Colton Burpo Sat in Jesus' Lap in Heaven?
A Little Boy's Startling Testimony
Four-year old Colton Burpo spent 17 days in a hospital, fighting for his life from a burst appendix. He emerged from that near-death experience a changed boy. He told his parents that two angels had taken him to heaven and he was looking in Jesus' face. He told them he met his great-grandfather Pop and his sister whom his mother miscarried 3 years earlier. He went to share other information and experiences that he could not have had knowledge of because his parents had not told him.
A Real Heaven
This was enough to convince his father Todd, a Methodist pastor, and his mother Sonja to begin sharing his experiences with the world, leading to a book deal and a bestselling book on the New York Times bestseller list, Heaven is for Real. Which led to the video interview I watched on the NBC Today Show website.
A Subtle Yet Dangerous Deception
There is no doubt in my mind that heaven is for real. I also believe that the experiences that young Colton describes are all real and not your typical fantasies of young child's active imagination. However, when I read what the Bible says about the state of dead people, I question the source of young Colton's experiences. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6 and 10 says: "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in any thing that is done under the sun . . . Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." The Bible makes it plain that there is no knowledge in the grave. The dead are not conscious, they are inactive, and they cannot speak to us. They go down into the grave and are silent. "The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence." Psalm 115:17.
There Are No People in Heaven or Hell - Yet
But one will say that "Colton was in heaven where he saw his resurrected great-grandfather Pop and his miscarried sister. He saw lots of people in heaven." But does the Bible say that the dead are in heaven now? Jesus says concerning the dead that they "are in the graves" awaiting to hear his voice at the last trump. "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." John 5:28, 29. Jesus Himself taught that the dead rest in their graves until the resurrection at the last day. Not one dead person goes to their reward in heaven or in hellfire before that time. Job said, "If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come." He also said: "But man dieth, and wasteth away [i.e. decays in the grave]: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep" (Job 14:14, 10-12). The Bible speaks very clearly on what happens to the dead after they die. They do not go to heaven or to hell, but "sleep" in the grave until the great resurrection at Christ's second coming. The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers: "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [ i. e., precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Every Subjective Experience to Be Tried By God's Word
The Bible is God's holy and inviolable word. Every experience is to be tried by the objective criterion of "Thus saith the Lord." The experience that Colton had, he and his parents sincerely believe it. Heaven is a real place because the Bible says it is so. Jesus is real and He is in Heaven because He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. The Bible says it is so. But Colton did not actually go up into heaven. Neither did he see Pop or his sister there, either. They, along with the rest of the deceased, rest in the grave awaiting the resurrection of the dead at Christ's second coming.
Evil Angels Impersonate Departed Loved Ones in a Counterfeit Heaven
So what did Colton experience? It was the masterful, deceptive counterfeit of heaven and the dead in heaven authored by the archdeceiver Satan himself. Prayerfully study 1 Samuel chapters 28 and 31 to see the evil agency of spiritualism, or the belief that the dead are not really dead and that they communicate with us living, at work to destroy King Saul.
This is not an indictment against Colton, his family, or the scores of people who have had similar experiences, often referred to as "near-death experiences" over the years. But ignorance is not bliss in this area. Satan told the first lie ever in the garden of Eden when he told Eve, "Ye shall not surely die." Genesis 3:4. And he has been using that same lie ever since to convince the living that the die do not really die, but their souls or spirits go on living. He will especially work in these last days to deceive the whole world and lead the nations into the Battle of Armageddon! "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty." Revelation 16:13, 14. The wise must sharpen their Word knowledge and Word power and fortify their minds with the truths of God's word. Satan and his angels will so closely counterfeit the true with their power to perform lying wonders that it will be impossible to tell the difference regarding the source except by "Thus saith the Lord." God bless us to read, hear and obey all of his word.