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Morrish Bible Dictionary

Miracles

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No sincere believer in the inspiration of scripture can have a doubt as to real miracles having been wrought by the power of God both in O.T. and N.T. times. It is philosophy so-called, or scepticism, that mystifies the subject. Much is said about 'the laws of nature;' and it is confidently affirmed that these are irrevocable and cannot be departed from. To which is added that laws of nature previously unknown are frequently being discovered, and if our forefathers could witness the application of some of the more recent discoveries, as the computer, mobile telephone, etc., they would judge that miracles were being performed. So, it is argued, the actions recorded in scripture as miracles, were merely the bringing into use some law of nature which had been hidden up to that time.

All this is based upon a fallacy. There are no laws of nature, as if nature made its own laws: there are laws in nature, which God in His wisdom as Creator was pleased to make; but He who made those laws has surely the same power to suspend them when He pleases. Though laws in nature hitherto unknown are being discovered from time to time, they in no way account for such things as dead persons being raised to life, the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the lame walking, and demons being cast out of those who were possessed by them. Neither has natural philosophy discovered any law that will account for such a thing as an iron axe-head swimming in water. The simple truth is that God, for wise purposes, allowed some of the natural laws to be suspended, and at times He put forth His almighty power, as in supplying the Israelites with manna from heaven, and in feeding thousands from a few loaves and fishes, or by recalling life that had left the body.

The words translated 'miracle' in the O.T. are

1. oth , 'a sign,' as it is often translated, and in some places 'token.' Numbers 14:22 ; Deuteronomy 11:3 .

2. mopheth, 'a wonder,' as it is mostly translated: it is something out of the ordinary course of events. Exodus 7:9 ; Deuteronomy 29:3 .

3. pala , 'wonderful, marvellous.' Judges 6:13 .

Moses was enabled to work miracles for two distinct objects. One was in order to convince the children of Israel that God had sent him. God gave him three signs to perform before them: his rod became a serpent, and was again a rod; his hand became leprous, and was then restored; and he could turn the water of the Nile into blood. Exodus 4:1-9 .

The other miracles, wrought by him in Egypt, were to show to Pharaoh the mighty power of God, who said, I will "multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt . . . . and the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt." Exodus 7:3-5 . The ten plagues followed, which were miracles or signs of the power of God — signs not only to the Egyptians, but also to the Israelites, as is shown by the reference to them afterwards. Numbers 14:22 ; Judges 6:13 .

By the following list it will be seen that there were many other miracles wrought in O.T. times — by Moses in the wilderness; by the prophets in the land; and some through the direct agency of God from heaven, as the deliverance of the three from the fiery furnace, Daniel from the lions, etc. All the miracles were indeed the acts of God, His servants being merely the means through which they were carried out.

PRINCIPAL MIRACLES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.

In Egypt.

Aaron's rod becomes a serpent Exodus 7:10-12

The Ten Plagues.

Water made blood Exodus 7:20-25

Frogs Exodus 8:5-14

Lice Exodus 8:16-18

Flies Exodus 8:20-24

Murrain Exodus 9:3 - 6

Boils and blains Exodus 9:8-11

Thunder and hail Exodus 9:22-26

Locusts Exodus 10:12-19

Darkness Exodus 10:21-23

Death of the Firstborn Exodus 12:29-30

Parting of the Red Sea Exodus 14:21-31

In the Wilderness.

Curing the waters of Marah Exodus 15:23-25

Manna from heaven Exodus 16:14-35

Water from the rock at Rephidim Exodus 17:5-7

Death of Nadab and Abihu Leviticus 10:1 - 2

The earth swallows the murmurers, and

the death of Korah, Dathan and Abiram Numbers 16:31-40

Budding of Aaron's rod at Kadesh Numbers 17:8

Water from the rock at Meribah Numbers 20:7-11

The brazen serpent: Israel healed Numbers 21:8 - 9

Balaam's ass speaking Numbers 22:21-35

Parting the Jordan Joshua 3:14-17

In the Land.

Fall of Jericho's walls Joshua 6:6-25

Staying of the sun and moon Joshua 10:12-14

Withering and cure of Jeroboam's hand 1 Kings 13:4 - 6

Multiplying the widow's oil 1 Kings 17:14-16

Raising the widow's son 1 Kings 17:17-24

Burning of the captains and their companies 2 Kings 1 . 10-12

Dividing of Jordan by Elijah 2 Kings 2:7-8

Elijah carried to heaven 2 Kings 2:11

Dividing of Jordan by Elisha 2 Kings 2:14

Cure of the waters of Jericho 2 Kings 2:19-22

Supply of water to the army 2 Kings 3:16-20

Increase of the widow's oil 2 Kings 4:2-7

Raising the Shunammite's son 2 Kings 4:32-37

Healing of the deadly pottage 2 Kings 4:38-41

Feeding the 100 with 20 loaves 2 Kings 4:42-44

Cure of Naaman's leprosy 2 Kings 5:10-14

Swimming of the iron axe-head 2 Kings 6:5-7

Resurrection of the dead man on touching Elisha's bones 2 Kings 13:21

Return of the shadow on the dial 2 Kings 20:9-11

Among the Gentiles

Deliverance of the three in the fiery furnace Daniel 3:19-27

Deliverance of Daniel from the lions Daniel 6:16-23

Jonah saved by the great fish Jonah 2:1-10

In the N.T. three Greek words are used, similar to those in the O.T.

1. τέρας, 'a wonder,' which in the A.V. is always thus translated and often associated with the word 'signs:' 'signs and wonders.' People were generally amazed at the miracles performed.

