Can Christians Raise The Dead Today?

Some people say absolutely yes!  Their logic goes like this.

Matthew 10:7-8 says this

As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge.
(Matthew 10:7-8 HCSB)

And then they say Jesus told his disciples to teach others to do the same things

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 HCSB)

And they also point out that Jesus said

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12 NLT)

So the logic is.

  1. Jesus told his disciples to raise the dead
  2. Jesus told them to teach “all nations” to observe everything he commanded them
  3. Jesus said they would do even greater works
  4. Therefore: We should be doing the same works that Jesus and the disciples did today.  After all Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Really?

You can find this stuff all over the web. Here is just one example

God’s Command to Raise the Dead: Use Your Spiritual Authority Today and Every Day

Pastor and author Ruth C. Mertz uncovers the twofold purpose in God’s command to raise the dead. Citing example after example from the Bible, she provides a greater understanding of how Christians must use their authority to spread the gospel and thus bring those dead in their sins to life, but also to bring the physically dead to life, who may not be prepared to meet Christ in eternity.

So is your rebellious teenager who died in a car accident not ready to meet the Lord? Don’t let the coroner take them away. Step in with faith and raise them from the dead. After all we are to use our spiritual authority today and every day right?

On website believers.org does provide the following caution

But, obviously, raising the dead cannot be put in exactly the same category as healing the sick.

Scripture mentions only three people that Jesus raised from death, while multitudes were healed by Him.

Healing is God’s will for everyone who will receive it, but coming back to earth after dying is not the will of God for everyone. Notice that almost all the people raised from death in Scripture were young.

We should never try to raise someone from death unless we are sure it is the will of God. In this, we must be led by God’s Spirit. When we are certain of God’s will, we should command with authority and not give up.

Death is an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26), and at the Name of Jesus every knee must bow (Phil. 2:9-10).

Oh ok – probably can’t raise Grandma. We should just raise young folks.

Reality Check

While people love to quote Matthew 10:7-8 I wonder why they don’t include verses 5 and 6 which is the beginning of the command

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Matthew 10:5-6 NIV)

What? Are they raising Gentiles? Samaritans? Obviously they are not following this command. I happen to be a Gentile so I guess I don’t qualify.

But wait a minute… In Matthew 28 Jesus sends them to “all nations” doesn’t that contradict Matthew 10:5 where he said to go only to Israel?  And what about verses 9-14?

Don’t take along gold, silver, or copper for your money-belts. Don’t take a traveling bag for the road, or an extra shirt, sandals, or a walking stick, for the worker is worthy of his food. “When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave. Greet a household when you enter it, and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it. But if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town. (Mat 10:9-14 HCSB)

How many believers are walking town to town with no money, no bags, no extra shirt or sandals looking for a place to stay and shaking off the dust where they were not welcome? After all these directions were a part of the same message to the disciple in Matthew 10.

When you look at a bible passage, before you can assume that the directions apply to you some discernment is required.

  • Who is talking?
  • Who are they talking to?
  • Why are they saying what they are saying?

Is it possible… yea even likely that Jesus commands in Matthew 10 were specific instructions to the disciples for that mission and not intended for every believer for all  time?  Jesus also said to the disciples

When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me.

(Mat 21:1-2 HCSB)

Nobody is running around today looking for donkeys tied up with a colt are they?

Where Are The Raised Ones Today?

Why is it that all the stories about raising people from the dead occur in some far off jungle where there are no reliable medical records of what really happened? If Christians truly are raising the dead all the time wouldn’t there be thousands of documented cases over the last 2000 years?  Sadly while the few supposed cases of people being raised from the dead are highly suspicious, there are many sad cases of failure to raise the dead and the devastating aftermath.

Waiting in vain for the pastors’ ‘second coming’
Faithful of a Nakuru church may now know it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for their two departed pastors to come back to life, like Lazarus in the New Testament.

Followers of Kingdom Seekers Fellowship (KSF) church came out on Saturday to attempt a feat no other church may have tried.  Led by the churches overseer Apostle John William Kimani, they prayed all day in front of coffins containing the bodies of the deceased, hoping they would step out and walk.

The unprecedented drama palpitated with rising anxiety as the faithful were led by their leaders to believe the dead would sit up.  Coffins were opened at different intervals but only the still, cold silence of dead bodies stared back at pall bearers who were told to close the lid and wait for a €˜miracle€ as more prayers were offered.
Standard Digital News Kenya

William M. Branham

Branham died in 1965 after his car was struck by a drunk driver. For many days after his death several well known Latter Rain ministers prayed over his body in an attempt to raise Branham from the dead. . .obviously they failed.
The False Prophet – William Marion Branham

Anatketani’s story (screen name)

My Dad died when I was 13. The pastor of his church decided he would try to raise my Dad from the dead. At the funeral. With over 100 people in attendance. Guess what? My Dad didn’t come back to life. And the pastor was shunned and had to move away with his family. Take it from me. The dead cannot come back to life. Don’t encourage anyone else to make this horrible, psychologically scarring mistake.

