Let me start by saying I am extremely skeptical when someone claims they went to Heaven or Hell and came back to share the experience. Back in the late 1980s and early 90s I was into New Age stuff and read various books from people claiming they met God or went to Heaven. New Age people never go to Hell because they usually don't believe in it.
These books were full of messages from "God" or "angels" about the world entering into some peaceful age of enlightenment or some nonsense. Most of those predictions were set around the year 2000 and none of it came true.
Botsford's book, "A Day in Hell", doesn't claim to be New Age. In fact, he attributes his experience as the reason he has accepted Jesus as Savior.
Botsford says he was in a coma for 27 days after he was shot and went to Hell and was tormented. According to the interview, "a hand came down to his rescue and simply said 'it's not your time.'" He was then pulled from Hell.
Here's what he said about being in Hell:
Christian Post: What happened in hell?I have no doubt, Botsford experienced something. Maybe it was a dream or hallucination, but I doubt he was in Hell.
Botsford: After I got shot, the last thing I remember feeling was as if you heated up a hypodermic needle and started getting it on the top of your head. Well, when the bullet came on the back of my head, which it's still in the right lobe to this day, I felt a very painful feeling. My whole body just collapsed, they documented me dying three times. I was in a coma for 27 days.
What I experienced in hell, I immediately was in my full bodily form. I looked like myself but I didn't have any clothes on and I was hung like crucifixion style in a very deep abyss. All I could see beneath me was very red, it was very hot. I was chained on both my wrists and I had shackles on my ankles. I knew I was in some sort of cavern. It was pitch black. I knew I was going to be there forever. I knew there was nothing I can do to get myself out of it. I didn't know the name of Jesus so I never prayed, you know "Jesus, please save me."
I didn't have that opportunity. I didn't know the name of Jesus. I saw these pairs of eyes start to come at me from various directions and the Lord told me recently that these demonic entities, each eye was its own demon but they travelled (sic) in pairs because Satan mocks what Jesus did for us. For example, Jesus sent disciples two by two to evangelize and here Satan sends demonic things, two by two and they would know everything about me. They knew things that I did in my past, they would mock me, and they would torment me. They knew things like messing around with pornography, they knew all of that and they would judge me. That was interesting about it because these demonic things had been cast into hell and here I'm being judged by them. Some of them would come around my backside and they had had very long fingernails, if you could call them that and I would feel them stretch out off of its very flesh. They were doing everything to me.
We are created in the image of God; so here I am in hell, in their realm and as I'm hanging there I see this lava flow. I was reading the other day Revelations where it talks about fire and brimstone and brimstone is actually sulfur and for sulfur to create a lake flow it has to be on a high boiling temperature just like lava. So it would flow into this cavern-like area when it approached me, before I came down to this great big abyss some of it would splash off because of the sheer of flow, the lava would actually be contacting my legs and I could smell and feel my own flesh burn off and what was more tormenting than that is that it would re-form. I'm not in time anymore; I'm in an eternal realm. Time doesn't have anything to do with it there.
My flesh was re-formed and there was this continual mocking, this sense of hopelessness, and evil in all sides. There was nothing good there. It was totally void. Even in life, if we are having a bad day we kind of know that something good is around the corner. There was nothing good around the corner. I had no memories of my wife, no memories of anything good. It was just a pure distance; the soul was just kept but then things changed.
My wife, we had been married about three years at that time. She didn't know the Lord either. When she went to my hospital bed, she said, "Lord, bring back my husband and I promise to stay with him for the rest of his life, whether it's in a wheelchair, institution or whatever it may be, I promise to stay with him." What I saw happen in hell, on my side of existence was I saw fingers started to come in from the outside. Then I saw it was an entire hand; I knew it was a man's hand, the right hand and something inside of me, in all of this torment I knew this was the hand of rescue and then when His right hand started to descend toward me it dropped this great white light, and I heard the most magnificent music, angelic choir; I love music but it was nothing like I heard before.
When the hand came near me, just like King Kong, when he puts his hand around her waist, so it lifted me up and the shackles fell off. I didn't know if it was the hand of God but this hand grabbed me by the waist and the blackness left. Everything disappeared. I knew at that moment that I was going to be okay. Then I heard a voice and this voice simply told me, sounding like the clap of thunder, rushing waters and a bolt of lightning, all combined together and it simply said, "It's not your time."
I don't think God would put anyone in Hell and pull them out because "it wasn't their time." Is that a mistake by God or was He just giving Botsford and experience to share with the world?
Those who refuse to accept Jesus as Savior will end up in Hell, but Botsford repented and accepted Jesus and God knew he would do that. So why would God send him to Hell to be tortured? Especially since Botsford never died, he was only in a coma. God doesn't judge until the person dies.
Also, Botsford's claim doesn't stand up to Biblical scrutiny. There are no examples of people coming back from Heaven or Hell in the Bible. There were people resurrected from the dead but none talked about the afterlife.
The book, "90 Minutes in Heaven," by Don Piper makes the same kind of claim as Botsford except Piper went to Heaven. I read that book (I did not read "A Day in Hell") and I liked it, but I had the same doubts as I do with Botsford's tome: Does God move people in and out of Heaven and Hell?
I'm not sure.
I think Botsford and Piper had dreams. Were the dreams planted by God? Possibly. Piper was a believer before the car accident that actually killed him for 90 minutes before coming back to life. Maybe God used a dream or vision of Heaven to get him motivated to speak about Christ.
The same for Botsford. Maybe his dream was based on a longing for Christ that planted a fear of Hell in him and a vision of what Hell would be like turned his life around. I doubt anyone could experience Hell, come back to Earth and remain sane. God could make that happen but I don't see it in Scripture.
What I do like is Botsford became a Christian because of his experience and he is not soft-peddling the Gospel. Botsford says the only way to Salvation is through Jesus Christ.
I just pray people don't read these books and think if they do not have the same kinds of experiences as Botsford and Piper that God is a sham.