By Kevin R. Williams
Webmaster of www.near-death.com
Nothing Better Than Death:
Insights from Sixty-Two Profound Near-Death Experiences
Copyright © 2002 by Kevin R. Williams.
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Edited by Glenn Williams
To my beloved Mother, Phyllis Scofield, whose tragic death during the writing of this book, taught me a lesson about life and death that I had never known before.
Although death brings overwhelming tears of joy to those who cross over, it also brings overwhelming tears of sorrow to surviving family and friends.
This is true even for those who have, at the same time, overwhelming tears of joy knowing that there is nothing better on Earth than being dead.
Author’s note: Throughout this book, the near-death experience will be referred to as the “NDE.”
It all begins for us at birth. We are thrust from the womb onto the carousel of life, carried away in a blur of activities from childhood to adulthood and then to old age. Each of us have our dreams, our relationships and we go to school; we work and play, day after day, week after week, year after year. Life is certainly busy.
And yet we tend not to think about the fact of our inevitable death. It's kind of scary. It doesn't seem to make any sense that we will no longer exist as we know it. The fact is we will die and there is no way to avoid it. Like the child being born, we have no choice but to yield ourselves to the unknown.
Like the seventy billion who have already passed this way through life, we will join their ranks at the rate of 130,000 a day. And in that same day, 400,000 new lives will be born. The cycle of life and death continues at an ever-increasing pace.
The fear of death has given rise to a host of speculations about an afterlife.
Religions, philosophies and cults have multiplied over the millennia, all trying to answer our need for comfort about this seemingly absurd fate that awaits each of us. And now science has turned its gaze toward the matter of death.
Beginning in the mid-1970s, noted researchers such as Raymond Moody, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Kenneth Ring, P.M.H. Atwater, Michael Sabom, and Melvin Morse, have brought the subject of NDEs to the popular front.
In 1981 and again in 1991, George Gallup Jr. conducted a poll on close brushes with death. He was astonished to find out that some 8 to 12 million people in the United States have had an NDE. This is a population about the size of New York City. NDE researchers speculate that the figures may even be higher since the experiencer is often reluctant to talk about it.
– NORMAN VAN ROOY from his documentary, Shadows: Perceptions of Near-Death Experiences, Part 1 (1994)
Socrates had this to say about death: “To fear death is nothing other than to think oneself wise when one is not. For it is to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not even turn out to be the greatest blessings of human beings. And yet people fear it as if they knew for certain it is the greatest evil.”
Thousands of years later, NDEs are showing us that death is indeed the greatest blessing of human beings. According to a great number of people who have had an NDE, there is nothing better than death.
One experiencer, Dianne Morrissey said, “If I lived a billion years more, in my body or yours, there's not a single experience on earth that could ever be as good as being dead. Nothing.”
Such insights into life after death are intriguing to say the least. After years of researching the NDE and gathering various accounts from books and visitors to my website (www.near-death.com), I have collected a few of the most profound of these insights to profile in this book.
I first learned of the NDE in the early 1970's after reading the groundbreaking book by Raymond Moody, Life After Life. His findings were a major factor in inspiring my own research into the NDE. Since then, I have read every major work concerning the phenomenon and many of the not so well known ones as well. As a result, I have developed a deep love for things concerning the NDE and the afterlife in general. Because of this deep love for these things, I am committed to bringing to the world the truths I have discovered about life after death.
Many of these truths are universal. You will find these truths even speak to your heart and tell your mind of their truthfulness. Because many of these truths are universal, practical and of “common sense”, I am confident they are in fact true.
Before learning of the NDE, I became a fundamentalist Christian. This brand of Christianity is known for believing the NDE to be “of the devil.” As my knowledge of the NDE grew, I came to realize from what I researched the fact that God is not limited only to just those who profess the Christian faith. The NDE expanded my mind into understanding the vastness of God's love for all people, no matter what their religious or cultural persuasion. Since then, my heart has been burdened to reach Christians all over the world, to show them the truth of the NDE in order to increase their faith as well. The purpose of this book is not to promote religion, but to promote the great truths and spirituality found in the NDE. One of these truths is 9
that God is not limited to any one religion or even religion at all. God cares only about a person's heart, not a person's religious affiliation or church membership.
The NDE reveals that the way to heaven is through love because love is God.
Love is not limited to only one religion or culture because love is universal. This truth is too immense and profound to be fully understood or embodied in any one religion.
I am not the source of these truths. I consider myself a person who has picked the most beautiful flowers from other people's gardens to create one of my own.
Neither the gardeners nor I matter much, but it is the flowers themselves that matter most and the life force making them so lovely.
Read this book with an open mind and heart. The information in this book has the power to transform your life. You will find you do not need to have an NDE in order to be transformed by the NDE. Within these pages, you will find the truth of the NDE is already within yourself.
I first learned of spiritual concepts at a very early age from my grandparents Walter and Marie Williams, who taught us Sunday school lessons in the Nazarene Church.
They planted the seed of love for the spiritual that has, over the decades, grown into a tree of life. I am deeply indebted to them and their love. They taught me at an early age the love of Jesus, which has never left me. Now, in their advanced age, it is I who am caring for them out of love. Without their early guidance, I am not sure where I would be today.
I want to acknowledge my father, who taught me the true meaning of being a Dad; my mother, who is now in heaven with her father and Jesus; my brothers and sisters, who taught me companionship from a very early age. I especially want to acknowledge my brother Glenn, who lead me to spirituality at a time I really needed it. An excellent writer and editor, he has supported my research by editing this book, for which I am truly grateful. Without his help, this book would have been extremely more difficult to produce. Although my siblings and I ultimately have embraced different religious philosophies, it is the love binding us together I cherish most. I thank them for the love and support they have given me.
I would also like to acknowledge Dr. Stephen Hoyer, who provided me the neardeath experience of the late May Eulitt and also recommended to me Xlibris as a publisher. I must also acknowledge those NDE researchers who have had a tremendous influence on my life. As mentioned earlier, Dr. Raymond Moody's groundbreaking work, Life after Life, was responsible for me becoming interested in NDEs. Dr. Kenneth Ring has been a big help with his research and has graciously allowed me to use a large amount of his material for my website. I thank P.M.H. Atwater, whose work I greatly admire, for listing my website in her
Complete Idiot's Guide to Near-Death Experiences – a book I have deemed “Book of the Year” on my website.
I would also like to thank all the experiencers who selflessly allowed me to profile their profound experiences. These include Linda Stewart, May Eulitt, David
Oakford, Rene Turner, Karen Schaeffer, Ricky Randolph, Kerry Kirk, Brian Krebs and Joni Maggi. I am forever indebted to these individuals.
Over the last several decades, I have read literally thousands of published NDEs. Of these, I have found sixty-two which I believe to be the most profound. What makes these experiences so profound are the tremendous insights they give into the nature of life and death.
The NDE reveals the true meaning of life and it is this: we are here to learn to love. This world is part of a divine university of higher learning where learning to love is what life is all about.
The NDE suggests that life and love itself is what many people identify as God. Love is the power holding all things in the universe together. Love is where we came from and love is where we will return. Love is the law of the universe.
The NDE reveals the importance of learning the many lessons of love. One of the most important lessons learned by experiencers is that practicing unconditional love is the method by which we can return to our divine origins – that is, heaven. It does not matter what religious affiliation you belong to. Merely to love someone is to receive a glimpse of heaven. Through love, heaven begins inside you here on earth. The best way to get to heaven is to take it with you through the love you have given and received in life. Hell is the spiritual condition of being separated from love. It begins here on earth and can be carried over after death.
Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
- R. W. Raymond
The following is one of those very rare NDEs shared by several people at the same time. An excerpt is described in the words of May Eulitt to Stephen Hoyer, Ph.D. from their book entitled “Fireweaver.”
During the fall of 1970, when I was 21 years old, I shared a neardeath experience with my cousin James and his best friend, Rashad, who was from India. Both young men were on a break from school and were staying with my family on our farm. One afternoon the three of us went to the cornfield to cut fodder. To get to the field we had to go through a metal gate, and we took turns climbing down to open and shut it. By late afternoon a storm started brewing in the west, and we decided to quit for the day. It was James' turn to open the gate, and as he did so, he reached up for my arm to climb back up onto the wagon. I was leaning the wrong way, and his weight pulled me toward him. Rashad grabbed my other arm to steady me, and we were in just this position when the lightening hit us. I saw the lightning sparkle along the top of the gate. The next thing we knew, we were in a large room or hall made of dark stone. The ceiling was so high and the gloom was so thick we couldn't see the top. There were no furnishings or wall hangings, just cold, black stone all around. I knew I should be afraid, but I just felt peaceful, floating along there in the gloom with my two friends in the great, dark hall. The stately walls of this place loomed above us and seemed to radiate both great power and also great masculinity. I remember thinking it would have suited King Arthur. It was at that point, I realized the three of us were united in thought and body. Images of Arthur came to me from James and Rashad. James saw only a comic version of the once and future king. Rashad seemed to [be] envisioning himself in the time of Arthur. As we all became conscious of each other's thoughts,
I suddenly knew James and Rashad better than I have ever known anyone else.
We realized there was light coming into the chamber from an archway at one end.
It was more than just light. It was a golden, embracing warmth. It gave off a feeling of peace and contentment more intense than anything we had ever felt. We were drawn toward it. We weren't talking, but we were communicating with each other on some other level, seeing through each other's eyes. As we came to the archway and passed through, we entered a beautiful valley.
There were meadows and tree-lined hills leading to tall mountains in the distance. Everything glistened with golden sparks of light.
We saw the sparkling lights were tiny, transparent bubbles drifting in the air and sparkled on the grass. We realized each tiny sparkle was a soul. To me, the valley appeared to be Heaven, but at the same time I knew James and Rashad were seeing it differently.
James saw it as the Gulf of Souls. Rashad saw it as Nirvana, and somehow we knew all this without speaking. The light began gathering at the far end of the valley, and slowly, out of the mist, a pure white being began to materialize. I saw an angel with a strong, bright face, but not like you'd usually imagine. She was closer to a strong, Viking Valkyrie. I knew she was the special angel watching over the women of my family, and I perceived her name to be Hellena. James saw this same being as his late father a career Naval officer, in a white dress uniform. Rashad perceived the being to be the Enlightened One, or Buddha.
The being spoke first to Rashad and welcomed him. He said Rashad's time on earth was done. He was worthy now of Nirvana. Rashad asked why James and I were there and was told that we were part of the reason why he was worthy of
Nirvana. His two great friends loved him so much they had willingly accompanied him on his last journey. At the same time, however, James received a different message. He had been worried about what his father would think about his antiwar protest activities, and his father told him he was proud of him for standing up for what he believed. He knew he was not a coward because a coward would not have made this journey with Rashad. I received yet another message in which
Hellena told me she was glad I had remembered the example of strength, honesty, wisdom, and loyalty taught to me by my family.
We spent what seemed like an eternity in this place as we talked to our separate yet joined entities. They said they appeared to us in this way because back in the real world we were physically joined when the lightning struck us. They said it also symbolized the joining of all religions and doctrines. They said I would live to see a new age of tolerance, where the souls and hearts of humanity would be joined as the three of us were.
The guides taught us that doctrine and creed and race meant nothing. No matter what we believed, we were all children joined under one God, and the only rule was God's true law - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We should treat all people as if they were a part of our soul because they were. All living things in the universe were connected to one another. They said soon humanity would mature enough to assume a higher place in the universal scheme of things, but until then we must learn acceptance and tolerance and love for each other. They said there would come a new age when people would not be able to endure seeing others homeless and hungry. We would realize that only by helping each other could we truly help ourselves.
Eventually we were told it was time to go. We would not be allowed to stay longer because it was not yet time for me or for James, only for Rashad. The enlightened one told Rashad he would have a little time before he returned to take care of his worldly affairs. James' father told him he would return to this place soon after Rashad, but the two of them had to go back for now so that I could. I said I would willing to stay here in this valley with them, but Hellena told me I had not fulfilled my destiny; I had children yet unborn.
We drifted slowly toward the archway. The pull became stronger and we were literally thrown back into the world. We floated for a while there, hovering above our bodies. Some of my cousins had been in the next field and had seen what happened. We saw them all come running to where we lay. James and Rashad's hands were still stuck to my arms. We saw my cousins pry their fingers loose so they could turn Rashad over to help him.
When our hands were pried loose, James and I reentered our bodies. We felt as if we were on fire, but it turned out we had only minor injuries. Rashad, it seemed, being on the end, had taken most of the charge. The doctors said the lightning had caused damage to his heart, lungs, and liver. He remained in the hospital for several weeks. During that time, tests revealed James had a brain tumor that would eventually claim his life.
As soon as Rashad could travel, James took him home to India. He offered to stay, but Rashad told him he wished solitude for his final time. Rashad took on the life of the Ascetic, in the Vedic tradition. He asked his wife to stay with her family because he wanted his last days to be spent in spiritual awakenings. About a year and a half later, on a cold day in January, Rashad returned to Nirvana. James and I knew when his soul left the world without being told.
James lived about three years after he found out he had the brain tumor. He gave most of his considerable inheritance to a charity that educated young people in India. I, on the other hand, have survived for another thirty years (so far) with the knowledge this experience I shared with my closest friends has been a guiding force in my life. I strive every day to meet my destiny, whatever it may be, with the same quiet dignity and resolution they showed when they met theirs. They have truly been my pathfinders, and I know the connection I shared with them so long ago is the same connection we all share. We just sometimes fail to realize it.
In the early summer of 1979, David Oakford was 20 years old and having problems dealing with his life situation. His childhood was not designed to enable him to properly deal with life in general. He had no self-esteem and everything he did to find peace within just did not work. He was pretty miserable and he felt lost and unloved. He turned to drugs and alcohol. He needed to find the peace within himself and he felt it calling him. It was at a party that David took an overdose of drugs and had an NDE. His NDE is one of the most profound you will ever read.
The following is an excerpt from David Oakford's NDE. You can read his entire account in his book entitled “Soul Bared.”
I laid down to use the stability of the earth in an effort to maintain a hold on reality. I knew I had to do that in order to be able to come back down.
The next thing I knew I was riding in my friend's car. I thought we went up north, crossed the Mackinaw Bridge and came back again. We rode past my childhood home and I saw my parents sitting on the porch.
I felt drawn to the trees. I could see and feel their strength. I saw their roots going deep into the ground. I mean I actually saw the tree roots physically reaching below the ground. I told my friends about the car ride after the experience and they told me the only place I went was to the chair they carried me to after I passed out on the porch.
I did wake up in the chair my friends say they put me in a bit later. When I woke up I could feel the organs in my body working, each one separately as well as all together. I could not see my friends anywhere. I could see in all the rooms of the house at the same time. The stereo was playing the Doors Absolutely Live album, except the volume was way too loud for me. Since I did not see any of my friends around I got up and tried to turn the music down, but could not. No matter what I did the music kept playing. I knew the stereo too. I had a real problem with the noise. It was tearing at me and I could not figure out why nor could I adjust the volume.
I called out to my friends and nobody came. I tried to unplug the stereo but that did not work either. Every time I tried to touch the cord to unplug it I could not grasp it. It just kept on playing “LA Woman” and the sound rattled my very being.
I ran all over the house calling for my friends, yelling repeatedly that the music was too loud but I was not heard. I pleaded for the music to be turned down. I tried to go outside but I could not feel the doorknob. I could see the daylight outside but could not go outside. I ended up hiding in the bathroom in an unsuccessful attempt to escape the noise. I looked in the mirror and could not see myself. That frightened me greatly.
I went back into the family room and saw my body sitting in the chair. It looked like I was sleeping. I wondered how I could be looking at myself. I got a bit scared then because I could see me from outside of me, from all different angles except from the inside angle I was used to seeing myself.
I was alone. I was confused and very scared. I tried to get back into my body but could not. I could not touch the ground either. I was floating. I rose up into a spot above my body and kind of just hung there. I could no longer move. I called out for help and nobody came. I tried to go out the door but like the stereo I could not touch the doorknob. I was scared and alone and did not know what to do. I did not understand what was happening to me.
I asked God to help me. I did believe in God then, but I was kind of angry at him because of the crappy life I was experiencing. I reasoned if God were really the omnipotent and omniscient being I was taught he was he would not have let me experience the pain I had experienced throughout my life. I thought if there was a time I needed God, it was now! I was not disappointed with the result of my plea for help.
I looked over by the door to the outside and saw a beautiful being standing there. His feet did not touch the floor. His feet just blended into thin air. He looked both female and male and was young. I could not tell his/her sex. His hair was curly and he was about my height. He had this glow about him too. The glow was green close to him, then blue, then pure white in the upper areas. He said, “I am here to help you” but when he spoke his mouth did not move. I did not actually hear him speak with my ears. I felt what he was saying.
When I saw this being and he spoke to me, I was no longer afraid. I actually felt peace and comfort like I had never felt before. I felt the peace I was searching for throughout my entire life. The feeling was very familiar to me, like I had felt it before but not in this life.
This wonderful being called me by a name I do not remember. I told him he must have the wrong guy and the name he used for me was not my name. He laughed and said I was a great “master” and I had just forgotten who I was. I did not believe him, because I did not really know for sure what a “master” was then and if I were this great master I would not have had all the problems I had. I felt I was an evil being because that is what I was told in my life several times by many.
He told me his name, but I do not remember it. He told me he had been with me always and told me he knew I had a very hard life and he would help me understand why if I really wanted to. He told me he would help me remember who
I am. He said he would understand if I did not believe him and offered to prove to me he knew everything about me.
He told me things I did when I as a child proving to me he was always with me. He told me about things I had only thought about. He told me I could go anywhere I wanted to go and he would show me how to do it if I wanted him to. He said that if
I needed to come back and see my body I could. My body would be fine because I was still connected to it somehow.
When we spoke to each other we did so telepathically. The expression on his face was a happy one all the time.
I told him I would like to see the pyramids in Egypt as well as the southwest United States. He told me all I had to do was trust him, think about where I wanted to go, and we would go. I thought about the pyramids and we were there in an instant. I do not know why I chose the pyramids, the thought just popped into me so I went with that. While we were there he told me some things about the pyramids and
Egypt I do not remember now. I really wish I could remember what he explained while we were there because I do know it was highly significant and had to do with humanity's future. The energy was the lowest in areas where there were manmade structures, the cities of the world. The energy I saw came from the human beings living in the cities. It was explained to me that humans are the basic producers of energy in cities because of their relatively low vibration level the energy is lower in general. I could see the higher sources of energy in the cities though. I was shown people who had higher energy levels and some of them actually talked to the being I was with. I saw dark souls during the time the being and I spent on Gaia. The dark souls were earthbound spirits who refuse to go to the light. They prey on the energies of humans still in human form and try to use those souls to prevent the evolution of spirit. I was told I was protected from these dark ones as long as I chose to focus on the love in me. The dark ones did not even try to affect us, in fact they gave us nasty looks and went away. I was told I would know these dark ones when I see them and I was told to tell them to go to the light. The light is a porthole to the place all souls go if they choose.
I could see energy around the humans too, all different levels and colors. The being explained the human energy to me. He said the energy coming from humans is what spirits use to evaluate the spiritual condition of particular humans.
He said the lighter and more brilliant the color the more advanced the spirit is. He said seeing the “aura” around a spirit is useful in determining how much a particular spirit needs to work on his development. He said the higher beings know where to go and what to do to help an earthbound soul so they may advance themselves if they so choose. He told me all souls have this energy, this is why I could see it on every human I saw. He said I was of the same energy type as he but my vibration is lower when I am in human form and in time my energy would raise to match his intensity provided I chose to take the initiative to consciously evolve my soul.
He told me there is much to this planet that spirits can see which humans do not see with their eyes because their vibrations are so low. He showed me life in the trees that I could see as a spirit but could not see in my human form.
He explained that beings of higher vibration do live on earth but they are not human, they are part of earth itself. He explained these beings were the caretakers of physical life on the planet. He said these beings take care of what we call nature. There are beings taking care of the plant life, the mineral life and the waterborne life. These lower echelon beings work together to ensure that all aspects of nature is protected and remains healthy. When the planet was evolving, these ethereal beings were the ones keeping the balance of nature.
He explained to me that the planet we call earth really has a proper name. He told me the earth is really called “Gaia”. He said Gaia has its own energy and that Gaia is really a true living being. I asked if this energy could be seen and he said that we have to be away from Gaia to appreciate and see it. He said humans are the ones who can manipulate Gaia's energy through their choices. He said if humans choose to live in harmony with the energy on Gaia, it is good for Gaia. He said if humans abuse Gaia, they hurt Gaia by altering its energy structure. I was given an example of how humans have deforested the planet and reduced the energy available faster than it could be replenished. He said Gaia was very strong but has been weakened considerably since humans have chosen to use the resources in a manner inconsistent with the laws of the universe.
I asked him if we could go into space and see Gaia's energy and he said yes. He said there were no limits on where we could go. I concentrated my thought, trusted, and we then went into what is known as space.
Away from this planet I could see Gaia all at once. It was so beautiful. I could see the aura around Gaia. The aura affected me greatly. I felt a deep love for this beautiful place. I could hear Gaia move and was told the sound was the energy flowing in and out of Gaia. My special being told me that Gaia is the most unique planet because it is designed for humans to live on forever. It was created for spirit to play, learn, and grow. He said the balance of nature on Gaia allows spirit to be in human form when a spirit lives in harmony with nature.
Nature exists to compensate for the decreased vibration and was created for spirits to adapt enough to adjust and be in the physical human body while still having access to energy that will help them advance. He explained that humans were designed by God to live eternally on Gaia and are not supposed to “die”. He said “dying” is a human created earth term meaning little in the world of spirit. The reason humans supposedly die is that they have fallen away from the balance of nature and allow themselves to be affected by what they create that violates the natural laws of the universe. He said humans have fallen away from living in balance with nature. He said they must relearn about the harmonic balance if they want to survive as a race and live on Gaia forever. He said it was still possible for humans to learn about this harmony and it is the next overall goal of humans on Gaia. I was told humans would eventually realize they must restore the harmony but great damage will be inflicted before humans will fully realize what they have been doing to Gaia and work to reverse what they have done.
We traveled past all of the planets in our solar system. Near each planet I could hear the energy just like on Gaia. I saw the auras around each one of them too. I saw spirits on all of them as well. My friend told me all planets are places for spirits to live, learn and thus evolve. I saw great cities on each and every one of those planets. It was explained that other life in the universe is not readily seen because the beings were all of higher vibration and most spirits in human form have yet to attain the higher vibration required to see them.
The being told me each planet has a theme for learning and any of them can be chosen by a soul when we are between physical lives. He said we practice on the other planets to be ready to live on Gaia. He said Gaia is the ultimate experience for a soul. It is ultimate because our souls evolve faster here than anywhere else.
It was said the lessons we need to learn are difficult to learn without having a physical form.
He explained how we pick a physical life on Gaia. He explained to me I picked the parents I was born to so I could learn what I needed to learn to grow enough to come back and do spirit work on Gaia after I attain a certain level of growth. He said I was being told all of these things so I could help souls come together and return Gaia to harmony.
He explained some things to me about God that I do not remember. They had to do with the universe and the size and structure of it. I do remember he said God is not to be seen for he is everywhere. He told me God loves Gaia deeply, much as a man loves his wife.
He talked about Jesus too. He told me Jesus was a master God sent to earth to teach humans how to act toward each other and find their way back to the path of harmony with each other as well as with Gaia.
I was told Jesus is the being entrusted by God to ensure souls evolve. He said Jesus is of the highest in vibration than any other soul. He said God holds Jesus in the highest of favor because he was the best example of what humans need to do. I then got to see Jesus. I saw his light. Jesus' light was the purest I have ever seen. There was no need for words. There were only love feelings I cannot even begin to describe.
I was told that loving one another is what souls need to do in order for peace and harmony to be the standard on Gaia.
I was told there is a hierarchy in the universe dedicated to preserving the harmony of the universe. I was told humans are an integral part of this harmony and the free will we have is a part of souls allowing humans to provide service to the universe.
After he explained those things to me I was able to see our whole solar system all at once in full color. The planets were all in a line and I could see all of them from Pluto to the sun. I felt very blessed and very important. I was given this great gift and I did not really understand why. There I floated, a person who went out his way to inflict pain on other souls, yet I was never asked about what I had done. In fact I was given the honor of being given answers to questions most people wonder about all of their lives.
I thanked this loving being for explaining and showing me what he did. He told me there was more for him to show me if I was ready to experience it. I told him I was ready. I did not know why I was chosen but I was not about to question why. It just seemed small to me then.
We started to head back toward Gaia. We went to a place in the shadow of Gaia. It was a great city in the clouds. The city had these beautiful white buildings as far as I could see. I saw spirits living there all of which had vibration but no real physical body. These inhabitants went to and from the buildings - going to work and play too. I saw a place where spirits went to get what I thought was water.
There were no vehicles there. Spirits seemed to get around the same way my being and I got around, by flying.
The city had no boundaries I could see. This was a place full of life of all kinds. There was nature there, many pure plants, trees, and water just like on Gaia but more pure. Nature there was absolutely perfect. It was untainted by human manipulation. This place was just like Gaia only without the problems and negativity. I felt this was what is called heaven in earth terms.
I saw spirits going to and from the Gaia and the city. I could tell the development of the spirits going to and from by the energy they emanated. I could see that animals came to and from earth just like humans do. I could see many spirits leave Gaia with guides and could see spirits returning to Gaia without guides. The being told me some of the spirits passing were the ones doing the work with humans on Gaia. I could make out the type of spirits doing the work and the spirits coming to the great city to become replenished to eventually go back to Gaia to experience and further evolve. I could feel the emotions of the ones coming back for replenishment. I could feel some of them were sad, beaten and scared, much like I felt before my being came to me.
My being took me into one of the larger buildings. Inside I saw many spirits working. They were doing things similar to jobs on earth. When we walked by the spirits, they looked at me. I think they were checking me out because of the being I was with.
We went upstairs and I saw spirits that knew me. They greeted me and asked me how I was doing. They gave me advice that I do not remember. I thought I was going to be given a job there, but the being knew I thought that and told me there was something I needed to do first.
I was ecstatic. I was in heaven despite everything I had done during my life on Gaia. I was experiencing what most people only dream about. The love I felt there was the same love I felt when I saw Jesus. I had been searching on Gaia for what was really the same place I was in then. I was searching on Gaia for the feeling I had that very moment. I had found what I spent my whole life searching for. I was truly happy. I was home and I knew it. I was ready to stay and do whatever work I was given to do.
My being took me to another building that was special. It was bigger than the rest and had the greenest foliage I had ever seen growing on it, decorating it like a shrine. We went inside a set of double doors glowing with life. The inside was decorated with a wood paneling the being told me was “living” wood from the trees growing at this wonderful place. He led me to some big double doors and told me to wait on this bench while he went inside.
A bit later he came out of the room. He told me to go into the room and said he would wait for me and to not worry. He cautioned me to ensure I was truthful with the beings in the room. He said they were not judges, rather they were the ones who evaluated a soul's development based on a soul's history. He told me to remember who I was and to refrain from fear. I knew I had to leave this being sooner or later but I was glad he would wait for me. I was a little scared to leave him, but I felt I was protected and knew I would be protected here.
I went in and saw a group of several spirits seated at a table. The table was made of the glowing wood and was perfect in every way. The spirits around this table had the highest vibration I had seen so far with the exception of Jesus.
I looked at these beings and recognized them. I do not know where I recognized them from, but they all had a familiarity about them. They just looked at me.
All of a sudden, I saw my parents on earth before I was born. I saw how they came to be together and watched them have my brother and sister before me. I saw their positive and negative sides and evaluated them according to what I knew I needed to do on Gaia. The beings asked me how and why I picked these particular parents and asked me to tell them. They said I knew how and why I picked them and asked me to tell them why. I do not know where it came from but
I did tell them how and why and they agreed with me. I picked them to help them on their path as well as to achieve my learning.
I saw my soul go to my mother and go inside of her. I saw myself being born from an observer standpoint as well as having the actual experience. I proceeded to see my entire life from the observer point of view and from the points of view of those my actions affected. I felt the feelings they felt directly resulting from things I had done to them. I saw both the positive and the negative things I had done as they had truly happened; nothing was left out or presented inaccurately.
I experienced the harshness of being born again. I experienced leaving heaven and the transit to Gaia. I saw myself as a helpless infant who needed his mother for everything. I experienced my father's love as well as his anger. I experienced my mothers love, her fear and her anger as well. I saw all of the good and bad
from my childhood years and re-experienced what I had done then. I felt all of my emotions and the emotions of the souls I had hurt as well as loved. From all of this I learned it matters deeply what choices I make on Gaia.
I learned just how powerful we humans are and how we can affect each other in positive and negative ways. It was amazing to see how my innocent actions had such a powerful effect on souls I had no idea I was affecting. The experience was one I will never forget. I experienced the whole spectrum of feelings of my life in a relatively short period of time as we humans see it. Where I was, time did not really exist.
I could see how I became what I had become on Gaia and why I became that way. Everything I did in my life affected the evolution of the souls around me. I saw the reasons for all of my actions and understood why I did what I had done.
There was a place for all of my positive and negative actions. There was no action necessarily wrong, but there were actions I took that did not enhance positive growth. I was both a victim and a beneficiary of my actions. This was not a fun experience to go through. I could see how wonderful it could be if one chose to act to affect other souls positively most of the time.
Afterward, the beings in the room asked me questions about what I saw and how I felt about my life up to then. I knew I had to provide an honest assessment - I could not lie. I hesitated when they asked me whether I affected others more positively than negatively. I thought about lying.
These beings knew what I was thinking and I had to tell them I felt I could have done a better job on Gaia. I knew what I had come to Gaia to accomplish and was well on my way to doing that but I knew I was not finished yet. They agreed and told me that I still had many things to do and that I may want to go back and do them. I was told it was understood how difficult it would be for me but it was necessary for the universe for me to finish. They said it may be wise to go back and live my life how I had originally planned it. They said I had set lofty goals for my life on Gaia and the events in my life were achieving the goals I had set. They said I originally came to Gaia to learn and share with others using the gifts I have accumulated over several lifetimes. They said I am needed on Gaia to help souls bring themselves and Gaia back to harmony. They said I have great potential to affect other souls, to help them grow and Gaia is the best place to do that. I was told the events I had experienced thus far were preparing me to make a large contribution to the universe and my experiences were not to be considered personal attacks in any way. I did not want to accept it. I wanted to stay. I told them that. I told them I was tired and wanted to stay because life on Gaia is hard and unforgiving. I felt going back would be dangerous for the universe because I was not advanced enough in my spiritual evolution. They said that was precisely why it would be in my best interest to go back to Gaia. They said I was more advanced than I give myself credit for. They said it was possible for me to stay but
I would need to finish my work on Gaia sooner or later. The type of work I was destined for can only be done on Gaia. I could stay if chose to but I would only be prolonging the completion of what I needed to do for this universe. They explained the fastest way to finish my work would be to go back to Gaia as soon as possible.
I was stunned to say the least. I resorted to bargaining but it was no use. I still did not like living on Gaia and did not really want to go back. These beings understood me but remained firm. I had a decision to make that was really the hardest decision I would ever make.
I did come back to Gaia and am now living the life I was (later in the experience) told I would live. Believe it or not, I ended up shelving this experience away, classifying it as a really vivid “trip”. It was not until I evolved more that I realized the gift I was given.
I share this experience now because I feel it can, if so chosen, spur thought and foster choices affecting the planet in a positive way.
If I learned anything from this experience it was that every choice I make is duly recorded, noted and will return later, when I leave here again. My goal is to save people the pain I felt in my review and hasten the evolution of humans on Gaia, helping Gaia as well as the universe.
I am one who had a near-death experience and was given a choice to return to this planet in a physical sense again. I chose to return out of love for this planet - a love so great I would give up the slot I have “back home.” I did this also in order to help to heal the place through the sharing of what I was shown of the in between and through the choices I make, (hopefully loving and kind ones).
Without the free will to return I would not be here in the physical doing what I am doing. The physical pain, war, poverty, pestilence, horror, rape, murder, abandonment etc., etc., etc. which is here on this planet is the result of humans coming here and making their free choices in order to learn and evolve.
Unfortunately learning does tend to create a mess at times and the physical pain etc. is a part of that mess. It makes sense to me that the same free choice concept is instrumental in cleaning up the mess.
I liken it to camping and choosing to clean up or not clean up the mess one makes. If you choose to clean up your mess, this helps the planet to stay as is because one does not contribute to the mess. If one does not clean up it adds to the mess. If one cleans up his or her own mess and then some, it contributes to healing the planet.
In my near-death experience I was also shown there are many souls in “heaven” who are more than willing to come to this place regardless of the state it is in. I was shown if I did not choose to return I would be in the schools existing in heaven, working toward the growth I need to accomplish regardless of the form I am in. That was an attractive choice to be sure except I had a problem with how long it would take me to grow enough to do what my soul wishes to do. (I have a burning desire to experience other places in other universes and to do that I need to grow more.) The prerequisite for that is ensuring my soul has the IQ for it.
It is my understanding that a soul can choose to remain in heaven and operate on the level he/she (whatever) is on to infinity, but I seek more because I know without doubt there is more.
At any rate, the idea remains that for this place to start feeling and looking like heaven is to create the love felt there here. I would like to see that on this planet and I know it can be done. If I need to, I will come back here all over again to make it happen.
On February 1982 in Newcastle, Australia, Dr. Rene Turner left her optical instrument repair firm after a day's work. She got in her car and drove down the highway on her way home. As she came to a stoplight where a road crossed the highway, she slowed down to a stop. Here, her memory ends.
Her partner, who was riding with her, reports, “As we approached the lights, they changed to green. As we went into the crossing, the car aquaplaned and hit a large power pole just after the intersection. Stuart, who was laying on the mattress in the back of the panel van, was thrown forward into the back of Rene's head, driving her into the steering wheel.”
At the hospital, the professor of neurosurgery reported Rene's death to her parents and said they should be grateful because she would have been a vegetable had she survived. During this conversation, a young frightened nurse rushed into the office and blurted out, “She is alive! She sat up and spoke!” The professor chastised her for interrupting them and lectured her about how “dead bodies” can move and make noises.
But the nurse was emphatic; “She sat up and said, 'Don't give me any more drugs!'”
At this point, Rene's mother took the professor by his and Rene’s father’s elbow and marched them down the corridor. They found Rene in a back corridor where she had apparently been placed so the nurse could remove equipment prior to her transfer to the morgue. She was found in a deep coma and breathing. She remained that way for ten days.
The following is Rene Turner's NDE in her own words:
I don't know when the above events in my experience took place. I have no memory of the process of dying or leaving my body. I was moving headfirst through a dark maelstrom of what looked like black boiling clouds, feeling I was being beckoned to the sides, which frightened me. Ahead was a tiny dot of bright light steadily growing and brightened as I drew nearer. I became aware that I must be dead and was concerned for Mum and Dad and my sister, and somewhat upset with myself as I thought,
“They will soon get over it,” like it was, in passing, just a fleeting thought as I rushed greedily forward towards this light.
I arrived in an explosion of glorious light into a room with insubstantial walls, standing before a man about in his thirties, about six feet tall, reddish brown shoulder length hair and an incredibly neat, short beard and mustache. He wore a simple white robe. Light seemed to emanate from him and I felt he had great age and wisdom. He welcomed me with great love, tranquility, and peace (indescribable) - no words. I felt, “I can sit at your feet forever and be content,” which struck me as a strange thing to think/say/feel. I became fascinated by the fabric of his robe and tried to figure out how light could be woven!
