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All the Miracles of the Bible
By Herbert Lockyer
ZondervanCopyright © 1988 Zondervan
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePART ONE - OLD TESTAMENT MIRACLES
A study of the kind before us in this volume necessitated considerable research in literature dealing with the miraculous content of the Bible. A surpassing feature of one's quest for works of profit is the fact that there is no theological treatise, at least known to the writer, dealing with all the miracles of the Bible. Somehow Old Testament miracles, which are as numerous, if not more so, than those found in the New Testament, are sadly neglected. Concentration appears to be on the miracles of the gospels, particularly those of Christ, as can be seen by referring to many of the books mentioned in our bibliography.
In several, we have scant references to some of the miracles performed by the prophets and the apostles, but a complete and comprehensive list is lacking. We trust we have succeeded in the somewhat arduous task of cataloging and briefly expounding all the specific miracles of the miracle Book, the Bible. As the reader will discover, we have not included theophanic appearances, visions, revelations of coming events, and prophecy, many of which breathe the air of the supernatural. Prophecy in itself is a wonderful miracle in that it reveals God as the Ruler of human life and history. It is to Dr. John Cumming that we are indebted for the thought that- Prophecy is a cartoon of the future, which events will fill up. Miracles are the fore-acts of the future, done on a small scale. Parables are fore-shadows of the future, projected on the sacred page. All three grow every day in radiance, in interest, in value. Soon the light of a Meridian Sun will overflow them all. May we be found ready.
It is somewhat profitable to compare and contrast Old Testament miracles with those of the New Testament. The Old Testament miracles were for the most part to destroy enemies, and the glorious declarations of Moses (Deuteronomy 4:32-35) regarding the presence of the miraculous in the life and history of Israel refutes the critical theory that the records of these miracles are unhistorical. The God of the Jew was, and is, the God manifest in miraculous acts of deliverance. New Testament miracles were acts of mercy, apart from the withered tree and demon-possessed swine, both symbolical lessons of warning to men. Christ's miracles declare Him to be the Saviour of the whole man.
Old Testament miracles attested God's presence as King of the theocracy. New Testament miracles attested the deity of Christ-God manifest in flesh-and also the divine authority vested in the apostles. Old Testament miracles, for the most part, were born with pangs and ardent intercession and with a seeming uncertainty as to the issue -those of Christ were always accompanied with the greatest ease and with certainty of issue. Moses had to plead and struggle with God over his sister's leprosy (Numbers 12:13-15), but Christ heals a leper by His touch and other lepers by remote control (Matthew 8:3; Luke 17:14). Elijah had to tarry long and send his servant up seven times for tokens of rain; he had to stretch himself thrice on the dead child and painfully win back life (I Kings 17:2-22; 18:42-44). Likewise Elisha, after much effort, restored another child to life (II Kings 4:31-35). By way of comparison, Christ, as the Lord of the living and the dead, raised the dead with great ease.
Old Testament performers of miracles prayed for results; Christ commanded them. In the Old Testament, miracles were accomplished in the name of the Lord; Christ's miracles were in His own, or His Father's name. His miracles were also freer and more gentle and brilliant than those of the Old Testament. Elisha fed 100 men with 20 loaves, but Christ fed 5,000 with 5 loaves. Many Old Testament miracles were performed by means-rods ministered in mighty acts; a tree was used to heal bitter nature; a mantle to divide waters, etc. But Christ accomplished His miracles simply by the agency of a word or by a touch. He needed no recognized instrument of power.
Further, Old Testament miracles wear a far severer aspect than those of the New Testament in keeping with the covenant of the law, and the covenant of grace. Then Old Testament miracles were eminently those of strength and power to impress a rude and heathen age. Christ's miracles were those of grace and love. The miracles of Moses so frequently inflicted death as the punishment of sin-in contrast the miracles of Jesus were, for the most part, miracles of mercy. In his first miracle Moses turned water into blood. In Christ's first miracle, He turned water into wine.
As to the profit of the study of Bible miracles, Ada R. Habershon says that such a theme is intensely practical, having a threefold effect:
It enlarges our views of God and His power.
It adjusts our views concerning man and his insignificance.
It stirs our wonder that He who is so mighty should deign to dwell with man, and in man, and should concern Himself with all the interests of His children. "As His majesty is, so also is His mercy."
I. THE MIRACLE BOOK
(II Timothy 3:15-17; I Peter 1:10-12, 15; II Peter 1:21; Hebrews 4:12; Exodus 4:15; Revelation 22:19)
Usually theological treatises dealing with Bible miracles, either for or against, omit any reference to the Bible as a miracle in itself. It is not only a Book relating credited miracles-everything associated with the Bible is miraculous, as one writer at least, Ada R. Habershon, indicates in her illuminating volume, The Study of Miracles. Everything about the Bible is supernatural, and in spite of all destructive criticism has done to weaken its authority, it remains an ever-present miracle. And who but God could have conceived, and caused men to compose, such a perfect Book which Jerome called the "Divine Library."
