"Heaven Really Is For Real"

      Just yesterday a friend posted a video on Facebook that supposedly "proves" life after death. The video is of a woman in her last hours of life, left in a hospital hallway. She dies, and in the grainy pictures of a security camera we allegedly see a shadowy object rise up out of her motionless body, and float away down the hall.

      So the main question is: How long will it be until this is proven to be a hoax?

      I watched the video immediately thinking of the trio of books that came out in recent years on the same subject. They are: "90 Minutes in Heaven" (2004), "Heaven Is for Real" (2010), and "The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven" (2010).

      All three books are about people who have died and, so they say, gone to heaven, only to return to earth and tell their stories. All three books have sold millions of copies. Movies have been made. The authors have been on speaking tours.

      And then Alex Malarkey (God in His wisdom must have chosen the last name) in 2015 disavowed his book, "The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven."

      But how can this be? Many people were persuaded, because the boy "met" in heaven people he'd never met on earth, saying their names aloud to stunned family members.

      Every pastor has been in this conversation many times. "But he knew the names." Yes, and the complexity of the hoax doesn’t make it any less a hoax.

      Just to be clear the other two books have not been disavowed by their authors. They stand by their stories. I, for one, choose not to trust them.

      Not that we deny life after death. We affirm it. Not that we deny heaven. We affirm it.

      The part I've never understood is the constant need for "more proof." Isn’t the clear witness of Holy Scripture sufficient? Yes, people say; but a little more helps. Oh, really? And how does it help when it's proven to be false?

      The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross, He died there, and was buried in a tomb. The third day he rose again. Those are simple enough statements. But are we sure?

      Well, women went to the tomb to anoint His body with perfumes. They expect to find a corpse. They find no body, but are met by angels who tell them that He isn’t here, He's risen.

      They run to tell the disciples. Peter and John run to the tomb and also find it empty.

      He appears to two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

      He appears to ten of the apostles (Judas was dead; Thomas was sulking).

      He appears to eleven of the apostles (Thomas having his doubts removed).

      He appears to Paul on the road to Damascus.

      He appears to 500 at the same time.

      All of these people proclaimed Christ's resurrection as eyewitnesses. They were threatened with death if they wouldn't stop speaking of it, but they refused to stop. All of the apostles except for John were executed. Most of them died in poverty. None gave up their witness.

      For me, that's enough. Is there any reason you can think of that the unified witness of Scripture is not sufficient grounds for accepting that Christ is risen? Having accepted that premise, then the rest of the biblical witness about heaven and hell and eternity falls into place neatly enough.

      I trust these things to be true, without the "help" of a video on Facebook.

God Bless

Pastor Walt