Computer scientist experienced vision of hell, glorious vision of heaven


By Mark Ellis —

Randall Rathbun
Randall Rathbun

He was a computer scientist-engineer working on the F-22 stealth fighter project in 2002 when he had a massive automobile crash in which he nearly died. As his car flew through the air he lost consciousness, and God gave him a frightening vision of hell.

In his vision, his chained body hurtled downward toward the Lake of Fire and he heard awful screams and felt choking smoke and heat. He also saw three Scriptures that convicted him about his double life. He had been attending church regularly but visiting prostitutes on the weekend.

As the roar of hell’s fiery flames rose to meet him, suddenly everything went dark for a second and he found himself 3,000 miles above the earth.

“The first thing I said, was ‘I got out, I don’t know how I escaped, how I got out.”

Then Rathbun had a personal encounter with God the Father. Rathbun says the Father was obscured so he could not see him.

“My son, you have an important decision to make and I’m going to let you make the decisign and give you all the time you need to make it,” the Father began.

Rathbun was struck by His authority. “His voice had so much authority the universe would shake. You couldn’t get any more authority than that voice. It was the authority that said ‘let there be light’ and it was done. I had never heard that kind of authority my whole life.”

Then the Father said something that surprised him: “I trust you my son.”

“I hadn’t heard my own earthly dad say that in 51 years. My own dad didn’t trust me. Here was the person with the most authority telling me he trusted me.”

Rathbun tried to argue with Him. “This doesn’t make any sense at all. I was almost in hell. I almost hit the Lake of Fire. I did everything to disobey you. I went against your Word. How could you trust me?”

“I know all that and I have put all that on my own Son,” He said. Rathbun knew that all his sins had been placed on Jesus on the cross, but now, it became much more real. It was only by the precious blood of Jesus shed on the cross that atoned for his sins and allowed him to escape the judgment he deserved in hell.

Then the Father told Rathbun he would let him see areas of heaven. “After you are done sampling these areas of heaven you can decide where you want to go and be.”

Then Rathbun went on the tour of his life. The first thing that struck him was the immensity of heaven. “It is huge. It is a very joyous place. Everywhere I looked was praise and worship. All of heaven was permeated with wonderful joy, very harmonious. It was the opposite of hell with people screaming and yelling. I went from night into day, darkness into light. Now I could see how good the good really was,” he recounts.

Universities in heaven

The first area of heaven Rathbun visited involved education. “I had been a magna summa cum laude graduate from college. I was valedictorian of my high school and college. The Father let me know there are universities of learning in heaven.”

“He reminded me that all knowledge comes from Himself.” Rathbun was startled to find areas in heaven with colleges similar to his earthly experience. However, one difference is that none of the books and none of the instruction contain anything in error, only truth.

The Father told him he could continue to grow in his understanding of mathematics. “Math is not an earthly invention; it is something God overlaid on all creation,” Rathbun notes. “Mathematics is how God puts things together. God is a lawful God and mathematics is a pure description of God’s law.”

Artistic endeavors continue

In the second area he visited he saw people engaged in artistic activities, making crafts and other things with their own hands.

“I had finished carpentry for five years and had done well. The Father knew I had a carpentry talent. He showed me the place where you take your gifts. He knows the gifts and talents he gave you,” and encourages you to further develop them in heaven.

“You can be a carpenter here like my son,” the Father told him.

“I saw women working with embroidery, making the most incredible tapestries for the homes in heaven. They were using transparent but shiny cloth. It vastly exceeded anything on earth. The women did it out of love. One of the joys of heaven is to continue to make things like this – fine furniture, jewelry, and gifts to give to each other.”

The orchards of heaven

Then God placed Rathbun in the middle of an apricot orchard. “There are vast orchards in heaven,” he reports. “John writes about the Tree of Life and the 12 fruits.”

Rathbun inspected ripe apricots on the trees. “Everything glows with light up there and is transparent. You can actually see through the stuff. It is not like matter down here. It is like looking at glass but they are living things, glowing with the light of God.”

“The flowers were blooming and fruitful at the same time,” he notes. “I could smell the apricot fragrance and it was indescribable, with a slight hint of almond. Then I saw orange groves, pears, all perfect fruit, no blemishes, no yellow leafs. It was very alive.”

Meaningful fellowship

Then God showed him a social center in heaven. Rathbun had always wanted to develop his speaking abilities. “Things didn’t work out in high school and I didn’t get on the debate team,” he recalls.

“Perhaps you would like to learn how to share the truth of heaven,” the Father told him.

