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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Paranormal Deathbed Experiences

. . .What Do You Believe?
Kay Frances Graves

Have the gates of death been opened unto thee?
or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
-Job 38:17
There is no man that hath power over the spirit
to retain the spirit;
neither hath he power in the day of death. . .
-Ecclesiastes 8:8
Belief Matters

The Word of God tells us that we have no power over death--death comes regardless what we try to do to stop it.  Nevertheless, we also have our Creator's unfailing Word that what we believe about death definitely determines where we will spend eternity.
You don't believe the Word of God?  You don't believe in eternity?  You think that Heaven and Hell are just a figment of someone's imagination and when you are dead, you are dead?
We can believe whatever we want.  We are free to do so.  We are free to gamble with the Heaven and Hell concept, if we like.  But if we are wise, we will consider the consequences--because what if we happen to be wrong?
Even what we believe about "belief" may matter more than we realize.  Our ultimate destination depends on how we define that little "B" word.  While we are free to believe whatever we want, if what we believe is just a figment of our own imagination that has nothing to do with reality, we have just made the worst decision of our lives.  By choosing our own opinion, or someone else's opinion, over God's unfailing eternal Word; we have chosen the reality of Hell by default.
Remember, whatever God predicted in the past, has always come to pass.  So how can we possibly think that everything God has told us about death, Heaven, Hell, and eternity will not come to pass in the future as well?
God's Definitions vs. Man's Definitions
Jesus Christ is the "Word" in the flesh.  In Genesis we can read the historical account of how the entire world was created as a result of God speaking all things into existence.  Since God invented/created the mind of man to use the method of words to think and communicate, He alone is able to give us the correct definition of the Words He uses.  To apply our own definition to words is to place our own opinion above His declared definition, thereby usurping God's position and trying to make ourselves the god of our own life.
Noah Webster understood this when he wrote America's first dictionary, published in 1828, which defined the English language according to the Word of God, based on the original languages of the Bible.

When God defines the word, "belief," in the context of "eternal life," it is found in the Greek word, (#4100) pisteuō.  It means "trust," "dependence on," and "commitment to," which indicates that God expects Jesus Christ to have "preeminence" in the lives of those He has created.

On the other hand, man's definition of the word, "belief," today usually means "opinion" based on one's own imagination or the opinions, interpretations, and imaginations of others who have influenced his thinking.  Again, this places man at the center of his own universe, thinking that he or anything or anyone he wants to call "god," (other than the real God) is god.

Hmmm. . .I do believe it is going to rain (i.e. in my opinion/I think it is going to rain).

While we are free to believe whatever we want, to define "belief" incorrectly, is to bring about eternally disastrous results.  Therefore it is wise to face our mortality, consider what the Word of God says, and make the right choice now--while we still can.

Have the gates of death been opened unto thee?
or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
-Job 38:17

