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How can we discern counterfeit miracles?

To listen to Nancy's response recorded live on Moody radio, click here

Most all denominations and Christians affirm the belief in miracles. It has never been a hot point for most people except for one in particular, Thomas Jefferson. He was obsessed with disgust with the idea of the resurrection of Jesus and miracles. The former president bent over the book, using a razor and scissors to carefully cut out small squares of text. Soon, the book’s words would live in their own book, hand bound in red leather and ready to be read in private moments of contemplation. It didn’t include major scenes like the resurrection or ascension to heaven, or miracles like turning water into wine or walking on water. Instead, Jefferson’s Bible focused on Jesus as a man of morals, a teacher whose truths were expressed without the help of miracles or the supernatural powers of God. It’s called the Jefferson Bible.

There should be concern, however, over the source of miracles. Miracles can be performed by Satan as well as God.


Matthew 24:24, Jesus warns, “For false christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.”

2 Thessalonians 2:9 says, “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders.”

An example of this in the Bible sounds like a great science fiction movie. When God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, hHe performed miraculous signs through Moses to prove that Moses was indeed His messenger. Then, as recorded in Exodus 7:22, “But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh's heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses…”  God countered when He demonstrated His superiority by performing miracles the magicians, or more accurately, the demons who were empowering the magicians, were not able to replicate (Exodus 8:18; 9:11).

The fact remains that Pharaoh’s magicians were able to perform miracles.  So, if miracles can be from either God or the demonic world, how are we to discern the difference?

The Bible does not give specific instructions on how to recognize counterfeit miracles. The Bible does, however, give specific instructions on how to recognize counterfeit messengers.

“You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16, 20). 


“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist … They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” 1 John 4:2-6

Examine his/her teaching. Is what he/she teaches in agreement with God’s Word? If the teacher fails either of these tests, he/she is not from God. It does not matter how many miracles are present. If a person does not walk the truth or teach the truth, we can discount any miracles he/she performs. Miracles performed by a false teacher are not from God!

The Bible is clear that we are to seek after truth, not miracles. As always, God will have the last word!

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23).

In all things, do it for the glory of God…not man.

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