Near death experiences
Near death experiences fall under the category of man trusting in himself instead of God, because these experiences contradict Scripture.
The people who claim to see the afterlife during their near death experiences are people outside of Christ.
The Bible tells us that only those who are in Christ have the hope of heaven (1Peter 1:1-4; 5:11-13; Galatians 3:27).
God would not permit a non-believer to see heaven through a near death experience as they do not have the hope of heaven.
This would be deception on God's part. He would be giving false hope to someone who does not know Him. (Hebrews 6:18; I Corinthians 14:33; Hebrews 5:8-9).
When Paul was caught up to the third heaven, he was forbidden to reveal to the Corinthian's what he experienced.
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:1-9
Since God forbade an apostle of Christ to discuss his vision of the afterlife would he allow a anyone today to see, hear and discuss the goings on of Paradise?
We have many examples in the Bible of people being raised from the dead (1Kings 17:17-24; 2Kings 4:31-37; 13:20-21; Matthew 27:52-53; Luke 7:11-17; 8:49-56; John 11:41-44; Acts 9:36-43; 20:9-12).
What is interesting about all of these accounts in scripture is not one of them describes what occurs in the afterlife.
Apostle Paul did not have a near-death experience. How do we know that he didn't?
Paul himself elaborates on the incident, offering details to King Agrippa without once mentioning that he had died (Acts 26:2-29). Another difference is that the light blinded Paul, while in NDEs the light does not visually impair people's eyes.
Most NDEers prefer to keep their experience private, Paul felt compelled to proclaim his conversion experience to everyone around him, even including those who would be hostile to his words.
Paul demonstrated the best example of fulfilling Jesus' Great Commission — he not only preached love, but declared Jesus Christ as the only way to God.
There are several cases in the Bible in which people have returned from the dead: Elisha restored the Shunammite boy back to life (2 Kings 4:8-37); Jesus healed a ruler's dead daughter (Matt. 9:18-26); and Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44).
What they experienced while they were dead is not described, they need no discussion.
Consider the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:54-60). In this story Stephen looks up to heaven and sees the glory of God and Jesus. It must be noted is that Stephen had this vision before he was stoned. He was not dying when he saw Jesus.
The Bible says little, if anything, about what occurs during a near-death experience.
The Bible is clear about God's displeasure with those who invite spirit beings into their lives. "Do not practice divination or sorcery....Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God" (Lev. 19:26, 31).
If the being of light is an actual spirit entity who is conveying a universalist message, then we must conclude Biblically that it is an evil spirit, not Jesus Christ (John 14:6; cf. 2 Cor. 11:3-4).
Reading about people's near death experiences is not our means of learning about the afterlife:
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, [b]If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Luke 16:27-31
In the book of Revelation, John was permitted to hear and see many things (John 16:13; Revelation 22:8). Yet, at the same time, he was limited in what he was permitted to record and reveal to his readers. John only wrote when told to write (Revelation 2:1; 14:13), and on at least one occasion was told not to write what had been revealed to him (Revelation 10:4).
God, in his infinite wisdom, saw fit to limit man's knowledge of the afterlife.
Our limited understanding of the afterlife is learned by reading the written Word of God (Romans 10:17; John 20:30-31; 1John. 5:11-13; 1 Peter 1:3-4; Revelation 21:1-22:5), not by direct revelation in the form of near death experiences (1 Cor. 13:8-10; 2Peter 1:3).
We go to the afterlife today, not near death, but after death (James 2:26; Luke 16:22-23). We cannot return to this life once we have crossed over. (Luke 16:26-31; Heb. 9:27).
When a person chooses to believe and/or teach that near death experiences are of God, they are believing and teaching false doctrine. They are deceived by Satan (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1Timothy 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Ephesians 6:11).
The Bible commands us to examine every teaching to see whether or not it is from God (I Thessalonians 5:21-22; 1 Peter 3:15; 1John 4:1; Galatians 1:6-9).
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:4-6
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