Sign of a Good Test


Sunday school from October 18th, 2020


All right, let's pray. We're going to get started. Lord Jesus, as we open your Word, we recognize that your
Word is truth. We pray, Lord, that you would send your Spirit, help us to rightly understand, to believe, to confess, and do all according to what you have revealed to us in your
Holy Word, we ask in Jesus' name. Amen. All right, so as we get started, I'm going to note that there were there was a question that came up in regards to how do we honor, like, wicked leaders?
On the one hand, you know, people have to obey their leaders, and on the other hand, they have to...
We, within the United States, we've participated in deposing particular leaders, such as Hitler, you know.
We helped to expedite his departure from planet Earth. We participated in a war against him.
And so the idea, then, is that when we talk about governments,
Lutherans make a distinction between what they call the right and the left -hand kingdoms. So a good way to start it out is
I always like to ask the question, which was instituted by God, the government or the church?
And the answer is both, both. Now, they each have different charters, and they have, as part of their charters, they have authority from God to fulfill their mission, the reason why they exist.
So governments do not exist for the purpose of murdering its citizenry. Governments exist for the purpose of punishing the evildoer and rewarding those who are doing good.
When we talk about the law, this is what we would call the first use of the law, to punish evildoers.
This is to curb evil. And so when a government goes rogue and doesn't stay within the bounds of its charter and the authority given to it by God, but now engages in commandment breaking, then the church is required to speak prophetically to the government and call the government to repentance.
And you'll note that doing so with certain regimes will result in the martyrdom of Christians.
And our response to that is that's not to prevent us from doing what we're supposed to do.
And so the idea is that when the government oversteps, we do not obey the government, we obey
God. And so in the case of Nazi Germany, we would recognize, according to scripture, there is no government instituted except for that by Christ.
And first thing out of the chute that the Nazi regime did was begin murdering people.
That's a bad thing. And so, you know, and you'll note there were some who spoke out against them.
And speaking out against them, their lives came to an abrupt end. That's how it goes.
And so it took other governments to basically at that point step in and bring that regime to an end.
But they didn't start that war. The Nazis started that war. It's the Allies, they finished it.
And so in that particular case, you recognize that just because a government is instituted by God does not mean that it's going to stay within its charter, within its mission, within its authority, any different than a church.
The church has been established by Christ. There are offices within it, and those are established by Christ, and men within those offices have limits to their authority.
They have particular duties that they are responsible for performing. Does that mean that every pastor does these things, or every congregation does what it's supposed to do?
The answer is no. And the rank heresy and abuses that take place today within the church are a testament to just how far off the rails things go from time to time.
So the balance then is, and I'll give you a text on this so you can kind of see this. In the book, hang on a second here,
I'm going to duplicate this tab. Hold on a second here, hold on.
Let me now connect my Apple TV. How's that? All right, so y 'all can see me now?
Yeah, all right. And you can hear me, you can see the screen. In Acts chapter 4, you have an example of the apostles being arrested for kind of a dubious crime, if you would, the crime of healing somebody.
I know, this is scandalous! They healed somebody? Yeah, so what ended up happening is that you'll note that it says that as they were speaking, the people and the priests and the captain of the temple and the
Sadducees came upon them. So if you remember, there was a paralytic at the beautiful gate, and Peter and John were going in to pray at the normal time of prayer, three in the afternoon, and Peter says to the fellow, silver and gold
I do not have, but what I do have I give you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Get up and walk. And he did, and everybody was rejoicing.
Peter gave this wonderful sermon as a result of this fantastic miracle that Christ performed through him, and it says the
Sadducees were greatly annoyed. Rather than,
I always, you know, you can't reason with unbelief, it just, it's impossible to do that.
So they were greatly annoyed, and the reason they were annoyed is because they were proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
And if you know your history, you know the Sadducees denied the resurrection, that is the reason why they were sad, you see.
Yeah, see, they don't like my jokes. Wait, that was humor? Yes, of course it was humor.
What else could it possibly have been? Yeah, well, yesterday I thought the
Elephians were going to stone me because when we were reading a text that mentioned the the
Gittites, I said those were the people who made the guitars. Anyway. There's about to be a mutiny here.
There's about to be a mutiny here. All right, anyway, so the reason why they were upset and annoyed is because the disciples were preaching in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
So they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. So they were arrested for this, all right.
Many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of men came to about 5 ,000. So despite being arrested, you know, so the
Jerusalem Times that morning clearly covered the story about their arrest and how they were going to be dealt with the next day.