Then Rathbun saw crowds learning how to speak “with heaven’s standards.”

“There were also groups meeting together, having fellowship with one another, social centers, areas all over where people could gather for talking, and fellowship.

Then he took me to two other areas that had to do with heaven itself. “He would not allow me to remember this part. It was like a very special treasure waiting for God to unwrap and show you. It is not in my conscious memory,” he says.

The throne room

The ultimate was saved for last, when God gave him a glimpse of the throne room. “The Father had masked out himself in the center because the light was so bright it would have instantly blinded me. What was going on above the throne was what he wanted me to fully taste and experience. Right above the throne there is a rainbow, and that rainbow is multicolored.”

“The part I focused in on was absolutely incredible, gorgeous violet, a deep purple color. The seraphim were immersed in that flame. It was a fire, very hot; it was very pure.

“The seraphim were in there singing and they were going back and forth in a semicircular pattern in that rainbow.”

It seemed to Rathbun they actually passed through each other, with one group traveling clockwise and another group moving counter-clockwise. “Their singing and worship was absolutely the most incredible worship you have ever had a chance to hear.

“Isaiah said he was undone when he heard the seraphim singing. When I heard them sing I was totally melted down instantly on the spot from the beauty and purity and the holiness of that worship. It was in 16 or more part harmony. They were unified in this incredible, holy, worship. I was pulled right into that.”

“I told the Father, ‘Here is where I want to be for eternity. This is the best part of heaven.’”

Then God pulled him away from the throne room. He said, “No, I want you to make a fair decision. If I allowed you to stay longer with the seraphim, it would have fixed things for all eternity.”

Rathbun was “miffed” that he was pulled away from such an incredible scene of beauty, purity, and holiness. He sat for a moment, trying to take it all in.

“Have you made up your mind yet?” the Father asked.

How could I answer the Father? he thought. All heaven is so wonderful, beyond imagination. “I don’t know what to say or do. I need your help,” Rathbun replied.

“Gladly, my son, I will help you,” the Father said.

A tapestry of his life

Then God unfolded a tapestry “like an excel spreadsheet” that described Rathbun’s life. “I saw the beginning where I was born. The 18 years until I was born again were grayed out. After that the things counted. It was a beautiful tapestry.”

Rathbun peered with curiosity at one section of the tapestry and asked, “What is that?”

“Those are your eternal rewards. I have planned (rewards for) everyone’s life. If they are obedient to my will, their tapestry is filled in with my divine works.

“This is different from salvation,” Rathbun notes. “No one can earn salvation. But there are rewards that come from cooperating with God. He showed me the tapestry up to the automobile accident. He showed me the tapestry into the future and I had 30-35 years to go.”

As a result of his vision Rathbun thinks he will live to be 80-85.

“Why are there are more rewards after the accident?” he asked God.

“Because you have decided to more fully obey me.”

Then Rathbun remembered he had just been rescued from hell and the Father had offered him the very best of heaven.

“I realized God had purely loved me with totally unselfish motives and he had not said one thing about what he wanted.”

So he turned to God and said, “Wait a second, Father, You just gave me the very best you had. You haven’t said one thing about what you want. Heaven is about love and I should be loving you. So I’m going to ask you, what do you want? What is your will?”

Rathbun could feel the Father smiling after he said that.

“He made me know he wanted me to come back to earth and talk about Him. He told me what was going to happen in the auto accident very lovingly and caringly. It was like he said. There would be broken bones and lacerations, blood all over and contusions, and much pain.”

“I want to go back,” he told the Father.

“Are you sure?”

“If I can hold your hand I can get thru anything.”

The Father beamed when he said that. “You have made a wise decision,” he said.

Return to a painful reality

Instantly Rathbun was back in the car flying through the air as it hit a eucalyptus tree. “I was screaming in pain. It was just as bad as he told me.”

Rathbun cried out, “No, no I want to go back to heaven.”

The Holy Spirit reminded him, Randall, you made your decision and it is final.

When paramedics arrived at the horrific crash scene, they intubated him. “I had a tube put down my throat for breathing and I choked on that tube for several hours. My body thrashed around and they finally duct-taped me to gurney.

“I had to hold on to God with all my faith. I was fully conscious.”

Rathbun had many broken bones, contusions, and almost broke his back in half. “They had to bleach the car there was so much blood. When I came home I was in a body cast. It took me 8 months to recover.”

After he recovered, he got his clearance back from the government. He is currently self-employed, involved with software development.

As a result of his experience, Rathbun has been profoundly touched by the Father’s love. “Men don’t know who the Father is. When you see him for who he really is it will change you.”

