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Does the Bible Contain Examples of Decision Making by Miracles?
by Norman Edwards, nEdwards@cbtm.info, June 2009

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If anyone is concerned that the author's "human reasoning" in this paper will lead them astray, they may simply read only the scripture, in this typestyle. The organization may not be as apparent, but the essential points from the scripture will be there.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 2

Seven Methods of Communication from God to Man. 3

God/Christ Speaking Directly. 3

Prophets. 3

Dreams and Visions. 3

The Holy Spirit Talking. 4

Enquiring of God—Urim and Thummim.. 4

Casting Lots. 5

Miracles, Signs and Wonders 5

Principles: 5

"An Evil and Adulterous Generation Asks for a Sign" 6

Biblical Examples of Decisions Based upon Asking for a Miracle 8

Abraham's Servant Asks For a Miracle to Select a Wife for Isaac. 8

Jacob Agrees to Worship God and Tithe to Him in Exchange for Divine Protection. 9

Moses Asks God for A Way to Convince Others He Is Representing God. 9

Miracles Given to Moses To Convince Aaron, Elders and the People. 9

God Accepted Pharaoh's Request for a Miracle. 9

Rehab Asks for a Sign to Make Her Decision. 9

Joshua Asks for the Sun to Stand Still 10

Gideon Asks for a Sign before Doing a Dangerous Act for God. 10

Gideon Asks God for a Miracle to Confirm His Role as a Military Commander 10

Manoah seeks confirmation that the angel's instructions were from God. 11

Samson Seeks Death Rather than Being a Blind Spectacle for the Philistines. 11

Jonathan Asks for a Sign for a Two-man Attack. 11

David Waits to Hear the Sound of Marching in Trees before he Attacks. 11

Elijah Make Life or Death Decision for Hundreds of People by Asking for Miraculous Fire. 12

Elijah Asks for a Miracle to Affect the Decisions of Army Commanders—It Does! 12

Miracle shows Elisha and Sons of the Prophets that Elisha Succeeds Elijah with Double the Spirit 12

Hezekiah Asks For a Miraculous Sign. 13

David Seeks a Sign as a Witness against His Enemies. 13

Ahaz Told to Ask for a Sign by God, but He Refuses—Gets One Anyway. 13

The Jewish Leaders Should have Decided to Accept Jesus Based Upon His Miraculous Works. 13

Stephen Asks for a Miraculous Quick Death and Receives It 14

Circumcised Believers Convinced by Miracle to Accept Gentile's Baptism.. 14

Testimony of Miracles and Wonders Was An Important Part of Jerusalem Decision. 14

The Jews Look for Signs to Accept a Teacher, and Christ Gave them Signs. 14

"Signs, Wonders and Mighty Deeds are Evidence of Which Apostles to Follow" 14

Hebrew & Greek words for “Sign”, "Wonder" and "Miracle" 15

Five Hebrew Words. 15

Three Greek Words. 19

Decision Making Based Upon Unrequested Miracles. 24

Old Testament 24

New Testament 31

Conclusion. 35

 

Introduction

Frequently, dedicated believers want to know the will of God for their life. They are not asking questions that the Bible addresses directly, such as: "Should I have an idol?" "Should I take something that is not mine?", "Should I commit adultery?" They are asking questions where the Bible allows many alternatives: "What job should I pursue?" "Whom should I marry?" "How should I serve in a church or ministry?" Other times, believers may seek an answer from God when they have a situation where there are conflicting biblical commands. For example, they may have a parent or spouse, whom the Bible commands them to honor, but whose actions are such that the Scripture commands avoidance.

The Bible contains thousands of examples of God communicating with man in various forms. There very important ways we can classify each of these communications:

 

       Is the communication initiated by God or by man?

       Is the communication witnessed by one person or a group of persons?

 

Most communications in the Bible are initiated by God. The believer, in that case, needs to be ready to accept whatever God says. The purpose of this paper, however, is obtaining an answer for something where God has not yet chosen to clearly speak. There are indeed many examples in the Bible where people do initiate a communication with God—or ask God a question once He has started the communication. Of course, people can always pray for God to communicate with them, but He may choose not to answer by any given method.

Unfortunately, some Christians seek communication with God primarily for the experience itself

When one person is seeking an answer from God, he or she can seek any Scriptural method to obtain that answer, ask in faith and accept whatever answer—or non-answer—that they receive. King Saul lost his kingdom and his life because he refused to listen to God (1Chr 10:13-14), but when things were going bad, he tried methods with which he was familiar:

1Sam 28:6 And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.

When multiple people are involved,  like an entire church, ministry or a husband and wife, the answer is not so simple. If they are to proceed together in harmony, they must agree that God has spoken to them and agree on what He said. Some means of communication, such as dreams and visions, are usually witnessed by only one person. Whereas others, can be witnessed by many.

As best as this writer can determine, there are seven methods whereby God directly makes his will known to people.

 

Method

Initiated by God or Man?

To Many or one Person?

1.    God and Christ speaking directly, or through angels

By God with narrow exceptions.

Christ was available to mankind in general for the few years of his ministry.

God spoke mostly to Moses, Angels spoke to prophets and others, and Christ to the masses.

2.    Prophets and speaking in tongues with interpretation.

By God in that God grants the gift of prophecy, but once He does, anyone can inquire of the prophet. Even then, God chooses whether or not to answer the prophet.

To everyone involved with the subject of the prophecy in most cases. There are a few times where a prophet delivered a secret message to one person.

3.    Dreams and visions

By God.

To one person in almost every case. Four people had the same vision in he Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-9)

4.    The Holy Spirit talking

By God (through His Spirit), though the scripture does not make this clear

To one person at times, but other times many hear the same thing.

5.    Enquiring of God—Urim and Thummim

By man.

To all who are present, which was usually at least the priest and the person inquiring.

6.    Casting lots

By man. God told men to do this to divide the land of Israel.

To all parities concerned—the purpose was to make a decision

7.    Miracles, signs and wonders

By God usually, but sometimes in response to prayer or command of man.

To entire nations, small groups of people, or sometimes to one person.

 

The first six are covered briefly, below, then the rest of the paper is devoted to miracles, signs and wonders.

Seven Methods of Communication from God to Man

God/Christ Speaking Directly

Many Scriptures apparently record the Eternal God (YHVH) speaking directly to man, though there appears to be some evidence that most of that speaking was done through an angel in whom the Eternal placed his name (Ex 23:20-21; Gal 3:19; Heb 2:2). (What business is it of ours to decide whether the Eternal decides to speak personally or whether commands His angel to faithfully speak His words in His name.) In nay case, nearly all of these communications are initiated by the Eternal. Moses had numerous face-to-face encounters with Him, unlike other prophets, whom he primarily speaks to in dreams and visions (Num 12:6-8). After many days of undeserved suffering, numerous long conversations and at least three requests for an answer from the Eternal, Job received an answer from Him (Job 13:22; 23:5; 31:35; Job 38-42). This writer knows of no other cases where this happened and hence concludes that an individual cannot expect to call upon the God and receive an immediate, audible answer from Him.

Christ spoke directly to mankind during his earthly ministry. This gave His disciples the ability to be close to God and have their questions answered—so much so that they did not need to fast (Matt 9:15). But now, He is no longer with us—and we do need to fast to be close to Him.

This writer does not see biblical, historical or modern day evidence that God or Christ speak audibly to answer even the most sincere, heart felt questions of believers. (But if He talks, I would certainly listen.)

Prophets

There are hundreds of places in the scripture where a prophet spoke the will of God to one person or a nation. Most of the time, it was God sending the prophet to someone. Prophets continue into the New Testament (Acts 11:28; 21:10; Philip's daughters, Acts 21:9). Here is one example of Christians taken significant economic action based upon a current prophet's prophecy:

Acts 11:28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. 30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Paul instructs believers to "desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues." When speaking in tongues is inspired, and someone interprets, the effect is similar to prophecy:

1Cor 14:5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

Prophets vary in their ability to speak on behalf of the Eternal. Some prophets appeared to be able to receive an answer from Him to almost any question, others seem to speak only when God gave them something specific to say.

Today, the main issue is, "Who is a true prophet?" There are a great many people who claim to be prophets, but a large number of them have to continually revise their prophecies because they do not come to pass. There are others who seem true and faithful, but their scope appears very limited. The Bible indicates that there are times like this:

1Sam 3:1 Then the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.

If there are no prophets, then one cannot seek an answer from them. If a group of people are seeking an answer, but they cannot agree on who is a true prophet of the Eternal, then they cannot receive an answer from a prophet.

Dreams and Visions

There are hundreds of references to dreams and visions in the Bible. The Eternal has used them to communicate with his prophets, apostles, ordinary people, and even unbelievers such as Pharaoh (Gen 41), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2), and Pilate's wife (Matt 27:17-19).

Dreams can leave a lot of room for doubt, as we all have dreams. Many of them have no meaning and are quickly forgotten. A person who does not want to accept a dream from God—who may be embarrassed by it—can easily dismiss it as a meaningless dream. Visions, are essentially the same thing as a dream, except they occur while we are awake. They are a little more difficult to dismiss, as we do not normally see and hear things that are not physically present while we are awake. Nevertheless, the receiver of a vision may still choose to doubt or ignore it. Even Peter had trouble with a vision that God sent him (Acts 10:17).

This writer prayed for the Eternal to reveal the answer to a pressing question in a dream, and received such a dream the next night on three occasions. At other times, this writer prayed for a dream, and did not receive one. Each time, he wrote down the dream, with as many details as he could remember. The first and

The Holy Spirit Talking

Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot."

Acts 10:19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are seeking you."

Acts 11:12 "Then the Spirit told me [Peter] to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man's house."

Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."… 4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.

Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.

Acts 20:22 "And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 "except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.

Acts 21:11 When he had come to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.' "

1Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,

Heb 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice,

1Pet 1:12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

Enquiring of God—Urim and Thummim

Inquiring of God also frequently occurs in the Scriptures. Rebekah knew how to inquire of God this long before Moses:

Gen 25:21 Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If all is well, why am I like this?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said to her: "Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.""

Exactly what Rebekah did, and exactly how God answered are not recorded. God instructed Israel to inquire of God and faulted them for not doing it. Enquiring of God took the form of using the Urim and Thummim, some other form of casting lots, or receiving words from the Eternal—sometimes clearly through a prophet, but at other times, the method whereby the words were heard is not explained.

Ex 28:30 "And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.

Num 27:21 "He [Joshua] shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the LORD for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation."

Josh 9:14 Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the LORD. 15 So Joshua made peace with them [Gibeonites], and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them. 16 And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them.

2Kngs 1:3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria [Ahaziah], and say to them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?'"

1Chr 10:14 But he [Saul] did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

Isa 8:19 And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter," should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?

Isa 30:1 "Woe to the rebellious children," says the LORD, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin; 2 Who walk to go down to Egypt, And have not asked My advice, To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, And to trust in the shadow of Egypt!

There are many instances where people enquire of God apparently without the Priests. Saul, after he had departed from God and the Spirit had left him, tried three methods, all of which worked at one time:

1Sam 28:6 And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.

