Miracles: Mastery over Life and Death

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 9, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week I wrote about how God has mastery over physical health. This week I will take it a step further and showcase how God has mastery over life itself. There is a terrible statistic that ten out of every ten people die. (I stole that from Ray Comfort.) There is nothing any of us can do about it. Man has strived and fought the aging and dying process from the beginning. Just watch TV for five minutes and you will find commercials about extending your beauty and retaining a younger look. Man is constantly striving to extend his life and is terrified of death.

But why? Why is man constantly striving to postpone death? If death is and always was part of the natural world, why is man scared of it? Evolution teaches by implication that death is a benefit to life because as each generation passes, life evolves into better forms. But the Bible teaches that death is a foreign agent brought in by man when he sinned against God. Man was not meant to die but to live in continual communion with God. But sin is a corrupting, corrosive agent and it only produces death. Yet, that death is actually a mercy from God, because if man were to live forever in a sinful state, separated from God and in perpetual decay, it is the nightmare that spawns ideas of zombies: a state of perpetual death and yet no relief from it.

God has control over life and death. He is the one who breathed life into Adam, making him a living soul. He gives life and He takes it away. No man lives without permission from God and no man can die without it either. We do not understand why God takes a life and lets another live. I have addressed this issue several times within this series, but we are not in a position to judge God on why He lets some live and some die. We don’t have the full knowledge of God to know what would happen if someone who died had lived, nor do we have full knowledge of why God spares someone we think should have died. He struck down Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Spirit, yet He let King Manasseh reign for 55 years after turning to idolatry and murdering his son on the altar to Molech.

But there are also times where a sickness or something takes a life and God is not done with that person yet. The Bible has numerous accounts where a person died and was raised again. Elijah raised the son of the widow he stayed with during the 3½ year drought he proclaimed. Elisha would replicate this miracle twice, once with another family’s son, and then later by a man who was dropped onto Elisha’s bones.

Jesus raised two people from the dead during his earthly ministry. The first was Jairus’ daughter, and the second was one of his most famous miracles: Lazarus. What makes Lazarus’ tale so interesting is that Jesus waited long enough that Lazarus’ body would have been part way into the decaying process. So, this wasn’t a case that could be argued that the person could have been declared legally dead but wasn’t actually dead. Lazarus was all dead, and Jesus raised him back to life. The greatest account of raising from the dead is Jesus himself with his resurrection, however that is such a special case I am going to devote an entire post to that one thing.

God did not stop this miracle when the New Testament was completed. One of the deacons at my church lost his son to drowning. Yet after he was pronounced dead, God raised him back to life. These miracles don’t happen in great quantities and I cannot explain how or why. It is well beyond any kind of scientific study, but it also cannot be denied.

God also preserves life. Last week, I wrote briefly how I was sick and dying as a child with no hope of recourse, yet God spared my life. My case wasn’t as dramatic as some others. The Apostle John, according to tradition, was captured by the Romans and thrown into a pot of boiling oil but came out unscathed. The real reason John was exiled to Patmos was because they could not figure out how to kill him. Rees Howells was on a mission in Africa when the plague hit. God asked him if he would pray and declare that no one would die on his property. Howells struggled against the fear of being presumptuous but eventually did so and no one died on his property while everywhere else they did. That is what got the people to finally receive the Gospel there.

In another incident, a friend of mine was preaching in Juarez, Mexico when three gang members entered. The leader pointed the gun at my friend while the other two robbed the congregation. My friend pointed his finger at the gunman to where the hand and gun overlapped and proclaimed, “There’s power in the blood!” The robber pulled the trigger, and nothing happened. He checked the gun and did it again – five times. The robbers fled while the church thought the gun was fake, so they took chase. Outside the church, the gun worked just fine but the robbers encountered police. In another incident, also in Juarez, Mexico, a worship team was attacked by a gang. The son of the leader stood up and took 38 bullets before going down saying, “God forgives you,” the whole time. They would have wiped out the entire group but ran out of bullets. God spared one person and He let another die, but He preserved him long enough to let the others live.

We don’t know why God raises some, preserves others, and takes others still. It is appointed once for every man to die, and after that the judgment. We do not know when our time is going to be up. Each of us could die in an instant. Driving down the road, one could die and another could be spared. A wildfire could wipe out an entire neighborhood but spare one home. God has mastery over life and death, and Jesus made this ultimate statement: do not fear men who can only kill the body, but fear God who can kill both body and soul. When we know God is in control, we have absolutely nothing to fear from this world. Why? Because as long as we are obedient, God will preserve and protect us for as long as He needs us in action. If He lets us fall into enemy hands, it will be not merely for our benefit, but also for His glory. He allowed Richard Wurmbrand fall into Communist hands and Corrie Ten Boom to fall into Nazi hands so that through their imprisonment and torture, they would learn God’s mercy and grace and love personally and as a testimony to the rest of the world.

God has mastery over life and death. Do not fear death. Those who are born again know that physical death will only carry us into God’s presence and out of this curse of sin. Next week, I’ll examine how God has mastery over spiritual forces.

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