Miracles Ceased? NO!

  Check this web site "Charismatic Preterism."    (New)  A defense of the continuation position - Link

This Article is an attempt at providing a logical and scriptural answer for those who have failed to consider the context and by doing so have taken a stand against Christ's on-going intervention via answers to prayer, the gifts, etc.

Let me admit here that those fellowships who have embraced the continuation of the Gifts, and the like, most often, have projected, at the least, to much confusion, and in many cases, if not most, they have openly embraced the leadership of charlatans.

(I must also add that this is a collection, or compilation, of my thoughts, plus a lot that came from material found at various web sites and commentaries.)

There is a problem in the approach to scripture, especially, by those who believe in the cessation of miracles, or who do not believe God hears and answers prayer on a day to day basis.

James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (KJV)

Matt 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water...

John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. (KJV)

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1. My Full Preterist friends, and those who are of the Moral Government persuasion, and most all other Christians believe the cannon of the NT was completed by the end of the first century and therefore there will be no more books added to it.

(There was no recognized cannon until later. The individual books may have been accepted as scripture much earlier, for some are mentioned in the NT.)

2. There is another distinction made by some Full Preterists, MG adherents, and many other Christians concerning the gifts of the Spirit and miracles. This has to do with their belief that miracles and the gifts stopped when the apostles died and when the last inspired scripture was written.

(Some of the NT books were written by other then the apostles themselves.)

I have inserted a short article that is written from a Sovereign Grace Preterist view. The Author who like most, does not believe there are gifts in the area of knowledge, prophesy and tongues, today. There are others who even deny there are any healings produced by prayer and fasting and the laying on of hands, etc.

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""Do not believe (every point made in), the following article ..... pleeeeze!""  

Ward Fenly is a good man, and I agree emphatically with some of his points - but ....

(This was/is posted on the preteristarchive.com site, I believe.)

Christians are to be wise, discerning and studious people. (Contrary to what most have been taught.)

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A BRIEF ARTICLE ON THE CESSATION OF GIFTS

By Ward Fenly

"Most believers in sovereign grace and NCT that I know believe that the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge ceased in the first century. I certainly agree with this belief. However, it is entirely inconsistent when a New Covenant theologian uses 1 Corinthians 13 to argue for the cessation of the gifts unless they believe in the total first-century fulfillment of that passage:

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. {9} For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. {10} But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. {11} When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. {12} For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. {13} And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Many will say that the "perfect" was the canon of Scripture, and therefore tongues must have ceased. But the context is clear: at the time tongues would cease:

1) That which was perfect would come

2) That which was in part (tongues, knowledge, prophecy) would be done away

3) The church would not be a child, but a man

4) The church would no longer see through a glass darkly but rather, face to face

5) The church would no longer know only in part, but would know as she was fully known.

Unless we understand all the elements in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 to have their fulfillment in the first century, we cannot affirm that the gifts of tongues, knowledge, and prophecy have ceased.

Not only this, but many New Covenant theologians would say we are in the last days. Usually they will argue that the last days began in the first century. With that, I would agree. However, if I am to say that we are in the last days now, I, again, would be inconsistent in saying that the gifts of the Spirit ceased. For the apostle Peter was very clear:

 Acts 2:14-20 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: {15} For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. {16} But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; {17} And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: {18} And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: {19} And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: {20} The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

Peter was quoting Joel and saying that during the last days God would cause His Spirit to be poured upon all flesh, sons and daughters would prophesy, young men would see visions and old men would dream dreams. I utterly deny that these are taking place today. However, if I were to affirm that we are still in the last days, I simply could not, with a clear conscience, say that these gifts were not for today.

My point is that the first century church was in the last days of the Jewish age:

 Hebrews 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, {2} Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world (age) are come.

Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world (age) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

This is decisively why John could say:

1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

This had nothing to do with the last time of the physical planet but, rather, the last time of the Jewish age. It was about to completely come to a close.

Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

By Ward Fenly

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NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNoooo you don't!!

I am guessing that brother Fenly would have some thoughts on what I say here.

The following scriptures are not used in his/their discussions, but they still do follow the texts that they use - "immediately." I would suggest that you read them carefully.

