Monday, July 21, 2008

Living in the Revelation of Heaven

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.” (John 5:19-20)
The Lord Jesus lived in the constant revelation of heaven, and He ministered out of the revelation. He did only what He saw the Father doing and said only what He heard the Father saying. He not only lived in the revelation of heaven, but also in the realm of heaven. He said to Nicodemus, “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13). Notice the tense of the verb: “who is in heaven.” Not was, or will be again, but is. Though He existed in Heaven before the incarnation, and then came down and dwelt upon the earth, He still remained in the heavenly realm. Notice also the designation He uses of Himself as being in heaven, the Son of Man. Though that term has divine implications, it also speaks clearly of His humanity. Jesus experienced heaven and earth simultaneously, both in His divinity and His humanity.

How such a thing can be is as mysterious as the Incarnation. We often tend to think of heaven as if it were a geographical location somewhere in the natural realm, perhaps far off at the edge of space. We point up to the sky and often refer to it as the heavens. But Paul spoke about being “caught up to the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2). This is something other than the starry firmament to which we have become quite accustomed.

The heaven of God is not a place of physical dimensions. It belongs to the spiritual realm, and as such, is of a higher realm, because everything in the natural was created by God, who is Spirit. When Jesus came, He experienced perfectly both the spiritual realm and the natural realm. He dwelt in heaven and on earth at the same time — and was constantly aware of it. That is why He could actually see what the Father was doing and hear what the Father was saying.

God is Spirit, and Jesus, as God, is Spirit. But we also are spiritual beings; that is the likeness of God in which we were created. Though God formed Adam’s body from the earth, He puffed His own breath into Adam’s lungs, and man became a “living soul,” a spiritual being. By the sin of disobedience, Adam broke the connection between the natural and the spiritual, and on that day he died, first in the spiritual realm, but eventually in the natural, too. That is why Jesus came, to remove our sin, reconcile us to the Father, and restore us to life in the spiritual realm.

Now the way has been opened for us to come to the Father, by faith in Jesus Christ. We have access into the heavenly realms. Indeed, Paul said that we have received every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1:3) and have been seated with Jesus in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6). Just as Christ “has not entered the holy place made with hands … but into heaven itself” (Hebrew 9:24), into the “Most Holy Place” (v. 25), so we also may now enter that holy place with Him:
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
As we enter in, what will we see? What will the Father show us? Remember what Jesus said to Nicodemus, “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.” Why did He show Him those things? Because He loved Him. Now consider what Jesus prayed for us in John 17:20-23.
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
The same love the Father has for Jesus He also has for us. Now remember the promise He made to the disciples at the Last Supper: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12).

In Jesus Christ, we now have access to heavenly places, into the Most Holy Place and the throne room of God. We are loved by the Father with the same love He loves the Lord Jesus, and we have the promise of Jesus that we who believe in Him will do greater works. Just as Jesus did only those things He saw our Father in heaven doing, that should be our mode of operation also. We should not do anything that we do not see Him doing or say anything we do not hear Him saying. Will not the Father show us those things, just as He showed Jesus? For just as Jesus lived continually in the revelation of heaven, so can we.