And so you see then on the next day the rulers, the elders, the scribes, they gathered together in Jerusalem with Annas, the high priest,
Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high priestly family. And when they set them in the midst, they inquired, by what power or what name you did you do this?
So I mean opening question in their interrogation for the crime that they committed, because remember they were arrested, was by what name did you do this?
Peter filled with the Holy Spirit said, and rulers of the people, elders, if we're being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, and by what means this man has been healed, well let it be known to all of you and all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom
God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, and which has become the cornerstone.
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
All right, so good response on the part of the Apostle Peter, and you'll note that the
Holy Spirit has given credit for this, so the Holy Spirit was upon him. This gets recorded in scripture itself, and so these are inspired words of God.
So when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished, and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. Of course, they think, well are we really going to put them in prison for healing a crippled guy?
And you could just see the guy going, praise God, praise God. So when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, what shall we do with these men?
For a notable sign has been performed through them. This is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.
But in order that it may spread no further, we can't be having crippled people be healed.
We can't have people believing in Jesus. We've got to stop this now. Again, you can't reason with unbelief.
Let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name. You're going to note this is a rightly established governmental council in ancient
Israel, and their decision is that they're going to command them not to speak in the name of Jesus anymore.
That's not going to go over well, because they're beyond their charter. So they called them, and they charged them not to speak or to teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John answered, well, whether it's right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to, is it, it is right, rather it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge.
For we cannot speak of, cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. So basically, he said, yeah, we're going to obey
God, not you. That's kind of the long and the short of it. And you'll note then as Christians that this is primarily the reason why there's a history of Christians being martyred.
You live in a Muslim country, and the standing Sharia law forbids you from spreading the gospel, but Christ has said, make disciples of all nations.
So what do you do? You risk your life preaching the gospel to people, telling them of the good news of Jesus Christ, smuggling
Bibles into China, and things like this. But what if you get caught? You die. The end.
Okay, that's, and so the idea then is, is that you obey God rather than institutions when the institutions are beyond their charter.
Since governments are established by God, no government has the authority to tell Christians they can't preach the gospel.
No government has that authority. You belong to God. You don't belong to China. You don't belong to Trump. I'm glad I don't belong to Trump.
You know, you get the idea. You belong to God. So we obey God. So we recognize then where the limits are regarding the two, what we call the right and the left -hand kingdom.
And the left -hand kingdom does not have the authority to kibosh the gospel. They have the authority to punish evildoers, not those who are doing good.
And when they get that backwards, you obey God rather than men, even if that means that you're going to be martyred for the faith.
So you get the idea. All right, so that's the answer to the question, kind of long and short. Now, was the rumor true that Bruce had questions?
Interesting that you could use the plural. Is it apt?
Yes, actually. So the first question
I have, and they're both on the Old Testament, speaks to Cyrus as applying to Christ.
How much type of shadow is in that? Okay, all right,
Isaiah 45. All right, and so that's the easy one.
Throw the hard one at me now, so that I can start limping and walk it off. Okay, the same passage contains one of the current favorite atheist verses, and that is
Isaiah 45 -7. The atheist argument goes,
God cannot be good or cannot blame people for the existence of bad people.
It says it in Isaiah 45 -7. Okay, all right, so God himself says he makes evil, so he can't be there, loses his justice, just position to judge evil because it's his fault.
Okay, so all right, so we're going to start with the hard one first, because that's actually the easier one for me.
All right, in this particular case, so the question as it relates is Isaiah 45 -7, where these are the words.
Yahweh is speaking, I formed light and I create darkness. I make well -being and I create calamity.
I am Yahweh who does all of these things. And so what happens is the atheist takes this and says, look,
God is the one who created evil. That's not what the text says. Sure, yeah, yes, yeah.
All right, so it's a matter of categories, and I think you're in the right spot. So the idea is,
I just watched that documentary on the U .S. Gymnastics and Larry Nassar on Netflix.
It's called Athlete A. If you have not watched it, it's worth a watch. It's super frustrating, but I think we're all familiar with the account of all of the sexual molestation that was taking place in the
USA women's gymnastics performed by their team doctor,
Larry Nassar. And so the best way I can put it is that when God says, I make calamity or I create calamity, this is the type of calamity that Larry Nassar experienced.
So there's Larry Nassar. He's been arrested. All these women have come forward and, independent of each other, are saying the same thing.
