I want to know about the Holy Spirit and how it did so many miracles in
the 1st century through the apostles and other disciples like speaking in
tongues, prophecy, healing by laying on of hands etc. Does that stil
happen today, if it does is it by God’s Spirit?
Here is what I am going to do. I am going to give you the simple answer
without backing it up with the amount of scriptural support it deserves.
Rather than give you all the scriptural support this important question
deserves, I am going to send you to www.ipibooks.com where you can pick up
a copy of “The Spirit” by Douglas Jacoby. This book goes into great
detail on most of the important questions people commonly ask about
miraculous and non-miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Now, to my quick and easy answer. In a sense you begin to answer your own
question. The miraculous gifts which were part of the very early church
were given by the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 2:3,4 gives us a pretty good hint
of the purpose of these astounding gifts. The Hebrew writer tells us that
signs, wonders and gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to confirm that the
message was inspired by God. This was a time when, obviously, the New
Testament had not been completed and was not available. God chose to
testify to the miraculous and inspired nature of the gospel through
distributing various gifts. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 warns us not to focus
too much on these gifts, and even implies that they will pass eventually.
I believe that the miraculous gifts were only given through the laying on
of hands of the apostles. There is no evidence that the miraculous gifts
were given other than by laying on of hands of the apostles. Acts 2 and
Acts 10 are not exceptions, as these were different cases. Both were
prophesied events which brought salvation, first to the Jews, then to the
Gentiles. These one-shot affairs were a different matter than the
miraculous ministry of the apostles and those they laid their hands upon.
Acts 8 shows Phillip working miracles and helping many to be saved, yet he
sent back to Jerusalem for an apostle to come and lay on hands so that the
gifts of the Holy Spirit could be given.
This is why I believe that most or possibly even all of the supposed gifts
of the Holy Spirit exhibited today are not genuine. I am not in a
position to judge and want to be careful in what I say. I am not in a
position to speak for God, that is for certian, but I believe that
biblically the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were given by laying on
of hands of an apostle, which is clearly not possible today. It is worth
noting that the miraculous gifts appear to have disappeared from the early
church by about AD 100. We have no signs of them in the early church
writers of the second century. Again, I do not want to judge the acts of
people I have not even met, but if I understand the scriptures correctly,
it is not likely that they have the gifts of the Holy Spirit as those in
the first century. Besides, there is not really a reason for them, as we
have the completed, inspired, New Testament. There is no reason to
testify to the accuracy of this message any more.
I hope this will get you started, and recommend Douglas Jacoby’s book for
John Oakes, PhD