Posts Tagged With: Near Death Experiences

Sozo Talk Radio!

sozo talk radio

“Exploring the depths and mysteries of Christ, one interview at a time, with your host Daniel Lovett.”

I’m excited to announce I have launched a new talk radio show!

So far I have 3 amazing interviews:

1.) Robby Dawkins! (Author of Do What Jesus Did, Identity Thief, and Do Greater Things). Our interview is entitled “How to Raise the Dead!” View the blog and download audio here:

robby dawkins how to raise the dead

2.) Howard Storm! A Near Death Experience and his encounter with Jesus! This talk, A Second Chance at LIFE, will give hope to those struggling with depression. View the blog and download audio here:

Jesus Howard Storm

Howard Storm painted this and this is what Jesus told him

3.) The Forgotten Way, With Bill Vanderbush! This book is very significant to the Awakening that is (and has been) coming to the body of Christ. View the blog and download audio here:

Forgotten Way Dekker

Please connect with me on my SOZO Talk Radio facebook page! I’d love to stay connected so I can bless your life with awesomeness!

Your friend, Daniel

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The NDE Religion

death-once-had-photo-u1I recently asked Nathan Wheeler, a believer in the Lord Jesus and a Near Death Experiencer, what he thought the dangers or concerns of Near Death Experience (NDE) testimonies were.

He said exactly what I hoped he would. First of all he said that the Bible says that love believes all things, so it is the loving thing to accept the testimony of people’s experience. Then we must pray for discernment, asking the Lord what He thinks of the testimony.

He then went on to say that his primary concern was for those who have never read the Bible or ever will they would take what NDE people say as Gospel… New Age gospel.

This too has been my main concern. Anything that minimizes or rejects or redefines Jesus is certainly satanic, right? (I wrote a blog called Is the New Age Satanic, Really?)

I have noticed from my extensive research into NDE’s that, to some, the testimonies of NDEers has practically become its own religion. Some (and even a small minority of experiencers) think that somehow NDE testimonies discredit the Bible or Jesus.

It reminded me of a story I heard about the first man in space, the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who was purported by Soviet leaders to have said, “I went up to space, but I didn’t encounter God.” (The crazy thing is that,according to this source, Yuri was a believer in God and never said any such thing. )

My point is this: our worldview doesn’t change just because we had a supernatural experience.

In the same way, many of those NDEers who haven’t yet discovered the Joy who is Jesus, misinterpret their own experience and go astray. A few may have been shown a deception by the father of lies who “appears as an angel of light” just like the Bible says. Who knows, the enemy himself might just tell you he is Jesus Christ. If his words don’t match that of Scripture, the revealed word of God, then it is a lie and deception.

However, I am always saddened when I came across stories of when a Near Death Experiencer was rejected by the clergy (those who are “supposed to” represent God) and simply told there experiences were from Satan and a deception… when they were not. I would argue that most experiences are genuine. God is not into deceiving anyone and he is the One in charge. Other experiencers found little to no support for them in the church and so they turned elsewhere. As strange as this may sound to some, I have witnessed first hand how the established church is the last place to be open to the supernatural. While this is sad, we cannot be led astray by those claiming some special knowledge from the other side that conflicts with God’s Word. Souls hang in the balance and the Word of God reminds us to stay on the safe path.

I have written about Near Death Experiences before and would encourage you to read these blogs:

What to Make of Near Death Experiences?

What to Make of Near Death Experiences – Part 2

and this vid:

Finally I have compiled a playlist of some of the most encouraging and amazing NDE accounts from believers here:

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What to Make of Near Death Experiences – Part 2

(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.


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.

Categories: Near Death Experiences | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

What to Make of Near Death Experiences

Perhaps it goes without saying but a Near Death Experience (NDE) is when someone actually dies and comes back to talk about it informing us of something of the afterlife. I am intrigued and utterly fascinated by what these stories have to tell us.

neardeathexperienceI thought about what the death experience would be like yesterday as my family and I were walking to the park to see the fireworks. As far as I could tell, my heart stopped for a few moments and I got lightheaded and I fell to the ground while carrying my little girl Emma. After that, I told Catherine to pound on my chest if I fell unconscious again.

It was a reminder that life is fragile. Your heart stops. You have moments before you blank out and that’s it. I’m in God’s hands. I’m not much afraid. I’m not hardly even worried. In fact, I’m kind of excited to go.

We are all going to die eventually… maybe.

Of course now I realize that you don’t have to die to meet and experience Jesus or even learn something of the spiritual world or afterlife.

(WARNING: this post is long. And this is only part 1. BUT, I believe it is vitally important to consider what I bring up here as someone who has wrestled with what to make of the plethora of NDE accounts.)

How My Interest in NDE’s All Began:

This image released by Sony Pictures shows Greg Kinnear, left, and Connor Corum in a scene from

This image released by Sony Pictures shows Greg Kinnear, left, and Connor Corum in a scene from “Heaven Is For Real.” (AP Photo/Sony Pictures, Allen Fraser)

In early 2014 the bestselling book Heaven is for Real had been out and was coming to the theaters. It had piqued my interest along with a few random other stories I had encountered.

Prior to this I never was very interested in heaven. It seemed like everyones imaginations or depictions of heaven were extremely lame and disappointing. I just trusted that it would be better than I could imagine.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT (Taken grossly out of context by the way! Read the following verses!)

It was just enough for me to know I’d go there. Now I know I will. This of course is based on the promises of Jesus and entirely on what he accomplished through the cross and resurrection. I doubted for many years that I would go however. I was still stuck in the performance mode, better-be-good-enough “Christianity”. Of course you can’t truly call that kind of thinking Christian at all.

What helped me overcome those doubts were two things. Jesus personally saying, “You’re going to be with me forever”, over and over again (because I needed him to). And a rapture dream in which I actually got to go!

Now this is not to say that I could not have arrived at these conclusions (that my destiny is heaven in spite of a failed life) without these mystical esoteric experiences, But as the saying goes:

“A man with an experience is never at the mercy of an argument.”

But then, unfortunately, experiences can deceive us can’t they? In fact most of us are deceived by our own experiences. The Bible tells us that believers are new creations destined to do the works of Christ and even greater things.

My experiences. Your experiences. They lie to us every day and must be questioned, challenged and changed if we are to walk in all that God might have for us.

Regarding Spiritual (Mystical) Experiences

But that isn’t to say that God doesn’t speak to us in dreams and visions and supernatural experiences. Of course he does. We should expect that.

