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What Does the Bible Say About Lying Signs and Wonders?
Written by Betty Miller

2 Thessalonians 2:8-11: "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."

We live in an hour when there is an emphasis on things that are supernatural. Many movie, video and T.V. programs are delving into the supernatural. What does the word supernatural mean? It is referring to things that cannot be explained with a scientific or natural explanation. It is beyond the natural, a wonder that seemingly defies logic and is not explainable by the known forces or laws of nature. There are two sources that supernatural phenomenon can come from. Supernatural manifestations are actually things that have their source of power from the spiritual world. The spiritual world has two active powers in existence: God and His angels and Satan and his devils (also known as fallen angels).

Satan uses his supernatural "lying wonders and signs" to trap men into following him, while the Lord uses His miracles to lead men in a righteous path to follow Him. From the above verse we see that men can be deceived into believing a lie if they are deceived into accepting lying signs and wonders. The Church is experiencing a lot of miracles at this time, but along with the true miracles of God there are also false gifts of power, signs and lying wonders, that are not of God. How do we discern the difference so that we do not get caught up in something that is not of God which could lead us into error?

We can see that the devil is able to perform miracles as well as God by reading of a miracle that Satan's magicians performed and how God did a greater miracle in Exodus 7:9-12: "When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods."

Most Christians want to receive those things that the Lord is doing that are miraculous, however some of the so called miracles of God are not coming from Him at all, but are glorifying men and not God. As Christians we cannot receive nor accept all miracles, signs and wonders just because the word "God or the Bible" is attributed as to being the source of those things. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:21: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."

What should our role as Christians be in regard to acceptance of a sign, miracle or wonder? We are told to prove all things, not to reject them because they might be strange or new to us. However, we should not receive them either, until we first prove them. How do we prove things? All true Christians are in agreement that our standard is the Word of God, the Bible. God left us this Book as a reference, standard, or gauge so we could know whether something is good or evil, truth or error, right or wrong. (II Timothy 3:16-17: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.")

Here are some questions we need to ask when proving things. Does the sign, miracle or wonder line up with the Word of God? Is God receiving the glory for this miracle or is a man or woman being exalted? Can you picture Christ performing this miracle? Does the miracle draw attention to Christ or to the man performing the miracle? Does this wonder cause you love and worship God more? What is the purpose for this miracle? The Lord does not perform miracles just to exhibit His power to men. He does them for specific purposes and reasons.

This is demonstrated by the account of Jesus' temptation of the devil to perform a supernatural feat so people would know He was God's son. Look at Matthew 4:5-7: "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

Here, Jesus refused to do a miracle just to demonstrate He had power. He called this tempting God. God displays His power, signs, wonders and miracles for His purposes. Here are some of the reasons and purposes in the Bible where the Lord demonstrates His signs, miracles or wonders. This is only a very small listing of miracles in the Bible:

(1.) Wonders of Apprehension (There are accounts of many men and women throughout the Bible who experienced supernatural happenings to them individually when the Lord called them for a special purpose.)

Moses at the Burning Bush (Exodus 3) In the presence of God He experienced God's requirement for holiness.
Saul on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9) In the presence of God, Saul was shown his rebellion.

(2.) Miracles of Provision (When God's people had a need that could not be met at the moment in the natural.)

Feeding of the Five Thousand (Matthew 14:16-21)
Provision of the Manna to the Israelites (Exodus 16:35)

(3.) Miracles of Protection (God keeps His people with angelic protection when they are in danger.)

Daniel in the Lion's Den (Daniel 6)
Three Hebrew Children in the Fiery Furnace (Daniel 3)

(4.) Miracles of Deliverance from Plotted Destruction (God sends angelic messengers to warn His people of danger and the way of escape.)

Joseph and Mary with Baby Jesus (Matthew 2)
Peter from Prison (Acts 11)

(5.) Miracles of Healing (God heals His people from all manner of disease and suffering through miracles.)

Healing of the Blind, Lame, Diseased and Sick by the Apostles (Book of Acts)
Healing of the Demonized Gaderene (Luke 8:26-39)

(6.) Miracles of Divine Revelation (God gives divine understanding of His Word and His plans.)

