Are Members of The Church of Christ 'Pharisees' Because They Believe In The Cessation of Miraculous Gifts As The Bible Indicates?
This question arose from a study among some young Latter-Day Saint missionaries who hold to a belief system in modern-day revelation and miracles as described in their Articles of Faith. In this study, one of them claimed that we were like the Pharisees in that we were testing to see if the Latter-Day Saint religion was true because they claim they can perform miracles as found in the New Testament. One of the points of evidence that can show whether a person is a true messenger of God is whether or not he can perform true miracles (John 3:2; 20:30,31; Mark 16:17-20).
Was the accusation true that we are Pharisees and Sadducees because we disbelieve the Latter-Day Saint's claim to perform miracles? No.
There are some reasons as to why this accusation is false:
1. First, the Pharisees and Sadducees had seen repeatedly Jesus perform miracle after miracle. If you look in the gospel of Matthew, chapter eight is filled with all sorts of miraculous activities by Jesus, and the Pharisees had obviously seen some of His miracles performed with their own eyes. Yet, it was still the case that they wanted to see another miracle performed by Jesus when they had already seen dozens performed by Him. They were testing Him. The main difference between the Pharisees and members of the Lord's church is that none of the members of the Lord's church have ever seen a genuine miracle performed in front of their very eyes, unlike the Pharisees who repeatedly saw miracles over and over again.
Second, the Bible is filled with accounts of various miracles. In studying these accounts, a pattern becomes evident. The miracles were performed for a divine purpose. Once the miracles served their purpose, they ceased. For example, God created the heavens and earth, then He ceased creating heavens and earth (Genesis 1-2:3; Hebrews 11:3). God fed Israel with manna, then He ceased (Exodus 16:31-35; Joshua 5:12). The same is true in the New Testament. The primary purpose of miracles in the first century A.D. was to reveal God’s word unto completion and to confirm God’s word and Jesus’ divinity in order to make believers (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 16:20; John 10:25, 37-38; 20:30-31; Acts 2:22; Hebrews 2:1-4). Once Jesus’ divine nature was adequately demonstrated and all the truth of His word was fully revealed, the miraculous gifts that served to validate these facts ceased. Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (and Ephesians 4:7-16) Paul makes it clear that the miracles of the first century were not designed to last. He stated that the miraculous abilities to prophesy, speak in languages never studied, and gain instant knowledge would fail, cease, vanish away. He even tells us when this would occur, namely, when “that which is perfect has come.” God’s word was made known in parts, that is, gradually as it was revealed and confirmed through “childish things” called spiritual gifts. Once God’s word was made perfect/complete, these gifts fulfilled their purpose and ceased (2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:25; Jude 1:3). We ought to expect then that there will be no miraculous gifts performed because it is based on the will of God that they would cease.
If someone claims to perform miracles today, then they are going against the testimony of the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Ephesians 4:7-16) and ought to be put to the test (1 John 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). As we will find, the word of God, the truth, always prevails, over those who claim to perform miracles.
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