Archive for March, 2021



Although I lived through that first night, my troubles were far from over. My life would continue, but now the devil had me on the ropes, and although I did not know it at the time, he was coming in to finish me off.

BACK FROM DEATH

He proceeded to attack me in the hospital even after that first night. Several of his strikes damaged my body, while others troubled my job situation and many of my relationships. When all else failed, he tried to kill me by having my doctors try to convince me to have a dangerous operation that I did not need. In general, he brought havoc into my life with a constant wave of events designed to abort my future and the purpose of my life.

As strange as this may sound, I paid no heed to the Judgment Day messages I experienced that first night in the hospital. The whole encounter was unbelievably frightening and depressing, and I often questioned if these terrifying experiences could have been then real.

I blocked all my thoughts of that night because I no longer wanted to dwell upon or think about their consequences. I rationalized them as being nothing more than an awful dream. I pictured them as being in a faraway place in my mind. An unfortunate result of these actions is that they left me exposed to a series of demonic attacks. I was about to experience the truth of living a life without God to thwart the attacks of the devil.

THE NEXT THREE MONTHS


I spent the first few weeks in the intensive care unit (ICU), and quite frankly, I could not have been any sicker. It was so bad that I remember thinking, “at least I’m still alive.”

The doctors verified that my pancreas was the problem, that it had exploded into hyper-production, generating thousands of times the necessary quantity of digestive enzymes, releasing much of it into my bloodstream. They also told me that these digestive enzymes decompose proteins, and therefore much of my body was being damaged. My blood, veins, arteries, muscles, nerves, organs, bones, and brain were rapidly decomposing for weeks. That would explain my sensations of needles and pins all over my body and the numbness I felt after I entered the hospital.

They went on to reveal that the hyper-production created immense pressure on the inner lining of the pancreas. This force was so great that it pushed the inner lining through the outer wall, forming a balloon-shaped cyst outside the pancreas. The physicians called it a pseudocyst, and they deemed it to be a potentially fatal condition. Although my pseudocyst was only leaking, and it had not yet ruptured, it would eventually harden and break open, abruptly discharging uncontrolled quantities of digestive enzymes into my bloodstream, creating even more damage to my body.

My surgeons told me that the pseudocysts were a ticking timebomb that would require defusing before another explosion was to hit. Surgery was on their minds and in their hearts from the very start. But for now, I was not strong enough for any surgery as my body needed to heal, and I needed to gain strength.

In the meantime, the physicians proceeded with a recovery strategy that focused on food abstinence. They reasoned that fasting would slow down enzyme production considerably because food consumption triggers the digestive processes. Initiating this program would also give my body time to cleanse itself of the damaging toxins in my blood. To ensure that the program was working, they monitored my blood regularly and reported that my enzyme levels were continuously moving lower.

I made it through the first few weeks without eating anything and lost 30 pounds in the process. They then started feeding me by way of an IV containing sugar and vitamins. The doctors said that my body responded as expected, as my enzyme levels had returned to safe levels, and I had gained strength. While this was good news, I still felt very sick.

THE STENCH OF DEATH


It was more than feeling very unhealthy, however. I had begun to discern that there was something very different about me. One thing that I noticed was my indecent speech. Vulgarities were flowing out of my mouth, seemingly with every sentence I uttered, and for some reason, I did not seem to care who it offended as I spared no one from my bad speech, not my mother, father, or even my children. Physicians and nurses were daily victims, and even things like my handwritten notes strangely contained vulgarities. It was so bad that it was even evident to me, and yet I could not seem to stop. I wondered to myself, why am I saying such disgusting things? It was apparent to everyone around me that my vocabulary had changed. In reality, the stench of death was still all over me. Oh, I was still alive and in this world, but the scent of death had covered me like a blanket.

My mind was also affected. My thoughts were of sensual pleasures and flirting with nurses. This behavior was unimaginable for someone so sick that they could die at any moment. I remember thinking, what is wrong with you? You’re so ill you cannot stay awake for more than an hour at a time, and you are harboring these absurd thoughts?

BREATHING PROBLEMS


One morning shortly after relocating into a conventional hospital room, I noticed that I was having breathing difficulties. I began struggling to get sufficient air into my lungs. It seemed that something was obstructing my airflow, and I found it laborious to get enough air to talk. I informed the nurse’s station, and I was startled when they considered my problem unimportant. They took no action but wanted me to wait for my doctor to come around on his regular rounds. But I had been in the hospital long enough to know that this could take several more hours and that it was also possible that the doctor may not show up at all. This condition was not something I wanted to leave up to chance.

