Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
–2 Corinthians 11:14
Are near-death experiences valid? The Bible gives us principles to evaluate these experiences.
First, adding to or taking away from the Bible is condemned by God. The best explanation of what Heaven is like is found in the book of Revelation. Some people say John had a near-death experience when he was given this vision. No, he did not. He was not anywhere near dead when God gave him a limited view of the future. God told John to write some things down, but He told John not to write down other things. After John received the revelation, notice his closing words: “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19). Anyone who says, “God has given me a revelation about what Heaven is like” is treading on dangerous ground by adding to what God has revealed in the Bible.
Next, we should question the identity of any being of light. Many people who have had a near-death experience claim to have met God, angels, or some undefined deity. In many cases, they claim to have seen Jesus, but the message that Jesus supposedly gave them contradicts Scripture. People have said, “I saw Jesus, and He told me sin is not a problem. All people are welcomed into Heaven.” Yet Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” The Jesus in Heaven does not contradict what Jesus said on earth. Jesus said there is one way to Heaven, and it is through faith in Him. We need to take seriously the warning of 1 Timothy 4:1: “In later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” I believe some of these experiences are demonic. When people say they saw a light and a divine being telling them everyone is going to Heaven, I believe them, but the bright light they saw was not God. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, Paul said, “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” He is deceiving people into what awaits them on the other side. We need to be careful of any so-called being of light who gives a message that contradicts Scripture.
Finally, beware of the occult. Many accounts of near-death experiences are similar to the occult. For example, both the occult and near-death experiences involve out-of-body experiences and contact with those on the other side. And in both the occult and near-death experiences, people claim to have psychic powers. Some claim the power of clairvoyance–the ability to discern information about the past, present, or future by unnatural means. Some claim to have telepathy–the ability to send or receive messages by people’s thoughts. If they have that power, then that power did not come from the kingdom of light. It came from the kingdom of darkness. Any claims of psychic powers are associated with Satan himself.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Have Some People Already Visited Heaven?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)