by Rev. Austin Miles
A favorite preacher, Robert Jeffress, is seen on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) each week. This supporter watches him regularly. However, last Sunday he totally missed the pulpit with his sermon on, So-called NEAR death experiences. In this, with all due respect, Rev. Jeffress is dead wrong…not NEAR death wrong, but DEAD wrong. And this writer can give testimony to prove it. First of all, it happened to me. This will be told later. But first let’s take a look at my first encounter with this phenomenon.
When I was a little boy my family and Kate and John Sheffield were best friends. One weekend the two families decided to go to Kentucky Lake, rent a cabin-cruiser, and spend a happy day on the water. Kate could not swim but felt she would be safe on the boat. While out on the lake, in a totally freak accident, Kate tripped over a barrel and plunged overboard, disappearing into the water.
Knowing she could not swim, we all dove into the water, clothes and all, to find her and bring her up. The water was murky making it difficult to find anything. About 20 minutes went by when one of the divers frantically pointed down to the bottom of the lake where Kate was lying motionless. We all dove further to be able to reach her and bring her up, which was done with great difficulty. Pulling ourselves onto the boat we put her over a barrel and began pumping her ribs. We did it with all our might….nothing….tried again, again and again…still nothing. Finally one of the family said sadly, “it’s no use…it’s over…she’s gone.”
I do not know why I did this but I said, “No please, it is not over…please push one more time.” Seeing my sincere plea, they pushed one more time….she coughed, and came out of it. When she did, the first thing she said was, “Why did you bring me back, it was so beautiful!” She told about seeing Jesus who had His hands stretched out toward hers. “And every time I started to go closer to him,” she said in frustration, “something pulled me back.” That was us trying to bring her back. Kate went on to say, “I wish you would have left things as they were.” She would say that frequently to us. Indeed, she stayed ticked at us for the rest of her life. She really did experience death and glory.
A man in New York suddenly collapsed of a heart attack in New York not far from where I was walking. He was dead. I quickly knelt down and prayed earnestly for him as people gathered around.
He came back and the first thing he did was to cuss us out. When he got to his eternal destination, his little dog was there to greet him with a wagging tail. That little dog, that was so loved by the man, had died a few months earlier. Now the man was happy to spend the rest of eternity with that little dog but we interrupted that idea. My book, God and Animals–What the Bible says about Animals and Heaven, can be found on Amazon, and shows that your pets DO go to heaven with Scriptural proofs.
Then it happened to me. On July 6, 2003 I had a stroke which took place in church near the end of the service. My wife and I drove in separate cars since I taught an adult Sunday School class in the mornings before service. I told her I needed to get back home, left, went out to the parking lot and foolishly started my car and drove home. When I got there I collapsed. My wife and the Deacon of the church were there shortly. I knew I was dying. However I was breathing the fullest satisfying breaths anyone could take. (My wife saw me ‘gasping for breath’) So what one sees is not necessarily what the loved one is experiencing.
They had rushed into the house. I knew I was dying, but I was not concerned in the least. There was no fear. Indeed I felt more natural than I do writing this account. When I took the last breath I rose up above my body. It did not feel strange in the slightest. I had no desire or need for another breath. Indeed it all felt perfectly natural. I found myself in the very presence of the Heavenly hosts. God revealed everything to me that had puzzled me all my life, things that only He would know. So I knew I was with God.
I could not understand how I was preparing for a movie career in musicals, then went into the army where I was exposed to Mustard Gas which disabled me, meaning I could no longer ride the horse or dance. My movie career was over before it started. Why had this happened? God answered that question. He said that yes, I would have been a movie star, and would earn an Academy Award. “However”, He said, “you would have died at an early age….in disgrace.” What? Only God could have known this would take place.
My wife and the Deacon brought me back to reality and I went to the hospital. The stroke left me with a few problems but I was able to carry on.
So it was a DEATH experience, not a NEAR death experience. And by the way, I have been an excellent chaplain to those who are dying and are afraid of death. After talking with me, all fear vanishes. And when they all died later on, it was peaceful, and if I may add, a beautiful death. And when family was with us, they all used those very words.
Let’s reach out to God like we never have before, be dedicated to Him, and there will be nothing to worry about.
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