Question: The Efficacy of God’s Word
What does it mean when we say that God’s Word does not return unto
Him void? Does that mean that the preaching of God’s Word will always

The saying that God’s Word will not return unto Him void is taken from Isaiah
55:10-11. “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and
returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud,
that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be
that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall
accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent

The Hebrew term rendered “void” in English points to an empty condition. In the
case of verse 11, it refers to how God’s Word will never fail in achieving its
intended purpose. The prophet illustrated this truth by pointing to the earth’s
water cycle. When rain and snow fall on the ground, the plants in the fields and
forests will receive the water and spring forth to life before returning above.
Thus, God’s Word will always accomplish the purposes for which God has

Isaiah 55 is an appeal from Isaiah for God’s people to return to the Lord. The
way this may be achieved is through the proclamation of God’s Word. God’s
Word teaches us the thoughts and ways of God. It is God’s Word that gives life.
Thus, for God’s people to return to Him, there must be a faithful declaration of
God’s Word. The assurance is that this effort to preach God’s Word will not be
in vain and will surely achieve God’s intended purpose of bringing life.

On the other hand, there is another purpose of God’s Word that is often ignored –
condemnation. We read of this in Isaiah 6:9-12. “And he said, Go, and tell this
people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their
eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with
their heart, and convert, and be healed. 11 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he
answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without
man, and the land be utterly desolate, 12 And the LORD have removed men far
away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.” See also Matthew
13:14-15. In the case of Isaiah, his preaching (including what was preached in
Isaiah 55), will be used by the Lord to indict the children of Israel and to judge
them for their sins. The good word that was preached exposed the hardness of
their hearts. In this case, while there be few among God’s people who repent of
their sin, yet God’s Word has not returned unto Him void, for it has achieved its
intended purpose – to expose the hardness and blindness of the hearts of men.
They are fully deserving of condemnation. Thus, whenever there is faithful
preaching of God’s Word, God’s people can rest assured that His Word will
never return unto Him void, that is, it will always achieve its intended purpose,
whether it is to condemn, to save, to call backsliders to return to God, to comfort
the sorrowing, or to build up believers in the most Holy faith. It is thus sad that
churches are quickly abandoning the preaching of God’s Word, for they have
discarded the very agent that leads people to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. No
matter what the world says, we must never stop proclaiming the Word of
Everlasting Life.

Question: Miracles
What is a miracle and why are there epochs of miracles in the Bible?

According to the Scriptures, a miracle is firstly (1) an extraordinary and
supernatural event; (2) an event that is done by God and (3) an event which
constitutes evidence of implications much greater than the event itself. This is
the reason why miracles are also described as “signs” (semeiois) and
“wonders” (terasi) as seen in verses such as Romans 15:19 and Hebrews 2:4.

It is important that all three elements be present for an event to be considered a
miracle. For example, the supernatural acts of Satan are described in 2
Thessalonians 2:9 as “lying wonders”.

Concerning the purpose of miracles, Buswell comments, “The purpose of
miracles is revelation and edification. After calling attention to the many
unrecorded miracles of Christ, John adds, ‘But these are written that ye might
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have
life through his name’ (John 31:31). Christ several times expressed His purpose
in working miracles and He rebuffed the mere desire to see the spectacular. ‘An
evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign’ (Matt. 12:39, 40 cf. Luke
23:8). This was not a complete rejection even of idle curiosity, for He followed
His rebuke with a powerful reference to Jonah as a type of His own resurrection.
To seek to see miracles is better than merely to seek free food (John 6:26). His
miracles were evidence of the genuineness of His message. ‘The works which
the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me,
that the Father hath sent me’ (John 5:36). He preferred that man would accept
His message for its intrinsic worth, but to believe Him because of His miracles
was not wrong. ‘If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me; but if
I do, even though you do not believe me, believe the works so that you may
come to know, and continue to realise, that the Father is in me, and I am in the
Father’ (John 10:37, 38).”

There are three main epochs of miracles in history. The first period is found in
the time of the Exodus. The miracles were done so that both the Egyptians and
the children of Israel might know that the LORD is the one living and true God
(see Exo. 8:10; 14:4; 16:12). All the gods of Egypt and the rest of the world are
but idols. There is none like Jehovah, and there is no one that is higher than Him.
The second epoch came during the time of Elijah and Elisha. It was a time of
great spiritual declension in Israel. The people had married the worship of the
LORD with the false gods of the nations such as Baalim and Ashtaroth. Once
again, the miracles were done to show that the LORD is the one living and true
God for the restoration of pure worship (1 Kings 18:36-40).

The third epoch of miracles is found during the earthly ministry of Christ and the
Apostles. These were done that “ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son
of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31).
It was easy to believe in Christ’s humanity during His earthly ministry but not
His deity. The miracles were thus to show that Christ is the theanthropos (i.e.
100% God, 100% man).

Yet to come is a fourth epoch of miracles. This future epoch is recorded in
Revelation 11 during the ministry of the two witnesses in the time of the Great
Tribulation. “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of
their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite
the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” The purpose of these miracles is
to affirm the pending judgement of God recorded in the Scriptures. Sadly, not
only will the world refuse to repent, they will harden their hearts further against

(To be continued)