By Elizabeth Prata
Last week I wrote three times about heaven. What We Have to Look Forward To, Where Is Heaven?, and, The Tree of Life and 12 Fruits each Month? With all the darkness in the world, I needed a spiritual bath and to bask in God’s pureness and His holy habitation!
The Bible doesn’t focus excessively on visions of heaven, but it does speak about our future home in several places in God’s word. We are given glimpses of the ‘other side’ in several different books. Elisha saw heaven open up here on earth when the LORD opened his servant’s eyes and saw there were chariots all around. Paul was given a glimpse and it was wonderful but unlawful to say more about it. Steven as he was dying his martyr’s death, was given a glimpse.
Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John were given extended views of heaven in visions and told to write about them. Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 8, 9, 10, 11; and all of Revelation starting in chapter 1 verse 12 and ongoing through chapter 22.
“The Other Side”. “The Great Beyond”. “The Great Unknown”. “Behind the Veil”. “The Hereafter”. These are all terms and synonyms unsaved people use for the place we go after death. Intuitively, even the unsaved person knows that we have a soul and that it goes someplace after death. That was obvious to me, anyway, before I was saved. I used to wonder quite often about the Big Questions. Like, why does every culture have a heaven of some kind? Why do so many people apparently die and come back with similar stories of a bright, white light and another dimension?
Before I was saved, I was highly curious about these matters. At different points, I even went to an Aura Reader, had a witch read my Tarot Cards, and I bought books where the authors claimed to have died and come back. I paid for a ‘past life regression’ session. I even watched a movie called Escape From Hell. It was about a doctor, distressed over the death of a friend, and curious about stories of the other side, who induces cardiac arrest in order to have a near-death experience, and forces a fellow doctor to stand by to bring him back before it’s too late. His journey takes him to The Gates of Hell.
Little did I know that when I sought out Tarot and Aura readers and past life hypnotists and psychics, I was playing with dangerous fire. It was only the patience and love of God as His soon-to-be saved elect that didn’t punish me for treading into these areas He has forbidden.
I had a lot of time to look into the wrong things before I was saved at age 42! But all this to say, I completely understand the secular world’s fascination with the beyond. There really are two questions at play: one is, can those unsaved on earth peek into the other side to be sure there is a heaven? And two, are those in heaven watching us down here, looking through a window to see how things are playing out? I’m examining an answer to the first question today and the second question tomorrow.
I saw a Christian brother refute a headline that offered tips on how to know your departed loved ones are around you. The site’s article was titled Five Signs A Passed Loved One Is Trying To Contact You and as I looked around on it, it was obvious that the site was totally consumed with Dreams, Astrology, The Paranormal, UFOs & Aliens, Fortune Telling & Divination. Gulp. Treacherous stuff.
The unsaved spend a lot of energy dueling with themselves. They desperately want to know about the other side. Look at all the movies, books, sites, and tv shows on these topics! But they suppress the ONE and ONLY truth about it, Jesus and His heaven. (Romans 1:18). I remember distinctly every time someone mentioned this possibility, that the ‘Jesus thing’ as I termed it, was true, my mind would go, ‘NOOOO. Not that! Anything but that!’ Witches and tarot was better than sin-holiness-blood-repent. They prefer the creation to the Creator. (Romans 1:22).
After I saw the headline and followed up with looking into the article, I mulled the unfortunate and pitiable state of the unsaved. I then remembered a devastating event with TV personality Roma Downey. You might remember this actress from the long-running TV show Touched by an Angel. (1994-2003). More recently she and her husband Mark Burnett co-wrote a TV series based on The Bible (which won an Emmy but sadly twisted the Truth). She and her husband executive-produced produced the feature films Ben-Hur, Son of God, Little Boy, Woodlawn, Resurrection, Messiah, and Country Ever After which aired in 2021. It’s obvious Downey is fascinated with Bible topics, but though she keeps trying to learn, she has never come to the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7).
Downey says she is a devout Catholic and is also a mystic. Many Catholics combine ritual with mysticism. Downey “sees God in everyone” and utters claptrap such as “The language of God is in the silence.” She attained a Master’s Degree from a New Age college in Spiritual Psychology. Her beliefs are not even close to being evangelical, born-again Christian.
Further, she practices divination. She participated in a psychic show and allowed the medium to ‘call up’ her dead mother from the other side and Downey talked with ‘her’. This is divination and necromancy, part of a cadre of sorceries that God hates with a holy hatred. God said,
Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of [the] nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord. (Deuteronomy 18:9).
Divining… is trying to find something through a divine contact. And that is forbidden.
If a person performs any of these sorceries, that person is detestable to God. That person is an abomination to God. And lest someone wrongly claim that the Deuteronomy verse is outdated just because it’s Old Testament, sorceries are also forbidden in the New Testament. Revelation 18:23 and Galatians 5:19-21 strenuously forbid such practices.
However, so-called evangelicals partner with Downey as if her abominable practices are of no account! Dr. David Jeremiah platformed her in his church because they wrote the Bible series together, and Beth Moore participated with Downey in a Bible conference!
You see how easily divination can become mixed in with the pure and holy truth, and even overlooked- or at least unremarked. What Christians are tasked to do is not titillate unbelievers with unbiblical stories of heaven and hell, but call them to repentance over their sins and fall on the feet of our Holy God. Paul was given glimpse of the third heaven and it was too wonderful to speak of and unlawful as well. (2 Corinthians 12:2–4).
Once the truth is in them, then they will read the Bible and understand what has been revealed by God about heaven and all other matters. Seeking information through divination, sorcery, witchcraft etc is abominable to God. God described what He wanted to describe about heaven via His Spirit who inspired men to write about it in the Bible. That is the ONLY place to seek information. A person cannot understand these matters unless they are spiritually comprehended by a regenerated mind.
But a natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14).
We regenerated believers have a duty to those who are so obviously curious, so obviously searching for hope of another life after death. Jesus called us to be His ambassadors and witnesses. We have the HOPE and we have the TRUTH. Let’s share it far and wide. Those whom the Lord will open their ears to hear, He will open. For, how will they believe unless they have heard? Romans 10.
John Wesley- (sermon) The Almost Christian
Matthew Mead- (pdf) The Almost Christian Discovered
CARM- (essay) Why Write about Wicca?
Ligonier- (devotional) Two Men, Two Kingdoms (Simon the Sorcerer)