He stood beside me and directed me to look to my left, where I was replaying my life’s less complementary moments. I relived those moments and felt not only what I had done but also the hurt I had caused. Some of the things I would have never imagined could have caused pain. I was surprised that some things I may have worried about, like shoplifting a chocolate as a child, were not there, whilst casual remarks which caused hurt unknown to me at the time were counted. When I became burdened with guilt, I was directed to other events that gave joy to others, although I felt unworthy. It seemed the balance was in my favor. I received great love.
I was led further into the room, which became a hall. There coming towards me was my grandfather. He looked younger than I remembered and was without his hare lip or cleft pallet, but undoubtedly my grandfather. We hugged. He spoke to me and welcomed me. I was moved to forgive him for dying when I was 14 and making me break my promise to become a doctor and find a cure for his heart condition. Until that moment, I had not realized I had been angry with him!
Granddad told me that grandma was coming soon and he was looking forward to her arrival. I inquired why she was coming soon as she had been traveling from her home in Manchester to New Zealand to Miami for continual summer for a number of years! Granddad told me she had cancer of the bowel and was coming soon. Granddad seemed to have no grasp of time when I pressed for how soon. (Grandma was diagnosed three months later and died in August. I had upset my mother by telling her about it when I regained consciousness). After Granddad and I had talked a while, he took me further into the room that became a hall again. We approached a group of people whom I started to recognize.
The person who first welcomed me came and placed his hand on my shoulder and turned me towards him. He said, “You must return. You have a task to perform.” I wanted to argue. I wanted to stay. I glanced back at Granddad and was propelled quickly towards the entrance. At the threshold, all became blackness, nothing, no awareness.
I awoke from my coma slowly, over several days, half-dreamed memories of familiar voices and glimpses of faces. The clearest moments were several occasions where I would awake from deep sleep to find a nurse with a syringe and refuse any drugs. I had no idea why! I had three lots of surgery to repair my face, skull, and eye socket. I left the hospital with pain, double vision, Anosmia, and damage to eighth cranial nerve. It left me with nausea and a disturbed balance. I was for two years angry at G-d for sending me back in such torment with a task to do and with no clues or instructions, except for one thing. I was given a clear message I have no idea how to pass on. It is this: “It is time to live according to your beliefs, whatever they may be - to put your house in order because the end times are upon us!” This can't be my task. There was no booming voice or any way I knew the message got there. I am also unsure of the identity of the gatekeeper - no nametag and no introduction!
It took me five years as a zombie before I was able to rehabilitate myself. I have gainful employment, formed the Head Injury Society of New Zealand in 1987, and am paraded as the example of how well it is possible to recover from acquired brain damage. I still don't know my task - still have pain, Anosmia, Diplopia, etc.
The memory of the near-death experience is more real than what I did yesterday.
Karen Schaeffer experienced one of the most unique NDEs I have ever read. In it, she is shown the future, but is given the option of changing it. Here is her experience in her own words:
As a teenager, I had several psychic experiences often occurring in dreams. As I grew older and life more hectic, these experiences diminished - almost disappeared until the pregnancy of my first child.
Shortly after his birth I had the most horrific dream that I would be in a terrible car crash that would take my life. For months I was terrified and was extremely cautious and on the look out for that monster vehicle. By the time my son was 7 months old, I convinced myself it was only a dream… nothing of what was to come. I had a brand new teaching position, a baby, a home and my husband to take care of … I had put too much energy into this thing. Then it happened.
I had left school right away that day. I wanted to pick up my son from his grandmother and hurry back to school to watch a baseball game. It was a picture perfect way to spend the afternoon with my son. As I was exiting the freeway with usual caution, I made a left hand turn on a light that had been green for some time. This was my lucky day I thought. Then in an instant I was gone.
Immediately I was in the most beautiful serene place I had ever been. My grandfather, another person whom I had known in a previous life, and a guardian were ready to help me with the transition. They told me of the accident, showed me the site. It was my time to come home they said.
The overwhelming love and happiness of that place was so inviting. I could feel myself becoming lighter each moment. In a fit of fear and panic I began crying. No, I couldn't be dead. What would happen to my son? He was seven months old! He would never remember me. His father didn't even know how to take care of him. I didn't want him raised by his father's parents. No, no, no … this was not the time to go. They were wrong.
In an embrace of love they calmed me by showing me that my son, my entire family would be okay after my death. My mother could lean on my grandmother. It would take time, but she would heal. My husband, hurt, sad, and lonely would also heal and eventually find love once again.
Death is part of the lessons we are to learn on earth, and my death was an important lesson for those involved in my life. I was shown my funeral, taught how to be near those I loved and told I could eventually communicate with those whose spirits were open. I could accept this. They would be fine.
I was feeling lighter all the time. But wait… my son. I couldn't leave my son! Babies need their mommies. I needed to be his mommy. I couldn't let go. So much patience was shown to me - so much love.
My guides explained that the feelings I was having were still a connection to my human side. Once my Humanness wore off, I would feel light as air, utter happiness, and extreme love.
Words do not do the feelings justice. They worked to help me throw off my human weight. The feelings were so great and seemed to pull me in stronger and stronger; yet my connection to my son was so strong.
We wandered in this beautiful place for what seemed an eternity. We discussed my life. We discussed religion. We discussed secrets of the soul that as humans we must forget, lest we'd never be able to thrive on earth. All the while I was in awe. Some things were just as I always dreamed an afterlife would be. Some things I was just plain wrong and I remember thinking, “Wow!” Where were my other loved ones? When could I see my other grandparents who had passed? In time - they were on a different plane. When my transition was complete I could choose to go to other levels when I was ready.
Every now and then thoughts of my son would make me heavy once again. I couldn't bear the thought of him growing up without a mother. I was told others would be a mother for me. First grandparents, and then they showed me Jake's life. He was the most beautiful boy, so happy, but with a touch of sadness that seemed to pierce his soul. This was his lesson to tackle. He knew coming into this life the main lessons he was to learn. It was meant to be. I saw a new mom for Jake when he was about 7 or 8. A beautiful woman, kind hearted who definitely cared for Jake, and treated him well, but she was to have her own child with my widowed husband and the love she showed for her own child was different and unequal to the love she showed for my child - her stepchild. This isn't what I dreamed for Jake. This couldn't be. I was happy for my husband. He was okay. He was happy. My son was a different story. Other lessons were learned in the constant-patient job of transitioning me to the other side. I had to let go. At times I became hysterical and then moments later I was calm and serene.
I saw a girl child who had been meant in Jake's place, but before conception, plans changed and there was a need for Jake's spirit to take her place. There was much upheaval that Jake could help mend (and he did).
At a time when I felt the closest to accepting my death, I experienced a resurgence of sorrow and pain, longing for my son, for my life. I couldn't let go of my human life. My guides tried their hardest. They never gave up. They never became discouraged. It is unbelievable the amount of patience and love they exuded. Finally, my hysteria was calmed by a higher spirit who seemed to envelop me in love. My guides were instructed to allow me to return. Despite their pleas to allow them more time, they were told that at this point, my spirit would not rest. It was best to let me return, to settle my spirit, learn further lessons. My pleading won my return for the time being. I understood that before my descent, my friends and family had lessons being postponed, but they would have to learn the lessons resulting from my death at some time later.
Arrangements were made for when, where, how my spirit would return and which lessons I was to have enriched or acquire new. Some lessons learned in my arrival on the other side would have to be forgotten, and it was not good for my soul to know when I was dying again or else as a human I would focus on only that, especially as the time neared.
The last things I remember were being taken back to the accident site, and just before my descent, I was told when my children were older it would be time to come home for good. I accepted it immediately, but then, wait! What qualifies as older? Does it mean only a few years older? Teenagers? Will I live to see them marry and have their own children? This was a difficult aspect to deal with immediately after the accident.
I had a life with my son again. I had to spend it right for I had no idea how much longer I had left.
I was told I was lucky to survive. A large utility truck ran a red light and hit the driver's side of my tiny compact car. Despite wearing a seatbelt the doctors say I would not have survived if it were not for the airbags to open, something that is not supposed to happen in a side impact.
The first year after the accident was an attempt to live the best I could, the happiest I could. I was suffering however from severe pain from a fractured shoulder bone, broken ribs, and two hip fractures. I was told the pain should disappear in six months to a year at the worst. Three years later, the pain has not gone away. The second year however seemed to be the worst. I became so suicidal. All I wanted to do was to return to this place, this life so awesome, so love-filled, and so joyous. My son, and later my daughter were the only things that made me go on. I was here for them. Today, only three years later I have accepted my return to earth, long to return to my after-life home, and struggle to find peace and happiness until my time here comes to its final end.
Linda's journey to understand God began in the rugged environment of a Texas childhood filled with “rattlesnakes, tornadoes, and hellfireanddamnation.” Her early concept of God was molded by the pervasive, extremist religious community of the Bible Belt, exemplified by the Southern Baptist religion practiced by her parents.
The wrathful, vengeful God as taught by her religion instilled in Linda a deep fear of God, death and the afterlife.
Her lifelong search for a loving God and release from the paralyzing fear of death culminated in a brief journey to Heaven after a debilitating illness. The NDE transformed Linda, showing her that God is only a loving God, who does not judge and punish. She came to understand the Oneness of all existence; this understanding has permeated her life with peace and the unfaltering knowledge of God's goodness. Linda now spends her time counseling, lecturing and making television appearances. She has written a book entitled, Entertaining Angels Unawares , which is in the hands of an agent who is seeking a publisher.
When I finally gave up my will to live, relinquishing my life unto death was sublimely easy after my long illness and loss of everything that had made life worthwhile for me. The decision to leave this world hung suspended in an extended moment of absolute quiet. Passionless, I watched my spirit leave my body as a feeling of “otherness” engulfed me. I felt a strange detachment from my physical body and the life I had created. I was no longer connected to a pitiful, suffering mass of flesh. I was not that body and yet, I still existed but in a new state of being. Gone was the wrenching pain that accompanied my every waking moment. The strain of expanding my lungs to gasp for air had disappeared. Fatigue, which had weighted my life for years, had lifted. Depression no longer drained my mind of hope. Sight and sounds did not sear my head with pain, leaving me emotionally bereft. And yet, I still existed. I felt weightless and calm.
Although I knew I was not in the lifeless body lying on my bed, and that the eyes and brain I had previously identified as mine were in that inanimate object with which I no longer identified, I was still aware of sight and thoughts and sensations.
I observed my new reality with tranquility. Slowly I looked around and below me I saw a vast, endless blackness. Like a void or black hole, I was irresistibly drawn toward the darkness. Gradually, I felt myself sinking toward it. I thought, without fear or any emotional reaction, “Isn't that strange?” I had been so afraid I was going to be judged and sent to either heaven or hell. But it appeared I would simply disappear into the dark nothingness. As even my new awareness waned, I yielded to the heaviness overtaking me as darkness filled my mind. My vision became obscured as I began to merge into the blackness.
Offering no resistance, I released my hold on any remaining shred of consciousness and personal identity. At the very moment I felt the last of me disappearing into nothingness. A powerful, energetic force swooping beneath me, lifting me, and carrying me upward suddenly buffeted me.
Barely conscious, my only awareness was a sensation of rising. I seemed to be traveling upward at an unimaginable speed. A clean sensation of wind rushed over my face and body with tremendous force and yet there was no discomfort.
Vast distances seemed to fly by me. The higher I rose, the more my head cleared. I became aware of a deep sense of peace and warmth permeating my senses.
Confused, because the energy enveloping me had a definite presence, I tried to see what was happening and who was carrying me. Who or what cared so deeply for me? I felt peaceful and loved immeasurably. I knew I was in the arms of a being who cherished me with perfect love and carried me from the dark void into a new reality.
As my mind cleared, scoured of the remnants of mortal, past associations, I was finally able to open my being fully to spirit and my vision cleared.
With the eyes of my soul body, I looked to see what held me in such love and I beheld a radiant, spirit being, so magnificent and full of love, I knew I would never again feel the sense of loss. I have no way of explaining how, but I knew the Spirit was Christ. It was not a belief, perception or understanding, but my recognition of Christ came from my new perspective of spirit.
I did not see the Spirit as I had seen Jesus of Nazareth depicted in paintings, but the innate knowing of my heart remembered and acknowledged Christ. The radiant Spirit was Christ, the manifestation and expression of pure love. Because of my Christian education, I knew no other name to call what I felt as I looked at him. Others might have called him Buddha, or Yahweh, or Great Spirit in the Sky, but the naming did not matter, only the recognition of absolute love and truth was important. Safe in the gentle yet powerful embrace of his love, I rested, secure that everything was okay, exactly as it was supposed to be.
Ascending ever farther, I lifted my eyes to see a great light in the vast distance.
With Christ as my guide, I rapidly approached the light. Ecstasy filled my soul as I looked at the radiance, many-fold brighter than a sun.
The light was everywhere and everything, the brightest I had ever seen and dazzling beyond description. Brilliant enough to blind or burn; yet I was not harmed.
The light moved over and through me, washing every hidden place of my heart, removing all hurt and fear, transforming my very being into a song of joy. I had thought the love I felt from Christ was complete, yet, the light toward which we were soaring was the fulfillment of my search, the loving Source of all that exists, the God of truth and unconditional love, the origin of creation.
My understanding of love was forever changed. The majesty and glory of that vision was an ineffable moment defining forever more, the direction of my new truth. I was home and I wanted nothing more than to remain in the light of God.
Christ had delivered me into the light and I stood in the presence of God. I was filled with complete knowing: The light was love and love was God. Waves of consummate love emanating from the light obliterated every burden I carried and every thought keeping me from knowing God. I was made aware of my purity.
With new clarity, I realized I had been walking through life ghostlike, wrapped in a shroud of fear, huddled against illusions. I stood like a lover, open to the liquid flow of golden light filling my empty shell to overflowing.
There was no limit to the outpouring as I came to the rapturous awareness of the infinite nature of God's love. There was no place that God did not exist and I was within God. I am an inseparable part of the light. The truth, of who I am, indeed, who we all are, is perfect love as a creation of God. All of God's creation is one creation and I am one with creation. God and I are one, Creator and created.
I had spent a lifetime of fear of judgment and now, standing with God, I had been known completely and found faultless. I knew God regarded me as perfect. God loved me because love is the totality of God. God loves without limit. Finally it all made sense. God could only love me because God is only love, nothing other than love. The only reality is God; there cannot be another and GOD IS LOVE.
I had reached my true home. I turned to Christ and said, “This is beautiful. I am home. This is where I want to be. I want to stay.” And Christ answered, “You can stay for a little while and then you must return.”
In December 1982, Ricky Randolph, a Georgia Department of Corrections Correctional Officer, was involved in a hunting accident and had an NDE. Since then, he has had many psychic experiences that were verified by family and friends. Ordained as a Baptist minister at age 17, his life, even in childhood, was filled with psychic events. The following is his unique NDE in his own words. It can be described as unique for a very good reason and that reason is miraculous. As the saying goes: “Miracles happen.”
I was looking forward to this morning, as I had planned a hunting trip on the ninety-eight acre farm, bordering the Chattahoochee River, my family and I lived on. I arrived home and gathered my gear trying to get as early a start as I could.
My wife had already left for work as most people do who have normal working hours. I usually called her when I was going hunting but being in a hurry on this particular morning I didn't. I had about a two mile hike to my tree stand and arrived there around 10:15 am. My stand was about 20 feet high on the front side facing a thick patch of pines. The backside faced the river below and dropped off to huge boulders in the river below. I tied off my rifle to be pulled up after my climb to the top and began my upward ascent. I reached the top and positioned myself to pull my rifle up. Then without warning I heard a snap! I would later return to this site many times to reflect on my life. On one visit with a friend I measured the distance from the top of the stand down to the boulder I landed on - eighty feet!
As I began my fall to the river below I could see the river coming up fast I knew this was the end for me and though it was just seconds before impact, it was as though I was in slow motion.
So many thoughts raced through my mind. My wife, my daughter, my family, and no one knows where I am. Would I ever be found?
Then, darkness! How long this darkness lasted I don't know. Then something wonderful happened. I felt myself leaving my body. I was floating a few feet in the air above the river. I looked on my body with mixed feelings. I was bleeding from my mouth, nose, ears, and saw a trickle of blood underneath me on the boulder.
As I was reflecting on the state of my body, I felt a pulling and began to rise very fast! I was traveling at a high rate of speed upward through the atmosphere.
As I left the atmosphere, I looked back and could see the earth. Such a beautiful sight. It was so brilliantly lit. As I looked ahead I could see the planets. I thought to myself this cannot be. Where is Jesus? I was never told anything like this could or would happen when I died. Faster, and faster the speed was increasing. I saw other star systems and galaxies as I raced onward. I entered what seemed to be a hole of some sort. It was long and dark. However around me I saw streaks of light made up of every color in the spectrum. I saw a faint light growing brighter and brighter in the distance up ahead. As I entered the light I felt it all through my being. I was not afraid anymore.
Then all of a sudden I was standing before a massive set of steps. They led up to what seemed to be a bridge or walk of some kind. In the distance I saw a sight so magnificent and astounding - city made up of what seemed to be glass or crystal.
The lights were of many colors radiating from it. Never have I ever seen such a sight. I began walking toward the city in a daze of unbelief.
So many questions raced through my mind. I had to know where I was. What was happening to me?
I reached the front of the city and saw a double door looking to be about thirty feet or so in height and width. It shined as if it was polished. As I stood there wandering, the doors began to open. I took a step back and looked inside. I could see what appeared to be people walking about on the inside, much like they do in a mall here on earth. These people though were dressed very different. For one thing, they all seemed to be dressed in some sort of robes with hoods. I entered through the doors in amazement at what I was seeing! The inside was massive. It seemed to be square in shape, with a balcony all around leading down to different levels. I walked up and looked downward over the balcony. It seemed to go on forever.
As I looked up I saw many passing by me, yet no one seemed to notice me. Then as one was approaching me he suddenly stopped. He slowly raised his head and I could see his face. He appeared to be human in every respect but one. His eyes.
No pupils! Yet they seemed to change colors in colors of blue! His hair was snow white. I wanted to speak but before I could he turned and pointed to a long hallway. Though we never spoke I knew I was to go down this hallway. Then as if nothing had ever happened, he continued on. I knew I had to as well.
Something was beckoning me forward. I walked a long walk down to the end of this hallway. I did not turn to the right or the left. I knew, somehow, my questions were about to be answered. Again I saw before me a massive double door. It seemed to be of some type of metal - whether gold or not I could not tell.
Suddenly the doors opened. I heard a voice, though not as we speak, but from inside of me it seemed, to say, “Enter.” I did as I was told and the doors shut suddenly behind me. I was afraid for the first time. Total darkness. Total silence!
Then after a space of time the length of which I could not determine, a bright light began to glow in the room. Brighter and brighter it became. It was somewhat above me and in front of me. I tried to look but was almost blinded from it. I held my hands up in front of me and could make out the appearance of a figure setting on some type of seat.
Then without warning it happened.
“What have you done with your life?” The voice penetrated my very being. I had no answer.
Then to my right I saw what seemed to be like a movie, and I was in it. I saw my mother giving me birth, my childhood and friends. I saw everything from my youth up. I saw everything I had ever done before my eyes.
As my life played out before my very eyes I tried to think of good things I had done. I was raised in church and had been very active in church functions, yet as I pondered on this, I saw a man in his car that had run out of gas.
I had stopped and given him a lift to a local store about a year ago. I had bought him some gas as he had no money and helped him get on his way. I thought to my self, why am I seeing this? The voice was loud and clear.
“You took no thought to help this soul and asked nothing in return. These actions are the essence of good.”
I saw all the people I had hurt as well and was shown how my actions had set in motion the actions of others. I was stunned! I had never thought of my life having an effect on the actions that friends, family, and others I had met would take. I saw the results of all I had done. I was not pleased at all.
I looked on until the events came to an end. Indeed I had done so little with my life. I had been selfish and cruel in so many ways. I was truly sorry I had done so little. Then again loud and clear I heard the voice speak again, “You must return.”
I did not want to return though. I was content to stay and longed to stay even after the things I had seen and heard. “I have so many questions,” I replied, “things I need to know and don't understand.”
“You must return and help others to change by changing your life. Physicians will want to perform surgery on you. Do not let this happen. If you do you will never walk again. One who brings answers to the questions you have will visit you.
When I call you will come again. You will recover from all that has happened if you do these things. Look and see what lies ahead.”
I turned and saw the earth in turmoil. Wars and death, terrible sights! Cities fell and new ones were built. I saw the United States and a volcano exploding covering many cities in darkness. I looked on and saw the collapse of our government, as we know it. People killing for food and water, horrible sights. I saw what seemed to be a giant explosion in the earth’s atmosphere and much land was destroyed. I looked on and saw a new type of people, younger and of a peaceful nature. The cities were few that were left, but these people seemed to be content.
“It is time for you to go,” I heard again. But I wanted to see more.
Then the doors opened and I felt myself almost be carried down the hallway. I passed through the doors of the city and felt myself shooting through this hole I had came through. Faster I went, unable to stop.
I entered the atmosphere of earth and saw the river below. I saw my body still lying there motionless.
Then it was like an electric shock so tremendous I felt my body jump. I opened my eyes and saw the trees above and the skyline. Then, Oh God, the pain. I was struggling for every breath, choking on my own blood.
I managed to roll onto my stomach. The pain was all I could bear. I looked at the sky and saw the sun was lower than I remembered. I looked at my watch. It was 5:30. My only thoughts were how could I get help. I noticed my rifle was not far from me, still attached to the rope I had tied around my waist. I began pulling it toward me. I managed to grab hold of the barrel and pulled it up to me. I fired a shot about every ten minutes hoping someone would come.
It was getting late and I knew I would not make it much longer, so I began crawling on my stomach, pulling myself with the stock of my rifle. I managed to crawl up a trail running down to the river. As I crawled and crawled, the pain was so great I passed out many times. Through thick brush and briar patches I crawled. I wanted to give up I was so tired and in so much pain. I knew though I had to make it at least to where I could be found - I hoped.
I looked out in front of me and saw the road I lived on through the trees. I could hear sounds in the distance.
“Yes, thank you, God,” I thought to myself.
I finally found myself at the road and began a feeble cry for help. I was too exhausted though and just lay there in the road.
My father-in-law was returning from work and found me lying in the road.
“It's all right,” I heard him say, “help is on the way.”
That was the last I remembered until I saw the lights inside the ER. A doctor stood at my feet.
“Can you feel this?” he said.
“Feel what?” I asked. He had been sticking my feet and legs. I was paralyzed.
“We cannot help you here, son,” he said. “We are sending you by ambulance to a hospital that can handle your injuries.”
Whether from the pain or medication, I was out like a light.
The next afternoon, I awoke to find two doctors standing at the foot of my hospital bed. They introduced themselves as my attending physicians and proceeded to explain to me that I must undergo surgery at once. The bones in my back that were broken were putting pressure on my spinal nerve causing paralysis. Then I heard the warning I had heard before.
“Do not let them perform surgery, or you will never walk again.”
I understood completely, but knew they would not. I told them I must see my wife and daughter first.
My wife arrived with my daughter shortly after the doctor’s visit. I told her what they had said. She advised me that I must realize they were doing what was necessary to help me. I did not know how to tell her what I had experienced. I tried to tell her it was my belief I should not be operated on. Although she disagreed, she honored my wishes.
When the doctors returned and I told them of my decision, they were very upset! I listened to lecture after lecture.
“OK,” one of them said, “if you never want to walk again, that's up to you.” Then they left.
That night I lay upon my bed and wept sorely. Was I insane? What was I doing?
A light began to fill my room. “You will be well,” I heard a voice say. Then it was gone. I composed myself and dosed off to sleep.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months.
Then one morning I felt a tingling in my feet! I was over come with joy. I told the nurse I wanted to get up and walk. She stared at me and said, “We'll see, we'll see.” I knew I was healed without a doubt. The nurse put a call into my doctor and the next morning he stopped by.
“So you think you can walk?” he said.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Well, we will see.”
A few hours later, I was taken down to the Physical Therapy room. They carried me down and raised me up to a vertical position. The nurse helped me in front of a set of parallel bars. I gripped the bars and placed my feet firmly on the floor. One step. Two steps.
“My God, he's walking!” the nurse said to the nurse who had brought me down.
The next few days were hard. I took many trips to Physical Therapy and had numerous x-rays done per my doctor’s orders. My wife and family were all amazed, yet I knew. I had been told. The rest had to be true as well.
My doctor was more amazed when he found no bones pressing on my spinal nerve! I use his quote: “This is not normal! It seems a higher power has done for you what we were going to try and correct with surgery. I have never seen anything like this before.”
Since that day, my life has changed and I have been able to help others in ways I never dreamed. I wanted to share this with all, as it is what has led me onward in my quest for Truth.
The NDE reveals that God is not concerned with a person's sexual orientation, but is concerned about a person's heart. The next NDE involves a lesbian who learns this very fact while having an NDE.
The following happened to me during the summer of 1981. I was nineteen at the time. It was a time in my life when I had pretty much decided there could be no God, no great being in control of the world around me. If there were he wasn't doing a very good job. I didn't realize it at the time, but once I had made this “decision,” I started going downhill. I became selfish. That is, self-centered, but not very self concerned.
I should mention that I had been having episodes of tachycardia for several years.
I was never diagnosed (up to that point) with any kind of heart defect. Had I been asked I would have denied any problems with my heart. I thought it was very normal to get light headed and almost pass out during periods when my heart would race. Duh!
One evening I was in the back seat of a car traveling to San Francisco from Los Angeles. All of a sudden my heart began to race and the nausea hit. Next everything started spinning and I could see lots of colors. Then I had a sense of blackness come over me. Like a dark damp cloud. I was terrified. I have never been so scared. In my fear I said, “Jesus.”
Immediately I witnessed a fight. It seemed there was a battle between a being in white/light and this blackness. Immediately following, the light overtook the darkness.
I found myself on my face in worship in front of this being of light. I felt a warm feeling. The most intense love filled me. It was an energy that penetrated every fiber of my being. I had never felt such a complete and total love. It was that unconditional love I hear many people talk about.
I know there was conversation between us but I can not remember what was said. I feel like it was a time of healing for me - kind of a regeneration if you will.
In the next instant, I was floating above the car moving down the highway looking at myself in the back seat. I knew it was I sitting there, and yet I was up here. I wasn't afraid or confused. Everything was as it should be.
There was someone there to my left. I don't think it was the same being I had just been with. He (I had a sense it was a he) seemed to be in a white robe or something. Funny, I never really looked at him. His identity didn't seem to be important. I think he was there to guide me. I didn't make myself go, it was more like he took me or led me.
We began moving through space. I was aware of this because the stars and planets were passing very quickly. It was very exciting, I felt so free.
The order of the next [series of episodes] I am unsure of. I know each was a distinct episode, but it is hard for me to put them in an order or time frame.
The next thing I knew there was a white “room.” I can't say it had walls but it seemed to be somewhat enclosed. Maybe its boundaries extended to the edge of the light that filled it and that is why I call it a room. There was a man in a white robe behind a podium with a book on it. I knew it was the book of life from the Bible. I remember thinking, “Uh oh, that stuff was for real.” I suddenly realized that the “God” I had been presented wasn't anything like the reality. I saw it doesn't matter if you call him God, Allah, Great Spirit or whatever, He is the same thing.
The different religions just have different ways of explaining the same Creator. I also realized that little voice inside us prompting us to do good things comes from this Creator, it is that light of love inside each of us. I don't remember specifically being told this; more like I just knew it.
I came to a place, maybe a room, maybe a space. I was shown my life. If it was my entire life, I do not remember all of it. The only part I remember now was just the last week or so. Since I had given up on God. I saw how selfish I had been. I felt the pain I had caused one person in particular and it bothered me very much.
The things I had the most guilt for was hurting other people, lying, not being sensitive to their feelings, just being selfish. The fact I was a lesbian didn't even seem to matter then. That was surprising to me, given what I had been brought up to believe.
There was another room or area. It seems like there were others there, I sensed some were female, some male, but I can't say I recognized anyone.
I was shown a diagram. I could see it represented choices. A choice leading to other choices which then lead to other choices. Basically, actions have consequences.
I began receiving “all knowledge,” or at least that is what it felt like. They were there teaching me. This didn't come to me as words like you and I speak. It was more as complete thoughts. When I think, it is generally in words and pictures, this is how I received the information. As complete words and pictures in my mind. As I could form a question in my mind I had the answer. Not just the answer to that question, but the why and how and the answer to every other question the answer would bring up. EVERYTHING in the entire universe fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. EVERYTHING MADE SENSE. I remember thinking, “I have to remember this.”
I looked over to the right and in the distance I could see a beautiful valley with lots of people. There was someone looking out over all of it I felt it was Jesus. I then looked down and saw a line. My foot (Yes, I did have a spiritual “body” as did the others I encountered) was stepping over the line to go to be with the others. Then
I was told, “If you cross that line you can't go back; it would mean you would have to die.” Funny as it may sound, up to that point I didn't realize I would have to die or was about to die. It never occurred to me. I didn't realize I was separate from my body even though I had seen it in the car. I felt complete. I remember laughing and thinking this isn't how I pictured death.
I said I wanted to stay. I was then told the people I was with (in the car) as well as my mother would not understand and it would hurt them deeply. I understood.
At some point I was shown a map and was told to leave and go to Virginia.
The angels were singing and it seems like I could see the clouds all lit up (it was nighttime).
The next thing I knew I as sitting in the back of the car. I could hear the most beautiful music.
I didn't tell anyone what had happened to me for a long time. I felt out of place the next several days. I wanted to go back. I knew instinctively that I could not do anything to bring it about though. I tried and tried to remember everything I learned when I was filled with knowledge but it isn't there.
Some people have reported having an NDE while experiencing an alien abduction. The most famous case of this kind comes from Betty Andreasson and is documented in Raymond Fowler's book, The Andreasson Affair. (10) Other experiencers have seen alien-type beings during their NDE. There appears to be a connection between these aliens and the beings of light reported in so many NDEs. The following NDE is from Brian Krebs and describes just such an encounter.
I had my first near-death experience when I was a child, perhaps two or three. This would be about 1953.
It involved me drowning. My memories of it were of seeing my body below me. I remember seeing a bright, warm, loving orb above me. I panicked Dad and Mom below. I didn't know it was anything to talk about and no one would have believed me. It never was a thing I felt I had to relate.
Then in 1971… I had been knifed with a stiletto that severed an artery above my liver. I remember looking up and seeing a light. I then looked down at my body and then I was confronted by at least two beings. They were human in appearance and they seemed to float in midair. I realized I was far above my body and not in any earthly space. The beings tried to keep me from going to the light. I don't know why, they just seemed terrified and didn't want me to go. But I did. I shot up like an arrow through what can only be described as a tunnel.
I saw the tunnel as a peripheral blur of stars and I saw a loving light before me.
Then I stopped. I was there with this orb of glowing love and understanding. It didn't seem foreign to me. It was not frightening. It was totally assuring and there was no feeling of anything but my awe and the love and knowledge and wisdom this orb projected. In size, it would be not like looking at the sun, but looking at the earth when you are on it. It was immense and total, and its power was love.
I felt a presence next to me, a man, and he asked if I was ready for my life review.
I said yes. All of this not a verbal thing, but just a knowledge. Then I saw something like an HO scale train set below, a city. I went to this city and I went through my life. I went through every moment and every feeling. I was not afraid as I was still in the light. I talked with the man about my life. But I do not remember any specifics.
I then remember standing, as it where, in the light of the Orb of love. I felt the goodness and love and knowledge of it. My mind was in a state of deep, deep, concentration of thought.
I then went to twelve beings of greater knowledge. They were in front of me and stood in a row. They were not human. They had no feelings of anything like judgment or authority, but seemed strong in themselves. They seemed taller than I did and they wore silver white robes. They had white skin, large heads and large eyes. I do not remember them having a mouth. Above them was a spirit. It was like a star as we see one from earth, but in size it appeared the same size as the heads of the beings. The spirit went to my left and hovered above the first being. I remember it was like a video of knowledge springing from the being’s hands, which were held in front of them.
Each being had something to relate. They opened the knowledge they had when the spirit moved above them. The last told me what I could do if I came back and the significance of it. I only remember seeing young man with his head back in pain as if his neck was injured. I said, “Oh! Aaron! My son!” They said, “No, not that son.” And I realized whom they meant. (In 1978, my only other child was born a son).
Then I made the decision to come back to earth. And I remember it was such a hard decision. It was so difficult because everything there was so beautiful and there was so, so, much love. I had the feeling of freewill, yet a feeling of duty was present - of obligation. And the second I realized that I shot back into my body.
After two near-death experiences and having studied many NDEs, I am convinced there is order to the experience.
I do get angry when people come to conclusions about the near-death experience because they think it is not orderly and therefore find it to be a part of our imaginative minds. For the ones that have not heard this, here goes:
Rule 1: At any given microsecond, you may return to your body. You have a trauma of some kind making you leave your body. You might feel a vibration. You might feel nothing, except that you are suddenly out of your body.
Rule 2: Nobody remembers every single detail and the meaning to it while having an NDE.
So, now you are out of your body you may look down and see your body. You may take off for another room or zip back into your body. You may go into the void. This is the home of many a grim story. See, after death you may end up quite stuck in this void. It lacks one thing: love. It is the hell the Pope just figured out. It is not being of love, not recognizing it. Those who are stuck there may frighten you by just being or by intentional gestures to frighten you. They are stuck and they are confused and they will put the “HELL” in hell.
Rule 3: Beyond this point your soul must be convinced your body is dead.
See, sometimes things happen which doesn't cause death. I mean we all ultimately live to tell of NDEs, but we must be convinced the body business is behind us to go further.
So, there you are outside the body. Now those who love you might show up. They do so for a couple reasons. One, they may want you to stay, that is, go back to your body. Or they may want you to think of love. I just love the way George
Rodonaia said it. While describing the void, he said that he thought, “I am, and if I am, why for not can I be happy?” And he was. Then he thought, “If I am, and I can be happy, why for not then can I feel love?” And he did. You see, the way out of the void is simple. You must think of love.
Now if you are a Christian and you think of Jesus and you see Jesus as love, then you will be thinking of love and to think of love. To recognize it as a reality, that is the key to getting out of the void. Now, you are in the void and you think of love and you are love and you will see love, just a speck, but you will concentrate on it and then you will connect with it. This connection is called the tunnel. It is a pathway to the Creator.
I recently heard someone talking about taking some sugar and some water and mixing them together. The sugar would disappear and the water would become sugar water. But in time the water would evaporate and the sugar would remain as sugar and the water would turn to vapor. The point was that the sugar had the memory of the water and the water the memory of the sugar. As I thought this out,
I tried to think how to explain it better. Being of a scientific background, I thought,
“Okay, let's put the sugar and water together in a test tube. Let's mix them. Then to speed things up, let's add heat, which makes vibrations and causes the water to turn to vapor. But wait. Let's put a rubber stopper in the test tube and a glass tube leading to another test tube. That would allow the water to reestablish itself as water in the other tube.” You see, then you have water with a memory of the sugar and the sugar with the memory of the water. You also have a very good model to explain how to get out of the void. As the tube concentrates the water, so the tunnel concentrates the spirit.
