Friday, March 25, 2016

Who gives the 3 testimonies of heaven?

(The idea for this question came from Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology Vol 4 p 436)

Have you read a book with a testimony of someone who temporarily died and then came back to life? We are given “eyewitness” accounts of what afterlife is like, and just a few years ago these types of books were bestsellers. I would deem them to be vain imaginative writings of people who are out to make a buck, and I think the reason those books appeal to so many Americans is probably the fault of Charles Dickens. He certainly did fire up our imaginations with the dreams of Ebenezer Scrooge. He gave us the three ghosts of Christmas, and Biblically speaking, there are three witnesses who tell us a bit about heaven, and these three witnesses are the ones that I would trust. Let me put all three witnesses up, in order of importance.

Jesus is of course the most important witness about the things of heaven. Many singers have been captivated by the song, “I Can Only Imagine”, and while Jesus did tell us about heaven, there are certainly a lot of things which we do not yet know about—we can only imagine. Jesus said I go now to prepare a place for you that where I am, there you may be also. While we might have difficulty in imagining specifics, we ought to take great comfort and solace in the fact that the very God who created this world, a world that we find so intriguing and satisfying to our needs, that same God created a heavenly place which will be even better for our habitation. God took six days to create the whole of the earth, and yet he has had over 2,000 years to finish making our abode in heaven. Does that mean it is going to be thousands of times better than earth? Quite possibly.

We are not going to be in heaven long—for seven years if the book of Revelation is to be taken literally, and then the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and according to Jude, we all will be right behind him. Somewhere in this time, or right after his return, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb takes place. It is unclear from Revelation 19 exactly when this occurs, and I have read quite conservative Bible scholars who disagree—some saying it takes place during the seven years in heaven with Christ, and others feeling that it is the first major event after the coming. I personally am inclined toward the first view because it was Jewish custom for the groom to take his bride to his parent’s house and have a grand feast. It seems to fit well within this scenario to have God the Son presenting his bride to the Father, but I am not dogmatic about it, and we shall just have to wait and see how it all works out.

The second witness is Paul the apostle, who tells us that he was caught up to the third heaven. Chafer suggests that this actually happened when Paul was stoned at Lystra, and further suggests that Paul actually died at that time, was sent to heaven, and then sent back to finish the task that he was appointed to do. It may have happened that way, but from a reading of the Bible we cannot be absolutely sure. I find it fascinating that Chafer is suggesting that an actual after-death written account comes from Paul, especially since after-death accounts seem to bubble up into national bestsellers every few years. Chafer wrote this suggestion at least seventy years ago. We do know that Paul was able to write most of the epistemology for the church, directions for the church that were full and complete enough to give it character and direction for the last two thousand years. It is absolutely unimaginable where the church might be today without those directions.

Before going further, the third heaven should be defined. The first heaven is the sky with the clouds that we see round about us, the second heaven is the starry host above, and the third heaven is the abode of God and his heavenly host. Jesus, we are told, will return from heaven in the same manner in which he left—that is, he will return feet first in the sky to the very place that he ascended, the Mount of Olives. Interestingly, Zacharias, hundreds of years before, lets us know that upon his return to the Mount of Olives his feet will touch the mount, and a great cleavage of the mountain shall happen, so great that a vast new area will be created right there. Is this the place that will be created for the church? We do know for certain that we are to be with Christ for the rest of eternity.

Paul actually does not tell us much about this third heaven. The relevant passage is 2 Corinthians 12, and Paul says that he heard unspeakable things that it was not permitted for him to share. He was given a thorn in the flesh, an unnamed physical ailment, that was given to keep him humble, and from being proud about the great revelations. Many scholars feel that the thorn in the flesh may have been poor eyesight, but we are not told specifically what it is. We are told that Paul chose to glory in his thorn, whatever it was. I find myself wondering if his eyesight could possibly have been damaged from his being stoned, but the Bible is unclear about specifics. In any case, Paul tells us that to live is Christ, but to die is gain. Whatever he saw in that vision was enough to carry him through to martyrdom looking for a better world. His witness of the world to come could not be made stronger.

