Friday, February 28, 2014

Yes, Heaven Is Real

If you are a Christian, you know that Heaven is real, it is where God dwells and where we will spend eternity with Him. Over the years I have heard a testimony or two, about people who "died"' on the operating table or some such thing, and then experienced what some call heaven. You know the lingo, "I saw a tunnel of light or a great light..."

When I first became a Christian I really struggled with these testimonies, wondering if they were true or not. As I always did way back then, I asked my big sister/mentor in Christ Sue, for the answer. She pointed out that we should look at what the fruit of their experience was. Did the experience draw them to, and honour Christ or did it do the opposite, leading people away from Jesus Christ? That helped a lot.
Since then I have also learned more about the spiritual battle that rages on 24/7 not just against believers, but how Satan and his cohorts are always trying to draw people's attention to anything else but Jesus, as many of these stories ultimately do. [1 Peter 5:8 KJV] 8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"

A great example of that, is someone I once knew. She proudly told me one day, that she wasn't scared of death because she died on the operating table once, she saw light and felt total peace. This person believed she had no need for Jesus because of her "experience." It caused great concern in me, to hear her confidence, knowing she was deceived. She was in my prayers for a while and still should be, not sure if she is still on earth or not. Sigh.
Recently, my husband and I learned about a couple of stories involving children who say they've
experienced Heaven. The thing is, their Dad's are Christians, I even believe both are Pastors and at first the stories sound indisputable, inspirational even. After all why would kids make up such great details about what they witnessed. In fact one of the books has now been turned into a big Hollywood movie. That is wear the concerns begin. Yes, I am applying my dear sister's advice. Yes, the stories point to Jesus. But as I began to research these books, watching interviews and reading some reviews, the answer about the stories pointing to Jesus change from, "yes," to " well, kind of, maybe - not so much." [2 Corinthians 11:14 KJV] 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Stories like these capture our attention because, we are curious. They are focused on a subject that no one has ever experienced before. Only Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and not until it happens to us, will we truly know what it will be really like. None of us have died and then talked about it, well, except for the claims from these folks. As well, these stories often contain so many intricate details that stun the imagination. Therefore, it must be true. And in the cases I am most recently familiar with, it doesn't hurt having Christian parents either. After all, at a wee age they most likely would have been told many a Bible story, heard people praying, talking in "Christianese" and attended church and Sunday school.

One of the children even knew about a miscarried sibling prior to his birth, claiming that this unknown little girl kept hugging him. I might add that this kid was only three years old when he apparently had his near death episode. Mind you it wasn't until four months later when he started telling his Dad, I believe, about what he saw, and as the years went on, more details emerged. But that was one of the accounts that helped his parents believe that he really did experience Heaven. Not saying any of these stories are purposely made up, what I do want to point out is that we must remember if someone tells us anything that colours far outside the lines of the Biblical account, we must proceed with caution and discernment and even turn and run at times.
Lest we forget that these kids went through traumatic experiences, were on medication/anesthetic and such. Not to mention the mind is a fragile, amazing part of our anatomy that scientists and Doctors will never fully understand, because God made it that way. There are so many possible explanations for what these people experienced. I myself, have had dreams at night that are so vivid and detailed, even full of smells and tactile sensation,s that the next day it feels as if I am missing something. 

Not to mention, Satan can't read our minds but, he and demons know all about us and the generations before us. They can put images into our minds while we sleep or are unconscious (pray for protection before you go to sleep if this happens to you). People who claim to see "ghosts" and alien abductions, who have been able to provide physical descriptions and even drawings are not seeing aliens and ghosts, but demons manifesting. There job pretty much is to keep us distracted from Jesus Christ and the Truth, the absolute, perfect Truth of God's Word. They know what our great granny looked like. They know that mommy lost a baby...thankfully they can't read our minds and are not omnipotent, but they can deceive us if we aren't familiar with the Bible. Just some thoughts to consider.
No, I am not saying that these people are spreading Satan's work or stories. Just suggesting that if it isn't part of the amazing workings of the mind, it can be a spiritual manifestation that is not of God. It's just a good reminder to us all, to only go by what is in Scripture regarding Heaven and take extra Biblical accounts with a grain of salt. It is very easy to slip into the, "wow, is that the what Jesus really looks like? mode, and get distracted. Oh yes, did I tell you that the three year old also saw Jesus and pointed him out, when he saw a drawing that a child artist drew of "Jesus?" She apparently also saw Heaven and drew who she claims is Jesus. Actually the young boy's Dad showed him a bunch of renderings of what some use to represent our Lord and Saviour and he kept asking if he looked like any of them, all of his answers were "no." That was until the time he saw this young girls' drawing. I guess his Dad forgot the commandment about how we are forbidden to make images... [Exd 20:4 KJV] 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:

In conclusion, can't say that I would recommend these books, I just don't know, haven't read them. But based on what Craig and I watched and read,  we can recommend strongly that if you want to know about Heaven, look to the only true source that we should, God's Word. Listening to the stories are alright, but we must be careful not to take them than more than what these people saw. They can be from their imagination, a dream, subconscious, what they heard from others while unconscious or just while having visitors, or unfortunately, the enemy himself. It is important to note that the three year old didn't start talking about what he saw until four months later and more as time went on. Something to think about.  If a vision or dream is from God, it would line up with Scripture and not add to it or imply things that aren't there. Something we all should consider.
God's Word On The Matter
 Below are a collection of verses I searched for about Heaven and what we have to look forward to. Also included below is an excellent article on the topic from a great website called the Berean Call.

An excerpt from The Berean Call: Heaven Is For Real For Real?: An Exercise In Discernment "Although these individuals supply much information, the content raises many questions. Obviously, everything they say can't be true because some of the content in one book contradicts what's written in others. How do we know who is giving us an accurate and truthful account?"
God's Word on Heaven

Here are some verses about Heaven. Not all of them...
[Luke 23:42-43 KJV] 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

[Jhn 10:27-29 KJV] 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father's hand.

[1Cr 15:35-58 KJV] 35 But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36 [Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]: 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39 All flesh [is] not the same flesh: but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, [and] another of birds. 40 [There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another. 41 [There is] one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for [one] star differeth from [another] star in glory. 42 So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. 48 As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 56 The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. 57 But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

[Hbr 11:16 KJV] 16 But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

[Jhn 6:47-51 KJV] 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

[Jhn 14:1-6 KJV] 1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

[Col 3:1-4 KJV] 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

[Rev 22:3-7 KJV] 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6 And he said unto me, These sayings [are] faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed [is] he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

[Mat 22:29-33 KJV] 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33 And when the multitude heard [this], they were astonished at his doctrine.

[Rev 21:1-5 KJV] 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

[1Cr 2:7-9 KJV] 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

[Mat 25:46 KJV] 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

[2Pe 3:12-13 KJV] 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

[Luk 12:31-34 KJV] 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

[Rev 21:22-27 KJV] 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

[Mat 5:17-20 KJV] 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

[Isa 25:8-12 KJV] 8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken [it]. 9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. 10 For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill. 11 And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth [his hands] to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands. 12 And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, [and] bring to the ground, [even] to the dust.

[Luk 13:29-30 KJV] 29 And they shall come from the east, and [from] the west, and from the north, and [from] the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

[Jhn 3:12-18 KJV] 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you [of] heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

[Rev 3:20-21 KJV] 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

[2Pe 1:11 KJV] 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

[1Pe 1:3-5 KJV] 3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

[Rev 21:21-27 KJV] 21 And the twelve gates [were] twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city [was] pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

[Hbr 12:28-29 KJV] 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God [is] a consuming fire.

Links On the Matter
Related Article Links Addressing some recent books and interviews about children and adults who claim they saw Heaven during clinical death

"Is Heaven For Real" for Real?: An Exercise In Discernment - article by the Berean Call

The Burpo - Malarkey Doctrine - article by Phil Johnson Grace To You

Heaven Tourism- article by Tim Challies

Book Review "Heaven Is For Real" by Time Challies

1 Peter 5:8 KJV 8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"