Now, many things can happen in the tunnel. Say for instance you get depressed and you gobble down too many pills. You would choke if not for the washing of booze you gave them. You might end up in the tunnel off to the side where you are requested to think. So you sit there thinking. Some other soul would pass right on by that, not notice, or may notice. Things, earthy problems can be worked out there, out of the void and in the tunnel. Ultimately though, if you don't return to your body, you zip right past all this and end up at a point that you may refer later to the end of the tunnel. It may be though that you are in one of the rooms of the tunnel or zones. There you see a garden, a river, a gate, and someone will appear to help you decide whether you should go on or think a while or talk or be reassured enough to return to your body. But, go through the gate or over the river past the decision to go back or stay and think, and you end up at the end of the tunnel. There at the end of the tunnel is the Creator.
Rule 4: If you make it to the end of the tunnel you will feel more love and acceptance and wisdom and knowledge and understanding than you ever have.
And you will remember it. And you will not leave it out of your description of your experience. There you are and there is love - overwhelming, pure, beautiful love.
Now let's not forget Rule 1, that you may at any time zip right back into your body!
You should begin now to see why there are so may “different” descriptions of the NDE: because a person may go only to a given point and the description of what they saw will be limited to that level.
So, now you are there in front of the Creator, and you might well see your Higher Self. You will then go through a life review. You do this in the light of the love of the Creator. In this love, you see all you have done wrong and right and the effects of it and you are unafraid because the Creator's love is there. There is nothing but the truth. That accomplished, you may (Rule 1) zip back into your body. You may then do whatever you think you need to and those descriptions vary. One consistent theme is that you have spirits to help you. I, as Dannion
Brinkley did, had twelve “spirits” giving forth information about the past, the present and the future. They may help you decide to stay or go back to earth.
Once the decision is made, zipppppp, you're back. (11)
One does not have to be near death to experience an NDE. NDEs are induced through such methods as extreme stress, deep meditation, drug hallucinations and right temporal lobe brain stimulation. The next NDE comes from Joni Maggi. It occurred while she was in an altered state of consciousness.
Close your eyes for a moment and try to imagine you are face to face with the sun! What an extraordinary feeling! I thought to myself, “How can I be face to face with the sun and not feel the burning heat?” This first thought shocked and puzzled me - to be thinking in the way I would normally think.
It was literally so bright I could not sustain the gaze, so I turned away. At that moment I noticed a silver cord, attached around the navel area going down, down, down to a person I saw lying on my bed.
It was I! I had a curious non-interest in it.
Suddenly, I was in dark outer space, floating as it were on my back, in what I can only describe as total “bliss” (one of a few words, which I'll explain later, I had never understood before that point!) I'm not sure how long this ecstatic feeling lasted but it was what I suppose is called Cosmic Consciousness or cosmic bliss. I knew the Universe is upheld by love (though if you ask me now I would not be able to explain that!) I knew the planets are alive and conscious. I knew they would never bump into each other on purpose or cause any damage - there was no violence but rather a total harmony in their existence.
I then looked down and could see the earth – far, far away and down in this dark sky. I knew it was a place of violence, a realm shrouded in darkness and difficulties so to speak.
At one point I saw what I could only describe as a group of beings - perhaps beings of light would describe them best. I then zoomed over to them - literally willed myself over to them (Swoosh!) and was there instantaneously.
They were seated (?) in an oval circle and there seemed to be a leader of some sort at the head of the group. First of all, I felt the most overwhelming love coming from them! It cannot be compared to anything here on earth. For one, I felt it was an inclusive group - rather than an exclusive one. (Here on earth we seem to have trouble letting new people into groups but there it was as if all of them at the same
time were welcoming me!) I heard them - in my mind - say, “Welcome Home! You have been on such a long journey!” I had the feeling they were sharing life experiences and learning from each other, as if in a sort of classroom.
I didn't have time to find out, because at this point I said to the leader, again telepathically, “I cannot stay! I have to bring up my son!” with real sense of urgency. (At the time my son was 4 years old and I knew somehow I had the absolute obligation to bring him up and take care of him. Years later, when I thought of this, I understood we live in a “moral” Universe.)
I immediately started coming down again. And as I was coming down, I saw - as if written on the entire dark sky this message:
“There is nothing worth worrying about! Not even death!” And again I knew - or understood in an instant - that death is exactly like falling asleep.
What happens is you let go of daily consciousness and slip into another. Or for that matter, like waking up - you let go of sleeping consciousness and find yourself in our recognized reality. It was an incredible feeling of peace to know there is no death!
All of a sudden, I was awake and I literally ran to my table to write everything down because I knew the “veils” (another new word for me) were going to fall and
I would forget or lose the feeling of the experience. I had the feeling a shaft of light had come down through the top of my head. The top of my head was literally tender!
The third word I came to know was ““grace” (which up to that point I thought meant the prayer Christians say at the dinner table). I had been an atheist - or agnostic - up until my experience but after that, though the veils did fall down again, I have spent the last 20 years, trying to recapture that feeling, that absolute knowing. I feel closer and closer to it all the time now.
I felt I had been “given a gift”” of tremendous value! I could not, and can not to this day understand how that works or what that means. I only know I had been in a state of emotional crisis - I was living at the time in South America and undergoing a painful separation from my husband so I found myself alone, depressed and with a very young child. I had also been asking myself the question, “What one thought gives peace?” for a very long time. Somehow, I feel that my earnest and extremely deep need to find an answer to the ups and downs of life was answered in that unspeakably profound experience.
This is the first time I am sharing my experience so openly with others because my family and friends of course at the time did not believe me or understand me.
Plus the fact I myself had lost contact with the light and only years later did I start to remember it and piece it together again coherently. Now, it is probably the most important thing I can do - to remember it and to share it with others. If it hadn't been for the experience I probably would not have pursued the spiritual path with such relentless passion as I understand there is a spiritual need which cannot be filled by any other thing than… how shall I call it? The spirit.
I also know it was real! Actually, I could say it was the only real thing that has ever happened to me. At this point I cherish sharing my experience with others and hope to learn afresh from their experiences to continue to get a wider and wider appreciation and understanding of this phenomenon.
I still have many unanswered questions: Why was I “blessed” with this experience? (I think it was because without it I never would have been able to go on, but even so, who “gave” it to me or how did I receive it?) Why are other people not given the same experience, though some search for it so longingly? And it has only whetted my appetite to know more - everything! Everything about our life purposes, life after death, etc.! Unfortunately I cannot, as I mentioned, retrieve the feeling of it and sometimes I still forget and find myself in darkness and pain. But just remembering it and sharing it helps me - and who knows, maybe others - to know more and more about it, especially now that these phenomena are coming more and more to light! (12)
“Normally we do not like to think about death. We would rather think about life. Why reflect on death? When you start preparing for death you soon realize that you must look into your life… now… and come to face the truth of your self. Death is like a mirror in which the true meaning of life is reflected.” - Sogyal Rinpoche
NDEs vary from person to person based on many factors: religious bias, cultural background, historical time period, etc. They also vary as to depth of experience.
Some people only experience the out-of-body phase of the experience, while others go well beyond. What follows are brief summaries of the rest of the NDEs that are a part of my research. Such a format helps when doing comparisons between experiences. Each summary is given in the present tense to give the feeling of the NDE as it is happening.
Born in France and trained as a nurse, Josiane had an NDE in 1966. Afterwards, she became aware of her ability to
“communicate with the other side.” For over 30 years, she worked with the dying and the living, in hospitals as a chaplain, universities as a teacher, as a spiritual counselor, healer and ceremonial leader. Her understanding of living, dying and the spiritual realms has touched many people. In her book, Whispers of the Soul, she describes her NDE. She is also the author of another book entitled Matters of Spirit and she is the founder of
The Bernadette Foundation.
Josiane leaves her body and sees her life pass before her eyes as in a movie.
She momentarily reenters her body and sees restless spirits around her who seem lost. Suddenly, light beings appear and she is surrounded with love. She receives a vision of the earth appearing lifeless and gloomy on one side. On the other side, the earth appears sunny and full of life. She watches as the darkness takes over the whole earth. A voice tells her this is the world in the absence of light, love and free will. The darkness of the world is then replaced with light and beauty. She sees the solar system united by a transparent web of unparalleled brilliance. The voice tells her to never forget what she has seen. She becomes filled with an overwhelming love as she merges with the light.
She returns to her hospital room where her lifeless body is. There she meets her deceased cousin along with other beings of light. As they leave, Josiane begs to go with them. Her cousin tells her she has work left to do here on earth. With this, she enters her physical body. (13)
Mellen-Thomas was an artist dying of cancer. In 1982, he succumbed and had an NDE. He was dead for over an hour and a half. During that time, he rose up out of his body and went into the light. Concerning his NDE, Dr. Kenneth Ring noted, “His story is one of the most remarkable I have encountered in my extensive research on near-death experiences.”
Mellen-Thomas leaves his body and discovers he has 360-degree vision and consciousness. He travels toward a brilliant light, but halts his experience to ask questions. He sees the brilliant light transform into several avatars such as Jesus,
The light also transforms into a mandala of every soul from earth. Mellen-Thomas refers to this as our “Higher Self matrix.” He sees the earth surrounded by a gridlike structure connecting every human being to this “Higher Self matrix.” His consciousness expands to fill the universe all the way to the Big Bang and beyond.
In the void between an infinite number of Big Bangs and universes, he becomes aware of the fact he perceives all things through God's perspective. He experiences the full consciousness of God in infinite knowledge. Here, all his questions are answered. He experiences all the levels of heaven and hell. The process of consciousness expansion reverses and his consciousness deflates to its original condition. He expects to be reincarnated as a baby, but is surprised to find himself back in his own physical body. (14)
In 1975, Dannion was talking on the phone during a thunderstorm.
A bolt of lightning hit the phone line, sending thousands of volts of electricity into his head and down his body. His heart stopped, and he died, but in the process, he had an NDE. When he revived in the morgue after twenty-eight minutes of death, he had an incredible story to tell. He was told of events that would shake the world before the year 2000 - including the Chernobyl nuclear
disaster and the Persian Gulf War. Of the 117 revelations that he recalls, 95 have already come to pass. His book, Saved by the Light, describes his NDE and his revelations of the future.
Dannion leaves his physical body and watches as a friend tries to revive it. He is sucked through a tunnel and into a paradise of brilliant light. A being of incredible love and light appears and Dannion experiences a life review. He is taken to a
“city of cathedrals” where twelve beings of light appear. Each of the twelve beings represents a human personality type similar to the zodiac. One at a time, they each present to Dannion a kind of video screen foretelling some future event. He is drawn into each of these screens to actually experience the future event.
Afterward, he returns to his physical body. (16)
Raised in a conservative Jewish family in Philadelphia, Beverly went through her teens as an atheist. Since learning of the
Holocaust at age eight, she had turned angrily against any early belief in God. How could God exist and permit such a thing to occur? In 1970, her questions were answered when a motorcycle accident led to an NDE. Her NDE is found in a book by Dr. Kenneth Ring entitled Lessons from the Light. Dr. Ring describes her NDE as “possibly the most moving in my entire collection.”
She leaves her body and floats over her bed. She is met by a radiant being of light she believes to be the Messiah or an angel. Holding hands, they fly through the window and out over the Pacific Ocean.
They travel through a tunnel forming in the sky toward an incredibly bright light she identifies as God. She has a very intense discussion with God and learns some important answers to questions plaguing her mind. She also begins to remember knowledge she once had before being born into the world.
As soon as all her questions were answered, she becomes one with all knowledge and God. She tours the universe and all its wonders. She is filled, not just with all knowledge, but with all the love of God. She experiences ecstasy beyond her wildest dreams. She then returns to her physical body. (17)
Happily married with three children and a busy broadcasting career, Don rarely thought about life after death. After his heart attack and NDE, all of that changed. Don was clinically dead for 45 minutes during which he experienced the glory of heaven and the fire of hell. His book, Absent from the Body, describes his afterlife journey. His NDE is unique because he actually travels back in time to experience one of history's greatest moments.
He leaves his body and travels through a tunnel. A large, eerie red eye peers at him and he realizes it to be his own. While in the tunnel, he is stricken with panic and believes he is in hell. A voice, he identifies to be God's, tells him not to fear. He has been chosen to write about what he is experiencing.
He is told he must testify about the reality of hell.
Afterward, he is drawn into a vast, flaming “oven” filled with other people. They laugh as they realize the flames are not painful. Suddenly, he is alone in the dark with God communicating to him. In an instant, he is aware of everyone in his life whom he was ever angry with.
Afterward, he floats in a glorious deep blue sky. Christ appears shining a tremendous amount of light. Christ gives him a choice of staying or returning to the physical world. Thoughts of his family cause him to choose to return. Before he returns, he is taken back in time to witness the crucifixion of Christ. (18)
Over twelve years ago, Grace was a nurse experiencing an NDE that changed her life. It wasn’t until ten years after her NDE that she felt comfortable telling others about it. Now Grace shares her NDE with others through seminars and lectures. Her book, Beyond This Reality, describes her profound experience with the afterlife.
She hovers above her body and watches as doctors try to save her life. She travels through a tunnel toward a bright light and notices she is a speck of light traveling with an infinite number of other specks toward the light.
She enters into the light and merges with it. In the light, she becomes ecstatic. An infinite sense of all knowing comes to her while in the light. The light reminds her of her obligation to her children and she knows she will have to go back. She has a life review witnessed by everyone in the light. Afterwards, she returns to her physical body. (19)
The book entitled There Is A River, describes the true story of a devout Christian and Sunday school teacher, Cayce (1877-1945) was a man who had out-of-body experiences amazingly resembling NDEs. In 1910, the New York Times carried two pages of headlines and pictures in which he was declared the “World's Most Mysterious Man.” In 1954, the University of Chicago accepted a Ph.D. thesis based on a study of his life and work. He is also considered to be the father of holistic medicine by JAMA, the prestigious medical journal. He was a wonder to the medical community because of his ability to diagnose and specify a treatment for gravely ill people often hundreds of miles away through his out-of-body experiences. He gave roughly 14,000 hypnotic readings in his lifetime which are kept at the Association for Research and Enlightenment. Each reading involved going into a trance resulting in an out-of-body experience.
Once the hypnotic suggestion is made, he leaves his physical body and travels through a tunnel with a brilliant light at the end. The sides of the tunnel reveal to him the various afterlife levels appearing to wind around in a wheel formation. The first level of the tunnel is inhabited by horrible looking beings similar to what one would see in a nightmare. Higher up on the next level, misshapen forms of human beings appear with some part of their body magnified.
As he travels through the tunnel, beings on either side of the tunnel call out to him for help, trying to get his attention. He knows that any deviation from traveling through the tunnel toward the light would mean he would not be able to return to his body and he would die.
Farther up the tunnel, he sees gray-hooded beings moving downward. Up higher on the next level, more gray-hooded beings appear except they are moving upward. The color of their robes get lighter and lighter as he moves up. The next higher level resembles the physical world with houses, trees, etc., except everything is motionless. As he rises higher through the tunnel, there appears more light and more motion in what appears to be normal cities. Rising higher, he sees more light, more beautiful colors, more laughter, and beautiful music. In the higher levels, there are no houses and such, only a blending of sound and color.
Suddenly, he comes upon the “Hall of Records,” an enormous building without walls or a ceiling. Here an old man hands him a large book containing the records of the individual he is giving a reading for. According to Cayce, this record is the person's so-called “Book of Life” which every person is constantly filling by thinking, speaking and doing. When he completes a reading, he would then return to his physical body. (20)
P.M.H. Atwater is one of the most respected researchers of the NDE phenomenon. In her latest book, Children of the New Millennium, she presents the first serious look at the NDEs of children. One of these children was an eleven-year old named Cecil. He and his brother were swimming when they had a problem. He tried to get his brother out of the water, but in a panic was pulled under several times and they drowned. His brother died; but Cecil had an NDE.
He leaves his body and travels toward a brilliant light. He travels into cities made entirely of light. Each city represents a kind of cosmic grade in school where people progress. Three men appear as a welcoming committee to escort him to the first city. He hesitates to go because he knows there is no turning back. The brilliant light of God appears and a voice asks Cecil why he hesitated. Cecil answers he is too young to die and has a lot of questions. He asks what death is.
The light shows him a car accident where some people are killed. Some do not leave their bodies because they do not believe in life after death. Cecil asks what hell is. The light shows him an old woman worrying about her children and everything. Cecil asks if there is a Satan and the light tells him no. Cecil asks how he can know right from wrong. The light replied, “Right is helping and being kind.
Wrong is not only hurting someone, but not helping when you can.” The light asks
Cecil why he wants to return. Ultimately, Cecil discovers the real reason he wants to return is to “leave the earth a little better than he found it.” (21)
A curious phenomenon, little known in the West, but familiar to
Tibetans, is the “delok”. In Tibet, “delok” means “returned from death,” and traditionally deloks are people who seemingly “die” as a result of an illness, and travel in the “bardo” (one of many
Tibetan Buddhist afterlife states). They visit the hell realms, where they witness the judgment of the dead and the suffering of hell, and sometimes they go to paradises and Buddha realms.
The delok is sent back to their bodies with a message from the Lord of Death for the living, urging them to spiritual practice and a beneficial way of life. They spend the rest of their lives recounting their experiences to others in order to draw them toward the path of wisdom. During the sixteenth century, one of the most famous delok was named Lingza Chokyi. Dawa Drolma is the author of the book entitled Delog: Journey to Realms Beyond Death which is the source for the information about Linga Chokyi.
She finds herself outside of her body but fails to realize she has died. She sees her corpse but thinks it is a dead pig lying on her bed and wearing her clothes.
She frantically tries to talk to her family, but no one hears or sees her. Her weeping children cause her tremendous pain, but she feels joy when the death rituals are being performed on her behalf.
After a while, she hears her deceased father calling her and begins to follow him.
She arrives in the first afterlife level (bardo) and sees a bridge leading to the hell realms. Here, the Lord of Death counts the good and evil actions of the dead. She sees a great man (a yogin) enter the hell realms in order to liberate people. She is told there is an error concerning her name and family and it is not yet her time to die. She returns to her body. (22)
Another child of P.M.H. Atwater’s study of childhood NDEs is a fifth grader named Clara. She became sick with extreme pain in her lower right side and was rushed to the hospital. It was there that she had her NDE. Dr. Atwater has also released a new book on childhood NDEs entitled The New Children and Near Death Experiences.
Clara leaves her physical body and watches doctors working on it. Someone leads her through a tunnel where she hears a playground full of laughing children playing. Another person approaches telling them they are not yet ready for her.
She is taken to a large building where others are working. She is led to meet Christ who tells her telepathically what she must do. Jesus has her look into a television-like device to see her future. What she sees makes her very happy.
Jesus tells her she will forget what she witnessed in the device when she returns.
It happens exactly as she was told. (23)
In 1987 while hot-air ballooning in the Swiss Alps, Lynnclaire died due to a lack of oxygen when her balloon reached too high of an altitude. During her NDE, she came into contact with what she calls “the Pattern”, a mandala she describes as “primarily a matrix of personal and global healing.” Seeing the Pattern, she knew she was looking at life itself. It was light; it was time and space. It was the energy of all matter, the heart of all that mattered. Her book, “The Pattern”, documents her experience.
Lynnclaire finds herself in a beautiful valley. She wonders if she is in heaven. She sees her lifetime as it existed without the bounds of time. She hears beautiful music and begins to dance joyously. Her deceased grandmother appears and she realizes they are in a place of infinite love.
They enter a meadow that becomes an amphitheater. On stage, every person greets her who played a part in her life and who has already died, including her miscarried baby. They all share a message of love. The last person who appears on the stage is unknown to her, yet this person is someone who speaks directly to her soul. This special person, whom she identifies as “the Presence,” tells her she will be a catalyst for change and love. Everyone leaves the stage and she enters a sacred place before the light. She is embraced by “the Presence.”
She then finds herself climbing a mountain toward the light and realizes she is in the space between two worlds and is going home. A tunnel appears that takes her to the top of the mountain. At the end of the tunnel, she sees what she calls “the Pattern,” which is God. As she prepares to take the next step to merge into the light, she is pulled back by her husband who is frantically giving her physical body CPR. (24)
In 1974, Jeanie's heart went into fibrillation and she died. Her resulting NDE is documented in one of P.M.H. Atwater's books,
Beyond The Light. It affirms many concepts behind the NDE such as reincarnation, the mechanics of the life review and the why people cannot remember their life experiences before birth.
Jeanie leaves her physical body and floats above it. She sees doctors operating frantically on her physical body. Jesus appears and asks if she wants to be reincarnated. She asks for some time to rest and think about it. She holds a conversation with Jesus telepathically.
God appears as a tremendous light and gives her the choice to stay in the light or be revived and remain in a coma. She chooses to stay in the light. She feels ecstatic in the love and light of God.
She is taken into a domed room where the walls are covered with television-like screens. On each screen, an event in her life is being played out. God asks her what she has done with her gift of life. She mentions the time and energy she spent on her daughter. Jeanie realizes she is judging herself, rather than God judging her, and that God is satisfied with her answer. She asks many questions of God and receives many answers. Afterward, she returns to her body. (25)
As a most successful nightclub owner, Ned lived life in the fast lane. Despite his religious upbringing as a Roman Catholic, he had no interest in a spiritual life because he didn’t believe in an afterlife. He was too busy searching for a good time to be bothered with such things. This all changed when he had an NDE resulting from a heart attack during a heated fistfight with a business associate. His NDE changed his life and gave him a conscious awareness of his mission in life. Later he served on the Board of Directors for the International Association for NearDeath Studies. His experience is documented in his book entitled Fast Lane to Heaven.
Ned leaves his physical body and falls as if into a dark pit. He reaches the bottom and sees in the distance the light of God. He can see and hear the ambulance workers trying to revive his physical body. As the ambulance takes his body away, he finds himself hovering in mid air.
Suddenly, all of his worldly possessions flash before his eyes. A tunnel forms and an old deceased friend appears. Together, they travel through the tunnel and come out into a universe of bright stars. The brilliant light of God appears and embraces them. Tremendous knowledge and revelations enter into him. He and his friend descend into an amphitheater filled with thousands of spirit beings who emanate all their love and attention to them. He is reunited in a kind of homecoming with deceased family and friends.
The amphitheater grows quiet as a luminescent sphere envelops him and he experiences his life in review. Afterwards, he finds himself in a beautiful garden. A beautiful “lady of light” appears and takes him to the Hall of Records where he is shown images of the future.
Afterward, he finds he is back in the garden again. A person resembling Jesus is seated next to him with children all around him. The lady of light shows him more scenes of the future. As the scenes end, the luminescent sphere dissolves and he is once again in the amphitheater standing next to his friend. The cheers of thousands of spirit beings communicate a tremendous amount of support for him.
Then, he returns to life, escorted by his friend. (26)
Her book, Embraced by the Light, became a New York Times bestseller. Her NDE is considered to be one of the most detailed and most profound NDEs ever documented. The argument can be made that her NDE and book was responsible for causing other experiencers to come forward with their own NDEs, thereby proliferating the knowledge of the NDE to millions of readers.
Betty leaves her body through her chest and floats above her bed.
Three hooded monk-like beings she identifies as her guardian angels appear and tell her they have been with her for “eternities” and that she has died prematurely.
Concerned about her family she left behind, she leaves and visits them at her home but discovers they cannot see her.
She returns to her body and her guardian angels at the hospital. She is then sucked through a tunnel toward a very bright light. At the end of the tunnel, Jesus embraces her. Jesus tells her it is not yet time for her death. She begins to remember forgotten pre-birth memories while receiving an unlimited amount of knowledge. Two close friends appear whom she knew before she was born. They embrace and go on a tour of the spirit world.
They enter a large room and see people creating heavenly garments using heavenly looms of some kind. In another room, she sees people working with a large computer-like machine. They enter another room similar to a library. It is a library of the mind. They go outdoors to a garden where beautiful mountains and rivers can be seen in the distance. It is a realm more beautiful than words can describe.
Beside a waterfall, she observes a magnificent rose and becomes one with it briefly. A group of people gathers around her for a graduation party. Her guardian angels are there and they tell her she has died prematurely and must go back.
Wanting to explore the universe, she is escorted by two light beings into the vastness of space. She travels to other worlds similar to earth having intelligent beings on them. She returns to the garden and is taken to a place where many spirits are preparing for life on Earth.
Her guides show her a drunken man lying on the sidewalk. They ask her what she sees. She sees only a drunk wallowing in his own filth. Her guides show her who the man really is. They reveal to her the man is filled with light and love and who is greatly admired in the spirit world for being a reminder to people of the need to help others.
She is shown the earth as it appears in space. She is shown how prayers shoot like beacon lights from the earth. She sees angels rushing around answering these prayers. She is observing all of this while in the garden.
She is led from the garden and into a large building before a “Council of Elders,” consisting of twelve men and Jesus. Here, she is again told her death was premature and she must return to earth. Jesus shows her life in review in the form of well-defined holograms. Jesus comforts her when she sees the negative aspects of her life and begins to judge herself too harshly.
After her life review, she is told her mission in life is not complete and she must return. She steadfastly refuses. Jesus decides to reveal her mission in life with one condition. If she decides to return to earth, the memory of her mission will be removed. She agrees to this and is shown her mission. Immediately, she agrees to go back. Suddenly, thousands of angels appear to sing her farewell.
She finds herself back in the hospital where it all began. Her mission in life was completely removed from her memory. (27)
As a professor and obstetrician with a successful practice, Richard fell off a balcony in 1972 and hit his head causing an NDE. When her revived, he closed his medical practice in order to follow his
calling into a full-time ministry. He is now proclaiming the gospel wherever TV, radio, or audiences request his unusual testimony. His NDE helped to shape his ministry and message. His NDE is published in his book entitled Caught up into
Richard finds himself out of his body and hears Jesus tell him, “Dick, you're dead!”
He asks Jesus many questions to which he replies, “Didn't you read my book?”
The answers are given to him corresponding to what is written in the Bible. He explores the paradise Jesus prepared for him. He begins to get lonesome for his wife and tries to find her. He returns to earth after his grieving wife prays for his return. (28)
The Native American medicine man Black Elk, of the Lakota
Sioux nation, lived between 1863 and 1950, surviving the collision of two eras, when the ancient primal world of his people was shattered by the violent invasion of the new industrial culture.
This remarkable medicine man did not even speak English when he told his visionary experience to the author John Neihardt, who wrote about it in his book entitled Black Elk Speaks. In this classic of Native American literature, Black Elk's NDE glows through his perceptions of a sacred natural world.
Black Elk is a dying boy when two men appear in the clouds to tell him his grandfather is calling him. He is raised up into the clouds and feels sorry to leave his parents. He sees a vision of a classic Native American mandala consisting of a circular hoop and the center of the world on an axis stretching from the sky to the earth. Numerous horses prance around surrounded by lightning and thunder. He is told to follow the bay horse.
The horse leads him to a rainbow door. Inside sit six grandfathers who are as old as the stars. The oldest grandfather welcomes him and says, “Your grandfathers all over the world are having a council, and they have called you here to teach you.” He becomes frightened because he knows these are not old men, but the Powers of the world.
Each grandfather gives him a special power. The first grandfather gives him the power to heal. The second grandfather gives him the power of cleansing. The third grandfather gives him the power of awakening and peace. The fourth grandfather gives him the power of growth. The fifth grandfather, the Spirit of the Sky, gives him the power of transcendent vision. The sixth grandfather transforms into a
young Black Elk and back to an old man. The grandfather tells him his people will have great troubles.
The boy hears a voice telling him, “Behold the circle of the nation's hoop, for it is holy, being endless, and thus all powers shall be one power in the people without end.” He stands on the highest mountain and watches this hoop of the world. He says, “I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.” He receives his powers from the grandfathers and is sent back to his body.
Many years after his NDE, he tells his story to a medicine man. He helps him reenact the vision as a ritual. Black Elk becomes a powerful medicine man and heals many people. (29)
A wife and mother haunted by abuse in childhood and overwhelmed by despair, Angie was in a desperate state of mind. In 1991, she committed suicide in the hope to escape her sense of emptiness and suffering. But the resulting NDE led into a realm of darkness instead of light. Her book, Beyond
The Darkness, describes the hell she experienced which is far more horrific and personal than the old fire-and-brimstone metaphors. It is a world of terrifying visions and profound psychic disconnection.
Angie commits suicide and passes into a warm tunnel and re-experiences her own birth. She notices a large screen in front of her and is drawn into a three dimensional slide show of her entire life. She instantaneously relives her entire life from everyone's point of view, including that of herself. She sees her childhood from an adult point of view.
After her life review, she finds herself in vast darkness. Looking to her right, she sees she is shoulder to shoulder with some teenagers who have also committed suicide. She is sucked further into the darkness to a plane she is told is purgatory.
There are thousands of people there. Everyone there was too self-absorbed in their misery to communicate with others. She hears their thoughts and gets terrified at the solitude there. She realizes this is a place where there is no hope.
Suddenly, a great voice emanates from a pinpoint of light she identifies as God the Father. Filled with power, anger and love, God asks her, “Is this what you
really want? Don't you know that this is the worst thing you could have done?” She replies, “But my life is so hard.” God replies to her, “You think that was hard. It is nothing compared to what awaits you if you take your life. Life's supposed to be hard. You can't skip over parts. We have all done it. You must earn what you receive.”
Jesus appears and says, “Don't you understand? I have done this for you?” Angie becomes one with Christ and understands perfectly about the sacrifice of Christ.
Jesus pleads her case to God. God tells her, “I told you how to get through this,” referring to the scriptures.
She is shown the future, as it would be if her suicide succeeded. She realizes nobody else in purgatory can see God talking to her. This is because they lack the will to seek God as she does. She realizes beings of light have been all around her all along. As she gains more light, she is lifted from the plane of darkness and finds herself back in her physical body. (30)
When David was thirteen years old, he was riding his bike to school and was hit by a concrete mixing truck. The resulting NDE revealed to him many of the secrets of the afterlife. Many questions concerning “Why are we here?” or “What is the meaning of life?” were answered. At the end of his experience, he was given a choice - a choice that is offered to us all. It is a choice we all must make when we die.
David leaves his physical body and observes people working on it in the emergency room of a hospital. One nurse tells another, “Well, it certainly makes you wonder if it's worth saving this mess.”
Frightened by these words, he steps through the wall of the hospital and finds himself in a dark void. Taking another step, he finds himself in a beautiful garden.
He sits on a bench and a kind and old gentleman appears sitting with him. David asks if he has died. The old man replies that he is not dead, but his body is in a lot of trouble.
The old man explains why David can be two places at the same time, in the hospital and in the garden. The old man tells him he is there with David to remind him his true home is with God. David begins to remember forgotten knowledge concerning life before his birth. The old man disappears.
David sees a path and begins to walk down it. Jesus appears and asks, “Will you come unto me?” David steps forward and pauses, remembering he has a whole life to learn and experience. He tells Jesus, “No, I still have many things which I must do.” He then finds himself back in his body, wondering why he said “no” to Jesus. (31)
Being raised a Southern Baptist, Kenneth thought he had done all that was necessary to get a place in heaven. He made a commitment to Christ, was baptized with water, and was a lifelong member of the church. He was a believer and follower of Jesus Christ and he knew this assured him a place in heaven. It came as a real shock to him when he found out it didn’t. At the age of 15,
Kenneth had an NDE resulting from a malformed heart – a condition he was born with. His NDE is described in his book entitled I Believe In Visions.
Kenneth leaps out of his body and descends into a pit. The pit gets hotter the further down he descends. He discovers the very gates of hell and is drawn like a magnet to it.
An unknown creature appears at his side and takes his arm to escort him through the gates. He realizes once he goes through the gates, he cannot return. As he is escorted toward the gates of hell, an unknown voice speaks causing everything to shake. The creature unhands him.
He is then pulled away and returns to his physical body. This whole experience happens again two more times in succession exactly in the way it did the first time. (32)
In Jean Ritchie’s book, Death’s Door, she documented the suicide attempts and subsequent NDEs of a woman named Helen. Her NDEs demolished the myth held by many religious people that suicide and homosexuality are one-way tickets to hell. Although Helen is now very comfortable with her homosexuality, coping with it has not always been easy. When she was seventeen, she drank heavily and experimented with drugs. Her problems greatly escalated and led her to decide to take her own life. After taking an overdose of pills and drink, Helen’s heart stopped four times according to medical staff. This led her to have an NDE.
Helen commits suicide and floats out of her physical body. She feels a tremendous sense of peace. She floats into a supermarket-like place where she sees her deceased relatives beckoning to her. Outside, through the windows, she sees the family and friends she left behind beckoning to her. She decides to return to her physical body in the hospital.
In a later NDE resulting from another suicide attempt, she travels to a beautiful realm through a tunnel toward a bright light. She feels tremendous peace and warmth there. She has a sense it is her decision to either stay or return. She awakens in the hospital. (33)
In 1996, Arvin Gibson, a retired nuclear engineer and a prominent NDE researcher, interviewed a firefighter named Jake who had a most unusual NDE while working with other firefighters in a forest.
What makes his NDE unusual is that it happened at the same time as several of his co-workers were also having an NDE.
Jake's experience was sufficiently interesting that Gibson's local chapter of IANDS invited Jake to tell his story at one of their meetings. Arvin Gibson's book, Fingerprints of God, documents the NDE.
Jake and a crew of firefighters succumb to a fire they were battling. He leaves his physical body and sees the rest of his crew outside of their bodies as well. In the glorious peace that ensues, a brilliant light appears in which he sees his deceased great-grandfather. He tells Jake it is his choice to stay or return to life. Jake was told neither he, nor any of his crew who chose to return, would suffer ill effects from the fire. Jake and his crew return to their bodies and all are well as promised. (34)
At the time of her NDE, Valvita was a woman of Christian faith, a wife, and a proud mother. She entered the hospital due to a serious infection after having a cesarean section. Her NDE is documented in Rita Bennett’s book, To Heaven and Back.
Valvita leaves her physical body and observes doctors trying to revive it. She then passes through “three heavens.” In the first heaven, she meets Christ and his great love. They travel through two more “skylike heavens” until she comes into the presence of the light of God on an invisible throne extending all the way to earth.
Falling prostrate, she hears God speak to her about her and her life, while she has a life review. After her life is reviewed, Jesus touches her hand and she is given the strength to stand up. Jesus leads her to some kind of arena, steps away from her and walks toward the light of God. Jesus then stops, turns sideways and stretches out his arms as a bridge between her and God.
Everything she knew from scripture flashes into her mind. God and Jesus begin discussing her case. Jesus says, “My blood is sufficient. She's mine.” This removed all her doubts and feelings of unworthiness. She becomes ecstatic and starts rejoicing. Jesus returns to her and rejoices with her.
A look in Jesus' eyes tells her she had to return. Jesus tells her she has work for her to do. She then returns to life. (35)
Carl Jung was the world-renowned psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. He had an NDE after having a heart attack.
As he reflected on life after death, Jung recalled the meditating
Hindu from his NDE and read it as a parable of the archetypal
Higher Self, the God-image within. Jung centered on the archetypes of the collective unconscious in his autobiography entitled Memories, Dreams, Reflections, which describes his NDE.
Carl finds himself in outer space viewing the earth from about a thousand miles above. He sees the beautiful blue aura surrounding the earth and it is the most beautiful sight he has ever seen. He turns around to see a temple floating in space with him. At the temple's entrance, a Hindu sits waiting for him. As Carl approaches, his earthly consciousness is stripped away. He begins to carry with him everything he had ever experienced. He knows inside the temple would be all the people to whom he really belongs. He knows inside he will find the answers to everything.
