Archive for the ‘reality of Heaven’ Tag
Out of the swirling water colors a white horse appeared and the smiling face of Jesus locked gazes with me. When He reached for my hand and pulled me up onto the horse with Him, it was one fluid motion like color being swished onto a canvas. We rode off into the heavens, landing gently on the Sea of Glass in the Throne Room.
There was a host of saints and angels there and immediately all the attention was on Him. He dismounted, nodded His head gracefully to them with a slight bow and turned to help me down from the horse. Then He took my hand and presented me to them. Though I have been there many times, the beauty of Heaven and purity of those there is still a shock to the human system. I felt like Cinderella at the ball with the Prince at my side. He was affirming His relationship with me in front of them all. It is easy to be overcome and terribly insecure in those moments except for all of Rick Joyner’s teaching experiences from Heavenly realms. The Lord told him so many times that he was not to look at himself or compare himself to those who had been purified by the judgments, but to look at Him alone.
Jesus was regal and calm as always and seemed to be enjoying the moment. Still, He saw that I was clinging to His hand. Looking at me quietly, as if He was doing something just for me, He squeezed my hand and said,
“Come with Me. I want to show you something.”
Immediately we were on a high mountain, a familiar place I’ve come to call ‘the mountain at the edge of eternity’. I love this place where anything can happen. It’s full of possibility and destiny with that wild wind of the Spirit blowing our hair and garments. Up on that mountain we started to walk in the green meadow and suddenly came upon a high hill. I had never noticed it in the times I had been there before.
Jesus became serious and quietly said to me, “This is the hill of sacrifice. Your sacrifice. It’s all you have sacrificed for My sake and the Gospel over the years.”
I was stunned! As soon as my vision cleared, for I was sobbing, I looked closer at the hill. Now I could see it was made up of houses and land and gardens and things – many fine things that would go in a house, even beautiful cats! It was also made up of people … so many, many people. There were friends and co-workers and people who we could network with to spread the Gospel. There were also schools and training centers and churches, good churches full of good, faithful people who were mature in spirit and had single eyed devotion for Him alone.
As I gazed at this in awe, Jesus continued to speak to me.
“All the things you have sacrificed for Me have come up to Me and I have used them to build this memorial. But more than just a memorial here in Heaven of your sacrifice, I have multiplied them a hundred fold and I have glorified each one of them and now I am bringing them back to you! Some will stay here to be a blessing to you in your future life here. But much of this will be coming back to you on earth now to bless you and help you fulfill your destiny there.”
I thought of all that I had sacrificed … houses and lands and things. And of all the things that we could not do or be involved in because we were being called out of one place and into another. All the years that I desperately clung to His promises and fought to stay free and not be tied down to anything, even things and places and people that I loved, to just try to stay in line for the ministry that I believed was coming, so that when the doors finally opened I’d be ready to go. And I wept and remembered the joy when the doors finally opened.
Much of what I saw in that hill was people, a vast number of people. I thought about the many times when the enemy stole opportunities from us to go and minister to groups of people. Or times when we actually went but then things prevented people from coming or receiving what we had brought for them. And there they all were in that hill. There were not only the things I had sacrificed but also all that the enemy had stolen from me! I thought about the scriptures that I had prayed so often:
And Jesus replied, “Let me assure you that no one has ever given up anything—homes, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or property—for love of me and to tell others the Good News, who won’t be given back, a hundred times over, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—with persecutions! All these will be his here on earth, and in the world to come he shall have eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30 Living Bible (TLB)
Have you grown weary from all the loss? Take heart! Nothing of value in your life is ever lost. It goes on into eternity and is multiplied a hundred times to bless you and so many others. Much of it will be showered back on you in this life and much more than you can imagine is waiting for you there in your Heavenly home with Him.
I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed to Him (to guard my deposit) against that day. 2 Tim. 1:12
Our definition of success and Heaven’s definition of success are two very different things. Too much of the world’s mindset has made its way into Christian thinking and we have adopted it as our own without even realizing it. How do we judge success?
From a business perspective, success is usually the amount of money being made. It also would have to do with the number of sales, contacts, how far reaching our influence is etc. It’s about how wealthy we are, who we know and what we do. It’s about us. This same concept applies in other areas of our lives and largely focuses on how much we seem to be accomplishing and what other people think of us. Sadly, there is far too much of this in ministry as well.
