Living Under An Open Heaven
Fresh Fire Ministries
In this article we're going to examine, from a biblical perspective, the divine mysteries of open heavens, third heavens, visions and revelations. Then we're going to allow the Lord to activate the lesson in our lives. Are you ready for that? I want to touch on a few levels of prophetic revelation and the different functions of the office of a prophet and then we'll see what God wants to release in you.
In this article we're going to look at a great mystery spoken of in
2 Corinthians 12:1-7
"1 It is doubtless not profitable me for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 2 I know man in Christ who 14 years ago – whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows – such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such a one I will boast; yet of my self I will not boast, except in my infirmities. 6 For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me. 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure."
You'll notice this passage speaks of visions and revelations of the Lord. There are many different levels of visions and revelations as well as various expressions of the glory realm and open Heavens. When I talk about the open heaven, I'm not talking about the third heaven (although there is a place called the third heaven). The third heaven, also described in the Corinthians passage, is what I believe to be the highest level of revelation. I've been there a few times. Just like the apostle Paul, whether I was in my body or not, I don't know. Paul actually tells us twice that he didn't know whether he was in his body or not. So how do you know whether you're having a third heaven experience or one of the other levels of visions and revelations?
Notice in verse seven of this passage, Paul is talking about “the abundance of revelations”. We tend to think as Christians that visions and revelations are rare – the prophets may have them a lot more than we do but, for everyday Christians, we think it's to be on rare occasions, if ever, that we are to receive these supernatural experiences. Now God has promised in Joel chapter 2 that he's going to pour out his Spirit on all flesh and his sons and daughters are going to prophesy. Who's going to prophesy? Sons and daughters. Are you a son or daughter? The scripture is clear – it’s not just the prophets who will have these experiences.
Let me lay a foundation by teaching about the difference between all the levels of revelation. Now I've been to the third heaven, which is the highest level. Whether or not I was in my body, I don't know. I’ve spoken to many men and women who have been there. Some people call this place the “throne zone”. When you hit that level, it’s very obvious.
In 2 Cor. 12:4, Paul tells us what the third heaven is. He says, “I was caught up into paradise". It's the bosom and dwelling of God – it's throne zone – up there were God dwells. By the way, the heavens can't contain Him, so although heaven is a physical place, I think heaven is a lot more than we believe it is. Many believe that there are geographical places in heaven just like there are geographical locations in places on earth. You can go to South America or you can go to Hawaii. You can go to Africa or Europe. The geography, industry and culture are different in different places.
I had a dramatic third heaven experience. I was in prayer and I felt the sensation of being sucked out of my body and being flung into space. I could feel the G-force, the kind of feeling you get on a roller coaster. My body began vibrating and I could even feel the force on my face – my face was physically contorting. But I was in my living room. Here I was going through stars and I wasn’t even in a spaceship! Then I entered into another dimension where my whole being was filled with a brilliant white light. Suddenly I felt the sensation of landing. Next I was on a mountain, the wind was blowing and I could feel it. I began to freak out. This had never happened before. Even though I was lying on my carpet I felt a cold wind on my face. My senses felt the emotions of what I saw but I could still feel the carpet under me.
This was only my second third heaven experience. I eventually came before the King, the Lord of glory, the Lord of hosts. It would take hours to describe what took place. These prophetic encounters happened before I was in the ministry. At the end of that three-month season of visitation God called me into the ministry. During that training time, the Lord equipped me and imparted things to me for what He had called me to. But it took me two years to understand what took place on that mountain of visitation. I won't even describe the vision today – I don’t want you to get too caught up in the vision. In this article I would rather focus more on bringing understanding about the various levels of visions and revelations.
Uncovering Strategies In the Second Heaven
We need to understand how real the supernatural realm is. There really is a third heaven, which means there's a second heaven and a first heaven. We live in the first heaven. Living in the second heaven are demons and angels, spiritual hosts of wickedness, demonic powers, principalities and angels like Michael, Gabriel and the arcangels. There's a structure in the heavens just like we have in the government today. Not everyone is the president, not everyone's a marine and not everyone is Secretary of State. Some are just soldiers.
Now I’ve been to the second heaven, this realm of angels and demons. At times when I go there, I feel like I'm in a capsule of protection. But I see the strategies of the enemy and what he's doing – curses and where they came from, spirits and what the power is affecting my meeting. In that place I also see what I need to break, how I need to break it, where I'm going to do it and when I'm going to do it. I discover strategies and purposes in the second heaven dimension.
Next, we have the third heaven, which is the realm of Paradise where God dwells – “the throne zone” or the heavens of heavens. Not every time I have of visitation does it involve a celestial being coming from the second or third heaven into my world. Sometimes I will have an experience on the inside through the eyes of my understanding – through the minds eye, the eyes of my heart. But it's just as though I had somebody appear to me in the natural.
Now there's a difference between battling spirits in the second heaven and battling spirits in the first heaven. Angels or demons from the second heaven can appear in our world, the first heaven. Usually when that happens, we are stunned and undone. It's pretty obvious when a messenger from heaven comes – there he is in your house and it’s “WOW there it is!” When demons manifest in this realm, either you actually see or hear them with your natural senses or they speak in different voices through a person they are living in. When they are uncovered, they often manifest through vomiting or screaming because now you have the right to cast them out.
I believe that as you read this article you will be activated into spiritual experiences. When I thought about the idea of ascending into that realm, I saw a picture of Jacob's ladder and the angels ascending and descending – there was free access. In Revelation chapter four there's a door; it's not only a door, but it’s a door standing open. There's a way to come boldly before the throne of grace. He's entered once and for all into the holy place. I don't access that realm with the natural body or with my soul. I access that realm with my spirit man and the eyes of my understanding. By faith, I make myself available for the Holy Spirit to take me into that place. Then I cultivate a lifestyle of disengaging from my own understanding and looking through the eyes of the spirit.
"Father, right now I ask for the anointing of glory and the cleansing of the blood of Jesus. I want to touch heavenly things, to touch another realm and experience another dimension. Lord, I ask for angelic activity and that you would give me the weight and the atmosphere of your glory. Let that spirit of prophecy come, oh God. I want to exercise the eyes of my heart. I pray that the eyes of my heart would be opened."
Now just begin to lift your heart up to God in worship and enter into the spirit. Give yourself to the Lord and let Him take you by His Spirit into heavenly places. He wants to reveal hidden things. He wants to give good gifts to His children who open their hearts by faith to receive revelation from heaven.