On January 18th, 1989, Don Piper collided head-on with a tractor trailer on Hwy. 19 near Houston, Texas. The impact of the collision exceeded 110 mph. Instantly, Don was killed
as was determined by two medic crews who pronounced him dead at the scene. Don spent 90 minutes in heaven until he came back to life due to divine purpose. Recalling his time in heaven, “When I died, I didn’t flow through a long, dark tunnel. In my next moment of awareness, I was standing in heaven. Joy pulsated through me as I looked around, and at that moment I became aware of a large crowd of people. They stood in front of a brilliant, ornate gate. I knew instantly that all of them had died during my lifetime. They rushed toward me, and every person was smiling, shouting and praising God. It was as if they had all gathered just outside heaven’s gate, waiting for me. The first person I recognized was Joe Kulbeth, my grandfather. He looked exactly as I remembered him, with his shock of white hair and what I called a big banana nose. ”Donnie!“ (that’s what my grandfather always called me) His eyes lit up, and he held out his arms as he took the last steps toward me. He embraced me, holding me tightly. He was again the robust, strong grandfather I had remembered as a child. My grandfather released me, and as I stared in his face, an ecstatic bliss overwhelmed me. After being hugged by my grandfather, I don’t remember who was second or third. The crowd surrounded me. Some hugged me and a few kissed my cheek, while others pumped my hand. Never had I felt more loved.
One person in that greeting committee was Mike Wood, my childhood friend. Mike was special because he invited me to Sunday school and was influential in my becoming a Christian. He also became a hero to me, because he lived the Christian lifestyle he often talked about. When he was nineteen, Mike was killed in a car wreck. It broke my heart when I heard about his death. Now I saw Mike in heaven. Never had I seen Mike smile so brightly. I still didn’t know why, but the joyousness of the place wiped away any questions. Everything felt blissful. Perfect.
Everything I experienced (in heaven) was like a first-class buffet for the senses. I had never felt such powerful embraces or feasted my eyes on such beauty. Heavens light and texture defy earthly eyes or explanation. Warm, radiant light engulfed me. As I looked around, I could hardly
grasp the vivid, dazzling colors. Every hue and tone surpassed anything I had ever seen. The best way I can explain it is to say that I felt as if I were in another dimension. Never, even in my happiest moments, had I ever felt so fully alive.
At some point, I looked around and the sight overwhelmed me. Everything was brilliantly intense. Coming out from the gate, a short distance ahead, was a brilliance that was brighter than the light that surrounded us, utterly luminous. In trying to describe the scene, words are totally inadequate, because human words can’t express the feelings of awe and wonder at what I beheld. A holy awe came over me as I stepped forward. The farther I walked, the brighter the light. I had no idea what lay ahead, but I sensed with each step I took, it would grow more wondrous. Then I heard the music*..............(1)
Near Death Experiences (NDE)
NDEs are visions, encounters or episodes that most closely resemble the eventuality of an afterlife following a verifiable clinical death. A 1982 Gallup Poll survey indicated that about 8 million Americans claimed to have experienced a NDE. George Gallup, Jr. believed the estimate to be conservative, with latest figures showing that 40% of all resuscitated patients will have a NDE. The term, Near Death Experience, is actually a misnomer, as the people who have such experiences are not not nearly dead, but are
truly dead! Although many scientists and