The Gospel of 2 Kings – the Purpose of Miracles

Do you believe in miracles?  More than the testimony of God’s glory witnessed in the vastness and order of the universe, but when God acts outside of the normal structures and constraints that He created.

For those who say we should expect miracles from God every day, I have to disagree.  We see God’s greatness and God’s glory every day if we are paying attention, and some refer to this as miracles, but a miracle by definition, is an act of God outside of that routine.

Great arguments are put forth between the Secessionists, who say miracles ended with the death of the apostles, and Continuationists, who argue that we should experience miracles as much today as any day because God can do anything and will, if we pray right and have faith.  There should be miracles in our day as much as any time in the past. I disagree with both views.

It’s not my purpose today to convince you one way or the other or to even explain my own position.  I will simply say that God sovereignly acts as He chooses.  I believe New Testament miracles were for a purpose that does not exist today in the same way, yet God graciously acts today as He pleases and I do hear of miracles, particularly in hard places of the world to advance the Gospel.

But what about Scripture?  Are miracles reported on every page?  No, in fact there are three main eras of Biblical history in which miracles were abundant.  Otherwise, they are rare.  Those three times are:  1) the time of Jesus and the Apostles, the Gospels and Acts; 2) the time of Moses and the Exodus; 3) the days of Elijah and Elisha.

I’m overlapping back into 1 Kings for my The Gospel of 2 Kings post because  of this connection between the two “E” prophets, most famous of the non-writing prophets, that is, no books of the Bible left by them.

Elijah is the better known, primarily because of his great showdown with the prophets of Baal and his long conflict with King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.  God used Elijah to prophesy the weather.  He fed him when there was no food.  He was God’s agent in raising the widow’s son. He was taken to heaven by chariots of fire and horses of fire in a whirlwind.  You can read the biography of Elijah from 1 Kings 17-22 overlapping into 2 Kings 1, 2.

Elisha is introduced in 1 Kings 19 as Elijah’s successor, but not mentioned again until 2 Kings 2 when Elijah is taken to heaven and the mantle of leadership falls on Elisha. Elisha’s ministry dominates chapters 2-10 and includes at least 18 miracles, such as parting the Jordan River, purifying the Jericho spring, cursing children who made fun of his baldness, the widow’s oil, the Shunamite’s son, the poison pot, multiplying barley loaves, healing the Syrian commander, Naaman, a floating axe head,, and raising a man from the dead.

Where is the Gospel in this?

Several miracles are repeats of the miracles of Moses in the Exodus and the Journey to Canaan; parting the waters of the Jordan, daily food appearing, purifying a poison spring.  Others seem to be a foretaste of the miracles of Jesus; multiplying the loaves, the resurrection of two boys and one older man. The miracles in the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles are focused primarily on the attestation of Jesus as God in the flesh, helping to answer the question, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.” Luke 8:25

However, all the miracles of Moses, Elijah and Elisha, and Jesus and the Apostles, point forward to the fulfillment of the Gospel in “the new heaven and the new earth” and “the Holy City, the new Jerusalem” where there will be “no more death or  mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

The Gospel, the Good News, is centered on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the resolution of the sin problem as Jesus died as our substitute.  But the ultimate fulfillment of the Gospel is yet to come.  Praise God for the foretastes from the lives of Moses, Elijah and Elisha, the miracles of Jesus and the Apostles. Even more, anticipate the fulfillment of it all when we are with them and with Christ in our eternal home, when we no longer need miracles, when “perfection comes.” 1 Corinthians 13:10.

 

 

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