Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Hell series # 5: Signs and Wonders

In the last article we left the rich man in Hell begging for a drop of water.  When that was denied, he begged Abraham to send Lazarus back home to his brothers to warn them not to end up in Hell with him.  Though he was not converted to Christ and had no love for God, yet he knew he did not want his brothers facing  the torment he was experiencing in Hell.  Though he was lonely and would have appreciated seeing a familiar face, as any hardened criminal in a penitentiary, he wouldn’t wish his fate on anyone he loved.

  

Note also that the rich man in Hell did not attempt to address God.  As a Jew, he addressed Abraham who is the father of all Jews by blood.  He did not address God because he had no relationship with God.  In fact, he hated God.  Read Revelation 16:8-11 to see the hatred that the natural, unconverted man has for God. You see that same hatred for God in His enemies today who blaspheme His name daily. In this passage you see  the hatred for God by sinful man on earth during the Tribulation. How much worse it will be in Hell.

  

ROLES REVERSED

  

Would you also notice that the roles are now reversed between the rich man and Lazarus?  On earth the  rich man had everything his heart desired.  Now he is a beggar in Hell begging Abraham for a drop of water and for Lazarus to warn his brothers not to join him in Hell.   The beggar on earth is now with Father Abraham, enjoying the wealth and blessings of Heaven.

   

SIGNS AND WONDERS DON’T SAVE

   

Note the former rich man’s request of Father Abraham.  It is basically to convince  his brothers with  signs and wonders.  In fact he even tried to convince Abraham that if he would send signs and wonders to his brothers they would repent. This rich man who had never repented on earth, had the audacity to tell Abraham what would work.

  

Where did the former rich man get this idea?  He got it from Satan himself who uses signs and wonders to deceive people.  Have you ever thought that if someone would come back from Heaven or Hell, that would convince people to trust Christ and be saved?  I’m sure we’ve all thought that sometime in our past.  Jesus understood the depravity of the human heart.  He said in John 4:48 “Except you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”

  

When God used Moses to  command Pharaoh to allow Israel to go free from their bondage in Egypt, as recorded in Exodus 7,  God gave Moses the power to do miracles to convince him to allow Israel to go free.  However, whenever Moses performed a miracle, Satan gave the  Egyptian magicians the supernatural power to counterfeit the miracles.

  

In the days before the Bible was completed, II Corinthians 12:12  and Hebrews 2:3-4 tell us that God gave signs and wonders to identify and confirm His true Apostles.  According to I Corinthians 1:22-26 the Jews required signs and the Greeks were impressed with human wisdom.

  

After the Bible was completed and after the last of the twelve Apostles had died, God caused signs and wonders to cease.  They are no longer needed.  They are inadequate to convince sinners.  Human wisdom cannot convince sinners.   Signs and wonders and the ability to speak supernaturally in unknown languages were for the infant church before they had the completed Word of God.  But after the Bible was completed, these passed away.  That is the message of Paul in I Corinthians 13:8-11.   

   

God still performs miracles in answer to the prayers of His Church, but God is not in the business of proving He is real through showing signs and wonders. Oh, I think there are exceptions in heathen lands where the people do not yet have Bibles. I’ve heard missionaries give reports of this and I believe them. But in America and other nations where the Bible is available, those who reject the Bible to  follow after signs and wonders are going to be misled.  Those who saturate their minds and hearts in the Word of God are going to be protected from Satan’s deceitful tactics.

    

GOD’S ONLY SIGN TO THIS EVIL AND  ADULTEROUS GENERATION

   

Getting back to the story in  Luke 16 of the former rich man in hell, notice that he asked Father Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to convince his brothers to repent so they would not join him in Hell.  Note Abraham’s answer to him.  He refuses to send Lazarus.  His answer to the man in hell was, “They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them hear them.”   Moses and the Prophets was Abraham’s way of referring to the Old Testament which was completed.  Today, we have the whole Bible.  If Abraham were speaking today he would answer, “They have the Bible. Let them read it and be convinced.”

  

How did the man in Hell respond to that?  He replied to Abraham,  NO!!!  He hated the Bible.  He refused to hear it.  He refused to believe it.   He is like the atheists with whom I have tangled who want me to prove the truth of God, but want me to do it without any reference to the Bible. They despise and scorn the Bible just as much as they defy the Author, God Himself.

   

Do you understand the power of the Bible?  Do you wonder why I refer to the Bible throughout this entire web site? It’s because I have absolutely no confidence in my power to persuade.  The only tool I have ever used in my fifty-two plus years of ministry, has been the dynamite of God’s Word.  I have absolute confidence in the power of the Bible to convict and convince the hardest of sinners.

  

Read in Jeremiah 23:28-32  as God contrasts the dynamic power of His Word with the impotence of the dreams and visions of the false prophets.   Read in I Peter 1:23 of the dynamic sperm of God’s Word to bring about the new birth in a sinful heart.  Dreams, visions, signs and wonders are powerless to change lives.   God’s Word alone has that wonderful saving power.

  

Now listen to what Jesus has to say in Matthew 12:39-40  about signs and wonders. In verse 38 it is recorded that a Pharisee approached Jesus and asked for a sign to convince him that He was the true Messiah.   Pay close attention to what Jesus answered this skeptical Pharisee.  An evil and adulterous generation  seek after signs, but there shall no sign be given unto it but the sign of the Prophet Jonah.”

  

First of all, note carefully who seeks after signs.  Godly people do not seek after signs.  Godly people do not flock to meetings to see signs and wonders.   Rather, an evil and adulterous generation seek after signs and wonders.  What are you seeking after?  What are you seeking in a church?  Signs, wonders and exciting emotional experiences, or the faithful preaching of God’s Word?

   

Listen carefully to what Jesus says here.  The only sign that Jesus is going to show to prove His deity is the sign of the Prophet Jonah.   What sign was that?   Do you even believe the Old Testament story of Jonah, the disobedient prophet who was swallowed by a fish for three days and three nights and then thrown up on shore to go to preach to Nineveh.  If you deny that story, you have denied Christ.  If the story of Jonah is a fairy tale, then Jesus was a liar and the whole Bible crumbles and there is nothing to Christianity.  It’s all just a pack of lies.

   

But if the story of Jonah is true, (and I am convinced it is, or I would have gotten out of the ministry long ago), then the fact is that as Jonah was in the great fish’s belly for three days and three nights, so Jesus after His crucifixion was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights and then rose again in a glorified body, thereby proving that He is the Son of God and that His death and resurrection were powerful enough to  save from sin those who trust Him.

  

By the way, if you have a problem with Jesus being crucified on Friday and being in the grave for three days and three nights and rising early Sunday morning,  I too had that problem.  Careful study of God’s Word settled the problem for me.  You can find a solution to the problem by going to my link on RESURRECTION  and reading my article,  Jesus, Our Passover Lamb.

  The bottom line is that those who seek signs and wonders are part of this evil and adulterous generation.  They will never be convinced.  Those who seek to know Christ through His Word, the Bible, will never be disappointed.

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January 22, 2008 - Posted by | HELL

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