I waited for a while, but whatever was wrong with me was becoming worse very quickly. I called on my family members to get a doctor’s attention immediately, and they came through for me. My family physician arrived and discovered that my vocal cords had become swollen and restricted my air supply. He explained that there were digestive enzymes in the vomit I had excreted when I entered the hospital and that they damaged my vocal cords. If left unaddressed, a total blockage would occur, and I would suffocate. He ordered that I be placed on oxygen immediately and scheduled a tracheotomy for the next day.

The operation required that the physicians enter through the base of my neck. They then had to cut a hole in my windpipe just below my vocal cords and insert a small metal pipe into the hole. This mechanism ensured that the passageway remained open, allowing air to flow into my lungs through the tube even when my vocal cords closed completely. This device became my lifeline to the oxygen that I needed for the next several weeks.

EATING PROBLEMS


After I had been on the IV feedings for a while, my physicians grew concerned about their ability to maintain me on continuous IV feedings. So they decided to see if I was strong enough to eat natural food again. They slowly introduced a liquid diet, and when that went well, they followed that up with a soft food diet. Everything went well for about a week, but then suddenly, my enzyme levels shot up dramatically again.

So they suspended the diets until things turned around, and when they did about a week later, they reinstated the same meal plan. Unfortunately, my enzyme levels shot up again, and they halted the feeding program for a second time. Through all of this, the IV feedings never stopped, but their impact started to take its toll as the veins in my arms, legs, hands, and feet were breaking down. Things were getting worse, and I was wondering if they had a solution.

A CATHETER IN THE AORTA


I was moving into a no-win situation. I was unable to eat regular food while at the same time, it was becoming increasingly difficult to get the nourishment I needed via IV’s. My large veins had broken down, and the nurses were now using smaller ones, resulting in increased IV time. They were also having an increasingly difficult time finding a vein, often having to make several stick attempts were becoming common. I was soon connected to the IV twenty hours a day, and the situation was rapidly worsening.

After a lot of agonizing about this predicament, my doctors eventually resolved to risk placing a semi-permanent catheter into my Aorta. That’s correct, right through the middle of my chest and very near my heart. They were hesitant to perform this procedure because just one slip could cause permanent heart damage.

But there were several advantages to taking the risk. One advantage is that it would solve my nutritional issues. Once this catheter was in place, I could get all the nutrition I needed in just four hours a day. Secondly, it was much simpler to use; all I needed to do was connect to an IV bag, no more needle sticks. Things suddenly became more comfortable and pain-free. Also, I could get up and move around more often as I did not have an IV bag to hold me back.

They conducted the procedure in my hospital room, and I was
conscious throughout the entire operation as the doctors required feedback from me. They started by cutting a small opening in my chest so that they could enter between two of my ribs. Then they injected the catheter through the hole and tried to insert it into the Aorta, but as fate would have it, they had a great deal of trouble puncturing my healthy Aorta wall. The Doc had to gradually exert increasing pressure to force the catheter into the artery. This effort went on for several minutes until, eventually, the physician was using all of his strength and body weight to get the job done. I became very concerned when I recollected the danger warnings they gave me before the procedure. But, the catheter finally penetrated the aorta wall, creating a sound like the crushing of a giant beetle’s shell as it entered. The good news is that the operation was a success. There were no slips, thank God. I was delighted and relieved that this entire ordeal was over.

A MEAGER ATTEMPT TO FIND GOD


Someplace along the way, I picked up a Bible. I had never read it before, but now that I had the time, I believed that perhaps it would be as good an opportunity as any. I was still tired much of the time, and I napped several times a day. I would often read just a few chapters at a time because even reading tired me. I started reading the book of Matthew and hung in there until I eventually completed the entire book. I read the words, but they somehow did not hit home. I remember thinking that the book did not make any sense. The book of Matthew seemed like a series of beautiful stories, but not much more. I wondered why anyone would get so passionate about these simple accounts. After finishing Matthew, I resumed reading, but after a while, I gave up. The Bible did not make much of an impression on me then. Little did I know that God would reward my modest attempt to reach out to Him.

A HEALING MIRACLE


After being in the hospital for a couple of months, a staff surgeon came to talk to me about my second CAT scan that confirmed that my pseudocysts were not being reabsorbed back into my pancreas. He stated that it would be dangerous to leave them in their current condition indefinitely. He then provided me with a long list of dangers of why my situation and recommended that I have a pancreas operation.

