Luke 7:15-18 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath VISITED HIS PEOPLE. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout the region round about. And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.
In the first century, the children of Israel knew very well the fruit of a prophet was miracles, signs and wonders. They knew extraordinary signs and wonders following an individual indicated God was with them. When John the Baptist water baptized Jesus in the Jordan he knew now that Messiah arrived, he believed Messiah would immediately put down the Roman Empire. When John found himself in jail, he wondered whether Jesus was the Messiah.
Luke 7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
When John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to question Jesus, “If he was the one who should come?” Jesus replies thus:
Luke 7:21-22 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
Isaiah 35:1-4 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
John understood the first part of Isaiah 35 plainly. When God came in Messiah, He would save His people through vengeance. John also understood the next verse:
Isaiah 35:5-6 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
When Jesus sent back John the Baptist’s two disciples with the testimony of the miracles and the quote of Isaiah, he never questioned Jesus again. He understood who Jesus was. Through his immaturity, John the Baptist felt Jesus didn’t fulfill his expectations of the scriptures. All was confirmed when Jesus through His maturity, showed John’s disciples the miracles coupled with the scriptures. Doubt disappeared and John was fully persuaded by the scriptures. John the Baptist knew Jesus fulfilled the scriptures by the signs he wrought.
In John 3, Nicodemus comes to Jesus, and immediately comments:
John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Nicodemus’ comment is another witness God was with Jesus. Why? Because of the “signs and miracles Jesus did.
Throughout the Old Testament the people of God had special abilities separating them from all other nations and peoples.
1 Samuel 10:1 Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?
Saul was anointed. The word mashiyach in the Aramaic means to “smear with oil.” Saul was anointed over the inheritance of the Lord. What was the sign of this anointing?
1 Samuel 10:3-6 Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands. After that thou shalt come to the HILL OF GOD, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: and the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
The sign of the anointing was a spiritual manifestation. It is interesting to note in the feast of Pentecost, two loaves of leavened bread were offered with the wave offering.
Saul is given two loaves of bread as with the wave offering on Pentecost (Leviticus 23:7). The Holy Ghost then comes upon him and he prophesies with the three men. The three men were heading towards Bethel, the house of God (Genesis 28:17, 19) Three is the number of a fully established testimony (Deuteronomy 19:15). When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon Saul he is also changed into another man. They all meet in the plain of Tabor. Tabor means “to break”, “to be broken” or “to purge”. The kids, represent the sin offering (Leviticus 16:5). Two is the number of witnesses required to judge (Deuteronomy 17:6). Leavened bread is a symbol of natural man. Unleavened is the symbol of spiritual sinless man. Saul was given two of the three loaves. Saul was given a witness out of the “established” testimony. When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul, he prophesied. It was the witness of “God being with him.” God used a witness of His manifestation upon His chosen, the witness was a spiritual utterance.
1 Samuel 10:7 And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.
The testimony of “GOD IS WITH THEE” accompanies the sign of the Spiritual manifestation.
Numbers 11:24-25: And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
The two men that remained in the camp (Numbers 11:26) were named Eldad, which means “God has loved”
And Medad, which means “loving affection.” Two being the number of witness, and they prophesied in the midst of the camp of Israel, being a witness to the people, and of God’s loving affection to His people.
When Moses gathers the 70 elders, there is a manifestation of the Spirit upon them as they receive the Spirit. When Joshua, through his immaturity is upset two men prophesied in the midst of the congregation and not by the tabernacle, Moses comments he would that all prophecy:
Numbers 11:29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
Moses prophesied about a time when people would become prophets and a spiritual utterance would accompany this manifestation:
Joel 2:28 And ye shall KNOW that I am in the MIDST of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and MY people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall PROPHESY, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Again we see the hallmark of God being with His people. Nicodemus told Jesus they knew God was with Him because of the miracles and the manifestation of the Holy Ghost upon God’s people indicated God was truly with them.
The Apostle Peter spoke this:
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
The body of Christ is the kingly nation and priesthood. What is God’s signature?
