A former pastor and present friend told me one day that when I died he would immediately pray that I'd be brought back from the dead.
I asked him not to.
That episode plopped back into my head recently when I attended a funeral for a much-too-young man at which his dad said he and his church prayed for such a resurrection.
In no way can I identify with the grief of a parent who has lost a son, and I pray I never can relate. But I again hope no one ever prays me back from the dead.
The scriptural principle is "it is appointed unto all men once to die, and after that the judgment."
Sure, there are a few exceptions in scripture (bless God, most notably the Son of God who "was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead).
And, of course, we hear of such back-from-the-dead things in third world countries. Is it possible? Certainly...God can do anything He wishes..but the scriptural principle remains - once.
Are these third world "miracles" frauds? Perhaps...not necessarily. It could be that, in such a third world situation, those around may think a person dead, but in fact they are not (with limited medical technology). And, yes, considering some of the "preachers" who testify of these "resurrections," methinks there may be a bit of intentional fraud from time to time...Then, of course, there are the epidemic of heavenly visits and returns published over the past few years.
Oh, Jack, you are being judgmental. Yup. You are absolutely correct, because we must judge in order to discern. "But, gee, Jack, Jesus said not to judge." Please read the context of His statement...I won't do the work for you; except to say He said, in effect, "Judge not, lest you be judged."
Guess what? We will all be judged...nonbelievers at the great white throne, Christians at the judgment seat of Christ. At the great white throne the issue is sin; at the judgment seat of Christ the issue is works.
And we write the standards of His judgment as we judge others. If we judge with a microscope, the Lord will judge us accordingly. Maybe it's a good idea to judge ourselves with a microscope, and others with a telescope?
And the motive is all important...I know I'm off base if I find joy in judging; I'm pretty sure I'm okay if it hurts me to judge.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Grief not withstanding, we do not grieve as the world does when a loved one who is "in Christ" dies. We shall see them again. Sure, we still miss them, but in the cold reality of bottom-linedless...do we really want them back? Certainly our heart does, but does our head? They are with the Lord in glory! He "appointed" their death.
Through the tears of separation we want them back, from our view they died too young, too soon, too whatever. But if we really believe they are in glory, is it not rather selfish to even pray them back? And, if, in fact, loved ones die without Christ, is it really responsible to pray for a resurrection so they can have another chance? Again, the black-and-white of Hebrews 9...it is appointed unto man once to die...
Boy, that looks harsh in type, but it's reality.
Anyway...please....if you hear that I've croaked, do not pray for me to be brought back. Instead, find a copy of "If You Could See Me Now" and listen to it, grin, and be jealous (in a pure and sanctified way, of course