Tasting the Powers of the Coming Age
an evening in Indianapolis
In Hebrews 6:4-5 we find a list of some very basic descriptions of a Christian: “...who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age...”
Do you know what it means to “taste the powers of the coming age”? It is said to be the normal experience of a Christian life. This is something real and powerful and it is meant to be the EXPERIENCE of every Believer. Do you know what it means?
I think it is safe to say that “tasting the powers of the coming age” is more than “going to church” and singing a few songs, even dancing, and going home. Nobody being honest could say, “Now that was tasting the powers of the coming age.” Only those who have never Tasted MORE would say so! Right?
Jesus said that the norm of a Believer is to have rivers of living water gushing out of their belly. So, truly stepping into the Kingdom of God must be more than some ritual of dressing up and going to “church” on Sunday. As Paul said, the Kingdom of God consists not of mere words, but of dunamis—of dynamite—of power. It’s not just a bunch of talk, with a “bible study” here and there and a couple of prayers. There is power, and that power is real. Maybe “dynamo” would be a better way to express that, because a dynamo is a waterfall that is generating power day after day, whereas dynamite is one “flash in the pan.”
Before Time Began: The Promise of Eternity
Let’s go all the way back to creation and look at some of what God is doing. Before creation, what was in existence? GOD! Period. That’s all. Everywhere, God. Nothing else. That was even before the beginning of time because when creation came into being, time itself was part of that creation! In Titus Chapter 1 it says: “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life...” That sounds good, right? Anyone in their right mind is interested in eternal life. You can go all the way back to Ponce de Leon and his search for the fountain of youth and find that eternal life is something that man, just out of his natural mind, wants. Obviously, it would be a real curse to live forever in a place that is not good, so NO ONE desires that. But man longs to be able to live forever in a good place...in some place where he could enjoy living forever. Eternal life is something that God created, and now He is trying to tell us what that’s all about.
A person consists really of three things—a body, a soul, and a spirit. A spirit is “conceived” when God breathes life from another world into the womb of that expecting mother. At that point, a spirit is born that cannot die. It is impossible that it can die. The only question that remains is: Does that spirit spend eternity in a paradise or in a torment? As it turns out, that is a choice that we make.
So, as we explore “creation,” we’ll see that “creation” involves the nature of God and eternal life, because all these things work together “...a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time...” (Tit. 1:2). That promise (that thought in God’s mind of eternal life) happened before time ever began. That promise happened before any creation, and even before there was such a thing as “time.”
“...and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the message entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior” (Tit. 1:3). You can see that in God’s heart is also this aspect of “bringing His Word to light through the message.” We have to be TAUGHT. You see creation. You see God. You see that before the beginning of time there is salvation or eternal life...and then you see that Paul says that he has been brought this knowledge from God about what it’s all about. I am glad that Paul received that (and that we have received that), so we can know what’s going on! A person who is ignorant of facts is going to make bad decisions. You need to have facts to make decisions; otherwise, you go blindly through life tripping and falling all along the way. You go blindly through whatever your situation is, and you blow it because you didn’t know the facts. God, who does not lie, mercifully stretches out His hand and says, “I’ll give you facts. I will ‘bring to light’ the reality of what the universe is all about. Before time began, I had specific intentions, and I will make those things known to you if you will search. If you seek, you will find. If you ask, you will receive. If you knock, the door will be opened. For those who are honest and are seeking, I will make known the reality of My presence and what I have in store for them. I will let you know what I have prepared for you from the beginning of creation—even before there was time. ETERNAL LIFE!”
So, not only do we see this idea of salvation and a knowledge that rests on the hope of eternal life, but we also see that God intends for this message of God to be proclaimed!
In Heavenly Realms...in Christ!
Before the beginning of time there was just GOD. When God created, He created things called “heavenly realms,” and then He created things that we’ll call the “natural” or “physical” realm.
In the letter to the Christians in Ephesus Paul is referring to the heavenly realms. He is opening the mind of God to them: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him—in Christ—before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves—Jesus Christ. In Him we have redemption through Jesus’ blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-10).
What phrase keeps popping up over and over again? “In Him, in the One He loved. In Christ, In Christ.”vAll spiritual blessings are where? In Christ. In heavenly realms, in Christ. This thing we call “heavenly realms” is part of God’s creation, and that’s where all the blessings of the universe are. The blessings are all in heavenly realms, and heavenly realms are Christ! Christ is in heavenly realms,v“...and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength [the mighty strength of Almighty God], which he exerted in Christ when he raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at the right hand in the heavenly realms,vfar above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come [“tasting the powers of the coming age”]. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed Christ to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of Jesus, who fills everything in every way” (Eph. 1:19-23). He said the Church, which is His Body, is the fullness of the Godhead, the fullness of deity who fills everything in every way! You see all that, right?
Do you feel like everything is grand and glorious and absolutely perfect in the physical realm here on planet Earth? : ) No. That’s because the blessing isn’t in the physical realm, is it? But there is another realm called the heavenly realm, where all the blessings of the universe are, and all the authority is. Jesus Christ sat down at the right hand of the Father in heavenly realms with all power and dominion and authority over all things for the Church, which is His body, which “fills everything in every way.”
“Because of God’s great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages [“tasting the powers of the coming age”] he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7).
With ever-increasing glory God is breathing into people who are part of His Kingdom. He is breathing His power, His authority, His wisdom and His creativity—and the heavenly realms are astounded at this! When you become a disciple of Jesus, you are “seated in heavenly realms.” You are not seated on planet Earth anymore. You become a partaker of heavenly realms. All spiritual blessings are given to us. He blessed us—past tense! It is not that He will bless us, but He has blessed us, past tense, with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly realms. It has already been established.
This heavenly realm is where everything good is. Every spiritual blessing, every blessing that really makes any difference, is in heavenly realms. It is not in earthly realms. There’s some mingling, but the gold is in heavenly realms. When you become a disciple of Jesus you are seated (past tense) in the heavenly realms. He has blessed us (past tense) in heavenly realms with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. You can see this thing that is happening as part of creation, a part that we don’t see all together clearly, but heavenly realms is a glorious part of creation.
The Battle is There, Too
In Ephesians 6:10-12 we find that there is a whole “other” part of heavenly realms: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms....”