Exodus 8:17-19 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the FINGER OF GOD: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
Even the Egyptian magicians understood the signature of God was HIS MIGHTY WORKS THROUGH HIS PEOPLE. The power of the Kingdom.
Of the Kingdom, Jesus says:
Luke 11:20 But if I with the FINGER OF GOD cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God is COME UPON YOU.
Again, it is clear manifestations of the Holy Ghost among His people are God’s hallmark He would be with His people for evermore. When the seventy Jesus appointed returned, they spoke of the Kingdom power!
Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
Luke 10: 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.
However, this Kingdom power was minor compared to everlasting life.
Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are SUBJECT unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
What about 70 AD. and cessation of spiritual gifts? There is nothing in our Bibles mentioning the gifts will ever cease in Christ’s physical body on earth (the Church). Just as Christ’ body existed on earth in the first century with miracles, signs and wonders, His body exists today in the 21st century, the SAME WAY. After the destruction of the old temple, the new temple would never be destroyed. Just as the people knew the old temple was the dwelling place of God by His manifestation there, they also knew the new dwelling place of God by His spiritual manifestation in man (1 Kings 8:11).
The only way gifts could cease was as the Apostle Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 13. First we must remember 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Corinthians 13, and 1 Corinthians 14 all discuss the body of Christ. We must also remember what is happening in the first chapter of 1st Corinthians. The letter begins by speaking about Spiritual manifestations:
1 Corinthians 1:4-8 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 6 mentions the testimony of Jesus Christ confirmed in the saints of Corinth, which is the “Testimony of Jesus Christ”.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
The spirit of prophecy is the Spiritual utterance accompanying the saints of God. Paul says this Spirit of prophecy confirms they are Saints. He speaks a blessing that they will not lack in any Charismata (gift), as they await the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The gifts were the confirmation to keep them blameless (innocent).
This is the point of interest. The gifts were to enable the saint to be innocent in the day of the Lord’s coming. It is this same way today that the gifts are our confirmation to enable us in our daily life to be innocent. We are in fellowship with Christ. Being in His body, we share in His gifts.
After Paul speaks a blessing to the Corinthians, He then gets down to business and addresses the issues within their church family:
1 Corinthians 1:10-11 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
Strife and division separated the brethren instead of joining them together. They were separating into groups under certain ministers. It was the house of Chloe who reported to the Apostle the church family troubles of Corinth.
1 Corinthians 2:30-31 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Paul says he did not come to the Corinthians with the wisdom of what he learned at the feet of Gamaliel, nor of the philosophy of the Greeks in the city of Damascus where he was raised. Paul tells the Corinthians he wanted to nothing but Jesus Christ and the power of His death on the cross. Paul then tells the Church:
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Paul did not use what he knew academically. He used what God gave him as a confirmation, the manifestation of the Holy Ghost, the power of God, the true hallmark of the man of God or the people of God.
1 Corinthians 2:6-10 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are PERFECT: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
The word in the Greek for perfect, is telios, Strongs #5046
From 5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with 3588) completeness: – of full age, man, perfect.
The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians their faith should not stand in the wisdom of men’s talents, traditions, or academic knowledge, but in the power of the Holy Ghost. The Apostle also tells the Corinthians he and the other ministers speak the wisdom of God to them who are PERFECT.
In Greek, the word, perfect ‘full age’, or ‘mature’. Those who are mature in the Kingdom understand perfectly the wisdom of God through the power of the Holy Ghost. The Apostle also says if it were the wisdom of men or man’s intellect, then the princes of Paul’s generation would never have crucified the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
‘Eye’ is the symbol for understanding, (Ephesians 1:18). The ear is a symbol for how we take in the word to build faith (Romans 10:17). The scripture then goes on to say; “But God hath REVEALED them unto us BY his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth ALL things, yea, the DEEP THINGS (meat of the word) of God.”
It is clear the Holy Ghost enables us to receive the things of God, the deep meat of the Word. Those who are mature are able to discern the deeper things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
The spirit in man is carnal and earthy, however the things of the Spirit of God cannot be revealed to carnal man.
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
Again the spirit of the world is earthy and carnal:
1 Corinthians 2:12 but the spirit which is of God; that we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.
Those who are mature have allowed the Holy Ghost to reveal all things unto them.
