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Monday, July 28, 2008

Healing from Death: The Resurrection and the Life, Raises the Dead

We know when Jesus said in John 14:6, that he was "The Way, The Truth and The Life", and that "no man cometh unto the Father but by me", that He was speaking no small truth. That statement looks so simple, with three descriptors of the Lord and Savior, that he is the 'Way'- in which all must walk to dwell in the Lord, and He is the Way to heaven, that He is the Truth, and we think we know what that means but it envelopes the Word of God, the Plan of God , the Salvation of God, the Doctrine of God and the light shining on 'the way it really is', and we at least once a year at Easter say he is the "Life", and we tell the story, which for too many has grown into a glorified 'myth' of how the stone was rolled and he rose from the dead.
Raising People from the Dead

While all the books in the world could not get to the bottom of John 14:6, or the fullness of the name Jesus calls himself in that passage, the most remarkable and the most neglected, is that He is the "Life". In these studies on Healing, and what Jesus, or Yshua did when he healed, how he healed, what he said, and the many other aspects of healing, the most remarkable 'healing' was that of raising four people in the Bible from death to life, and then 'taking captivity captive' by rising from the dead, near the end of His earthly ministry, an idea which receives very little sermon time. Why? because the truth is, most Christians nod in agreement to the Resurrection, but do not understand the fullness of what Jesus meant when He said He was the 'Resurrection and the Life'. But if he had not been the 'Resurrection and the Life', there would have been no Salvation, no healing, no gifts of the Holy Spirit, and we would have only a dead faith, with the memory of a Martyr who believed in love. Yshua, Jesus, however, was Love and Life, not just in a metaphorical sense but in a divine sense, a super-natural sense, and the power of God, seen even today in those who will follow true, is the continuing prima facie evidence of Jesus, our Life, and Resurrection, the Power of God, and the evidence of the Life which will continue after death before Him.

Yshua, The Resurrection and the Life

In the Gospel of John, Jesus declares that he is the Resurrection and the Life, and those he speaks to have under-estimated the resurrection thinking it refers only to an ethereal future event in which both the Torah and New Testament teach that all will rise.

esus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. John 11:23-27

It is not that they did not believe, nor even fail to understand that He is the Messiah (Christ is the same as 'Messiah'), and that Messiah is the Son of God, long waited for, but there is a distance between the cognitive understanding, and before-pentecost trust, and the trust which came after the Resurrection of the Messiah. 'I agree' is what the sisters say, but they still grieve, yet they are about to see something so startling, that it calls them outside the complacency of expected daily events.

God's Power and the Healing from Death

They had seen Jesus heal so many they could not be counted already. They knew he was the power and presence of God, and had adjusted to this divine event in theirs and other's lives. God's power had been shown before in Israel: Moses had raised a staff and waters parted to the Sinai desert, he threw his rod down before Pharaoh and it turned into a serpent, he cast a stick into the bitter waters of Marah and they turned sweet, and Elijah had brought back a dying or just dead child, and increased the oil and flour for a widow and her son, and throughout the wars of Israel, when the Children of Israel trusted in their God, many battles were won without lifting a weapon. {Occasionally God has one lift a finger].

Jesus, Yshua, however, had come at an appointed time, and dumbfounded the hierarchy of the Sanhedrin and Rome. They accused him of gluttony, drunkardness, wantoness, breaking the Sabbath, mental problems, and even being demonic, and He never argued back, He just continued to heal, teach, preach and prophesy, and show the Kingdom of Heaven as no other one had ever done before. They became so angry at the clear manifestation of the Messiah, that their one desire became His overthrow and death, wanting only to go back to 'the way things were'. But here was the power of God, walking around Israel, literally, taking down unbelief like Joshua [yshua, also] took down Jericho, and like Gideon took down the Midianites. [See warsofisrael.com].

The Power of God and healing from the Dead

Several in the Bible are mentioned as having been 'healed from death' or coming back from the dead, and most are by Jesus in the New Testament. Elijah heals the widow of Zarapheth's son after doing them well. The son at a later visit is sick unto death. The woman is concerned that her child has fallen sick because of some failing of her own, but as Jesus noted in a later healing, some sicknesses are for 'chastisement' but some for the showing of the Glory of God.

I Kings 17:18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thous man of God" art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance and to slay my son?

The widow, as many of all times, believes that the calamity and death of her son is her own doing, a sin, a failing, a curse, something she had done wrong. But the world is a Divine Battle, always with elements of the Curse of the Fall and the demonic confronting and battling against the ways of God and the people of God. There are real instances when bodily or mental 'sickness' comes about because of something we do: sometimes it is merely a natural consequence: e.g. wanton behavior may result in disease, over-consumption of alcohol may destroy the liver. Other times, disease and death may come from environmental factors which we have little control over: bacteria causes septicemia, radiation causes radiation poisoning, and many factors are suspected to be carcinogenic. Whether we develop diseases or handicaps because of these are accidents are partially because the world can be a hazardous place, and while God is sovereign over all, few fail to walk so close to Him to always hear warnings about what to eat or not eat, or where to live or other considerations. When we end up outside of God's will, fences do indeed come down, and a variety of worldly harms can enter in. We tell our children not to heed or speak to strangers, yet tragedy after tragedy arises when some do. It is not that we do not protect them, or take care of them, but there are the twists of life that lead us sometimes unknowingly outside of that protection, and so it is with God's ways.