Have the Gates of Death ever been opened to anyone who has lived to tell about it?
Throughout history, the Bible records three ways we leave this earth:
          1)  by death
          2)  by translation/rapture
          3)  by resurrection 
Death:  Stephen at the Gates of Death
 (54) When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart,
and they gnashed on him [Stephen] with their teeth.
 Stephen had been preaching to a crowd of people, who suddenly went crazy.  They could not stand to hear the truth of the Word of God, which brought strong conviction to their hearts because of their evil ways, and rejection of Christ.  They were so hate-filled that they actually attacked Stephen, biting him with their teeth!
 (55) But he, being full of the Holy Ghost,
looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
(56) And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened,
and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
(57) Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears,
and ran upon him with one accord. . .
-Acts 7:54-57
While Stephen was in the process of being stoned to death, the Spirit of God came to him and filled him with His Spirit.  He was given the ability to actually look into heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God in all His glory.
Translation:  Enoch and Elijah "Taken"
 (23) And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
(24) And Enoch walked with God:
and he was not; for God took him.
-Genesis 5:23-24
(11) And it came to pass, as they still went on and talked,
that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire,
and parted them both asunder;
and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
(12) And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father,
the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.
And he saw him no more:
and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
2 Kings 2:11-12
Yes, Elijah was "taken."  He was taken by God.  But I would not be too eager to be "taken" unless I have the assurance that I have a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ, because God Almighty is not the only one "taking" people these days.
Resurrection:  Body Waking from Death Sleep
When Lazarus died, Jesus referred to his death as "sleep" (John 11:11) and later made it clear that He was, indeed, speaking of Lazarus' death (John 22:14, 12:1).
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, we do not find any record in the Scriptures that Lazarus shared his death experience with anyone, which leads us to assume that death for Lazarus really was a type of "sleep."  Lazarus didn't experience anything until Jesus resurrected him, because he was asleep and did not know what was going on around him until then.
Resurrection and Translation:  Return of Christ
 (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto [until the time of]
the coming of [the return of] the Lord
shall not prevent them which are asleep.
(16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
(17) Then we which are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,
to meet the Lord in the air:
and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
-1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
 The point is:  Sooner or later we will face God, Himself.  Judgment is coming and a determination will take place regarding where each of us is going to spend eternity.
 "Have the gates of death been opened" unto anyone today?
Has anyone "seen the doors of the shadow of death?"
What about "near-death experiences?"
 Paranormal Experiences
Through mankind's efforts to eliminate the reality of God and consequently avoid submission to Him and His Word, man has unfortunately followed the broad road of deception that will one day end beyond the gates of Hell.
This deception has been designed by satan and his agents to hinder focus and create confusion in the minds of men, rendering them unable to correctly define the Word of God and accurately interpret reality.
Therefore when people find themselves victims of paranormal experiences they have been influenced to believe that these experiences are from good aliens or evil aliens, fairies, spirits of dearly (and often not so dearly) departed humans that "were not able to successfully pass over," or the "Angel of Death" who, they believe, comes for every person at the time of death.
Even "religious" people, who are scripturally ignorant, often believe the "good angels" are somehow involved in every unusual occurrence, UFO, or unexplainable chilling breeze they feel or ball of light they happen to see.
Near-death Experiences
The Bible tells us nothing about any "Angel of Death."
On the other hand, the Word of God has a lot to say about good angels--the messengers of God--as well as demons, fallen angels, and evil spirits.
Many people today claim to have had near-death experiences.  Some of the reported experiences are wonderful, but others are terrifying.  Nevertheless, they are all life-changing.
Why are some experiences wonderful, while others are terrifying?
Only Christians, who are familiar with the Word of God, are able to see the connection between the type of belief system we have and the type of experience one will have when the gates of death actually begin to open for us.  God has specifically outlined in His Word who Jesus Christ really is, what it really means to "believe," and what a real realtionship with Christ looks like.
Any other definition than believing God's definition with all our heart, mind, and spirit, will end in disaster.  Many who "believed" (presumed in their opinion) that going to church and being a "good person" was the way to Heaven will be very surprised and disappointed on the last day, when Christ proclaims that He never knew them because they missed Heaven by default, when they decided to live life their own way or someone else's way, instead of God's Way, as specified in His Holy Word, the Bible.
 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee?
or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
-Job 38:17
Would this question from the Book of Job have been asked, if it were not possible for some people to see the gates of death being opened?--and living to tell about it?
We have the Apostle Stephen's testimony to confirm that he saw the "gates of death" opening as he was being murdered in the street.  Nevertheless, this was a wonderful experience for Stephen because the gates of death opened to a view of Heaven where he saw Jesus waiting for him.