The last witness is that of John, who tells us about heaven in the book of Revelation. Revelation is the only book in the Bible where we know what day of the week it was written on. In the first chapter, John is caught up in an initial vision on the Lord’s day (Sunday), and told to write the seven letters to the seven churches. When the letters are completed, in chapter four John is swept up to heaven, “behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (v. 1).

So John, like Paul, is caught up into heaven, but unlike Paul there are many more things that John is able to reveal to us. True, what John sees starts in heaven, and the consequences are terrible as the earth is judged, but the last chapters of Revelation are some of the most beautiful in all of the Bible. Satan is at last judged, and the Lord with his saints sets up a rule in Jerusalem to usher in a time of prosperity that is unequalled. We start with the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, whether in heaven or on earth after the judgments, I am not certain. But it does seem to me that that supper will finally be the time, long promised and long awaited, when at last the Lord will drink a toast with his bride, and we will finally understand why we have had all those communions remembering our Lord and his sacrifice, for we shall at last see him as he is, and will experience a full communion with him. A toast to look forward to, where we will be renewed in our kingdom together and forever.

After the thousand years is up, a mere blink of time for those who dwell on the edge of eternal things, a final rebellion shall be forever put down, with Satan being cast forever into Hell, and the time of the Great White Throne judgment shall at last be. And then a new heavens and a new earth shall be revealed, one that we with the Lord shall step finally into eternity. We shall see a new city, a new river of life, twelve manners of fruits that will forever nourish us, and so shall we ever be with Christ. All of that John gives us details about in Revelation.

I enjoy reading about Christian history, and have found that many Christians of many generations have long looked for this heavenly time. Augustine thought he saw the end times in his own day, and wrote identifying several of the main characters of Revelation. Reading the correspondence of Jonathan Edwards with his fellow religious leaders, I came across speculations about the end times being near again and again. In my own generation we have certainly been watching for his coming, just as we are charged to. I long for his coming, as many of you do, but when I find myself dwelling on it, I have to ponder about where I would be if he had come in Augustine’s or Edwards’ time. His patience in judging the world has enabled so many more of us to find life in him, and that is much to be grateful for. John, in his book of Revelation, the book of endings and beginnings, has told us very vividly what those last times will be like, and the very detailed descriptions that he gives should make it become that more real to us. God has planned the end from the beginning, and there is no doubt that things will work out exactly as John foresaw, something that should bring all the more relief when we are distressed.

So there you have it. We do have 3 New Testament characters telling us details about heaven. Perhaps not enough details to do more than whet our appetites for heaven, but it may be that God intends us to look forward by faith to that which is to come. Besides the New Testament characters, there are several men in the Old Testament who give testimony about that which is to come. Ezekiel tells us of the valley of dry bones coming to life, suggesting that lifeless Israel will be drawn back to the Lord. Isaiah tells us of the living conditions of heaven on earth, when the Christ shall come to reign, when animals and men shall be at peace with one another, and man shall learn war no more. Zacharias has told us of the return of Christ to earth, and Jeremiah has promised a New Covenant with Israel that will never end. All in all, we have quite a bit of information about heaven, and we do not need the testimony of those who die for a few moments and then come back to write bestsellers about their visions. God has already adequately told us of what is to come; it is our job to be found waiting faithfully. Are you watching for his return?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

How many things can we get wrong and still be a Christian?

The question is, of course, a very lop-sided one. A Christian should be focusing on obedience, and not how much he might get wrong and still have the love of God. But there is something within my nature, and perhaps yours also, that asks the hard questions, and we do wonder about our crazy lives and mistakes that adorn the pathway of our life all too frequently. We are not in the position of God, whom you may remember, told us that he did not commit himself to men, because he saw what was within man, and needs not that any should testify of them. In other words, God alone sees to the heart, and knows the very intent that goes on there. So it seems to me to be an endless question open to much speculation and possible conditions, one that I could not answer at all in my lifetime, much less expect to answer in this short piece.

