A Glimpse of Heaven
WELCOME TO TODAY'S WORSHIP SERVICE
Aug. 5, 2012
Near Death Experience
THIS YEAR'S THEME: The Year of the Spiritual World
THIS MONTH'S TOPIC: Near Death ExperiencesTODAY'S MESSAGE: A Glimpse of Heaven
text version of this message
Open your Bible
Light a candle
From the Bible
Matthew 16:19New International Version (NIV)
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[a] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[b] loosed in heaven.”
Footnotes:Matthew 16:19 Or will have beenMatthew 16:19 Or will have been
[Heaven and Hell]
445. When the body is no longer able to perform the bodily
functions in the natural world that correspond to the spirit’s
thoughts and affections, which the spirit has from the spiritual
world, man is said to die. This takes place when the respiration
of the lungs and the beatings of the heart cease. But the man
does not die; he is merely separated from the bodily part that
was of use to him in the world, while the man himself
continues to live. It is said that the man himself continues to
live since man is not a man because of his body but because of
his spirit, for it is the spirit that thinks in man, and thought
with affection is what constitutes man. Evidently, then, the
death of man is merely his passing from one world into
another. And this is why in the Word in its internal sense
“death” signifies resurrection and continuation of life.
A Glimpse of Heaven
Recently, 20/20 did a two hour special called Heaven: Where is it and How do you Get there?" One woman who unexpectedly died for four minutes after giving birth, said :death "was the best experience of her life." She said she had a "glimpse of heaven" and instantly knew that life was eternal.
Dr. Raymond Moody is perhaps the best know researcher on Near Death Experiences. Moody has a doctorate in philosophy, in psychology, and an M.D. He wrote a book in 1975 called "Life After Life," that gave accounts of patients of his who had clinically died, yet returned to tell a story of a life after death. The term "near death experience" came into use at that time. Moody's research into the subject included reading works of Emanuel Swedenborg because Swedenborg's accounts of his visits to heaven are similar to what Moody was seeing in NDE's.
One of the most respected organizations researching NDE's is the International Association of Near-Death Studies [IANDS]. For many years, they have been collecting stories of people's accounts of dying and then returning.
Here is one account from their archives:
Experience entered into the IANDS Archives February 5, 2002:
I was with my partner at the time and we had been going through difficulties. I had felt this strong sense of loss and I felt that something was calling me. I then ended up taking chloroform. I could feel the effects straight away, this creeping relaxing feeling and the sensation of me slipping out of something that felt like prison. I could remember being in the hospital on the ceiling watching all these doctors and nurses attending to me. I could also hear my mum and brother talking to me asking me why this had happened. It felt warm and radiant like some one was with me at this time and they were conveying a feeling of peace and love that was something I had never ever felt before.
In no time I was traveling down this tunnel with beings on either side. It felt like I knew them all and they were talking to me asking me how I am and what had been going on in my life. They also showed me something that I could not recall but it felt familiar. After a while with them I was called towards the light and I felt so overwhelmingly loving, peaceful and knowing. I was asked a series of questions and given information about things by an angel with a staff and dressed in warrior outfit, resembling an African chief and then a decision was made that it was not my time and that I had a mission to fulfill and that I will return. I cannot remember anything after that.
I woke up in the same bed in intensive care and was told that I had died and was kept alive via a ventilator and I had been unconscious for 1 week. Since that time I have had flashbacks and been aware that there are spirit guides around protecting me and guiding me. I also have this strong sense that there was a vision of some sort given to me because it’s like I've been on this sacred mission regarding utilizing this experience to empower people and tell the world about the realms of the spirit and their advice and guidance for the human population, especially with the young people.
Last Updated ( Friday, 04 February 2011 10:39
People who have NDE's are encouraged to send them to IANDS for their archives. Here is one account just sent in last month:
Blocked by a Golden BeingRiding my bike past a golf course, I see a van run a stop sign; however, I'm unable to swerve out of his way. I'm staring through the van's windshield at the driver and hoping he doesn't hit his brakes. He does, though, and now I'm flying. It's an odd sensation to be sailing through the air like some sort of awkward flightless bird. I don't remember hitting the pavement because I was distracted by the intensely bright column of white light shining out of the top of my body's head. I have only a moment to grasp that I'm outside of my body, and then, swoosh! I'm sucked up the column of light like an envelope in a pneumatic mail tube.