I suppose my point is that you need something more weighty than an experience to form a foundation for truth.  Muhammad and Joseph Smith supposedly had an esoteric experience upon which they based their truth and have deceived countless millions. So why should NDE’s be any different?

Let’s be honest with ourselves. They aren’t.

But, that doesn’t mean that these experiences don’t have something to teach us or aren’t useful. You just have to weigh them against the standard for truth. This is what the Bible teaches us to do with prophecy.

“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Of course the standard for truth is this: ask yourself, how does it make you feel? If it makes you feel good it must be truth. Bad? Then it’s not true.

Easy enough, right? So, moving on… What’s that? That wasn’t a good enough answer for you? Yea, me neither.

Jesus Christ (The WORD) and his Word (the Bible) are the standard for Truth. How have I arrived at this conclusion? I’ve blogged about it and talked about it many times, but the essence of the proof is this: Jesus died and rose again. It is upon the evidence of his resurrection that I base my faith in the person of Jesus Christ and what he said about the reliability of the Holy Scriptures which he said can be trusted down to the tense of a single word.

Now some would challenge the whole notion that NDE’s are even worth exploring. That’s fine. You don’t have to! I might even advise you not to. This post is for those who already are interested and perhaps familiar with some NDE accounts.

I have researched hundreds of NDE accounts for the past year and a half. I’ve watched SO many videos and interviews and read many of the most popular books on the subject. This blog post is to begin to tell you what I have learned, pitfalls to avoid regarding exploring NDE’s, and to catalog the best of the best NDE testimonies for your benefit.

I would like to explain another aspect of what initially prompted my research. My grandfather and half-brother are dead. I don’t have any solid belief that either of them knew Jesus. My grandfather had said at one time, “If I can’t have a part of my own salvation I don’t want it.”

My half-brother died in a high speed car accident after drinking. I never knew him either and I didn’t know his relationship to God.

Fact is, we all know people who have passed on that we suspect are in the prisons of hell or being tormented by demons right now because they rejected their only Savior. Is there anything we could do for them? Is it appropriate to even try? Can we pray for them? Is there any hope for them?

This got me wondering about what the practice of baptism for the dead in Scripture meant, or what exactly happened when Jesus went to preach to the spirits in prison (hell) to rescue them or offer salvation and if he is still in the business of doing that. I wondered if it was a pointless fruitless exercise to pray for those who may be in hell. What I discovered in my research both startled and comforted and challenged me. I must say I have not come to any solid conclusions other than what the Bible clearly reveals. I have over the course of the last year and a half wrestled with ideas of purgatory or some version of hopeful universalism (that any or even all could potentially eventually escape from hell). But the tone of Scripture and Jesus words lead me away from settling on that however. Is there no opportunity for parole from hell?

There were a number of NDE cases where people did die and went to or were on their way to hell but then called on the name Jesus and were rescued from there.

Isn’t it amazing that even right now, in this moment, that God is SO good that when someone just whispers the faintest sincere, “Jesus save me”, that Jesus comes rushing to their rescue!

“Everyone who calls on the Name of the LORD will be saved.”

Scripture says in three places. Jesus (Yeshua) is the Name of the LORD (I AM). Yeshua literally means, “I AM Salvation”.

When describing His Name, I AM, to Moses He says, “I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”.

He decides. I’m ok with that. Thankfully God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Sadly, that does not necessarily mean that all will, for love does not demand its own way. If someone wants to go to hell, I suppose love will let them. Just like in any loving relationship, a person will let the other leave if they want to. Love doesn’t lock them in a room and hold them captive against their will. I prayed that somehow there could be reconciliation for someone in hell. This is heart-wrenching to think about.

Wow, that was pleasant right? Don’t you have the warm fuzzies after considering the torments of hell?

The fact is anyone can be saved from the hell they are currently in right now by calling out to Jesus to be saved. My question, does this extend into the afterlife? Is it a hard and fast rule that the answer must be no? Why not?

While I have waffled a bit in my views between hopeful universalism vs. eternal conscious torment, we have to let the Bible speak for itself on the subject. I have discovered from reading a few books on the subject (and of course the Bible) that the Bible is not always definitive or black and white about this issue and that many Christians (and even those considered “church fathers” – which basically could mean that an influential Christian who lived a long time ago was deceived and skewed peoples theology till the end of time all because this knucklehead came before us and wrote something) believed in versions of hopeful universalism.

I’m not exactly sold on anything I have read or heard and I’m not willing to commit intellectual suicide and rule out that it could very well be ‘eternal conscious torment’. I just haven’t settled this bit of theology in my mind yet… and perhaps never will.

Consider for a moment the fact that I have a strong motivation to be deceived. My grandpa and brother may be there. I point that out because, in researching NDE’s, people will hear what they want to hear and tune out what they don’t want to hear.

People get deceived because they want to be.

There is a Youtube channel whose topic researches NDE’s among other things who blatantly disregards anyones experience of hell. (Like Wesley saying when asked about the ROUS’s, “Rodents of Unusual size? I don’t believe they exist”.)

I tell on myself because I want you to go to God’s Word on this and MORE than that, go to Jesus – the true ‘WORD’.


I have been researching this topic since January 2014 examining hundreds of cases. I haven’t shared much on this since that time and didn’t even log in to my facebook account for a couple months while doing this research. This is a sensitive topic for various reasons. I think most will find other people’s experiences of the afterlife or spirit world very threatening to their ideologies and theologies.

It is important while engaged in any endeavor such as this to be thoroughly rooted in your relationship with God and be solidly grounded in the Word of God. Just as those who can spot counterfeit money don’t study counterfeit money but become intimately familiar with the real thing, the same is true of the spiritual.

The enemy is the great counterfeiter. That’s all he can do and he already has flooded the market with counterfeits. The enemy takes what is God’s and will twist it corrupt it and sell you a lie. The lie may be so cleverly construed that it appears to be the truth.

Are you any match for the devil? Are you more clever than he? I guarantee you that if you are not intimately familiar with the LORD Jesus and with his Word, you will be deceived. Why? Because your ego craves to be deceived. Your pride wants to survive and God and truth are its greatest threat. This is why most people don’t actually read the Bible.

“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.” (Ephesians 4:14 NLT <– see context to find out why).


What I discovered in my research startled me and opened up a whole new world for me. This is a world of spiritual warfare. The war is a war of ideas and beliefs. It’s a war of words and arguments just as the Scriptures say:

“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 6 And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.” 2 Corinthians 3:3-6 NLT

There are nefarious forces at play here who will more often than not appear like the “good guys” or as angels of light or even as “God” himself.

“Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.” 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 NLT (may this not describe any who is reading this right now!)

