Book Review IV
Heaven Is For Real
By Pastor Russ Peters
Colton’s accounts of heaven are not in chronological or any other kind of order, so I will not consider them in the order given in the book. Instead, I will consider “focused” accounts first and “miscellaneous” accounts later.
Chapter sixteen, “Pop,” begins on page 85. On a day in August, 2003, five months after he left the hospital, Colton was riding with his Dad in the pickup truck. He initiated a conversation, “Dad, you had a grandpa named Pop, didn’t you?” Yep, sure did. “Was he your mommy’s daddy or your daddy’s daddy?” Pop was my mom’s dad. He passed away when I was not much older than you.
This initial conversation about his dad’s grandpa, with Colton even knowing his name, Pop, didn’t prepare Todd for his son’s calm, present tense observation, “He’s really nice.” No wonder Todd was startled. This was the first mention Colton made of someone in heaven that Todd knew.
So you saw Pop? “Yeah, I got to stay with him in heaven.” Stay with him suggests a considerable time (at least perceived as such). Pop apparently described the times he spent with Todd, eliciting Colton’s question, “You were really close to him, huh, Dad?” to which Todd agreed-Yes, I was.
What a verification of the Bible’s teaching that Christians go to heaven! When Colton arrived in heaven, Jesus introduced him to John the Baptist, told him John was his cousin and that he had baptized Jesus. Then a man he had never met came up to him, asking him if he was Todd’s son, and explaining that he was Todd’s grandpa whom everybody called Pop. Colton, whose physical body was still on the hospital operating table in North Platte, could see a relative already in heaven. Pop knew who Colton was. Colton could understand and remember what he said after returning to earth. Neither one of them had their permanent, heavenly bodies yet, but could see and hear and understand!
Todd told Colton about the fun he had enjoyed with Pop-I rode on the combine and tractor with him. He had a dog, and we’d take him out and hunt rabbits. “Yeah, I know! Pop told me.” What a significant statement for Todd to digest! But he added a few details Pop hadn’t revealed to Colton-the dog’s name was Charlie Brown, and he had one blue eye and one brown one. “Cool! Can we get a dog like that?”
When Todd asked Colton what Pop looked like, he described what he considered the most unusual thing-Pop had wings-big wings (he was a big man). Colton’s wings (however temporary) were small (he wasn’t quite four yet). More about wings when we get to miscellaneous topics on another segment.
After this Todd called his mother in Kansas and told her what Colton had said about Pop (her father). She immediately drove up to hear Colton’s story about Pop in person. She had been concerned for many years about whether Pop was in heaven, and Colton’s experience flooded her with relief and joy. Then she asked Colton an odd question-Did Jesus say anything about your Dad becoming a Pastor? “Oh, yes! Jesus said He went to Daddy and told him He wanted Daddy to be a pastor and Daddy said yes, and Jesus was really happy.”
Todd was amazed that Jesus would have told Colton about this, and confirmed that it had happened just that way when he was thirteen years old. I was greatly moved as I recalled Jesus’ call to me to be the Pastor of the Chapel in 1955.
Skip ahead to chapter twenty-two, page 120. Todd showed Colton a prized picture of Pop-the last one taken of him before he died. It showed Pop at age sixty-one, with white hair and glasses. He handed the picture to Colton, telling him that this was the way he remembered Pop. Colton studied the picture, and began to frown, not recognizing it as being Pop, and said, “Dad, nobody’s old in heaven, and nobody wears glasses.” Todd phoned his Mom in Kansas and asked her for a picture of Pop when he was young. She sent a picture with four people in it, one of whom was a handsome Pop at age 29. Upon seeing it, Colton said happily, “Hey! how did you get a picture of Pop?” He didn’t recognize any of the others in the picture.
What amazing implications! Pop, who died at 61 with white hair and wearing glasses, is seen by Colton in heaven but who is young, close to Jesus’ age when He died, and no longer wearing glasses! What a proof that Colton was indeed in heaven!
I have been asked many times “how old will we be in heaven? Will people who die as infants or children ever grow up? Will old people be old in heaven?
These two passages from the Bible are pretty conclusive: 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is; Philippians 3: 20, 21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
These scriptures, plus Colton’s experiences with Pop, indicate that adults will all be at the prime of life, 33, Jesus’ age when He died. Our next segment will have much to say about infants and children in heaven.