Can Dead People Hear?
"Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live" John 5:25
Jesus made a very strange statement in this verse – dead people will be able to hear AND can hear NOW! This kind of statement has no literal logic or reason to our natural mind. Many of us have been to funerals to see our loved ones lying in a casket. We've stood looking at their face with hope that maybe it wasn't true that they weren't really gone, and the nightmare of death would be just a dream.
Often times as a pastor in a position of being a calming presence to family and friends at funerals, I have been able to justify to the loved ones to go ahead and share their heart to the deceased based on this Scripture. Many people feel the need to say "I LOVE YOU" one more time with hope that it was heard. As wonderful and comforting as this Scripture can be during those times for the reality that empathy and compassion are needed, I believe that Jesus was making a statement on a greater level of wisdom for the body of Christ.
Looking closely at this verse, Jesus is stating there is a "time coming" and that "time" is "NOW." This word "coming" is not a one-time occurrence. Neither is it an "end-time" futuristic event. This is an ongoing "coming" experience. It is the Greek word "erchomai." It basically denotes motion from one place to another.
Another word we need to consider is when Jesus uses the word "dead." This is the Greek word "Nekros" which can mean a natural death or a spiritual death. With either of these the main focus is being dead in sin, separated from the vivifying grace of God. One's soul is separated from the life giving influences of God's Spirit. A person can be alive in their body, yet Jesus is saying they are as dead people that will hear.
So what about the word "hear?" This is the Greek word "Akouo" meaning to hear with understanding of the mind and heart in unity, not just listening with the ability to repeat something back. There is a clarity that resinates to the heart that articulates a purpose from what is heard. How often do we listen to a song on the radio that was just filling sound in the air, and other times a song will be playing that causes us to stop in remembrance of something personal that the song identified us to? Next thing you know you'll find yourself humming or singing the song even when it isn't playing simply because your spirit man identified it with your heart as you were hearing it with your mind.
Let's move to the word "voice." Jesus says the dead will hear His voice and live. In the natural when a person literally dies ALL of their natural senses, including hearing stop. This would mean that they don't have any "free-will" choice to choose whether they want to "hear" the voice of Jesus. Yet, Jesus is inclusive that death is the same for a literal dead person or a living person that hasn't heard the "voice" of Jesus – they are separated by their sin nature or the natural man's logic and reasoning realm of justification.
The word "voice" is the Greek word "phone" which means "that which brings light upon that which is thought of in the mind." It is a sound ascribed to God that can be heard by man within his heart that speaks of the purpose of one's life – why were we created at the time we came into the world, into a particular culture, into a particular family, into a particular gender and environmental lifestyle. In all of these areas for each of us, we did not have a voice to make a "free-will" choice.
As I ponder this Greek word "phone" I can't help but identify with the telephone and cell phone communication system used today all around the world. Even though these devices are functional for quality communication, many of today's generation hide behind texting, voice mails, and e-mails to make communication being about "their time" instead of the consideration of what might be convenient to the other party. This is the season that many believers in Christ have also governed their "time with the Lord" instead of allowing the "Lord's time" to be heard when He desires communication. Many that identify believing Jesus as the Son of God will find themselves crossing over to the unseen realm called heaven with the anticipation of "coming" into the fullness of the presence of Jesus Christ, only to become aware that they always had the fullness of Christ while they were in their natural body.
Do we "hear" the "voice" of the Lord today? Do we know the revelation knowledge of our purpose in LIFE daily – NOW and in His daily coming in our presence? I have capitalized the word LIFE because it isn't about just daily getting up in the morning, breathing in air, and going about a functional activity for that day. This is talking about your purpose and position in CHRIST as a living organism in HIS glorified body today, tomorrow, and every moment of your time in your natural body wherever you may be. Are you functioning in Christ, or is Christ "trying" to function in you?
In the book of Job chapter 37: 1-7 we read,
"At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor."
Here we have wisdom shared to Job, a man who loved God, yet was finding out the hard way that there was more to his relationship with God than he had previously experienced. How many of us can truly say we have heard God's voice thunder in marvelous ways as He speaks to the snow and the rain? As He tells mankind to stop their labor and enter into His rest?
Often times believers will function in a religious system of Christianity that is referred to as the anointing of the Holy Spirit. They seek the revelation of wisdom and guidance by praying in another language, worship, and prayer. The challenge with this movement in the church is that nothing is hid from God. He knows the heart of the seeker. The Divine purpose of the anointing of the Holy Spirit is to always draw us closer to be in Christ, not Christ in us to do our will. This means we must BE dead to self and alive in Christ so that the Holy Spirit of Christ is in intimacy with our spirit to produce LIFE. This is a husband and wife relationship of intimacy with ONLY Jesus as the husband and the church – inclusive of men, women, and children – are the wife.
