Q: What answer do continuationists have to the seven mentions of 'miracles/signs/wonders' in Revelation?
Continuationists would probably respond by pointing out that the OP is making an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence (as Carl Sagan's standard suggests), and the OP's use of Revelation fails to meet that burden of proof.
Argument 1: the OP is making an extraordinary claim.
The OP said:
Notably absent are any 'miracles' done by men on earth which do any good. Which bring any benefit. Which, in any way, are a testimony to Jesus Christ.
Not a single one.
all the 'miracles' done on earth are deceptive, demonic in origin and lead to a lake of fire.
Notice that the thesis defended by the OP is that, during the end times, all miracles, without exception, would be demonic in nature. No miracles from God. According to the OP's interpretation, God would completely withdraw his miracle working power off the face of the earth, the Holy Spirit would not perform a single miracle through any willing vessel, and the entire body of Christ would be completely devoid of the miraculous, of signs and wonders. Instead, all miracles worldwide would be counterfeits performed by demons in service of the Satanic agenda. All of them. 100% of them.
With no exceptions whatsoever ...
I think the above should be more than enough to see how extraordinary the OP's claim is, but the extravagance of the claim becomes even more obvious when we realize that the picture the OP is painting is the polar opposite of the powerful Church that Jesus and the Apostles preached:
- 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1:8, ESV]
- 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” [Mark 16:17-18, ESV]
- 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. [Acts 4:29-31, ESV]
- 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. [Hebrews 2:4, ESV]
- 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. [1 Cor 2:4-5, ESV]
- 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; [Romans 15:18-19, ESV]
Argument 2: the OP's use of Revelation fails to meet the burden of proof.
First of all, the extraordinary claim made by the OP, at least in explicit, unambiguous terms, is nowhere to be found in Revelation, and I would even say nowhere to be found in the entire Bible. There is not a single verse in scripture that unambiguously asserts that "all miracles from God, without exception, will come to an end and only counterfeit demonic miracles from Satan will remain during the end times".
There is no 'proof text' the OP can point us to to justify a claim like that.
Instead, what the OP offers is an inductive argument (see inductive reasoning) in support of his claim. This argument can be paraphrased as follows:
- P1: All mentions of miracles/signs/wonders in Revelation are linked to the demonic.
- P2: The only possible counterexample (the two witnesses) can be dismissed as probably symbolic (i.e. it is possible to argue that the witnesses are probably symbolic, and if so, then they probably don't count as evidence of miracles from God during the end times).
- P3: There is no explicit mention of genuine miracles performed by the Church.
- P4: The book of Revelation is describing the state of affairs during the end times.
- C1: Therefore, all miracles, under all circumstances, with no exceptions whatsoever, are linked to the demonic during the end times (based on P4 and inductively on P1, and reinforced by P2 and P3).
I don't find this argument compelling at all for the following reasons:
2.1 Inductive arguments are risky
Inductive arguments are not bullet proof, and when used indiscriminately they can easily lead to the wrong conclusions. Wikipedia has a classical example of this:
A classical example of an incorrect inductive argument was presented by John Vickers:
All of the swans we have seen are white.
Therefore, we know that all swans are white.
The correct conclusion would be: we expect all swans to be white.
Succinctly put: deduction is about certainty/necessity; induction is about probability.
At best the OP could attempt to make a probabilistic case, something like "it is very probable that most miracles during the end times will be demonic in nature", but even then the OP would need to justify first that:
- the seven mentions of miracles on which he bases his induction are not symbolic, otherwise they could be dismissed just like the OP dismisses the counterexample of the two witnesses. (Notice this is a hard task to do, given the overall symbolic nature of the book of Revelation.)
- the seven mentions of miracles on which he bases his induction are an exhaustive representation of all the miraculous experiences during the end times, otherwise the inductive generalization would be unjustified. (I don't see any obvious way this could be done. What if they are not exhaustive? What if there are genuine miraculous experiences from God that Revelation is simply being silent about?)
2.2 Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
The OP also appeals to the absence of unambiguous mentions of miracles done by the Church. This is a clear example of an argument from ignorance, and in particular, an appeal to the absence of evidence as if it were evidence of absence.
The only way this argument could work is by proving first that Revelation is an exhaustive description of the end times. If Revelation is not exhaustive, then there is clear room for things to take place that Revelation does not mention, such as miracles in the mission field, spiritual gifts, etc.
Moreover, the same argument could be used against the OP's position: Revelation includes no explicit mention of the cessation of Godly miracles. Therefore, there is no cessation of Godly miracles.
Argument 3: Revelation and 1 Corinthians 13 can be used together to argue for the continuation of Godly miracles.
In this answer I present an argument based on 1 Corinthians 13 for continuationism. I contend that several sign gifts will cease when "the perfect" comes, which is the same moment when we will be able to see "face to face". One could argue that this act of seeing "face to face" is exactly what Revelation 22:4 describes:
4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. [Revelation 22:4-5, ESV]
In other words, the cessation of the sign gifts will take place after the second coming of Christ, when those deemed worthy will be able to see God and the Lamb face to face. Since that hasn't happened yet, the sign gifts still continue.
See the question When shall we see "face to face"? 1 Corinthians 13:12 to find more answers that arrive at the same conclusion.
Answers to comment section objections
Q. Then where are your miracles ? A real miracle, a sign, a signification that is witnessed, documented and that has real meaning. I have yet to see one properly set forth in my own lifetime or one that was properly documented since the days of the apostles. I know of not one single occurrence. But I expect them to appear as we move towards the very end and at the point when men claim that Christ has returned to earth. Then we shall see them - demonically produced to falsify the claim of an earth-centred Christ and a supposed Utopian 'millenium'.
A. There have been efforts to collate modern-day miracle reports. Some examples you might be interested in:
- Craig S. Keener's book Miracles : 2 Volumes: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (amazon link)
- Craig S. Keener's book Miracles Today: The Supernatural Work of God in the Modern World (amazon link)
- Lee Strobel's book The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural (amazon link)
- Jack S. Deere's book Why I Am Still Surprised by the Power of the Spirit: Discovering How God Speaks and Heals Today (amazon link)
- Mh. D. H. Richard Casdorph's book The Miracles: A Medical Doctor Says Yes to Miracles! (amazon link)
That said, if you feel justified to offhandedly reject all books and forms of content that may provide some revenue to its authors and/or other parties involved in their publication, you might perhaps feel more comfortable reading instead the free-of-charge testimony of @Anne (which I presume you are more likely to trust since you accepted her answer), which you may find here (which is her answer to my question How often do Christian missionaries report occurrences of miracles while on the mission field?).
Now, if after all this you are still skeptical, I would very much appreciate your answering the question How do Christian apologists defend the credibility of the miracles reported in the gospel accounts?, because I'm sincerely struggling to understand how you can be so skeptical of modern-day miracle reports and still be able to accept miracle claims from the 1st century without any skepticism whatsoever.