Near-Death Experiences are Biblical

The Light of God.

By Kevin Williams

The greatest Biblical support for the near-death experience comes from all the New Testament verses concerning love. Like the teachings of Jesus, NDEs reveal the critical importance of love in all facets of life and death. Many NDEs complement Jesus' teachings of unconditional love and forgiveness. In fact, my research shows that an experience of God's unconditional love is the aspect most felt by experiencers. Love is also one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit; and God is love. Because Jesus taught that bad trees do not produce good fruit, it can be safely assumed that the love found in NDEs is good fruit and that NDEs themselves are a good tree. It is by their fruits that we will know a bad tree from a good tree. The following article is devoted to proving from the Bible that the NDE is a good tree and its fruit is holy.

Table of Contents
1. The Bible affirms love is the way to eternal life
2. NDEs affirm universal salvation
3. The Bible affirms universal salvation
4. The Bible and NDEs affirm hell to be a place for temporary purification
 
a. There is forgiveness in hell for sins committed in life
b. Fire is a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the purification of people in hell
c. Once a person has been purified by fire they can escape hell
d. Eternal is a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the nature of hell itself - not the length of time a person spends there
e. Fire is a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the purification of people on Earth
f. Fire is a metaphor also used in the Bible to describe God and manifestations of God
g. Light and fire are metaphors used in the Bible to describe God
h. Light is also a metaphor used in the Bible to describe spiritual knowledge. Darkness as spiritual ignorance
i. Darkness is also a metaphor used in the Bible to describe hell
j. Darkness is also a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the condition of the world
k. Suffering is necessary to attain spiritual perfection in this world and in hell. Suffering is not punishment
5. NDEs affirm the possibility of seeing God
6. NDEs do not contradict the Bible
7. A comparison of NDE facts and the Bible
Return to Top  
1. The Bible affirms love is the way to eternal life

The following 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 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)

In terms of logic, the verse above states: Loving others and God  IS THE WAY TO  eternal life.

 

In this passage of scripture, Jesus affirms that love for God and others is the way to eternal life (i.e., no more dying). This corresponds with what people having NDEs say about God as pure unconditional love. This unconditional love is the source we can draw from to love our neighbor unconditionally just as Jesus taught and practiced. 

BIBLE: "Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." (1 John 4:7)
LOGIC:  Loving others IS EQUAL TO being born of God AND knowing God.

BIBLE: "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16)
LOGIC:   Living in love for others IS EQUAL TO you living in God AND God is within you.

BIBLE: "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8)
LOGIC:  Not loving others IS EQUAL TO not knowing God BECAUSE God is love IS EQUAL TO Love is God.
 
BIBLE: "For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." (1 John 4:20)
LOGIC:  Not loving others you see  IS EQUAL TO not loving God who you cannot see.
 
BIBLE: "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)
LOGIC:  Loving others IS EQUAL TO having eternal life. Not loving others IS EQUAL TO not having eternal life.
 
BIBLE: "God is love." (1 John 4:8) AND "Love keeps no record of wrongs." (1 Corinthians 13:5)
LOGIC:  God IS EQUAL TO love AND love keeps no record of wrongs.

God keeps no record of wrongs because God is unconditional love. These Bible verses refutes the misconception that God is full of wrath. It refutes the misconception that Jesus will cast people headlong into the fire of hell merely because they never had the opportunity to pledge allegiance to Jesus. 

BIBLE:  "God is love." (1 John 4:8)

BIBLE:  "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)

 

LOGIC: God is love AND God is patient, kind, doesn't envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and never fails.

Contrary to what many fundamentalists believe, to say that "God is love" is not the same as saying that "God loves." "God loves" is how most fundamentalists interpret the phrase "God is love" because they reject the logical implications of what the phrase "God is love" means. It means that love is God. This is merely a matter of basic algebra. If "God" equals "love," then "love" equals "God."

