January 3, 2024

After Death

The Deception

Clifford Goldstein

In October 2023 After Death hit 2,605 silver screens in the United States and Canada. Produced by Angel Studios, which created The Chosen TV series and The Sound of Freedom movie, After Death is a documentary about people who have died, or kind of died, but then come back to life bearing fantastic stories about what they had experienced after, well, death.

Though I saw only the trailer, it was all the usual near-death experiences (NDE) stuff: sensations of leaving their bodies, floating in a mist, approaching a wonderful light, even meeting dead relatives. All this, and more—if not hard proof that we soar off at death to heaven or, in some cases (according to the movie), to hell—is deemed “proof” enough.

How fascinating that amid the online hoopla and praise for the movie, some commented about how little of Jesus, or the gospel, or the plan of salvation, was revealed to these nearly dead people. You don’t say? Years before I became an Adventist, what I loved about reading my first book on NDEs, Raymond Moody’s Life After Life, was just how un-Christian the whole thing was: “un-Christian” in that many who had these experiences weren’t churchgoing folks to begin with, and whatever they had learned from whomever they met while supposedly floating around disembodied in heaven—it wasn’t anything like You need to believe in Jesus to be saved or Repent and be converted, which back then gave me great comfort. You’d think that, having been given a foretaste of the Christian heaven, they might have also gotten a bit of Christian truth as well. Most didn’t.

Also, in a last-ditch effort to keep me from the cross, Satan lured me into the occult, where my own out-of-body experiences were amazingly similar to what some of these people in the movie said had happened to them—and I was nowhere near death. Simply read now about Astral Travel, or Astral Projections, or Out-of-Body Travel (plenty of Facebook forums), in order to see how similar these New Age occult phenomena are to what those in After Death had experienced.

 The amazing popularity of The Chosen and The Sound of Freedom will, by default, give credence to this new film, which will only confirm for endless Christians the belief that at death they ascend immediately to heaven, even though the Bible teaches that death is an unconscious (Eccl. 9:5, 6; Ps. 6:5; 115:17; 146:4) sleep (Ps. 13:3; 1 Kings 2:10; Dan. 12:2; 2 Kings 16:20; Acts 7:60; 1 Cor. 15:20) until the first resurrection, at Christ’s return (John 5:28, 29; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 20:6).

Decades ago I heard William Loveless, then president of Columbia Union College, give one of the most concise depictions on how to be protected from last-day deceptions.

“You have to remember two things,” he said. “First, there is a great controversy. Second, the dead sleep.” Exactly. Too bad so many other Christians, not understanding these truths, especially the last one, are wide open to the error promoted by this film, no matter how well-meaning its producers.