Miracle of its inspiration
Although we may not be able to tell how God inspired holy men of old to write the Bible, nor how the Holy Spirit affected the writers He employed, it cannot be gain-said that we have in the Bible the seal of divine authority. Biblical inspiration embraces not only the subject matter but also the very words in which it is expressed, down to the minutest detail, so that as originally written the Bible is wholly inspired (Matthew 5:18).
The divine inspiration of Scripture was the unvarying conviction of the Christian Church until the dominance of liberalism towards the close of the last century. Modernists, repudiating the infallibility of the Bible, have wrought havoc within Christendom, robbed many of the note of certainty in their faith, and destroyed the influence of the Church, as well as emptied her precincts. Modernistic preachers wield a blunted sword that fails to win the victories of those like Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon, and Moody, who believed the Bible to be the divinely inspired revelation of God.
Miracle of its antiquity
This sacred volume, which took some 1,500 years to complete, has been in existence in its completed form for almost two millenniums, and yet is as virile today as ever. Are there any books in the world over 1,000 years old read by people today? It has been said that of the 50,000 books printed over 300 years only 59 have been reprinted. After five years, an ordinary book is generally reckoned to be dead by the publishers; yet century after century the Bible has increased its circulation.
Miracle of its accuracy
Archaeology has proved to be an invaluable aid in confirming Bible records. Excavations carried on in all Bible lands by the pick and spade of the archaeologists have proved many of the deductions of the higher critics to be false and the Bible to be true. Eminent scholars, like Professor Sayce and Sir William Ramsey, humbly confessed their changed attitude toward the criticism of the Bible as the result of the discoveries of archaeology.
While the Bible does not set itself up as an up-to-date scientific treatise, and may not therefore carry the language specially for the benefit of the twentieth-century scientist, it is yet in accord with all true science.
Miracle of its harmony
The unity, making the 66 books of the Bible one book, is another striking evidence of its supernaturalness. On any given subject, harmony prevails throughout. Though written by some 40 writers over 1,500 years, its 66 books agree. There are 333 prophecies in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ, while the New Testament quotes 278 references word for word from the Old Testament, 100 partly word for word, and 124 incidents mentioned therein (Luke 24: 27).
Miracle of its preservation
We could fill volumes with the divine preservation of the Bible through the centuries. Nothing man or devil has done has been sufficient to destroy "the Word of the Lord enduring forever." It has been publicly burnt. It has carried the death penalty for its possession, but all efforts to exterminate it have failed. Now it is universally honored and read.
Miracle of its preparation
How all the books of the Bible came to be chosen and formed into the present canon is an aspect beyond our present task. What we do believe is that in the Bible as we now have it there are evidences of the superintendence of the Holy Spirit. While within the last quarter of a century we have had a flood of new versions, translations, and interpretations, God's providence has kept from harm and error the treasure of His written Word. Westcott and Hort, great scholars of their time, gave long and arduous research in old manuscripts. Here is their considered judgment:
With regard to the great bulk of the words of the New Testament, as of most other ancient writings, there is no variation or other ground of doubt; and, therefore, no room for textual criticism.... The amount of what can, in any sense, be called substantial variation, is but a small fraction of the residuary variation, and can hardly form more than a thousandth part of the entire text.
Out of every thousand words of the Greek Testament there is practically no question that nine hundred and ninety-nine were the actual words written by the apostles and evangelists. The Christian, therefore, can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds the revealed Word of God handed down, without essential loss, from generation to generation throughout the centuries.
Miracle of its abiding power
Supernatural in its preparation and preservation, it is likewise supernatural in its power. No other book has influenced men and nations like the Bible. Miraculous in its working, it produces miracles in the hearts and lives of those who believe it, and we will never be able to explain how its truths give life to those who were dead in sin. Modernism and rationalism may try to weaken the Bible's power and authority, but it continues its triumphant ministry in a world of need and is still living, active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12 RV).
Miracle of its circulation
The Bible is still the world's "best-seller," even though it is thousands of years old. Even in this highly scientific age of ours, when multitudinous books, both good and bad, are pouring out of the presses, the Bible outstrips all in its circulation. It has been translated into well over 1,000 languages with a yearly production of over 30 million copies. It goes everywhere, into the snow igloos of the Eskimos, the bamboo huts of the tropics, the skin tents of the Bedouins, and the boat houses of the Chinese river people. What else can we say but, "All Hail, miracle Book!"
Excerpted from All the Miracles of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer Copyright © 1988 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
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