So the devil masquerades as an angel of light. No doubt he is that brilliant light far outshining the sun and appearing as the “god” that some NDE’ers experience. Their experience may be the lie that keeps them and those who listen to them far from the true light of Jesus. They become missionaries for the enemy.

One lady told of having her spirit yanked out of her body and becoming a chew toy for a dark and powerful entity. The world is, because of the sin that we humans seem so keen on holding on to, currently the devils playground. Deception is his weapon of choice. He will certainly give pleasant and euphoric (some would say “heavenly”) experiences to deceive. He will say, “it doesn’t matter how you live and that there is no need to turn from your sins as Jesus would command. You’ll end up in glory anyhow no matter how you live. All roads lead to heaven.”

Jesus is ignored.

I am not a fear-monger. The last thing I want to do is instill fear in anyone. The devil feeds on our fear. Fear makes him and the kingdom of darkness grow stronger. His world is like the world of Monsters Inc. running on the fearful screams of children at night. He loves to have you afraid and better yet, in terror. But there is a proper place for fear… Fear God!

What does it mean to “Fear God”?

I love the apostle Paul’s wonderful and gloriously liberating position of not wanting to lord over anyones faith. I don’t want to do that! That being said, if you take on this kind of topic such as NDE’s there are dangers to be aware of.

I am not into controlling how or what you think. My typical advice to anyone on matters of spirituality is, do your research and decide for yourself… at the risk of your everlasting soul. Yes, there is a reason why the Bible says, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” But even this Scripture was just taken out of context and has been explained that if you want to take your own salvation into your own hands, do so with fear and trembling. Your salvation is better left in the hands of the Savior.

As the lyrics to Amazing Grace say, “twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved.”

Where are you in the process? Have you still never wrestled with the true nature of reality and so are naive or complacent? Do you now understand the true nature of reality and are in stark terror? I encourage you to keep going on in your journey. There is a Greater Reality still that will calm and forcefully drive out all fear. For “God is love… and His perfect love casts out all fear.” (1 John 4)

God, though he is perfect love, is no one to trifle with. You harden your heart a few times and he may take the liberty of hardening it for you and making you an object of his wrath to display his power as he did to Pharoah. It has happened to me and this is why I say with Paul, “Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others.” The KJV phrasing sticks indelibly in my mind: “knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men”.

Once you have known what it is to make the LORD your enemy and suffering the tragic horrors of “going it your way” you will never want to experience it ever again. My own testimony includes a seven-year stretch in which I was absolutely certain I was on my way to hell. I suffered this stark terror because I insisted on letting my ego rather than Jesus run my life and spirituality, and God, for a time, times and half a time times two, allowed me to.


Many would probably judge me for what I told you about what sparked this research into the afterlife and what I could learn from NDE’s to begin with. I was honestly searching for a loophole for my grandfather who rejected Jesus and my half-brother who died in a car crash likely not knowing Jesus.

It is hard to cope with the thought that they are most likely suffering in hell right now. I wanted to be deceived. I wanted to believe that they could eventually escape their fate, that it isn’t too late for them. That perhaps after a thousand years or perhaps a million years or even after an eternity that they would be rescued, restored, and redeemed. Why did they choose to reject their Savior?

I suppose that for those who want nothing to do with God, there is a place that has nothing to do with him. I don’t want a single soul to go there.

The Bottom Line

What it came down to for me with all the accounts of people experiencing heaven or hell and were permitted to return to tell about it was an issue of authority. (The hellish experiences are way underreported for obvious reasons. I mean, who wants to admit that they flunked life and were flushed down the toilet bowl of the universe?)

Who is your authority? Who gets to define reality for you? Do you define your own reality or are you submitting to God’s?

I share this video of David Platt’s talk about NDE’s because this is what most Christians who take the Word seriously would believe. David Platt, however, would have you believe that ALL NDE’s are figments of people’s imaginations, hallucinations, or demonic deceptions. Is he right?

But then in his talk he names four biblical people who experienced heaven and came back to tell us their stories: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and John. He says however that these weren’t trips to heaven but visions, even though the above mentioned prophets said they were heavenly visits. Paul specifically says it was so real he didn’t know if he was in his body or not.

He cites Proverbs 30:4, “Who has ascended into heaven and descended?”

And, “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.” John 3:13

There is a great deal more going on in these verses that I don’t have time to get into (or even understand) but does it categorically disqualify anyone from experiencing heaven and returning? No, it just means you are not going to accomplish it without Jesus who has and still does ascend the heavens and come down on perhaps a far more frequent basis then you or I can even fathom. There are multiple Scriptural accounts of Christ appearing after the ascension. Paul’s conversion is one of them. I’ve experienced encounters with Jesus. I’m sure many of you have as well.

Ok, so true experiences of heaven come about through and in and only because of Christ Jesus. He is truly the gatekeeper. No one gets in except through him.

“I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

So, any experience you hear about that denies or ignores Jesus and makes claims of experiencing heaven, I would be suspicious of. Remember, the devil is a great counterfeiter and he has flooded the market. Does this mean then that people who talk about “God” but not specifically Jesus are sharing false deceptive experiences? Perhaps not. Does this mean that everyone who talks of meeting Jesus really did and are conveying messages from him? Perhaps not. All of this requires great discernment… in fact a discernment that we, in and of ourselves, are completely incapable of (this actually applies to all of life as well). We need God’s Spirit residing in us to be that island of truth in an ocean of diarrhea (the enemies lies).

So here is my perspective: I do believe that many have in and through or because of Christ experienced heaven and come back to tell us of it. In fact I believe that 99.9% of experiencers are telling the absolute truth of what they experienced whatever it may be. But as I have said before, it doesn’t make it “true”. And also, as arrogant as this may sound, many are misinterpreting their own experiences. How could I have the nerve to say this??? Well, because there is a standard for truth remember? I have something to weigh what is being said and shared against… the Bible.

Also, I do believe that many have, because of their lack of Christ, experienced hell and come back to tell us of it. Or were given tours of hell as a Christian. Personally I am done watching videos or reading interviews about hell. I’d rather investigate the heavenly accounts. But at least being aware of the hell accounts might be advisable however and here is why:

It’s kind of like watching those People Are Awesome videos on Youtube. If that was all you saw and never once viewed the epic fail videos where people broke legs and such you might be inspired to go out and try some of the things they do that would land you in the hospital with perhaps an NDE of your own or worse, the morgue with no more chances at life.

My point in all that is to say, consider where your life and faith are at and where it will land you. Where will you end up? Where is your faith taking you? Is your faith in the right person? Is your truth grounded in Reality?

