Do We Have Miraculous Divine Healing Today? (1)
Canoga Park, California
Some declare that they believe in miraculous divine healing today, have seen it, and others claim to have experienced it. Perhaps many more believe that no such thing occurs today, and that those who aver that it does are either deceived or dishonest, and that those who propose to be agents of God dispensing such blessings are nothing short of religious racketeers.
Our only source of reliable information is the Bible. What does it say about it? We are not asking whether such miraculous demonstrations ever existed. The Bible reveals that they did. Our question is, "Do they exist today?"
Now, a miracle is a supernatural occurrence - an act or happening in the material or physical realm that departs from or suspends or goes beyond the laws of nature. Do we have this today?
There are three questions with which we are confronted in a discussion of this issue: 1) What purpose did miracles serve? (2) Who could perform them? (3) Was there a time limitation imposed upon them? Let us look at the first question. What purpose did miracles serve? "Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God . . ." (John 20:30, 31). Jesus performed these signs to prove to those of his day that he was the Christ the Son of God, and he had them written down and preserved for us by reading what was written that we also would come to believe that he is the Son of God. For one, then, to insist upon a continuation of these signs and miracles, is to express infidelity with reference to what has already been done and written, and it is a further manifestation of unbelief in Jesus as the Son of God.
Furthermore, when Jesus was about ready to return to his Father, he told the apostles that these signs which he had been doing would accompany them: "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed" (Mark 16:20). Here again we see the purpose of these miracles. They were to "confirm the word." These signs which the Apostles were able to do were their divine credentials to prove that they were messengers from God and that their message was therefore true. The message was confirmed by the men who preached it. Has it ever been established that the apostles and New Testament prophets were messengers from God? If so, then the word has been confirmed and miracles have served their purpose.
But let us look at another scriptural affirmation: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will" (Hebrews 2:3,4). Here the writer affirms the very thing we have been saying. The Lord first spoke this great salvation and it was then spoken to us by them that heard him and was confirmed by signs, wonders, manifold powers, and gifts of the Holy Spirit. So, the word has already been confirmed. Does it need reconfirming? Again, for one to look for and desire a continuation of these signs is to fail to appreciate the purpose for which they were given, or it is a lack of faith in the confirmation of the word which has already been enacted.
Ephesians 4:8-14, says that Jesus gave gifts unto men" when he ascended on high. Verses 12 through 14 tell us the purposes of these gifts: "For the perfecting of the saints . . that we may be no longer children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error." If a false teacher came into the church at Ephesus, they could not ask him for book, chapter, and verse for his teaching as we can today, for they did not have the Word then in completed written form to these special, miraculous gifts were given, one of which was the gift of knowledge. By this they could know whether one taught truth or error. We do not need such today. We have the written word and if one cannot establish by the word what he preaches, we know that he is a false teacher. Thus miracles served their purpose. In later issues, we shall deal with the other questions relative to this matter.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 26, pp. 5-6