Businessman Says He Was Given Preview Of What Some Expect To Be 'Illumination'
By Michael H. Brown
Every so often we hear from someone who has experienced what has been called a "life review" or "illumination." You could also call it a "judgment." It can happen spontaneously, while someone is praying, or in instances where a person is near death. Basically, they are shown their lives and how God views what they have done (and what they have failed to do).
There are tremendous variations of this experience, but one thing common to all is that it deeply affects their lives. Such is the case with Richard Bingold, who was our guest this week on the Spirit Daily webcast. A native New Yorker, Bingold once owned nightclubs in the Fort Lauderdale area and was partners in a private-investigation company with former New York cop Eddie Egan (famous as the real-life detective behind the "French Connection").
Bingold lived in the fast lane. He was a heavy drinker (sometimes two quarts of hard liquor in a single day) and by his own admission a philanderer. In 1978 Bingold was involved in a horrific speedboat crash that crushed his face. It was during a stakeout. Trapped in the boat before he was rescued, he had a terrible realization. "I knew I was going to die, and I knew where I was going to go: to hell," he told us. "The accident chopped off twenty percent of my tongue and broke my shoulder, my left arm, my rib cage. My face was crushed in nine places. I knew where I was going and I just accepted it. There was no panic. I was just accepting it because I knew who I was. I was going to go right down to hell. It was a very weird feeling. I knew I just couldn't be saved in the condition I was in, the way my soul was. "
Miraculously, Bingold survived (albeit barely, requiring facial reconstruction), and years later, after another close call (this time when his car ran off a road), he cried out to the Virgin Mary for help. That was February 22, 1987, and he has never even desired a drink since that time. He dried out, but God was not yet through with him. In 1992 Richard, who is now 67, was getting up from a table when he felt like someone whacked him with a baseball bat. "I went down on the floor and rolled around in my anguish for a good hour," he says. "I raised myself near the dishwasher eventually and I couldn't even get up on my hands and knees. I saw my life go by, one thing after another -- my infidelities, sins of the flesh. That was number one. Then my treatment of my children and my untruthfulness to myself. That was huge -- never being honest with myself, never admitting being the man I was. My business dealings. Untruthfulness, untruthfulness, untruthfulness, to myself, to my Lord, to my family. And specific situations would pop into mind.
"It would just come to me, not like in a picture frame, but in complete detail so I couldn't deny it. It was one thing after another and I just heaved and heaved crying. It was unbelievable. What surprised me was seeing all of it in such completeness. Later on when I learned more about this enlightenment and things predicted to come, I couldn't help but think this was like a mini one to help me get back, to straighten out."
Some expect an event to come to the world that will cause everyone to have such an experience. Bingold went through a massive conversion, and visited the apparition site of Medjugorje many times. Just before a trip in 1995, on Holy Thursday, he says he experienced an apparition of the Lord. "He had a crimson robe with big bell sleeves and a white undergarment and little rose petals at the opening of the collar, but His face -- it looked like He had just been taken off the cross," says Bingold. "He was bloody and black and blue as you can imagine. And He had His arms out and He was looking up over the the ceiling and the ceiling was illuminated in gold. His eyes were like bloodshot and His Adam's apple was big and strong and in each hand He had a slit and through each opening in the hands was like a spray of gold mist coming through from behind. The rays were coming through the hands. He never said a word."
Bingold saw this with eyes wide open.
"He was there well over a minute," says Bingold. "I could see Him breathing. He was like totally exhausted, and His face was puffy at the cheekbones and bruised like He had been punched for hours. He had the crown of thorns."
Bingold says the miracles continue to this day. With the permission of two Bishops, he has a healing ministry and travels the world with a "pilgrim rosary" he fashioned from the stones on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje.
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