Is Heaven for Reals?

photo by RBJ

I used to joke around with my grandchildren making unbelievable statements. One of my them loved to say, “Uh-uh! For reals, Mimi?”‘

“Just kidding!” I’d reply.

There are some things they never question with, “For reals?” Words like, “I love you! You’re so special! I’m really proud of you!” I hope they know Mimi never kids about those things. They are definitely “for reals.”

Jesus made numerous unbelievable statements in the Bible–words that seemed too outrageous to be true. Promises about heaven are at the top of that list. 

A Place Prepared for You

In John 14:1-3 Jesus talked about a prepared mansion with rooms, an eternal home with God that He was going to prepare for us. Through John’s vision in Revelation, God revealed a beautiful, magnificent place: no more sorrow, no more pain, no more sickness, with unspeakable joy. Still, our Thomas-doubting hearts, so limited by earthly boundaries, sometimes cry out foolishly, “For reals?” 

Books about Heaven

Books like Randy Alcorn‘s Heaven paint beautiful, realistic pictures of a new heaven on earth–a final home for all of Christ’s followers. His pictorial word descriptions whet our spirit’s appetite again and again, and we silently, hopefully, whisper, “For reals?”

Near Death Experiences

Then along come some alleged true eye-witness accounts, like Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven and we hear more and more about NDEs (near death experiences)–all convincing more people there may be a heaven for sure. Actually there have been millions of documented NDEs, but we only hear about a few.

I Can Only Imagine

We listen to songs like Bart Millard’s (Mercy Me) “I Can Only Imagine” sung at funeral after funeral. And as tears roll down our cheeks, we agree with the Psalmist who cried out, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1 NLT). We leave with one foot planted firmly on earth, and one in heaven, trembling at the joy and reality that heaven could be nearer than we think. But what will it be like? We can only imagine.

Todd Burpo – From the Eyes of a Child

But the newest testimony seems to verify what our hearts have longed for all along. Based on four-year-old Colton Burpo’s NDE is the new book, Heaven Is for Real, by Todd Burpo, the boy’s father. Somehow, seen through the eyes of a child, perhaps we can grasp for the first time the truly unbelievable. You might enjoy listening to a CBN video interview with Todd and his son.

Faith of a Child

I decided to be a follower of Jesus when I was only eight years old. A year later, someone expanded my limited knowledge of fringe benefits associated with following Jesus. With child-like faith and excitement I replied, “You mean I really get to go to heaven?” In other words, “Is it for reals?”

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Heaven

Yes, Virginia, there is a place called “Heaven.” It is “for reals.” If you haven’t read Todd’s book, you need to. If you read it with an open heart and mind and spiritual eyes, it will push you back into the pages of God’s Word. There, you can see Jesus’ words fresh and new, spoken as if just for you: “If it were not so, I would have told you” (John 14:2).

Jesus Really Said It

In other words, Jesus already told us, “Yes, heaven is really for reals.” We only see glimpses, because we aren’t ready yet to absorb the totality of our future: that unbelievably, magnificent home. We can’t totally understand the immense truth that Jesus’ death and resurrection opened up the gates–and guarantee–of heaven for the after-death arrival of those who have chosen Him and love Him.

Proof–in the Fire?

Skeptics will always find reasons not to believe. Scientists, like Thomas, need proof. Jesus told a powerful story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus who both died. The rich man, tormented by the flames around him, and seeing the beggar in heaven (at Abraham’s side), cried out for some relief. “Couldn’t Abraham send Lazarus across the great chasm to cool his tongue with a touch of water?” The rich man wanted relief from the fire.

When Jesus told the rich man the gulf was impassable and impossible, then Lazarus begged for Jesus to send someone to his home on earth and warn them so they wouldn’t “come to this place of torment.” He caught a glimpse of heaven across the chasm, but it was not a near death experience. He was already gone and experiencing his hellish home. He just knew his brothers would believe if someone from the dead would just go back and tell them the truth.

Who Will You Believe?

Essentially, Jesus told the rich man that if people didn’t believe the testimonies and warnings on earth, (from Moses and the prophets) they wouldn’t believe it from anyone who rose from the dead (See Luke 16:19-31).