1 Cor 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3 But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. (NIV)

It should be noted that Paul is giving instructions to the Church at Corinth. They were a very gifted people.

In 14:3 he details the effects or the benefits of the gift of prophesy.

Everyone who prophesies speaks to men, etc.

Then looking back at the first verse we note that Paul especially commends the gift of prophecy and encourages believers to desire it above the others. In the whole discourse he is promoting the superiority of love, and speaks of all of these gifts as if they would cease to exist in time, but then he continues on and after saying - we are to follow the way of love - he goes on to say that they were to eagerly desire spiritual gifts.

The truth is that we do not know just what aspect of the kingdom Paul was speaking of.

Were all of these gifts to stop at Christ's soon return? Or was Paul speaking of our being completely united with Christ as we pass from this life? Just what the "perfect" is referring to is a question.

The infilling of the Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance. We do not receive everything God has for us in this life.

Paul was teaching them to follow love and to walk in it, and to consider it as being a necessity. This was his main point. To attempt to use this context as proof of there no longer being any gifts is contrary to his point, for they were to also eagerly desire these gifts, even though they were/are transitory.

Paul said nothing about miracles coming to an end. Those that he mentions as having an end are not the sum total of all of the Gifts of the Spirit.

In a sense he equates Faith, Hope and Love, but insists that love is the greatest.

Love never fails, but the gifts do lose their importance, but only relative to the need.

This is his point. Again, the ministry of these gifts are transitory. They are for and have always been for one specific period of time.

Gifts are for this life only and they have their limitations here. In any case, they are worthless if they are not exercised in love.

 In discussing this we must consider the inspiration of the Word. Christ said heaven and earth would pass away, but my word is established forever. Just as love never fails, so the word of God also never fails. These two are inseparable.

The transitory messages coming from the gift of prophecy cannot be equated with the word that is established forever.

The word of the Lord is sometimes equated with knowledge, but many more times it is identified as being inseparable from wisdom.

When Jerusalem was destroyed both the OT and NT prophesies that foretold that event were fulfilled. (Completed. The event itself was perfected.)

Those prophecies were transitory. They had a beginning in time and an end in time.

Jesus spoke of fulfilling the law. He was not only speaking of his being the perfector of the law, but he was also speaking of fulfilling the prophecies contained in the law.

  There is no end nor beginning to the moral law.

  The essence or spirit of the Ten Commandments are ageless. They are forever settled in heaven. They are to be obeyed by the angels and all inhabitants of the universe. The fundamental morality of the Ten Commandments is inseparable from Godly love.

God himself is the absolute author and enforcer of the moral law and would cease to be God if he did not.

Jesus taught and demanded compliance to the moral law in Matthew, chapters five six and seven.

Matt 7:26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (NIV)

It is unfortunate, but there is an ever increasing number of Christians who do believe that Christ can be your Savior, even though he is not your Lord.

Many of my Christian friends who are marching under the banner of Sovereign Grace stand on erroneous doctrine that supports this misconception. Yes, they do argue against sin and claim that the doctrines of - once in grace always - or the total sovereignty of God - as they teach them does not produce indulgence. Many of them are into living lives of holiness. However, the very life style of several of the Christian greats of the past who lived by these doctrines are obvious proof of its error, for they did not walk in holiness. The Church at large has been infected with this error. The Church has taken sin off the table, it is no longer thought of as being an issue that has any bearing on heaven or hell.

 To teach that the gifts are to cease and not be present in the Church, all down through the ages, is error.

However, that position does effectively and conveniently reduce the pressure on those who do not have the faith to believe they are for us.

Again - The cessation of these certain gifts has to do with the end of a specific age, or period of time, and points to their inherent transitory nature.

The integrity of the Preterist position is being attacked by so many who are prominent teachers in that movement, who demand that we interpret Paul's statements as being proof of the end of the miraculous in the first century.

Some of them teach that all demonic activity ceased then - which along with their several other attacks against the continuation of the gifts makes them look as if they have their heads in the sand. Yes - there was an end to a beast system and to a Babylon and yes an Evil spiritual dominion even came to an end. However, - and even though Christ's Kingdom was established, - outside of the kingdom wickedness is portrayed as continuing. (Gnashing of teeth, etc.)