 

Fundamentalists claim that the phrase "God is love" is merely a statement of what God does: love. But basic English grammar shows that the phrase "God is love" is not the same as saying "God loves." The reason it is not the same is because the word "love" in that verse is a noun and not a verb or adjective. The phrase "God loves" is a reference to God and the verb "loves" - not "loves" as a noun. The phrase "God is love" is a reference to two nouns: "God" and "love". For example, another phrase that would be equal to the phrase "God is love" would be "God is the Spirit of love." Also, this logically and grammatically means that "the Spirit of love is God." This is not the same as saying "God loves" - although it is true that God loves. This Bible verse is very specific and is supported up by all the Bible verses previously shown here. God is love. Therefore, love is God. It must also be noted that the "love" referred to in these verses is not a reference to just any kind of love. The kind of love associated with the phrase "God is love" is not the same as saying, "My love for my dog is great" or "I love green beans." The kind of love associated with God is translated in Greek as "agape" which means "divine love." This is not ordinary love.

 

Other verses that are logically similar to the two phrases "God is love" and "love is God" are the following: 

BIBLE:  "God is light." (1 John 1:5)

LOGIC:  God  IS EQUAL TO light. Therefore, light IS EQUAL TO God.

Of course, the "light" does not refer to "sunlight" or "light bulb light". Biblical "light" associated with God is a reference to the divine "light" of unlimited knowledge and understanding. The phrase "God is light" means just what it says: "God" is "light" - not "God" gives "light." It also means that "light" is "God" because they are one and the same. 

BIBLE:  "He is the true God and eternal life." (1 John 5:20)
LOGIC: 
God IS EQUAL TO eternal life. Therefore, eternal life  IS EQUAL TO God.

When equating "God" with "life", the Bible is not referring to ordinary life. It means eternal life. It is the same as saying "life is God" because "God" and "life" itself is one and the same.

 

The following Bible verses show how "love" is superior to anything else because love is God: 

BIBLE:  "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. 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. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing ... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:1-3;13)

LOGIC:  IF you speak in tongues OR have the gift of prophecy, etc., but NOT love THEREFORE you are nothing.

 

BIBLE:  "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)

LOGIC:  Love forgives many sins AND God IS EQUAL TO love, THEREFORE God forgives many sins.

 

BIBLE:  "Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:10)

LOGIC:  Love IS EQUAL TO fulfilling the law of God AND God IS EQUAL TO love, THEREFORE, love is the law of God.

 

BIBLE:  "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6)

LOGIC:  Expressing faith through love IS EQUAL TO all that counts. All that counts IS EQUAL TO eternal life. THEREFORE expressing faith through love IS EQUAL TO eternal life.

 

BIBLE:  "He [God] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)

LOGIC:  God holds all things together. THEREFORE, God IS EQUAL TO the power of the atom holding all things together! AND God IS EQUAL TO love. THEREFORE, love holds the universe together.

 

BIBLE:  "By this [love] all humans will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

LOGIC:  Loving others IS EQUAL TO being a disciple of Jesus.

 

BIBLE:  "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)

LOGIC:  Loving others IS EQUAL TO obeying Jesus' commands AND his command IS EQUAL TO walk in love. THEREFORE, loving others IS EQUAL TO obeying Jesus.

 

BIBLE:  "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:17)

LOGIC:  Having faith NOT acts of good works IS EQUAL TO dead faith.

This verse reveals that faith without doing good works is worthless and does not get anyone to heaven. This salvation by good works described by James is the true teachings of Jesus - not Paul's salvation by faith alone. It means that faith alone is does not get anyone to heaven.

 

BIBLE:  "We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19)

LOGIC:  Loving others IS EQUAL TO God loving us first AND God is love (1 John 4:16) AND love is the way to eternal life (Luke 10:25-28) THEREFORE God is the Source of love.

 

BIBLE:  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16). "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by works, is dead." (James 2:17) "Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:10)

LOGIC:  God loves the world AND gave his Son THEREFORE faith in him EQUALS eternal life AND faith without works IS EQUAL TO death AND loving others EQUALS fulfilling the law of God THEREFORE the law of God IS EQUAL TO loving others THEREFORE everyone who loves fulfills God's law and has eternal life.

 

BIBLE:  "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) The way to eternal life is by loving others and God (Luke 10:25-28).

LOGIC:  Jesus IS EQUAL TO the way to eternal life AND the way to eternal life IS EQUAL TO loving others and God THEREFORE the way to eternal life is by loving others and God. Note: Jesus was not egotistic, and because he often spoke in parables, it would be wise to interpret this verse in light of the other teachings of Jesus. Jesus came to show the way to heaven and that way is God - the light that is love. Nobody can come to God except through the way shown by Jesus - a life lived in unconditional love for everyone. Jesus is certainly not saying that worshipping him will get you to heaven. That would be contrary to all his teachings in the gospels! It is obvious that Jesus came as the light to show humans the way to eternal life. The way to eternal life is through loving others and God.

