Friday, March 29, 2013

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew in me a right spirit!" 

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew in me a right spirit!"  

A video testimony of an elderly  lady, who when she was 17, died for 4 hours, saw hell, and met Jesus.....

Comment: Yes, for sure, we Orthodox need to be very careful about too  readily accepting as valid, 
the many many current testimonies of people from all around the world, who declare that they saw heaven & hell, and have returned from the dead, to testify to us as to what they saw, heard, and felt, etc.
(though such testimonies have been duly reported/recorded  through the centuries, and are not unknown in the Orthodox church, especially from the Lives of Saints)..
if we are spiritually aware, God is constantly sending us reminders of the realities of  life and death, of this passing  world and about the next.

However! also, we dare not automatically dismiss out-of-hand, all of these 'after-death' or 'near death' encounters with the other world, as demonic delusions, (though some of them may be), as they have been declared through the centuries,  
as that would be to blaspheme the Holy Spirit,...our Philanthropic God, Who desires that, 'all men may be saved',  and  'Who art everywhere present and Who fillest all things'.
Further, when some of these testimonies yield from the people in question or from their heterodox pastors, etc. flawed heterodox explanations as to their meaning or interpretations, doctrines or mindsets, that too,
does not mean that what all,  these people experienced is false/delusional  or from the devil, etc.
To the spiritually cautious Orthodox mind, IF...what these people  saw and heard, then inspires these people to true repentance and reformation of life, (& as the Bible and our Orthodox Patristic understanding of such is), a proof that it was most likely  sent from God.
(Though [certain] imperfect Protestant theologies & the now popular/secular post-Christian  culture,  tendency to believe that: "All are going to Heaven" is not a supported by the Bible or Sacred Tradition).
THAT, our Orthodox Church cannot teach, as Jesus did not teach that.
Some of these after-death declare this false & smug delusion, which most likely is..from the devil,
so of those faulty testimonies, we must beware...e.g. that there is no hell, or that by merely 'confessing the Lord Jesus with our mouths, then we are , 'saved', matter how we lead our daily lives before our deaths, etc....or that automatically when anyone dies.... then they...go to Heaven, etc. 
BUT  too, very often, what many have  experienced and, surprisingly,  in keeping with Orthodox doctrines and
how Orthodox saints have described the next world.
The face of Jesus that this lady saw, is more or less, a description of what our Orthodox church teaches how Jesus in His flesh, actually looked like, and which  centuries of our best/most correct  iconography depicts (or should depict).
But....this is just my observation....
To me, such numerous testimonies can help remember that: God IS real, and so is Heaven and so is Hell....and that Our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST is our path to Heaven, and besides Him...there is no other....and that we too, need repentance and reformation of life, so that as we live with Him HERE on earth, we MAY also dwell with Him in Eternity, i.e. so that we may be 'fit' to live with God.
For us to foolishly or pridefully imagine, that we Orthodox  will automatically get to Heaven, merely, because we say, 'I am an Orthodox'Christian', is utter spiritual folly.
Only the truly soul and heart cleansed and sanctified .....CAN dwell in Heaven, those with a clean heart and a clean soul....those who DO the will of the Father and not just give lip-service.
Rd. Daniel
P.S. But of course: "Ye must test the spirits, to see if they be of God!".

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