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Related articles:
"God's Miracles"
"Have Miracles Ceased? I"
"Have Miracles Ceased? II"
"Have Miracles Ceased? III"

Related subtopics:
Casting Out Demons
Raising the Dead
Other Miracles
"Have Miracles Ceased? II"

Paul Smithson

In our study last week we considered the question, "Have miracles ceased?" We saw from the Scriptures that miracles have ceased just as the inspired apostles foretold (1Cor. 13:8-10). This week we look at further biblical proof that miracles have ceased.

The fact that miracles are not performed today can be seen in the way in which miraculous power was bestowed in the first century. The New Testament reveals two means by which miraculous power was bestowed upon men; the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the laying on of hands by the apostles. The apostles were promised the Holy Spirit (Lk. 24:49; Ac. 1:1-5) and received Him with power on Pentecost (Ac. 2). Of course the apostle Paul, as a special chosen apostle, also received the Holy Spirit (Ac. 9:17; Gal. 1:11-12). To show God's acceptance of the Gentiles, Cornelius and his household received the Holy Spirit (Ac. 10:44-47; 11:15-18). This was the last New Testament occurrence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (being in the late 30's, early 40's A.D.).

About 30 years later the apostle Paul declared that there is "one baptism" (Eph. 4:5). About that same time the apostle Peter wrote about water baptism which saves (1Pet. 3:20-21). Both Paul and Peter were inspired apostles and would not be in contradiction to one another. So the "one baptism" of Paul would by necessity be the water baptism of which Peter spoke. This is the baptism that Jesus commissioned the apostles to administer and also the baptism that we read of in all the conversions of the New Testament.-- it is the one baptism of today.

Yet there are those who claim to have received something other than the one baptism. Some claim that they have received a baptism of the Holy Spirit. But one can be assured, in light of the Scriptures, there is no man or woman on earth today who has ever received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If anyone today had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit they could do all the miraculous works the apostles did and could speak by inspiration. But there is not a person in the world that can do so today, for God no longer baptizes with the Holy Spirit. His purpose for miracles was fulfilled and they have ceased.

The only other way one could perform the wonderous works of the Spirit was by the laying on of hands by the apostles. The apostles were the only ones in the Jerusalem church who could work miracles until they imparted the power to others. (Ac. 2:43: 5:12). In Ac. 6:6 we read of the seven deacons performing miracles only after the apostles laid their hands on them. Philip, one of those chosen deacons, was performing miracles in Samaria (Ac. 8:6), but he could not impart this power to others. It was only after he sent for the apostles Peter and John, and they came and laid hands on the new converts, that the Samaritans received the miraculous power (Ac. 8:15). It is evident that only the apostles could impart the power to work miracles to others. Everyone else, like Philip, even though they had received the power, could not bestow that power to someone else. The apostles have been dead more than 1900 years. When the last apostle died that ended the passing on of the miraculous power.

As the word of God was completed so ended the generation of those who had received miraculous power. By the time the last apostle died the New Testament had been written. God's revelation was complete and perfect. No longer was there a purpose for miracles and they would thus cease as the apostle had foretold (1Cor. 13:8-10). A concluding study of miracles next week.

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