The Bible warns that in the last days, there will be an increase in demonic and satanic activity, including miracles, signs and wonders performed through the power of Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). These counterfeit miracles are designed to deceive people into believing lies and turning away from God and the truth of the gospel. Here is an overview of what the Bible says about demonic and satanic miracles:
1. Miraculous signs and wonders can come from sources other than God
Jesus himself warned that false messiahs and false prophets would come performing miraculous signs and wonders in order to deceive people (Matthew 24:24). Even someone with powerful miraculous abilities does not necessarily speak for God or align with His truth (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). We are therefore instructed to test all miracle workers and prophets, not blindly following impressive acts or predictions (1 John 4:1).
2. Demons can perform miraculous signs
The book of Revelation predicts that the coming Antichrist will be empowered by Satan to perform counterfeit miracles (Revelation 13:13-14). Jesus also spoke of a future time when false christs and false prophets would display impressive signs and wonders to mislead people (Matthew 24:24). The book of Exodus describes how the Egyptian sorcerers and magicians were able to mimic several of Moses’ miracles through secret arts or demonic forces (Exodus 7:10-12, 22; 8:7). However, they were unable to match all of God’s miraculous works through Moses (Exodus 8:18-19).
3. Miracles alone do not authenticate a message
The Bible contains many warnings that false prophets and teachers will be able to perform miraculous signs in order to bolster their authority and validate false teachings (Matthew 7:15, 24:11; 2 Peter 2:1). Jesus said that only those who do the will of God belong to His kingdom, even if they prophesy and cast out demons in His name (Matthew 7:21-23). Even someone with an impressive portfolio of miracles could potentially lead people away from God’s truth.
4. Discernment is needed to evaluate miraculous signs
We are advised to approach miraculous signs with discernment rather than blind acceptance. The Apostle John offered tests to evaluate miracle workers and prophets, such as examining their views about Jesus and comparing their teachings to apostolic doctrine (1 John 4:1-6; 2 John 7-11). Paul also warned the Corinthian church not to be deceived by false apostles disguising themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:12-15). Their teachings and actions should align with God’s Word.
5. Satan can appear as an angel of light
The Bible reveals that Satan often disguises himself as a benevolent spirit of light to deceive people. “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Many New Age teachings and occult practices rely on guidance from spirit guides, angels or ascended masters. But these entities are probably demons in disguise.
6. Demons can impart supernatural knowledge
Demons have access to supernatural knowledge and can share insights about people they have never met before. The slave girl who was possessed by a demonic spirit in the book of Acts could supernaturally tell people’s fortunes (Acts 16:16-18). This passage shows that supernatural knowledge is not the same as divine truth.
7. Divine miracles point to Christ and align with Scripture
Unlike false miracles, the purpose of Jesus’ miracles was to point people to himself as the promised Messiah and Savior in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Matthew 11:2-6; Luke 7:18-23). The Holy Spirit also imparted miraculous gifts to Jesus’ followers in order to affirm the authenticity of their teachings as God’s own Word (Hebrews 2:3-4). Every true miracle aligns with and affirms the Scriptures.
8. Satan is a deceiver
Behind many false miracles is the work of Satan, whom Jesus called “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Revelation 20:8 says that Satan will go out to deceive the nations. His deceptions often involve a bait and switch – enticing people with counterfeit miracles while deceiving them with false doctrines that can even lead to eternal damnation. We must guard ourselves against his schemes.
9. The Antichrist will perform false miracles
The end times ruler known as the Antichrist will come in power and in the guise of the Messiah, performing awe-inspiring signs to dazzle the masses and unite the world under his authority. “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).
10. False miracles cannot match all of God’s works
As shown in Moses’ confrontation with Pharaoh’s sorcerers, the devil can produce impressive counterfeit signs that may temporarily stump believers in the true God. But in the end, Satan always falls short of matching all of God’s miraculous capabilities, laws and purposes. The deception unravels under closer scrutiny. “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17).
In summary, the Bible strongly warns of false miracles and supernatural works empowered by demonic forces in the last days. As believers, we need to be alert and discerning, testing all miracle claims against the light of Scripture. While impressive signs and wonders may arise from sources other than God, ultimately we can trust in God’s greater power and unfailing truth that will prevail over all deception.