1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Those who are matured by yielding to the Holy Ghost have their spiritual senses exercised. Not with man’s wisdom which is prone to fail, but by the wisdom of the Holy Ghost.
Paul wanted the Corinthian church to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. He wanted the Corinthians to understand they must not keep their physical eyes on preacher worship. The Corinthians needed to focus on Jesus Christ. Those who believe spiritual gifts eventually ceased, do not consider Paul’s attempt to mature the Corinthian church as individual parts of a whole body.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Natural man is earthy, carnal, and immature. The natural man cannot even see the Kingdom of God. The natural man cannot understand the spiritual because it makes no sense to him. The Greek intellectuals wanted man’s wisdom. They wanted information explained in great detail. The power of God’s wisdom through the Holy Ghost made man’s wisdom foolish because God’s wisdom is of matured faith. Someone without God’s Spirit cannot discern the things of God.
In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul addresses the root of the problem in Corinth:
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto SPIRITUAL, but as unto CARNAL, even as unto BABES in Christ. I have fed you with MILK, and not with MEAT: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet CARNAL: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as MEN?
Paul tells the Corinthians their problems stem from their lack of spirituality. The Apostle calls them “carnal” and “as babes in the Lord”. The Apostle correlates carnality to immaturity. He also tells them he must nurse them with milk and not with the meat of the Word because they could not handle it. The Corinthians disputed over which Apostles to follow. Their growth stagnated and they conducted church immaturely.
Regarding I Corinthians 12, 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 Corinthians 14 on spiritual gifts, in chapter 12 the Apostle speaks of the “Body of Christ” who it is not one single member but many. The Apostle tells them the different functions of the members of the body, the foot, the hand, the eye, the ear, that all these members work for the good of the whole, with no division. He then concludes with this last verse:
1 Corinthians 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
The Apostle tells the church the more excellent way to harmonize the whole body is through LOVE, not “Eros”, or “Felio”, but “Agape” the love transmitted from God through man as man yields to His Spirit. Jesus said:
Matthew 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Jesus told His followers we must love those who provoke us and do good to those who hate us. In verse 48, Jesus follows this up by saying; “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Again the word telios to speak of perfection. We are to be mature as the Father is mature. The Father’s maturity is He first loved us when we were yet sinners and contrary to His divine nature. He shows His kindness to those who are in the world so he may draw them with His love, agape.
The “more excellent way” was Paul’s attempt to show the immature Corinthians how to allow the love of God to work through them unto the unity of the body of Christ. Paul wanted to show the Corinthians how to “grow up” through God’s love and preserve the gifts of the Holy Ghost in them.
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
The word charity in Greek, means “love”. It is the word agape. Without the agape, the words whether spiritual or of men would be nothing more than an irritating noise. The Apostle then explains what will happen to spiritual knowledge, spiritual understanding, and spiritual faith without agape. The individual will lose out with God (1 Corinthians 13:2). The Apostle Paul explains what agape is and what it is not:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
When we look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 we can see the attributes of immaturity and the attributes of maturity.
1 Corinthians 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
The “Love of God” will never fail. It falls on the just and the unjust. The Lord Jesus forgave those who crucified Him. We must reject and refuse Him in order to come under the penalty of the curse. The “Love of God” is always there. We are the ones who despise that love.
If we still abide in immaturity and carnality and refuse the correction of the Lord, then it is we who inevitably cause the gifts to cease in our lives. The word katargeo, Strongs #2673, appears in 1 Corinthians 13:8 twice. The Thayer Greek dictionary says it means; “to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency”. So prophecies and knowledge will have no further efficiency in the life of one who continues in immaturity and refuses to allow the agape, the “Love of God” to work through them.
“Whether there be tongues, they shall cease.” The Greek word for cease is pauo which actually means to “pause” to leave off. This is not as the katargeo, but pauo means a gradual leaving off. The usage of pauo implies if someone allows himself or herself to remain in immaturity and carnality, the gifts of tongues will gradually cease.
