1: A Doctor's Testimony About A Patient Who Almost Died The following is an account of a real life experience of a Doctor attending a patient who suffered a heart attack, which almost resulted in death. Although not all NDEs (Near Death Experiences) involve experiences with Hell, the ones that do are a sign to us that there is more to our existence than merely our earthly life. To get at the truth, concerning what will happen to us when we die, we must turn to our Creator and what He tells us through the Bible, as well as what He tells us through our spirit -- or conscience. Personal testimonies of NDEs however, are a sign to us and can be helpful in awakening us to what God is trying to tell us about what will happen to us when we die. "More and more of my patients who are recovering from serious illnesses tell me there is a life after death. There is a Heaven and a Hell. I had always thought of death as painless extinction. I had bet my life on it. Now I have had to reconsider my own destiny, and what I have found isn't good. I have found it really may not be safe to die! The turning point in my own thinking occurred because of the event I alluded to previously. I requested that a patient perform what we call a "stress test" to evaluate complaints of chest pains. In this test we exercise the patient and simultaneously record the heartbeat. A treadmill machine paces the patient's exercise so that he slowly builds up to a jog, then to a run. If the heart record (EKG) goes "haywire" during the exercise, we can be sure the patient's chest pains originate in the heart, explaining the source of his "angina pectoris," or pain in the chest. This patient was a forty-eight-year-old white male who was a rural mail carrier. He was of medium build, dark haired, and had a personality that would please anyone. Unfortunately, he represented one of those rare instances where the EKG not only went "haywire," but the heart stopped dead right in my office. Instead of fibrillating (twitching without a beat), the heart had just plain stopped. He crumpled to the floor, lifeless. With my ear to his chest, I could hear no heartbeat at all. With my hand alongside his Adam's apple, I could feel no pulse. He gave one or two sighing breaths before he quit breathing altogether. There were scattered muscle twitchings and then convulsions. He was gradually turning blue. Although six other doctors' work as partners in the same clinic, it was late afternoon and they had gone on to other hospitals to make evening rounds. Only the nurses were left. But they knew what to do and their performance was commendable. While I started external heart massage by pushing in on his chest, one nurse initiated mouth-to-mouth breathing. Another nurse found a breathing mask, which made it easier to expand his lungs for him. Still another nurse brought the emergency cart containing pacemaker equipment. Unfortunately, the heart would not maintain its own beat. A complete heart block had occurred. The pacemaker was needed to overcome the block and increase the heart rate from thirty-five beats per minute to eighty or one hundred per minute. I had to insert a pacemaker wire into the large vein beneath the collarbone, which leads directly to the heart. One end of this electric wire was manipulated through the venous system and left dangling inside the heart. The other end was attached to a small battery-powered gadget that regulates the heartbeat and overcomes the heart block. The patient began "coming to." But whenever I would reach for instruments or otherwise interrupt my compression of his chest, the patient would again lose consciousness, roll his eyes upward, arch his back in mild convulsion, stop breathing, and die once more. Each time he regained heartbeat and respiration, the patient screamed, "I am in Hell!" He was terrified and pleaded with me to help him. I was scared to death. In fact, this episode literally scared the Hell out of me! It terrified me enough to write this book. He then issued a strange plea: 'Don't stop!' You see, the first thing most patients I resuscitate tell me, as soon as they recover consciousness, is "Take your hands off my chest; you're hurting me!" I am big and my method of external heart massage sometimes fractures ribs. But this patient was telling me, "Don't stop!" Then I noticed a genuinely alarmed look on his face. He had a terrified look worse than the expression seen in death! This patient had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror! His pupils were dilated, and he was perspiring and trembling -- he looked as if his hair was "on end". Then still another strange thing happened. He said, "Don't you understand? I am in Hell. Each time you quit I go back to Hell! Don't let me go back to Hell!" Being accustomed to patients under this kind of emotional stress, I dismissed his complaint and told him to keep his "Hell" to himself. I remember telling him, "I'm busy. Don't bother me about your Hell until I finish getting this pacemaker into place." But the man was serious, and it