by Revivalist Todd Bentley
PART 1 of 2
A chosen generation, that's us! What's more, we're a royal priesthood, said the Apostle Peter, special people, sanctified, to display the virtues of Christ (1 Pt. 2:9). So let's set our hearts on fulfilling that great call-the display that demonstrates both God's kingdom and His power-on earth as it is in heaven!
OPEN HEAVENS BRING GOD'S KINGDOM TO EARTH
Then, as heaven manifests in the natural realm, both the rule and the reign of Jesus Christ will be known in the earth. "Let God be glorified!" Yet, don't miss this: The key to bringing that manifestation to earth is an open heaven-a portal through which the kingdom of God invades the earth!
Perhaps one of the best biblical examples to illustrate this kingdom invasion is when the heavens opened over Jesus while He was baptized (by John the Baptist). God's kingdom invaded the earth in the form of a dove-the Spirit of God-that rested upon Jesus (Lk. 3:21, 22). He was empowered [anointed] for ministry. God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power! And immediately, living under that open heaven, "then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness" for forty days (4:1, 2) where He overcame every temptation of the devil (4:3-13). Next, straight from the wilderness, Jesus went on to Nazareth in the power of the Spirit.
Because the heavens were open, He functioned in a different "arena." In other words, His mind was in heaven. Living in the full spectrum of heaven's realities, Jesus carried the substance of heaven in His ministry-in the virtue, in the rule, in the reign, in the dimension of "as it is in heaven," NOW-through miracles, healings, salvations deliverance, signs and wonders. Wow, Lord!
OPEN HEAVENS BRING PROPHETIC EXPERIENCES & REVELATIONS
In fact, Jesus lived and ministered in that spiritual atmosphere 24/7. Friends, we need to make that our goal too, because under an open heaven the spiritual atmosphere is ripe for prophetic experiences, and those encounters greatly influence both our level of anointing and our determination for fulfilling the purposes of God. Actually, we won't experience the dimensions-what's in heaven, the realm of visions and dreams and trances, the audible voice of God, revelations and visitations of the Lord, and angelic visitations, nor will we be aware of the ministry of angels-until the heavens are open.
Just look at what John, the revelator, saw-a door standing open in heaven (Rev. 4:1a). Not a door standing open for John to only have a moment of revelation. But a door, I believe, that is standing, present tense, standing open, issuing an invitation of God's Spirit even now, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this" (4:1b). Although the invitation to "come up here" was to one person; namely, John, I believe God is saying, "I'm now releasing in a greater corporate dimension, the experience of Revelation 4:1.
When heaven opened, John saw"a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war," and he saw much more, as well as receiving revelation of events yet to come (Rev. 19:11-21). Likewise, when the heavens open over us, we'll begin to have visions and dreams, visitations of the Lord, and revelations. We'll begin to see in the spirit and we'll begin to minister under the power and the authority of an open heaven, bringing the manifestation of Jesus Christ in His glory with power, miracles, healing, signs and wonders.
WELCOME THE OPEN HEAVEN'S DIMENSION
Friends, I believe there comes a "place" where there is an invitation for each and every one of us to pray for spiritual understanding, for the eyes of our hearts to be opened, and for us to be filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation. It's an atmosphere where we can make ourselves available to receive solid teaching and guidelines from God's word to help us exercise our spiritual senses. Also, it's where we can learn to open and sanctify our imagination, and begin to have the eyes of our understanding enlightened (the mind's eye) whereby we begin to touch the dimension of seeing-the dimension of visions, trances, dreams, and angelic visitation.
Why? One reason is because the "dimension of seeing" goes hand in hand with the seer anointing, and God wants to give us that anointing. God is emphasizing Revelation Chapter 1, verse 4 (above), opening it up, issuing an invitation into the throne zone-the third heaven-and into the anointing represented in that particular scripture. What's more, we need to receive this whole invitation just as eagerly as we have received the prophetic dimension.
There's been a real emphasis in the last 10 years or so on the prophetic-"you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged" (1 Cor. 14:31)-that's edification and exhortation. It's good, but the open heavens dimension is different from the prophetic dimension. Right now, God isn't marking just "prophetic people" and all that this term implies, as good as it is. He is moving us beyond that into a greater dimension for experiencing the third heaven level-just a greater experience and expression of God in more of a seer's dimension-for the days we live in demand it!