This is not what the prophecies were speaking of. The end of Satan in the NT is tied to the perversion of the Mosaic system. Not only that, for, all of the religions of that age were into giving place to evil entities, Idols, devils, etc. The history of the evil dragon goes all the way back to the garden. It may be that this was a legend that gave an out to them. They could blame the devil. "The devil made me do it." God told Cain different and so did Christ, but in between we have the doctrine of original sin, etc. The Jews had concocted all kinds of tradition that gave them an out. Everything was evil. Touch not taste not, etc. This was their Satanic system and it and all of its false prophets were burned up through the truth emanating from the Gospel. The sword issuing out of Christ's mouth.

All Prophecies are not equal

It appears obvious that there is a decided difference between the moral law and the transitory messages given in personal prophecy. Knowledge is itself, very often, transitory, whereas, the essence of wisdom is ageless.

Yes, there were OT and NT prophecies that were immutable and came to pass - and as far as importance they were ageless. Again, they came to pass, and even though they are still pertinent as a praise and as a witnesses, they were still given for certain times.

Genuine God inspired prophecies received by individuals in a congregation appear to have been the forth telling of the Word of God. Using the word in connection with both present and future circumstances. 

However, these messages were not all written down or ageless or left to us as witnesses. 

Please note the limitations placed on the Prophet.

1 Cor 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two-- or at the most three-- should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. 29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, (NIV)

First: obviously these messages were not always immutable. They were to be judged by other Christians.

Second: there was a problem. Disorderly conduct among these gifted people.

This obviously places this type of ministry far below that of those who God inspired to write the books we have since received as being the Cannon.

If you would attend Pentecostal churches where the gifts of the Spirit are said to be in operation you would note that in most there is disorder. Too often the messages are not subject to review or to the control of others. Sometimes the one giving a message from behind the pulpit is interrupted by someone in the congregation. This is disorderly. The problem that Paul was dealing with is still here and very often it has gotten worse, not better.

It is now common in many of these Pentecostal and Charismatic circles to have so called prophets accepted because they guess so many things right. They have a high percentage of, so called, "Words from God," that appear to have been received by them through a gift. Infallibility is not essential, just good guess work. If they speak something that appears to be right on 75% of the time they are considered as being a true prophet of God. This is ruining the witness of these movements. This is false prophecy at its worst and is an abomination. Many Christians are addicted to following this type of charlatan ministry - much like those who seek out and pay to hear a word from a fortune teller.

Paul was approached by a true prophet and he was told what was going to happen. Paul did accept the prophesy, but he was not subject to it. He judged what was said by this prophet and went on his way. He had previously received a word directly from God and ordered his steps accordingly.

Moses wanted all of God's people to prophesy.

Num 11:25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again. 26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." 28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' aide since youth, spoke up and said, "Moses, my lord, stop them!" 29 But Moses replied, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!" (NIV)

In the OT we are told that at one time King Saul prophesied.

 1 Sam 10:9 And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day. 10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? (KJV)

We have no reason for believing that this form of prophesy produced any thing other then transitory revelations and praise. Samuel had previously told Saul where he would find his mules. Neither the cannon of the New Testament, nor the Old, was based on this form of prophesy.

 

Miracles and Gifts

The following verses imply that at least one more generation would be acquainted with miracles and gifts.

Matt 12:27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. (NKJ)

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (NKJ)

This gift of the Holy Spirit here is inseparable from the sign of the gift of tongues. Christ had told them to wait here to be endued with power. In Ephesians Paul spoke later of Christ as having previously both ascended to his throne and having gave gifts to men.

  Eph 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men." 9 (Now this, "He ascended"-- what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (NKJ)

Kartargeo? Vanish? Fail? Stilled?

Let us look at the word in this verse that is translated as abolish, or vanish. "Kartargeo."


1 Cor 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. (NIV)

Knowledge increases or becomes outdated, it never ceases. Each of the gifts after being exercised and then no longer being needed rest, become idle.


Vines - Katargeo literally means, "to render inoperative or invalid."

Strongs definition -2673 katargeo (kat-arg-eh'-o); from 2596 and 691; to be (render) entirely idle (useless), literally or figuratively: KJV-- abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to nought, put away (down), vanish away, make void.

