An Open Or Closed Heaven?
Are You Living Under . . .
In 1 Samuel 3 we have an interesting scenario. The chapter commences with this statement: “And the Word of the Lord was precious (“rare”) in those days; there was no open vision (“a means of divine revelation. It refers to a prophetic vision by which divine messages are communicated”).”
Unger’s Bible Dictionary says, “There was no public and recognized revelation of the divine will.”
Let us go now to the last verse of this same chapter, where we read:
“And the Lord appeared (“a looking, seeing; appearance form; vision as granted to the prophets” – Wilson’s) again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the Word of the Lord.”
What we have here is a situation where the chapter starts with a spiritually closed heaven ov er the priesthood, and the nation of Israel, and finishes with a spiritually opened heaven over the same nation.
I believe there was.
ELI THE PRIEST:
Eli was the reigning priest of the Lord at the time of Samuel’s birth. Samuel had been born as a result of the cry of his barren mother’s heart. She had promised God that if He gave her a son, she would give him back to the Lord for His service.
The burden to conceive became so strong on Hannah, that one day when she was praying in the temple, Eli saw her and thought she was drunk! He rebuked her! Eli did not come across as a godly, spiritual leader. He could not discern the difference between a godly desire/burden and a drunkard! He was not a good family man, as he had allowed his own sons to prostitute the women of the church (1 Samuel 1 & 2). The only record we have of God speaking to Eli is in 1 Samuel 2:27-36. It is a message of judgment upon him and his household for their failures to obey the commands of the Lord! It came via a prophet. There is no record of God speaking personally – One on one – to Eli. And it was Eli who had the responsibility of mentoring Samuel into the work of the ministry!
Between the first and last verses of 1 Samuel 3, we have the amazing record of Samuel discovering the voice of God for his own life. He is asleep, and is woken by a voice. Samuel did not at that point know the voice of God for himself. He thought the voice was Eli’s, so his servant heart caused him to rise, and walk through the temple to where Eli was! He woke Eli up and asked him what he wanted. Eli sent him back to bed. That happened three times before Eli finally perceived that God was trying to talk to the young man. Eli should have perceived what was happening the first time, but he was not sensitive to the voice of God (he could not hear it for himself). S amuel was instructed that if the voice came again the fourth time, he was to respond in a certain way. The voice did come again and Samuel discovered the voice he was hearing was not the voice of a man, but the voice of God! At that moment something happened in the spirit realm that unlocked the closed heaven over Israel and released an open heaven!
It is hearing the voice of God into our own spirit and life – and knowing it is GOD!
Heaven opened over Israel because God found someone He could talk to!
God found someone who would listen to Him – and obey.
That night God spoke things into Samuel’s spirit that set him up for the rest of his life and ministry. He told Samuel of the reaction that would reverberate throughout the nation as He judged the spiritual leaders. That was quite a shock for the young Samuel to hear God speak such things of the man and family he was submitted to. Eli and his sons’ lifestyles were such that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) listen to God and His prophets. That disobedience had closed heaven over their lives and, because of their positions, over the whole nation! It never opened again until that night when Samuel heard the voice of God! That which happened in the spirit realm through Samuel hearing the voice of God had such an impact, that out of it “all Israel knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord” (v. 20).
When we Christians listen to the voice of God to our own lives, it opens the way for God to reveal Himself to us more fully and freely. That is what an open heaven is. It is living with nothing between! Nothing to hinder God from doing what He wants to do in and through us.
Everything we receive from God comes by revelation – by hearing His voice! That is called “hearing the Word of the Lord.”
The same principle applies today. If a nation is not listening to God, it lives under a closed heaven. It applies also to churches and to individual Christians.
UZZIAH AND ISAIAH:
In 2 Chronicles 26 we read of a very successful king by the name of Uzziah. He came to power at a young age (16) and allowed a spiritual man (Zechariah) to impart into his life. Zechariah was a man who lived under an open heaven, because“he had understanding in the visions of God” (v. 5). That word “understanding” is a spiritual word meaning “to separate, distinguish, to discern, to mark, to understand, all which depend on the power of separating, distinguishing, discriminating; specially to discern, perceive” (Wilson’s). The word “visions” here is “to see in vision, i.e. to be taught of God in vision as the prophets” (Wilson’s). Zechariah received spiritual revelation from God and passed it on to Uzziah.
Zechariah and Uzziah were a great combination. As a result, Uzziah was “always ahead of” the other kings and nations around him. It was not until he allowed pride to enter his heart that things went horribly wrong for him. He stepped outside his realm of authority and offered incense in the temple – not his job to do. He ignored the warnings – the judgment of God fell. Uzziah came out of the temple a leper, and remained a leper until he died. Pride closed heaven over Uzziah, then the nation of Israel. Spiritually, things went into decline. The revelation of God could no longer be obeyed.
It wasn’t until Uzziah died that we see heaven opened again over Israel. We read about that in Isaiah 6:
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne . . ."
The voice, revelation, vision of God came again through the Prophet Isaiah. He brought a new season of the voice and revelation of God, calling the people to commit themselves to the service of God:
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
THE OPEN WINDOWS OF MALACHI 3:10:
Perhaps the most well-known Scripture on this subject is in Malachi 3:10. This verse is often used to generate Christians more in the area of their tithing and giving. The message here is a rebuke to the people for not heeding the voice of the messenger – the one who walks under an open heaven. Because of the people’s disobedience to the Word, they had fallen into the trap of serving God outside the realm of that which God required. They had robbed God – but didn’t know it. The house of God had fallen into disrespect. They were doing their “religious thing” rather than what God was saying.
The challenge went out, “Prove Me now, says the Lord!” He was saying, “You do what I ask you and the windows of heaven will be opened in abundance unto you!” It included their financial giving, for our money represents us (we spend so much time working to get it!) God wants our obedience more than He wants our money. The result of an open heaven is“And all nations shall call you blessed . . . says the Lord” (v. 12).
JESUS BROUGHT AN OPEN HEAVEN (Matthew 3:16-17):
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased’” (NIV).
Jesus was born at a time when heaven was closed over the earth. But at His water baptism, the heavens were opened, the voice of God came, and the public ministry of Jesus was about to be launched. The whole world has felt the impact of Jesus!
HEAVEN OPENED TO SAUL (PAUL) :
In Acts 9, 22 and 26, we read of Saul of Tarsus getting wonderfully changed by the power of God. Even though he had been brought up as a very religious man, he had never known an open heaven! It was “head knowledge” more than “heart knowledge”! On his way to Damascus to persecute, maim, and even kill Christians, Jesus intervened and sovereignly called him to serve Him. The moment Saul knew the voice of Jesus, something dramatically changed inside him. Immediately he yielded himself to the will of God. His life changed for the better. Heaven had opened over his life, and, as long as he listened to the voice of Jesus, he would never know a closed heaven again.
Saul went on to become the great Apostle Paul. He lived his life by the revelation of God, listening to His voice, and doing His will. (Galatians 1:12, 15-16; Galatians 2:1-2).
The difference between our walking under a closed heaven or an open heaven is our ability to recognize (discern) the voice of God to our own heart. It is the voice of God – and knowing that voice to be the voice of God – that opens us to the spirit realm. It is called revelation, vision, the Word of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit speaking. To effectively walk under an open heaven we must have that revelation of God.
Have you got it?
Don’t allow the enemy (or your own doubts) to rob you any longer.
Listen to what the Lord says, and . . .
“Whatever He tells you to do, DO IT!” (John 2:5).