Sign Gifts

1 Corinthians 12

Are The Gifts Listed In 1 Corinthians At Work In The Church Today?

Robert wrote:

Interesting study, but I think someone is talking about a different God than my God.

Last time I checked my God was still a miracle working God.  The same Holy Spirit imparted to believers in the early church is the same Holy Spirit imparted to believers today.  I don’t think God changed did he?  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  I’ve studied, but just cannot see where the dispensation of the Holy Spirit (and the gifts of the Spirit as Paul describes in 1 Cor 12) stopped based on an event or some type of time period.  Even Paul indicates the diversity in ministry, but the same Lord, the diversity of gifts, but the same Lord.  When did the Lord change?


Dear Robert,
God Bless you, and thank you for your question. 

Many have and are claiming to have supernatural gifts and point to Scripture to "prove" they are from God. What is the truth about Sign Gifts Today?

The short answer is The Lord never changes, but His administrations, dispensations, or stewardships when dealing with humankind DO. There was a HUGE change at the time of The Book of Acts 28:27-28.

The long answer is much too lengthy for this teaching, but we shall endeavor to compare spiritual things with spiritual and allow God's Word to be the final Word on the subject. If we look at all of The Epistles written by the Apostle Paul after Acts 28:28, where he is 'bound with a chain for you Gentiles,' the student of The Word will quickly notice there are NO signs, miracles, or wonders recorded during that period. Paul, who could heal others at his word or prayer or by just sending a small piece or article of his clothing, could not now even heal his own faithful fellow laborer, brother in Christ, and friend who he was with night and day in the same prison cell.

Phil. 2:25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.

Phil. 2:26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.

Phil. 2:27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

Paul could not lay hands on him and make him whole thru the gift of healing, which he had done for countless believers time and time again Before Acts 28:28. Even Timothy, Paul's own 'son in the faith' and who had received the ministry by Paul's 'laying on of hands' could not be healed by Paul. In fact, Timothy could not heal himself:

1Tim. 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

Mar. 16:17-18 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

This Word of The Lord was true for every single believer when they were saved by believing in Jesus Christ. According to the records contained in The Book of Acts, every believer manifested a sign gift (no one was missed) prior to Acts 28:28, but since Acts 28:28, there is not a single record in Scripture of a believer manifesting a sign gift. What changed? The Lord, Who cannot lie or make mistakes, said, "they shall cast out devils, they shall speak in tongues, they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." By the 'sign-gifts' they received, they were known to all Christians as true believers and not "false brethren." Through these 'sign-gifts,' the unbelieving Israelites became jealous of the Christians, for OT prophecy had promised spiritual gifts to Israel, and so many believed. These 'sign-gifts' were in operation in every Christian life prior to the end of the Book of Acts. The Lord also said:

Matt. 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Mark 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

Luke 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

But THAT GENERATION did pass away; can the Lord be wrong? Can He make a mistake? The Greek words used for "this generation" mean that VERY generation, not some spiritualized generation of all believers or unbelievers, as many have surmised, so what is the answer that solves this problem? The answer is that the conditions God laid out of repentance and belief were NOT met; Israel as a nation refused to BELIEVE:

Act 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

So after God gave them every chance, he took Salvation from them for the two days (2 thousand years) of Hosea at the time of Acts 28:28. After that, the sign gifts stopped:

1 Cor. 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

They were given many signs until Acts 28:25-28, and then we find no more in Scripture to prove men's ministries. God is, of course, still able, but the evidence of The Spirit or the manifestation by men has ceased, for the sign-gifts were used by God to proven The Truth was spoken by His Apostles and Prophets.

But wait, something even greater has been given, for Israel truly had many earthly blessings poured out upon them to help them to nationally repent and believe, but alas, they refused, and because of that, The Mystery was revealed. Those who choose to believe The Truth don't manifest the spiritual gifts as they did during the time of The Book of Acts, the sign-gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. Those gifts have ceased, but the faithful today are given "all spiritual blessings," not here on earth but in the "Heavenly Places in Christ."

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

This is far beyond what Israel had any hope of receiving and was not known nor available until after Acts 28.

