God's Truth In Love

Near-death Experiences

In Advice, Bible, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Encouragement, Exhortation, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Prophecy, Prophet, Prophetess, Truth, Uncategorized on April 17, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Note

I decided years ago when I began doing Q & A Forums that I would not address questions, which were too vague to answer wisely or questions where the answers required too many variables of explanation, thus making answering in a few paragraphs all but impossible and neglectful of godly quality. Those types of questions typically just go unanswered. This next question boarders on that type of question, yet, I am going to go ahead and address this topic because I believe it is of immense importance to many people. That said, please know my answer will not be exhaustive on the topic and should anyone have any follow up questions I encourage you to send them instead of assuming what I might be attempting to communicate.

Question Summary:

Are near-death experiences (like in the new movie, Heaven is for Real) true and if they are how can this happen since we cannot go to heaven and back according to Luke 16? Are ghost real? Can we see the dead?

Reply:

First, let me clear up the question about Luke 16. Here is the primary verse that prompts the misunderstanding and the entire parable Jesus taught will be listed at the end of my reply. Luke 16:26, Jesus speaking, “ 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

People say we cannot cross the chasm but what is their interpretation of crossing the chasm. For the person who asked the question; the chasm, and crossing the chasm, is misunderstood and perhaps has been taught to them incorrectly.

That “great gulf” is in the Greek Language is most definitely an “impassable chasm and interval” of that we can be certain. However, what was Jesus saying here? Was He saying no person could see heaven and live, if so what about John the Revelator who wrote the Book of Revelation. Was He saying no living person could have a vision of the other side or people there or beings [angles] there, if so what about the prophet Elijah [1st & 2nd Kings and 1st & 2nd Chronicles] or the experience of Jesus, Peter, James, John, Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17 and Mark 9. All too often we try to tell ourselves that the experiences of the people in the Bible are completely over and none of that stuff happens today but upon what do we base this mistaken assumption.

The correct teaching for Luke 16:26 is that once we die we cannot pass between heaven and hell. Once we die our opportunities for salvation through trusting in and depending upon Jesus, the Christ, for our redemption, is over. We have until that moment of COMPLETE death to either accept Him or reject Him. However, once COMPLETELY dead and in heaven or hell, we will not be allowed to pass between the two. We will be either in heaven or in hell for all of eternity, no person will go from one to the other after death. That is what Jesus is teaching in Luke 16:19-31.

I have personally known, talked to, heard of, saw interviews with and read accounts of people who have stated that they had a near-death experience, died and came back to life, or have seen people who have died. Of these accounts, some individual’s experiences were of heaven and some were of hell. Not all of these accounts seemed credible to me. However, there have been some accounts that did seem credible. I personally believe each individual account would have to examined carefully through a theologically sound lens in order to determine its validity. I have heard accounts where what God expressed to the individual did not line up with the God of the Bible, therefore, their account cannot be considered credible to me. The Word of God is the Standard we go by for all things for He has made it clear that He is not one who would alter His Word. God will not contradict His Word.

Now let me address this movie specifically, Heaven is for Real, which opened yesterday. I did go and see the movie yesterday and brainstormed with others afterward about the theology of the movie. If you have been thinking of going to see the movie, I would not deter you from doing so.

http://www.movies.com/heaven-for-real/m69482

Whereas, the movie covers some areas that there is no theological way of proving or disproving about the physical state of human beings in heaven, the balance of the movie has redeeming value. I believe it is a good choice for an Easter movie.

The movie shares the account of a near-death experience of a small child about five years old. Small children typically are not able psychologically to cultivate elaborate lies. In the movie, you get to see a spiritual leader struggle with his own faith, struggle with what he teaches, and struggle with what he truly believes himself. You see examples of those individuals who have allowed wounds they carry to affect their faith to the point of almost complete loss of faith. You see the religion of people who claim to believe the Bible until they are confronted with the Truth of the Bible. Most of all you see how one persons experience can affect the lives of an entire community.

At the very end of the movie, a real painting will be shown that a little girl painted after her near-death experience. For anyone who sees the movie I would like you to look closely at the eyes this little girl painted for Jesus. When you look closely at the eyes there seems to be an endlessness to them. In my spiritual mind, those eyes represent the vastness and endlessness of my Savior, Jesus the Messiah of all of mankind, who always was, always is, and always will be. That aspect of the film was very profound.

I once talked with a small child who was three years and few months old who stated they had a vision/encounter with an individual who had died several years before. This child, like the child portrayed in the movie, knew things the child had no way of knowing in the natural. This child’s account of seeing, or having a vision of, someone who had previously died did seem credible to me.

Luke 16:19–31 (NKJV) – Jesus speaking

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”

 

Regarding movies, I do have questions about the movie Noah, which may be addressed at some point. I do want to state this about that move. The movie Noah is incredibly inaccurate theologically and biblically. It is not a movie I would recommend anyone see. My concern as a spiritual leader is that people do not study the Word of God for themselves enough and therefore, might actual base their beliefs about the flood on a movie produced by Hollywood, not even a Christian media source.

 

Regarding worldviews:

Secular sources – self-help, advice, mass media – some of these resources can be useful in obtaining knowledge about what is going on in our world but they are not credible sources for a Believer when it comes to establishing beliefs, opinions, and directives for life. The gap between the two foundational platforms (biblical vs. secular) is too vast at this point in our present day society to bring reconciliation between the two. A Believer should seek out Christian lifestyle training, godly counsel, and Christian forms of mass media using those to shape their approach to life.

 

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

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