Not too long ago we shared a post about the recurring phrase in the heavenlies in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Paul taught that:
1) those in Christ have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ,
2) those in Christ are partakers of the same exceeding great power that God wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenlies far above all principality and authority,
3) those in Christ have been quickened (made alive) together with Him, and have been raised up together with Him, and are enthroned together with Him in the heavenlies far above all principality and authority,
4) it is by these (the church) that now the manifold wisdom of God is to be displayed to principalities and authorities in the heavenlies,
5) those in Christ, armed with spiritual armour, wrestle in the heavenlies against the wicked principalities and authorities that are the rulers of the darkness of this present age.
This realm of the heavenlies is the spiritual heritage of those in Christ. How did they get into this heavenly heritage? We answered this question in the post just previous to the one we mentioned above. They were baptized into it.
It is by baptism into Christ (not by water baptism but by Spirit baptism), that we are enthroned together in the heavenly realm with Him who is the Captain of the hosts of the Lord.
The crossing of the river Jordan by Israel under the leadership of Joshua was prophetic of this baptism. Back then they were baptized into their earthly heritage and found themselves engaged in warfare against the inhabitants of that land. Now, both Jews and Gentiles who are baptized into Christ by the Spirit baptism are called to a warfare against spiritual forces in a heavenly heritage.
The Bible called the inheritance of the Israelites the Rest (Dt. 12.9). It was a land for which they did not have to labour. There were cities built which they did not build, houses filled with good things which they did not fill, wells dug which they did not dig, olive yards and vineyards which they did not plant, and they ate the fruit of them. (See Dt. 6.10,11, Josh. 24.13.) It was a prepared place; they did not have to labour for this land.
But they did have to fight for it.
They had to fight for it—but not by their own strategy and strength. They were to diligently obey God, and mind His strategy. All through the book of Joshua and on into the Judges we find that God always had a strategy by which His people triumphed over their adversaries. It was often a very foolish strategy, and apparently very weak. But when His people obeyed His strategy they inevitably triumphed.
Gideon and his little band of three hundred routed a host like a plague of locusts, like the sand of the sea for multitude.
Deborah and Barak with a small contingent from the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali put to flight a great army at Megiddo, where we are told that:
They fought from Heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera (Judges 5.20).
Who fought from Heaven? Barak’s forces, or the stars—the angelic host? Or both?
Again, who fights the war in Heaven prophesied in The Revelation? Yes I know, Michael and his angels (Rev. 12.7). But a few verses later we read—and this is certainly not speaking of angels, but of men who are in the pitch of battle in the heavenlies:
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death (Rev. 12.11).
And so these overcomers, while yet on earth, are fighting in the heavenly realm along with Michael and his angels. And… is not this verse an echo from that prophetic song of Deborah and Barak?
Zebulun and Naphtali were a people who jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field… They fought from heaven… (Judges 5.18, 20).
Both of these passages, the one in Judges and the one in The Revelation, are prophetic of our day, a day when, like those of old, we are up against overwhelming things, forces that—Lord, open our eyes to see where the problem actually is—it’s in the heavenlies! Forces of darkness hold the heights! In the heavenly realm! And from that heavenly vantage point they rule with the power of darkness over the hearts and minds of men. And they are stronger than we; we are up against formidable spiritual forces. And it is futile—I trust we have learned this—it is futile, it is the counsel of certain defeat, it is a foregone disaster, to try to fight these heavenly forces with earthly weapons and carnal strategies. Surely we know this by now…
…And are assured of this also. War in heaven, fighting from the heavens, will defeat these forces, the rulers of the darkness of this age; it will completely rout them from their heavenly stronghold. And the sons of light shall rule in their place; where once darkness ruled, light shall reign. And we will hear that loud voice proclaiming in heaven:
Now is come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ… (Rev. 12:10)
Wondrous hope for this world in great darkness. Let us take up our spiritual armour, then, and take up our positions in the heavenlies, and be ready to hear and obey the strategies of Christ our Captain, weak and foolish though they seem to be.
Doing this we are certain to be the ones left standing on the heavenly field, the ones left in possession of our heavenly heritage, when the battle is over.