I know I’ve promised more than I should probably include in one blog. That’s it for now. Consider this the preamble. Leave a comment and let your voice be heard.

Categories: Near Death Experiences | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

“How much have you loved with your life?” George Ritchie

I was discussing Dr. George Ritchies Near Death Experience the other night with a friend of mine. I felt compelled to share it with you because I wouldn’t be a good friend to you all if I held this back and didn’t share his story.

George stresses in interviews I’ve seen about how important it is for us all to overcome our sin issues lest we become earth bound (a form of hell) when we die. For instance, those who fail to overcome a drinking problem will be driven mad for alcohol as a spirit but never able to drink. They will essentially become evil spirits themselves and swarm bars and even try to vicariously experience drunkenness through a drunk whose spiritual defenses come down when really inebriated. I would not want to imagine what happens to those who fail to overcome their fears or lusts or other addictions and vices.

His story is interesting and I believe it is true. I believe he met Jesus, the Son of God, as he claims and was shown things that we could benefit from. Yet the above mentioned points are not the heart and soul of his story. Jesus is. His unconditional love and his question to us all:

“How much have you loved with your life?”

Dr. George Ritchie’s near-death experience:
adapted from

In December 1943, during World War II, twenty year old Dr. George Ritchie died of pneumonia. Nine minutes later, miraculously and unaccountably, he returned to life to tell of his amazing near-death experience in the afterlife. His near-death experience was the one that profoundly moved Dr. Raymond Moody to begin seriously investigating the near-death experience. Since Dr. Moody is considered to be the “father of the near-death experience” this near-death experience is in a class of its own. You will find this experience to be one of the most profound near-death experiences ever documented. The following is Dr. George Ritchie’s awesome near-death experience excerpted from his ground-breaking books, Return From Tomorrow and My Life After Dying.

His out-of-body experience
The men let go of my arms … I heard a click and a whirr. The whirr went on and on. It was getting louder. The whirr was inside my head and my knees were made of rubber. They were bending and I was falling and all the time the whirr grew louder.

I sat up with a start. What time was it? I looked at the bedside table but they’d taken the clock away. In fact, were was any of my stuff?

I jumped out of bed in alarm, looking for my clothes. My uniform wasn’t on the chair. I turned around, then froze.

Someone was lying in that bed.

I took a step closer. He was quite a young man, with short brown hair, lying very still. But, the thing was impossible! I myself had just gotten out of that bed! For a moment I wrestled with the mystery of it. It was too strange to think about – and anyway I didn’t have the time.

I went back past the offices and stepped out into the corridor. A sergeant was coming along it carrying an instrument tray covered with a cloth. Probably he didn’t know anything, but I was so glad to find someone awake that I started toward him.

“Excuse me, Sergeant,” I said. “You haven’t seen the ward boy for this unit, have you?”

He didn’t answer. Didn’t even glance at me. He just kept coming, straight at me, not slowing down.

“Look out!” I yelled, jumping out of his way.

The next minute he was past me, walking away down the corridor as if he had never seen me, though how we had kept from colliding I didn’t know.

And then I saw something that gave me a new idea. Farther down the corridor was one of the heavy metal doors that led to the outside. I hurried toward it. Even if I had missed that train, I’d find some way of getting to Richmond!

Almost without knowing it I found myself outside, racing swiftly along, traveling faster in fact than I’d ever moved in my life.

Looking down I was astonished to see not the ground, but the tops of mesquite bushes beneath me. Already Camp Barkeley seemed to be far behind me as I sped over the dark frozen desert. My mind kept telling me that what I was doing was impossible, and yet … it was happening.

I was going to Richmond; somehow I had known that from the moment I burst through that hospital door. Going to Richmond a hundred times faster than any train on earth could take me.

Almost immediately I noticed myself slowing down. Just below me now, where two streets came together, I caught a flickering blue glow. It came from a neon sign over the door of a red-roofed one-story building with a “Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer” sign propped in the front window. “Cafe,” the jittering letters over the door read, and from the windows light streamed onto the pavement.

Staring down at it, I realized I had stopped moving altogether. Finding myself somehow suspended fifty feet in the air was an even stranger feeling than the whirlwind flight had been. But I had no time to puzzle over it, for down the sidewalk toward the all-night cafe a man came briskly walking. At least, I thought, I could find out from him what town this was and in what direction I was heading. Even as the idea occurred to me – as though thought and motion had become the same thing – I found myself down on the sidewalk, hurrying along at the stranger’s side. He was a civilian, maybe forty or forty-five, wearing a topcoat but no hat. He was obviously thinking hard about something because he never glanced my way as I fell into step beside him.

“Can you tell me, please,” I said, “what city this is?”

He kept right on walking.

“Please sir!” I said, speaking louder, “I’m a stranger here and I’d appreciate it if – ”

We reached the cafe and he turned, reaching for the door handle. Was the fellow deaf? I put out my left hand to tap his shoulder.

There was nothing there.

I stood there in front of the door, gaping after him as he opened it and disappeared inside. It had been like touching thin air. Like no one had been there at all. And yet I had distinctly seen him, even to the beginnings of a black stubble on his chin where he needed a shave.

I backed away from the mystery of the substance-less man and leaned up against the guy wire of a telephone pole to think things through. My body went through that guy wire as though it too had not been there.

There on the sidewalk of that unknown city, I did some incredulous thinking. The strangest, most difficult thinking I had ever done. The man in the cafe, this telephone pole … suppose they were perfectly normal. Suppose I was the one who was – changed, somehow. What if in some impossible, unimaginable way, I lost my … hardness. My ability to grasp things, to make contact with the world. Even to be seen! The fellow just now. It was obvious he never saw or heard me.

And suddenly I remembered the young man I had seen in the bed in that little hospital room. What if that had been … me? Or anyhow, the material, concrete part of myself that in some unexplainable way I’d gotten separated from. What if the form which I had left lying in the hospital room in Texas was my own?

And if it were, how could I get back to it again? Why had I ever rushed off so unthinkingly?

I was moving again, speeding away from the city. Below me was the broad river. I appeared to be going back, back in the direction I had come from, and it seemed to me I was flashing across space even faster than before. Hills, lakes, farms slipped away beneath me as I sped in an unswerving straight line over the dark nighttime land.

I was standing in front of the base hospital.

And so began one of the strangest searches that can every have taken place: the search for myself. From one ward to another of that enormous complex I rushed, pausing in each small room, stooping over the occupant of the bed, hurrying on.

