Raising the Dead
Why should Christians raise the dead?
Ask yourself why Jesus raised the dead and why the Father raised Him from the dead. “If Christ was not raised, you are dead in your sins.” The gospel we proclaim hinges on the resurrection. The resurrection, as a sign, is unique to our faith. The rest of Christianity can be argued and explained away, but when the dead are raised, the unbeliever, if he is honest, must admit there is a God in heaven who does such things. There is no other explanation.
While many Christians have preached the gospel, very few have attempted to raise the dead, even though these two commands are found in the same commission. Many people aren’t aware that resurrections are still happening today. David Hogan is a minister to Mexico and parts of Latin America. Heidi Baker ministers in Mozambique. Both have witnessed over 100 resurrections through their ministries.
While some Christians have had success in raising the dead, others have not. As with healing, when people fail repeatedly, it causes them to believe that God isn’t doing it anymore and they give up. Just as with healing, I believe it is God’s will for us to raise the dead and I think there are things we can do to increase our success. Objections and problems with raising the dead once again revolve around the question of whether we can know God’s will about specific individuals.
There are four different perspectives to consider when raising the dead. The first is the will of the enemy. Jesus said the enemy came to steal, kill and destroy. The enemy wants us dead. One reason God would have us raise the dead is that the enemy wants to kill as many of us as possible and at times, he kills some of us prematurely. Resurrection is how God restores them so that they can accomplish the purposes He has for them.
We must also consider the will of family and friends of the one who stepped into eternity. When a loved one dies, it’s natural to wish they were still with us. The sense of loss we feel can be overwhelming. Knowing that we have a commission to raise the dead, some of us might begin praying for them to be resurrected. We should avoid presumption and ask first what the desires are of those who were close to the deceased.
Once we have permission to proceed with a resurrection, we must face the incredibly poor likelihood of success. Sometimes the resurrection will happen, but most of the time, it will not. The question is, “Why?”
Some would point to a lack of faith or the presence of unbelief as the main reason for failed attempts at resurrection. These are possible explanations. Just as with healing, we need to develop confidence in God’s ability and desire to raise the dead before we’ll see it happen consistently. Another problem is that we might be praying for someone to return, not knowing that they have no need or desire to come back. Each of us has a set of appointed tasks to accomplish here on earth. Some of us may accomplish our tasks before we reach old age. If we die after completing the majority of them, we may have no reason to return.
Heaven is a place no one really wants to leave. Even though we may have told our husband or wife to raise us from the dead if we die at a young age, we might change our minds after meeting Jesus face to face. Not knowing this, our spouse might agonize for weeks trying in vain to raise us from the dead.
Knowing the will of God is critical to raising the dead. He has reasons why some of us will return and others won’t. His will does not need to remain a secret. The Bible says:
“Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)
The key to knowing God’s will about whom to raise from the dead and how to do it lies in receiving prophetic revelation. The needed information can come in many ways. It may come in a dream or a vision; it might come through an angel, a word of knowledge or word of wisdom. Seeking information from trusted prophetic sources may be the best strategy for knowing the mind of God. He may indicate who is to be raised from the dead and how it should be done.
Many resurrection testimonies contained detailed instructions from God on what to do. In a few cases the individual was instructed to lie on top of the body and breathe into it (See 2 Kings 4:34). In others, they were told to massage the hands and feet of the deceased. Some of these suggestions may be hard for you to imagine yourself doing. Bear in mind, that friends, family members and employees of the facility may be shocked if they see you doing them. If you’re led to do something that would cause people to object, take whatever steps are necessary to do them discretely or consider something a little less bizarre.
Whatever you ultimately decide to do – it should be done in faith, believing that God is going to raise them back to life. Remember the words of Jesus to Jairus, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well”.
Finally, we must consider the will of the person we’re trying to raise from the dead. We need to know whether or not they actually want to come back once they’ve stepped into eternity.
I developed a sort of hobby years ago. Fascinated by what takes place in eternity, I’ve had the opportunity to ask many people who had near-death experiences what they remembered. About 90 percent who remembered the experience said they were given no choice about returning to earth. They had to return because it wasn’t their time to die. The others were usually interviewed by Jesus, and asked if they wanted to remain in heaven or go back. In these cases, their request was usually granted.
I’ve prayed at the bedside of many cancer patients, who were declared by their doctor to be ‘terminally ill’. In visions, I’ve seen clear indications that their time on earth was done. Some of these patients were fairly young. I would caution against making the assumption that everyone who dies can be raised from the dead. Each of us has an appointed time of departure.
I’ve also seen cases where God indicated that He wanted to heal a ‘terminally ill’ patient. If such a person died, it may be worth trying to raise them from the dead. While some will insist that we have an obligation to resurrect everyone who dies, I think more information needs to be considered in these cases before we can confidently say that we know the will of God.
The difficult question is whether we should attempt to raise the dead every time we have the opportunity, or if we should ask God for His will in each case. Prophetic information is desirable, but it’s not always available or 100 percent reliable. Some people believe that we should always ask permission from God before praying for healing or resurrection. They generally point to the words of Jesus:
“…the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do…” (Jn. 5:19)
This view causes them to pursue only the healing or resurrection that God specifically authorizes. Some of us may have been told by God to ask permission first, but others may have different instructions.
Todd White was asked if we should pray for everyone or only the ones God wants to heal. Todd believes that God wants to heal everyone. When someone objects on the grounds that not everyone we pray for is healed, Todd’s reply is, “Show me the person Jesus didn’t die for, and that’s the one I won’t pray for.”
I have another friend named Sue Wilke, who has been used by God to heal people. Sue is forever having conversations with the Holy Spirit. Wherever she goes, she hears His voice directing her to this person or that one. Sue always asks permission and because she hears Him so well, she gets detailed instruction on how to minister to each one.
My friend Ken Nichols had a dream where Jesus gave him authority to heal anyone he wanted to. Ken operates from a kind of blanket authority, or protocol because he was given instructions by Jesus to operate that way. Sue has no use for protocols, because she’s been trained to hear from God. She asks what to do in every situation. I fall somewhere in the middle. I like to approach strangers with confidence, knowing that God will back me up if I want to see someone healed, even if I haven’t asked for the Father’s permission. But I frequently seek revelation from Him in the midst of praying, because it helps me get to the root of the problem and remove it.
Should we use protocols or should we seek God’s heart in every case? I think there is room for both positions. Some of us will ask permission, because we hear God clearly and we like getting His take on things. Some will pray for every deceased person because we’re convinced it’s always God will. In the end, we all need to obey the revelation we have. The only thing Jesus asks is that we are faithful to what He tells us. We don’t need to obey the revelation someone else has. We need to obey the revelation we have.
This is an excerpt from my book Divine Healing Made Simple.