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Deception on Death & Dying
The reports of near-death experiences are many. We read about them in newspapers and in books, and see entire TV specials devoted to the topic. As Christians we can't help but wonder how all these people, despite their beliefs, all describe a trip through a tunnel, and a warm welcoming light at the far end. At that time the experiences vary, with some being told to go back, some meeting dead relatives, and some seeing Angels or Jesus or God.
Typical of these reports is this article in the Seattle-Post Intelligencer on Saturday, April 20th 1985,
" A warm, beautiful, yellow light, unlike anything she had ever experienced, overwhelmed _________ as she lay dying in a hospital surgery room 10 years ago.
" It took everything away that was wrong with me physically and made me perfectly whole again" , she recalls. I've never experienced such love...
The first thing I was aware of was going round and round in a tunnel,...she felt wide awake, yet out of her body....I saw other people and animals who were also dying...then she encountered God's light. Bathed in the warm, glowing light...she saw two close friends who had preceded her in death. She talked to them without words. " They were my guardian angels" she says...she was given a choice of going on into death " in this most wonderful place" or returning to life. She decided to return after hearing her son's voice tell her, " Mother I love you more than anyone else in the world." ...I tell people there is no need to be afraid of death" .
Others report " out-of-body" experiences where they find themselves floating in the air above their own dead body and watching others weep over them and doctors trying frantically to resuscitate them.
Some describe the jolt they receive when " returning" to their cold, clammy body from the beautiful, warm place where they had been.
The world of science tries to explain away these experiences biologically, saying the brain dysfunctioned, oxygen was deprived, drugs influenced the person etc. etc. Some claim the experiences were hallucinations or dreams.
These experiences could be put on a par with the " testimonials" some people give of the wonderful effects of some health food, or exercise plan. There may be no scientific evidence to support the person, but there is no arguing with the change in their lives.
We might even say the same thing about a Christian conversion. Who can put a scientific explanation on it on the one hand, but who can deny the fruits of the converted life on the other?
So, we often find ourselves in this foggy place with these testimonials. As Christians, how do we discern truth from error regarding these near-death experiences?
As always, the Bible is our reliable guide. Our loving Creator has much to say on the subject of death and dying, and His word is true.
Some cult groups, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists and others, teach a doctrine called " soul sleep" or annihilation. I believe they invented this doctrine because they frankly didn't know what to do with all the people who lived before their exalted prophet or organization came into being, offering the " only hope of salvation" .
It became necessary to put all these people in a condition of " sleep" , only to awaken by re-creation when their organization was the only one left on earth. Notice I did not say " resurrection" , but " re-creation" . Resurrection is a Bible teaching that the dead rise to be with Christ. Re-creation is the making of a clone from " God's memory" . This clone gets another chance at salvation if it accepts the teachings of the group.
How different this is from the Christian's hope as expressed by the Apostle Paul, that to be " ...absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8).
Jesus promised that " Because I live, you shall live also" in John 14:19. When he went away to heaven he promised to " prepare a place for us" so that " where He is, we will be also" (see John 14:1-6).
Truly, the Christian's hope is in the Person of Jesus Christ and in His promises. Having said that, what can we say about these near-death experiences?
Unlike the cults, who have no hope outside their organization or prophet, Christians put their hope in Jesus Christ, regardless of experiences.
Experiences in themselves are not necessarily bad. However, some are in agreement with the teachings of Scriptures, and some are not. It is the responsibility of the Christian to sort them out with the help of God's word, the Bible.
Some years back many Christians were very taken with a mega-best-selling book called " Embraced by the Light" by Betty Eadie. Christian bookstores could hardly keep enough in stock to meet the demand. But, was this book credible? Did it match up with Bible teachings? In the financial frenzy, very few seemed to care.
However, excellent research was done on " Embraced by the Light" and Betty Eadie herself. Turns out Betty Eadie was a Mormon from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Although she claimed to have mystical near-death experiences, even claiming to meet and converse with the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive revelations, what is the real truth?
She carefully concealed her Mormonism, did her best to sound " Christian" but introduced Mormon concepts in her messages about spiritual progression, death and the afterlife. Gullible Christians ate it all up. Shame on the Church!
I have wanted for some time to offer a good book that deals with these topics: Near-death experiences, and death and dying from a Biblical perspective. If you are looking for the truth, we recommend that you turn to the order form in the middle of this magazine and order " Deceived by the Light" by Doug Groothuis. It exposes error and upholds Bible truth. This one should be in your library and your church's library. For your own eternal well-being, you need to understand death and dying.
What is Celestial Marriage
Mormons, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, urge their members to have a " celestial marriage" .
Just how is " celestial marriage" different from regular marriage? To examine this question, we will go to their church publication called " Achieving a Celestial Marriage" . and do our best to clarify this Mormon belief.
To begin with, we need to start with the Mormon view of God. You may assume their " heavenly Father" is the same as the Biblical, Christian, " Heavenly Father" . Not at all. Here is their plain teaching on God,
" ....God is an exalted man who once lived on an earth and underwent experiences of mortality... exaltation includes the ability to procreate the family unit throughout eternity. This our Father in heaven has power to do. His marriage partner is our mother in heaven. We are their spirit children, born to them in the bonds of celestial marriage." " (p.129).
How's that again?!! Well, the Mormon God was once human, but due to his good works became exalted to godhood. He was given his own planet and many wives in order to become " god the father" to the children he would produce by these many wives. This is accomplished by eternal sex relations. I know this sounds unbelievable, but it is what the Mormons believe.