This scene is suddenly interrupted by an image of his doctor protesting Carl's death. Carl becomes disappointed because he knows he will not be allowed to enter the temple. Instead, he returns to his physical body. For three weeks after his NDE, he is depressed for having to return to this “box system” on earth. He
now sees this physical world as a place where people must live and work in boxlike rooms. He becomes very angry with his doctor for bringing him back. Because of his experience, he realizes his doctor will soon die. This later turns out to be true. (36)
As an anesthesiologist who worked twenty-seven years in medicine, Gerard had a very good life as a Christian, husband and father.
Then in 1979, he had a heart attack that resulted in an NDE. It is documented in Rita Bennett’s book, To Heaven and Back.
Gerard finds himself in heaven with a great number of other people all dressed in white robes and each person holding a crown in their hand. Someone tells him, “We were waiting for you.”
Suddenly, Jesus appears on the cross and glances at him with a look of great love and compassion. Everything Gerard read in the Bible becomes more real to him there. Jesus says to him, “Gerry, my peace be with you. You are healed. You will feel no pain. You will have no anxiety. You will have no fears or guilt from the past. In one week you will be home from the hospital.”
Jesus then tells him to tell his family that all their prayers are answered and are being answered. Jesus also tells him to read the Gospel and other books of John.
When he asks why he must do this, Jesus replies, “John is my friend. He knows all about my love.” His experience ends here. (37)
Another child of P.M.H. Atwater’s study of childhood NDEs, is a three-year old named Laura, whose father, in a blind drunken rage, raped, sodomized, and beat her to death. At the most extreme outpost of pain, she cried out to God and in that moment was torn from life.
Laura is carried into the sky by brightly colored angels.
She is taken before the feet of a beautiful female angel who asks to hear about her life. The infinite light of God is there which heals her. Then a struggle between the angels in heaven and the doctors on earth occur in a literal tug-of-war to bring her back from death. The doctors win the struggle and she returns to physical life. (38)
Another child of P.M.H. Atwater’s study of childhood NDEs, is a thirteen-year old named Lynn who underwent open-heart surgery to correct a condition she had since birth. She had her NDE after a complication occurred during surgery.
Lynn floats out of her physical body and around the ceiling. She observes doctors working on her body. She observes her grieving parents in the waiting room. She travels through a tunnel toward a brilliant light.
From the light, two of her deceased dogs run to greet her. The light tells her it is not yet her time to die. She reaches up and touches the face of God. Her deceased relatives greet her and one of them shares with her an important piece of information to give to someone when she returns to physical life.
Jesus appears and tells her the reason for her heart condition she was born with. Jesus tells her it was given to her as a challenge to help her grow and stay compassionate. Jesus tells her about her future.
As she enters the tunnel to return, she notices some disoriented people hiding in the tunnel afraid to come into the light. She is told not to worry about them because a guide is coming along to help them. After her NDE, the important piece of information she was given to share with someone was verified to be true. (39)
At the height of her promising tennis career, Laurelynn had a routine surgical procedure that caused her to have an NDE. In her book, Searching for Home, she describes her NDE. It is an NDE that Dr. Kenneth Ring said, “can change your life” and is “surpassingly rich in the spiritual insights it offers.”
Laurelynn leaves her physical body and watches doctors try to revive it. She floats through a dark void that is warm and loving.
In the distance, she sees a brilliant light and she travels toward it. Once in the light, she has a feeling of being home. She greets others including her deceased brother-in-law. She is then led through her life review. When it is over, her brotherin-law tells her she is not ready must return to her body which she does. (40)
According to the tenets of the Muslim faith, death is the complete end of physical life and the beginning of a period of rest until the day of resurrection when Allah judges the living and the dead. Many Muslims believe that the righteous can see visions of God after death and the wicked see visions of hell. Except for these possible visions of heaven or hell, Muslims believe the soul remains in a kind of “soul sleep” until the Day of Judgment. In his book entitled Parting Visions, Dr. Melvin Morse described a Muslim NDE by a thirty-year old Saudi Arabian named Mebruke. She was swimming in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy when she drowned and had an NDE.
Mebruke sees a very beautiful white light that has a peaceful effect on her. While underwater, she hears a voice tell her, “You are not to die like this.” Suddenly, a powerful force of energy shoots through her physical body sending her to the surface. Shortly after this, she is rescued and taken aboard a boat. (41)
When she was twenty-eight years old, Dianne was electrocuted while working on her fish tank resulting in a very profound NDE. Her experience transformed her entire life in a very big way.
Today, she is a certified hypnotherapist and has taught 25,000 people to see and feel God's presence during the dream state. Her book, You Can See the Light, trains people to do this very thing for themselves.
Dianne leaves her body and observes her dog pawing at it. She discovers her spirit body is transparent and has the ability to walk through walls. She tries to communicate with a living person outside her house, but she walks through the person and is unnoticed by him. She sees a silver cord connecting her spirit body to her physical body.
A tunnel appears and she travels through it. She emerges from the tunnel and a radiant angelic being appears. This being shows her an instantaneous threedimensional display of her entire life. Afterward, she returns through the tunnel and emerges into another dimension. She sees a duplicate of herself lying on a bed. She then realizes the absurdity of being at three places at the same time. As she moves closer to the bed and reclines on it, her duplicate disappears. As she lies in the bed, she raptures with great feelings of love and peace.
A pinpoint of light appears which gets closer and closer until she finds herself in the very presence of God. She is given the choice to either stay with God or return to her physical body. The light of God touches her and she is transformed, becoming one with God.
Suddenly, she is sucked through the tunnel again and emerges before her angelic being. The angelic being begins asking her questions such as, “What do you want to do?” Diane replies, “I want to go into the light, and I want to touch things.” She is sucked through the tunnel once again and emerges before her lifeless physical body. Realizing she wants the light, she is sucked back into the tunnel and back to the angelic being. Dianne is torn between staying in the light or returning to the physical world where she can actually “touch things.” She goes back and forth through the tunnel several times more.
She realizes she has done little while in the physical world - how few lives she touched. She is pulled through the tunnel and reenters her physical body.
Afterwards, she wonders how she could have possibly decided to come back. (42)
As a scientist who believed in the absolute finality of death, Don went through life with an increasing anxiety about his eventual fate.
Then an NDE led him on a quest to uncover what science knows about the nature of death. His subsequent spiritual journey led him through the entire realm of science and religious beliefs until he came to an inescapable conclusion: Some form of an afterlife must exist. In his book, Searching for Eternity, he summarizes the vast research and data leading to this conclusion.
Don feels himself spinning around and around in ever widening circles. Out of the pitch darkness comes an incredibly bright, white light. He is shown his life in review. He flies above the clouds and travels to the cemetery where his body is going to be buried. He sees a newspaper with his own obituary in it. He returns to his body and is back in the hospital. (43)
Dr. Satwant Pasricha and Dr. Ian Stevenson documented sixteen cases of NDEs in India. Indian experiencers frequently report being taken to the after-death realm by functionaries who then discover that a mistake has been made and send the person back, whereupon he or she revives. One of their subjects was Vasudev Pandey who nearly died of “paratyphoid disease” when he was about ten years old. He had been considered dead and his body had actually been taken to the cremation ground. However, some indications of life aroused attention and he was revived.
Two beings take hold of Vasudev and take him away. After some distance, he feels tired and the two beings drag him.
He is taken before a black Hindu with no clothes who says to the two beings in a rage, “I had asked you to bring Vasudev the gardener. Our garden is drying up. You have brought Vasudev the student.”
He regains consciousness with the gardener standing in front of him. The next day, the gardener is dead. (44)
Many of books of the Bible were written by Paul, a Hebrew Pharisee who converted to Christianity after receiving a vision of Christ. In 1945, an ancient Gnostic book entitled the Apocalypse of Paul (45) was discovered in Egypt. Together with a number of other manuscripts, this book outlines the early Gnostic Christian idea of what happens after death when the soul is judged.
According to Paul's Apocalypse, each soul has to rise as best it can through a hierarchy of heavens and face the increasingly difficult challenges posed by the guardian angels of each heaven.
In the Apocalypse of Paul, Paul first meets the Holy Spirit in the form of a child.
The child leads him to the third heaven. The child warns him they are about to enter a realm of archangels and demons. They pass by the place where souls go to be reincarnated.
The child leads him to the fourth heaven where they see a soul having his life reviewed. The soul is subsequently reincarnated because of misdeeds. The child leads him to the fifth heaven were he meets his fellow apostles. Here they see angels scourging souls in order to drive them on to judgment.
In the sixth heaven, he sees a strong light shine down on him. In the seventh heaven, he sees an old man bearing a striking resemblance to Jehovah as described by the prophet Ezekiel. The old man asks Paul where he is going. Paul gives him a password which is the Gnostic sign necessary for one to know to move into higher realms. (46)
In the eighth heaven, Paul embraces the twelve disciples and they all rise to the ninth heaven. When he reaches the tenth heaven, he is transformed. (47)
In 1979, Howard was a Baptist minister of 35 years when he died while on the operating table during surgery. During his NDE, he traveled through a number of afterlife realms until he was taken before the throne of God. In his booklet entitled Placebo, he describes his NDE and the message he was told to share with the world.
Howard leaves his physical body and angels lift him to the second heaven where he sees demonic spirits among the living on earth. He becomes nauseous at this sight. An angel tells him he is feeling this way because there is no love in this world.
He is escorted to the third heaven through a tunnel he describes as the passageway from earth to the third heaven. He is taken to the very gates of heaven, but instead of entering, he is instructed to watch others enter one at a time. An angel forbids him to enter because he would not be able to return.
Howard realizes if he could not return to his physical body, his physical body would die. This troubles him because he is very concerned about the physical body he left behind.
He is told to stand by one side of the gate and present his case to God. He is assured God would hear and answer him. Howard begins talking of his good works. He asks God for an extension of his physical life. In anger, God rebukes him by telling him he lived a life only for himself. Dejected by this show of God's anger, he is escorted back to his body. Then he realizes God did not actually answer his question. Howard pleads with the angels to take him back so God can answer his question.
He is escorted back to the gate before God and he pleads his case again. He promises God he will do better next time. God reminds him he has promised this before. He is shown all the promises he made to God that he didn't keep.
Suddenly, he becomes filled with light causing him to see God in a whole new way. Instead of a God of wrath, which he saw previously, he sees God as a God of love. He becomes sorrowful for the promises he broke to God.
God expresses sympathy for him. Howard realizes his physical body is not important after all. God tells him why he was taken to heaven in the first place.
The reason is because God has an important message for him to tell others. The message has to do with the Second Coming of Christ, which he is told is soon to happen, and the fact the Christian church has fallen away from the faith. (48)
The oldest surviving report of an NDE in Western literature is Plato's story of Er, a soldier who awoke on his funeral pyre after sojourning in the afterlife. Plato integrated at least three elements of Er’s NDE into his philosophy. These included the departure of the soul from the cave of shadows to see the light of truth, the flight of the soul to a vision of pure celestial being and its subsequent recollection of the vision of light, the very purpose of philosophy. In his book, Republic, he concludes his discussion of the immortal soul and ultimate justice with the story of Er. Traditional Greek culture had no strong faith in ultimate justice. The dead lingered in a dark, miserable underworld Hades, regardless of their behavior in this life, with no reward or punishment. But Plato drew on the idea of an otherworldly reward or punishment to motivate virtuous behavior in this life. The first point of Er's story is to report on this cosmic justice.
Twelve days after Er is slain in battle, his body does not decay and is lain on a funeral pyre for burial. He revives from death and tells others his experience:
He leaves his body and journeys with other souls to a mysterious region where there are two tunnels side by side in the earth and two tunnels side by side in the heavens. Judges sit between heaven and earth to judge the souls. Souls judged as righteous enter to the right, upward tunnel leading to the heavens. The souls judged as unjust enter the left, downward tunnel leading to the earth.
As he draws near to be judged, he is told he must be a messenger to inform humanity of this other world. From the upper left tunnel from heaven, he sees souls arrive in preparation to be reincarnated to earth. These souls are happy and talk of how beautiful the world is from which they came. From the lower left tunnel from the earth come souls who are lamenting over how great the suffering was they endured in the world from which they just came.
Journeying on, he sees a bright pure rainbow light resembling a “cosmic axis” holding together eight spheres revolving around the earth (the solar system?).
Each sphere (planet?) is guided by its Fate. Before the groups of reincarnating souls, one of the Fates displays a number of earthly destinies from which the
souls may choose. For example, the destiny of a tyrant or an animal or an artist can be selected. Before returning to earth, each soul drinks from the “River of
Forgetfulness” to forget all pre-birth memories. Er, however, is not required to drink and forget. (49)
A nearly fatal heart attack caused Jan to undergo an NDE. While many experiencers are greeted by a being of light during their NDEs, Jan was greeted by her deceased dog. Their new relationship while in heaven is quite interesting and amazing. Her NDE reveals what happens to beloved pets when they cross over to the other side. In her book, The Other Side of Death, Jan describes her NDE and her adventures with her dog in the afterlife.
Jan leaves her physical body and sees angels helping her rise higher. A beautiful light pours through her. Her beloved deceased dog appears and she communicates with it telepathically. Her dog gives her a guided tour of the afterlife.
First, they go to the home her dog created with its mind and where her dog currently dwells. Next, they go to a cliff where they can observe what is happening in the physical world. Next, they enter a “Temple of Knowledge” resembling a Greek temple. Here, people are engaged in various artistic endeavors.
Moving further inward, they see wise ones who are stationed at intervals waiting to assist people who choose to approach them. She approaches one of them and is given much knowledge. Her wise one shows her a city of light consisting of three simultaneous dimensions. In the first dimension, everyone and everything is dingy, with much darkness and evil. The second dimension is brighter and much more colorful and appears very much like the physical world. The third dimension is similar in description to the holy city in the Book of Revelation with pure gold and crystal glass. The people there live in harmony, great joy and peace. The wise one instructs her to go further into the Temple and she does.
Once there, she experiences infinite knowledge and realizes her oneness with the light of God. In the light, a beautiful woman appears and asks her to gaze into her eyes. Jan realizes she is seeing into the eyes of her very own soul. She comes face to face with the glory she had from the beginning of time. As she descends back into her physical body, she is told to hold on to as much information as she can. She is sucked through a tunnel and finds herself back in her physical body. (50)
Dr. Michael Sabom is a cardiologist whose latest book, Light and Death, includes a detailed medical and scientific analysis of the amazing NDE of a patient named Pam Reynolds. She underwent a highly unusual operation for a giant aneurysm in her brain. She had been referred to a doctor who had pioneered a daring surgical procedure known as hypothermic cardiac arrest, which would allow Pam's aneurysm to be removed with a reasonable chance of success. This operation, nicknamed “standstill” by the doctors who perform it, requires her body temperature be lowered to 60 degrees, her heartbeat and breathing stopped, her brain waves flattened, and the blood drained from her head. In everyday terms she is dead. As the operation was being performed, Pam's NDE began to unfold.
She relates the story with remarkable detail and her observations of the surgery were later verified to be true.
Pam undergoes a surgical procedure known as a “standstill” to remove a brain aneurysm. Her body temperature is lowered to 60 degrees. Her heartbeat and breathing are stopped. Her brain waves are flattened. All the blood is drained from her head and she literally becomes brain dead. The doctors then perform the operation.
While this is happening, she leaves her body through the top of her head and floats above her physical body while the doctors operate on it. She notices only half of her head has been shaved off for the surgery. She watches as a doctor cuts open her head with an electric toothbrush-like device.
She is pulled through a tunnel and into a place of incredibly bright light. She meets deceased loved ones who prevent her from traveling all the way into the light. She realizes she has to return to her body. Her deceased relatives sprinkle her with “sparkles” to gives her strength. Afterwards, her uncle leads her back to the tunnel to return to her physical body. She is reluctant to reenter her physical body because it looks repulsive from the surgery. She is told reentering her body would be like jumping into a swimming pool. She is reluctant to do so. She falls back into her body after being given a helping push from her uncle. (51)
In 1943, George was training to be a doctor while in the Army.
During this time, he became ill and died of pneumonia. Nine minutes later, he returned to life to tell of an amazing NDE. His NDE so profoundly moved Dr. Raymond Moody, the so-called “father of the NDE,” that he was inspired to begin to seriously investigate the NDE. George’s NDE is described in his book, “Return From Tomorrow”.
George leaves his body and sees it lying in his bed. He is not aware the dead body in his bed is his. Wanting eagerly to travel to Richmond, Virginia to start college, he finds himself flying in the air toward a city. He is not sure how he acquired these strange powers of flight and transparency. He arrives at a city and discovers he has lost his solidness. He flies back to the hospital and sees his lifeless body in the morgue and realizes he has died.
Suddenly, Jesus appears emitting a tremendous light and love. George's entire life appears before him. Jesus asks, “What have you done with your life?” He realizes Jesus is not judging him, but he is judging himself.
Jesus gives him a tour of four different dimensions in the afterlife. They both fly toward a large city on earth where they notice a group of assembly-line workers at work. He witnesses the spirit of a woman trying desperately to obtain a cigarette from the workers who are oblivious to her presence. This woman died severely addicted to cigarettes.
In a house, Jesus shows him the spirit of a boy following a living teenage girl and begging for forgiveness while the girl is completely unaware of the boy's presence.
Jesus tells George that the boy committed suicide and is “chained to every consequence of his act.”
Jesus shows George a bar filled with sailors who are heavily drinking. Spirits try desperately and in vain to get a drink or to control the sailors' alcoholic behavior.
These spirits are from humans who die severely alcoholic. He is horrified as he observes a drunken sailor pass out and an alcoholic spirit jump into the body of the sailor.
Jesus takes him to a new dimension away from earth and shows him a kind of “receiving station” where spirits would arrive in a deep hypnotic sleep because of their beliefs. These are spirits who believe they must sleep after death until Jesus returns.
Jesus shows him a dimension where angry spirits are locked in hand-to-hand combat, trying in vain to hurt each other. He hears verbal abuse going on. He observes some trying in vain to get sexual gratification from each other. He also sees spirits arguing over some religious or political point and trying to kill the ones who did not agree with them. Here, he realizes he is seeing hell. These are spirits who are locked into some earthly desire that went beyond the physical and which cannot be satisfied in the spirit.
He is then taken to a different dimension appearing like an enormous university.
Here he observes people dressed as monks engaged in some form of artistic behavior or research. He is taken into an enormous library where all the important books of the universe are assembled. He asks Jesus if this is heaven. He replies that these are the people who grew beyond selfish desires while on earth. George realizes these people cannot see Jesus, just as the others could not see him in hell.
Jesus takes him into outer space toward a distant city made of brilliant light of a similar description to the city in the Book of Revelation. He speculates this is the place where people go who have become Christ-like while on earth. Here, love was the dominant focus of life. He realizes he is seeing heaven, but he is not allowed to go in. Jesus then shows him the future of the earth. He then returns to his physical body. (52)
In 1986, Virginia had a near-fatal bout of pneumonia that caused her to have an NDE. At this time, she was extremely weak with a high fever, felt intense pressure in her ears, and had difficulty breathing. She remembers crying out inwardly, “Please, where is everybody? I must be dying.” At that point, she lost consciousness, and her journey to the center of the universe and to the Source of All began. Her NDE is described in Dr. Kenneth Ring's book, Lessons from the Light.
Virginia finds herself at peace in a black void. She travels very quickly through the stars, which creates a tunnel effect. The farther she travels, the more knowledge she gains. This includes knowledge she had forgotten long ago. As she travels, her consciousness expands tremendously. Love from all the corners of the universe pours into her.
A light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter and brighter as she gets closer. At the end of the tunnel is God. All the light, love and knowledge of the universe is there.
She realizes she is “home.”
She hovers next to God on the ledge of a huge mountain where she sees a golden altar shining in from of her. God tells her many things she cannot remember later. She is told she has to return because there was something she had yet to accomplish. At the moment, she knew what this something was, but finds she cannot remember it upon her return.
She pleads for God to allow her to stay, but she knows she has something yet to accomplish on earth. She returns to her body in order to accomplish whatever it is she is to accomplish. (53)
George holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neuropathology, and a Ph.D. in the psychology of religion. Before immigrating to the
United States from the Soviet Union in 1989, he worked as a research psychiatrist at the University of Moscow. George was pronounced death immediately after being hit by a car in 1976 and was left for three days in a morgue. He did not return to life until a doctor began to make an incision in his abdomen as part of an autopsy procedure. When he revived, he was able to describe a very profound NDE. Prior to his NDE, he was also an avowed atheist. After his experience, he devoted himself exclusively to the study of spirituality, taking a second doctorate in the psychology of religion. He became an ordained priest in the Eastern Orthodox Church and serves as a pastor at St. Paul
United Methodist Church in Baytown, Texas. His NDE is described in Phillip Berman’s book The Journey Home.
George leaves his body and enters total darkness. He wonders how he could still be alive after his death. He realizes he must think positive thoughts to escape the darkness and enter into the light. As soon as he does, a bright light appears and he sees the universal form of life and nature. Afterward, he sees a holographic drama of his entire life in review. In the light, he becomes ecstatic as he becomes filled with knowledge. He travels back into time and lives in the minds of Jesus and his disciples. He does the same for other historical figures throughout history.
Suddenly, he feels himself back in his physical body and is painfully aware his body is being cut open. He has returned to life after being dead for three days in the morgue. He revives to the utter shock and horror of the doctors performing his autopsy. (54)
In 1976, Sandra put a gun to her heart and shot herself. Instead of the nothingness she sought from suicide, she had an NDE. Her NDE gives some insight into the process of reincarnation and reveals the choices those who commit suicide may be given. On April 28, 2000, Sandra died from complications resulting from her suicide attempt. In her book, Lessons from the Light, she describes her NDE.
Sandra commits suicide and a being of light appears. Instantaneously, her entire life is presented to her for review. She is given access to unlimited knowledge.
Christ gives her two choices. The first choice is to remain in the light with the condition she must reincarnate at a future time to re-experience and overcome all that caused her to commit suicide in the first place. The second choice is to be revived and live out the rest of her life overcoming her problems. She chooses the second choice and is revived. (55)
As an atheist, Daniel made fun of those who believed in an afterlife.
Then in 1978, after weeks of failing health, Daniel succumbed and had an NDE. It changed his life forever. For over ten years, he has been carrying on a ministry as a street preacher. He wrote a book about his experience entitled Transformed by the Light.
Daniel finds himself before the light of God. He is overcome with grief and regret because of his life of self-indulgence, atheism and persecution of religious people. The light of God crushes all his egocentric illusions. He is shown his entire life in review including every thought, word and deed. He sees he lived his whole life mostly for himself. He is in sheer agony. God pours an incredible amount of love into him that greatly comforts him. He is forgiven and in a state of ecstasy. He feels as though God has given him a second chance as he returns to physical life. (56)
Thomas was an avowed agnostic when his pickup truck fell on him, crushing his chest flat. He was clinically dead for fifteen minutes and had an NDE. He was sent back to tell people about death and the unconditional love of God. He shared his NDE on such television shows as Phil Donahue, Oprah Winfrey, Unsolved Mysteries, and Good Morning America. His book, What Tom Sawyer Learned from Dying, gives a detailed account of his profound NDE.
Thomas discovers he is in total blackness taking the form of a tunnel. He travels through this tunnel toward a very brilliant light. He realizes that within the light is everything in the universe, including himself. The light is God, the light of Christ, emitting tremendous love. The light communicates with him telepathically and answers all of his questions. Afterward, he is given a choice to either return to physical life or become part of the light. He is told the instant he considers it, it will be done. In order to make his choice intelligently, he is given a life review. He decides to stay in the light and become part of it. Nevertheless, he returns to his body, not knowing how or why. (57)
As the comic genius of a generation of actors, Peter brought brilliant characterizations to numerous films, including “The Mouse That Roared” (1959), “Dr. Strangelove” (1964), “The Pink Panther” (1964), and “Being There” (1979). He was known for his enthusiastic way of totally absorbing himself in his characters, even carrying roles offstage. He believed he drew on these characters from past lives that he had. Then in 1964, during the first of a rapid series of heart attacks, his heart stopped and he became clinically dead which led to an NDE. Peter confided in the famous actress Shirley MacLaine while shooting his last film. MacLaine writes about Peter’s experience in her book, Out on a Limb. She writes how Peter was astonished she did not consider him “bonkers.”
Peter leaves his physical body and watches as it is taken to the hospital where a doctor massages his heart. He sees an incredibly beautiful, bright, loving white light and wants to go to the light more than anything in his life. A tremendous amount of love from the light fills him. He knows this light is God. He observes a hand emerging from the light towards him. He tries to grab the hand, but his heart begins beating again. The light tells him it is not yet his time to die. As the hand recedes, he feels himself floating back down to his body. He wakes up bitterly disappointed. (58)
After her heart suddenly stopped, Kimberly lay on the sidewalk not breathing and without a pulse. This resulted in an NDE that changed her life profoundly. After her NDE, she became the cofounder and president of the Seattle International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS). Her NDE is described in her book, After the Light.
Kimberly leaves her physical body and discovers she is in a dense, dark gray fog.
In this fog, the past, present and future exist simultaneously. Suddenly, an explosion of light surrounds her and fills her with love and knowledge. She learns she must return to her physical body. Against her best wishes, she does so. (59)
Thirty-five years ago, Jayne was in the hospital and in labor with her second baby. In the process, she experienced clinical death and had an NDE. Her video entitled A Moment of Truth describes in detail her profound NDE.
Jayne leaves her body through the top of her head and enters a kind of gray mist. She is ecstatic to still be alive after death. A brilliant light appears and she is cradled in rapturous love and unlimited knowledge. The rapture and ecstasy build to a point where she begins to worry she will shatter. At this point, the light recedes along with the rapture.
She discovers she is in a beautiful meadow where the colors are like nothing she has ever seen. She sees a group of people dressed in robes standing on a hill nearby. As soon as she expresses to herself she wants to join them, she is there with them on the hill.
Over the horizon, she notices a city of light representing a whole world. A man in a purple robe tells her telepathically that it isn't time for her to be there. All her questions are answered. She is prompted to look within her herself into her heart.
When she does, she has a life review. She realizes the core of her being is perfect love and knows this is true for everyone. She receives knowledge long ago forgotten. She cannot understand how such important knowledge could have been forgotten. She is told that when she returns to physical life, she will not be able to remember some of the knowledge she has just learned. She hears a strange clicking sound and finds herself back in her body. (60)
One day, without any warning, John found himself face to face with the fact that life in this world is terminal. He was swimming in Lake Michigan about half a mile offshore when he got in trouble. He was swimming free style, like he had done at swimming competitions, when he turned his head to breathe and inhaled an oncoming wave. His lungs were full of water when he wondered if he could swim half a mile at top speed without breathing. He tried, but what resulted was an extraordinary NDE and a miraculous return to life. His NDE testimony was sent to me by email.
John drowns and leaves his physical body. His physical body continues to swim as he observes this from above. A tremendous light appears filling him with joy.
He has a life review and discovers he is beyond the barrier of space and time. He feels as if he is waking up from a dream. Friends appear in the light to greet him.
From deep within himself, a voice tells him he must return and he does. (61)
Before his NDE, Howard was a Professor of Art at Northern Kentucky University and not a very pleasant man. He was an avowed atheist who was hostile to every form of religion and those who practiced it. He often would use rage to control everyone around him and he didn’t find joy in anything. Anything that couldn’t be seen, touched or felt, he had no faith in. He knew with certainty that the material world was the full extent of everything that was. He considered all belief systems associated with religion to be fantasies for people to deceive themselves with. Beyond what science said, there was nothing else. Then in 1985, Howard Storm had an NDE resulting from a perforation of the stomach. His life was so immensely changed by it, he resigned as a professor and devoted his time attending the United Theological Seminary and became a United Church of Christ minister. His NDE is documented in his book, My Descent into Death.
Howard leaves his physical body and is surprised he still exists. Strange people lead him into a dark fog until he refuses to go any further. The strange people physically and verbally abuse him. They take great delight in abusing him for their amusement. A voice deep within him tells him to pray. As he does, the strange beings scream at him and back away. He continues to pray until he finds himself alone in the darkness. He pleads to Jesus for help and immediately Jesus appears in a tremendous light that heals. Together, they leave the darkness and travel into outer space toward a great concentration of light similar to a galaxy. He feels God is at the center of this “galaxy” and feels unworthy to continue. He asks Jesus to allow him to go back. Jesus tells him he belongs there.
Other light beings join them and they review his life. He sees how self-centered he was throughout his entire life. After his life review, he asks Jesus many questions and they are answered. He learns he must return to life because of his spiritual underdevelopment. He pleads to stay but, nevertheless, returns to his body. His experience so changes him, he becomes a United Church of Christ minister. (62)
In 1928, Lorraine became ill with blood poisoning. Because there were no antibiotics in those days, doctors sent her home and told her there was nothing more they could do for her. Her bout with blood poisoning resulted in an NDE. Her NDE appears in the book, “To Heaven and Back”, by Rita Bennett.
Lorraine leaves her body and floats to the upper corner of the room.
She floats through the wall and finds herself up to her neck in a black river. She asks, “Where am I?” A loud, loving voice she identifies as God replies, “This is eternity. You are lost!” She asks, “What is this?” God replies, “This is the River of Death.” She realizes God is revealing to her lost spiritual condition to her.
A whirlpool drags her to the bottom of the river where Christ appears to her in a brilliant light. Christ appears to be sad and has a big blotch of red on the ivory robe he is wearing. Jesus tells her, “This is the blood that I shed on the cross for your sins.” Jesus tells her, “Follow me.” The moment she says, “I will,” the River of Death disappears and she is healed.
They both float toward a transparent, golden wall, but she cannot see all the way through it. Beyond the wall, she hears beautiful things, such as birds, choirs and musical instruments. She searches the wall to find the entrance but realizes it isn't time for her to enter yet. She turns around and discovers Jesus is not there. She then finds herself back in her body. (63)
Emmanuel lived as a Christian in Rwanda, Africa. During the Rwanda genocide of 1994, he was seriously injured and together with ten other people hid in a school. The wounds on his body grew worse until one morning his friends realized he had died. They could not bury him because it was very dangerous to move out of the school. They hid in the school and wrapped his body in a bed cover. By now his body was beginning to decay. This situation lasted for seven days. Then he revived and, with maggots feeding on him, told his friends about an amazing NDE. His NDE testimony was emailed to me and later he sent corroborating photographs.
Emmanuel is taken to heaven where he meets an angel by the gates. The angel takes him to a beautiful garden where he meets Jesus. Jesus shows him his dead body.
He is taken to a beautiful city where he sees some of his deceased friends. Across from a beautiful lake, he sees a brilliant light. Jesus tells him he cannot approach the throne of God because it is not yet time. He is shown hell where people work as slaves. Jesus gives something to him to eat. He eats it and discovers it tastes like chocolate. He is told he just ate the whole Bible and that upon return to earth he will have the entire Bible memorized.
He returns to his maggot-infested body. He has spent several days being dead. (64)
As a forty-five year old blind woman, Vicki was one of the more than thirty people Dr. Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper interviewed at length during a two-year study concerning NDEs of the blind. Their study appears in their book entitled Mindsight.
Vicki was born blind. Her optic nerve was completely destroyed at birth because of an excess of oxygen she received in the incubator. Yet, she is able to see for the first time in her life during her NDE.
Vicki leaves her physical body and for the first time in her entire life, she can see.
She observes a male doctor and a female nurse working on a body. She notices rings on the fingers of the body. She knows the body must be hers due to the unusual nature of her rings.
She floats through the ceiling of the hospital to experience a panoramic view outside. Then, she is sucked through a tunnel and out into a beautiful meadow.
Here, she meets two of her deceased former schoolmates who were also blind.
They appear beautiful, healthy, and no longer children. She also meets deceased family members and friends. She is overcome with a sense of complete and total knowledge.
Jesus appears and he tells her it is not her time to die yet. She is very reluctant to return until she is told she will have children to bear in the future. She is told she will and, later, she does. Jesus shows her entire life in review. Afterwards, she finds herself in her physical body again. She is blind again. (65)
In 1985, RaNelle and her husband tried to fly their single-engine airplane through a snowstorm in central Utah. They became disoriented and crashed against the side of a mountain, turning their small craft into a raging inferno. She suffered severe burns and died six hours later in an ambulance. Her NDE is described in her book, The Burning Within.
RaNelle leaves her physical body and is sucked through a tunnel.
At this time, she instantaneously relives every second of her life. At the end of the tunnel, she emerges into a brilliant light that heals her. Her deceased grandmother appears and RaNelle realizes for the first time she has died.
She asks about a friend who died in an accident months earlier. This friend appears, but her grandmother forbids her to embrace him because of the life he lived. He was a drug dealer in life and had caused people to suffer. The grandmother explains that not being able to embrace him was a part of his punishment.
Her grandmother leads her to a garden of astounding beauty where she is taught lessons about God's love. They fly around the landscape as knowledge pours into her. Suddenly, she has to stop because she can't handle all of the knowledge. Her grandmother reassures her and they continue on. She reunites with more deceased loved ones.
Her grandmother then takes her to a place to “teach her humility.” She shows her a place where a beautiful woman is lying on her side on an altar surrounded with gold and jewels. The woman was once a queen in life and now in the spirit, she is deluded into believing there are multitudes surrounding her, bowing and worshiping her. But there is no one there. Here, she learns the full extent of what vanity can do.
RaNelle and her grandmother travel to another place where millions of people who have died are waiting for those on earth to finish their part of the work. Finally, she is shown her badly burned body and is told her mission in life is not complete.
She must return, but she refuses.
In an attempt to change her mind, her grandmother introduces her to a young man named Nathaniel, who is RaNelle's future son, not yet born. Nathaniel is crying and wondering why she is there. Nathaniel tells her if she doesn't return, his mission in life would be greatly hindered. This succeeds in changing her mind and she chooses to return to life. Seven years after her NDE, she gives birth to a son and names him Nathaniel. She believes her son is the young man she saw in her NDE. (66)
In 1932, Arthur was a geologist who was involved in an automobile accident that resulted in an NDE. After seeing the afterlife, he later learned that telling others about it often brought criticism, especially from the church. But there were those who would listen and as time wore on, more and more people would ask him about it. Then in 1955, he published his NDE after public interest. His booklet, “I Saw Heaven,” describes his NDE and gives many answers to questions he has been asked over the years. His NDE testimony also appears in P.M.H. Atwater’s book Beyond The Light.
Arthur leaves his body through the top of his head. He discovers he is in a beautiful mountain paradise. A group of people appears singing, dancing and laughing. Four of them run over to meet him. As they converse, he realizes he is finally home as he remembers having been here before. His questions are answered and he is filled with knowledge, love and ecstasy. One of them resembles a Greek god and tells him he must return to earth. He is told he has important work to do on earth. When it is done, he can come back and stay. With this, he returns to his body. (67)
“You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life.” – Kahlil Gibran
The following research conclusions are the most profound insights I have found from the sixty-two NDEs profiled in this book. These conclusions have been grouped into thirteen categories: Life Before Birth, Life, Humanity, Religion, Spirituality, Future, Science, Death, Life After Death, God, Heaven, Hell and Reincarnation. If the NDE is a real afterlife experience suggested, these insights may be the most important truths ever documented.
