The Heavenly Places
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…Ephesians 2:4-6 ESV
Have you ever had a dream about Heaven? Do you think about what it will be like? With all the bad news we have had in the last year and a half, we need some good news. What could be better than being in the heavenly places? Nothing!
When Jesus taught about the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God here on earth, He was referring to the Kingdom being in our hearts. The only way to experience the Kingdom of God is to know His Son. I believe Paul, in Ephesians, was basically speaking of the same thing as Jesus but referred to it as the Heavenly Places.
In this two-part series, we will first look at the “Heavenly places” and next week we will discuss the New Heaven and Earth.
I love the above verse in Ephesians 2. Only Ephesians uses the phrase “In the heavenly places.” We will discuss all five times Paul used it in Ephesians and what it means to us.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.Ephesians 1:3 ESV
The phrase “In the Heavenly places/realms” is unique to Ephesians. It is the Greek phrase ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις or epouránios meaning, heavenly, referring to the impact of heaven’s influence on the particular situation or person.
In the Ephesians 1:3 passage, God gives all our blessings, including our gifts and talents to us through Jesus from the heavenly places. The heavenly places are our source of spiritual blessings.
Above all Rulers and Authorities
And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe… that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.Ephesians 1:19-21 ESV
God seated Jesus in the heavenly places long before time began. HE is far above every name, king, president, power, authority, or demonic ruler on earth in every generation–past, present, and future. The heavenly places are a place of all authority and power.
The heavenly places are a place of all authority and power. #ThisSideofHeaven #TheHeavenlyPlaces #BiblestudyTweet
Together in the Heavenly Places
But God…made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,Ephesians 2:4-6
God seated us with Jesus. As He sat Jesus in the heavenly places, God has seated us as believers and followers of His Son, with Him as well. How can we be seated with Jesus in the heavenly places when we are still very much a part of this world? Like the Kingdom of Heaven, it is in our hearts.
We live where the natural and the spiritual intersect. The Holy Spirit comes to live in us when we repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our Savior. We are now in direct communion with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us in John 15 when we abide with Him, He abides with us; and Hebrews 4 tells us we can approach God’s throne and receive mercy and find grace…
How do we approach God’s throne? How do we abide in Jesus? By being in a relationship with Him. We pray and read God’s Word; we tell Him what we are thinking, how we feel (the good, the bad, and the ugly) what we need and desire. We talk to Him. We depend on Him. We seek Him.
My good friend, J.D. Wininger has a great relationship with the Lord. God talks to him. They have conversations–many of which he records on his blog Around the Cross-Dubya (https://jdwininger.com/). I believe this is what Jesus meant by “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
How often do we talk to God–just to talk? Not wanting anything but to know Him better? He seats us with Him (spiritually) to have a relationship with us. Someday we will see Him face to face!
The heavenly places are a place where we are raised and seated together.
So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.Ephesian 3:10 ESV
Through the Church, or community of believers both Messianic and Christian, God’s wisdom is made known to all. As the Church, we are to spread the Gospel of Christ and God’s love, mercy, and grace to all. We display this to all rulers and authorities both spiritual and human. The Church is a witness to all rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
The Church is a witness to all rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. #ThisSideofHeaven #IntheHeavenlyPlacesTweet
Battling Against Spiritual Forces
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:12 ESV
Without the Kingdom of God within us, we would have no power over the forces of darkness. Only with the power from the heavenly places where we are seated with Jesus Christ our LORD, can we fight these battles in His Name.
Before Jesus, people had little if any power over the spiritual realm. They were captives in prisons and bondage to satan and spiritual principalities. Jesus freed them–by showing His power over the demonic forces and death. With the power of the Holy Spirit within us, God gave us this power as well.
Unfortunately, we don’t always recognize it or use it because we lack belief in the power within us. We fight demonic and spiritual forces in the heavenly places.
We fight demonic and spiritual forces in the heavenly places. #IntheHeavenlyPlaces #ThisSideofHeavenTweet
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”John 14:12-14 ESV
What is the stipulation in the verses above? That the Father may be glorified! We don’t ask to glorify ourselves but God through the Son. Use the power God has given you to glorify Him.
God has seated you with Christ and blessed you with everything you need for this life–all your giftings and talents come from Him to use for Him.