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Book Review: Heaven is for Real

I have never seen Heaven. I can’t tell you from experience what it is like. The best I can do is tell you what limited information the Bible has. Well, limited in the details I mean. That is why I, like so many other people, are very intrigued by stories of people who have claimed to have been there and come back. Today, there are no lack of books being published by those who say they have seen heaven. I remember I Saw Heaven. It was published in the 90s I think. It was my first exposure to this genre. Recently, many similar books have made it big: Ninety-Minutes in Heaven, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, and Twenty-Three Minutes in Hell (this one about a guy who spent some time in hell, obviously). All of these have topped best-seller lists everywhere. Christians eat these up as it seems to confirm for them the reality of their faith. Not only this, but they hand them out to unbelieving friends hoping that it can be the “I told you so” proof of their faith.

The latest book to top the lists (indeed the New York Times best seller list) is called Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, by Todd Burpo. It was published in 2010 by Thomas Nelson. It is just over 150 pages. I read it this afternoon.

Summary

Colton Burpo, the three-year-old son of Todd (the author) and Sonja Burpo, spent time in heaven and came back to talk about it. Colton’s experience was not the traditional NDE (near death experience) since he never actually died. The first half of the book is the story of the events leading up to Colton’s visit to heaven. His dad, Todd, a Wesleyan minister, gives the nail biting story (especially for those of us who have young kids) of dealing with his son’s stomach ache that was misdiagnosed as the flu. After many days of pain, trips to the doctor’s office, and multiple hospitals, they finally find out that Colton has a ruptured appendix that has been poisoning his body for days. At the edge of death, the doctors rush him into surgery while the parents are on their knees before God.

Colton survived. The medical reports give no indication that his heart ever stopped. While it was a very close call, the surgery was a success.

Over the next months, even years, Colton began, to the surprise of the parents, to explain what happened to him while in surgery. The rest of the book is filled with account after account of Colton telling his bewildered parents about his time with Christ in heaven. Things that Colton should not have known and had never been taught came to the surface as this three-year-old boy processed his faith as confirmed through his time with God.

Main Events

Let me give you a quick low-down on the parts of the story about heaven that stood out to me most.

  • He sat in Jesus’ lap
  • He met his sister who died in his mother’s womb (whom his parents had never told him about)
  • He saw John the Baptist
  • There is a coming battle with Satan (he is a futurist!)
  • There are thousands of colors we have never seen
  • He met his great granddad (who told him things about his father that his father had never told him)
  • He saw Jesus’ “marks” on his hands and feet
  • All the people had wings of various sizes (including Colton) and flew around (except Jesus who moved up and down as if on an escalator)
  • Jesus had the most beautiful eyes, a beard, a white gown, a purple sash, and a crown
  • All the people had a light above their head (halo?)
  • Jesus sits on a throne at the right hand of God and Gabriel is on the left
  • He sat by God the Holy Spirit (who he could not describe) and explained to his dad that God is a Trinity
  • It never gets dark in heaven because God the Father and God the Son are the lights
  • There were all kinds of animals everywhere
  • Nobody is old in heaven and no one wears glasses
  • Jesus “shoots” power down from heaven to his father while he is preaching (like I hope he is doing for me while I am blogging!)
  • The gates to heaven were made of gold and pearls
  • He was actually only there for three minutes (timelessness in heaven?)

heaven-hitchcock

 A great book on the topic by Mark Hitchcock

Evaluation

I have often said that left unchecked, experience is the most powerful and compelling source for theology. You can argue with logic, facts, evidence, and the like, but it is almost impossible to argue against subjective experience. However, if our experience comes in direct contradiction with correctly interpreted Scripture, Scripture should always win. That is what we mean by sola Scriptura. The Scriptures are our final and only infallible source of authority. It is the “norm that norm which is not normed.” However, this does not discount experience. Neither does it say that God does not use experience to confirm his truth to his people. We need to tread very carefully with these types of things, opting neither for outright acceptance or complete dismissal.

