One Saturday night in January of 1977, at about 10:30 PM, I was seated at my desk, meditating, praying, and preparing my heart for Sunday. I had my head down on my arm at the desk, when suddenly, without any warning, I was taken right out of that room!
I heard a voice say: "Come with me into the Throne Room where the secrets of the universe are kept!" I didn't have time to answer; space means nothing to God! It was like a snap of the fingers - boom - and I was right there! Only then did I recognize that the voice I had heard speaking to me was the voice of the Almighty God!
I was nervous, and God told me to relax. He said, "You can't prove anything to me, because I already know you. I began to relax even though it was so awesome I had difficulty comprehending what was happening.
He came right to the point and said, "I want to give you (and this is HIS expression) an 'overlay' of truth." In a split second of eternity, we went from Genesis to Revelation, looking first at God's plan for his people. Throughout all of the Bible, God discussed his character, stating, I will do nothing in conflict with my nature or my character. My plan for you is good and it will be accomplished."
He referred me to Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." In giving me these thoughts, God wanted me to see how he really felt about man; that he had man in mind before he made the earth; and he made the earth so man would have a place on which to live. When he looks at man, he does not look at the evil which has taken place, but he looks at the very heart of man.
During this visit, God truly gave me a glorious glimpse of the hidden secrets of the universe; of matter, energy, nature and space, all bearing the same beautiful trademark. As he gave me this dazzling overlay of truth, it added a new beauty and unity to the entire Bible which I previously did not have. Certain biblical truths which I had seen darkly were now perfectly clear, and I could see how all the pieces fit together in what God was doing!
Then God said I could ask questions! My mind was whirling! How does a human ask questions of God? It was so awesome being in his presence I could hardly think. Finally a thought came into my mind to find out whether or not he actually made individual plans for each and every life, because for some reason or other, I felt this gigantic task would be too big even for God!
In answer to my question, God let me see the vastness of his heavenly archives! My head swam! There was no way my finite mind could understand how God could keep track of these files. There must be billions of them! He said, "Since you are overwhelmed by this, and it staggers you, let me pull out one that you can relate to." And he immediately pulled out mine! He would not let me see the contents of it, but mentioned a few of the future items listed which I could use as confirmation of this visit.
Then he did another very surprising thing! He wrote down 120 events which he said would happen in my life in the future. It wasn't like you and I write; the information just suddenly appeared! I did not even need to read it, but right now, I can tell you EVERYTHING that was on that paper, because it was instantly impressed on my mind like a printing press prints on paper. The press doesn't have to read what is imprinted. It's there! In the same way, every single notation was burned into my mind, and it's still there! Even though I had this knowledge, God also let me know that he did not want me to reveal any of these things until such times as he would release me to share them.
He said, "Let me show you someone else's record that you will easily understand." He pulled out the file on Cyrus and reminded me of the last verse of Isaiah 44, and the first five verses of 45 where he said, "When I say of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd,' he will certainly do as I say; and Jerusalem will be rebuilt and the Temple restored, for I have spoken it. "This is Jehovah's message to Cyrus, God's anointed, whom he has chosen to conquer many lands. God shall empower his right hand and he shall crush the strength of mighty kings. God shall open the gates of Babylon to him; the gates shall not be shut against him any more. I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains and smash down the city gates of brass and iron bars. And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness, secret riches; and you will know that I am doing this - I, the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by your name. "And why have I named you for this work? For the sake of Jacob, my servant - Israel, my chosen. I called you by name when you didn't know me" (TLB). God looked far into the future and saw exactly what was going to happen.
He allowed me to see the record books, and also his blueprints for many lives. One book was that of the apostle Paul. It revealed that he would be used to bring the Gospel to kings, rulers, and men of authority. For this reason, God gave him a bigger brain capacity than normal, and because he was more brilliant, he caused him to study under the greatest teachers of his day, finally being tutored by Gamaliel, the most outstanding teacher of that time. God had chosen Paul to write the Scripture, the Epistles, His plan for the church and His body, so he prepared him for this task.
