NOTE: I don't want to beat this film (Heaven Is For
Real) to death, but there are numerous spiritual issues that are brought to the
table through it. This article is the most important I have read. Satan's wiles are being used to their
maximum during these times and Christians need to understand the deceptions.
by Jack Van Impe
There is a deception which seems to be sweeping within the church world and it seems to be getting bigger and wider almost daily now and by the looks of it, it’s engulfing many within its wake. This deception comes in many forms, from false teachings or signs and wonders, to personal revelations which are contrary to the word. The fact is, whatever Satan has planned, he’s making the most of it in these last days. Which brings me to the latest in a long line of quackery – heaven trips.
Let me state without reservation that I do believe in visions and prophetic dreams. I believe God is able to do whatever he so desires to bring about change in people’s lives. That being said, I do not believe God is giving people daily access to heaven in the form of out of body experiences and near death events, or, in the case of some of the apostolic leaders currently making outlandish claims today, taking a trip to heaven on a whim. Everything God does serves a purpose, and that purpose is to warn the wicked of eternity without him in a place called hell. God is so concerned about eternity, that he spent more time warning men to repent than he did of his blessings. That is the nature of God, because he desires none to perish (2 Peter 3:9).
Most of these so called heavenly trips have all a common theme – bliss. But not once do the majority of those who have claimed to have went to heaven ever came back pleading with sinners to repent. Instead, the glimpses they said they were given were to amuse the believer into seeing heaven for themselves, the problem with this line of thinking? The focus is on the creation and not on the creator. Anytime the focus is on the perfect, but not on God himself, then something is amiss. This is the result of a powerful demonic experience whose sole intention is to place the believers thoughts on heaven rather than on Christ who gives them the right to even go there. But some would argue that there have been some men and women who have seen heaven and have returned with “some” limited knowledge. I agree.
However, if it’s to be noted, each and every time someone has claimed to have seen the great city, there is more to which they have not uttered, or even were allowed to speak of. Why? I don’t know. But we know that in those rare cases men have been allowed to catch a glimpse of the afterlife, in each time it was all directly connected to the word of God, it did not depart from it.
It must be understood that everything that comes in the name of the Lord must align itself with the word. There must be a spirit of truth surrounding anything which speaks of a God given dream or vision. If it does not align itself with the word, then it must be rejected. If it strays one bit from truth, if it adds to the word, if it diminishes the word it equally must be denounced as false, no exceptions. The fact remains, anything outside the parameters of God’s word is false. (Deut. 13:1)
Which brings me to Heaven is Real.
Heaven is Real tells the story of four-year-old Colton Burpo and his near death experiences in heaven due to an emergency appendectomy. The “true” story, retold by his father but using Colton’s simple words, desires to offer a glimpse of the world that awaits us. The problem? That Colton tells us in his book actually runs contrary to the word, and in some cases adds to it, while in other cases is based on extra-biblical revelation. Not only does Colton tell us another story of the gospel, but throughout the book, gives more revelation, revelation which seems to surpass scripture. That is the danger we find ourselves in when we begin to accept something outside the parameters of the word and why, when we examine Colton’s story (as we will in this article), the things he states through the words of his father, suggest something else at work here – a dark deception.
When we understand the supernatural, we realize that there are two factions at play, one a Godly power, that guides us, strengthens us and loves us and wants the best for us. However, there is a darker, more sinister faction which is constantly trying to destroy us, deceive us and ultimately lead us astray. This is Satan and those fallen angels who went with him in the fall. The apostle Paul summed it in Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.“
The truth is, Satan is a liar and the father of lies, and many times he will come as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), masquerading as a source of truth, but that truth is a twisting of the word to make it seem as though it is truth, when in reality it is a lie – a deadly lie. This explains what often occurs in ghostly apparitions, from UFO’s to the sighting of the virgin Mary, the result is people are deceived into thinking that what they are seeing is a sign from God, when in reality the event is made to draw men away from Christ and the word. In Colton’s case, I am firm in my belief, based on reading the book and all its “revelations” of heaven, that what the young boy (Colton) saw and projects in the book is not only a clever lie, but worse, it sends another message, not that man should repent, turn from his sin, but that heaven, as well as God, are a universal message for a unification of all faiths.
It’s interesting that in the special movie edition of Heaven is for Real, screenwriter/director – Randall Wallace, states that he uses the phrase, “What you believe affects what you perceive” [pg. 183]. Most readers would read that comment and flip the page, but if we actually read at what is being said and research what is being stated in the book, as well as the upcoming film, the term he uses is a new age term. So why would the writer and director use new age terminology? Because it fits into the them of the book – universalism.
A spoon full of sugar.
It’s an old adage that if you want to get a child to take their medicine, try a little sugar first. It’s the same with a false gospel, use a little truth to gain the trust of the people, even if that truth comes in the form of a four-year-old. Satan knows no boundries, he has no compassion nor love for you or me, anymore than he does for Colton Burpo. Satan will use whatever it takes to deceive, even Colton. Now some might say I’m being harsh on a small child, but it’s not the child who is at fault here, the blame revolves around the enemy of our soul, but at some point I have to question the wisdom and discernment of Colton’s father – Todd Burpo. How can a pastor of a large church, who supposedly knows the word inside and out, be fooled into such a deceit? I believe the answer is simple, they simply do not know the truth to begin with.
Let’s look at those claims Colton makes in his story:
In Colton’s revelation, he states that he met Jesus, who was not only the Saviour of the world, but also a school teacher [pg. 71] In Colton’s vision, Jesus gave out homework assignments to children. Yes, you read that right – children. The fact is, there are no children in heaven. Colton declares on page 95-96 that children do run and play in heaven, but where did they come from? The truth is, no where do we see children being depicted in the word, nor even in John’s account in his Revelation to the church. The sad fact is, this is deception.
