Open Heavens in Revelation
©December 20, 2006 Asher Intrater
In the book of Revelation, there are four occasions in which the heavens are opened above us, and in each occasion, there is a spiritual breakthrough for the Kingdom of God.
In this first case the heavens are opened by the personal dedication of ONE man; here Yochanan (John). This is encouraging because it shows that we are not totally dependent on other people to see a spiritual breakthrough. One person reading this article could open the heavens by his or her own faith and purity of heart.
This story reminds us of Jacob fleeing from Esau, and having the dream at Beth El of the ladder with the angels ascending and descending (Genesis 28). There also one man with desperate faith and a covenant with God had the heavens opened above him.
Note: Yochanan was responding to the challenge of Yeshua (Jesus) in Revelation 3:20 - If anyone hears My voice and opens the door (of his heart)… Perhaps the people in Laodicea did not open their hearts, but John did. There is a personal challenge here as well as a personal opportunity. That challenge and opportunity are as valid today as they were in his day.
Note: Yochanan was not physically "raptured" here. His body was on the ground and he spiritually ascended into heaven. So it is with some of the other descriptions in the book of Revelation of people being before the throne of God. Even today, the saints have full access to the throne of God as we worship and pray on this earth.
In this second instance the heavens are opened in response to a prophetic revelation to the saints. What was that revelation? – that Yeshua would take up His government and rule on the earth. Verse 15 tells us of the revelation that the kingdoms of this world would be taken over by Yeshua. In verse 17, praise is coming before the throne of God because He has exercised His power and begun to reign.
This end times' revelation of God's kingdom taking over the governments of the earth is a major breakthrough in the spirit. This is part of the gospel of the kingdom being preached (Matthew 24:14), and not just the gospel of salvation. This is also the beginning of the correct timing for the "kingdom to be restored to Israel"- Acts 1:6.
Note: This revelation will be released at the same time that God is working in the international Church (restoring right apostolic government), in the nations (increasing the influence of the righteous in governments), and in Israel (with the restoration of the remnant and of God-fearing government).
In this third instance, prophetic revelation is released concerning the "judgments" of God. We are to praise God, not just for His forgiveness of sin to those who receive His grace, but also for His PUNISHMENT of sin to those who continue in rebellion. God receives glory both from vessels of grace and from vessels of wrath (Romans 9:21-23, II Timothy 2:20-21).
Most of us have been so influenced by humanism and moral equivalency, that the idea of praising God for His judgments seems foreign to us. I admit it is still uncomfortable for me. But we must change and have the same heart that He has. He loves righteousness and hates wickedness (Hebrews 1:10).
At the time of this prophetic breakthrough, seven angels dressed in white with golden bowls are releasing the wrath of God. The symbolism of the white and the gold shows that these wrathful punishments are pure and holy. This judgment comes from God, not from the devil.
Note: As God works at the same time in the spirit and in the natural, scripture indicates that there will be a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem at the same time that the heavenly temple is being revealed to the saints. (See Revelation 11:1.) One of the signs of the end times will be the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.
This fourth instance of open heavens occurs at the Second Coming of Yeshua. Here He is not only ruling as a king; not only judging as a judge; but He is even making war as the head of the armies of Yehovah (See Joshua 5:13-15). Yeshua returns as king, as judge, and as commander in chief.
After Yeshua returns, the heavens will be permanently open, and there will be total access between heaven and earth.
We could summarize the prophetic importance of the four open heavens in the following way:
The last thing that happens before Yeshua returns is that His "bride" has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7). God does not act alone, but in covenant cooperation with His prophetic people on the earth. In fact "He does nothing without first revealing His secrets to His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). We are not to be spectators in the end times, but active participants in the purposes of God.
As we open our hearts, as we walk in righteousness, as we pray with prophetic discernment, the events of the end times will unfold before us, and the power of an open heaven will be released.
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