But suppose I turn the question around a little bit. What is the essential component of a Christian? That question becomes much easier to answer, but needs to have a warning attached to it. I have written a book called Beyond Philosophy, talking about the initial basic steps that lead toward a more complete discipleship, but what I am going to be writing about here is what it takes to be a Christian. If I define that in its barest terms, then all else could be subtracted and we could still imagine the person to be a Christian. In the final analysis, our definitions will have no merit, but all is dependent on the one who judges hearts.

I think of this question rather often, or at least the implications of this question because I spend a lot of time listening to Christian music. I do not follow the lives of artists very much, but I do find it sometimes hard not to follow a particular artist when that artist becomes involved in scandalous headline behavior. At that point, I probably stop and think and wonder, as many probably do, about whether that particular person is a Christian or not.

Actually I have chosen musical artists rather deliberately for two reasons. First, I do not wish to talk about any certain person particularly, because this is something that we all believe is only finally answerable in the judgment of God. Second, I think that the musical artist genre is large enough so that most of us can easily think of one example where we might wonder about the person’s Christianity. Sitting down now and thinking about it, I can recall at least three or four musical artists who were supposed to be Christian, but whose publicized actions brought their Christianity into question. It is my tendency at first to sharply condemn those who are acting so bizarrely, until the Lord has me ponder my own mistakes. And then, somehow my perspective seems to change.

I think that pretty well explains the dichotomy—on the one hand we as sinners profoundly hope for grace, but on the other hand we have high expectations for ourselves (along with convenient memory), and perhaps unconsciously, even higher expectations for others. It is terribly easy for me to notice the wood chip in someone else’s eye, and ignore the plank in my own. How is it that we see the wrongs so easily in others, and ignore or forget it in our own lives?

The essential component of a Christian is just as it was with Jesus in the beginning of the church age. By faith we are saved, by faith we are kept, and by faith one day we will be redeemed. There is no other foundation other than through the one who proclaimed to be the Way. It is no good asking the question that I started with, for if the foundation is laid properly with faith, the rest cannot matter. Of course we cannot see the foundation that is laid between a man and his God, and it thus remains a question altogether in the mind of God.

The gospel insists that we can know Christians by their fruits, and that remains the best measure for outsiders to see evidence of a changed heart, but still only God knows. In the times of Roman persecution, Christians berated one another for not staying true to the faith, and recanting. While it is true that many martyrs did find the strength to be faithful to the end, it is also true that many did not. They recanted their faith, and some of them were released. What was the church to do with such?

It actually produced ambiguity within the church; some thought that they should be received back, others thought that they should have to earn their way back, and still others felt that such people should be shunned. Yet, if but for a moment they had reflected about Peter, surely they would have known that grace is abundant even when we are not faithful. Peter is thought by some to actually have denied our Lord not three times but six times (see The Life of Christ in Stereo). Careful reading of the gospels reveals that there were two different statements made by Christ. Once Jesus tells Peter that before the cock crows, you will deny me three times, and in the other, Jesus tells Peter that before the cock crows twice you will deny my three times. The author, Cheney, maintains that by putting the gospels together it becomes evident that Peter actually denied the Lord six times.

Perhaps a moot point? In any case, Peter was absolutely devastated by his denials (whether they be three or six I do not know), and Jesus took a lot of extra time with Peter, recorded in John, to make sure that Peter understood his forgiveness and the wonderful grace of our Lord. But now let us go back to those Christian music artists that I have such a difficult time with their (sometimes very) inconsistent testimony. Could they not be like Peter in living their lives?

