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From what I know, only God can create life and bring someone back from the dead. So if a prophet had the ability to bring people back from the dead (or even create life), would that make him something greater than a prophet?

  • Hashem performs the miracle as with Eliyahu and Elisha. Thus they are acting on the instructions of Hashem which is the job of a navi. – sabbahillel Nov 28 '16 at 10:45
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He would be a prophet through whom God worked a miracle. In fact, this happened with the prophet Elisha, as recorded in Melachim II 4. Elisha had told a Shunammite woman who had treated him very kindly that she would have a son. She did, and then the boy died. She cried to Elisha, who ran to her house, closed himself in the room with the dead boy, prayed to God, and brought the boy back to life. It is clear that it is God who did the reviving, through Elisha. The prophet did not "have the ability" to bring the dead back to life; it wasn't his decision or his action. It was his prayer/plea. There is a similar incident with Eliyahu in Melachim I 17:22.)

Similarly, in Yechezkel 37 the prophet Yechezkel (Ezekiel) prophesies, at God's command, to the dry bones, and they are reanimated and brought to life -- but it is God doing the reanimating. Yechezkel doesn't have the power to do this independently; God used him as His vehicle for producing the miracle.

Elisha, Eliyahu, and Yechezkel are prophets, same as many others. They don't have any additional, special status by having been involved in these miracles. They have no power to bestow life. No man does.

One might argue that in fact God has never raised the dead through a prophet -- that the people raised through Elisha and Eliyahu hadn't really died but merely fainted, and that Yechezkel saw a vision and not an actual resurrection. Even if all that were the case, the answer would not change: people don't create life; God does. That we have these prophetic events in our history reinforces that idea, but if you were to say that the incidents didn't actually happen that way, that wouldn't falsify our understanding.

  • Elisha does it again in 2:13:21 (sorta). – Double AA Nov 28 '16 at 5:08
  • +1 but this is me playing devils advocate: taking the opinions into consideration that the resuscitation by Eliyahu and Elisha were not bringing someone back from death, but rather they had fainted, and taking into consideration the opinion that Yechezkel's vision was just that, a vision but not reality, what would the answer to this question be? – user6591 Nov 28 '16 at 16:38
  • @user6591 I hadn't heard the idea that the people in Eliyahu's and Elisha's cases had just fainted. (The text tells us the Shunammite boy died; I haven't checked the others to see how explicit they are.) Are there rabbinic interpretations that say fainting instead? I'll add something to address your general point, but I'll be able to make it stronger if you can point me to who says that. – Monica Cellio Nov 28 '16 at 16:45
  • Rambam in moreh said the kid fainted. (Rivash in #45 took great offense to this). Radak and shita mikubetzes (in bava metzia?) both mention this possibility. – user6591 Nov 28 '16 at 16:47
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    Hey Monica, here are sources for those who say explicitly the child did not actually die: Guide to perplexed source is part 1 chapter 42. Shita mikubetzes is Bava Metzia 114b s.v. Lav Kohen Mar in the name of a student of Rabbeinu Peretz. Radak is Kings 1 17 17 and there vs 20. His opinion is quoted in Rashash in maseches nida 70b as a way to explain the gemara there, much like the shita mikubetzes used it to answer the issue in B.M. Maharsham in Nida there agrees that the son of the Tzarfis woman did not die, but says the son of the Shunamis did die. He goes on to quote a number of sources... – user6591 Nov 29 '16 at 3:07

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