It's a question that has echoed throughout the ages: what really happens when you die?
And at the moment of death, does the Bible state believers remain conscious and get immediately transported to a paradise called heaven to spend time with fellow Christians whose physical lives have also come to an end?
The answers just might floor you.
In perhaps the most underpublicized verse of the entire Bible – ironically found just three verses before what is arguably the most famous line of John 3:16 – Jesus Christ declared that no one has gone to heaven except Himself.
It's true. Here's the stunning quote.
- And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. (John 3:13, King James Version)
- No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man. (John 3:13, New International Version)
Meanwhile, the Bible does indicate that at least one other person, specifically the Old Testament prophet Elijah, did go to heaven.
Scripture clearly states that "Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." (2 Kings 2:11)
So, on one hand, the Bible says Elijah went to heaven, but on the other, it says no one went to heaven except Jesus.
Is there a solution to this apparent paradox?
"The answer is easy once you realize the Bible talks about more than one place called heaven," says Joe Kovacs, author of "Shocked by the Bible: The Most Astonishing Facts You've Never Been Told."
"The Bible actually describes three very different places that all have the name of heaven. The apostle Paul even uses the phrase the third heaven. Obviously, there can't be a third heaven unless there are heavens of the first and second kind as well."
Kovacs explains: "Yes, Elijah did go to heaven. But it was not the heaven of God's dwelling place that many people immediately think of when they hear the H-word, because only Jesus went there. Elijah simply went to 'the first heaven' – that is the sky, the atmosphere of Earth – which the Bible also calls 'heaven.' The truth is that he did return to the ground.
"I realize many people get confused about what really happened to Elijah, because one has to jump to another book of the Bible to discover the rest of his story. If people just flip ahead to 2 Chronicles, they'll quickly find out the prophet was living out the rest of his days not on Cloud 9 or in some other dimension, but right here on terra firma sending some less-than-pleasant mail to an evil king years after he was airlifted to another location."
Bible is completely true, but you may never have heard the spectacular,
ultimate destiny God has in store for you. It's far more glorious than
just floating around on clouds in heaven! Find out what you've never
direct from your very own Bible!
In "Shocked by the Bible," Kovacs goes on an in-depth probe of the three heavens, and using only verses from the Bible itself, explores the ultimate destiny for all of mankind.
The mystery of Elijah is just one of scores of points concerning heaven and life after death. Kovacs also digs into:
- What God really told Adam about his destiny
- There's a well-known, deceptive character who was heard saying, "Ye shall not surely die"
- What Scripture actually says about the state of the dead
- Are phrases such as "immortal soul" or "eternal soul" even found in Scripture?
- Does the Bible really say that souls die?
- Did Jesus guarantee the thief on the cross an immediate trip to heaven?
- The Bible talks about resurrections in the Old Testament, long before Jesus was raised
- What does Paul mean when he said he was "willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord"?
- Is the heaven of God's throne always going to be in an unseen place, or is it coming here to Earth?
"Fear not, Christians! You have excellent reason to rejoice," says Kovacs. "Everlasting life with God and fellow believers is on the way. The Bible talks dozens of times about eternal life as the reward of the saved. At the same time, the questions of precisely when and where that life will be spent are other issues and certainly deserve a closer look. You may be stunned to find out which words are actually on the pages of your own Bible, and which words are not."
In "Shocked by the
Bible," Kovacs also explains that if people just read for themselves without any
preconceived notions, they'd quickly discover:
- "Three Wise Men" are never mentioned in the story of Jesus' birth, and no wise men at all
are shown present at the manger scene the night Jesus was born. (They showed
up later at a house when Jesus was a young child)
- The Bible doesn't outright declare the day, month, year or even season Jesus
- There's no mention of a Christmas tree or any tree in the gospels recording
Jesus' birth. However, there is a custom mentioned in the Old Testament that
shows people decorating trees with silver and gold.
You might be astounded to find out what God says about such a practice
- Noah brought a lot more than just two of certain animals aboard the Ark
- The word "Easter" has vanished from modern Bible translations
- God sought to kill Moses, shortly after telling him to lead the Israelites
- Jesus did not come to make everyone understand His message, and personally
- Jesus made personal appearances in the Old Testament
- The worst case of hemorrhoids in history is recorded
And these are merely the beginning of hundreds of facts that will stun even
those who thought they had a strong knowledge of the Bible.
"If you've never been into the Bible, or even if you have, there's no need to
fear," says Kovacs. "I make it quick, easy and fun for you to find out the
juiciest, most interesting stuff that never seems to get mentioned in church.
And I'm not talking about trivial facts and difficult names no one can
"Shocked by the
Bible" has become an instant smash since its release, twice hitting No. 1 in
three Bible-related categories on Amazon.com with readers giving it
high praise, and the author being interviewed on dozens of radio shows.
the Bible" skyrocketed to three No.1 spots on Amazon.com before and after its
It reached the No. 1 spot on the WND Best-Seller list several times.
International demand has even led to a deal to have "Shocked" translated into
the Korean language.
"If you think you really know the Bible, better think again," warns Fox News'
Bill O'Reilly. "Your parents never told you this stuff was in the
Bible," adds radio
talker and author Melanie Morgan. WND founder Joseph Farah simply says,
"'Shocked by the Bible' is nothing short of genius."
Kovacs, the executive news editor of WND, has written countless reports in his 25-year news career. Many have
focused on biblical issues such as chariot wheels
said to be found in the Red Sea, searches for Noah's Ark and
the Ark of the
Covenant, and controversies over Christmas and
as well as the Saturday-vs.-Sunday
He has received many awards for news excellence from the
Associated Press and United Press International. He's run television,
radio and print
newsrooms in the U.S., as well as Budapest, Hungary. Kovacs is also regarded as
one of the premier creative headline writers in the news business today.
Find out what
you've been missing. Get "Shocked by the Bible: The Most Astonishing Facts
You've Never Been Told" personally autographed by the author. It makes a
brilliant gift that will be remembered for a lifetime.
To interview Joe Kovacs, author of "Shocked by the Bible," please contact him.