I backed toward the doorway. The man in that bed was dead! I felt the same reluctance I had the previous time at being in a room with a dead person. But … if that was my ring, then – then it was me, the separated part of me, lying under that sheet. Did that mean that I was …

It was the first time in this entire experience that the world “death” occurred to me in connection with what was happening.

But I wasn’t dead! How could I be dead and still be awake? Thinking. Experiencing. Death was different. Death was … I didn’t know. Blanking out. Nothingness. I was me, wide awake, only without a physical body to function in.

Frantically I clawed at the sheet, trying to draw it back, trying to uncover the figure on the bed. All my efforts did not even stir a breeze in the silent little room.

Meeting Jesus Christ

Suddenly I was aware that it was brighter, a lot brighter, than it had been. I stared in astonishment as the brightness increased, coming from nowhere, seeming to shine everywhere at once. All the light bulbs in the ward couldn’t give off that much light. All the bulbs in the world couldn’t! It was impossibly bright: it was like a million welders’ lamps all blazing at once. ‘I’m glad I don’t have physical eyes at this moment,’ I thought. ‘This light would destroy the retina in a tenth of a second.’

No, I corrected myself, not the light. He. He would be too bright to look at. For now I saw that it was not light but a Man who had entered the room, or rather, a Man made out of light, though this seemed no more possible to my mind than the incredible intensity of the brightness that made up His form.

The instant I perceived him, a command formed itself in my mind. “Stand up!” The words came from inside me, yet they had an authority my mere thoughts had never had. I got to my feet and as I did came the stupendous certainty: ‘You are in the presence of the Son of God.’

If this was the Son of God, then his name was Jesus. This person was power itself, older than time and yet more modern than anyone I had ever met.

Above all, with that same mysterious inner certainty, I knew that this man loved me. Far more even than power, what emanated from this Presence was unconditional love. An astonishing love. A love beyond my wildest imagining. This love knew every unlovable thing about me – the quarrels with my stepmother, my explosive temper, the sex thoughts I could never control, every mean, selfish thought and action since the day I was born – and accepted me just the same.

The life review

When I say He knew everything about me, this was simply an observable fact. For into that room along with his radiant presence – simultaneously, though in telling about it I have to describe them one by one – had also entered every single episode of my entire life. Everything that had ever happened to me was simply there, in full view, contemporary and current, all seemingly taking place at the same time. Every detail of twenty years of living was there to be looked at. The good, the bad, the high points, the run-of-the-mill. And with this all-inclusive view came a question. It was implicit in every scene and, like the scenes themselves, seemed to proceed from the living Light beside me.

“What did you do with your life?”

Desperately I looked around me for something that would seem worthwhile in the light of this blazing Reality. But there was only an endless, short-sighted, clamorous concern for myself. Hadn’t I ever gone beyond my own immediate interests, done anything other people would recognize as valuable?

And all at once the question itself built up in me. It wasn’t fair! Of course I hadn’t done anything with my life! I hadn’t had time. How could you judge a person who hadn’t even started?

The answering thought, however, held no trace of judgment. ‘Death,’ the word was infinitely loving, ‘can come at any age.’

‘What about the insurance money coming when I’m seventy?’ The words were out, in this strange realm where communication took place by thought instead of speech, before I could call them back.

If I’d suspected before that there was mirth in the Presence beside me, now I was sure of it: the brightness seemed to vibrate and shimmer with a kind of holy laughter – not at me and my silliness, not a mocking laughter, but a mirth that seemed to say that in spite of all error and tragedy, joy was more lasting still.

And in the ecstasy of that laughter I realized that it was I who was judging the events around us so harshly. It was I who saw them as trivial, self-centered, unimportant. No such condemnation came from the Glory shining around me. He was not blaming or reproaching. He was simply … loving me. Filling the world with Himself and yet somehow attending to me personally. Waiting for my answer to the question that still hung in the dazzling air. ‘What have you done with your life to show me?’

The question, like everything else proceeding from Him, had to do with love. How much have you loved with your life? Have you loved others as I am loving you? Totally? Unconditionally?

Hearing the question like that, I saw how foolish it was even to try to find an answer in the scenes around us. Why, I hadn’t known love like this was possible. Someone should have told me, I thought indignantly!

“I did tell you.”

But how? Still wanting to justify myself: how could He have told me and I not heard?

“I told you by the life I lived. I told you by the death I died. And, if you keep your eyes on me, you will see more … ”

Seeing spirits among the living
With a start I noticed that we were moving. I hadn’t been aware of leaving the hospital, but now it was nowhere in sight. The living events of my life which had crowded round us had vanished too: instead we seemed to be high above the earth, speeding together toward a distant pinprick of light.

The distant pinprick resolved itself into a large city toward which we seemed to be descending. It was still nighttime but smoke poured from factory chimneys and many buildings had lights burning on every floor. There was an ocean or a large lake beyond the lights; it could have been Boston, Detroit, Toronto, certainly no place I had ever been, but obviously I thought as we came close enough to see the crowded streets, one where war industries were operating around the clock.

I noticed a certain phenomenon repeatedly – people unaware of others right beside them. I saw a group of assembly-line workers gathered around a coffee canteen. One of the women asked another for a cigarette, begged her in fact, as though she wanted it more than anything in the world. But the other one, chatting with her friends, ignored her. She took a pack of cigarettes from her coveralls, and without ever offering it to the woman who reached for it so eagerly, took one out and lit it. Fast as a striking snake the woman who had been refused snatched at the lighted cigarette in the other one’s mouth. Again she grabbed at it. And again … With a little chill of recognition I saw that she was unable to grip it.

Like me, in fact, she was dead.

In one house a younger man followed an older one from room to room. ‘I’m sorry, Pa!’ he kept saying. ‘I didn’t know what it would do to Mama! I didn’t understand.’

But though I could hear him clearly, it was obvious that the man he was speaking to could not. The old man was carrying a tray into a room where an elderly woman sat in bed. ‘I’m sorry, Pa,’ the young man said again. ‘I’m sorry, Mama.’ Endlessly, over and over, to ears that could not hear.

Several times we paused before similar scenes. A boy trailing a teenaged girl through the corridors of a school. ‘I’m sorry, Nancy!’ A middle-aged woman begging a gray-haired man to forgive her.

What are they so sorry for, Jesus?’ I pleaded. ‘Why do they keep talking to people who can’t hear them?’

Then from the Light beside me came the thought: ‘They are suicides, chained to every consequence of their act.’

Gradually I began to notice something else. All of the living people we were watching were surrounded by a faint luminous glow, almost like an electrical field over the surface of their bodies. This luminosity moved as they moved, like a second skin made out of pale, scarcely visible light.

