Are Near Death Experiences In The Bible?
The authors believe that the Bible clearly teaches about Near Death Experiences, and After Death Experiences, commonly called Resurrections. We believe that Paul clearly had a Near Death Experience, visited Heaven, and recorded his experience in the Bible.
Paul was raised from the dead after being stoned to death
Half of the New Testament was written by Paul. He was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, when he persecuted and arranged the stoning of Christians. After an encounter with Jesus Christ he became a follower of Jesus, and one of the most famous teachers in the New Testament.
However, Paul's teaching caused the Jews to hate him. He was stoned to death and had an experience of Heaven, all recorded in the Bible, before being raised back to life.
Paul's stoning is described in Acts 14: 19-20. "Some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the crowds into a murderous mob that stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, apparently dead. But as the believers stood around him, he got up and went back into the city!"
The Jews were furious with him, and stoned him. They would not have left him alive! Adam Clarke's commentary states, "they did not leave stoning him until they had the fullest evidence that he was dead". We also believe that Paul was actually dead, since the Greek word from which "dead" is translated in Acts 14:19 is "Tethneekénai", which simply means "dead". The believers around Paul almost certainly prayed for him, and raised him from the dead.
Paul's after death experience of Heaven
We believe that Paul visited Heaven. Many Bible scholars also believe that Paul visited Heaven after his stoning. This is described in 2 Corinthians 12:1- 4: "Let me tell about the visions I've had, and revelations from the Lord. Fourteen years ago I was taken up to Heaven for a visit. Don't ask me whether my body was there or just my spirit, for I don't know; only God can answer that. But anyway, there I was in Paradise, and heard things so astounding that they are beyond a man's power to describe or put in words (and anyway I am not allowed to tell them to others)." TLB
We should warn the reader that there a number of "Near Death Experiences" on the Internet which are not consistent with Biblical teaching. The standard test on any subject is to line it up with the Bible. If the experience is supported by Biblical teaching, it may well be sound. If the experience is not supported by Biblical teaching, it is probably not sound. This advice itself is based on Biblical doctrine, in Acts 17:10-12, "That night the Christians hurried Paul and Silas to Beroea, and, as usual, they went to the synagogue to preach. But the people of Beroea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and gladly listened to the message. They searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas' statements to see if they were really so, "TLB.