"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Near-Death Experiences: Do People Really See Heaven and Then Come back?
I have been appalled by the number of books and videos on Amazon that supposedly describe the experience of people who have died, been to heaven, and then returned to the world of the living. There is also a video being promoted by the 700 Club on the subject. I won't list any title, because I don't want to promote awareness of them.
However, I must express my concern about such books, even if they are true, and not the mere commercial inventions that I suspect them to be.
Jesus tells a story (Luke 16:19-31): "There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.And
he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to
dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in
anguish in this flame.’But
Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your
good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is
comforted here, and you are in anguish.And
besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in
order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and
none may cross from there to us.’And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'"
I especially want to focus on verse 31: "He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the
Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the
dead.’" Here we have the testimony that people will not be converted by such stories, if they reject the testimony of the Bible, which is the divinely-appointed means of conversion (John 17:17). I also think of the words on Paul, in II Corinthians 12:1-4, especially verse 4: "...things that cannot be told, which man may not utter." In this passage, he describes a man, unnamed but known to Paul, who has such an experience, but was forbidden to repeat what he heard while he was in heaven. If that man was forbidden to speak, why does God allow all of these other people to publish their supposedly-same stories? I say "supposedly" because I am sceptical of them, not only on the bases that I mention here, but also because of the screwy theology promoted by so many of these books, especially the frequent New Age spin given them.
It is obvious that I cannot forbid anyone to write, much less purchase, these books. However, I can urge you to consider what the Scriptures say on the matter, and avoid them as unbiblical deceptions.
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43