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Many people believe that “heaven is out there” but the Bible shows that God wants Heaven to MANIFEST on Earth through His People – by His Spirit which is at work in us – as we are (already) seated with Jesus in heavenly places (Eph.2:6).
Example: Jesus said “all will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:35) – God’s Love in us is HEAVEN MANIFEST ON EARTH! But there is so much more… God’s Presence, Power, Glory, Healing… so much more!
The (man-made) “gospel of individual salvation” teaches that all that is needed is to say a little prayer so that we can go to heaven when we die… but the Gospel of the Kingdom of heaven of Jesus Christ teaches that God saves us from Death so that we can bring Heaven to Earth while we are alive and filled with God’s Spirit.
After years of serving the Gospel of the Kingdom, Apostle Paul was not satisfied with the experience of having been saved from the grip of Death by God’s grace and forgiving mercy that exonerated him from all his sins. That was not enough!
Even though his sins were forgiven; even though he had been saved from Death and had received new life in Christ; was an anointed Apostle appointed by Jesus to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, and had seen the power of God manifesting through him… even so, he knew there was still more… so much more… so he said:
Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
So, for Apostle Paul, the power of the resurrection of Jesus was not merely about being a “saved sinner” by God’s righteousness in Christ. The context of Paul’s words in this portion of Scripture is about the future reward, which he described as follows:
Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Now, that is worth reflecting on… “according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself”. Apostle Paul speaks of a “power of resurrection” which is “working to enable Jesus to subdue all things”.
Paul did not consider that power to be at work in him just because he had believed in Jesus and had been saved by God’s grace… more than having believed, he was eager to “press on, that he may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of him”.
Paul said that the power of resurrection of Jesus is something that a believer needs to press on in order to attain… the question is why (?) – just merely to “get saved” (?) – or, for the purpose for which “the power is at work” (?) – which is to cause all things be subdued under the feet of Jesus?
Psalm 110 and the words of Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:29-36) confirm that the very purpose for which God has sent His Holy Spirit to His Ecclesia on earth is indeed that all things be subdued under the feet of Jesus!
The man-made “gospel of individual salvation” teaches that «the power of the Spirit that descended on the Day of Pentecost is merely for the purpose of evangelism, just to “give witness for Christ” by sharing the good news of our own salvation».
But Jesus did not say “you shall give witness for me“; HE said “you will BE MY witnesses“.
Jesus was an example of that; He was a witness of God His Father – HE said “if you have seen Me, you have seen My Father”; “I do not speak of my own accord, but what I hear of My Father”; “the works which I do are not Mine, but of Him who sent ME, He works those works through ME” – what Jesus SAW His Father do, HE WAS the witness of what His Father said and did. So that is what He meant when HE said “you will BE MY witnesses”.
God’s power is at work in us – that is, the Ecclesia
How is that power at work? By what means is it working? What is the process by which it will accomplish God’s purpose? Paul said:
Ephesians 3: 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him [be] glory in the Ecclesia by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
God’s purpose will be fulfilled through the power that works in us
Earlier in the same chapter, Paul has explained the purpose for which we need to “be filled with all the fullness of God”, so that God may “do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” – that is:
Ephesians 3:10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the Ecclesia to the principalities and powers in the heavenly [places,] 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord
The power of God that works in us serves the purpose of God causing all the principalities and powers in the heavenly places to be subdued under the feet of Jesus, by His Ecclesia [which is the Body in which God’s power is working to accomplish God’s purpose on Earth].
The purpose of the Ecclesia: to overpower the gates of Hades
That is the very purpose which Jesus declared to be the goal of His life, which was/is to build up His Ecclesia on Earth; He said:
Matthew 16:18 “… I will build My Ecclesia, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
These two things which Jesus said to Peter are obviously interrelated. When the Ecclesia has the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, then these keys can be used so that the gates of Hades cannot prevail.
That means that the gates of Hades cannot withstand, cannot oppose, cannot resist the authority of the Ecclesia – as the Body of the Lord [the Ecclesia] advances the Kingdom of God on earth, forcing the gates of Hades to open up in order to release the prisoners, as well as the promises of God which are kept locked up in the realm of Darkness (which is called Hades in the NT Hellenic, or, Sheol in the OT Hebrew).
Note of clarification:
Apparently there are believers who think/teach that the gates of Hades are advancing/attacking/assaulting the Body of Christ, which is defending itself against those “gates”. So, when that mindset prevails, people think that Jesus said: “when the gates of Hades attack you, they will not prevail”.
Well, there are several problems with that; the first is the logical: gates do not attack, they just stand in place. Gates are made to prevent invaders from entering, and that is all they do, they block the way.
The second is the Biblical: the “theology of the gates” in the Scriptures is the platform on the basis of which Jesus said “the gates of Hades will not prevail when my Ecclesia has been built up”.
The “theology of the gates” would require lengthy explanation, so we shall not do it here; we shall only mention one foundational scripture/principle, which reveals why Jesus said what He said – God’s blessing to Abraham was fulfilled through the coming of Jesus and the building-up of a Body, the Ecclesia, to serve God’s promise to Abraham:
Genesis 22:16 … “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only [son–] 17 “blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which [is] on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gates of their enemies.
It is a common error to think that God’s blessing/promise to Abraham was merely to give him numerous descendants – but God also said: “and your descendants shall possess the gates of their enemies” – the emphasis of the promise to Abraham was not just the large number of the descendants, but the purpose they would fulfill:
Abraham’s descendants to overpower their enemies!
Abraham is not only the Patriarch of the Hebrews, but also the “father of faith” of all who believe in/through Jesus (ref. Romans 4:11-16). So, God’s blessing to Abraham about his descendants was not limited to the Jewish nation, but included the Gentiles – which is the Ecclesia (the “one new man in Christ”).
The call of God to the descendants of Abraham (the Ecclesia) is “to possess the gates of our enemies”, which is clearly the realm of Darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, the powers, principalities and world rulers – these are the enemies which must be subdued under the feet of Jesus, by the working of God’s power which is at work in us, by His Spirit, so that God’s desire be fulfilled…
… so that Heaven can manifest on Earth through the Ecclesia!
That is precisely what Jesus meant when He said to His disciples:
“The promise of my Father will come upon you;
the Holy Spirit will empower you to BE MY witnesses”
– which means: you will be present instead of ME, you will speak instead of ME as I will be speaking THROUGH you, by the power of the Spirit of the Lord which will be/is at work in you to cause the power and authority of Heaven to manifest on Earth.
That is what the Spirit of the Lord was given to do:
Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to [those who are] bound.
The Lord empowered the Ecclesia with His Spirit to proclaim liberty to the captives in Hades (or Sheol, the realm of Darkness), and the opening of the prison (which is the same as saying: the gates of Hades will not prevail) so that those who are bound may be released and set free.
That is how Heaven can manifest on Earth,
through the Ecclesia, by the power of the Holy Spirit
that is at work in us, so that we may BE witnesses of Jesus