God does still heal but not as a sign gift. The difference is that during the time of the Book of Acts, God was calling Israel to repentance by these signs done by the hands of men to confirm The Truth they spoke. After Acts 28 these sign gifts ceased, although the Father cares for the needs of his people on an individual basis but NEVER to confirm a given ministry. Ministries that produce "signs and wonders" do so without the help of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, or the testimony of Scripture is false.


CONFIRMATION. Found in the New Testament, namely, the confirming character and purpose of miraculous gifts. The Greek word so translated is bebaio. Confirmation in the New Testament may be the sense of support received episterizo (Acts 14:22; Acts 15:32; Acts 15:41 'strengthening' Acts 18:23). It may be the confirmation that is received when validity or authority is established karoo (Gal. 3:15). It may be the confirmation that results from the interposition of some unquestionable assurance, mesiteuo as in Hebrews 6:17. None of these aspects is in mind at the moment. Bebaio indicates that confirmation is established by proof.

Confirm - Bebaio

Mark 16:20 Confirming the word with signs following.
Rom. 15:8 To confirm the promises made unto the fathers.
1 Cor. 1:6 The testimony of Christ was confirmed in you.
1 Cor. 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end.
2 Cor. 1:21 He which stablisheth us with you.
Col. 2:7 Stablished in the faith.
Heb. 2:3 Was confirmed unto us by them.
Heb. 13:9 The heart be established with grace.

The passages which concern us in the present inquiry are Mark 16:20, 1 Corinthians 1:6, and Hebrews 2:3.

Mark 16.
The "signs following" of Mark 16:20 are most evidently the "signs that shall follow them that believe" of Mark 16:17. They are:

In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands upon the sick, and they shall recover (Mark 16:17-18).

After these promises had been made, the Lord ascended and sat on the right hand of God, the apostles went forth and preached everywhere:

The Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. 1 Corinthians 1:6.

The church at Corinth had a superabundance of spiritual and miraculous gifts, so much so that some regulation was necessary to avoid confusion (1 Cor. 14:26-33). In the opening address to this church, Paul refers to the confirming character of these gifts:

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 (1 Cor. 1:5-7).

Here again, we perceive that the Lord was confirming the Word with signs following.

Hebrews 2:3-4: How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will.

These confirmatory gifts are spoken of in Hebrews 6:5 as "the powers of the age to come" the ignoring of which made it impossible to renew such unto repentance. These gifts promised in Mark 16:17-18 extend to the last chapter of the Book of Acts, where Paul is bitten by a viper, unharmed, and miraculously cures a case of dysentery (Acts 28:3-8). These miracles of Mark 16 keep pace with the "hope of Israel" (Acts 28:20), but when the condition foretold in Isaiah 6:9-10 is entered, Israel 'dismissed' and the salvation of God sent unto the Gentiles, miraculous signs cease. Instead, we read such passages as Philippians 2:25-28, 2 Timothy 4:20, and 1 Timothy 5:23 with understanding.

The people of sign and wonder are no longer on the scene, and it had been established on two occasions that miracles wrought before Gentiles as such, without the explanatory presence of Israel only made them more idolatrous saying "the gods are come down to us in the likeness of men" (Acts 14:11), or they "said he was a god" (Acts 28:6). 'These signs' DID follow, but 'these signs' DO NOT follow them that believe today. The answer is that the dispensation has changed, and with it, the characteristic evidence of a past calling. As the present dispensation nears its end, and as the earlier Church's position temporarily set aside is resumed, we may expect to see a return of genuine miraculous gifts, but this will make the anti-Christian travesty of 2 Thessalonians 2:9 the more dangerous, for the signs that will be wrought in support of the Man of Sin, would deceive "if it were possible, the very elect" (Matt. 24:24). The only 'confirmation' mentioned in the Prison Epistles is that of Colossians 2:7, "rooted and built up in Him, and STABLISHED (bebaio) in the faith, as ye have been taught." All else, so far as we are concerned, is beside the mark and leads into by-paths fraught with danger.

All God's Blessings,
The Believers

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