Quotes about Death-Near_Death_Experiences
If Stephen saw our Lord before he died (Acts 7:56), and if Paul died and was caught up into paradise (2 Cor. 12:4), it is just possible that other believers might also have such a vision. Reports of seeing Christ or relatives long dead might have some validity. We should not expect such experiences, but they could happen. The problem, of course, is that we cannot accept without scrutiny what people claim to have seen behind the curtain. Near-death experiences may or may not reflect the true conditions of life beyond death. They must be carefully evaluated to see whether they conform to the biblical picture of the hereafter. Also, the prior beliefs of those who report what they have seen and heard are essential in evaluating what was experienced.
As for the widely reported experiences of seeing light, we should remember that since God is light, it is understandable that Satan duplicates light of his own. We cannot emphasize too strongly that he wishes to disguise himself as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). And of course, many unsuspecting souls simply assume that this “being” who radiates light is kind and benevolent; in an age of “feel good” religion they can’t imagine that it is anyone else but Christ. Although positive near-death experiences are widely reported, I must point out that other research indicates that many have dark and foreboding experiences. In The Edge of Death, by Philip J. Swihart, and Beyond Death’s Door, by Maurice Rawlings, there are accounts of those who tell terrifying stories of the life beyond. Some have seen a lake of fire or abysmal darkness, along with tormented persons – all of whom are awaiting judgment. These reports, the authors contend, are more accurate because they were gained through interviews almost immediately following near-death and resuscitation. These dark experiences, the writers say, are often lost to the memory after a short period of time.
We will do much better if we trust someone who was actually dead, not someone who was just near death. Christ, as we shall see, is the only One who is qualified to tell us what we can expect on the other side. He was dead – so dead that His body became cold and was put in a tomb. Three days later He was raised from the dead with a glorified body. Here is someone whose opinion can be trusted. To John this risen Christ said, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades “ (Revelation 1:17-18). Reliable information does not come to us by trying to peer behind the partially open curtain. God alone knows what really lies on the other side of the veil. And that is why we can do no better than study what the Bible has to say about the Great Beyond.