The open heaven experiences happening in the body of Christ today are not just a passing fad. According to the book of Hebrews, they have been part of every believer’s inheritance in Christ for two thousand years. Here are a few highlights:
Heb. 1:3 – Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory, seated in heaven on the right hand of the Majesty on high. This same Christ who lives in us on earth shines with glory in heaven.
Heb 1:5-9 – Jesus is preeminent, though some believers may see angels. This echoes the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration: there was a cloud of glory, an appearing of Moses and Elijah, and a voice from heaven – “This is My beloved Son; hear Him!” Whatever we see or hear in the open heavens, Jesus must always be our focus.
Heb. 2:10 – the captain of our salvation is working to bring many sons to glory. God’s glory and the heavens can seem far away, but God Himself is working to get us there.
Heb 3:1 – we are partakers of a heavenly calling. What is a heavenly calling? It’s like the Macedonian call Paul received: someone from Macedonia called him to come to Macedonia. A heavenly calling means that the Lord from heaven has called us to join him there.
Heb 4:16 – “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” This is an invitation to the throne room, where God waits for us with a supply of grace for our needs. We can approach the throne room by faith, asking for grace from heaven to meet our needs in the earth. But if people are having throne room experiences today, this is simply another fulfillment of this verse.
Heb. 6:18-20 – we are tied to Jesus, who is like an anchor for us in His position in the holiest place in the glory of the Father in heaven. Our rope or our chain may be long or short, but God does not allow us to drift far from the heavenly calling.
Heb 7:25 – Jesus is making intercession for us, so He can save us to the uttermost. He is interceding so we will receive the richest possible salvation. Some might barely squeak into heaven, but Jesus is interceding as a high priest so many sons will come into God’s glory. He is thinking in terms of how great His salvation can be in our lives.
Heb 9:11-15 – Christ’s priesthood has secured our eternal inheritance in the heavens. How do we get in? We follow His red carpet – the trail of His blood – and it leads us into the heavenly inheritance He has promised us.
Heb 10:19-23 – we enter the heavens boldly by the body and blood of Jesus Christ. For two thousand years, Christians have believed this promise could be theirs by faith when they pray. But God has often awakened the spiritual senses of His people so they could experience the power of these verses while living for Him in their mortal bodies.
Heb 10:34 – the Hebrews had experienced their heavenly inheritance. The Greek text makes it clear that they knew their heavenly inheritance not just by revelation, but by experience. This empowered them to endure persecution and injustice joyfully.
Heb. 12:22-24 – we have already come to the heavenly Jerusalem in Christ. These verses present a cast of characters we can expect to meet in heaven: an innumerable company of angels, Christ the mediator of the new covenant, God the judge of all, the general church of the Firstborn, and more. Therefore it should not surprise us that people sometimes testify that they have seen Jesus, seen the throne of God, seen angels, or even seen other believers in heaven.
Heb. 13:2 – the open heavens were so real to the early church that the writer to the Hebrews noted that some had unwittingly entertained angels. This means the early church did not think the heavens would open only as they died. It was something they expected and experienced in their mortal bodies, knowing that even more would be available to them after they departed this life.
Summary: The book of Hebrews makes it clear that believers have a heavenly inheritance in Christ, a calling into the heavens, a High Priest who intercedes to bring us in, a God who waits for us to approach His throne for grace to meet our needs, a whole cast of characters we will meet in heaven, and ample evidence that we can expect to experience these things while still alive in our mortal flesh.