Yahoo Answers – Christians, Do you have the “Faith” to raise the dead to life again as Jesus himself had done?

Oral Roberts

Contrary to a recent claim that he has raised the dead, the Rev. Oral Roberts did not mention such a feat in his 1972 autobiography and Roberts’ biographer says he never ran into such a claim when researching the faith healer’s life.

Roberts said in Tulsa on June 25 that he once had to stop his service to revive a dead person before he could continue. Roberts’ son, Richard Roberts, who played a videotape of his father’s remarks the next day on his television show, recalled that during his own boyhood his father revived a dead baby brought up by a distraught mother during a service.

Richard Rawe, an independent religious researcher living in Soap Lake, Wash., pointed to the chapter in Roberts’ autobiography and said, “I think that if he had raised the dead, he would have mentioned it.” Such a case would have offered a positive contrast to the deaths that occurred during his crusades, Rawe said.

Los Angeles Times – Roberts’ Book Makes No Mention of Raising Dead

Pastor Tries To Raise Dead Wife

Well-wishers who attended a funeral  at a church in Portland last Saturday were shocked when the husband of the deceased woman, a minister of religion, removed her body from the casket and started praying for her resurrection.

Some persons, who claimed to have witnessed the incident, alleged that the minister who has appeared on cable, ordered non-believers out of the church during the funeral, before he attempted to perform the miraculous act.

The witnesses said the minister then removed his wife’s body from the coffin and started praying fervently for life to be restored to it. And, although the first  few rounds of prayer seemed to have failed, the clergyman’s faith was not discouraged as he continued making his supplication with more passion.

It was at this point, residents claim, that the police had to be called in, but even they were reportedly met with stiff opposition from the distraught widower, who, according to many, was overcome with emotion and caught up in the act of bringing his wife back to life.
Jamaican Pastor Tries to Raise Dead Wife

Missionary Fails To Raise Baby

My wife went over to the neighbor’s house to pay her respects. She came back weeping. Just seeing the baby lying there dead, seeing the mother sitting there alive yet devoid of any real life, any real hope, that is enough to make anyone weep, especially those of us who have the life of another and the hope of heaven. Next it was my turn. I went over to the house and saw the people gathered. It’s very reminiscent of what I’ve thought it would have looked like in Jesus’ day. Some people were surrounding the baby and others were attending to the physical needs of those gathered by cooking food. I shook hands with the men and then went in to see the dead baby and her mother. My heart broke. No, it shattered. Then, I prayed. In fact, I started praying once I heard the baby had died and kept praying up to that point.

My prayer asked God a simple question, “Should I?” Should I pray that this baby would be raised from the dead? After all, Jesus told us we would do greater things than He did. Miracles would be done according to our faith. So, my “should I?” was really a question about my faith. Do I have faith enough even to stick my neck out there and ask this woman if I could pray for her dead child to be raised to life??? We’re not talking about a pray-in-your-head thing here. I knew that wouldn’t do. So, should I? While standing there with tears in my eyes, I felt the Spirit say go ahead (or what I thought was the Spirit). So, after a moment’s hesitation, I spoke to the mother. I told her I believe there is a God that can raise the dead. I told her there is power in the name of Jesus. I asked her if she believed too and if I could pray for her baby. She said yes. So, with everyone looking on, I knelt before this beautiful, lifeless child and begged God to raise her from the dead in the name of Jesus. You know what happened? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was left with only being able to say that no one understands the mind of God or His will…truly empty words in my mouth and heart (not to mention the mother’s).

So, here is where I am. I’m left with doubts, fears, and even anger. I prayed. I trusted. I put my neck out. What’s more, I put Jesus’ name out there and He didn’t show up. Yes, I’ve heard from others and even my own western theological mind to remember all the reasons we give why God doesn’t answer our prayers. ”It wasn’t His timing,” or “It wasn’t His will,” or “He has something better in store,” but all I hear is the scream of my heart asking, “Why didn’t You hear me?! You said You would! Where are You? Are You even there?!” The baby is still dead. The mother is still lost in hopelessness and despair. And now I look like a fool and the name of Jesus is a joke.

