David Platt – „Heaven is for real” according to the Bible (not near death experiences)

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Thanks to Adrian for pointing out this David Platt clip!

How should we think about accounts of heaven not found in the Bible?

David Platt on books about heaven: the whole premise behind every single one of these books is contrary to everything God’s Word says about heaven

From Radical

As you may have heard, Todd Burpo’s best-selling book, Heaven is for Real, has been turned into a movie and it hits the theaters Wednesday (April 16th). Burpo’s four-year-old son allegedly visited heaven after being anesthetized for an appendectomy, and the book tells his story.

That so many believers are allowing these accounts of heaven to shape their thinking is a sad commentary on our ability to discern what is and what isn’t biblical. God’s Word, not personal testimonies, must be the measuring line for how we think of heaven and every other aspect of truth. Hopefully, the conversation surrounding the movie Heaven is for Real will give you an opportunity to share with someone how we know that heaven is for real, and most importantly, how to get there.

 

Heaven is For Real According to the Bible from David Platt on Vimeo.

Transcript: The kinds of things we are contemplating tonight, we don’t want to be wrong on. We don’t wanna live in a world of conjecture when it comes to eternal realities, especially when we know what is certain. That’s why that study guide is filled with God’s word. Because, God’s word is the only foundation upon which we can stand when we think about these things.

Jesus said, „Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. What transcends this world? God’s word. So, tonight, let’s minimize the thoughts of man, and magnify the truth of God. Now, I’ve got quotes from different people, like Tozer, a second ago. scattered throughout these notes. But, the purpose for all these quotes from men and women is purely to point us to the truth of God, to the word of God. And this is important. There are so many thoughts of man swirling around. Not just our culture, but swirling around the church today, about heaven, hell, and the end of the world.

Do you know what the best selling evangelical book of the past decade is? Heaven is for real. A fanciful account of a 4 year old boy, who talks about how he went to heaven and he got a halo and wings, but he didn’t like them because they were too small. He claims that he sat on Jesus’ lap while the angels sang to him. He even met the Holy Spirit, whom he describes as ‘kind of blue’.  Over 7 million copies sold. Not to be confused with another book titled ‘The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’, another best seller  by a man named Kevin Malarkey. Malarkey has a six year old son, who allegedly made multiple trips to heaven and back after a car accident. Malarkey’s son, Alex, has personally seen Satan many times. He describes him as having a funny looking mouth, a few moldy teeth, no noticeably ears, two bony arms, and two bony legs.

Now, these 2 books are not to be confused with ‘My Journey to Heaven: What I Saw Changed My Life’, by Marvin Besteman, ‘Flight to Heaven’ by Dale Black, ‘To Heaven and Back – a True Story’ by Mary Neil, ’90 minutes in heaven’ by Don Piper, ‘9 days in Heaven’ by Dennis Prince, ’23 Minutes in Hell’ by Bill Wiese, none of which you will see in the recommended reading at the end of your study guide.

So, make no mistake, there is money to be made in peddling fiction about the afterlife as nonfiction in the world of Christian Publishing today. And, that’s what’s so disturbing about the entire trend. These books are being published and then devoured by people who would describe themselves as born again and Bible believing Christians.  And all of that shows, our level of discernment in the church today, on this topic, is extremely low. Because the whole premise behind every single one of these books is contrary to everything God’s Word says about heaven.

John MacArthur sums it up best. I don’t have his quotes in your guides, but he points to these 2 verses I’ve got – Proverbs 34 and John 3:13, when he says, „For anyone who truly believes the biblical record, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that these modern testimonies, with their relentless self focus and the relatively scant attention they pay to the glory of God, are simply untrue. They are either figments of the human imagination, dreams, hallucinations, false memories, fantasies, and in the worst cases, deliberate lies. Or else, they are products of demonic deceptions.” He continues, „We know this with absolute certainty, because Scripture definitively says that people do not go to heaven and come back.

Who has ascended to heaven and come down?” Proverbs 34. Answer: „No one has ascended to heaven, except He who has descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” John 3:13.  All the accounts of heaven in Scripture are visions, not journeys taken by dead people. And even visions of heaven are very, very rare in Scripture. You can count them all on one hand. Four biblical authors had visions about heaven and wrote about what they say: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and John. All of them were prophetic visions, not near death experiences. Not one person, raised from the dead in the Old Testament or New Testament, ever wrote down what he or she experienced in heaven, including Lazarus, who had a lot of time in the grave, 4 days.

I was reading, the other day, 2 Corinthians 12, it describes Paul being caught up in heaven, but he gave no details. He summed it up in 3 verses. One writer said, „All the biblical authors who saw heaven and described their visions, give comparatively sparse details. But they agree perfectly. Their visions are all fixated on the glory of God, which defines heaven and illuminates everything there. They are overwhelmed, chagrined, petrified, and put to silence by the sheer majesty of God’s holiness. Notably missing from all the biblical accounts are the frivolous features and the juvenile attractions that seem to dominate every account of heaven currently on the best seller list.

Why then? Why are we buying this stuff? When we have the word of God? Let’s minimize the thoughts of man, magnify, trust, let’s bank our lives and the understanding of the future on the truth of God. At the same time, let’s lay aside our traditions and submit to God’s word. So, none of us wants to believe things about heaven, hell, and the end of the world just because we grew up hearing certain things taught. There’s too much at stake in our lives and others, for that.

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