Over the past few days, a video in Hebrew has been circulating about the evils of spiritual manifestations in the life of the believers. The video condemns 24-hour prayer movements, as well as much of what we see and read about in the book of Acts. The creator of this video took some of the more bizarre videos out there and made it seems as if those strange manifestations were the norm in charismatic congregations. Any normal charismatic believer would look at a video of a person barking like a dog and think it abnormal. The sad thing is that it is causing division in our small body of believers here in Israel. Please pray over this situation.
The fact is, if some of the experiences recorded in the book of Acts happened today, many leaders would condemn them as being of the devil. Indeed, the Pharisees said that Yeshua was able to cast out demons, because he was possessed by demons.
But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” (Matt. 12:24)
Even today, people sometimes mistake the work of God as the work of Satan. But how do we know that Yeshua was being used of God and not the devil? Simple:
- A house divided against itself cannot stand. Satan doesn’t attack Satan; God does!
- There was lasting fruit. People who were healed and set free of demons, stayed healed and free.
- It accompanied the preaching of the Gospel. Mark 16 says that signs and wonders will confirm the truth of the Gospel.
Not for Today
Some teach that the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12) are not for today. The teaching is that after the New Testament was written, there was no longer a need for healings and miracles—as we only need the written word of God. This is based on one passage that is often misinterpreted.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
They believe that the completeness that would come was the word of God. And once the word of God was completed with the book of Revelation, there was no more need for miracles.
So, whereas Yeshua healed suffering from leprosy, God now wants them to suffer and just read stories about people being healed in the Bible? Whereas Yeshua cast demons out of people, setting them free, it is now God’s will for people to keep their demons? This goes against the teachings and acts of Yeshua himself who said that it is the same authority to forgive someone as it is to heal. If forgiveness is for today, and it is, so is healing. Yeshua said, in John 14:12, that we would do even greater works than Him.
And if we conclude that it is not God’s will for people to keep their demons, then we should expect that casting them out is something each believer should be equipped to do, and will often produce a scene not unlike what we see when Yeshua or Paul confronted demons.
So, what does Paul mean in 1 Cor. 13? He is referring to the coming of a new heaven and a new earth that John speaks of when he quotes from Isaiah 25:8:
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:3-4)
The perfect thing that we wait for is the coming Kingdom of Yeshua where there will be n
All or Nothing
Some teachers say God still heals today, but they don’t really expect it. They don’t boldly pray for the sick with the expectation of healing. They cannot tell you the last time they laid hands on someone and they were healed—or demons came out. In fact, many would run if a demon manifested! The fact is, either the book of Acts is a picture of the normal believing life or there is no place for the supernatural today. It is not somewhere in the middle.
It is not like God Himself got turned off by some of the excesses and put a moratorium on miracles. I was talking to a pastor the other day from a large US-based network of churches. Recently, one of their pastors had a face-to-face encounter with Yeshua that caused quite an uproar. He was saying that their movement prides itself on being charismatic, but not flakey, and then God ruins it by appearing to one of the pastors. Of course, he was laughing at the irony. At the end of the day, God is not a moderate! “Yeshua the Messiah, the same, yesterday today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) Every miracle you find in the book of Acts is happening all over the world.
“Everything you read about in the book of Acts is happening in China right now. The Spirit of God is at work mightily. Everything you read about in the book of Acts—God is doing today.” (source)
What do we see in Acts:
- The dead raised. (Acts 9, 20)
- People having visions/dreams of Yeshua or hearing His voice. (Acts 9, 18)
- People having visitations from angels. (Acts 5, 8, 10, 12, 27)
- People being healed by Peter’s shadow. (Acts 5)
- Philip traveled supernaturally from one city to another. (Now be honest, if I told you that happened to me, would you believe me?) (Acts 8)
- People lying to God and immediately died. (Acts 5)
- Demons were cast out. (Acts 8, 16, 19)
- Supernatural weather to protect believers. (Acts 16, 27)
To be clear, we should not be seeking visitations from angels. When Peter was visited in jail by an angel, he was sleeping, not asking God to let an angel appear. We seek Yeshua alone! However, such experiences are normal. Years ago, my wife woke up around three or four AM and she saw next the bed shining bright, a tall angel. He was smiling and didn’t say anything. And, then, she went back to bed.
Now, if you are struggling with that and you are a Bible believer, I have to ask, why? Angels appear to people all throughout the Bible. Why not today? I could share hundreds of testimonies like that. Personally, I have never seen an angel, heard God’s audible voice or seen Yeshua. I can tell you that the first time I preached in 1984 at a prison in front of four prisoners, the most humble setting, I was enveloped in what felt like a liquid cube of heaven for about five minutes. It was amazing, pure, and drew me closer to Yeshua. I didn’t seek the experience, nor did I expect it.
The fact is that the book of Acts is the stupidest book in the Bible IF it is not a roadmap for the believer today. Why would God put a book in the Bible, one of the most amazing books, as a list of things we can’t do? He didn’t. The book of Acts is there to encourage us! It encourages us that (baptized with the Holy Spirit as in Acts 1:8), we can do with works of Yeshua (John 14:12-14). What are any of us waiting for?