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Heaven is for Real (Part 3) | Classics Series

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[3 MIN READ]

The following blog is the newest installment in our Classics Serieswhere we revisit posts from days gone by. This blog was originally posted in June of 2014.


Part One here & Part 2 here

Curiosity + Discontent = Facebook, Ford & Mariano’s (the list goes on…)

Curiosity plus discontent often creates wonderful (mostly) new companies and inventions in our world. The same equation in the Christian faith is a recipe for disaster.

We've started a series in this column on the merits of the published experiences of people who have supposedly "died and gone to heaven." The believer who cares about Christ's truth will carefully listen and evaluate. So far, the tools we've given for this discernment process are:

  1. Think from and act upon what God has said, not what he hasn't (Deut 29:29).
  2. Similarly, Scripture is the divine authority over human experience (2 Peter 1:3-416-21). This one point alone should settle the question but sadly is either an afterthought or completely unconsidered. Let us not seek information about heaven from the wrong places. Go to the Bible and be content with what you find there. It's more glorious and trustworthy than other accounts. It is true faith to take God simply at his Word.

My hunch is that Christians who gobble up near- or after-death tales are not content with what the Bible says. Compared to these modern, sensational stories, the heaven of the Bible is boring, right? Not so. This leads us to the third tool in discerning the tales: The few times the Bible records someone having a vision of heaven, the details are sparse, and they are obsessed with the glory of God (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and John)! Further, anyone in the Bible who died and came to life never wrote anything down. Where do you find the glory of God? Not in a five-year-old's heart-warming account, but ultimately in Jesus. And where do you find Jesus? In Scripture. 

Heaven, ultimately, isn't about us. It's about the one who is enthroned there. Not everyone ends up there. Some (since they were probably youngsters) may have been fed the line by well-meaning relatives that those who don't make it to heaven are the really bad people (like murderers, ponzi schemers, sadistic dictators, etc.). This deception is unfortunate because it ignorantly belittles God's justice and glory. 

We must bridle our curiosity in making our own version of heaven. Heaven is not an extension or embellishment of the American dream. It's so much better, but we've got to submit our imaginations and hearts to the right Source of information. 

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Heaven is for Real (Part 2) | Classics Series

main image

[3 MIN READ]

The following blog is the newest installment in our Classics Serieswhere we revisit posts from days gone by. This blog was originally posted in April of 2014.


 

What would it be like to go right up to a bare cash register free of the temptations to spend more or splurge? It’s quite unlikely because pleasure sells, and companies exist to profit by pleasing you. And if the pleasure brings the added benefit of security, all the better.

Se•cu•ri•ty 

           The state of feeling safe, stable, and free from fear or anxiety.

 Nowadays, it also seems as if heaven—eternal security—is being sold to us. The market abounds with stories of people going to heaven (or hell) and back and living to tell about it. What should the discerning Christian think about the preponderance of such literature? 

The first tool in discerning extra-biblical tales about heaven is to think and act upon what God has said not on what he hasn’t. This requires knowledge of what God has said in the Bible (see Deuteronomy 29:29).

See Part 1 Here

The second tool is to remember that Scripture is the divine authority over human experience. The Apostle Peter reflecting on his experience of seeing Jesus transfigured, says this in his second letter: “So we have a prophetic word strongly confirmed. You will do well to pay attention to it as a lamp shining in a dismal place” (2 Peter 1:16-21). The Apostle Paul, in recounting his celestial visit, twice said: “God knows,” indicating that the things he “heard were inexpressible” and “no one is permitted to tell” (2 Corinthians 12:3-4). Even if someone had such an experience, they are better left with God.

In other words, we don’t need Hollywood or Penguin Books to assure us that heaven exists. The Bible is our supreme court on all issues of life and eternity. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s party, but Scripture ought to interpret our own experiences no matter how unique and “out of this world they are.”

Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney in their biographical work on Jonathan Edwards encourage us: “If we do not let the biblical testimony on heaven and hell play in our minds, it will surely rest lightly on our hearts, causing us to lose sight of the monumental vision the Lord gave us of the age to come.”

So, tread heavily, then, into God’s Testimony of his land.

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