“At the point of the accident I didn’t have a father. The Father in heaven believes in us. He rescued me right before I hit the Lake of Fire. It was all grace on his part. He wants to reveal himself to us, particularly his purity and his holiness.”

Rathbun’s double life is over. His desire for obedience is a response to the love he found in God. “The Father has been increasing his holiness in me. It is the vital factor that will keep us from wandering off, looking for love in the wrong places.

“You want to stay pure for the father because you feel special, you feel treasured by him; He is very loving. He has to be sought out with 100 percent of your heart.”

“A passion for God has to be birthed in a man’s spirit, so that his spirit comes afire and light with passion for the Father’s purity and holiness. If we can get a glimpse of that holiness, it will be crucial towards setting us men free.”


If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here


  1. This story rings true to me in this way. About 9 months after my mother died, I was still struggling with her loss. One night as I slept, I had a vision that was crystal clear. Most of it I had to decipher after waking. I was back in the very large funeral home where my mom had laid surrounded by my family. I glanced out a window to see a soul going upward out of sight. I looked up and the ceiling opened, revealing a beautiful blue sky with one cloud lowered down. Next to the cloud was an astoundingly beautiful angel (so I thought) in a beautiful multi-colored gown made from threads that were pure crystal transparent light. This exactly matched Rathbun’s descriptions in his story. I could somehow zoom in and see every thread of light. As it turned out, I realized later the angel was really my mother gazing with pure love at me and then gazing into the cloud. She was torn between those she loved on earth (in the funeral home) and those of her family in the cloud. A few days after this transpired, I read a Bible verse about the ‘cloud of witnesses’ coming down from heaven and I knew my mom was peering into that cloud of saints and looking with longing at me. Many years I wondered if it were a dream or a vision. Now that I have read this story, I know it was a vision and that was really my mom.

  2. This story mentions nothing about Jesus Christ and the cross, man’s only way to the Father. It was an angel of light that appeared to this man and gave him this trumped up story. there was no scripture base. We are not in charged of our destiny. It was silly and this man has a vivid imagination. Read the Bible it tells the way to heaven and how not to go to hell.

    • Lee:
      You missed the whole point. The Heavenly Father took His own personal action to rescue me from hell. This was a sovereign action on His part. When I argued with Him, He dismissed it, and pointed out that He had placed ALL my sins on His son Jesus Christ. He was pointing out to me that I was ignoring the cross and the efficacy of it to atone for ALL our sins. When I realized that the Father was talking to me because my sins were UNDER the blood of the cross, which Jesus Christ had shed, then I hushed up and quit arguing.

      And no, I did not make this up.

      • Randall, I believe you and I found your story amazing, incredible, and informative. I’m a pastor and I like to share testimonies from the pulpit. I shared part one of your story this past Sunday to my flock, and I plan to share part 2 this coming Sunday.

        Thanks for sharing this.

        — Emanuel

      • I believe you. I believe you because nobody can make up a story like that.

        I’m curious to know, did God say anything about the other cultures and religions on earth and what will happen to them? I’m a non Christian myself but believe in all Gods, even ancient ones.

        I would like to get in touch so email me when you can.

      • Randall,

        I appreciate you sharing your experience and reading it awoke fears and realizations for me that I long forgot.
        I to am in IT and have lived a double life. After reading your experience and seeing how it closely relates to me, worries me. Can you remember why the father saved you and would he save others in the same situation?

    • Lee got it right. I don’t think the story was made up but it is truly un-biblical in content. There is no such place as purgatory. The bible is clear on that subject. I also find it hard to believe that we get to choose where we want to spend our eternity. It is determined by the choices we make every day. Humans that refuse to be obedient in this life will pay for it after physical death. Deviating from the law (ten commandments) will get you a one-way ticket to hell. All those who ignore the Sabbath, covet, tell little white lies, etc. are making their eternity as we speak. The bible tells us to test everything to assure it comes from the light or if it manifests from a darker power. If any vision, dream or experience deviates from scripture it is not from the light.

  3. You may have missed this important part of the story:

    Rathbun tried to argue with Him (God the Father). “This doesn’t make any sense at all. I was almost in hell. I almost hit the Lake of Fire. I did everything to disobey you. I went against your Word. How could you trust me?”

    “I know all that and I have put all that on my own Son,” He said. Rathbun knew that all his sins had been placed on Jesus on the cross, but now, it became much more real.

    Note, I hope it is clear that Jesus paid the price for Rathbun’s sins, that is the only basis on which he escaped hell.

