Introduction: From the inside flap of a book called Life After Life, somebody who had a near-death experience wrote this: “I had a floating sensation … and I looked back and I could see myself on the bed below.” “I went through this dark black vacuum at super speed.” “From the moment the light spoke to me, I felt really good — secure and loved.” “I heard a voice telling me what I had to do — go back — and I felt no fear.” “It opened up a whole new world for me — I kept thinking, ‘There’s so much I’ve got to find out.'”
Near-death experience is when someone is declared clinically dead or close to death and see visions of light, warmth sensations, angels, heaven or anything that may have to do with the after-life.
According to a Gallup poll, approximately eight million Americans claim to have had a near-death experience.The term “near death experience” (NDE) was coined in 1975 in the book Life After Life by Raymond Moody, MD. Maybe you or someone you know says they have had a near-death experience? What does the Bible have to say?
1. Did Stephen Have A Near-Death Experience?
The answer is no, but let me tell you why.
Acts 7:54-61 says,
“When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Stephen was the first martyr of the church and he sees Jesus standing up cheering him on. He was close to dying but not yet.
I don’t have any problems with someone saying they saw Jesus or the angels when they were passing away just as long as it doesn’t contradict Scripture.
Embraced By The Light by Betty Eadie was a huge bestseller book that came out in the 90’s. She said she died, saw God and came back to earth. There’s only one problem. She doesn’t believe Jesus is God and doesn’t believe he would judge anyone. That’s wrong. All judgment has been given to Jesus. She also writes: “Why are we here?” Our souls chose to come to the earth at certain times to be united with families that we had been soul mates with earlier in the spiritual realm, she explains. Perhaps her most intriguing insight regards the fall of humankind. “Eve did not sin because she was tempted but because she so desperately wanted to become the mother of mankind.”
2. Did Paul Have A Near-Death Experience?
Acts 14:19 says, “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.” I’m not sure whether Paul died here or not. The point is in 2 Cor. 12:1-4, he talks about being in the third heaven. He says that it is unlawful for anyone to speak about seeing the afterlife and then come back and talk about it.
When do I believe a person actually dies? That’s a tough question. Medically, sometimes doctors look to see if a person is brain dead. The Bible says that life is in our breath. We don’t know exactly when the spirit passes over onto the other side.
To comfort people who have loved ones who were Christians, I tell them that their spirit is with the Lord.
Some people who say they had a near-death experience really weren’t dead, they were still alive.
They usually describe it in one of two ways:
They died and are looking down at their body and see what is going on when the doctor told them they are medically dead.
They’re led through a long tunnel and there is light at the end of it. Then they have a feeling of confidence and freedom and they don’t want to come back because they see someone who comes through the light and then come back to life.
Now there are some logical explanations for people who were still alive who say they have had a near-death experience.
Have you ever been sleep deprived? Did you ever think you saw something but you didn’t?
Have you ever experienced vertigo? Is the room spinning? No. My senses are lying to me.
I don’t care what you experience because you’re senses will lie to you. So a lot of what people have experienced did happen to them by their senses.
3. Demons Can Look Like Angels Of Light
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” -2 Cor. 11:14
Satan would love to create near-death experiences for unbelievers. He wants unbelievers to not fear death and not need Christ as Savior.
Near-death experiences have entered into evangelical bookshops. For example, there is a book called Heaven Is For Real. It’s about a four year old boy who during surgery said that he died and entered heaven. He said that when he awoke, he talked about his miscarried sister and great-grandfather who no one had talked about with him. He knew details of what the doctors were doing to him and how his dad who is a Methodist pastor was praying for him.
Question: How do people know stuff like this? The answer is that demons are real and can carry knowledge from one person to another.
There are documented cases of babies born speaking profanity.
In India, I know of a missionary who has a video of witch doctors stabbing themselves with knives and there is no harm done.
Demons are real and can appear to be angels of light.