Apparently my Signs and Wonders article has caused some discussion on the net. I know of at least one site that used my posting as a basis for theirs….and you can judge it for yourself. My prayer was that those caught up in the false “signs and wonders will follow all that believe” doctrine would see their error and repent. I was hoping that a “part 2” wouldn’t be necessary but I guess it’s unavoidable. Mark 16:14-18 ESV
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
I think nearly all true believers agree that God has perfect knowledge in all matters. Take a look at the above passage again. Verse16 says “he”, yet verse 17 says “they” “them”. Why has the number agreement changed? Certainly God, who has perfect knowledge in all things, would know proper grammar, wouldn’t He?
In order to correctly interpret “them” in verse 17, we must look for the antecedent in verse 14. The “them” in verse 14 were the 11 Apostles. It grammatically agrees with verse 17. Jesus was instructing His chosen 11…who even though they spent 3 years with Christ, didn’t believe the reports from others He had risen from the dead. Please don’t try and use verse 16 in an attempt to discredit this interpretation…the promise of believing in Christ for salvation occurs throughout the NT…signs and wonders following all who believe only occurs here.
The “bible thumper” as well as others made a reference to Luke 10 in an attempt to back up their eisegesis and wishful thinking. Let’s have a look at the text and see if they have rightly divided the Word of Truth;
Luke 10:1-9 ESV
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
This hardly gives credence to the “signs and wonders will follow all that believe” false doctrine. Attempting to pass off verse 9 as an example that signs and wonders are following all who believe today is bad hermeneutics. The 72 were preaching to the Jews so naturally Jesus would equip his preachers with the ability to heal the sick and cast out demons….as He did previously when He sent out the 12 (Matthew 10).
Please remember signs were for the Jews (1Corinthians 1:20-22). Israel began with signs (Romans. 4:9-12); Exodus 4; 7:3; 8:23; 10:1-2; 13:9; 31:13, 17; Deuteronomy. 4:34; 6:22) and Israel demanded signs from Jesus (Matthew 12:38; 24:3). Once again we see nothing but eisegesis and unscriptural wishful thinking from the “signs and wonders will follow all who believe” crowd.
The Mark text was another matter altogether. This was now the time when the cross and the resurrection became the key to salvation. The Apostles were being commissioned to preach to both Jews and Gentiles. Of course the 11 needed supernatural signs and wonders to validate their message and them, as well as select others (Stephen, Philip, Agabus, Barnabas, Paul) were given these powers. There isn’t any Scriptural evidence suggesting that these supernatural sign gifts (Tongues, Healing) continued or were transferable (Acts 8:17) after these men and most likely others, passed away.
Believers in those days were the minority. The majority in the early days had to rely on word of mouth and their own two eyes…signs and wonders were a necessity…then. Now we have bibles in nearly every language. We can prove scripturally that Jesus was the promised Messiah. The early church fathers couldn’t without showing them a sign as validation that what they preached and taught about Jesus was true.
What we can’t prove scripturally is that signs and wonders are still following all who believe and are baptized. If we can’t prove something biblically then we shouldn’t be teaching it at all. For those of you who do teach “signs and wonders will follow all who believe” I caution you to study this issue through the lens of proper exegeses so you don’t lead the sheep into a ditch and to keep yourself from falling into one right along with them.
If you still believe that signs and wonders will follow ALL that believe then WHERE are YOUR signs and wonders that follow you? How many of YOU have cast out a demon or spoke in an unknown tongue unlearned by you yet understood by another? If what you teach or believe (“signs and wonders follow all who believe”) is true then you shouldn’t have any problems proving this.