The Father of Colton and Writer of the Book, Todd Burpo

This was not my experience nor the experience of my son. I am sure that if I had the experience myself or if it was my son’s, I would have a much harder time dismissing many of these things (which is not my purpose). However, one thing that stood out to me immediately was the composure of the boy’s father, Todd. As I said before, he is a Wesleyan minister. I was immediately impressed by his theological astute evaluation of many things. Not all, but many. For example, he struggled with the idea that his son said that this all happened in three minutes. He toys with the thought that heaven may be timeless, but he also seems to understand the implication of God alone existing in a timeless eternity.

As well, most of the events were well reflected upon and compared to the Scriptures. For example, as bizarre as it sounds to say that people’s heads shine (as in having a halo), he does reference many times where people “shine” with a heavenly glow in the Bible.

His more than expected critical evaluation and reflection on what his son described endeared me to the testimony of his son. I don’t know how to take much of what his son said about heaven, but I really appreciate that his father, many times, does not seem to know how to take it as well. That is a mark of authenticity.

Colton

I suppose that this is what intrigued me most about this book and the testimony. I have read other books where people claim to have seen heaven and their description is easily written off due to its reflection of common cultural folklore. However, his son was not even four-years-old.

Right now, my son Zach is about the same age as Colton was when these events took place. I cannot imagine him saying the things that Colton said, even after countless hours of trying to teach him about our faith. It is hard enough to get Zach to refrain from saying Chuck-e-Cheese, not God, made him! Those of you who have three-year-old children can relate, I am sure.

This seems to be the position of both the father and the mother. The question that comes up repeatedly is “How does he know this?” How did he know who John the Baptist was? How did he know about his sister who died? How could he talk about “Pop,” his great-granddad, and identify him in a photo? How did he know about the Trinity?

These are all questions that leave me scratching my head.

Jesus

I found it rather humorous and fascinating when the parents, upon discovery that Colton saw Jesus, were obsessed (my word, not theirs) with finding out what Jesus looked like. For years they pointed to modern pictures of Jesus saying, “How about this one?” only to be shot down by Colton’s critique. After a couple of years, they came across a young girl named Akiane who also claimed to have a vision of Christ and heaven. She was an artist and painted a picture of Jesus. Upon showing this to Colton, he said, “That is it! That is Jesus.” So, this is what Jesus really looks like according to Colton and Akiane Kramarik:

What do you think?

The Events

Putting my theological cap on for a moment, let me say a few words.

While there is nothing that is described by Colton that is impossible or that outright contradicts Scripture, there are many things that don’t square with what I suppose to be true about heaven.

First, we must distinguish between the “intermediate state of existence” and the New Earth (both of which we often call “heaven”). The intermediate state of existence is the place people go between death and the resurrection. Christians go to a place called “Paradise”(Luke23:43). It is not entirely improper to call it “heaven”; we don’t want to confuse this place with the New Earth that will be our eternal abode and only appears after judgment. There is not much that the Bible tells us about the intermediate state. We know that we will be with Christ (2 Cor. 5:6; Luke 23:43) and it will be better than being on earth (2 Cor. 5:8). The New Earth does not appear until Revelation 20:1-3. The intermediate state is where Colton would have gone, not the New Earth. However, like with so many of these “I saw heaven” experiences, people describe what seems to be the New Earth which, for lack of a better way to put it, has not been built yet. The streets of gold, gates made out of pearls, and the like, which Colton describes, are attributes, literal or not, of a place that is not yet in existence.

As well, the description of people with wings is very odd. While I am not denying that people could have wings in the intermediate state, this is no where hinted at in Scripture. This, along with people not looking old, while not necessarily problematic, does raise some theological eyebrows. After all, were not Samuel, Elijah and Moses all recognizable (1 Sam. 28:15; Matt. 17:1-9). Did not the witch of Endor recognize Samuel? And upon being asked what he looked like, didn’t she say, “An old man wearing a robe is coming up” (1 Sam. 28:14, emphasis mine).

There were just many things like this that fit better with common folk theology than with biblical testimony. But who am I to say that some folk theology could not be true?

Are They Lying?