And so his attorney sees the handwriting on the wall, and so they work out a plea bargain.
And as part of the plea bargain, the prosecuting attorney decided that every victim who comes forward would have the right to say her peace at the final hearing of the trial.
And so woman after woman after woman came up and spoke and let them have it.
And Rachel Denhollander then knocked it out of the park at the very end. And what ended up happening is that Larry Nassar was given two 60 -year sentences.
And so on that day, you can say calamity visited
Larry Nassar. That's what we call justice.
So when God brings calamity on a person, if somebody wants to ascribe to God injustice or the creation of evil, they do not recognize that they are sinful and that they have earned and deserve calamity in the form of God's wrath and justice against their sin.
So to just basically say, well, God creates calamity, and assume that it's just talking about God is the one who created evil.
He's not. When he's talking about calamity, he's talking about the just consequences of our sin.
And in this world that we live in, there are some pretty horrifying consequences and calamities that visit us all.
And none of us can point our bony fingers at God and say, God, you're unjust. How dare you make my life miserable?
Yeah, it doesn't work that way. I think that's the way you would take away the atheist argument. Yeah, Faith?
Right. Yeah, and that's the other thing.
It's a text like this that I find it fascinating. So yes, the man born blind, in that particular case, you could make the bigger cosmic statement that the reason why he was born blind is because of the consequences of humanity's sin against God.
We live in a cursed and fallen creation. But in his particular case, it was not because of a particular sin.
And in his particular case, God took the calamity of his blindness and worked it for God's glory.
So God does have the prerogative to do that as well. Remember, it's a fool who says in his heart there is no
God, not the wise. But this is a really popular attack right now.
So the verse was up in the reading. Yep, yep, it's worth it. And so, as I was going to also say and kind of add into the mix here, is that in this context then, people have been surprised to hear me say that the pandemic was sent by God.
Scripture is very clear. When it comes to plagues, that's God's prerogative to send. And so over and again,
I would even point to passages like this. God is the one who sends calamity. He's the one who sends plagues. And the right way as Christians to view the global pandemic, rather than going all political conspiracy theory, knock that off, all right?
Sure, there may be some of that going on, but that's not the issue. There is a legitimate plague. People are legitimately dying, even though it's not as deadly as other things.
The meltdown of the global economy, not just our economy, and this plague that continues to roll on, what it calls for us to do is to humble ourselves.
I've described the time of the pandemic and the lockdowns and things like this as an extended
Lenten season. This is not a time for you to be focusing on other people's sins, but focusing on your own.
This is a Lenten tide. This is a time of considering your own unworthiness and the sin that you have added into the world, which makes us all worthy of receiving a plague from God of this magnitude.
And thanking God it could be worse. When people sit there and go, it's not as deadly as they all say.
It's deadly enough that it's got our attention and people are thinking about death. And the reality is that everybody who gets a
COVID test that tests positive, the first thing that comes to their mind is, am
I going to die from this? Because it's a real possibility.
Life's a terminal illness. Yeah, we're born already. It's Christians though, I remind you all, we've all been buried with Christ and raised with Him.
So we've got the death thing covered. It's off your bucket list. You've already got the dead thing done. So we've got nothing to fear in this regard.
So live within the freedom of what it means to be dead. Dead people have ultimate freedom.
Ultimate. Except for taxes. Except for taxes. You still got to pay those. So you got the death part done, but you still got to pay your taxes.
All right, now the first question is taking a look at how a figure like Cyrus is going to be a type and shadow of Christ.
And it's quite overt in the text to be honest with you. Thus says Yahweh to his anointed.
And here we have Mashiach. So you know God doesn't call people his anointed willy -nilly.
It's one of those things where you sit there and go, okay. So this then in the types and shadows is kind of fun.
Because when you look at the Old Testament, there are two major events that really give us some of the big overarching metanarratives of rightly understanding what
Christ has done and where we are. So the first is the exodus. So here you have the people of God in slavery against their will under a despotic king.
Murderous king whose headdress looks like a serpent. Okay, right.
And so what does God do? He goes to war, sends plagues, sets his people free from slavery to this tyrannical false god -king whose headdress looks like a serpent's head, and baptizes them in the
Red Sea. They are on their wilderness wanderings which takes a generation. And then they cross the
Jordan into the promised land. All of that is a picture of the story we find ourselves in.
We are born dead in trespasses and sins to slavery, to sin, death, and the devil. And the devil is the ultimate tyrannical pharaoh if you would.
