Many people seem to be having a trip to heaven and a personal tour of the place, even meeting John the Baptist, “he’s nice” and meeting up with relatives and chatting with angels. A few of the prophets and apostles in the bible saw heaven. Let’s compare their reactions to the experiences the modern day heaven tourists are having.
Colton Burpo says he went to heaven in his book Heaven Is For Real. Colton was three at the time of a medical emergency in which he did not die, but while on the operating table, he went to heaven anyway. He told his story to his pastor-father over the course of several years, and Heaven is For Real was born. Asked about Jesus, Colton described ‘him”. Jesus has markers. [marks on feet and hands]. And brown hair and hair on his face. I was sitting on Jesus’ lap. I got to pet His rainbow horse. I was scared so Jesus had the angels sing to me.”
Now let’s look at Apostle John’s trip to heaven.
“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and 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. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In 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. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.” (Revelation 1:12-17)
Strong’s Greek, 3498 dead; literally, “what lacks life”; dead; (figuratively) not able to respond to impulses, or perform functions. So when John saw Jesus he fell as if dead, meaning unconscious and unable to perform functions. But Colton tottled around petting rainbow horses.
Kim Walker Smith of the band Jesus Culture says she saw Jesus in a vision, and had many other visions too.
“Anyways, (pause) so, irresistible, I go to Jesus, I fall in His arms. And as I’m laying in His arms, I’m still feeling kind of afraid to really even look at Him. All the sudden this thought comes into my mind, and I know this is not my thought. I would never, ever, ever in a million, trillion years think this; and I think, “I need to ask Him two questions.” I need to ask Him, “How much do You love me; and what were You thinking when You created me?” And as this thought comes into my mind, I’m thinking, “No way! I am not asking those questions.”
Oh but she did. She was kind of afraid but quickly overcame her fear to ask the LORD OF THE UNIVERSE about herself.
Isaiah was afraid too. Let’s see his reaction to being with God.
“And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:4-5)
John fell down. Isaiah fell down. Colton sat in the throne. Kim sat in the throne.
“When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face.” (Daniel 8:15-17)
Daniel fell down.
Let’s see how Jesse Duplantis’ heaven tour went.
In his hotel room on August 1988 Duplantis “felt a suction as if I was being pulled up out of the room” … zooming along at a phenomenal rate of speed, being carried in something like a cable car. It was a chariot without a horse.” A blond-headed angel is with him in the cable car. Duplantis asks, “Where are we going?” He smiled and said, “You have an appointment with the Lord God Jehovah”… (His name is YHWH, a real angel would know better and call God by His real name, says Justin Peters).
Duplantis continues, “Jesus was taller than I thought He would be. I would guess Him to be from five feet eleven inches to six feet one inch. I thought at first His hair was white; but when He turned His head, I caught a glance and saw that it was light brown. When He looked at me, the glory of God was emanating from Him. I said, “Jesus!” He said simply, “Do you like this place?” I said, “Yes, Sir”.
Do you like this place? Oh my.
In the recounting of the vision Duplantis says he had, he did fall down at the feet of Jesus, but not as though dead. He noticed the holes in His feet and when he stood up, he noticed Jesus’ height. That’s a lot of noticing, when all the other men, including even Peter in the boat with Jesus, shrank back or fell down. Some simply fainted.
In addition, “Jesus” told Duplantis that he’d learn a lot there, yet scripture alone is the place where we receive our teaching. God said the canon is closed and not to add to the word of the bible. (Revelation 22:18). Finally, “Jesus” told Duplantis that he was supposed to tell the world that He is coming.
I said, “They know that.”
“No, they don’t know that. I brought you here so that you would go tell them I’m coming. Do you hear Me? I’m coming. Go tell them.”
So we have a new ‘go and tell’ given directly to Jesse Duplantis by Jesus. Because nobody knows Jesus is coming. Oh, my.
Though Jesse Duplantis was taught new things, and then told to go and tell, Paul said it is unlawful to tell.
“and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” (2 Corinthians 12:4).
If a contradiction exists between a man’s experience and the bible’s truth, which will you believe?
In one more comparison, here’s Ezekiel’s experience, and then Don Piper’s.
“In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. … Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” (Ezekiel 1:1, 28)
Don Piper: “As the crowd rushed toward me, I didn’t see Jesus, but I did see the people I had known. As they surged toward me, I knew instantly that all of them had died during my lifetime. Their presence seemed absolutely natural. They rushed toward me, and every person was smiling, shouting, and praising God. … Although no one said so, intuitively I knew they were my celestial welcoming committee. It was as if they had all gathered just outside heaven’s gate, waiting for me. … “More and more people reached for me and called me by name. I felt overwhelmed by the number of people who had come to welcome me to heaven. There were so many of them, and I had never imagined anyone being as happy as they all were…. I spotted two teachers who had loved me and often talked to me about Jesus Christ. … Everyone continually embraced me, touched me, spoke to me, laughed and praised God.” pp 22 & 24
me me me me me me me me me me me me me = # times we read me or my in those few sentences. Ezekiel spoke of the glory of the Lord.
“But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8)
Quite a different use of the word me there, with Peter pleading for Jesus to remove Himself from sinful ‘me’.
On the Mount of Transfiguration, when Peter saw Jesus in His glory, his first impulse was to build a tent of worship. He said as much to Jesus, then,
“He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified.” (Matthew 17:5-6)
The disciples were terrified in the presence of the LORD. Yet Kim Smith lounged in Jesus’ lap and asked Him of ‘me’.
Here are several short blog essays to help you discern that trips to heaven are not real. They ones by John MacArthur are aptly titled. Several in the list are by Tim Challies & another is by Justin Peters.
Sermon by Justin Peters: Spiritual Shipwreck of the Word-Faith Movement
Response to Heaven is For Real, 4 part essays
1. Blog by John MacArthur: Heaven Is Real; Hallucinations Are Not
2. Blog by John MacArthur: Dead Men Tell No Tales
3. Blog by John MacArthur: When Preschoolers Speak Ex Cathedra
4. Blog by John MacArthur: The Idolatry of Experience
Tim Challies Book Review: Heaven is For Real
Tim Challies: I Went to Heaven Books
Tim Challies: What The Bible Says About the Heaven Books
“The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven…not quite” Beth Malarkey’s Poignant Testimony about her son’s NON-trip to heaven, how it is just a lie exploited by others (“The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven”)