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What’s up with all the “out-of-body” experiences and people talking with dead relatives?

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After we die, if we are “sleeping” until Jesus comes, what’s up with all the “out-of-body” experiences and people talking with dead relatives who are in heaven, etc.?


Steve Answers:

Either the Bible explanation of death being like “sleep” isn’t correct, or else the “out-of-body” experiences and talking to dead relatives is a misrepresentation. Let me state it even more plainly: one of the sources is lying.

The first lie in the Bible was Satan’s statement that Adam and Eve wouldn’t die when they ate from the forbidden tree (Genesis 3:4). Let’s not fall for that one again! If you’d like another text that exposes conversations with dead people, how about Ecclesiastes 9:5: “The living know they will die, but the dead know nothing” (NCV).1 If you’re talking to someone who knows “nothing” (according to the Bible), it makes me wonder who you’re actually talking to! The musical King David wrote: “The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord, for they have gone into the silence of the grave. But we can praise the Lord both now and forever! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 115:17, 18, NLT).2 Now is the time to praise God because dead people are silent (remember, they’re “sleeping”).

Before Jesus resurrected Lazarus, He told Martha, “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23). Martha’s response was, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24). That was the expected reunion, not in some type of seance.

Notice the timing of Paul’s description of dead people coming back to life in 1 Corinthians 15:21-23: “So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back” (NLT).

Some people whose hearts have stopped beating and then have been resuscitated have described what seemed to them like traveling down a dark tunnel with a light at the end of it. When they came back from the dead, this description has led some to conclude that we go through a tunnel and then to a bright and glorious heaven after we die. Medical personnel describe it as chemical changes in the brain.

Other people whose hearts have stopped beating describe a sense of leaving their bodies and looking down from the top of the room. They can describe what they saw, including different people who were in the room, maybe some family members and/or hospital employees gathered around their dying body before it was resuscitated. Once again, medical personnel describe it differently. In fact, one hospital installed an LED marquee with a message above the bed of patients that could only be seen from the top of the room. While some patients at the hospital claimed to have out-of-body experiences, none of them had seen the message on the LED marquee that could only be seen from the top of the room. No wonder medical personnel believe that some chemical reactions in the brain can lead people to imagine a reality that’s different from everyone else’s.

Yes, what people imagine and chemical reactions aren’t the only explanations related to your question. You also asked about talking to dead relatives, such as talking to people who have “crossed over to the other side.”

Talking dead people?

“Talking to the dead” isn’t new. But according to the Bible, dead people can’t speak. This begs the question, Then who are people speaking to? I would say that those who “talk to the dead” are actually talking to Satan or his demons.

Remember, there’s a supernatural war between good and evil going on in the unseen world. According to Ephesians 6:12: “We’re not dealing with an enemy here on earth that we can see or get our hands on, but with the darkness of spiritual beings who were once in heaven and are now using their authority and power to try to rule the world (Clear Word).3

Notice the warning given to God’s people before they entered the Promised Land of Canaan: “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12, NLT).

King Saul went to a spirit medium desperate to talk to Samuel, a trusted prophet who’d died, even though King Saul had banned all spirit mediums from Israel. You can find the pathetic story in 1 Samuel 28:3-25. Some supernatural stuff went on, but it certainly wasn’t from God. In fact, according to verse six, God didn’t answer Saul. I think that proves that the message from “dead Samuel” that night, even if it was supernatural, was actually from Satan’s forces working through the spirit medium. I think the same thing would be true today: supernatural forces could be communicating and claiming to be from people who have already died, but they would be from Satan’s forces.

If you’re in a heavy emotional condition and you would welcome a chance to hear from a friend or loved one who has died, you’re susceptible to Satan’s supernatural forces. If you’re religious, his supernatural agents may come to you masked as angels from God. According to 2 Corinthians 11:14: “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (NLT).

But you don’t need to be fooled at all. The Bible says that dead people remain dead until Jesus comes and the resurrection takes place. Jesus isn’t going to send dead people to you to give you messages. In fact, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the message Jesus closed with was: “If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31, NLT).

Shortly after Jesus said that, He resurrected Lazarus, and the religious leaders still wouldn’t believe in Him. Then Jesus Himself was resurrected. Instead of believing that it happened, the religious leaders paid off the Roman soldiers who witnessed the resurrection (see Matthew 28:11-15). I’d say that we don’t need supernatural evidences from Satan to talk with dead people when God has already communicated with us.

What would I say to someone who sincerely believes that they are talking to a real person who has already died? “Warning! You’re dealing with the supernatural world right now, and it’s not God’s side of the supernatural, even though it might masquerade as that. Get away from it! Your dead relative isn’t in heaven (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). If that’s the claim, then it’s a lie!”

This isn’t something to be gentle about, nor is it the time to do some reflective listening as the person sincerely shares conversations they’ve had with their
departed loved one. According to the Bible, you’ve played right into Satan’s playground! Get out of there!

You’ll probably need God’s supernatural forces to break free. I’m willing to be part of your “God-squad” to surround you with prayer and to ask for God’s
supernatural forces to rescue and protect you! But you’re going to have to get serious right now about a prison break!

This isn’t something to mess with, I’m serious. And you need to be serious about it too!

1Scriptures credited to NCV are quoted from The Holy Bible, New Century Version, copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Word Publishing, Dallas, Texas 75039. Used by permission.
2Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
3Texts credited to Clear Word are from The Clear Word, copyright © 1994, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006 by Review and Herald Publishing Association. All rights reserved.



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