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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Near-Death or Afterlife Experiences - What the Bible Says About Death

What Causes Near-Death Experiences?
There have been accounts of people who have come close to dying who say that they recall being separated from their body or seeing a bright light or a place of great beauty. ‘Some consider the experience to be a privileged glimpse of another realm of existence,’ states the book Recollections of Death. However, there happens to be a medical explanation for so-called afterlife experiences. The medical editor of The Arizona Republic wrote:

“When physical prowess is at its lowest ebb, as under anesthesia, or the result of disease or injury, automatic control of bodily functions diminishes accordingly. Thus, the neurohormones and catecholamines of the nervous system are released and pour out in uncontrolled quantity. The result, among other manifestations, is the hallucination, rationalized after returning to consciousness, of having died and returned to life.”—May 28, 1977, p. C-1; also the German medical journal Fortschritte der Medizin, No. 41, 1979; Psychology Today, January 1981.

What The Bible Says About Death

The Bible doesn't mention anything about near-death experiences. However, it does contain a fundamental truth that shows that they are not visions of the next life.

The Bible says this about what happens after death:

"The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all." (Eccl. 9:5)

"His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts ["thoughts," KJ, 145:4 in Dy; "all his thinking," NE; "plans," RS, NAB] do perish." (Ps. 146:4)

Bible Likens Death to Deep Sleep
The Bible shows that the condition of the dead is one of inactivity - likened to a deep sleep. (Ps. 13:3; John 11:11-14; Acts 7:60; 1 Cor. 7:39; 15:51; 1 Thess. 4:13)

Therefore, any memories from a near-death experience cannot be glimpses of heaven, hell, or the afterlife.

The Account of Lazarus - An Actual Death Experience

The Bible’s account of Lazarus describes an actual death experience: He was resurrected by Jesus after being dead for four days. (John 11:38-44) If Lazarus had been enjoying some form of afterlife, it would have been cruel of Jesus to bring him back to life on earth. However, the Bible records no comments from Lazarus about the afterlife. Surely Lazarus would have spoken about his afterlife experience if he had had one. Significantly, Jesus described Lazarus’ death as being like sleep, indicating that while Lazarus was dead, he was conscious of nothing at all.—John 11:11-14.

Resurrection of Dead Loved Ones

Future Hope of Resurrection
The Bible talks about a promised future hope for those who have passed away:

"The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear [Jesus'] voice and come out." (John 5:28, 29)

"There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous." - Acts 24:15

At that time "no resident will say: 'I am sick.'" (Isaiah 33:24)

God "will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

For more, see:

Near-Death Experiences—What Do They Not Mean? (JW.ORG)

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