Tonight we’re going to talk about a subject that perhaps is a little bit different than we might anticipate as a proof of the Bible and that is miracles. Because some people feel that the miracles in the Bible are the problem with the Bible. If we could just get rid of the miracles we could have a lot more people who would believe the Bible.
But on the other hand, I believe that one of the greatest verifications that this is the true Word of God is the fact that there are miracles in it. And that’s what we’re going to share tonight. Now, what is a miracle? We have to start somewhere. Let’s start there. What is a miracle? An accurate definition of a miracle is very important. Specifically, I mean a Biblical definition because we use the word so loosely today. We say, “Boy, today I was driving home and you’ll never believe what happened. This guy went through a red light and barely missed me! I’m telling you, it was a miracle!”
Or, “Do you realize, that I didn’t have any money? And I got a check in the mail for $50.00! I just praise God for that miracle!” Or, “Do you know that I wanted to talk to Mrs. So-and-So and I ran into her at the 7-11! What a miracle!” Or when you bring the dress home and it just fits. “Look, honey. It’s just a miracle that this fits!” Everything is a miracle! Now, what is a miracle? Now if you were to look it up in Webster’s Dictionary, you’d get a poor definition. You’d get one that fits the modern mentality. It isn’t quite as far out as the uses we just suggested, but Webster’s says, “It is an event or effect in a physical world deviating from the known laws of nature or transcending our knowledge of these laws.”
Now that’s an amazing definition because he says the same thing twice. He says, “A miracle is something that happens in the physical world deviating from the known laws.” Notice, he doesn’t say it deviates from the laws of nature. He says it deviates from what? The known laws of nature or transcends our knowledge of these laws. Well, that’s saying the same thing. So Webster explains miracles as a natural phenomenon. Not supernatural. Webster’s definition of miracles does not apply to God and that’s okay for modern man’s definition. You know, we say, “When a man lands on the moon, that’s a miracle!” Or a narrow escape is a miracle. Or something that happens that we can’t explain is a miracle and so we say, “Well, it’s some physical law that we haven’t discovered yet.”
But that doesn’t make it in the Bible. That is not the Scripture’s definition of a miracle, because you see that definition of a miracle only allows for ignorance, not supernatural power. And a true miracle is an act of supernatural intervention. The implication that Webster gives and that most people would give to the concept is that a miracle is just something that happens that we can’t explain. But the Bible definition of a miracle is something that happens because God intervened in the natural world and did something supernatural and by the very definition of terms, you realize the natural world is here and the supernatural world is outside.
As I’ve illustrated it before, we have a little natural box that we live in and everything in our little natural box is qualified by natural law, but God’s outside our little box and whenever he pokes his finger into our box, he makes waves. He violates the natural by the supernatural. Now that’s amazing to me that there are some Christian theologians who have adopted the Webster definition and they are saying the same thing that even when Christ did miracles and even in the old testimony we have miracles, those are simply miracles that could be explained by physical law or natural law if we only knew those laws. And in fact Dr. Carnell says in his book that, “If a scientist would search long enough at the end of the miracle he would find some natural law.”
Well, you know if you do that then you don’t need supernatural, right? So man is trying to explain the unnatural by his own ignorance rather than by the supernatural. What is a miracle? Let me give you a simple definition. A miracle is an interference with nature by a supernatural power. A miracle is something outside our box invading our little box. Something outside our world coming into our world and making waves and ripples. Miracles are events in the external world wrought by the power of God. A miracle is God stepping into the universe, setting aside the normal laws of nature to do a super nature act. The Bible describes miracles usually, especially in The New Testament in three terms: signs, wonders and mighty works. And therein you have the definition of miracles really.
They were mighty works to create wonder to act as a sign. What is a sign for? What is a sign for? Point to something. You know when you’re traveling and you arrive in Arizona you don’t climb up on the sign and say, “I’m now in Arizona,” because the sign says, “Welcome to Arizona.” Or when you’re going to Bakersfield and the sign says, “Bakersfield,” you don’t sit up on the sign and say, “I’m in Bakersfield.” No, that’s just the sign pointing you to there. You haven’t gotten there yet. Miracles are not an end to themselves. They’re a what? They’re a sign and signs are for pointing somewhere and you know where miracles are supposed to point? Outside the box. Miracles are designed by God to invade the natural world to show the natural world that there’s a supernatural world. And if you continually try to explain miracles away by a natural reasoning, what you’re doing is just acting like an atheist. You’re disallowing God.
Miracles are mighty works to create wonder that points to God. That’s the three terms that are used. Now if naturalism is true – naturalist atheism – and if you believe there is no god then all miracles are impossible, cause there’s nobody outside the box. Right? I mean if it’s only the natural world if you believe in naturalism and you’re just – that’s it in the box. Period. There’s nothing outside the box. There’s no God, then you’re not going to have any miracles cause nothing can happen out there to invade the box. But I’ll tell you one thing, you’re going to have a lot of trouble explaining where the box came from.
