Visits to Heaven

We have or had a visitor in town recently or so I am told.  It was a woman who spent 3 days in heaven.  She is neither the first to make such a claim nor, I am certain, is she going to finally close the book on such stories.  In her case, as is true of nearly all that I have read, she underwent a medical emergency and Doctors said she was “dead.” While dead, she went to heaven.  How do we evaluate such claims?  Using the Bible of course.

There she met Jesus.  This part rings true with me because I believe He will be the first person any of His people see once they pass through the door.

John 14If 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

Very few of the “dead” see Jesus the very first thing.  I toss aside the testimonies and books of those that don’t. So far so good.

Next, she said that she was a timeless creature and had the ability to time travel, entering the stream of time at will, visiting history where ever she wished.  Sounds more like science fiction or fantasy than anything else.  You see, unless God changes the physics of the universe, we MUST be creatures of time.  We are identified by the height, width and depth of our bodies at a point in time.  Kind of like finding a point on the x-y-z axis in geometry.  Three dimensions describe the space we occupy and time defines the moment we occupy it.  Right now I am sitting at my computer and typing this article.  Eventually I will move to the kitchen and refill my diet coke and occupy a different space at a different time.  I can come back to the computer and occupy the same space with the same body.  What is different?  I occupy it at a different time. Time is essential to defining ME.  Otherwise I would be everywhere I have ever been at once.  I’d be sitting at the computer AND in the kitchen AND in my bedroom all at once.  No time means no difference between the three.  To sum it up, without time I would eventually be everywhere at once or omnipresent.  Only God is omnipresent.  Even the angels are not omnipresent.

For example:

Daniel 1012 Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.

Gabriel the angel tells Daniel that he was dispatched on the first day that Daniel began to pray.  He says, in effect, “Sorry I’m late.  The demon who rules Persia delayed me for 3 weeks.  Michael the archangel came and made it possible for me to continue on to see you.”  Okay, if angels were timeless then these words are meaningless.  It would be impossible to delay him for any length of “time” because Gabriel could enter the stream of time where ever he wished.  He could come early if he wished and he could not be “delayed”  But he is not timeless.  So it bothers me that this woman claims a power that not even the angels have and which God alone possesses–omnipresence.

Finally, Paul was not allowed to describe heaven when he visited there.  John the apostle did so in Revelation chapters 4 and 5.  Whatever anyone experiences should match what John reveals in Scripture.  Why would God pluck some woman out of the 150,000 who die each day and give her a message that is already found in the Bible?  To encourage us?  Paul wrote words of comfort in I Thessalonians 4

I Thessalonians 413 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope….Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Why do we need anything more than this?  If we do, then why didn’t God include more detail in His word in the first place?  Questions such as these make me skeptical of ALL the claims.

I have often said publicly that if the witnesses who went to heaven would not write books (and make money) and go on speaking tours (and make speaking fees and sell books and make money) and promote themselves (and gain attention and sell books and make money) then I might listen more carefully.  Should I stumble on some obscure believer who quietly goes about their business and I am forced to beg and plead with them for their story, perhaps I would listen.  If the story agreed with the Bible.  If…

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