"Doubtless it is not profitable for me to boast. So I will move on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ over fourteen years ago—whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I knew that such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell, God knows—was caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words not permitted for a man to say" (2 Cor. 12:1-4).
"For to me, to continue living is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor to me. Yet I do not know what I shall choose. I am in a difficult position between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for your sake" (Phil. 1:21-24).
The apostle Paul couldn't wait to get to heaven and be with Christ. He said it was far better to go to heaven than to stay on the earth. A man who has this kind of longing is otherworldly. He has seen it. He has experienced it. It is reality to him. Therefore the desire in his heart is so great to get there. To most religious people, even some Christians, heaven and hell are more fantasy than reality. We need revelation of the afterworld. It will transform our hearts and change our lives.
One of the few trusted modern-day men I've known personally who've had such visions of the afterworld is the late Kenneth E. Hagin, a genuine prophet of the Lord. Just the other day I was reading his book, I Believe In Visions, which details his many visions of Jesus. What an incredible book with tremendous messages for the body of Christ! One of the visions was an open vision where Jesus walked down the corridor of a hospital where brother Hagin was being treated for an arm injury he incurred. He approached his bed and sat down in a chair and spoke to Hagin for nearly 90 minutes. Amazing!
Not only did brother Hagin, or Dad Hagin, as many affectionately called him, experience many visions throughout his lifetime and ministry, but his salvation experience included a dramatic vision of hell and the glory world. All of this is detailed in another one of his mini books called I Went To Hell. Surprisingly this book received quite a number of negative reviews. Why are people so doubtful and skeptical concerning such serious and sacred themes as heaven and hell? I'm not saying we should believe every vision or experience people have had of the afterworld, but we have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to help us discern the false and fanatical from the true. Also, to be considered is a man's character and integrity. Dad Hagin was a man of great spiritual stature who lived an impeccable life of faithfulness to the Lord and his calling.
Down through the ages since the day of Christ's resurrection there have been many authentic cases of people who've had visions and dreams and out of the body experiences—even people who apparently died and were permitted to return and tell their stories. The Scriptures have cases of the dead being raised and history does, too. Down through the centuries a number of people, such as Kenneth E. Hagin, have had genuine out-of-the-body experiences that are in close harmony with Bible revelation.
One of the most remarkable in recent modern times is the well documented vision of Marietta Davis in 1848. She was a 25-year-old young woman who for nine days lay in a trance (trances are Scriptural as both Peter [Acts 10:10] and Paul [Acts 22:17] had them) from which she could not be awakened and during which times she witnessed visions of heaven and hell. I am very familiar with her testimony, having read it several times, and it is very close in harmony to Bible revelation of the nature of man's existence after death. It is most fascinating.
Previous to her vision, she had been under deep conviction of sin, but apparently had not surrendered to the Lord and obtained assurance of salvation. Consequently, when she left her body she was to a certain extent susceptible to the attraction of both heaven and hell. Perhaps this is the reason God chose her to witness both places of departed spirits. Once again, her testimony is very closely related to biblical revelation and agrees with what Jesus taught in Luke 16 concerning the spiritual condition of the rich man and Lazarus.
Marietta Davis' testimony is a solemn warning to all who follow the sinful pleasures of this world and the paths that lead to death. We will detail her testimony in greater detail perhaps in future blogs.
The Lord dealt with me in 2005 about writing and speaking more on what He called lost themes or discarded and understated truths in the body of Christ that need to be restored to their rightful place in the church. Most of my books are written in the light of this burden the Lord gave me.
To be continued ...
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