Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heavenly places, part 1

What can we know about the heavenly places?  

The tenth chapter of Daniel gives some understanding about the heavenly places where we’re going to live.  Gabriel had to travel through the region of the prince of Persia (a fallen angel); he was held back and it took him 21 days to be able to reach Daniel even with Michael’s help.

Daniel 10:12-13
Then said he [Gabriel] unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

When the Lord Jesus Christ himself comes back, whether it’s for the members of his body…

1 Thessalonians 4:17
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 

 or at his return (aka, second advent)…

2 Thessalonians 1:7
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

Revelation 19:14
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

He always mentions angels coming with him.  And the reason is because his angels have to battle and fight.  Even before he comes back at the second coming for Israel he has Michael fight Satan and his angels in heavenly places.  This is real!

Revelation 12:7-9
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon  [Satan] fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

There is war out there – war in heaven.  So he’s always with his angels.  Remember when he comes at the Rapture that archangel is most likely Michael. 

1 Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

He’s the only one who is called an archangel in scripture.  Michael is going to come back for us.  And the reason is that he’ll have to fight to get us through the heavenlies.  The fallen angels are still in existence today and they’re operating in the heavenlies.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 3:10
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers [various classes of angels] in heavenly places might be known by the church [they are up there learning] the manifold wisdom of God,

I don’t know exactly what each rank does, but there are different classes and ranks and authority of angels.

Colossians 1:16
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers [various level of authorities]: all things were created by him, and for him:

The angels run creation. (It will be like that with the nation of Israel as the sons of God [in the earth] and with the body of Christ [in the heavenly places].  There will be higher positions of authority given to us.)

Just as there are good and bad rulers in human government here on earth, it is the same in the heavenly places.  There are holy [elect] angels and fallen angels that are in governmental positions. 

Job 15:15b
…the heavens are not clean in his sight. […because of the rebellion still going on there.]

The operation in the heavens didn’t cease with the opening of the dispensation of grace.  That has remained the same throughout the dispensations.  The only program on hold during this gap of time is Israel’s prophetic program on the earth – not what is happening in the heavens.  The way the heavens function today has always been the same since God created the angelic creatures, even though one third of the angels followed Satan.  They’re still doing their jobs.

To get a sense of what is going on in the heavenly places, let’s look at Job 1 and I Kings 22:

Job 1:6a
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD…

They were called in to give an account—much like your boss calling you in for a meeting.  That means that all of them are not just sitting in his presence at every moment.  They’re ‘out there’ but then they come together – they congregate.  There is an actual place where God meets with them; it’s called the mount of congregation, located in the heaven of heavens.

Isaiah 14:13
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

Having an understanding of how things are operating in heavenly places helps me to be able to dispensationally apply truths found in the rest of the Bible outside of Paul’s epistles.  And knowing the details of what is happening in the heavens as revealed in the Old Testament helps me to understand what the heavenly places are like and what God will do with the body of Christ when we get there; that is, how we will be used in service to him there.  If you study about the kingdoms on earth in the Old Testament, you’ll have an understanding about what is going on in the heavenly places.

Knowing all these details today isn’t going to affect our every-day lives as believers; but if you know what Paul is saying about the cross and how to share a clear Gospel, and you know how to share the rightly divided word and teach people about Paul’s ministry, you will be doing God’s will for you in your lives here and now—that’s our main job.  Unlike what religious leaders teach, we are not ‘disciples of Christ’ but, rather his ambassadors.

2 Corinthians 5:19-20
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of [the ministry of] reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 

Hopefully this helps! 

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