Wait a minute! We are not talking about “heaven.” We are talking about a whole other part of creation, because even the devil himself is in heavenly realms. Somehow, some way, satan is in heavenly realms. Now, who were the “Ephesians”? Who was Paul writing this to? Christians, or non-Christians? He was writing to Christians. Notice he said, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, authorities, powers of the dark world, against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” He said our battle is in the heavenly realms. As Christians, our battle—the warfare that we wage—is not with weapons of this world, as it says in 2 Corinthians 10. We’re not throwing hand grenades. The physical realm stuff has nothing to do with it because our battle is not in the physical realm. Our battle is in the heavenly realms, and against dark forces, dominions and powers. Satan is not Captain Kangaroo. He is not some imaginary force of evil. He is a very real, created being that once went by the name of Lucifer, the most powerful created being that ever was. He stood at the right hand of God as the anointed cherub, the anointed angel that covers. He was filled with all wisdom and all beauty. He is a powerful being. He is a created being, and he is just as real as you and I are...except for one difference, he is in the heavenly realms. Our battle, when we become a disciple of Jesus, is now in heavenly realms.
Has anybody ever noticed that when you become a Christian, things that used to be “easy” seem to all of a sudden be hard? Even though life was a real pit when you weren’t a Christian, it’s almost like things that were easy to deal with when you were not a Christian become things you start struggling with all of a sudden. You think, “I’m not supposed to be struggling because I’m a Christian now.” And yet, in some ways you are struggling even more than you were. In different ways, but now all of a sudden there is turmoil in your heart that you might not have had before you stepped into heavenly realms. It’s because THAT’S where the battle is. When you step into heavenly realms, when you become a Disciple of Jesus, now all of a sudden you are a very clear mark for satan. Now he can see you face to face, because now you are in his realm, in a sense. He’s the “god of this age,” and he’s taken dominion over planet Earth, but even so, the heavenly realm is where the battle is waged.
It’s like a man who is very clumsy. If he’s sitting in a chair, would you ever know that he is clumsy? No. But if you gave him five things to do and five minutes to do them, you would find out pretty quickly how clumsy he is. All of a sudden he is all thumbs and he can’t do anything right. And that’s the picture of what happens when we become a Christian. That’s what Paul is talking about in Romans 7. If you are not a disciple of Jesus, if you are not pursuing the things of God but you are just living your life for yourself, it’s like you’re just sitting in a chair. You don’t “see” or notice how clumsy you are until you stand up and start to do something in heavenly realms, then you find out that you need perfecting! You need ever-increasing glory. You need to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You need to grow into maturity and strength. But you never knew that as long as you were just sitting there. That’s why, when you become a Christian, sometimes you find yourself starting to battle with things and wage war with things that never were a big problem before you became a Christian. There is a war that you are waging, according to the Word of God. That war is in heavenly realms. Satan is in those heavenly realms also.
Everything “Real” Has a Shadow
God has created this invisible world that He refers to at the end of 2 Corinthians 4 as “what is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal.” The things we can’t see are the only things that are going to last. Peter said that everything else is going to be burnt up with a fervent heat. There is going to be a meltdown. And the physical realm, which is the other half of creation, is going to be burnt up. The chair you are sitting on and everything you can see right now in this world is going to be burnt up, because it is part of the physical realm, not the supernatural realm or the heavenly realms.
When God decided to create us and to create planet Earth and all the things that we see, and when God created this thing called religion, He was taking the reality of the heavenly realm and making little miniature models of it on planet Earth. When he brought the seen world (the physical realm) into existence, those things were shadows of the heavenly realms. There was a purpose for them. It wasn’t that God just randomly decided to create this, that, and the other. But there was a whole creation called heavenly realms, and God decided to create miniature models of it to paint a picture of reality. If you set up a canvas and you paint a picture of someone, the person is real, but the painting is not. They look alike, but the painting is in two dimensions and the person is in three dimensions. The painting doesn’t have life, but the person does. But they look alike. That is what creation is. The physical realm is a shadow, or picture, of the heavenly realms. God in His infinite wisdom did something pretty incredible in that.
“The priests serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven...” (Heb. 8:5). God went into great detail to talk to the Jewish people about how big the temple was supposed to be and the different kinds of gold and jewels that went into it. He gave specifics details about how the ark was to be so long and so wide, and have angels sitting on top...and that there would be manna, Aaron’s rod, and stone tablets inside. The Jewish people were scratching their heads saying, “What’s going on? Why are we supposed to do all these religious rituals?” Well, the word of God says those things were a shadow, a miniature model, of the reality in the heavenly realms. There is a temple in the heavenly realms, and that temple is Jesus. There is an ark in the heavenly realms, and that ark is Jesus! Everything points back to the reality in heavenly realms.
In Hebrews 9:8-9 “The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time indicating that gifts and sacrifices were not able to ‘clear the conscience’ of the worshippers.” This is an illustration of what these people were supposed to do, an example or shadow of the reality of something else God was doing. The Most Holy Place was to be in the presence of God.
“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming; not the realities themselves...” (Heb. 10:1). Even the laws of God, where God says, “Do this, do that,” are only a shadow of what is already happening in heavenly realms. Remember that “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” as Jesus told Peter. He is referring to these heavenly realms. All these things—the laws, the righteousness and the holiness of God, and the characteristics of God—are real up there and are only shadows down here. “Do not steal.” That’s only a shadow of a reality in heaven.
“Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Col 2:16-17). Again, you see this idea of a shadow. If you were to go to the book of Hebrews in Chapter 4 or to the book of Revelation in Chapters 21 and 22, what you would find if you are trying to understand what is in these heavenly realms, is that there are shadows on Earth that represent REALITIES found in the Heavenly Realms. We have a shadow of the Sabbath on Earth, and there is a reality of the Sabbath in heavenly realms. It talks about food, what you eat and drink, and these are a shadow of the reality that is to come. There is a reality of food in heavenly realms, and what we eat today is only a shadow, a mirage. There is a river on planet Earth, but that’s only a shadow of a reality that is in heavenly realms. There is a real river in heavenly realms, and God gave us an “illustration” of a river that we could understand on planet Earth.
The temple is that way. A banquet is that way. We have parties and celebrations here, but there is a reality in heavenly realms. Jesus talked about the great banquet that we are going to be going to. A “party in the sky,” if you will...a festival going on in heavenly realms. It says that that’s a shadow of the reality that’s in Christ, and Christ is heavenly realms. We are walking around and doing things on planet Earth, and we need to realize that all of this creation is only a mirage, only a shadow of the heavenly realms. God created this Earth that we are walking around on as a shadow. And everything about it is only a little miniature model, a painting, of the reality that is in heavenly realms in Christ. And that’s what we are going to experience.