The evidence of the anointing of the Holy Spirit is a sweet fragrance, just as there is a sweet fragrance of love after intimacy. In Exodus 30 we have a natural representation of when the spiritual anointing of Christ is evident upon us: There are five ingredients mixed together. This is the GRACE of God.
Within Grace there is the fragrance of myrrh. It represents love, compassion, and mercy for others that are suffering and in pain whether it be their spirit, soul, or body. The fragrance of myrrh - love, must be evidence for Christ to be in control flowing through the believer for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to even have access in the situation.
The next fragrance is cinnamon. It represents fire and passion. Being filled with zeal and energy of life, those filled with the anointing of the Holy Spirit desire to send the "life-line" out to the hopeless, and intercede for wholeness and health of the will of God in others to sanctify their spirit, soul, and body. The life of the flesh of Christ is in the blood of Jesus which has cleansed us ALL from ALL unrighteousness, sin, and death. The anointed fragrance of cinnamon brings the electric charge of the heartbeat of the Father to ALL His children that every organ, system, and cell of HIS body is purified from the strongholds of the world.
The third fragrance is calamus. It is also known as Sweet Flag for it is known for its aromatic properties when it is bruised or crushed as it grows among water lilies. It is the fragrance of forgiveness when we are met with wounds of bitterness and hurt as we try to minister in love to a hard hearted environment. It causes the spirit in us to unite with the Holy Spirit releasing the testimony of Jesus that says, "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing, what they are really saying, or what impact of damage they are impacting because of their own hurt and anger."
The fourth fragrance is Cassia. It has a similar scent as cinnamon along with the fire of passion and zeal but with a calmness mixed with the heart of identifying sacrifice, worship, and brokenness in others. This fragrance peels off the bark of the tree of the flesh - the soul or logic of the situation stirred by feelings and emotions, to unveil the Holiness of Christ within the individual they can't see.
The fifth fragrance is that of olive oil. Olive oil is formed by the crushing and pressing of the olives causing a release of oil. When these other four fragrances are added to the oil released from our experience of being pressed and crushed, we can identify as Christ ones, kings and priests of His Kingdom, to rule and reign with Him as we bless and encourage others.
The fragrance of pressed olives has a very unique scent. Of it's own it doesn't have much invitation to want to "smear" on one's self as an anointing fragrance anymore than most of us would desire lessons on self-control and patience. But when it carries the fragrance of the other spices: The fragrance of love, compassion, and mercy in myrrh - the fragrance of positive energy, passion, joy, and laughter found in cinnamon - the fragrance of forgiveness and encouragement found in calamus, and the fragrance of understanding brokenness, ministering empathy and caring found in cassia – we have the outpouring of the Holy Spirit radiating in the land to a hurting world.
In Luke 4 when Jesus goes into the synagogue to read from Isaiah 61, he closes the book after reading in verse two, "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." The people in the synagogue would have expected more reading of the Torah, but Jesus closes the book - the scroll, sits down, and says, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." (verse 21). He is reading and making a statement in a position of Sabbath Rest before the religious leaders of the day, yet they didn't hear AND understand what he was saying. They only heard through the filtering of their traditions. They were as dead men in the assembly, the church of God while the Son of God is speaking.
If they had truly had ears to hear the sound of the Son of God as He was in their midst they would have understood the purpose of why he closed the book and sat down. He was taking them back to Genesis 2:1-2, when God and man rested together as one, and ALL the heavens and earth were complete. All through the scriptures heaven and earth are always together. It was in the Sabbath Rest of God that together the formation of one new man from the dust of the ground took place into a tangible form.
If we continue Reading in Isaiah 61: 2b where Jesus closed the book, and finish at the end of chapter 62, we hear the prophet word of God to his people - the believers in Christ today, telling us what our anointed assignment – our purpose of LIFE – in LIFE so that we unveil LIFE eternal in the earth.
We have been appointed to go to those mourning, depressed, hopeless, etc. and give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and clothe them in the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We are commission to share the good news of the gospel of the kingdom of God which says today Father God identifies them as trees of righteousness because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. It isn't something they ask for, but a free gift that the anointing of Christ release by His Holy Spirit in us has responded with permission by our Heavenly Father to pour out upon all mankind.
We can do nothing of ourselves, but only what we have seen and heard by the Father through the Son so that the testimony of Jesus Christ is unveiled in the earth today desiring to fill the earth with His glory. With the anointing of the Holy Spirit we are commissioned to do greater works than what has already been seen and heard, for the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them to LIFE judging no man, but gave all to the SON who is head of the body of Christ (John 5).
May we continually - daily, weekly, and hourly open our hearts to hear the sound of the voice of the Son of God so that we will know our purpose in LIFE to BE His ambassadors and priest to a hurting world.