 

BIBLE:  [Support for love as the way to heaven]  "Jesus is the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:6) "They [people going to hell] perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved." (2 Thessalonians. 2:10)

LOGIC:  Jesus is the way AND the way is the truth AND the truth is law AND the law is love AND love is God THEREFORE people go to hell because they refuse to love. But we know we have eternal life if we love. Near-death experiences reveal the true nature of hell to be more like the catholic concept of purgatory where people go for purification and instruction before going to heavenly realms. Hell is not a place for roasting sinners forever in flames. A God of infinite unconditional love and mercy would not permit even one soul to fall into some crack in the universe and be lost forever (see the parable of the Prodigal Son). So everyone will eventually be saved because it is God's will. 

 

BIBLE:  "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)

LOGIC:  God's discipline can often be very severe. The above verse shows that God's so-called "wrath" is a sign of God's immense love. God's love is also a "tough" love. Because God loves everyone, God disciplines everyone. Love can certainly be a difficult task-master. God's love, although it may be "tough", is all for our own good. 

 

BIBLE:  "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)
LOGIC:  Those who "fear" God are not perfect in love. "Fearing" God is merely the beginning of wisdom. But mature wisdom comes when we cast away our childish "fear" of God and replace it with love. Those pastors who enjoy preaching only fear, hellfire, and damnation, are not being very wise.

 

BIBLE:  "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)

LOGIC:  This verse reveals the unconditional aspect of God's love. Because God loves everyone, God's love for everyone is unconditional. This is one of the strongest verses supporting universal salvation.

 

BIBLE:  "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)

LOGIC:  Faith implies the possibility of doubt. Knowledge implies absolute certainty. But love is greater than both of these because God is love.

multi-colored icon.   For more about the Biblical and NDE evidence of universal salvation click on the link provided.

 

All of these Bible verses describe the unconditional love that is God. All of these Bible verses, when interpreted properly, completely agree with the information brought back by near-death experiencers. They return knowing the supreme importance of the unconditional love that is God. Being in the presence of this love changes people forever. This unconditional love that is God is the true inner spirituality taught by and lived by Jesus.

Return to Top   
2. NDEs affirm universal salvation
 

Universal salvation is the concept that all humanity will eventually attain salvation and heaven. This is a foreign concept to most Christians today although it was not to many early Christians. Many Christians today cannot accept NDE testimony because they affirm universal salvation. While it is true that many NDEs testimony affirm universal salvation, it is not true that it suggests that everyone enters heaven immediately upon death. NDEs and scripture describe people in hell. I profile several NDEs where the experiencer finds themselves in hell. However these NDEs reveal that hell is a temporary negative spiritual state. It is more like a purgatory, and certainly not eternal damnation. The following NDE testimonies reveal a profound description of hell and how they escaped from it:

Many experiencers such as some of the ones above were sent to hell and were able to escape from it. Some have even witnessed other people escaping from hell. Experiencers verify that hell is not a literal place of scorching flames but something far worse: a negative spiritual condition of separation from love, joy, peace, God, sanity, etc. Those who have escaped from hell know first-hand that there is a way out of hell for those who are repentant.  They are convinced that hell is not a realm of eternal punishment; but rather it is a temporary state of purification for the purpose of eventually attaining heaven.

 

Another convincing argument for universal salvation comes from the nature of Christ's death itself. If Christ died for the sins of the whole world and if Christ has forgiven the whole world of their sins, then the logical conclusion is that the world stands redeemed, forgiven, justified and saved. However, NDEs and scripture describe people in hell. Logically, the reason people are in hell cannot be because they are paying for sins. Otherwise Jesus did not pay for all sins if people are paying for sins in hell. It would also show the work of Jesus to be an utter failure. God wills all to be saved. Jesus paid for all sins. But most people are thrown in hell for eternity anyway. Isn't this scenario dishonoring to God and the work of Christ? If people are paying for sins in hell then Christ did not pay for any sins. He either paid it all or he didn't. However, there is strong scriptural support that God provided universal redemption and the work of Christ redeemed everyone. Universal redemption implies universal salvation. There is no other way around it.