finally occurred to me that he was indeed in trouble. He was in a panic like I had never seen before. As a result, I started working feverishly and rapidly. By this time the patient had experienced three or four episodes of complete unconsciousness and clinical death from cessation of both heartbeat and breathing. After several death episodes he finally asked me, "How do I stay out of Hell?" I told him I guessed it was the same principle learned in Sunday school -- that I guessed Jesus Christ would be the one whom you would ask to save you. Then he said, " I don't know how. Pray for me." Pray for him! What nerve! I told him I was a doctor, not a preacher. "Pray for me! He repeated. In knew I had no choice. It was a dying man's request. So I had him repeat the words after me as we worked -- right there on the floor. It was a very simple prayer because I did not know much about praying. It went something like this: Lord Jesus, I ask you to keep me out of Hell. Forgive my sins. I turn my life over to you. If I die, I want to go to Heaven. If I live, I'll be "on the hook" forever. The patient's condition finally stabilized, and he was transported to a hospital. I went home, dusted off the Bible, and started reading it. I had to find out exactly what Hell was supposed to be like. I had always dealt with death as a routine occurrence in my medical practice, regarding it as an extinction with no need for remorse or apprehension. Now I was convinced there was something about this life after death business after all. All of my concepts needed revision. I needed to find out more. It was like finding another piece in the puzzle that supports the truth of the Scriptures. I was discovering that the Bible was not merely a history book. Every word was turning out to be true. I decided I had better start reading it very closely. ...The man, by the way, has stayed "on the hook." He is now a strong Christian, although before this incident he had gone to church only occasionally. Although he is still too shy and reticent to speak before groups, he has remained a compelling personal witness for Jesus Christ on a one-to-one basis. " The following is an eyewitness account from a person who at one time in his life had a very serious heart condition. One day during this time his heart stopped beating three times. This person is now a highly respected minister of the Lord and a man of honesty and integrity. Back to top I gave my heart to the Lord and was born again the very first night I became bedfast. That was Saturday, April 22, 1933 at 7:40 p.m. in the south bedroom of 405 North College Street in McKinney, Texas. Earlier that evening, my heart had stopped beating and the spiritual man who lives in my body had departed. When death seized my body, my grandmother, my younger brother, and my mother were sitting in the room. I had time only to tell them "goodbye." Then the inner man rushed out of my body and left my body lying dead, with eyes set and flesh cold. I went down, down, down until the lights of the earth faded away. I don't mean I fainted - I don't mean I was unconscious - I have proof that I was actually dead. My eyes were set, my heart had stopped beating, and my pulse had ceased. The Scriptures tell us about the lost being cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 25:30). The farther down I went, the blacker it became, until it was all blackness - I could not have seen my hand if it had been one inch in front of my eyes. And the farther down I went, the hotter and more stiffling it became. Finally, far below me, I could see lights flickering on the walls of the caverns of the damned. The lights were caused by the fires of Hell. The giant, white-crested orb of flame pulled me, drawing me as a magnet draws metal to itself. I did not want to go, but just as metal jumps to the magnet, my spirit was drawn to that place. I could not take my eyes off of it. The heat beat me in the face. Many years have gone by, yet I can see it just as clearly today as I saw it then. It is as fresh in my memory as if it just happened. I came to the entrance of Hell. People ask, "What does the entrance of Hell look like?" I cannot describe it, because if I tried, I would have to have something with which to compare it. (Similarly, if a person had never seen a tree in his life, it would be impossible to tell him what a tree looks like.) Coming to the entrance, I paused momentarily, because I did not want to go in. I sensed that one more foot, one more step, one more yard, and I would be gone forever and would not come out of that horrible place! Upon reaching the bottom of the pit, I became conscious of some kind of spirit being by my side. I had not looked at him, because I could not take my gaze off of the fires of Hell. But when I paused, the creature laid his hand on my arm to escort me in. At that same moment, a voice spoke from far above the blackness, above the earth, and above the heavens. I don't know if it was the voice of God, Jesus, an angel, or who. I did not see him, and I do not know what he