Now watch this. And I think this is so basic. If you accept the fact that there is a spiritual, supernatural power; if there is a source of creation outside the box, if there is somebody up there, then miracles are easily allowable, aren’t they? Because if the supernatural is there and by the very definition we are the natural and it is the supernatural, it can act upon the natural. So if you allow for any supernatural power outside, then you must allow for miracles, because a miracle is just the revelation that what’s there is there.
Now watch. All of that comes down to this: if there is a God, then there must be what? Miracles. I mean you wouldn’t say, “God is,” and then not let God do. Say, “He’s there, but He’s never done anything.” Now wait a minute. If God is then God acts, because being is doing, right? When you’ve stopped doing you stop being. If God is there then miracles are valid and if God created once why can’t he create again? If God did a miracle once then let’s face it if you didn’t believe in any miracles at all, but you believed in God, you’d have to believe in one miracle and that’s the miracle of what? Creation. That’s got to be a miracle. If there was a God out there and there was nothing and He made everything out of nothing, that’s a miracle. So if you can allow Him to do one, then why would you worry if He did some more?
So you see, anybody who believes in God must believe in miracles. So don’t go to the Bible and say there are – I’ll accept the Bible as the Word of God if you get rid of the miracles. That’s ridiculous. That’s like saying, “Okay, God. You can exist. You just can’t do anything.” Being is doing. You know what’s amazing to me is we have these so called Christian theologians who want to demythologize the Bible. Now they want to de-miracle it. They start at the beginning and they suck out all the miracles. You know they say, “We believe in God.” Well, that is so stupid if you believe in God, then let him do what he did. They’re the ones that come along and say, “Jonah, you know, didn’t get swallowed by a great fish. What really happened was there was a dingy tied on the back of the boat and the name of the dingy was Great Fish and they stuck him in the dingy.” That’s George Adam Smith’s explanation.
Or I was reading William Barclay this week and William Barclay said, “The feeding of the 5,000 was a wonderful miracle.” You know what the miracle was? The miracle was that everybody was selfish and when the little boy shared his lunch everybody felt guilty and they all shared their lunches. That’s William Barclay. The miracle was a whole lot of selfish people became sharers. That’s what he says. Oh. You know what I would say to him if he were here? He’s not. But you know what I’d say? I’d say, “Let me ask you one question. In your commentaries through The New Testament, you believe in God?”
“You believe in a triune God?”
And he does. “You believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and his deity? Full deity?”
“You believe in his blood atonement on the cross? You believe in his resurrection?”
“Oh. All of those!”
He believes in everything. He teaches the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of salvation, then why in the world won’t you let God be God and do a miracle? I mean it doesn’t make any sense. Foolish. If God is let Him act. Now you know something? If there is a God then I believe He’ll be doing something, don’t you? If there is a supernatural God and I want to know that God, then I’m going to find the book that talks about supernatural activity. Would you buy that? If there is a God and I want to know that God, then I’m going to find the book that tells about a God who did things supernaturally and you know where that book is? It’s right here.
When I read the miracles in this Bible I say, “This has got to be the revelation of God, because look at the miracles!” You take all the miracles out of it and you don’t have God anymore. You’ve just got philosophy and we don’t need any more of that. When you look for the true sacred book, when you scan the ancient and sacred books of the world and you want to find the true one, it’ll have to be a book containing miracles. It has to be! The book that reveals God has got to contain miracles, because the revelation of God is a miracle. It’s the supernatural invading the natural and that’s miraculous.
Now let me take it a step further and you’ll understand as we go if this isn’t falling into little slots into your brain. But in order for a miracle to really fit it has to have three qualities. This is introduction. First of all it must be sensible and by that I mean it must be perceived by the senses. It wouldn’t do any good for God to go in a corner and do a miracle where nobody knew or for God to go off somewhere in the farthest reaching of the universe and do a few miracles. I mean that wouldn’t help anybody would it? That wouldn’t point to God. It wouldn’t be a mighty work to create wonder as a sign to our God. No, he does those things which are sensible and what I mean by that is a miracle to be a legitimate miracle must fit the senses. It must be perceivable and it must have testimony to its perception. There must be something that somebody saw or heard or felt and gave testimony to.
Secondly, it must be very clearly a miracle. It must be very clearly the revelation of the power and the presence of God. It must transcend all natural law so that it has no other explanation. True miracles then beginning then must be perceived by the senses. Secondly, they must be so strong that they clearly reveal God and they have no other explanation.
Thirdly, they must have a divine purpose. Miracles to be viable must have a divine purpose and by that I just mean as God isn’t a magician going around doing tricks to entertain people. You know, Jesus would never do that would He? He would never just entertain people. God is not doing miracles to appeal to human curiosity. God does not do miracles to entertain us. God does miracles to reveal to us His person. So miracles must be perceived by the senses. They must be clearly beyond any natural explanation at all and they must have a divine purpose. Now if the Bible is a book of miracles, its miracles will be sensible miracles perceived by the senses. It won’t be abstract, weird things. They’ll also be clear and strong in their revelation of God’s presence and thirdly they will have as their intent a divine purpose.