Return to Top   

3. The Bible affirms universal salvation

The following is the scriptural evidence supporting universal salvation:

a.

"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)

b.

"God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

c.

"But I, when I am lifted up from the Earth, will draw all men to myself." (John 12:32)

d.

"For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22)

e. "And all mankind will see God's salvation." (Luke 3:6)

f.

"[God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

g.

"For this we labor and strive, that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe." (1 Timothy 4:10)

h.

"And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment -- to bring all things in heaven and on Earth together under one head, even Christ." (Ephesians 1:9-10)

i.

"No plan of yours can be thwarted."(Job 42:2). "God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4) Note:  Because no one can thwart God's will, and because God wills everyone to be saved, the only logical conclusion is that everyone will be saved.

j.

"[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)

k.

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." (Titus 2:11)

l.

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone." (Hebrews 2:9)

m.

"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world." (1 John 4:14)

n.

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men -- the testimony given in its proper time." (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

o.

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

If Christ paid for the sins of the world then the whole world has been redeemed and nobody is paying for sins in hell.

 

It should be difficult for any Christian to honestly conceive of a God of infinite love and mercy to permit even one soul to be tortured forever in hell. It is common sense that a few minutes in hell is enough for even the hardest of sinners to change their mind and repent. And what kind of God would create someone knowing that he will ultimately throw that person in hell to be tortured forever? It should be obvious that it would be better for God to not even create such a person. If an evil father treats his children better than this how much more so God? Jesus states 

"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 that scriptures describe hell as a place lasting forever (eternal punishment and eternal damnation) this does not mean that a person's stay in hell is eternal. It means that hell is an eternal realm. In other words, the term eternal applies to hell itself and not the length of stay there. This agrees with NDE accounts that describe God's arm of love and mercy extends even to those in hell. Now let's now examine the scriptural evidence.

Return to Top   
4. The Bible and NDEs affirm hell to be a place for temporary purification

This index to sections below shows how scripture can be used to support the following points:

a. There is forgiveness in hell for sins committed in life.
b.

Fire is a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the purification of people in hell.

c. Once a person has been purified by the fire they can escape hell.
d.

Eternal is a word used in the Bible to describe the nature of hell itself - not the length of time a person spends there.

e.

Fire is a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the purification of people on Earth.

f.

Fire is a metaphor also used in the Bible to describe God and manifestations of God.

g. Light and fire are metaphors used in the Bible to describe God.
h. Light is also a metaphor used in the Bible to describe spiritual knowledge. Darkness is a metaphor used to describe spiritual ignorance.
i. Darkness is also a metaphor used in the Bible to describe hell.
j.

Darkness is also a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the state of the world.

k.

Suffering is necessary to attain spiritual perfection in this world and in hell. Suffering occurs for the purpose of instruction - not punishment.

Certain conclusions can be drawn from the points listed above. They are the following: God has already forgiven everyone of their sins whether they are in this world or in hell. This world and hell are places of purification by fire and light - spiritual knowledge and God. People living in the world and in hell live in realms of spiritual darkness - spiritual ignorance. The world and hell are realms where God allows people to freely suffer the consequences of their free will in order to bring about their spiritual perfection by abandoning spiritual ignorance. Now let's examine each point one by one.

Return to Top  
a. There is forgiveness in hell for sins 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)

These words of Jesus seem straight forward on the surface; but a closer examination reveals something interesting. Jesus states that there is sin that cannot be forgiven in this world or the world to come - a reference to the afterlife. It is one thing to be forgiven for an offense in one age; it is a different thing to be forgiven for the same offense in a different age. The above passage of scripture suggests the possibility of sins being forgiven after death. Here is another passage that suggests a way of redemption after death: 

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 Bible verse states that God does not allow us to be tempted too severely and God provides us a way out. It would not be a great leap of logic to conclude that God does not allow a person to suffer beyond what they can bear and that God provides a way out. This also applies to hell.

 

The following passage is remarkable in that it describes Jesus setting people free in hell: 

"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)

An apocryphal book from the Old Testament 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 passage assumes the possibility of redemption for those who have died unredeemed. Maccabees is a book that is accepted only by the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jews. This passage from Maccabees is the basis for the Catholic doctrine of praying for the dead.