Jesus Reveals the Scriptures to His Disciples (Luke 24:45)
Daniel Receives Visions and Revelation from God (Daniel 10)

From these accounts of miracles, signs and wonders we can see that the purposes of God were performed. Some of the supernatural manifestations that are occurring in the present move of God do not come from God at all. They are from another source, the devil. Some Christians do not recognize them as coming from the devil as they quote having feelings of ecstasy in these meetings or feeling what they call the anointing or glory of God. There is a true feeling of the presence and the anointing of God however, some of what is happening is not of God. Many Christians live in a feeling realm with God and just go from meeting to meeting so they can "feel" good. God's true anointing and glory will cause men to change, not merely feel good. If you are in the presence of God's true glory you will begin to see your sin and repent and desire to do His will. God's true glory is a revelation of His nature and attributes.

One of our major faults as Christians is that we tend to listen to men on certain subjects instead of referring to the Book God gave us. We recognize that God gave us men to lead us into the truths of God, but our problem becomes who are the true men of God and who are the false ones that Christ warned us about? Sometimes we tend to evaluate men according to the size of their ministries, their popularity with men, or their endowment of certain gifts, etc. The true test should be to test them by evaluating their fruit according to Galatians 5:22-24: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."

Not only are we to test or try the spirits in men, but we are to do the same with any supernatural manifestations that we might experience. Today, when the world is being exposed to so many false things we need to be careful not to expose our spirits to false dreams, visions, revelations, prophecies, voices, signs, miracles, wonders, etc. The Word of God definitely teaches that God can manifest Himself in any, or all, of the above things; yet we are not to accept everything that comes in the name of Jesus. We need to test or prove these also. One of Satan's greatest devices is to counterfeit the real things of God and come to us disguised as the working of the Holy Spirit.

One reason some people move too quickly to accept the things they believe to be God is that they are fearful of disobeying Him, and thereby angering Him. They do not yet understand the loving and patient nature of our Father. The Lord never minds us testing or trying things to see if He is in them. It is only when we put God on trial that we do wrong. If we come to Him with a humble and sincere heart, wanting to know the answer to an honest question, He is more than willing to reveal to us the truth about the matter. The only time we will not get an answer from God is when we approach Him rebelliously, demanding an answer from Him.

Many Christians are hesitant about proving or testing things as they tend to categorize this right along with "judging," and they have been taught they are to judge no man. Most of us are familiar with the Scripture in Matthew 7:1 that says, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." If we look at only this one verse, and we are trying to judge a situation, we will feel guilty about making an evaluation. However, we should look at all the other Scriptures related to this one, so we know how we are to judge. Let us continue to read the rest of this Scripture, "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye" (Matthew 7:2-5).

Examining all these Scriptures, we see that Jesus is not saying we are not to judge, but rather how we are to judge. We are to judge mercifully and according to the Word of God.We need to humbly submit the thing in question to the Lord and ask Him to show us if it is of Him or if the sign or wonder is from the devil. We need to go to the Word of God and seek the answer in the Bible. If the sign is from Him it will bear witness to our spirit, we who have the Spirit of Truth within us will be able to witness to and hear that truth. If we are uncomfortable about a sign, miracle or wonder, this could be the Holy Spirit warning us to test this thing. If a service is reduced to a circus atmosphere with weird things that don't agree with God's nature, His gifts and His Word, it simply isn't our Lord. Some things just don't pass the test. 1 Corinthians 14:40 says "Let all things be done decently and in order."

Although things are different in certain services it does not mean it is not God however, you will have a witness in your spirit that this is of God if you are seeking God with your whole heart. Ask Him to show you the truth and be open to receiving all that is from Him. On the other hand, ask Him to show you when something is not of God so that you will not be deceived. I make it a practice to run everything through what I call "the Holy Ghost filter". I always ask the Lord to show me the truth about things. I trust the Lord to guide me and show me what is of Him and to change my ideas if they are wrong about something. I also expect Him to confirm to me when I am right about things. John 16:13: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come."

This article was taken from the Overcoming Life Digest (July/August 1999 Issue); click here to view Digest

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