Use one miracle to prove another!
The Gospel of Matthew alone contains dozens of prophecies, many of which have already come true. These fulfilled prophecies demonstrate the New Testament's:
One example which directly relates to a miracle concerns the feeding of the 5,000 in Matthew 14. First some background on the structure of Matthew. In original analysis (which I shall be publishing this year), I discovered that Matthew is presenting Jesus as one greater than Solomon. In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon's poem speaks of twenty-eight times: a time to be born, a time to die, etc. The Gospel of Matthew consists of twenty-eight chapters. Each chapter corresponds, in the same sequence, to one of Solomon's times. In like fashion, each chapter of Matthew corresponds to an era of history which embodies that time (in a metaphorical way, as with any good parable). After detailed historical analysis, it seems that each quartet of times runs for 321 years, so a single time is just over eighty years long.
Starting with Pentecost in 33 AD, that would mean that Matthew chapter 14 corresponds to the years 1076-1157 AD. In Ecclesiastes, that would be "a time to gather stones". Arguments abound over what it means to gather stones:
- Pull stones from a field so you can plow?
- Gather stones to build a wall or house?
The looser sense seems to be cooperation among people. What was the church cooperating in? This period was early in the Medieval Warm Period, at a time when many improvements in agricultural tools and techniques reached northern Europe. These included the heavy plow, horse collar, water-driven mills, three crop rotation, horseshoes, and others, plus the cessation of Viking raids (because many Vikings became Christians). In short order, grain production doubled, the net food available for human consumption tripled, population doubled, and life expectancy increased by ten years or more.
Thus the miracle of feeding the 5,000 was both a miraculous sign and a parable that prophesied societal improvements that would bless and expand the church a thousand years later!
One more thing about stones. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" So Jesus did not give the church a time to gather stones. He gave it a time to gather bread!
A similar analysis can be performed for Jesus walking on water. That miracle was a sign pointing to the time when the church would literally walk on water - cross the Atlantic to spread Christianity to the Americas and elsewhere. However, the pattern that connects this miracle to a time in history is not from Ecclesiastes, but from Matthew's gospel. That Gospel reveals a sevenfold harvest pattern:
- preparation (by consecration or exile, the Apostolic age)
- plowing (through suffering, like the Roman Persectution)
- planting (the Word)
- pouring (the Holy Spirit)
- plucking (by the Father, who removes distractions via discipline and miracles and transforming the social order)
- producing (a harvest, evangelism in the great missionary age, abolition of slavery)
Matthew is divided into seven sections: Introduction, Five Discourses, and Conclusion (with the trial, crucifixion and resurrection). Each of those sections corresponds to a larger section of history. In this case, Matthew 14 is part of the fifth part of the harvest, plucking. The fifth era of church history (1438-1780 AD) saw the Father massively restructure human society and the church, with the fall of Constantinople, invention of the printing press, age of exploration, Protestant Reformation, wars of revolution, age of Enlightenment and the American Revolution.
So the miracles of Jesus were also signs, parables and prophecies of things to come during the church age. The miraculous fulfilment of the prophecy side (recent history) proves that the original miracle occurred.