A Little Lessons viewer recently posed the question, “What About Near Death Experiences?” Near Death Experiences are fascinating, but are they supported by the Bible? Learn more in this new Little Lessons series!
What About Near Death Experiences? (Part 1)
As Christians, we of course believe that when the body dies the spirit lives on, and the spirit is a person. It’s almost universally described by people that have near death experiences that they say, “I came out of my body and I looked down and I saw the doctors trying to get me to come back to life, pumping my heart,” or, “at the scene of the car accident I looked down and saw,” and they describe these things later on, they describe things that they could only have seen from an elevated vantage point.
It certainly seems to give some credibility that they did leave their body and that there is a spiritual realm, which the Bible teaches. Right? Right. That the spirit is the hidden person of the heart as the Bible calls him or her. The inward man. The outer man is perishing, the inner man is being renewed day by day. This is all biblical.
Well, if your body becomes an unfit container temporarily for some reason for your spirit, what we might define as physical death, well no doubt, the spirit goes out. I’ve heard testimonies over the years (I’ve been a Christian for 40-some years) of people who left their body and actually ascended up to Heaven and that God said something like, “It’s not your time. You have to go back.” In every case when I’ve heard them tell those testimonies, they’ll all say the same thing. “I said, I don’t want to go back. It’s too wonderful here. I’d like to stay.” “Sorry, you’ve got to go back.” Reluctantly, they found themselves back in their body and back in the ER, and the doctor is saying, “All right, they’re breathing now.”
But, what about near death experiences of non-Christians, even those who have no profession of faith in Jesus Christ have had near death experiences, and they often describe this tunnel of light and going down this tunnel. Maybe even feeling the sense of this other great being that is warmth and love. Often, what they come back with then is this feeling of, “There’s no judgment. It’s going to be all right, because I was headed towards this warm being. It must have been God, and I wasn’t feeling any negative vibes. It gave me less fear of death.” That often is a stickler for Christians, because Scripture says it’s appointed for men to die once and then comes judgment. We believe based on nothing less than Scripture itself and the words of Jesus Christ as well as His holy apostles. Right? There’s a judgment coming.
Now, what’s the timing of that judgment? God never said in His word that within a millisecond of when your heart stops beating, that bingo, you now find yourself standing before the judgment throne. No, no. There obviously can be a time elapse between death and judgment. How long that time might be, I don’t know. No one knows. It could be different for different people. Who knows? Who knows these things? But, the whole idea of a non-Christian feeling warmth and love, and therefore that mitigating their fear of death and of a God of wrath and judgment, I think that’s a false assumption. Okay, because God is love.
In fact, the reason He’s a God of judgment and even wrath is because He’s a God of love. We’re talking about God who knelt before 11 men one time and washed their feet. This is a very loving God. A God who then, shortly after He washed their feet, died on the cross as a substitute for their sins so that they could have eternal life. Not just them, but everybody who might believe in Him. I mean, when the Bible says God is love, I’m almost tempted to say that that’s like the understatement of the century, but there’s no words to describe that kind of love on any human level because there’s nobody on earth that loves like that. Right? Right.
All right, so I’m not surprised that people sense the love of God as they feel like they’re approaching His presence. But, this is also a God who wept over Jerusalem’s rejection of Him. Oftentimes, we think that God is angry, and He does get angry. Now, we’re not taking away from His wrath and all of the scriptures that talks about His anger. But, there’s still another component here. God weeps. Jesus wept over Jerusalem. God weeps. He laments, mourns for those who reject Him. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, the Bible tells us. That’s God. That’s God.
I can imagine that people could be standing before God at His judgment, sensing His love, but also then getting a revelation as He begins to speak to them with a great sadness, “I gave you your entire life. I tried to reach you every day of your life through your conscience, convicting you of your sins so you’d be ready for this day. I did a continual magic show before you, macro and micro magic show. Millions of things that were just amazing mysteries that no one can explain that were before your eyes every day and in your body every day. You just ignored me. You don’t get eternal life, because I made a way for you to have eternal life. I died on the cross, that was not important to you. Depart from me, you who practiced lawlessness into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.” I don’t see God clapping with joy at that, and angels doing back flips saying, “Woo hoo, we get to burn another one.” No, no, no. God is love.
If you’ve heard of someone having a near death experience and they say, “Well, it was all love and warmth and so forth, but I’m not a Christian,” well, that doesn’t discount the Bible or that Jesus came and that Jesus died on the cross, and He was a real person and He spoke those words that are recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and that this is real and that there is a judgment to come. But, it’s by a loving God who’s going to render to every person according to their deeds. If you don’t get mercy and get all your bad deeds erased by putting your faith in Jesus Christ, well then, all that’s left is to get what you deserve. What do you deserve? You’ve been sinning all your life, ignoring God, doing your own thing. You know, the theme song in Hell is Frank Sinatra’s famous song “I Did It My Way.”
Okay, so those are my thoughts on near death experiences. I could tell about near death experiences I’ve heard about, but it’s extra-biblical. A lot of times, it does fit into the Bible. I love it. I love those things, but I’m sticking with the Bible. If someone gives me a near death experience that contradicts that, sorry. I’m going to stick with the Bible. Okay, I think I’ll talk about this one more time in our next Little Lesson. Thanks for joining me. Hope to see you next time.
What About Near Death Experiences? (Part 2)
We’re going to keep talking about what we were talking about in the last Little Lesson about near death experiences that have actually been studied scientifically of course, by getting the testimonies of people who have had them.
