We serve a supernatural God
I firmly believe in a supernatural God who works in this physical realm, performing signs and wonders through those who follow Him.
I have known several people (including my own wife) who have had people lay hands on them and they’ve experienced healing.
I’ve also experienced the supernatural interaction of God first hand.
God has miraculously intervened many times in my life and saved me, gave me supernatural provision and delivered me from various attacks by my enemies (or The Enemy).
When I travelled with Todd Bentley to Uganda, I laid my hands on a blind person and saw God open his eyes.
Don’t mistake that last comment as an endorsement of Bentley’s ministry, or my even my own status with God, for that matter.
God will also perform miracles through the disobedient and unfaithful … even outright, evil deceivers.
Did that grab your attention? Good!
Before you label me a heretic, read the rest of this post and try to understand where I’m coming from.
Supernatural signs and wonders follow the believer
The Word of God states very clearly that miracles, signs and wonders will follow those who follow the Master.
Our Messiah said:
And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 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.
After the Messiah rose from the dead, we can see that His Words came True.
And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.Acts 6:8
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.Act 8:6
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
You can also see this truth in Acts 8:13, 15:12, 19:11. All these verses testify to the reality of the supernatural in the life of a believer.
There should be no doubt about this, the Word proves this out time and time again.
Signs and wonders are a major sign of deception in the Last Days
Nonetheless, the SAME GOD who wrote all the verses SUPPORTING supernatural interaction in the life of the believer also said that miracles, signs and wonders would be a sign of DECEPTION in the Last Days!
For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (also see Matthew 24:24)
Paul even speaks of the coming lawless one, which will use signs and lying wonders to deceive those destined for the pit.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
So, on one side of the coin, we have miracles, signs and wonders following the believer, and on the other side of the coin, we have false prophets using miracles, signs and wonders to deceive.
If God performs miracles through His servants, and yet the enemy’s servants are doing the exact same thing … how can we discern whether or not these miracles come from the Father?
It would appear that we have run into a problem. Is it God or the devil?
I’m going to break this post up into two different parts. In this post, I’m going to give you The Straight Answer based entirely upon the scriptures … which is very solid ground to stand on!
The next installment will be supplemental information that I consider open for argument, but I have enough scripture to back it up, so I’m comfortable putting it out there. Don’t change your theology over it, just chew on it for awhile and see if it doesn’t influence your thinking a little further down the road.
OK, first the straightforward, scriptural answer that I feel is indisputable. Strangely enough, while the following points can be found in scripture, they are rarely considered.
Miracles, signs and wonders and your discernment
God gave us the litmus test for discerning false prophets in the book of Deuteronomy. This test takes the supernatural phenomena that we are discussing into consideration.
If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, “Let us go after other gods” – which you have not known – “and let us serve them,” you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
In essence, the scripture is saying that you are to ignore the alleged prophet (or dreamer), if their message causes you to stray from the commandments of God … even if signs and wonders do occur.
These signs and wonders are to have no bearing on your discernment whatsoever … it’s all about the prophet’s message.
Again, regardless of whether or not they are performing signs and wonders, if the prophets are not leading you back to the commandments of the Most High, they are to be considered a false prophet.
Supernatural signs and an adulterous generation
We have been trained (at least in charismatic circles), to view supernatural activity as a seal of God’s approval on a ministry or a person.
As a result, people will travel thousands of miles just to experience (or at least view) these signs. But the Master says that an “evil and adulterous” generation seeks after a sign.
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign…”
Miracles, signs and wonders – a test from God
Let’s go back again to Deuteronomy 13:1-4 and take a closer look at it.
If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, “Let us go after other gods” – which you have not known – “and let us serve them,” you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
This verse specifies that, if any supernatural phenomena occurs, it is a TEST FROM GOD. God Himself is allowing these other-worldly events to occur.
It is even possible that GOD HIMSELF is performing those deeds THROUGH said prophet.
So that could answer the often asked question …. “If I got healed by a false prophet, was it God or the devil?”
Demonic signs and wonders
In saying this, I am not omitting the possibility that demonic signs and wonders can occur. They do!
Pharaoh’s magicians cast their spells and performed their incantations to mimic a Godly sign. Remember Moses’ staff and the rivers turning to blood? Obviously, they were not servants of the Most High, they served the demonic god’s of Egypt and were drawing their power from them (Exodus 7:11, 22).
The prophets of baal attempted to invoke the power of their god, even to the point of the shedding of blood, but they were unsuccessful (1 Kings 18:26-29). But there’s no reason to believe that they were not successful before that event.
Having said that, I believe it’s entirely possible that the same dynamic could happen today.
