Passport for Heaven
I read how, in the spring of 1981, a young man was flown into desolate northern Alaska to photograph the natural beauty and mysteries of the tundra. He took along 500 rolls of film, several firearms, and 1,400 pounds of provisions.
The months passed, the words in his diary changed from wonder and fascination into a nightmare. In August he wrote, "I think I should have used more foresight about arranging my departure. I'll soon find out."
In November he died in a nameless valley, by a nameless lake, 225 miles northeast of Fairbanks. An investigation revealed that, though he had carefully planned his trip, he had made no provision to be flown out.
Difficult to imagine isn't it? How could anyone be so foolish? He made every provision for his journey except how to get home! Unbelievable!
"How tragic," we say. And yet, how many of us make every provision for life here on earth but no preparation for our departure, which is a far greater tragedy? God has assured us in his Word, the Bible, that there is life after death ... after which is God's judgment. And as he warned the nation of Israel to prepare to meet God,1 he warns us to do the same. We need to do this today. After death it is too late. As God's Word also says, "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."2
"But," you ask, "how can we know if there is or is not a heaven?"
Back in the early seventies John Lennon of Beatles fame wrote the lyrics of the popular song, "Imagine," saying, "Imagine there's no Heaven; it's easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky. Imagine all the people. Living for today...." It would have been much wiser for John had he considered and resolved the question: "Imagine there is a heaven and a hell," because, tragically, on December 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered.
From his own words, including saying that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, I wonder if John ever seriously considered this question. Hopefully he did prepare for life after his death.
Just Listening to these patients
has changed my whole life.
If millions of people worldwide from all ages believe that there is life after death, wouldn’t it be advisable to seek evidence to verify this one way or the other?
Dr. Maurice Rawlings, formerly a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga, with his colleagues, was constantly treating emergency patients, many of whom had near-death experiences. A study of these cases was reported in Omni magazine.
Dr. Rawlings remarked that it was no longer unusual to hear about people, who had almost died, speak of seeing a bright light lush green meadows, rows of smiling relatives, and experiencing a deep sense of peace. However, Dr. Rawlings obtains additional information from his patients by interviewing them immediately following resuscitation while they are very much in touch with their experience.
Dr. Rawlings says that nearly fifty percent of the 300 people that he has interviewed have reported lakes of fire, devil-like figures and other sights reflecting the darkness of hell. Rawlings says that these people later change their story because they don't want to admit where they've been, not even to their families.
"Just listening to these patients has changed my whole life," Dr. Rawlings claimed. "There is a life after death, and if I don't know where I'm going, it's not safe to die."
But do these experiences prove that there is a heaven or a hell?
We don't really know because these particular people didn't quite make it to the other side. Even if they did and came back, we probably wouldn't believe them because most of us tend to believe only what we have seen or experienced for ourselves. Furthermore, we tend to see and believe only what we want to see and believe—often in spite of the evidence.
One can only present what evidence there is, and then it is up to each individual to either accept or reject that evidence.
And what evidence do we have as to whether there is a heaven and a hell, or life after death?
First, there is the evidence from scores of cases mentioned by Rawlings and others who have written about near-death experiences and explained what they saw and experienced.
Second, we have the evidence from the testimonials of famous people who share their last words.
Regarding Professor J.H. Huxley, the famous agnostic, it is reportedly said that as he lay dying, he suddenly looked up at some sight invisible to mortal eyes, and staring awhile, whispered at last, "So it is true."
Continued on Page Two