This question always has to be asked, doesn’t it? After all, these types of things can get a person rich really quick. I don’t think that either the father or the son is lying. This does not mean that what is being said accurately reflects what we can expect the intermediate state to be like, nor does it dismiss all alternative explanations. It just means that I believe there is no compelling reason for me to say that this story is a fabrication.

Near-Death-Experiences and the Christian Faith

You must understand, there are tens of thousands of “I saw heaven” claims out there. The most famous of which is Emanuel Swedenborg’s (1688-1772), father of the cult Swedenborgianism or The New Church. He claimed to have been given permission to freely visit heaven and hell for 28 years. His testimony is filled with unorthodox beliefs, not the least of which was a denial of the Trinity.

Today, studies of near-death experiences are on the rise and becoming more accepted. The International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS) has gathered over 900 accounts with 280 of these just coming last year! These are very nice when they parallel with what you already believe. The problem is that these experiences are not only being testified to by Christians, but Muslims, atheists, Hindus, and those of every faith. Each account has its own unique testimony that fits well within their religious idealism. Muslim’s see virgins. Mormon are comforted by Joseph Smith. Catholics are aided by Mary. Even atheists are found being drawn by a bright light down a long tunnel.

I don’t dismiss these types of things outright. I think they are fascinating. But neither do I hold on to them too tightly. Though I will continue to read about and reflect on people’s “I saw heaven” testimonies, I will never hang my hat on them. Neither should you.

In the book, it is told that a baby sitter heard Colton’s testimony. She was a Christian who was wavering in her faith, riddled with doubt. As the story goes, her faith was confirmed by Colton’s experience. This is the type of stuff that scares me. When our faith is built on this type of tabloid theology, true or not, we can expect to have a tabloid faith. We do not need stories about people who have come back from the great beyond to confirm our faith and we certainly don’t need these as the foundation of our faith. So, from an apologetics standpoint (defending the faith), please don’t hand this type of book out to your unbelieving friends.

Conclusion

Heaven is for Real is a very well written page turner. I look to the Burpo family and sigh in relief that Colton was delivered from death. As a father of four, that testimony itself was encouraging and worth the price of the book. I would also like to thank Todd for being open and honest about his battle with God in the emergency room. That is as real as it gets.

I recommend this book for its ability to cause you to think, wonder, and process. While I don’t think it has much, if any, apologetic value, the truth is that we do believe in an afterlife. Perhaps Colton did catch a glimpse of heaven just as Paul did.

2 Cor. 12:2-5
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.

141 Responses to “Book Review: Heaven is for Real”

  1. Whether it was a real heavenly journey or a vision; I feel its purpose was to both encourage the boy and his family.

    I have had a vision where God called me to climb into his lap and I poured my heart out to him…it seemed to take hours; but in reality was only a few seconds….but the joy of knowing Gods love was real.

    On another occasion I had a vision of a sword; with the words “Take it; for it is the sword of the spirit and will empower you…” I felt a deep sense of revulsion and cried out to Jesus and the sword turned to a snake and slithered away…

    This raises the question as to what do we do with experiences like this… we can’t ignore them for we don’t battle against flesh and blood…

  2. we can’t ignore them ,yes we should, i believe getting truth out of the bible is very hard work with lots of views in what the verses really mean, and taking that we are all in a battle till we die, so moving away from the written word and give any ground to outside stories is giving in to good or bad experiences of people, do we really need tales to confirm that heaven is there, or does it just show up weak faith,the other problem is it takes some top mega-church leader to state he believes it, and the people follow like lost sheep, k, copland , b, hind +in many statements ,,god told me [this,and that] jesus is turning up for tonight show, yes and the people still come to listen, to them, money, power, fame, lets leave out the stories, and just stick to the bible , may god bless you all.

  3. I’ve actually heard NDE’s used as an argument against Christianity. On the podcast “Skeptico” (whose host regularly defends NDE’s as real) the host interviews Gary Habermas. While they agree on the reality and evidential weight of NDE’s, the guy really tries to push pluralism onto Habermas, constantly saying “look at the data! the data!!!” I’m pretty sure he is referring to all those experiences/NDE’s that seem to include other religions.

    It was kind of an annoying interview, because the host seems to want to hear himself talk more than the people he is interviewing. You don’t get the best overview of Gary’s thoughts on the matter.