But from Heaven’s perspective we usually have it upside down. It’s not about the ‘secret of the successful life’. It’s about the ‘success of the secret life’. The life that is hidden in God, where our goal is to make His name famous instead of our own, carries far more weight in Heaven. It’s a life where He is seen and we are not … where much of what we do is behind the scenes, to advance His Kingdom instead of our own.
Many of you will have read Rick Joyner’s book The Final Quest years ago. Since that time he has completed that trilogy and started another. (See my Recommended Reading list) But if you haven’t read that book for a long time, I’d highly recommend reading it again. It’s one of those things that only gets better and more relevant as time goes by. Here are some quotes from that book regarding success from people who lived their lives on this earth then died and went to Heaven. Here is the truth they found there:
“What looks good on earth looks very different here. What will make you a king on earth will often be a stumbling block to keep you from being a king here. What will make you a king here is lowly and not esteemed on earth.”
“The more influence that you gain by your own self promotion, the more striving you must do to keep your influence, and the more dark and cruel your life will become. Anything you do because of political pressures or opportunities, will only lead you to the end of your true ministry. If you do not live what you preach to others you disqualify yourself from the high calling of God. Love the Savior and seek His glory alone. Everything that you do to exalt yourself will one day bring you the most terrible humiliation. Everything that you do out of true love for the Savior, to glorify His name, will extend the limits of His eternal Kingdom and ultimately result in a much higher place for yourself.”
Doesn’t God use people to build His Kingdom? Yes, of course. We get to help. God is not afraid of heroes. He builds them Himself. But up to this point in time, too many of those who are called to large public ministries have fallen prey to the power, the prestige and the occasional wealth that may bring. This has largely been due to spiritual immaturity. However, there is a new breed arising on the scene now. They cut across all levels of society. Age and gender are not an issue. These have been tried in the fire and are coming forth as gold. They are like David, with the courage of a lion and a heart of intimacy with the Lord. They care neither for the criticism or the praise of men but seek only the approval of the King. They stand for His truth, even under threat of death. ( Rev.12:11) T hese are going forth to build His Kingdom, an unshakable Kingdom that will never be stopped. Will you be one of them?
There may seem to be a conflict between the hidden life and a truly successful (from His perspective) ministry in building His Kingdom. But they are really 2 sides of the same coin. Fruitfulness flows out of a deep intimate relationship with Him. We will discuss this aspect further as it relates to success in the next posting.
True success in this life depends largely on how much of Christ is formed within us. This is what the Father is looking for. (Rom.8:29, 2 Cor.3:18, Gal.4:19, Rom.12:2 ) Everything that we ‘do’ here will only be an outflow of that foundational relationship. Christ in us. ( Gal.2:20, Col.1:27)
Then I looked and I heard angels, thousands and millions of them! They stood around the throne, the four living creatures and the elders and sang in a loud voice, “The Lamb who was slain is worthy to receive power, wealth, wisdom and strength, honor, glory and praise.”
And I heard every creature in Heaven, on earth, in the world below and in the sea – all living beings in the universe – and they were singing, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory and might, forever and ever, through the eternities of eternities.” (Rev.5:11-13)
Can you imagine such a spectacle? What prompted this extreme amount of praise from the realms of Heaven and earth, from every living being in the universe?
John the Beloved, one of Jesus closest disciples, was now an old man exiled for his faith on the Isle of Patmos. In this prophetic encounter he is taken into Heaven and sees the Father on His throne. In the hand of the Father is a scroll covered with writings on both sides and sealed with seven seals. Reading further into the book of Revelation shows us that this scroll was filled with the judgments of God which are to come upon the earth. “And I saw a mighty angel who announced in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” (Rev.5:2)
Who can the Father entrust with the power to judge the earth? Who is worthy? A search began throughout all of Heaven and earth. It could not be an angel. It had to be a man from the earth in order to be just. All the saints passed by in review. Abraham – the father of our faith, Moses – the friend of God, David – the warrior and worshipper, Paul – the great apostle. But no! None was found worthy for all have gone astray. (Isa.53:6, Rom.3:10) It had to be a spotless one. But “no one in Heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or take a single look at its contents. And I wept audibly and bitterly.” (Rev.5:3,4 Amp.)