Everyone has wings in heaven [pg. 72]. The fact is, only cherubims have wings, not angels and most certainly not the saints in heaven.
The book is pro-Catholic. In Colton’s story he states that Mary is highly favored and stands next to Jesus and is praised, he even suggests that Mary still treats Jesus as her son [pg. 152-153]. Once again, we have unscriptural support for something which is not true.
Although Mary, while on earth, was highly favored, she was still a sinner, she still needed a savior and she still needed the blood of Jesus to set her free from sin. This is a ploy to bring universal appeal to the book for Catholics, encouraging them in their deception.
Colton states he was given past life situations of his own father’s childhood [pg. 88-94]. For what purpose was Colton given a message about events in his father’s life when he was a young boy? The only answer to that is in the context given, it was to deceive. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 speaks about 9 specific gifts, one of those gifts is the word of knowledge, the ability to know something which has passed that the person speaking could not have possibly known. However, in each time a word of knowledge is given, it is established so the person receiving that particular word will turn to Christ in their situation they are facing. In this case, what Colton says is the information he gained while unconscious during the operation was to help his father believe everything he was telling him, this borders on witchcraft. Demonic spirits do this thru mediums and psychics to enable to gain favor over any skepticism which would come from such revelation. The truth is, whenever God gives a specific word of knowledge it will always point people to the cross, not to something whose agenda is to deceive.
The dead sister with no name.
One of the most disturbing claims young Colton cites in his claim is the visitation of his long departed sister who died while in the womb of her mother – Sonja, Colton’s mother. This young girl approached Colton while in heaven [pg.95-97] and told him she was his dead sister, but she had no name. Seems in Colton’s heaven those children who die in birth or through abortion, have no names, that God cannot name them. What bothers me even more is how in Colton’s revelation there is sadness in heaven, this runs counter to the word itself, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
In Colton’s vision, Satan is not permitted into heaven [pg. 133], this too is unscriptural (Job chapters 1&2).
Colton states that only those in heaven have bodies, that sinners will never have a body nor have a body after death [pg.136]. This is against the word, as Jesus himself states in Luke 16, that the rich man lifted up his eyes being in torment.
In an even more startling depiction of universalism, Colton, as well as his father cite in page 166, how that a Palestinean woman read the book and not once ventured into the belief that one must be saved, born again to go to heaven. For her, she believed this was a way to simply relate to her muslim family members. Which brings me to my main point against this book.
The book itself is not a compelling reason for sinners to repent, actually, the book itself is a serious hindrance to the gospel for it presents a message of universal appeal regardless who reads it, be it Mormon, Catholic, Jew or Muslim, the overall sentiment is an emphasis on heaven and not on Christ. This adds to the problem found in many of these types of claims, it does not cause sinners to repent, but it softens the message of the cross where the universal focus is that everyone can find faith in their perception of what heaven is, to not only the Christian, but to the Muslim. The book presents a message that all roads lead to God, but whose God? The God of Islam? The God of paganism? The God of Christianity? Let me quote the writer himself, Randall Wallace; “The question of faith is a powerful one because it’s also the question of choice. Do we have a choice in what we believe? There are those people who say I don’t believe in God. That doesn’t trouble me. C. S. Lewis, who was the great voice of Christianity throughout the last century, considered himself an atheist most of his life. I don’t think that the label anyone gives limits them, and I don’t think we should allow our own labels to limit each other. But it’s our sense that we just might find out that life is greater than we have ever imagined, that love might really happen, that we might not only find love but we might also give it – that, to me, is faith.”
Now, I want to quote what Jesus said in John 3:3 “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The fact is, Wallace has it all wrong, not only does he have his entire concept of what faith is wrong, he is completely ignorant of the cross and why the cross is needed in the life of a person who needs Christ. This is at the core of the most troubling aspects of this book brings into those who will read it, it has a form of religion, it produces no desire to repent, and it projects a concept where everyone is welcome, no change within their heart truly is needed. This is heresy.
The final problem with the book is the families deep connection to Akiane Kramarik, a young woman who by her own statements, is a believer in new age mysticism. Her supposed drawings of Jesus, which Colton states is in fact the real Jesus, proves that there is a deep deception sweeping this world as no other time in history. Why is this? The reason is simple, the enemy knows his time is short and that he has to hurry to bring many into bondage. The truth is, neither Colton nor Akaine have ever seen God face to face as they claim. Neither Colton nor Akaine, have any discernment of what they saw, the fact is, they were children at the time of their deception and by all accounts, they were duped into a lie, used by Satan to deceive the masses, i.e., spoon full of sugar.
For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians.
The truth is, Heaven is for Real is a deception meant for one thing – to deceive. While it is nice to think about a child being shown the heavenlies, we already know what the word says for that which is yet to come, why do we continue to flock toward the false? I believe it’s a result of a lack of genuine scriptural teachings found in many pulpits across the nation. Yes, there has always been deception, Satan has not changed his method, the only difference today is, we are later in the hour of the end of the age than we were nearly 2,000 years ago.
This makes us to consider that the closer we get to the end of this age, the greater deception will become more active, gaining the trust of all those who would hear.
There is but one reason why these books and claims are growing these days, because it’s to disarm the church for when the greater and more dangerous deception comes upon the earth. The fact is, gain the trust of many and you’ll be ready to enslave the masses later on, why? Because they believed the subtle lie at the beginning, which made it easier to believe the greater lie. A spoonful of sugar.
Stay away from this book, leave it alone and stick with the Bible. You won’t come away confused if you do.