    In any case, interesting post. I have no idea what happened, or how to explain it.

  4. I tend to be very skeptical of this type of account myself. I think that is partly because I have learned first hand in the last years that “spiritual” experiences can be very deceiving. The second reason being the fact that people of all religions seem to experience NDE’s and, as Michael said, they usually conform to their already formed theological views.

    I used to be one that tended to put a lot of stock in this kind of story. However, my veiws on the subject have changed a lot in the last years.

  5. Very interesting. One point to counter your thoughts on age— there is an age (usually in the 30s) at which you essentially look like you will look for the rest of your life. You’ll just get grayer and wrinklier. The idea that everyone is young made perfect sense

  6. I dunno…..it’s really hard for to believe that this isn’t just another hallucination not unlike NDEs. The boy was in surgery? He must have been drugged up well enough, and saying that there are thousands of colours sounds a lot like your typical halluciation, even if he saw and learned about things that he was never taught.

    Still possible though.

  7. Michael,

    Putting together some theological details often overlooked…

    Where is God now, with Jesus Christ seated at His right hand? The Bible tells us, “From the place of his HABITATION he looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth.” (Ps. 33:14). “For the Lord hath chosen ZION; he hath desired it for his HABITATION. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Ps. 33:14). God has an eternal dwelling place! Now consider, after this heaven and earth pass away, then a HOLY CITY, new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:2). The city is humongous, 1500miles width, length, and height! (Rev. 1:16). No man could design, engineer, or fabricate such a city, let alone power it safely to come down to the new earth! BTW it has streets of gold and gates of pearls. Did you ever stop to wonder what city Abraham was looking for over 4000 years ago, when he “looked for A CITY WITH FOUNDATIONS, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10)? What city do you know that has foundations that God built? We get a fabulous description of the foundation stones of the HOLY CITY in Rev. 21:19-20. “Great is the Lord…in THE CITY OF OUR GOD, in THE MOUNTAIN of His holiness… is MOUNT ZION…THE CITY OF THE GREAT KIING”! (Ps. 48:1-2). I suspect this is God’s eternal habitation that He brings down to the new earth. There is incredible detail about this place in the Bible! And although the new earth may not have been created yet, I think this city has been in existence for a long time. And it is large enough to hold a lot of people!

  8. Where is God now, with Jesus Christ seated at His right hand? The Bible tells us, “From the place of his HABITATION he looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth.” (Ps. 33:14). “For the Lord hath chosen ZION; he hath desired it for his HABITATION. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Ps. 33:14). God has an eternal dwelling place! Now consider, after this heaven and earth pass away, then a HOLY CITY, new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:2). The city is humongous, 1500miles width, length, and height! (Rev. 1:16). No man could design, engineer, or fabricate such a city, let alone power it safely to come down to the new earth! BTW it has streets of gold and gates of pearls. Did you ever stop to wonder what city Abraham was looking for over 4000 years ago, when he “looked for A CITY WITH FOUNDATIONS, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10)? What city do you know that has foundations that God built? We get a fabulous description of the foundation stones of the HOLY CITY in Rev. 21:19-20. “Great is the Lord…in THE CITY OF OUR GOD, in THE MOUNTAIN of His holiness… is MOUNT ZION…THE CITY OF THE GREAT KIING”! (Ps. 48:1-2). I suspect this is God’s eternal habitation that He brings down to the new earth. There is incredible detail about this place in the Bible! And although the new earth may not have been created yet, I think this city has been in existence for a long time. And it is large enough to hold a lot of people!

  9. We get a fabulous description of the foundation stones of the HOLY CITY in Rev. 21:19-20. “Great is the Lord…in THE CITY OF OUR GOD, in THE MOUNTAIN of His holiness… is MOUNT ZION…THE CITY OF THE GREAT KIING”! (Ps. 48:1-2). I suspect this is God’s eternal habitation that He brings down to the new earth. There is incredible detail about this place in the Bible! And although the new earth may not have been created yet, I think this city has been in existence for a long time. And it is large enough to hold a lot of people!