And finally, in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the elders, there stood a Lamb who had been slain. (Rev.5:6) He is the man, Christ Jesus and He is God, the only one found worthy in all of Heaven or earth. And He came and took the scroll from the hand of the One sitting on the throne, from the hand of His Father. (Rev. 5:7)
When this was accomplished it brought an immediate response from all those in Heaven who fell down before the Lamb crying, “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals for You were slain and with Your blood You purchased men unto God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Rev.5:9)
This is why we love Him. This is why we trust Him. This is why He is worthy to judge us and judge the earth – because He died for us and poured Himself out for us. His judgments are just and true. He drank the cup and tasted death. He received the wrath of God in our place and now He is worthy to administrate the Father’s wrath. He is acquainted with our grief. He is the suffering King who gave up His glory to bring us back to God. This is why we love Him. This is why we trust Him, because we know Him and we know His heart.
Sometimes the very questions we ask reveal our lack of real knowledge of who He is. I still hear people ask questions like, “Why should we worship God? What does He get from our praise?” An appropriate response to that question might be, “Have you seen Him? Do you know Him?” I am not simply speaking of prophetic experiences where we may see Him face to face in the natural realm. These are available to us, of course. (See previous posts on this blog under “On-ramps into Heavenly realms”) But I am speaking of seeing Him and knowing Him in the Spirit – in our spirit, inside our hearts. God is, after all, a Spirit … and we must learn to worship in Spirit in order to really experience and know Him deeply. (John 4:24) Those who really know Him intimately will have no need for such inappropriate questions.
The bride in the Song of Solomon was faced with the same questions from the maidens who asked her, “What is your beloved more than another?” (v. 5:9) By the time she finishes describing Him (v. 10-16) the maidens have been won over by her love for Him. Their response now is,” Where is your beloved hiding himself? For we would seek Him with you!” When we lift Him up, all may be drawn to Him. (John 12:32)
There was only one found worthy in Heaven, on the earth or in any realm. He is the Lamb of God who was slain and by Him all things consist and are held together. (Col.1:17) How could we not love the One who gave all for us? How could we not give our lives to Him so that He may receive the reward of His suffering?
He alone is worthy of it all.
The spectacle was dizzying. Every angel and spirit-being in Heaven seemed to have gathered in the Throne Room. They were banked in layers encircling the throne, spiralling upward and back down again. There were multitudes in many different shapes, sizes and forms. There were angels in white robes with white wings. Some had human looking faces and bodies. Others were indescribable, terrifying yet beautiful. There were lights and bird-like creatures and flaming seraphim elevated above them all. They were all worshipping with music and singing, voices and sounds, lights, vapor trails and fiery trails that made patterns like fireworks in the air.
Suddenly the music and the atmosphere changed. Now it conveyed an awesome and fearful reverence, enthroning the Father in a smoky cloud of glory. (see footnote #1) Radiating outward from Him was an emerald rainbow. (Rev.4:3) It was not just one, but a thousand hues of green. Each shade dispersed into its own prism light creating countless rainbows within the principal one.
Fanning out in a semi-circle before the throne stood seven pillars of fire. These represent the 7 Spirits of God. (see footnote #2) At times they shot upward as they mingled with smoke and thunder and the echoing voices of the living creatures. (Rev.4:5a)
There is no earthly language to convey such fearful wonder. All that dwelt here was the pure light of His character. Holiness, love, righteousness, justice, peace, strength, mercy – these were making up the molecules of the air, swirling about and intertwining like the very DNA of the Father.
There in the deep ecstasy of His fiery presence our one desire is only to be consumed by His holy fire until all that hinders love is burned away and we are conformed into His likeness. (1 Cor.3:11-15, Heb.12:29, Rom.8:29, 1 Jn. 3:2 )
ft. #1 – Exod.19:9, Deut.4:11 and Ps.18:9 all refer to God dwelling or manifesting Himself in a dark cloud or thick darkness to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai. “The dark cloud that surrounds God is actually the dense oil of the Spirit, a great good, a visible sign of the magnitude of the anointing, incomprehensible to mankind and therefore seemingly dark.” (quoted from Anna Rountree, Heaven Awaits the Bride)
ft.#2 – The Amplified Bible refers to this as the “seven-fold Holy Spirit”, Rev.4:5b, Isa.11:2
Many people living today have had the privilege of seeing into Heaven just as many of the Saints in the Bible did. I have been sharing testimonies from some of these people regarding what they have seen and experienced.