In their minds, you and I are products of celestial (heavenly) sex relations between the exalted man-turned-god over his planet (our earth) and one of his celestial wives. As newborns our " spirits" are put in the various children born on earth. Earth becomes our proving grounds. If we do the " right thing" and become Mormons, marry in the temple (celestial marriage), then when we die we get to have our own planet and start the cycle all over again! Mind-boggling, isn't it?
Here is the teaching in their own words,
" Remember that God, our heavenly Father was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we ourselves, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the school of advancement; has moved forward and overcome , until He has arrived at the point where He now is..." " (p. 129)
Our so-called preexistence in the heavens is explained this way:
" We are the children of God, our" " Heavenly Father. We are members of his family. We are his spirit offspring. We were born in the premortal life as spirit beings, sons and daughters of a glorified, perfected, exalted being. This holy being himself lives in the family unit. He has a fullness of glory and power and might and dominion...We are the literal offspring of the most glorious personage of whom it is possible to conceive. He is God Almighty, our Heavenly Father..." ." (p.129).
So, according to the Mormons, we were all children in heaven, born by sex relations between their god and one of his heavenly wives. Here are their official words on the subject,
" ...there is not a soul of you but what has lived in his house and dwelt with him year after year; and yet you are seeking to become acquainted with him, when the fact is, you have merely forgotten what you did know" . " (p. 130).
Did you know that those nice, Mormon missionary boys who come to your homes believe they are really gods in embryo? That is why they become so uppity and hostile if you challenge their beliefs..how dare we mere mortals challenge these " gods" ? They are, after all, working very hard to obtain their " exaltation" .
" Here , then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God: and you have got to learn how to be" " Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power..." " . (p.130).
Oh boy! Such theology! I am inclined to agree that they all might end up in the " everlasting burnings" for such heresy! Exaltation to godhood? Never! God alone is Almighty and eternal. In the Bible, all other gods mentioned are two things: created, and false!
Now you know why we have to listen to the endless propaganda on TV about how important " families" are to the Mormons. The real reason is that they must be in families in order to progress in their exaltation.
" ...each family unit where the parents have been married for time and for eternity, shall remain intact through all eternity." " (p.130).
How different this is from the Bible teaching that we neither marry nor are given in marriage in heaven. (Mark 12:25).
In direct opposition to the Bible teachings, preferring their own " revelations" , this statement is made,
" So far as the stages of eternal progression and attainment have been made known through divine revelation, we are to understand that only resurrected and glorified beings can become parents of spirit offspring. Only such exalted souls have reached maturity in the appointed course of eternal life; and the spirits born to them in the eternal worlds will pass in due sequence through the several stages or estates by which the glorified parents have attained exaltation" ." (p.131).
Well, there you have it, folks. This is Mormon theology at its purest. It is certainly NOT Christianity, even though it quotes parts of Christian, biblical phrases throughout its presentation of Celestial marriage.
Recently, Marie Osmond, a prominent half of Donny & Marie singing duet, was getting all excited about her seventh birth to come and said she just KNEW there was another little heavenly spirit to come into their home. Pure Mormon propaganda!
I always wondered how she got out of her first Temple Marriage which is supposed to be sealed for all time and eternity. I guess if you have enough money and fame you can arrange anything! Her divorce and remarriage, both in the Temple, flies in the face of the advice given in their Celestial Marriage Manual.
" ...vows are made with the idea of an eternal union...a covenant made in God's presence and sealed by the Holy Priesthood is more binding than any other bond...a marriage thus commenced is as eternal as love...the family unit will remain unbroken throughout eternity" . " (p.131, 132).
I often wonder just what is so appealing to Mormon women who can only look forward to eternal pregnancy as their reward. On the other hand, eternal sex perhaps appeals to Mormon men! As the manual promises,
" ...All who obtain this exaltation will have the privilege of completing the full measure of their existence, and they will have a posterity that will be as innumerable as the stars of heaven...There is no end to this development; it will go on forever. We will become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring. We will have an endless eternity for this." (" p. 132)
Most of us who had children remember the last part of our pregnancies as an " endless eternity" (just kidding!). But really, imagine being in that condition forever and ever!
Also, Mormon women cannot even be resurrected from the dead unless their Mormon husbands, when " exalted" call them by their temple name to rise from the dead! This teaching would really keep the women in line wouldn't it, especially in the polygamous relationships that marked the early years of the church, and is still practiced in many offshoot groups of Mormonism today.
In conclusion we can see that this Mormon teaching is opposed to the clear message of the scriptures.
The Bible does not teach anywhere that we were spirits in heaven before being born on earth. It is simply not there. That doesn't mean that our Heavenly Father does not know us, even from the time we were in the womb and watches over us all the days of our lives. He does. (Jeremiah 1:5).
We will be with our Heavenly Father throughout all eternity, rejoicing in being in His presence, but He is forever higher than us, and we are forever His subjects. Just read the great worship scenes in heaven such as Revelation, chapter 4. Even though there are other thrones mentioned, all fall down and worship the One, True God, and even the Kings and Priests and others " cast their crowns before the throne, saying, " Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God to receive glory and honor and power, for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed and were created" . (Rev. 4:11).No true Christian would dream of attempting to take God's glory and position unto himself, and presume to usurp His title of " Heavenly Father" . No one that is, but the Mormons. So beware, Mormonism is not what it seems!