FAR ABOVE ALL HEAVENS
JESUS PASSED THROUGH THE HEAVENS
HE ASCENDED FAR ABOVE ALL HEAVENS
HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY
(THE CURSED FIG TREE)
BECOME AS LITTLE CHILDREN
"He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things" (Eph 4:10).
The natural eye can see at least two heavens -- the heavens of our breathable atmosphere with drifting clouds, and the heavens of outer space wherein all the stars and planets hang. And it seems that practically everyone in Christendom wants to go to one or the other of these heavens. Not right now, of course, but after they die. As beautiful as they paint heaven to be, no one wants to be rushed in getting there.
Nevertheless, if they take our text verse at face value in the letter of the word -- Jesus would never be next door but far above them. They might occasionally see Him float overhead on a cloud; but as for being His eternal neighbor, it could never happen if this verse is applied to their present theology.
Without the Spirit of revelation it is not expected the mind-sets of men's manmade heavens will change. Therefore, as we consider some kingdom truths, we will leave others to their own beliefs.
It has been said by some of my friends, and by me as well, that as long as we are in the heavens, there will be fire and war, as well as a time when each one will depart and be rolled together like a scroll. In one sense, this is true, yet in another, it is not. The qualifying factor is whether or not they have been conquered.
The heavens ablaze with (1)fire and suffering the conflicts of (2)war shall come. They will all be (3)rolled up at the end of their allotted time. Anyone who happens to be a citizen of those heavens will come to know fire and war. They will also be severely squeezed when they are rolled up and their worlds pass away with a great noise (2 Peter 3:10). It stands to reason, therefore, that with all the calamities befalling those exalted realms, we would not want to be in them. And one of the best places imaginable would be far above them all when the onslaughts come. We would logically want to avoid such heavens if they are burning and passing away. Yet there are some heavens in Christ wherein we are made to sit (Eph 2:6), and they don't seem to be suffering the perils of the others. We will discuss this more at length in a moment.
JESUS PASSED THROUGH THE HEAVENS
Jesus being IN the heavens has been a basic, fundamental thought with most. Some believe the heavens are sown somewhere in the distant galaxies, while others see them as being within. Regardless of which stand is taken, a conflict seems to come when we read Ephesians 4:10, which says, He is FAR ABOVE all heavens. The question arises, then, is He IN the heavens, or is He ABOVE them? Can He be in BOTH PLACES at the same time? He, indeed, can be; for in His Father He fills all time and space; but this is not the point these verses make.
Understanding begins to dawn when we notice the Spirit of truth glistening from Hebrews 4:14. In the King James it says, Jesus passed into the heavens. This, however, is not completely accurate. For in the Greek text it is through the heavens. Let us compare:
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed (4)into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession" (Heb 4:14 KJV)
The New American Standard Bible renders it: "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens..." The other translations I checked, The Amplified, NIV, and NRSV, have it the same way. They all say Jesus passed through the heavens.
HE ASCENDED FAR ABOVE ALL HEAVENS
With this morsel of information, along with Ephesians 4:10 stating that He ascended far above all heavens, it might appear that Jesus is no longer in the heavens at all, that He sailed through and is far removed from any of them. Yet, this is not the case.
In a brief word, the "far above" does not speak of location but of authority. You see, when we think of Him being far above all heavens, we have the tendency of envisioning Him sitting somewhere beyond the heavens, when in reality, it speaks of His authority over them. It is the same above or over as it is when parents are over their children, the judge is over the people in his courtroom, and the King is over those of His kingdom, and He is likewise over all the kingdoms He conquers. It has to do with rank and not direction.
The words far above in Ephesians 4:10 is the Greek huperano and is used in only three verses of the New Testament, and in each case it speaks of rank. The other two verses follow: "Far (huperano) above (huperano) all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Eph 1:21).
"And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over (huperano) all things to the church" (Eph 1:22).
A father is over his household; but he is still in the family. He does not set himself "above" the family by perching on the housetop of the home with the family living below. Our own heads are over and above our bodies; but they are not detatched from them. And neither does Jesus abandon the heavens which He is far above, and is Lord over. He reigns over them with all love, authority, and power; but He never leaves any of the heavens by ascending outside their circumference. Moreover, He is one with them, and He fills everything within their confines with the glory of Himself. Talk about a hostile takeover; but everybody benefits in this type of takeover.
