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John BurkeBaker Books / 2015 / ePubOur Price$9.995 out of 5 stars for Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God's Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You - eBook. View reviews of this product. 56 Reviews
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Gregory5 Stars Out Of 5Written like a novel???June 10, 2018GregoryQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Imagine Heaven, as I understand it, was written to...
-Convince, or at least provide strong evidence, that NDEs have legitimacy for people and correspond with Bible revelation about the afterlife.
-Provide this information for anyone, not just theologians, and especially for those who may have personal experience with "NDE's" themselves or may know people with NDE experience.
- Interpret NDE's in light of Bible truth.
-Aid people with NDE experience (4% of population?) to come to know Christ, the "Being of Light".
-Reveal what the Bible says about life after death, heaven, and hell.
-Draw reasonable applications of NDE and Biblical truth to our daily living.
Imagine Heaven has several strengths. One is revealing the frequency of NDE's. Another is in revealing many amazingly common themes in NDE reports. But perhaps the greatest strength is in providing a Biblical understanding of these experiences. Burke brings to bear Bible passages and theology on nearly every other page of the book, and his interpretations of passages are obvious and in my opinion fairly accurate. This forms a great introduction to Bible eschatology for some who are either new to the concepts or who have been reluctant to delve into it. His straight forward style of writing makes the theology easily understandable and relevant. This is particularly so in the latter chapters of the book, where he proceeds to expound good eschatological concepts, one after another, and to show how NDE reports jive with them.
My interest in the book is largely theological. It is written in a style that does not lend itself to theological analysis. One reviewer commented that it was written like a detective novel. In the Introduction (page 17), the author says "This is not a theology textbook... it reads more like a novel." Indeed, the writing style is straightforward and non-technical. There are short stories of NDE's. There is no novel-type plot line.
Furthermore, the author is sometimes tentative in his theological claims, as in his diagrammed discussion of time in heaven on page 132-134. He says, "Maybe we will experience additional dimensions of time, too." However, the book is full of theological and biblical statements, and the style usually makes Burke's positions quite clear. It is not my intent to make a thorough analysis, but rather to make some general comments.
An example of Burke's interpretation is on page 127 about the passage in Revelation 21 in which John says, "The city does not need the sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light." Burke takes the "City" idea literally, not just as some sort of heavenly community of loving people. Burke goes on to interpret this based on the stories of those with NDE's, saying that the light spectrum is much fuller in heaven and the visual senses of the people there are likewise fuller and that the light emanates from the Lord Jesus Himself (See also Chapter 13, The Highlight of Heaven). Burke's tendency seems to be to interpret the Bible quite literally in light of NDE accounts.
One clear point is in his discussion of the "life reviews" that are found so commonly in NDE accounts. He makes it clear that these reviews are not a judgment. Apparently other writers have pointed this out as well, but they have concluded from this that NDE reports in general exclude judgment. Burkes then goes on to explain that the lives of these NDE reporters were not over, so a final judgment was not in order. He points out that the Bible teaches a final judgment for all, and that believers will have a special time before the Lord when their works will be judged and rewarded for service (The Bema Seat). He even goes into detail about the kinds of works that the Bible says will be rewarded (Chapter 18, pages 252ff.) I found this discussion especially worthwhile.
Burke gives reasons for why the Lord allows NDE's. The main point is in chapter 17 "The Life Review". The whole NDE and especially the life review reveal to the individual his success and failure in what really matters, enabling him to make life adjustments (repentance) and to begin a life of faith in Christ. On page 242 Burke pleads, "Don't wait for your life review to live for what matters!"
I must admit that I enjoyed Burke's chapters specifically detailing the reality of heaven from a Biblical perspective (Chapters 19-21). From my theological and hermeneutical perspectives, these concepts are right on. I have often felt that those who espouse a figurative or metaphorical interpretation of the Revelation accounts of judgment, a New Earth, the Thousand Year reign of Christ, the New Jerusalem, and the eternal state, who say things like, "We cannot know for sure what it will be like, so we must not put too much value in the words and details of these passages, and who likewise often confuse the church with Israel, not taking God's promises to Abraham literally, are really expressing a kind of unbelief, perhaps in part because the literal Return of Christ has been to us long in coming. The reports of NDE's as explained by Burke encourage me in my simple, plain interpretation of these passages, letting figurative language speak when it is obviously figurative in intent, but insisting on literal, plain understanding when that is not otherwise indicated. God leaves some things as mysteries, but some have been made mysterious by man's misinterpretations. The Holy Spirit is a good communicator.
