Monday, 25 July 2022

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,  caused Jesus a problem when He wanted to help Daniel in
Daniel 10 v 11 - 13: "And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. 
12  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."

Persia is no known as Iran and the demon, the Prince of Persia, and other demon kings of Persia, still rule over that land, wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.  Jesus had to breakthrough that Satannic veil to appear to Daniel, Daniel had to fast for 21 days to help Him achieve it.  His fasting enabled the pre-incarnate Jesus to be reinforced with Archangel Michael.  

If we find barriers blocking us from moving in a spiritual way, fasting is a powerful way of removing them.  In this case Daniel got far more than an answer to his prayers, he got a powerful Visitor.  If we compare Daniel's description of the Visitor and His impact on Daniel with Revelation 1, where Apostle John had a similar Visitor, his description and feelings are almost identical.  Plus in Daniel 9, Daniel was very comfortable with Archangel Gabriel so the Visitor was not an angel.

No demons will ever acknowledge that Jesus Christ came to Earth in human form.  They deny it to this day.  1 John 4 v 3 - 4: "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

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.

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.  In most cases in the Bible water baptism follows immediately after we are born again.  

Some pastors wait for our salvation to "take" like a vaccination, before they permit baptism.  Actually, baptism is what causes our salvation to "take"!  New Christians backslide because they need the nature of Jesus in their hearts to resist sin and temptation.

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, which is for repentance only, and Christian baptism. John's 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.  

Those denominations that stop at baptism in water, without the Holy Ghost and fire baptism, miss the power, the anointing and the gifts.  Jesus said, By their tradition they disobey the command of God.

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.

The Father's love gave us an open Heaven to keep up the good fight to subdue and cast out all our spiritual enemies.  We need all the gifts of the Holy Spirit to do this work, without which it would be impossible.

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