 

Maccabees was a part of Biblical canon until it was tossed it out at the beginning of the Protestant Reformation by Martin Luther. Most Protestant Christians argue that Maccabees is not inspired because it is not a part of the Bible. However, in the Book of Jude, Paul quotes from a book not found in the Bible today. It is called the Book of Enoch:

"Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men:

A Bible verse similar to the verse in Maccabees can be found in the New Testament:

"Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?" (1 Corinthians 15:29)

In the above passage, Paul defends the doctrine of resurrection by posing the argument that if the dead are not resurrected then why are people baptized for them? This passage is the basis for the Mormon doctrine of baptizing the dead.

Return to Top   
b.  Fire is a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the purification of people in hell
 

The early Church developed the concept of purgatory based on particular passages of scripture. According to St. Isidore of Seveille the Church taught that in the next life:

"Some sins will be forgiven and purged away by a certain purifying fire." (Deord. creatur., c. xiv, n. 6)

St. Augustine also wrote:

"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." (De Civ. Dei, XXI, xxiv)

The same interpretation is given by Gregory the Great (Dial., IV, xxxix); St. Bede (commentary on this text); St. Bernard (Sermo lxvi in Cantic., n.11) and other eminent theological writers.

 

Origen, the first great Church father, taught that purgatory is the true description of hell. He believed if people depart this life with lighter faults they are condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials thereby preparing their souls for the kingdom of God where nothing defiled may enter. He stated:

"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." (P. G., XIII, col. 445, 448).

Origen based this statement on 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 which is the next Bible passage to be quoted.

Return to Top   
c.  Once a person has been purified by fire they can escape hell
 

"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 following verse is another verse suggestive of salvation after death:

"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 Bible uses the metaphor prison as a metaphor for hell:

"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)

Return to Top   
d.  Eternal is a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the nature of hell itself - not the length of time a person spends there

"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)

Here is another verse:

"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)

Here is one more:

"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 25:41-46)

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. (Don Brubaker)

Don Brubaker's experience shows the flames of hell are not painful and are escapable.

Return to Top  
e.  Fire is a metaphor used in the Bible 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 3:18-19)

"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)

Return to Top  
f.  Fire is a metaphor also used in the Bible 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)

Return to Top  
g.  Light and fire are metaphors used in the Bible 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.

Return to Top  

h.  Light is also a metaphor used in the Bible to describe spiritual knowledge. Darkness is a metaphor used to describe 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.

Return to Top   
i.  Darkness is also a metaphor used in the Bible 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.

Return to Top   
j.  Darkness is also a metaphor used in the Bible to describe the condition of 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.

Return to Top  
k.  Suffering is necessary to attain spiritual perfection in this world and in hell. Suffering occurs for the purpose of instruction - not punishment.
 

The scriptures are clear on how suffering in this world leads toward spiritual perfection. The scriptures show that God gives us suffering in order to create character and perseverance and to cause us to rely more on God and not in our own strength (or weakness). Suffering should never be viewed as a curse from God; but rather a blessing in disguise. It is God's will for us to suffer in this world and in hell in order to bring about spiritual perfection. This suffering is the result of karma which maintains that transgressions committed in this world are paid in this world. The following Bible verses show the importance of suffering: 

"In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Hebrews 2:10)

 

"Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him 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 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 [suffering] 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)

So we can see from the verses above that the world and hell are not places of punishment; but rather states of purification. They are places of education and not damnation. It is a small step to conclude from this that universal salvation is Biblical and a reality.

 

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 it is Gehenna) and it is a place of intense punishment and cleansing. This place is also known as Sheol and other names. Gehennom takes its name from the Valley of Hennom where pagans once sacrificed children.

 

One line of Jewish thought affirms 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 states that a soul needs a maximum of 11 months for purification, which is why, when a parent dies, the kaddish (memorial prayer) is recited for 11 months.

 

From all the information that has been presented here one can easily conclude that God has a plan of salvation for everyone - even those in the deepest pit of hell; and eventually everyone will attain salvation to the highest heaven.

