OPEN HEAVENS BRING GOD’S KINGDOM TO EARTH
Then, as heaven manifests in the natural realm, both the rule and the reign of Jesus Christ will be known in the earth. “Let God be glorified!” Yet, don’t miss this: The key to bringing that manifestation to earth is an open heaven—a portal through which the kingdom of God invades the earth!
Perhaps one of the best biblical examples to illustrate this kingdom invasion is when the heavens opened over Jesus while He was baptized (by John the Baptist). God’s kingdom invaded the earth in the form of a dove—the Spirit of God—that rested upon Jesus (Lk. 3:21, 22). He was empowered [anointed] for ministry. God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power! And immediately, living under that open heaven, “then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” for forty days (4:1, 2) where He overcame every temptation of the devil (4:3–13). Next, straight from the wilderness, Jesus went on to Nazareth in the power of the Spirit.
Because the heavens were open, He functioned in a different “arena.” In other words, His mind was in heaven. Living in the full spectrum of heaven’s realities, Jesus carried the substance of heaven in His ministry—in the virtue, in the rule, in the reign, in the dimension of “as it is in heaven,” NOW—through miracles, healings, salvations deliverance, signs and wonders. Wow, Lord!
OPEN HEAVENS BRING PROPHETIC EXPERIENCES & REVELATIONS
In fact, Jesus lived and ministered in that spiritual atmosphere 24/7. Friends, we need to make that our goal too, because under an open heaven the spiritual atmosphere is ripe for prophetic experiences, and those encounters greatly influence both our level of anointing and our determination for fulfilling the purposes of God. Actually, we won’t experience the dimensions—what’s in heaven, the realm of visions and dreams and trances, the audible voice of God, revelations and visitations of the Lord, and angelic visitations, nor will we be aware of the ministry of angels—until the heavens are open.
Just look at what John, the revelator, saw—a door standing open in heaven (Rev. 4:1a). Not a door standing open for John to only have a moment of revelation. But a door, I believe, that is standing, present tense, standing open, issuing an invitation of God’s Spirit even now, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this” (4:1b). Although the invitation to “come up here” was to one person; namely, John, I believe God is saying, “I’m now releasing in a greater corporate dimension, the experience of Revelation 4:1.
When heaven opened, John saw “a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war,” and he saw much more, as well as receiving revelation of events yet to come (Rev. 19:11–21). Likewise, when the heavens open over us, we’ll begin to have visions and dreams, visitations of the Lord, and revelations. We’ll begin to see in the spirit and we’ll begin to minister under the power and the authority of an open heaven, bringing the manifestation of Jesus Christ in His glory with power, miracles, healing, signs and wonders.
WELCOME THE OPEN HEAVEN’S DIMENSION
Friends, I believe there comes a “place” where there is an invitation for each and every one of us to pray for spiritual understanding, for the eyes of our hearts to be opened, and for us to be filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation. It’s an atmosphere where we can make ourselves available to receive solid teaching and guidelines from God’s word to help us exercise our spiritual senses. Also, it’s where we can learn to open and sanctify our imagination, and begin to have the eyes of our understanding enlightened (the mind’s eye) whereby we begin to touch the dimension of seeing—the dimension of visions, trances, dreams, and angelic visitation.
Why? One reason is because the “dimension of seeing” goes hand in hand with the seer anointing, and God wants to give us that anointing. God is emphasizing Revelation Chapter 4, verse 1 (above), opening it up, issuing an invitation into the throne zone—the third heaven—and into the anointing represented in that particular scripture. What’s more, we need to receive this whole invitation just as eagerly as we have received the prophetic dimension.
There’s been a real emphasis in the last 10 years or so on the prophetic—“you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged” (1 Cor. 14:31)—that’s edification and exhortation. It’s good, but the open heavens dimension is different from the prophetic dimension. Right now, God isn’t marking just “prophetic people” and all that this term implies, as good as it is. He is moving us beyond that into a greater dimension for experiencing the third heaven level—just a greater experience and expression of God in more of a seer’s dimension—for the days we live in demand it!
Yet many believers, as prophetic people, seem content if they can just hear God and prophesy once in a while. Their attitude is: I don’t need visions, trances, dreams and angelic visitations. I don’t need that stuff, Brother. I walk by faith. I got the word, and that’s enough for me. Whether or I see or feel anything, I’m going to believe God. Well, I walk by faith too. By faith I know I have access to come boldly before God’s throne, to ask Him to let me see the throne. Then, with expectation I begin to press in for throne room (third heaven) experiences.
It’s like this [about such experiences]: If I don’t ask and if I don’t have an expectation, it won’t happen. Look. I’ve come to the place in my relationship, passion, and intimacy with Jesus where I believe that God wants me to see, hear, feel, and experience with my spiritual senses “as it is in heaven,” now—just as much as when someday I actually die physically and go to be with the Lord in heaven—where I’ll see my mansion, the streets that are golden, and the great cloud of witnesses.
