On August 3, 1979, Howard Pittman, a Baptist minister for 35 years, died while on the operating table during surgery and had a near death experience. After angels showed him the second and third Heaven, he was taken before the very throne of God where he was given a message to share with the world. Howard Pittman preached “Hell, fire and brimstone” for many years before his experience. During his near death experience, his beliefs in the nature of God and Heaven were put to the test. The following are excerpts reprinted by permission from his booklet “Placebo” which documents his amazing near death experience.
When the angels lifted my spirit from my body, they carried me immediately to the Second Heaven. We did not have to leave that hospital room in order to enter the Second Heaven. We entered the Second Heaven in that same room where my body was, by passing through a dimension wall. This is a wall which flesh cannot pass through, only spirit.
As we moved through that dimension wall into the Second Heaven, I found myself in an entirely different world, far different from anything I had ever imagined. This world was a place occupied by spirit beings as vast in number as the sand on the seashore. These beings were demons, or fallen angels, and were in thousands of different shapes and forms. Some of the forms were so morbid and revolting that I was nauseated.
When I first arrived in the Second Heaven, I knew immediately in what direction I must go to reach the Third Heaven where God was. I do not know how I knew that, but I did. I also knew that if I was going to get my prayer answered, I was going to have to appear before God the Father in the Third Heaven. I was aware that I was travelling in that spirit world under the protection of the Holy Spirit, and that the angels who were escorting me were also moving about under the protection of the Holy Spirit.
As we moved about there in that world, I was greatly disappointed that my escort did not take me in the direction of the Third Heaven where God was. Instead, we moved in the opposite direction. As we moved from place to place in that world, I learned many things about demons.
In the spirit realm I did things differently from the physical world. For instance, we did not communicate with our mouths and ears, but rather, we communicated with our minds. It was like projecting our words on thought waves and receiving the answer the same way. Although I could still think to myself without projecting my thoughts, I discovered that this really did not benefit me because the angels could read my mind.
I could hear different sounds in that world, but I did not hear with my ears. I heard with my mind, but I was still able to “hear” those sounds. When we travelled, we travelled mostly at what I call the “speed of thought”. When we travelled at the “speed of thought”, there was no sensation of movement. The angel would say where we were going, and we were there.
There were other times when we did not travel in that manner, and I was very much aware of movement while travelling. One of those times was when they brought me back into the physical world and allowed me to see the demons working here. We moved about here somewhat like floating on a cloud. Still, I had the sensation of movement.
When we started the tour of the Second Heaven, the angels began by showing me the different types of demons. Each demon was revealed to me in a form that indicated his area of expertise, and I soon discovered that there is no such thing as a “general practitioner” in the demon world. The demons are all experts in their fields. They have only one area of expertise, in which they are very accomplished.
At one time during this tour of the Second Heaven, I watched the demons within their own related group and I experienced a dreadful feeling. It was an overwhelming, oppressive, and morbid feeling. This feeling came to me shortly after I had entered the Second Heaven, and I wondered what was causing it. It was at this time that I learned that my guardian angel could read my mind because he said to me, “That feeling you are wondering about is caused by the fact that there is no love in this world.” The angel was telling me that in this Second Heaven there is not one bit of love! Wow! Can you imagine all of those demons serving a master they don’t love and the master ruling over beings that he doesn’t love? Worse than that, their companions are working together for an eternity and they do not even love each other.
I started reflecting on what our physical world, called the First Heaven, would be like without love. If God had not introduced His love here in our world, then we would be living in a no-love atmosphere like the Second Heaven. Because of God giving us His love, we are able to return that love and then love one another. Can you imagine what it would be like in your own home or your community if it were totally void of love?
My escort then told me that they wanted me to see demon activity in the outside world. I was then escorted outside the hospital directly through the brick wall into the streets of that city. I was amazed as I watched all the activity of the humans in the physical world. Going about their daily pursuit, they were completely unaware that they were being stalked by beings from the spirit world. I was totally flabbergasted as I watched, and horrified as I saw the demons in all shapes and forms as they moved at will among the humans.
The angels decided that I had seen enough of the demons at work in this physical world. I was taken back into the Second Heaven just by passing through the dividing, dimension wall. Once back inside the Second Heaven, my escort guided me in this direction of the Third Heaven, and I was happy at last. After all, this was where I had wanted to go all the time. Even at this stage, my physical life was still my primary concern.
Suddenly we came to a most beautiful place. I know that I have already reported how terrible that Second Heaven was, so you can imagine how surprising it was to find anything beautiful over there. God would not allow me to retain the memory of why this place was so beautiful. I do remember that it was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. This place looked like a tunnel, a roadway, a valley, or some sort of highway. It had a most brilliant light all of its own, and was completely surrounded with an invisible shield. I knew that the invisible shield was the protection of the Holy Spirit.