And you know something? You open the Bible and you find that the Bible miracles fit those qualifications and I read through this Bible and all these miracles and I say, “Wow. Those people perceived those things. They saw those things and gave testimony to what they saw. Those were credible people.” And you know it isn’t the quantity of witnesses that matters to me. It’s the quality of them, right? And they saw those and they believe that and they wrote those down and they never tried to defend them. They just wrote them down. They didn’t say, “I know this is ridiculous, but I’m writing it anyway.” And not only that, they were clearly the revelation of God and that’s the way the writer stated it. And thirdly, they always had a divine purpose.
Now once you admit as I said the existence of God who is the creator and the maker of everything, then you’re not going to set any limits on his creative power. I mean if He’s there, let Him do something. And if you admit that He created once, He can create again and all miracles are are really creations, because every one of them is unique, isn’t it? It’s something that never existed before. It’s outside the natural world and so when I pick up a book if I pick up a sacred book and it doesn’t have miracles, I throw it away, because if it doesn’t have miracles them it doesn’t tell me about the supernatural invading the natural and if it doesn’t tell me about that it’s a human book. And if I do find a book with miracles, I want to make sure those miracles are perceived by the senses of credible witnesses, that they are strongly and clearly divine and have no other explanation and thirdly that they have a purpose that is toward God. And so the Bible authenticates itself by the character of its miracles.
Now I want to take you to the first miracle that God ever did in relation to man and it’s in Genesis, chapter 1. Now we’re going to miracles that affected all men, miracles that affected nations and miracles that affected individuals just for some categories. Now first miracle. Here it comes, verse 1. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” Now you notice that the Bible starts out with an assumption. The Bible starts out assuming that God is, right? You say, “Why doesn’t the Bible prove that, because that’s built into every man.” The knowledge of God is built in into man according to Romans 1. That’s just basic.
And by the way folks, let me hasten to say this: there is no argument in the Scripture for the existence of God. That is not a theory to be proven. That is a fact to be affirmed. The Bible never attempts to prove God is. The Bible affirms that He is. If somebody comes along and says, “There is no God,” let him prove that. So when an atheist says to me, “I don’t believe there’s a God,” I simply say, “I believe there’s a God. The Bible affirms there’s a God. You prove to me there’s not a God.” Can’t do it. So let them prove it.
Now notice this: if you accept the first sentence of the Bible you have no other problem with a miracle. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Listen, the word created there, bara, means to make out of nothing! Now if you believe that God made everything out of nothing, that’s a miracle! And if you allow that one in 1:1 of Genesis, then why would you get bothered by any other one in the entire Bible? Because friends, that’s the greatest one in just pure volume. Can you imagine that God one day stepped out on the edge of nothing and made everything? By His Word? That’s a miracle. The miracle of creation. The first miracle.
And you know, as you study the passage, you go through chapter 1 and you find it’s amazing how the Spirit of God describes this. Everything is in that first verse. Every single category that science has for putting things is in that verse. It says in verse 2, “The earth was without form and void, tohu wa-bohu, emptiness and formlessness. Darkness was on the face of the deep. The Sprit of God moved on the face of the waters.” God creates and the creation is formless. Then the creation takes form in verses 3 to 13. God creates light, verse 3. “And He calls it day and He calls the darkness, night.”
Verse 6, “Let there be firmament in the midst of the waters and let it divide the waters from the waters and God made the firmament and divided the waters, which were under the firmament from the waters, which were above the firmament and it was so.” In creation, God put some water above and some water on the earth. Did you know that in this particular time in the earth, the earth was covered with a vapor and the sun rays - the rays that are destructive rays were filtered out and that’s why everybody lived so long? That’s why Methuselah lived over 900 years and Adam lived over 900 years and that’s where you get great, huge, monstrous animals and gigantic plants, because the sun’s rays were filtered out by this canopy of moisture that covered the earth, the waters above, and God divided the waters.
Verse 9, “And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together in one place and let the dry land appear.’ Then God created the land.” So on the first day, light; on the second day, water and air. And on the third day, land and plants. Now there’s the form. On the next three days came the fullness. On the fourth day came the lights. The heaven – verse 14 says, “Divided so that there would be signs for seasons, for days and years. There would be lights in the firmament. Two great lights. The greater light to rule the day and that’s the sun. The lesser light to rule the night and He made the stars also.” On the fifth day, the fullness of the land came, the fowls and fish. And on the sixth day, animals and man.
So you have first of all, formlessness in verse 2. In verses 3 to 13 you have form and in verses 14 and following, clear to 27 really, you have fullness. Here is a fantastically detailed and beautiful description of creation. Now the question comes up that some people say, “Well, this is just a myth. This is just somebody’s thoughts. This isn’t how it happened.” Let me just show you a couple of interesting things. This particular description in Genesis contains no scientific errors at all. Not one has ever been proven. And even the sequence of the creation matches what scientists have discovered. According to Romanes and McCosh, I’m quoting from their book, “The order in which” -and they’re not believers, they’re just scientists, apart from any faith in God - “The order in which the flora and the fauna” – that’s plants and animals – “are said by the mosaic account to have appeared upon the earth corresponds with that which The Theory of Evolution requires and the evidence of geology proves.”