Return to Top   
5. NDEs affirm the possibility of seeing God
 

Some Christians are steadfast in their belief that God cannot be seen. They often base their belief on several Bible verses. For example, God instructed Moses by informing him that:

"No person may see me and live." (Exodus 33:20)

In another Bible verse, the apostle Paul stated that God:

"...lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see." (1 Timothy 6:16)

The above verses are sometimes used by some Christians to prove that near-death experiencers cannot journey to heaven and back and/or could not have seen God. But this denial contradicts verses that describe people in the Bible seeing God while they were alive including those verses that describe people journeying to heaven and back. They also deny many other spiritual experiences such as deathbed visions and after-death visitations. Such experiences are not only seen as false by some Christians; but are also seen as of the devil.

 

One of the best Bible verses supporting the concept that God can be seen is the NDE of Stephen - the first Christian martyr - who is stoned to death.

"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)

Stephen's description of heaven opening up and seeing God is a good description of an experience where God is seen before a person actually dies. Stephen's experience may actually be best labeled a deathbed vision rather than an NDE because Stephen doesn't return from death. However, NDE accounts have been reported by people who also catch a glimpse of heaven before their NDE.

 

Another Bible verse showing that God can be seen is the conversion of Paul:

"As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:3-4)

Many NDE experiencers encounter a Being of Light often identified as such personalities as Jesus, God, an angel or some religious figure. Sometimes the Being of Light is a relative or friend. In fact, many NDE accounts describe how everyone in the afterlife emits this light and this light is God.

 

One particular gospel event describes Jesus transforming himself into a Being of Light which is remarkably similar to the Being of Light appearing in NDE accounts. In both the Bible and NDE testimonies, the light is always seen as God.

"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)

Another Bible passage that supports the reality of NDEs comes from the Old Testament concerning "Jacob's Stairway" or "Ladder." Jacob had a dream in which he sees the gate to heaven. Here is the verse:

"He 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)

A person does not need to be dead to have an NDE. People have them during dreams, extreme stress, extreme gravitational forces, deep and prolonged meditation, hallucinogenic drugs, or other situations where the consciousness is altered. This Bible passage of Jacob's ladder is a good description of the tunnel or passageway experiencers see and travel through. Experiencers often see angels in this passageway which extends from the Earth to heaven.

 

The following passage written by the Apostle Paul describes an NDE he experienced. This clearly demonstrates that NDEs are indeed Biblical.

"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)

Many aspects of the NDE appear in the above passage: the out-of-body experience, the reference to more than one heaven, the reference to paradise and hearing inexpressible things. In the above passage, Paul is actually talking about his own experience. In context, this passage has to do with rival preachers of Paul who boasted about their own knowledge. Paul compares himself to them. Paul does a lot of boasting himself in this passage but then goes on to describe the experience of a person whom he knows. In those days, this expression is a euphemism that means the speaker is referring to themself. His description of the experience certainly appears to be as if it is a personal experience. This becomes even more apparent in light of the Bible passages that describe Paul's many encounters with near death such as in Acts 14:19.

 

On another front, there are Christian Gnostic writings discovered in the 1940's which were written around the time of Christ. One such writing is entitled the Apocalypse of Paul supposedly written by the Apostle Paul concerning his NDE. The writings describe Paul journeying through ten different heavenly realms. The description is remarkably similar to an NDE. But many Christians are too eager to declare anything Gnostic to be heresy and of the devil without even knowing what Christian Gnosticism is. You can read the Apocalypse of Paul.

 

Another Biblical passage that refers to an NDE can be found in the Book of Revelation. John's journey to heaven is described in a way that closely resembles an NDE. Edgar Cayce was near-death experiencer who received many insights into Revelation and who affirmed that John's NDE occurred while he was dreaming. John's revelation has some of the same dream symbols that appear in the prophet Daniel's dream in the Book of Daniel. Edgar Cayce provided the best interpretation of the Book of Revelation that I have ever read.

Christians who doubt that people can journey to heaven and back should read about the medical procedure called a standstill. This is a surgical procedure where the patient is purposely flat-lined and brought to clinical and brain death in order to perform delicate brain surgery. These patients are literally brought back from the dead. You can read an excellent example of this procedure.

 

Another argument supporting the idea that people can journey to heaven and see God and then return to their bodies is the following verse:

"As long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)

The above verse affirms the principle that when we are away from the body - meaning dead - we are at home with the Lord. In other words, death means being present with God. Everyone in the Bible who was resurrected saw God before being brought back to life. We can conclude from this that any interpretation stating that God cannot be seen is a contradiction to all the Bible passages just discussed.