At first I thought it must be reflected brightness from the Person at my side. But the buildings we entered gave off no reflection, neither did inanimate objects. And then I realized that the non-physical beings didn’t either. My own unsolid body, I now saw, was without this glowing sheath.

At this point the Light drew me inside a dingy bar and grill near what looked like a large naval base. A crowd of people, many of them sailors, lined the bar three deep, while others jammed wooden booths along the wall. Though a few were drinking beer, most of them seemed to be belting whiskies as fast as the two perspiring bartenders could pour them.

Then I noticed a striking thing. A number of the men standing at the bar seemed unable to lift their drinks to their lips. Over and over I watched them clutch at their shot glasses, hands passing through the solid tumblers, through the heavy wooden counter top, through the very arms and bodies of the drinkers around them.

And these men, every one of them, lacked the aureole of light that surrounded the others.

Then, the cocoon of light must be a property of physical bodies only. The dead, we who had lost our solidness, had lost this ‘second skin’ as well.

And it was obvious that these living people, the light-surrounded ones, the ones actually drinking, talking, jostling each other, could neither see the desperately thirsty disembodied beings among them, nor feel their frantic pushing to get at those glasses. (Though it was also clear to me, watching, that the non-solid people could both see and hear each other. Furious quarrels were constantly breaking out among them over glasses that none could actually get to his lips.)

I thought I had seen heavy drinking at fraternity parties in Richmond, but the way civilians and servicemen at this bar were going at it beat everything. I watched one young sailor rise unsteadily from a stool, take two or three steps, and sag heavily to the floor. Two of his buddies stooped down and started dragging him away from the crush.

But that was not what I was looking at. I was staring in amazement as the bright cocoon around the unconscious sailor simply opened up. It parted at the very crown of his head and began peeling away from his head, his shoulders. Instantly, quicker than I’d ever seen anyone move, one of the insubstantial beings who had been standing near him at the bar was on top of him. He had been hovering like a thirsty shadow at the sailor’s side, greedily following every swallow the young man made. Now he seemed to spring at him like a beast of prey.

In the next instant, to my utter mystification, the springing figure had vanished. It all happened even before the two men had dragged their unconscious load from under the feet of those at the bar. One minute I’d distinctly seen two individuals; by the time they propped the sailor against the wall, there was only one.

Twice more, as I stared, stupefied, the identical scene was repeated. A man passed out, a crack swiftly opened in the aureole round him, one of the non-solid people vanished as he hurled himself at that opening, almost as if he had scrambled inside the other man.

Was that covering of light some kind of shield, then? Was it a protection against … against disembodied beings like myself? Presumably these substance-less creatures had once had solid bodies, as I myself had had. Suppose that when they had been in these bodies they had developed a dependence on alcohol that went beyond the physical. That became mental. Spiritual, even. Then when they lost that body, except when they could briefly take possession of another one, they would be cut off for all eternity from the thing they could never stop craving.

An eternity like that – the thought sent a chill shuddering through me – surely that would be a form of hell. I had always thought of hell, when I thought of it at all, as a fiery place somewhere beneath the earth where evil people like Hitler would burn forever. But what if one level of hell existed right here on the surface – unseen and unsuspected by the living people occupying the same space. What if it meant remaining on earth but never again able to make contact with it. I thought of that woman who wanted that cigarette. To want most, to burn with most desire, where you were most powerless – that would be hell indeed.

Not ‘would be,’ I realized with a start. Was. This was hell: And I was as much a part of it as these other discarnate creatures. I had died. I had lost my physical body. I existed now in a realm that would not respond to me in any way …

There were two other things distinctly unique about the beings of this realm. Since hypocrisy is impossible because others know your thoughts the minute you think them, they tend to group with the ones who think the same way they do. In our own plane of the existence, earth, we have a saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” The main reason that they stick together is because it is too threatening to be with beings with whom you disagree when they know it.

One of the places we observed seemed to be a receiving station. Beings would arrive here oftentimes in a deep hypnotic sleep. I call it hypnotic because I realized they had put themselves in this state by their beliefs. Here were what I would call angels working with them trying to arouse them and help them realize God is truly a God of the living and that they did not have to lie around sleeping until Gabriel or someone came along blowing on a horn.

The plane of hell
We were moving again. We had left the Navy base with its circumference of seedy streets and bars, and were now standing, in this dimension where travel seemed to take no time at all, on the edge of a wide, flat plain. So far in our journeying we had visited places where the living and the dead existed side by side: indeed where disembodied beings, completely unsuspected by the living, hovered right on top of the physical things and people where their desire was focused.

Now, however, although we were apparently still somewhere on the surface of the earth, I could see no living man or woman. The plain was crowded, even jammed with hordes of ghostly discarnate beings; nowhere was there a solid, light-surrounded person to be seen. All of these thousands of people were apparently no more substantial than I myself. And they were the most frustrated, the angriest, the most completely miserable beings I had ever laid eyes on.

‘Lord Jesus!’ I cried. ‘Where are we?’

At first I thought we were looking at some great battlefield: everywhere spirits were locked in what looked like fights to the death, writhing, punching, gouging. No weapons of any sort, I saw as I looked closer, only bare hands and feet and teeth. And then I noticed that no one was apparently being injured. There was no blood, no bodies strewed the ground. A blow that ought to have eliminated an opponent would leave him exactly as before.

If I suspected that I was seeing hell, now I was sure of it. These creatures seemed locked into habits of mind and emotion, into hatred, lust, destructive thought-patterns.

Even more hideous than the bites and kicks they exchanged, were the sexual abuses many were performing in feverish pantomime. Perversions I had never dreamed of were being vainly attempted all around us. It was impossible to tell if the howls of frustration which reached us were actual sounds or only the transference of despairing thoughts. Indeed in this disembodied world it didn’t seem to matter. Whatever anyone thought, however fleetingly or unwillingly, was instantly apparent to all around him, more completely than words could have expressed it, faster than sound waves could have carried it.

And the thoughts most frequently communicated had to do with the superior knowledge, or abilities, or background of the thinker. ‘I told you so!’ ‘I always knew!’

‘Didn’t I warn you!’ were shrieked into the echoing air over and over. With a feeling of sick familiarity I recognized here my own thinking. In these yelps of envy and wounded self-importance I heard myself all to well.

Once again, however, no condemnation came from the Presence at my side, only a compassion for these unhappy creatures that was breaking His heart.

