In recent years Christians have been entertained by stories of heaven told by people who claim near-death experiences. When we look into the Bible, however, we discover a very different record: not one person who was raised from the dead ever gave testimony to what he or she saw of the afterlife. This includes Lazarus, whom Jesus called out of the grave after he had been dead four days (John 11).
Why are there no biblical descriptions of Heaven from people who have died and come back? God wants us to trust in what He has specifically revealed in His Word. Not the conclusions people might have from their experiences. People’s perceptions could easily alter the truth.
God has established boundaries for our human curiosity: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever…” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Any attempt to inquire further about the afterlife than what the Bible reveals and any attempt to communicate with the dead are strictly forbidden in Scripture.
Several biblical authors and figures had visions of Heaven – not near-death experiences.
Read Isaiah 6:1-4; Ezekiel 1,10; and Revelation 4-6, 21-22. Their descriptions focus on the glory and majesty of God.
The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.”
Scripture is clear that only One Person has gone to Heaven and returned, Jesus Christ. John 3:13 says, “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.” John 1:18 says, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”
Jesus came from Heaven to show us who God is and to take the punishment for our sins. On the eve of His crucifixion, He comforted His disciples with these words, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you in Heaven. Do you have assurance that you have a relationship with God through Christ? Read “How Can I Know God?”
What Do You Think?
So what do you think?
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