In recent times, there have been increasing reports of unusual signs from God, and many Christians are asking:
- How can we know that what we are hearing about, or seeing, is a sign that is genuinely from God?
- How can we guard against being deceived—after all, didn’t Jesus warn against deceiving signs? (Matt 24:24)
These are important concerns. On one hand, we want to embrace the genuine move of God. On the other, we have a Biblical mandate to weigh up supernatural events—to determine whether or not they are truly of God.
6 Questions to Help Weigh up a Supernatural Sign or Event
Like Moses’ burning bush, a supernatural event is an invitation to God’s people, to go on a journey with Him.
I present the following questions, not as a checklist, but as a framework to help us begin that journey—to explore what God is doing from a Biblical perspective.
1. Is my Interest in Signs Sourced in an Intimate Relationship with God?
Jesus performed signs and miracles out of His intimate relationship with the Father: He only did what He saw the Father doing. (John 5:19)
He also said, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matt 7:22-23)
A good question to ask is, ‘Is my personal desire for, participation in, and reporting of supernatural events based out of an intimate relationship with God?’
We need to remember that whilst we are responsible for our own walk with God, it is not possible to draw conclusions about another individual’s (or ministry’s) relationship with Him. 
2. What is the Fruit of this Sign or Miracle?
“Watch out for false prophets… every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit… by their fruit you will recognize them.” (See Matt 7:15-20)
Recently I shared about 5 Purposes for Signs and Miracles in the New Testament. 
Some good fruit that should be in evidence includes:
- Honour being brought to God, and Jesus’ Name being glorified by signs done in His Name (John 2:11)
- Outcomes that reflect the heart of the Gospel—which is restoration and redemption (Acts 10:38)
- A love and respect for the Bible—God’s Word and a Biblical presentation of the Gospel (Heb 2:1-4)
- The Father’s love being demonstrated (1 Cor 13:2)
3. How is the Sign being Reported?
What happens if a miraculous sign or ministry is of God, and is bearing good fruit at its source, but the way it is being reported does not reflect Father’s nature or holiness?
People may focus on the miracle in an unhealthy way, or move into ‘sensationalism.’ In this case, what God is doing may be genuine, but maturity is lacking in either the response to the miracle, or the sharing about it.
This can deter others who are seeking evidence that God is genuinely at work. 
We need to guard the way we give or receive reports about something God may be doing. And we also need to remember not to judge a supernatural event based on hearsay or another person’s criticism.
4. Are the Signs Drawing People to God?
True signs glorify God and point to Jesus. False signs glorify an individual, and draw people to believe in a person, or group of people. (See Acts 8:9-11)
Jesus said in Matt 24:24, ‘For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.’
The purpose of deceiving signs is that people will put their faith in something other than Christ—this is an anti-Christ spirit and is addressed by John in 1 John 4:1-3.
Concerned about deception? We can use John’s litmus test for deceiving spirits and their signs: ‘Do they acknowledge the truth of the Gospel: Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection in the flesh?’ (1 John 4:1-3, 1 Cor 15:1-8)
5. What is my Motivation in Seeking or Sharing about a Sign?
Jesus made it clear that seeking a sign as proof in order to believe is an ungodly motivation. (Matt 12:39)
The writer to the Hebrews noted, ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ (Heb 11:1)
However, in Acts we read that the early church prayed for God to perform signs and wonders in Jesus’ Name—and God answered them! The motivation in this case was different—it was to give glory to God, and for the spread of the Gospel in the face of persecution.
“Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:30)
So we shouldn’t seek signs as a way of proving Jesus’ existence to others or ourselves. But when our heart’s desire is to see God’s purposes fulfilled and the Gospel spread (see 2 and 4, above) we can anticipate God doing wondrous things.
6. Are People being Saved, Healed and Set Free?
Unusual prophetic signs do have a Biblical precedent, as do signs of the manifested Presence and glory of God.
When God is at work, we should also expect to see the same evidence Jesus gave John the Baptist that a genuine move of God is occurring—healing and deliverance, and salvation in response to the Gospel being preached. (Matt 11:4) [4, 5]
Embrace the Mystery
At the end of the day we will not have answers to all the questions we have about a sign from God, whether we are hearing of it second-hand, or experiencing it ourselves.
At some point, we need to release a supernatural event, along with our questions, into God’s hands—to trust that His desire to bless His Church with good gifts is greater than the enemy’s power to deceive. (see Luke 11:11-13)
 When we judge another person’s (or group’s) inner motives or heart before God, we move onto dangerous ground. (Matt 7:2) See the article, ‘Set Yourself Free From Judging Others’
 These should be taken into consideration. See 5 Purposes for Signs and Miracles in the New Testament in conjunction with the above article.
 See Angelic Encounters and Supernatural Experiences for thoughts about sharing your supernatural experiences.
 These questions are not new. For example Irenaeus, one of the Early Church Fathers, wrote about this in his work, ‘Against Heresies.’ An excerpt of his work is here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iii.xxxiii.html (see points 3 and 4 in particular).
 I wish to thank Clayton Coombs for his help with this article and the reference to Irenaeus, above.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries family