Peggy and I just got back from the east coast where we attended a Christian conference about prophecy. Although we went to learn about the prophetic, God had something else in mind when He spoke to us through a couple from the United Kingdom, Rob and Aliss Cresswell, and Rob’s book, “The threefold Miracle Mandate”. They were neither featured speakers or famous personalities, but what they shared in their small workshop was one of those important gems that the Holy Spirit arranges. Their teaching links together the Father’s work in creation with Jesus Christ’s redemption of that creation. It amplifies the Lord’s Great Commission, giving us specific detail regarding how we should be extending God’s Kingdom. It all begins with three great blessings God gave Adam and Eve in the Garden: provision, wholeness, and authority.
Although we sometimes focus on the fruit that God forbad, the first people were given bountiful provision. Genesis 2:8-9 reads, “The Lord God planted a garden toward the east in Eden and there he placed the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food…” Adam and Eve had no lack of food in Eden. We can only imagine what it would be like to never worry about making a living, providing for your family, or planning for retirement. Adam and Eve lived care free lives of abundance. God provided.
They also enjoyed wholeness, a quality that might be described as completeness in fellowship and personal wellbeing. Not only did Adam have complete fellowship with God, but God also recognized Adam’s need for a helpmate and created Eve. When Genesis 2:25 reads, “The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed,” it means that Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect relationship. There were no quarrels or expressions of self-interest. We can also be assured that they had individual personal wholeness, because they lived in an environment that hadn’t yet produced illness or physical disability. Adam and Eve enjoyed the state of being completely satisfied and at ease. They had no lack.
The third blessing God gave them was authority. Adam was made in God’s image and had the inherited need to create and care for the world around him. God satisfied that need by delegating responsibility and authority to man. Genesis 1:26 records, “Let us make man in our own image according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth…” God also gave Adam the job of tending the garden. We sometimes think of jobs as a necessary burden to make ends meet, but the job God gave Adam allowed Adam to feel worthy.
In that early creation, God gave mankind blessings that truly satisfied their needs, but Adam and Eve threw it all away. The serpent persuaded them that God was withholding something, and they violated God’s one rule. The consequence of sin was separation from God and loss of the three areas of blessing. When Adam and Eve were forced to leave the garden, God’s abundant provision was replaced by the need to eke out a living. Genesis 3:18-19 reads, “The ground will produce thorns and weeds for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will sweat and work hard for your food.” Because they were expelled from the Garden, they lost the satisfying wholeness of walking with God as they had before. That loss of wholeness translated to them lacking in personal wellbeing and health. As for authority, they had none as they found themselves on equal footing with the elements and other creatures in the struggle to survive separated from God’s covering.
It was a devastating turn of events for the first man and woman, but God had a plan for restoration. Several thousand years later, God sent His son Jesus to define the next chapter in mankind’s history. Certainly Jesus’ purpose was to redeem humanity and provide the sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, but He also came to restore the blessings of provision, wholeness, and authority.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he was tempted by Satan, and it’s no accident that Satan challenged Jesus in the areas of provision, wholeness, and authority. Satan suggested that Jesus should provide for his own provision by turning stones into bread. He challenged Jesus’s wholeness in relationship to God by questioning whether God would save his son if Jesus threw himself down from a high place. He tempted Jesus with issues of authority by offering him earthly kingdoms. In each case, Jesus passed the testing by reasserting his dependence on his heavenly Father. It was the beginning of a pattern in Jesus’ ministry. He would be about restoring God’s blessings in the areas of provision, wholeness, and authority.
Consider the restoration of provision through Jesus ministry. Jesus supplied an abundant catch of fish as described in Luke 5:6. He turned water into wine. He fed 5,000 people with just a few fish and loaves of bread. John also records Jesus’ words in John 4:14, “But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jesus was restoring not only material provision, but spiritual provision as well.
Jesus also began the process of bringing us back to wholeness in our relation to the Father. John records Jesus’ eloquent prayer about this in John 17:22, “The glory which you have given me I have given to them that they may be one, just as we are one.” Jesus restores us to fellowship with the Father and later assures us he will be with us “even to the end of the age.” Jesus also created the entity we call church which creates wholeness through fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters. It is not without cause that we refer to it as our church family, because the wholeness we experience is relational with both God and man. And then too is the ministry of healing Jesus conducted to correct the lack of wholeness that results in physical illness.
Finally, Jesus restores authority to us when he sends us to disciple the nations while proclaiming in Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and earth.” Just as God had delegated His authority to Adam and Eve to subdue the earth, Jesus sends us out under His covering in authority. The authority Jesus is restoring to us is not merely a position of power among men. Jesus exercised authority over the natural world and over demonic principalities. His power over nature is illustrated in Matthew 8:24-26 where he calms a storm. It reads, “A great storm arose on the lake so that waves covered the boat. His followers went to him and woke him, saying ‘Lord save us or we will be drowned.’ Then Jesus got up and gave a command to the wind and the waves, and it became completely quiet.” He was also able to cast out demons as described in Matthew 8:32. That passage reads, ” Jesus told them to go, so the demons left the men and went into the pigs. Then the whole herd rushed down the hill into the lake and were drowned.” Is it possible that Jesus wants to delegate that kind of authority to us also?
The importance of the teaching about provision, wholeness, and authority is the guidance it gives us as we conduct our ministries to extend God’s Kingdom. Everything we do should follow the pattern Christ gives us restoring the blessings that were lost in the Garden. However, there is more to the teaching than mere marching orders for ministry outreach. There is also the mandate for us to walk in Kingdom power in the areas of miraculous healing and spiritual authority.
How do we find the boldness to do as Jesus did in these areas? We’ve already seen that Jesus told us he was delegating His authority to us, so we have His Word. We also see that Jesus began the process of restoring the blessings during His earthly ministry. So let’s add another line of evidence. I would suggest we have seen progress throughout history in the restoration of those blessings since the time of Jesus.
The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 2: 7 – 8, “Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.” For 2,000 years since the time of Jesus, the Lord has continued to transform the world with increased provision, advancements in health, and Christian authority. We live in a time of unprecedented access to material wealth and the availability of food. We see amazing advancements in the reversal of health infirmities, replacement of damaged joints, and surgeries to cure blindness to name a few. We also see Christian ministers like Billy Graham having ready influence in the lives of world leaders and the ability to communicate the Gospel throughout the world. To be sure, the world is increasingly Godless in other respects, but it is assuredly better wherever God’s people have touched it through the power of Jesus. The early church would consider the modern world, in spite of its faults, as a miraculous improvement over their world.
In light of the Lord’s continuing restoration of the blessings, we can trust God’s plan. We merely need to join in. Because we trust Him, we should boldly proclaim the Gospel, pray for the sick, cast out demons. We won’t always see the result we expect because we don’t know what God knows, but that should never stop us from doing what the Word tells us in seeking miracles for God’s glory. The Threefold Miracle Mandate has two tracks leading to the same destination: one for our ministry work and one for our personal life. For ministry, we should follow Jesus’ pattern to restore provision, wholeness, and authority. In our personal life, we should trust God that He has the same plan for us individually through supernatural provision, healing, and power through Christ.