And God through mighty acts of judgment, which culminates in the death of the Passover lamb, Jesus, right?
He sets us free from slavery and he baptizes us in the Red Sea that flows from the side of Christ.
Good way to put it. And then now we are on our wilderness wanderings as we head towards the promised land.
And the promised land is not a postage stamp sized piece of property in the Middle East. It's the new earth.
So that's one big overarching metanarrative. The other one is the picture then of the exile.
And Peter picks up on this in his epistle. And the exile is another picture for us.
So here we are. We are outside of our homeland because of our sin and rebellion against God, but it's only for a certain amount of time, you know, 70 years.
Seven is the number of God. Anyway, so until the time of the completion. And then there is a king then who permits the people of God to return to their homeland.
And here's the thing. The 70 years is long enough that only a handful of fellows lived long enough to see, well, the promised land again, whereas everybody else was born in exile.
We as Christians, we are born in exile. We're born outside of the promised land and we've never seen home yet.
That's the reality of it. And so this then becomes a picture for us. We have been dispersed.
We are exiles. And then here King Cyrus is a stand -in for Christ in the types and shadows because God has raised up this
Messiah for the purpose of sending the people of Israel back home.
That's the idea. So that's where he's a stand -in for Christ and this is why this kind of has a lot of those messianic type and shadow reverberations in it.
So thus says Yahweh to his anointed, to Cyrus whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him, to loose the belt of kings.
Dang, that sounds like Jesus. Open the doors before him that gates may not be closed. That sounds a lot like Jesus.
So by the way then, in the NAR, in the NAR, who do they think this prophecy is about?
Trump. They think this is a prophecy about Trump.
It was, oh what was that crazy Kim Clement.
Kim Clement is a NAR prophet. He's dead now. He died of cancer a couple years back.
He prophesied that Trump was God's Cyrus. And remember, it was not that long ago that Trump established
Jerusalem. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. All the
NAR folks lost their prophetic minds. So this is proof that Trump is
Cyrus. And you just want to hurl. Of course, Paula White was
Johnny on the spot in affirming all of that nonsense. Everybody knows how solid she is.
You guys look like you're physically getting ill. What's going on over here? All right, but all that being said, you'll note here that this is almost written like a
Hebrew double entendre. And whereas you're talking about Cyrus, the implications as it relates to Christ really become clear.
I will go before and level the exalted places. Wait a second, isn't that what
John the Baptist did? John the Baptist went before Christ. He made paths straight and he leveled.
You see, you get the idea. I will break in pieces the doors of bronze, cut through the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, the hordes and secret places that you may know that it is
I, Yahweh, the God of Israel, who called you by name. And so here you got this name prophecy long, long, long before Cyrus was ever born.
And even the Persian empire was in the form that it was in. And here you get the idea.
It's like, wait a second, these really have some... you can see that this has implications regarding something else.
So it's true that Cyrus in this text is a type and shadow of Christ.
Good questions, plural. Let me check the questions online real quick here.
Okay, let's see. Was there a... okay, oh, wow. Makes it easy to remember. Our first pastor would say that too, and he got the same reaction.
About the sad you see, Louise? Yeah. I think if I continue with the dad jokes here, they're going to defrock me here at Kongsvinger.
Dwayne is threatening to pull the plug on the internet. They're going to put me in dad joke lockdown.
Okay, all right. Okay, was there a test that existed for Jews to be able to test what the disciples were saying to see if it was true?
How did the disciples fail to meet this test? Okay, so Heather and Brady and family, real quick, you'll note that in the text that I read from Acts, the
Sadducees and the Sanhedrin recognized that they had performed a great sign, and they couldn't deny that.
So already biblically, all of the cards were in favor of the disciples.
And this is one of the reasons why God gives signs. And so one of the things, over and again, you have the argument between charismatics and people who they self -identify as cessationists.
Cessationists oftentimes get misrepresented. The reality is this, is that what we say has ceased are the apostolic sign gifts.
And so when you look at what the purpose of gifts or of signs are,
I'll show you this. I'll do a little mini study while we're at this. Hang on a second here.
I've got to go into, we've got to go to Exodus 3.
All right, so here we have the burning bush incident in Exodus 3. And so God is commissioning
Moses to send him to go set the people of Israel free. And you'll note that Moses is not quick to embrace his dream destiny and his revealed purpose.
And he literally is telling God, send somebody else. It's kind of a fascinating thing.