I wonder, with so much incredible evidence, why hearts still refuse to believe today. The question is not do you believe Colton Burpo’s vision or anyone else’s near death experience. It’s really a matter of, do you  believe Jesus’ own words?

 Because you see, Jesus wasn’t kidding. Heaven is for reals.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going thee to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come  back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1-3 NIV).

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your comments below. Feel free to send this blog to someone or to repost on social media, but please do so with the buttons below, which will automatically include the link to my website. If you want to repost any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first.

Don’t forget to listen to online radio tomorrow as Brenda Nixon hosts “The Parent’s Plate”  from 9:00 – 10:00 (CST) or 10:00-11:00 (EST). I’ll join her for an interview and a three-book giveaway.

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    Comments

    7 Responses to “Is Heaven for Reals?”

    1. JASON FROM BORONIA VICTORIA AUSTRALIA on March 14th, 2011 8:01 pm

      Hi RebeccaI
      Believe Jesus this is my answer to the question who will yiu believe.

    2. Sue on March 15th, 2011 1:20 am

      Hi, thanks for all your lovely posts, I do enjoy reading them. I’m not too sure I agree with this one though. The Bible clearly teaches that the hope for the Christian is Jesus’ return, when the resurrection will take place, and we will reign with Jesus in God’s kingdom – on earth. Not in heaven. John 3:13 tells us nobody has been to heaven. I firmly believe that the signs all around us point to Jesus’ soon return, and this is what we long and pray for. A very good book to read on this subject is “They never told me this in church” by Greg Deuble. God bless.

    3. Rebecca on March 15th, 2011 1:07 pm

      Sue, thank so much for sharing your perspective and additional comments on this subject. If I could have spent a few pages on this post, there is so much to be said! But I didn’t want to make it a post on eschatology (end times) or on theology. There are so many viewpoints and thoughts about what heaven will be like, where we’ll be, etc., and the book I recommended by Randy Alcorn goes into depth with ample Scripture on what heaven on earth–or the New Earth–might be like. It’s a great book. The hope for believers in Christ is definitely Christ’ return. And it was Jesus’ death and resurrection that opened up the way to “heaven”–or the place that is now being prepared for us. After Jesus’ resurrection, Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord. I guess what I most wanted to say in my blog is that wherever Jesus is, is the place we want to be, and are promised to be. It’s real, because of Jesus’ promise to us in His Word. How it all shakes out, when it will take place, and what it all looks like is still a mystery. But when I die, I have the assurance that I will be where Jesus is. That’s enough for me to know for certain right now. Again, thanks so much for your clarifying statements. I appreciate your comments.

    4. Autum Rose on April 26th, 2011 6:24 am

      Does heaven really exist I found this article this morning and it says a 4 year old boy “saw the light” read it and let me know what you think? http://freedomist.com/2011/03/heaven-in-the-eyes-of-a-4-year-old-boy-near-death-witness-account/

    5. Rebecca on April 26th, 2011 12:32 pm

      This is the same boy, same story as in the book, Heave is for Real that I talked about in the blog. Yes, heaven really exists.

    6. Michelle Erickson on October 4th, 2012 11:30 pm

      do you believe in near death experiences? some of them i have heard from say that when we are raptured, some christians will be left behind to go through the great tribulation if they are not ready and pure hearted and fully obedient. should i believe this?im a christian but is it true many unprepared christians will be left behind in the rapture, while those ready are taken up in the rapture?i was always confused about this ..

    7. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on October 5th, 2012 11:59 am

      Michelle, I believe that God can and does do amazing things, and we limit Him sometimes. I encourage people to take Jesus at His Word, and to believe His Word. The test of something is probably, does it bring honor and glory to God, and does it line up with Scripture. As to your question on the rapture, I have never heard this. John 10:27-29 says that when we are His sheep, no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand. It is not up to me to judge another’s heart. Only God does that. But what I can do is to strengthen other believers in the faith, be prepared myself, and help others to come to know Jesus personally. Those left behind will be those who have not yet believed. Thanks for your comments.

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