Near Death Experiences
1) Do people really see things prior to death (NDE’s)? Yes and no.
Many of the people claiming to have near death experiences are like the people who claim to see Bigfoot or a spaceship. Many of them are just faking it for attention. Some of them are not faking it though. For the ones that are not faking it we can rule out what they are seeing as the effects of the dieing brain. Brain chemistry and electrical activity causes strange subconscious imaginings. Some people do experience spiritual visions near death. It is important to note that they are not dead as science would define death. If a person is clinically dead and then comes back to life with a miraculous story it doesn’t mean that it is from God. The Bible says, “…Hebrews 9:27 NASB And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,..” People truly die once as a rule. Pro-NDE people will ask, “What about when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?” “…John 11:11-15 NASB This He said, and after that He *said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.”(12) The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” (13) Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. (14) So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,(15)and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”..” So again as a rule people die once and then the judgment. So barring a miracle of Jesus when a person is truly dead they stay dead. Just because they have stopped breathing, pumping blood, and brain activity seems to have ceased doesn’t mean they are truly dead. Medical science says they are dead, but how many times have we heard of somebody waking up in the morgue or in a coffin? You are dead when God says you are dead. So people near death can have physiologically explainable visions.
2) Do some see angels while others see demons? Yes and no.
The Bible says nothing about NDE’s specifically. Some people abuse scripture and try to make Paul’s vision of the 3rd Heaven a NDE when it is obviously not. They are just so desperate to believe in NDE’s that they will pervert scripture to make it so. People can also experience demonic/satanic visions given to them to lead them astray and to misguide others. Anything a person claims about a NDE MUST NOT conflict with the Bible. If it does, it is from a lying spirit and should be discarded immediately as untrue. The person relaying the story must not be followed or believed.
3) Can this be scriptural? Yes and no.
The answer to this question depends heavily on context and claim. If the context is a vision or dream from God that someone experienced it must be accurate and consistent with the rest of the Bible. I don’t believe these types of things are happening right now in our time. Again, the Bible says nothing about NDE’s specifically. In the end times they are supposed to start back up. These are not NDE’s though. There is a big difference between an NDE and a prophetic dream or vision. You don’t have to be in a coma or nearly dead for a prophetic dream or vision. If God wants you to know something you are going to know it. Fortunately for us He reveals His will and word for us in the Bible and we don’t need to rely on dreams, and visions. Matter of fact the Bible is the primary way we hear from God.
To sum up I would say treat all NDE claims as nothing of consequence unless it meets the requirements of scripture. Here are some links to some very good articles from trusted ministries on the topic.