Let me begin with this disclaimer: I am an evangelical Christian for whom Christ's atoning death and resurrection are the anchor of my faith. But at their best, the verifications inherent in ADCs (=After-Death Contacts) and NDEs (near-death experiences) seem more evidentially probative even than the evidence for Jesus' resurrection and, in my experience of evangelistic witnessing, are far more effective than any Bible-based apologetics. To demonstrate why I will share some of the most mind-blowing evidential NDEs and ADCs I have encountered, including some of the most convincing which have not been published.
But first, I will provide some biblical background for ADCs:
(1) Apart from Jesus' resurrection appearances, the most obvious NT example of an ADC is the return of Moses and Elijah to be present with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-9 and parallels).
(2) "After His resurrection, they [deceased saints] came out of the tombs and came into the holy city and appeared to many (Matthew 27:53)."
Whether their bodies were actually resurrected or their spirits simply appeared to the living in Jerusalem, these paranormal appearances qualify as ADCs.
(3) Hebrews 12:1: "Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely and run with perseverance the race that is set before us."
In part this image of "the cloud of witnesses" refers back to the list of OT saints discussed in chap. 11. But in Hebrews, the word "witnesses" (Greek: martyres) always refers to eyewitnesses and the witnesses in 12:1 do not precede the living spiritual athletes, but rather surround them. So "the cloud of witnesses" are alive and are currently monitoring the progress of the spiritual athletes competing in the arena below. Hebrews 12:1 is thus an important prooftext for the affirmation in the Apostles' Creed, "I believe in the communion of saints." We don't need to embrace the Catholic practice of praying to deceased saints to recognize this point.
(4) In the Catholic OT Judas Maccabaeus has a vision of 2 deceased saints, the high priest Onias III and the prophet Jeremiah, whose encouragement and prayer support spur them on to military victory in Israel's decisive battle with the Greeks (2 Maccabees 15:6-19). True, this book is absent from the Protestant canon. But this visionary appearance of Jeremiah inspires speculation that Jesus in fact represents Jeremiah's return from the grave (Matthew 16:14).
(5) NDEs are experienced as a form of OBE. Paul considers his visit to Paradise a possible OBE (2 Corinthians 12:1-5) and Ezekiel describes his visions like ADCs:
e. g.: "Then the Spirit lifted me up (Ezekiel 3:12)."
My next planned posts will document some of the most evidentially impressive ADCs and NDEs. Please share any ADCs or NDEs that you or your acquaintances have experienced and what you think of them.