24439834-stairway-into-lightI have been reading Ephesians lately and have been taken with the idea of the heavenly realms.  I have read Ephesians many times before and never noticed how important a place that  the idea, the reality, of the heavenly realms were to Paul, and how important they should be to our thoughts and actions.

The Apostle uses the phrase “heavenly realms” five times in this short letter.  In the first chapter he uses it twice.  In verse three he tells believers that they are blessed in the heavenly realms.  Most of us think mainly of the blessings we receive, or want to receive in the earthly realms.  Paul tells followers of Christ that we are blessed in the heavenly realms, and those blessings don’t just trickle down to us here on earth, but they cascade down upon us from on high, from the heavenly realms.

And why are we so fortunate to receive these blessings?  Paul goes on to say that Christ was raised from the dead and is seated in power at the right hand of the Father.  That same power that placed Jesus on the throne is the power that saves us, forgives us, redeems us and puts us in right relationship with the Father.  What incredible blessings those are!

But wait, there’s more!  Paul writes in chapter two, the famous “Grace” chapter, that even though we were dead in our trespasses and sins, we who have been blessed with His grace and mercy, have also been seated in the heavenly realms.  This signifies that we also have been given power, the power of the throne so to speak.  We are not literally in heaven, just as an earthly king is not literally on the throne all the time, yet he continually has the power of the throne and the crown.  God has endowed us with power from on high to overcome sin and the enemy, which Paul refers to in chapter three and chapter six.

In chapter three Paul begins to write about the gentiles and how through the work of Christ they have been joined with the Jews as God’s chosen people, and this combined group of Jews and gentiles are now called the church, the called out people. They are called out of the system of the world dominated by the “ruler of the air” (chapter two).  Paul tells the Ephesians that the church is to show the wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.  Who are these “rulers and authorities”?  And what does it mean for the church to show them the wisdom of God?  When we have questions about the meaning of a Bible passage, it is best to let scripture interpret scripture, so let’s take a look at the final “heavenly realm” passage in Ephesians.

In chapter six we have the famous passage about our spiritual armor.  What do we need spiritual armor for?  To fight spiritual battles with spiritual enemies.  Paul tells us that the enemies are not flesh and blood, but rulers, authorities, dark powers and spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.  So we learn that everything is not beauty and spice and everything nice in the heavenly realms.  We have enemies to fight, battles to win in the heavenly realms.  We must all put on the armor of God every morning.  Each individual joins the army, the church, to defeat the forces of evil.

I help out in a home for needy children in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Every child that comes into the home is a child saved from the devil, who wants to kill, steal and destroy these precious little ones.  When they come to know Jesus as their Savior, and come to the realization that God loves them and wants them to be happy, it gives Satan a black eye.  It is a setback to his evil hordes.  Each child that is seated in the heavenly realms deals a blow to the plans of the rulers and authorities in high places, showing the wisdom and power of God.

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