  10. Truth Unites... and Divides February 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Has there ever been a NDE where a non-Christian describes a hellish environment?

  11. Interesting article. My 14yr. old son is interested in hell, Satan and the like, so I have been taking him on a tour through the Bible on the concepts of demons and hell. I mentioned Chris’ interest in hell to one of his youth leaders recently. She said, “Oh, he has to read 20 Minutes in Hell!”

    *sigh*

    I said, “I prefer he gain his information from the Word before he explores subjective experiences and testimony.”

  12. Recently, many similar books have made it big: …The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven….

    CMP: I’d like you to interact with that book. IIRC, that’s the one where the kid describes Satan as some dorky cartoon-like ugly character.

  13. People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear.

    Your review says that the father is a preacher and that these details about the the visit came out over the course of years and months.

    Children are enormous sponges. If this child has been in church his whole life, heard his father preach, heard him have conversations in his home with family members or congregation members, heard radio and tv sermons playing in the background…then this child’s imagination has already been primed with “biblical” imagery and concepts, even if he doesn’t really understand it.

    The fact that these stories came out over a period of months and years would lead me to believe that the child has been unknowingly coached. Imagine how excited the credible adults are as he talks.

    3 and 4 year old children have active fantasy lives and they incorporate fantasy and reality indiscriminately. This is also the developmental age that most children begin to have active dreams and…

  14. (continued)
    Sorry for the comment break.

    That is an age in which children begin to have active dreams and nightmares.

    Adults clamoring around a child, giving him/her special attention, and being very excited about what that child has to say gives the child a positive reward. In this kind of situation a child can be encouraged to embellish, or give the adults in his life what he thinks they want. That is why when children are questioned about abuse, or asked to give witness testimony they have to be handled very cautiously and carefully.

    I would question how many anecdotes that the boy shared didn’t make it into the book. How many times did he say something that didn’t make sense, yet the adults just brushed it aside? How much was picked and chosen and how much was left in the fog of memory?

  15. Kenny Loggins is Jesus?

  16. Upon showing my wife this story she, as I suspected, says it could be true. God works things in people’s lives for various reasons unknown to us.

    Being very skeptical myself, as with alot of the charismatic gifts, I tend to think that because the vision comes out over a period of time that perhaps it was human produced rather than God produced. I have had many dreams/nightmares that felt so real but I don’t feel they are messages from God. We have the message he intended for us in his LIVING word. I tend to agree with you Michael, possible but I really can’t get there. One reader had commented that the environment was primed for information to be passed unintentionally or unknowingly.

    My wife will probably buy the book now that I have made her aware of it(LOL) Hey , she even brought home the shack and I did manage to get through it…..maybe history will repeat itself. I agree with lynn , people hear and see what they want, heck, I do!!!

  17. Bill #18:

    Just did a quick internet search!!! Kenny Loggins is not JESUS!! Get over it!!! (LOL)

  18. I love how God works amongst little children, all to the shock of our neat theological packages.

    CMP, I think to imply we cannot see the newly created heavens and earth in a NDE or vision, but rather only the intermediate state, might be a little tight there. John got some glimpses. I suppose others have and will as well.

  19. Scott:

    I love how God works through our lives through his leading, not subjective interpertation of random dreams produced by human minds. Again brother Scott, I understand your position just realize some of us don’t agree, to the shock of your charismatic experiences.

    In christ I stand

  20. ScottL,

    I am really wondering how you can seemingly be so certain that what this little boy experienced is really from God?

    As Michael mentioned above, NDE’s are experienced by people of every religion and those of no religion at all. And they usually seem to fit very nicely into that person’s preconceived idea of reality, whatever it is. Are all of them right? Did God give them all this experience? Is the Muslim man that does not believe Jesus is God or that He is the only way to God and has an NDE and sees virgins, seeing a true glimpse of eternity and what awaits him there?

    By nature, some of these experiences have to be discounted by a Christian as coming from another source then God, wouldn’t that be right? So how can you say for sure that this little boys experience was from God just because he came from a Christian family?

    It just doesn’t follow in my mind at all.