Now, I’ll tell you one thing. Moses, who wrote that, was no geologist. I’ll tell you something else, he wasn’t around when that happened. But God gave him true revelation. The imminent scientist, Sir William Dawson says, and I quote, “The order of that vision of the creative work with which the Bible begins its history is so closely in harmony with the result worked out by geological investigations that the correspondences have excited marked attention and have been justly regarded as establishing the common authorship of nature and the Bible.” Scientists say that what is happening here in Genesis fits the facts.
Now, science comes along and it says, however, the Bible says it happens in six days and that’s where they go bananas, see? They reject that because they've got a geological age system. They say 20 billion years ago the elements and the stars and the galaxies evolved. They don't tell you from what, but they just evolved. Five billion years ago, the earth and the solar system evolved. Three billion years ago, the evolution of life took place. One billion years ago, the evolution of multicellular life. Six hundred million years ago, the evolution of complex marine invertebrates. Three hundred and fifty million years ago, the evolution of marine vertebrates and land plants. Two hundred and fifty million years ago, the evolution of amphibians and insects. Two hundred million years ago, the evolution of reptiles and flowering plants. Don't ask me what connection they had. One hundred million years ago, the evolution of mammals and birds. Fifty million years ago, the evolutionary ancestors of apes and man. And three million years ago, modern man evolved. That's their timetable.
Now, when you throw at them a six-day creation in the book of Genesis, they have a little trouble. Their creation covers at least 20 billion years. Now, you say, “Well, where do they get this kind of stuff?” Well, they've got their little ways of dating. They base it on the fossil record. They say they find fossils in sedimentary rock and so they determine that the fossils are a certain age because of the rock. And then they go the other way and say the rock's a certain age because of the fossils. And they've got all different kinds of things.
Well, some Christians come along and say, “My, we've got to accept this. These are scientists.” So they dream up this thing called theistic evolution, or progressive creationism, which says, “We believe the Genesis account, only those weren't actual days. Those refer to great million of years of passing of time.” I think God knows how to communicate. He knows what He's doing. If He said six days, that's what He meant, because God knows how to say something else besides that. He's not stuck. He's got a vocabulary.
Besides, I'll give you another interesting thought. I don't know if you ever read this verse in this light, but listen to Exodus 20:11. “For in six days, the Lord made heaven and earth.” Isn't that interesting? “In six days, the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Wherefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day.” Now, you tell me, was the Jewish Sabbath an age of million years? The Jewish Sabbath was a day. And Moses saying, getting the word from God, just like God created in six days and rested on the seventh, so you work six days and rest on the seventh. Friends, the parallel is obvious. He didn't mean you work for 20 billion years and then you can take a million-year nap.
The miracle then is clear. It's sensible. You say, “Well, how can I verify the miracle of creation?” Pinch yourself. There you are. Look up. Look around you. I mean, it's obvious something did this. It's verifiable. It's sensible. It's clear. It proves God to me. I mean, what else? It has to prove God. Somebody had to make this.
You take your watch apart and put it in your pocket and keep rattling your pocket and see how long it takes before you hear a tick. Somebody who knows what he's doing has to put that thing together or it'll never tick, and the same thing is true of the world. It's absurd to think that everything came from nothing.
Just an interesting quote I took. It said in this particular book, “The writer of Genesis is not content with setting forth the fundamental steps of the creation of the universe in a general manner, but deliberately lists 13 basic steps of creation, and establishes a very distinct order in which they were carried out, and those are listed in Genesis 1. Science today has determined by careful research and with reference to the established fossil record that the 13 steps of creation outlined in Genesis are not only correctly named, but in their correct order. The man on the street seems somehow to have the idea that the fossil record discredits the Bible, while actually it offers a convincing confirmation of its supernatural knowledge.”
Here is a proposition worth your serious consideration. Without the advantages of the fossil record and most recent centuries of research, it is estimated by Dr. Peter Stoner that anyone would only have one chance in 31 times 10 to the 20th power, that's 31 with 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 zeroes, he would only have that one chance in 31 times 10 to the 20th power of determining those 13 steps and putting them in the right order. Moses put those in the right order without knowing one word about science. But God knew the way He did it. And even science, as blind as it is to origins, can discover the sequence. And when it discovers it, it verifies exactly the Word of God. That's exciting.
You say, “But what about these dating things? They've got radiocarbons, and they've got potassium-argon and strontium-rubidium and thorium-lead and all these ways to do it.” And I read a fascinating thing in a magazine called Science, and this is what it said. It said recently they dated some lava flows from Kilauea, which is in Hawaii, the volcano. And this is a quote. “The lava samples were deduced to be 22 million years old on the basis of potassium or, possibly, 200 years old.” Slight margin.
Another interesting thing that I discovered is that the present growth rate of population is up to about 2 percent a year. Now, with 3.5 billion people in the world, and growing at a rate of 2 percent, that presents some interesting statistics. On the evolutionary assumption, what is the number of years needed to generate 3.5 billion people? We've got that many. Now, if you take a uniformitarian view of evolution, how many years do we need to get this many people? Because that's what's happened, they say. Evolution has gone on and on, and man's 3 million years old. He's been evolving. You know how many years you need to get 3.5 billion people on a uniformitarian basis at 2 percent a year? Eleven hundred. That would take us back to the ‘800s. That's all.