During an NDE, many people receive memories of a life in heaven before they were born into this world. Some have even seen their own children who have yet to be born. The reason the rest of us cannot remember these memories is probably because these memories reside in a very deep level of our consciousness. Very likely, remembering pre-birth memories is similar to trying to remember a dream you had during your deepest period of REM sleep.
Many NDE memories cannot be remembered at a conscious level either.
Metaphysical teachings, such as those from Edgar Cayce, reveal that these kinds of memories, of dreams and pre-birth, are stored in our subconscious (soul) and superconscious (spirit) minds. Hypnosis, meditation and dreaming are methods by which we can access our deeper consciousness and access these memories.
The following are insights from many NDEs regarding this pre-birth information.
Everyone has a mission to complete - a purpose for life and a reason for living.
We are made to forget our missions before we are born so we will not dwell on them. Our missions in life will be fulfilled when it is time.
We bond with family and friends to help us complete our missions we chose before we were born.
A “veil” of forgetfulness purposely blocks all our pre-birth memories. The reason we are made to forget any pre-birth memories is to fully experience the physical
things, be physically challenged, make choices out of free will – so we can make mistakes and so we can learn from them in ways only a physical life can impart. If we retained these pre-birth memories, we might not bother to experience physical life for its fulfillment. We might decide to skip the pain and thus miss the pleasure.
The reason we cannot retain the incredible amount of knowledge existing in the afterlife is because if we could, we would appear abnormal to the rest of society.
Mentally retarded people appear abnormal because they know much more than they can express.
When coming to earth, we must forget our knowledge of the afterlife, because if we did not, we would never be able to thrive on earth. If we were allowed to remember, we would probably focus only on that.
Before we were born, we took an oath before God that we would pretend time and space are real, that way we could come to earth to advance our souls.
Before being born, we raised our right arm and made a sacred oath with God that we would do all in our power to accomplish our missions on earth. We vowed to become partners with God in bringing goodness to the earth. The people who stood with us in this pledge were the people who would eventually play an integral part in our lives on earth. If one were to fail in their mission, all would be hurt in some way. If one succeeded, all would benefit.
We promised God before coming here we would make the most of this opportunity for God and ourselves. We will return to God with the knowledge and experience we have gained. God is enhanced by our experiences.
Most of us have selected the illnesses we would suffer. Some of us have selected the illness that will end our lives. Our deaths are often calculated to help us and others grow spiritually.
We come to earth to learn and share with others using gifts we have accumulated over several lifetimes.
We choose our own parents based on our own free will.
Prior to birth, we choose the body we will enter.
We are merely visitors on earth. Our true home is in heaven.
We came into this world to have trouble and to learn from it. Unfortunately, many people don't realize this and complain about their bad luck and spend their lives chasing pleasure, fame and money. Then they die without making any spiritual progress – thus wasting an entire lifetime, a rare privilege.
We are born into this world as mature spiritual beings rather than immature spiritual beings.
The soul can choose to enter the mother's body at any stage during her pregnancy.
Miscarried births or babies who survive only a short time are fulfilling a purpose.
Such souls do not need the development that a long life would bring. Their deaths provide challenges that help their parents grow.
Miscarried babies are able to appear as babies in the afterlife. By miscarrying, these souls have fulfilled their purpose to absolute perfection. They do not remain as babies, however, and they will grow to maturity immediately upon entering the afterlife.
We have all volunteered for our positions in life, and each of us is receiving more help than we are aware of.
The NDE reveals our universe to be merely one dimension out of many. The universe is a part of a vast university of discovery where we come to learn important lessons for soul growth. Experiencers learn from their experience this profound fact: life is God. Everything of which life consists is God. To know that life is God, is to know how very special life is. We must be very careful how we treat things in life because how we treat things in life is how we treat God. Do we destroy life or do we respect it? Do we nurture life or do we abuse it? Do we value life or do we take it for granted?
Many people who have an NDE are given a new sense of who we are as human beings. They no longer believe we are merely physical beings seeking spiritual things. They believe we are spirit beings temporarily inhabiting a physical body, learning important lessons only a physical universe can teach. As a part of life, human beings are a part of God. Jesus once said human beings are gods (John 10:34). Many religious traditions teach of the divine within.
Many NDEs reveal the religions of this world to be merely external paths whose ideals are to lead people inward toward true spirituality. Religion is often confused with spirituality.
People who have NDEs often return less religious, but more spiritual. As an example, one experiencer, Ken Martin, was a minister at the time of his NDE. Upon his return, he discovered that everything he had previously known, including his ministry and his calling, was insignificant in comparison to what he experienced during his NDE. (68) Religion has its function mostly as a cultural institution in this world, but religion has little application in the world of the NDE. It is our inward spirituality that matters most, not the outward rituals of religion we perform.
The following are insights from many NDEs regarding religion.
have them do unto us.
The NDE often reveals the difference between being religious and being spiritual. The more unconditional love one has and practices toward others, the greater the spirituality attained. Many experiencers report that until they had their experience, they did not know such a love was even possible until they felt the tremendous love of the light. Unfortunately, such a love is rarely found in this world, but is abundant after death.
The following are insights from many NDEs concerning spirituality.
Many people are shown the future during an NDE. One woman, Karen Schaeffer, was shown her children's future, as it would happen if she decided not to return to life. Because she chose to return, that particular future did not happen. Such experiences are a clear demonstration of how the future is not fixed, but is based on probabilities as they currently exist. Sometimes the future shown to people during an NDE is one more global in perspective. Many have reported seeing tremendous upheavals and disasters that are soon to happen. The NDE reveals this coming period of tribulation will ultimately lead to the dawning of a new age of enlightenment. It is safe to assume that this too is based on current probabilities and is not fixed in stone. However, if current trends continue, many NDEs are warning us, we are headed for a disaster.
The following are insights from many NDEs dealing with the future.
The scientific method deals with empirical facts concerning things measured by the senses. For those scientists who limit truth to what can be measured, the NDE is a fantasy at best and a delusion at worst. However, scientists such as Albert Einstein believe all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends with it. Such scientists believe experience to be source of true science. This is the kind of science the NDE belongs to.
The following are insights from many NDEs concerning science.
humanity together all of a sudden to a new level of consciousness. The power behind the atom is the power of God - the Force holding all things together.
Experiencers unanimously lose their fear of death upon return.
Many actually look forward to their own deaths, when they can return to the beautiful realm they experienced. The NDE changes people's ideas of death forever. This is true even for those who merely read about the NDE. Those who experience death are often not even aware they have died. This fact demonstrates how insignificant death is. The NDE reveals death to be a very brief transition from the physical to the spiritual. It has been described by some to be similar to the process of waking up from a dream - the dream being the physical world.
The following are insights from many NDEs dealing with the subject of death.
If you want to know what life after death is like, pay close attention to your dreams. The realm of your dreams is the realm of the NDE; that is, it is the realm of the mind. In the realm of the mind, all things are possible. Life after death means freeing oneself from all physical limitations and fully inhabiting the realm of the mind. In the realms of the afterlife, it is what one thinks that is most important. This is because thoughts are deeds in the afterlife. Here, in the physical world, we are what we do. But in the world of the NDE, we are what we think.
The following are insights from many NDEs dealing with life after death.
“Master-Vibration” of God would annihilate these thoughts. This Master-Vibration is often referred to as “the Holy Spirit.” After death, people gravitate into homogeneous groups according to the rate of their soul's vibrations. If the percentage of discord in a person is small, it can be eliminated by the MasterVibration of God; the remaining good can then live there. However, if there is more discord within a soul's vibrations than good, this cannot be done and the person must gravitate to a lower afterlife level and live with people of their kind. In the afterlife, each person lives in the kind of a heaven or hell they prepared for themselves while on earth. Nobody sends us anywhere. We are sorted by the vibration of our soul. Everyone goes where they fit in.
“Libraries” exist in the afterlife. In these libraries, when one reflects on a topic, all the knowledge on that topic enters the mind.
Not all experiencers see the light of God. Some have very brief experiences excluding an encounter with God. Some have negative experiences where God is nowhere to be found. Those experiencers who actually see the brilliant light and experience the ecstatic love know they have seen God. Those who experience God in an NDE never want to leave the presence of God again. Nevertheless, they return having this experience of God seared into their very hearts and minds. They carry this experience back with them to share with the rest of us. As one experiencer was told, the time is now for humanity to know for certain there is life after death. This knowledge includes the knowledge of God. Heavenly NDEs reveal that God, in the NDE, is analogous to air in this physical world. What air is to the physical world, God is to the spirit world. One of the universal aspects of the NDE is that everyone returns with the belief in a higher power of some sort. I suppose it corresponds to the old adage of there being no atheists in foxholes. There are no atheists coming back from NDEs.
The following are insights from many NDEs having to do with God.
Where is heaven? Is it up in the sky somewhere? Jesus is recorded as saying that heaven is within us (Luke 17:20-21). This would agree with what experiencers are telling us. We can experience the realm of the spirit by focusing within ourselves through meditating, dreaming, praying, and even quiet reflection. It appears from the NDE there are actually many heavens, all taking up the same space as this physical universe, much like boxes within boxes. Indeed, it might be more correct to say we are already in heaven (or hell, depending upon the condition of your heart). We attain the highest level of heaven by having unconditional love for everyone. Such love is truly and absolutely heaven.
The following are insights from many NDEs concerning heaven.
Like heaven, there are many different hell realms witnessed by experiencers. Many of the levels of heaven and hell are manifested right here on earth. Some people are rotting in prison while others are enjoying a tropical paradise. Some people are addicts trapped on skid row while others are luxuriously living in the splendor of a mansion. Some people are suffering in mental institutions while others are studying at college. This does not mean a person in prison cannot find heaven within them. Nor does it mean a person in a tropical paradise always has heaven within them. Heaven and hell are spiritual conditions manifesting themselves as actual realms in the afterlife.
The following are insights from many NDEs dealing with hell.
Many experiencers are shown the reality of reincarnation.
Some have even been given the choice of reincarnation instead of returning to their current life. Some have actually witnessed people preparing for reincarnation. The NDE suggests reincarnation is the method by which people can evolve both physically and spiritually. The goal is to attain perfection in body and soul. Once perfection is attained, the cycle of reincarnation is no longer necessary. Reincarnation gives those in the hell realms another chance at life.
Reincarnation gives those in the heavenly realms the chance to bring heaven to earth.
The following are insights from many NDEs involving reincarnation.
divided into parts with each part remaining the Whole. Each part is wholly God.
“Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world. All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it.” - Albert Einstein
Skepticism is a critical component to scientific inquiry and for discovering truth.
Without it, it is clear humanity would still be living in caves. True skepticism, as defined by the early Greeks, meant not accepting any concept as being true or false unless proven true or false by natural law. There are many so-called “skeptics” of the NDE, such as the so-called “Amazing” Randi”. But such “skeptics” cannot be considered to be true skeptics because they have already accepted as false the concept of the NDE being a real afterlife experience.
A true skeptic of the NDE neither accepts nor rejects this concept until it is proven by scientific method. Thus far, science cannot prove this concept true or false.
Nevertheless, modern skeptics have raised some very intelligent and profound questions needing to be addressed by NDE researchers. The following are some of those questions and my own answers to them.
Even skeptics have to admit NDEs are real experiences. The question, however, is whether NDEs are real “afterlife” experiences. Many skeptics are “reductionists” who reduce everything to their most basic elements. When the NDE is reduced in this way, there can be no denying a chemical basis in the brain exists concerning the NDE.
Such reductionism, however, may only be explaining the mechanism of the NDE, but not necessarily the NDE itself. In the same way, it is possible to reduce a television set to its basic elements: circuits and wires. However, one cannot satisfactorily explain the television show being played through these circuits and wires using reductionist terms. If the brain can be thought of as a television set, then the NDE can be thought of as the television show being played on it. Science maybe able to quantify everything concerning the television components (i.e., the brain), but science is unable to satisfactorily quantify the television show being played on it (i.e., the NDE).
Science does not yet have the tools to fully explain the NDE itself. Reducing the NDE to mere brain chemicals would be like reducing experiences such as love and childbirth to mere chemicals. Reductionism cannot quantify the experience itself. There are many reasons why reducing the NDE to only brain chemicals cannot explain the whole experience itself. Scientific evidence does show that hallucinogenic drugs can induce experiences similar to the NDE. Some scientists theorize the same process occurring with drug-induced hallucinations is involved in the NDE. Dr. Peter Fenwick, a neuro-psychiatrist and the leading authority in Britain concerning the NDE, disagrees with this theory. He explains, “The difficulty with those theories is that when you create these wonderful states by taking drugs, you’re conscious. In the near-death experience, you are unconscious. One of the things we know about brain function in unconsciousness, is that you cannot create images and if you do, you cannot remember them.” Dr. Fenwick says the following about what happens to the brain during an NDE: “The brain isn’t functioning. It’s not there. It’s destroyed. It’s abnormal. But, yet, it can produce these very clear experiences … an unconscious state is when the brain ceases to function. For example, if you faint, you fall to the floor, you don’t know what’s happening and the brain isn’t working. The memory systems are particularly sensitive to unconsciousness. So, you won’t remember anything. But, yet, after one of these experiences [an NDE], you come out with clear, lucid memories …
This is a real puzzle for science. I have not yet seen any good scientific explanation which can explain that fact.” (69)
Here are some other reasons why reducing the NDE to only brain chemicals is not sufficient.
Veridical evidence. NDEs are considered to be veridical because the evidence shows it to be objectively real.
Such evidence shows that some people have seen or heard things while outside of their physical bodies during an NDE that is later verified to be true by third parties. Often, such veridical evidence are observed by NDE experiencers although they occur vast distances away from their physical body. Such aspects suggest that consciousness has the ability to leave the physical body upon death. (70)
NDEs in people born blind. People who are born without eyesight see for the first time in their lives while out of their bodies during their NDE. Interestingly enough, when they return to their physical bodies, they do not retain their eyesight. Such accounts suggest that consciousness and perception survive the death of the physical body. (65)
Standstill surgical procedures. Some people experience an NDE complete with an out-of-body experience during a rare surgical procedure called a “standstill.”
During this procedure, surgeons bring the patient to clinical and brain death in order to correct abnormalities such as brain aneurysms. When the patient is revived, NDEs are often reported. In such a highly controlled scientific environment, it has been documented that NDEs occur during the time of clinical and brain death. This kind of surgery and the NDE resulting from it suggests that consciousness survives clinical and brain death. (51)
Childhood NDEs. Children generally have no religious or cultural biases.
Therefore, they often describe their NDEs in ways without any religious or cultural slant. Children generally have no motive to falsify their NDE. They generally are not interested in book deals or publicity. For these reasons, it is very difficult to doubt a child's testimony concerning an NDE they had. Children have described NDEs that are similar to adult NDEs. Childhood NDEs suggest NDEs occur just as many adult experiencers say they occur. Because of a child's limited vocabulary and understanding, their NDEs are often described in the “rawest” of terms. (71)
The after-effects of NDEs. Often, a person having an NDE will have after-effects from it. These can include personality changes, psychic abilities and anomalies such as not being able to wear watches because they fail to work when worn.
Profound personality changes often occur that suggests the NDE is a lifechanging event profoundly affecting those who have them. Hallucinations and dreams do not have the magnitude of life-changing capabilities as NDEs have.
This strongly suggests NDEs are neither hallucinations nor dreams. Experiencers, such as Dannion Brinkley, are even documented to have successfully described future events observed during their NDEs. (72)
Experiencers have been documented to successfully diagnose and heal other people due to the after-effects attributed to their NDE. One experiencer, Yvonne
Kason, who was a physician at the time of her NDE, upon return, successfully diagnosed her friend as having meningitis. Dr. Kason realized her friend had meningitis after receiving a vision of a “brain covered with pus” when thinking of her friend. Her friend did not exhibit any symptoms of meningitis at that time and there was no reason to suspect she had it. Dr. Kason insisted her friend get tested for meningitis. The test proved positive for meningitis. Her friend’s meningitis was caught just before it became deadly. (73) Psychic abilities such as this can be directly attributed to their NDE. It demonstrates that something more than just brain chemicals are going on here.
Similarities among NDEs. While every NDE is unique in their own way, the similarities between them cannot be denied. Similar aspects such as the out-ofbody experience, the tunnel, the light, deceased relatives, being told they are not ready, are frequently found in a great many NDEs. (74)
These similarities are strong circumstantial evidence something more than just brain chemicals are going on. In a court of law, the testimony of two people witnessing the same thing and giving similar testimonies is very strong. The NDE involves millions of witnesses hearing and seeing similar things. It is equivalent to having a large number of people be given a cryptic message such as, “Where's the beef?” when they die. Instead, the strange message a vast number of experiencers hear is “it is not yet your time” or “you are not ready” or some variation of this. Brain chemicals alone cannot explain such similarities.
Circumstantial evidence such as this is upheld in courts of law all over the country every day.
Experiencers bring back facts. Some experiencers have brought back from their NDE, information they could not have possibly known unless they were actually dead. One case in point is the NDE of Vi Horton, a woman who met a deceased brother she didn't know she had during her NDE. Afterwards, she told her father about the brother she met during her NDE. Her father was her only surviving family member. Her father told her, “My God, you must have died and gone to heaven because no one living knew about it but me.” (75) I have personally come across several NDEs where the experiencer meets a deceased relative they have never known, only to later identify them from old photographs or the testimony of family members. Brain chemicals alone cannot explain such phenomena. Many experiencers such as Mellen-Thomas Benedict and Lynnclaire Dennis have brought back scientific discoveries from their NDE. Mellen-Thomas Benedict participated in a number of medical research projects, and due to the information he gave the researchers, their work was advanced in a significant way. He now does DNA research and works on instruments that can help doctors use certain frequencies of light in healing patients. (14) Lynnclaire Dennis was shown a geometric pattern which top quantum physicists are studying. (24) Another experiencer who lives in Sweden has copyrights on over a hundred inventions making a significant difference in society. (10)
The testimony of experiencers themselves. One of the universal aspects of the NDE is that those who have them know it was an afterlife experience. They know they saw God. They know it was a reality vastly greater than conscious reality.
One can view the millions of NDEs occurring in the world as millions of testimonials that life does indeed continue after death. They are like millions of love letters from God. If the NDE involved only a handful of people, then the NDE would be merely an aberration. However, millions of people have had NDEs throughout all of recorded history. These testimonies cannot be easily dismissed as mass hallucinations due to brain chemistry.
The proverbial ball is in the court of the skeptics, not the experiencers.
Experiencers do not have to explain anything. For them, the NDE is an afterlife experience. On the other hand, skeptics have much to explain. Because skeptics and reductionists cannot satisfactorily explain the NDE by brain chemicals alone, they are the ones who are inconsistent in their facts, not the experiencer. Before the 1900's, many people thought space travel would always be impossible. Many skeptics today believe the survival of consciousness after death is impossible as well. They take this position without a shred of scientific evidence. There currently exists a mountain of circumstantial evidence pointing to the survival of consciousness after death. To say there is no evidence is equivalent to standing before Mt. Everest and saying you cannot see a mountain.
An excellent critique of the Dying Brain Theory was written by Greg Stone. I am currently promoting research on my website into proving scientifically that consciousness survives physical death. (77)
Such proof would be most compelling, especially if verified by a third party. There have been some very interesting studies done to determine whether consciousness can actually transcend the physical body. One leading researcher in this area is Dr. Charles
Tart who specializes in consciousness research dealing with outof-body experiences (OBEs). In one of his studies, a subject was able to leave her physical body, read a 5-digit number, return to her body and give researchers the 5-digit number upon returning. (78)
These studies provide strong circumstantial evidence that consciousness can transcend the physical body during either an OBE or an NDE.
Dr. Stanislav Grof, another consciousness researcher, theorizes that consciousness may not even localized in the brain as so many scientists assume.
He theorizes the brain may be merely acting as a “reducing valve” by which our five senses are able to process the vast amount of information bombarding our senses and influences our consciousness. More information on Dr. Stanislav Grof’s research can be found on his website. (79)
It may be asking too much to prove scientifically the theory that consciousness survives death. Science may never develop the tools necessary to quantify the NDE. However, there is a mountain of circumstantial evidence to suggest that consciousness does indeed survive death.
Dr. Stanislav Grof has this to say about the mind/brain connection:
“I had my training as a psychiatrist, a physician and then as a Freudian analyst. When I became interested in non-ordinary states and started serving powerful mystical experiences, also having some myself, my first idea was that it [consciousness] has to be hard-wired in the brain. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how something like that is possible. Today, I came to the conclusion that it is not coming from the brain. In that sense, it supports what Aldous Huxley believed after he had some powerful psychedelic experiences and was trying to link them to the brain. He came to the conclusion that maybe the brain acts as a kind of reducing valve that actually protects us from too much cosmic input. So, I don't see, for example, that experiences of archetypal realms, heavens, paradises, experiences of archetypal beings such as deities, demons from different cultures, that people typically have in these states that they can be somehow explained as something that comes from the brain. I don't think you can locate the source of consciousness. I am quite sure it is not in the brain - not inside of the skull. It actually, according to my experience, would lie beyond time and space, so it is not localizable. You actually come to the source of consciousness when you dissolve any categories that imply separation, individuality, time, space and so on. You just experience it as a presence. People who have these experiences can either perceive that source or they can actually become the source, completely dissolved and experience that source. But such categories as time and space, localization coordinates, are not relevant for that experience. You actually have a sense that the concepts of time and space come from that place. They are generated by that place; but the cosmic source itself, the cosmic consciousness cannot be located - certainly not in the material world.” (80)
Scientists do not know enough about consciousness; they cannot define it or locate it. The English word “personality” comes from the Latin word “persona” which literally means “mask.” In this sense, one might think of the personality as a “mask” we wear. This mask is our physical conscious identity.
However, at a deeper level, we also have a subconscious identity as well. Our personality may very well be a product of our brain's “reducing valve” as described by Dr. Stanislov Grof. Nevertheless, at death, it appears this mask is removed, our conscious personality dies along with the brain. With no brain to reduce our consciousness, our consciousness expands and a new personality emerges.
When one is revived from an NDE, their brain's “reducing valve” begins working again and their old personality emerges, but drastically changed. This change in personality may be the result of changes in the brain's “reducing valve' itself, resulting from the NDE and the corresponding expansion of consciousness. Those who have NDEs often report feelings of being a new person as a result of their NDE. Loved ones often verify this change in personality.
In conclusion, conscious personality is probably a function of the brain and dies with the brain at death. In life, it is theorized that our brains reduce our consciousness in order to create our personalities. Upon death, the brain dies and consciousness is forever changed as it expands into the cosmic consciousness.
This is how I see it.
The question many people ask is this: “Why doesn't everyone experience the same thing during their NDE?”
Because everyone does not experience the same thing, they reason, means the NDE is not a real afterlife experience. Such conclusions are based on the false premise that there are no similarities among NDEs. As an example, it is almost universally true the NDE involves the perception of leaving the physical body. In fact, the nature of the NDE itself is strong circumstantial veridical evidence for life after death.
NDEs can generally be classified into two categories: positive or negative. In my opinion, people who are primarily motivated by positive influences, such as love, joy, peace, generally have positive NDEs. People who are primarily motivated by negative influences, such as hatred, anger, fear, generally have negative NDEs.
Positive NDEs have similar aspects between them. The typical positive NDE involves an out-of-body experience followed by a traveling through a tunnel toward a very bright light. At the end of the tunnel, deceased loved ones or beings of light often appear. Sometimes, one particular being of light is identified as God, a religious figure, an angel or even their own “higher self.” This being induces them into a life review in which their entire life can be instantaneously observed.
Afterwards, the experiencer reaches a boundary of some kind they cannot cross.
Here, the experiencer may be given a choice of returning to physical existence or progressing into the afterlife. Experiencers are often told it is not yet their time to die or their mission is not yet completed.
Negative NDEs also have features similar to each other. These kind of NDEs often involve the experiencer finding themselves in some hellish condition, sometimes corresponding to an object of interest such as a physical addiction, a sexual obsession, a person still living or some negative influence. Negative experiencers are often rescued by a higher spiritual being of light, sometimes a loved one or sometimes a religious figure. Once rescued, the experiencer is shown their entire life in review. They are then given the same choice as those who have positive NDEs: to either stay or return. Many negative NDEs often end up transforming into positive NDEs, which strongly suggests these negative states of consciousness are temporary and not permanent.
Whether the experiencer is an atheist or a religious person, American or Chinese, a child or an adult, gay or straight, NDEs are more similar than they are different.
Despite all the differences between NDEs, it is the similar aspects that are noteworthy. These similar aspects are of great interest to researchers because they demonstrate a pattern repeated over and over again by different people in different cultures during different periods of history.
It should be noted it is not the reality of the NDE questioned by skeptics. It is the reality of the NDE as an afterlife experience that is questioned. Using the scientific method, the NDE can be proven to be a valid experience. In the laboratory, NDElike experiences can be induced using right temporal lobe brain stimulation or by the application of hallucinogenic drugs or extreme gravitational forces. Such laboratory experiments prove the NDE a valid experience. Whether it is a valid afterlife experience is another matter altogether. Nevertheless, the similarities between NDEs suggest a reality based in scientific experiment.
The similarities among NDEs are too great to be ignored. As an example, according to my research statistics, 46% of the experiencers were told in it was not their time to die. Because such a large number of experiencers are given this message, this suggests it has objectivity based in reality. It is equivalent to 46% of experiencers report being told life is but a dream in their NDEs. The cryptic nature of the message combined with being heard by so many experiencers gives its strong credibility as to being an objective experience.
Many differences can be found in NDEs. As an example, I profile on my website and this book the NDE of David Oakford who takes a tour of the universe during their NDE. Jesus gave Dr. George Ritchie a guided tour of a heavenly “Temple of Knowledge”. Dannion Brinkley was shown the future by thirteen beings of light.
Her deceased dog gave Jan Price a tour of the afterlife. Carl Jung was shown the earth from the perspective of outer space. Don Brubaker traveled taken back in time to witness the crucifixion of Christ. Sandra Rogers was told her suicide would result in her reincarnation. RaNelle Wallace met her future and yet unborn son.
Howard Storm was gang-raped in hell and then rescued by Christ. Jayne Smith experienced the ecstasy of God until she could take no more. Rev. Howard Pittman experienced a “God of wrath” before experiencing a “God of love.”
Lynnclaire Dennis identified a being of light as the basic pattern behind the atom.
Mellen-Thomas Benedict identified a being of light to be a transformation of Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed and ultimately a mandala of all human souls.
Another experiencer saw a being of light to be her higher self.
The differences are endless. However, despite these differences, all of them generally have the same core experience: the out-of-body perception, the tunnel aspect, beings of light and tremendous love.
An interesting message conveyed to one particular experiencer, Emmanuel Swedenborg, is that the afterlife appears to people in the way they need it to appear. This may explain why the being of light appears as Christ to some and as an angel or higher self to another. It may also explain the differences between NDEs.
Experiencers experience different things in their NDEs because people have different needs. The NDE suggests these needs are met at the time of death.
These differences may also suggest another important point. If one expects to flutter about with winged cherubs playing harps and singing hallelujah after death, they may very well be allowed to do precisely that. That is, until it dawns on them that this is certainly not a real heaven. Others might expect to spend all their time in eternity in prayer and glorification. They may do so until it is clearly demonstrated to them that this is a fantasy to be abandoned. Those convinced by religious leaders they will be tormented in hellfire after death are given such a hellish NDE for the purpose of education. This may suggest the initial phase of the death experience, the NDE, is a transitory and preparatory phase where people are allowed to face their illusions in order to teach them important lessons about themselves.
The basis of this concept that we gets what we needs and not necessarily what we wants is the fact that everybody does not need the same things. NDEs happen in a manner that helps people learn. An example may be a lesson whereby a person experiences judgment during their life review, only to learn later in their NDE that they were the one doing the judging, rather than God. The life review aspect of the NDE has been described by many experiencers as the most enlightening experience of a person’s entire life and the single most educational experience. This may suggest that those who experience a life review during an NDE do so because they need to experience one.
One of the reasons NDEs are different can be explained by a concept developed by the great mystic Meister Eckhart. In the Hollywood movie entitled Jacob's Ladder, Meister Eckhart is quoted. The quote says, “The only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life: your memories, your attachments.
They burn them all away, but they're not punishing you, they're freeing your soul. If you're frightened of dying and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. If you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels freeing you from the earth.” (81) Asking whether this is literally true or not misses the whole point. It illustrates an important fact about people’s perceptions and how several witnesses can observe the same thing but come up with different testimonies.
One real example illustrating this point involves the tunnel aspect of the NDE.
Most experiencers describe traveling through the tunnel as very beautiful and pleasant experience. However, some experiencers have described this same tunnel experience as horribly frightening. This demonstrates the fact that one man's heaven is another man's hell. It also demonstrates the quality of the NDE depends on the experiencers themselves. In other words, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
What a person experiences can be attributed to many factors: the experiencer’s psychology, personal experiences, background and culture. Even the very archetypal pattern of the NDE itself is a factor determining what one experiences in an NDE. These factors may have a different amount of influence from one person to another. For this reason, it may be virtually impossible to determine beforehand how a person will react to an NDE and what they experience.
Everyone is unique and everyone experiences the world in a way that is unique to anyone else in the universe. In the same way, people react to their NDEs in different ways corresponding to their own inner makeup. For example, while the vast majority of experiencers return with a firm belief in some universal force such as God, they often define this force in a way dependent upon their own psychology, personal experiences, cultural and religious biases.
One religious tenet states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)
This tenet is an eloquent way of stating this same thing. The world of the NDE has been described as the realm of pure mind where all things are possible. It is possible that if a person desires a mansion after death, they will get it. Or, if a person desires food after death, they will get it. Within some NDEs, there is evidence to suggest those who expect nothing after death will probably not be disappointed. That is, until something changes their mind into believing life is everlasting and continuous. Because people are what they think, people must be careful about what they think, because it is quite possible they will get it in the afterlife.
Because of the variations in human understanding, there is certain to be a lot of variations in human experiences. Beauty may not be the only reality existing in the eye of the beholder. Current quantum physics support the notion that all reality is in the eye of the beholder. The NDE is no exception.
People create their own reality. In ordinary life, we create our own reality from the actions we take and the thoughts we think inwardly. The NDE appears to be no different. Einstein's Theory of Relativity suggests all things are subjective and relative. In the realm of quantum physics, it is possible for absurdities to exist. This is because reality is dependent upon the observer's “frame of reference” or unique perspective. This corresponds with the concept of reality being in the eye of the beholder. For this reason, I believe the quantum realm is identical to the realm defined by the NDE, that is, a realm of the mind.
Quantum physics suggests one cannot truly define reality because when they do, they start setting up limitations to it - limitations that can be broken. From this concept, one can conclude that beliefs limit an open mind. The physicist Fred Alan
Wolf has stated that the laws of the universe may simply be the laws of our own minds. (82) Perhaps when one tries to define reality, one may not really be getting closer to its definition. It may really be defining a person’s own perception of reality. Keeping an open mind about the possibility of all things might be as close as one can get to this concept without setting up limitations. Like the mysterious particle of light in quantum physics, when one tries to define it, one changes it.
Maybe it is merely our perceptions of the light changing rather than the light itself.
A case in point can be found in Pastor Howard Pittman's NDE, which I profile on my website and in this book. He was first taken before a “God of wrath” who condemned and judged him unworthy. Rejected, he left the presence of God, but decided at the last minute to return to ask God a question. This time he finds a “God of love” filled with sympathy for him. I suspect the reason Howard Pittman saw a God of wrath immediately after his death was due to this simple reason: for thirty-five years, Howard Pittman preached a God of wrath as a minister. During his NDE, a God of wrath is what he expected and what he perceived. It is how he interpreted his vision of God. Other experiencers have initially felt being judged by God or a group of light beings during their NDE. Usually these NDEs result with the experiencer realizing they were the ones doing the judging instead. In Howard Pittman's NDE, I suspect he was judging himself as well and it translated into the perception of being judged by God. This “perception is reality” concept demonstrates what quantum physicists have been preaching for years. In my opinion, if this concept is true for the physical universe, it is a small step to imagine it being true for the spiritual universe as well.
Experiencers often say everyone is on a path toward spiritual progression of some kind. Some have expressed the idea that all paths lead back to God. Perhaps negative NDEs happen in order to bring about spiritual progress in people. Edgar Cayce, one of the experiencers I profile in this book and on my website, said we are constantly “meeting ourselves,” whether in the physical world or the spirit world. (83) Our thoughts and actions are constantly returning to us. One religious tenet puts it: a man reaps what he sows (Galatians 6:7). Our lives are primarily the result of our own past actions and thoughts. It is generally believed from the NDE that people are not forced to heaven, hell, or anywhere. Our destiny is totally up to us. However, we are given these choices by a Higher Power. It may be debatable whether this constitutes a violation of our free will or constitutes a helping hand to get us on the right path. It may be both. Perhaps we are predestined to choose our destinies. Perhaps it might be that to go against God is the same as going against yourself. The case may be made that nobody goes against his or her own will. Even if they could, it is just not a very smart thing to do.
In many NDEs, Christ appears; but he does not appear in all NDEs. Again, one might jump to the conclusion that if NDEs are real afterlife experiences, if Christ appears in one NDE, he should appear in all of them. However, there is evidence to suggest the reason Christ appears in many NDEs in western civilization is due to the fact that Christianity is the dominant religion in the west. In Buddhist countries, people having NDEs meet Buddha. In Hindu countries, the god of death appears. Many Jews having NDEs meet the Messiah. This suggests that at death, people carry all their perspectives and religious biases with them. It also suggests the NDE is often described in context of one's own religious perspective.
Everyone is unique when it comes to religious, psychological, educational, cultural and personal background. Nevertheless, the NDE reveals that a person's afterlife experience does not depend exclusively on their religious beliefs or lack of them.
Atheists sometimes encounter a God in NDEs, for example. A person's afterlife experience may depend mostly upon his or her inward spiritual nature rather than any other factor. Just as there are many possible spiritual experiences of various degrees of intensity within a person, the NDE also reveals the existence of many different afterlife experiences. These afterlife experiences can be extremely different from one another.
Perhaps the greatest difference found in NDEs is the identity of the so-called “being of light” who appears with tremendous love and often induces a life review. Many people in the West identify the being of light to be Jesus. Jan Price saw this being to be her “higher self.” Some people have described the being of light to be an angel or a loved one. Mellen-Thomas Benedict identified the being to be a transformation of Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, and ultimately a mandala of all human souls.
Perhaps the most interesting insight into the identity of this being comes from May Eulitt whose NDE was shared with two other people at the same time. Each of the three people having the NDE saw the same being of light but each saw the being as a different personality from the rest. May saw the being as an angel resembling a Viking Valkyrie named Hellena. Her cousin saw the same being as his late father, a career naval officer, in a white dress uniform. Her friend saw the same being as Buddha. This NDE suggests the identity of the being of light to be virtually anyone. This corresponds with the idea of God consisting of the spirits of everyone or “all is God.” The NDE of MellenThomas Benedict supports this view as well. When he saw the being of light, the being changed into several personalities such as Jesus, Buddha and Krishna.
According to Benedict, the being is a mandala of all human souls. In light of these facts, it now makes sense that experiencers would see different personalities as the being of light.