Indeed, "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things" (Eph 4:10). And it goes without saying, that if He fills all things which He reigns over -- ALL THINGS WILL ONE DAY BE FILLED and God will be ALL in ALL. For, of a truth, that day will come when ALL will have been made subject to Him. We don't as yet see all things under Jesus, but we will. If you don't believe me, read 1 Corinthians 15:21-28 and Hebrews 2:6-14.
It matters not, as Jesus told in Luke 19:14, "...His citizens hated Him, and sent a message after Him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us," He will still reign over them. We can rest assured, as Hebrews 2:6-14 makes clear, all will be in subjection under Him in due season.
Therefore, they will of necessity be filled with the glorious Light, Life, and Liberty of Himself. In that day there will be nothing in the expanse of the universe that He is not over. And every creature in the heavens, the earth, under the earth, and which are in the sea will be filled by Him, and they will all be saying, "...Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever" (Rev 5:13).
Now that He has passed trough all the heavens, and He is far above each, where does this leave everything? No doubt, there are heavens yet to be conquered and brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God. However, Jesus has already passed through and ascended far above every one in Himself. Every heaven and dominion, natural or spiritual, that Jesus confronted became His. Every place He set His foot was filled with His presence and Life. His authority rayed with such power that no one can deny His supremacy. He was, and still is, above all the heavens through which He passed. Moreover, if we view things by the Spirit, we can see that all the works of God were finished from the foundation of the world, and Jesus entered into and rested in those finished works. One of those finished works was His passing through death and spoiling everything in the shadowy foyers of those dark heavens. And now the time has come for they who follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth to do the same. They are to overcome all things in all realms and at all times.
We are even now finding ourselves entering into the heavens, and hells, of our families, friends, and acquaintances. Upon entering them we encounter hoards and armies which are mustered against us. Yet from the life and authority we possess in Christ, we pass victoriously through them all. The heavens are set on fire. They are rolled together like scrolls and pass away with a great noise. Kingdoms fall, despots are dethroned, while every soul is filled with Christ.
We do not ascend above, or out from the midst, of those heavens; but rather, we ascend above them in rank, in power, and in authority. We lead captive every soul in those heavens. It is not a grievous captivity, but the joyous captivity of life. Praise God! How tremendous it is to be far above all heavens and fill all things with Christ!
There may be many who do not know where they sit. Some even believe they must die before "going to heaven." They have forgotten, or perhaps never knew that God "...hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:6). It is herein, sitting in heavenly places in Christ, where we are far above all heavens. However, when this is not known, people will know no victory. Even with daily problems, they will attempt to solve them from the earth of their natural thinking rather than from the reality of where and who they are in Christ. Which, of course, causes more problems than they fix.
If we are being moved and tormented by the winds, waves, and fires which sweep through our lives, we simply do not know where we have been made to sit. We then, become a part of the problems of those heavens as we apply our wit and wisdom to these harsh situations. Rather than affecting the temporal discomforts, they affect us.
Are we tossed by the waves of the storm, and are we brought to fear when we see billows roll heavily over us? Do we cringe in the face of disease, financial distress, hardships? Are we affected by ridicule, and are we cast down when forsaken by our family or friends? If so, it is likely that we are under the authority of those unconquered kingdoms. We are certainly not above them.
HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY
(THE CURSED FIG TREE)
There are many heavens we encounter daily, and some are stapled with tremendous authority. Such a heaven may be expansive and capable of exuding awesome power. It could be great religious organizations, such as Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, or Protestantism. Such heavens appear indestructible, their powers unrivaled; but so it was with the dominion of the Jews. Their heavens, their seat of authority, had never been toppled, not until Jesus came. The power of their religion seemed impervious to ruin; but look what happened when the elect was gathered from the four winds and from one end of heaven to the other and they blew upon it. At the breath of His nostrils, their strong walls came tumbling down.
The Son of Man was far above their garnished heaven, and they were swept away by the force of His heavenly power. He passed through their kingdom in A.D. 70, spoiled their day, and rolled it up like a scroll. And I never cease to marvel at seeing so many in secular religion joining ranks with that cursed tree. In their melding, they are doing everything in their power to help it to bring forth. But it will not happen. For we are promised by Jesus that the Jews' tree will never again bear fruit:
"And when He saw a fig tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only (a lot of fluff but no substance), and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever (or, into the age). And presently the fig tree withered away." (Mat 21:19). Have you seen any fruit of Christ growing on that Jewish tree anytime during this age? Not at all, and you never will. It looked promising when that nation put on leaves in 1948, but there's been no fruit. For, you see, their covenant with God was disannulled when they broke it at their rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. We must know it is only in and from Him that the fruit of the Kingdom can come.
