Posted in 90 minutes in heaven, bible, heaven tourism, truth

Heaven Tourism: Compare Don Piper’s heaven scene with Apostle John’s

I’d written a few days ago that heaven tourism books are bad. The ‘heaven tourism’ phrase refers to the increasing bunch of people who have a vision and claim to have visited heaven, been shown or told things, and ‘came back’ to write a book about it. Or go on the speaking circuit.

No one has visited heaven except He who has come down from heaven, Jesus. (John 3:13). Aside from a very few individuals such as Ezekiel and Isaiah, John and Paul (who incidentally said it was unlawful to speak of the inexpressible things he’d seen (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) heaven currently remains a closed port of call unless one has died in Christ, and even then, at present it remains a one-way trip.

Yet Don Piper claims to have gone there for an hour and a half and came back to write a whole book about it. This is what Don Piper said he saw first thing:

In my next moment of awareness, I was standing in heaven. Joy pulsated through me as I looked around, and at that moment I became aware of a large crowd of people. They stood in front of a brilliant, ornate gate. I have no idea how far away they were; such things as distance didn’t matter. As the crowd rushed toward me, I didn’t see Jesus, but I did see people I had known. (90 Minutes in Heaven, p. 26-27)

John the Apostle went to heaven. He was in the spirit in the Lord’s day. He heard a voice. This is the first thing He saw:

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. 17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.

Don Piper noticed right away that his great-grandmother Hattie’s teeth were white. (p. 34). That is a huge contrast to what John saw and how he behaved according to the scripture above.

Who are you going to believe? Paul, who actually went to heaven, whether in the body or the spirit he did not know, God knows, but who said that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord? Or Don Piper who wrote that to be absent from the body is to be present with Great-granny Hattie?

Be very skeptical of people who claim to have visited heaven or some dimension where Jesus is. Beth Moore claims it, Don Piper, Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture band, Colton Burpo, Jesse DuPlantis, and many others. Yet have any of the people who died and were resurrected in the Bible apart from Jesus described anything they saw? Lazarus, Peter’s Mother-in-Law? The sleepy youth who fell out the window? No.

John MacArthur wrote at Answers in Genesis:

Four biblical authors had visions of heaven—not near-death experiences. Isaiah and Ezekiel (Old Testament prophets) and Paul and John (New Testament apostles) all had such visions. Two other biblical figures—Micaiah and Stephen—got glimpses of heaven, but what they saw is merely mentioned, not described (2 Chronicles 18:18; Acts 7:55).
Only three of these men later wrote about what they saw—and the details they gave were comparatively sparse (Isaiah 6:1–4; Ezekiel 1, 10; Revelation 4–6). All of them focused properly on God’s glory. 

They also mentioned their own fear and shame in the presence of such glory. They had nothing to say about the mundane features that are so prominent in modern tales about heaven (things like picnics, games, juvenile attractions, familiar faces, odd conversations, and so on). Paul gave no actual description of heaven but simply said what he saw would be unlawful to utter. In short, the biblical descriptions of heaven could hardly be any more different from today’s fanciful stories about heaven.

Avoid such fanciful stories and focus on what is written for our edification: the holy word of God contained in the 66 books of the Bible. Any and all references or descriptions of heaven in that Book are true and are all that we need to know about heaven for the present time.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.