Casting Lots

The Bible refers to "casting lots" for a number of decisions. History and archeology show that the method used for casting lots was the writing of each person’s name on a small stone or wood fragment, putting all the “lots” in a narrow necked jar, shaking it up, and letting one fall out. The question we must ask: was this something that was done only this one time, or was it an established principle that continued to be used in the New Testament? That is not clear, as the New Testament neither definitely confirms or denies the practice. When the evil Simon the Sorcerer attempted to buy his way into a position in the Church, Peter told him “Thou has neither part not lot in this matter” (Acts 8:21, KJV). The Greek kleros is used here, the same word used in Acts 1:26 and in Matthew 27:35 where they cast lots for the Christ’s clothing. It is possible that Peter was telling Simon that he would not even be considered in any future casting of lots for church leaders, or this may be just an expression meaning he would have no part in the church at all.

Consider this example: “And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, ‘You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.’ And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:23-26). They had defined some qualifications for an apostle, but did not know which man to choose. They asked the Eternal to choose for them by casting lots. Can we “cast lots” today? How can we do it?

The Eternal instructed Joshua to use lots to determine who was responsible for the sin that had caused Israel to be defeated in battle (Josh 7:10-20). The Eternal could have told Joshua exactly who did it, but instead He told him to cast lots the next day. The expression “was taken” found in verses 16 through 18 refers to taking a lot from a jar. They first put in the names of all the tribes, then the sub-tribes, then the families, until they found it was Achan.

The casting of lots was included in some of the temple services (Lev 16:8), and to divide the Israelite’s inheritance (Num 26:52-56). Joshua chapters 14 through 23 are a very detailed explanation of how it was done. This method prevented favoritism on the part of the leaders in dividing land—they could not give favorable land (with streams and trees) to their friends and the rocky hillsides to people that they did not like as much. As Proverbs 18:18 says, “Casting lots causes contentions to cease, and keeps the mighty apart.” Furthermore, the Eternal has not ceased to work through this method. The land of Israel will be divided again in the Millennium—by the casting of lots! (Ezk 45:1; 47:21-22; 48:29.)

As the physical inheritance was selected by lot, the principle of the spiritual inheritance being chosen “by lot” (the Eternal’s decision) is in the New Testament. “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance [lots, Greek kleros] of the saints in the light” (Col 1:12). The same usage is found in Acts 26:18 and 1 Peter 5:3. The Eternal even uses the expression “cast the lot” to describe some of His own decisions (Isa 34:16). This last expression is probably figurative, and some of the others may be as well. Nevertheless, “casting lots” was obviously a familiar concept to New Testament writers.

There is no specific New Testament command to stop, nor to continue the practice of casting lots. The principle stated in Proverbs 18, above, and other Scriptures below show that men cast lots without any specific command from the Eternal to do it. When the men on Jonah’s ship did not know who was responsible for the massive storm that was about to kill them, they prayed and cast lots. The Eternal answered them (Jonah 1:6-7). Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was selected by lot to burn incense when the angel appeared to him—there was no Old Testament command to do this, but certainly the Eternal was behind that selection (Luke 1:5-11).

“The lot is cast into the lap, but the disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Prv 16:33). If brethren are agreed that they want the Eternal’s will in a matter, but cannot agree on a specific decision, casting lots can be used to make the decision. The example quoted above contains all the essential elements to properly cast lots:

Miracles, Signs and Wonders

Principles:

Miracles—signs and wonders—can be both positive and negative. Positive miracles, deliverance from dire situations, should teach us to believe God, worship God, and trust him in the future. Negative miracles—great difficulties brought upon us or others—should serve to teach us not to repeat those mistakes, but to obey.

It seems that God likes to send positive miracles when there is an atmosphere of faith. He was wearied when He sent continuing positive miracles to the Israelites and they did not have faith. Jesus did few miracles when he was in his home environs where people had little faith in him. Negative miracles, however, he sends whenever he wants—especially when people are long since finished looking for positive miracles from Him.

By far, the single most mentioned miracles in the Bible are all the things that God did to remove Israel from Egypt, teach them in the desert and bring them into the promised land. About half of these references admonish Israel and others to remember these miracles and to trust God—to make right decisions. That is the overwhelming purpose of miracles stated in the Bible.

Are we only supposed to learn from the miracles that God decides to perform on his own, or can we ask for miracles to help us make decisions? That question will be answered in the next major section of this paper. (Afterward, we include an exhaustive study of all of all the scriptures that contain the word Hebrew and Greek words for "miracle", "sign" and "wonder".) If we have to wait for God to originate a miracle to be guided by him, then we indeed can only wait. But if there is evidence that we can ask God for a miracle, and if He will answer us that way, then there may be responsibility on us to do that.

While God certainly does speak to persons through dreams, visions, or a voice inside them, these types of communications from God are only known to the one person who received them. Others, even other believers, may doubt that they are truly from God, especially if the miracle recipient's doctrines different from the other believers. Whereas miraculous signs, audible voices of God, or messages from accepted prophets can be witnessed by many people and agreed to. This multiplicity of witnesses is important in situations where a decision is to be made based on God's direction.

We should never ask for a sign because we want to see a miracle, as Herod did (Luke 23:8). But if we ask in sincerity to do God's will, we do not have to fear that Satan will give us a sign in place of the sign we are seeking from God:

Isa 44:24 "This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense,

 

While it may seem strange, many religious people are offended by miracles—especially when these miracles do not confirm that they are right in their religious ways. When Jesus was in his home town, the people felt that he could be nothing special, because he grew up where they grew up. They did not think he could know anything that they did not know. So what was the result? Jesus did not do many miracles there!

Matt 13:54 And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, "Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works [1411]? 55 "Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 "And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?" 57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house." 58 Now He did not do many mighty works [1411] there because of their unbelief.

Could we be in a very similar situation today? Is it possible that many Christians think they know Jesus Christ from the Bible, that they understand what He wants them to do in their life, and that they do not need to be guided by miraculous occurrences? Is it possible that they do not want to be guided out of the path that they have chosen for themselves—which is usually an economically stable life that looks acceptable to their friends and family. Knowing God from the Scripture and knowing His miraculous power are tow different things. Jesus told the Sadducees:

Matt 22:29 Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power [1411] of God.

The various Greek and Hebrew words for "miracle" are frequently not used in the Bible text where a miracle is described. For example, each of the ten plagues of Egypt are not called a "miracle" as they are described in Exodus 7 to 12. But in many later Bible verses, they are referred to collectively as God's signs, wonders or miracles. Also Sarah's pregnancy when she was 90 (Gen 17:17) is not called a miracle in the Old Testament (Gen 18:11-14; 21:1-2), but is in Hebrews 11:11. Nevertheless, the study of these Hebrew words is useful because they bring us to many biblical miracles that we might otherwise overlook.

To find all of he miracles of the Bible, we simply must read the Bible's rich narrative and note all of the miraculous occurrences. There are a great many. In a few places, it is not clear whether a particular event was accomplished by human wisdom, miraculous power, or a combination of both.

"An Evil and Adulterous Generation Asks for a Sign"

Matthew 12:39 says, "…An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign…" From this, many people conclude that asking God for a sign is evil, and that they should not do it. If that were the only statement in the Bible on the subject, we might be justified in that conclusion. But the purpose of Christ is clear in the scriptures. All the Scriptures where Christ makes this statement are included, below, so we can see what the scripture means. In some cases, we have included quite a bit of the surrounding context, which makes the meaning more than plain.

Matt 12:24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, "This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons."… 30 "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. 31 Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. 33 Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign [4592] from You." 39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign [4592], and no sign [4592]  will be given to it except the sign [4592] of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here."

Luke 11:15 (similar to above) But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." 16 Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign [4592]  from heaven. 17 But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. 18 "If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 19 "And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 "But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you… 29 And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, "This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign [4592], and no sign [4592]  will be given to it except the sign [4592] of Jonah the prophet. 30 "For as Jonah became a sign [4592]  to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31 "The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. 32 "The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.

Matt 16:1 (Mark 8:11-20 is similar) Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign [4592] from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; 3 "and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs [4592] of the times. 4 "A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign [4592], and no sign [4592] shall be given to it except the sign [4592] of the prophet Jonah." And He left them and departed. …:12 Then they [the disciples] understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

John 2:18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign [4592] do You show to us, since You do these things?" [He had just driven the merchants out of the temple.] 19 Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20 Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. 23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs [4592] which He did.

 

There are several reasons why we can know that these passages do not forbid believers to ask for miraculous signs.

1) None of the scriptures above say that generation was evil and adulterous because they asked for a sign. Rather Luke flatly states: "This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign…" Matthew can be understood in the same way: evil and adulterous generations will seek after signs, but it is not the seeking after a sign that makes them evil or adulterous. The context of Matthew 12 and Luke 11 is Christ's casting out a demon and the Jewish leaders accusing Christ of casting it out by Beelzebub, the prince of demons. The Pharisees knew they were falsely accusing Jesus—they is why this story about seeking a sign is in the middle of this passage about eternal judgment and non-forgiveness of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The Jewish leaders wanted Jesus to stake his Messiahship on a sign so that they could discredit the sign and Jesus in the sight of the people.

2) The Jewish Leaders had plenty of other signs. In Matthew 16 and Mark 8, Christ asks the leaders why they can determine the weather from the sky, but not determine the signs of the times. They had already seen so many signs from Jesus that they could not refute them all. They tried, though. In John 9:16, below, they falsely accused Jesus of not keeping the Sabbath, hoping to disqualify His signs according to Deuteronomy 13. They were only partly effective, as some believed and some did not. If Jesus would stake his reputation on a single big sign, they could make an all-out effort to discredit it. John records that the leaders knew that his signs proved His divine authority. But they rejected Him, because accepting Him meant they would lose their authority:

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs [4592] that You do unless God is with him."

John 6:2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs [4592] which He performed on those who were diseased.

John 7:31 And many of the people believed in Him, and said, "When the Christ comes, will He do more signs [4592] than these which this Man has done?"

John 9:16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, "This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" [4592] And there was a division among them.

John 11:47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do? For this Man works many signs [4592]. 48 "If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation."

3) Jesus did give the Jewish leaders a big sign to occur at the end of his ministry! If asking for a sign were evil, why would he give them a sign in response? Each of the main Scripture quotes beginning this section shows that Christ gave His death for three days as a miraculous sign. What did the Pharisees do with the sign that Jesus gave them? Exactly what they planned to do with the other sign that they were demanding—they discredited it. They bribed everyone necessary to make a successful disinformation campaign and conspiracy high up in both the Jewish and Roman governments:

Matt 28:12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.' 14 And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure." 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

The Bible does not teach against asking for a miraculous sign when one acts in faith in order to believe. It teaches against asking for a sign when one has an evil purpose to discredit the sign to promote unbelief.

Biblical Examples of Decisions Based upon Asking for a Miracle

This section is the crux of this paper—showing many places were servants of God asked God for a miracle in order to make a decision according to God's will. Some of the examples, below, use the Hebrew and Greek words for signs, wonders and miracles. These words are in boldface and contain their corresponding Strong's number in brackets afterward [like this]. A detailed meaning of each of these Hebrew and Greek words can be found in the section after this one.

Some of the other examples do not contain any Hebrew/Greek words for sign, wonder or miracle, but the description of the event indeed appears miraculous. As these are harder to search for, this author would be glad to know about any other examples that any reader of this paper may find (nedwards@cbtm.info).

This writers has added boldface emphasis to some words in the scriptures, below, to highlight points that people frequently read over. A brief explanation is included after each passage, showing its relationship to the purpose of this paper.

Abraham's Servant Asks For a Miracle to Select a Wife for Isaac

Gen 24:12 Then he said, "O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 "Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 "Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, 'Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,' and she says, 'Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink' -- let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master." 15 And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. 16 Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her and said, "Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher." 18 So she said, "Drink, my lord." Then she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand, and gave him a drink. 19 And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, "I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking."

