Q. I absolutely love your site, I read it daily first thing in the morning with my cup of coffee before I start my day. I cannot count the ways that it has literally changed my life and the way I conduct myself in every aspect of my life. However, I have a question that has been nagging at me for years and I hope that you can provide an answer. If the Bible says that it is appointed for men to die but once, then why are there reports of people (along with miraculous healings) being raised from the dead as you have mentioned in other sections of your site?
A. Raising the dead and healing the sick were among the Lord’s most dramatic miracles and were meant to authenticate His claims of Messiahship since it was prophesied that the Messiah would do this (Isaiah 35:3-6).
The Apostles also healed the sick and Peter and Paul each brought at least one dead person back to life. Their miracles are almost always portrayed in Scripture as signs for unbelievers to help them accept the Gospel as it spread through the known world.
Your mention of Hebrews 9:27 that says it is appointed for men to die once and then face judgment is a Biblical principle that has applied to the overwhelming majority of people. But in both the Old and New Testaments there have been exceptions.
No one knows the exact number, but in my opinion the Bible tells of nine people who were brought back from the dead. Seven are specific instances and 2 others are implied. The seven are the widow of Zarapeth’s son, raised by Elijah in 1 Kings 17:17-24, the Shunammite woman’s son, raised by Elisha in 2 Kings 4:32-37, Jairus’s daughter in Matthew 9:18-26, the widow of Nain’s son in Luke 7:11-17, Lazarus in John 11:38-44, all by Jesus, Tabitha in Acts 9:36-40 by Peter, and Eutychus by Paul in Acts 20:7-12. In addition, although the Bible doesn’t specifically confirm this, I believe both Jonah, (Jonah 2:6) and and Paul (Acts 14:19-20) were brought back from death by God.
As for miraculous healings there are numerous cases mentioned in the Bible, and James 5:14-16 gives specific instructions on praying for healing. No one knows how many people have been healed as an answer to prayer during the church Age.