Leadership in the KingdomSeptember 2, 2010
The Pursuit of GodSeptember 19, 2010
Here is an excerpt from the final chapter of my book, Restoring the Ministry of Jesus:
Genesis 28 records an incredible dream that the patriarch Jacob had. Verse 12 says, “Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” The passage goes on to describe how the Lord appeared to Jacob at the top of the ladder and spoke to him, confirming the covenant that had been made with Abraham and Isaac. Then we read the following: “Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.’ And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!’” (Verse 16-17, emphasis added).
When Jacob awoke from his dream he was stunned at what he had seen, but notice what he described the place as: the house of God and the gate of heaven. It is very significant that this is the first mention of the expression “house of God” in the Bible and that it is paired with the phrase “gate of heaven.” The house of God is the gate of heaven. The word gate speaks of an access point. In other words, the gate of heaven refers to heaven’s entrance point into the earth. Jesus also spoke of the phrase “gates of hell” which speaks of hell’s access points into the earth and into individual lives.
If the church is now the house of God, and the house of God is the gate of heaven, then the church is the gate of heaven. What I am trying to say is this: the people of God both individually and corporately are to be heaven’s entrance point into the earth. The church is the gate of heaven, or heaven’s access point into this world.
Jesus the Gate
Jesus made a clear connection to this concept early in His ministry. In John 1:51 He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” This is a definite reference to the dream that Jacob had in Genesis 28. Jesus was saying, “Remember that dream that Jacob had? Well I am a fulfillment of that dream. The angels of God ascend and descend upon Me. I am the house of God and the gate of heaven; heaven enters into the earth through Me.” Jesus came into this earth as the gate of heaven. We know that Jesus claimed to be the temple of God (See John 2:19-21) and as we have just seen, the temple or house of God is the gate of heaven.
Like Noah’s dove, the Holy Spirit seeks a place to land on earth. When Jesus was baptized by John the Dove found His resting place. “And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him’” (John 1:32, emphasis added). We see throughout the Scriptures that God dwelt among His people. In the Old Testament He dwelt in the tabernacle and in the first and second temple. When Jesus came He established a new order; God dwelling in His people. Jesus became the temple or dwelling place of God in the earth, and all who receive Him carry the same awesome privilege.
God not only wants to dwell in His people, He wants to be released through them into the earth. He wants to express His nature and power and He looks for vessels to do it through. Jesus therefore not only became the dwelling place for God’s presence, but as the gate of heaven became the means through which the Father expressed Himself to the world and manifested His kingdom.
Everywhere Jesus went He released the resources of heaven to those around Him. When Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons He was releasing heaven’s power. When He fed the five thousand He was releasing heaven’s provision. And when He calmed the storm He was releasing heaven’s peace. As a walking “open heaven” Jesus brokered heaven’s resources. Today still there is no lack of power, provision, or peace on heaven’s end, only a lack of entrance into the earth.