  4. Gee Lee, howz’it? You put God in da box? Da guy makes the universe and he’s da one got follow da rules? Lighten up Bra.

  5. I hope this points out the folly of protestant heresies like “forensic justification,” etc. Unfortunately, this sinner will likely remain protestant and end up in the same sorry predicament upon his death.

  6. Thank you for sharing this beautiful vision of heaven, Randall. I was happy to know you take your gifts to heaven. My dearest father died 20 years ago. I’ve only had two dreams of him this entire time. In one he was building a beautiful staircase and remodeling the house I grew up in. In his retirement years he was a wonderful carpenter, I’m glad to know he can still do what he loved, I miss him so and wish I had more dreams of dad.
    Did our Father give you any vision or information about purgatory?
    The only gift I have is baking. I feel I don’t have enough to contribute to heaven.

  7. I knew it! God is in the math! Thank you college Physics! …seriously. The math of life is far far too neat and tidy to be anything but Created.

    Thanks for the confirmation, Randall!

  8. Thanks for this testimony Randall may God eternally bless you.A man with an Experience is not at the Mercy of a man with an Argument.What I like about the Bible is that it says if a man Loves me I and my father will visit him.What most people fail to undestand is that a visitation of God is very personal .It is a testimony to the world but it is very real to the one who experiences it .Scoffers and skeptics will always make fun,but thay can’t play with the lake of fire in hell.

  9. Randall, the demon in your story was correct, you are a liar. This story is so obviously fiction. But I’m sure when you write your book you’ll profit well from the multitude of ignorant and gullible Christian fundamentalists that are always morbidly enthralled by afterlife stories.

  10. Thank you Randall for this magnificent account of your trip to heaven. If they hated Jesus they will hate us also. I receive every word you have spoken as a treasure allowed for us His children to hear. You are a faithful witness of what you have seen and isn’t wonderful to know the best is yet to come. You have been greatly used by Almighty God to reveal the great love and mercy that The Father has for all of us including you Frank, through the sacrifice of sending His only Son Jesus who took the death penalty in our place. God is love and He loves you very much Frank and others so much so that he historically and legally stood in for you so you will never have to be punished for sin. It’s not a matter of when you get your act together that He will accept you but the bible tells us ” that Jesus died for us while we were all sinners” He forgives you, your eternity depends on will you accept it, and ask Him to be your God and Saviour, he won’t violate your will. God bless you very much.

  11. I praise God and give Him all honour, praise and glory for your testimony. My faith in God, Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit is strengthened. I will live to do His will always, now and forever. God bless you as you minister to the world.

  12. Randall, I appreciated the telling of your encounter. Thanks.

    Have you met Bill Wiese? He has gained quite a bit of notoriety in Christian circles for his visionary experience in Hell. His book is “23 Minutes in Hell.” He is a personal friend. I hope you can meet him.

    • Hal Linhardt:

      Please let Bill Wiese know about me, and let him know about my testimony.

      Thank you.

      – Randall

  13. Really? The artistic department in heaven is very interesting. I have always thought that artists have no place in heaven because of our transcendental views. But when you mentioned about handicrafts and carpentry work, it gave me a sense of encouragement. Heaven is not a boring place after all! I can continue to write stories but this time for the glory of God. And I do look forward to those eternal trees, fruits and flowers. How they never fade in time!

  14. Each time I come across stories like this,walking closer with Christ is what I feel like.Thank you so much for passing this through to us.

  15. Thank you for sharing this incredible wonderful true story about our heavenly father.May his grace be sufficient in your life to maintain what he has given you and i pray that the good Lord will be merciful to me so that i will get to see heaven and be a resident forever for it is all i long for to be alive in his will.

  16. I liked your description of heaven. Read some good Catholic books, all this stuff you are talking about is known. Go to confession in order to receive absolution, because while contrition is enough for God to forgive sins, it must be accompanied by intent to receive the sacrament. Baptism by desire is also known, but now that you are back to living on earth, I’d get the actual baptism by water. These sacramental realities were instituted by Christ himself so that we might attain to salvation, we are saved not individually, but as one body of Christ, the church. It is much easier to live by the will of God than our own, since of ourselves we can do nothing.

  17. Man I am so blessed by reading your article it gives me so much joy and hope and determination to allow the will of our Father and grace through Christ Jesus be part of my everyday life we need more of these testimonies it give us new courage to hold on to and proclaim the love and eternal life in Christ .May Father bless your ministry much more . I’m writing from South Africa and so much violence is happening in my area everyday gangs shoot each other we are being rob anytime of day but yet things like these give me new hope and joy knowing God loves me and is in control of what happens around his children.