The Realms, Melted and Meshed Together!
When God created man He did something really amazing. He took a handful of clay from planet Earth and molded a man out of that clay, and then He breathed on it. He didn’t do that with any of the rest of creation. In man, God did something that He had never done before. He took some of heavenly realms and some of earthly realms and put them together. That’s the first time He ever did that. He breathed on it. He said, “I created man and woman in my own image.” He had never done that before! Of all the animals on all of planet Earth, He had never done that before. But now, in man, God took some of heavenly realms...“pneuma, spirit, breath”...and He blew His Spirit into man. He took something out of the heavenly realms, the reality in the heavenly realms, and He took something out of the earthly realms at creation, and He put them together in one package. That’s what you and I are. That’s why we’ve got to come to grips with that if we are going to find this thing called salvation. We have to realize that God created us in His own image, and He took part of heavenly realms and part of earthly realms and put them together in this thing called “man.” That’s why we have eternal life—because part of us is heavenly realms. It’s spirit that can’t be destroyed. It’s reality. Our bodies can be destroyed because they’re only the physical realm, but the spirit within us can’t because it came directly out of heavenly realms.
Disobedient and Darkened
Here’s what happened though. Man messed up. Remember what happened with Adam and Eve, when man fell? He ate from the tree of good and evil, deciding to make himself a god—“I’ll make my own decisions. I’ll do what I feel like. I’m going to look out for ‘Number 1.’ If I want to do something, I am going to do it.” And God called that sin. He put a name on it. When man sinned, he darkened the spirit that was within him. He became numb to it. The relationships of man broke down—Adam and Eve started arguing with each other. “She made me do it.” And then, eventually, we have murder on our hands with Cain and Abel. Man’s relationship with God broke down. All of a sudden people started being afraid of God. Before that sin, they walked with Him and talked with Him because there was part of them that was in the supernatural realm, in heavenly realms, so they could communicate with God.
Part of them was “heavenly realm,” which could communicate with God, who was Christ, who was seated in heavenly realms. But when man sinned, he darkened his understanding in the heavenly realms, and no longer could he have fellowship with God. Now he is hiding from God. He had to have his fig leaf, he had to try to hide and protect himself. He said, “Oh, God, I was afraid of You, and I had to hide from You.” That’s what people do today. They either hide from God by creating all kinds of things to keep themselves occupied and amused, or they hide from God by calling God names. “You are just a mean God. I wouldn’t serve a God like you anyway.” All that came because sin entered our hearts and darkened our spiritual understanding. We can look at that in a couple of places in the Scriptures.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:1-2).
Paul said, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins. When you selfishly decided to live for yourself and to make your own decisions rather than letting God make your decisions for you. When you decided that you were going to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and you were going to decide what was good and what was evil rather than God, you died.” Paul is saying to the Ephesians, to these Christians, “You used to follow the ways of this world. You used to do what everybody else did. You used to dress like they dress, you used to talk like they talk, you used to do what they did in all their habits and pleasures and hobbies. And while you followed that way you were DEAD. You were dead in your heart and your sin. You didn’t have the heavenly realms that you were created for!” That’s not an insult. He is saying, “You were created for something wonderful and you blew it. You followed your own ways and the ways of this world, and you followed the prince of the power of the air who is at work in those who are disobedient. For those who disobey God and serve themselves, satan himself is at work within them.” They move in the heavenly realms to serving satan, who is also in heavenly realms, and they became darkened to the Glory of God.
“We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We have all fallen short of the heavenly realms. This tremendous power, the awesome inner strength, the gleam in our eye, the joy inexpressible and full of glory, the peace that transcends understanding...does anybody NOT want those things? Of course we want those things. People would die to have peace, to have joy, somehow, some way. People would die for that, no matter how much “seen-world” stuff and money they have.
The richest people in the world have committed suicide. They thought they could get peace and joy by having money or power, but they found out it doesn’t work! And the reason it doesn’t work was because we are created to be in heavenly realms. As much as you accrue in the physical realm, it is never going to satisfy you. It all stinks. You will never be satisfied.
So if the “heavenly realms” part of you is darkened by “moving over” to serving the prince of the power of the air by being disobedient, you die. In a way, you die to all the glory that God has inside of you. Paul said to the Ephesians, “All of us also lived among them...” You can’t do any of this “holier-than-thou” stuff. You can’t say, “I’m a great guy and you’re a sinner.” Forget that! “We also lived at one time among them, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were objects of wrath.” We were craving the satisfaction of our own bodies, we were craving pleasures, and Paul is saying that you are missing what God created you for when you do that. You’re missing it! He created you for something glorious and powerful, not to be on your hands and knees trying to get through life—just trying to survive, hating yourself and hating others. He created us to be seated in heavenly realms with Christ Jesus.
The Turning Point
Now, there is a point at which you can step “back in” to what God is doing. In 2 Corinthians 3:16 it says: “Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” [That veil is the darkening in our understanding.] “I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more...”(Eph. 4:17-19).
There’s this darkening in understanding, there’s not the Life of God that He created us for, and it is futile thinking and just doesn’t pay off. Everywhere you turn is a dead-end road. But that’s not the way it has to be! In Christ there’s a better way, a powerful way that releases you from that darkness and it brings Life and Spirit and Peace and Joy and inner strength that you will never find when you are darkened in your understanding by the prince of the power of the air.
But, again, in 2 Corinthians 3:16 it says, “Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” That “darkness” of not being able to understand is taken away. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17). Remember Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free you shall be free indeed.” Where is Jesus seated? In heavenly realms. And all spiritual blessings are where? In heavenly realms. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
There’s freedom when you move into heavenly realms. When the veil is taken away and we are in fellowship with God, then we find that freedom. “We who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. But when our faces are unveiled and our understanding is no longer darkened, now with ever-increasing glory we move into the image of Jesus Christ who is seated in heavenly realms. Now, because of what God is doing within us, we (who were created in His image) can reestablish what God created us for. He created us for dominion over the Earth—the power and the authority that He meant for us to have, and we had in the Garden of Eden. Okay? When we sinned we fell short of all of that. But God intends to reestablish that in our lives.