In this passage, though, there is no specific reason given why the child became ill unto death. In the passage in the new Testament regarding the death of Lazarus , Jesus remarks,

Jhn 11:4 When Jesus heard [that], he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

God himself designed the moment, so to speak, not 'inflicting' and 'afflicting' (although it is not out of his ability to do that too), for as Jeremiah speaks, "he doth not willingly afflict the children of men". God's wrath is real, and he sometimes directs harsh judgment to His world, but it is to satisfy his nature of Justice, for although He is so much a loving God that the New Testament states "God is Love", His nature did not change from Old to New Testament, and Jesus Christ is still "the same yesterday , today and tomorrow'.

But Jesus IS LIFE, so to some degree, it is easier to understand that He can give or take life, and less easier to comprehend when He puts it in the hands of His Prophets and Healers. In the New Testament, though, the power of God, the dunamous power of the Holy Spirit INDWELLS the believer, and obedience to the commands, ways and words of the LORD, lead us to understand and practice the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as healing. Healing even from death, is still just as possible for the God whose name is the Way, Truth and the Life as ever, for it was even done in the instance of Elijah and the son in Zerapheth as then or now. God's breath gives life, and it has since the beginning. God's Word is life, and the disposing of the number of our days are His.

Providence, and Raising of the Dead

Does this mean that if we only get 'right' enough with God that we will live disease free, and go on living this earthly life without end, or even to the fullness of a normal lifespan? No, not really, for the Sovereignty of God is bigger than that. When we pray our wishes and wants constantly, without regard for God's will, we too often get what we want, only to our detriment. I heard the story once in a sermon of a mother whose child was about to die, and in despair, she cried to God and said, "You can't have him!" The son recovered but became anything but a blessing, into crime and drugs, etc, and died, unsaved. It is a hard truth which we all rebel against, that not just the 'outcome' of life is at hand, but whether or not a life should last, for example, indefinitely. This is not the euthanasia issue, but one of surrender to God in His wisdom. Some live on, deadly incident after deadly incident, while others, turn their head slightly and a blood vessel bursts. Our job is not to end life, but to bear the understanding of God having his way. I worked with parents who had infants die for many years. Is there anything more seemingly unjust than a stillbirth? Yet those tiny lives often accomplish more in changing hearts then some old men and women dying in their 90s. It is what God wills, and to turn back again to the Widow's son, or Lazarus, or the little maid, or the Widow of Nain's son, whether it was deserved, by accident, or set apart for the glory of God, to show God's work in the world, it is i his hands and discernment is called for so as not to blame the victim of tragedy. Job's circumstance and the lengthy discourse of whys and wherefores regarding why God would allow a just man to go through all that Job went through, the loss of children, house, belongings, health, and a wife turning from faith so much as to tell Job to curse God and die, the discourse is about
whether Job did wrong, although the total answer can be summed up by one declaration:

Job 19:25-7 For I know [that] my redeemer liveth, and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth:
And [though] after my skin [worms] destroy this [body], yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; [though] my reins be consumed within me.

So back to Elijah, after some explanation, the Widow's son has died, as evidence by 'no breath left in him, an(vs17) and by Elijah being asked if he was come to slay the son, and when healed, the note that his 'soul' returned.

1Ki 17:20-24 And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?
And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again.
And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou [art] a man of God, [and] that the word of the LORD in thy mouth [is] truth.

Note a few things about the above passage:

1. The child has died, but a reason is not given
2. Elijah takes a 3 fold 'prophetic stance' for the child's restoration
3. Elijah's prayer is for the 'child's soul to come into him again.

The result is the revival of the child.

It was custom and tradition in ancient Israel, that by the 4th day after death, the soul was completely gone, and could not return under any circumstances. This is important, as here in this 'well before Pentecost' raising from death, it was at or near the time of death, and the action was of a prophetic stance or prayer. God actually did the healing by request 'restoring' the child's soul.

New Testament Raising from the Dead

In the New Testament, there are several times beside Jesus' resurrection, when Israelite were raised from the dead. These include the Widow of Nain's Son, healed on the bier (Luke 7), and the 'Little Maid' to whom Jesus called 'Talitha Cume' [Little maid arise], and Lazarus most notably. Dorcas is raised in Acts after Pentecost. The healing from Death, though must be seen as something more than mere healing of which thousands of instances were spoken of. All of the other types of healing we have looked at in these studies: the healing of deafness, dumbness, blindness, lunacy, and demonic possession, are instances of restoring a distorted condition back to a whole and excellent state. Raising the dead, though, involved
reinstating Life back into the person, so the dynamic is a little different.
In the next section regarding 'Healing From Death', we will look at the New Testament instances of the most phenomenal Restoration of life.
2. 84.