So Moses said to God, well, if I come to the people of Israel and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me, and they ask me what is his name, what shall
I say to them? In this particular case, you'll note that this is a kind of a theological question, but Moses is concerned that people are not going to believe that he was sent by God.
So God gives Moses his name and says, I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel.
I am has sent me to you. And God also said to Moses, say to the people of Israel, the Lord, the God of your fathers, the
God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob has sent me to you. This is my name forever. Thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
So we got that part of it, but then we've got to get to the actual sign gifts themselves.
And you'll see then that when we look at miracles in the Bible, there are punctuated times of miracles.
And there's very specific reasons for that. So Moses says, behold, they will not believe me.
They're not going to listen to my voice. They will say, Yahweh did not appear to you. And by the way, any sane person would probably say that to Moses.
It's like, yeah, nah. So Yahweh said to him, what's that in your hand? He said, a staff. He said, throw it on the ground.
So he threw it on the ground. It became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. But Yahweh said to Moses, put out your hand and catch it by the tail.
So he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand. That they may believe that Yahweh, the
God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has appeared to you. So you're going to note here, the purpose of sign gifts is for the validation that they were sent by Yahweh.
That's the whole point. So we have the staff being turned into a snake. We have
Moses sticking his hand into his cloak, and it coming out leprous.
And then the third sign is taking water and turning it into blood. And if that, okay, that was the signs that were given for the purpose of validating
Moses before Israelites, before Hebrews. And then you'll note that in a showdown with Pharaoh, Pharaoh's magicians,
Janus and Jambres, they were able to perform those same signs up to a point.
And after that, they said, this is the hand of God. And they knew. So you'll note then, the purpose of sign gifts is for the purpose of validating.
Now the idea then is that we know also from Deuteronomy, that even if somebody performs a great sign or wonder, and they teach you to practice idolatry and have you go after other gods, you're not to listen to them.
So signs and wonders are not the ultimate proof. The ultimate proof is going to come back to the message that is given.
So in the case then, okay, so there's your sign gifts right there. That's the purpose of them. Then you get, they kind of go dormant.
You'll note that after the death of Joshua, there were no sign gifts.
I mean, until when? Well, you get Elijah. Elijah was a guy who can perform miracles, and so was
Elisha. And a good way to think about it is that Elijah and Elisha, they were in charge of the prophets.
Then what's called the school of the prophets. This isn't, it's not like Hogwarts. It's not like the
Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. School of prophets were actual prophets called by God, and their task, and what was their job?
They were the ones who compiled the rest of the Old Testament. Okay, so the fact that Elijah and Elisha could also operate in sign gifts was validation of the project that they were a part of, which is what?
The rest of the Tanakh. Moses gave us the Torah, but then you've got the writings and the prophets, and so you'll note then that that the sign gifts then validate the prophets, and then everything goes dormant again.
Once the Old Testament is finished, everything goes dormant for 400 years. Until, all right, and notice
John the Baptist, he did not perform signs and wonders. He performed no miracles. Then Jesus shows up, and Jesus is performing signs like crazy.
Moses didn't even come close to Jesus, and Moses, the signs that were performed by God through Moses were multitudinous, all right?
But he even is like small compared to Jesus, and then we see in Scripture the purpose of the signs that Jesus performed.
I think it's John 20. Let me, let me see these. Let me see. I went too far.
Yeah, I know. I got really clicky, and I just went with my fingers, and it just kept on going.
All right, here's John 20, verse 30. Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. So here you have
Jesus, like his, like the pinnacle apex guy who's performing all these signs, and here's the thing.
Christ performed these signs in the presence of the men who put
Peter and John on trial. Caiaphas was there. Hello.
Okay, you know, the chief priests, the Sadducees, the scribes, they're all represented. Okay, Jesus has just died and risen from the grave weeks earlier, months.
You know, it hasn't been that long. The same guys who saw Jesus, heard the reports that he raised
Lazarus from the dead, that he fed a multitude in the wilderness with just, you know, five loaves and two fish, that Jesus had, you know, that he healed the lame, he gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, he cast out demons.
Jesus, I mean, was the sign guy extraordinaire, and nothing he taught contradicted scripture, period.
And he didn't teach idolatry, and so you'll note that all the signs that he that he performed were for the purpose of validating who he, who he was, and what his mission was.
