In the first blog of our “Heaven” series, we explore how the Scriptural heavens are not references to the eternal realm but speak of elevated perspectives, experiences and qualities of life on Earth. Now, we dive into “What actually ‘is’ the Heaven of Scripture”? What are these heavenly places?
We will observe how the scriptural heavens really speak of the ruling oversights we live with; the authorities we look up to and even revere and influences over our lives that shape our early perspectives of truth.
Interacting With Spiritual Realities
We are all created to begin life in this earth as people that interact with both the natural and spiritual realms, simultaneously (a). [See end notes for Scriptures] Much of the time, we observe physical things and seek to satisfy physical needs. This is appropriate since the quality of our natural life is largely dependent on our physical involvement.
What about spiritual observations? The ‘spirit of life’ present in every living person makes us aware of our source of life, God. Our personal spirit is what enables each of us to sense God’s reality, to interact with His presence, partake of spiritual qualities, and enter heavenly places. When we allow God to be our dominant source of wisdom, He will lead and guide us through this world’s ‘good and evil’ experiences.
As we interact with God’s presence we eat from the Tree of Life (b), receive His guidance, and absorb eternal perspectives (c), all while living in the earth. The Flaming Sword guarding the Tree of Life (d) is a reference to our need to repent. When we seriously repent, the heavenly sword cuts us free from our ill entanglements and fire burns up the dross so our erroneous ways no longer have over-riding sway.
As we interact with God’s presence, we absorb spiritual perspectives.
Our Struggle Is With Beginnings
Scripture gives a few details about our first parent’s choice to ignore spiritual insight and seek a wisdom that comes from natural experience (e). Ever since then, the human perspective tends to focus more on this world’s ‘good and evil’ than on spiritual input.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (f).
The King James Version translates ‘the rulers’ in the above verse as ‘principalities.’ Today, this verse is often quoted to convey the idea that “our struggle is beyond us, with spiritual principalities.” Yet, out of the 56 times the Greek word is used in Scripture, the KJV translates it 40 times as “beginning.” So this verse is actually saying our struggle is with “our beginnings, dark world and wicked forces in heavenly places.”
Most personal, family, and national struggles stem from inappropriate attitudes we develop from our ‘beginnings’. The beginnings of Adam and Eve, parents, family, teachers, and ruling officials lend to formulating perceptions of truth which lead to our struggles in life. We all know how difficult it is to repent of what we believe to be true.
We all know how difficult it is to repent of what we believe to be true.
God appeals to us, to partake of the fellowship of His presence, so we become more heavenly minded. His heavenly insight surpasses wisdom gained from natural experience. God-provided direction lifts us into more of a heavenly mindset and quality of life.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (g).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (h).
These heavenly places in Christ are relational experiences we have in the fellowship of God’s presence. Personal interaction with God elevates our perceptions and improves our quality of life and the lives around us by improving what we think and believe.
Jesus said “In my Father’s house (Greek: family, household) are many dwellings…I go to prepare a place for you…that where I am you may be also” (i). Where was Jesus when he proclaimed this? He was in the earth, in this life, following his Father’s guidance. Jesus invites us to experience a close interaction with our heavenly Father, just like he did (j).
As Jesus did, He invites us to experience a close interaction with our heavenly Father.
Foretold Presence Is Here
God announced in the Old Testament that He would bring a fresh love and devotion to His relational ways during the days of Jesus: “I will put my Law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people” (k). Today, we can seek heavenly influence and join David saying; “I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart” (l).
The Temple of God is no longer a building, as majestic as some are: “The Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands” (m). “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them” (n). David even sang of “The city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her” (o).
Scripture further confirms; “We (believers) are the temple of the living God, just as God said, “I will dwell in their midst and walk among them” (p). We can “arise and shine for our light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (q). His light “is” shining!
What a delight to know that God’s presence is among us! As we walk with Him and experience heaven’s brightness, we become better reflections of God Light and Love. Through interaction with God, we ascend into heavenly places where God-in-Christ abides with us.
Through interaction with God, we ascend into heavenly places.
a) Genesis 2:4-7; b) Genesis 2:9; Revelations 22:14; c) John 17:3; Jeremiah 9:24; d) Genesis 3:24; e) Genesis 3:6; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 John 2:16; f) Ephesians 6:12; g) Romans 12:2; h) Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; i) John 14:2-3; j) John 14:6; k) Jeremiah 31:31-33; l) Psalm 40:8; m) Acts 7: 46-49; n) Revelations 21:3; o) Psalm 46:4-5; p) 2 Corinthians 6:16-18; q) Isaiah 60:1-3; Ephesians 5:13-17