Another of my favorite authors is Anna Rountree. She is a current voice who has experienced powerful prophetic encounters, many of which took place in Heavenly realms. Here is a description of the throne room of God from her book Heaven Awaits the Bride.
“The throne room was brilliant with light. The surface on which the redeemed were dancing was a pavement of light that looked like a translucent blue. [On] this expansive “sea” was a dazzling white light, in the center of which was the throne of God.
A great yearning welled up within me and a whisper involuntarily escaped: “Daddy.” His presence drew me with cords of love. (The angel with me) looked down at me and smiled.
The Father’s being is manifested by light of an indescribable whiteness. His uncreated glory radiates outward in all directions to form a great sphere of awesome colors. Like a bow whose hues blend from white to yellow, to gold, to the Shekinah reddish-gold, and on through the color spectrum of reds, purples, blues and ending with green.
Transfixed, I was lost in the wonder of Him. The angel touched my shoulder and said, ‘Come with me’. We began to pass through those worshipping, sometimes ducking beneath a dancer’s arm as we made our way toward the throne area.
The light into which we were entering began to intensify, as well as the sense of power. As we moved nearer to the throne, the radiance looked more like the waves of light in the aurora borealis when it forms an arc of lights across the sky. The blazing light was not blinding as would be the earth’s sun if you gazed at it. One could experience, feel and even look at this light.
Thousands of angels were circling above the throne area and thousands more seemed to be arriving to join them. Countless numbers of angels were already within the bow of the corona around the throne. They were making musical sounds by flying at different levels and speeds and patterns. The tones that their flight made were different from singing or the playing of instruments. At times some would fly together, producing a different tone.
The melodies, like the light in the throne room , went right through me. The music of praise entered me and passed through me and I became one with the sound. The angel spoke to me. “The harmony, the unity and the desire of those here to give to the Father His due – constantly giving of themselves and receiving more of Him when they praise and adore – bring forth a sweet music.”
I became more aware of the pleasant fragrance around the throne area and of the interwovennes of sound and color and smell. These cannot be woven together on earth the way they are blended here in Heaven. We below can experience them simultaneously, but above they seem to have the same properties. It is more like water being poured into water. So it is here with sound, light and fragrance. It seems strange to see sound, hear color, and for smell to have a tangible quality to it. Yet in heaven it all seems natural and right and even obvious.”
The One on the throne is the center of it all. Everything proceeds from Him. He holds it all together. And everything returns to Him who alone is worthy.
There are many who have stepped from this earthly realm into the Heavenly one and returned here again. Many in the Scriptures had such experiences and many since that time have also gone back and forth. The door in Revelation chapter 4 is still open and the Lord is still saying to us, “Come up here”.
In past postings, we have looked at those in Scripture who had experiences in Heavenly realms. Today I’d like to share some things from one of my favorite books on this subject: Intra Muros, My Dream of Heaven by Rebecca Ruter Springer. She was a Methodist writer who lived from 1832 to 1904. And lest the title, “My Dream of Heaven” be misunderstood, my research tells me that the subject of Heaven was a popular one for fiction writers of the day, sometimes referred to as a ‘fanciful sketch’. But Rebecca obviously had a death experience, went to Heaven and was eventually sent back to earth. Hers is a very detailed account of the splendor of Heaven and daily life there for the Redeemed. Here are her first impressions upon arriving in Paradise, the garden of God:
“What a scene was that upon which I looked. Away, away – far beyond the limit of my vision, I well knew, stretched this wonderful sward of perfect grass and flowers. And out of it grew equally wonderful trees, whose drooping branches were laden with exquisite blossoms and fruits of many kinds. I found myself thinking of St. John’s vision in the Isle of Patmos and the “tree of life” that grew in the midst of the garden, bearing twelve manner of fruits, and whose leaves were for the healing of the nations. Beneath the trees, in many happy groups, were little children laughing and playing, running hither and thither in their joy, and catching in their tiny hands the bright-winged birds that flitted in and out among them, as though sharing in their sports, as they doubtless were. All through the grounds people were walking, sometimes in groups, sometimes by twos, sometimes alone, but all with an air of peacefulness and happiness that made itself felt by even me, a stranger. All were in spotless white, though many wore about them or carried in their hands, clusters of beautiful flowers.