Well, let's say, “Well, maybe we didn't go 2 percent. Maybe we only went half a percent.” Okay, you need 4,300 years. Forty-three hundred years you could generate 3.5 billion people. Hmm. You know something? If people only grew at a half of a percent for one million years, the total population would be 10 to the 2,155th power. You say, what's that? Well, there are only 10 to the 80th power electrons in the universe. You don't need much time to get 3.5 billion people. Listen, this is a miracle. And you know what? I don't mind that, because that tells me God is there.
Let me take you to a second miracle. Look in your Bible, Genesis 6. Genesis 6 and 7, you have the second great miracle in the book of the Law, the Pentateuch, and that's the flood. Now folks, that's a miracle. You know, here's God telling Noah to build that floating coffin, and that's what it was, dimension-wise, 450 by 75 by 45 is about the dimensions of a good coffin, and build it out in the middle of the desert. And then God created a miracle. Fantastic. What happened? God performed a wonder.
Go to chapter 7. We'll look for just a minute. “The Lord said to Noah, 'Come thou and all thy house into the ark, for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.'“ It was one thing to build the ark, you know, and keep saying, “I know God is in this,” but then when they all went in and sat there that was another act of faith, I suppose. “Of every clean beast thou shall take to thee by sevens, the male and his female, and beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female, fowls,” and He tells him about all these animals.
And then some people say, “Oh, that is so ridiculous. How is this guy going to herd these animals? How do the animals know whether they're male or female, and how do they determine who gets to go and who gets drowned?” You know, all these ridiculous things. Listen, that's no problem for the God who made those animals. God has a lot less trouble with animals than He does with people.
There's an interesting statement. I think it's Isaiah 1:3. It says, “The ox knows its owner and the ass its master's crib, but Israel doesn't know Me. My people don't understand.” Don't knock the animals. God just organized the animals. They all went in there and an incredible thing happened. God just broke up everything. Verse 11, “God broke up the great deep.” Water just surged up, and “the windows of heaven,” and so forth. “The firmament around the earth broke and came down to the earth.” The vapor was ended. And that's why, after the flood, life was immediately shortened. Because the vapor that protected from the sun's rays was eliminated. And the tremendous flood took place, 40 days of rain and 150 days of water.
And you know something, folks? This is fantastic. Because water covered the entire earth. Mount Ararat was 17,000 feet high and water covered that mountain. And you don't pile water up like this. Water seeks its own level. It's a universal flood. And that's where you get sedimentary rock and that's where you get the fossils. They aren't fossils from all different kinds of ages. They're just things that all kind of zapped together in the flood.
You don't need great million-year ice ages to form various things. All you need is one super flood. And the very existence of fossils proves catastrophism. Rhodes, Zim and Shaffer, who've written a book on fossils, again, they're unbelievers, say, “To become fossilized, a plant or animal must usually have had hard parts, such as bones, shell or wood, and it must be buried quickly to prevent decay, and it must be undisturbed throughout long periods.” It must be buried quickly. Rapid catastrophe.
The ark landed on Mount Ararat, 17,000 feet high, after 150 days of floating. And it had another two and a half months before the tops of other mountains could be seen. Now, this is a miracle. This is a miracle of flood that covered the entire world. You say, “What makes you believe it covered the world?” Well, the very facts that it couldn't cover Mount Ararat, if water seeks its own level, unless it covered everything else. Plus, it says in 2 Peter 3:5, “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world that then was was overflowed with water.” “The world was overflowed with water,” says Peter.
It's a miracle. And it's verifiable today. Do you know that even today, and I talked to a guy on the phone the other day who had just returned from a summer expedition that even today they're looking for the ark? And Navarro supposedly has photographs of the ark. Now, I don't know whether they're going to find it, but it's interesting.
Stories also that find great interest to me are the fact that almost every part of the world has stories of a great flood. Everywhere from Europe to the South Seas and the Americas to the Far East, the people have stories of a great flood. There are witnesses to corroborate it. The witness of the fossils, the witness of the sedimentary rock, the witnesses of all these flood accounts all over the world. A miracle. Let God be God.
Another miracle, Genesis 11. “And the whole earth was one language and one speech. It came to pass, as they journeyed from the east that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they dwelt there.” Hey, that's all right, they have a city there, I guess. “And they said to one another, 'Come, let's take brick and burn the brick and make stones and slime to put it all together, and let's build a city and a tower whose top shall reach to heaven.'“ And here they got a little carried away. Going to build a ziggurat. This is a pagan tower. They're going to worship a false God. Self-glorification. Idolatry.
So the Lord did an interesting thing. Verse 6, “The Lord said, 'Behold, the people are one, and they have all one language, and this they began to do, and now nothing will be withheld from them which they have imagined to do. Come, let us go down and there confound their language.'“ This is a little inter-Trinitarian conversation, “'Come, let us go down and confound their language that they may not understand one another's speech.' So the Lord scattered them abroad from there upon the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel.” And, of course, the word comes from the Hebrew word meaning to confuse. The Lord confounded the language of all the earth. Now, that's where languages came from. God just scattered everybody. God said, “I'll break up their idolatry. I'll scatter them all over the world, and they all speak different languages and nobody'll be able to get together on anything.”