One of the most exciting things to me was the peek that God gave me into Abraham and Sarah's records. As I glanced through them, I saw things with which I was totally unfamiliar. I saw records of Abraham and Sarah's hospitality to strangers. They had a real feeling for those who were less fortunate than they. They watered the camels of their guests, gave them a place to stay, and shared their food with them. God honored this, and it was written down, but I had never previously noticed this when I read the book of Genesis!
One thing I could not find was the places where Abraham stumbled. When Abraham lied to the king of Egypt, saying that his wife was his sister, it was not recorded there! The time his faith was weak and he laughed because of unbelief in God's promise that a man of his age could be a father, was not recorded there.
"God, where is the other book?" "I have no other book for the believers." "Where did you write about the failures of Abraham which I have seen recorded in your own words in the Bible?"
"I have no other book. I DO NOT RECORD FAILURE IN HEAVEN!" (See Hebrews 10:17-18).
This is a beautiful hope for all mankind! Eternity files are not like man would make; they are more complete, and everything is meticulously recorded. These are the records he will bring into focus when the books are opened at the believer's judgment. This is the heavenly filing system, a totally different dimension than that of the world; an eternity of archives.
Another of the exciting things God did was to take me in spirit to visit the homes of several families in my church. Without seemingly any expenditure of time, God took me from one home to another, just like we were going from door to door. As we listened to the conversations of people in these homes, it seemed strange to be in the room with people talking who apparently didn't know I was there. I could see them, but it appeared as though they were looking right through me. Then I thought about the fact that Christ is in homes, listening, watching what is going on, and often we are totally unaware that He is there!
There were countless angels everywhere. For a fleeting period I saw my own church building packed with angels. There were more heavenly beings than earthly beings! Hallelujah!
There isn't any way I can tell you all the things that were imprinted on my mind during this time of unadulterated glory. It is utterly impossible! I do, however, want to share some of the things which made the greatest impression upon me.
One of the discoveries which was so beautiful to me in heaven, was the total absence of the piety people often want to apply to their lives when they think of God! There was none there! Everything was on a light, happy, relaxed basis, with real brightness! I didn't feel like I had to walk on eggs because I was totally at ease! I didn't have to think twice of what I was going to say for fear I would displease someone for there was a sense of total openness. It was a beautiful, but awesome experience that I will never forget!
God emphasized to me that we should quit worrying about HIS responsibilities. He actually let me view people who are trying to serve him by seeing how much they can get their minds in tune with him, by trying to think just exactly right, or trying to say the right word at the right time! God emphasized to me, "That is my business. You worship me, walk with me, put your hand in mine, get your heart in tune with me and I will give you the privilege of moving with me.
"Let me take care of my own business! What I have promised is my business, and I will take care of it. I have not failed in all of this time. Not even one of my words has failed in all of my good promises."
I learned some things that were truly astounding! One of these was the fact that God let me know money isn't going to have a whole lot of value except when it is used for his work. To those who direct their resources for his work, he will open the channel wide and there will be no limit as to how much he will bless them. He even let me see those inside of my own church whom he was going to bless in a financial way. There were people who did not have great finances at the time, but because they felt the most important thing in the world was to use their talents to create a cash flow for the things of God, he told me he was going to pour out blessings upon them.
Since that time I have taken a little peek at some of the giving records. This is something I do not usually do, but I wanted to see for myself if God had already blessed these people. ALL OF THEM THAT THE LORD REFERRED TO moved from a spot of meagerness in their giving to an overwhelming amount!
Another of the extremely interesting things God told me about when I was with him was a truth that earth scientists did not discover until later. I talked to my wife about it, and she was as amazed as I was at this scientific fact. God said we would soon be hearing about this new discovery!
