Forgiveness in Paradise
Some NDE accounts raise the issue of forgiveness during that first meeting with others in Paradise, Lillian Oaktree’s 7 example being a case in point. She explains how meeting her dead parents enabled her to deal with some unforgiveness issues. Beside her mum stood her dad who’d died after a heart attack when Lillian was just 12.
‘I’d been devastated and never quite forgiven him for leaving me, but all I felt for him now was love,’ she says. ‘He was a chef and I couldn’t help smiling because he was wearing his chef whites – the white starched shirt with the double buttons and checked trousers. His hair was jet black, too. I’d only ever seen him with grey hair, but he looked like he did in photos taken in his late 20’s.’
What about relatives with whom you did not share bonds of love, relatives who abused you perhaps? Considering how common abuse is, it may be significant that NDE reports do not major on those who are missing from the welcoming group. Hopefully further NDEs will reveal more about this. What about people you hated on Earth; do you meet them again – is there a time of reconciliation in the afterlife? Sometimes we feel it is impossible to forgive someone because of what they have done, such as a murderer or torturer. Nevertheless, God expects us to. Consider Dr Petti Wagner 9, a millionaire heiress and respected doctor, who was kidnapped and treated horribly before being electrocuted to death by her captors. She met Jesus in Paradise.
The Lord impressed on me that I should forgive all those who had been responsible for my kidnapping and murder. I could not understand this.
‘Why?’ I said. ‘If I could pray, I would be praying for myself!’
God said, ‘If you do not pray and forgive them right now, then it will interfere with the work you and I have to do together’.
I said, ‘Lord, I do not know how to pray’.
He responded, ‘I will teach you’.
He told me to say, ‘God, forgive them, they knew not what they were doing’.
This imperative to forgive is hammered home in NDEs, our final example being the famous case, confirmed by witnesses and doctors, of the return to life in 2001 of a dead Christian pastor Daniel Ekechukwu 10 in Nigeria during a Reinhard Bonnke evangelistic campaign there. Daniel had been dead for two days and despite rigor mortis, he was taken to the campaign for prayer from the mortuary in a coffin organised by his faithful wife, who believed that God had prompted her to do such a strange thing.
Meanwhile, during his NDE, Daniel was shown that his future would have lain in Hell despite his dedication to God, because he had fought with his wife the morning of his death and had refused to forgive her! In fact, he planned to separate from her for one year. 1Peter 3:7 confirms that unforgiveness of one’s wife has the consequence in that our prayers to God may be hindered, which is what happened to him despite being a Christian leader. He was reminded that you reap what you sow – he had not forgiven her, so he would not be forgiven. Daniel wept. He was then returned to Earth so that he would have opportunity both to forgive his wife and to warn others of the Day of Judgement to come.
Bonnke makes it clear he had nothing directly to do with the miracle. Others prayed over the corpse in the basement. A follow-up investigation 11 in 2014 included interviews with the mortician, who had already injected Daniel with embalming fluid, and conversations with different doctors, the wife and other witnesses. This investigation, and others earlier, confirmed this miraculous raising from the dead.
Daniel’s NDE was obviously designed especially for him, to deal with unforgiveness in his life, and thereby to empower his future ministry. Jesus taught (Luke 6:37): ‘Forgive, and you will be forgiven.’ Forgiveness of others was essential to Daniel’s continuing relationship with God.
Each example of forgiveness given above took place in the lives of NDErs returning to Earth to live it out. Daniel and others have emphasised how important that act of forgiveness has been to them during their continuing lives. It appears to have been a lesson planned for them within their NDE, to instruct them to forgive.
Relatives and Reincarnation
Christians have long rejected the doctrine of reincarnation, in part because scripture states that ‘people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment’ (Hebrews 9:27).
In scripture, we find examples of prominent followers of God returning to visit Earth briefly – Samuel being called up from Hades by the witch of Endor (1Samuel 28:7-14), and Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration meeting with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-3). In each case they were recognisable, such that we can be sure they had not returned to Earth in the interim in some other body to ‘have another go’ as another being. They remained themselves.
Jesus himself met with the spirits of the predeluvians in Hades (1Peter 3:19), people who had been dead without reincarnation for thousands of years.
Consistent with scripture are the frequent reports of relatives in Hades greeting the NDEr, including ancestors of NDErs who themselves were members of religions that believe in reincarnation. These meetings with their own ancestors should surely challenge any doctrine of reincarnation.
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