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Ancient Jewish Cessationists

In Jesus day, did the rabbis think God was done with miracles?


In the commentary to Deuteronomy (The Stone Edition, Artscroll Mesorah Series, 1995) reads, “Once [Israel] crossed the Jordan, the people would no longer see God’s constant Presence and daily miracles, as they had in the Wilderness.”

Apparently Christians were not the first cessationists. So imagine, when Yeshua and the disciples began exhibiting miracles, the cessationists of the day must have had a fit, “No, those miracles were how God used to work, but they are no longer used today.”

Cessationists believe (according to Wikipedia) that miracles had these purposes:

  1. They provided supernatural confirmation of the apostolic authority of the early church;
  2. They helped lay the foundation for the church; and
  3. They gave divine guidance to early believers while the New Testament was not yet complete.

“The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan” by Gustave Doré (1832–1883).
Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Substitute “church” and “New Testament” with “Israel” and “Tanakh” and I think you have pretty well summed up the rabbinical commentators position.

Solomon was right, “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NASB).

This brief study of miracles has opened my mind to new possibilities regarding Yeshua’s work among the religious orthodoxy.

Kevin Williams


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Category: Biblical Studies, Summer 2015

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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