I received a comment from a lady named Nancy, and I want to publicly thank her. She graciously commended me for one of my posts and asked a follow up question. My answer to her question may benefit others so I want to share it with you.
Nancy wrote, Good analysis/synopsis of this insanity. Wanting to ask you about all these sincere people who have claimed to have visited hell and some repeatedly with Jesus. Many claim to have seen Christians in hell. TY
Nancy, thank you for inspiring me. Here is my response to Nancy’s question:
The older I get and the longer I serve Christ, the less I believe any of them because there is nothing new under the Sun.
There are always contradictions against the scriptures that can be found in their testimonies. There is a reason why Paul described his experience as “hearing things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:4. Paul would not even boast in his experience, yet these people use their experiences to promote themselves and to profit.
When Jesus gave the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus said the rich man went to hell and pleaded with Abraham to have mercy. Notice what Abraham said in response regarding the scriptures:
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. ~ Luke 16:24 -31
Moses and the prophets is a reference to the scriptures that resulted from Moses and the ministry of the prophets.
In John 5, Jesus told the Jews, Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. ~ 39-40
Later in the same chapter Jesus told them, Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? ~ v. 45-47
I know of a preacher who claims to have gone to Heaven years ago and in his book about that experience, he claimed that Jesus informed him that he (Jesus) had brought him (the preacher) to heaven to tell him (the preacher) to tell people he (Jesus) was coming again. That was the message he conveyed.
You don’t need a supernatural experience to preach the coming of Jesus, but if Jesus were to give me an experience in Heaven and told me that he had brought me to Heaven to tell people he was coming again, you can believe that I would preach what Jesus had told me to preach more than anything else.
I don’t think I have ever heard this preacher preach on the coming of the Lord even once, Possibly I have heard him say the Lord is coming, but don’t remember ever hearing him emphasize it. Yet his book and testimony about going to heaven has been widely accepted and I am certain, profitable. In fact, I have my suspicions about his testimony for other reasons I won’t go into here. Suffice to say, I find holes in his claims as I do with many others.
Paul told the Colossians, Let no one disqualify you, insisting on ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm and inflated without cause by his unspiritual mind. ~ Colossians 2:18
The truth is these visionary claims often lead people to elevate the visionary’s words above the teachings of scripture.
Those who claim to have had such visions and experiences appeal to the masses of carnal Christians who often have no depth of spiritual understanding and who are very limited in their true knowledge of the teachings and doctrine of scripture. These visionaries teach and cause gullible believers to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.
I do believe it’s possible that a person could have an experience in which they had a divine encounter with an angel or a vision of Jesus, but those experiences are sacred and not equal to the authroity of the scriptures. A true experience would cause a person to likely not want to talk much about it because it would be too holy of an experience to just tell anyone. Real experiences that people in the Bible had with angels, or seeing the Glory of God were very sacred.
About 35 years ago, I had a very vivid dream in which I encountered Jesus. When I woke up I was aware of God’s holiness and the fear of the Lord was present. I don’t preach or teach based on that dream and don’t promote my ministry with it. It was a dream and a powerful one to me at the time, but it is not what I am called to preach and teach. I am called to preach and teach the Word of God and walk with Jesus daily. Honestly, that dream adds nothing to my life now, because Jesus is real to me because of the presence of the Holy Spirit who abides within my heart. That dream is not something I use to bring people under a spell to place me on a “spiritual pedestal.” In fact people should be free to judge it by the Word of God if I ever shared it and reject it if they found it wasn’t in line with the sound doctrine of scripture.
My wife can tell you I’m not all that – I’m not some spiritual giant because of a dream I had some 35 years ago.
When Peter described the voice that he and other disciples heard in the mount of transfiguration when they saw Jesus’s glory, he writes, “Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.” ~ 1 Peter 1:19
If anyone’s testimony of visions does not amplify the truth of scripture, and point people to the scriptures, they should not be accepted. Those who preach their visions, and make their visions equal to the scriptures in any manner, have embarked on being false teachers in error, and should be rejected.
My article on Kat Kerr which Nancy commented on. This article will show you how to hold visions and experiences accountable to the Word of God