I inquired about the dangers of surgery, and he explained that the procedure is both very complex and risky. It involved making a fifteen-inch cut in my abdomen and then physically removing my stomach, kidneys, and some intestines to get to the pancreas, which is positioned just inside the backbone and is otherwise inaccessible.

The pseudocysts are then lanced and sewn to the inside wall of the intestines. Once finished, they would reinstate the extracted organs and stitch me up. The surgeon acknowledged that this procedure is risky. On the other hand, he held that the risk is justified because he knew that eventually, I would have significant, possibly fatal, episodes without it.

But the complexity and risk of this operation seemed unreasonable to me. After all, I had believed from the very first day that I would recover and that everything would be fine. I declined to let negative thoughts into my mind. Bad news from the doctor was not going to change my mind about my overall outcome. It also seemed to me that the operational risk was higher than the potential future damage caused by my pancreas. I did not want to die on the operating table. This surgery just seemed intrinsically a bad idea to me. It seemed wrong in my head and my gut.

Some in my family, nevertheless, thought differently. Of course, at that moment, they knew much better than I, just how fortunate I was to be alive. After a discussion with them and then thinking about the right decision for some time, I decided to get a second opinion. So I contacted my family doctor to see if he could help. He searched and found a very experienced pancreatic specialist who unfortunately worked in another hospital in town. But I asked him to set things up for me anyway.

Little did I know what a firestorm I commenced by bringing in a doctor from another hospital. My perspective was that I wanted the best I could find and did not comprehend why anyone would do it any other way. I also understood that other doctors in this hospital would agree with their surgeon’s original opinion. I wanted a fresh set of eyes and an open and independent mind, and my family doctor did an excellent job playing the middleman in making this happen. He pulled all the strings required to get the second evaluation set up.

The day that my second opinion was schedule, I was sitting up in bed, and I could hear the nurses and the doctors talking about this outrage in the halls. It seemed that every staff member in the building was talking about it. They were offended that someone from another hospital was coming in to examine me. With all the fuss they were putting up, you would have thought that someone had robbed a bank, and perhaps, that is what it was all about.

In any case, the outside doctor showed up and did an excellent job. He asked me several questions, examined me, reviewed my records, and ordered a second battery of tests, including CAT scans, X-rays, and blood tests. A few weeks later, he reported his findings, and the results were shocking. He said that by comparing the latest CAT scan with the preceding one, he could see that my pseudocysts were shrinking! He indicated that they were reabsorbing into my pancreas, and he forecasted that they would disappear within three to six months. My body was healing! What great news!

I did not give God any credit at the time, however. I believed that it was my positive attitude, healthy body, and good luck getting me through. It was only much later that I apprehend the truth about Jesus that I understood it was all God’s doing.

When I look back at it now, it is as clear as crystal. Something occurred between my first and second series of tests, and that something was that I had sought God’s help by picking up a Bible and reading it. Regardless of how feeble the effort was, God responded with a healing miracle! It did not even matter that I found the experience empty; God honored my attempt to find Him. It was as if God was responding to me, “Okay, son; you took one step in My direction, and you thought that nothing would come of it. But, you have My heart. I am going to show you that I am real. I desire that you live.”

I did not ask for healing but simply reached out to try to find Him. Sweet God in heaven, I praise Your holy and sacred name. I praise You for loving someone unworthy of Your love, who could not have changed the error of his ways without it.

As you can see, God was there again for me. He was watching out for me and taking care of me even when I did not know it. I think about these things now and wonder why the Lord would love me so. He has saved me from the lake of fire and brimstone, the pit of hell and the devil’s savagery. He has given me life even though I stood before Him with the stains of sin on my garments on Judgment Day.

DISAGREEMENTS ABOUT THE GOOD NEWS


When the hospital received the second opinion report, I was not surprised that they disagreed. Nor was I shocked when the hospital surgeon suggested that I would experience severe consequences if I did not have the surgery. I remember thinking at the time, “After all, a surgeon only makes the big money when they operate, right?” But the surgeon was not the only one pressing me to go ahead and have the surgery anyway. Members of my immediate family also tried to persuade me to go forward with the procedure. After all, they were fearful of losing me. I understand.

I knew in my heart that I would live from the very outset. I
may have picked up this positive attitude by merely living through the first night. I, therefore, rejected the risky surgery and accepted the path of natural recovery. You see, I had believed in a good report even before there was one to contemplate. I knew that I did not need the operation, and I told my hospital doctors and everyone else of this belief. Many people tried to change my mind, but I declined them all.