So then Jesus gives the apostles, not the church, but the apostles the ability to operate in what
Paul calls the sign gifts of the apostles. He, you know, in one of his letters he says,
I perform the signs of the apostles before you, which validated that he was an apostle. So we note then that the apostles themselves could, they could do things that normal Christians on a day -to -day basis do not have the authority to operate in.
So the disciples raised people from the dead, healed them in the name of Jesus, you know, and performed other types of miracles.
All right, I always like pointing out that the apostle Paul, the fact that he could operate in the sign gifts was also a big deal.
In one particular case he was bitten by a snake, shook it off his hand, and didn't die, and everyone thought that was a miracle, right?
And that was a sign to them that he was a messenger of God. He preached the gospel, healed a fellow's, you know, a government official's son who had a fever and was really sick, and those were signs validating that they were sent by Christ.
And I always like to point out the apostle Paul, unlike me, actually killed somebody during a sermon. Okay, I haven't done that yet, but there was a fellow who, while Paul was preaching, he fell asleep and fell out of a window and died.
And luckily the apostle Paul was there, you know, had the ability to operate in the sign gifts and raised him from the dead and dusted him off and he was fine.
You know, I guess it's getting time for me to wrap things up here. I guess I went a little long, you know, so you get the idea.
So then, coming back then to our Acts text, and I know this is a long answer to the question, is that when they gathered, listen again to what's going on here, let me find the text.
Now, when they saw the boldness of Peter and they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated men, astonished, they recognized they had been with Jesus.
And Jesus wasn't some foreigner to them, they knew exactly who he was because they had just murdered him a few months earlier.
All right, yeah, yeah, okay.
But watch, but seeing that the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.
And they even had to recognize, and here's their note, what shall we do with these men for a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and we cannot deny it.
All right, the sign tells you who they were sent by. The signs that Christ performed tell you who he was sent by and who he is.
And so in this particular case then, coming back to the question from Brady and Heather and Abby and Malcolm, I would argue that here the
Sanhedrin describes the Pharisees and the Sadducees, they weren't following what scripture teaches in this regard at all.
They couldn't deny the sign, but they instead denied that the messenger was sent by God.
And that's the issue. So two follow -up questions. What's that?
Okay, cool. By the way, it's a great question.
It's like I'm chomping at the bit to answer. The question is, do signs and miracles create faith? The answer is no.
No. Okay, so we have some follow -up questions.
Okay, do signs and wonders create faith? All right, so I'm going to do a quick search, and here it is,
Matthew 11. All right, this is Christ calling out woes, and here's what
Jesus says, Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.
And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades.
For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.
So do miracles create faith? No. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of Christ.
Miracles are always the flying buttresses that support the superstructure of the message being preached.
No, no, that's a good point. You'll note that when you read this, the account of the exodus, so the people who eyewitnesses of the ten plagues, eyewitnesses of the
Red Sea crossing, because they were the ones who were walking through the Red Sea and going, look at that huge wall of water.
I can't believe this is crazy. And then when the army of Pharaoh starts to go, they can see them and ah, and they saw the pillar of fire and the cloud of smoke and all those kind of things, there they are.
And then they watched Pharaoh's army be destroyed by the Red Sea and then they sang that great song, right?
Those guys, the people who were being fed every single day manna from heaven, except on the
Sabbath. On Friday, they had to double up for the day.
But aside from that, they were seeing manna every day. They saw the rocks split and they were given water from the split rock of Horeb.
All of these people, at the end of the day, did that create faith in them? No. Yeah, he was gone for 40 days and they were worshiping a calf and saying, these are your gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
And over and again, God performed further signs to remind them and validate that it was him who brought them out of the land of Egypt.
So do signs and wonders create faith? No. They do not.
Did the prophets of Baal, when fire came from heaven and licked up the sacrifice of Elijah, did the prophets of Baal go,
Yahweh, he is God. Yahweh, he is God. No. Yeah.
Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Oh, okay.
Now if you can do it, I can do it. Okay, just saying. There's no double standards. If you can dad joke, I can dad joke.
Okay. Anyway, so you can see here that the claim, and by the way,
Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, he has a standard sermon he preaches like when he's traveling, where he takes this text from Matthew and twists it 180 degrees saying that if we just perform signs and wonders, people would believe in Jesus.
I am not making that up. Yeah, I know.
I know. It's been actually fascinating. If you have not been keeping track of the news, the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry at this point is single -handedly being blamed for the major spike in COVID cases in Shasta County.
And it started off with, you know, it was like 120, and it doubled in a week.