Yet many believers, as prophetic people, seem content if they can just hear God and prophesy once in a while. Their attitude is: I don't need visions, trances, dreams and angelic visitations. I don't need that stuff, Brother. I walk by faith. I got the word, and that's enough for me. Whether or I see or feel anything, I'm going to believe God. Well, I walk by faith too. By faith I know I have access to come boldly before God's throne, to ask Him to let me see the throne. Then, with expectation I begin to press in for throne room (third heaven) experiences.
It's like this [about such experiences]: If I don't ask and if I don't have an expectation, it won't happen. Look. I've come to the place in my relationship, passion, and intimacy with Jesus where I believe that God wants me to see, hear, feel, and experience with my spiritual senses "as it is in heaven," now-just as much as when someday I actually die physically and go to be with the Lord in heaven-where I'll see my mansion, the streets that are golden, and the great cloud of witnesses.
Look. Heaven is a real place-and the earth is something of a picture of what it's like in heaven-but heaven is without the sickness, the sin, the disease, the death, the poverty, and the devil, that we have here. And since we [can and do] enjoy what God has created in the earth, then is there any reason why we can't, as spiritual beings with spiritual senses, go places in the spirit and taste, see, and touch [experience the geographical beauty of] everything that God has created in the heavenly dimension? After all, everything we have in the natural/temporal realm is created out of the heavenly invisible realm in the first place!
Since I can enjoy the natural realm every day, then, if I have the boundaries and wisdom from God's word, why can't I come before the Lord's presence and ask to have experiences similar to John, the revelator, or Ezekiel? Listen! I want to welcome the open heaven dimension!-and I want to welcome it if for no other reason than to hang out with Jesus!
How about you? I ask because I've heard God say [for quite some time now] that it's time to talk about the reality of the supernatural, the truth about it, and to take out "the spook." Look! The way the supernatural realm is written off or relegated to the exclusive domain of the occult and the demonic realm, is wrong! We're constantly bombarded through television, movies, and books which insist that the supernatural is owned by the demonic. That message is out there, and yes, the demonic does operate supernaturally, but we need to embrace the power of God out there-the real supernatural power!
Yet, instead of doing that, since a lot of Christians actually believe it is demonic, the church most of the time doesn't want to touch the supernatural. But just read your Bible. The supernatural is the way through which God communicated with the prophets and just about everyone. It had to be that way and it's that way today because He's God and we're not!-how else is He going to communicate with us?-He does so in dreams, or trances, etc., which are supernatural.
I want to challenge some of you. It's time to overcome the fear of being deceived and come to grips with the fact that God in His ability to keep you is greater than the devil's ability to deceive you.
Now, before closing this week's lesson, I want to explain something on the practical-side concerning where open heavens take place, and then highlight a few excellent resources for those of you who want to learn more about open heavens.
THE HEAVENS OPEN REPEATEDLY IN CERTAIN PLACES
Open heavens occur over certain geographical areas that are marked by God. For example Jacob experienced an open heaven at a place which he named Bethel (located near a village called Luz, Israel) where he had an amazing dream about a ladder that stretched from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. When he awoke he "was afraid and said, 'What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God - the gateway to heaven!'" (See Genesis 28:1-17, emphasis mine).
Some places, because of their spiritual history, are noted to be locations where people will often experience an open heaven. In fact, there are places where the heavens are open more than in other places. Most of you are familiar with previous moves of God in places such as Toronto (The Toronto Blessing), the meetings in Pensacola, and Argentina, just to name a few. Just like in Jacob's day, today, there are certain places where heaven is open, geographical locations where you are more likely to have an encounter with God.
In certain places I've been blessed with an open heaven, where, in prayer, God gives me His perspective and His heart. Then I have an encounter, an impartation, a heavenly download that I receive out of being in His presence. I begin to see things. I begin to hear things, and I carry that out of the prayer closet, out of that place of having ascended into the heavens in prayer-bring that revelation into the here and now-and the manifestation of that revelation then begins to take place. The bottom line is that God is glorified.
In fact, at the time of the release of this teaching, there is a kingdom invasion happening in a certain place-Lakeland, Florida-dubbed The Florida Outpouring! To God's glory, what is so amazing is that an open heaven, one open heaven, over one city, literally touches ends of the earth! Just praise Him!!