The physicians tried several strategies to get me to recant, but my response was always unwavering and to the point. In the end, they pressed me so hard that I had to rudely tell them that this was the end of the line. There would be no more discussions about an operation.

Interestingly enough, by chance, I ran into the surgeon who recommended the operation on an airport shuttle bus several years later. I was in much better health by then, and he may not have know who I was, so I reintroduced myself. Would you believe that he started preaching to me about the operation again? I guess he just did not get the message. He refused to accept the test results that confirmed that the pseudocysts had disappeared and that there was nothing left on which to operate! So it is with the unbelieving, they see with their eyes, but their minds don’t comprehend. They hear with their ears, but they don’t understand.

GOING ON HOME CARE


Just as the second opinion foretold, I began to feel much healthier as my body recovered. I still had some difficulties with food digestion and therefore had to stay on aortal IV feedings for quite some time. I no longer had to nap several times a day, and with this added time on my hands, I walked the corridors of the hospital out of boredom.

My family doctors believed that now I was out of severe trouble and suggested that I go on home care. One advantage would be that I could manage my IV feedings without the aid of a nurse. Of course, being home had to be the most important. After months in the hospital, going home seemed so good.

Besides living at home, a particularly significant advantage of moving to home care is that the cost is significantly less than hospital care. Since my health coverage was paying for the entire hospital stay, they had the most to gain by this move. Yet, for some reason, the insurance company balked at funding the cost of home care. Eventually, my family physician had to talk to the insurance company executives to get home care approved. I was fortunate to have this man in my corner, making things happen for me, time after time. It was a long struggle, but I was pleased to be finally going home.

The home care people came to my home and provided me with everything I required to do IV feedings at home. They even brought in a miniature refrigerator to keep the IV solutions fresh, and they followed up by delivering additional solutions weekly. They instructed me on how to set up the IVs correctly. After that, I became responsible for my home care operation. I had to hook up the IV to my aortal catheter each day at the proper times. That was it except for frequent check-ups at my family doctor’s office.

PROBLEMS WITH INFECTION


For the first few weeks, everything worked extremely well. Then one day, for no apparent reason, I suffered what I would describe as severe icy chills with uncontrollable shivering. My body shivered and shook for approximately ten minutes while covering me with blankets did not remedy my symptoms. Eventually, my lips turned blue from the cold. Then, just as quickly as they started, these chills ran their course and abruptly halted. I went directly to the hospital, where they conducted a series of tests. I talked with the physicians, and they were baffled. Being very concerned, I walked them thru the history of my illness and home care. Despite all of this, they told me that it was probably nothing, and I should not worry about it. I remember pondering as I left the hospital that perhaps there was something wrong with my catheter. After all, what else could it be? But then I reasoned that they well paid to solve people’s health problems. They are doctors! They have studied for years and are competent in figuring this out. They are professionals! They know what they are doing, right?

Approximately ten days later, just when I began thinking that perhaps the doctors were right, the chills hit me again, only this time they were much more acute. I am not sure how long the shivers remained, but when they ended, I was exhausted. In my way of reasoning, this was a drastic reversal to my recovery. Following the episode, I mustered up the energy and returned to the hospital again, where they completed an even more exhaustive set of tests. But the outcomes were the same; they found nothing wrong and sent me home. Yes, I made sure that they knew all of the details of my illness and my current home care treatment. I explicitly asked if my Aortic catheter could be the source of the dilemma. They responded that if they could see me when I was experiencing an episode, they might identify the origin of these mysterious shivers and convulsions. I was starting to question if they believed what I had told them.

A week later, I was at my family doctors office for my periodic check-up. I was seated on an exam table while he examined me when the third shivering episode began. When the doctor observed it, he had the nurse cover me with blankets, but they were ineffective. I looked in the office mirror and could see that my lips had turned blue once again. The convulsions became much more violent than before, and my fingers and toes went numb as well. The muscles of my body began cramping from exhaustion. In the midst of all of my thrashing, the doctor checked my heartbeat with his stethoscope, and while he monitored, I could feel the abnormal heart rhythm in my chest, and I knew that he heard it also. I looked at his face, and I watched as it turned white while he monitored my arrhythmia. I looked directly into his wide-open eyes and saw fear in them. I knew that he thought I could die right there in his office. I knew that I was weak enough to expire, but once again, I refused to let negative thoughts into my mind, regardless of the circumstances. Just like before, I knew that I would be okay.