Should I Pray for God to Raise Someone from the Dead?

Signs and Wonders were given for a reason. Before the New Testament was completed,  they authenticated the message and the messenger.  For example when Paul was attacked by the false teachers at Corinth he said this.

The signs of an apostle were performed with great endurance among you–not only signs but also wonders and miracles.

(2Co 12:12 HCSB)

Apostles were foundational for the church.  There are no new apostles today.  The age of signs and wonders is over.  If it were not there would be a lot of evidence.  Even Nicodemus conceded that the signs of Jesus had a powerful effect on the Jewish leaders of his day.

This man came to Him at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher, for no one could perform these signs You do unless God were with him.”(Joh 3:2 HCSB)

So next time you are at a funeral relax.  You are not commanded to raise the dead.

6 comments

  1. can I expand on this idea of raising people from the dead? How about laying our hands on a blind person and he instantly sees? How about an amputee, or a paralyzed person… lay our hands on him and they instantly grow arms or legs, or not paralyzed? How about instantly speaking in different languages? Have you ever burst out in French? How about handling poisonous snakes? Can we drive away demons from someone?. I will expand even more. Does God cure diseases? Heal the woman with MS? Cronin’s disease? Rheumatoid Arthritis?
    What I am trying to say is. As Christians, we pick and choose our healing, and ignore all the others.
    Early Christians were given the power to do ALL OF the above. Why? To show the unbelievers that what they were preaching was true. If a blind person could regain his sight instantly, then sins could also be forgiven. It jump started the church, just like a rocket booster full of fuel boosts the rocket into outer space. Then the boosters are ejected, as they are no longer needed for the rocket to travel. Once those early Christians died, the ability to do all the physical miracles died with them. The church spread like wildfire from that point on.

    God stop speaking, physically, to humans. No more miracles that broke His laws of nature.
    Everything in now through Jesus. We have the Scriptures. We live by faith, and not sight. God does not heal anymore diseases. If you are found to have terminal cancer, for instance, you are going to die. No amount of praying and having thousands of Christians pray for you, will change the outcome.
    God does give us the doctors, and modern medicine, to do whatever to help.

    Let me tell you, there are millions of disillusioned Christians out there wondering why their precious baby died, or their parents were killed in an accident, or their son had a heart attack and died, and on and on. We pray for safety and prevention of sickness. No guarantees.

    God heals our sins. He gives us strength. Hope, Peace and Joy. A future home in Heaven
    GRACE, through Jesus’s death. We have many SPIRITUAL promises.
    Christians who put their faith into trying to get God to heal physically, are in for a huge let down!
    And it can be so bad, that they abandon their faith, because they were taught improperly

    Just recently, a fellow Christian’s two year old grandson fell into a swimming pool and was in there for 20 min. He was resuscitated, and is on a breathing tube. He has brain storms, which are a type of horrible horrible seizure. He has suffered severe brain damage,. and is still in a coma after a week. So here we go. the whole church is praying for him to totally recover.
    I could just pull my hair out. this child will be a vegetable for his whole life, an agony for his parents, and the amount of future money spent on his medical condition… Will it destroy their faith? We shall see. The boy is not ever going to be ok again.

    Why do we perpetuate these ideas?

    Thank you

    1. I agree with some of what you said but it’s quite absurd to say that God does not still perform healing and miracles. You speak of of Him as if He has left His creatures on their own on earth.

      Being the uncle of a drowning victim, I’ve heard tons of testimony from parents whose babies have recovered fully despite brain death tests that predicted otherwise. It makes me very ill to think someone in my church may have had your sentiments about “pulling your hair out” because you wouldn’t want to pray that my child would recover. I bet you’d feel differently if it were your own child.
      As for keeping the faith, my niece didn’t survive despite the prayer for healing. But I trust in God’s Will and my family’s faith is stronger than ever, in fact my baby brother who lost his darling little girl inspired people on every inhabitable continent with his faith.

      I hope your faith is never tested in such ways, and If it is I hope your church family isn’t as callous as you appear to be.

  2. Thats some very unhelpfull thought you have there Kim. Becuase you have absouloutly no scripture to go with YOUR thought none. if you are still here I will reply and just explain how you dont know scripture at all.

  3. I believe what is being said here is clear: God no longer provides DIRECT healing power through man. I too believe He most definitely heals abd raises if it be His will, Ive witnessed it! As fate may have it in our lives, things are going to happen, however, we are to be faithful to God (who lives forever) that life goes on wether here or eternity. This is not our permanent home. We are all created for a higher purpose and we are living so deeply into our current lives that we forget it will somehow end inevitably.

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