  21. Another to consider is how this boy was able to be in heaven, a holy place where God Himself dwells, unless the boy was totally cleansed of all sin and depravity. When Isaiah stood in heaven in his vision (ch. 6) he was terrified at the site of complete holiness being a sinner himself (in spite of the fact that he was probably one of the most righteous people in the world in his time).

    I guess this might depend on one’s view of infant baptism too

  22. cherylu:
    I completely agree! When experience trumphs everything I don’t know where you go from there.
    I can’t get to that position for as Teluog points out there are just so many issues that do not seem to be in line with most bibical accounts we find in God’s word. I guess my question is does this really help with the witness we are commanded to give or does it do the reverse and tune alot of people out. By the #’s sold there certainly is interest in this type of book.

  23. On a side note here, I find it very interesting that the “man” that was caught up into the third heaven in 2 Corinthians in the verses Michael quoted above said that he heard things which men can not speak about.

    In contrast to that, folks that have NDE’s now days seem to be able to speak of them freely and in fact often turn their experiences into books. (A bit of profit maybe?) How do we account for that rather large difference in things I wonder?

  24. Sorry folks if I sounded a bit cynical in my last comment with my “profit” remark. I wanted to edit that out but my editing time was gone before I decided to do it.

    That may indeed be the case at times, but I don’t think it fair at all to assume that it always is.

  25. As for people not being old, I offer a dream I had not long after my grandfather died in 1999. In the dream, I was sitting on a curb, or a bench on the sidewalk. A man walked up to me and asked how I was doing. I realized it was my grandfather, as he looked in older black and white photos I had seen from when my mom was in high school, with his back straight, in the prime of life (he died at 90 of a brain tumor).

    My take on it was that our resurrection bodies on the new earth will be like when we were at our prime in our natural bodies.

  26. John From Down Under February 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Firstly I am hugely impressed that CMP could read a 150 page book in one afternoon! Secondly, as a Pentecostal refugee I am immune to such stories, though this one is not completely ‘out there’.

    I think we are being too demanding for the accurate description of what the mind of a 3 year old can process and describe. We have major inaccuracies in Bible translations despite the painstaking effort of skilled scholars. How precise do we expect a 3 year old to be?

    There is an undeniable revelatory element about the boy’s family in the testimony, so the anesthetic couldn’t have done that, it was either God or the Devil (process of elimination).

    Finally, having your faith strengthened by someone’s testimony is not ‘scary’ so long as that does not become the prime source of truth validation. God clearly uses testimonies to draw people (John 4:39 and Mark 5:19). A testimony can serve as a pointing arrow if nothing else.

  27. # There are thousands of colors we have never seen

    Any husband who has taken his wife shopping knows this to be true.

  28. Paul went to third heaven but he didn’t explained anything as quoted in the article

    I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.

    So what does it teaches us?

  29. John From Down Under

    Completely agree that having our faith reinforced or strengthened is important as long as it conforms with the written word. I guess I would offer a third alternative to it was either God or the Devil that of influence from human involvement. Really I can’t justify saying the revelatory element being from Satan, it could be from God, but I just don’t know how you distinguish one dream from another as in Brian’s comments above.

    Are you actually down under? My driveway is down under about 3 feet of snow.(LOL)

  30. John From Down Under February 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Yeah Jim I am actually southern hemisphere ‘down under’ where it’s stinking hot and humid at the moment.

    One of my colleagues went to a tarot card reader not long ago and was blown away by how much she told her about her past. I’m not an expert on those things but I wouldn’t find it hard to be convinced that spirit beings from the ‘other side’ know something about my past since they don’t live in the same space/time continuum as me, though I wouldn’t build a doctrine on it. A couple of hints from scripture make it easier to believe (2 Cor 11:14 and 1 Sam 28:7-19)

    Though I have some question marks of my own, I am not inclined to write off this boy’s testimony altogether. My point is that if some of his details don’t square with scripture it’s possible that it is because we are reading what a 3 year old witnessed and tried to explain. The ability of such a young mind to process detail is very limited.

  31. JFDU:
    Would love to trade spots with you for a few weeks

    Yes the witch of endor has always been an interestiing read. Can they occupy a christian in such a way as to bring information to one, I’m just not sure.