Greek scholar Joseph Henry Thayer says katargeo means "to render idle, unemployed, inactive, inoperative," to deprive of its strength, to deprive of force, influence, or power, bring to nought, make of none effect" (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1962], p. 336).

This particular Greek word occurs twenty-seven times in the New Testament and is used six times in the book of Romans.

(1) Romans 3:3--Paul said, "Shall their [Israel's] unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect [katargeo]?"

The phrase "without effect" could not mean destroyed because nothing could destroy the faithfulness of God.

The verse cannot refer to the destruction of the law because the law is eternal.

The same Greek word is used here and is correctly translated "made of no effect." The promise of God can never be destroyed.

The verse is not saying the woman is destroyed as Romans 6:6 translates the same Greek word, it simply means that her marriage is now of no effect. She is no longer considered married to her deceased husband.

Cease? pauo?

".. where there are prophecies, they will cease;"

Vines - A. Verbs. 1. pauo ^3973^, "to stop, to make an end," is used chiefiy in the middle voice in the NT, signifying "to come to an end, to take one's rest, a willing cessation" (in contrast to the passive voice which denotes a forced cessation),

(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

Strongs definition - CEASE 3973 pauo (pow'-o); a primary verb ("pause"); to stop (transitively or intransitively), i.e. restrain, quit, desist, come to an end:

KJV-- cease, leave, refrain.

Note the word in this case does not denote a complete cesation or destruction, or complete end, but rather a rest.

Fulfilled prophecies necessarily remove the need for further prophecy in that case.

Unfortunately, too many of my Preterist friends think that these ministries and gifts ceased at the destruction of Israel. In doing this they contradict the clear message of these texts. The giving of these gifts did not happen until after Christ had been enthroned. He had finished the process of eternal salvation through his resurrection and ascension and had then and only then gifted his people for service. This was after the establishing of his Kingdom, not before. (Please take note of the following paragraph.)

Yes, Paul speaks of a redemption yet to come, however, it did happen, it came, and it still was not the founding of that redemption, but it was a physical display of the power of Christ and proof that His kingdom had already happened.

The gift of healing, has in the past and will always continue to follow the Church on down through the ages.

Gen 20:17 So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; (NKJ)

II Ki 2:2 Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, "Thus says the LORD: 'I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.'" (NKJ)

Judg 6:13 Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." (NKJ)

Rev 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (kJ)

 

FIRST THERE WERE TWELVE APOSTLES THEN THERE WERE THIRTEEN and FOURTEEN and ..

 Luke 6:13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: 14 (1)Simon, whom He also named Peter, and (2)Andrew his brother; (3) James and (4)John; (5)Philip and (6)Bartholomew; 15 (7)Matthew and (8)Thomas; (9)James the son of Alphaeus, and (10)Simon called the Zealot; 16 (11)Judas the son of James, and (12)Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor. (NKJ)

Christ designated these as being his Apostles. In a sense they represented the twelve tribes of Israel.

One was a devil and the eleven apostles appointed another after he died, which meant there were thirteen who had been given that title.

Some would argue that this was a mistake on their part. I would question anyone's motive who today think they can second guess the eleven apostles, who only after having prayed, then chose him by lot.

 Acts 1:1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (NKJ)

Acts 1:21 "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 "beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection."

1:26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And (13th)he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (NKJ)

Rom 1:1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, (the 14th)called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;

1 Cor 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at (NKJ)

1 Cor 9:1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 3 My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Do we have no right to eat and drink? 5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? 6 Or is it only (15th?)Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? (NKJ)

Was Barnabas another apostle? Was he the 15th apostle?

Acts 11:22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

Acts 11:29 Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. 30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Acts 12:25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.

Acts 13:1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." (NKJ)

Were these other prophets and teachers, that are listed here, also apostles? In any case -

Does the following verse lend enough credence to the apostleship of Barnabas, so we can safely say that yes, he was the 15th Apostle.? I think so.

 Acts 14:14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out (NKJ)

Now when Paul and Barnabus went to Jerusalem who all did they meet with?

Acts 15:2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question. (NKJ)

Was Matthias one of the Apostles they met with?

Do we have any reason to believe that he was not there?