said, because he did not speak in English; he spoke in some other tongue. When he spoke, his words reverberated throughout the region of the damned, shaking it like a leaf in the wind, and causing the creature to take his hand off my arm. I did not turn around, but an unseen power, like suction, pulled me up, away from the fire, away from the heat, and back into the shadows of the absorbing darkness. I began to ascend until I came to the top of the pit and saw the lights of the earth. I saw my grandparents' home, went through the wall back into my bedroom, and it was just as real to me as it was any time I had entered through the door (my spirit needed no door). I slipped back into my body as easily as a man slips into his trousers in the morning. It was the same way in which I had gone out - through my mouth. I began to talk to my grandmother. She said, "Son, I thought you were dead." My great-grandfather had been a medical doctor, and Granny had worked with him. She later told me, "I dressed many people for burial and laid them out in days gone by. I have had much experience with death, but I learned more about death in dealing with you and your experiences than I ever knew before. You were dead. You had no pulse or heartbeat, and your eyes were set." "Granny," I said, "I am going again. I am dying. Where is Momma?" "Your mother is out on the porch," she replied. And about that time I heard my mother praying at the top of her voice as she walked up and down the porch. "Where is my brother?" I asked. "He ran next door to call the doctor," Granny answered. If you're not ready to go, you want somebody with you. You're afraid! I said, "Granny, don't leave me! Don't leave me! I'm afraid I'll go while you're gone! I want somebody with me! Don't leave me!" So she gathered me into her arms again. I said, "Tell Momma I said goodbye. Tell Momma I love her. Tell Momma I appreciate everything she has ever done for me and for all of us. And you tell Momma that I said if I've ever put a wrinkle in her face, or a grey hair in her head, I'm sorry, and I ask her to forgive me." I felt myself slipping. I said, "Granny, I'm going again. You were a second mother to me when Momma's health failed. I appreciate you. Now I'm going, and I won't be back this time. "I knew I was dying, unprepared to meet God. I kissed her on the cheek and said goodbye. My heart stopped beating for the second time. It's almost as real to me today, nearly half a century later, as it was that day. I felt the blood cease to circulate. The tips of my toes went numb - then my feet, ankles, knees, hips, stomach, and heart. I leaped out of my body and began to descend: down, down, down. Oh, I know it was just a few seconds, but it seemed like an eternity. I began to descend again into the darkness until the lights of earth had faded. Down below, the same experience occurred. The voice spoke from Heaven and again my spirit came up out of that place - back into my room and back into my body. The only difference this time was that I came up at the foot of the bed. I began to talk to Granny again. I said, "I will not be back this time, Granny." I asked, "Where is Grandpa? I want to tell Grandpa goodbye." She said, "Son, you know your Granddad went down to the east part of town to collect rent off of some of his rent houses." "Oh," I said, "I remember that now. I just forgot momentarily." I said, "Granny, tell Grandpa goodbye. I've never known what it means to have a daddy. He's been the nearest to a daddy I've known. He gave me a home when I had none. Tell him I appreciate him. Tell him I love him. Tell Grandpa that I said goodbye." Then I left a word for my sister and two brothers, and my heart stopped for the third time. I could feel the circulation as it cut off again - and I leaped out of my body and began to descend. Until this time, I had thought, this is not happening to me. This is just a hallucination. It can't be real! But now I thought, this is the third time. I won't come back this time! Darkness encompassed me 'round about, darker than any night man has ever seen. I wish I had adequate words to describe the horrors of Hell. People go through this life so complacently, so unconcerned, as if they will not have to face Hell. But God's Word and my own personal experience tell me differently. I know what it is to be unconscious - it is black when you are unconscious - but there is no blackness to compare with outer darkness. As I began to descend in the darkness this third time, my spirit cried out, "God, I belong to the church! I've been baptized in water!" I waited for Him to answer, but no answer came - only the echo of my own voice as it came back to mock me. It will take more than church membership - it will take more than being baptized in water - to miss Hell and make Heaven. Jesus said, .... Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). Certainly I believe in being baptized in water - but only after a person is born again. Certainly I believe in joining the church - but only after a person is born again. If you merely join the church and are baptized in water without being born again, you will go to Hell! The second time I cried a little louder, "God! I belong to the church! I've been baptized in water!" Again I waited for an answer, but there was no answer, only the echo of my own voice through the darkness. It would frighten a congregation out of their wits if I ever imitated the way I screamed the third time, although, if I could scare them out of Hell and into Heaven, I'd do it! I literally screamed, "GOD! GOD! I BELONG TO THE CHURCH! I'VE BEEN BAPTIZED IN WATER!" And all I heard was the echo of my own voice. I came again to the bottom of that pit. Again I could feel the heat as it beat me in the face. Again I approached the entrance, the gates into Hell itself. That creature took me by the arm. I intended to put up a fight if I could to keep from going in. I only managed to slow down my descent just a little, and he took me by the arm. Thank God that voice spoke. I don't know who it was - I didn't see anybody - I just heard the voice. I don't know what he said, but whatever he said, that place shook; it just trembled. And that creature took his hand off my arm. It was just as if there was a suction to my back parts. It pulled me back, away from the entrance to Hell, until I stood in the shadows. Then it pulled me up headfirst. As I was going up through the darkness, I began to pray. My spirit, the man who lives inside this physical body, is an eternal being, a spirit man. I began to pray, "0 God! I come to You in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I ask You to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all sin." I came up beside the bed. The difference between the three experiences was that I came up on the porch the first time; I came up at the foot of the bed the second time; and I came up right beside the bed the third time. When I got inside my body, my physical voice picked up and continued my prayer right in the middle of the sentence. I was already praying out of my spirit. Now, we didn't have all the automobiles in 1933 that we have today - that was in the Depression. But they tell me that between me and Momma praying so loud, traffic was lined up for two blocks on either side of our house! They heard me praying from inside the house, and they heard my mother as she walked the porch praying at the top of her voice. I looked at the clock and saw it was 20 minutes before 8 o'clock. That was the very hour I was born again due to the mercy of God through the prayers of my mother. I felt wonderful - it was just like a two-ton weight had rolled off of my chest. Although I was rejoicing and was happy in my spirit - although I felt wonderful spiritually - I felt no better physically. The doctors had been called, and they told my family that I was going to die. I thought I would die that night, but it no longer bothered me. I knew I was ready to go. My experience of being brought back from the dead is not new. Jesus raised three people from the dead: Lazarus, Jairus' daughter, and the widow's son. The Apostle Peter raised Dorcas from the dead; the Apostle Paul raised a young man from the dead; and others throughout Church history have had similar experiences. Through my experience, God brought me to knowledge of salvation, which is the best thing in the world to know. I was so thankful to know that my heart was right with God, and to know that if I should die before morning I would go, to be with Him. There a couple of things that are important to notice in this testimony: One is the statement near the beginning (the first time his heart stopped) which says "the inner man rushed out of my body and left my body lying dead, with eyes set and flesh cold." Notice also the comment by his grandmother, "You were dead. You had no pulse or heart beat, and your eyes were set." Kenneth Hagin's mom, grandma, and brother were with him at the time his heart first stopped. Later when he came back to life his mother was praying outside on the porch, and his brother went to call a doctor. Hence the first episode where his heart stopped must have lasted for several minutes-enough time for his flesh to grow cold. After reviving the first time, Kenneth was talking to his grandmother. Then Kenneth's heart stopped beating for the second time. Notice that Kenneth was talking with his grandma in a very sane manner - this experience was not a hallucination. Neither was it a dream. Dreams only occur during sleep or close to periods of sleep. After the second time Kenneth came back to life again. And then again, for the third time his heart stopped beating. But this time upon reviving he prayed and asked Jesus to forgive him of all sin. Notice also that going to church or even doing good deeds did not get Kenneth Hagin saved -- it was his asking Jesus to forgive his sins. (Although good deeds are desireable, they cannot make up for our past sins or make up for the greatest sin of all -- our rebellion against God our Creator.) I hope you take this testimony very seriously. In the