There are two Greek words in the New Testament that are translated as “miracle.” The first word is DUNAMIS and is defined by W. E. Vine (in his expository dictionary) as “power, inherent ability, is used of works of a supernatural origin and character, such as could not be produced by natural agents and means.” This Greek word is sometimes translated as “mighty works” (see Matthew 11:20-21, 23; 13:54, 58 in the King James Version).  As we know from Scripture, Jesus performed many miracles that could never have been produced by mere men, and that is why a miracle is “a work of SUPERNATURAL ORIGIN AND CHARACTER.” Jesus was and is God, a “supernatural being” Who can perform miracles that “defy natural laws.”

The second word is SEMEION and it is defined (by Mr. Vine) as “a sign, mark, token, is used of miracles and wonders as signs of Divine authority.” We see this word used of the first miracle that Jesus performed when He “turned water into wine” (John 2:1-9). In verse 11 we read, “This beginning of MIRACLES did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed on him” (KJV). The NKJV version reads, “This beginning of SIGN Jesus did in Cana of Galilee.” This particular miracle was performed by Jesus as a “SIGN of Divine authority.” It was a “MIRACLE with a MEANING,” for it was performed to show all in attendance at the wedding that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In this miracle He “manifested His glory, and His disciples believed on Him,” which means it had its desired effect.

Can a man ever perform a miracle? Yes, Scripture gives many accounts men performing miracles but in most cases, it was done “in the ability given to them by God.” God has the “inherent ability” to do miracles (as we saw in the definition of DUNAMIS), but in God’s sovereignty He gave men the POWER to perform them as well. In Luke 9:1 we read, “Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them POWER (DUNAMIS) and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.” These “miracles” were all of “Divine origin,” which means that “God performed them through the twelve disciples.” They were still “supernatural in origin” and the disciples never pretended to do them in their own power and ability. They gladly gave the glory to God (except for Judas Iscariot who was NOT a believer). We read later of 70 disciples (who were also given the power to do miracles) in Luke 10:17 who “returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’” In Acts 11 we have the apostle Peter healing a “man lame from his mother’s womb” (verse 2) and just before he performed the miracle he said to the man, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

Can Satan perform miracles? In 2nd Thessalonians chapter two we read of the coming of the Antichrist who is called the “man of sin” (verse 3) and the “lawless one” (verses 7-8). When he is revealed, we read that “The coming of the lawless one is according to the WORKING OF SATAN, with all POWER, SIGNS, and LYING WONDERS” (verse 9). The word POWER in this verse is our Greek word DUNAMIS, which means that Satan, who is also a “supernatural being” (yet NOT a “Divine Being”), will give this man the “supernatural ability to perform miracles.” Yet we see that the miracles he performs are “LYING wonders,” for they are meant to DECEIVE PEOPLE. We see this in verse 10, “And with all unrighteous DECEPTION among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” We need to point out that Satan and his minions would have no supernatural power at all if God did not allow it. In this case God is allowing the Antichrist to deceive people through miracles because of their rejection of the gospel. Verses 11-12 confirm this, “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.” These people will have had the opportunity to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved” (Acts 16:31) but they “did not believe the truth.” So, God will give them over to THE LIE of the Antichrist after allowing Satan to give him supernatural power in order to deceive these Christ-rejectors (see Revelation 13:13-15).  (DO)  (541.3)