Sunday, December 29, 2019

Dead Raisers Come Forth!

One of the worship leaders at Bethel Church in Redding, California recently experienced a tragedy. The two-year-old daughter of Kalley Heiligenthal suddenly died. For a while, Kalley and her husband Andrew plus the leadership of Bethel asked everyone of faith to pray that little Olive would be raised back to life. Unfortunately for them, that didn’t happen. I was disturbed to see mostly nasty comments in response to a CBN News article about the Heiligenthals. If those critics had a child that just died, wouldn’t they want to see him or her come back to life? 

Raising the dead is mentioned several places in the Bible. However, many Christians scoff at the idea of modern-day resurrections. A few years ago, I got together with an old friend for coffee. Her interest in going to Germany prompted me to show her photos from the times I went there. Some were from a Reinhard Bonnke meeting in Berlin. During which, a Nigerian pastor testified of being raised from the dead. My friend’s attitude suddenly changed as she called that “satanic” and said, “I’ll bet you a million dollars this is not true!” When I mentioned Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 10:8 to “raise the dead”, she said that was for the Jews only.

I found out my friend believed “Paul’s gospel” and claimed the apostle didn’t raise anyone from the dead. I reminded her of the incident of Eutychus falling out of a window. My friend insisted it was Peter who brought that dead man back to life. Not wanting to debate doctrine with my friend, I changed the subject but later at home read the following verses in Acts 20…

9 And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 
10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” 
11 Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. 
12 And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.

The next day I got together with my then-pastor for a prayer meeting. When I told him what happened the night before, he reminded me of Paul himself coming back to life in Acts 14…

19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 
20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Raising the dead was also done by Elijah (1 Kings 17:17-22) and twice by Jesus (Mark 5:41-42 and John 11:43-44) not counting His own resurrection.

This past June, a man I knew spent the night in the same house with me in Massachusetts. The next morning, Michael was found dead in his bedroom. He was only 52 years old. Our host encouraged me and another man named Thomas to pray over Michael’s body until the police and paramedics arrived. We called for life to come back into Michael. Thomas thought he felt something but no resurrection happened. Our host soon heard from the Lord that Michael was with Him now.

Just because some Christians don’t receive their healing doesn’t mean healing isn’t for today. Likewise, there are reasons why dead people don’t come back to life despite others praying for them. Individual wills are involved. Once you experience the glories of heaven, you wouldn’t want to stay on earth. Then again, I’ve heard testimonies of people the Lord sent back from heaven because their work on earth wasn’t finished. Jesus said in John 5:21, “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”

One minister involved in numerous resurrections during the early 20th century was Smith Wigglesworth. His wife Polly passed away around the time the Englishman began full-time ministry. Smith immediately rebuked the death and her spirit briefly came back. The Lord spoke to him saying: “This is the time that I want to take her home to Myself.” So despite a breaking heart, Smith released his wife to be with the Lord.

Currently in Mexico, there’s a missionary named David Hogan who has raised many people from the dead. Reinhard Bonnke’s ministry produced the video “Raised from the Dead” featuring the Nigerian pastor’s testimony. There’s also a documentary titled “Deadraiser” that explores resurrection stories from around the world (portions of which can be seen on YouTube). Among those interviewed was a medical doctor named Chauncey Crandall who made this powerful statement: “Christ doesn’t sit with the sitters. He goes with the goers. So put down your Starbucks and go to the front line of battle in Jesus’ mighty name!”

Those who claim raising the dead is satanic seem to have more faith in the devil doing supernatural things than God Almighty. Although Revelation 13:12 suggests the Antichrist will experience a resurrection, his power is inferior to God’s. Raising the dead may not be the norm in contemporary Christianity but I believe we will see more of that before the Lord returns.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”  - John 11:25

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