Shopping at second-hand and antique stores is one of my favorite pastimes. I really don’t have to buy anything; I mostly just enjoy seeing old things that I haven’t seen for awhile and the memories that pop up when I see them.
One day I came across a used book, “Heaven is for Real” and I recalled the movie that came out just a few years ago by the same name, which I never saw. I remembered it was a major motion picture which a lot of Christians talked about seeing it or at least wanting to go see it.
If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a young boy, the 4 year-old son of a pastor, who had a near-death experience during an operation and claimed he went to heaven and back during his operation. He describes his visit to heaven with the vivid imagination of a young child.
The reason why I didn’t go see the movie (or buy the book second hand) was simply this – it’s not biblical. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that someone has traveled back and forth between heaven and earth, except Jesus:
No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. John 3:13
So as sincere and well meaning as this young boy and his father may have been, I simply don’t believe their story. In fact, I feel like they and many others who make similar claims, do more harm than good for the cause of Christ. Why would we choose to believe a fantastic or even delusional story about heaven when we have the Bible to refer to? What God has revealed to us in His Word, is the only legitimate place to learn about heaven.
The Bible tells us that heaven is for those who love Him and that it will be beyond our wildest expectations:
But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,”What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:7-9
What I do think about this young boy, and all the others who have made similar claims, is broke down into one of the following two conclusions: Either, one, they simply made up the story, for whatever reason, or two, they had their experience while in an unconscious or dream state. I believe the first conclusion because given the right (or wrong!) set of circumstances, I know people are capable of lying about anything, if it suits them. I believe the second conclusion because I had a pretty strange experience myself, when I was around 11 or 12 years old. Although it wasn’t a “gone to heaven and back” experience; it was rather a strange “out-of-body” experience:
I was sick and alone on the living room couch and I had a fever. I think my mom was at work and everyone else was gone. I remember crying and drifting off to sleep. The next thing I remember I was outside of my body and was floating near the top of the ceiling. I floated from room to room, all the while hovering near the top of the ceiling for what seemed to be several minutes. I don’t really remember much else about this except then I remember I was back on the couch and my mom giving me water, a cold rag for my forehead and some aspirin to bring my fever down. I didn’t go to the doctor and I never mentioned the floating experience to anyone because it was too weird. In retrospect, I know it was simply a dream or hallucinations from a high fever.
Now I do remember it all seemed very real to me so I can see where this little boy may have thought his experience was real also. But again, I don’t believe he died and went to heaven and back, because it’s just not biblical!
So yes, heaven is a real place and as much as we all may really want to know more about heaven, we shouldn’t trust any other source but the one that was inspired by God Himself, the Bible.
Even more important than knowing about heaven, is knowing Jesus. All of the knowledge in the world about heaven will not get you there. You need Jesus.
So if you haven’t already done so, put your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today. Confess your sins to Him and trust in His finished work on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Believe in your heart that He died, was buried three days and that God raised Him up on the third day.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Jesus tells us there is plenty of room in heaven for all who love Him:
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. John 14:2
And He tells us that heaven is our home:
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20-21
Trust Jesus and His Word:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6