One can see many of these experiences of heaven and hell being played out right here in this physical world. Some people rot in prison while others have a feast in lavish mansions. Some people are suffering in mental institutions while others are on a Rocky Mountain high. Some people are suffering as addicts on skid row while others are in the ecstasy of sexual intercourse. Such spiritual experiences more than likely exist in an even more abundant manner in the world of the afterlife. Because one's afterlife reality is dependent upon his or her inward spiritual condition, personal background and perspective, this explains the existence of so many different spiritual experiences of NDEs. This also explains how some people are rotting in prison on the outside but experiencing the very presence of God on the inside. It also explains how some people are experiencing a living hell while living in luxury and surrounded by worldly comforts and pleasures.
Some people erroneously believe one must have a certain religious affiliation or believe in God to have a pleasant afterlife experience. However, even in this physical world, one does not have to be religious to experience love and happiness. In the same vein, to have a pleasant afterlife experience, one does not have to be religious. Experiencers say it is not the religion one professes which matters. It is the spiritual condition of their inner nature that matters. People primarily motivated by fear, anger, hatred and evil, will generally find themselves together with like-minded people after their death.
A case in point is the NDE of Dr. George Ritchie. Ritchie saw an afterlife place where people were locked into trying to satisfy some physical desire but was unable to do so, thereby creating their own “society of the damned.” It should be pointed out, like the physical world, these hellish conditions are usually temporary.
People who are primarily motivated by love, peace or happiness will find themselves together with like-minded people after death. The old saying holds true: “birds of a feather flock together.”
This probably explains why families and friends tend to stick together in NDEs as well.
The bottom line is that the NDE can be said to be a very private and personal experience, as private as a person's clothes, hair color, language, size, etc. While these differences in humans do exist and their NDEs reflect this, it can still be said the underlying reality is this: a human is a human, not an elephant. NDEs are NDEs, not daydreams. NDEs, while different from each other, are still basically the same for everyone. In the same way, humans are humans despite their differences. NDEs are NDEs despite their differences.
Although there are many differences in NDEs, there is one concept appearing in an overwhelming number of NDEs making it practically universal. What matters most in life is how much love you give and receive. Many experiencers say this is really the determining factor between having a positive NDE or a having negative NDE.
In conclusion, the differences between NDEs suggest to me that they are real afterlife experiences. These differences are important because they show the afterlife to be dynamic rather than static. The same can also be said about life in general. The NDE appears to be just as dynamic, if not more dynamic, than our physical experience. If all NDEs were exactly identical, it would make the dying brain theory more appealing. It would mean the NDE is hard-wired in our brains.
Because NDEs are different, this suggests the NDE is not a hard-wired experience in the brain, but rather a dynamic afterlife experience. In general, what you get out of life is what you put into it. The same is probably true of the afterlife.
The NDE assesses that religions are cultural institutions and man's ideas of God are man-made. Certainly, the idea of God being some old man with a beard sitting on a throne is archaic.
The NDE in general reveals life itself to be what religions call “God.” An extremely large majority of experiencers have concluded from their experience that life is God and there is nothing outside of God. From the tremendous number of NDEs I have read, I have concluded the following:
A great number of experiencers conclude from their experience that life, love and light are God. This definition includes everything. Such a definition also means the concept of God is totally unfathomable, for who can completely fathom these things? One experiencer described God as “the light that loves.” Another experiencer, Chuck Griswold states, “Life is love is God. If you add anymore to this definition then you are not making it any better.” (84)
The circumstantial evidence surrounding NDEs suggests the spiritual universe is not completely outside of the physical universe. It is actually one with and part of the material universe. From what experiencers say, everything is one.
Everything is God. Everything is part of the divine. The old notion of heaven being a place somewhere in the clouds has nothing to do with the NDE. One cannot separate the spiritual universe from the physical universe because they are one and the same. In fact, some experiencers
have described this physical universe as being merely one of the dimensions in the afterlife. In other words, we are in the afterlife right now already.
Using advanced mathematics, physicists have already identified that there are at least 10 dimensions to reality and possibly more, within the same space/time continuum. (85) This suggests there is more out there than meets the eye and the mind. A multi-dimensional universe is also consistent with the facts derived from NDEs.
Foremost, I would like to find hard scientific proof of life after death, specifically, proof that consciousness continues on well after bodily death. There is a mountain of circumstantial evidence but very little scientific evidence this is true. As stated earlier, it may be asking too much to obtain scientific evidence of life after death. Existence after death may not be scientifically quantifiable. I also hope to go beyond the proof of life after death and discover exactly what does happen after death and why. What is life after death like? Is there a God? Do we reincarnate? These are some of the main questions I want to answer from NDE research.
The NDEs intriguing me the most are those where people see and hear things while out of their bodies which are later verified by third parties. While such NDEs have been well documented, they only supply circumstantial evidence, rather than hard scientific evidence.
The NDEs of people born blind interest me tremendously.
Studies by Dr. Kenneth Ring have shown people born blind do have vision while out of their bodies during an NDE. For many such people, this is the first time in their lives they have ever seen anything.
NDEs revealing the reality of reincarnation fascinate me as well. NDEs foretelling the future are extremely intriguing. I am also intrigued by NDEs from people who do not fit the typical profile, such as NDEs from different cultures and religions. All of these types of NDEs are profiled on my website.
A typical NDE is very easy to describe. It begins when one leaves his or her physical body. They often hear themselves declared dead or see their physical body being resuscitated. They hear the thoughts and experience the feelings of the living people around their physical body.
Next, they travel through a “tunnel” that seems to connect their physical dimension to another dimension. They see a being of light emanating tremendous love and who knows everything about them, yet holds no judgment.
Next, they are being reunited with loved ones and friends who have already died.
They have their life replayed from the day of birth to the time of death. (This has been described as an instantaneous reliving of every thought, feeling, and moment of their entire life.) And finally, they are told their “mission is not complete” or their “time to die has not yet come.” Eventually they find themselves back in their body.
One of the strangest aspects of the NDE is when the experiencer is told they are not ready to die and they must return to physical life. It suggests there is a purpose for our lives here on earth. It suggests that once we have fulfilled this purpose, we will be able to return to our spiritual origins. The fact so many people are being told the same message, adds credibility to the NDE, in my view.
The life review is said to be the single most enlightening aspect of the NDE because it is where your life, often for the very first time, is shown to make complete and profound sense. Every question you may possibly have is ultimately answered. You not only re-experience in an instant every thought, deed, and feeling from your entire life, but also every thought, deed, and feeling of everyone you have ever been in contact with during your entire life.
Even the thoughts, deeds and feelings of strangers you briefly encountered are made known.
The life review has been described as seeing your life from every possible perspective: from your own, others' and God's perspective. Every imaginable
perspective is there to be reviewed. The life review is the complete and instant reliving of your entire life from birth to death, all the while, having unlimited and complete knowledge. Sometimes the life review is not limited to just one life, but many lifetimes.
Another equally interesting aspect is the encounter with the so-called “being of light.” It is always interesting to hear about the ecstasy and bliss of encountering and experiencing the overwhelming love emanating from this being. The love experienced during an NDE from this being can be so very intense it makes all other aspects pale in comparison. Experiencing this amount of love changes experiencers forever. They return with a unique insight into how human beings really are all part of one gigantic whole called God. Separation is merely an illusion of physical existence.
Very much so. It would be very difficult to read all of the NDEs I have read and not come away with the idea that death itself is really an illusion. We are already in the afterlife right now. Death is just a brief transition into another realm of existence. In this respect, the NDE is very contagious. The profound, enormous love described and the utter lack of fear associated with the NDE is the important aspect that has changed me.
Madame Marie Curie, one of the discoverers of radiation, once said, “Nothing in life is to be feared, only understood.” Once a person understands death from reading about the NDE, there is nothing to fear except pain, which is a normal and necessary instinct for survival.
Oh, yes. Before I read a single NDE, I was a fundamentalist Christian who was absolutely certain that upon death, I would be carried to the highest heaven to be forever before the very throne of God. After reading thousands of NDEs, I realized that merely “believing in Jesus” is not enough to attain heaven. I learned one must become as Christ Himself, practicing unconditional love for others to reach this level of bliss. It means we get to heaven by emulating the love of Jesus rather than by worshiping Jesus.
The NDE tore away my narrow religious mindset. It made my religion seem ridiculous at best. From the NDE, I found a great spirituality and understanding I could not get through religion alone. The great thing about it is you don't need to have an NDE to benefit from an NDE. All you need to do is read what others have experienced and put into practice what you have learned.
A man who had an NDE wrote much of the New Testament. Paul bases his whole authority as an apostle on his NDE (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). Anyone who has had an NDE can write a Bible or something comparable to it. In fact, anyone who has a profound spiritual experience has the authority to write a Bible. There are many profound NDEs documented. Reading them will give one a larger understanding of the nature of God, life, religion, and afterlife which the Bible alone cannot.
I enjoy the passion and love found in the NDE. Each NDE is unique but, as mentioned earlier, there are universal aspects found in a great majority of them. Love is one of them and the most profound.
The drama of the NDE is so fascinating; it is obvious these accounts would be difficult to fabricate. One experiencer commented he couldn't have fabricated his NDE even if he tried.
The NDE has a certain “strangeness” that all real things have. They are stranger than fiction. This “strangeness” surprisingly shows up in a majority of NDEs, such as being told “it is not your time to die.” I enjoy the full range of emotions expressed in the NDE. These range from the initial fear and desperation about dying, the curiosity about being separated from the physical body, the tremendous love found in the light, the satisfaction of having all questions answered in a life review, the ecstasy of being one with all things in heaven, the pain of finding out you have to return, and the inability to tell others about it later.
Every human emotion, in its rawest form, can be found in the NDE.
By far, the most important lesson coming from the NDE is this: love is what life is all about. Love is where we all came from.
Love is where we will all eventually return. Learning and growing in love is why we are alive. Life is God. Love is God. Everyone and everything is a part of God. All things come from love and all things are held together by love. Love is the way to heavenly bliss. There is no greater force in the universe than love, because love is universal and divine. The more love one learns and the more love one gives and receives, the better one's life and afterlife will be.
In this respect, death doesn't change much. According to one experiencer, Chuck Griswold, death is merely a body problem. (86) We must grow to heaven here on earth. The earth is a kind of “school of higher learning.” We must pass this test called “life” and grow spiritually in love in order to graduate and make it to the next grade. Sometimes the class is flunked, sometimes it is repeated, but there is a continuous progression toward making the grade. Life is the question and the answer to this test is “love.” When love is learned, we can go on to other higher schools of learning. It is quiet possible this process of learning never ends.
Another important fact I have learned from the NDE is a concept mentioned earlier. We are currently living in the afterlife right now. Some NDEs suggest the physical universe is literally about half way to the highest heaven. The goal of humanity is to attain these higher spiritual realms through a process of physical and spiritual evolution. It is quite possible that eventually a day will come when everyone will finally attain the highest spiritual realm and become reunited with the
Whole from which we all originated. If this is true, what a glorious day that will be!
Many people have been given visions of the future during an NDE. Generally, these visions foretell a future of catastrophic natural disasters and social upheaval followed by a new era of peace and enlightenment. Some of these visions have actually already come to pass. Some of them did not happen as foretold. Many of these apocalyptic visions are to happen within the next few decades. Remarkably, these visions agree with prophecies of the Bible, Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus, and the Virgin Mary visitations of Fatima, Garabandal, and Medjugorje.
Experiencers are given visions of the future to inspire us to prevent these visions from actually happening. For example, Howard Storm was told that if humanity changes for the better, the future he was shown would change. Dannion Brinkley was told, “If you follow what you have been taught and keep living the same way you have lived the last thirty years, all of this will surely be upon you. If you change, you can avoid the coming war.” Dannion was also told the future is not cast in stone. He was told, “The flow of human events can be changed, but first people have to know what they are.” The being of light told Dannion humans are great, powerful, and mighty spiritual beings. In George Ritchie’s NDE, Jesus told him it is left to humanity which direction they shall choose. A “lady of light” told Ned Doughtery in his NDE, “If people turn more to spirituality and less to materiality, these changes need not happen.” Ricky Randolph was told, “You must return and help others to change by changing your life!” NDE researcher Margot
Grey had one particular experiencer tell her these catastrophic earth changes are a reflection of the social upheavals and violence happening all over the world at the moment.
These NDE visions of the future show how predestination and free will coexist.
They show we choose our own destiny. An experiencer told Margot Grey, “During my experience, I was also shown events that are likely to happen in the near future, but was made to understand that nothing is absolutely fixed and that everything depends on how we choose to use our own free will, that even those events that are already predestined can be changed or modified by a change in our own way of relating to them.” (87)
A successful prophecy is one that changes enough people to sufficiently prevent the prophecy from actually happening. An example of how prophecy is used to change the future comes from Karen Schaeffer. During her NDE, she was shown her children’s futures, as it would be without her should she decide to stay in the light and not return. Because she decided to return, the future she was shown did not happen. Apparently, the reason for showing her the future was to convince her to return and change it. One can easily conclude all prophecies are given for the purposes of changing the future.
With this in mind, the following are visions of the future as revealed to experiencers.
Howard Storm: There will be no nuclear war because God loves the world and will not permit humans to destroy it. At most, one or two nuclear bombs may explode, but there will be no nuclear war. God permits war in order to get people to come to their senses and stop it. The only way to change the world is by one person at a time. But unless people change for the better, a massive worldwide economic depression will occur. This will lead to a world with almost no technology at all. Within the next two hundred years a new era of peace, love and harmony will rule the world. Communication will be telepathic. Travel will be instantaneous. The climate will be controlled through prayer. Knowledge will be received through prayer. People will have better insight into God and life after death. Raising children will be the highest priority. Children will be the most precious commodities on earth.
Dannion Brinkley: Of all the visions Dannion received, most have already come to pass. These include the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Persian Gulf war. In the future, great environmental destruction will lead to the establishment of an environmental religion. The world economy will collapse. War will occur between China and Russia. People will be required to have a computer chip implanted in their bodies containing an individual's personal information. People who refuse to have this chip implanted will be considered outcasts. If humanity changes for the better, a horrible world war will be averted.
Natural disasters will cause famines and starvation.
George Ritchie: Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and volcanoes, will increase. Governments will fall. Armies will march into the U.S. from the south. Explosions of tremendous magnitude will occur all over the world.
Eventually, the world will become more peaceful. The natural disasters will end and a greater spirituality will come to humanity.
Ned Dougherty: A major terrorist attack in New York City or Washington D.C. will severely impact the way people live in the US. This was fulfilled on 9/11/01. Terrorist activities and wars will occur first in the Middle East, then in Italy (the Vatican and Rome). Catastrophic natural disasters will happen in the West. A shift of the earth's axis will result in massive earthquakes and tidal waves. The collapse of the U.S. economy and government will occur. The danger of global war will come from China. The conversion of China to God is necessary to prevent global war. If people turn more to spirituality and less to materiality, these disasters need not happen.
Ricky Randolph: Terrible destruction from wars and natural disasters will occur. A volcano in the U.S. will explode covering many cities with darkness. The U.S. government will collapse. People will have to kill for food and water. A giant explosion in the earth's atmosphere will destroy much land. Eventually, humanity will become more peaceful.
David Oakford: Humans have fallen away from living in balance with nature.
Great damage will be inflicted on the earth before this “harmonic balance” is finally restored.
Mellen-Thomas Benedict: The clearing of the rain forest in South America will slow down. The earth is in the process of domesticating itself. Gardening and ecological reserves will become more important. Science will one day validate the existence of a spirit realm, even God. God is expanding into the human consciousness. A shift in the human consciousness will cause changes in politics, money and energy. Immortality will be achieved. Knowledge of life and death will increase.
Angie Fenimore: Humanity is in the final moments before Jesus Christ returns to this earth. The earth is being prepared for this event. The war between the forces of light and the forces of darkness are growing so intense on earth, humanity is in danger of being consumed by the forces of darkness.
Cassandra Musgrave: From 1992 to 2012, great natural disasters will happen such as earthquakes, floods, tidal waves, and weather changes. Earthquakes will strike the eastern coast of the U.S. Japan will slip into the ocean. There will be three days of darkness from the explosion of volcanoes. Ultimately, these natural disasters will stop. Humanity will always have the light. (88)
Elaine Durham: Great destruction around the Pacific Rim will occur because of earthquakes. Icebergs will break up, move into warmer waters and melt causing the sea level to rise. This will alter the shape of the coastline. America will not be completely destroyed. (88)
Reinee Pasarow: The world will experience tremendous upheaval. Great suffering will occur because humans are breaking the laws of the universe. Like a man arrogantly defying the law of gravity, humanity will experience great suffering as a result breaking these laws. The “cancers of arrogance, materialism, racism, chauvinism, and separatist thinking” are consuming humanity. A cleansing of the earth will result for the purpose of education. Humanity will become “born anew.” It will be a painful process, but humanity will emerge humbled, educated, peaceful and unified. (89)
Dr. Kenneth Ring's research: Ring researched many NDEs foretelling great earth changes such as earthquakes, volcanoes, a pole shift, strange weather patterns, droughts, famines, tidal waves and a new social order followed by a “Golden Age.” Ring states, “There is, first of all, a sense of having total knowledge, but specifically one is aware of seeing the entirety of the earth’s evolution and history, from the beginning to the end of time. The future scenario, however, is usually of short duration, seldom extending much beyond the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The individual reports that … there will be an increasing incidence of earthquakes, volcanic activity and generally massive geophysical changes. There will be resultant disturbances in weather patterns and food supplies. The world economic system will collapse, and the possibility of nuclear war of accident is very great (respondents are not agreed on whether a nuclear catastrophe will occur). All of these events are transitional rather than ultimate, however, and they will be followed by a new era in human history, marked by human brotherhood, universal love and world peace. Though many will die, the earth will live.” (90)
NDEs suggest the quality of our lives after death is not necessarily determined by how we died, but by how we lived. Unfortunately, living can be extremely difficult at times. Life can be so difficult at times, many people choose to end their own lives. This raises some important questions needing to be answered. Is suicide justifiable if a person is terminally ill and suffering unnecessarily?
Should we help those who are suffering from a terminal illness die with dignity if they choose to do so? Don’t physicians often extend a terminal patient's suffering rather than extend their quality of life? Isn’t it a basic human right to be able to control one’s own death and destiny as one sees fit? Is falling on a grenade to save the lives of others an act of suicide? Is constantly feeding a junk food habit an act of suicide? Wasn’t Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem an act of suicide due to the fact he knew this action would result in his death? If it is our choice to be born, as many NDEs suggest, isn't this choice an act of suicide considering the choice results in our deaths? I personally believe the answer to all these questions is “yes.” Although suicide may be justifiable in some cases, it does not give us the right to hurt other people by doing so. A suicide can leave a gigantic hole in a family - one that can never again be filled. The emotional damage inflicted on families by suicide is often the real tragedy. It has been said a suicide dies only once; but, those left behind die a thousand deaths trying to understand why. NDEs reveal there are serious karmic penalties for hurting others. However, not all suicides result in hurting others nor do all suicides have negative consequences.
While there are documented accounts of very beautiful NDEs resulting from suicide, there are also hellish accounts. This suggests the act of suicide itself is not a factor in determining whether a person has a beautiful NDE or a hellish NDE. However, it is possible for a hellish spiritual condition already existing within a person to be carried over and continued after death. Many suicides happen by people already experiencing a hell on earth for one reason or another. In this respect, death does not remove a pre-existing hellish spiritual condition unless the brain caused this condition. Many people who commit suicide are mentally ill.
Because mental illness is a physical disorder of the brain, the mental illness ends with brain death and does not continue after death. This is true because people born blind have gained their sight during an NDE. Other handicaps have reportedly been removed from experiencers upon death.
Religious leaders sometimes warn people about suicide being an unforgivable sin leading to eternal damnation in hell. This is not what the NDE reveals. NDEs do describe life as being an inescapable learning experience. Suicide has the ability to postpone this learning experience from being completed. NDEs describe “hell” as being a temporary spiritual condition rather than a permanent place of torture.
Dr. George Ritchie learned during his NDE what happens to some people who commit suicide. According to Ritchie, the quality of life a person initially finds after suicide is influenced by their motive for committing it. He classifies suicide in the following three ways.
A) The first classification are those who kill themselves in order to hurt someone, get revenge, or to kill themselves out of hatred for someone else. According to Ritchie, these people “haunt” the living by being aware of every horrible consequence their suicide had on others.
B) The second classification are those who, because of mental illness, confusion, or a terminal illness, take their own life. Ritchie states these people are allowed many opportunities from God to grow in love just as any other person would who had not committed suicide. In other words, there are no negative consequences for them.
C) The third classification are those who kill themselves from drug, alcohol, or any other addiction. According to Ritchie, these people can become “stuck in limbo” trying in vain to satisfy their addiction until eventually something frees them. This condition is often called an “earthbound” condition.
NDEs reveal there is no condemnation from God for our actions. The problem many suicides face after death is a difficulty to forgive themselves for the horror they put people through by taking their own life. One remedy for helping a suicide cope with this predicament comes from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, an ancient Buddhist book of the afterlife.
The Book of the Dead is one of the oldest books on earth documenting NDEs. In my view, this source should be given great respect. The Book of the Dead mentions people who succeed in committing suicide and become imprisoned in the experience of their suicide. Accordingly, they can be freed from this condition through the prayers of the living and by them imagining streams of light pouring on them. Such actions free the person from the pain and confusion of their suicide. The Book of the Dead also mentions people have no choice but to follow any negative karma resulting from their suicide.
NDEs report people choosing their own destiny in life before they are born. While this may be true, it may also be true that we change this destiny by committing suicide. This is assuming nobody is predestined to commit suicide. NDEs reveal a perfect universal plan being worked out by God. Perhaps this perfect plan is not thwarted by suicide. There is no reason to believe it is. But if a person cuts short their destined time for life because of problems coping, these problems may not necessarily go away. These problems may also be complicated by the added burden of knowing the full horrible consequences of their action on others.
People who are thinking of killing themselves can learn a great deal from NDEs.
Some NDEs suggest there may be nothing worse than rejecting God’s gift of life thereby destroying an opportunity for spiritual advancement. Not only that, some experiencers have observed suicides existing in an earthbound condition of temporarily being “slaves” to every consequence of their act of suicide. Such souls have been observed hounding and hovering around living family members and friends trying in vain to seek forgiveness. Some of them have been observed existing in a grayish fog and shuffling around slowly with their heads down.
Perhaps these earthbound souls become freed from this condition when their natural destined time for death occurs. This condition is very likely only temporary.
Some experiencers have even observed such souls being helped in the afterlife.
Sandra Rogers’ NDE is a good example of what can happen when a person unjustifiably cuts short their life. When she committed suicide, she was given only two choices by the being of light. One choice involved being revived and living out the rest of her days. (This was the choice she chose.) The other choice involved remaining in the light with the condition of having to reincarnate at a future time to re-experience everything that led her to commit suicide in the first place. Sandra’s NDE demonstrates how people must overcome their problems in this life or else face them again in a future life. In Sandra’s case, committing suicide did not solve anything. If we delay dealing with these problems by committing suicide, we may only compound them. Perhaps the greatest enemy we face is ourselves. Our problems may never go away unless we conquer them. NDEs reveal people carrying their non-physical problems with them after death. Perhaps one of the reasons we are born into this world is to overcome such problems. If don’t overcome them, we may have to reincarnate until we do.
Another interesting NDE resulting from suicide is the NDE of Angie Fenimore. After committing suicide, Angie found herself in a hellish realm of psychic disconnection and torment. The anguish she experienced within herself in life had manifested itself in the spirit after death. A being of light, whom she identified as God, asked her, “Is this what you really want?” Angie realized none of the other suicides in this hellish condition were aware of God's presence. God told her, “Don't you know that this is the worst thing you could have done?” She realized then she had “thrown in the towel” and because of it, she had cut herself off from God and from his guidance. She felt trapped. She told God, “But my life is so hard.” God’s reply was, “You think that was hard? It is nothing compared to what awaits you if you take your life. Life's supposed to be hard. You can't skip over parts. We have all done it. You must earn what you receive.”
Angie’s NDE gives us a unique insight into unjustifiable suicide. It suggests that one of life’s purposes is to grow through suffering. It validates the truthfulness of the phase, “No pain. No gain.” This principle is also found in the Bible where it describes how suffering creates character, wisdom, perseverance and strengthening of faith. NDEs reveal the fact that everyone has a destiny to fulfill and a “mission” to complete. Part of this destiny may include suffering for the purpose of learning and growing. It probably also includes learning from past-life mistakes, paying back karmic debts and receiving karmic rewards. The fact that experiencers are often told their time for death is not ready to happen suggests our time of death is predetermined. Suicide can possibly prevent a person’s mission from being fulfilled. Sandra Rogers’ NDE suggests the remedy for this is reincarnation.
Many people commit suicide due to a mental illness. One of life's lessons may be to learn how to cope with depression and overcome it. An overwhelming desire to commit suicide is one of the biggest indicators of clinical depression. There are many medications available on the market that can reverse clinical depression. If a person is thinking of committing suicide because of depression, seeking medical help may be one of the smartest decisions of their life. Nevertheless, NDEs such as Dr. George Ritchie indicate that mentally ill people who commit suicide are given the same opportunities after death as those who do not.
“If anyone asserts the fabulous preexistence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it, let him be anathema [excommunicated].” - Decrees of the Fifth General Council of the Church
Many Christian critics argue the NDE, and specifically the “being of light,” is “of the devil.” They argue the light deceives people and turns people away from traditional interpretations of the Bible. They say the NDE is false because everyone experiences a heaven and no hell, although this is not actually the case with NDEs. Such critics believe a God of infinite love and mercy would create people in order to torture them forever in the fire of hell.
Because non-Christians are seen to go to heaven in NDEs, they reason this proves the NDE to be deceptive and contrary to the Bible.
This kind of criticism doesn't apply solely to NDEs either. Many critics outright reject all supernatural phenomenon and claim the NDE comes from “demons” and “false prophets.” The rest of this book will be devoted to proving these arguments wrong.
It is true the NDE is a threat to particular brands of Christianity. It is a threat to the archaic concept of a “God of wrath” as described in the Old Testament, who is human-like, wrathful, jealous, hateful, egocentric and murderous. Such false concepts of God are mostly the result of elevating the Bible above common sense.
Often, it is the result of claiming a particular interpretation of the Bible to be the only valid interpretation. The NDE reveals God to be of infinite love and mercy beyond human comprehension - the same God suggested by Jesus in the New Testament. To attribute wrath, jealousy, hatefulness and such to God, as many
Old Testament verses (as well as many in the New Testament) do, is a big mistake.
My main purpose here is not to discredit the Bible, but to prove the God of the NDE is the God of Christianity, using the Bible itself. Since all Christians believe the Bible to be the highest court of appeal for all disagreements, I will appeal to the Bible to prove my case. At this juncture, I would like to point out the NDE reveals God is not limited to one religion. The God revealed in the NDE is the God of everyone, not just a chosen few or particular religious denomination. Even the
Bible agrees with this statement:
“Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too?” (Romans 3:29)
With that in mind, here is a list of what I will prove:
Some Bible verses can be interpreted as denying even the possibility of returning from death. Here are a couple of them:
“A person is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)
”..[At death we are] like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die.” (2 Samuel 14:14)
Some Christians, who hold the belief that everyone sleeps in their graves until Judgment Day, use the following Bible verse to support that belief:
“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5)
The following counter-argument reveals the false interpretation of these verses.
We know even from other Bible verses that some people have died more than once. Lazarus died not once, but twice (John 11:43-44). The same is true for everyone resurrected from the dead with the exception, of course, of Jesus Christ (Mark 5:21-42; Luke 7:11-15). Some were resurrected at the time of Christ's death (Matthew 27:52). The apostles resurrected people from the dead (Acts 20:9-12).
The Old Testament talks of several people who came back to life from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:34; 2 Kings 13:21). All of these resurrected people had to die a second time. The prophet Elijah, Enoch and Melchezedek did not even die at all according to the Bible. For these reasons, no Bible verses can be interpreted to mean people cannot be revived from death. Such a false interpretation also contradicts the testimony of millions of people who had an NDE.
Before we continue, I would like to share a specific Bible verse refuting the notion of people sleeping in their graves until Judgment Day.
“…as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).
The logical conclusion to this statement is that when we are “away from the body” we are “at home with the Lord.” Biblically speaking, this means to die is to be present with the Lord. No sleeping in the graves is mentioned here. This verse can also be used to make the claim that everyone who was brought back from the dead has seen the Lord.
Another Bible argument used by critics against reviving from death is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. In the parable, Lazarus dies and is carried by angels to “Abraham's side.” An unrepentant rich man likewise dies, but is sent to hell. In hell, the rich man is “in torment” and sees Lazarus with Abraham. The rich man implores Abraham to send Lazarus to comfort him with some water. Abraham's reply is:
“… between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” (Luke 16:19-31)
Critics who say the dead cannot leave their location in the afterlife often use this parable to prove their point. But this interpretation can not be true. The verses previously discussed provide one reason.
Another reason is related in an incident in the Old Testament where Saul has a medium conjure up the spirit of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 28:7-25). Since this verse actually documents a spirit being summoned up from the land of the dead, we can be safe in saying that the gulf between life and death can be crossed. The story of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable. Parables are symbolic and should not to be taken literally. Parables usually have a spiritual interpretation behind the literal symbols.
Another argument critics use against the NDE is the claim by experiencers that they have actually seen God. They quote verses such as these:
“… you cannot see my [God's] face, for no one may see me and live.” (Exodus 33:20)
“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.” (John 1:18)
The rebuttal against this false interpretation is the following Bible verse written by the Apostle Paul:
“I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows.
And I know that this person – whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows – was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that people are not permitted to tell.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)
This verse obviously describes an NDE where someone is taken to heaven and returns. All the evidence for it being an NDE is there: the out-of-body experience, the reference to more than one heaven and hearing inexpressible things. This is no different than what experiencers describe today. Also, many bible scholars believe Paul is actually referring to his own experience. In context, this above verse has to do with “rival preachers” boasting about their own knowledge, in which Paul compares himself to them. Paul does a lot of boasting himself in that particular chapter, but then goes on to describe the experience of a person whom “he knows.” His description of the out-of-body experience sounds as if it truly is a personal experience. This becomes even more apparent in light of the Bible verse below saying Paul was stoned and left for dead.
“They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city.” (Acts 14:19-20)
Another Bible verse supporting the NDE comes from the Old Testament concerning Jacob's Stairway or Ladder. In it, Jacob has a dream where he sees the “gate to heaven.”
“He [Jacob] had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: 'I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham…' When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.' He was afraid and said, 'How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven'.” (Genesis 28:12)
Jacob's Ladder is an excellent description of the “tunnel” or “passageway” people having NDEs see and travel through. Experiencers often see angels in this passageway as well. This passageway extends to heaven and at the end of it is God.
A fundamentalist may argue that Jacob was not near death when he received this vision. But a person does not need to be dead to have an NDE. Researchers have recorded people having them during extreme gravitational forces, extreme stress, meditation, psychedelic drugs or situations where consciousness is altered.
Another Biblical account describes an experience where a person sees God and heaven. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is stoned to death after having what appears to be an NDE.
“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'” (Acts 7:54-56)
For this, Stephen was stoned to death, because it was believed to be blasphemy. Stephen's description of heaven opening up and seeing God is a good description of the initial stage of an NDE.
There are also Gnostic writings such as the “Apocalypse of Paul,” described earlier in this book and documents Paul's trip to heaven.
There is also the apocalypse of John described in the Book of Revelation.
Another argument supporting the NDE is a particular event in the gospels where Jesus is transformed into a “being of light” similar to the “being of light” found in the NDE.
“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” (Matthew 17:2-3)
From all that has been discussed thus far, it should be clear that people are able to go to heaven, see God and return to earth. Since the Bible itself describes people seeing God and heaven, then this shows the NDE does not conflict with scripture. We can now say for certain that any interpretation of the Bible that states God has never been seen or can be seen, contradicts all the verses saying God has been seen.
There are certain facts concerning the NDE supported by the Bible. The following are the most important ones I am aware of.
A. Your entire life will be reviewed after death – every word, thought and deed.
“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:3637)
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)
“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:20-21)
B. After death, you are your own judge. Neither God nor Jesus judges anyone.
“Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22)
“I [Jesus] pass judgment on no one.” (John 8:15)
“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.
There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words, that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.” (John 12:47-48)
While the above Bible verses show that God and Jesus judges no one, there are verses suggesting God's judgment is actually our own conscience judging us.
“Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” (Romans 2:14-16)
Another Bible verse reveals how we ourselves are judges:
“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know we will judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3)
The angels we judge may in reality be ourselves.
C. Communication in the afterlife is by direct thought transfer. There are no secrets in the afterlife.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)
“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:20-21)
“But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, 'God is really among you!'” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25)
“Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, 'Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?'” (Matthew 9:4)
“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)
“All the believers were one in heart and mind.” (Acts 4:32)
D. Hell is having your faults revealed to everyone. Heaven is having your goodness revealed to everyone.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21)
This verse also shows how people send themselves to the darkness of hell to escape from having their inner nature exposed to everyone in the light of God. It also suggests that living in the light brings such an overwhelming experience that some people cannot endure it.
Such is the case of Jayne Smith, whose NDE is profiled in this book.
John, in the Book of Revelation, has such an experience as well:
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” (Revelation 1:17-18)
E. There are many dimensions to the afterlife and earth is one of them.
“In my Father's house are many mansions [abodes]; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)
“I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven… And I know that this person … was caught up to paradise.” (2
Heaven begins here on earth within us and is carried with us at death.
”… the kingdom of God is within you.“ (Luke 17:20-21)
The following are rebuttals against the arguments of a well-known
Christian seminary professor and critic of the NDE. In his book, the professor discounts all NDEs not conforming to his narrow interpretation of the Bible as being the work of the devil.
The professor asks: Who is this being of light appearing in NDEs?
My answer is: There are many beings of light appearing in NDEs.
The Bible declares God is light (1 John 1:5). People in the higher spirit realms emanate this light which is God. The being of light can be literally anyone: Jesus, Buddha, the Hindu god of death, an angel or even a deceased loved one. It usually depends on the person's religious bias and cultural background. The NDE reveals God's light is manifested within many beings in the spirit realm.
The professor argues: It is claimed the being of light is Jesus Christ. This seems to be wrong because this being says and does things contrary to the Jesus in the
Bible. Since Jesus never changes (Hebrews 13:8), it would be impossible for these to be the same Jesus. I believe many of the people having NDEs encounter a counterfeit Jesus.
My rebuttal is: The being of light in the NDE cannot be counterfeit because this being passes the test given by Jesus. It is the test to determine whether the spirit is of God or not.
“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God…” (1 John 4:1)
Jesus Himself gives us the test. According to the gospels, religious leaders accused Jesus of performing miracles by the power of Satan. This is the same accusation the professor brings against the being of light in the NDE. This accusation is made even though both Jesus and the being of light bear incredible love, joy, peace and all the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus reply to this accusation is:
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by
Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you… Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:2437)
Anyone familiar with the NDE knows the being of light gives an astonishing amount of goodness, holiness, love, joy, peace and such. Jesus made it very clear that a bad tree cannot bear good fruit, nor can a good tree bear bad fruit.
Some critics use the Bible verse below to discredit the being of light.
