it is definitely over what concerns SIGNS and miracles. Such super-natural works of the Holy Spirit seen with the apostles were never inherited by Christendom. The Church, the Body of Christ has no such mandate including miracles and signs. Not in the least!
Paul taught this straight out from the Law of Moses, as he wrote 1 Cor. 14:21, 22,
“It is written in the Law, “BY MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES AND BY THE LIPS OF FOREIGNERS I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, AND NOT EVEN THEN WILL THEY LISTEN TO ME,” says the Lord.
22Therefore, [unknown] tongues are [meant] for a [supernatural] sign, not to believers but to unbelievers [who might be receptive]; while prophecy [foretelling the future, speaking a new message from God to the people] is not for unbelievers but for believers.” (Editor’s emphasize)
Paul quoted some of the Law of Moses when teaching on tongues: It was thus without doubt a SIGN meant only for Israel. And so it went, - Israel would not listen to Christ or His apostles, in spite of all the SIGNS they had in their ministry to Israel, like Tongues, miracles, healings, casting out of demons, raising dead persons….all SIGNS mentioned in Acts. Paul used this one spiritual gift, tongues, as an example for all the signs which followed the apostles in ministry. So this solidly proves that SIGNS were only for Israel; never for the Church, the Body of Christ. The Church was kept secret in God from before creation, but revealed to Paul shortly before he wrote Ephesians and Colossians in 63 CE. Ref. Eph. 3:1-9 in which he gives a declaration of the Mystery revealed, the Body of Christ.
You can read my many articles on that subject here in my web site.