The Raising of Lazarus and More... (and music links)

By on

A friend was asking me for some of the songs I had recommended in the past, many of which I believe are under my Rumination, Where have all the Christians Gone?.  Then, for some reason my mind began rummaging through memories of nearly half a century... I have not listened to much at all, and nothing new for 10 years, and then for about 13 years before that, only listened to a little of what was new in Christian music.  There is some incredible talent; but there often are poor lyrics, a trend toward africanization (in vocals, backup vocals, and music), and also, sadly, some Christian singers whose lives are anything but Christian (as I discuss in another Rumination: “Christian” Singer Dances Out of the Closet...)... but there is a lot of great music if you know who to search for.

Here are some songs that for some reason I thought about, and then also some ideas they spurred.

This group is primarily a heavier group (duo), but this one song of theirs stands out and is wry and comforting.  The setting, it would seem is that of people crying in their beer because of their failures, and someone toasting them, reminding them of a profound truth, if they are truly changed by God’s Grace.

There is nothing really fantastic about this song, but it is well done and an interesting concept.

Degarmo & Key

All of the Losers Win


You say winners don't need a crutch
Only losers could believe in such
You don't need God, you don't need anything
You face life alone, you take what the future will bring
Here's to all the losers, (who) lose all guilt and sin
Here's to life in Jesus where all of the losers win
You think I've missed what success can bring
I miss success like trees miss golden spring
You think that all is far too much to give
That's what Jesus gave so that this loser could live
Here's to all the losers, lose all guilt and sin
Here's to life in Jesus where all of the losers win
Here's to all the losers, lose all guilt and sin
Here's to life in Jesus where all of the losers win
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Dana Key / Eddie Degarmo
All The Losers Win lyrics © Dkb Music
[The concept of the chorus also puts me in mind of the closing scene in the superb movie, Amadeus, on the life of Mozart, in which, Salieri, confined to a mental ward for having attempting cutting his own throat, over his guilt for having (as he claimed) purposely, out of jealously drove Mozart to exhaustion to the point of death.  In the final scene, where Salieri (masterfully played) was giving his final confession to a young, inexperienced priest, clearly “in over his head”, he sits there like a pigeon that has hit a plate glass window, in a daze, and Salieri then says not to worry, that he is the spokesman for all mediocrity, and he proceeds to “absolve” the priest and all the crazies in the mental hospital.  You see, Salieri said that he dedicated his life to serve God in music, and yet even his best efforts of being a composer to him seemed mediocre, while the frivolous, often obscene, immature, and at times irreverent Mozart seemed to glide on air to the pinnacle of greatness.  It indeed is a superb movie, masterfully done, which over the years I watched half a dozen times.]
Another group came to mind was Marty McCall and his early band Fireworks and then later the other group that he formed (a trio) First Call.
Marty McCall and his groups are characterized by energetic, electric voices, moving and powerful vocals, and often clever lyrics.
[See also: and First Call - Wikipedia ]
Fireworks was an energetic Christian rock group with some incredible songs, a little deeper in thought than most.
First Call, some have described as sounding at times like Manahattan Transfer, of which I know nothing, but presume it is pop.
First Call's tight vocals and harmony and energy is incredible, though I personally don’t care for the more “poppy songs”, which are a little “too poppy” for me (I like my poppy on bagels); such as Lazarus Unbound and 95 Reasons, though both deal with incredible topics, I don’t think the lyrics really captured what they could have.  Regardless, they are zippy, poppy songs—INCREDIBLY DONE... though not my cup of tea... I enjoy hearing them every now and then, but not what I would want to listen to over and over. 
95 Reasons, of course, is an allusion to my cousin Luther’s 95 Theses nailed on the Wittenburg University Church door in Germany, which kicked off the Protestant Reformation!  I personally think a more worshipful, powerful, meaningful song in both lyrics and music would have been better to capture either of these important historical events.
[Such as some of the great songs by Harvest (to be mentioned later) or by Wayne Watson, with his incredibly velvety richly colored voice and superb music on songs such as
The Peace that Passes Understanding 
I first started listening to Wayne Watson around 1983, a friend in Grand Rapids, Michigan introduced me to his music; he is such an artist that most of his songs became classics the day he recorded them, even the older ones, Touch of the Master’s Hand, Jack and Jill, all the way to This One Was Born in Zion and Watercolor Ponies.]