It is a difficult question to answer, but the possibility that they could be like Peter certainly is an existent possibility. I think that I still have some trouble (maybe you do also?) when I consider how the Bible insists that we are to spur one another on to good deeds, that we are to forsake the deeds of darkness and to seek the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, and peace. But then, upon reflection, I am driven to my knees once more, aware that my own darkness is not completely forsaken—indeed, sometimes I have turned my back on what I knew I should be doing, and in that moment I realize afresh that without the complete and full grace of God, I do not even have a prayer of getting into heaven.

The doctrine of the perseverance of saints I find obscure in that regard. I have no difficulty believing in the complete grace of God overcoming sin—otherwise, as I said, I surely will not stand on that day, but I do have trouble seeing hearts, and therefore I have realized I cannot see perseverance of the saints working out. The dilemma is quite simple. People stray. Some come back. Others do not. John tells us that they went out from us because they were really not of us. So we might simply assume that those who do not come back were in reality not Christian to begin with.

But any reflection (and James who tells us that there is a sin that ends in death) about myself makes me realize that I could quite easily have died while I was straying. Would I then be lost? Surely not! God is faithful—it is me who has the problem of faithfulness. So you see, while I perfectly believe in the perseverance of the saints—knowing fully well that God is keeping me, I can never say that about other people. I do not know their heart. As for the persevering part? I believe God fully keeps his part, and thus I believe the Bible that tells us he is faithful even when we are not. In the end, I have no doubt that we will find God completely persevering in his faithfulness with every single soul.

I do believe there are sins that end in death. Some of our musical folk have ended their lives tragically this way. Is God faithful? Every time! And maybe our speculation about whether someone else is Christian is just that—speculation. And perhaps it needs to be left at that. It is reasonable for us to expect fruit from others, but it is just as reasonable for us to expect fruit from ourselves, and sometimes we are just not what we ought to be. Maybe they are not what they ought to be either. Instead, can we focus on the Lord, who has loved us and freely given himself for us, while we were yet sinners?

If the gospel comes to us any other way, then my salvation and yours must forever be imperiled. If it does in the end really reduce to Christ Plus, how are we ever to know if the Plus is enough? In the morning sermon, our Pastor covered the text in which Paul says to “Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). Was Paul willing to give Mark a second chance? Does God give second chances? Mark failed in his first missionary endeavor, but his faithful cousin, Barnabus, was able to love him in spite of that failure. In time, the patience and love that Barnabus showed Mark even won Paul over, that he might desire the help of Mark, who proved himself over and over useful in the ministry, eventually giving us the gospel of Mark itself.

Paul tells us that “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) He would remind us that we do not belong to ourselves anymore; we have been purchased of God and for his purposes. It is altogether good that we flee worldly things which we were formerly involved in, and it is also altogether good that we have problems when we see brothers and sisters struggling against sin, and losing those struggles. We are told to pray for such, and to restore them gently, lest we ourselves be found in the same position.

The gospel is not needed for the righteous. Indeed, Christ proclaims that he is not come to save the righteous. As long as we pretend that we are righteous we shall find no need of a Savior, but in seeing our selves as God sees us, then and only then do we become able to be saved. We see our need. The next verse tells us what we are called to: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” Some of us, in the power of the Spirit, will succeed wonderfully in finding and living that kind of life. Others will manifest deep problems in their walk with God, and may never get past that struggle.

Let me close with an illustration about Marty. I worked in a rescue mission in the early eighties in downtown Los Angeles. Homelessness had come to the national consciousness, and was in the headlines much in those days, and the men on Skid Row were particularly to be pitied. Many in those days were alcoholics, slaves to their next drink. During my years there, I found alcoholism across all stratas of society, rich and poor, professional and simple. Marty was the alcoholic of the alcoholics, but he did not like it and he knew it was wrong. Soiled and dirty beyond description, Marty came to every service. There were many churches coming to give services in those days, and invitations to receive Christ were given at all of them. Sobbing and crying (and often drunk), he would respond to the invitations again and again. He professed faith in Christ, but was never able to dry out for any length of time. Was he saved? As his chaplain, I had no way of knowing. It is utterly beyond me to know the hearts of others and their relationships with God, except by the evidence of their fruits. Marty could have been saved. He also could have just been one of many who struggled with self-reformation, and found himself too weak. In such a case he would be one who went out from us, because he was not really of us. Or, and I would not be too surprised, one day in heaven I might meet Marty, who could not win his earthly battles, but who is made righteous nonetheless by his faith, and is clothed in a white robe, made righteous by his Lord. Mercy and love, without giving up our desire to be found working for the Lord, ought to be hallmarks of our struggle in this world.