Soon my body started shaking even more violently, and the doctor directed a nurse laid on me to provide her body warmth. An ambulance arrived and wheeled me out on a gurney, right through the patient waiting room. I got to see, first hand, the horror and disgust on the faces of the people as I went past them. I guessed that they repulsed by my symptoms and likely presumed that I was dying!

Just as in the other two episodes, the extreme shaking abruptly ended inside the ambulance. My physician must have phoned ahead because they immediately concluded that something was wrong with my catheter and removed it as a precautionary measure. Later, tests on the catheter confirmed their suspicions as they found a strand of staph infection growing at the end of the catheter. According to my doctor, the extension would develop into a long chain of infectious material that grew as time passed. Once it reached a critical mass, the strand would break and instantaneously released into my heart.

SIGNIFICANCE TO THE VISION


I did not know it at the time, but all of this was due to spiritual warfare. Satan kept hitting me because I refused to seek the protection of God. God was trying to get my attention, but I was not paying attention. He had something He wanted to tell me.


MY DAY OF DEATH

It was November 7, 1986, a day that I would prefer to forget but likely never will. My chronicle of this day and its aftermath will seem unimaginable to many. It was the day death came calling, and I crossed over into the spiritual reality of our human existence. When I look back on this experience, I understand that it was a period of change for me, an essential lesson in the truth about our reality, and an education on why we are here. I knew almost nothing about these things you are about to read at the time they occurred.

It all began when, for some reason, I had stopped believing in the existence of the devil and disregarded the terrifying encounter I had as a child (documented in the section entitled, A Terrifying Memory.) I believe that this left me a vulnerable victim for what started on that November day.

I was not feeling well on that day, which was a bummer because I was very enthusiastic about going to a concert with friends that evening. As the day progressed, my condition worsened. This condition was something I had previously experienced, off and on, for many months. The symptoms included low energy, facial flushing, and high-temperature, and I frequently experienced them after dinner or a couple of drinks. I had also gained over thirty pounds during this time. I had gone to see my doctor about all of this on two separate occasions, but after several sets of tests, they found nothing wrong.

Despite all of this, I decided that the concert was just too good to pass up. So that evening, I met my friends at a restaurant before the show for dinner and drinks. Even though I was not hungry, I went ahead and ordered a Mexican dish and a beer anyway. The aftereffect of this combination made my stomach feel full and backed up.

We left the restaurant ad walked across the street to the concert hall and took our excellent seats just before the show started. The music and the performances were outstanding, and everyone was having a swell time, except for me. I was getting nauseous and sick to my stomach, and I tried to delay the inevitable but eventually had to leave the performance to go to the restroom to vomit. As I returned to my chair, I thought that there must have been something wrong with the Mexican food I ate. My illness proceeded to worsen throughout the evening, as I had to depart to the restroom several more times for relief by the time the concert ended. My friends all wanted to go out for drinks afterwards, but I had started to develop sharp abdominal pains and had to decline their invitation and drove home instead.

When I arrived back home forty minutes later, my abdominal pain had become severe. As I exited my car, I found that I could not stand upright due to the pain, but rather, I had to stoop forward at the waist to minimize it. My wife and I called our family doctor, and he recommended that I be taken to the hospital emergency room immediately. Ironically, the trip to the hospital brought me within a block or so of the concert hall I had left a couple of hours ago.

THE INTENSIVE CARE UNIT AND THE INITIAL PROGNOSIS


When I eventually arrived at the emergency room (ER), I stepped out of the car, and I meandered inside, clutching my stomach while bowing 90 degrees at the waist. I was understandably irritable and demanded immediate attention when I arrived at the admissions window. The nurse there gave me some forms to fill out and requested my proof of insurance. All of this took so long that I was starting to wonder if I would get the treatment I needed in time. I gave her my insurance card and continued to fill out the forms when I suddenly had to bolt across the room to the restroom to vomit once again. I reasoned that if I had food poisoning, I should be getting better by now because I was emptying my stomach, but this certainly was not the case.

Now sensing that I was acutely ill, the ER nurses immediately came into the waiting area with a wheelchair and drove me into an examining room. Then, a very young man came in and examined me and pressed on my stomach. He looked like a high school student, and I remember thinking, this certainly can not be my doctor. But as it turned out, he was the intern on duty, and yes, he was the doctor who performed the preliminary examination. He had the nurse take blood samples, and as I waited for the results, the pain grew steadily worse.

