Tuesday, 4 December 2018

An Open Heaven

Scripture: Luke 3 v 21-22:  "Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased."

John 1 v 33: "And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize in water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He that baptizes with the Holy Ghost."

Isaiah 25 v 7: "And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations."

I read the verses in Luke many times before the words 'and the heavens were opened' attracted my full attention. It was like the disciples on the road to Emmaus after Jesus' death, when He walked with them without revealing Himself, but giving them the scriptures and prophecies describing all these events. Their hearts burned within them. I felt that too.

Later I learnt that the Jewish holy day of Rosh Hashanah means 'when the heavens are open'. There were several occasions in the gospels when that happened. When Jesus was born; when He was baptized; when He was resurrected (Mary saw Him in the garden and He said Don't touch Me I am not yet ascended to My Father) and when He ascended into heaven.  It's very probable that these events coincided with Rosh Hashanah which occurs in September.

At the moment of His death there was an earthquake and the curtain in the temple which closed of the Holy of Holies, which only the High Priest could enter once a year on the Day of Atonement, was split from top to bottom.  God's hand had opened the sacred place where the Ark of the Covenant had been kept.

God the Father had sent His Son to save mankind and restore His fellowship with every human being. The significance of the split curtain was that Jesus had opened our access to the Throne of God in Heaven. We can boldly come into the presence of our Father and worship Him and make our requests.  We have an open heaven since that happened.

When Jesus was baptized the Satannic vail over all nations was breached. The demons guarding Earth against illegal entry by God to satan's domain, which caused Jesus a problem when He wanted to help Daniel in Daniel 10, were not expecting Him to come in human form. They deny it to this day. (1 John 4 v 3).
This Earth became Satan's domain when Adam yielded to him in the Garden of Eden.  Job 3 v 6 - 12: "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 
 7  And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
 8  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 
 9  Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
 10  Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 
 11  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 
 12  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD."

It's important to note that if we are living a Godly life as Job did, Satan has to get permission from God to affect our lives.  Job never wavered under extreme Satannic pressure, and God rewarded him mightily.

The covering vail spread over all nations is the demonic hordes that barricade our ability to respond to Jesus.  In Daniel 10  v  12 - 13: "Then said he 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.
 13  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."

The pre-incarnate Jesus tried to get to Daniel for 21 days but was blocked by a demon Prince from Persia, now Iran.  Jesus had to call on Michael the Archangel for help before they could break through.  These are the principalities and powers that are still in place today.  And still need to be overcome.

When we get baptized in water the heaven over us is opened.  The spirits that troubled us to sin and sickness and pain are put on notice. The space above us is cleared for us to approach God. The more we fight the heavenly battle the clearer this space becomes and the more we are able to receive from the Lord.  

This is why satan fights against water baptism more than he stops people being saved. Being saved means we are forgiven. Being baptized means we are cleansed of sin and our old nature that loved sin dies and is replaced with the nature of Jesus that hates sin.

After baptism we are able to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit as the disciples did in the Upper Room, and the other disciples did in Acts 19. There we see the distinction between John's baptism and Christian baptism. Those disciples had to be baptized again in order to have the heaven open above them so they could also be baptized in the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost baptism gives us power to witness about Jesus with signs following. We have the Holy Ghost fire upon us that gives panic to the kingdom of darkness. Demons do not battle against the fire of the Holy Spirit, but they raise up persecution against us to try to limit the damage.  Persecution unites us and makes us stronger to do even more damage to the enemy.

Prayer: Father God we praise and worship You under an open heaven. You made a way to penetrate the dark vail over this world through water baptism. You outwitted our enemy very powerfully to enable us to do the same. Teach us to fight the good fight right to the end.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.