Have you ever wondered if heaven is a real place? If so, you are not alone.
The subject seems to be on millions of peoples’ minds. Several people claiming to have died and seen God, have popularized the topic of heaven by writing about “after-death” accounts in their best-selling books. If we are to believe their stories, heaven is for real.
American school teacher, Crystal McVea, who reportedly died in a hospital for nine minutes in 2009, wrote of her experience.
I remember almost every detail. I remember being in the bed….I remember just closing my eyes in that bed and I opened them and I was standing in the most beautiful tunnel of light I could ever describe.¹
In the best-selling book and movie, Heaven is for Real, a pastor tells the story of his four-year old son, Colton, who, after reportedly dying on an operating table, claims to have seen Jesus on a rainbow-colored horse.²
In these after-death accounts, as with most others, heaven is a real place. However, each of these people making these claims give us different accounts of what heaven is like, and most don’t talk about sin or the need for forgiveness.
In fact, most of these accounts are from people who were supposedly dead for a short time, leading some to question if they were truly dead, or simply in a comatose state where their imaginations merged into a sense of reality.
How do we know for sure if heaven is a real place? Where do we find the truth about heaven? More importantly, what does God tell us about how to get there?
Only one person in recorded history, Jesus Christ, has died, been buried, and come back to tell us the answers to these questions. His eyewitness followers wrote down what he said. (For evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, see Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?) Let’s see what Jesus said about heaven and how we can go there.
What Did Jesus Say About Heaven?
Jesus said he is the only person who has ever been to heaven and returned to tell us about it. He said incredible things that defied what the Jewish religious leaders taught.
In fact, Jesus infuriated the Jewish religious leaders by forgiving sinners such as thieves and adulterers. So, what did Jesus say about how to get to heaven? Referring to himself as the “Son of Man,” Jesus told Nicodemus,
No one has ever been up to Heaven except the Son of Man who came down from Heaven….For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life. You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it—through him.³
Jesus didn’t say the way to heaven was by just doing good deeds, being religious or living a moral life. He forgave sinners when they put their trust in him, not themselves.
That leads to the question, what is God’s requirement for us to go to heaven? And more importantly to you personally, how can you be assured that you will go to heaven?
Jesus said that those who believe in him will not be lost, but will be given eternal life. To discover what God’s love means to you personally, and to know for sure whether or not you will go to heaven, read Is Jesus Relevant Today?
³ John 3:12-17, New Testament, J. B. Phillips version.