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The Substance of Signs

Deuteronomy 13:1-3
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you.”

Let’s get something straight about the gift of prophecy right off the bat, friend: the authenticity of prophetic words, visions, and marvels is not in their precise fulfillment but singularly in their divine source. Think of it like this: if Jesus had claimed, “I am the Resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet will he live,” yet, afterword, Roman soldiers nailed Him to a cross, Joseph of Arimathea buried him in a garden tomb, and He chose not to reveal Himself to the disciples or Paul or anyone thereafter for two thousand years, our eternal life in Him would still be a guarantee because He said so! In other words, the seal of God’s Word is the perfection of His character—not signs and wonders.

Now, of course I’m overwhelmingly grateful that Biblical History is full of prophecies and dreams and visions that God gave to men, told men to write down, and verified before their very eyes, but I believe the substance of Deuteronomy 13:1-3 is that God always performs what He proclaims regardless of whether or not we see it or hear it or believe it. And remember: not only did Christ teach us that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, but throughout the whole Bible, we see Him using the poorthings of earth to shame the wise, delivering His most earth-shaking of all miracles not through cosmic thunderings that all men heard but through infant cries in a manger that only few heard.

What fundamentally distinguishes the Bible from every other religious or mythological work is not that this revelation is the only one with grand visions and fulfilled prophecies and coded dreams but that this is the only one that emanated from the true and living God! Moses’ commonwealth needed to remember what truly makes them unique in their time—the Word of God—and we need that reminder still today.