Life After Death – Part 2

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2004
Are the “beings of light” encountered during the NDE who they claim to be? What message do they give? What do they teach about death and the afterlife?

Life After Death—Part 2

Are the “beings of light” and alleged spirits of dead friends and relatives encountered during near-death experiences [NDEs] who they claim to be? What do the authorities in this area say?

People who encounter the “being of light,” “the light” or the alleged spirits of dead friends and relatives in the NDE are profoundly influenced. Many think they have encountered the biblical “God,” “Christ,” “angels” or the actual human dead. But this could not possibly be true. Why? Because, on the one hand, the entities of the NDE act in ways that are contrary to the purposes of God and Christ as revealed in the Bible. And, on the other hand, the “being of light” and other spirits act in virtually the same manner as the spirits contacted by mediums and spiritists for millennia.

The actions and statements of the “being of light,” the “dead,” and other spirits indicate they are not Jesus Christ, the human dead or good angels. The “being of light” cannot be Christ because the “being of light” denies Jesus’ teachings in the Bible. And Christ cannot deny Him­self by rejecting His earlier teachings [See Heb. 13:8; Matt. 24:35].

The alleged spirits of the dead cannot be the human dead, for Scripture tells us that the unsaved dead are confined and unable to reach the living, and the saved dead are with Christ (2 Pet. 2:9; Luke 16:19-31; Acts 1:25; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23).

Furthermore, the other spirits cannot be the holy angels because holy angels are sinless beings who would never contradict what God has taught in the Bible.

Biblically, considering the eternal importance of the subject of death as well as the existence of spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10-18), it is unlikely all this is coincidental.

The occult messages frequently conveyed by the “being of light” and the alleged spirits of the dead prove that they are lying spirits. They offer the following unbiblical teachings:

  1. Death is something good: There is no judgment at death; Death equals God equals Love;
  2. There is no hell: God accepts all men unconditionally irrespective of their beliefs and actions on earth; all men will go to heaven;
  3. The Bible is wrong: The Christian view of death is false; it is the Eastern/occult view of death that is correct; and
  4. Occult practice is beneficial: It is important to develop psychic powers; contacting the spirit world is a godly endeavor.[1]

The evidence is compelling that the spirits of the occult are really lying spirits—in other words, demons who impersonate the dead and others in order to deceive people spiritually. That demons not only have legendary cunning, but are also polymorphs—able to change shape at will—is a widely recognized aspect of the occult. This is why many have concluded that those who encounter occult phenomena in the near-death experience are victims of the same deceiv­ing spirits.[2]

This deceitfulness of the spirits is born out in part by the testimony of numerous former medi­ums and occultists such as Raphael Gasson, Victor Ernest, Johanna Michaelsen, Doreen Irvine, Ben Alexander, and others. At one time, such individuals were convinced that their loving and friendly spirit guides, the “beings of light,” “dead friends and relatives,” “angels,” and the “Jesus” they communed with were, in fact, good spirits. But in the end they realized they were only deceiving spirits who had impersonated good spirits in order to lead them astray.[3]

Does the NDE confirm the occult (mediumistic) view of death and the afterlife?

Another line of evidence suggesting the essential connection between the NDE and occult­ism is that thousands of mediums, channelers and psychics express the same view about death as represented in the NDE and by the “being of light” and other spirits.

Indeed, as one surveys the content of the “deep” NDE (see Part 1), one discovers that it confirms the mediumistic view of the afterlife. For example, many persons feel that while they were in “the Light,” “all [their] sins were forgiven” and they felt “perfectly and totally free.”[4] “The Light,” which they mistakenly interpret as God or Christ, may also give them direct telepathic information that fundamentally reflects and inculcates mediumistic philosophy. This includes the following ideas:

  • earth as a “school” for spiritual learning continued after death;
  • liberal theology: the brotherhood of man, the fatherhood of God, the social gospel;
  • Universalism: that all mankind will finally be saved;
  • a denial of the biblical reality and consequence of sin;
  • the importance of individual and planetary occult consciousness transformation and evolution into divinity;
  • a trust in the “ultimate good within us all,” and so on.[5]

Of course, if it is lying spirits who promote a mediumistic worldview in the séance, who then is doing it in the NDE?