We have reason to believe that Barnabus was accepted as being an Apostle, yet we do not know that he was with them from the beginning. He may also have been one born out of season as he and Paul were apostles to the gentiles.

Acts 15:12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. (NKJ)

It has been said that an apostle necessarily had to have been present during Christ's earthly ministry and that they must to be endowed with miraculous gifts, etc. The scriptures do not portray this as being a hard fast rule. They were specifically chosen and were gifted, but as to just how, we have nothing more then these examples.

The ministry of the body of Christ is the continuation of Christ's ministry.

His earthly appearance and ministry was to happen in the last days. On this basis we must consider the ramifications of the following.

1. The kingdom of God, in some sense arrived at the beginning of Christ's ministry.

2. In another sense the Kingdom of God was yet to come during and through the judgment that fell on Jerusalem.

3. Christ's earthly ministry also coincided with the last days.

4. The Spirit was to be poured out on all flesh or on all races of people in the last days.

5. Redemption also took place at Calvary.

6. There was also a redemption that happened at Christ's Return.

John 14:11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (NKJ)

Matt 21:20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither away so soon?" 21 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. 22 "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." (NKJ)

Mark 16:17 "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 "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." (NKJ)

Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole (kJ)

Acts 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. (NKJ)

Mark 11:24 "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (NKJ)

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (kJ)

James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (NKJ)

Obviously, the apostles were righteous men.

THE CHURCH, THE BODY OF CHRIST

AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD ARE INSEPARABLE

When Christ's kingdom appeared so did his NT Church and his body.

Note the past tense -

Eph 1:22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Col 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (NKJ)

 

PERFECTION

That which is perfect or complete.

 1 Cor 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)

The subject is love and its infinite superiority to the gifts.

1. The gifts are not in contention with love. However, Paul seems to imply that the misuse of these gifts would put them in contention with love.

2. In this translation - the term "fails" is a different Greek word then the "cease," "stilled" and "pass away."

3. Love never fails refers to it never losing its authority or superiority. The Greek word is "pipto" translated as "fails", can be crudely interpreted to mean it is infinitely more solid then a rock.

Again - The point concerning love not failing is to be referenced to what does happen to tongues, prophesy and knowledge. The comparison is made between them so as to reveal the infinite superior position of the inherent qualities of love relative to the finite or transitory qualities of the gifts.

4. The Greek word "katargeo" translated "cease" or fail, is used in the context to compare the enduring and unchangeable qualities of the subject, which is love, with those of prophecies, which do lose their effectiveness or do become inactive. It does not mean prophecies are abolished. (They are fulfilled and this means the event that was foretold has been perfected.)

5. The Greek word "pauo" translated as "stilled" or cease, is used in this text to compare the characteristics of tongues with that of love. -which in essence means they (tongues), do lose their authority or they rest, but it does not mean they cease to exist.

6. Katargeo is also used to compare the transitory nature of knowledge with that of love.

 

"Perfect"

1. The Greek word "telios" is here translated into our word perfect and refers to completeness or being of full age.

2. Paul moves from this to pointing to that of being a child and then becoming a mature or perfect or complete man who puts away childish things

3. The context of these two chapters has to do with propriety in the operation of the gifts.

4. He is teaching that if the gifts are used apart from love they are nothing more then the expressions of immature childish Christians.

5. In the process he mentions the fact that the gifts themselves are limited and transitory in nature whereas love is forever.

6. He follows this lesson on the superiority of love and the necessity of making sure it is integral with the operation of the gifts by encouraging believers to seek the best gifts.

7. The "perfect" in the text points to the end results of the use of the gifts in love. Yet, the gifts themselves are limited and transitory and have an end.

8. However, when the message of the gifts are fulfilled we see clearly. Then the perfect has arrived. We then have the complete picture and no longer have to rely on the blurred image afforded by the gifts.

9. At the point of complete fulfillment we know as we have been known. We have reached the perfect picture. The complete experience of knowing climaxes in our knowing as we have been known previously by God and by others while still in our imperfectness.

10. Commentaries have read into these scriptures the return of Christ as being that which is perfect.. The definitions of the words themselves, and the context, do not support that thought.