So, again, how could you one be sure that it was God, and not the devil, that produced the signs and wonders?
If there arises AMONG YOU a prophet …
There seems to be a delineation in scripture between those who produce miracles through the influence of demonic powers, and those who produce signs and wonders through God.
It would seem that the deciding factor is whether or not they were part of Israel.
God told the children of Israel (and us, if you count yourself among them) in Deuteronomy, “If there arises AMONG YOU a prophet or a dreamer of dreams.”
It appears that the testing of God comes when the prophet arises from the ranks of the people who name the Name of God and performs signs and wonders, but then steers people away from the commandments of the Most High.
This type of testing is still happening today … in abundance!
Prophets among US – a tragedy
Sadly, this is an all-too-familiar story to many of us.
People who we are familiar with (our leaders, fathers, mothers, children) live and grow up among us, attending our churches, worshipping in our congregations and proclaiming the Name of Jesus.
At some point, these people experience miracles, divine encounters and other unexplained phenomena.
And, because the sheeple in our congregations long for the supernatural, the miraculous, or anything outside of this reality, they quickly flock to those who have experienced these signs and wonders, eagerly listening to the wonderful tales of dreams and heavenly visitations.
Regardless of the spiritual maturity of, or the message preached by, the individual professing these experiences, what usually follows is typical … widespread notoriety, conference speaking engagements and the ever-so-necessary killer web site.
Because all of these wonders occur in the Name of Jesus, people automatically assume “That’s God!” … and it just might be.
But it is God TESTING us … will we follow His commands? Or will we be sidetracked by the charismatic celebrity and sideshow phenomena?
Keep in mind Matthew 12:38-39 and understand that the Greek word for “seeks after” is the word epizēteō, which means to “wish for, seek diligently for, demand and crave.”
Let’s look at this verse again.
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after [G1934 – epizēteō] a sign …”
Does this not perfectly describe the modern day charismatic church?
Many will come in My name, saying, “I am He”
And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them.”
The conventional interpretation of this scripture is that many will come claiming to be the Messiah and deceive many. We really need to take a look around and re-think our interpretation of this scripture.
Let’s use our God-given logic.
How many people exist on the earth today that claim to be Jesus, the Son of God? How many people have EVER existed who claimed to be Jesus? Aside of a few nut-jobs … not many.
Jesus said, “MANY will come in My name ….”
Did these few loons deceive MANY? …. In the grand scheme of things, the deceived were actually very few in number.
How many people are alive today that claim Jesus is the Messiah, and are deceiving MULTITUDES, partially because of the signs and wonders that are being performed?
They are too numerous to count.
This is not rocket science, folks.
The Messiah forewarned us that the false prophets will rise within our own ranks and proclaim that Yeshua is the Son of God, doing miraculous signs and wonders … and MANY will be deceived.
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
Miracles, Lawlessness and Love
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
In these Last Days, we do not want to be among those who allow our love to grow cold. If we do so, we WILL relinquish our “elect” status.
For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Friends, I want to exhort you … LOOK AT YOUR LIFE.
Have you allowed your “love” to grow cold?
Before you answer that, it is important that you remember to use God’s definition of love, not our own definition.
Our definition of love is a wishy-washy, everyone-join-hands-and-sing-kum-ba-ya, hippy-generation inspired kind of “love.”
That’s not true love … that’s a lie from hell.
What is the definition of love according to scripture?
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
You cannot separate the Love of God from obeying His commandments. You just can’t.
And 99.999% of our churches preach a love that is NOT defined by scripture, they preach a love that is defined by our culture, which was HEAVILY influenced by the “flower-power” children of the sixties.
That kind of “love” is straight out of the pit.
The “fruit” of hippy-love
What does all this love-talk have to do with false prophets, miracles, signs and wonders?
Everything … it all ties in together.
A false prophet will preach a deceptive message, emphasizing a false love spawned by the god of this age.
- This deceptive message will devalue holiness, righteousness and the commandments of God to the point where the listener will be convinced that they may as well throw two-thirds of their bible away.
- This deceptive message equates obedience and zeal for righteousness with “legalism.” After all, it’s all been taken care of at the cross anyhow, right?
- This deceptive message lulls you into spiritual dormancy with attractive, soothing words. (Isaiah 30:10)
- This deceptive message is often backed up with miracles, signs and wonders and it is ALL performed in the Name of Jesus Christ.
But the end result is lawlessness and a cold, cold heart.
When the churchgoer reaches this point, they have a FALSE sense of salvation … and the supernatural signs and wonders will just reinforce their belief. They are absolutely convinced that these signs and wonders come from the Father …. and they just might!
You see, to the deceived, signs and wonders are a deciding factor in their analysis of a prophet.
