National Geographic has produced a series of special programs called Science of the Bible where modern technology and research are used “to explore a wide range of biblical accounts including crucifixion, faith and healing practices.” I’m suspicious. I’m all for science, but the people at National Geographic are secularists. They don’t believe in even the possibility of miracles because their evolutionary worldview does not allow for them. The only miracle they believe in is evolution, the idea that billions of years ago a super condensed spec of primordial matter no larger than a period on this page exploded and evolved into what the world looks like today. On the other side of the miracle spectrum, there are those who believe that there are people alive today who can read minds, levitate themselves, predict the future, and perform physical miracles. Both extremes need to be avoided.

The Bible states, without apology, that miracles do happen, from the creation of the universe in Genesis 1 to the new creation in Revelation 21, and many things in between. Even so, the Bible also offers a warning to be discerning, watchful, and even skeptical, especially when people claim to have special powers. Jeremiah writes,“Then the LORD said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name, I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds’”(Jer. 14:14). We are told, “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1).

Of course, there’s a very good reason for these precautions. “Because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Claims of supernatural abilities are legion, so much so that even the best minds are fooled, “so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24). Christians in Ephesus in the first century were commended because they didn’t take a person’s word as being the final authority. “I know your deeds, and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false” (Rev. 2:2). An investigation took place to learn the truth. Scripture describes the spiritual counterfeiters as “false prophets” (Matt. 24:11, 24; 2 Peter 2:1) and their so-called miracles as “false wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9, 11). Bible commentator R.C.H. Lenski characterizes the nature of their supposed “powers” as “lie-signs”:

The American Vision on Facebook

This explains Matt. 24:24: “pseudo-Christs and pseudo-prophets (none of them real) and they shall give great signs and wonders so as to deceive,” etc.; none of these great signs and wonders are real, all of them are deception only, or, as Paul qualifies: “lie-signs and wonders.” This is the extent of Satan’s power.[1]

There were “magicians, conjurers, and sorcerers” in Babylon who served under Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:1). If they truly had supernatural powers, they would have been able to interpret the king’s dream as well as to tell him what he dreamed. This they could not do (2:4–14). In fact, they admitted that it was impossible: “There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king” (2:10). Daniel tells us that only God has the power to reveal “the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness” (2:22). The devil has no such power. Daniel not only was able to interpret the king’s dream, he also told the king what he dreamed in great and exact detail (2:27–49).

If the “magicians, conjurers, and sorcerers” had psychic abilities, then how could Daniel have distinguished himself as a true prophet? Their demonic powers would have been equal to his. There was no contest. Nebuchadnezzar did the right thing by testing the spirits. Christians need to follow his example and do the same.


[1] R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and to Philemon (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, [1937] 1961), 427