next section, I present what the bible says about Hell. From that you will see that the experience that Kenneth Hagin underwent is very consistent with what the bible says about Hell. The following testimony is also from a person who almost died and almost went to Hell. This person is now a compassionate minister of the Lord. Back to top "At one time I was without hope and without God in this world. I had been seeking Him through my own righteousness and thought that perhaps I could reach Him by aestheticism. By fasting, chanting, staying up late hours, and indulging in all type of philosophies, I tried to channel my life into such a stream of harmony that I would be able to tune in with the God I so desperately desired. A vacuous hole inside me longed for God, and I tried every way imaginable to reach Him, except the only way that would bring satisfaction -- the simple way: by confessing Jesus as my Lord. I tried all kinds of things before finally bending my knees and accepting Jesus. I thought I was pretty "cool" -- living in an Indian teepee on the side of a lake, eating herbs and berries, snacking on wild plants and peyote cactus. Actually, I was heavily into the occult, only I did not recognize it as the occult. I just thought it was "a way" to get to God. There were many people who thought I was some kind of guru; and they would follow me wherever I went. If I picked up my teepee and moved it to a remote place, they would find me. In two or three days I would again be surrounded by hippies, beatniks, and people who thought I was advanced spiritually. Of course, I didn't mind playing the charade -- acting like a spiritual giant, being very cool and austere, relishing my aestheticism. I have taken cold baths in a lake during the winter and have come out with my hair frozen. I thought if I abused, neglected, and whipped my body long enough, it would release my spirit. Then I would be free of this sinful flesh that held me in the bondage I so loathed. I wanted to soar in the astral plains and be free with God; only I refused to do it by going Jesus' way. I rejected the Messiah -- rejected Him repeatedly. When people would talk to me about Jesus, I would say, 'There are many ways to find God. I must find a path that suits me.' But, you know, God's Spirit will not always strive with people; and I finally blew it. If you get in trouble with the law, you can get out of trouble; but if you mess around with the devil, you are in for the kind of trouble you might not be able to get out of. Satan is not playing games; so don't try to play games with him. He is out to kill you, to destroy you, to ruin you, to abolish you, because you bear the image of the Redeemer. Even your physical body was made in the appearance of God. The path every unsaved man is walking is a path that leads to Hell, destruction, and torment; and that is where my path was taking me. I nearly died: My spirit left my body and began to descend, down, down, down. The most horrible terror gripped my spirit, and I began to cry out with all that was within me as the awful reality of it hit me, 'I'm dead and I'm going to Hell! No, God, not me! I don't want to go to Hell.' I cried out more and more; and my spirit continued going down, down, down to the devil's Hell -- that lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels. I was being dragged downward into that place. There were people nearby, but they did not understand what was happening to me. They thought I was just a lunatic, a man who had lost his mind. Later I talked to one young man who had studied karate for years in the Orient. One thing they practice is the 'ke-ay,' a yell produced in the belly of a man that comes out with such force that it puts fear in the heart of the enemy. It is told of certain old masters that they could 'ke-ay' with such fierceness it would stop the heart of a tiger. This young man said, ' My karate masters have practiced blood curdling yells for years; but I've never heard anything from the mouth of a man like what came out your mouth.' Something happened that day and I have never been the same: My life passed before me. I stopped trying to vindicate myself through my own acts of righteousness. God showed me my life from beginning to end -- every time I rejected Him, every time I turned my back on Him, every time I disobeyed the Word. He showed me every time I had disobeyed my parents, been ugly, stolen something, told a lie, thought an ugly thought. It was all there; I couldn't deny it. Then the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me. He was far away, out in the black void, completely surrounded by darkness. He was the most radiant light, shining brightly, and I knew it was Jesus. The first thing I noticed was that He seemed to be standing somewhat at an angle. Then I realized the truth: He was straight; it was the whole world that was crooked. You see, Jesus is the centre of the universe, the foundation -- everything is relative to Him. I had been measuring God by earthly standards. Jesus, suspended out there