Although, as we saw in Parts 1 and 2, Jesus’ and the apostles’ ministry were attested to by signs, wonders, and miracles, the Scripture cautioned His followers not to be deceived. Jesus warned that “…false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matt 24:24)
He cautioned His followers against false prophets who would come in sheep’s clothing but inside they were ravenous wolves. (Matt 7:15) They would give every appearance as a follower and prophet of God. Some would even prophesy in His name. Some would cast out demons. Others will have performed miracles. But Jesus said that, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven…” Even many who did seemingly supernatural things in His name will not enter, because He never knew them. (Matt 7:21-23)
In the book of Revelation, the apostle John wrote, “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.” (Rev 13:11) This beast is identified as the false prophet (Rev 16:13) and becomes a spokesman for Antichrist. He has the appearance of a lamb – gentle, docile, and non-threatening. However, in his speech he will speak spiritual lies and lead people away from the true shepherd, Jesus Christ. The Bible says that “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” (Rev 13:13) This is suggestive of the prophet Elijah when God brought fire down upon his sacrifice in the view of the false prophets of Baal. (I Kings 18:20-40) However, in this case, it appears that the false prophet is able to do what a true prophet of God did. For this reason, the false prophet “deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast…” (Rev 13:14)
The last sign mentioned in Scripture is the sign of the Son of Man. “Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory…” (Matt 24:30)
In contrast to the star in the sky announcing His first coming, Jesus said that His second coming shall be compared to lightning flashing from the east to the west. (Matt 24:27) When He comes the second time, He, Himself, is the sign declaring the spiritual truth predicted throughout the Scriptures that he would return and set up His kingdom on the earth.
In the previous two parts of this series, it was demonstrated that signs, wonders, and miracles confirmed that Jesus was fully Divine and that He was Israel’s Messiah. Furthermore, after His ascension into heaven, powers were given to the apostles to distinguish them from false apostles and to confirm that the message of the true apostles came from God.
The church is being built upon the foundation of the apostles and Old Testament prophets. (Eph 2:19, 20) For this reason, there is no longer any need for miracles, signs and wonders to confirm the message from a self- proclaimed prophet of God. As New Testament believers, we have the completed canon of Scripture with which to compare the teaching of any person who claims to be speaking for God. (Acts 17:11; 2Peter 1:19-21) Therefore, once these powers served their intended purpose, the New Testament warns of false signs and lying wonders in order that people are not deceived and directed away from the true Messiah, Jesus.