One of the great promises of the millennial kingdom says that that's going to be reversed and everybody's going to speak the same language in the kingdom. Isn't that going to be great? That's a miracle. But you know something? What's exciting about that miracle is it's a very clear and very lucid and very responsible explanation of where languages came from. I mean, if there wasn't anything like that, they would all have started out with an original language, and it would've kind of just been varied variations and so forth and so on, and it wouldn't have been much different anywhere, but all of a sudden, bang, historically there's people all over everywhere speaking very different languages.
So some miracles affected everybody. They affect us, all of those. Creation affected us. Here we are. The flood affected us. We're living in the earth that withstood that flood. And Babel affected us. We speak English. Let me take you a step further. Second thing. Miracles that affected nations. And this is just to give you a look at it. Some miracles affected nations. And just in the time of Moses you could have 25 of these. But let me go to Exodus 14, and let's look at the miracle of the Red Sea. Remember, the children of Israel escaped from Egypt and Pharaoh was chasing them. And believe me folks, if there's any doubt about this miracle, there were an awful lot of witnesses, a whole nation of them, some people say as many as 3 million people. Plenty of witnesses.
Here is again a visible miracle with no other explanation than that it is miraculous and it reveals God as the Savior. It has a divine purpose. It shows God as Savior. Creation revealed God as Creator. The flood revealed God as Savior. Babel revealed God as judge. All of them a divine end, a divine purpose, pointing to God. And here, the crossing of the Red Sea again reveals God as deliverer and judge, for He delivers Israel and judges the Egyptians.
Now, there have always been people who criticize this miracle. Let's look at verse 13 and start there. “Moses said to the people, 'Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show you today. For the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace.' And the Lord said to Moses, 'Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod and stretch out thine hand over the sea and divide it, and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.'“
He's right at the sea. Pharaoh's at the back, pressing. He's got nowhere to go but to the sea. He says, “How are we going to get there?” And the Lord says, “Just put your stick out there and the thing'll divide and you can walk through on dry land. And, behold, I'll harden the hearts of the Egyptians and they shall follow them, and I will get Me honor over Pharaoh and over all his hosts, over his chariots, over his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.”
Now here God again is revealing Himself. He is doing a miracle to reveal that He is God. And believe me, there must have been some real talk going on back there in the capital of Egypt when they realized that their whole army was drowned. After they had had all the plagues that had revealed God, they were probably pretty well convinced that that God was truly God. “The angel of God who went before the camp of Israel,” verse 19, “removed and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud went from before their face and stood behind them. And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these, so that the one came not near the other all night.” God just plopped the Shekinah glory between the Egyptians and the Israelites so the Israelites could have a comfortable night.
Well, you know what happened. Verse 21, “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all night, made the sea dry land and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon dry ground. The waters were a wall unto them on their right side and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots and his horsemen. It came to pass that in the morning watch, the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and troubled the host of the Egyptians and took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily.” It may indicate here that they got bogged down.
It says, “So that the Egyptians said, 'Let us flee from the face of Israel.'“ They tried to retreat, perhaps, “For the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians. And the Lord said to Moses, 'Stretch out thine hand over the sea that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and their horsemen.' Moses stretched forth his hand,” and you know the story. The sea closed up and drowned them all.
Now, folks, that's a miracle. There's no other explanation. Now, there have been some offered. Let me suggest. Somebody who said, and I was reading it this week, that actually what happened here is that at the north end of the Red Sea you've got a little area called the Bitter Lakes. And the Bitter Lakes are sitting at the north end of the Red Sea. And supposedly this guy says that the Bitter Lakes, though they were disconnected, had a marshy connection in those days. And between the Bitter Lakes and the top of the Red Sea was a little marshy area two or three inches deep.
And what really happened was they waded through the marshy area. And in fact a southeast wind blew up the channel. Now, watch this. And the stiffness of the wind held the water in the Bitter Lakes, and the tide ebbed away in the Red Sea and with a stiff wind holding the Bitter Lakes up and the tide ebbing in the Red Sea, it left a little bit of dry and they kind of waded through the marshy two or three inches.
Friends, that's weak. Listen friends, if the children of Israel walked across a shallow, marshy area, that leaves a greater miracle. You explain to me how the well-trained Egyptian army drowned in two inches of water. I'll tell you what that strong east wind was. It's the breath of God. That's what it was. God walled it up on both sides. It's a miracle.
Now, why do you want to worry about the miracle? If you believe in God, let the miracle alone. If God is, let Him do. Let Him reveal Himself. It's so stupid for puny little picayune man to sit down here and say, “No, no, God, we won't allow that. Must explain it rationally.”
Let me give you another miracle. Exodus 16. This is the miracle of angel food cake. You remember this one. Manna. Exodus, chapter 16, verses 14 to 22 tell us about it. And I'm not going to read it except to just say you remember that in the wilderness for 40 years God provided manna. God fed them with something that He created. Let Him be God. Listen folks, the very fact that this Bible records a miracle tells me it's God's Book. Right?