Let me quote from another writer. He says it very well: "The Jews may certainly be the people of the old covenant, but that covenant has been abolished, because the people broke that covenant. That covenant is no covenant at all. It has been nullified for a long time. The only way that ANYONE can be in a covenant relationship with God is through the New Covenant. This comes only by means of Jesus Christ. The Jews of Judaism who reject Jesus Christ are NOT the people of this covenant. If they will accept the terms of the New covenant and accept Jesus Christ as their Mediator, then they are welcome to be engrafted into this Kingdom Tree. But Christians have no business becoming Jews and trying to be engrafted into a cursed fig tree. One cannot do so without becoming part of the body of Judas Iscariot." -- End quote. (Stephen Jones: Issue #136, The Second Comings of Jesus and Judas: Part 5).
There will be an age for the Jews as a whole to know Jesus as their Lord; but it will come through the ministry of the Sons of God in glorious manifestation. The nations will not feed from that tree by any means; for its roots have withered. It is not a viable part of God's Kingdom. That Judas will not be raised up into this age and be a part of the manifestation of the Sons of God. The fulness of the Gentiles, the conversion of the nations, must first come (Rom 11:25), which is a long time off, and will be much later than the manifestation of the Sons of God.
Therefore, you might as well stop expecting some great outpouring of the Spirit to sweep through Israel this fall. Unless you take Jesus with you, He will not be found there. He won't be in the desert, in the secret chambers, at the Wailing Wall, nor even on the Mount of Olives (Mat 24:26). For that matter, unless it is just for the sake of a vacation, you might as well cancel your trip and get a refund on your ticket. Save yourselves some money; for this September or October will produce no more than the years past. Truly, it would be wise to stop focusing on a dead tree and start feasting from the Living One.
That cursed tree/kingdom/heaven, will not shine with Christ's glory in the world; but you can count on it being rolled up one of these days. Every realm of heaven and earth is a kingdom with certain elements of power and authority, with Israel being one of the many. Everyone of them is subject to being set on fire, rolled up, and removed, of which, they will all someday suffer as we pass through them.
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away." (Mat 24:35).
We would miss the point if we thought the heaven Jesus was speaking of in this verse is what we see when we lift our eyes skyward and gaze into the deep blue hues of celestial beauty. And likewise, if we should view the earth as no more than the solid ground upon which we stand and where the stormy seas roll, we would not benefit at all. Such would be natural thinking and has no part with spiritual matters. The truths concerning God's mysteries cannot make room for such carnal overtures of nonsense.
Those whose understanding has been opened have been given stewardship over the mysteries of God. And one such mystery that unfolds to His elect is what heaven and earth are when often referred to in the Bible. It is phenomenal to see learned men of the religious world wrestle with eternal truths, trying to put literal, ironclad seals on everything, when it is obvious that certain scriptures are speaking metaphorically. Therefore, to understand any of God's mysteries we must dispense with viewing things with dogmatized minds. We cannot teach from the platform of carnal opinions and age-old traditions. To do so would only serve to keep the people ever ignorant of spiritual truths.
Heaven has to do with spiritual authority and consists of religious concepts, understandings, experiences, ministries, activities, etc. Earth represents humanity and its visible manifestation. It can be a manifestation of certain spiritual authorities of the heavens, or simply that which is human, Adam -- earthy. All these things which are of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost are products of the Kingdom, while all religious activities apart from the Spirit consist of wood, hay, and stubble and are of other kingdoms. They may look good and have a show of godliness; but they are far from being the Kingdom of God. Moreover, it will all be consumed by the fire of God's Kingdom as His flaming Sons pass through those heavens which are merely kindling for their fire. Indeed, many heavens and earths shall pass away, and one heaven and earth in Jerusalem passed away with a great noise 1,930 years ago.
Before we are able to comprehend even to the slightest degree what the heavens are, we must get our heads out of the clouds and out of the dirt. We must stop looking skyward and downward and peer into the deep truth of the matter. Heaven is not a place in the sky. It is not a distant planet somewhere in the far reaches of space, nor is it a grand Disneyland with overtures of glistening streets of gold with angels flying around strumming harps throughout eternity. Heaven is not an amusement park or a place of perpetual picnics. Heaven is not a place up there somewhere with natural mansions and cabins in the sky
The Kingdom of (5)Heaven is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom 14:17). It Heaven IS a spiritual realm from where God's government finds its character and authority. The Lord said, "...The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me? and where is the place of my rest?" (Isa 66:1). "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor 3:16). "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail" (Rev 11:19).
