(You are not allowed to read this blog post upon pain of near death without first reading What to make of Near Death Experiences – Part 1!!!)
I have taken down this post and put it back up a few times already. Why? Because first of all, I suppose I don’t trust people (not you obviously) to read part 1 like I requested. Even a pastor friend of mine did that once to Nathan Wheelers testimony and got all kinds of crazy and mistaken ideas by picking a story up in the middle.
The other reason I have taken it down is that I don’t want to undermine or seem to contradict what I had said previously in Part 1.
Yet another reason is that the more you tend to open up and be vulnerable, the more people judge and reject you. Why do I even have a blog? This is insanity!
Unfortunately, (or fortunately – depending how you look at it), no one cares what I have to say anyway. I had like a total of six views on my NDE part 1 post and no comments anyway. Why do I even bother? The afterlife is obviously something no one is interested in.
Throwing caution to the wind here is part 2:
It must be said that while in my previous post on the subject at hand I have a lot of warnings and kind of give a bleak outlook about most NDE’s, I don’t really believe the tone of how I related those warnings. I suppose what I mean to say is that I try to believe the best about whosoever’s stories I am hearing. I keep an open mind. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. In my mind everyone is truly “innocent until proven guilty”. I assume the best about every last person and their story until they say something that clearly and directly contradicts the Word of God.
However, it must be said also that a contradiction may just be with my or your own interpretation of the Word of God. And I suppose it also must be said that we can perceive contradictions from our pre-conceived interpretations of the Word of God. Case in point: the video I linked to from David Platt in my last post on the subject. He based an ill founded conclusion based on his interpretation of Scripture.
In my search for truth as a child of God, I believe my Papa is watching out for me. I depend on his protection and correction. He is faithful to provide both. This means we are free as his kids to be open hearted, trusting (as long as your trust is in the right place), and curious! This is what being childlike in your faith is all about and is absolutely required, according to Jesus, to even enter the kingdom of God.
Exploring the afterlife/spirit world will open your mind to a whole new world. I now entertain a host of ideas that I previously would have never dreamed of. It’s scandalous to even mention them because most of them vandalize our preconceived notions of reality. My thought now is that if the Bible doesn’t absolutely rule something out then I put it in the “could be” category. That is a happier way to live in my opinion because, as I told my daughter just tonight:
“With God all things are possible.”
A few of the “possibles” that come to mind which are documented time and again throughout Scripture are: spirit travel (Out of body experiences), teleportation (I just read about one to my daughter in Acts chapter 8), time travel, healing, knowing things you couldn’t possibly have naturally known, and all manner of other miracles. I have experienced some in this list myself and I’m sure many of you have as well.
The First NDE (Once you start you can’t stop)
It all started in the beginning of 2014. The year started out with a rapture dream, I shared in my post about it that I thought they had made a mistake by taking me.
A couple days later I watched one of my first NDE stories of Howard Storm. I found it so compelling and similar to my own story of Jesus saving me. He even thought exactly what I did, that Jesus was making a mistake by taking him. Jesus responded, “We don’t make mistakes”.
He was an “athiest” art teacher in Paris and had a stomach rupture. In incredible pain he was told he’d have to wait till the next day before the surgeon would arrive. He died that night and was led away by what he called kindred spirits – disembodied people who were just like him. They were taking him to hell and at a certain point they turned on him and mercilessly abused him. Eventually he cried out to Jesus to save him and Jesus came and rescued him.
He said that Jesus first appeared as a tiny pin prick of light in the sky that grew and grew as he approached. Jesus finally came to him and scooped him up in his arms. All the filth and horrible wounds of his condition fell like dust off of him and he was whisked out of there at great speed.
He was then given an audience with Jesus and the angels for a life review and to ask questions. He was shown and taught many things… none of which I see that clearly contradicts the revealed Word of God.
After his experience he came back, of course as a believer in Jesus and went on to dedicate his life to following and serving Jesus. He is now a pastor in Ohio.
His story is one that I talked most about with others and would recommend to anyone. There are elements of things that the angels and Jesus showed him that were difficult for him to accept. If that is the case for him, how much more you or I?
I was so emotionally moved by his story that a couple days after I watched it I shared the whole story with my wife as I just sobbed while driving down the freeway.
The absolute most important thing that I gleaned from his story was when Jesus told him his great plan to change the world:
“Love the person you are with in the moment.”
Research Howard Storm on Youtube if you are interested in his story.
THE LIFE REVIEW
One thing common to most NDE’s is the life review. You and God go over how you did in your life.