I'm standing in a place of love. It's completely enveloping, and I'm thoroughly immersed in feelings of loving acceptance, calmness, and of being home (of belonging). There's a glow of golden light ahead of me in the distance, and I need and want to get there. But as I take a step forward, a golden being blocks my way. Humanoid in shape, there are no features, no clothes, nothing but a glowing being who exudes an overwhelming sense of calm and agape. The right hand of the being is raised palm outward in a stopping motion, and in my head I hear, "You must go back."
I'm devastated. I don't want to go back. I want to stay in this place of love. It shakes its head, hand still in that stop position, and in my head I hear, "It's not yet your time. You must go back." "No, please--I want to stay..." I think back. And suddenly there is a horrible shrieking sound that pierces my head. I'm back in my body, which is lying on the street, and I'm screaming. There are EMTs and other people hovering around me, and the driver of the van is on his cell phone. I was only gone for a few seconds, maybe a minute, yet it seemed longer. The feelings of disappointment, of missing out on something stupendous, were strong.
I need and want to get back (to stay), but until then the short trips I now take seem to help me. Each time I've stepped over the barrier between this life and the next, it's been to help someone who is dying. Since the accident I've found myself acting as a guide to those crossing over. I understand their fears, and it has helped me overcome mine, too. My fear was that it wasn't real, that it was a dream and that I'd never get that loving feeling back. But I can, and I do, and that has helped me overcome the horrible disappointment I felt in having to come back.
I now know that I can cross over there and experience those feelings again and again, and once I'm done with my life here, I know what's waiting for me, so I'm not afraid. And I'm not afraid to help others with their fears, either.
The International Association of Near Death Experience has collective massive data about NDE's, and has put together a list of the most common characteristics of the experience:
Characteristics of a Near-Death Experience Most NDE's are felt as peaceful and loving, but some are disturbing. Each near death experience is unique, but as a group NDEs display common features.
Intense emotions: commonly of profound peace, well-being, love; others marked by fear, horror, loss
A perception of seeing one's body from above (called an out-of-body experience, or OBE), sometimes watching medical resuscitation efforts or moving instantaneously to other places
Rapid movement through darkness, often toward an indescribable light
A sense of being "somewhere else," in a landscape that may seem like a spiritual realm or worldIncredibly rapid, sharp thinking and observations
Encounter with deceased loved ones, possibly sacred figures (the Judges, Jesus, a saint) or unrecognized beings, with whom communication is mind-to-mind; these figures may seem consoling, loving, or terrifying
A life review, reliving actions and feeling their emotional impact on othersIn some cases, a flood of knowledge about life and the nature of the universeSometimes a decision to return to the body
The afterlife is a topic of much interest to Swedenborgians because of Emanuel Swedenborg's experiences and writings. We have a lot to contribute to the modern conversation on the nature of heaven.
Have you ever had an experience of medically dying, and encountering a beautiful heaven? A number of the people on our site were drawn to us because of their own NDE's, and desire to understand Swedenborg's perspective on them.
During the coming weeks, we'll be looking in more detail about accounts of heaven from Swedenborg, and from many modern travelers who have brought us their stories.
"Lord of all, what a beautiful planet you have made for us to learn from, and what absolute wonder and beauty awaits us when we cross over. Help us to understand the teachings that we receive on this subject, and help us to live better lives on this earth. Give us your blessing and take away any fear that we have so we can live full and abundant lives in our future home. Thank you God for your loveand guidance this day and always. Thy Will Be Done. AMEN."
Love, Rev Judith [to read Rev. Judith's inspiration -- or to add your own comments -- go to the discussion forum.]
Extinguish your candle
Close the Bible
Go in peace, knowing that life is eternal.
9 PM Eastern; 6 PM Pacific;
Chapel Chat Room
Coffee Hour Chat
9:30 PM Eastern; 6:30 PM Pacific;
Note: No audio or video available today due to the minister having a sore throat and cold!