Does the Bible teach that it is wrong to request a sign from someone who professes to be a prophet? Satan knows that signs and miracles have been from of old the means by which God has identified His prophets. This being the case, he has counterfeited these signs and wonders in order to deceive those who might otherwise be following truth. Paul expressed it this way: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2.9-12; emphasis mine - jb).

Notice another event from the life of Jesus as we examine things that relate to this theme. “So the Jews answered and said to Him, 'What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' Then the Jews said, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?' But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” (John 2.18-22). This event and Jesus' response forever answers the question, “Is it wrong to request a sign from someone who professes to be a prophet?” This was the exact request that was made of Jesus and His response on this occasion was to do just what they asked, namely, the performing of a sign that proved His truthfulness.

Note another most memorable event. “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, 'Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.'” (John 3.1-2). Jesus did not correct Nicodemus on his observation because Nicodemus was right when he said “…no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him!” Some might be able to imitate the signs Jesus performed, but none could duplicate them. Jesus knew it, Nicodemus knew it, and Satan knows this to be the case. As a result, Satan has one of two options: (1.) He can attempt to imitate the signs of a prophet, or (2.) He can claim that it is wrong to perform these signs when challenged to do so. Over the course of time, he has used both options. This is how he abuses scriptures such as Matthew 4 and Matthew 12; he either says that you shouldn't tempt God by asking for a sign, or only a wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign. He is wrong on both counts! His abuse of scripture is exceeded only by his abuse of humanity!

We plan to continue to address this particular question tomorrow and demonstrate that it is perfectly acceptable to ask someone who claims to be a prophet (spokesperson for God) to perform a sign to validate his claim as a prophet. Not only is it acceptable to do so, it is somewhat expected; God ordained the miraculous as credentials for prophets and He expects us to inspect those credentials before accepting anything as His word. To fail to ask for credentials is tantamount to failing to see a badge of authority when approached by someone who claims to be a police officer; it is just the natural and expected thing to do!

The Love of the Truth is a great and marvelous thing to be enjoyed only by those who are discerning!

Questions:

1. Who wanted to see a sign in John 2? Did Jesus oblige them? What does this prove regarding the question posed at the beginning of this article?

2. According to Nicodemus, how could a person know that God was with Jesus?

3. Why didn’t Jesus correct Nicodemus in this matter?

4. How were miraculous signs of days gone by like the present day badge of a peace officer?