What was keeping them here? Why didn’t each one just get up and leave? I could see no reason why the person being screamed at by that man with the contorted face didn’t simply walk away. Or why that young woman didn’t put a thousand miles between herself and the other one who was so furiously beating her with insubstantial fists? They couldn’t actually hold onto their victims, any of these insanely angry beings. There were no fences. Nothing apparently prevented them from simply going off alone.

Unless – unless there was no ‘alone’ in this realm of disembodied spirits. No private corners in a universe where there were no walls. No place that was not inhabited by other beings to whom one was totally exposed at all times. What was it going to be like, I thought with sudden panic, to live forever where my most private thoughts were not private at all? No disguising them, no covering them up, no way to pretend I was anything but what I actually was. How unbearable. Unless of course everyone around me had the same kind of thoughts – Unless there was a kind of consolation in finding others as loathsome as one’s self, even if all we could do was hurl our venom at each other.

Perhaps this was the explanation for this hideous plain. Perhaps in the course of eons or of seconds, each creature here had sought out the company of others as pride and hatefilled as himself, until together they formed this society of the damned.

Perhaps it was not Jesus who had abandoned them, but they who had fled from the Light that showed up their darkness.

There were beings arguing over some religious or political point, trying to kill the ones who did not agree with them. I thought when I saw this, “No wonder our world is in such a mess and we have had so many tragic religious wars. No wonder this was breaking Christ’s heart, the One who came to teach us peace and love.”

The Temple Of Wisdom
We were moving again. First He had shown me a hellish realm, filled with beings trapped in some form of self-attention. Now behind, beyond, through all this I began to perceive a whole new realm! Enormous buildings stood in a beautiful sunny park that reminded me somewhat of a well-planned university. As we entered one of the buildings and doorways, the air was so hushed that I was actually startled to see people in the passageway.

I could not tell if they were men or women, old or young, for all were covered from head to foot in loose-flowing hooded cloaks which made me think vaguely of monks. But the atmosphere of the place was not at all as I imagined a monastery. It was more like some tremendous study center, humming with the excitement of great discovery. Everyone we passed in the wide halls and on the curving staircases seemed caught up in some all-engrossing activity; not many words were exchanged among them. And yet I sensed no unfriendliness between these beings, rather an aloofness of total concentration.

Whatever else these people might be, they appeared utterly and supremely self-forgetful – absorbed in some vast purpose beyond themselves. Through open doors I glimpsed at enormous rooms filled with complex equipment. In several of the rooms hooded figures bent over intricate charts and diagrams, or sat at the controls of elaborate consoles flickering with lights. Somehow I felt that some vast experiment was being pursued, perhaps dozens and dozens of such experiments.

And something more … In spite of His obvious delight in the beings around us, I sensed that even this was not the ultimate, that He had far greater things to show me if only I could see.

And so I followed Him into other buildings of this domain of thought. We entered a studio where music of a complexity I couldn’t begin to follow was being composed and performed. There were complicated rhythms, tones not on a scale I knew. ‘Why,’ I found myself thinking. ‘Bach is only the beginning!’

Next we walked through a library the size of the whole University of Richmond. I gazed into rooms lined floor to ceiling with documents on parchment, clay, leather, metal, paper. ‘Here,’ the thought occurred to me, ‘are assembled the important books of the universe.’

Immediately I knew this was impossible. How could books be written somewhere beyond the earth! But the thought persisted, although my mind rejected it. ‘The key works of the universe,’ the phrase kept recurring as we roamed the domed reading rooms crowded with silent scholars. Then abruptly, at the door to one of the smaller rooms, almost an annex: ‘Here is the central thought of this earth.’

‘Is this … heaven, Lord Jesus?’ I ventured. The calm, the brightness, they were surely heaven-like! So was the absence of self, of clamoring ego. ‘When these people were on earth did they grow beyond selfish desires?’

‘They grew, and they have kept on growing.’ The answer shone like sunlight in that intent and eager atmosphere. But if growth could continue, then this was not all. Then … there must be something even these serene beings lacked. And suddenly I wondered if it was the same thing missing in the ‘lower realm’. Were these selfless seeking creatures also failing in some degree to see Jesus? Or perhaps, to see Him for Himself? Bits and hints of Him they surely had; obviously it was the truth they were so single-mindedly pursuing. But what if even a thirst for truth could distract from the Truth Himself, standing here in their midst while they searched for Him in books and test tubes …

I didn’t know. And next to His unutterable love, my own bewilderment, all the questions I wanted to ask, seemed incidental. Perhaps, I concluded at last, He cannot tell me more than I can see: perhaps there is nothing in me yet that could understand an explanation.

It is this realm which removes forever the concept that we stop learning or progressing in knowledge when we die. I could call this realm the realm of research, or the mental realm or the realm of intellectual, scientific and religious knowledge. All would be correct.

This is the realm where I believe the souls go who have developed the greatest interest in a particular field of life’s endeavor, the ones who want to keep on researching and learning more in their particular fields. This gives hope to all people who want to keep learning and have established enough wisdom to realize we have just begun to scratch the surface in any field when we are on the Earth’s level of development.

I became aware that the Christ was watching some souls in their study of the universe’s religions and saw He did not judge any of them. They too were not judging the religions which they were studying but were interested in the many different ways the beings of the universe had attempted to come to understand their Creator. I suddenly realized how wrong it was for any of us on earth to judge another’s approach to God or to feel we have the only answers. The moment that realization came into my mind it was followed by His thought placed in my mind:

“You are right, for if I, LOVE, be lifted up, I shall draw all humanity unto Me. If you come to know the Father, you will come to know Me. If you come to know Me you will come to know that LOVE includes all beings regardless of their race, creeds or color.”

The city of God
The central fact, the all-adequate one, remained this Personality at my side. Whatever additional facts He was showing me, He remained every moment the real focus of my attention.

Up until this point I had had the impression that we were traveling – though in what manner I could not imagine – upon the earth itself. Even what I had come to think of as a ‘higher plane’ of deep thoughts and learning, was obviously not far distant from the ‘physical plane’ where bodiless beings were still bound to a solid world.

Now however, we seemed to have left the earth behind.

And then I saw, infinitely far off, far too distant to be visible with any kind of sight I knew of – a city. A glowing, seemingly endless city, bright enough to be seen over all the unimaginable distance between. The brightness seemed to shine from the very walls and streets of this place, and from beings which I could now discern moving about within it. In fact, the city and everything in it seemed to be made of light, even as the Figure at my side was made of light.

