Tina and her husband Brian Hines were preparing to go for a walk around their home in Phoenix, Arizona in February 2018 when Tina collapsed to the floor with a severe heart attack. Brian immediately called emergency, but was forced to use CPR twice to revive his wife before the ambulance arrived.
During the trip, the medical team revived Tina a couple more times before they reached the hospital. They estimated that Tina had been dead a total of 27 minutes.
When she arrived at the hospital, medical staff were able to stabilize Tina and when she came too, Tina who could not speak due to the tubing in her mouth, motioned for a pen and paper then scrawled an almost indecipherable message that read “It’s real.”
On an Instagram post describing what happened, Tina’s niece Maddie wrote:
“A little over a year ago my Aunt Tina, one of the most amazing, discerning, and healthy people I know had an unexpected cardiac arrest and according to doctors had died and was brought back to life four times by my Uncle Brian and first responders before arriving to the hospital. She was put on a defibrillator and after miraculously waking up the first thing she did, unable to speak because she was intubated, was ask for a pen and in my cousin’s journal wrote ‘it’s real’. The people in the room asked ‘what’s real?’ and she responded by pointing up to heaven with tears in her eyes.
Her story is too real not to share and has given me a stronger confidence in a faith that so often goes unseen. It has given me a tangibleness to an eternal hope that is not too far away. I love you @_tinahines! The way you boldly love Jesus and others has changed the way I hope to live and love.”
Later Tina said that she saw Jesus standing in front of black walls behind which she could see a bright light.
Of course, many question these encounters as simply random thoughts sparked by a dying brain, but there is one story that challenges this secular view. It involved Annabel Wilson Beam, a then nine-year-old girl, who fell down 30 feet (ca. 9 m) inside a hollowed out Cotton Wood tree at the Texas home of her Christian parents, Kevin and Christy Beam, in 2011.
It took hours for rescue workers to pull her out and after being released from hospital with minor cuts and bruises Annabelle told her mom that while waiting rescue she went to heaven and met Jesus who told her everything was going to be fine.
So did Annabelle see Jesus?
Well one thing happened that indicates she did. For three years, Annabelle had been in and out of the hospital because of an “incurable” condition called pseudo-obstruction mobility disorder, a very painful condition that doesn’t allow food to move properly through her intestines.
She was taking ten medications a day to relieve the symptoms, but shortly after her fall, the symptoms stopped. Uncertain what was going on, they returned to the doctor who had no answers because there is no cure for the condition. But agreed to gradually start weaning Annabelle off the medication to the point she is miraculously no longer taking any.
God healed Annabelle of what was an incurable disease. So did Annabelle see Jesus? The healing would suggest yes.
These stories remind me of the Apostle Paul’s encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes what happened 14 years earlier:
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. (2 Corinthians 12:2 NASV)
Even Paul was uncertain if he was out of his body or in his body when he saw the Lord. But adds that he was caught up to the third heaven where he saw and heard things that he was not allowed to say (verse 3). This experience transformed Paul from a murderous persecutor of the church, to perhaps its greatest apostle.
However, there is some uncertainty of what Paul meant by the third heaven, because it seems to suggest different levels in the spiritual realm.
But an Old Testament story may shed some light on these different levels. It involves the prophet Elisha whose home was surrounded by the Syrian army who wanted to take out the prophet because he was providing prophetic advice to the king of Judah.
When Elisha’s servant saw the Syrians, he immediately summoned Elisha who seemed unconcerned and prayed for his servants eyes to be opened:
17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Strike this people with blindness, I pray.” So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17-18 NASV)
Suddenly Elisha’s servant was able to see what was happening in the spiritual realm and saw chariots of fire on a mountain. But notice the interesting phrasing in this passage, “when they (the chariots of fire) came down to him.”
In other words, these spiritual angels descended to earth and after Elisha prayed, the angels blinded the Syrian army.
It suggests that the angels were at a higher level before they came down to strike the Syrians. If you were looking at this from the physical realm, you would have only seen the Syrian army being struck with blindness, you would not have seen what was causing it.
Is it possible these angels descended from a higher level, perhaps the third level, down to the first level of the spiritual realm to attack the enemies of God?