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The Heavenly Realm - The Book of Revelation
Week 37, 2018
This is the last week we’ll spend on heaven so that we can complete the study of Revelation. In the last several Words for the Week, I’ve shared some things about heaven from my own experience, which should by no means be considered conclusive. I’ve read and heard many other descriptions that are different from what I’ve shared, but heaven is so big and diverse that I have no problem believing that all of these experiences put together probably describe far less than one percent of what heaven is really like.
I think how The Lord made the physical universe to be constantly expanding is also the case with the spiritual, “heavenly” realm. Our God is far bigger than we could ever comprehend in this life, and so is His creation, both the physical and spiritual. Not only is it bigger, but as we’re told in Isaiah 9:7, there will be “no end to the increase of His dominion.” We can expect the increase to continue forever. Eternity will not be boring, but rather perpetually fascinating and filled with awe.
With the exception of one place I was taken in the spiritual realm, it seemed that everything in heaven was alive, including the stones, the water, and all other objects. They also each seemed thrilled to be what they were and with the interchange they had with others. This may seem strange, but it seemed very natural and right. Not only was there no death there, but there was life in everything.
I often walked as if there was gravity in heaven, but I could also float as if there was no gravity. If I wanted to be somewhere in the distance, I could either soar over to it or be there instantly just by focusing on my desire to be there.
The emotions there were far deeper, wider, and stronger than anything I had experienced before. They increased as I dwelt on something or someone. The greatest peace I’ve ever experienced on earth was but a tiny fraction of what I felt there, and the same was true of the joy. I think our emotions are inhibited now just like our cognitive abilities, but there seemed no limit to them in heaven.
In my experiences in the spiritual or heavenly realm, I was always accompanied by either angels or The Lord, with but one exception. I was allowed to experience alone what I thought was the most wonderful part of heaven that I had ever experienced. Yet it was not only no longer enjoyable, it was something I never wanted to experience again. I was given this experience to show me how much koinonia is like the oxygen of heaven, and how we can help bring heaven to earth as we grow in koinonia. It is all about relationships—fellowship. This is why Adam’s loneliness was the first thing that God said was not good about His creation. True love will seek out the lonely and help them. When we do this we begin to sow in them a love for their true home—heaven.
I have often been asked if there will be games in heaven, such as golf, baseball, or soccer. I never witnessed any kind of games there, but as I’ve shared, I've still only seen a tiny fraction of heaven, even with all of my experiences combined. Some claim that they have seen games in heaven, and perhaps there are. I personally love games and competition, but in heaven it seemed inconceivable that you would want to win anything over someone else, and that “chance” could be a factor there. However, I would have no problem believing that there are purified and exalted forms of these in heaven as it seems that every good thing on earth has a parallel there.
As we covered before, there is a theological principle of “first mention,” where the first mention of something in Scripture usually is a most important revelation of its ultimate purpose. The first mention in Scripture that God had a house is when Jacob had his dream and saw a ladder reaching into heaven, and the messengers of God ascended and descended on it. This is a revelation of a main purpose of the house of God, the church, on earth, which is supposed to be the place of access to heaven. The true messengers of God are continually ascending into the heavenly realm, and then descending to bring back evidence of heaven’s reality and its dominion over all conditions on the earth.
As we see in John 1:51, Jesus is Jacob’s ladder by which we ascend into heaven. We ascend by the progressive revelation of who He is. Our purpose is to be seated with Him in the heavenly places (see Ephesians 2:6). This is more than a doctrine we are to believe, just as all doctrines are supposed to be what we live. For this reason, any Christian can ascend into the heavenly places with Christ. Actually, all Christians should be doing this all the time.
For those who are fearful of experiencing such things, I can say for sure that by doing it just one time, you will be far more fearful of returning to the earthly realm. We can experience no greater peace and joy than that which we experience with Him in His heavenly domain. On earth, even the best of things are but a shadow of how wonderful they are in the heavenly realm, and there is no evil there at all.
Heaven is supposed to be our home now. As one of the ancients said of the new creation man, “We are not called to be human beings who have occasional spiritual experiences, but we are called to be spiritual beings who have occasional human experiences.” Every Christian should be more at home in the spiritual realm than in the earthly. This is how the kingdom will be preached throughout the earth: by those living in and
Next week we will continue our study of the Book of Revelation.
next week 38