 

In conclusion, because the Bible describes many people seeing God, then it is safe to believe that NDEs do not conflict with the Bible.

Return to Top   
6. NDEs do not contradict the Bible
 

Some Christians deny that NDEs are real afterlife experiences because of Bible verses which can be interpreted as denying the possibility of surviving death. Here is one of them:

"A person is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)

A Bible verse in the Old Testament describes a wise woman from Tekoa who told King David that at death we are:

"...like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die." (2 Samuel 14:14)

But these Bible verses do not mean it is impossible to return from death because we know from other Bible verses that many people have. For example, Lazarus died not once but twice (John 11:43-44).

 

All the people that Jesus brought back from the dead certainly died more than once (Mark 5:21-42; Luke 7:11-15).

 

The Bible describes some people who resurrected from their graves at the same time of Christ's death (Matthew 27:52). These people also had to have died a second time. The apostles brought back people from the dead (Acts 20:9-12). The Old Testament describes several people returning from death (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:32-35; 2 Kings 13:21).

 

Some people in the Bible did not even die at all, such as the prophet Elijah, Enoch and Melchezedek. For these people, it cannot be said that they will even experience death once.

 

Another problem with the "one man/one death" interpretation is that the Bible even refers to a "second death":

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death." (Revelation 2:11).

"Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years." (Revelation 20:6).

 

"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death." (Revelation 20:14).

 

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:8).

For these reasons, Bible verses cannot be interpreted to say that people do not die only once or cannot be revived from death to experience death a second time. After all, isn't this the definition of resurrection - the centerpiece of the Christian faith? To be brought back to life again and possibly another resurrection from death to another life?

 

There is another Bible passage which is sometimes used by people to say that the dead cannot cross over to the land of the living. Because of this it is claimed that NDEs are not Biblical. That Bible passage is a parable which Jesus used to instruct people about the nature of death - the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. According to the parable, Lazarus (a poor man) died and was carried by angels to Abraham's side. An unrepentant rich man likewise died but was sent to hell. In hell, the rich man was in torment and saw Abraham and Lazarus far away and implored Abraham to send Lazarus to comfort him with some water. Abraham replied that this was not possible:

"And besides all this, 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)

On the surface of it, this symbolic parable seems to imply that the dead cannot return to life. But this cannot be literally true. One reason is because of the Bible verses previously discussed. Another reason is because of incidences in the Bible where people actually do cross over from death to life. One example is the Biblical account of Saul who had a medium conjure up the spirit of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 28:7-25). Because this account actually describes a spirit being summoned up from the land of the dead then we can safely say that the gulf between life and death can be crossed. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is symbolic and should not to be interpreted literally. The nature of parables are such that they contain a much deeper hidden spiritual meaning behind the literal symbols.

 

In conclusion, all the Biblical evidence proves that people can traverse the boundaries of life and death. For this reason, NDEs should be included as Biblical truth.

Return to Top   
7.  A comparison of NDE facts and the Bible

NDE Fact:  Many people have returned from the dead.

"The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people." (Matthew 27:52-53)

"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 Corinthians 12:2-4)

Both the Bible and NDE accounts support the concept of returning to life from death.

 

NDE Fact:  Our entire lives are reviewed after death - every thought, word 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 12:36-37)

"There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs." (Luke 12:2-3)

The life review which people experience after death has often been mistaken by near-death experiencers (particularly fundamentalist experiencers) as the Biblical event called "Judgment Day." Often experiencers believe they are being judged by God. But the reality is that they are merely judging themselves. During the life review, every aspect of a person's life is made known and often in full view of a large group of people.

 

NDE Fact:  During a life review, people judge themselves in the presence of the light. There is also no judgment by the light.

"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)

Jesus revealed that he does not judge anyone and that God is the Judge of everyone. This agrees with many Bible verses describing God to be the Judge of the living and the dead. While it is true that God is the Judge, this does not necessarily mean that the Judge actually judges people. For example, a judge might have people judge themselves. One particular Bible verse flat out states that God does not judge anyone:

"Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son." (John 5:22)

From these Bible verses we can conclude that neither God nor Jesus judges anyone - even though they are the Judge. There is also another particular Bible verse which states that it is we who are the 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 above Bible passage can be interpreted to mean that the angels we judge are ourselves.

