|NDEs are Biblical
|Kevin Williams Explains
the Reasons Why
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.
Bible Affirms Love is the Way to Eternal Life
following are those verses supporting the unconditional
love of God and how this love is the way to heaven:
BIBLE: "On one occasion an expert
in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he
asked, 'What must I do to inherit eternal life?'
written in the law?' he replied. 'How do you read
"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.'
have answered correctly,' Jesus replied, 'Do
this and you will live.'"
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
LOGIC: Loving others IS
EQUAL TO being born of God AND knowing
"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
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because
God is love." (1 John 4:8)
Not loving others IS EQUAL TO not knowing God
BECAUSE God is love IS EQUAL TO Love
"For anyone who does not love his brother, whom
he has seen, cannot love God,
whom he has not seen." (1 John
Not loving others you see IS EQUAL TO not
loving God who you cannot see.
"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)
Loving others IS EQUAL TO having eternal life.
Not loving others IS EQUAL TO not having eternal
"God is love." (1 John 4:8) AND "Love keeps
no record of wrongs." (1 Corinthians 13:5)
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
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
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
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:
"God is light." (1 John 1:5)
God IS EQUAL TO light. Therefore, light
IS EQUAL TO God.
Of course, the "light"
does not refer to "sunlight" or "light
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"
- not "God"
It also means that "light" is "God"
because they are one and the same.
"He is the true God and eternal life."
(1 John 5:20)
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:
"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)
IF you speak in tongues OR have the gift of prophecy,
etc., but NOT love THEREFORE you are nothing.
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love
covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
Love forgives many sins AND God IS EQUAL TO love,
THEREFORE God forgives many sins.
"Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."
Love IS EQUAL TO fulfilling the law of God AND God
IS EQUAL TO love, THEREFORE, love is the law of
"The only thing that counts is faith expressing
itself through love. (Galatians 5:6)
Expressing faith through love IS EQUAL TO all that
All that counts IS EQUAL TO eternal life.
THEREFORE expressing faith through love IS EQUAL
TO eternal life.
"He [God] is before all things, and in him all things
hold together. (Colossians 1:17)
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.
"By this [love] all
humans will know that you are my disciples, if you
love one another." (John 13:35)
Loving others IS EQUAL TO being a disciple
"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)
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.
"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not
accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:17)
Having faith NOT acts of good works IS EQUAL
TO dead faith.
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
"We love because he first loved us." (1 John
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
10:25-28) THEREFORE God is the Source of love.
"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)
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.
"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).
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 (Luke
support for the way to heaven is through love:
"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
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.
"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)
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
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.
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.
"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 absolute certainty. But
love is greater than both of these because God is
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.
and Scripture Affirm 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
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.
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.
3. Universal Salvation
in the Bible
following is the scriptural evidence supporting
"The Son himself will
be made subject to him who put everything under
him, so that God
may be all in all." (1
our Savior, who wants all men to be saved
and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1
"But I, when I am
lifted up from the Earth, will
draw all men to myself."
"For as in Adam all
die, so in Christ
all will be made alive." (1
all mankind will
see God's salvation." (Luke
"[God] is patient
with you, not wanting
anyone to perish, but everyone to come
to repentance." (2
"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
"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
plan of yours can be thwarted."(Job
"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
God wills everyone to be saved, the only logical
conclusion is that everyone will be saved.
is the atoning sacrifice
for our sins, and not only for ours but
also for the sins
of the whole world.
"For the grace of
God that brings salvation
has appeared to all men." (Titus
"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
"And we have seen
and testify that the Father has sent
his Son to be the
Savior of the world." (1
"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."
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
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:
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
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.
|4. The Bible and
NDEs Support Hell as a Place for Purification
Scripture will be
used to support the following points:
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
a. There is forgiveness in hell for sins committed in life
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:
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:
An apocryphal book from the Old
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
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.
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 scripture. According to St. Isidore of Seveille the Church
taught that in the next life:
sins will be forgiven and purged away by a certain
purifying fire." (Deord. creatur., c. xiv, n.
St. Augustine also wrote:
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:
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 Cor. 3:11-15 which is the next Bible passage
to be quoted.
c. Once a person has been
purified by the fire they can escape
The following verse is another verse
suggestive of salvation after death:
The Bible uses the metaphor prison
as a metaphor for hell:
d. Eternal is a metaphor used 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
Light is also a metaphor used in the Bible to symbolize
spiritual knowledge. Darkness is a metaphor used in the
Bible to symbolize spiritual ignorance.
i. Darkness is also a metaphor used in the Bible to describe
Darkness is also a metaphor used in the Bible to
describe the world
k. Suffering is necessary in this world and hell so that people
can attain spiritual perfection through instruction and
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:
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)
it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause
him to suffer." (Isaiah 53:10)
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)
this you were called, because Christ suffered
for you, leaving you an example, that you
follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21)
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)
in our sufferings, because we know that suffering
produces perseverance." (Romans 5:30)
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
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."
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
[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)
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
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 She'ol and other names. Gehennom
takes its name from the Valley of Hennom where pagans once
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.
Affirm That It Is Possible To See God
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:
in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen
or can see." (1 Timothy 6:16)
These 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.
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."
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
Another Bible verse
showing that God can be seen is the conversion of Paul:
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)
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
supporting the idea that people can journey to heaven and
see God and then return to their bodies is the following
as we are at home in the body we are away from
the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)
This 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.
are Affirmed to be Scriptural
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:
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:
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
All the people that Jesus brought
back from the dead certainly died more than once (Mark
The Bible describes some people
who resurrected from their graves at the same time of Christ's
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
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.
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
holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.
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
"Then death and
Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The
lake of fire is the
"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
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:
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
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.
Comparison Between NDE Facts and the Bible
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."
"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
Both the Bible and NDE accounts support
the concept of returning to life from death.
Fact: Our entire
lives are reviewed after death - every thought, word and
"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
"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
During a life review, people judge themselves in the presence
of the light. There is also no judgment by the light.
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
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:
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
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
The above Bible
passage can be interpreted to mean that the angels we judge
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 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)
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
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
only as one
(1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
NDE accounts reveal that communication in the afterlife
is by telepathy. Thoughts and feelings cannot be hidden
from others in the afterlife.
their thoughts, Jesus said, 'Why do you entertain
evil thoughts in your hearts?'" (Matthew
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
will bring to light
what is hidden in
darkness and will expose the motives of men's
hearts." (1 Corinthians 4:5)
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."
"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."
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
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.
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
wait till the Lord comes. He will
bring to light what
is hidden in darkness
and will expose
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
Angels is sometimes a word used
in the Bible to apply to humans. Here are some of them:
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)
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.'
resurrection people will neither marry nor be
given in marriage; they will be like the angels
in heaven." (Matthew 22:30)
forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing
some people have entertained angels without
knowing it." (Hebrews 13:2)
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.
who does evil hates the light, and will not
come into the light for fear that his deeds
will be exposed." (John 3:20)
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.
There are many mansions - heavenly realms - that make-up
the afterlife. This physical realm is but one of them.
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)
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)
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)
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.