Does the Bible say anything about near-death experiences?
The Bible does not provide information on near-death experiences, but it does mention several occasions when a person died and was later restored to life. Further, there are occasions in which writers of Scripture had visions of the afterlife and wrote down details of their experiences.
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Here are ten people raised from the dead in the Bible (from Meredith's Big Book of Bible Lists):
1. Elijah raised the son of the Zarephath widow from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-22).
2. Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman from the dead (2 Kings 4:32-35).
3. A man was raised from the dead when his body touched Elisha's bones (2 Kings 13:20, 21).
4. Many saints rose from the dead at the resurrection of Jesus (Matt. 27:50-53).
5. Jesus rose from the dead (Matt. 28:5-8; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:5, 6).
6. Jesus raised the son of the widow of Nain from the dead (Luke 7:11-15).
7. Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Luke 8:41, 42, 49-55).
8. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).
9. Peter raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-41).
10. Paul raised Eutychus from the dead (Acts 20:9, 10).
Some biblical writers who saw scenes of the afterlife are Paul (2 Corinthians 12:2-5), the apostle John (the book of Revelation), and Daniel (Daniel 12:1-4).
Angels are also often mentioned in Scripture, though the Bible does not associate them with near-death experiences. The word angel in Greek means "messenger," which indicates an angel's role in many biblical passages. For example, Gabriel visited Mary with a message of the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38), and a host of angels told the shepherds that Jesus had been born (Luke 2:8-20). In the story of the rich and Lazarus, Jesus said that, when Lazarus died, "the angels carried him" to paradise (Luke 16:22). There is nothing in the story, however, to indicate that Lazarus could see the angels as he was nearing death.
Perhaps the closest we find to a near-death experience in Scripture is Stephen's death in Acts 7:55-60:
"He, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, 'Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.' But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. . . . And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' And when he had said this, he fell asleep."
Stephen had a vision of Jesus shortly before his death, but this was before he was killed. It technically does not fit the modern definition of a near-death experience.
Near-death experiences today must be evaluated by Scripture rather than solely by experience. While God can certainly communicate through a vision if He chooses to, Scripture does not offer an established pattern of this type of communication. In addition, Satan is called the father of lies (John 8:44) and could certainly use a near-death experience to deceive a person into believing something about the afterlife that is not true (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
What happens after death?
Is there really an afterlife?
Death - What does the Bible say about it?
Does the Bible tell us what Heaven is like?
Do people in heaven look down to earth and see us?
Truth about Eternity