And now Shasta County in California is in like total lockdown because of the
Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Right, yeah.
Okay. Now, Faith, what was the second question real quick? Yes. Uh -huh.
Yeah. Okay, so miracles in the
Christ who can operate in the sign gifts. And the church has historically recognized that the apostolic sign gifts have ceased.
Now, that's not to say that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased. So the Holy Spirit still gives men a special gift to be able to teach.
There is a true gift of hospitality, of administration. I always point to Dwayne and say he is like way overboard, been gifted by the
Holy Spirit to do spreadsheets. So, you know, so, but, you know, but, but the point is, is that these are gifts given by God the
Holy Spirit for the purpose of edifying the body of Christ. And you'll note that the gift of tongues, according to 1
Corinthians, it's not a sign for believers. It was a sign for unbelievers and was a fulfillment of one of the prophecies of Isaiah regarding the fact that people of a strange tongue that would make them jealous, but even then they wouldn't believe.
All right. And so that was, it was a fulfillment of a very specific prophecy. So in our days the sign gifts have ended.
Now, that doesn't mean that God can't do one -off miracles or that we don't believe that God heals.
One of the big misrepresentations of people who say that the sign gifts have ended is they say that you don't believe that God can heal.
And that's absurd. I have seen God miraculously heal people, not by me touching them or anointing them, but by me humbly praying for them and God having mercy on them and in healing them or delivering them from financial ruin and all these things.
So God answers prayer. And so the idea of, you know, you cessations don't believe that God heals.
Are you nuts? Okay. Every time I get a paper cut, God is the one healing me. Okay. The reason why is because God is the one who set up the mechanism for healing within my own body.
But even more so, I mean, I think about one of the Elithians that we serve in Australia.
You know, a year ago she was told by her doctor that she had a very, very terminal lung disease and we began praying for her, you know, on the spot.
And at this day she doesn't have a problem with it anymore. And the fact that it completely cleared up could only be described as miraculous, but it was a miraculous answer to prayer.
Now if I were to somehow then go and lay hands on somebody and they were able to walk or have a healing and stuff like that, that's going to create all kinds of confusion, all right?
And that's what the issue is. So in the last days then, now that the apostles are all dead, nobody operates in the apostolic sign gifts.
And I'll point this out, is that when at the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church actually challenged
Luther and the Lutherans and said, what miraculous signs do you perform or give to validate the gospel that you preach?
All right, and Luther's response is it's the miracles performed by Peter and James and the apostles.
And those miracles are the ones that validate the gospel we preach because the gospel we preach is the gospel that's in the scriptures, all right?
So you note that the signs and wonders that validate the gospel message that we proclaim are recorded for us in the biblical text, all right?
We don't need any further validation, and the ultimate validation is the resurrection of Christ.
Top that, all right? And so you'll note in other instances, miracles have actually gotten in the way.
There was an account where Paul and Silas, I think, they were in a pagan town and they healed a guy, and they thought that Silas was
Zeus and Paul was Hermes, and they were going to offer sacrifices to them. And so they had to stop them.
No, no, no, we're men just like you. And so once they convinced them that they were men, they decided to stone them.
So, you know, the miracle actually kind of got in the way of evangelism there. But in our day, Christ warns that in the last day is not a proliferation of true signs and wonders, but instead it's the exact opposite.
In Matthew 24, it says, false Christs and false prophets will arise and they will perform great signs and wonders.
The book of Revelation identifies at least one of those signs and wonders is that these false
Christs and false prophets will be able in the future to call down fire from heaven.
And yet we are warned about them ahead of time. Always look to the message, though, not the sign or wonder.
False Christs and false prophets will arise, perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
See, I've told you beforehand. So over and again on the podcast and then on the
YouTube channel, one of the things I do is I test the claims of people claiming to be prophets today.
So you claim to be a prophet, you claim to be somebody who can hear from God, you claim to be somebody who can operate in signs and wonders.
And how do I test them? By their message. I go back into their sermons, I go back into their messages, and show over and again there's no way that God the
Holy Spirit has anything to do with any of the so -called signs or wonders being performed by these people. And the reason why is because they couldn't correctly exegete a biblical text.
If I gave them a map, a flashlight, and a pre -recorded sermon, and all I had to do was memorize it, they still wouldn't be able to pull it off.
Because these are the ones that Christ warned us about. One more question?
One more, okay. You're out bruising
Bruce. Yeah, bruising is now a participle.
