You will be hard pressed to find someone who has never heard of some kind of religious miracle. Many Catholics are convinced of the validity of various sightings of the Virgin Mary, stigmata, weeping or bleeding statues, and even “incorruptible bodies.” There are reported miracles in other religions, as well—Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam all claim to have documented miracles.
Satan has the power to perform miracles. While his power is limited, he can and does perform miracles in order to deceive. John 8:44 says that Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Satan can make himself appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He does this to draw people away from God.
When Moses and Aaron confronted Pharaoh, they performed a miraculous sign to confirm their message from God (Exodus 7:8–10). The magi of Egypt were able to perform the same miracle “by their secret arts” (verse 11). God’s miracle was shown to be greater (verse 12), but the fact is that the magi were able to perform a satanic miracle in the king’s court.
During the tribulation, the Antichrist “will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). These miracles are explicitly said to be empowered by Satan. Jesus warned that the end times will be characterized by the treachery of counterfeit prophets who “will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive” (Matthew 24:24).
The existence of demonic miracles is one reason why we must test all spirits: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Any time we are in doubt, we are to make sure that what is being taught lines up with what Scripture says. If the miracle worker is teaching something contrary to God’s Word, then his miracles, no matter how convincing they seem, are a demonic delusion.
Examples of convincing demonic miracles today are the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in different countries. These appearances of Mary seem legitimate; indeed, they are believed by millions of people. But when we compare what the apparitions say to what Scripture teaches, it is not even close. Over the course of several Marian apparitions, we are told that God wants to establish worldwide devotion to Mary’s immaculate heart, that souls will be saved if devotions to her immaculate heart are established, that she is the mediatrix between man and God, that praying the rosary is required to enter heaven, that she receives and answers prayer, that taking communion makes reparation for sins committed against her, and that blessed objects should be worn and placed in homes.
None of these messages are of God. Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6). Mary does not have an “immaculate” (sinless) heart. Devotion to Mary is not necessary, and the Bible never instructs us to pray to anyone but God. Jesus is the only mediator between man and God (Hebrews 7:25; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 2:1).
The message of the Marian apparitions clearly contradicts Scripture. Did the people who claim to have seen Mary experience a real miracle? Yes, possibly. However, the entity calling itself “Mary” is not working for God’s glory or pointing people to Jesus Christ. Rather, Mary is being glorified, and people are being told to earn their own salvation by works.
Demonic miracles are real and they do occur. It is our responsibility to make sure that we do not give in to them. We must keep our Bibles open and put God’s revealed truth ahead of any miracle we see.