The Sign Gifs of I Corinthians 12:8 to 11
By J.C. O’Hair
The Holy Spirit led the apostle Paul to write his first Epistle to the Corinthians, about 58 A.D. This was about 25 years after Christ, in resurrection, said to His eleven apostles, that miraculous signs would follow believers. Mark 16:16 to 18. As we carefully study the Book of Acts, we learn that the Lord performed miracles by Stephen and Philip (Acts 6:8-8:6 to 8). Then by Peter and Paul, God performed miracles. (Acts 5: 14 to 17-19: 10 to 13). It seems that the Lord permitted Paul to duplicate every miracle which Peter performed. About the same number is accredited to each of them. Then note concerning all the apostles. (Acts 5:12). Later on Paul wrote of his mighty signs and miracles. (Romans 15:17 to 20). Paul stated that they were the signs of an apostle (II Corinthians 12:12). Note concerning the signs of the Twelve in Hebrews 2:2 to 4. But we must reckon with I Corinthians 12;28: “And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” God set these sign-gifts in the Church. No mention is made of these sign-gifts or the miracles and signs of Mark 16:17 and 18 in the Epistles which Paul wrote after the close of “The Book of Acts” period. In Paul’s farewell message he mentioned that a fellow-saint was left sick at Miletum (II Timothy 5:23). It is rather difficult to reconcile these cases with Acts 19: 10-13 unless we see that God changed his spiritual program after His pronouncement by Paul in Acts 28:25 to 28. Undoubtly the Holy Spirit had in mind this radical change when He led Paul to write I Corinthians 13: 8 to 13, where we read that certain things would be done away and other things would abide; Paul’s progress from childhood to manhood. Compare the Corinthian sign-gifts with the gifts in Ephesians.
Yes, there is a great difference in the gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:7 to 13. For some Divine reason the sign-gifts are mentioned in an Epistle addressed to saints, who were not exactly “super-spiritual” or of extraordinary faith. Many of them were carnal. Read I Corinthians 3:1 to 4-6: 5 to 9-11: 25 to 32 and other verses in this Epistle and you will learn that the wonderful signs of I Corinthians 12:8 to 11 were not exercised by first century saints who were more spiritual and faithful than saints of 1945 A.D. Lack of faith or spiritual power does not explain the absence of these gifts today. In another lesson we referred to a printed message by Mr. A. E. Bishop, published and distributed for the past 25 years by the Moody Bible Institute. This message is endorsed without reservation by Dr. C.I. Scofield. In this message the writer comments on the sign-gifts in this language: “Is it the Spirit of God or Satan who attempts to revive the sign-gifts that were Divinely retired after having fulfilled their purpose? Every widespread attempt to revive them has, without exception, resulted in confusion, divisions, injury and disgrace”
“In the latest Epistles of Paul, not only is it noticeable that the sign-gifts are nowhere in manifestation, but a different order is brought forth for the correction of prevailing hobbies and fanaticism” “The sign-gifts of I Corinthians 12 were operative during the period of Acts. They were for the short period of time until the written Word should be completed”. “They vanished away”. “After repeated study of the Epistles written after Paul’s arrival at Rome, I am convinced that in them is found a curative teaching for all the present-day delusions and fanaticism found among many of the most sincere saints in the Church.” This is the only sane, Scriptural explanation why spiritual saints do not exercise the miraculous gifts performed by carnal Christians during the ”Acts” “Transition” period.