Walking in this tunnel, or along that roadway, or valley, or whatever, was what appeared to be human beings. I asked my escort who they were. He told me, “They are saints going home.” These were the departed spirits of Christians who had died on Earth, and they were going home. Each of these saints was accompanied by at least one guardian angel, and some had a whole host of angels with them. I wondered why some saints seemed to be accompanied by only one angel, and other saints by many. I was watching as the saints passed through the way that all saints must take to go home. Here it was, the passageway from Earth to the Third Heaven.
Instead of allowing me to enter, the angel stationed me before the gates, slightly to one side. He instructed me to stay there and watch as the saints were permitted to enter into Heaven. As the saints were allowed into Heaven, I noticed a strange thing. They were permitted to enter only one at a time. No two saints were permitted to enter those gates at the same time. I wondered about this, but it was never explained to me.
When the last of the fifty saints had entered into the Third Heaven, I started to enter, but my escort stopped me. He told me that if I entered I could not come out, and that I would have to stay there until the Father brought me back. The angels told me that all who enter the Third Heaven must remain there until brought back to this physical world by Christ Himself.
The angel said I could not enter the Third Heaven unless I stayed there. I protested, “But if I can’t come out, then my body will die!” My physical life, even at this point in time, was more important that anything else. My escort told me to stand to one side of the gates and present my case. He assured me that God would hear and answer my request
As I stood before the gates, the sense of joy, happiness, and contentment radiated out from Heaven. I could feel the warmth it produced and as I stood there to plead my case, I could feel the awesome power of God.
Boldly I came before the throne and started out by reminding God what a great life of love, worship, and sacrifice I had lived for Him. I told Him of all the works I had done, reminding Him that I had accepted Him when I was quite young, and that I had served Him all my life since then. I reminded Him that I was now in trouble, and that only He could help by granting me an extension of my physical life. God was totally silent while I spoke. When I had completed my request, I heard the real, audible voice of God as He answered me.
The sound of His voice came down on me from over the gates even before the words hit me. The tone of His anger knocked me on my face as God proceeded to tell me just what kind of life I had really lived. He told me what He really thought of me, and of others who had done as I had. He pointed out that my faith was dead, that my works were not acceptable, and that I had laboured in vain. He told me that it was an abomination for me to live such a life and then dare call it a life of worship.
I could not believe He was talking to me in this manner! I had served Him for years! I thought I had lived a life pleasing to Him! As He was enumerating my wrongs, I was sure He had me confused with someone else. There was no strength left in me to even move, let alone protest, yet I was panicking within myself. There was no way that He could be talking about me! I just could not believe that what He said was referring to me! All of these years I thought I was doing those works for God! Now He was telling me that what I did, I did for myself. Even as I preached and testified about the saving grace of Jesus Christ, I was doing that only for myself in order that my conscience might be soothed. In essence, my first love and first works were for myself. After my needs and wants were met or satisfied, in order to soothe my conscience I would set out to do the Lord’s work. This made my priorities out of order and unacceptable. Actually, I had become my own false God.
Only now as I was here before Him being chastised did those two portions of scripture become crystal clear to me as to their true meaning. As God told me about my true motives, I could see plainly for the first time how my works were dead. Because God was displaying His wrath toward me, I could not stand nor could I speak. No strength was left within me, and I felt no more than a wet rag lying there, writhing in agony.
It needs to be stated that at no time while God was chastising me did He say I was not saved, nor did He say that my name was not in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He never mentioned salvation to me at all, but only spoke about the works produced through my life. He told me the type of life I lived was an unacceptable life for a true Christian. As He spoke to me of my dead works, He indicated that there are some people who are not saved but think they are.
When God was through with me the interview was over, as suddenly as one would turn off a tap. I was not allowed to linger or even reflect on what God said. The angels immediately carried me away, as if I was a wet rag having no strength in myself. Totally annihilated, I could not even gather my thoughts.
The angels carried me back through the Second Heaven, through the dimension wall, and into the hospital room where my body was lying. It was not until I reached the bed upon which my body laid that I regained my composure. As I regained my composure, I vehemently protested to the angels, “No! No! God did not answer me! He did not say yes or no to my request! Please, please, take me back!”
Upon my arrival back before the Third Heaven, I was brought to the same place from which I had previously pleaded my case. I was not nearly so bold this time, and remembered how God’s wrath had silenced me beforehand. Nevertheless, I had asked God for a favour and He had not answered. Wanting His answer, no matter what it was, I timidly started pleading my case again.
This time God did not knock me down but let me talk. He did not talk to me in anger but started out answering me in a tone of pity. Before it was all over, He was speaking in sorrow.
Opening my plea by quoting scriptures to God, I began by telling Him all about Hezekiah. I told God that I had figured out that Hezekiah was a “good-old-boy” type, and that the intentions of his heart were pure, but that he seemed to be unable to translate out those intentions into everyday living. Here I was, an insignificant nothing and the smallest creature in His universe, bartering words with this great and awesome God who had created it all.
