AN OPEN HEAVEN
particular turning points of history a window opens and heaven is poured out.
God localizes his presence over the life of an individual, a church, a city, or
nation in outpoured blessing and power, in what we often call revival. They are
special moments of time when heaven touches earth. Jesus taught that this is the
one true object of prayer when he instructed us to ask, "Your
will be done on earth as it is in heaven". Which
of us does not want this – to live under an open heaven, to revel in an
unhindered experience of heaven on earth?
what does this look like and how does it actually work? In this teaching we will
first describe what an open heaven is and secondly prescribe how it may be
What is an Open Heaven?
open heaven can be described as an unhindered manifestation in the earth of all
that heaven is, of God’s own presence and glory. Natural laws can be
temporarily or permanently suspended as heaven breaks in. Signs and wonders,
miracles and healings, revelations and unusual manifestations of power begin to
occur. To varying degrees poverty, sickness, disease, and human degradation are
driven back by the overpowering love of God. The most unlikely are swept into
the kingdom and significant wealth can flow into the church.
Stairway to Heaven
Jesus "read Nathaniel’s mail". Seeing him, in the spirit, under the
fig tree he revealed his inner nature as a man without guile. Despite being
stunned by this amazing revelation Jesus promised him, "You
shall see greater things than
that…you shall see heaven
open, and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man" (Jn 1:50, 51).
is referring here to Jacob’s dream of Genesis 28. Falling asleep Jacob saw a
ladder resting on the earth with its top reaching into heaven – a stairway to
heaven. By this means the angels of God were ascending and descending. Jesus is
now the means by which heaven and earth communicate. Through him heaven comes to
earth – ministering spirits are sent to men below bearing the commands and
comforts of our heavenly Father. And in turn they bear the prayers and praises
of the saints back to heaven. In Christ a divine interchange is now possible
between heaven and earth.
Angelic visitations, dreams, visions, and prophecies are all characteristics of an open heaven. An open and supernatural communication occurs. This is the "normal" Christian life. As Paul testified, "I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows" (2 Cor 12:2). For those "in Christ" supernatural encounters are to be expected. And when kairos moments occur in the life of an individual, church, or even a nation they only increase in their intensity and incidence. We are in such a time.
Turning Points in History
the commencement of Jesus public ministry he was baptized and as, "he
went up out of the water…heaven
was opened, and he saw the
Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from
heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased’"
(Mtt 3:16, 17). As the pattern Son this
foreshadows a moment in history when the Body of Christ, the church, reaches the
fullness of the stature of Christ (see Ephesians 4:11-13) – maturity. The
heavens will increasingly open over the corporate Christ in greater seasons of
divine visitation and blessing as it approaches this time.
Already through increased manifestations of his glory the Father is beginning to declare, "Hey, this is my boy – this is my church, this is the corporate Christ, in whom I’m pleased!" Just as "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, who then went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil" (Acts 10:38) he will also anoint the corporate Christ with even greater effect. For he has promised, "greater works shall you do because I go to the Father" (Jn 14:12).
House of Prayer
When God visits he comes to stay. He is not only interested in visitation but also habitation. He is looking for a place to dwell. Somewhere he can call home, where he can kick back, and relax. An environment that answers to who he is. So, what creates that environment? What kind of house does he want to live in? One that’s filled with intercessory worship. Jesus said that, "My Fathers house shall be called a house of prayer".
The Wealth of the Nations
Fourth, inundation. "The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail…"
(Deut 28:12, 13).
increased financial blessing. While not always the case increased spiritual
outpouring can signal increased financial outpouring. It is possible though to
experience the one without the other. Why is this? Space doesn’t permit us to
explore this in-depth suffice to say that there are a number of reasons
including: timing issues, spiritual warfare, a special dealing of God, reaping
and sowing, the trial of faith, purity of motive, and curses.
I must sound a warning. This does not necessarily imply an increase of personal wealth, although obviously this can
happen. What I am saying is that under an open heaven "no
one will claim that any of their possessions are their own" (see Acts
4:32). Neither am I implying a community
of goods, although some may be called to this. Under an open heaven there is
though such a fundamental inner change that material things have no hold. In
obedience to the Spirit they can be released for the benefit of the gospel. We
can therefore be trusted with substantial material increase.
how do we experience an open heaven?
Faith & Patience
in the Work of Christ
the Great Commandment
We are now living in that climax of history. Now is the time, through faith and patience, to appropriate the promise of an open heaven. Let us therefore labour to enter Christ’s rest, obeying the commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
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Copyright © David Orton 2002