Neither God Almighty, not Jesus, the apostles, John the Immerser, the prophet Joel, nor any other seer has ever said that everyone who ever believed would prophesy, that all would dream dreams, that all would have visions. None of these ever said that the purpose of these gifts was that these signs should be given to each and every individual, or to groups, or just to select Christians so that they could continue to perform miracles and works on unbelievers. Nor was it promised that the gifts of signs and wonders would continue throughout time to any group or persons since that ancient Pentecost. You won’t find these things in Isaiah two, Joel chapter two, Acts two, in any other “two” or anywhere else.
The purpose of signs and wonders was to mark and signify the work of God; and that God had ushered in something He long before had promised; and that men and women should pay attention to what had taken place.
As already mentioned in the last post, the sign that had initially accompanied the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh was the speaking in unknown languages on the two listed occasions. Other signs were done in confirmation that the things being worked day by day and in various places as they played out and had the sanction of heaven as the apostles and later others of the disciples performed miracles and did mighty works.
The purpose of all the signs was that you may believe (John 20: 30, 31 also printed below). Miracles and signs were put forth to confirm the reappearance of the favor of God, the granting of salvation in the glorification of the Son of God, and the redemption and blessings made available to all nations through the Good News. The signs and wonders were presented to show who was with God and who was not, what was God’s doing and what was not. And as God’s word was settled a very long time ago, those things were all also distinguished and accomplished long ago, now weren’t they?
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Furthermore, the apostles were not “rank and file” Christians. They were hand chosen by the Messiah and were specifically told they would have the benefits of a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit for the working of signs and miracles through his agency. They were the eye witnesses of Christ, of His ministry, of His resurrection and His ascension. We were not. In fact, we are not witnesses of Christ at all (contrary to what the “Watchtower” Witnesses and others may teach). We were never promised an audience with Christ, except upon Judgment. No one has seen the Christ since the apostle Paul left this earth, contrary to what others may believe or teach. As those that followed these first disciples were not, we have not been witnesses to Christ in the flesh, whether of His suffering or His glorification. That is what being a witness is all about. It ain’t me babe. It aint you either.
Of the working of signs Paul had asked of the Corinthians, “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?” (1 Corinthians 12:28 and 29)
Well, are they? What is the answer to each of the rhetorical questions he had posed to them? What then is the answer to us?
The previous is not meant to imply that all flesh somehow has yet to receive the benefit from the Spirit of God being poured out – it does not mean we are still awaiting the coming of the Kingdom, as some would have it. It means the signs were done for a limited time to identify The Way and the coming of the Holy Spirit in completing the establishing of the Kingdom and accomplishing his duties. The apostles were the arbiter through the Holy Spirit as to who would work the signs and who would not.
Signs were one part. They were one thing; and though accompanied with signs, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was something else altogether. Its significance is much broader and far reaching than the signs which accompanied its appearance and growth.