Look. Heaven is a real place—and the earth is something of a picture of what it’s like in heaven—but heaven is without the sickness, the sin, the disease, the death, the poverty, and the devil, that we have here. And since we [can and do] enjoy what God has created in the earth, then is there any reason why we can’t, as spiritual beings with spiritual senses, go places in the spirit and taste, see, and touch [experience the geographical beauty of] everything that God has created in the heavenly dimension? After all, everything we have in the natural/temporal realm is created out of the heavenly invisible realm in the first place!
Since I can enjoy the natural realm every day, then, if I have the boundaries and wisdom from God’s word, why can’t I come before the Lord’s presence and ask to have experiences similar to John, the revelator, or Ezekiel? Listen! I want to welcome the open heaven dimension!—and I want to welcome it if for no other reason than to hang out with Jesus!
How about you? I ask because I’ve heard God say [for quite some time now] that it’s time to talk about the reality of the supernatural, the truth about it, and to take out “the spook.” Look! The way the supernatural realm is written off or relegated to the exclusive domain of the occult and the demonic realm, is wrong! We’re constantly bombarded through television, movies, and books which insist that the supernatural is owned by the demonic. That message is out there, and yes, the demonic does operate supernaturally, but we need to embrace the power of God out there—the real supernatural power!
Yet, instead of doing that, since a lot of Christians actually believe it is demonic, the church most of the time doesn’t want to touch the supernatural. But just read your Bible. The supernatural is the way through which God communicated with the prophets and just about everyone. It had to be that way and it’s that way today because He’s God and we’re not!—how else is He going to communicate with us?—He does so in dreams, or trances, etc., which are supernatural.
I want to challenge some of you. It’s time to overcome the fear of being deceived and come to grips with the fact that God in His ability to keep you is greater than the devil’s ability to deceive you.
Now, before closing this week’s lesson, I want to explain something on the practical-side concerning where open heavens take place, and then highlight a few excellent resources for those of you who want to learn more about open heavens.
THE HEAVENS OPEN REPEATEDLY IN CERTAIN PLACES
Open heavens occur over certain geographical areas that are marked by God. For example Jacob experienced an open heaven at a place which he named Bethel (located near a village called Luz, Israel) where he had an amazing dream about a ladder that stretched from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. When he awoke he “was afraid and said, ‘What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God – the gateway to heaven!’” (See Genesis 28:1–17, emphasis mine).
Some places, because of their spiritual history, are noted to be locations where people will often experience an open heaven. In fact, there are places where the heavens are open more than in other places. Most of you are familiar with previous moves of God in places such as Toronto (The Toronto Blessing), the meetings in Pensacola, and Argentina, just to name a few. Just like in Jacob’s day, today, there are certain places where heaven is open, geographical locations where you are more likely to have an encounter with God.
In certain places I’ve been blessed with an open heaven, where, in prayer, God gives me His perspective and His heart. Then I have an encounter, an impartation, a heavenly download that I receive out of being in His presence. I begin to see things. I begin to hear things, and I carry that out of the prayer closet, out of that place of having ascended into the heavens in prayer—bring that revelation into the here and now—and the manifestation of that revelation then begins to take place. The bottom line is that God is glorified.
In fact, at the time of the release of this teaching, there is a kingdom invasion happening in a certain place—Lakeland, Florida—dubbed The Florida Outpouring! To God’s glory, what is so amazing is that an open heaven, one open heaven, over one city, literally touches ends of the earth! Just praise Him!!
Hands up! You’re surrounded! Surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses!—those great saints in glory—they’re watching you and me. Those guys in Hebrews 11 have their attention fixed on us and how God is bursting on the scene through this generation. With cheers and shouts they’re wild with excitement, roaring, “You’re the last day generation; you’re the last day army! GO church, GO! GO church, GO!”
Friends! Their “floor” is our “ceiling.” What a launching pad! Did you get that?! We serve the same God they served, and since mighty exploits happened through them, they are sure to happen through us. Just look at what’s taking place in Lakeland, Florida!
YOU ARE MADE FOR THIS
Yet, I can still sense some of you asking, “You mean God’s powerful acts can happen through me? You mean I can exercise my spiritual senses? Yes the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, but is it within me? Is there really an invitation to come boldly before the throne? Can I really have trances, visions, dreams, and visitations of the Lord? Be aware of angels? What do you mean, it’s my inheritance now? You mean, as a natural being, I can enjoy the things that God created in this realm now AND I can, as a spiritual being, made alive by the Spirit of God, experience what’s in the heavenly realm with my spiritual senses NOW, too?
Yes, you can! You are made for this! Look. It’s in the Bible. It’s God’s idea. Just take a look at what the Apostle Paul said: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1, 2). Receive that truth, since it’s by your determination to set your mind “on high” like this, that you will know Him—“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph. 1:17). That’s what Paul prayed; it’s for us too! Then, with that heavenly mindset you’ll be in the right position to advance the Kingdom of God in the earth!
