There was a time when the entire earth had an “open heaven” surrounding it. God had created the earth and declared it good. He created man in His image and gave him dominion over the earth. The earth belonged to God, man was just given legal stewardship of it. That was a legal transaction in the high court of God. While there was no “sin” separating man from God, God was able to freely walk in the garden with Adam and the woman.
However, after sin came two things happened.
- Mankind was separated from God by virtue of sin. The free flow of relationship was broken.
- Mankind gave up their dominion of the earth to satan, now evil would rule until the seed of the woman crushed the head of the serpent. Until then the “prince of the powers of the air” would dominate.
After this the only place we see God manifesting Himself freely among His people was in the Tabernacle of Moses, the Tabernacle of David, and the Temple of Solomon. The glory cloud rested visibly over the Tabernacle of Moses, the place were the sacrificial system took place. It was in effect, an “open heaven”, a “portal” as it were between heaven and earth whereby God dwelt among men.
The first understanding we have of an open heaven is found in Genesis 28:10-19. It is the story of Jacob running from Esau and headed for uncle Laban’s house. He stops at a place which would be called Bethel (the House of God). There he has a dream of a ladder stretching from heaven to earth. Angels are ascending and descending upon it. The Lord is at the top.
- The ladder signifies a direct opening from heaven to earth.
- The angels moving up and down signify spiritual transactions occurring upon the earth in a designated place.
- The Lord at the top of the ladder makes it clear the Lord Himself is directing the spiritual actions transpiring.
After the dream Jacob declares:
Genesis 28:16–17 (NASB95)
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”
17 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.”
Jacob was saying I’m in a place of God’s presence and I didn’t even know! What an awesome place, the very gate of heaven. A place where God cuts through the fallen spiritual powers that rule the earth and moves on His chosen people. Jacob was the reason for the open heaven, Jesus is the reason for us today.
John 1:51 (NASB95) 51 And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
By virtue of Jesus death, burial and resurrection, the sin of mankind has been dealt with and satan’s authority has been broken upon the earth. Notice I didn’t say his power had been eradicated! I said satan’s authority had been broken to rule the earth. That ruling authority has been given back to Jesus and then back to us His chosen people.
Colossians 2:14–15 (NASB95) 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out-of-the-way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
Matthew 28:18–20 (NASB95) 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Because of this great triumph, an “open heaven” occurs where ever God’s people are! Our prayers “get through”! Heavenly transactions are able to freely take place as Jesus directs. What an incredible truth for us to grab hold of by faith! When the saints gather together in this wonderful thing called “the Church, the Household of God”, we sit under an “open heaven” whereby Jesus can be JESUS!
The sad thing is found in Jacob’s words of Genesis 28:16 “…surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it!” What incredibly sad words! That is, for God to be in a place and you and I not recognize it. When we do not recognize the open heavens under which we reside several things happen (or don’t happen):
- Our blindness to the reality of God all around us is exposed.
- Our eyes become more focused on the “flesh” we see rather than the God we could see.
- We settle for good services rather than spiritual manifestations as we allow God to move among us.
- We see little to nothing but religious activity where our emotions are stirred, but our are spirit’s are left empty.
The old Pentecostals used to have a saying, “Put me under the spout where the glory comes out!” There was more truth to that than many realized. I say Lord, do it again! Let us be a people, a church who recognized who we are and why we exist. Let our churches again be places of an “open heaven” where Jesus is Lord and heavenly transitions such as signs, wonders, and miracles occur again and again.