... but First Call’s song does capture, in a way, the energy of the Revolution that took place, though it totally overlooks the Doctrine, which was the epicenter and foundation of that Revolution; the loss of which Doctrine is resposible for the loss of not only the energy, but Christendom itself.
This site also gives the lyrics, which is good, as this song is a little harder to understand.
First Call - 95 Reasons
First Call - Lazarus Unbound
My thoughts:
There is so much profound depth in the raising of Lazarus from the dead that is generally overlooked, depths not plumbed by those who operate within superficial “feelings”. 
This Bibilical event (in John 11) is incredible testimony to the Power of Christ, the Son of God, God the Son incarnate.  Dead people are not people.  They are lifeless shells, corpses.  Had they not been embalmed they would rot and be devoured of maggots (though Christ was hastily laid to rest, He was laid to rest upon, and wrapped within about 100 pounds of aromatic spices—presumably such as cinnamon, cloves, frankincense, myrrh, lavender) which would repel insects or rodents; for Scripture had prophesied in Psalms, “For Thou wilt not leave My Soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption”). 
Lazarus’ mourning sisters had faith, but did not understand the mind-blowing reality that Christ was going to raise Lazarus from the dead—right then and there... not merely in the Second Resurrection (after the Millennial Kingdom).  Christ purposely delayed His coming, when He had been sent for, and had heard that Lazarus was sick unto death—so that Lazarus WOULD die, so that Christ’s Godhood and Power would be revealed when He raised him from the dead. 
When Christ first commanded, “Take ye away the stone”, it was so that Lazarus could see.  Lazarus was bound tightly head to toe in strips of grave-cloth and would only be able feebly to hobble and hop, feet together TOWARD THE LIGHT! (a lesson to us all) the strips of cloth covering even his eyes.  The stone was not rolled away so that he could hear.  Dead men cannot hear anything.  They are not there.  Their spirits have left the body and the body is insensate. 
While it is true that even had Christ ordered the stone itself to roll away (even if the stone were square) it would have done so by some power... but God usually operates in our world within the Natural realm that He created according to the Natural Laws of physics and chemistry that He created to govern our world (even if man does not properly understand those laws, misperceiving / misinterpreting them). 
Regardless, dead men cannot hear, so when Christ ordered aloud, “Lazarus, Come forth!” it was not merely for Lazarus, but for those witnessing the event (which Christ Himself even declared in His Prayer before He called Lazarus forth—and even in this simple fact we see Christ, though He was God in His Own Right, submitting to the Father and showing reliance upon the Father in first so praying, again, for the benefit of those viewing; and we who read it 2,000 years later). 
I heard one preacher claim that Christ first uttered, “Lazarus” before He said, “Come forth!”, otherwise every single corpse in the grave would have arisen.  This is true, in shallow concept, that Christ is the Lord of Creation and all that heard would obey; but it overlooks the facts, that none that are dead hear anything, and that Christ’s INTENTION by the Sheer Power of His Will, would cause what He wanted to transpire to occur, regardless if we or anything else misunderstood the words that He used.  The words were not a magical incantation that could be gotten wrong (God never says, “Oops!”) ... Christ / God can do anything by merely willing it; but it was for those there that He said those words aloud. 
In reality, Christ had already resurrected Lazarus by the Power of His Will BEFORE He called Lazarus forth.  He ordered the stone to be rolled away, and Lazarus’ sisters, still not understanding Christ’s intentions, in their ignorance were wishing that He had not so ordered, declaring, “by now he stinketh” (for it had been 4 days since he had died)... but without the stone being rolled away Lararus could not have by his own power have hobbled to the entrance because in the pitch blackness of the sealed tomb, he would not have known in which direction to go—removing the stone drew Lazarus to the light, even as a newborn passes through the birth canal into life. 
Lack of faith often prevents the miraculous.  Regardless, Christ had already resurrected Lazarus, who then obeyed Christ’s Voice and Order and hopped toward the entrance, and Christ then ordered the others “loose him and let him go!” (which is what all of us need, from sin, carnality, and death).
This miracle is poignantly juxtaposed to another graveyard miracle: that of the wild demon-possessed man, who ran around naked, cut himself with rocks, and attacked anyone who came near, and he was at times bound by the people with chains, to restrain him from attacking them (presumably, when they came to bury their dead, or possibly to visit the graves of departed loved ones, IF that was a practice back then) and amazingly he broke the the chains from off himself...! 