At this time I had not yet read the Book of Revelation. I could only gape in awe at this faraway spectacle, wondering how bright each building, each inhabitant, must be to be seen over so many light-years of distance. Could these radiant beings, I wondered, amazed, be those who had indeed kept Jesus the focus of their lives? Was I seeing at last ones who had looked for Him in everything? Looked so well and so closely that they had been changed into His very likeness? Even as I asked the question, two of the bright figures seemed to detach themselves from the city and start toward us, hurling themselves across that infinity with the speed of light.

Now this was surprising because this was the first realm in which the inhabitants could see the Christ and me. Even more amazing, they exuded light almost as brilliant as the Christ. As the two beings approached us, I could also feel the love flowing from them toward us. The complete joy they showed at seeing the Christ was unmistakable.

Seeing these beings and feeling the joy, peace and happiness which swelled up from them made me feel that here was the place of all places, the top realm of all realms. The beings who inhabited it were full of love. This, I was and am convinced, is heaven. As marvelous as I thought the previous realm was, after glimpsing this new realm we were seeing, I began to understand for the first time what Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 13 when he wrote: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”.

I do not infer that the wonderful souls of the fourth realm did not have love because they did but not to the degree that the souls of this realm had reached.

But as fast as they came toward us, we drew away. Desperately I cried out to Him not to leave me, to make me ready for that shining city, not to abandon me in this dark and narrow place. From that loneliest moment of my existence I had leapt into the most perfect belonging I had ever known. The Light of Jesus had entered my life and filled it completely, and the idea of being separated from Him was more than I could bear.

Then He did a startling thing. He opened a corridor through time which showed me increasing natural disasters coming upon this earth. There were more and more hurricanes and floods occurring over different areas of our planet. The earthquakes and volcanoes were increasing. We were becoming more and more selfish and self-righteous. Families were splitting, governments were breaking apart because people were thinking only of themselves. I saw armies marching on the United States from the south and explosions occurring over the entire world that were of a magnitude beyond my capacity to imagine. I realized if they continued, human life as we have known it could not continue to exist.

Suddenly this corridor was closed off and a second corridor started to open through time. At the beginning they appeared very similar but the further the second one unfolded, the more different it became. The planet grew more peaceful. Humanity and nature both were better. Humanity was not as critical of himself or others. He was not as destructive of nature and he was beginning to understand what love is. Then we stood at a place in time where we were more like the beings of the fourth and fifth realm. The Lord sent the mental message to me, “It is left to humanity which direction they shall choose. I came to this planet to show you through the life I led how to love. Without OUR FATHER you can do nothing, neither could I. I showed you this. You have 45 years.”

He then gave me orders to return to the human plane and mentally said, “You have 45 years.” I had no understanding at that moment what he meant by 45 years.

My throat was on fire and the weight on my chest was crushing me.

(Here George Ritchie’s death experience ends and he returns to earthly life.)

A commentary
Across the ages, as He did in the Garden of Eden, God still calls out to man, “Where are you, Adam?” The churches have not explained our potential as “gods”, with our God-given creative power, and how necessary it is for us to be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God when we use this power. Quoting Psalms 82:6, Jesus asked, “Is it not written in your law, I said, you are gods?” St. Irenaeus, a famous early Christian leader stated that God became a human being in order that human beings might become God. I would change what he said only to the degree that I would say that Jesus showed us the God that God, our Father created us to be.

Instead the churches lead us to believe that the church was given the authority to decide who was going to heaven, and that those who didn’t join their particular denomination were going to hell. This is incongruous with the teachings of Jesus, the Christ, who told us the tale of the Prodigal Son not only to help us understand the love and forgiveness of God but to help us understand that the Prodigal Son is the cosmic tale of each and every human being. We have all forgotten that we are sons and daughters of the most high God; that our spiritual side, the soul of man, needs to return to have total fellowship with the Father. To do this we have to come to ourselves and realize that in this human plane of existence, our human, selfish side has led us down the road of materialism and of living only for ourselves, which caused us to turn away from our Father and our divine destiny and forget who we are. It caused our spiritual death.

Jesus went on the cross to show us that we must die to this human egotistical side in order to let the soul of man, which has carried the knowledge of who it is and from whence it came, come to life and into control.

This is our Ultimate Destiny, to reach out and begin to communicate with the Christ, so that He can lead us back to being alive (i.e. into that perfect union with our Father) and let Him pass His love and thinking through us to one another. We must come to know the living resurrected Christ within us, and depend on passing His love to one another and to God, because our human love isn’t enough. When we recognize this truth, then, like the Prodigal Son Jesus told about, we will have “come to ourself”; that is, we will come alive, and will decide to go home, for we will know that even being a servant in our Father’s household is better than being dead spiritually, the way we have been living.

Then, with the Christ, the Holy Spirit and our Father – all of us joined together – we shall be helping to create a universe and no long a diverse.

This is what I believe Jesus meant when He said, “And I shall draw all humanity to myself, when I am lifted up from the Earth.” Christ showed us that He had to go through the death of His physical self in order for the resurrection of His spiritual self to take place. I think that His death on the cross also symbolized that we must realize we are dead before we can be raised up by the resurrected Christ within us. I find it hard to believe that in our present state of spiritual death we can conquer our self-centered lower physical nature without going through the death and surrender of our will as did Jesus on the cross. I can say from the Risen Christ’s having conducted me through four realms of life after death, that in the highest realm, He showed me beings who had followed His teachings and were now resurrected into spiritual beings who were like Him when it came to the love, light and life they put forth.

I believe Jesus did not incarnate just to die for our sins, but that He also lived and died to show all of humanity, regardless of race, creed, or color, how much God our Father loved us. He expects us to do the same thing. When we come to realize this, then He will truly be lifted up for we shall be keeping the great commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Our destiny is not only to come to know and rise above our human side, but, by following His example of dying to self, to come to know and activate, or bring to life, our spiritual side, which He showed was in every man, woman, and child. He showed us how to die to self and how to rise from the dead and ascend into our higher self, life.

I’m not saying that we have to make a sacrificial death on a cross as Jesus did. I am saying that we have to reach the place where we are willing to face the death of our self-centered nature so that our higher spiritual nature can gain control. I believe that being willing to follow such a total surrender to God’s Will will bring about a resurrection and ascension of the transformed self, which can change a world into a heaven on earth. He started this transformation first in Himself to show what can happen to all who would follow Him. It changed Him and all who followed Him because He surrendered His will to God our Father, who, He showed, is pure LOVE. Our destiny is to do the same thing in order to survive and change our world. His commission wasn’t just to teach and show us how to reach the highest realm, heaven, but rather how to create heaven on earth.

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