I said, “Father, if You will grant this request, I promise You I will do better the next time”.
The Lord answered me, “Howard Pittman, you have promised before.” He did not have to say another word. There they were, all the promises I had made to a Holy God in my past entire life. Not one of them remained whole. Somehow, someway, I had managed to break them all. With nothing left to say, no words in my vocabulary, nowhere to go, I fell on my knees before Him. All I could say was “Amen” to my own condemnation. I knew that if at that moment He banished me into the pits of Hell, it would be just to say “Amen” to my own condemnation.
At that moment He did not demand justice but showed me mercy. The scales fell from my eyes and my soul was suddenly filled with light. That powerful, awesome, all-consuming God was now not evident. There on that throne dealing with me was my real Father. He was no longer a distant God, but a real, genuine Father. The realisation of His being my true Father, and my best Friend, came to me for the first time in my life. The wonderful relationship I had enjoyed with my physical father and the wonderful love we shared for each other was suddenly brought to mind, yet magnified a thousand-fold. For now I was with my Real Father, the One who loved me so much that He left all of His creation to deal with me, the prodigal son.
For the first time in my life, I saw in my mind’s eye Who God really is. For the first time I met Him as He truly is, my Real Father, my very best Friend. As the realisation of Who He is flooded my soul, great and painful sorrow also came. Sorrow came when I realised that through disobedience I had hurt my Father. This realisation and sorrow produced actual pain, which was not just a guilt feeling, but actual pain similar to what one would experience in the flesh when one sustains a physical injury. At this point in time, He started dealing with me in sorrow, and no longer did the tone of His voice express pity. Instead, the sound was of genuine sorrow. I suddenly realised that He was hurting too. God was hurting because I was hurting. Being a true and just God as He is, He had to allow me to suffer the pain and He could not lift it from me. Although He had to allow me to suffer the pain, He would not allow me to suffer it alone. God the Most High, the Most Supreme, the Creator of all, the Father of all would not let me suffer alone.
By this time I suddenly realised that my physical life was not so important after all. What I was really concerned about now was what my Father wanted. His will had suddenly become the first thing of my life and my physical life was no longer important. This is when He gave me back my physical life. Only when I reached a place that my life did not mean anything to me, did He give it back to me. Now that the prodigal son had returned, the Father could talk. He could tell me what my trip to Heaven was all about, and that He had a message that He wanted me to tell people on Earth.
I now repeat for you point by point the entire five-point message that God gave me to deliver to this world today.
Point number one: For those who call themselves Christians, this is the Laodicean Church Age in which we live. A majority of so-called Christians are, in fact, living a deceived life. They talk Jesus and play church, but do not live it. They claim to be Christians and then live like the devil. They have bought the great lie from Satan who tells them that they are all right. He tells them that it is all right to go to church on Sunday and attend mid-week services but as far as the rest of the time is concerned, they are to get all they can out of life. As far as their Christian life is concerned, they believe they are comfortable and have need of nothing and as a result, they are only lukewarm Christians if Christians at all.
Point number two: Satan is a personal devil.
Point number three: To the whole world, this is Noah’s second day. As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man. Man took no thought of what Noah was saying nor did man believe that anything was about to change. Mankind could see the storm clouds over the horizon, but yet did not believe the rain was imminent. Notice the close parallel today. Mankind can see all the signs of the last days, yet man does not believe that anything will change. He does not believe in the impending coming of our Lord and he does not prepare to meet God.
Point number Four: For those who claim to be Christians, they are supposed to be ambassadors for Christ here on Earth. You cannot have any true witness or power in your life unless you live the Christian faith at all times, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. To be a true Christian you must live it, not just talk it. To honour God with your lips and not your heart is not acceptable. Those who accept the responsibility of teaching, preaching, or any leadership role have much for which to answer.
Point number Five: God is now in the process of recruiting an army with which He will shake this old world one more time. By working through His soldiers, God will produce great miracles that will shake the established hierarchy of the so-called organised religion that is in this world today. These soldiers that God is now recruiting will demonstrate the power of God to a greater extent than did the disciples in the Pentecostal age. Now the recruitment has begun in earnest because God is about to perform the great miracles through His army that He promised us He would do in the Bible. John the Baptist brought the spirit of Elijah into this world and he did not even know he had it. He denied it, but Jesus confessed that it was so. The purpose of that spirit was to make straight the paths of the coming of the Lord.
Rev Howard Pittman’s story appears in his book, “Placebo”, which is available from the following web site: www.eaec.org/bookstore/books/placebo.htm
The true story of Howard Pittman is included, with kind permission, in the free e-book BEYOND THE FINAL FRONTIER which includes 27 similar true stories, and may be freely read and downloaded from this web site.