There is no record that this unnamed servant of Abraham was instructed by Abraham or God to select a wife in this manner. He prays to God asking for success my finding a woman who will miraculously say what he has asked God to have her say. The woman did this immediately. While the words for sign, wonder, miracle, etc. are not used here, it certainly is a miraculous occurrence. (Today, if you ask someone for a drink of water, how many people offer to feed you a meal or put gas in your cars?) The servant used this miracle to make a very important decision for his master, Abraham.

Jacob Agrees to Worship God and Tithe to Him in Exchange for Divine Protection

Gen 28:20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 "so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. 22 "And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You."

Jacob had just fled from Esau, who was trying to kill him, to an unfamiliar land. He did not know how we would care for himself and he feared for his life. He was asking for divine protection, as it turned out, for 20 years so that he could eventually return home without danger from Esau or others along he way. God protected and prospered Jacob, and Jacob followed through on his part of the bargain.

Moses Asks God for A Way to Convince Others He Is Representing God

Exodus 4:1 Then Moses answered and said, "But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, 'The LORD has not appeared to you.' " 2 So the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A rod." 3 And He said, "Cast it on the ground." So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail" (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), 5 "that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you." 6 Furthermore the LORD said to him, "Now put your hand in your bosom." And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow. 7 And He said, "Put your hand in your bosom again." So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh. 8 "Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign [0226], that they may believe the message of the latter sign [0226]. 9 "And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs [0226], or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. And the water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land."17 "And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs [0226]."

Moses has the essential question many people ask: is this work I am being asked to do of God? How God is giving Moses miraculous signs both to convince Moses to go and to convince Pharaoh that God is working there.

Miracles Given to Moses To Convince Aaron, Elders and the People.

Exodus 4:27 And the LORD said to Aaron, "Go into the wilderness to meet Moses." So he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him. 28 So Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs [0226] which He had commanded him. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. 30 And Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs [0226] in the sight of the people. 31 So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

When Aaron, the elders and the people sought proof that Moses mission was genuinely representing God, he was able to do the miracles that God had given him for the occasion.

God Accepted Pharaoh's Request for a Miracle

Exodus 7:9 "When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, 'Show a miracle [4159] for yourselves,' then you shall say to Aaron, 'Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.' " 10 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the LORD commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.

God told Moses that Pharaoh would ask for a miracle. God did not tell Moses to fault Pharaoh for "tempting God', but prepared Moses with miracles to show him. This Miracle “contest” between Moses and Pharaoh’s magicians was the beginning of many mighty acts to show Pharaoh that God was more powerful than he.

Rehab Asks for a Sign to Make Her Decision

Josh 2:10 "For we [Rahab & others in Jericho] have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12 Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the LORD, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father's house, and give me a true token [0226--"sure sign", NIV], 13 and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death." 14 So the men answered her, "Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the LORD has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you." 15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall.

Rahab asked for a sign from which to make her decision. This was not a miraculous sign, but it was for a major significant event. The men agreed that they disserved to die if they did not protect Rehab and her family. Upon receiving this sign, Rahab let them down through the basket and kept their business secret—she could have simply decided to turn them in. Rahab is listed as a woman of faith in Hebrews 11:31.

Joshua Asks for the Sun to Stand Still

Josh 10:12 Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: "Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon." 13 So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. 14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the LORD heeded the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. 15 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

Joshua wanted to finish the job of killing the Amorites whom God delivered to Israel, rather than just returning to their camp at Gilgal. He asked God to make the sun stand still, and he was able to destroy the Amorites for an extra day.

Gideon Asks for a Sign before Doing a Dangerous Act for God.

Judges 6:12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!" 13 Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles [6381] which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." 14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?" 15 So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." 16 And the LORD said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man." 17 Then he said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign [0226] that it is You who talk with me…. 21 Then the Angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. 22 Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the LORD. So Gideon said, "Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face."… 25 Now it came to pass the same night that the LORD said to him, "Take your father's young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; 26 "and build an altar to the LORD your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down." 27 So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the LORD had said to him. But because he feared his father's household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.

Miracles were an instrumental part in convincing Gideon to follow God to tear down the altar of Baal. Gideon was afraid to tear it down during he day, because he feared the people, just as most Christians today would be fearful to tear down a Pagan altar or Mosque in broad daylight—even if God commanded them. Gideon asked for a miracle so he could really know that it was God, received the miracle, and decided to follow God.

Gideon Asks God for a Miracle to Confirm His Role as a Military Commander

Jdgs 6:33 Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the people of the East, gathered together; and they crossed over and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also gathered behind him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. 36 So Gideon said to God, "If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said -- 37 "look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said." 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew." 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

Gideon had the Spirit of the Lord, and quite a few men gathered to him, but he was facing the combined forces of several nations. Gideon was not an experienced military commander, and was uncertain—must as most Christians today would be very uneasy if God asked them to lead a battle against an army with armored vehicles, laser-guided weapons, etc. Gideon really wanted to know that God would be with him in this battle, so I asked got for a miracle one night, and then an opposite miracle the next night.

Manoah seeks confirmation that the angel's instructions were from God.

Judges 13:8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, and said, "O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born." 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field;… 11 So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man, he said to Him, "Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?" And He said, "I am."… 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the LORD. And He did a wondrous thing [6381] while Manoah and his wife looked on— 20 it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar—the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.

Manoah asked for the angel that spoke to his wife to come back so that he could know how to raise Samson and be sure that he was an angel of God. The angel did a miracle to show that this instruction was from God.

Samson Seeks Death Rather than Being a Blind Spectacle for the Philistines.

Jdgs 16:25 So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, "Call for Samson, that he may perform for us." So they called for Samson from the prison, and he performed for them. And they stationed him between the pillars….28 Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, "O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!" 29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. 30 Then Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.

Samson was blinded and made to work in the prison after giving away the secret of his strength to the philistines. Thousands of philistines made fun of him in their temple. Samson prayed for a miracle to again receive supernatural strength, so that he could die along with the Philistines. This was certainly a life or death decision!

Jonathan Asks for a Sign for a Two-man Attack

1Sam 14:6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few." 7 So his armorbearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart." 8 Then Jonathan said, "Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 "If they say thus to us, 'Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them. 10 "But if they say thus, 'Come up to us,' then we will go up. For the LORD has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign [0226] to us." 11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, "Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden." 12 Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, "Come up to us, and we will show you something." Jonathan said to his armorbearer, "Come up after me, for the LORD has delivered them into the hand of Israel." 13 And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them… 23 So the LORD saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted to Beth Aven.

This is a very clear example of a man asking for a "sign" from God to make a life or death decision. Jonathan uses the Hebrew 'owth (Strong's 0226) when he asks God if he and his armor bearer should confront an overwhelming number of Philistines. The two Israelites killed over 20 Philistines to begin with, and then a much greater victory followed. Both Jonathan and the writer of Samuel clearly give God he credit for this victory.

David Waits to Hear the Sound of Marching in Trees before he Attacks

2Sam 5:22 Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 23 Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, "You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. 24 "And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines."

This miracle is a bit difficult to understand, but it is not normal to hear sound of marching in tree-tops. Trees tend to be absorbing of sound, rather than reflective. As it was, David wanted to know when to attack Israel and asked God what to do. God gave David instruction, and it worked.

Elijah Make Life or Death Decision for Hundreds of People by Asking for Miraculous Fire

1Kngs 18:21  And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23 "Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it.

36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 "Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again." 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!" 40 And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!" So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.

There was apparently a genuine lack of knowledge as to who was God—YHVH (the Eternal, Yahweh, Jehovah) or Baal. The people could not answer Elijah's challenge. Elijah certainly could have preached to them from the writings of Moses. He could have explained how Baal as a phony. But Elijah prayed for miraculous fire to burn his wet sacrifice, and received it. It convinced the people who God was, and they chose to kill the prophets of Baal as God has instructed (Deut 13).

Elijah Asks for a Miracle to Affect the Decisions of Army Commanders—It Does!

2Kngs 1:9 Then the king [Ahaziah] sent to him [Elijah] a captain of fifty with his fifty men. So he went up to him; and there he was, sitting on the top of a hill. And he spoke to him: "Man of God, the king has said, 'Come down!' " 10 So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, "If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men." And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. 11 Then he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty men. And he answered and said to him: "Man of God, thus has the king said, 'Come down quickly!' " 12 So Elijah answered and said to them, "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men." And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. 13 Again, he sent a third captain of fifty with his fifty men. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and pleaded with him, and said to him: "Man of God, please let my life and the life of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. 14 Look, fire has come down from heaven and burned up the first two captains of fifties with their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight."

This miracle, requested by Elijah, certainly had an effect on the decision of these three captains of fifty. The first two attempted to obey the evil king Ahaziah against Elijah, the prophet of God, and they died. The third regarded the miracles of God, spoke to Elijah nicely, and he lived.

Miracle shows Elisha and Sons of the Prophets that Elisha Succeeds Elijah with Double the Spirit

2Kngs 2:9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?" Elisha said, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." 10 So he said, "You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so." 11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, "Where is the LORD God of Elijah?" And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. 15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.

Elijah was given a confirmation to his prayer via a miracle—he could see the chariot of fire. The sons of the prophets, a group of men who lived and studied with Elijah, accepted the spirit of Elijah going to Elisha because of the miracle of he parting of the waters. All good decisions!

Hezekiah Asks For a Miraculous Sign

2Kngs 20:1 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.' " 2 Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 "Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 5 "Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6 "And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David." ' " 7 Then Isaiah said, "Take a lump of figs." So they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered. 8 And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "What is the sign [0226] that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD the third day?" 9 Then Isaiah said, "This is the sign [0226] to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing which He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees or go backward ten degrees?" 10 And Hezekiah answered, "It is an easy thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees; no, but let the shadow go backward ten degrees." 11 So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the LORD, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.

God promised that Hezekiah would be healed in three days, but Hezekiah asked for an immediate miraculous sign. God gave a sign that has had theologians and astronomers scratching their headers for millennia—the shadow of the sun went backwards. It appears that the sign was known even outside Israel (2Ch 32:24, 31). While Hezekiah asked for a sign so that he could know to plan for a continued life, not his death, it was God who offered this massive sign seen by many.

David Seeks a Sign as a Witness against His Enemies

Pslm 86:17 Show me a sign [0226] for good, That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

David was persecuted by his enemies and in very difficult straights. He asks for a miraculous sign that his evil enemies might see so they know that they are persecuting a man who loves God. (His enemies would certainly not be impressed with anything less than miraculous.)

Ahaz Told to Ask for a Sign by God, but He Refuses—Gets One Anyway

Isa 7:10 Moreover the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 "Ask a sign [0226] for yourself from the LORD your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above." 12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!" 13 Then he said, "Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign [0226]: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

God had just promised Ahaz, king of Judah, that he would not be defeated by the combined forces of Israel and Israel that were attacking him. God commanded him to ask for a miraculous sign, but he refused, apparently thinking he knew the scriptures better than God does. As it was, God provided his own sign, but it was fulfilled much, much later. Ahaz may well have had the same difficulty that many Christians do today: they do not want to be shaken out of their comfort zone by God.

The Jewish Leaders Should have Decided to Accept Jesus Based Upon His Miraculous Works

John 10:36 [Jesus said:] "do you say of Him [Jesus] whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 "but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." 39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.