There has been a lot of speculation about the empty spaces in heaven. He explained that the reason it appears that there are dark, empty spaces, is that the gravitational pull of stars inside of themselves is so strong that it bends their light rays back inside, so the stars go out and consequently they do not give out light rays any more. The black holes do not mean that there are no stars there, but simply that their light has gone out and they cannot be seen. The black holes are the graveyards of stars. God said that when our thoughts turn inward, we become just like the stars that are wandering in darkness.
A space engineer stopped by our house one night (July, 1978), and I discussed this with him. As I told him what God had said to me about the stars going out, he was astonished. He said, "I can't believe this! It has only been about two months since we got information on this through space probes that there really are stars which have gone out in these black holes." He said that this was not yet known by the public. My wife, Charm, smiled when he said that, because I had talked to her about this months before. Later on he wrote me a letter saying,
"I was particularly amazed when you told me about outer space. I was really surprised when you explained how the Lord compared some people who formerly were Christians who lived and witnessed for the Lord, with some stars in the heavens which used to shine, they don't even reflect light which does come their way. To me, these are the "black holes" of outer space. You knew about scientific matters concerning things which most ministers are not knowledgeable. The Lord had to have given you this information."
God also reminded me that the earth is a wonderful place, because the whole earth is filled with his glory! He let me see an increasing number of people turning to him. Not people backing away, not a surrendering of the church, not a church heading underground, but a church triumphant!
I became totally relaxed and at ease with God. You don't have to "put your best foot forward," because he even knows what your worst foot looks like! There is no use putting on an act or trying to make an impression - just be yourself! I found it would be impossible to be any other way in heaven!
It seemed as though I was with the Lord for several months, possibly even longer. All the things I saw could fill a huge book of several hundred pages, but there is something about the dimension of eternity that you can't quite identify with time. I wouldn't have even had time to read the paper God showed me because it was less than five minutes from the time I left my office until I returned.
Eternity is not run by watches because time is not measured. Time is just for the earth. Eternity is not going to be a long, drawn-out existence. It is not some long, boring extension of time. It is not time at all! It is just a glorious experience of being!
When I began sharing these supernatural experiences with my church, I was a little leery about telling them because there could be many who would feel I had some "screws loose!" In the beginning there were times when I wondered myself if I had been having hallucinations. Just about the time I began to feel that way, God would cause things to happen exactly as he had written them on the paper!
When your time comes to leave this earth, don't worry about it, because heaven is not a drag! If things get bad here, don't worry about that either. God wants us to make the most of our lives while we are on his beautiful earth, to live for him, and be happy! God is not nearly as concerned as we are about a lot of things that people have put their little red flags on. What he asks is that we walk with him and love him. He wants us to look at what He is doing, because the grace of God and his glory fills the whole earth!
God also allowed me to see loved ones who had died. Then he let me see believers who were passing from this life. I saw their families in heaven being alerted by the angels that a loved one was coming home and for them to ready themselves to welcome them. Paul referred to these people as having "heavenly" or "celestial" bodies. This amplified and clarified for me another eternal dimension. They were identifiable, and appeared exactly the way they looked here, minus the cares, the hurts and other problems. They were constantly experiencing tremendous joy, excitement and happiness, for heaven is a place of continual discovery about the beauty of God!
God let me see something else I had never understood. There is an area between our permanent abiding place in heaven and this earth from which we can be brought back. People who have died and have been restored to life at God's prerogative, were still in this area. They had not yet reached the place of their final abode. These are some very, very interesting arrangements, but it isn't guesswork. I saw it! I was there!
One thing God told me was so opposite to my theology that it was hard for me to adjust my understanding to the actual facts. I have preached that once you quit breathing, if you are not saved, and do not know God, you have missed heaven. God said that was not necessarily so. He said that there is a spot where the spirit of mankind may linger for a little time before going on to their permanent abode. Many people who have been clinically dead know they have had this experience.