Okay, yeah. Oh, the last half of the last chapter of Mark.
Okay, did you see the note there in your Bible? Okay, so you're gonna monkey wrench.
So the question is, doesn't the long ending of Mark say that Christians will operate in signs and wonders?
The issue is that the long ending of Mark is probably not written by Mark or Peter. It has nothing to do with them.
So this is where we note that the long ending of Mark is what we would call anti -legomena.
It's written against. And so you have to handle it with care. And here's the reason why.
Because over the past 150 years, archaeologically, we've been able to collect up thousands.
And we're talking, we're not talking like 2 ,000 or 3 ,000. We're talking like six, seven, eight thousand full and partial manuscripts of the
New Testament. In the days before there was the Gutenberg Press and printing presses and things like that.
People had to handwrite them. And so we've got thousands of these manuscripts. And all the oldest copies of the
New Testament, none of them have the long ending of Mark. None of them. It looks like it was something that was added because some scribe was dissatisfied with it and wanted to engage in some creative storytelling.
Well, of course. And the idea then is that when you consider then how the gospel of Mark was used historically, then you can kind of see why it had such an abrupt ending.
So Mark's gospel was the gospel that was basically written down as the preaching notes of the apostle
Peter. And so what Peter would do, so if Peter was going to go and preach the gospel to you, we're going to walk through the gospel of Mark.
And we know that in the church's early history, they kept track of who the eyewitnesses were.
And so the way it was being used by Peter is that when he would get to the part at the end, he would give his eyewitness testimony and any of the eyewitnesses who were traveling with them would then also give their eyewitness testimony to the resurrection.
That's why the resurrection account is so abrupt. And that's the way it was used. And so it has this very abrupt ending.
The long ending of Mark is, I'm going to say it's spurious. It was not written by Mark and Peter never had anything to do with its authorship.
The Pentecostal churches in the Appalachians, they all handle rattlesnakes and drink arsenic because of this text.
Have you have you seen rattlesnake services on YouTube? They're frightening. And notable rattlesnake
Pentecostals have died as a result of being bitten by these snakes, which is just faith devastating if you consider it.
So the general rule of texts that are universally acclaimed, like the
Korion, we use those to interpret the texts that are disputed.
And then we use the disputed texts, like the ones that were disputed, and then below those,
I'm not even sure if this has got word passages, the ending of Mark, Roman Cotton Adultery.
So within our Gospels, the long ending of Mark, of all of the old manuscripts that we have, there is no textual evidence that the long ending of Mark was there.
And then the other text, which a lot of people really love, and it has a long tradition, is the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery.
It's not in any of our oldest manuscripts. It got moved around, is the best way to put it.
It was a story that somebody kept trying to insert in different places, and as a result it became such a famous story that there's no way to get rid of it.
So the best way to do it is that you just recognize that it's not in the earliest manuscripts.
Now this is an important bit. When we talk about the Bible being inspired, inerrant, and infallible, we are not talking about the
Bible that's sitting in front of you. What we are talking about is the Bible in its original autographs.
So the original autographs, they were infallible. And so the idea behind textual criticism is the project of using textual criticism for the purpose of finding those variants in order to get at what the original readings from the pens of the apostles would have been.
So this is why we have that long ending of Mark probably not written by Mark.
Textual criticism is the faithful pursuit for the original word of God, as opposed to historical criticism, which is anything that doesn't agree with me isn't
God's work. Okay, so yes, you make an important distinction. So textual criticism, as you have said, is the faithful and scientific and objective science of discovering back what the original writing was of the
New Testament. And they're only beginning now to apply textual criticism to the
Old Testament. And the reason being the challenge of finding older manuscripts because of the
Hebrew practice of burying manuscripts when they're no longer useful.
They would give them an actual burial. And so the number of copies of the Hebrew Old Testament that we have to do textual variations with is not as good as the
New Testament. The whole
Bible, yes. New Testament compared to Plato. I mean, nothing even comes close to the Bible, especially the
New Testament. But all that being said, there is another... I don't even want to call it a... it's not a scholarly thing, but it's something called historical criticism, which basically was designed by liberals to completely obliterate the authority of scripture.
So historical criticism, the whole thing is just... it's scam scholarship designed to undermine the
Bible. Whereas textual criticism is designed to help us get at faithfully understanding what the original autograph said.
So, all right, we're going to have to end there today. We didn't get to Revelation, so we're going to postpone the end of the world until next week.
So, we will see you guys next time.