Jesus told he Jewish leaders that they should have believed on him just for the works that he did. There Greek word for works here does not mean "miraculous works" specifically, but refers to any type of work. Jesus miraculous works were already well known, as three chapters ago John says: "And many of the people believed in Him, and said, "When the Christ comes, will He do more signs [1411] than these which this Man has done?" (John 7:31). Jesus asked God for these miracles that the Jews might believe, but the Jewish leaders made the wrong decision. They did not believe his miraculous signs, but sought to put Him to death instead. This concept is so important, it is repeated four chapters later:

John 14:11, NIV “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles [ergon "works"] themselves.”

Stephen Asks for a Miraculous Quick Death and Receives It

Acts 7:55 But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit and had performed many miracles (Acts 8:6-10). He could have asked God to deliver him, but he asked for God to receive his spirit and to forgive his stoners. The Greek indicates that he knelt down under his own power and then died almost immediately. Usually, stoning was a long painful experience where the stoners through rocks for some time after the person falls over and stops moving, because it is not always easy to tell if the person is dead or not (Acts 14:19).

Circumcised Believers Convinced by Miracle to Accept Gentile's Baptism

Acts 10:45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47 "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Many of the Jewish believers, even Peter just verses above in the chapter, did not believe that Gentiles could be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. It was not doctrinal study that changed their mind, but this miracle of the Holy Spirit pouring out in power.

Testimony of Miracles and Wonders Was An Important Part of Jerusalem Decision

Acts 15:1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question…. 12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles [4592] and wonders [5059] God had worked through them among the Gentiles. 13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, "Men and brethren, listen to me:"

The men meeting from Antioch and Jerusalem were familiar with Christ's and His Deciples' miracles, and they accepted the testimony of Barnabas' and Paul's miracles among the Gentiles as proof that God was working there. This led to the decision not to require Gentiles to convert to

The Jews Look for Signs to Accept a Teacher, and Christ Gave them Signs.

1Cor 1:18, NIV For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power [1411] of God….  22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power [1411] of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

Paul does not fault the Jews for seeking after a miraculous sign—or the Greeks for seeking after wisdom. Christ was both, if they would accept him! Christ was a stumbling block to the Jews because He was a big problem to them! His resurrection, His many other miracles, and His disciple's miracles provided signs that the Jews were looking for. In order not to give up their stubborn, self will and admit that they should follow Christ, many Jews had to ignore Christ or claim He never existed or did any signs. They still do today.

"Signs, Wonders and Mighty Deeds are Evidence of Which Apostles to Follow"

2Cor 11:3 But I [Paul] fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted -- you may well put up with it! 5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. 12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light…. 18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. 19 For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! 20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face.

 2Cor 12:11 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs [4592] of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs [4592] and wonders [5059] and mighty deeds [1411]…. 17 Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps? 19 Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification. 20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

All of 2 Corinthians chapters 11 and 12 are a comparison between false apostles who were teaching error and abusing power among the brethren there, and the true servants of God: Paul, Timothy and others. Paul spends many verses detailing his revelations and miracles. Verse 12, above, specifically challenges the Corinthians to realize that they had seen the signs, wonders and mighty deeds (miracles) of an apostle. Many of these things were miracles that Paul specifically asked God to do. Paul appeals to these supernatural events, rather than give a long scriptural explanation of the difference in their teachings. The miracles were enough to make their decisions.

Hebrew & Greek words for “Sign”, "Wonder" and "Miracle"

In the process of writing this, the author read and briefly summarized every scripture translated from the Hebrew and Greek words for "Sign", "Wonder" and "Miracle". The intent was to be thorough and not miss anything.

An approximate and brief definition for the five Hebrew words and three Greek words, with Strong's number, English spelling and pronunciation appears below.

 

English

Hebrew

Greek

Sign

0226 tAa 'owth {oth}

4592 shmei/on semeion {say-mi'-on}

Wonder

4159 tp,Am mowpheth {mo-faith'} or tpeAm mopheth {mo-faith'}

4652 ha'l'p.mi miphla'ah {mif-law-aw'}

5059 te,raj teras {ter'-as}

Miracle—extraordinary, powerful occurance

6381 al'P' pala' {paw-law'}

6382 al,P, pele' {peh'-leh}

1411 du,namij dunamis {doo'-nam-is}

 

The complete Strong's definition, King James Bible usage statistics, and a sentence summarizing how the word is used in each verse appears below for each word. The sentence summary was chosen, rather than just including the verse, because frequently information from the surrounding context is needed to understand the nature of the miracle, and/or the entire verse is not needed. The following notes may occur after each summary sentence:

 

       "(above)" — Verse is cited in section above where people request miracles to help with a decision.

       "(below)" — Verse is cited in section below where non-requested miracles are used in decision-making.

 

Five Hebrew Words

 

0226 tAa 'owth {oth}

Meaning:  1) sign, signal 1a) a distinguishing mark 1b) banner 1c) remembrance 1d) miraculous sign 1e) omen 1f) warning 2) token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof

Origin:  probably from 0225 (in the sense of appearing); TWOT - 41a; n f

Usage:  AV - sign(s) 60, token(s) 14, ensign(s) 2, miracles 2, mark 1; 79

 

Owth does not always mean a miraculous sign, i.e. circumcision.

 

Gen 1:14           Heavenly lights are signs for festivals, days and years. (below)

Gen 4:15           Cain had a sign to remind people not to kill him. (below)

Gen 9:12, 13, 17            The rainbow is the sign of God’s covenant not to destroy the earth by water.

Gen 17:11          Circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant with Abraham.

Ex 3:12             Sign given to Moses to encourage him to go to Egypt to free Israel. (below)

Ex 4:8, 9, 17, 28, 30       Signs given to convince Moses, Pharaoh, Aaron, the elders and Israel. (above)

Ex 7:3               Signs to convince Pharaoh and Egyptian people. (above)

Ex 8:23             Plagues on Egypt but not Israel is a sign that the people are different. (below)

Ex 10:1-2          Signs were to Pharaoh so we would decide to humble himself and let Israel go. (below)

Ex 12:13            Blood on the doorposts was a sign that God would pass over his people with the plague. (below)

Ex 13:9             Unleavened bread is a sign of God’s deliverance and of His law. (below)

Ex 13:16            Redemption of the firstborn is a sign of Israel’s deliverance from death of the firstborn. (below)

Ex 31:13, 17      Observance of the Sabbath is a sign that God sets apart his people and that he created the heaven and earth in six days and was refreshed on the seventh. (below)

Num 2:2            All of he Israelites to camp by their own sign (ensign).

Num 14:11, 22   Israel chose to ignore God even after great signs, resulted in punishment & almost complete disinheritance. (below)

Num 16:38        Fire from the Lord consumed men who where not of Aarons house. The censors were saved and hammered into a covering for he altar to remind Israel to follow God.

Num 17:10        Aaron's rod budded to show God was using him for the priesthood and to remind others not to complain. (below)

Deut 4:34          God gave signs so we would know He is the true God and none other. (below);

Deut 6:8            God's commands are like a sign in our hand and frontlets before our eyes, they tell us what to do. (below)

Deut 6:22          Signs and wonders done by God to deliver Israel from Egypt

Deut 7:19          Signs and wonders remind us to trust God in difficult situations. (below)

Deut 11:3          Remembering God's signs would provide trust and strength to possess the land. (below)

Deut 11:18         Remembering God's signs help us not to serve other Gods. (below)

Deut 13:1, 2       False prophets can show signs and wonders that come to pass.

Deut 26:8          Israel came out of Egypt with God's signs and wonders.

Deut 28:46         Curses are signs and wonders showing God's displeasure. (below)

Deut 29:3          Israel had great trials, but saw great signs and wonders with their own eyes.

Deut 34:11         Moses performed mighty signs and wonders.

Josh 2:12           Rahab asked for a "sure sign" that the spies whom she helped would deal kindly with her family. (above)

Josh 4:6            Twelve stones taken from the middle of the Jordan were set up on the bank to remind Israel of the miracles of its waters parting.

Josh 24:17         People give miraculous signs as a reason to continue to serve God. (below)

Jdgs 6:17           Gideon asks for a "sign" that God is talking to him. (above)

1Sam. 2:34        The death of Hophni and Phinehas on the same day are to be a sign to Eli of God's judgment on his house.

1Sam 10:7, 9     Signs that Samuel gave to Saul when he anointed him King of Israel.

1Sam 14:10       Jonathan asks for a sign to know if he should attack the Philistines. (above)

2Ki 19:29           Signs given to Hezekiah to show that it was the Eternal who defeated Senacharib.

2Ki 20:8-9         Hezekiah asks for a sign that he will be healed in three days and God turns the shadow back 10 degrees. (above)

Neh 9:10           Signs and wonders were sent against Pharaoh.

Job 21:29          Job mentions the signs of the wicked.

Ps 65:8              People who dwell in the furthest parts of the Earth are afraid of God's signs.

Ps 74:4              God's enemies set up their banners for signs.

Ps 74: 9             In a day of trouble God's people have no prophets and no miraculous signs.

Ps 78:43            God worked his signs in Egypt.

Ps 86:17            When David is persecuted, he asks for a sign for his enemies to see that they might be ashamed. (above)

Ps 105:27          Moses and Aaron performed signs and wonders in Egypt.

Ps 135:9            God did signs and wonders in Egypt.

Isa 7:11, 14       God Commands Ahaz to ask for a sign. (above)

Isa 8:18             God’s people for signs and wonders to show people to seek God not, mediums and wizards.

Isa 19:20           An alter and pillar in Egypt will be a sign to make the people decide to worship the true God. (below)

Isa 20:3             Isaiah walks naked and barefoot as a sign and wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia.

Isa 37:30           Signs given to Hezekiah to show that it was the Eternal who defeated Senacharib.

Isa 38:7, 22       Hezekiah was given the sign of the shadow going backward 10 degrees. (above)

Isa 44:25           God foils the signs of false prophets (NIV).

Isa 55:13           The earth will have peace and good trees will grow instead of briars and thorns. These will be everlasting signs.

Isa 66:19           God will use miraculous signs to gather nations to Him who have not known Him. (below)

Jer 10:2             Do not be terrified by signs in the sky.

Jer 32:20, 21      God brought his people out of Egypt with signs and wonders.

Jer 44:29           God gave a sign to show what would happen to the Israelites that decided to go to Egypt against his counsel.

Ezk 4:3              Ezekiel laid siege with models as a sign to Jerusalem.

Ezk 14:8            God makes a sign out of false prophets so we will know that he is the Lord. (below)

Ezk 20:12, 20     Sabbaths were a sign that should lead people to God. (below)

 

4159 tp,Am mowpheth {mo-faith'} or tpeAm mopheth {mo-faith'}

Meaning:  1) wonder, sign, miracle, portent 1a) wonder (as a special display of God's power) 1b) sign, token (of future event)

Origin:  from 03302 in the sense of conspicuousness; TWOT - 152a; n m

Usage:  AV - wonder 25, sign 8, miracle 2, wondered at 1; 36

 

Ex 4:21             Wonders/Miracles will harden Pharaoh’s heart. (see above)

Ex 7:3, 9           Miracles were signs to Pharaoh of who was God. (below)

Ex 11:9,10         Miracles hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

Deut 4:34          Miracles showed Israel who God is. (below)

Deut 6:22          Israel was brought out of Egypt with signs and wonders.