It is from the Heavens, from His Temple, from God, where those of God's Kingdom receive their power and immutable authority. It is from the very midst of themselves. Moreover, the Government of God, the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of Heaven are one and the same, and it is from there, from within, where the consuming power comes that sets us far above all heavens and enables us to bring life and fill all things.
All of what we see in the earth is a manifestation of what is already in specific heavens. The source of all power comes from a spiritual realm within people. What we see of them is the product of power and authority from their heavens, whether it is the kingdom of the prince of Persia, the prince of Iraq, or the prince of the United States of America. There is not one power seen in the earth that does not receive its authority from the spiritual kingdom called heaven. Perhaps we can more clearly see the purpose of the war in heaven between Michael and His angels and Satan and his angels of Revelation 12. Namely, whoever wins that war wins the ground war wherein the Victor's Kingdom is seen by all and filled with what He has to offer. In this case, the sure thing is life of the ages.
"And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places" (Rev 6:14).
The heaven John saw departing was the spiritual realm of power, while the mountains and islands are the manifestations of what was in the heavens. Let me ask -- do you still want to go to heaven? Perhaps not, for until it is subdued, heaven does not guarantee eternal bliss; for there is war in heaven (Rev 12:7), heaven is shaken (Heb 12:26), the heavens are on fire and pass away with a great noise (2 Pet 3:10). But not only the heavens -- "...the (6)elements shall melt with fervent heat, the (7)earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (2 Pet 3:10).
And to be reminded again, thus came the demise of Jerusalem in the face of Titus -- God's heavenly arm of power.
BECOME AS LITTLE CHILDREN
We continue to see people entering and building unstable kingdoms in the heavens that can be removed. And they can count on each of them someday being removed. Nevertheless, we are encouraged to see many others entering a kingdom that cannot be moved (Heb 12:28), and they are entering the only way possible, as children: "...Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 18:3). It matters not how much we know, if we are not as little children, don't expect to enter the kingdom of heaven.
There are some who have silver pens, and are able to write words that flow from the throne as liquid gold, inspiring and ministering life to untold thousands; but if they are not as little children they can forget about entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. Some may have amassed great congregations and wealth, and are known and revered by those in every walk of life; but if they are not as little children, there is no place for them in the Kingdom of God.
The finished work of the Kingdom of Heaven/God is where there is no hurt. "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the Lord....The leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM" (Isa 65:25 & 11:6). Herein is the power of God. It lies in those whose hearts are that of a child. In such hearts there is no hatred, animosity, bitterness, pride, worldly ambition, desire to rule, war, or anything that would bring hurt to any creature, especially to those of their own family. Even so, if they are hurt by those of their own household, we can hear them ever so humbly praying -- "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 18:4). And "...Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 19:14).
This, dear brothers and sisters, my friends and sojourners in Christ, is the number one qualification for entering God's Kingdom. The rod of iron will never be placed into the hands of anyone void of a child's love and purity of heart. Guile and self-serving motives are not in their spirits.
It is not whether one can preach spell-binding sermons, or can write with the pen of angels that qualifies him to rule with a rod of iron over the nations. Neither is healing the sick, prophesying, or grasping God's great mysteries qualifying factors for entry. It is whether or not one is as a little child.
Isn't that just like our Father? Not only did He set it up to where He brings in the cream of the crop, while weeding out the riffraff, He made it so anyone can enter His Kingdom. All they have to do is to be as humble as a little child. In so doing, they forsake their self-serving ambitions. Who would have thought it? Not the mind of man by any stretch of the imagination. However, lest we miss the point, this is not saying it is only little children who can enter the Kingdom of God; for the ruling factor of the Kingdom is made up of mature Sons of God. It is the attitude, the condition of one's mind and heart, the love and genuine concern for creation, and being void of guile. It is being as a child, not being a child that makes the difference. Therefore, let us gird up our loins as men, while our hearts are clothed upon by the pure love of a child. It is in that spirit we rule over the nations.
Again, we note -- "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens..." (Heb 4:14) and "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things" (Eph 4:10).
