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The hitchhiker’s guide to heaven. John Blanchard.

The Lord Jesus said that we should not store up for ourselves treasures on earth – which we will surely lose through decay or theft; but rather that we should store up ‘treasures in heaven’.

Where and what is heaven; and what are these treasures?

Jesus said to the thief dying next to Him: “This day you will be with me in Paradise.” Is heaven paradise? Will we go to paradise?

We could multiply questions, and perhaps we could come up with some answers. John Blanchard has done the work for us in his book which he rather whimsically entitled ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Heaven’. I first read this book early in the year – well before I knew that Mark was to talk about heaven one Sunday morning – and I asked if I could recommend it to the Church. Why do I like it?

I like it because it’s serious but easy to read, it’s thorough but not boring or heavy. I like it because it’s thoroughly Bible-based. There’s no speculation here, just a searching to see what God has told us, and a determination not to try to fill in the gaps. His Bible references stretch through all of Scripture. His conclusions are good and satisfying.

I like it because he has also read widely outside the Scriptures, and he quotes interestingly and helpfully a wide variety of authors, some with differing points of view. I like it because he addresses all the hard questions I could think of and many more besides. He can’t, of course, give full answers to every question, because God has not told us everything – and we couldn’t understand many things anyway.

I like it above all because it’s a heart-warming, exciting, thrilling book that exalts our Great and glorious God and His wonderful Son our Saviour, through Whom we have the Christian’s great hope of heaven.

I like it because it’s intensely practical and down-to-earth. Having talked about heaven from many angles, he has a section entitled ‘What now?’ which contains challenges to our living and thinking right now. And this is followed by a final section entitled ‘Onward and upward’ which challenges us about what we value and even how we view death.

Who is this book for? All of us! Don’t think ‘I’m young: I don’t need to bother about heaven yet’. For one thing, we should all be ‘setting our minds on things above’. For another, we don’t

know how long our time here will be. This book will teach us to say ‘Come quickly, Lord Jesus’.

If you’re not a believer in Jesus Christ, this book could also be for you, because I believe it would speak to you in ways you may not have considered before.

Review by Tony Howard, March 2014

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