Deut 7:19          God will continue the miracles against Israel’s enemies if they trust Him. (below)

Deut 13:1-2       False prophets that do miracles but teach against the true God should be killed.

Deut 26:8          Israel came out of Egypt with signs and wonders.

Deut 28:46         Miraculous cursings are a sign of disobedience. (below)

Deut 29:3          Israel had great trials, but also saw great signs and wonders.

Deut 34:11         Nobody else has done signs and wonders like Moses

1Ki 13:3,5          Prophet gave sign to king Jeroboam. (below)

1Chr 16:12        Remember God’s judgments & miracles (6381 used here too).

2Chr 32:24, 31   Miracles for Hezekiah observed also by Babylon. (below).

Neh 9:10           Signs and wonders against Egypt made a name for God that day.

Ps 71:7              David had become like a wonder/miracle (oddity) to people, but he trusted in God.

Ps 78:43            People forgot God’s signs and wonder in Egypt.

Ps 105:5            We are to remember God’s ancient works and seek His strength now. (below)

Ps 105:27; 135:9            Remember Gods works in Egypt and Canaan.

Isa 8:18             God’s people for signs and wonders to show people to seek God not, mediums and wizards.

Isa 20:3             Isaiah walks naked and barefoot as a sign and wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia.

Jer 32:20-21      God’s people brought out of Egypt with signs and wonders that have continued.

Ezk 12:6, 11      Ezekiel’s digging through the wall and carrying out his possessions was a sign.

Ezk 24:24, 27     Ezekiel is a sign so that people will know who God is.

Joel 2:30            Signs cause people to come to God to be saved.

Zech 3:8            Joshua and his companions were a sign to people around them. (below)

 

04652 ha'l'p.mi miphla'ah {mif-law-aw'}

Meaning:  1) wondrous work

Origin:  from 06381; TWOT - 1768c; n f

Usage:  AV - wondrous work 1; 1

Used only here:

 

Job 37:16 Do you know how the clouds are balanced, Those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?

 

 

06381 al'P' pala (810c)

Meaning: to be surpassing or extraordinary

Origin: denom. vb. from 6382

Usage: bring extraordinary(1), deal marvelously(1), difficult(5), extraordinary degree(1), fulfill a special(3), made his wonderful(1), made marvelous(1), makes a difficult(1), makes a special(1), marvelous(1), marvelously(1), miracles(5), monstrous things(1), seemed hard(1), show your power(1), things...difficult(1), things...wonderful(1), too difficult(2), wonderful(4), wonderful acts(1), wonderful deeds(3), wonderful things(2), wonderful works(2), wonders(20), wondrous deeds(3), wondrous works(3), wondrously(2), wondrously marvelous(1).

 

Notes:  (a) Exo 6:1; Exo 7:4, Exo 7:5; Exo 9:15; Exo 13:3, Exo 13:9, 14 (b) Exo 7:3; Exo 15:11; Deu 6:22; Neh 9:10; Psa 105:27; Psa 135:9; Jer 32:20; Act 7:36 (c) Exo 11:1; Exo 12:31-33

 

Gen 18:14          Sarah is to have a son.

Ex 3:20             Miracles in Egypt affect Pharaoh. (below)

Ex 34:10            Moses prays for God to change on Israel, He promises miracles (below)

Lev 22:21          A special vow is fulfilled. (Is this a vow in which a miracle was asked?)

Num 6:2            A special vow, Nazarite is fulfilled.

Num 15:3,8       A special vow & offering

Deut 17:8          A matter too hard/overwhelming/wondrous for Israel to judge.

Deut 28:59         Extraordinary plagues

Deut 30:11         God’s commands not too miraculous for you

Jos. 3:5             God did miracles so people would know to follow Joshua (below)

Jdgs 6:13           Gideon missed the miracles of the exodus, so he asked for a sign of his own to know it was God. (below)

Jdgs 13:19         Angel goes up in flame for Manoah, Samson’s dad (above)

2 Sam 1:26        David’s love of Jonathan more wonderful than love of women

2Sam 13:2         Amnon would “need a miracle” to get with Tamar

1Chr 16:9, 12, 24           Remember and tell his miracles to other nations

2Chr. 2:9           Temple to be miraculous/wondrous

2Chr 26:15        Uzziah was miraculously/wonderfully helped to build engines of war

Neh 9:17           Miracles should inspire right decisions (below)

Job 5:9; 9:10; 10:16        God does miracles

Job 37:5            God’s miracles do affect the activities of men (below)

Job 37:14          Consider God’s wonders

Job 42:3            God’s work too wonderful/miraculous for Job to know

Ps 9:1; 26:7; 31:21; 40:5; 71:17; 72:18; 75:1          Praise God for and tell about his wonderful works

Ps 78:4, 11, 32   God works are a reason to follow him (below)

Ps. 86:10; 96:3; 98:1; 105:2, 5 (below); 106:7, 22; 107:8, 15, 21, 24, 31; 111:4; 118:23

                        Praise God for and tell about his wonderful works

Ps 119:18, 27     David: I see wonderful/miraculous things in your law and meditate on them.

Ps 131:1            David does not concern himself with things too wonderful/miraculous for him.

Ps 136:4; 139:14; 145:5   praising and meditating on his wonderful works

Prov 30:18         Three things are too wonderful/miraculous for me.

Isa 28:29           God is miraculous in counsel. (below)

Isa 29:14           Miracles to show apostate people the true God. (below)

Jer.21:2             Zedekiah seeks miraculous deliverance but does not receive it.

Jer 32:17, 27      God made the earth by miraculous power, there is nothing too hard for him.

Dan 8:24           King of Greece will destroy to an extraordinary degree.

Dan 11:36          King of the North will speak marvelous things against the God of gods.

Joel 2:26            Miracles cause people to know who is God. (below)

Mic 7:15            Miracles cause people to fear God and Israel. (below)

Zech 8:6            Peace in Jerusalem will be marvelous (miraculous) both in the eyes of men and God.

 

6382 al,P, pele' {peh'-leh}

Meaning:  1) wonder, marvel 1a) wonder (extraordinary, hard to understand thing) 1b) wonder (of God's acts of judgment and redemption)

Origin:  from 06381; TWOT - 1768a; n m

Usage:  AV - wonder 8, wonderful 3, wonderfully 1, marvellous 1; 13

 

Ex. 15:11           God works wonders.

Ps. 77:11           Remembering miracles of long ago

Ps 77:14            The God who performs miracles is the true God. (below)

Ps 78:12            Forgetting God’s miracles goes along with forgetting his covenant. (below)

Ps 88:10, 12      David ask God if His wonders will be remembered if he dies.

Ps 89:5              The heavens praise God’s wonders.

Ps 119:129        The law is wonderful/miraculous

Isa. 9:6              Messiah will be called wonderful/miraculous counselor

Isa 25:1             God has done marvelous things.

Isa 29:14           Miracles to show apostate people the true God. (below)

Lam. 1:9            Jerusalem’s collapse was astounding/miraculous.

Dan. 12:6          "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?" (below)

 

Three Greek Words

4592 shmei/on semeion {say-mi'-on}

Meaning:  1) a sign, mark, token 1a) that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known 1b) a sign, prodigy, portent, i.e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature 1b1) of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen 1b2) of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God's

Origin:  from a presumed derivative of the base of 4591; TDNT - 7:200,1015; n n

Usage:  AV - sign 50, miracle 23, wonder 3, token 1; 77

 

Matt 12:38-39; 16:1-4 (Mark 8:11-12; Luke 11:16, 29-30; John 2:18)

                        Jewish leaders, an evil an adulterous generation, ask for a sign so they can discredit it. (See above section entitled "An Evil and Adulterous Generation Asks for a Sign"

Matt 24:3 (Mark 13:4; Luke 21:7)

                        Christ's disciples ask Him what will be the sign of His coming and the end of the age.

Matt 24:24 (Mark 13:22)

                        "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."

Matt 24:30 (Luke 21:25)

                        "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power [1411] and great glory."

Matt 26:48         Judas used a kiss as a sign to betray Jesus.

Mark 16:17, 20  Believers would preach the word with a variety of miraculous signs confirming it. (below)

Luke 2:12, 34     Baby Jesus lying in a manger was a sign to the shepherds. (below)

Luke 21:11        There will be great signs in the heavens at the time of the end.

Luke 23:8          Herod hoped to see Jesus perform some miraculous sign.

John 2:11          Jesus' first sign was turning water into wine.

John 2:23          People believed Jesus because of his many signs.

John 3:2            Nicodemus acknowledges that Jesus is a teacher from God because of his signs.

John 4:48          Jesus told one group that they would not believe except for signs and wonders. (below)

John 4:54          Jesus healing was the second sign that he did.

John 6:2, 14       The multitudes followed Jesus and believed he was "that prophet" because of the miraculous signs he did. (below)

John 6:26, 30     Some people were not attracted to Jesus because of the miraculousness of the signs, but they simply wanted his free food.

John 7:31          People trusted in Jesus because they doubted that any future "Christ" could do more signs than Jesus.

John 9:16          "Therefore some of the Pharisees said, 'This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.' Others said, '"How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?' And there was a division among them."

John 10:41         John the Baptists did not signs, but everything he said about Christ was true.

John 11:47         Jewish leaders realized that Christ's miraculous signs were attracting a huge following, so they planned to kill him to keep their authority.

John 12:17         The sign of raising Lazarus from the dead attracted a huge following. (below).

John 12:37         Some people were not convinced by Jesus' many signs.

John 20:30         Jesus did many other signs not written in the book of John.

Acts 2:19, 22     Jesus did many signs as prophesied. (See Joel 2:26-28, below)

Acts 2:43           The apostles did many signs.

Acts 4:16, 22     Everyone in Jerusalem knew about the healing of the man born lame.

Acts 4:30           Disciples pray for signs and wonders to be done by them. (below)

Acts 5:12           Apostles performing signs and wonders, including the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira. (below)

Acts 6:8            Stephen did great signs and wonders among the people.

Acts 7:36           Moses did signs and wonders in Egypt, and the Red Sea and for 40 years in the desert.

Acts 8:6            People listened to Philip after hearing and seeing his miracles. (below)

Acts 8:13           Simon magus was convinced by Philip's signs.

Acts 14:3           The message of Paul and Barnabas was confirmed by signs and wonders.

Acts 15:12         Signs and wonders among gentiles instrumental in Jerusalem church decision. (above)

Rom 4:11          Circumcision is a sign.

Rom 15:19         The Gospel was preached by miraculous signs and wonders. (below)

1Cor 1:22          "For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom."

1Cor 14:22        Speaking in tongues is a sign to unbelievers, prophesying is for believers. (below)

2Cor 12:12        Corinthians to know true apostles from signs, wonders and mighty deeds. (above)

2Th 2:9             The "lawless one" will do signs and lying wonders.

2Th 3:17           Paul wrote a greeting with his own hand as a sign of the genuineness of his letters.

Heb 2:4             Believers must not choose to reject salvation confirmed with signs, wonders powerful miracles. (below)

Rev 12:1, 3        Signs in heaven foretell events: the woman clothed with the sun and the moon at her feet and the red dragon.

