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Tuesday, May 17, 2016


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Many years ago I, Tom Horn, died and woke up in heaven. Contemplating my surroundings, I wondered where I was, where I had come from, how long I had been here, and why I had no memories of getting here…wherever here was.

At that moment, I knew this was no dream; it was too vivid to be anything less than real. In fact, it felt realer than any previous reality I had known.

I barely became aware of this supernatural backdrop when I abruptly found myself standing somewhere before a spectacular pillar of light (or was it a throne?). It was so bright, so intense and penetrating—glistening with vibrant streams of silver and blue and gold emanating with the most unexplainable yet awe-inspiring presence—that I could hardly keep my eyes open or my face toward the radiance.

And I was urgently exclaiming something I couldn’t possibly understand: “Please, Lord, don’t let me forget. Please don’t let me forget! IT’S TOO WONDERFUL!”

How much time had I spent in this surreal place, what had I just observed that so profoundly influenced my desire to remember it, and what was it I was even talking about? Why was I so desperate to recall something I had obviously feared forgetting? And how had I known I was standing before the LORD?

Suspended there like a marionette hanging on wires, I was somehow aware that “memories” from only moments before stood just beyond my ability to summon them back into my conscience mind again. (But were “moments” or “time” even a factor in this place?) Whatever had been revealed to me was already gone, leaving a hungry void in the place of what had just been a great revelation.

But I had known something…of that I was sure. A disclosure of vast importance had dawned within my cognition like a great, vibrating bell, alerting the depths of my very soul to a certainty that trumped any knowledge I’ve ever held in my finite brain…and it had come through no invitation of my own. It hadn’t been my idea. That much was clear. It had been a truth that electrified my deepest consciousness…something about the future. The data was there, I had visualized it, I had seen it, and then it was immediately blocked from being accessed again; I had been told I would not remember the details.

But why? What would be the purpose in that?

Something else had happened, too. Somehow I knew that a scroll of some kind had unrolled before me with scenes of a distant tomorrow, a hereafter, a time ahead—my time ahead—playing out on what looked like a silvery parchment. It had been as clear and as believable as if I were watching a movie, with rich depictions of a destiny, or a possible future, where something extraordinary and miraculous was taking place. A cinematic conveyance of a personal fate. A “potential existence” that had been downloaded into my subconscious mind—or soul. And then, for some reason, it departed my intellect as quickly as it had appeared.

Had a revelation of some type been sealed within me? Something intended for a later time?

My thoughts raced, and I started to repeat, “Lord, please, don’t let me forget,” but I stopped short as, just then, a deep, still, small voice countered, “You will not remember…and it is time for you to go back now.”

I heard a thunderclap and found myself falling backward, gliding rapidly, as if I had been dropped out of an airplane window or was let loose by some heavenly hands that had been holding me above, my arms and legs gliding up and down now against a cloudless sky.

As I fell, I gazed unblinkingly upward in amazement. The brilliance, which had just been in front of me, was moving swiftly away into the distance, and yet I wasn’t afraid. A high-pitched whistling sound began rushing in around my ears, and I thought it must be the air carrying me aloft as I plummeted toward the earth. A moment later, I observed the oddest thing: the roof of my house literally enveloped around me as I passed effortlessly through it, and then it felt as if I had landed on my bedroom mattress with a thud…

I sat straight up, took a desperate, shuddering, deep inhalation, and then slowly let it out, realizing something extraordinary had occurred. Wherever I had been, whatever I had seen, I was back now to the so-called real world, and this material, earthly substance all around me straightaway felt far less authentic to me than the other place I had been. It was like this cosmos, this dimension, this realm that everyone calls “life” was merely a temporal and trivial matrix of existence that I was now being required to return to after tasting the marvelous phenomenon of a genuine, superior domain.

It was the middle of the night and I sat there for a few seconds, possibly in shock, trying to determine what had happened.

I could feel my chest burning…and then I heard something.

Sobbing. Right next to me. My young wife, Nita, with her head in her hands.

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I found her isolated stare. She looked as if she had been crying desperately, and had an unfamiliar expression conveying what I somehow already understood—we both had experienced something far more irregular than we ever could have prepared for.

“Nita,” I said softly, “what’s going on? Why are you crying?”

It took a while for her to collect herself, but once she did, she tearfully described how she had awakened to find me dead. I had no pulse, no breath, and no heartbeat; I was cold to the touch—and not just for a few seconds. I had remained in that condition for approximately fifteen minutes, she estimated, while she screamed for me to wake up, pounded on my chest, and attempted something like CPR.

