We are called to walk like Jesus walked and do what Jesus did. But we can’t do what Jesus did unless we have what Jesus had. He had intimacy with the Father, compassion for people, authority over the devil, and the power of the Holy Spirit. But He also had an open heaven. The following is an excerpt from my book Restoring the Ministry of Jesus which describes what an open heaven is and how it is a key and needed component for the Kingdom of God to advance on the earth.
Before Jesus was launched into His earthly ministry, a significant event took place. It is recorded in Matthew 3:16-17: “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
Several years ago as I was reading this passage, I was drawn into the phrase the heavens were opened to Him. I had always emphasized that the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus and that the Father’s blessing was released over Him. But I had glossed over the fact that when Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened up to Him. As I meditated on this concept, the Holy Spirit led me into a revelation on the topic of open heavens. I began to see just how important this event was in the life of Jesus. Everything that flowed out of His ministry started with this open heaven encounter.
While this will only be a brief overview of the topic, I want to give some insight into what constitutes an open heaven. The concept is mentioned in various places throughout the Bible. Here are a few examples in Scripture.
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year…that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. (Ezekiel 1:1)
Oh, that You would rend the heavens!
That You would come down!
That the mountains might shake at Your presence—
As fire burns brushwood,
As fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence!
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:55-56)
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. (Revelation 4:1-2)
When the heavens are opened, God becomes real. The revelation of God, His kingdom, and eternal realities are released in powerful ways on earth. We go from the concept of God to the reality of God. From the omnipresence of God to the manifest presence of God. There are outpourings of the Holy Spirit, a harvest of souls, powerful miracles, healing, and deliverance. God’s blessings are poured out and His righteous judgments are released. Barriers in the spiritual realm are removed, and the veil between heaven and earth is torn. There is access on earth to the riches stored in heaven.
I have heard some people say or imply that since the heavens were already opened for Jesus, they no longer need to be opened any more. It is believed that they are automatically opened because of what Jesus accomplished for us. To that I say: show me the fruit. In the Bible, open heavens have tangible evidence as seen in the passages quoted earlier and the descriptions in the previous paragraph. We must not settle for theological theories without experiential realities. Not to mention the fact that in the Scriptures, the heavens are opened up multiple times throughout the New Testament. It was not a once-and-done experience.
Everywhere Jesus went, people were miraculously healed, set free from evil spirits, and transformed by powerful teaching and preaching. Restoring the Ministry of Jesus calls us back to the foundation of walking like Jesus walked and doing what Jesus did. It shows how to bridge the gap from our current condition to walking in our inheritance in Christ. As you read, your heart will be stirred to seek God’s face and go after all that He has for you and the church today!