“Therefore since through God’s mercy we have this service we do not lose heart. Rather we renounce the secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary by setting forth the truth plainly, we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God who said let the light shine out of darkness [back to creation that same God that said, “Let the light shine out of darkness”], made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:1-6).
We can have our understanding darkened by the god of this age. When sin came into our lives satan came in and darkened our minds and we couldn’t understand the glory of God anymore. We fell short of that and we couldn’t see it, we couldn’t comprehend it. We couldn’t understand it. We were “veiled.” Satan was leading us down this primrose path. We were dead in our transgressions. We were dead in our sins. We were darkened in our understanding and the futility of our thinking, giving ourselves over to the craving of the flesh and all types of sensuality and wickedness. We were in the middle of that stuff. We were all that way.
Man fell from the glory that God meant for him to have, but God promised that He would reestablish His Plan. He said, “I’ll send a man, born of a woman, to crush the head of the serpent, of satan, to crush the head of the god of this age.” When man fell, satan took dominion over the Earth. He became the god of this age. The “prince of this world,” Jesus called him. He took control of planet Earth, which God originally gave to man. God had given us dominion over it, but satan took it over when we gave him that authority by following his lie. When satan lies to us and we willingly follow his lies, we are giving him authority that he doesn’t have a right to. Satan does not have a right to push us around because we were created in the image of God. We don’t have to blindly follow everything satan and the world tells us to do—as if we’ve got some ring in our nose! We don’t have to do that because we are created in the image of God.
So satan took over planet Earth and he blinded our minds so we couldn’t even see the gospel. But Paul said it’ll be okay because God sent His Son. The same God that said, “Let the light shine out of darkness” sent His Son to planet Earth to reveal the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He reestablished that glory to planet Earth, and now the light began to show through the darkness. And now we can begin to see what God blinded our minds to...with unveiled faces now.
When we call on the name of the Lord, when we turn to Jesus, the veil falls away. The “darkened understanding” falls away. That’s what God is calling each of us to do, to turn to Jesus so the light can shine in the darkness and reveal the Glory of God again. He can show us truth. Paul said, “I taught that. Through the word of God I will show you who Jesus Christ is, and if you will turn to Him through the proclaiming of the word of God, He will let the light shine in the darkness in your life.” He’ll scatter the darkness and satan will flee from that. Good news? Good news!
Jesus, The Radiance of God’s Glory
Luke 1 talks about a young woman named Mary that the angel Gabriel came to and said, “Guess what? God is going to be born in your womb.” And she said, “What?! How could that be? I don’t understand that. But let it be done according to your word.” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will visit you, and even though you are a virgin, even though it is impossible for you to bear a child...you, a woman, are going to bear a son and His name shall be called Emmanuel, which means, ‘God with us.’ This little baby will be called ‘God with us.’ His name shall be called Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” He shall save them from the darkness and the blindness that is in front of them. He will save them from the god of this world that is now at work in those who are disobedient. Jesus will come and visit His people. He is born of a woman, but He is also born of God. He is half God and half man. He is half from heavenly realms, half from physical realms, and now He can walk through planet Earth and penetrate what satan is taking control over. Because He came from heavenly realms, but was born of physical realms, now the problem can be solved that was from the very beginning. Glory to God!
That’s what God intended to do and we can read in Hebrews 1 all about who Jesus is: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:1-3).
“He is the radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of God.” Have you ever wondered who Jesus Christ is? He’s the radiance of God’s glory, just as the sun shines and the rays of the sun reach out. We’re not touching the sun and yet something about the sun warms us, right? You say, “Well, there is only ‘nothingness’ between us and the sun. How can we feel something we can’t touch with our hands? How could that possibly be?” And yet the rays, the radiance of the sun, warm us. We see the light, we feel the warmth from it, we know it is absolutely very real, and yet we’re not actually “touching” the sun. That’s what happened in the Son of God.
He is the exact representation of God the Father and the radiance of God’s glory that was made to shine in the face of Jesus Christ. We feel the warmth and the power of the sun...we use our little solar calculators that prove that there is power in that sun even though it never touches us. That’s what happened in Jesus. The radiance of the glory of God was poured out in Jesus Christ and it was like the rays of the sun.
Phillip said, “Show us the Father, Jesus.” What did Jesus say? “Have you been with Me so long and you still don’t understand? When you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father! I am the exact representation of the Father. The radiance, the warmth of the Father, the goodness of God, the compassion of God, the power of God...you’ve seen all of those things, in Me. I AM WHO AM. Before Abraham was, I AM.”
“You are not yet fifty years old, how can you say that you knew Abraham?”
“Well, before Abraham was, I AM, because I lived in the heavenly realms. I am the Ancient of Days! I lived before anything was. I lived before there was time. And yet, I’m born of a woman. And yet, I’m from heavenly realms. Totally God and totally man. Totally of heavenly realms and totally of physical realms.” Paul said, “The mystery of incarnation... I don’t understand it. And yet, it’s true.” That’s who Jesus is.
“Jesus is the image of the invisible God....” (Col 1:15). See that? The image of the invisible God. The heavenly realm is invisible. What is unseen is eternal; what is seen is temporary and will be burned up. Jesus, when He walked on planet Earth, was visible. He was a shadow of the reality that was in heaven. Jesus Christ, as He walked on planet Earth, was a physical representation of an eternal, invisible being. He represented heavenly realms, and His body was a shadow, just like our bodies are shadows, of the heavenly realms. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created...” Jesus created all things. He was with the Father in creation (Jn 17).
“For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible...and in Jesus all things hold together. And he is head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through Jesus to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:16-20).
What does reconciliation mean? If you and I have a fight and we “reconcile,” it means we “make up,” and there is peace. Reconciliation means to bring two things back together. So, that means there was a war going on between heavenly realms and physical realms that requires reconciling. This war is going on because the physical realm was rebellious against God, and there is a reconciliation that must be made between the heavenly realm and the physical realm. He wants to reconcile those things, making them the way they were in the beginning. So Jesus Christ, who was the image of the invisible God, came down to the physical realm—being part God and part man—to bring those two realms that had been alienated (that had been made dead) back together. He came to bring Life into people and to be the “firstborn from among the dead”—birthed back into the original plan in the image of God. His plan is for us to be seated back again in heavenly realms, to be seated with Christ Jesus, to receive all spiritual blessings in heavenly realms, again. Jesus Christ, by His blood, by His death, brought that back into availability to a fallen, wretched, pitiful people that have no ability to raise themselves from the dead.