BUT, being but a moment in Christ’s Presence, the demons instantaneously submitted to Him and the wild man fell powerless to his knees in front of Christ, and the demons, trembling, declared, “Jesus, Thou Son of God? art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?”  This itself is incredible.  This shows that the demons indeed have had millennia to study the Scriptures and KNOW God’s Plan (far better than most “Christians” do)—but knowing God’s Plan will not enable them to defeat it—THEY KNEW it was not yet time because all that Scripture prophesied had not yet come to pass...
(and still hasn’t, though we are on the threshold of His Return and the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, for those who survive “the wrath to come” and hold true to the true faith, demonstrated by obedience to all that God has commanded; see Revelation 14:12, and the word “patience” would be better here translated perseverance)...
Also, the demons FEARED for they KNEW that they could do NOTHING to resist HIS POWER.  Scripture says that believing in Christ is not enough—for even the demons believe AND TREMBLE (James 2:19).  Stupid humans don’t tremble because they don’t have the fear of God in them.  “Knowing about” (even entertaining “fond notions of”) Jesus is entirely different than actually being regenerated, forgiven, and submitting to Him as LORD.  Scripture tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17) and “19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6)  Those whose lives do not demonstrate all things becoming new (obedience) and the old having passed away (rebellion) and those who do not live as if they were bought with a price... most probably were not.  This is why there will be a great shock to MANY who thought that they were Christians, even doing “wonderful works” (but the opposite of what He commanded) on Judgment Day: “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity [anomia, lawlessness].” (Matthew 7:23).
Regardless, Christ cast the unclean foul spirits (whose name was “Legion”,*—for they were many!) into a herd of unclean swine that the Israelites should not have even been raising) and but a moment in the Master’s Presence, the formerly wild man was “sitting, clothed, and in his right mind” (seated in Christ, clothed in the Righteousness of Christ, with his mind renewed—delivered, healed, and made whole).  Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels indicate that he wanted to forsake all and follow Christ as a disciple, but Christ instructed him to return to his house and show what great things the Lord had done for him! 
Those without understanding think that the setting of this story indicates error in the Bible, in two Gospels (Mark 5, Luke 8) the land is called “country of the Gadarenes”, which land was transjordan (east of the Jordan river) in the territory of the Tribe of Gad, for which it was so named.  In the other Gospel (Matthew 8) it is called the “land of the Gergasenes”.  This is no error.  The land of the Gergasenes, or in Hebrew, Girgas(h)ites (Genesis 10:16; 15:21) was the original name of the land.  Why is it referred to by 2 different names?  Why not?  Do you always use the a singular word for a particular item?
Possibly the name of the Gadarenes (people of the land of Gadarana) was given to the land by the remnant of the House of Judah that returned, of their brethren that did not return, having been scattered by God, along with the other tribes, for their unrepenant sin (See my book, Uncovering the Mysteries of Your Hidden Inheritance).
Possibly the name of the Gergasenes was used to indicate that the demonic activity there may have been due to the former presence of that tribe of Canaanites (though outside the land of Canaan proper).  This transjordan territory was smack dab in the middle, scrunched in between the Rephaim in the north and the Zuzim in the south, both of whom were descended from the angels that sinned who abducted Adamite women, the offspring of which sometimes were giants (Genesis 6); the bodyless spirits of those unlawful unions may have been some of those demons also called unclean / foul spirits that possessed individuals; being bodyless, they longed for a body.
[* A Roman Legion was comprised of 6,000 soldiers.  This number may even symbolically represent the amount of time that they will have had since Eden to work their evil—which time is running out (possibly 2024), which is why the wicked are pulling out all the stops and stepping up the pace to destroy Christendom.  See my booklet, Going Ape... and my short, illustrated Rumination, The Last Days of Christendom Foretold—It May Be Sooner Than You Think.]
Ed Kerr and Jerry Williams (another incredible voice) in Harvest present Lazarus’ resurrection in an incredible song.
Here are a few more songs by First Call: 
Here is an excellent version of the medieval hymn,
O Sacred Head Now Wounded
Turn it up... it starts out choral, in the distance... then will increase in volume and step out of your speakers with three vocals, each of these singers is top notch, power and control and color...
This song also showcases their talent:
When I Fall
God is Greater