There is also a spiritual sign not of the Lord. When Saul did not mature in the position the Lord gave him, he was given an unholy spirit from the Lord:
1 Samuel 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
1 Samuel 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he PROPHESIED in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.
Yet Saul still had a spiritual utterance but it wasn’t as the Lord gives, but as the evil spirit inside him did. The Lord dealt with Saul for approximately 33 years until the Lord sealed his fate in the home of the witch of Endor.
1 Samuel 28:15-19 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
Saul was chosen of God. However, due to his immature behavior, he forfeited the Holy Ghost and his life. Saul was given over to a reprobate mind. It was always left up to Saul. This was true for the Corinthian church as well. In 1 Corinthians 14:20, Paul speaks thus:
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
The word “men” is the same word used for “perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10.
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
Like wicked little children who hurt to other children, the Apostle was admonishing the Corinthians to grow, to mature so they would have understanding of the gifts God gave them and the things of God.
1 Corinthians 13:9-10 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
The word “perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10 is telios. “That which is in part” is the immature needing maturing. Their prophesying was in immaturity. However, when that which is “mature” is come to them, then their immature use of the gifts, charismata, is done away with. They grow to the full stature and image of Jesus Christ, their master, the Father. What is this image? The image is maturity in the things of God.
1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
The Apostle Paul then uses the image of a child growing into a full aged man to show how the Corinthian church member was to become. They were to mature in speech, understanding, and thinking. As a child talks he still is learning to master speech. When he becomes an adult does he cease speaking? He understands the forms of speech, and thinks about what he is saying as he says it. He is not speaking about prophecy, tongues, and knowledge ceasing for an entire Church body in the far off future. He address the problem the Corinthian church faced, immaturity.
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
For now we see through a glass darkly in immaturity. However when we come to spiritual maturity we will commune with God face-to-face. We shall know even as we are known.
Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
Moses, unlike other Old Testament prophets, spoke with God face-to-face.
Numbers 12:1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses. It is immaturity coming against maturity.
Numbers 12:2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.
Aaron and Miriam forgot their position in God’s plan, just as all the Corinthian church wanted to be the eye. They failed to see their positions in the “Body of Christ.”
Numbers 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
The love and meekness of maturity, leads to God taking care of what we need for him to do for us.
Numbers 12:4-8 And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
Notice in the beginning of this chapter Miriam and Aaron coming unto Moses. It is doubtful the writer recorded this order by accident, for later in the chapter when the Lord addresses the two rebels, He calls Aaron’s name first, then Miriam’s name. This is to show the Lord placing things back into order. The Lord then explains His mark upon His chosen man:
Numbers 12:6-8 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
Just as the New Testament Church is from the time of the Corinthian church to the present day Apostolic church, the Lord speaks to His people mouth-to-mouth and face-to-face. Moses beheld the similitude of the Lord (the likeness of the Lord, His maturity, His pattern), and as Moses did the Body of Christ does.
The Body of Christ is the likeness of God and the pattern. Within this body is the spiritual gifts. The body is mature and as we mature we add to the body. If we stay in immaturity we are taken out of the body. When Jesus walked on the earth in the first century, He had no illnesses, no broken bones, and no sin. This is true for His church, His body.
If Jesus performed miracles, signs, and wonders, then His body in the 21st century has the same attributes. In John 14:12 Jesus speaks about what His body does:
John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, HE that believeth on me, the works that I do shall HE do also; and greater works than these shall HE do; because I go unto my Father.
The “HE” is the Body of Christ, the Church. Jesus’ physical body had to depart He could return to fill His new body on the day of Pentecost. The sign of those spiritually resurrected was a spiritual utterance, the speaking in other tongues. The “HE” went forth to prove the Word with miracles signs and wonders. The hallmark “GOD is with US” is exactly what Nicodemus said, “for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”
The Bible never speaks of the gifts ceasing from the Body of Christ. It may cease from an individual’s life but never from the Body of Christ. An individual may fall into sin, but the Body of Christ will never go into sin. Jesus was sinless in the first century and He is sinless in the 21st century. Jesus performed miracles signs and wonders in the first century and He still does great works in the 21st century within His BODY.
Copyright © 2007 DD Benincasa. All Rights Reserved