You can see how important Jesus is! DON’T tell me, “I will take Confucius, and they can take Buddha. They are all roads leading up the same mountain.” That is so ridiculous when you truly understand what all of creation is pointing towards. Impossible reasoning. JESUS is the image of the invisible God. No one else. All things were created by Him, not by some fat, bald guy. But by Jesus Christ! Before Abraham was, I AM. There’s power in that.
Jesus came to merge God and man (reconciliation) in order to conquer sin. “The Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Why did Jesus come? He came that He might destroy the works of the devil. Yes, it’s true, that when we sinned—when we decided to live for ourselves in selfishness and sin and gratifying the flesh—we lost all that we were created for. We were created in the image of God to experience peace that passes understanding and all the spiritual blessings, to taste the powers of the coming age. We lost all of that. We lost all those spiritual blessings we were created to receive when we decided to live for ourselves in selfishness and sin and gratifying the flesh. But Jesus came to reconcile that and to bring us up into heavenly realms where He is, that we might find all those spiritual blessings with ever-increasing glory as our faces are unveiled and we see Jesus Christ and the image of the Father in Jesus and are drawn up into that. We received the glory that we lost when we sinned. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory.” But Jesus said in John 17, “I’m leaving my glory behind. The glory that you gave me, Father, I’m leaving my glory for them.” “Do not fear, little children. It pleased the Father to give you the Kingdom.”
Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of heavenly realms back again. What was the message Jesus and John the Baptist kept declaring? “The Kingdom is at hand. The Kingdom is at hand.” What does the Lord’s prayer say about that? “Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.” Heavenly realms and physical realms coming and being joined together as they were meant to be in the beginning—in man, not just in the rest of creation because those weren’t partakers of the divine nature. “Great and precious promises, partakers of the divine nature” (2Pet. 1:4). “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). “Christ lives in you by faith” (Eph. 3:17). “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1Cor 6:19). Heavenly realms dwelling within us. That’s the way it was meant to be. Yet, we were dead and apart from that in our sins and transgressions, and we were blinded in our minds. But Jesus came to restore that dominion of the heavenly realms. He came to restore that power and to destroy the works of the devil.
Do you remember when Jesus came to earth that He walked on the water? Physical realms couldn’t stop Him because heavenly realms have dominion over the physical realm. Right? He said, “I give you dominion over the creeping things. I give you dominion over the earth.” The physical realm is controlled by the supernatural realm, the heavenly realm, and Jesus came to prove that fact. He was able to prove it because He was living a life in fellowship with the Father and living in the fullness of heavenly realms. And guess what? He could say, “Peace, be still,” to a storm, because heavenly realms are in control of the physical realms. The heavenly realms were there first and had priority, or preeminence, over the physical.
Jesus was the first one to be born through a fallen earth and to be born back into heavenly realms again. He took that preeminence by conquering satan and destroying the works of the devil. He could turn water into wine. What kind of person can do that? Someone who is living in heavenly realms! Because physical realms are only a shadow of the reality that is in heaven, if you are living in heaven, then the physical realm is not a big deal. You change reality and the shadow changes. What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. If a shadow of your hand is cast on the wall, if you change the shape of your hand, the shadow has to follow. If I am making my hand into the shape of a duck and then I make it in the shape of a rabbit, the shadow has to follow! So when you change realities, the shadow changes. Because Jesus lived His life in fellowship with the Father and He was seated in heavenly realms and was in fellowship with the Father, He only did the “reality” of what He saw the Father doing. That’s reality. He didn’t live in the figment of His imagination. He didn’t live for Himself in the mirage. Could you ever drink a mirage? Maybe you’ve seen the picture of a man crawling across the Sahara Desert and he sees a mirage of a lemonade stand and he tries to grab a glass of lemonade and drink it. It’s not very satisfying, is it? It looked good, but when he tried to drink it, it didn’t satisfy him. And that is what happens, if we live for the “mirage” of pleasure. When we live for our hobbies or alcohol and drugs or power or money, we are living for a mirage and it can’t satisfy because it is in the physical realm and you were created in the image of God for heavenly realm satisfaction. Amen! All spiritual blessings, not some but all of them, are in heavenly realms. Every last one of them. The rest of it is just drinking a cup of sand. It’s not going to satisfy the thirst.
So Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and because He lives in heavenly realms, guess what? We’ve seen miracles in God conquering health problems and other things. Why? Because heavenly realms has dominion over physical realms. If you change the reality in heaven, the shadow changes. That’s why Jesus could walk on water, because He was in heavenly realms. He was “physical,” He was a man, but His life was hidden in Christ, if you will, because Christ is in heavenly realms. He hid His life in God the Father, and for that reason the physical realm couldn’t take dominion over Him. It didn’t have authority over Him. He said, “The prince of this world is coming, and he has no hold on Me” (Jn. 14:30). He could say that because He lived in fellowship with the Father, and living in fellowship with the Father puts you in heavenly realms where the physical realm cannot control you anymore. “Peace, be still” to a storm. Or, like Elijah who was “a man like us.” The Holy Spirit made that so clear! A man of like passions. A man, just like us. And this man commanded the clouds not to rain for three and a half years and they did not rain. “Sun, stand still.” And it did. Why? Because it’s a shadow of the reality in heaven. Even the sun. A New Moon festival is in heavenly realms also. The one on Earth is just a shadow of the festival of New Moons in heavenly realms.
And Remember, Reconciliation Comes by Death
That’s what Jesus came to do. He came to conquer and to humiliate by His blood, by His death. And I want you to know this too, that the way back into heavenly realms is by death. It’s by a death to our life. That’s what Jesus did. In Colossians 2 it says that He conquered satan, made an open show and publicly humiliated him. Does that sound good to you? To stick your tongue out at satan and say, “You can’t have my life”? To publicly humiliate satan? Well, that happened by Jesus’ death on the cross, and that is the way we step into heavenly realms too. “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” Die to your own passions. Die to your own selfishness. Die to gratifying the flesh. Die to those things and call on the name of the Lord. There is that freedom and that new power that comes from being reunited with Christ in heavenly realms to destroy the works of the devil.
Son of MAN...Salvation!
