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Scripture Reading:  2 Corinthians 12:1-6


Near-Death Experiences



1.  Renewed interest in death and heaven with the book and movie, Heaven is for Real, about Colton Burpo who says he visited heaven when he was 4-years-old and when gravely ill. Says he talked with Jesus, learned his grandfather was really a Christian and met his older, stillborn sister (previously unknown to him). (Jesus tells Colton, “I had to die on the cross so that people on earth could come see my Dad”.)

2.  An insightful review, posted at, is titled: “Heaven is for real, but not because Colton Burpo says so”.

3.  What does the Bible say about NDE? How are we to respond to these claims? 1 Ths. 5:21-22



  A.  Not Biblical Language, 1 Pet. 4:11. cf. Jno. 11:11-14, 39

     1.  Death may indeed be near, but one is still alive, cf. 1 Kgs. 2:1-2; 2 Tim. 4:6.

     2.  Some creatively connect Acts 14:19 and 2 Cor. 12:2-4 to “prove” NDE.

  B.  NDE are not the Same as Death, Jas. 2:26; cf. Acts 7:59-60.

     1.  Finality of death, Lk. 23:46; Acts 5:5, 10.

     2.  Bible speaks of resurrection from the dead: A miracle.

  C.  Human Experience does not Reveal or Validate Divine Truth, Jno. 16:13; Mk. 16:17-18, 20.

    1.  Upon what basis should we accept reports of the afterlife? Revealed truth or personal experience?

      a.  Genuine faith comes from God’s word; not man’s experiences.

      b.  Your heart can deceive you! 1 Cor. 10:12; Jer. 17:9; 10:23; Acts 26:9-11

    2.  NDE appeal to experiences, recollections, speculations, etc. to convince people of the afterlife (heaven, angels, Jesus, etc.).

    3.  “...a lot of what is reported in the book (beyond the verifiable historical facts), is all dependent upon what may or may not be the genuine experience, or dreams, or hallucinations or combinations of these – of 4 year old Colton Burpo.” (Ibid)

  D.  Why are there so few NDE about Hell?

    1.  These do not sell many books and movies!

    2.  These do not address the yearnings of hope and peace.



     [Lazarus (Jno. 11), Widow of Nain’s son (Lk. 7), Jairus’ daughter (Lk. 8); Saints after crucifixion (Matt. 27), Dorcas (Acts 9), Eutychus (Acts 20); Jesus (Luke 24)]

  A.  There was No Doubt there had been Death. Lk. 8:52-53

  B.  Nothing Said about Experiences after Death by those Resurrected. 

  C.  Reality of Dead People being Alive again that brought People to Faith, Jno. 11:45; 12:9-10, 17. (Not stories of experiences after death)

  D.  Genuine Faith is Built upon God’s Word, not upon Reports of Human Experiences, Rom. 10:17.

    1.  “Whenever the experience cart gets in front of the Scriptural horse – speculation, rather than revealed truth rules the day.” (Ibid) cf. Eph. 3:3-4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Rom. 10:17; Jno. 17:17

    2.  Compare hearing the word of God vs. story of 4-yr-old:

“So, if you have read the book, and have found your “faith” bolstered by it or your soul encouraged by it, my question to you is – Why? Why not the Bible? Why this story – and not the authoritative one? What does this say about your own attitude toward Scripture? What does it say about your understanding of Scripture? What does it say about your approach to truth – and how it is found, discerned and processed? Why does this strike a chord with you God’s own Word to you does not?” (



1.  “If one were to believe what these best-sellers are promoting, then everyone is going to Heaven.” (“What Do We Know About Heaven?”, Editor’s Note, Think, Feb, 2013 page 4)

2.  Jer. 23:28-32: God’s prophet faithfully speaks God’s word. Whether it is a 4-yr-old boy, a 14-yr-old Joseph Smith, Jr., or an adult – the one who claims truth that contradicts God’s revealed word is false! (Gal. 1:8-9)

3.  Build your faith on truth and prepare for your death, Heb. 9:27.




By: Joe R. Price

Posted: April 17, 2014