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Why Were Their Deaths Interrupted?

"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27 KJV, see also the Fact Finder question below about when judgment happens) is one of the most fundamental truths of the Word of God. But a number of people throughout Bible History had their deaths temporarily interrupted (e.g. 1 Kings 17-24, 2 Kings 4:32-35, 2 Kings 13:21, John 11:43-44, Matthew 9:23-26, Matthew 27:51-53). They were temporarily brought back to physical life, after which they all again eventually died and are awaiting their future resurrection along with everyone else. Why were their deaths interrupted?

"It became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord"

Joppa / Jaffa Dorcas, also known as Tabitha (Dorcas means a gazelle in Greek; Tabitha is the equivalent in Hebrew) was also one of the people who had their death interrupted. When she became ill and died, the other disciples in Joppa who knew her as a beloved Christian lady called for Peter because he happened to be nearby - they could have called any of the apostles (or even someone already among them, if they had enough faith) because it's the Holy Spirit that does the miracles, not the person, as Peter said himself (e.g. Acts 3:12). Peter arrived, put everyone outside of the room (their weeping and wailing, although appropriate in their grief, would have been very distracting), prayed, and knew that the miracle would happen, according to God's will.

The purpose of God's allowing Tabitha to suffer and die in the first place, and then be brought back to this life, may be explained by the beneficial result that it had for the Gospel: "And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord" (Acts 9:42 KJV). Temporarily bringing people back from the dead was a means to demonstrate the power and truth of the Gospel.

"Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did."

"And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them."

"Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them."

"But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive."

"And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord." (Acts 9:36-42 KJV)

Fact Finder: When are people going to be resurrected to judgment?
See When Will You Be Judged?


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