Jesus was called over and over again “the Son of Man,” and He referred to Himself a number of times as “the Son of Man.” But the devil only called Him “the Son of God.” “Many deceivers who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is a liar, the deceiver and the antichrist” (2Jn. 7). What is this antichrist? What does this wicked, demonic person do? They deny that Jesus came in the flesh. Why? Because they have no discernment about a kingdom they are not part of. They can’t see it. And even beyond that, if satan can prove (which he can’t) that God is “up there” and man is “down here,” then he’s got us all in his stronghold. But there is a man named Jesus Christ who was part God and part man—VERY MUCH a man. He came in the flesh and had flesh and bones like we do—and still He conquered satan. So guess what? The gig’s over! There is nothing satan can do to us anymore. If Jesus Christ came in the flesh, then there is nothing satan can do to us anymore, because a man has conquered satan. A man in the heavenly realms has drawn on the power of God to push satan out of His life, to destroy the works of the devil. So we too can declare: “The prince of this world has come, but he has no hold on me because I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms. Christ took captives in His train and gave gifts to men and delivered them in heavenly realms...salvation is full and free.”
Salvation! We think of that as, “Well, salvation means when I die I can go to heaven and my sins are forgiven.” I want to tell you what salvation is. Salvation is the restoration of the glory of God in heavenly realms to a person’s soul. It’s the restoration of what man was created for in the first place. He was created to be in the image of God. Salvation is the restoration of His fullness in the glory of God. We’ve sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But when we call on the name of the Lord—cry out for salvation, identify with Christ and die to our sins—at that moment in time Christ has reconciled us to God the Father so that the glory of God in heavenly realms is restored to us. Satan can’t deal with that because Jesus came in the flesh and as a man in the image of God conquered satan. That was the end of it. The ball game was over. That’s good. That’s very good.
This message that Jesus declared was that the kingdom of God was at hand, “Thy kingdom come,” the restoration of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man, heavenly realms and physical realms. There would be a restoration of those things. The kingdom is coming. “A time is coming,” saith the Lord, “when I will breathe my spirit in them. I will turn their hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, and I will pour out my spirit on all men. John baptized you in water, but Jesus will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.” He will baptize you in a divine nature. In the nature of the Glory of God, not just a physical thing, but something of a heavenly thing. The heavenly realms are going to be poured out into your life when you become a disciple of Jesus, a Christian. Then you will share in the divine nature.
As we are restored in heavenly realms, there are some other things that happen. In 2 Corinthians 10 it says that we can tear down satan’s strongholds. We use divine weapons. We use weapons in heavenly realms—not of this world, but in heavenly realms—to destroy satan’s strongholds, to destroy the works of the devil and to have authority over the works of the devil.
One New Man
In Ephesians 1, Paul writes to Christians, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you might know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints...” When is that going to happen? When is the glorious inheritance? Now! Paul said He “has blessed us (past tense) with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus” and “He seated us (past tense) in heavenly realms.” Paul is saying I want you to open your eyes to the glorious inheritance of the heavenly realms that God has given you “...and his incomparably great power for us who believe [those who are seated with Christ in heavenly realms]. That power is like the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every title that can be given. Not only in the present age, but also in the age to come” (Eph. 1:19-21). When you are seated with Christ in heavenly realms, it is far above any authority, over any power. Far above satan. Not a little bit above, but far above satan. All authority, dominion, and power. “And God placed all things under Jesus’ feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the Church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” Now you see the church coming in to play.
“I can be a Christian, but I don’t need the church.” Wrong. Because God in His infinite wisdom said that Jesus Christ is the head of His Body, and IN His Body He has chosen to invest HIS SON as “the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” COULD there be someone who says they love Jesus, but wouldn’t want THAT?! Unless you are a daily part of a local body of true Heaven-Born Believers, a Lampstand (not simply an “attendance-based” clergy-laity organization), you are missing SO much, for yourself and your family. A REAL Church is to be a daily Christ-honoring, Christ-centered, Bible-believing people who are walking in obedience to God—not just talking about it.
There is no such thing as an “independent Christian” running around BECAUSE God saw fit to breathe the fullness of deity—of the divine nature—into His Body, which, He says, is the Church. “I will build my church and the gates of hell cannot stand against it.” The power of hell is no match for the Church, for a Body of people that are joined together heart, soul, mind and strength, laying down their lives for one another, “loving each other,” “sharing all things in common,” “daily and in public and from house to house,” “enjoying the favor of all the people,” enjoying the favor of God and seeing the presence of God in the things they are doing.
The Church was and is God’s divine plan for extending the power of Jesus Christ from the heavenly realms. The heavenly realms is located in the Church. Not simply in “isolated” believers. That is why Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in their midst.” He wants to draw us together...“confessing sins one to another” and “bearing each other’s burdens.” If we are not relating to one another, like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12, then we don’t have that power.
The Body has many members: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (1Cor. 12:12). The Greek has a definite article before Christ—“so it is with THE Christ.” He goes on to say: “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body....” You see the descending heavenly realms there. But if you were to read this carefully I think what you’d see is that the Body is called THE Christ. “So it is with Christ.” That’s not referring to Jesus. That’s referring to Jesus’ Body, which is the Church, and it says that we are one Body and we are “the Christ.” We are the Christ. We are God incarnate. We are the “word become flesh.” Now, I say that in a sense where I know these awesome things are “mind-boggling,” and I want to say them as carefully and as reverently as I can. But this is very truly the nature of what God has said that His people are. The Body is the same Spirit that dwelt in Jesus, that gave Him Life and gave Him fellowship with the Father. It is the same Spirit that gave Him authority over the dark warrior, and is the same spirit that lives collectively within us. The fullness of deity dwells in us as His Church, as His Body, and we are called THE Church...THE Christ...THE Body, almost synonymously all in just a few verses (1Cor. 12).
“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision’...remember that at that time you were separate from Christ...” [Christ is in heavenly realms and you weren’t] “...you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise...”
There are no spiritual blessings outside of Christ. You are “...without hope and without God in the world...” Do you see that? Without Christ, without Jesus the Son of God, you are without hope and without God in the world.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ, for he himself is our peace who has made the two one, has destroyed the barrier by dividing the wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross.” [That’s how the reconciliation comes], “...through the cross by which he put to death their hostility.” He reconciled the hostility. “He came and proclaimed peace to you who were far away and peace to those who are near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one spirit. Consequently you are no longer foreigners and aliens but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In Christ the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord, and in him you too are being built with ever-increasing glory together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his spirit” (Ephesians 2:11-22).