Now for those who still might be skeptical, here’s a question: Why would Paul pray that God would give that to us if He didn’t want us to have wisdom and revelation and the knowledge of Him, (not about Him)—which only comes out of [from] encountering, tasting and seeing Him? What’s more, Paul also prayed—since the people were Christians, but they weren’t living in the experience of heavenly revelation—that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened; that they would know the hope of His calling and the riches of the glory of His inheritance (v. 18).
EXERCISE YOUR SPIRITUAL SENSES TOO
Listen! That prayer is just as alive today as it was back then, for the Ephesians. Today, God wants our understanding to be enlightened! He wants us to “look at . . . the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). We’re being encouraged by God to look there, to the things which are not seen—yet, also consider this—there’s nothing better than living under an open heaven for seeing the unseen!
But we live in the temporal world, and we’re all too comfortable with what we see, feel and hear in the natural. Yes, we have good natural senses, but God says, “I want you to set your eyes on these things which are not seen, I want you to look for them, because the things which are seen are temporary, but there’s an unseen realm, and that realm is eternal.” We need to begin to exercise our spiritual senses and become more conscious of that realm.
ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO TEACH YOU
The Bible from the beginning to the end is full of the supernatural, the reality of the supernatural—normal men like you and me, having extraordinary encounters with God. There was Elijah, taken into heaven in a chariot (2 Kings 2:11). There was Paul, who had an abundance of visions and revelations (2 Cor. 12:1, 7), and he was taken into the heavens too. In fact, he couldn’t even talk about those things because it would be unlawful for him to talk about them (12:2–4). Peter went into a trance, and what came out of that encounter transformed the entire early church (Acts10:9, 10). Just read the incredible experiences of John, the revelator, in the Book of Revelation. Then there was Elisha (1 Kings 19:16–21; 2 Kings 2:1–25) to name just a few.
So! Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you about the unseen realm. Set your mind on things above. Our problem is we’re not putting our expectation there. What’s more, those things aren’t just about healing and financial blessing. They’re about the spirit of wisdom and revelation and the knowledge of Him, angels, and “on earth as it is in heaven.” They’re about you, as the heavenly creation that you are, even though for now you happen to live on the earth. You’re a citizen of heaven NOW! Yes, you have all of the “business” of life here, but there is a place, there is an invitation, whereby you can access, live, and touch heaven—that dimension, now—by the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. You can make yourself available and you can say, “Each great saint that’s touched this dimension of God’s Spirit was a man or a woman just like me, and they served the same God that I serve. So why wouldn’t God want me to hear (ask yourself that!), why wouldn’t He want me to see? Why wouldn’t God want me to experience who He is? Why wouldn’t He want me to know the reality of heaven?” Look. If you wait on heaven, God will give it to you.
SANCTIFY YOUR IMAGINATION
Just like an eagle flies way up high, and with his keen eyesight he sees far off into the distance, God wants you to be high “by setting your mind on things above,” and to have eagle-eyes—clear prophetic vision that sees far off. However, the first thing you must do is sanctify your imagination. If you’re going to have eagle-eyes you need to sanctify your mind’s eye by guarding what you do with your natural eyes.
After all, you and I are joint heirs, members of the body of Christ, and if we’re really a chosen generation, if we’re really a royal priesthood—set to display the virtues of Christ—then we have to live like it. Sanctified! We have to sanctify our imagination. There’s a song from the past for children that’s also relevant today, for both young and old alike: “Be careful little eyes what you see . . . be careful little ears what you hear.” Because we need to be careful! God wants a royal priesthood, and that priesthood is called royal only because it is holy.
“The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart” (Prov. 20:27). Yes, the spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord—that’s how God brings revelation. Revelation, it’s in your soul and it’s in your spirit, God as a lamp—“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). He brings revelation and communicates with you in the realm of your imagination on the inside in the same place where you think, have fantasies, good or bad. So you must be careful about which things you allow into your eye-gate, the things that you watch, because they affect your soul—your mind, will and emotions.
Paul exhorted the Ephesian believers to “put off . . . the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4: 22–24). He told them not to walk like the Gentiles—their minds were confused and full of darkness. They were immoral (v. 17–19).
He told them not just to live holy lives, but he also warned them that if they didn’t, if they were immoral, impure, or greedy, they would not have an inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God (Eph. 4: 20–32; 5:1–5). So, friends, just like the Ephesians, we need to take Paul’s words to heart. We must honor God by living pure lives. Purity is a sign of respect that reflects the high value we place on our vast, rich inheritance in Christ Jesus.
Part of our inheritance, one big chunk that God wants to give us, is a well developed, sanctified seer anointing. This indispensable anointing, this ability to have the eyes of our heart enlightened (Eph 1:18, NASV)—especially when we understand our authority in Christ and how to walk in the gifts/manifestations of the Holy Spirit—gives us the capability to co-labor with God on a spiritual level that boldly shows God off to the world so that men will be saved!
Now we’ve come full circle! Because the seer dimension thrives in, and goes hand in hand with, an open heaven.