Rev 13:13-14     Miraculous signs of the second beast. (below)

Rev 15:1            Seven angels with the seven last plagues are a sign. (below)

Rev 16:14          Signs of demons convince people to go to war. (below)

Rev 19:20          People are deceived by signs, but those who make false signs are punished. (below)

 

5059 te,raj teras {ter'-as}

Meaning:  1) a prodigy, portent 2) miracle: performed by any one

Origin:  of uncertain affinity; TDNT - 8:113,1170; n n

Usage:  AV - wonder 16; 16

 

This word is always used along with "sign" (#4592 semeion) in the New Testament. It sometimes occurs as "signs and wonders" and other times as "wonders and signs". In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, it is "signs and lying wonders" from the "lawless one". Since all of the references to "sign" are covered above, there is no need to repeat a line for each one. The word teras (#5059) occurs in these verses:

Matt 24:24; Mark 13:22; John 4:48; Acts 2:19, 22, 43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36; 14:3; 15:12; Rom 15:19; 2Cor 12:12; 2Th 2:9; Heb 2:4

 

1411 du,namij dunamis {doo'-nam-is}

Meaning:  1) strength power, ability 1a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth 1b) power for performing miracles 1c) moral power and excellence of soul 1d) the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth 1e) power and resources arising from numbers 1f) power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

Origin:  from 1410; TDNT - 2:284,186; n f

Usage:  AV - power 77, mighty work 11, strength 7, miracle 7, might 4, virtue 3, mighty 2, misc 9; 120

Misc:  For Synonyms see entry 5820

 

Matt 6:13           "For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."

Matt 7:22           People claimed to do wonderful works in Jesus' name, but He never knew them. (below)

Matt 11:20-21, 23 (Luke 10:13)   If Tyre, Sidon and Sodom had witnessed Christ's miracles, they would have repented and changed. (below)

Matt 13:54, 58 (Mark 6:2, 5)       People from Jesus' home town were offended at His miracles, so He did few of them there.'

Matt 14:2 (Mark 6:14)     Herod thought Jesus' miraculous powers were because he was John the Baptist raised from the dead.

Matt 22:29 (Mark 12:24) The Sadducees knew neither the scriptures nor the miraculous power of God.

Matt 24:29-30 (Mark 13:25-26; Luke 21:26-27)     Miraculous signs in the heavens and miraculous power of Christ at His return.

Matt 25:15         Talents given to servants each according to their own "ability"—nearly all translations obscure any relationship to miraculous power given to believers.

Matt 26:64 (Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69)       Christ told those at His trial they would see Him "sitting at the right hand of the Power"—a euphemism for God.

Mark 5:30 (Luke 8:46)    Jesus knew that miraculous power had gone out of him when a woman touched him and was healed.

Mark 9:1           Some disciples would see the kingdom of God come in power—referring to the transfiguration.

Mark 9:39          Jesus told the disciples not to forbid those who did not follow them from doing miracles in His name.

Luke 1:17          John the Baptist prophesied to have the spirit and miraculous power of Elijah.

Luke 1:35          The "power of the highest" will cause Mary to conceive Jesus.

Luke 4:14          Jesus returned in the "power of the Spirit" to Galilee and everyone praised him.

Luke 4:36          Jesus amazed everyone with "power and authority" over unclean spirits.

Luke 5:17          The "power of the Lord" was in Jesus to heal people.

Luke 6:19          "And the whole multitude sought to touch Him [Jesus], for power went out from Him and healed them all."

Luke 9:1            Christ gave the twelve disciples "power and authority" over all demons.

Luke 10:19        "Behold, I [Christ]give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

Luke 19:37        At Christ's triumphal entry, people were praising God for the miracles they had seen.

Luke 24:49        Christ told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they are filled with "power from on high".

Acts 1:8            Disciples will receive power after the Holy Spirit is upon them.

Acts 2:22           Christ was a "man approved of God" as demonstrated by miracles, wonders and signs. (below)

Acts 3:12           Healing of the lame man was not through Peter's own power.

Acts 4:7            Jewish leaders asked disciples by what power they healed others.

Acts 4:33           Disciples testified to the resurrection of Christ with great power (mega-dunamis).

Acts 6:8            Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs.

Acts 8:10           People thought Simon Magus had the power of God.

Acts 8:13           Simon Magus was impressed with the miracles and signs of the apostles.

Acts 10:38         Disciples were witnesses to the miraculous power of Christ.

Acts 19:11         God work special miracles through the hands of Paul.

Rom 1:4            Christ was declared to be the Son of God with miraculous power.

Rom 1:16          The gospel is the miraculous power of God for salvation.

Rom 1:20          Creation is a witness to the eternal miraculous power of God.

Rom 8:38          There is no miraculous power that can separate us from the love of God.

Rom 9:17          God's miraculous power shown to Pharaoh—quoting Exodus 9:16.

Rom 15:13         Abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Rom 15:19         Gentiles obedient to Christ as a result of miraculous signs and wonders.

1Cor 1:18, 24     Christ and the message of the cross is the power of God, a stumbling block for the Jews, because it is a sign they should accept. (above)

1Cor 2:4-5         Our preaching and faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the miraculous power of God. (below)

1Cor 4:19-20     Dealing with arrogant people in the congregation is not a matter of words, but of miraculous power. (below)

1Cor 5:4            The power of Christ used in decision to remove a person from the congregation. (below)

1Cor 6:14          God's miraculous power raised Christ and will raise us.

1Cor 12:10, 28-29          Working miracles if a gift of the Spirit that Christ puts into his Church.

1Cor 14:11        Used for the "power of a language". (If one does not understand a language, it is just a variety of sound, but to those that understand the language, that variety of sound becomes powerful communication.)

1Cor 15:24        When the kingdom comes, miraculous power contrary to God will be destroyed.

1Cor 15:43        Our bodies are sown in dishonor, but will be raised in miraculous power.

1Cor 15:56        The power of sin is the law.

2Cor 1:8            Best expressed in the NJB: "So in the hardships we underwent in Asia…we were under extraordinary pressure, beyond our powers of endurance, so that we gave up all hope even of surviving.

2Cor 4:7            "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us."

2Cor 6:7            The "power of God" given as one of the means whereby the servants of God accomplish their work.

2Cor 8:3            Paul witnessed the Macedonians giving more than thy power they had to give.

2Cor 12:9          God's power is made perfect in our weakness.

2Cor 12:12        Corinthians to know true apostles from signs, wonders and mighty deeds. (above)

2Cor 13:4          Christ lived by the power of God and so do we.

Gal 3:5              "Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"

Eph 1:19, 21      Christ has all miraculous power subject to Him.

Eph 3:7             Paul became a minister by the miraculous power of God. (below)

Eph 3:16            "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,"

Eph 3:20            God is able to accomplish grate things in us by his miraculous power in us. (below)

Phlp 3:10           Christians need to know the power of Christ's resurrection.

Col 1:11            Believers are strengthened by his miraculous power.

Col 1:29            God's power was at work in Paul

1Th 1:5             The gospel comes through words, miraculous power, the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. (below)

2Th 1:7             Angels have miraculous power.

2Th 1:11           God does a work of faith with miraculous power.

2Th 2:9             The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

2Tim 1:7-8        "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,"

2Tim 3:5           In the end times, some people have a form of Godliness, but deny the miraculous power of it. (below)

Heb 1:3             Christ upholds all things by the word of His power.

Heb 2:4             How shall we escape if we neglect so a great a salvation after seeing God's signs, wonders and miracles. (below)

Heb 6:5             Those who reject the Spirit, word and power of God cannot be renewed to repentance. (below)

Heb 7:16            Melchizedek is not a priest according to the law, but according the power of an endless life.

Heb 11:11          By faith Sarah received the power to get pregnant at age 90 (Gen 17:17)

Heb 11:34          The faithful quenched the power of fires.

1Pet 1:5             [Believers] "who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

1Pet 3:22           All angles, authorities and miraculous powers are now subject to Christ.

2Pet 1:3             Christ's divine power was given to believers.

2Pet 1:16           The power and the return of Christ are not a cleaver fable>

2Pet 2:11           Angels are greater in power than mankind.

Rev 1:16            Christ's face is like the sun shining in miraculous power.

Rev 3:8             The Philadelphia church has only a little miraculous power (apparently, the only weakness of this church).

Rev 4:11            "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power…"

Rev 5:12            "…Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!"

Rev 7:12            "…Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God…"

Rev 11:17          "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty … Because You have taken Your great power and reigned."

Rev 12:10          "…Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come…"

Rev 13:2            "…The dragon gave him [the Beast] his power, his throne, and great authority."

Rev 15:8            The power of God kept people out of the temple till the seven plagues were completed. (below)

Rev 17:13          [T]hey [the ten kings] will give their power and authority to the beast.

Rev 18:3            "… and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxury."

Rev 19:1            "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!"


Decision Making Based Upon Unrequested Miracles

The previous section contained a sentence about every use of Hebrew and Greek words commonly used for miraculous occurrences in the entire Bible. In the cases where a person was expected to make a decision based upon a a miracle requested for that purpose, the scriptures quotes and commentary have already been included (two sections prior). There is another, even larger group of cases where miracles were performed to affect human decisions, even though the humans involved did not specifically request the miracles. These verses are included below, with the English words in boldface that are translated from the five Hebrew and three Greek words for "sign", "wonder" and "miracle". The Strong's word number is always included afterwards in brackets [like this].

This list only contains only references that use the five Hebrew and three Greek words covered in this paper. There may be many other miracles described in the Bible, but that do not specifically use those words, that also were given to men for decision-making purposes.

A short explanation follow each scripture quote. Quotes are in standard Bible book order.

 

Old Testament

Genesis 1:14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs [0226] and seasons [festivals], and for days and years; 15 "and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.

People decide when to keep feasts, days and years based upon God’s signs in the heavens. These lights literally rule or govern the activities here on earth..

 

Genesis 4:15 And the LORD said to him, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD set a mark [0226] on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.

This mark or sign was to remind people not to kill Cain, even though he was a murderer. It is not clear how miraculous of a sign this was.

 

Exodus 3:1, NJB Moses was looking after the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led it to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame blazing from the middle of a bush. Moses looked; there was the bush blazing, but the bush was not being burnt up. 3 Moses said, 'I must go across and see this strange sight, and why the bush is not being burnt up.'… 11 Moses said to God, 'Who am I to go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?' 12 'I shall be with you,' God said, 'and this is the sign [0226] by which you will know that I was the one who sent you. After you have led the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.' 13 Moses then said to God, 'Look, if I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you," and they say to me, "What is his name?" what am I to tell them?' 14 God said to Moses, 'I am he who is.' And he said, 'This is what you are to say to the Israelites, "I am has sent me to you." '

The NJB and a few other translations say "this is he sign" rather than “shall be the sign”, which appears to be correct, as the Hebrew here is not future tense. Most translations make it appear that Moses and Israel returning to worship in the mount would be the sign. Moses is clearly struggling with whether he should go or not (verses 11, 13). It does not make sense for God to give Moses a sign to do something now if he would not see the sign until after the job is done. The fiery bush that was not burnt—this “strange sight”—was the sign. But in any case, when Moses was struggling with his decision, God have him a sign.

 

Exodus 3:20 "So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders [6381] which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go.

The miracles that God brought upon Pharaoh were both there to harden his heart and to change his mind to let the people go.

 

Exodus 4:21 And the LORD said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders [4159] before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.

Miracles affect Pharaoh’s judgment.

 

Exodus 7:3 "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs [0226] and My wonders [4159] in the land of Egypt. 4 But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. 5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them."

One set of miracles causes Pharaoh not to heed God, but convinced the Egyptian people of who God is.

 

Exodus 8:22 "And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land. 23 I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign [0226] shall be.”