The young doctor returned an hour or so later and informed me that he had reached a very unusual diagnosis. As a result, he had requested the assistance of a resident doctor for validation. Thirty minutes later, the resident doctor came in to examine me, and after reviewing all the data, he told me that he concurred with the intern’s diagnosis. However, he would also require a review and validation by the hospitals top doctor. I asked about what my infirmity might be, but he was unwilling to tell me anything about his diagnosis. Things were becoming scary. What could be so bad that it needed this level of consideration and secrecy?

So I waited in pain as the head physician drove in from home. When he arrived, I received my third examination, and after a lot of deliberation, they all agreed that I was suffering from a malfunctioning pancreas.

They transferred me to an intensive care unit and gave me morphine for the pain, which had now spread throughout my entire body. It felt like I had needles and pins implanted in every square millimeter of my flesh. The discomfort was so great that certain parts of my body were now starting to go numb. Although I did not know it at the time, the doctors had already advised my immediate family that they did not expect me to live through the night and that they should call any distant family members who might want to see me before I died.

The initial shots of morphine proved ineffective, so they gave me several additional doses, but these didn’t help either. Eventually, a nurse connected me to a morphine injector pump that allowed me to regulate my medication level by merely pushing a button. Interestingly, all this morphine never made the pain completely go away. It just got me into a mindset where I didn’t care about the pain anymore. I remember thinking at one point when my stomach pain intensified, oh well, so what!

The doctors never communicated that they had done all they could do, that there is no cure or medication to address the pancreas condition I had. They planned to shut down my digestive system by discontinuing my food intake and hoped I would pull through. They never inform me of the gravity of my ailment. But this turned out to be a good thing because, through this entire ordeal, I always believed that I would recover.

I remember the nurse shutting the curtains in my ICU room and turning out the lights as she left. I laid there for a while, just staring up at the ceiling while wondering what my fate might be. Eventually, I became groggy and drifted off to sleep.

LEAVING MY BODY


While unconscious, I had an out-of-body experience in which I found myself seated in a transparent spaceship, hovering in the blackness of space with the radiance of billions of stars all around. I knew that I was sitting on a solid surface because I could feel my bottom and crossed legs touching it. Mysteriously, I also knew that I had a transparent dome above me, shielding me from the environment while also allowing me to see in every direction.

Once again, I was receiving information pertinent to my circumstance. I suddenly knew I had left my body and was about to travel through space and time. I soon noticed the first sensation of movement. Slowly forward at first and then gradually accelerating. I then began to hear voices, bits of peoples conversations that I was passing by. One statement after another in succession, as if I were slowly driving a car past an unbroken line of people engaged in dialogue.

Initially, I could hear complete sentences, but as my ship accelerated, the words also came in quicker, were higher-pitched, and less recognizable. Soon, there were very few recognizable words, and eventually, there were none. They sounded like a 33 RPM record played at a 78 RPM speed. Then, as the acceleration advanced, the sound transformed into something like Morse code and soon into the squelch of an old-time radio when someone quickly turns the tuner across a wide range of stations. I felt that my ship was traveling through time and that I was passing by the voices of my life’s future conversations. I had a feeling that they were the voices of a future that I was not going to have. Suddenly these sounds just stopped. I thought that I would have had a very long life if I had lived.

With the sounds of voices now behind me, I focused on trying to identify my location. At first, all I could see were the stars and the blackness of space all around me. I soon noticed, however, that I was zigzagging back and forth through space. The ship was advancing in S-shaped curves, like a snake, first veering to the left, then curving around to the right. Back and forth, I went while maintaining one precise heading forward. I was moving ahead in the form of a sine wave.

SPIRITUAL GOLGOTHA


I proceeded to look around as I progressed through space, and I noticed an object ahead that was slightly larger than all the others in the endless sea of stars ahead. As I advanced, I saw that its shape was different from the other stars. For one thing, it was not spherical, and yet I couldn’t quite make out what it was.

Abruptly, a strange repugnant stench came into the craft. It was faint at first, and I found myself sniffing to identify it. But when the full strength of that putrifying odor fell on me like a giant wave crashing onto the shore, it choked and sickened me. I was the horrid stench of decaying human flesh, the odor of death, and it repulsed me.

I then began to hear a faint melodic sound that I could not identify. I noticed, however, that the volume was increasing as I neared the unidentified object before me. A chill ran through me when I recognized that the sound was the voices of millions of souls, simultaneously wailing in torment and despair. It was this perpetual melody of misery that evoked in me a very depressing and gut-wrenching feeling.

