Author: Douglas A. Jacoby
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5172-2

In my opinion (which I cannot prove), in principle everyone’s name is written in the book of life when he or she is born. Only sin causes it be expunged. And this is a possibility even for Christians,” Douglas A. Jacoby declares in his book, What’s the Truth about Heaven and Hell? Sorting Out the Confusion About the Afterlife.

This two hundred and forty-nine page paperback book is one Christian’s viewpoint regarding heaven or hell that each one of us human beings will be sent to in the afterlife, based on our decision to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. With theological discussions based on the Bible, it is targeted to those who want to know about life after death. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

Broken down into five parts, each of the eighteen chapters end with bullet point briefings of its contents while the part endings having questions for self-evaluations. Several versions of the Bible along with quotes from other books on the topic of heaven and hell are included along with comparisons to other religious stances and appendixes.

Jacoby starts off explaining how we have to have an open mind, looking through lenses at eternity, infinity and immortality by interpreting the Bible literally, metaphorically or symbolically. He considers Scriptures having common genres of poetry, parables and apocalypse in description that needs familiarization to interpret.

With a plethora of questions if heaven is spiritual or actual, up in the stratosphere or down here on earth, or if streets are made of gold, he also mentions purgatory, paradise, Hades, and resurrection, rarely mentioning the Biblical rapture, the New Jerusalem or the millennium reign on earth.

Although the author seems to believe one can lose his or her salvation, he concludes heaven and hell are literal, but supposes there is a third destination the second we die as an intermediate state. Thus heaven is presently empty of humans. He explains three positions held of hell being traditionally infinite torment, eventual annihilation and universalism while also listing four views of the final judgment day.

With the tedious information on both worldwide religious views along with the different Christian beliefs, there are chapters about near-death experiences, angels, ghosts, and reincarnation along with his viewpoints (with some validity) on current writers such as Piper, Thomas, Burpo, Wiese, and Alexander while offering deeper opinions about Alcorn in the appendix.

If anything can be gleaned from this book, it is that all humans will ultimately experience either heaven or hell for themselves, prayerfully making the right choice to believe Christ died and shed His blood for our sins on the cross and rose the third day.

This book was furnished by Harvest House Publishers for review purposes.

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