by Shawn Brasseaux
Recently, while browsing an aisle filled with “inspirational” literature, I came across two books. Now, the casual reader will fall into this sort of trap, but the key here is to Biblically analyze the situation. Here you have two books, both of which have convincing titles. They both “have a form of godliness,” as 2 Timothy 3:5 says, but when they are compared with the Bible, these two books clearly “deny the powerful thereof” by contradicting the Bible.
What am I talking about? The first book is “90 Minutes in Heaven,” written by Don Piper in 2004. In 2006, Bill Wiese published “23 Minutes in Hell.” Is either of these books reliable? Thankfully, I have not wasted my time reading either book because all I had to do was spend a few minutes reading both back covers; it was no surprise to find out that both of them are nonsense and should be completely avoided!
Weise is a professing Christian who claims that, in 1998, he was transported to hell—whether bodily or in a vision, he is not sure. He tries to bolster this claim with Scripture by quoting 2 Corinthians 12:2,3. Nonetheless, Weise’s story is nonsense. Why would God allow a “Christian” to see hell? If a “Christian” goes to hell, then he was never a Christian! And why do we need someone to tell us what hell is like when God’s Word gives us a description of hell in Mark 9:42-50, Luke 16:19-31, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, and Revelation 14:10,11? The Bible says more about hell than it does about heaven anyway.
The other author, Piper, is a Baptist minister who said that after a 1989 automobile accident, he died and came back to life several times. Like Weise’s, this is another odd, unbelievable story because Piper claims he was able to see heaven for 90 minutes, and God sent him back to earth so he could tell us what he saw. Immediately, a red flag goes up—flash back to 2 Corinthians 12:4. When the Apostle Paul was caught up into the third heaven, God forbade him to share his experience of heaven. God told Paul not to say a word about what he experienced in heaven. Obviously, Piper’s statements are untrustworthy because it contradicts God’s Word. By the way, oddly enough, Piper said he never saw Jesus Christ in heaven. How can you go to heaven and not see Jesus Christ?!
Whatever these two men saw, I cannot say exactly. It was some type of emotional upheaval, or a hallucination, but it was not related to God. The Bible tells us that everything that God has to say to us is in God’s completed written text (the Bible). In 2 Timothy 3:16,17 KJV we read: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” People today who claimed to have visions or extra-biblical revelations are claiming that God’s Word is not complete. This is dangerous because they are placing the authority on something subjective, something that varies from person to person, interpretation of experiences that some may have and other people do not have. The authority should rest on God’s Word alone, the written Bible, something that is objective (it does not vary from person to person, it stays the same). These experiences cause us to lose focus of God’s written Word, and that is dangerous because if we are not following God’s written Word, we are entering into the realm of satanic deception (see 1 Timothy 4:1).
The Bible warns us: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). These types of books are trying to draw us away from Christ and into the realm of satanic influence (angelic appearances, visions, et cetera—that is the occult, friend, and it is certainly not of God). Colossians 2:18 says: “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath NOT seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,” Whatever these people are “seeing,” the Bible says they have NOT seen it. They are not seeing heaven; they are seeing something Satan is using to draw them away from the truth, and Satan is trying to use that information to deceive the masses who read those books. Remember, Satan can transform himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) and angels would appear to us only to preach false information to us and deceive us (Galatians 1:8).
What I can say is that I would avoid this type of literature. It may make for good “storytelling,” but Scripture does not substantiate either of these claims. This literature is spiritually dangerous. Anyone who claims to have special revelations from God should not be trusted. Everything that God has to say to you is in the Bible, the King James Bible. You do not need dreams, visions, out-of-body experiences, and angelic appearances to hear from God. Piper and Weise are leading people astray, whether deliberately or unintentionally is beside the point. People will write anything just to make money… pitiful.