Undivided - First Call - YouTube

[Actually, while a nice sentiment, the words of this song are unbiblical, if considered from a humanistic point of view / Doctrine (which sadly, is the most-common “Christian” point of view / doctrine).  Fellowship and unity with everyone is not possible because God made boundaries (which most “Christians” reject) and circumstances and people often require separation, not unity; and even excommunication (as the group itself, sadly, later itself painfully learned).  However, while I realize that not everything can be put into a single song, the central focus of a specific song may appear “one sided” without the full doctrinal position on a given topic (and “Christianity” that is “nondoctrinal” is not Christianity, but humanism); however, that is a danger that must be considered, otherwise, false doctrine is taught and leads people astray in an especially vulnerable way, due to the powerful psychological dynamics created by music in people’s emotions, which cause an irrational association to be formed, thinking that because a song is “pretty” and moving and exceptionally professionally presented, that is necessarily is also true and proper and Biblical; which, sadly, is not always the case.  False doctrine is a sin.  We are commanded to hold to sound doctrine, the faith once delivered, contend for the faith, and that anyone who preaches “another gospel” —including a “world-friendly” doctrine—is accursed. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)  “Smorgasbord Christianity” (picking and choosing what you like and throwing away the rest) is an abomination and an offence to God.  Most “Christrians” don’t understand the concepts of GOD or LORD and think that God is supposed to conform to their ideas and “feelings” and those of the world (the majority of “Christian Churches“ have become like the world, not like Christ; but Christ is dragged along for the ride and is expected to put His stamp of approval on all that is done).  Pagan Rome did not mind if you worshipped other gods, as long as you recognized the State god also.  God is not pagan Rome.  He will not share His Glory with another.  He is intolerant of everything that violates what He commanded: for He is Holy and Perfect and His is the Only Way.  Those who reject His Way, His Word, His Law (His unchanging Standard of Morality) reject Him.  “Another gospel” includes one that man devises which makes him “feel” good; that pleases man, not God (that takes what God revealed and “improves upon it”, changing it to please the world and man’s own “experience”); one that seats the dogs at the table, that gives the children’s Bread [Christ] to the dogs, that gives that which is Holy to the dogs and casts pearls before swine; that turns a blind eye to violations of all that God commanded, and even embraces abominations, puts them on parade, even allows them to become ministers.  This is not Christianity; this is not of God.  This, God commanded to be separate from, have no fellowship with, and not to even bid “God speed”.  These are not “happy” thoughts, but their violation is what has destroyed Christendom.  As long as the song is not talking about anything that falls into any of these categories, it is wonderful.  Except the words that say, “in His Eyes we are all the same”.  This is unbiblical.  This is Babylon theology, the wine of fornication that the “Christian Church” has swallowed, with which she has defiled herself and made herself abominable and has been reduced to the Apostate Church, the Great Harlot.  “Come out from among them and be ye separate” God commands.  Babylon teaches the opposite.  Babylon means, “confusion by mixing”.  God is Truth.  Truth never changes.  All else is confusion.]
Here are a few selections from Fireworks that also show clever writing:
Someone’s Got Ahold of Me
Toll Free
I first listened to Fireworks back in 1983, a friend in Brooklyn, NY, introduced me to the group’s music; then also First Call after the group formed.