Signs and Wonders
of the Apostles
Like as God did with the prophets of the Old Testament, God confirmed
the office and work of the apostles with identifying signs and wonders.
The first time
the Lord sent forth the twelve apostles, after he had chosen and called
them, he gave them powers and signs to identify their work as being
wrought by the power of God: Matt. 10:1 "And when he had called unto him
his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to
cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of
disease." In verse 8 he told them: 8 "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers,
raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
Of course, none of these things could the apostles have done without the
attending power of God.
In a much more
restricted scope, the Lord also called seventy other ministers and sent
them forth with restricted attending signs: Luke 10:1 "After these
things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two
before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would
come…9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The
kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." Later, the seventy returned with
joy saying: 17 "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord,
even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18 And he said
unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I
give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the
power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto
you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." The
Lord told the seventy not to rejoice because he had given them power to
heal the sick and cast out devils. This power was going to be limited
for a very short period of time. He told them rather to rejoice because
their names were written in heaven.
After the Lord
had risen from the dead and a short time before he ascended back to
heaven he gave the apostles additional commandments and promised them
attending signs of their apostleship. This we find in Mark 16:14
"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. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them,
he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And
they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them,
and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."
In the above,
the Lord told the apostles they would have the following signs:
1. In my name
shall they cast out devils.
2. They shall speak with new tongues.
3. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it
shall not hurt them.
4. They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Lord's ascension back into heaven, the apostles went forth, and preached
every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with
signs following." Thus, the signs promised followed the apostles. These
signs of the apostles began to be manifest on the day of Pentecost: Acts
2:4 "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak
with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." The apostles
were given signs and wonders and this was also conveyed on those on whom
they laid their hands, such as Stephen and Phillip. However, Stephen and
Phillip could not pass this gift on to others. Other examples of these
signs are set forth below:
1. Acts 3:1
"Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of
prayer, being the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother's
womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which
is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3
Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4
And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5
And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 6
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I
thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7 And he
took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet
and ankle bones received strength. 8 And he leaping up stood, and
walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and
2. Acts 5:12 "And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and
wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in
Solomon's porch. 13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them:
but the people magnified them. 14 And believers were the more added to
the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 15 Insomuch that they
brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and
couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might
overshadow some of them. 16 There came also a multitude out of the
cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which
were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one."
3. Acts 8:5 "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached
Christ unto them. 6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those
things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that
were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were
lame, were healed."
4. Acts 9:32 "And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all
quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. 33 And
there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight
years, and was sick of the palsy. 34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas,
Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose
5. Acts 9:36 "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha,
which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good
works and almsdeeds which she did. 37 And it came to pass in those days,
that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in
an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the
disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men,
desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. 39 Then Peter
arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the
upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the
coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. 40 But
Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him
to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she
saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up,
and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive."
6. Acts 10:44 "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on
all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which
believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on
the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they
heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have
received the Holy Ghost as well as we?"
7. Acts 13:9 "Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy
Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10 And said, O full of all subtlety and all
mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt
thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 11 And now,
behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not
seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist
and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand."
8. Acts 14:3 "Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the
Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs
and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the multitude of the city
was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles."
9. Acts 15:8 "And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his
feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: 9
The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving
that he had faith to be healed, 10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright
on thy feet. And he leaped and walked."
10. Acts 16:16 "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain
damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her
masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 The same followed Paul and us, and
cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which
show unto us the way of salvation. 18 And this did she many days. But
Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in
the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same
11. Acts 19:11 "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or
aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went
out of them."
12. Acts 20:9 "And there sat in a window a certain young man named
Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long
preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft,
and was taken up dead. 10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and
embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. 11
When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten,
and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed."
13. Acts 28:1 "And when they were escaped, then they knew that the
island was called Melita. 2 And the barbarous people showed us no little
kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of
the present rain, and because of the cold. 3 And when Paul had gathered
a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of
the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the barbarians saw the
venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt
this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet
vengeance suffereth not to live. 5 And he shook off the beast into the
fire, and felt no harm."
14. Acts 28:8 "And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick
of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed,
and laid his hands on him, and healed him. 9 So when this was done,
others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:"
We make the
1. The signs and wonders given to the apostles were by the power of God.
2. The signs and wonders identified the work as being sanctioned of God.
3. The signs and wonders were limited to the apostles and those preach
brethren on whom the apostles laid their hands.
Now we proceed to show the following:
1. The signs and wonders were works limited to the apostles and not to
be passed down to following generations in the church.
2. The signs and wonders were only for a limited period of time.
stated in 2 Cor. 12:11 "I am become a fool in glorying; ye have
compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing
am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. 12 "Truly
the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in
signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." Since, the office of apostle was
limited to the early days of the church, and the signs and wonders were
"the signs of an apostle," then those who were called subsequently and
not apostles have no authority or ability to show forth signs.
Second, even Paul had lost the ability to manifest signs before he was
martyred by Nero. Paul said in 2 Tim. 4:20 "Erastus abode at Corinth:
but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick." This epistle to Timothy was
written shortly before Paul was beheaded by Nero. Notice that Paul
stated that he had left Trophimus sick at Miletum. If Paul still had the
ability to manifest signs, then he could have delivered Trophimus from
his sickness. Moreover, when Paul wrote from prison to the church at
Philippi, he mentioned the sickness of Epaphroditus: Phil. 2:25 "Yet I
supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and
companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that
ministered to my wants. 26 For he longed after you all, and was full of
heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. 27 For
indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on
him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow." Again,
this shows that Paul no longer had the ability to deliver someone from
time for the manifestation of signs is consistent with the prophecy in
Mic. 7:14 "Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage,
which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them
feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. 15 According to the
days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him
marvellous things." This prophecy was of the New Testament dispensation
and speaks of "marvelous things" being shown for a period of 40 years as
this was the time of the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and
going into the promised land of Canaan. These marvelous things began
with the signs and wonders of Christ around 30 A. D. and continued to
the destruction of Jerusalem around 70 A. D.