But our Messiah showed us the REAL “deciding factor” in Matthew 7.
Speaking of false prophets (and many others), Jesus said:
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 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 IN YOUR NAME?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice LAWLESSNESS!”
When that Day comes, it’s not going to be whether or not a self-proclaimed prophet performed great heavenly signs and wonders that will determines if he/she makes into the Kingdom.
According to Matthew 7, these people apparently “did the stuff” with success! Jesus did not deny the validity of their claims.
They performed signs and wonders, cast out demons and did many other miracles …. ALL IN THE NAME OF JESUS!
But apparently Jesus doesn’t care about that.
According to this scripture, it is whether or not they are LAWLESS that determines the validity of a person’s “ministry” … it even determines their eternal destination … Selah.
And if you think this applies ONLY to false prophets, dear reader … think again.
Ask yourself … Am I staying TRUE to the commandments of God? … Or am I sidetracked by the show?
Summing up the main points
OK, so I understand that this a lot of information regarding miracles, healing, signs and wonders.
What are we supposed to do with all this information? What are the take-aways from this commentary?
Here are the main points in a nutshell.
- The miraculous is to be a part of the life of the believer, and yet it is used by the enemy (and by God) as a part of the deception of the Last Days.
- The miraculous may happen, but it is not what we should pursue. Our responsibility is to obey the Father’s commands. HE will decide if (and when) to manifest His power through miracles, signs and wonders.
- Craving and seeking signs & wonders is a sign of an “evil and adulterous generation.”
- Demonic signs and wonders occur when demonic forces are invoked.
- It IS possible for God to heal someone in a meeting where His Name is being glorified, regardless of who the prophet may be. This has NO BEARING on the validity of their ministry or the certainty of their eternal destination.
- Above all, realize that supernatural phenomena is not a “Seal of Approval” from God upon a person’s ministry. According to Matthew 7, the “Seal of Approval” is given if a person is faithful to keep the commandments of the Most High and teach others to do the same.
Also, I feel it very important to bring to your memory something that I discussed earlier in this series.
Remember that a matter is ESTABLISHED by 2 or 3 witnesses.
Since miracles, signs and wonders can be a gray area for many, it is wise to determine whether or not a prophet is true or false by observing if any of the other scriptural witnesses in this series are present.
- Do they perform miracles, signs and wonders and have a huge following?
- Do they perform miracles, signs and wonders and lead you away from God’s commandments?
- Do they perform miracles, signs and wonders and mimic the Holy Spirit?
If you can see 2 or 3 (or more) distinguishing marks discussed in this series (which were taken right out of the Word of God), then know that this person is indeed …. a false prophet.
Practical advice regarding false prophets and miracles
So, let’s try to bring this full circle. I want to give some practical advise that, I believe, is firmly backed up by scripture.
We know that the miraculous is to be a part of the life of the believer, and yet it is used by both the enemy (and God – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10) in the deception of the Last Days.
First …. and this should be the most obvious.
If someone is performing miracles in their own name, in the name of a pagan god, or using some pagan practice like crystals, voodoo or tarot cards … this isn’t God! God does not heal, or perform signs and wonders in the name of another god, nor does He use the occult to accomplish His purposes.
Why? … Because it glorifies the name of a false god, and not Him.
This should be a “no-brainer,” but I just thought that I would throw it out there “just in case.”
Second …. and I have to be careful with this one here … if someone is performing signs and wonders in the Name of Jesus and His Name is being glorified, I have no reason to believe that it’s the devil doing the work. Why would the enemy want to contribute to God being glorified? Why would He want Jesus’ name lifted any higher?
If God can use an ass to glorify His name, He can use Todd Bentley, Kenneth Copeland or some other false prophet. He can even use a rock, for crying out loud. (Luke 19:40)
Third …. Just because someone may have gotten healed at these revival meetings does not mean that you should attend. In fact, if you know the revivalist is a false prophet, I would highly advise you NOT to go.
God, in His Mercy, can (and does) meet people in their ignorance and honors their faith by healing them.
If you are NOT ignorant of the enemy’s deception and choose to go anyway, what does that say about your faith?
Do you really think God will honor it?
Finally …. If you have received a miracle in the Name of Jesus by having hands laid on you … REJOICE! Give God the glory and receive your healing!
Even if that person was found later on to be a false prophet, or a huckster, or even questionable … again I say .. REJOICE!
But don’t succumb to the urge to follow whoever it was who laid hands on you. There is no need to collect and absorb all their books, music and teaching.
Don’t follow the vessel (they’re usually tainted anyways), follow the Messiah, obey His Commandments and thank Him for His healing power!
Then you will have passed the Test!