In the first blog of our “Heaven” series, we find the Scriptural heavens are not references to the eternal realm but speak of high places in this natural realm and of ruling authorities. The heavens are high places that rulers tend to maintain while insisting that everyone else submit to their superiority.
Overlords tend to form and influence our perceptions of truth and reality as they exercise positions of authority over our lives. Scripture provides quite an interesting clarity regarding our personal high places that we revere as superior and in turn hold us captive. So we ask, what are our high places?
We are all created to begin life in this earth with a physical body and a deposit of God’s breath of life (spirit). (a) [See endnotes for NASB Scriptures] This equips everyone with the ability to partake of and interact with both the natural and spiritual realms. As noted many times, our life involves more than this natural existence. The ‘spirit of life’ in every person enables us to sense God is real, to interact with His presence, to partake of spiritual insight, and even dwell in “heavenly places in Christ.” (b)
Scripture gives a few details about our first parent’s decision to ignore spiritual insight and focus on being “like God, knowing good and evil.” (c) Ever since then, the human perspective tends to focus more on trying to be in control of this world’s good and evil experience.
However, we often hear a portion of Scripture quoted to indicate our real struggle is with demonic powers that we have little or no control over; “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against the spiritual wickedness in high places.” (d)
When we consider the Greek word (arche’) (translated ‘principalities’) actually means ‘beginnings’, then perceptions and understandings change. The Greek word appears in Scripture 56 times and the KJV translates it 40 times as “beginning.” This verse really says “we struggle with our beginnings which become powerful forces of darkness and wickedness in the high places of our consciousness.”
You may be wondering, what beginnings? Our beginnings are the initial perceptions we receive from family, teachers, and religious leaders. The good, bad, and not so good perceptions we accept early in life become personal beliefs. As new light comes our way, we end up “struggling” with our accepted perceptions of reality. These beginnings act as conscious strongholds that tend to hold us captive.
The ‘spirit of life’ in every person enables us to sense God is real.
Heavenly Places In Christ
Despite what has shaped our perceptions and formed our attitude, Scripture encourages us to “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (ability to reason), so that you may prove (establish) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (mature).” (e)
God offers us the fellowship of His presence so we can become more heavenly minded. His eternal insight improves and surpasses the wisdom we gain from this natural world. God’s inspiration and insightful direction lifts us into more of a heavenly mindset and the quality of life it provides.
As we experience inspired transformations, we can say “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.” (f)
When we interact with God’s presence we actually eat from the Tree of Life, (g) partake of His insight, and absorb eternal perspectives. (h) The Flaming Sword guarding the Tree of Life (i) is a visual of our need to repent of our beginnings. Our serious repentance and efforts to change, allow the sword of God’s Spirit to cut us free from entanglements. Then its fire burns up the dross, so that our erroneous tendencies lose their enticing and overriding sway.
These “heavenly places in Christ” bring life transforming improvements to our thoughts and desires. Some of these life changing experiences are noted in Scripture as a “rebirth from above,” as “immersions in the presence of God’s Spirit,” and as “inspirational moments.” Our interaction with God elevates our perceptions and improves our quality of life by improving what we think and believe. These transformations tend to have a positive effect on our families, friends, and work environments.
When we interact with God’s presence we actually eat from the Tree of Life.
God’s Presence With Us
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.” (j) Where was Jesus when he proclaimed this? He was following his Father’s guidance while experiencing this life. We are invited to be where Jesus was during this life, experiencing a daily interaction with our heavenly Father. (k)
God announced in the Old Testament that He would introduce a fresh love and devotion to Him and His ways during the days of “one like a son of man” (l) He said: “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.” (m)
Scripture encourages us to “Arise and shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” (n) The Apostle Paul confirms God’s presence is with us: “We are the temple of the living God, just as God said, ‘I will dwell in their midst and walk among them.’” (o) The light of God-in-Christ “is” shining in our world!
The Temple of God is not a building, as majestic as some are: “The Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands.” (p) “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.” (q) David sang of “The city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her.” (r) God’s presence is with us, among us, and in our midst.
Today, we can seek the heavenly influence God offers and join with David saying “I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart.” (s)
What beginning perceptions are occupying your high places and complicating the transformation of your mind and heart? More often than not, they are personal perceptions of truth and reality that keep us struggling with transforming new light. When we approach God as our insightful heavenly Father, we can transform more accurately and no longer be ruled over and restricted by our beginnings.
“God…when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up…and seated us with Him in the heavenly places.” (t) Yes, God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (u) “in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” (v)
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 in our world. As we interact with God, we ascend into heavenly places and partake of the presence of God-in-Christ, who abides with us.
We are invited to be where Jesus was during this life, experiencing a daily interaction with our heavenly Father.
a) Genesis 2:4-7; b) Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; c) Genesis 3:5; d) Ephesians 6:12, KJV; e) Romans 12:2; f) Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; g) Genesis 2:9; Revelations 22:14; h) John 17:3; Jeremiah 9:24; i) Genesis 3:24; j) John 14:2-3; k) John 14:6; l) Daniel 7:13-14; m) Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hebrews 10:16; n) Isaiah 60:1-3; Ephesians 5:13-14; o) 2 Corinthians 6:16-18; p) Acts 7: 46-49; q) Revelations 21:3; r) Psalm 46:4-5; s) Psalm 40:8; t) Ephesians 2:4-6; u) Ephesians 1:3; v) Ephesians 3:10;