We didn’t have a phone in those days, and it was in the middle of the night. Nita had been unsure what to do and was about to try pulling me outside to the car to take me to the hospital when I jerked up, took a deep breath, and looked at her.

For the reader, no matter how incredible the narrative above seems, it really did happen to me a long time ago. Later, and since then, I understood why God had allowed my wife to wake up and find me in that condition. Without her eyewitness account that night, uncertainties about the supernaturalism of the experience would have undoubtedly crept into my mind over the years. That I had been dead for a significant period of time—not breathing and therefore not taking in oxygen, and yet experiencing no brain damage (though I’m sure some would argue otherwise)—also attested to the preternatural virtues of the event.

But why would God show me something and then not allow me to remember it? What would be the point in that, right? I can tell you that this was the question pressing me in the days immediately following the incident, and in my youthful naiveté and impatience I first went about trying to find the answer to that mystery in the wrong way. I learned a valuable and biblical lesson as a result. In fact, that early mistake is why most have never heard this story until now.

A couple days after my death and return from “over yonder,” I told the pastor of our local church that I had an important question to ask him. In private, I recounted my episode and probed him for its potential meaning. “Why would God show somebody something and then tell them they would not remember the vision?” I had inquired earnestly. His response was shocking for an honest and sincere young Christian man. Basically, he offered that I had probably eaten too much spicy food, or maybe had accidently been poisoned and was therefore delusional or had a vivid dream.

No kidding. That was his response.

Of course, I was not yet familiar with such admonitions as, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet…” (Matthew 7:6). Understand that I am not saying my pastor back then was a dog, but that this was a lesson I would not soon forget about sharing sacred and holy things with those who have not had similar supernatural experiences and therefore cannot appreciate or comprehend the otherworldly significance. In fact, besides my closest friends and family, from that day forward I kept the event (and what I would soon understand about its measurable implications) a secret between me and them. Then, just a few years ago, after sharing my story with the well-known television personality Sid Roth—who, unlike some ministers, actually believes in the miraculous—he asked me to repeat the story on his syndicated program, It’s Supernatural.I agreed that it was time to tell at least a part of that history. However, as legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to ponder, what was the rest of the story?

Tom Horn and Cris Putnam on Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural”

After the disappointing experience of my pastor’s less-than-enthusiastic response to my question regarding why God would give somebody a vision then not allow him to remember it, I struggled to make sense of what had obviously been an extraordinary incident in mine and Nita’s life. I prayed daily, seeking understanding, and it was during this same period (undoubtedly God had all this timing in control from the very beginning) that I happened to be reading through the Bible from cover to cover for the first time in my life. I had made it to the book of Job, and it was during these devotions that one day my eyes suddenly fell upon Job 33:15–17, and the Word of God dramatically came to life in what some charismatics might call a Rhema moment: a time in which the Scripture went from being ink on paper to the living Word of God. The text that instantly conveyed the dynamic truth behind what had happened to me that fateful night read:

In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction [within them], That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. (emphasis added)

Though I was a very young and inexperienced believer, I clearly understood what this text was saying to me. Like the apostle Paul who could not tell whether he was “in the body…or out of the body” when he was “caught up to the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2), God, on that momentous night, had taken me to a heavenly place and “sealed instructions” within me. These directions would be there when I needed them during life, as they were like a roadmap that the Holy Spirit would “quicken” when, at different times, I needed guidance or information. Nevertheless, I was not to remember these details ahead of time; otherwise, I might be drawn away into my “own purpose” and lifted up in “pride” according to this oldest book in the Bible—Job.

In other words, if, as a young believer, I had seen the ministries that God would later allow me and Nita to participate in—from pastoring large churches and owning a Christian publishing house and syndicated television ministry to speaking at major conferences as a best-selling author or any of the other opportunities He would give us permission to be associated with—I very likely would have made two huge mistakes: First, I would have immediately aimed at these later ministries and started working toward making them happen all without the benefit of the struggles, trials, setbacks, sideroads, and experiences that are necessary for “seasoning” and (hopefully) qualifying one to eventually operate in them (thus God “withdrew me from my purpose”); and second, I would have been tempted by pride to think of myself as more than I should have as a young man, if I had seen myself winding up in high-profile ministries, and so God in His benevolence also “hid pride” from me by keeping the revelations “sealed” until the appropriate times.

Credit to Tom Horn

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