“A habitation of God through the spirit,” the King James version says. You are becoming a habitation of God through His Spirit. You no longer live as the Gentiles do in the futility of their thinking. They are separate from God and have lost all sensitivity. When Paul is speaking of Gentiles, he is not talking about simply Jew vs. non-Jew. He is talking about someone who is an alien—a foreigner—to the promise of God, dead in his transgressions and cut off from the life of God. There is no Life in him. He is without hope and without God in the world. And yet we are reconciled by the cross of Jesus, by the blood of Christ, and we are made one new man. One man. We are made the Christ. We are made one man that now has the same power that rose Jesus from the dead. Ephesians 1 says that power is over principalities and powers and dominions. It is over all those things because Christ dwells in His Body on planet Earth. The Kingdom of God has come, and now the heavenly realms have descended and now have been reconciled back with the physical realm that was once an enemy, an alien, a foreigner. Now we’re becoming the habitation of God through the Spirit. Heavenly realms. We’ve penetrated through Jesus back into what God always intended. That’s the definition of salvation.
More Thoughts About the Heavenly Realms
Angels. How about angels? What are angels for, according to the last verse of Hebrews 1? “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Ministering spirits to those who are elect, those who are receiving eternal life...those who are seated in heavenly realms. Now the angels can interact with us because we are in heavenly realms where they are. What are angels for? They are ministering servants for those that will inherit eternal life. That’s their purpose: to serve those that are inheriting eternal life, those that are in the image of God, those who are part man and part God. They have dominion, and the angels are sent to be our ministers or our servants.
Prayer. Prayer is called incense. “And the angels opened the bowl of incense which was the prayer of the saints.” Our prayer, the prayer of a saint, penetrates through the physical realm. We think, “These are just words. They fall to the ground. They bounce off the ceiling.” Uh-uh. No. God sees them in His realm. We hear them in our world, but God hears them in His world. He hears them in heavenly realms as a tangible being. Our prayers are a shadow of the reality in heaven. The reality in heaven of our prayers is incense to God. It is a sweet aroma to Him. Don’t think when you are spending a lot of time in prayer that you are wasting your time, because you are interjecting yourself, your life, into heavenly realms. “Come into my gates with thanksgiving, and into my courts with praise.” We are coming into heavenly realms where Jesus is seated. When we praise and when we have thanksgiving it is a tangible thing in heavenly realms.
Evangelism. This thing we call “evangelism.” Paul told Philemon, “I pray that you will be active in sharing your faith so that you will have an understanding of all the good things that we have in Christ Jesus” (Phm. 1:6). In sharing the Kingdom of God with someone, you’ll begin to experience more and more of the good things that we have in heavenly realms, the spiritual blessings in Christ. When we start to knock on satan’s door, when we start to kick down the gates of hell, we are moving ourselves and bringing others into heavenly realms, and now we can begin to see the spiritual blessings that are in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, I encourage you to “be active in sharing your faith.” Not just because God said so, but so that you will have an “understanding”...so that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened to understand all the awesome blessings that we have in Christ Jesus. See that? I know from experience that’s true. I never “knew it” on paper. I found it out in reality long before I ever knew that verse was in the Bible! That’s absolutely true. Start sharing your faith and see if you don’t understand the blessings of the riches. If you are not reaching into the realities of heavenly realms and spiritual blessings, you might check that part of your life because God made that a highway into His presence. Use it. Bring somebody with you.
Rainbows. There is a rainbow around the throne of God in heaven. Rainbows have been in the Heavenlies long before the earth was. God said to the human race, “I’m going to give you a rainbow and whenever I see this rainbow I will be reminded of the covenant that I made with you.” So God took something from the heavenly realms and threw it down to planet Earth and said, “Hmmm, I like this up here. I’ll let you guys enjoy that too, and when I see that shadow I will be reminded of the reality of my faithfulness to you and my covenant that I have made with you.”
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Rom. 6:3-4). We, too, might step back into the reality of heavenly realms in our life. In Colossians 1 it says that because of Christ’s death He became the firstborn from the dead. The stone was rolled back and now He’s sharing the glories of a heavenly body, one that can walk through walls, etc. Even more glorious is what He did before He died: He made an open show, a public spectacle of satan, triumphing over satan in the cross, in His willing death, in His willing surrender for other people. He died to Himself and His own rights. He died for other people. He made himself nothing and took on the form of a servant, and in that death to sin and selfishness and self-centeredness, He conquered satan. If you too will die, as He died, then you will deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. That’s why it says, “You cannot be my disciple unless you have forsaken your very life.” That’s why...because it can only happen through death. “Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. Therefore, whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” You’ll find your life if you will die to sin and selfishness. If you’ll die to your rights and to your old way of thinking and start exchanging your thoughts for the thoughts of God, you’ll find your life. When you start exchanging everything for the realities of God (renewing your mind, not conforming any longer to the patterns of this world, but offering your body as a living sacrifice and renewing your mind in the image of God, the thoughts of God, the will of God, the ways of God, and the word of God)...when you die to yourself and you take that death and you bury it under the water in the initial stages in baptism, then “just as he was raised in the glory of the Father you too can be raised in the glory of the Father.”
“We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory.” And that glory was in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. How do you restore that glory? How do you have a new life? The death in sin and transgressions—how do we walk back into the fullness of what God intended for us to have from the beginning? There is a death, a calling on the name of the Lord, which is what baptism is. “This water symbolizes baptism which saves you also” (1Pet 3:21). Not by taking a bath, but by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Arise and be baptized, washing away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). 1 Peter 3:21 says that baptism is a “pledge” or an “appeal” of a good conscience towards God. It is calling on the name of the Lord. That’s what it’s all about. You die to your own rights and selfishness as Jesus did, and just as Jesus was buried and came out into a brand new life, so do we. And now, as we understand the reality of that, we realize that what we’re doing is restoring ourselves to heavenly realms. New life, it says. “Behold, all things are new.” The old is passed away. We’re new creations in Christ Jesus. With unveiled faces we are being transformed with ever-increasing glory back into the spiritual blessings of heavenly realms which we lost when sin came over the top of us. All that remains is to renew our minds. I pray that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened to all the power that raised Jesus from the dead.
Renew Your Minds!