 

NDE Fact:  NDE accounts reveal that hell is not a literal place of burning flames but something far worse. Hell is a spiritual condition of being totally separated from love, joy, God, light, peace, sanity, etc. Some hell realms are described as outer darkness.

"The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." (James 3:6)

In the Bible, the word fire is often used to describe the spiritual purification of people by the power of God.

"Our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:29)

The "consuming fire" is symbolic for God's spiritual purification. This is supported by the following passage of scripture:

"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)

NDE Fact:  NDE accounts reveal that communication in the afterlife is by telepathy. Thoughts and feelings cannot be hidden from others in the afterlife.

"Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, 'Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?'" (Matthew 9:4)

Jesus is seen in the gospels having the ability to read people's minds and using telepathy. Because Jesus was obviously a highly evolved spiritual being, we can probably assume that all spirit beings have telepathic powers. Because the afterlife has been described by many experiencers as a realm of pure thought, it wouldn't be a great leap of faith to conclude the following: People exist in the afterlife as thought forms where everyone's thoughts are not secret. And this is what NDE accounts describe - an afterlife that is a place where people cannot hide anything from others - even their thoughts. The following is another Bible verse supporting this idea:

"Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts." (1 Corinthians 4:5)

NDE Fact:  To have your true inner self and thoughts revealed to everyone can be a hell for those who are mostly motivated by negative forces. But to have your true inner self and thoughts revealed to everyone can be a heaven for those who are mostly motivated positive forces. NDEs support the idea that everyone's true inner nature is a part of God and that those who enter the afterlife actually realize their true inner nature. Those people who live a life against their divine inner self will face difficulties when they enter the spirit realm. This afterlife process is self-realization and self-judgment - not eternal damnation. During the NDE life review there is no judgment from God.

"Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son." (John 5:22)

 

"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)

The only judgment that exists after death is self-judgment. There we enter the light of God where all is made known.

"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)

The Bible verse above describes people dwelling in the dark to escape from having the light of God reveal their inner divine nature and life of ignorance - both of which are exposed to everyone in the heavenly realms.

 

Near-death experiencers have affirmed that so-called evil is actually ignorance or darkness. In the Bible, light is always a reference to God and knowledge of God. Those people who lived a life of "darkness" (ignorance) will find it is incompatible with their true divine nature. This self-realization can truly be hell for such people. It is self-realization and self-judgment. Below is another Bible verse describing self-judgment.

"Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts." (1 Corinthians 4:5)

The Bible verse below describes how God's light can shine in the darkness of our hearts - even before we die.

"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)

One particular Bible passage can be interpreted to be that the angels we judge are actually ourselves:

"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)

Angels is sometimes a word used in the Bible to apply to humans. Here are some of them:

"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones (children). For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." (Matthew 18:10)

 

"Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, 'Peter is at the door!' 'You're out of your mind,' they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, 'It must be his angel.' (Acts 12:13-15)

 

"At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." (Matthew 22:30)

 

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." (Hebrews 13:2)

NDE Fact:  People can send themselves to the dark realms of hell to escape from having the light of God reveal their inner divine nature and life of ignorance which is exposed to everyone in the heavenly realms.

"Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." (John 3:20)

 

"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.' (Revelation 1:17-18)

Because of the terrible situation that people can find themselves in after death - incompatible human and divine natures - God has established the cycle of birth and rebirth (reincarnation) to allow people to purify themselves from these incompatible memories.

 

NDE Fact:  There are many mansions - heavenly realms - that make-up the afterlife.  This physical realm is but one of them.

"In my Father's house are many mansions; 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 Corinthians 12:2-4)

 

"Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21)

 

"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)

The Bible clearly describes a hierarchy of afterlife realms. Along with the realms of heaven and hell and this world, the Bible verses above show that there are even more afterlife realms. The Biblical reference to the "third heaven" agrees with this idea of multiple realms. From the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation, the goal for humanity is to be restored to the paradise. Genesis reveals the fall of humanity and the world. Revelation reveals the restoration of humanity and the world.

Return to Top 

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." - (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Tell A Friend.

| Christian index | Next |

Copyright © 2014  Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife