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April 17, 2014

Heaven is for Real

Movie Review

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I was very excited when I first saw the advertisement of the movie, "Heaven is For Real" on Bishop T.D. Jakes’ television evangelism program around the days leading to this passion week of 2014. I had seen the book and had glanced through it. Being a true story, I was very fascinated and looking forward to the movie.

I love testimonies because they tend to reveal the supernatural nature of God beyond human comprehension. This one is very special because it came from a four-year old boy. I have also seen the young man who had the near-death experience, being interviewed with his parents on Christian television talk shows like Trinity Broadcasting Network –TBN and others. On the first day on the movie opening on April 16, 2014, I was one of the first online to buy a ticket and went to see the movie.

The storyline is the true story about a young boy, Colton Burpo now a teenager who had a near death experience. He was sick with his sister while on a trip with his parents. The older sister recovered, but the younger brother got sicker. Colton, the young boy was eventually rushed to the hospital where the doctor had to do an emergency surgery on him because of the ruptured appendix. While he was in surgery, he must have died, came out of this body and went to Heaven. Either he died or had an out of body experienced, it was not clear, but he experienced going to Heaven to meet with Jesus. Both parents had a tough time believing him initially especially the mother who was mocking the father’s conversations with Colton. The young son shocked his father when he discussed meeting his grandfather in Heaven. His father was shocked when Colton identified the grandfather he never met through the picture his father showed to him. The skeptical mother was in tears when Colton told her about meeting his older sister in Heaven. He told his mother that he knew about her older sister who died inside her before she was born. Colton later explained to his parents about the beauty of Heaven and about how he met and hugged his older sister. It was at that moment the mother started to believe her son. She realized there was no way he could have known distinctive facts about events that happened prior to the time he was born.

Meeting with Jesus

The story the four-year old boy, Colton narrated about meeting with Jesus in Heaven has a direct correlation to the story Jesus told about Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man found himself in a place of torment after death. Lazarus suffered on earth and after death he was comforted in paradise. While the rich man was suffering, he made a request to Jesus to send a messenger to go and warn his people still living on earth so none would have to come to a place of torment. It appears as though from so many of the near-death experiences documented in thousands, Jesus granted that request made by rich man. Jesus allowed those who have experienced death to come back and tell people about the beauty of Heaven and the sufferings of hell. In spite all these confirmations many are still doubting the existence of Heaven. How shameful? The story of this little boy underscore the confirmation that Jesus is still reaching out to us in the earthly realm about the reality of Heaven and the pain and suffering of hell.

Little Children with Greater Faith

While Jesus was on earth, during his ministry, he made reference to little children’s faith that can easily believe in him compared to adults. Jesus even implied that for anybody to fully believe in him must have faith like little children. Today, we see adults after they have been through so many trials and tribulations of life; they start to doubt God, or whether Heaven existed. The reality in this movie confirms the innocence of a young virgin mind able to believe God than that of an older person whose mind has been polluted with painful challenges of life.

Jesus said, "Yes, have you never read, out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, you have perfected praise" (St. Matthew 21:16).

"Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, you have ordained strength" (Psalm 8:2).

Lessons of the Movie

First, adults have rusted minds because the human heart has been subjected to so many painful experiences leading to skepticism about life beyond this earth realm. We therefore become deluded into believing that life in the spirit realm does not exist. Human cognitive process becomes a painful deception away from the reality of human spiritual existence and connection to God. When we think we are smart, we are as dumb as hell! From my medical background, I have always been very fascinated about the mystery of cell to cell interactions in human body as a master of God’s design and human is not smart enough to completely understand the physiology.

Second, many of the older Christians including preachers have been seduced, confused and mis-educated by human reasoning about the supernatural of God. Consequently, many preachers who claim to be Christians are preaching against supernatural. Some of them may be skeptical about the experience of this little boy. Initially, it appears that ignorance about supernatural experiences tend to be a weapon of deception for such preachers. The reality is beyond ignorance, but a strategy of control of the church members to believe only in what the pastor is saying. When church members refused to read their Bible themselves, instead of connecting to Jesus through the Holy Spirit, they ended up connecting to their pastors’ twisted ideology about God. Unfortunately, such pastors may be trying to control members so they will not know the truth about the supernatural realm of God. Eventually such a church will turn to a cult where the pastor placed restrictions on the members and instruct them to do ungodly things. Instead of being followers of Jesus, they become only the blind followers of a preacher leading them astray and some of such members have perished.

Third, the movie teaches both church members and preachers alike about the realities of Heaven. If we are skeptical about the near death experiences of adults, should the story of this little boy not affirm the reality of the existence of Heaven? The fact that a person is skeptical about Heaven does not change the reality of the existence of Heaven due to overwhelming evidence.

Fourth, more testimonies like the story of this little boy will help to bring more people to church than the parades of celebrity preachers seen in many of the Christian television programs. The secular talk show television programs seek celebrities to interview so they can increase their ratings. They hardly ever interview ordinary people. If Christian talk shows set aside a segment of their shows to interview ordinary people with wonderful testimonies about the supernatural, more people will be converted to Christianity. Presently, the way many of these shows continue to interview celebrities and their friends and friends’ friends, it appears that God only talks to celebrity preachers and the rest of the Christians have a severed spiritual relationship with Christ. The story of this young man underscores the reality that God does appear not only to celebrities and their friends alone, but to ordinary people as well even children.

Fifth, in the story, it appears that even some Christians appears to be skeptical about the supernatural experience of this little boy because they have prejudice against God. This prejudice makes the concept of Heaven very difficult to grasp. How many people sit in pews on Sundays who claim to be Christians but are truly not Christians? If the works of miracle have ceased like some confused preachers have alluded, what is the purpose of prayers? If we do not believe in the work of miracles today, Christians should not be praying because prayer is human quest for God’s miracles.

Sixth, anybody can have the experience the young boy had. Many people have had out of body experiences without having a near death experience. St. John had an out of body experience where he met with Jesus in Heaven. This is what led him to write the Book of Revelation. All of Jesus disciples started to have supernatural experiences after they received the Holy Spirit from the Day of Pentecost. Why should such supernatural experience be impossible for us today?

Seventh, when I had my first encounter with Jesus, I was between 5 to 8 years old. It was difficult for me to explain to people what I had experienced. This movie brought back that old memory for me. I heard a voice within me saying, "This world is created for me. Every creature will eventually bow down for me. They don’t know me now. I am the hidden mystery the world is yet to know. One day the world will bow down for me." Initially, I was of the impression, I was speaking to myself. Later, I realize it was a divine Spirit of God speaking through me and carrying the voice of Jesus. How could I have known? Since then, I wrote a book discussing about my own encounters with Jesus in the book, Closer Walk With Jesus, by Yinka Vidal, published in 2010, 472 pages. In the book I discussed over 20 visitations of Jesus and the messages he declared and of course warning to the U.S. of the coming catastrophe.

Those who refuse to believe Heaven and the supernatural manifestations of God have failed to realize the limitation of human knowledge and ability. Man’s arrogance places him on a dangerous coalition with destruction because of his denial about God! On March 8, 2014, a Malaysian plane disappeared with 239 people on board. Despite all our technological advancements and spy satellites, a whole plane like the size of two buildings disappeared without a trace. It was swallowed up from the hands of the giant creations God made baffling human knowledge. Only God knows where the plane is located to reveal the limitations of human knowledge. Yet as humans we want to brag about our knowledge of science when God himself is the one who created science. God is the one who placed limitations on what man can understand about the system he (God) put together.

"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty - - - - that no flesh should glory in His presence" (I Corinthians 1:27-29).

 The movie "Heaven is for Real" is a movie that all Christians, agnostics, and atheists should go and see. It is professionally made and highly emotional to jilt the minds of believers and non-believers alike. If you are a Christian, the movie will strengthen your faith in Christ. If you are an agnostic, the movie will clarify you skepticism. If you are an atheist, the movie will convince you about the true existence of Heaven and the reality of God. I believe this movie is a masterpiece about Heaven that everybody should go and see, not only for Christians alone but also for others as well.

If the existence of Heaven and evidence of God through Christ is critically and clearly depicted from the mouth of a babe like Colton by this movie, only a mentally retarded adult will further doubt the existence of Heaven. Since we are all on a journey passing through this earthly dimension, if Heaven does not exist, human existence and experience become worthless!

Reviewed by Yinka Vidal, author, Closer Walk With Jesus at Amazon Books

Follow me on Twitter: @YinkaVidal

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