Some people who claim they’ve been to heaven say they’ve actually met God and/or Jesus…a couple of the Twelve Apostles…a few prophets…family members…only to be sent back to Earth to tell of their experience. Clint Archer of The Cripplegate offers 3 reasons why you shouldn’t envy those who claim they’ve been to heaven. He writes:
Not many people see heaven and live to tell about it. In Scripture, those who may have (Lazarus, Paul, and the girl we call Tabitha), never recorded a word of what they saw. Only John’s Revelation was given for the church. But among certain Christian circles, extraordinary claims of a trip to heaven are accepted as true.
One far-fetched claim gained notoriety on March 11, 2011, when the New York Times ran: “Celestial Sales for Boy’s Tale of Heaven.” The article reported young Colton Burpo’s “testimony” of a trip to heaven, which a mercurial marketing campaign (complete with book deal and movie rights) grossed him unbelievable sums. The book, “Heaven is for Real” sold over 12 million copies, and the film adaptation grossed over 100 million dollars.
What do we do with these types of claims? Are the claimants lying, crazy, or for real? Is it wrong to doubt the experience? Should we envy his experience? Are we lacking faith in God’s power and work?
Last week we looked at a glimpse of the kingdom, from the Transfiguration in Luke 9. Peter, James, and John experienced a moment of heavenly glory come to earth, and they heard the audible voice of God. This raises a question as to whether glimpses of glory and hearing God’s voice do still happen today.