I glanced up to check my heading and observed that I was nearing the now much larger-looking white object in space. I also noticed that my s-curves appeared larger. I determined that I was moving directly toward this irregularly shaped object and that both the putrified stench and wailing sounds were emanating from within it. I soon saw what I wish I had not, a gigantic, human skull suspended in space without a body. It had bits of muscle and hair in various places, but, in general, it was severely deteriorated and decayed. Much of its skin was gone, exposing underlying muscle, ligament, and bone. Most areas were missing the muscle and ligaments, revealing only the bony structure. The jaw had seriously degenerated except for a few teeth and exposed jawbone that projected an evil smirk. The right eyeball was missing, and it was from this open cavity that the stench and the wailing sounds emerged.

The closer I came to this skull of death, the more I became in awe of its enormous size. My sine wave flight path now swung me from one edge of the object to the other, and before I knew it, all I could see before me was the skull. Yet, I proceeded onward, and soon all I could see was the open eye socket before me. I then realized my total insignificance relative to the massiveness of this object. Nevertheless, I extended my approach, now entering the empty eye socket, and watched as it engulfed me. Once inside, I got a close-up view of the remnants of ligaments and muscles inside the eye socket. Yet, I proceeded, now moving into total darkness, eventually passing through an invisible passageway. It appeared that my journey was over for now, and I wondered what might lie ahead.

THE LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE


I soon found myself swimming in a phosphorescent yellow-orange plasma with millions of other lost souls. The plasma delivered a punishing heat and immense pressure on everything there. I thought that these conditions must be like our suns fusion, where enormous gravitational forces cause extreme heat and pressure.

The heat agonizingly stung and scorched my skin, and the weight of the plasma felt like a million atmospheres of pressure, squeezing everything right out of me. The other souls there looked similar to white tadpoles, as they swam wailing in agony through the hot orange ooze, the scorch of the heat, and the pressure of the plasma driving them into madness.

Every soul there was continuously enduring the horror, sorrow, pain, and misery they had inflicted on others. More than that, they were experiencing them precisely as their victims had at the time. All of this emotion was broadcasted into the plasma and was simultaneously experienced by every other soul there. The compounded effect of these simultaneous sorrows would seem unbearable, but they had no alternative but to live in eternal torment, a torment that drove them into enraged madness. As a result, they darted back and forth like pollywogs in a heated chemistry beaker, frantic for an escape without hope or rest, searching continuously for relief without end, wailing in despair.

I discerned that there was no escape from the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, but somehow I was mysteriously transferred out of this place and instantly relocated to a large searing hot cave.

HELL


The sculptured rock surfaces are blackened from scorching and glowed red in various spots. The walls also contained many large fissures that periodically opened to release fire and a repulsive sulfuric smelling steam. I guessed that these conditions must be like those in the middle of the earth. When I looked around and noticed that I was alone, I started walking down a passageway, through the flames and the steam, looking for a way out.

THE BEAST


Suddenly, a giant beast magically emerged in front of me, blocking my way. This offensive looking ten-foot-tall monster had a frame comparable to that of a husky man. Its large arms and legs were thicker than my torso, and its muscles bulged like those of a world-class bodybuilder. Its skin was predominantly darkish brown with hints of black splashed in, and its surface resembled scorched leather, tempered in the fire of this place. This leathered skin had sharp thorns of various sizes, all across its body, and the larger thorns even had smaller thorns on them. These rose-like thorns had to be an exceptional weapon as anyone who engaged this monster in battle would be cut to shreds.

I stared at the face of the beast, and as its red eyes glared back at me, I felt its immense contempt for me. Its head sloped backward like the head of a Raptor, and I knew that this beast was the master of this place and that there was no way for me to defeat it; at least not here where it rules. We stood there, glaring at each other for a while, and once again, I felt the great loathing and hatred it had toward me. It hated me with a prejudice that I had never imagined, with perfect malice. I knew that it found me revolting, disgusting, and even repulsive. There are no words that can adequately convey the depth and completeness of its hostility toward me.

Realizing the gravity of the situation, I attempted to run, but my feet stuck to the floor, and I could not lift them. The beast then made numerous thrashing motions at me, swinging its arms at me, but luckily its feet stuck to the ground as well. This realization was a good thing because I understood that it would rule over me in the halls of hell if ever released. I also knew that it would torture me, obtaining sadistic pleasure in my suffering. All of these things, I somehow knew as if someone had inserted knowledge directly into my brain. I felt it all with powerful emotion. But, the beast’s restraints held, and then, as before, I was instantly transported to yet another place.