  18. My discernment on how souls go to Hell or Purgatory or Heaven

    In September, of 1995, my wife, my daughter and I went to a Marian conference in Chicago. While we there listening to the speakers, a thought came to my mind about how souls go to hell. Now no one was talking about this subject, for some reason I just started thinking about it. Before I go on, I must tell you that I have read several messages that state that God does not send souls to hell, that the soul sends itself to hell, and I had wondered how this could happen.
    Well as I said, I was thinking about this, and it is like this, darkness is sin and light is God. Now if a person lives in a room or cave of compete darkness and has been there for along time, when that person comes into the light, he or she can not stand the light so the person goes back in to the dark room. This is like a soul that has lived in sin, when the soul dies, it can not stand to look at God, Who is pure Light, so the soul drives itself into hell.
    Now the next day I was praying before Jesus in the blessed sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, when I began to think of this again and it was like this, a soul who lives in sin lives in darkness, but if the soul, while still living would let some light in, then when the soul died it would be like a person, who was in a dark room but let some light in. So then when the person went into the Light, he or she would be able to squint their eyes and look at the light and eventually be able to open their eyes all the way. This would be a soul that, when it died was not pure enough to go to heaven, so it went to purgatory.
    All souls are different some have to squint harder then others and some can adjust faster to the light and some live always in the light, their eyes are wide open, these go straight to heaven.

    Now on this same subject I would like to quote from the book “The Victorious Queen of The World”, a spiritual diary of a mystic, Sr. Natalia of Hungary, page 45:

    “Once I cried on Jesus shoulder: “Why did you create hell?” To answer me, Jesus brought me to the judgment of a very sinful soul, whose sins He forgave. Satan was outraged!
    “You are not just! This soul was mine all his life!” He shouted to Jesus: “This one committed so many sins, while I committed only one, and You still created hell for me.”
    Jesus then with unbound love told Satan: “Lucifer! Did you ever ask Me for forgiveness?” Then Lucifer, seemingly beside himself, shouted: “That never! That I will never do!”
    Then Jesus turned to me, “You see, if he could ask Me for forgiveness only once, hell would cease to exist.”

    In November 1995 I bought a book “The Sorrow, The Sacrifice, and The Triumph” by Thomas W. Petrisko, which had just come out in November 1995. This book is about Christina Gallagher, The Apparitions, Visions, and Prophecies.

    Now I do not promote or judge Christina Gallagher or any other visionary. I do read several books that I get at Marian conferences and some are on visionaries. I try to do as St. Paul says: Hold on to the good and let go of the bad and obey what the Church teaches.

    Now I would like to quote, what happens at death starting on page 117, “ When release from the body each soul is destined for immortal life, and its future in eternity is determined by its state when death takes place and the soul is released from the body.

    When the body dies and the soul is released, it suddenly finds itself in the full light of awareness, able to see itself as it stands in the sight of God. It then realizes the darkness to which the body’s actions condemned it. The sensitivity of the soul to the enormity of the Light of God is like the naked eye before the brilliance of a thousand suns, and the soul in darkness quivers in pain. It plunges itself into the sea of Hell to avoid the pain of the enormity of the Light.”

    “The soul destined for Purgatory seeks shade at the level in Purgatory appropriate to its own imperfection. It will automatically plunge itself into which it failed to atone sufficiently; it will gladly go to whatever level of Purgatory is necessary, and it will be eternally grateful to God, in the knowledge that it will one day gain His Presence in Heaven.
    2/17/05 Also from The Diary Of St. Faustina, I quote, “After these words, I received a deeper understanding of divine mercy. Only that soul who wants [to be damned] will be damned, for God condemns no one.(1452)
    To St. Faustina: “My daughter, know without a doubt, and once and for all, that only mortal sin drives Me out of a soul, and nothing else.” (1181) AND “My daughter, know that you give Me greater glory by a single act of obedience than by long prayers and mortifications.” (894)

    Also from The Diary Of St. Faustina, I quote, “At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings.” (153)
    Here is something else I would like to share with you.
    This is why Jesus asks us to live in constant penance for our sins! We should meditate on how much He suffered for our sins, in order that we might reach salvation. We should ask His forgiveness often and love Him for His unfathomable love!

    Go in peace and the Love of God
    And pray for me
    Charles Fears

  19. Thank you for sharing this. I will continue to say the rosary for those in purgatory and those on earth still needing to repent and convert. Prayer is powerful.

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