And it’s fascinating stuff. And boy, a lot of it is just totally consistent with the Bible, because the Bible teaches that there is life after death. And when you’re dead, you’re not dead like a dog. You enter into another realm, but you’re conscious and so forth. And the Bible teaches that. And the Bible teaches that you are a spiritual being and that this is the container. This is the earth suit, and this earth suit gets too old and is not a good container. Out goes the spirit.
And as you know, the Bible talks about going to stand before God. So, a lot of people have had near death experiences where they say things like, “As I came out of my body, I looked at them pumping my heart on the ER table, and I started ascending upwards… And I saw this great light.”
Well, that’s biblical. God is Light. And they say, “I felt this immense warmth, this love.” Well, God is love, okay? But they didn’t get all the way to judgment. I read a story one time, the doctor’s name was Maurice Rawlings, and this was a book, I must’ve read it 30 years ago, about his near death experience. And I believe it was an accident. He fell out of a window or something or other, or off of a ladder and died for so long, but was ultimately resuscitated.
But he had this marvelous experience of actually walking towards this celestial city. And I’ll never forget, he described it as walking in this field with all these flowers. And he said, “I’m just walking. Look at these beautiful flowers.” And then he became conscious of the idea that, “Oh my goodness, I’m stepping on these flowers and crushing them. And he looked down, he looked behind him, and there were no crushed flowers. So he kept walking and he sees that the flowers come up into his feet. He was a spirit, so he wasn’t causing any material damage to the flowers. And he said, “Anytime I had a question about something, I immediately had the knowledge of the answer.”
And he said, “I was hearing this music in the city and it was this beautiful music like I never heard before in my life. Nothing on earth. I can’t even describe it to you, but I noticed there was something distinctively different,” and he said, “As I wondered, what is it that’s different about this music,” he said, “Oh, there’s no beat. There’s no rhythm.”
Of course, all music has rhythm, right? It could be slow, medium, or fast. Well, I shouldn’t say all music, but most music has rhythm. If it doesn’t have rhythm, it’s probably not considered music by most of us. So he was hearing this music, and then the question came to his mind, “Why isn’t there a beat to this music? I can’t discern any kind of tempo or rhythm.” And he immediately had the answer, because there’s no time here and you cannot divide. And you can’t divide it. You can’t divide time unless there’s time to divide.
And he told other interesting things about that. So anyways, I said all that actually to lead up to what I think was one of the most interesting things in that book. And again, this is all just his own testimony. So, it’s not the Bible, but it doesn’t contradict the Bible. So, it makes for interesting stuff.
Either it happened to him as a doctor or someone else he knew, but a person died on the operating table, and they came back, were resuscitated temporarily, screaming. I mean, with terror. “Save me, don’t let me die. I’m going to hell. It was terrible.” I mean, they just scared the willies out of anybody in that operating room. And I think they lost him again and he came back again screaming in terror, “Please say my life, don’t let me die and go to hell,” and it was just terrible.
But they eventually got this guy back and stabilized, and then got them out of the room and put him in recovery and all. And so this doctor, it was either Dr. Rawlings or somebody else, I don’t know if he was relating the story, or it happened to him himself, but he or that other doctor later went to this person who had this near death experience to ask him, “Can you describe to me that terrifying experience? What did you see? What did you experience?”
And the guy couldn’t remember any of it. He said, “What? What are you talking about? I don’t remember anything like that.” So just like you can have a dream and totally forget. Well, we all have dreams we totally forget. They say every night. Sometimes you remember them if you wake up, being startled or something.
But most times you don’t remember your dreams. And so it’s possible to have these mental images and then have no recount, no historical memory of them. And Dr. Rawlings’ theory was that this was so traumatic to this person that they blocked it out of their mind altogether. He says, “But in the operating room, it gave all of us the willy-nillies, because this guy was terrified.”
Okay, so he postulated that maybe the reason that we don’t have more of those types of testimonies of people who died and who experienced something that wasn’t so pleasant is because those who have such terrible experiences, if they survive, block the experience out. Again, they’re just postulating. But again, as I said in our last lesson, I’m sticking with the Bible.
I’m fascinated by anyone’s near death experience. I would have loved to have asked Lazarus who was dead for what, four days? Well, what was it like? I was just reading the story the other day and I thought, why didn’t John, the guy who told the story of Lazarus’ resurrection, why didn’t he say, “Oh, I interviewed Lazarus to find out where he went and what it was like.”
You know, that’s so interesting. How could you leave that out of the story? I don’t know. But regardless, there’s life after death. I would say that by the testimony of thousands of people who have had NDEs, near death experiences, it’s proven. And to say that these people all have the same similar experience because their brain is going through a chemical process, come on. You know, my brain’s going through a chemical process and I look down and I see the doctors pumping my heart? And I can describe it later on in great detail? Things I would not have known as an unconscious patient lying there?
Just seems to me like there’s some evidence here that ought to be considered by people who don’t believe. And it would do them well to ponder, well, what’s going to happen to me after I die? And you might want to check into what Jesus had to say, because He’s the most unique individual in all of history, right? He claimed to be God. He claimed to have existed from eternity. He made heaven, and so he is an authority on this subject. He made us, right? So we might want to check in with him to see what he has to say on this very important topic.
Okay, all right, thank you so much for joining me on this Little Lesson. Hope to see you next time. God bless you.