I know not the condition of poor Marty’s soul, but this at least I do know. Not one of us will get into heaven on the basis of what we have done. We will only make it on the basis of what he has done. And that ought to be enough to remind us to be merciful to others, snatching them from the fires themselves, hating the sins that have captivated them (Jude 23).

Saturday, March 05, 2016

What is our afterlife like?

For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.1
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2,3

The average Christian seems to make an assumption that heaven is the end of the road when we die. However, the Bible makes it clear that heaven is a temporary abode—that Christ intends to come back to the world and rule in Jerusalem, bringing us back from heaven to earth.2 Geographically, the area of Jerusalem is to change drastically, so drastically that only the sovereign and omnipotent Creator-God could possible effect the changes. Read the words of Zechariah, the prophet, made so many years ago: “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south (Zech. 14:4). In other words, a great valley will exist, running east and west, with the mountain range being split in two to accommodate the valley. Zechariah also lets us know that a river of what he calls the living waters will flow through this valley, both in east and west divisions.

How long will this earth last? Revelation, six times, tells us that it will last for a period of one thousand years: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6). In discussing this passage with fellow believers, I have found it often postulated that these thousand years are not to be taken literally, as the Bible nowhere else refers to them. Such a view is dangerous, as it is always dangerous to try to gainsay what God takes the time to say six times.

We are not told just how big this split is, but the valley must be enormous, for in the creation of the new heaven and new earth, which comes after the thousand years, we are told that the size of the city is about 1,500 miles. Perhaps the split is somewhat comparable because the new size of Jerusalem must be large enough to accommodate all the saints that are there. Interestingly, we are told that there is one mountain left in Jerusalem, and the prophets refer to the mountain left many times:
1. And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's.
Obadiah 21
2. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Micah 4:2
3. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Isaiah 11:9

So, evidently one mountain, where the Lord resides, is left in the middle of the valley. The mountain, in the midst of a new large valley, stands as a beacon directly the paths of other nations. We are told that other nations will visit Jerusalem each year in Zechariah 14: “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles” (14:16). People of other nations will pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and will bring tribute to honor the Lord. In so doing, the Bible says that they will be blessed, and have their needed seasonal rains.

But what will we be doing there? I have a Christian friend who once lamented to me that he hoped God had a solitary cabin built for him, as he was unfit to feel right in the company of others. I reminded my friend that God intends to remake us into what we ought to be, rather than how we now find ourselves. Perhaps the best part of being there is that we will, for the first time, find ourselves as we ought to be, and as Lewis brings out so poignantly in The Great Divorce, we will live and be in reality with all of our illusions gone. Alcorn says, “God will not scrap his original creation and start over. Instead, he will take his fallen, corrupted children and restore, refresh, and renew us to our original design.”3 I do think my friend, or myself, for that matter, ought not to worry about the place God puts us, as I believe he will remake us exactly for that place.

I used to worry too much about everything being the same—sort of being in a massive place of socialism, with all the workers or worshippers being the same, replicated ad nauseam, but then I looked at the creative power of our God. Has he not made each of us differently? And does he not love each of us specially? Does he not signal that special love by giving each of us a unique name that no other man knows? A God who is infinite, at the least, has infinite ability to express a Father’s love to each of his children. I have no doubt that we will have manifestations of socialism, with each of us eager to carry one another’s burden, but I think that is as it should be, and will be without the sacrifice of being special and unique, a work of God. There is the bema seat of Christ, where crowns are given away as rewards, noticing the differences in us, and rewarding the faithful among us. We know that there is a crown of life, but there also is a crown of martyrdom, and recognition of those who have lived their lives of faith. And yet, elsewhere the Bible says that we will cast all our crowns at his feet, realizing that everything that we have, say, or do is because of his magnificent grace.

The Bible says that we will become like him, for we shall see him as he is. I used to think about my special doctrines, that when I at last made the afterlife, I could find out whether I was right, or someone else was right. But as I reflect on the glory to come, my best guess is that doctrine will become secondary, for in seeing him as he is, what else could possibly matter to us? Only that everyone there knows the Lord, and is filled, just as I am, with his glory, and are forever transferred into his image.

We will have new bodies, and will eat without teeth ever being worn out, or wrinkles ever coming, and most importantly we will not have pain or need. The Bible says that we will judge men and angels. I feel now like I could never do that, and perhaps it is the humility that I do live with, seeing others as better than myself. There are many people in the world without Christ who do good things every day, and I find it hard to judge them. But today I am not to be their judge, but rather to be their light, praying for the Spirit, if by any means they might be saved. In that day, the age of grace will be ended, and those who persist in their wickedness will find themselves judged, and judged righteously. Lewis reminds us, “Any man may choose eternal death. Those who choose it will have it.”4 In that day I am convinced we will more fully understand both the justice and the love of God. (See 1 Cor. 6:2 & 3)

And I am afraid I will have to get rid of my default retirement jeans, 501’s, in favor of white robes. I do think the white robes are representative of our being made righteous, but they appear too often for me to think they will be less than literal. Our dietary needs will be taken care of with the living waters flowing out from the city and the tree with its monthly fruits. The leaves of that tree are to be used for healing of the nations, perhaps indicating that they have medicinal value, and I wonder if their application will have aught to do with our priestly duties.

All of this is but transitory, lasting a mere thousand years, but after that, God promises a new heaven and a new earth. We will be given a new Jerusalem that will measure more than 1,500 miles, an awesome construct to hold perhaps billions of Christians. The most amazing thing about afterlife to me is that the God of the universe singularly cares for and loves me so much so to make a special niche just for me. I certainly shall never tire of that which he has planned for me. He did not create heaven for me to linger in more than a moment, but instead he has deemed that he himself would become a servant to us, making a fit place of the old earth for a bit, and then surprising us with a new place, beyond all of our conception, but created especially for us. Reminding us of this astounding fact, Alcorn writes, “This is a picture of God’s ultimate plan—not to take us up to live in a realm made for him, but to come down and live with us in the realm he made for us.”5

There are many unanswered questions of course. What will the day to day experience of being with Jesus be like? How shall I be changed? What will seeing Jesus as he really is do, specifically? I am most interested in what I might learn—indeed in the learning process itself. I think, but am not sure, that I will still know in part, with regard to the knowledge of creation. I will know him, and that will wonderful, but I still find myself wondering if books and learning and teaching will comprise part of heaven. But that is probably because reading is my favorite activity, and I am a retired teacher. It is perhaps natural for me to wonder about these things, but it is a walk of faith not to be caught up in the “particulars”, but instead to have my eyes upon my Lord. The questions, or the particulars, ought not weigh us down so that we do not have our eyes upon our mission here.

And what, in view of all these things, ought we to be doing? Believing that there is an eternal destiny for every man ought to be enough for us to refocus on the Great Commission. There is no time like now to be giving to the world the picture of the Lord that he has shared with us. God is alive and well, and even after 2,000 years these things will come to pass exactly as foretold. Work hard, for the days are shorter than when we first believed.

1. Lewis, C. S. (2009-06-03). Weight of Glory (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis) (p. 41). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
2. That we will be in heaven for a time is brought out in many verses, but particularly in Jude 14, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” We are obviously returning with Christ to earth from being in heaven with him.
3. Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 2285-2286). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.
4. Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). The Great Divorce (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis) (p. 140). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
5. Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 1085-1087). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.