A sign was given as proof that God was working differently with the people of Israel as compared to the people of Egypt. This certainly had a major bearing on the mixed multitude (Ex 12:38) that decided to leave with Israel from Egypt (Ex 12:38).

 

Exodus 10:1 Now the LORD said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs [0226] of Mine before him, 2 "and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs [0226] which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD." 3 So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, "Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.’”

Pharaoh was supposed to see the signs and then decide to humble himself and let Israel go.

 

Exodus 12:13 'Now the blood shall be a sign [0226] for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Each Israelite family had to decide whether they wanted to participate in this sign of God’s deliverance.

 

Exodus 13:7 "Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters. 8 "And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.' 9 "It shall be as a sign [0226] to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD's law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. 10 "You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.

Eating unleavened bread was to be a sign to future generations in memorial of what God did for Israel and of His law. People could choose to remember this sign, or ignore it.

 

NKJ Exodus 13:15 'And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.' 16 "It shall be as a sign [0226] on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt."

Redemption of first born sons is a sign that God redeemed Israel from Egypt when He killed all of the firstborn there.

 

Exodus 31:13 "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign [0226] between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. 14 'You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 'Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 'Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 'It is a sign [0226] between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.' "

If God's people had always kept His Sabbath, they, as well as the nations around them would always remember that they are his People. Because most people have forgotten the Sabbath, or have replaced the biblical teaching about it with manmade rules, they have departed from God.

 

Exodus 34:9-10  9 "O Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes," he said, "then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance."  10 Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders [6381] never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. 11 "Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. 12 "Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. 13 "But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14 '(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

Moses asked God for forgiveness for the nation and God answered with a miracle (6381). He said the miracle was a sign to remind them to trust and obey.

 

Num 14:11 Then the LORD said to Moses: "How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs [0226] which I have performed among them? 12 "I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they."

Failure to regard God's signs almost caused the entire nation to be disinherited and a new nation made from Moses.

 

Numbers 14:20 Then the LORD said: "I have pardoned, according to your word; 21 "but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD -- 22 "because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs [0226] which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 "they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.

Ancient Israel should have used the previous miracles as a sign that they could trust God to take them into the promised land and fight against the Canaanites. God clearly says that they did not recognize the miracles, but rejected Him.

 

Num 16:35 And a fire came out from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense. 36 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 37 "Tell Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, to pick up the censers out of the blaze, for they are holy, and scatter the fire some distance away. 38 "The censers of these men who sinned against their own souls, let them be made into hammered plates as a covering for the altar. Because they presented them before the LORD, therefore they are holy; and they shall be a sign [0226] to the children of Israel." 39 So Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers, which those who were burned up had presented, and they were hammered out as a covering on the altar, 40 to be a memorial to the children of Israel that no outsider, who is not a descendant of Aaron, should come near to offer incense before the LORD, that he might not become like Korah and his companions, just as the LORD had said to him through Moses.

This is a destructive sign that God wanted Israel to remember forever so that they would not sin by doing what was assigned to Aaron and his descendants.

 

Num 17:10 And the LORD said to Moses, "Bring Aaron's rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign [0226] against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die."

After the 250 men who were not sons of Aaron died for offering the wrong fire, the leaders blamed Moses for "killing the people of the Eternal". God sent a plague that killed 14,700 people. Then, Moses got a staff from each of the leaders of the 12 tribes and put them in the tabernacle. In the morning, Aaron's staff had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. This miracle was to be a sign to stop people from complaining against God, but people have disregarded it and still complain about what He does.

 

Deuteronomy 4:34 "Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs [0226], by wonders [4159], by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 "To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him.

Miracles are an integral part of knowing who is God and Who to follow.

 

Deut 6:6 " And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. …8 "You shall bind them as a sign [0226] on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

God's laws tell us how to live our life—what to do. They are to be as a sign on our hand—which would also tell us what to do—or Frontlets between our eyes (which would also remind us of what to do).

 

Deuteronomy 7:17 " If you should say in your heart, 'These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?' -- 18 "you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: 19 "the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs [0226] and the wonders [4159], the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So shall the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.

God promises to continue the signs and wonders against Israel’s enemies if they trust Him. Is there any reason that we would expect these miracles to stop? (1Cor 10:1-13; Rom 15:1-7).

 

Deut 11:3 "His signs [0226] and His acts which He did in the midst of Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to all his land;… 7 "but your eyes have seen every great act of the LORD which He did. 8 Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land which you cross over to possess."

Again, signs were to encourage Israel to trust God, even when it looked like they were up against insurmountable odds.

 

Deut 11:16 "Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, 17 "lest the LORD's anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you. 18 " Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign [0226] on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

Remembering the signs of God will help us not to worship other gods.

 

Deuteronomy 28:45 "Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46 "And they shall be upon you for a sign [0226] and a wonder [4159], and on your descendants forever…. 59 "then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary [6381] plagues -- great and prolonged plagues -- and serious and prolonged sicknesses.

Great national cursings in this chapter are a sign that the Eternal is not pleased with the path a nation has chosen.

 

Joshua 3:5 And Joshua said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders [6381] among you." 6 Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, "Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people." So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. 7 And the LORD said to Joshua, "This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.

Wonders were a sign to the people that they should obey Joshua now that Moses was gone.

 

Josh 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." 16 So the people answered and said: "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; 17 for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs [0226] in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed.

Miraculous signs were one of the reasons why the Israelites promised to continue to serve the Eternal.

 

1Sam 10:1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his [Saul's] head, and kissed him and said: "Is it not because the LORD has anointed you commander over His inheritance?... 6 Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 And let it be, when these signs [0226] come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you. 8 "You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do." 9 So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs [0226] came to pass that day…. 21 When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was chosen. And Saul the son of Kish was chosen. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore they inquired of the LORD further, "Has the man come here yet?" And the LORD answered, "There he is, hidden among the equipment."

Saul was given miraculous signs to show that God had chosen him, through Samuel, to be King of Israel. Saul, however, did not have sufficient faith in the miracles of God and went and hid, rather than standing to accept his new responsibility.

 

1 Kings 13:1 And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. 2 Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, "O altar, altar! Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men's bones shall be burned on you.' " 3 And he gave a sign [4159] the same day, saying, "This is the sign which the LORD has spoken: Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out." 4 So it came to pass when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, who cried out against the altar in Bethel, that he stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, "Arrest him!" Then his hand, which he stretched out toward him, withered, so that he could not pull it back to himself. 5 The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign [4159] which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. 6 Then the king answered and said to the man of God, "Please entreat the favor of the LORD your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me." So the man of God entreated the LORD, and the king's hand was restored to him, and became as before.

The sign given by God stopped Jeroboam from offering on the altar. While the withered hand is not called a miracle or sign, it certainly is miraculous and caused Jeroboam not to arrest the man of God. Signs affect decisions!

 

2 Chronicles 32:24 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death, and he prayed to the LORD; and He spoke to him and gave him a sign [4159]. 25 But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah…. 31 However, regarding the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder [4159] that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.

Signs played a major part in both Hezekiah’s following God and his pride. It also played a part in the other nation’s realizing that God was working there.

 

Nehemiah 9:10 You showed signs [0226] and wonders [4159] against Pharaoh, Against all his servants, And against all the people of his land. For You knew that they acted proudly against them. So You made a name for Yourself, as it is this day. 11 And You divided the sea before them, So that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; And their persecutors You threw into the deep, As a stone into the mighty waters. 12 Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, And by night with a pillar of fire, To give them light on the road Which they should travel. 13 "You came down also on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven, And gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments. 14 You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, And commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, By the hand of Moses Your servant. 15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, And brought them water out of the rock for their thirst, And told them to go in to possess the land Which You had sworn to give them. 16 " But they and our fathers acted proudly, Hardened their necks, And did not heed Your commandments. 17 They refused to obey, And they were not mindful of Your wonders [6381] That You did among them. But they hardened their necks, And in their rebellion They appointed a leader To return to their bondage. But You are God, Ready to pardon, Gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, Abundant in kindness, And did not forsake them.

God’s wonders were signs that the True God was dealing with them. They should lead His people to decide to obey him. Ignoring his wonders leads to rebellious decisions.

 

NIV Job 37:5 God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things [6381] beyond our understanding. 6 He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' 7 So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor.

God’s miracles and power often are to affect men’s decisions—even in small ways.

 

Psalm 77:13 Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God? 14 You are the God who does wonders [6382]; You have declared Your strength among the peoples.

Miracles are the means of determining who the true God is.

 

 Psalm 78:4 We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works [6381] that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; 6 That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, 7 That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; 8 And may not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not set its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful to God. 9 The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, Turned back in the day of battle. 10 They did not keep the covenant of God; They refused to walk in His law, 11 And forgot His works And His wonders [6381] that He had shown them. 12 Marvelous things [6382] He did in the sight of their fathers, In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. 13 He divided the sea and caused them to pass through; And He made the waters stand up like a heap. 14 In the daytime also He led them with the cloud, And all the night with a light of fire. 15 He split the rocks in the wilderness, And gave them drink in abundance like the depths. 16 He also brought streams out of the rock, And caused waters to run down like rivers. 17 But they sinned even more against Him By rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness. 18 And they tested God in their heart By asking for the food of their fancy. 19 Yes, they spoke against God: They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? 20 Behold, He struck the rock, So that the waters gushed out, And the streams overflowed. Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people?" 21 Therefore the LORD heard this and was furious; So a fire was kindled against Jacob, And anger also came up against Israel, 22 Because they did not believe in God, And did not trust in His salvation. 23 Yet He had commanded the clouds above, And opened the doors of heaven, 24 Had rained down manna on them to eat, And given them of the bread of heaven. 25 Men ate angels' food; He sent them food to the full. 26 He caused an east wind to blow in the heavens; And by His power He brought in the south wind. 27 He also rained meat on them like the dust, Feathered fowl like the sand of the seas; 28 And He let them fall in the midst of their camp, All around their dwellings. 29 So they ate and were well filled, For He gave them their own desire. 30 They were not deprived of their craving; But while their food was still in their mouths, 31 The wrath of God came against them, And slew the stoutest of them, And struck down the choice men of Israel. 32 In spite of this they still sinned, AND did not believe in His wondrous work [6381]….41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember His power: The day when He [redeemed them from the enemy, 43 When He worked His signs [0226] in Egypt, And His wonders [4159] in the field of Zoan;

When people forget God’s miracles they forget to obey.

 

Pslm 105:2 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works [6381]! 3 Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! 4 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore! 5 Remember His marvelous works [6381] which He has done, His wonders [4159], and the judgments of His mouth,

We are to remember God’s ancient works and seek His strength now.

 

Isaiah 8:17 And I [Isaiah] will wait on the LORD, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him. 18 Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs [0226] and wonders [4159] in Israel From the LORD of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion. 19 And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter," should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?

God’s people are for signs and wonders in Israel when others are seeking mediums and wizards. We are to seek our God instead!

 

Isa 19:19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border. 20 And it will be for a sign [0226] and for a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them. 21 Then the LORD will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the LORD and perform it.

The altar and pillar in Egypt are signs that cause the Egyptians to want to worship God. It is not clear whether these signs are miraculous or not, but they do cause the people to decide to worship the true God.

