Exodus 7:8 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.
We see that God’s supernatural power was greater that that of the Egyptian magicians. Although they were also able to turn their staffs into snakes, Aaron’s staff swallowed up theirs.
Then with his staff Moses turned the waters of Egypt into blood. But the Egyptian magicians were able to do the same thing with their magic arts. After that Moses with his staff caused frogs to come up on the land of Egypt, but the Egyptian sorcerers again did the same. It is clear that Satan can perform miracles. He enables sorcerers and false prophets to perform miracles.
But after that the sorcerers were unable to keep up with Moses. They were unable to produce gnats with their secret arts as Moses did with his staff. They were left helplessly in the dust as God used Moses to multiply the miraculous plagues on Egypt. The very last plague, of course, resulted in the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat winning the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown going away from the rest of the field by an astounding 31 lengths in 1973 is a very apt picture of what God did through Moses in Exodus.
In very much the same way, the prophet Elijah completely outdid the prophets of Baal some five hundred years later at Mt. Carmel.
I Kings 18:36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
Through the extraordinary miraculous sign, God clearly showed the backslidden Israelites that He in fact was the true God, and they then acknowledged it publicly. When the prophets of Baal cried out to him earlier to send the fire, he had been completely unable to answer them.
When we conduct open-air evangelistic events in Africa, we will challenge the witchdoctors publicly just as Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal. We challenge them to heal the sick who are present at the event. None has ever stepped forward to pick up the gantlet. Then the trained servants of the Most High step forward and call upon their God in the name of Jesus Christ. They lay hands on the sick and minister healing to them as they have been trained to do from the Scriptures. Many infirm people are miraculously healed and step up to the platform to give public testimony of what Jesus has done for them. Precious African souls then come streaming forward to repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ alone.
The New Testament
We see the same pattern unfolding in the New Testament.
Acts 8:9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
Today we are still in the dispensation of Acts. The power which God entrusts to us his servants far exceeds the power given to false prophets and the servants of the enemy.
Dead woman raised back to life before Muslims
In 2013 a very ill woman in Indonesia who had not eaten or drunk for ten days died when the cancerous tumor in her womb burst. She was taken to a Christian hospital in a major city, but the doctors there could do nothing and sent her home where she died at around 5 PM that day. Two hours later as an assembled crowd of Muslims was praying to Allah for her to be received into their heaven prior to burying her body, a trained couple made their way through the crowd and stood before the body. They called her by name, telling her to wake up in the name of Jesus Christ.
The dead woman came back to life before the astonished Muslims.
She was taken back to the hospital where the doctors examined her and found no trace of the cancer. She was found to be in good health. Some of the Muslims who witnessed this miracle came to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Satan’s power is limited
Satan does not have the power to raise the dead back to life in such a way. He cannot use magicians, sorcerers, or false prophets to raise the dead. There are false prophets—even in the Church—and they are able to perform false wonders. But their power is limited and is no match for the true power of God. Only He has power over life and death.
As it was in the time of Moses, so it was in the time of Acts. And so it is today as well. God has given us miracle-working power and authority to demonstrate to the lost that He indeed is the only true God and that Jesus Christ is the only way to Him. The Church must learn to use this power and authority to bring to Christ every person whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the end.
Unfortunately because of extreme practices and teachings in some circles of the Church today, evangelicals have turned against the ministry of the miraculous in the preaching of the gospel. It is not “respectable” and besides, it has “ceased.”
This is a primary reason why the Church has not fulfilled the Great Commission in over two thousand years. The gospel arrived in India approximately 700 years before Islam. But today there are far more Muslims in India than Christians. Something is very wrong with this picture, as it is in many other countries today.
A primary reason for this failure of the Church is the absence of the miraculous as we see in the gospels and Acts when the gospel is preached to the lost. Is this really God’s plan and His perfect will?
I don’t think so. Neither does Scripture so teach.