Let me tell you some miracles that affected individuals. Turn to Numbers 22. Not only the world and nations, but individuals. This is the miracle regarding Balaam's talking ass. Remember him? Interesting. I mean, more than interesting. Fascinating. Verse 21 of Numbers 22, “And Balaam rose up in the morning and saddled his ass and went with the princes of Moab.” Now, he's off, and he's a prophet for hire, and he's doing the wrong thing. “And God's anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the way.” The angel of the Lord just stood right in front of Balaam. He's going along, riding on his ass and Balaam's moving along and the angel stands there. Two servants were with him. “And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way and the sword in his hand.” The animal sees the angel. “And he turned aside out of the way and went into a field.” And it says, “And Balaam smote the ass for turning out of the way.” “What are you doing?” And this thing is going off in a field. And Balaam hasn't seen a thing, but the animal sees the angel of the Lord there with a big sword. “And the angel of the Lord stood in the path of the vineyards.” The animal gets over in a vineyard, and he's wandering around over there and the angel comes over there. “And he stands in the path of the vineyard,” 24, “a wall is on the side, on one side, and a wall is on that side. And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord,” now he's in a little narrow area with a wall on each side and the angel's in the middle and there's nowhere to go, so what happens?
It says in verse 25, “When the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she thrust herself onto the wall and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall. And he smashed it again.” “What are you doing?” He couldn't see anything. “And the angel of the Lord went further and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam, and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.”
Now, he is really mad at that animal. Stupid animal. What is that animal doing? This is a familiar animal. I mean, he's probably ridden the thing every day. All of a sudden the animal's gone crazy, wandering all over, smashing his feet into the wall. Well, you want to know what happened? It's very interesting. Verse 28 says, “And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass and she said unto Balaam, 'What have I done to you that you smote me these three times?'“ “What's your problem, Balaam?” I mean, you know, you don't think God has a sense of humor? You say, “Nobody would believe that. No sane individual would ever believe that.”
You know, one of the most sane individuals in all the Bible, one of the most precious saints of God that ever lived was the apostle Peter. Read his books and see if he was sane. Read his books and see if he was lucid. And listen to him as he says this. Talking of false teachers, he says in 2 Peter 2:15, “Who have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam, who was rebuked for his iniquity. The dumb ass, speaking with a man's voice, forbade the madness of the prophet.” Peter believed in that miracle and Peter's a credible witness, folks. I believe it's a miracle.
And so he says, “Why are you hitting me? What have I done to you?” And Balaam said unto the ass, “Because thou hast mocked me. I would there were a sword in my hand, for I'd kill you.” You know, the miracle isn't that the ass spoke to Balaam, it's that Balaam answered. I mean, I think I would've fallen flat on the ground, you know.
Now you know, what is a critic going to do with this? I mean, the guy wants to believe that there's a God, but he doesn't want to believe something like this. And so I checked on some of what the critics say. Some of them say he was in a trance. Balaam was in a trance when the animal spoke. And I thought to myself, “It'd be very difficult to be in a trance after a donkey just smashed your leg into a wall. Very unlikely.” One other critic said that Balaam had a habit of talking to himself and he had such a habit of taking to himself that he really is just replying to himself and the witness mistook it for the talking of the animal. Somebody else said that he was so used to talking to the donkey that when the donkey brayed back to him, he was so familiar with the style of the bray that he interpreted what the donkey was saying.
“So Balaam said unto him, 'Because you mocked me. I would there were a sword in my hand, for I'd kill you.' And the ass said unto Balaam, 'Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? Was I ever accustomed to do this unto you?'“ “Well, give me a break. Have I ever done it before? Before you kill me, this is the first time.” It’s like the joke, you know, “That's one.” And he said, “No, you never have done this before.” “And the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam and he saw. Saw the angel with the sword drawn.” It's a miracle.
I'll tell you something. It got through to that guy. You know what's amazing about this miracle? It's so interesting. The donkey didn't say some great, profound truth. The donkey talked like the donkey. I mean those were kind of the thoughts that the donkey must have had if he had thoughts. God used a miracle to stop this false prophet. And what I want you to notice about this miracle that just astounds me is the total lack of defensiveness in putting it here. You know, if I were writing this down, I would say, “Now, folks, I'm about to say something that you're not going to believe. There was this guy riding a donkey.” You see? You know, you would have to throw a few little statements in there to prepare them for the jolt. But you know something amazing about Bible writers? No matter how bizarre and how strange and how weird the miracle, they never defend it. They only state it. They only affirm it.
Think of it. This is Moses who wrote this. Moses. Moses. The genius of that man. That man who was raised to the elevation of the highest place in Pharaoh's court. That man who with the brilliant genius of leadership led at least several million people through the wilderness. That man who had given himself over to God to the place where he was used of God to communicate revelation regarding The Ten Commandments and many other things of law to set in order those things which God demanded of His people. That man of the highest level who wrote the Pentateuch with all of its deep truths and great doctrines, who wrote all the sweeping history of the beginnings. That man who wrote the astute account of the creation. That man who gave God's great law, without any self-consciousness and without one defensive statement writes a story about a conversation with a donkey.