 

Isaiah 28:23 Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my speech. 24 Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow? Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods? 25 When he has leveled its surface, Does he not sow the black cummin And scatter the cummin, Plant the wheat in rows, The barley in the appointed place, And the spelt in its place? 26 For He instructs him in right judgment, His God teaches him. 27 For the black cummin is not threshed with a threshing sledge, Nor is a cartwheel rolled over the cummin; But the black cummin is beaten out with a stick, And the cummin with a rod. 28 Bread flour must be ground; Therefore he does not thresh it forever, Break it with his cartwheel, Or crush it with his horsemen. 29 This also comes from the LORD of hosts, Who is wonderful [6381] in counsel and excellent in guidance.

This is very practical advice on how to do thins, yet it is referred to as wonderful/miraculous council and excellent guidance on the part of God.

 

Isaiah 29:13, NAU Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their 3reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, 14 Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously [6381] with this people, wondrously [6382] marvelous [6381]; And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed."

Miracles should cause a person to realize that their religious ways are not the right ones.

 

Isa 66:18 " For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory. 19 I will set a sign [0226] among them; and those among them who escape I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles."

These signs are instrumental in causing nations who do not know God to worship God.

 

Jer 44:26 "Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: 'Behold, I have sworn by My great name,' says the LORD, 'that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, "The Lord GOD lives." 27 Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them. 28 Yet a small number who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to dwell there, shall know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs. 29 And this shall be a sign [0226] to you,' says the LORD, 'that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for adversity.'"

God told the Israelites not to go to Egypt, but they went anyway. He gave them a sign to show what would happen to those who made that bad decision.

 

Ezekiel 12:3 "Therefore, son of man, prepare your belongings for captivity, and go into captivity by day in their sight. You shall go from your place into captivity to another place in their sight. It may be that they will consider, though they are a rebellious house. 4 "By day you shall bring out your belongings in their sight, as though going into captivity; and at evening you shall go in their sight, like those who go into captivity. 5 "Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry your belongings out through it. 6 "In their sight you shall bear them on your shoulders and carry them out at twilight; you shall cover your face, so that you cannot see the ground, for I have made you a sign [4159] to the house of Israel." 7 So I did as I was commanded. I brought out my belongings by day, as though going into captivity, and at evening I dug through the wall with my hand. I brought them out at twilight, and I bore them on my shoulder in their sight. 8 And in the morning the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 9 "Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, 'What are you doing?' 10 "Say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "This burden concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are among them." ' 11 "Say, 'I am a sign [4159] to you. As I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall be carried away into captivity.'

Ezekiel’s digging through the wall and carrying out his possessions was a sign to the rebellious people of what would happen to them.

 

Ezk 14:7 "For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the LORD will answer him by Myself. 8 I will set My face against that man and make him a sign [0226] and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the LORD."

God makes a sign out of people who are following idols so that we can know that God is the Lord.

 

Ezk 20:12 "Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign [0226] between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. 13 "Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, 'which, if a man does, he shall live by them'; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them…. 20 'hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign [0226] between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.' 21 "Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, 'which, if a man does, he shall live by them'; but they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness.

Sabbaths were intended to be a sign so that Israel would know and remember who God is, and cause them to choose to obey him. However, Israel ignored the signs and chose rebellion.

 

Ezekiel 24:24 “'Thus Ezekiel is a sign [4159] to you; according to all that he has done you shall do; and when this comes, you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.' " 25 ' And you, son of man -- will it not be in the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that on which they set their minds, their sons and their daughters: 26 'on that day one who escapes will come to you to let you hear it with your ears; 27 'on that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute. Thus you will be a sign [4159] to them, and they shall know that I am the LORD.' "

Ezekiel is a sign so that people will know who God is.

 

Daniel 12:6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders [6382] be?"

The many things prophesied in Daniel are not individually called wonders or miracles, but they are collectively referred to as such at the end. This shows that the Bible does not specifically label every wonder/miracle as such, but we are left to determine miracles by the description of the event itself.

 

Joel 2:26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously [6381] with you; And My people shall never be put to shame. 27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.

Miracles cause people to know who is God.

 

Joel 2:30 "And I will show wonders [4159] in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. 32 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.

The signs show people when the coming of the Lord is there, and that they should call upon his name to be saved.

 

Micah 7:15 "As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them wonders [6381]." 16 The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; They shall put their hand over their mouth; Their ears shall be deaf. 17 They shall lick the dust like a serpent; They shall crawl from their holes like snakes of the earth. They shall be afraid of the LORD our God, And shall fear because of You.

Miracles make the heathen fear God and Israel.

 

Zechariah 3:8 'Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign [4159]; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH. 9 For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,' Says the LORD of hosts, 'And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 In that day,' says the LORD of hosts, 'Everyone will invite his neighbor Under his vine and under his fig tree.' "

Joshua and his companions were a sign to the people so that they will be kind and invite their neighbors over.

 

New Testament

Matt 7:22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders [1411] in Your name?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

This is an important caution. Not all wonders done in Christ's name are of God. We must look to see if they practice lawlessness.

 

Matt 11:20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works [1411] had been done, because they did not repent: 21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works [1411] which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 "But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 "And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works [1411] which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

This passage leaves no doubt that the purpose of mighty works is to cause people to repent and follow God, and that He knows that if He did more mighty works, that people in history would have repented and changed.

 

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 "And these signs [4592] will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 "they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs [4592]. Amen.

When people heard the gospel, they needed to make the difference between being saved and condemned. The word they heard was to be confirmed by miraculous signs which would help them in their decision.

 

Luke 2:8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 "And this will be the sign [4592] to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.

When some or all of the shepherds left tending their sheep, there was a danger of great economic loss. Nevertheless, they decided to leave in haste and believed they had found the Christ child because of the sign they were given.

 

John 4:48 Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs [4592]  and wonders [5059], you will by no means believe."

This is an undeniable indication that some people need signs in order to make the right decision in some cases. In other verses, Jesus faults those who do not believe in spite of the signs and wonders. He does not fault the people for believing because of them.

 

John 6:2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs [4592] which He performed on those who were diseased…. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign [4592] that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."

Again, signs instrumental in affecting people's opinion of Jesus.

 

John 12:17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign [4592]. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!"

This sign alone caused large number of people to decide to follow Christ.

 

Acts 2:22 " Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles [1411], wonders [5059], and signs [4592] which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know… 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

On Pentecost, these thousands of people heard Peter teach them that Jesus' many miracles were a major reason why they should decide to repent and be baptized in His name.

 

Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power [1411] or by what name have you done this?" 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 "If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 "let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 "This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' 12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Peter clearly stated that Christ was the source of the miracles-working power that he had received, and that Christ was also the source of salvation. This was the evidence upon which they were to base their decision to be saved by Christ or not.

 

Acts 4:24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,… :29 Now, Lord, look on their [government leaders] threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs [4592] and wonders [5059] may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

This is an example of praying for miracles so that others will come to Christ.

 

Acts 5:9 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. 12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs [4592] and wonders [5059] were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch. 13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.

There is no indication of any audible voice or clear instruction to Peter to perform this negative miracle, but the Holy Sprit led him to declare the miraculous deaths of Ananias and Sapphira for there attempt to introduce financial corruption into the community of believers. These miracles were a great blessing to the Church, in that they stopped a multitude of insincere people from joining it. Miracles produce definite decisions.

 

Acts 6:7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power [1411], did great wonders [5059] and signs [4592] among the people. 9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.

The miracles caused many people to obey, but others to dispute the truth.

 

Acts 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles [4592] which he did.

Miracles cause people to listen and take action.

 

Acts 15:12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles [4592 "signs"] and wonders [5059] God had worked through them among the Gentiles. 13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, "Men and brethren, listen to me: 14 "Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.

These miracles of Paul and Barnabas convinced these disciples that God was calling the Gentiles. It is interesting that this chapter does not mention the direct instruction from God via Peter's and Cornelius's vision giving God's instruction that Gentiles could be saved. These relied on this set of miracles.

 

Rom 15:18 (NRSV) For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient -- 19 in mighty [1411] signs [4592] and wonders [5059], by the power [1411] of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Paul mentions both word and deed here in causing the Gentiles to obey God. He both preached the truth to them, as well as brought miraculous blessings.

 

1Cor 2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power [1411], 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power [1411] of God.

When we have decisions to make, should we make them according to the council and wisdom of men, or should we seek the power of God?

 

1Cor 4:19, NIV But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power [1411] they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power [1411].

Paul was letting God determine his decision as to whether he would come sooner or late. When he came, we was not going to decode what do with the arrogant people with words, but with miraculous power.

 

1Cor 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power [1411] of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

The power of Christ was used for he decision to remove a flagrant sinner from the congregation.

 

1Cor 14:22 Therefore tongues are for a sign [4592], not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

Both of these are miraculous occurrences intended to affect the actions of people. Speaking in tongues was to bring believers to Christ, and prophesying was to edify the church (1Cor 14:3).

 

2Cor 13:3 since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty [Greek dunateo #1414, verb from of 1411] in you. 4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power [1411] of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power [1411] of God toward you.

When the Corinthians were attempting to decide if Christ was speaking through him or not, Paul offered them miraculous power as proof.

 

Eph 3:7 [The Gospel,] of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power [1411].

Paul changed from persecuting the church to one of its greatest apostles through the miraculous power of God.

 

Eph 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power [1411] that works in us,

Christians are able to do Christian work, which includes making decisions which work to do, by the miraculous power that works in us.

 

1Th 1:5, NIV [B]ecause our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power [1411], with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.

The manner of life lived by the apostle Paul, what he decided to do and not do, was evident from words, miraculous power, the Holy Spirit and his deep conviction.

 

2Tim 3:1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power [1411]. And from such people turn away!

Christians would not want to be described by any of the negative adjectives in verses 2 through 4, above, but many Christians today believe and act as if miraculous power no longer plays a significant role in Christian ministry or decision-making. This is not to say that every believer should have a great gift of miracle working. But to deny that miracles exist in the Body of Christ today is one step into placing oneself in the category of people from which other true beliers should turn away.

 

Heb 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs [4592] and wonders [5059], with various miracles [1411], and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

Those who have witnessed sign, wonders and miracles have a greater responsibility if they neglect their salvation.

 

Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers [1411] of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

Those who reject the Spirit, the word and the power of God cannot be renewed to repentance. This is our most important on-going decision.

 

Rev 13:13 He performs great signs [4592], so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs [4592] which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.

People also are deceived by signs of evil leaders, and make decisions based upon it. They need the truth of the word in addition to signs.

 

Rev 15:1 Then I saw another sign [4592] in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. Rev 16:8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory. 10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

The purpose of the miraculous seven last plagues was to bring about repentance, a decision to change.

 

Rev 15:8 The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power [1411], and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

God sometimes commands men what to do, or reveals it in some other way. There are also times where He simply enforces His desires (to keep men out of the temple) by His miraculous power.

 

Rev 16:14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs [4592], which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

It is amazing how the Bible tells of hundreds of God's signs, which are ignored by many people, but when a comparatively few demonic signs are manifested, people are willing to go to war.

 

Rev 19:20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs [4592] in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Again showing that people use signs to make decisions, and that there is a massive punishment for false signs.

Conclusion

It is the author's hope that all who read this will realize that massive roll that miraculous deeds have in the Bible, which includes communication between God and man, sometimes for the purpose of decision making. Christians everywhere need to grow in faith and in the power of God, rather than trust in human leaders and church organizations. Just reading the scriptures of the last few pages will give one a grasp of how important miraculous signs will be in the time of the end.

 

For more information, contact Church Bible Teaching Ministry

PO Box 204, Port Austin, Michigan 48467-0204

989-738-7700, info@cbtm.info