Burke's work does not answer many eschatological questions, such as the roles of Israel and of the church in the end times, the timing and nature of the Rapture and the Second Coming, and the Anti-Christ and Satan. It does make suggestions on the nature of our bodies in the eternal state, the nature and functions of angels, especially at the time of our deaths, and the eternal cohesiveness of families, as well as the dimensions of time, the appearance of the New Jerusalem, and reason for hell.
Burke dedicated a chapter to the teaching about hell and the Lake of Fire (What About Hell?). He writes, "Hell is God giving free eternal creatures what they want--freedom from him."Later he says, "When we die finally, our choices become eternal. All choices "eternalized" have eternal ramifications." (Pages 232-233) This is hardly a full doctrinal study on hell, and it leaves a lot to be discussed, like whether God actually punishes sinners in giving them what they want, whether the atonement is universal, and even the literalness of a Lake of Fire. What the chapter does well is to show that God's love is at work even now with individuals, and that they need not fear death, hell, or condemnation if they believe in the Lord Jesus.
The two appendices are very short. In one he gives reasons to believe. Basically he tells readers of the accuracy of Bible prophecy and thus the reliability of the Bible. He also reports that the Lord Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies and thus is the Messiah. I thought that a work of this size should have more to say on reasons to believe, but I suppose he gave many in the rest of the text.
The second appendix is about two and a half pages on alternate explanations for NDE's. I would have liked more information and answers.
Imagine Heaven was very meaningful to me. I had my 70th birthday as I read it. Moreover, we found ourselves taking care of my wife's 92-year-old mother and her husband. This birthday milestone and caring for the aged naturally made me think about my mortality and what is awaiting. The prospects look good. Because of this book, I have a much better idea of what is coming, a deeper faith in what the Bible says, and a more passionate love for the Savior Who is calling. I am so blessed, and I pray constantly for the Lord to make my heart and service pleasing in His sight.
I feel as though the NDE research and surveys have served a prophetic purpose for our generation. Luke 16 says, "29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Jesus rose from the dead, as did Lazarus, and the widow's son. Apparently for some that was not enough evidence. Some did not believe. We should not be surprised that this huge body of NDE evidence, rightly interpreted, will not be enough to bring some to repentance. But others of us can be hugely encouraged, and our faith strengthened.
Hope5 Stars Out Of 5Imagine HeavenNovember 6, 2015HopeQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Absolutely loved this book. Intriguing near death experiences with incredible scripture insight. Thought provoking but written like a novel. Totally recommend to anyone looking for a good read.
Tony5 Stars Out Of 5Imagine HeavenNovember 17, 2015TonyQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0It's a nice break from all the bad news we currently hear. After all some of us will be heading there soon or later. I guess you could look at it as a Christian believers future travel brochure. :-)
Servant of GodRockville, INAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5REMARKABLE!!September 9, 2018Servant of GodRockville, INAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I've given a copy of this to my oncologist who in turn has recommended it to some of his other patients facing more dire situations than what I experienced. Reading this book has helped me to live more fearlessly for Christ and God's Kingdom than ever before!!! I have utter confidence that what John Burke has written is true and factual and the testimonies the same. MARVELOUS BOOK!!!!
Frickles5 Stars Out Of 5Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God's Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits YouSeptember 29, 2017FricklesQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Words cannot express how much this book helped me after the sudden loss of our beautiful 15 year old granddaughter! When you lose someone of that age, you can't help but think about all the things they missed in this life: romantic love, marriage, having children, etc . . . You envision them looking sadly down from Heaven at their family and friends with tears and a breaking heart at all they're missing. WRONG!!! The title of this book is exactly what I could not do, Imagine Heaven! I can't begin to explain the love, beauty, and wonders of Heaven described in this book, but I can understand why those that have had the amazing chance to visit do not want to return to this life. I, personally, believe the experiences described in this book are real, but even if they aren't, I have had a glimpse of something the wonders of which are far beyond my imagination, and I know without a doubt that Heaven is at least this wonderful or far greater!! Since reading this book, I always keep copies on hand to give to people that have suffered a loss (I think my son has bought and given away close to 150 copies). I have gone back and reread parts of it over and over when I feel the need and have had many of the people to whom I've given the book tell me that they have gone back and read it again. For this reason, when I give someone a copy I always tell them I do not want it returned. Today, I can TRULY say I look forward to Heaven!!
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