11. Christ's return was to be in judgment and was a revealing of the power that he had and so involved the display of the superior position of the Church.

12. The OT has the messiah coming but one time. Christ's 2nd coming was not the essence of his earthly ministry. It was a physical display of his glory and proof of all that he had already accomplished.

13. To say that the gifts themselves have no place in the church after the first century is contradictory of Paul's message.

We know Miracles did not cease.

This is taken from the Early Church Fathers.

IRENAEUS AGAINST HERESIES

[A.D. 120-202.] This history introduces us to the Church in her Western outposts. We reach the banks of the Rhone, where for nearly a century Christian missions have flourished. Between Marseilles and Smyrna there seems to have been a brisk trade, and Polycarp had sent Pothinus into Celtic Gaul at an early date as its evangelist. He had fixed his see at Lyons, when Irenaeus joined him as a presbyter, having been his fellow-pupil under Polycarp. There, under the "good Aurelius," as he is miscalled (A.D. 177), arose the terrible persecution which made "the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne" so memorable. It was during this persecution that Irenaeus was sent to Rome with letters of remonstrance against the rising pestilence of heresy; and he was probably the author of the account of the sufferings of the martyrs which is appended to their testimony. .....

 The INTRODUCTORY NOTICE of the learned translators is as follows:

The work of Irenaeus Against Heresies is one of the most precious remains of early Christian antiquity. It is devoted, on the one hand, to an account and refutation of those multiform Gnostic heresies which prevailed in the latter half of the second century; and, on the other hand, to an exposition and defense of the Catholic faith.

The following is taken from chapter 32.

......... "Wherefore, also, those who are in truth His disciples, receiving grace from Him, do in His name perform [miracles], so as to promote the welfare of other men, according to the gift which each one has received from Him. For some do certainly and truly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe [in Christ], and join themselves to the Church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic expressions. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to name the number of the gifts which the Church, [scattered] throughout the whole world, has received from God, in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she exerts day by day for the benefit of the Gentiles, neither practicing deception upon any, nor taking any reward from them [on account of such miraculous interpositions]. For as she has received freely from God, freely also does she minister [to others]. Nor does she perform anything by means of angelic invocations, or by incantations, or by any other wicked curious art; but, directing her prayers to the Lord, who made all things, in a pure, sincere, and straightforward spirit, and calling upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, she has been accustomed to work miracles for the advantage of mankind, and not to lead them into error. If, therefore, the name of our Lord Jesus Christ even now confers benefits [upon men], and cures thoroughly and effectively all who anywhere believe on Him, but not that of Simon, or Menander, or Carpocrates, or of any other man whatever, it is manifest that, when He was made man, He held fellowship with His own creation, and did all things truly through the power of God, according to the will of the Father of all, as the prophets had foretold.

REDEEMED REDEMPTION

Primarily the saving of God's people from oppression.

 Ps 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. (KJV)

Ps 71:20 Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. (KJV)

Ps 106:10 And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. (KJV)

Isa 1:27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. (KJV)

Isa 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. 9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (KJV)

Isa 52:8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (KJV)

Isa 62:11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 12 And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken. (KJV)

While the redeemed would be filled with joy and their sorrow would pass away, the wicked are still around, but on the outside.

Paul spoke of an age that was yet to come, but look at what he said.

Heb 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the -

"powers of the coming age "-

6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (NIV)

Yes, Paul was speaking of a problem. Yet in this he states that some of those who were going back had actually tasted of things that were to be present in this soon coming age. These people had already tasted of the Holy Spirit. Then he said these people had also tasted of the powers of the coming age. This necessarily means that the same out pouring and the same miracles that were then present would continue. No end to them. Christ's glory has no end and will go on being revealed here, world without end, and on and on.

Joel was not speaking of a future time when God would cease to intervene via the miraculous , but of the glorious beginning of an even more powerful advent. The establishment of God's Reign via His Church was the ultimate message of the last Days. It was not primarily about an end, but rather a call back to God and this involved a transition from the Old to The NEW.

Again - The end had to do with Judgment on a perverted system, not the end of God's ministering to His people via miraculous interventions.

Vern Manson

Suppressed Evidence of the Miraculous  1832

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Vern Manson             (re-edited and updated  12/14/08)