Establish your thoughts as “dung” and His thoughts as reality. Throw away the shadows and grab hold of the realities of heaven. Someone says, “What difference does ‘doctrine’ make?” It makes all the difference in the world! Because all the commands are a shadow of the realities in heaven. You cannot keep your own ways and your own rights and your own way of thinking and say, “Well, I always grew up this way and I think that it’s okay.” It is not okay. When you do that you’re missing the glory of God and the reality of heavenly realms. Our job is to continually exchange our thoughts for God’s thoughts. Think on these things...whatever is pure and loving and praise-worthy.
Renew your mind in the thoughts of God. Any thought that you happen to have about any subject in the universe, forget it! Find out what God’s thought is. Renew your mind in the thoughts of God. That is all that remains—that the eyes of your heart and your mind be enlightened. Before, the problem was futility of thinking. There was a mind problem. Now, with ever-increasing glory, we are throwing off our thoughts, and grabbing hold of God’s thoughts and making them ours. As we do that, with ever-increasing glory, we move into the promises of God and the power of God and the reality of heavenly realms that are in Christ Jesus. “I am the truth.” “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Those things are vital to moving ahead in the power and the authority and the love of Jesus.
So, there’s the “initiation”...that the seed falls to the ground and dies. We die to our rights to have our own opinions. Now, all that matters is Truth. God’s thoughts. That’s what Jesus did...“I say nothing on my own. I do nothing on my own. I am in fellowship with the Father, and, Father, I pray that Your Glory will be on them and that they will be one as You and I are one, in mind and in thought.”
That’s God’s intention for us. And in the Body being one in thought and unity, it is also one in the glory of heavenly realms because the Church is the fullness of deity. We’ve got to be together on this. There is no way to pull apart from it. There is an initiation individually of death to rights, and as we die to ourselves, we are fellowshipping with Christ Jesus and with each other. Our fellowship with each other is dependent on our fellowship with Christ, and our fellowship with Christ is dependent on our fellowship with each other, says the apostle John in 1 John 1. It is the Body, the Church, that together will restore the glory of God to planet Earth...that will make His enemies His footstool...that will destroy the gates of hell, together. It’s His Body as a unit—The Christ, The Body, One in Spirit—that will do all of that.
The Kingdoms Merge
Here we will see the end of the story: “But someone may ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’ How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat, or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives it its own body. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:35-49).
Then Paul goes on to talk about the perishable and the imperishable: “...Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:54-58).
The fulfillment of all these things is when we see Him face to face, and finally the completed process. “Now we see in the mirror dimly, but then we shall see him face to face.” The completed process of “ever-increasing glory” will come at that point when the Judgment Day comes and He returns for us in the clouds; and now we are seeing Him dimly, and as we are seeing Him with unveiled faces, we become more and more like Him. No one can see God except they die. Anyone who sees God dies. And as we see more and more of God, more and more of the flesh dies, and more and more of the Spirit is released in us. It’s a really powerful thing!
We can see in Revelation 21 that finally the kingdoms merge: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them’” (Revelation 21:1-3).
In Ephesians it says we are becoming the habitation. It does not happen on Judgment Day. It is already happening. We are becoming the habitation of God. “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4). The physical realm has been dissolved, and now the reality of heavenly realms becomes all that we are doing, all that we are.
“He who was seated on the throne [in heavenly realms] said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End...’” (Rev. 21:5-6). I was before creation and I am going to see the end of things, too. I AM WHO AM. Before Abraham was, I was. I AM. The beginning and the end. “...To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Rev. 21:6-8). Those were all things that were consumed with the physical nature, conforming to the patterns of this world. Not a renewing, but a conforming to the ways of the prince of the power of the air. The wrong side of heavenly realms.
If we live for all those things in the physical realm, if we choose to live for that house with the white picket fence, if we choose to live for families or jobs or our pride or our selfishness, if we make that choice to follow the natural realm, the physical earth...then we will burn as the physical realm will burn. But if we renew our minds in the thoughts of God, call on the name of the Lord with unveiled faces and look into the face of Jesus, into the image of the invisible God and the radiance of God...if we look to Him and draw on Him and call out an appeal with a good conscience towards Him...if we die to our sin, ourselves, our rights, our thoughts, our plans, and our desires...if we die to those things and we bury it...THEN, we’ll rise to walk in a new Life that’s full of glory, and the glory of the Father is restored to planet Earth.
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The heavenly realm and the earthly realm merge in the Kingdom of God, called the Church, and called a Christian, a disciple. The two realms merge and end up being a partaker of the divine nature. That’s the inheritance, that as we renew our minds we move further into the spiritual blessings that are in Christ Jesus. Everybody for doing that? : )
Holy Father, these are just words, and we know that You are an infinite God in a realm that we can’t imagine or understand. It is more than we can ask or imagine. Glorious Father, we pray that You will continue to open the eyes of our hearts, to enlighten us to the riches that are one place and one place alone—In Christ Jesus. We pray that we’ll look deeply into His eyes and walk in His steps, longing to pass out of the natural realm and longing to continually renew ourselves, no longer in futility of thinking and foolishness of darkened hearts, but in eyes that have had a light to shine upon us in the face of Jesus.
Our Father, we ask You that You would not “give” us spiritual blessings, but that You would allow us to move deeper into a love relationship with Jesus Christ where those spiritual blessings are. We pray that we will leave behind the patterns of this world and renew our lives and our thinking continually in You. Father, we pray that every person that claims to walk in You has in fact died to self and selfishness and goals and plans and has died to everything in the physical realm that will be burnt up. We pray that every person claiming to wear your name is investing and storing up treasures in heavenly realms, a life that is waiting for us in the imperishable realm.
Father, Your Son said that He went to prepare a place for us, and if it were not so He would have told us. He has prepared a mansion for us; He has prepared a glorious inheritance. Father, we ask that You’d teach us right now in this life to share in the realities—while in the mortal body—of the riches that You have given us in Jesus. Father, help us to shed the old skin, the old man, and to live for and to long for the fullness of Jesus Christ and be that new creation that You meant for us to be. Help us to kick down the gates of hell as one man, as a Body joined, as a Church joined in Your name, loving each other, laying down our lives for each other, tossing aside our differences, tossing aside the personality quirks, and penetrating into the fullness of deity through that agape love that pours out of Your Kingdom into our lives. Our Father, make it a reality. We pray that these things will not go unattended in our lives. Amen.