Miracles That You Have Seen!
THE word “miracle” has the secondary meaning of “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.” We have all seen this kind of miracle, independent of divine intervention.
Gaining increased knowledge of the physical laws of nature, humans have been able to achieve what at one time was commonly viewed as unachievable. For example, a hundred years ago, most people probably thought impossible what computers, television, space technology, and similar modern-day developments have made commonplace now.
Recognizing that they have only partial knowledge of the scientific wonders behind God’s creations, some scientists admit that they can no longer state with certainty that something is impossible. At most, they are willing to say that it is improbable. Thus they leave the way open for future “miracles.”
Even if we are using the primary meaning of “miracle,” thus referring to things “attributed to supernatural agency,” we can say that each of us has seen miracles. For example, we observe the sun, moon, and stars—all products of a “supernatural agency,” the Creator himself. Besides, who can fully explain in detail how the human body functions? how the brain works? or how the human embryo develops? The book The Body Machine points out: “The human organism, controlled and co-ordinated by the central nervous system, is a sophisticated sensory apparatus, a self-regulating mobile engine, a self-reproducing computer—a marvellous and in many ways mysterious creation.” The God who created “the human organism” indeed performed a miracle, one that continues to amaze us. There are also other kinds of miracles that you have seen, though you may not have recognized them as such.
Can a Book Be a Miracle?
No book enjoys such a wide circulation as does the Bible. Do you see in it a miracle? Can we attribute its existence to a “supernatural agency”? True, the Bible is a book written down by humans, but they claimed to have expressed the thoughts of God, not their own. (2 Samuel 23:1, 2; 2 Peter 1:20, 21) Think of it. They were some 40 individuals, living over a span of 1,600 years. They came from backgrounds as varied as those of shepherds, military men, fishermen, civil servants, physicians, priests, and kings. Yet, they were able to convey a unified message of hope that is both truthful and accurate.
Based on a careful study, Jehovah’s Witnesses accept the Bible, “not as the word of men, but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God,” as the apostle Paul wrote. (1 Thessalonians 2:13) Their publications have over the years explained how so-called contradictions in the Bible can be harmonized with its overall message. This inner harmony is in itself a proof of divine authorship.*
No other book has been subjected to such vigorous attempts to destroy it as has the Bible. Yet, it still exists and this, at least in part, in over 2,000 languages. Both its physical preservation as a book and the preservation of its integrity manifest divine intervention. The Bible is truly a miracle!
A Miracle That “Is Alive and Exerts Power”
The miracles of bygone days—miraculous healings and resurrections—no longer occur. But we have reason for confidence that in God’s upcoming new world, such miracles will take place again, this time on a global scale. They will bring permanent relief and will go beyond our present ability to comprehend.
The miracle of the Bible can even today perform what is tantamount to miracles by motivating people to change their personalities for the better. (See an example in the box “The Power of God’s Word,” on page 8.) Hebrews 4:12 states: “The word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and their marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Yes, the Bible has been instrumental in transforming the lives of over six million people who live around the globe, filling their lives with purpose and offering them a marvelous hope for the future.
Why not allow the Bible to work a miracle in your life?
If you desire to investigate more of these so-called contradictions to see how they can be harmonized, many examples are considered in The Bible—God’s Word or Man’s? chapter 7, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
[Box/Picture on page 7]
ALREADY DEAD OR STILL ALIVE?
According to John 19:33, 34, Jesus was already dead when “one of the soldiers jabbed his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” However, Matthew 27:49, 50 indicates that Jesus was still alive when this took place. Why the difference?
The Mosaic Law forbade leaving a criminal to hang all night on the execution stake. (Deuteronomy 21:22, 23) Hence, in Jesus’ day, if an impaled criminal was still alive late in the day, it was customary to break his legs, thus speeding up the dying process. He would no longer be able to raise himself erect so as to breathe properly. That the soldiers broke the legs of the two evildoers impaled alongside Jesus but did not break his indicates that they thought that he was dead. The soldier possibly pierced his side just to remove all doubt and to eliminate any later revival that might be falsely heralded as a resurrection.
The text at Matthew 27:49, 50 gives a different order of events. It says: “Another man took a spear and pierced his side, and blood and water came out. Again Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit.” The italicized sentence, however, does not appear in all ancient Bible manuscripts. Many authorities believe that it was later interpolated from John’s Gospel but was misplaced. Thus, many translations set the sentence off in brackets or parentheses, offer an explanatory footnote, or simply omit the sentence altogether.
The master text by Westcott and Hort, used extensively as a basis for the New World Translation, puts the sentence in double brackets. It notes that the sentence “must lie under strong presumption of having been introduced by scribes.”
The overwhelming evidence then is that John 19:33, 34 is factual and that Jesus was already dead when the Roman soldier pierced him with the spear.
[Box/Picture on page 8]
THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD
As a teenager and victim of a broken home, Detlef drifted into a world of drugs, alcohol, and heavy metal.* He became what is commonly called a skinhead, and his violent behavior soon got him into trouble with the police.
In 1992, 60 skinheads became involved in a massive brawl with about 35 punkers at a restaurant and bar in northeastern Germany. One of the punkers, Thomas, was so badly beaten that he died of his injuries. Several of the ringleaders, including Detlef, were sentenced to prison after a trial that received major media coverage.
Shortly after Detlef was released from prison, a pamphlet was handed to him by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The pamphlet was entitled “Why Is Life So Full of Problems?” Detlef immediately recognized the truthfulness of what it said, and he began to study the Bible with the Witnesses. This completely turned his life around. Since 1996 he has been a zealous Witness of Jehovah.
Siegfried, a former punker, was a good friend of Thomas, the young man who was killed; he too later became a Witness and is now a congregation elder. When Siegfried visited Detlef’s congregation to deliver a Bible talk (incidentally, Thomas’ mother also attends meetings there occasionally), Detlef invited him to lunch. Some ten years ago, their hatred would have been hard to control. Today, their brotherly love is obvious.
Detlef and Siegfried look forward to welcoming Thomas back to life in an earthly paradise. Says Detlef: “Just thinking of this moves me to tears. I am so sorry for what I did.” Their common desire is to help Thomas then, as they today help others, to get to know Jehovah and to rejoice in the hope the Bible gives.
Yes, such is the power of God’s Word!
Names have been changed.
[Picture on page 6]
The human body is a marvelous creation
Anatomy Improved and Illustrated, London, 1723, Bernardino Genga