THE GRAY PLACE AND JUDGMENT DAY


I found myself in a tranquil fog, one that mysteriously had no misty dampness. I looked all around but saw only the greyness that engulfed me. I pondered on my recent rendezvous and felt fortunate to be in a place as peaceful and calming as this one.

All of this suddenly changed as I started to re-experience the sins of my life much more vividly than when I lived them. Interestingly, I was also experiencing the feelings, emotions and perceptions of the people I had sinned against as well. I felt what the people I had harmed felt, and it humbled me. These interactions transpired instantaneously. Instead of taking hours, days, months, or even years, I re-experienced them all at the same instant.

Suddenly all of this ended, and I heard a voice that came from beyond the fog. It was a mature comforting voice, one that projected love. It emitted confidence that drew me toward it. It was firm and yet unintimidating. It had a perfect tempo. Its strength, language, and pronunciation were precise, yet the voice conveyed a sense of caring and concern. I perceived all this from just the four incredible words the voice spoke.

I thought, how could I decern all of this with just four words? After all, it was only a straightforward question, yet one so profound that it cut me to my heart. It had taken me by surprise and hit home like a sledgehammer. “Why should you live?” is all the voice spoke without expression of judgment or anger. It left no clue revealing what a satisfactory answer might be either, and the fog kept me from observing the source, so I had no visual clues to help.

Eventually, I got over being intrigued by the voice as the ramifications of the question overwhelmed me. I had realized that my answer would determine my fate. I thought that there had to be a correct answer, one that would make a difference. If not, why ask it? Frantically, I started to search for reasons to justify my poor conduct.

While I was doing this, another insight came to me from out of the blue, and it rocked me. There were no lies in this place, only truth. Lies do not exist here because the one who asks the questions knows the truth. Everyone here knows the truth.

Soon another truth hit me. The inquiry pertained to more than just mortal life and death on earth. It was a question relating to life forever, either in paradise or in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, the second death. Then I thought, but, how can I know this because I never heard of the second death before. I began to understand the significance and gravity of the question and the consequences of my answer. Death forever! Agony, torture, and suffering for eternity in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. Unending torment at the hand of Satan. Then that “oh, no” feeling came over me in a deluge, a sensation you get when your actions severely hurt someone.

I heard a commotion coming from somewhere beyond the voice, and then a second voice said, “What about good works?” Then, I heard more rustling and commotion that must have been several souls searching for good works. Soon the disorder stopped, and a third voice said, “There are none.” I stood there dumbfounded and thought, how can this be since I have certainly performed good works? Then another truth followed. Even the good deeds I had accomplished were for the wrong reasons.

I knew the focus was back on me, and I was desperate to find an answer. I had to come up with something. At first, I blamed others and waited for a reply, but received only silence. Then, I realized that I should not blame others for my poor choices, so I gave in and told God that I would change and asked Him for help.

That was the last thing I recollect about being in that place because I awoke in the Intensive Care Unit the next morning. I had lived through the night by the mercy of God. Yes, someone had been watching out for me again. Someone had saved me from the greatest misfortune of all. You would think that this time there would be no mistaking who was watching out for me, but regrettably, I was still blind. I saw all of this as one terrifying dream and moved on.

SIGNIFICANCE TO THE VISION


This chapter reveals the devil’s evil desire for us to fall from God’s grace, just as he did. He wants us to serve him by tempting us to do evil against humanity because it is against God’s will. He wants us to go to hell where he can rule over us. He wants us to suffer with him in Pit of Fire and Brimstone for a thousand years, where we will experience the suffering of all the evil that he did to the people of earth.

The ministry of Jesus Christ is a ministry of spiritual warfare where we cast out the evil around us. Jesus came to save us from the consequences of the devil’s activity here on earth. Jesus came so that everyone who believes in Him will have a life with Him forever in paradise. He desires that we love one another as He loved us. God demonstrated this love to us when He healed the sick, cast out demons, fed the hungry, told us about the Father, died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead, defeated all evil, and ascended into heaven where He is our advocate with the Father. These things are the heart of the vision—that we become like Jesus and do the things that He did. We do this by entering into a life of spiritual warfare and victory over evil.

I certainly did not understand any of this at the time I experienced them that day long ago. I know now that what happened that day was not just a bad dream. I know because scripture validates it all.

I will now present Chapter 3: Points for Reflection so that you may also know that all of these things are true as well.