All this is why many NDE researchers have noted the similarity between the message of the NDE and the message of mediumism. Parapsychologist Dr. Karlis Osis, a leading NDE re­searcher, observes that the NDE “tends to confirm much of the picture gained through mediumship.”[6]

The late D. Scott Rogo was an authority on the paranormal, having authored some 15 books on the subject. After reviewing all the relevant literature and research on near-death experi­ences from 1882 to the present, he concludes that the findings of the modern near-death re­searchers only reinforce what the mediums and spiritists have long taught:

Finally, I cannot help but be impressed by how closely the findings of everyone from [Karlis] Osis to [Raymond] Moody match what the Spiritualists [spiritists] of the Victorian age taught about death and the process of dying…. I fail to see that any of the “discoveries” by Osis, Crookall, Moody, or other researchers differ from what was really discovered and taught by the Spiritualists ages ago.[7]

One of the key early researchers in near-death experiences, Frederick Myers, stated in his famous work, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, how indebted he was to the spiritualists: “How much I owe to certain observations made by members of this group—how

often my own conclusions concur with conclusions at which they have previously arrived.”[8]

Mediumistic and other occult views of death frequently stem from personal out-of-body expe­riences and communication with spirit guides, “ascended masters,” etc. For example, the fa­mous eighteenth-century medium Emanuel Swedenborg chronicled many personal experiences from his own out-of-body travels that are identical to the near-death ones described in his 1758 text Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell.[9]

Likewise, the world-famous trance medium Arthur Ford had an OBE/near-death experience that was identical almost point for point with the composite NDE experience detailed by Moody and others, as reported in his The Life Beyond Death.[10]

Both Swedenborg and Ford founded occult, anti-Christian movements. Swedenborg began his Church of the New Jerusalem, and Ford was responsible for interesting tens of thousands of people in the occult through founding his Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship. In fact, Ford declared he was “sent back” by the spirits for this express mission—to help “remove for all time the fear of death.”[11] This goal given to him by the spirits is precisely the personal impact of the modern NDE.

In essence, no one can deny that for many people the NDE is or becomes an occult experi­ence. In fact, if the spirits of the occult routinely confess that they can purposely induce out-of­body experiences in their contacts,[12] why should anyone assume this could never happen in the NDE, especially if a person has previously been involved in the occult, as is frequently true?[13]

In conclusion, in that mediumistic teachings are supported by the “being of light” and the alleged spirits of the dead, we again conclude that they are not who they claim to be.


  1. Raymond Moody, Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon—Survival of Bodily Death (Atlanta: Mocking­bird, 1976), pp. 45-53, 70; cf. other published works of Raymond Moody and Kenneth Ring; Anabiosis, various issues; cf. The Journal of Near-Death Studies and Theta, relevant articles.
  2. See John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on the Occult (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1992) and Can You Trust Your Doctor? (Irving, TX: Word, 1991), pp. 87-94.
  3. Raphael Gasson, The Challenging Counterfeit (Plainfield, NJ: Logos, 1971); Victor Ernest, I Talked with Spirits (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1971); Johanna Michaelsen, The Beautiful Side of Evil (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1982); Doreen Irvine, Freed from Witchcraft (Nashville: Nelson, 1973); Ben Alexander, Out from Darkness (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1986).
  4. Kenneth Ring, Heading Toward Omega: In Search of the Meaning of the Near-Death Experience (New York: William Morrow, 1985), p. 224.
  5. Cf. Ring, Heading, Chs. 2-8; Raymond Moody, The Light Beyond: New Explorations by the Author of Life After Life (New York: Bantam, 1989), passim; cf., footnote 1.
  6. John White, “What the Dying See,” Psychic Magazine (September/October 1976), p. 40.
  7. D. Scott Rogo, “Research on Deathbed Experiences,” Parapsychology Today (January/February, 1978), p. 21.
  8. Frederick Myers, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1935), p. 7.
  9. Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell (New York: Swedenborg Foundation, 1940), pp. 447-448.
  10. Arthur Ford, The Life Beyond Death (New York: G. P. Putman & Sons, 1971), pp. 144-146.
  11. Ibid., p. 158.
  12. Jane Roberts, Seth: Dreams and Projections of Consciousness (Walpole, NJ: Stillpoint, 1986), p.p. 193, 350.
  13. Kenneth Ring and C. J. Rosing, “The Omega Project,” Journal of UFO Studies, New Series, Vol. 2 (1990), p. 71.


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