2. σημεῖον, 'a sign.' This word is translated 'signs,' 'miracles,' 'wonder,' and in 2 Thessalonians 3:17 'token': it is the word invariably used in John's gospel.

3. δύναμις, 'power:' translated 'miracles,' 'mighty works,' 'powers.' These three divinely selected words explain the nature of miracles. They were 'wonders' that arrested the attention of the people; they were 'signs' that God had visited His people, and that the acts of the Lord Jesus identified Him with the promised Messiah; and they were 'powers,' for they were superhuman. These three words are applied to the miracles of the Lord Jesus in Acts 2:22 ; to those wrought by Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:12 ; and to the work of Antichrist, the man of sin, in a future day. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 .

The miracles by the Lord and His apostles were nearly all wrought for the welfare of men, curing them from the diseases of mind and body, and dispossessing them of demons, thus spoiling the kingdom of Satan. The cursing of the fig-tree differs from the others: it was a sign of God's judgement on the Jews. From the wording of several passages it is conclusive that not nearly all the miracles of the Lord are recorded. Mark 6:55,56 ; John 21:25 .

It is stated in Mark 16:16-18 that those who should believe on the Lord Jesus, by the testimony of the apostles, would be able to work miracles; and there is ample testimony in early church history that this was the case, especially in casting out demons. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian testified to the heathen persecutors that there was power in the name of Jesus to effect this, and the persecuting emperors were invited to witness it. While the Christians were being persecuted, such signs would be a visible evidence of the power of God and the value of the name of the Lord Jesus. By the time the emperors professed Christianity, followed by the masses (the 4th century), Christ had been well accredited on the earth: hence there was no further need of such signs. Satan in the days of the apostles had his counterfeits (cf. Acts 8:9 ; Acts 13:6-8 ; Acts 19:19 ), as he certainly has had since, and will have in the future, when he will be allowed to bring in his strong delusion: cf. Matthew 24:24 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:9,10 ; Revelation 13:13,14 .

Though not called a miracle, isnot the conversion of a sinner a miracle? It seems impossible for one who has been turned from darkness to light, and has been created in Christ Jesus, with the fruits and effects following, to doubt the reality of other miracles recorded by God in His sacred writings.

In the accompanying list of miracles in the N.T. it will be noticed that some are found in one gospel only — each of the gospels having miracles peculiar to itself — a few are in two gospels; many in three; and only one that is recorded in all four. None but God could have made these selections. Indeed the scriptures are themselves as clear a manifestation of the power and wisdom of God as are any of the miracles.

PRINCIPAL MIRACLES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

Principal Miracles of the New Testament

MIRACLES

Two blind men cured - Matthew 9:27-31 .

Dumb spirit cast out - Matthew 9:32,33 .

Tribute money in mouth of fish - Matthew 17:24-27 .

Deaf and dumb man cured - Mark 7:31-37 .

Blind man cured - Mark 8:22-26 .

Draught of fishes - Luke 5:1-11 .

Widow's son raised - Luke 7:11-17 .

Woman loosed from a spirit of infirmity - Luke 13:11-17 .

The dropsy cured - Luke 14 : l- 6.

Ten lepers cleansed - Luke 17:11-19 .

Malchus' ear healed - Luke 22:50,51 .

Water made wine - John 2:1-11

Nobleman's son cured - John 4:46-54 .

Impotent man cured - John 5 : l- 9

Man born blind cured - John 9 : l- 7.

Lazarus raised from the dead - John 11:38-44 .

Draught of 153 fishes - John 21:1-14 .

Syro-Phoenician's daughter cured - Matthew 15:21-28 ; Mark 7:24-30 .

Four thousand fed - Matthew 15:32-38 ; Mark 8 : l- 9.

Fig tree withered - Matthew 21:18-22 ; Mark 11:12-24 .

Centurion's servant cured - Matthew 8:5-13 ; Luke 7:1-10 .

Blind and dumb demoniac cured - Matthew 12:22 ; Luke 11:14 .

Demoniac in the synagogue cured - Mark 1:23-28 ; Luke 4:33-37 .

Peter's wife's mother cured - Matthew 8:14-15 ; Mark 1:30-31 ; Luke 4:38,39 .

Leper cured - Matthew 8:2 - 4 ; Mark 1:40-45 ; Luke 5:12-15 .

Paralytic cured - Matthew 9:2 - 7 ; Mark 2:3-12 ; Luke 5:18-26 .

Tempest stilled - Matthew 8:23-27 ; Mark 4:36-41 ; Luke 8:22-25 .

Demoniacs cured at Gadara - Matthew 8:28-34 ; Mark 5:1-20 ; Luke 8:26-39 .

Jairus' daughter raised - Matthew 9:18-26 ; Mark 5:22-43 ; Luke 8:41-56 .

Woman's issue of blood cured - Matthew 9:20-22 ; Mark 5:25-34 ; Luke 8:43-48

Man's withered hand cured - Matthew 12:10-13 ; Mark 3 : l- 5; Luke 6:6-11 .

Demon cast out of boy - Matthew 17:14-18 ; Mark 9:14-27 ; Luke 9:37-42 .

Blind men cured - Matthew 20:30-34 ; Mark 10:46-52 ; Luke 18:35-43 .

Jesus walks on the sea - Matthew 14:24-33 ; Mark 6:47-51 ; John 6:16-21 .

Five thousand fed - Matthew 14:15-21 ; Mark 6:35-44 ; Luke 9:12-17 ; John 6:5-14 .


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Miracles '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/mbd/m/miracles.html. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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