    Thanks JOhn, I always enjoy your comments

    God Bless

  32. I had seen and spoke with Jesus when I was just about 4 years old, the event is burned in my memory. I was very taken in by this story however, the boy said the man in the portiat that a young girl had painted was the Jesus he saw. I think he had seen that it was the work of a young girl and thats why he had said that was the correct image of Jesus. I saw a different image, Jesus had long kinky hair, jet black, dark eyes, bearded, really dark olive skin, and had little holes in his forehead. His robe was lit as though there was a light in it, there was a very lite lime green light around him that lit up the walls and area around him. I did not go any where with him, I was just sitting up in my bed. This is where I have a problem with this story…

  33. Levi, write a book maybe? While the market is still hot for these types of books?

  34. I have been reading Don Piper’s book, 90 Minutes in Heaven and I have been asked what I think about such books. John MacArthur, in his excellent book, The Glory of Heaven, responds to this question with the following:

    “I’ve read many accounts of people’s near-death experiences and visions of heaven. What is most remarkable to me in virtually all of them—even the ones that supposedly reflect a “Christian” perspective—is that they are not the least bit like the descriptions of heavenly visions in Scripture.
    Such a vision of “heaven” plainly has nothing to do with the heaven spoken of in Scripture. In fact, the modern visionaries make a stark contrast to people in Scripture who were given glimpses of heavenly glory. The apostle Paul, for example, relates his account only reluctantly, fourteen years after the fact, framing it as a third-person narrative:
    I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell:…

  35. Clearly, because Scripture is the Word of God, we must reject every anecdotal account that contradicts what Scripture teaches. Ultimately, we are forced to conclude that the Bible is our only reliable source of information about heaven. There’s no point in probing and dissecting people’s near-death experiences, as if they would give us some important truth about the afterlife that we are lacking from Scripture. What Scripture teaches us about heaven, angels, and the afterlife is sufficient and accurate. God has already given us all we need to know to equip us fully for every good work (2 Tim. 3:17). There’s nothing an eyewitness testimony could reliably add.

  36. I love this book it helps me understand what is going on up there in Heaven. I know God loves me and all, but we all sometimes get curious on what Heaven looks like or will I go to Heaven. We all have to be humble as a child, so the best way to believe someone is through a child and maybe through our own. This book had a real impact to my life because as soon as i got done with reading the book it made e think about God more and pray to Him some more and even care about Him even more than I use to. I hope you all have read the book because it is the best book I have ever read!!!
    If I were to give this book a rating it would be 100% done and complete. adviously this is the best book anyone is going to read. THANK YOU GOD FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD!!!!!!
    everyone I am really taking this very seriously!! ;P
    ( ) ( )
    =(O_o)=
    c(“) (“)

  37. in ref to #25-How’d the little boy get into heaven where God himself dwells…cleansed of all sin and depravity? he was 3.
    In ref to # 30- CMP could have been a speed reader or else.Comment seems irrelevant to issue.
    In ref to #42-Even if “planned”; anything seen, read,dreamed, etc.that brought this woman closer to God would be in favor in God’s eyes.

  38. I do not know what “your comment is awaiting moderation” means

  39. I am a member of a Swedenborgian Church. While not “mainstream” it is not a cult. It is a Christian denomination based on the Bible as revealed to Emanuel Swedenborg. Famous Swedenborgians are Helen Keller, Johnny Appleseed, & Robert Frost.

    Emanuel Swedenborg lived from 1688-1772. Here’s a little bit about him… He was raised in a religious family. His father was a bishop. Swedenborg devoted decades of his life to the study of astronomy, physics, philosophy, & mineralogy. He was an inventor & even proposed early versions of a flying machine & a submarine. He did extensive research in anatomy & physiology.

    While he had been a religious man all his life, when he was fifty-five, he experienced a spiritual revelation. The Lord appeared to him letting him know that He would reveal the spiritual meaning of the Bible & He would guide Swedenborg as to what was to be written. Swedenborg meticulously wrote 35 volumes of theology.