There's something exciting about that. That's a miracle. And that tells me God is acting. And if God is acting in this Book, folks, that's the kind of book I want, because I want to know God. Right? Let me give you another one. Elisha, 2 Kings 4. See, we could talk about several with Elijah and Elisha. But Elisha, Shunammite woman, son died. Remember? Now verse 18 would be a start. 2 Kings 4:18, “And when the child was grown, it fell on a day that it went out to his father to the reapers. He said unto his father, 'My head, my head.” And he said to a lad, 'Carry him to his mother.'“ Typical father. “And when he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon and then died.” Must have been a sad scene, don't you think? Holding her little boy till he died.
“She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God.” Remember, she had a prophet's chamber that she provided for Elisha? She shut the door on the little boy and went out. “And she called to her servant - to her husband” - I should say - “and said, 'Send me, I pray, one of the young men and one of the asses that I may run to the man of God and come again. I have to go find the man of God, Elisha.’ And he said, 'Wherefore wilt thou go to him today? It's neither new moon nor Sabbath.'“ There were certain times when they had meetings. She said, “Oh, it's well. Everything's fine.” She didn't want to break his heart, didn't want to grieve him, didn't want to disturb him. Tremendous faith. “She saddled the ass, said to her servant, 'Drive, go forward. Slacken not thy riding for me except I bid thee.' And so off they went and came to the man of God in Mount Carmel. And it came to pass when the man of God saw her afar that he said to Gehazi, his servant, 'Behold, over there is the Shunammite. Run, now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, “Is it well with thee? Is it well with thy husband? Is it well with the child?”' And she answered, 'It is well.'“ Boy, that's faith, isn't it?
“And when she came to the man of God, to the hill, she caught him by the feet, and Gehazi came near to thrust her away and the man of God said, 'Let her alone, for her soul is bitter within her and the Lord hath hidden it from me and hath not told me.'“ She's got a problem, but God hasn't revealed it to me. “And she said, 'Did I desire a son of my Lord? Did I did not say, “Do not deceive me?”' Then he said to Gehazi, 'Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand and go thy way. If thou meet any man, greet him not. If any greet thee, answer him not again and lay my staff upon the face of the child.' And the mother of the child said, 'As the Lord liveth and as thy soul liveth, I'll not leave thee.' And he arose and followed her and Gehazi passed on before them and laid the staff upon the face of the child, but there was neither voice nor hearing. Wherefore, he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, 'The child has not awakened.' And when Elisha was come into the house, behold the child was dead and lay upon his bed. He went in therefore and shut the door upon the two of them and prayed unto the Lord. And he went up and lay upon the child and put his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, his hands upon his hands and stretched himself upon the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. Then he returned and walked in the house to and fro and went up and stretched himself upon him, and the child sneezed seven times.” The first act of recovered respiration. “And the child opened his eyes. And he said, ‘Get the lady.’ And when she came, he says, ‘Take up your son.’”
That's a miracle of resurrection. You say, “No, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.” That's what the critics say. “Sure. You know, the guy was fading fast and he got up there and gave him mouth to mouth.” You know what it says in that passage twice? It says he was what? Dead. He was dead. It's a miracle. This isn't just a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This isn't a semi-coma, where the body heat releases the life. Not at all. Resurrection. Now, if you believe in God, why do you worry about the resurrection? Let Him be God.
You could talk about Daniel and his friends. Threw them in the fiery furnace in chapter 3. You know what the critics say about that? They say a moist wind came and drove the fire over to one side. The only problem with that was that the fiery furnace was in the ground and you were dropped in from the top. And you know what happened to all the guys who dropped them in? They burned to death. Have you ever read that in Daniel 3? All the people who put those guys in the fiery furnace burned to death. If it was that hot outside, there's no moist wind blowing inside.
So there were miracles affecting all people, nations, individuals. You say, “Are there any of them in The New Testament?” Oh. In the New Testament, Peter and John cured a lame man. Peter and the others were delivered from prison. Philip was carried through the air by the Holy Spirit. Paul healed a cripple. Paul cast out spirits and healed the sick. Paul was raised from the dead. Paul raised Eutychus from the dead. And so it goes.
Listen friends, this is a book about God. You know how I know it's about God? Because it has what? Miracles. If you take away My miracles, you've taken away God. Creation doesn't have to be evolution. The flood doesn't have to be a local rainstorm where the drain’s backed up. The confounding of languages isn't a myth. The parting of the Red Sea isn't wading through a two inch marsh. Manna doesn't have to be tamarisk twig globs. Balaam's ass doesn't have to be a trance. Elisha's raising of the dead boy is not merely revival with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The fiery furnace isn't just put out by a moist wind. Let God be God. Let Him act.
And beloved, this is the record of His acts. And because it's miraculous, I believe it's divine. The miracles don't send me away from the Bible. They drive me into it. Because without miracles, you have no God. You have no Bible. You have no salvation. You have no hope. But with this miraculous Book, proven as it is to be God's revelation, there is hope.
Father, we thank you tonight for this time to share. How our hearts rejoice in the veracity of your Book. Oh God, your power just awes us. How thrilled we are to let you be God. Thank you for the things you've done in the past that prove who you are. Thank you for the things we await in the future. Thank you for making us your children. We pray in Christ's name. Amen.
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