Articles by Stan Dean

The Power of the Word

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 ​There is always interest and curiosity about what happens to us when we die. All we know for certain is what is revealed to us in the Bible. Of course, over the years there have been some people who boast of a deeper insight into this matter. They claim to have died or had a near-death experience where they witnessed the “unseen world” and then were allowed to return to earth and tell the story.

For example, you might have heard of Angelica Elizabeth Zambrano Mora of Ecuador. Her claim is that in a near-death experience, Jesus took her on a visit to heaven and hell for a 23 hour period. In her visit to hell she supposedly saw many famous people and then was told, “Daughter, go and tell humanity that it’s time to turn to me.”

What are we to make of these claims? Well- - that probably depends on who you ask. But let’s assume for a moment that they really did take place just as these folks claim.My question is: “What have we learned that the Bible has not already revealed? And the answer is: “nothing.” Perhaps a better question would be: “Would an experience like thiscreate a greater motivation for a spiritual change in people? My answer is “no,” and following is the reason why.

Remember Jesus’ story about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)? When Lazarus died, he obviously passed from this life prepared to meet God because he was taken by the angels to a place of comfort called “Abraham’s bosom.” When the rich man died, he obviously passed from this life unprepared to meet God because he found himself “in torments in Hades.”

It is at the end of this story that we need to take special note. The rich man pleaded with Abraham to send someone back to earth and warn his brothers saying, “If one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” But Abraham responded, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”

Therefore, we may be intrigued by the fanciful claims that some make about death or near-death experiences. But when all is said and done, it is still the Bible that convicts us and molds us into to what God would have us to be (cf. Romans 1:16).

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