There are, no doubt, too many heavens/kingdoms to name through which Jesus passed and ascended far above them all. However, we trust by now it is clear that they are not the sky and space where clouds and stars reside. Jesus passed through every kingdom, filled them with His glory, and ascended far above them all. He passed through every realm imaginable and was tempted while in each of them; but without sin, He rose above and filled them with His righteousness and transforming power. Our Lord and High Priest went on to pass through death and hell, each one a kingdom which once had dominion over all living. While in the midst of those dark domains -- He rendered them harmless. He destroyed death and hell, as He filled all therein with His life.
This is not to say death and hell has been destroyed in the whole world and in all men everywhere. "We would but deceive ourselves were we to conclude that the conflict of the ages between Christ and Satan, between truth and error, between light and darkness, between righteousness and unrighteousness, between life and death has ended. The second thousand years are drawing to a close since Jesus came, died, conquered death, and poured out His life-giving Spirit and, blessed be His name, He pursues His mission still and reigns in majesty over His Kingdom by entering into these temples of clay, and filling our spirits, and souls, and bodies with His own eternal presence and power, making us one with Him, members of His very own body, of His flesh, of His bone, of His blood. He has gathered millions into His gospel net of salvation that out from their midst He may birth a vast company of sons who have put on the mind of Christ, been conformed into His image, with the Law of His Life inscribed upon the tables of their hearts, that they may then be filled with the fullness of His Spirit. And the hour is wonderfully nigh at hand when there shall be a further transformation, even the bodies of His elect sons shall be changed in likeness unto His body of glory as this corruptible puts on incorruption, and this mortal puts on immortality, so that we, who were destined from the beginning to be the revelation of HIMSELF to creation, may complete His mighty work for the redemption of humanity." -- J. Preston Eby
The kingdom of Adam, every realm of carnality that Jesus swept through was ruined and filled with His life by the power of the Godhead. There was not one heaven left untouched and unfilled by the life of His presence as they were passed through. And now we, with Him, pass through with the boldness of conquering kings.
He is presently sitting in His Heaven, in His Kingdom -- which is far above all the heavens/kingdoms, some of which are yet to be subdued and filled by His life. The Kingdom of God/Heaven, is, indeed, above all other kingdoms. It is above the kingdom of the United States of America. It is above the kingdoms of secular powers. It is above the kingdom of all religions. And it is above the kingdoms of every man and woman. And each is in the wings of the ages, reluctantly awaiting the siege of God's sons to pass through and fill them all. It is then that we will hear -- "...great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev 11:15).
It may seem impossible to the natural eye; but the corporate body of Christ, the Sons of God, shall pass through and fill up all thrones, dominions, and principalities, bringing all therein to loving submission to Christ Jesus. "Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God" (Psa 68:31). At the subduing and filling of life, we will hear all the kingdoms of the earth singing praises unto the Lord (Psa 68:32). For He rides upon the heavens of heavens (kingdoms of kingdoms), which were of old; lo, He doth send out His voice, and that a mighty voice (Psa 68:33). And "So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isa 55:11).
Who can gainsay the word of the Lord as He trumpets His sound in the heavens of heavens? Or who can disannul His purpose as He thunders His word through those movable kingdoms, thereby, filing them all with Himself? There are none! Absolutely none!
There are heavens held by men and awesome spirits of power. Their shored ramparts seem impregnable; but the Lord's rank and power is above them all. And as the seventh angel sounds, the seven thunders shall reverberate through every crook and cranny of every heaven, and they shall be shaken, set on fire, rolled up like a scroll, and pass away with a mighty rushing sound. They will all fall to the power of the Lord and His anointed.
"O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power unto His people. Blessed be God" (Psa 68:35). For we, together with Him, shall pass through every heaven, and being far above them all will fill all things! "...O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! who hast set Thy glory above the heavens" (Psa 8:1).
Again, He is above all the heavens in rank and power. His glory far surpasses that of every kingdom. His Kingdom is over all kingdoms, and He fills each one as He passes through and subdues them all. "Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high?" (Psa 113:5). There are none! Absolutely none!
Elwin R. Roach
1. "...Wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat" (2 Peter 3:12).
2. "And there was war in heaven..." (Rev 12:7)
3. "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host..." (Isa 34:4).
"And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places" (Rev 6:14).
4. into; dierchomai, dia (through) & erchomai (go); having gone through.
5. The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. (Psa 11:4)
6. elements; "stoicheion, ...something orderly in arrangement" (Strong's Exh. Conc.) That which is arranged in the heavens find its order manifested in the earth.
7. the earth and its works are the visible expressions of the invisible power in the heavens.
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