Look where I would, I saw half hidden by the trees, elegant and beautiful houses of strangely attractive architecture, that I felt must be the homes of the happy inhabitants of this wonderful place. I caught glimpses of sparkling fountains in many directions and nearby flowed a river with water clear as crystal. The one thought that fastened itself upon me as I looked, breathless and speechless, upon this scene was “Purity, purity!” No shadow of dust, no taint of decay on fruit or flower, everything perfect and pure. The air was soft and balmy though invigorating, and instead of sunlight there was a golden and rosy glory everywhere, something like the afterglow of a sunset in midsummer.
The houses that we passed seemed wondrously beautiful to me. They were built of the finest marbles, encircled by broad verandas, the roofs or domes supported by massive or delicate pillars or columns, and winding steps led down to the pearl and golden walks. Flowers and vines grew luxuriantly everywhere and surpassed in beauty even those of my brightest dreams. Happy faces looked out from these columned walls and happy voices rang upon the clear air from many a celestial home.”
Rebecca also gives detailed accounts of the saints in Heaven – those she had known and loved on the earth before their death and entry into that glorious realm. And she speaks much of the links between the two realms, of how we are preparing now on earth for the Heavenly life in eternity. We will study some of these topics in future postings.
May we live each day with eternity in mind, understanding that the choices we make now are shaping our future there.
Rising up out of this earthly realm with an angelic escort, we suddenly broke through into the Heavenly realm. Now my eyes were met with an intense shock of gleaming blue. There were a thousand different shades of indigo, azure, cobalt, royal and sky blue all whirling together like a gemstone cut into millions of facets with light being reflected off each one. I was standing on the sapphire sea, the sea of glass, the crystal sea in Heaven.
The throne seems to be situated in the middle of this expanse which appears to spread out from there for miles in every direction. It is the Throne-room of God. Rev. 4:6 refers to a “transparent, glassy sea as if of crystal, before the throne”. However, this ‘sea’ can change appearance at times. In Rev. 15:2-4 it is mingled with fire as the victorious, redeemed ones stand upon it, praising the Lamb of God.
In Exodus 24 we find a different account of this ‘sea’. In the first verse of that chapter God had invited Moses to bring Aaron, his sons and 70 of the elders of Israel and come up into the mountain (Mt. Sinai). Apparently when they reached the appointed place, they broke through the natural realm and stepped into the Heavenly realm. Verse 10 and 11: “And they saw the God of Israel. And under His feet was a paved work of (transparent) sapphire stone. He did not stretch out His hands to the nobles of the sons of Israel (to harm them or hide Himself from them). And they saw God and they ate and drank!”
One could spend days in passages such as this in the book of Exodus and slowly begin to comprehend what really happened at Mt. Sinai. Reading chapter 19 very carefully and slowly will reveal why there was so much of the fear of God associated with this place. Now He was actually inviting not just Moses, but many of the leaders to come up into His very Presence.
However, my point in referring to this passage was to show the different ways that the sea of glass can appear. Often it is a calm, glassy surface. At other times the music and praise of Heaven stirs it into large waves like the ocean when the tide comes in. (Everything in that realm is tied together in oneness with God. This is also evident in the book of Revelation. When the saints or the living creatures give praise to Him the 24 elders cast their crowns before Him and the angels worship as well.) Sometimes this surface becomes transparent so that one can look through it and view the earth beneath, rather like videos taken from space where the continents are clearly visible.
Most often it is the scene of a jubilant celebration. I have stood among thousands upon thousands of the Redeemed offering their praises in many different ways upon the crystal sea. They were singing, dancing and playing musical instruments. Some were waving banners and brightly colored streamers. But all of this multitude of the Redeemed were moving together as a giant dance troupe choreographed by the Holy Spirit. The joy and oneness between them was tangible and all were intent on one thing – to praise the One who is worthy of all praise.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, Who was and Who is and Who is to come. (Rev. 4:8)