in the middle of the eternal realm, had His own position, His own truth, His own absolute reality. It made no difference that the whole world was tilted and sliding into Hell -- He was still love, He was still purity, He was still grace, He was still mercy, He was still God and Savior! I had been crying out to God to have mercy on me; and when that moment of mercy came, something that I can only describe as a tremendous magnetism, or force, reached out to me, grabbed my spirit, and drew me up to Him. In the process of dying, I had managed to cover myself with putrid vomit, defecation, and urination, plus smear my consciousness with every foul deed I had done. I was the most wretched creature you can imagine; and I was being drawn toward the most holy, pure, loving, sweet, kind, tender, and only Savior the world has ever known. His radiance and beauty hurt me; it tormented me. I said, 'Oh, God, no! I don't want to pollute you. You're so pure and holy; I'm so wretched. Oh, God, no!' Unable to look at Him, I turned my face away in shame; but He just drew me up into His arms. The moment He touched filth, all the corruption and me was wiped away and I was pure. Suddenly, I was wide-awake and born again. I remember myself as a little newborn creature without one thought of my own, just open and alive unto God, looking up into His eyes of liquid love. He looked at me with such tenderness, such love, such compassion, and such mercy. He spoke softly to me and He kissed me. Then He said to me, ' Son, I've called you to do a work for Me. Do not live in sin. Love your wife and the people I've sent you; they're very precious. He did not chastise me. He just told me, matter of factly, to do these things and it would go well with me. He continued, 'I have ministry for you. I want you to warn people about this place of torment. I want you to win as many people as you can for Me and My kingdom.' It is too personal for me to describe all the marvels and joys of being in the presence of God. It is too wonderful. The point I want you to understand is that the presence of God tormented the unclean spirit that I had. At one point I would have gone to Hell rather than stand in the presence of God. Had it not been for the miracle of regeneration, I could not have tolerated His presence. It seemed an endless eternity as I drew closer and closer to Him. Every agonizing moment that the love and life and purity came out of Him and struck the corruption and filth and sin in me, it caused a burning fire of torment. But, praise God, the miracle of the new birth changed that! Now, I love His Holy Spirit and pure love. " This testimony clearly illustrates what happens when a sinner recognizes his sinful condition and calls out to Jesus to forgive him. Notice Larry's comments: "Unable to look at Him, I turned my face away in shame; but He just drew me up into His arms. The moment He touched me, all the filth and corruption was wiped away and I was pure. Suddenly, I was wide-awake and born again. I remember myself as a little newborn creature without one thought of my own, just open and alive unto God, looking up into His eyes of liquid love." Notice especially the comment about being as a newborn creature. This is very much in line with 2 Corinthians 5:17, where it states, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" This is also in line with what Jesus says in John 3:3, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." The apostle Paul also mentions this recreation of a person's spirit in Ephesians 4:24 where he states, "Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." By the miracle of this spiritual rebirth, a person, starting at the instant he receives Jesus as Lord and Savior, becomes righteous (right with God) as a result of Jesus' sacrifice. This is what is meant in 2 Corinthians 5:21 where it states that, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." Sometimes people ask why those who are condemned to Hell will suffer there for eternity. The reason is that the punishment is not only for what they have done but for what they are. Finite punishment would be like punishing a wolf for his past aggression (for a finite amount of time), putting him in a sheep pen, and then expecting that he will not attack the sheep. What do you think the wolf is going to revert to doing? Unless a person is recreated spiritually he will always be dominated by sin and rebelliousness against God. Those who do not desire to admit their guilt and receive the rulership of God (even though the rulership is always for good) are in rebellion against God. It is very important for you to understand that however much God loves you, and desires for you to be redeemed, He will not force you to serve Him -- you must make that decision. But you must make that decision while you are still alive on earth. God's grace for salvation is only in force during your life on earth. This decision is very serious and considering that your life can be taken on any given day it is not wise to postpone giving your life to Jesus.