”…Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.“ (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Notice the verse states Satan can only “masquerade” as an angel of light. The verse does not say he actually is an angel of light. It only refers to Satan's ability to deceive people into believing he is an angel of light. But we cannot be deceived if we use the test given by Jesus. Using this test we can ask: Is there good fruit involved with the being of light? If so, then it must be of God. Is there no good fruit involved? If there isn't, then the being of light must be of Satan. It is obvious to anyone who is familiar with the being of light that the test actually confirms the being to be of God.
In my NDE research, an experience of astonishing love from the being of light or the NDE in general, is the most common characteristic appearing in fifty NDEs.
Since God is light, there is no light in darkness. Neither is darkness found in light. Satan is no angel of light. The being of light has a tremendous amount of light. Light can only come only from God. Satan is neither an angel of light nor an angel of love.
There are very serious consequences of attributing things of God to Satan. When Jesus was accused of performing miracles by the power of Satan and before he gave the test, he said,
“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31-32)
Jesus makes very clear the grave consequences of attributing to Satan the works of the Holy Spirit. Like the professor, many critics are quick to declare the being of light in the NDE to be of Satan, not realizing they may be dangerously close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit, something Jesus said cannot be forgiven.
The idea that the being of light in NDEs is sinister or “of the devil” ignores common sense. Dr. Raymond Moody, considered by many the father of the NDE, responded to this kind of criticism in his latest book, The Last Laugh.
Fervent critics see nothing amiss in preaching to Aunt Florene, bereft and kindly and fragile though she may be, that it was not
really the spirit of Uncle Hamperd who visited her last week to comfort her and to tell her where he put those important papers. No, it was actually a malignant demon disguised as uncle Hamperd, there to lure her into Hell, so she had better go home and read the Bible.
The doctrine that the Devil can disguise himself as Christ must be particularly troubling to fundamentalist authorities as they consider the possibilities of pediatric near-death experiences. Does God permit Satan to fool dying kids by masquerading as Jesus? Or is God powerless to prevent that kind of Satanic deception? If so, common decency dictates that funda-Christian NDExperts urgently prepare clear, precise instructions that will enable desperately ill, dying preschoolers to distinguish a Satanophanic Jesus from the real, true fundaChristian one. And would God allow the Devil to sneak up on a dying toddler by appearing as Santa Claus or Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell or the Easter Bunny? (91)
To demonstrate how foolish the professor's arguments are, here is a direct quote from professor's own book on how the being of light is a counterfeit Jesus:
Even if the loving, brilliantly illuminated being you meet during a near-death experience introduces Himself as Jesus, and looks just like him from the paintings, don't believe him for a minute! You've got to put him to the professor's ideological test first. Jesus has to pass the professor's Bible exam, before he can even be him! (92)
Such statements are completely absurd. The professor errs because he limits Jesus to his own narrow interpretation of the Bible. Any NDE bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit passes Christ's test and must not be said to be “of the devil.”
It would be blasphemous to do so. Perhaps this explains why the NDE described in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 states these are inexpressible things which people were not permitted to talk about in those days. These matters may have simply been too high for first century Christians to understand (and some twentieth century professors, as well). We must test the spirit of the NDE – not using the test of the professor, but rather the test from Jesus. In doing so, you will find the NDE to bear much fruit of the Holy Spirit.
The professor argues: The being of light of the NDE teaches such things as death is good and is not to be feared.
My rebuttal is: This is not true. The NDE shows that if a person is not prepared for death, their experience after death is not very good and should be greatly feared.
A case in point is Howard Storm and his NDE. Howard lived the life of an atheist
and treated people very badly. He was not prepared for death when he died because he ends up in “hell” when he does. The result of death is that some people go to “hell.” Hellish NDE make up a large number of reported NDEs. It is false to claim the being of light teaches death to be good and should not be feared. In fact, the NDE proves otherwise.
The professor argues: The being of light of the NDE teaches sin is not a problem.
In fact, the being of light often responds to human sin and shortcomings with humor.
My rebuttal is: This is not true. The NDE shows that if a person lives a sinful life, their experience will be a big problem for them after death. The fact is that Jesus appears in NDEs to be very sad about the sin of humanity. Dr. George Ritchie and his NDE is a case in point. During his NDE, Dr. Ritchie notices how sad Jesus is for those in hell. To say otherwise is to display ignorance about NDEs.
The professor argues: The being of light of the NDE teaches there is no hell to worry about.
My rebuttal is: This is not true. Dr. George Ritchie's NDE and Howard Storm's NDE are perfect examples of the reality of hell.
The professor argues: The being of light of the NDE teaches all people are welcome to heaven, regardless of whether or not they are a Christian.
My rebuttal is: This is not true. The NDE shows that some people go to hell.
Although it is God's will for everyone to go to heaven (1 Timothy 2:3-4 and 2 Peter 3:9) many people do not. The NDE also shows that faith in Christ alone does not guarantee anyone a ticket to heaven. Scripture supports this as well:
“Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:21-23)
The professor argues: The being of light of the NDE teaches all religions are valid.
My rebuttal is: This is not true. The NDE shows a person's religious beliefs (or lack thereof) can make the difference in determining how close to God and therefore whether they have a “heavenly” NDE or a “hellish” NDE. For example, after Howard Storm was rescued from hell during his NDE, he had this exchange with Jesus:
I asked them, for example, which was the best religion. I was looking for an answer, which was like: “Presbyterians.” I figured these guys were all Christians. The answer I got was: “The best religion is the religion that brings you closest to God.” (93)
This information shows that the goal of religion is to bring a person closer to God. It is also implied that some religions bring you closer to God than others. Although a person's religious beliefs (or lack thereof) can influence the quality of their afterlife experience, a person's religious affiliation or church membership itself does not seem to matter much to Jesus. Jesus did not come preaching some new religion. Jesus preached love. The NDE reveals it is love, not religion, creating spiritual growth and saving us from a hell of our own making. It is clear from the gospel accounts alone, that Jesus is not concerned about a person's religious status. Jesus told the religious leaders who killed him that the prostitutes were going to enter heaven before they did (Matthew 21:31). It is clear from the NDE, the Bible and common sense that religion is a cultural institution. Love, however, is universal and not limited to a particular culture. According to the Sermon on the Mount, love is the greatest
“religion” there is. Love is also what many of the great world religions is all about.
However, not everyone practices this “religion” of love.
The professor argues: In view of the fact that these ideas go against what the Jesus of the Bible taught, we have reason to conclude that the Jesus of the NDE is in fact a lying spirit.
My rebuttal is: This is not true. The Jesus of the NDE does not go against what the Bible teaches. They may go against the professor's narrow interpretation of what Jesus said, but they do not go against what Jesus said. The professor has not tested the spirits properly. He is making the same mistake of the Pharisees by testing the spirits using one's own narrow interpretation of scripture. The correct test is to judge by their fruit. If no fruit of the Holy Spirit is present, then it is safe to assume it is not of God. Jesus bore much fruit of the Holy Spirit yet was condemned by the religious leaders because he did not fit into their interpretation of scripture. Had they properly tested the spirits and judged Jesus on the basis of his fruit, he probably would not have been crucified. In the same way, if the professor would test the
Jesus of the NDE based on his fruit, he would not be accusing him of being a lying spirit.
The professor argues: The Jesus of the NDE is happy to mimic Jesus if the end result is that he can lead people away from the true Jesus of the Bible.
My rebuttal is: The Jesus of the NDE bears fruit of the Holy Spirit. Remember, Jesus of the Bible had this to say about testing the spirits:
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:24-37)
“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:18)
Even the professor must admit the Jesus of the NDE does bear the fruit of love.
But since the professor is testing the spirits using his own narrow interpretation of scripture and not testing by the fruit, it is he who is leading people astray.
The professor argues: Many people who have had NDEs come away from the experience with a lesser view of the Bible. One person even concluded “the Lord isn't interested in theology,” and another said God “didn't care about church doctrine at all.” The Jesus of the Bible, however, is certainly interested in correct doctrine.
My rebuttal is: Such generalities concerning experiencers who have a lesser view of the Bible is completely bogus. Common sense tells one that generalities such as this cannot be true. One cannot make a correlation between having an NDE and having a lower view of the Bible. Notice the professor does not cite the NDEs that lead him to this conclusion. Nevertheless, the person the professor mentions who concluded, “the Lord isn't interested in theology” is Howard Storm. It is a true statement to say that God is not interested in theology. Here is the complete account of what Howard Storm said:
I asked, for example, “What about the Bible?” They responded:
“What about it?” I asked if it was true, and they said it was. Asking them why it was that when I tried to read it, all I saw were contradictions, they took me back to my life's review again, something that I had overlooked. They showed me, for the few times I had opened the Bible, that I had read it with the idea of finding contradictions and problems. I was trying to prove to
myself that it wasn't worth reading. I observed to them that the Bible wasn't clear to me. It didn't make sense. They told me that it contained spiritual truth, and that I had to read it spiritually in order to understand it. It should be read prayerfully. My friends informed me that it was not like other books. They also told me, and I later found out this was true, that when you read it prayerfully, it talks to you. It reveals itself to you. And you don't have to work at it anymore. [At the end of his experience, Howard Storm says:] I try not to impose my
Christianity on other people. If people have God-like characteristics, a feeling of compassion and living that out, then it's ok. I respond more to behavior than philosophy. God really doesn't care a fig about theology. (20)
If one reads Howard Storm's and Dr. George Ritchie's NDEs, one will see why God does not care about theology or “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.” Nevertheless, the NDE does reveal a great concern for the commands of God. Love is the command of God (Romans 13:10, John 15:12). However, concerning theology, rules taught by men, it is clear that Christ
Himself doesn't care about it:
“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'” (Matthew 15:7-9)
”'They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.' And he said to them: 'You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban' (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.“ (Mark 7:7-13)
Paul has this to say about rules taught by men:
“Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!' These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh
treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (Colossians 2:20-23)
The professor argues: The Jesus of the Bible is certainly interested in correct doctrine. John 8:31-32 supports this:
“To the Jews who had believed in him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” (John 8:31-32)
My rebuttal is: The teachings of Christ are not theology. Jesus taught unconditional love, not theology. Jesus taught that love is the sign of a true disciple of Christ:
“All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:35).
Jesus did not say, “All men will know that you are my disciples if you hold the teachings of the Church” or “hold the teachings of the Bible” or “hold the teachings of Christian theology” or even “hold the teachings of the Christian religion.” It is clear Jesus taught love as the way to eternal life (Luke 10:25-28), not theology.
Many critics are completely ignorant about the NDE. Many refuse to find out for themselves and test the spirits for themselves. Instead, ignorant things are said about the NDE because these things were not judged by their fruit.
The professor argues: Other people affiliated with non-Christian religions claim the being of light to be Buddha or Krishna or some other religious figure. Certainly this should raise “red flags” in a Christian's mind.
My rebuttal is: The only thing this proves is that there are many beings of light appearing in NDEs. God is light. Many beings can manifest this light regardless of their religious affiliation or church membership. Jesus Himself had this to say about beings of light:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
The professor sounds as if he is either a religious bigot or religiously intolerant.
Jesus certainly taught religious tolerance. Jesus was a Jew who was killed by religiously intolerant people.
The professor argues: The Jesus of the NDE is Satan trying to keep people away from the Jesus of the Bible.
My rebuttal is: This is not true. The professor seeks to keep people away from the Jesus of the NDE. Jesus’ gospel of unconditional love was too dangerous for the political structure of the religious establishment in his day. Jesus’ message of unconditional love found in NDEs is too dangerous for the political structure of today's religious establishment. Ignorance prevented the religious establishment from accepting the message of Christ then; ignorance is preventing the religious establishment in general from accepting the message of Christ in NDEs now.
The greatest Biblical support for the NDE comes from all the New Testament verses concerning love. Like the teachings of Jesus, the NDE reveals the critical importance of love in all facets of life and death. The NDE compliments Jesus’ teachings of unconditional love and forgiveness. Here are those verses supporting the unconditional love of God and how this love is the way to heaven.
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he asked, 'What must I do to inherit eternal life?' 'What is written in the law?' he (Christ) replied. 'How do you read it?' he answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, love your neighbor as yourself.' 'You have answered correctly,' Jesus replied, 'Do this and you will live.' (Luke 10:25-28)
It cannot get any clearer than this. The verse above clearly shows love is the way to eternal life. The reason is because God is love.
“Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)
Everyone, no matter what their religious affiliation, who loves, knows God, “because God is love” (1 John 4:8). If our God is love, then love and God are one and the same. This means that as certain as (X = Y) and (Y = X), God is love, and love is God.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
This verse shows love to be greater even than religious faith.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2)
The verse above clearly refutes the false idea held by many that salvation is by faith in Jesus alone.
“If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3)
“If I speak in the tongues of humans and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Love covers sins because God is love.
“It (love) keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
Since God is love, the logical conclusion is that God keeps no record of wrongs. This agrees with what has been said thus far.
“Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)
This means the law of God is love.
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6)
“He (God) is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)
This is an interesting verse because it suggests God is the power holding all things together, the power of the atom. God, who is love, is the power holding the universe together.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Since God is love, the verse above is an excellent description of God.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
The above verse is another way of saying God is love and love is God.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
Love is the sign of whether or not one knows God. No love, no God. Know love, know God.
“For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)
In other words, if you don't love others, you don't love God.
“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” (1 John 3:14)
This is another verse suggesting love is the way to eternal life.
“By this [love] all humans will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
Love is the sign of a true disciple of Jesus. If love for others is not present, then it is a sign the person is not a disciple of Christ.
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:6)
This verse tells us to love Jesus means to walk in love.
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17)
Religious faith alone does not create spiritual growth or save us from a hell of our own making.
“We love because he (God) first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
One might conclude from this verse that our salvation is based on love.
“For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16)
Love is the gospel for the whole world. Love held Jesus to the cross, not nails. The gospel is all about love.
“Jesus answered them, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” (John 14:6)
If the Spirit of Jesus is love, then this makes perfect sense. Jesus was no egocentric person. No one can come to God except through love, the Spirit of Christ, which is God. Jesus came to show the way to heaven. The way to heaven is love.
“They (people going to hell) perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10)
The truth is God and God is love. The Kingdom of God is within (Luke 17:20-21). If one does not have love, then one does not have heaven within and he or she is already living in hell on earth. Love, being God, is our salvation from a hell within us of our own making.
“My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” (Hebrews 12:5)
Even God's so-called “wrath” is a sign of his love. Since God loves the whole world, it would be safe to say God disciplines everyone. Love is certainly a taskmaster.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (Psalm 111:10)
“But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
The one who fears God is only beginning to be wise. Advanced wisdom comes when fear is replaced with love. The preacher who likes to preach fear instead of love in order to gain converts is not being very wise.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)
The above verse shows the strength of the power of love being God.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)
Faith implies the possibility of doubt. Knowledge implies certainty.
Love is greater than both of them.
All the verses above describe the unconditional love that is God. This agrees totally with what is revealed in NDEs. People having NDEs realize the importance of love, which is true inner spirituality, as opposed to religion, which is an outward cultural affiliation. God loves the world unconditionally and this means everyone.
This is the identical message of the NDE.
Many Christians make the mistake of believing we get to heaven by worshiping Jesus. The NDE reveals we get to heaven, not by worshiping Jesus, but by emulating Jesus by living a life of unconditional love for everyone. The NDE also reveals the true relationship between Christ and God. Jesus often appears in NDEs shining a tremendous amount of light. The reason for this is that Jesus has a tremendous amount of love for others. The NDE and the Bible agree that light is God and those who love others the most will shine more of this light that is God.
This is because the light of God is love - a love beyond any human comprehension according to experiencers.
Universal salvation is the concept that everyone will eventually attain salvation and go to heaven. This is a foreign concept to most Christians today, although it was not to many early Christians. Many Christians today cannot accept the NDE because it generally affirms universal salvation. While it is true universal salvation is generally affirmed in NDEs, it is not true this means everyone enters heaven immediately upon death. It is well documented in NDEs people going to a hell upon death. However, NDEs show hell to be a temporary spiritual condition, much like Catholic purgatory, not eternal damnation.
The NDES of Dr. George Ritchie and Howard Storm are among the best NDEs I have read that proves this point.
Howard Storm is rescued from hell the moment he asks God for help. This demonstrates even the hardened sinner can be rescued from hell as long as they turn to God for help. Common sense tells you this is the case with a God of infinite love and mercy.
Many experiencers, such as Howard Storm, went to hell and were able to escape from it. Some experiencers have witnessed other people escape from hell. These people verify hell not to be a place of literal flames but a spiritual condition of separation from everything pleasant such as love, joy and peace. Those experiencers who have escaped from hell know first-hand there is a way out for those who are repentant. Such NDEs are convincing evidence that hell is not a place of eternal punishment, but a temporary spiritual condition of purification for the purpose of attaining heaven. The NDE suggests hell to be a kind of spiritual time-out where people reflect on their spiritual condition.
Another convincing argument for universal salvation comes from the nature of Christ's death itself. If it is true as Christians claim that Christ died for the wrongs of the whole world, and if Christ has forgiven the whole world of their wrongs, then the logical conclusion is that the world stands redeemed, forgiven, justified and saved. If this is true, the NDE reveals people are still going to hell despite being redeemed. But this may merely be demonstrating the concept of God not forcing anyone to heaven or hell. A person may be forgiven and redeemed, but there is no assurance of God forcing the person to heaven. If all wrongs have been forgiven, then why are people seen in hell during NDEs? They can't be in hell to pay for their own wrongs because according to Christian doctrine, Christ paid for them all. In other words, if Christ paid for all sins, how can God require anyone to pay for them also? The only logical conclusion is that hell is not a place for punishment, but of correction. This is exactly what the NDE reveals about the nature of hell.
Christians in general affirm Jesus provided universal redemption by paying for the wrongs of every human being. Universal redemption implies universal salvation and here is the scriptural evidence supporting it:
“When he has done this [God putting everything under Christ's feet], then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be ALL in ALL.” (1 Corinthians 15:28)
The above verse suggests God will someday be in all.
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
There is no doubt about it; God wills the salvation of everyone.
“I know that you [God] can do all things; NO PLAN of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)
The above verse suggests the will of God cannot be thwarted. If God wills everyone to go to heaven and nobody can thwart the will of God, then the logical conclusion is everyone will eventually go to heaven.
“He [God] is patient with you, not wanting ANYONE to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
God does not will anyone to perish in hell; therefore, everyone will eventually go to heaven. There is no escaping this logic.
“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men to myself.” (John 12:32)
The above verse shows everyone coming to God.
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ ALL will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)
If everyone is made alive in God, then everyone is on the road to heaven.
“For God so loved THE WORLD…” (John 3:16)
God's love extends to every member of the human race.
“He [Christ] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
If Christ paid for the sins of the world, the logical conclusion is the whole world has been redeemed.
These above verses show God providing salvation for everyone. The NDE, the Bible and common sense tells us it is futile to go against God's will. One experiencer, Arthur Yensen, gave some insight in the nature of God when asked if he believed in the Devil. His reply was:
No, but if there is one, he would have to be an insane angel who was crazy enough to fight with God, which would be as futile as for us to try to stop the sunrise. (94)
His NDE revealed to him a God so powerful, it would be crazy to think you can stop God.
“He [God] does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: 'What have you done?'” (Daniel 4:35)
If God wills everyone saved and it is impossible to go against the will of God and God has provided a plan of salvation for him or her, then the only logical conclusion is everyone will be saved. Some Christians have the view of God being willing but unable to save everyone. Is God not able to do as God wills? Isn't it a dishonor to view God in such a helpless way?
“It [salvation] does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.” (Romans 9:16)
This verse flat out says salvation is determined by the will of God. Since we have already proven God wills all to be saved, then we can conclude from this all will be saved.
Now the question is this: Has God, before the beginning of time, predestined a multitude of his children to be tortured forever in hell? Isn't it dishonoring to God to believe so? Didn't God provide for the salvation of those in hell also? Is God's plan of salvation so weak it cannot save those it was intended to save? The only logical and reasonable answer is this: Yes, God provided for the salvation of those in hell.
No, those in hell are not tortured forever. Yes, God provides a way of escape from hell.
“And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The above verse applies to temptation, but it could equally apply to hell.
“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy…” (Jude 1:24)
The above verse also applies to temptation, but could equally apply to God having the ability to save people in hell.
“And he [the man whose faith is weak] will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:2-4)
The above verse applies to God keeping someone from falling away completely, but could equally apply to God keeping people from falling away forever.
It is difficult for any honest Christian to conceive of a God of infinite love and mercy who would permit even one soul to be tortured forever in hell. Common sense tells us that a few minutes in hell may be enough for even the hardest of sinners to change their mind and repent. What kind of God creates a person knowing they will ultimately end up tortured forever in hell? Common sense tells us it would be best for God to not even have brought such a person into existence. If even an evil father will treats his children better than this, how much more so God?
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
While it is true scriptures describe hell as a place existing forever, NDEs show a person's citizenship there does not. The scripture above suggests God's arm of
mercy extends even to those in hell. We will now examine more scriptural evidence. Scripture will be used to support the following points:
A. There is forgiveness in hell for wrongs committed in life.
B. “Fire” is a metaphor used to describe the purification of people in hell.
C. Once a person has been purified by the “fire,” they can escape.
D. “Eternal” is a word used to describe the nature of hell, not the length of incarceration.
E. “Fire” is a metaphor used to describe the purification of people on earth.
F. “Fire” is a metaphor also used to describe God and manifestations of God.
G. “Light” is a metaphor similar to “fire,” used to describe God.
H. “Light” is a metaphor also used to describe spiritual knowledge. “Darkness” is spiritual ignorance.
I. “Darkness” is a metaphor also used to describe hell.
J. Darkness” is a metaphor also used to describe the world.
K. Suffering is necessary to attain spiritual perfection in this world and in hell.
Certain conclusions will be drawn from the points listed above. God considers wrongs committed in this world forgiven in this world as God considers them forgiven in heaven and hell. This world and hell are places of purification. This purification is by “fire” and “light,” metaphors for spiritual knowledge and God.
People in this world and in hell live in “darkness,” a metaphor for spiritual ignorance. The world and hell are places of suffering whose purpose is to bring about spiritual perfection through the abandonment spiritual ignorance.
Now let's examine each point one by one.
A. There is forgiveness in hell for wrongs committed in life.
“And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.” (Matthew 12:32).
It is one thing to be forgiven for an offense in one world, and it is a different thing to be forgiven for the same offense in a different world – meaning life after death.
This verse only makes sense if the possibility of wrongs being forgiven after death is true. In other words, if all wrongs committed in this world could not be forgiven in the world to come, then why single out a particular wrong by saying it cannot be forgiven in the world to come? This would only make sense if sins other than speaking against the Holy Spirit were forgivable in the world to come.
Here's another scripture verse suggesting a way of redemption after death:
“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.” (1 Peter 3:18-20)
This verse refers to the people who have already died and which Christ set free from hell. In an apocryphal book of the Old Testament, it states:
“For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.” (2 Maccabees 12:43-46)
At the time of the Maccabees the leaders of the people of God had no hesitation in asserting the efficacy of prayers offered for the dead, in order that those who had departed this life might find pardon for their sins and the hope of eternal resurrection. This verse suggests praying makes possible the redemption of those who have died unredeemed.
The apocryphal book of Maccabees was a part of Biblical canon until Martin Luther removed it during the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
It may be argued Maccabees is not a part of the Bible. However, even Paul, in the Book of Jude, quotes from a book not found in the Bible today. It is called the Book of Enoch; a book considered part of scripture in Jesus day:
“Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: 'See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.'” (Jude 1:14,15)
B. “Fire” is a metaphor used to describe the purification of people in hell.
The early Church developed the concept of purgatory based on particular passages of the Bible. The early Church taught that some sins are purged away by a purifying fire after death. St. Augustine argued:
Some sinners are not forgiven either in this world or in the next, would not be truly said unless there were other [sinners] who, though not forgiven in this world, are forgiven in the world to come. (95)
This same interpretation was believed by Gregory the Great (96); St. Bede (97);
St. Bernard (98) and other eminent Church writers.
Origen taught that purgatory is the true manifestation of “hell.” He believed if people depart this life with lighter faults, they are condemned to fire, which burns away the lighter materials, preparing their souls for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter.
For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones; but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body?
Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works. (99)
Origen based this statement on 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 reprinted below.
C. Once a person has been purified by the “fire,” they can escape.
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he
will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
The above verse describes a process of purification and a way to escape it.
“But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:22-26)
The above verse has Jesus equating hell to a prison that allows prisoners to get out.
“Prison” was used as a metaphor for hell in a verse we have already discussed.
Here it is again:
“He [Jesus] was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.” (1 Peter 3:18-20)
Here is another scriptural reference to hell as a prison:
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment.” (2 Peter 2:4)
D. “Eternal” is a word used to describe the nature of hell, not the length of incarceration.
The Bible talks of the unquenchable fire and eternal punishment of hell, where people are in torment, but not consumed:
“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I [John the Baptist] baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor,
gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:10-12)
“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out… And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be salted with fire.” (Mark 9:43-49)
“Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me,
I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:4146)
This description of hell agrees with what experiencers have experienced. Don Brubaker experienced these flames of hell first hand. This is what he experienced:
There was a low murmuring all around me, as if I was in the midst of a huge group of grumbling people. Before me, suddenly, stood a huge black door. The air began to glow and shimmer with oppressive heat.
I watched as the door opened upon a vast, flaming oven. I felt myself drawn like a magnet into the center of the flames – although I was terrified to go in. There were hundreds of others already there, roasting to death, but not dead. Once I was inside, the door slammed shut behind me. The worst, dreadest feelings sloshed around inside me, like so much poison.
“Is this actually what hell is?” I asked aloud.
I passed my hands through blue-tipped flames. The fire itself was cold, and it did not hurt me. From nowhere, a thought flashed through my mind: Death, where is thy sting? God, even in the midst of this holocaust, was truly in control of everything. I began to laugh, and the others laughed with me. Our laughter bounced off the walls of the oven and echoed over the roar of the flames.
And instantly, as if someone had flipped the channel selector, I was alone again in darkness. (100)
Don Brubaker's experience shows the flames of hell are not painful and are escapable.
E. “Fire” is a metaphor used to describe the purification of people on earth.
The Bible talks of people on earth being purified, refined and baptized by fire.
These are all referring to the process of purification.
“These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7)
“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.” (Revelation 3:1819)
“But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?
For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.” (Malachi 3:2-3)
“He will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.” (Isaiah 4:4)
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the
Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
F. “Fire” is a metaphor also used to describe God and manifestations of God.
The verses below describe God and manifestations of God through the metaphor of fire. These verses also use the metaphor of fire as a reference to the purifying power of God.
“Our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)
“Do not put out the Spirit's fire.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:3-4)
“In speaking of the angels he says, 'He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.'” (Hebrews 1:7)
“This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7)
“I [Jesus] have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49)
G. “Light” is a metaphor, similar to “fire,” used to describe God.
The verses below use the metaphor of light to describe God and God's purifying power.
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5)
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
“There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” (Matthew 17:2)
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” (John 8:12)
One can see the scriptures using the metaphors light and fire interchangeably to describe God and God's manifestations.
H. “Light” is a metaphor also used to describe spiritual knowledge.
“Darkness” is spiritual ignorance.
“For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
“If you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself?
You who preach against stealing, do you steal?” (Romans 2:19-21)
“Then Jesus told them, 'You are going to have the light just a little while longer.
Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.'” (John 12:35)
“But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.” (1 John 2:11)
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.” (Luke 11:33-36)
These verses show the spiritual condition of hell to be darkness, the lack of the knowledge of God. This spiritual condition begins as a spiritual condition on earth and is realized at death.
I. “Darkness” is a metaphor also used to describe hell.
The verses below describe how the metaphor of darkness is used to describe hell.
“And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home – these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.” (Jude 1:6)
“These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm – shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted– twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 1:12-13)
“But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12)
“These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.” (2 Peter 2:17)
From these verses, one can conclude that hell is darkness, a metaphor for ignorance of God.
J. “Darkness” is a metaphor also used to describe the world.
Similar to hell, the world is a place of darkness, spiritual ignorance. The following verses point this out.
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:15-16)
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” (Colossians 1:13)
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21)
This world and hell have something in common. Both are filled with the darkness of spiritual ignorance.
K. Suffering is necessary to attain spiritual perfection in this world and in hell.
The scriptures are clear on how suffering in this world leads toward spiritual perfection. The scriptures show God giving us suffering in order to create character and perseverance, and to cause us to rely more on him and not in our own strength (or weakness). Suffering should never be viewed as a curse from God, but rather a blessing in disguise. The same should be viewed of the suffering in hell. It is God's will for us to suffer in this world and in hell in order to bring about spiritual perfection. The following scriptures prove it:
“In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author [Jesus] of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:10)
“Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him [Jesus] and cause him to suffer.” (Isaiah 53:10)
“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.” (Philippians 1:20)
“For this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)
“To keep from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you,' for my power is made perfect in weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
“We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance.” (Romans 5:30)
“Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the
Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” (James 5:10-11)
“As he [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God may be displayed in his life.'” (John 9:1-3)
“For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation, if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort… But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:5, 9)
“These (sufferings) have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor…” (1 Peter 1:7)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted … Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
We can conclude from the verses above that the reason for suffering in this world is for purposes of purification and education. It is a small step to attribute the same reasons to the sufferings in hell. Using this attribution, it is easy to conclude that universal salvation is the goal and the reason for the suffering in hell and in this world.
It should be noted at this point that the concept of purgatory did not originate with the early Church. It came directly from Jewish sources as discussed in the Torah, the Talmud and other Jewish texts. In these texts, hell is called “Gehennom” (in Yiddish, “Gehenna”) and it is a place of intense punishment and cleansing. This place is also known as “She'ol” and other names. Gehennom takes its name from the Valley of Hennom, where pagans once sacrificed children.
One line of Jewish thought argues that after death the soul has to be purified before it can go on the rest of its journey. The amount of time needed for purification depends on how the soul dealt with life.
One Jewish tradition mentions a soul needing a maximum of 11 months for purification, which is why, when a parent dies, the kaddish (memorial prayer) is recited for 11 months. (101)
From all that has been presented thus far from the Bible, from NDEs, from extraBiblical references, from Jewish tradition, from early Christian tradition, and from common sense, one can conclude the following: God has a plan to save everyone in hell and eventually everyone will go to heaven. Can man continue forever to defy his Creator? Common sense tells us the answer is no. Common sense tells us a God of infinite in love and mercy would be willing and able to save those in hell. Any other view is dishonoring to God.
“Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.” – Jesus Christ, Book of Revelation 3:12
Reincarnation often shows up in NDEs. In Jeanie Dicus’ NDE, Jesus asks her if she wants to reincarnate. In Sandra Rogers' NDE, Jesus asks her the same question. Reincarnation is the reason some Christians reject the NDE altogether, because they reject the concept of reincarnation. But to ask if there are any verses concerning reincarnation in the Bible is like asking if there any stars in the sky.
The answer is yes; it is filled with them.
The first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus stated that the Pharisees, the Jewish sect that founded rabbinical Judaism to whom Paul once belonged, believed in reincarnation. He writes that the Pharisees believed the souls of evil men are punished after death. The souls of good men are “removed into other bodies…” and they will “have power to revive and live again.” (102)
The Sadducees, the other prominent Jewish sect in Palestine, did not emphasize life after death and, according to the Bible, ”…say there is no resurrection.“ (Matthew 22:23). From what has just been discussed, it should be clear what Matthew really means is that the Sadducees “say there is no reincarnation.”
There are many Bible verses concerning reincarnation and in this section we will examine some of them. One episode in particular from the healing miracles of Jesus seems to point to reincarnation:
“And as he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who has sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?' Jesus answered, 'Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents, but the works of God were to be made manifest in him.'” (John 9:1)
The disciples ask the Lord if the man himself could have committed the sin causing him to be born blind. Given the fact the man has been blind from birth, we are confronted with an unusual question. When could the man have committed such sins as to make him blind at birth? The only conceivable answer is in some past life. The question assumes people can commit sins prior to birth, suggesting a prior life. It should also be noted Jesus says nothing to dispel or correct the assumption. This verse provides irrefutable proof for the doctrine of human preexistence.
The episode in which Jesus identifies John the Baptist as Elijah is also very suggestive of reincarnation.
“For all the prophets and the law have prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who was to come.” (Matthew 11:13-14)
“And the disciples asked him, saying, 'Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?' But he answered them and said, 'Elijah indeed is to come and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also shall the Son of Man suffer at their hand.' Then the disciples understood that he had spoken of John the
Baptist.” (Matthew 17:10-13)
The above verse is a clear statement of reincarnation.
The first great father of the early Church was Origen, the first person since Paul to develop a system of theology around the teachings of Jesus. Origen was also a believer in reincarnation. He taught that human preexistence can be found in both the Old and New
Testaments. It was only in later times, after his death, that Origen's teachings were suppressed. Despite the counter reaction that eventually to led to the declaration that Origen's doctrine of preexistence was heresy, modern Christian scholarship acknowledges preexistence as one of the foundational elements of Christian theology.
As for the John is Elijah episode, there is little doubt for its reason. Because Jesus identified the Baptist as Elijah, Jesus identified himself as the Christ. The gospels mention particular signs preceding the coming of the Christ.
“Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Malachi 4:5)
This is one of the messianic promises found in the Bible. According to Malachi, one of the signs the Messiah has come is that he will be preceded by the appearance of Elijah the prophet.
These “John is Elijah” passages demonstrate absolute proof of reincarnation. The Old Testament prophesied that Elijah himself (not someone “like” him or someone “similar” to him, but Elijah himself) would return before the advent of the Christ. Jesus declared that John the Baptist was Elijah when he stated, “Elijah has come.”
Now, based on these passages alone, either one of two things must be true: (A) John the Baptist was Elijah himself, meaning Elijah reincarnated. If this is true, then reincarnation must once again belong in Christian theology, and the concept of resurrection must be radically revised, or… (B) John the Baptist was not Elijah himself, meaning Elijah himself had not returned.
If (B) is true, then either one of two things is true:
(1) Malachi's prophecy about Elijah coming before the Christ failed to happen (which would mean prophecy is fallible), or…
(2) Jesus was not the Christ.
It comes down to the question, what do you want to believe? Either one of these three statements must be true: 1. Reincarnation is true, or 2. Jesus was not the Christ, or 3. Bible prophecies are not reliable.
As surely as one plus one equals two, one of the above must be true. Either way, the verse in which Jesus says that John was Elijah is overt and direct:
“But I tell you, Elijah has come.” (Mark 9:13)
The following verse is used to refute this “John is Elijah” connection. The Bible tells us John the Baptist possessed,
”… the spirit and power of Elijah.“ (Luke 1:17)
Critics of the NDE who refute reincarnation say John the Baptist merely came in the same ministry as Elijah. But, that is not what the verse says. The verse gives a perfect description of reincarnation: the spirit and power. Reincarnation is the reincarnation of the spirit – not the body, mind or ministry. This verse explicitly reveals John the Baptist as possessing the spirit and power that was Elijah.
John the Baptist carried the living spirit of Elijah, not his physical memory. Because of this, John did not have the memories of Elijah.
This explains why John the Baptist denied being Elijah.
“They asked him, 'Then who are you? Are you Elijah?' He said, 'I am not.' 'Are you the Prophet?' He answered, 'No.' Finally they said, 'Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?'
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, 'I am the voice of one calling in the desert, “Make straight the way for the Lord.”' Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, 'Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?' 'I baptize with water,' John replied, 'but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals
I am not worthy to untie.'” (John 1:21-27)
Jesus, however, knew better and said so in the plainest words possible:
“This is the one… there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist… And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:11-15).