But for many others, the gates of death open to a view of Hell, as dark shadows reach out to carry them away into a terrifying, pitch black dimension, instead of the comforting stairway filled with the light of Heaven that leads to the mansion Jesus has prepared for them in His Father's house located on a street lined with pure, transparent gold.
Jesus assures true believers that they have a place in Heaven when He said:
 (1) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God,
believe also in me.
(2) In my Father's house are many mansions:
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
(3) And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also.
-John 14:1-3
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls:
every several gate was of one pearl:
and the street of the city was pure gold,
as it were transparent glass.
-Revelation 21:21
 Deathbed Experiences
We can sometimes understand why a very wicked person would not have a happy deathbed experience.  Even unbelievers, can comment with an emotional response, as they witness the death of an evil person, that "If there is a Hell, this person should be going there."
But when a loved one, someone we consider to be "a good person," has a terrifying deathbed experience, it is difficult to face the fact that one does not always have to be obviously evil to go to Hell, because our eternal life does not depend on any good works we do.  In searching for a way to interpret a terrifying scene in this case, it might be easier to compromise the Word of God, get confused, and consider that even good people must have to face some type of "Death Angel" at the time of death.
Unfortunately it is this very stubborn disbelief that anyone, who performed so many "good works" during his lifetime, could ever go to Hell, that keeps us from finding the truth regarding salvation ourselves.  It just seems so unfair, because by only looking at death from our own perspective, we become unable to see God's perspective and the true value of the death of Christ, His preeminence, and the importance of following the specifics of His Word and will.
The Bible plainly tells us that there isn't any way our own good works can save us or guarentee us a place in Heaven.  It is "by grace through faith" that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). 
The good works we do are a result of our genuine relationship with Christ and these works will be assigned to us according to His specific will.  They are not the way to salvation.  Jesus Christ is the only Way.
This means that all that is necessary to miss out on Heaven, is to reject what Christ has done on our behalf and avoid a genuine relationship with Him through His Word and Spirit.
He desires to have a saving relationship with us, but we must also desire to have a relationship with Him.  This relationship must be the most important thing in our life--because He is preeminent.
 (25) For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world,
and lose himself, or be cast away?
(26) For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he shall come in his own glory,
and in his Father's and of the holy angels.
-Luke 9:25-26
(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven.
(22) Many will say to me in that day,
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in they name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?
(23) And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
-Matthew 721-23
 Death and the Wicked
 There is no man that hath power over the spirit
to retain the spirit;
neither hath he power in the day of death:
and there is no discharge in that war;
neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
-Ecclesiastes 8:8
(11) God judgeth the righteous,
and God is angry with the wicked every day.
(12) If he [the wicked] turn not [repent]
he [God] will whet his sword;
he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
(13) He [God] hath also prepared for him [the wicked]
the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows
against the persecutors.
(14) Behold, he [the wicked]
travaileth [is committed/pushes forward] with iniquity,
and hath conceived mischief,
and brought forth falsehood.
(15) He [the wicked] made a pit, and digged it,
and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
(16) His mischief shall return upon his own head,
and his violent dealing
shall come down upon his own pate [head].
(17) I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness:
and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
-Psalms 7:11-17 
 When the End Comes
 (12) When he maketh inquisition for blood,
he remembereth them:
he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
(13) Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble
which I suffer of them that hate me,
thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:
(14) That I may shew forth all thy praise
in the gates of the daughter of Zion:
I will rejoice in thy salvation.
(15) The heathen
[those who do not have a real relationship with Christ]
are sunk down in the pit that they made:
in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
(16) The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth:
the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
Higgaion. Selah.
(17) The wicked shall be turned into hell,
and all the nations that forget God. 
For the needy shall not always be forgotten:
the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
(19) Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail:
let the heathen be judged in thy sight.
(20) Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations
may know themselves to be but men.
-Psalms 9:12-20
 Christ saves the spiritually poor and "humble," those who cannot defend themselves or who know that they are unable to rid themselves of their own sin.  They understand that only the Blood of Christ can take away their sin and they are sincerely grateful for all He has done to save them from the terrors of death and Hell--grateful enough to submit to His preeminence.
Safety and Eternal Life Only Found in Christ
John said:
 (17) And when I saw him [Jesus Christ],
I fell at his feet as deadl
And he [Jesus] laid his right hand upon me,
saying unto me,
"Fear not; I am the first and the last:
(18) I am he that liveth, and was dead;
and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;
and have the keys of hell and of death."
-Revelation 1:17:18
 We cannot stop death--We can only prepare for it.
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