Webmaster's Note: When this book was published in 1979, you didn't hear much about these kind of things. It was in the early 80s that books started coming out about the Near Death Experience (NDE), such as "Life After Life", by Dr. Raymond Moody, one of the first books to publicly address this phenomena. Only in the past few decades have others begun to speak and write about their experiences. Pastor Buck's visit to the Throne Room would be classified as an OBE - Out of Body Experience, to use a recently developed term. When I first read this AoA book in 1979 I know I had never heard of the terms OBE or NDE. It's also interesting to note that this OBE experience happened about a year and half before Pastor Buck's first angelic visitation on June 18, 1978.
Some of them have approached the gates of hell, have even looked in, or have been able to look into heaven, and yet have come back. He did not try to give it in a textbook fashion so you could prove it, or teach it as a subject, but just as a fact! I remarked to God that this was totally against my theology, and he simply stated that he wasn't trying to compare it to my theology!
I saw a type of hallway, which was something like a corridor or a tunnel between life and death, a waiting room from which individuals enter into the final dwelling place. God told me that a person who dies and comes back has returned from this corridor.
I was totally at ease the entire time I was in the Throne Room, but it was all over too quickly. Suddenly I came back into my office, and saw myself with my head on my desk where I had been praying. Until that very instant, I thought I was in the Throne Room in my body, but I was not!
The Lord has a wonderful sense of humor, and there is a lot of laughter and joy in heaven. I could see the back of my head, and I remarked, "Lord, I certainly did not know the back of my head was getting that white!"
I was really shocked after I found myself back in my chair, because I STILL HAD THE PAPER THAT GOD HAD GIVEN ME! I didn't know what to do with it, but there it was, right in my hand. I knew he didn't want me to share it at that time, and it completely unnerved me. I carefully laid it on top of some other papers on my desk so nothing would happen to it and went home. My wife asked me why I was so pale and quiet. I told her exactly what had happened, and we talked about my visit to the Throne Room for a long time. We finally went to bed, and I got up early Sunday morning and went to my office for another look at the paper. I discovered IT HAD TURNED TO ASHES!
The ashes looked almost like fur. They were feathery light, sort of fuzzy looking, and the slightest breath caused them to move in a lacy manner! They reminded me of snowflakes, only they were a different color.
I didn't know what to do with them. I couldn't bring myself to throw them out, and I was afraid to move them, so I left them there until late in the day. Many people came into my office to look at them. I finally scooped them into an envelope, and this condensed them so they weren't the same consistency. I still have the envelope as a reminder of a calendar of events that I didn't put together. I personally do not have a thing to do with seeing that these events come to pass. God just let me see what he is doing, greatly increasing my faith! If God wasn't in it, I wouldn't know how to account for that paper and for those ashes. Many people heard about this and came from great distances to see the ashes which were very unusual. Several pastors saw them evaporate right off of their hands as they held them. In two-and-a-half weeks there was not even a speck of dust left!
Many have asked what the paper looked like. It was about as thick as a piece of leather, but white, slightly opaque. It appeared to have been torn on four sides, rather than cut, and it slightly resembled parchment.
Someone asked me if it seemed empty coming back to temporal things, but it doesn't, because it is all part of his systematic plan for his eternal kingdom. I feel God is just as close here as there!
One of the most tremendous things that happened to me while I was there was when God mentioned that the Bible's highest purpose was to reveal His character. He gave me Jeremiah 9:23-24: "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I Am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord."
Then he referred me to Exodus 34:6-7 where he told Moses, you can't see me, but I will tell you of myself, what I am like. "The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin ..." and then He went on to say, "Then for those who reject, there is the other side."
God gave me special illumination in over 2,000 verses of the Bible. Instantly I knew these verses and their scriptural references by memory. I have no way to explain how it was done! I don't need to recall them - it's like seeing them any time I desire.
It may seem strange to you, but the thought never occurred to me to see what God looked like. I was only aware of the brilliance of His radiant glory. Like Paul of old said, the wonders and the glories of that place find no adequate description in earthly languages.