Jesus said that John was Elijah, and John said he wasn't. Which of the two is to be believed? Jesus or John? The answer should be very clear.
Also, notice that those questioning John were expecting a reincarnation. The question itself, whether John was Elijah, suggests those questioning John believed in reincarnation. But, like most people, the Baptist was not aware of being a reincarnation. However, this fact alone doesn't mean he was not, especially when Jesus said he was.
The Bible also reveals other appearances of Elijah the Prophet. In the Book of Revelation, there is a prophecy concerning the days leading up to the Second Coming of Christ. Two prophets are predicted to appear working the same miracles as those of Elijah and Moses.
“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. These men have power to shut up the sky so that
it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.” (Revelation 11:3-6)
While this verse does not specifically identify the two prophets as Elijah and Moses, the description of these two prophets suggests it is them. If Elijah is to appear immediately before the Second Coming of Christ, the only realistic way for him to do so is through reincarnation.
The Bible describes a strong connection between Elijah, Moses and Jesus. Since Jesus already identified Elijah as appearing during Jesus first coming, it is not hard to conclude that Elijah will appear again at the Second Coming of Jesus. The Malachi prophecy we have already discussed concerning Jesus’ first coming, may also apply to the Second Coming.
“Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Malachi 4:5)
After the death of John the Baptist, Elijah appeared again along with Moses at the Mount of Transfiguration:
“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.' While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!' When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. 'Get up,' he said. 'Don't be afraid.' When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, 'Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.' The disciples asked him, 'Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?' Jesus replied, 'To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the
Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.' Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.” (Matthew 17:1-13)
In very explicit language, Jesus identifies Elijah, who appeared with him at the Mount of Transfiguration, as John the Baptist. Even his disciples understood what Jesus meant.
Due to the declaration of reincarnation as heresy by church officials, centuries after the death of Jesus, reincarnation is now an enemy doctrine to Christianity. However, reincarnation was certainly not an enemy doctrine to the people of Israel around the time of Jesus. It was certainly not an enemy doctrine to Jesus himself. Israel in those days was a geographic crossroads receiving a large flow of foreign travelers and ideas.
Reincarnation was a familiar belief in Asia and the Middle East in the first century.
Throughout the history of Israel, there has been a belief that their prophets are sometimes reborn. The Israelites of the first century wondered if Jesus was the reincarnation of some prophet.
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of Man is?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'” (Matthew 16:13-14)
It is apparent, the Israelites of the first century assumed Jesus had been openly promoting reincarnation when he claimed John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah. When confronted with these rumors of Israelites believing in reincarnation, Jesus does not refute nor deny the doctrine. Instead, he spoke in support of it.
Another verse suggestive of reincarnation can be found when Jesus declares the following to the believers in the Church of Philadelphia:
“Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.” (Revelation 3:12)
The above verse has Jesus declaring people prior inhabitants of the temple of God. As soon as the person overcomes “the world,” the person becomes a permanent inhabitant of this temple and never again has to leave it. The flip side to this is that after death those who do not overcome must leave this temple of God and return to the world.
The verse below is also suggestive of reincarnation.
“She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.” (Revelation 12:5)
This verse describes the birth of a child who is taken to heaven after his birth. The interesting aspect is that this child is to rule all the nations with an iron scepter.
Because the child was taken to heaven after birth, reincarnation is the only way the child could return to the world to grow up to “rule all nations.” Although
Revelations is mostly symbolic and is often quite abstract, this verse implies the ability to incarnate more than once.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus states the following:
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5).
Such a statement makes sense only in light of reincarnation. It begs the question, “When does the meek inherit the earth?” Common sense tells us the meek do not inherit the earth in their lifetime. It is the strong that rules the earth. It is the law of survival of the fittest.
This inheritance of the earth by the meek must come about through the means of another incarnation, a reincarnation, of the meek into the strong.
Below is another verse suggestive of reincarnation.
“No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or wife or children or land for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age – homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields… and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
It is difficult to imagine how such a promise could be fulfilled apart from reincarnation. In one lifetime, one can only have a single set of parents. Common sense tells us that the disciples, who left their homes and families to follow Jesus, never received compensation a hundred times. It is evident, Jesus was making a promise to the disciples that only reincarnation could fulfill.
The following verse is a clear statement of reincarnation.
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were
aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)
The above verse describes people who could have had an opportunity to return to earth after death. This could only have come about through reincarnation.
There are also verses, such as the one below, supporting discarnate preexistence.
“He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight and love.” (Ephesians 1:4)
The above verse reveals God chose people before the world existed and before they could have physically been born. This suggests the people in question must have existed somewhere, even if only in the Mind of God. Such an existence does not rule out the preexistence of souls. After all, there may be no difference between a soul and a thought in the Mind of God.
Another verse suggestive of preexistence is below.
“Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad - in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls - she was told, 'The older will serve the younger.' Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'” (Romans 9:11-13)
This verse suggests that God loved Jacob and hated Esau before they were even born. Again, even if it were merely in the Mind of God, it would still be preexistence. Preexistence is a necessary doctrine associated with reincarnation.
Another verse suggestive of preexistence is below.
”'I tell you the truth,“ Jesus answered, ”'before Abraham was born, I am!'“ (John 8:58)
Here, Jesus is shown telling his enemies he existed before Abraham was born. This would be impossible unless the preexistence of Jesus was true. If Jesus preexisted, it is a short step to assume we have all preexisted.
There are other verses suggestive of reincarnation. In the gospels, Jesus gives information about his return and who will be there to witness it. Several times, Jesus mentions that some of the people around him will be alive when he returns.
One example is in the book of Matthew when Jesus gave the signs preceding his Second Coming. After revealing the signs, Jesus states:
“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Matthew 24:34).
The generation of people around Jesus who heard him say this prophecy, died without seeing these signs. This verse makes more sense if it refers to these people being reincarnated immediately before his Second Coming.
Another verse suggestive of reincarnation is below.
“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:2428).
What does it mean to “taste death” until Jesus comes? The description of a person having to “taste death” until Jesus comes is a good description of reincarnation.
There are several verses suggesting Jesus may have had past lives and had several incarnations in the flesh. Paul wrote of Adam as being:
”… a pattern of the one who was to come [Jesus]“ (Romans 5:14).
Paul also draws a parallel between Adam and Christ:
“The first Adam became a living being; the last Adam [Jesus] became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45).
Christ is described as the last Adam, the man who, through obedience, reverses the outcome of the disobedience of the first Adam:
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.
Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:1221)
These verses show the work of Adam being undone by the work of Jesus, a good description of how divine justice is meted out in the Bible. The only person who could satisfy divine justice in reversing what Adam did would have to be Adam himself or a reincarnation of Adam. Paul's description of the one man as Jesus could only have satisfied divine justice if he indeed was a reincarnation of Adam.
That Jesus had many incarnations is not a new belief. The early Christian group known as the Ebionites taught that the Holy Spirit had first incarnated as Adam and later reincarnated as Jesus. Other Jewish Christian groups such as the Elkasaites and Nazarites also held this belief. The Clementine Homilies, an early Christian document, also taught many incarnations of Jesus. (103)
The Zohar, a book having much authority with Kabbalistic Jews, states:
“So it is that when a man is about to depart from life, Adam, the first man, appears to him and asks him why and in what state he leaves the world. He says: 'Woe to thee that through thee I have to die.' To which Adam replies: 'My son, I transgressed one commandment and was punished for so doing; see how many commandments of your Master, negative and positive, you have transgressed.'” (104)
What is interesting in the above verse from the Zohar is that Adam appears to the dying person at death. In a great number of Jewish and Christian NDEs, it is Jesus who appears. Could this be merely a coincidence?
Another possible incarnation of Jesus is the Old Testament figure known as Melchizedek, the High Priest and King of Salem, who:
”… without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.“ (Hebrews 7:3).
It is clear from the book of Hebrews that Melchizedek was not an ordinary man, assuming he even was a man. The description of Melchizedek sounds uncannily similar to Jesus. The book of Hebrews even declares Jesus to be a:
”… priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.“ (Hebrews 7:17).
The verses above may be suggesting Melchizedek is an incarnation of Jesus.
There are several verses highly suggestive of the mechanics of reincarnation.
Before his arrest, Jesus stated:
“All who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
Common sense tells us not all people who live by the sword will die by the sword.
This statement can only be true if meant in the context of a future life. If in this life one lives by the sword, he or she will most certainly die by the sword, if not in the same lifetime, then in a future lifetime. This concept is identical to the ancient concept of “karma,” a tenet of reincarnation that is the foundation of reality mostly in the East. Below are more Biblical references to karma:
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A person reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)
“Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” (Exodus 21:24-25)
“In anger his master turned him over to the jailers until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matthew 18: 34-35)
“If any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain.” (Revelation 13:10)
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:25-26)
The above passages can be seen to be at least suggestive of reincarnation.
In James 3:6, some translations (such as the American Standard Version) mention “the wheel of nature,” which seems to resemble the cycle of endless reincarnation taught by the eastern religions. However, in this context the verse refers to controlling speech in order not to sin.
“And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6, ASV)
Nowhere in the Bible is reincarnation denied or refuted. Job asks:
“If a person dies will he live again?” (Job 14:14)
But he receives no answer.
Another Old Testament verse states:
“Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again… What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4-9)
The Jewish Kabbalists interpreted this verse to mean a generation dies and subsequently returns through reincarnation.
The verse below is often used to refute reincarnation.
”… man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…“ (Hebrews 9:27)
This verse is often said to mean that people live and die only once, then face judgment. But if this is true, this verse not only applies to reincarnation, but to the modern concept of resurrection. In fact, this verse refutes resurrection, not reincarnation. As mentioned earlier in this book, the Bible describes many people being resurrected, all of whom, with the exception of Jesus, died more than one time. Other people, such as Enoch, did not even die at all.
The above verse does not refute reincarnation at all, because when a person dies and is reincarnated, it is not the same body reincarnating and eventually dying.
The verse implies a one body/one death reality, which agrees with reincarnation and disagrees with the modern definition of resurrection. This definition is that after the physical body dies and faces judgment, the physical body will be raised from the grave someday to face possible death again (such as the so-called “second death” spoken of in Revelation 2:11) and judgment.
Resurrection assumes the same body rises. Reincarnation assumes a different body rises. So Hebrews 9:27 does not refute reincarnation at all, but does refute the modern concept of resurrection.
There is evidence that early Christians believed in reincarnation. Ancient Gnostic writings were discovered in 1945 revealing more information about the concept of reincarnation. The Orthodox Church ultimately destroyed the Gnostics for being heretics. They and their writings were destroyed. The discovery in 1945 yielded writings including some long lost gospels, some of which were written earlier than the known gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Gnostic Christians claimed to possess the correct definition of “resurrection” – based on Jesus' secret teachings, handed down to them by the apostles.
The existence of a secret tradition can be found in the New Testament:
“He [Jesus] told them, 'The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you.
But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'” (Mark 4:11-12)
“No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” (1 Corinthians 2:7)
“So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1)
The Secret Gospel of Mark, one of the Gnostic books discovered, describes Jesus performing secret initiation rituals. Before the discovery of this secret gospel, our only knowledge of it came from a letter written by Church Father Clement of Alexandria (150 AD - 211 AD). Clement quotes from this secret gospel and refers to it as “a more spiritual gospel for the use of those who were being perfected.”
Clement also states: “It even yet is most carefully guarded [by the church at Alexandria], being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries.” (105)
Clement mentions elsewhere that Jesus revealed a secret teaching to those who were “capable of receiving it and being molded by it.” Clement indicated he possessed the secret teaching handed down from the apostles. (106)
The Gnostics were harsh critics of the orthodox Church whom accused the Church of watering down the gospel in order to popularize it for the masses. The Orthodox Church stressed salvation by faith alone. The Gnostics stressed “gnosis,” which in Greek means knowledge. The Gnostic's secret knowledge emphasized spiritual rebirth rather than physical resurrection. Many Gnostics believed reincarnation to be the true interpretation of resurrection. To many Gnostics, physical resurrection (i.e. reincarnation) occurred to those who did not attained a spiritual resurrection (i.e. becoming born again of the Spirit) through knowledge of the secret teachings.
The New Testament talks about of gnosis (knowledge):
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:7-10)
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” (Colossians 1:9)
The verses below are some the secret teachings of Jesus from the Gnostic gospels affirming reincarnation and the secret knowledge:
“Watch and pray that you may not be born in the flesh, but that you may leave the bitter bondage of this life.” (Book of Thomas the Contender 9:5)
“When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will bear!” (Gospel of Thomas, saying 84)
In the Book of Thomas the Contender, Jesus tells the disciple Thomas that after death, those people who were once believers but have remained attached to things of “transitory beauty,” will be consumed “in their concern about life” and will be “brought back to the visible realm.”
In the Secret Book of John, written by 185 AD at the latest, reincarnation is placed at the center of the discussion concerning the salvation of souls. The following is the Secret Book of John's perspective on reincarnation.
Everyone has drunk from the water of forgetfulness and lives in a state of ignorance. Some people are able to overcome ignorance by having the life-giving Spirit descend upon them. These souls “will be saved and will become perfect,” that is, escape the rebirth. John asks Jesus what will happen to those who do not attain salvation. They are hurled down “into forgetfulness” and thrown into “prison,” the Gnostic symbol for a new body. (Secret Book of John 14:15, 17)
Jesus says the only way for these souls to escape is to acquire knowledge after coming from forgetfulness. A soul can accomplish this by finding a teacher who can lead the soul in the right direction:
Another Gnostic book, the Pistis Sophia, outlines a system of punishment and rewards that includes reincarnation. The book explains the differences in one's fate as a result of past-life actions. A “man who curses” will be given a body that is continually “troubled in heart.” A “man who slanders” will be given an “oppressed” body. A thief will be given a “lame, crooked and blind body.” A “proud” and “scornful” man will be given “a lame and ugly body” that “everyone continually despises.” (Pistis Sophia 144, 146) From this, we can see how this earth, as well as hell, is a place of education through suffering.
According to the Pistis Sophia, some souls experience hell as a place of shadows and torture. However, after these souls pass through hell, they return to earth for further experiences. Only a relatively few extremely evil souls are not permitted to reincarnate. These souls are cast into “outer darkness” until a time when they are “destroyed and dissolved.” (Pistis Sophia 145)
Several Gnostic books combine the ideas of reincarnation and union with God. The Apocalypse of Paul, which has previously been discussed, describes the reincarnation of a soul who was not ready to ascent into heaven. The Apocalypse of Paul demonstrates how both reincarnation and ascension into heaven fit into the theology of the Gnostics.
As Paul passes through the fourth heaven, he witnesses a soul being punished for murder. This soul is brought “out of the land of the dead” (Earth) by angels where three witnesses charge the soul with murder.
The soul looks sorrowfully down and is cast down into a body that has been prepared for it. (Apocalypse of Paul 20:9-10; 21:16-18) The book describes Paul's journey through the heavens, which is also symbolic for the Gnostic process of union with God.
The Pistis Sophia combines the ideas of reincarnation and divine union in a verse beginning with the question: What happens to “a man who has committed no sin, but done good persistently, but has not found the mysteries?” The Pistis Sophia reveals such a soul will receive “a cup filled with thoughts and wisdom,” allowing the soul to remember its divine origin and pursue the “mysteries of the light” until it finds them and is able to “inherit the light forever.” (Pistis Sophia 145) To “inherit the light forever” is a Gnostic term for union with God.
For the Gnostics, resurrection meant not only rebirth of the physical body (i.e. reincarnation), but also rebirth of the soul (i.e. spiritual regeneration). Gnostics believed that people who experience the rebirth of the soul are able to experience eternal life or union with God, while on earth. After death, such people escape physical resurrection (i.e. reincarnation). People who don't experience the resurrection (i.e. rebirth of the soul, spiritual regeneration) and union with God while on earth will have to be physically resurrected (i.e. reincarnated). Jesus states the following in the Gnostic Gospels:
“People who say they will first die and then arise are mistaken. If they do not first receive resurrection while they are alive, once they have died they will receive nothing.” (Gospel of Philip 73:1-4)
In several verses, Paul states that resurrection involves a spirit body. Such a definition corresponds with spiritual resurrection.
“It [the dead body] is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:44)
“I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 15:50)
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.” (Colossians 2:13)
The Gnostics claimed their terminology could be found throughout the New Testament. For example, the author of Ephesians uses the words “awake,” “sleep” and “dead” in a Gnostic sense:
“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: 'Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'” (Ephesians 5:13-14)
Some of the New Testament words translated from Greek as “resurrection” can also mean to awake or rise. Therefore, argued the Gnostics, when Paul states that people can participate in the resurrection, he is really saying their souls can be awakened to God's Spirit.
In some verses, Paul describes the resurrection as not being a future event, but rather a past or present event:
“Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:3-11)
Colossians also describes the resurrection as a present-day event:
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:9-10)
In the verse above, taking off your old self to put on the new self is a Gnostic term for the resurrection, also described as a present-life event.
The Gnostic writings reveal a clear and strong vision of the resurrection as a past and present event. Below is a verse in the Gospel of Thomas destroying the idea of the resurrection being a future event:
“His followers said to him, 'When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?' He said to them, 'What you look for has come, but you do not know it.'” (Gospel of Thomas, saying 51)
In the verse above, Jesus says the resurrection and the kingdom are already here, but people don't realize it yet.
Jesus explained the concept of resurrection before raising Lazarus from the dead:
“Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.' Martha answered, 'I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.' Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'” (John 11:23-26)
In the above verse, Jesus tells Martha her brother Lazarus will “rise again.” Martha mistakenly thinks Jesus means Lazarus will come out of his grave at Judgment Day. Jesus corrects her by stating that those who believe in him will live, even though they die. Jesus is referring here to spiritual rebirth.
Next, Jesus states that, after death, those who have been spiritually reborn will never die (i.e. reincarnate and die again).
The flip side to this is that those who die without spiritual rebirth will have to die again (i.e. reincarnate). By raising Lazarus from death, Jesus seems to be demonstrating that one does not wait until Judgment Day for Jesus to raise him or her.
Jesus flatly tells Nicodemus:
“I tell you a truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)
Nicodemus misunderstands what Jesus means by “born again:”
“How can a person be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!” (John 3:4)
In response, Jesus states:
“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (John 3:5-6)
In context of this verse, Jesus is referring to physical and spiritual resurrection.
Jesus describes physical resurrection as being born again of water. Spiritual resurrection is being born again of the Spirit. They are two similar, yet different processes. One could make the case that this verse shows Jesus teaching salvation to Nicodemus as being the process of physical rebirth followed by spiritual rebirth.
In the Apocryphal book, Wisdom of Solomon, recognized as canonical by the Catholic Church, is the following verse:
”…I was given a sound body to live in because I was already good.“ (Wisdom of Solomon 8:19-20)
This verse raises the following question: How is it possible to get a body after you have already been good, unless reincarnation is true?
Flavius Josephus records that the Essenes of the Dead Sea Scrolls lived “the same kind of life” as the followers of Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher who taught reincarnation. According to Josephus, the Essenes believed the soul is immortal and preexistent. These are necessary tenets for belief in reincarnation. (108)
One particular Dead Sea Scroll entitled “The Last Jubilee” mentions reincarnation.
This scroll is about the “last days” during which time it says, a “Melchizedek redivivus” (reincarnate) will appear and destroy Belial (Satan) and lead the children of God to eternal forgiveness. Below are parts of this message from this scroll. Parts of this message are unreadable. The unreadable parts will be denoted by this symbol (…). Here is the message:
“When, therefore, the scriptures speaks of a day of atonement … What is meant, … is that … by a day on which all the children of light and all who have cast their lot with the cause of righteousness will achieve forgiveness of their sins, whereas the wicked will reap their desserts and be brought to an end. There is a further reference to this final judgment in the continuation of the verse from the Psalter … the allusion is to Belial and the spirits of his ilk – that is to … defy God's statutes in order to perfect justice … King … Melchizedek … will execute upon them God's avenging judgment, and … deliver the just from the hands of Belial and all those spirits of his ilk. With all the angels of righteousness at his aid, he will blast the council of Belial to destruction … the eminence in question being the destination of all who are indeed children of God … It will be from Belial … that men will turn away in rebellion, and there will be a reestablishment of the reign of righteousness, perversity being confounded by the judgments of God. This is what scripture implies in the words, 'Who says to Zion, your God has not claimed his
Kingdom!' The term Zion there denoting the total congregation of the 'sons of righteousness' that is, those who maintain the covenant and turn away from the popular trend, and your God signifying the King of Righteousness, alias “Melchizedek Redivivus,” who will destroy Belial. Our text speaks also of sounding a loud trumpet blast throughout the land on the tenth day of the seventh month. As applied to the last days, this refers to the fanfare which will then be sounded before the Messianic King.” (109)
As was mentioned earlier, Melchizedek was the High Priest described in the Bible who sounds remarkably like an incarnation of Jesus. It was also mentioned how some early Christians believed Melchizedek to be an early incarnation of Jesus. If the above message of the Dead Sea Scrolls can be believed, then the passage is very likely referring to Jesus himself and his Second Coming.
The Dead Sea Scrolls prove the Jewish mystical tradition of divine union went back to the first, perhaps even the third, century BCE.
Jewish mysticism has its origins in Greek mysticism, a system of belief that included reincarnation. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, some of the hymns found are similar to the Hekhalot hymns of the Jewish mystics. One text of hymns gives us clear evidence of Jewish mysticism. The text is called “Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice.” (110)
Fragments of 1 Enoch, considered to be the oldest text of Jewish mysticism, were also found with the Scrolls. (111) Since evidence shows Jewish mysticism existed in the third century BCE, as Enoch indicates, then it would certainly have existed in first-century Israel. As stated earlier, the ideas of divine union and reincarnation can both be found in early Christianity. One may easily conclude it was the key to the very heart of Jesus’ message.
Reincarnation has been a belief for thousands of years for certain Jews and Christians. The Zohar is a book of great authority among Kabalistic Jews. It states the following:
“All souls are subject to revolutions.” and “Men do not know the way they have been judged in all time.” (Zohar II, 199b)
That is, in their “revolutions” they lose all memory of the actions leading to their being judged.
Another Kabalistic book, the Kether Malkuth states:
“If she, the soul, be pure, then she shall obtain favor… but if she has been defiled, then she shall wander for a time in pain and despair… until the days of her purification.” (Kether Malkuth) (112)
How can the soul be defiled before birth? Where does the soul wander if not on this or some other world until the days of her purification? The Rabbis explained this verse to mean that the defiled soul wanders down from paradise through many births until the soul regained its purity.
In the Talmud, Din Gilgol Neshomes (reincarnation) is constantly mentioned. The term literally means “the judgment of the revolutions of the souls.” Rabbi Manassa, one of the most revered Rabbis in Israel, states:
“The belief or the doctrine of the transmigration of souls is a firm and infallible dogma accepted by the whole assemblage of our church with one accord, so that there is none to be found who would dare to deny it… Indeed, there is a great number of sages in Israel who hold firm to this doctrine so that they made it a dogma, a fundamental point of our religion. We are therefore in duty bound to obey and to accept this dogma with acclamation… as the truth of it has been incontestably demonstrated by the Zohar, and all books of the Kabalists.” (Nishmath Hayem) (113)
In conclusion, from all that has been said concerning reincarnation, one can safely draw the conclusion that reincarnation was well understood by the people of Israel in Christ's day. Jesus Himself taught reincarnation to his followers. The Holy Bible teaches reincarnation. Reincarnation appears in many NDEs. Reincarnation should be a doctrine accepted by every follower of Christ. The NDE should be accepted as truth by every follower of Christ as a revelation from God.
“And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.” - Kahlil Gibran
Throughout the ages, humans have reflected on death. Perhaps it is one of the oldest mysteries we have ever faced or continue to face. Many great religious leaders, scientists, philosophers and writers have left a legacy of ideas on this subject. Here are a few of best ideas I have come across on the subject of death:
Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife http://www.near-death.com International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) http://www.iands.org P.M.H. Atwater http://www.cinemind.com/atwater/ Near-Death Experience Research Foundation http://www.nderf.org Seattle IANDS http://www.seattleiands.org Austin IANDS http://www.near-death-experience.com Raymond Moody, Jr., MD http://www.lifeafterlife.com Melvin Morse, MD http://www.melvinmorse.com Dr. Charles Tart http://www.paradigm-sys.com/cttart/ Dr. Stanislav Grof http://www.holotropic.com Betty J. Eadie http://www.embracedbythelight.com
ROUND TRIP: A Death Experience In Round Trip, you'll share powerful, first-hand recollections from five people whose lives have been profoundly changed. You will also hear from a philosopher, a parapsychologist and a theologian, who will help you interpret these extraordinary events. SHADOWS: Part I, Perceptions of Near-Death Experiencers Norman Van Rooy, who had an NDE as a child, has put together a 43minute video that is not your average fare. This NDE video focuses on the positives and negative, heaven and hell-like experiences and views. To obtain a copy, order directly from Van Rooy. Contact: Norman Van Rooy, 10038 Ashworth Avenue North Seattle, WA 98133 (206) 524-4338. LIFE AFTER DEATH Award-winning journalist Tom Harpur takes you farther into the subject of life after death than ever before. This comprehensive series offers a compelling look at controversial topics including contact with the deceased, reincarnation and NDEs. TRANSCENDING THE LIMITS: The Near-Death Experience Filmed at the Pacific Northwest Conference of the International Association For Near-Death Studies (IANDS), this video is one hour and 45-minutes long. It is a compilation of compelling highlights distilled from two days of conference presentations. LIFE AFTER LIFE Personal encounters with a warm and loving “being of light;” the interwoven nature of our lives; why suicide is not an escape; reuniting with departed loved-ones; the significance of love in our lives; the mystery of eternity. EXPERIENCING THE SOUL This video came about in July 1994 as a direct result of a five-hour-long meditation for which Elliot Jay Rosen had a life-transforming experience. Rosen, at the time a hospice social worker in Honolulu, was gently lifted out of his body while in meditation, and entered the light. In a two-way telepathic communication with his spirit-soul and a “being of light,” these words were communicated to him: “Society is now ready to accept that consciousness survives the death of the physical body.”
TOUCHED BY THE LIGHT This video introduces you to experiencers and their NDEs. Why do they lose their fear of dying? Why do they develop a new zest for living? In this captivating video you will get a rare chance to share their journey.
MOMENT OF TRUTH: A Window On Life After Death This 35-minute video is about Jayne Smith's experiences and studies during and following her remarkably deep and detailed NDE transition. Jayne comes from ordinary life as we know it, yet she has traveled to a land beyond death itself. Contact: Jayne Smith, 150 Lakeside Drive, Lewes, Delaware 19958
International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) Support Groups
The pioneering work of psychiatrists Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Raymond Moody, Jr. and George Ritchie brought near-death experiences to the public attention in the 1970's. During the years that followed, research studies by Kenneth Ring, PhD, Michael Sabom, MD, Bruce Greyson, MD, and others extended the early findings and stimulated additional interest in the field. To meet the needs of early researchers and experiencers, IANDS was founded in 1978 and incorporated in Connecticut in 1981. It was the first organization in the world devoted to the study of near-death and similar experiences and their relationship to human consciousness. Today its varied membership represents every continent but the Antarctic. Below is a list of the IANDS chapters located within the U.S. CALIFORNIA Orange County Friends of IANDS Meets: Meets from 1 to 4 p.m., the second Saturday of each month at Unity of Tustin, 14402 Prospect Ave., Tustin, CA 92780 San Diego Friends of IANDS Meets: Eastgate Family Care Center, 4377 Eastgate Mall, San Diego, CA 921212102 (619) 652-9130 Fax (619) 479-0797 San Francisco East Bay Friends of IANDS Meets: the home of Diana Schmidt in El Cerrito, three blocks from the Del Norte BART station. (510) 234-4125, 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., 1st Wednesday of every month, Diana Schmidt, email@example.com San Francisco Peninsula Friends of IANDS, Changing The Face Of Death Meets: Full Circle Books, 1538 El Camino Real, Belmont, CA, (650) 408-9546, 7:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m., second Friday of every month Los Angeles Friends of IANDS Meets: 1 to 4 p.m. Every fourth Saturday of each month at 5455 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2005, Los Angeles, CA. COLORADO
Boulder Friends of IANDS Meeting Meets: Mapleton Center, 311 Mapleton Ave, Columbine Room, Boulder, CO (303) 499-0185, 7 p.m., second Wednesday of every month, Chuck Gaylord, mGaylordCV@cs.com CONNECTICUT Farmington Friends of IANDS Meets: 7 - 9 p.m., 2nd Monday of every month, UConn Health Center in Farmington, CT, Room 4100 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA District of Columbia Friends of IANDS John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, 11100 John Hopkins Rd, Bldg 1 Cafeteria firstname.lastname@example.org FLORIDA South Florida Friends of IANDS Meets: University Hospital, 7425 North University Dr., Tamarac, FL 33321 (954) 491-2240, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., first Friday of every month Panama City Friends of IANDS Meets: Fourth Tuesday every month at 7:00 pm, Capstone House, Inc., 1713 Beck Ave. GEORGIA Lawrenceville Friends of IANDS (Atlanta area) Reply to this listing to have email contact regarding meeting details for this group. email@example.com HAWAII Oahu Friends of IANDS Meets: Contact Fran Lyons, Meet at Unity Church of Hawaii. Reply to this listing to have email contact regarding meeting details for this group. ILLINOIS Chicago Friends of IANDS
Meets: 2 - 5 p.m. second Saturday each month, Frank Auditorium at Evanston Hospital, 2650 Ridge Ave., Evanston, Il 60201, Diane Willis, mDocFlute@gerf.org MISSOURI Saint Louis Friends of IANDS 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. first Sunday of each month. Meetings are currently held in the library of Trinity Episcopal Church, 600 N. Euclid at Washington, St. Louis, MO. Contact Madelaine Luther 618 659-1895 (office) NEBRASKA Omaha Friends of IANDS Meets: Information and assistance are available from Dr. Bruce Horacek who can be reached at (402) 554-2280 or via email contact by replying to this posting. Reply to this listing to have email contact regarding details for this group. NEW YORK Buffalo Friends of IANDS Meets: Buffalo area meetings are held at: Niagara County Community College, 3111 Saunders Rd., Sanborn, NY Rochester Friends of IANDS See their Calendar of Events. Syracuse/Finger Lake Friends of IANDS Syracuse area meetings are held at: North Syracuse Community Center, 700 Bay Rd South - corner of Centerville Place. Click here for directions. OHIO Columbus Friends of IANDS 10 a.m. - 12 noon, First Saturday of each month, Columbus Mennonite Fellowship Church, 35 Oakland Park Ave. Contact Nancy Clark (614) 873-5307 OREGON Portland Friends of IANDS 1 - 4 p.m. Second Saturday of each month at Portland Community College, SE Campus, 2305 SE 82nd Avenue, Tabor Building, Room 137 (1st level). Contact Treesha Richie at (503) 674-8433.
Salem Friends of IANDS Meets: 2 - 4 p.m. Second Sunday monthly at 613 Piper St., Independence, OR. Contact Ron Parks at (503) 838-3436. TEXAS Dallas / Fort Worth Friends of IANDS Meets: 7 - 9 p.m. First Tuesday of each month, First United Methodist Church, 907 West Main St., The Parlor Room, Lewisville, TX. Contact Jan Holden at (972) 3150300. Houston Friends of IANDS Second Friday each month at Centerpoint, 1920 Hollister, Houston, TX 77080. Contact Bill Bingham at (832) 445-0022. San Antonio Friends of IANDS Contact Debbie James, CCRN, CNS. Reply to this posting for email contact on the details for this group. UTAH Salt Lake City Friends of IANDS Meets: County Commission Chambers, 2001 S. State, Salt Lake City, UT (801) 277-4209, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m., Contact Bill English. VIRGINIA Virginia Beach Friends of IANDS 7 - 8:30 p.m. Second Tuesday of each month. Great Neck Area Library. Contact Cheryl Birch or Dick Dinges. Northern Virginia Friends of IANDS 12:15 - 3:00 p.m. at The Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, Large Meeting Room (room 8), 7584 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA. Fredericksburg Friends of IANDS Meets: 11:00 a.m. Every third Saturday of each month at Synergy Chiropractic Wellness Center, Riverside Office Centre, 305 Hanson Avenue. Contact Wayne (Ken) Hart at (540) 582-2043.
WASHINGTON Seattle Friends of IANDS Meets: 1 - 4 p.m. First Saturday of each month. Catholic Community Services cafeteria, 100 23rd Ave South, Seattle, WA. Contact Kimberly Clark Sharp at (206) 525-5489. Spokane Friends of IANDS Contact Patty Peterson. Reply to this listing to have email contact regarding meeting details for this group. WISCONSIN Madison Friends of IANDS 7 - 9 p.m. Either the first or second Thursday each month at Meriter Hospital. Contact Karen McKean at (608) 320-4520.
The cover art is by Peter Teekamp and is entitled “Pass It On.” Teekamp gives the following interpretation of it:
“The dove belongs to the sky, the rose belongs to the earth, and the fish belongs to the water. The dove is the spiritual messenger of peace. The rose symbolizes love with its human face. The fish symbolizes life. The spirit brings love to life.” Peter Teekamp, born in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1950, has been painting since 1959. Though his major medium has been oil on canvas, his interests expand to all forms of graphic art. He is a self-taught artist who combines fantasy, realism, surrealism, and symbolism to come up with a style uniquely his own. The vibrant color used reflects a happy positive feeling. There is always something, whether it be pictorial or in thought, to discover when studying the works by Teekamp. Interestingly enough, Peter Teekamp has a lifetime amount of evidence that he is the reincarnation of Paul Gauguin, the famous 19th century post-impressionist artist. Evaluate the evidence and judge for yourself. He often communicates a feeling of harmony and beauty in nature with spiritual motivation. He feels very inspired by the Native American heritage. As a result, much of his work interprets his cultural observations in this country and in the hearts of its people. He draws inspiration from having traveled and lived throughout Europe, Africa, South America, the Far East, and the United States. He has been exposed to many people and cultures. This experience is also reflected in his work. Some of our deepest thoughts and feelings, so difficult to express, are visually before us in his art. His art underlies our true desire for spiritual awakening. In general, his art is positive and relaxing. It carries a message that is philosophical and leaves much room for the individual to communicate with his or herself and to use their own imagination.
Peter states, “Our world is seen through the eye of discovery. I can’t tell people what to see,” he explains, “because each person sees through the veil of his own experience. I like to see my art like seeds that flower in the hearts of those who are drawn to it.” Works of Peter Teekamp can be seen in California (USA), Israel, India and the Netherlands. For more information, please contact Sonja Meinema at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin R. Williams is a computer programmer with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. He is the webmaster and owner of the website “Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife” at www.near-death.com. The website is one the most comprehensive website on the internet about near-death experiences. He is an active member of IANDS, the International Association for Near-Death Studies. His interests also include metaphysics and comparative religions. Williams believes his mission in life is to bring information about the NDE to the internet. He states, “My mission is to magnify the truth and to shine a light in this world of darkness. I seek to end the ignorance and fear of death and to plant seeds of more spiritual love and light within my fellow human beings. I wish everyone could find the enormous love and the great light I have discovered in meditating on the profound truths revealed in the NDE. This is my mission in this life and my love.” Williams currently lives near Sacramento, California, where he continues to write and maintain his NDE website.