    Please Google his name for more…

  40. I read the book yesterday. I loved it, I believed it, iand I could identify with it, because I live in Nebraska and I know all the places mentioned.

    The picture of Jesus by Akiane Kramarik was just icing on the cake.

  41. my grandson died in a car accident on mothers day of 2005. i know that there is heaven but being of the jewish faith we believe that jesus was just a man. now this 4 year old little boy and his father are telling me that i cannot go to heaven because of my beliefs. that is b s the little boy is telling me i will never ever see my grandson again. also b s i know all about heaven from the amazing signs my family gets from my amazing grandson. i cannot believe anyone can be so narrow minded. god loves everyone. does not matter what religion you are.

  42. MaryKay Gilbert April 7, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I skimmed thru the book and don’t see how or why a 4-yr old would make all that stuff up…and it is all scriptural, except maybe the wings…Also, we can’t say The new heaven doesn’t exist yet, because with God there is no time…we are bound by time now, but He isn’t. He sees all from the beginning to the end as if it’s now, I believe. I did wonder, tho, when I watched the news video clip why the boy wasn’t more excited. It almost seemed as tho he was trying to remember memorized lines…wouldn’t you be happy and excited to tell others what you’d seen? Someone else’s comment said that and made me think…I also am wary of visions. I know God uses them but so does the enemy. If the vision isn’t consistent with God’s Word, it should not be counted on…Rev. 22:18-19. He is coming soon! Let’s keep fighting the good fight, running the Race and never, never give up our faith! Come Lord Jesus.

  43. i guess that noone quite understands what i am trying to say. i believe god loves everyone not just christains. i am a good person and i know that i will go to heaven even though i only believe that jesus was just a great human being. if i didn’t believe in heaven then this whole world does not make any since to me. i know that i will see all my love ones again. my grandson was so much a part of my life and he is waiting for me. this little 4 year old says only christains that believe in jesus are going to heaven
    totally wrong. lots of money being made on a book that is B. S. my daughter is writing a book all about the amazing signs that we get from my grandson and we would not get such amazing signs if there was no heaven so yes we do believe. and going on all these talk shows to promote this book is not right.

  44. Lois,

    I think I understand what you are trying to say. But I do want you to understand that those of us that believe that the Bible is truly God’s word to us don’t believe that any of us will get to heaven because we are good people. No one is good enough to get to heaven on their own. That is why we need the forgivenss and new life that we receive through Jesus.

  45. “Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” John 14:6

  46. CHERYLA

    FIRST OF ALL, THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN BY MAN. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT GOOD PEOPLE GET TO GO TO HEAVEN. I KNOW THAT MY GRANDSON IS THERE. MY FRIEND ASKED HER PRIEST ABOUT THE BOOK AND HIS ANSWER WAS THAT EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT FAITHS AND WE ARE ALL GODS CHILDREN BUT THE BOOK HEAVENS FOR REAL SAYS THAT ONLY THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN JESUS WILL BE WELCOME IN HEAVEN. THAT JUST DOESN’T MAKE ANY SINCE TO ME. ALL I KNOW IS THAT I BELIEVE IN GOD AND HEAVEN AND YES I WILL SEE MY 17 YEARS OLD BEAUTIFUL GRANDSON THERE. THAT MAKES SINCE TO ME. MY FAMILY HAS A SUPPORT GROUP THAT WE GO TO AND THAT IS EXACTLY HOW ALL OF THEM FEEL BUT THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR FEELING WITH ME.

  47. MaryKay,

    and it is all scriptural

    No.

    This reinforces the unbiblical notion that our hope as Christians is “going to heaven” when we die. The apostolic message is that our hope, our only hope, is the resurrection–a superficial reading of the Lazarus parable notwithstanding.

  48. JUST A QUICK COMMENT “WHERE DO ALL THE JEWS GO” LIKE NOWHERE, I THINK NOT. THAT’S WHAT MAKES ME SO MAD. SO THINK ABOUT THAT.

  49. Hi again Lois,

    No one can convince you that what any of us are saying is true. And if you are right, you have nothing to lose. But if we are right, you personally have a lot to lose.

    Please don’t just toss it all aside.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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