Over all, it didn’t go well for Howard Storm. BUT, Jesus did highlight a few times he showed genuine selfless love and Jesus was so proud. I loved that!
How will it go for you?
This is something worth thinking about for each and every one of us.
The Dangers of NDE’s
The Dangers? Well, you could die. But really, is dying all that dangerous? Well… it could be.
I find some NDE’s sometimes downright disturbing. One account of someone’s experience of hell had me shaken and I needed to pray to recover enough to go to work. I don’t like to talk about hell. I don’t like to think about hell. But I know it is real. I know it’s real because Jesus said it is real. He shared this story recorded in Lukes Gospel:
Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
27 “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. 28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16 NLT)
When I woke up this morning this was the first Scripture I read. Nice way to start the day don’t you think?
I get depressed if I think about hell too much. In an effort to cheer me up I reach for the “Christian drug of choice” to comfort my distressed soul… coffee. Which I then proceed to have too much of and ruin my day even further.
I was pondering Lazarus this morning. He was so afflicted. I imagined him to be the poorest of bums who is driven mad by harassing demons, respected by no one, mentally ill, diseased in both mind and body, and helpless hopeless mess in the worlds eyes. It reminded me that this is the sort of people the Lord chooses. Consider this:
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NLT)
He then gives those he chooses (the ragamuffins) many trials to work the kind of character that he can trust in the work that he will have us doing in eternity in all the realms and worlds and dimensions and places we will be experiencing beyond this life… for those who trust in Jesus.
“Heaven is not a place for good people, but for forgiven people.”
Have you heard that before? It would make a nice bumper sticker but I was thinking about the fact that being forgiven the way God forgives (if you have actually experienced it) actually makes you good… so, heaven actually is a place for good people.
This morning I came across a video by Bob Olson of Afterlife TV where he mostly interviews people on the subject of the afterlife and offers his conclusions. I was interested in what he would say in his video what happens to those who commit suicide. He said it would be a hard lesson for those who did commit suicide and they would have to live with the legacy of pain they caused but they would be warmly embraced by loving souls who would care for them. I’ve heard from other accounts that suicides will be like ghosts and can’t leave the people they have hurt, experiencing every pain their decision has brought, always expressing how sorry to people who can’t hear them… until when exactly?
Bob Olson goes as far as to say there is no hell. He hasn’t found any evidence for it. I left this comment on his YouTube video:
I am confused. You say you have been researching this for how long and have encountered no evidence of hell? I have been researching for a few weeks and have encountered many many stories of people experiencing such a place. Jesus talked about it a great deal. I am beginning to wonder if you ever mention Jesus or do you simply pretend he doesn’t exist? What do you consider “evidence”? First hand accounts seemingly aren’t enough to warrant belief in hell, but NDE accounts of something pleasant are considered convincing “evidence”?
In my research of NDE’s I came accross a story of a lady who died and experienced a place that appeared “paradise-like” only the colors were all muted and shadowy. Her father approached her and told her it wasn’t her time and told her that nothing she did in this life mattered once you are on the other side so don’t worry.
The fact of the matter there is little difference in my mind between many of what NDEers experience and dreams. And dreams are no good for basing truth on. If you remember from my first blog on this topic, I stressed that quite a bit. What is your source of Truth? Scripture has this to say on the topic:
…7just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. 8Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. 9But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”… (Jude 1:7-9 NASB)
So they defile the flesh “also by dreaming”?
This reminds of of the kind of defiling things people choose to do when they are lucid dreaming. It’s not all innocent just flying around but engaging in all kinds of sexual encounters with anyone you can imagine. So, you can use your dreams to sin?
My NLT translation puts it “claiming authority from their dreams” which is kind of different idea altogether from the very literal NASB don’t you think? I’m beginning to question the validity and soundness of some of our English translations. I tend to think they just have to say things differently than the literal Greek translation because it has already been said that way by another translation. They aren’t able to render it acurately due to copyright laws. But this is getting off topic isn’t it?
I was actually trying to prove a point using the NLT rendering but that is proving difficult now that I have seen how other and more accurate translations render it… never mind I guess.
Dreams are figments of your imagination. You can manifest worlds and situations and I suppose it would be true that you cannot claim authority from your dreams… don’t you think?
Anyway, how do I even wrap up these ramblings? What can I leave you with that will inspire you and transform your life for the better? By the way, if you ever come across something like that, send it my way!
I guess I’ll just say that if you want to avoid hell, and who doesn’t? Then pursue Jesus. He is the gatekeeper and is our Salvation. Please pray for me to pursue and experience more of him myself. Life is a depressing hopeless mess without the hope that is Jesus.