1 John 1:51 – And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
In a previous blog on Jacob’s ladder, this verse was discussed to show that Jesus is the ladder. He is our way to heaven. All we have to do is believe on him. God has appointed his Son, God in the flesh, as our way to heaven. We can only go to heaven through believing in him and receiving what he has done for each of us individually. He has done the work. But I have still been thinking on this verse, and in the context of John 1, I ask myself how did Nathanael see heaven opened? Carnal minds cannot fathom the simplicity of the scripture. An unbelieving mind brings spiritual blindness.
Nathanael did see heaven opened hereafter. Spiritually heaven was opened to him because he believed Jesus, and later he was also received into heaven when he died, because he was saved. This verse makes a lot more sense when we understand the importance of the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. People who died before Jesus came did not go to heaven, they all went to the middle of the earth. This is because Jesus had not come yet. Jesus’ blood had not been shed yet. The price had not been paid yet. We are only accepted into heaven based on Jesus. The Saviour was coming. The Saviour has come.
The Bible is clear that in the middle of the earth there were two places, paradise (Abraham’s bosom) and hell. The story of the beggar and the rich man tells us this. The sign of Jonah shows us this. Jesus spent three days in the heart of the earth. When Jesus died, he descended into the lower parts of the earth. The Bible says he preached to the disobedient spirits in prison, he preached to those who had rejected the gospel, who were unbelievers, and he confirmed their doom. He also led captivity captive, he took all the people in paradise to heaven with him. He set the prisoners free. When Jesus died there was a resurrection, dead saints walked on the earth. 2 Corinthians shows that paradise is now in heaven. Revelation says that Jesus has the keys of death and hell. Acts said that death could not hold him. This is why Jesus is our life, things do not stay dead around him, he has life, anyone in Christ will never die. Anyone in Christ cannot die.
John says that no man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven. Jesus ascended back into heaven. He opened heaven to us. He is seated at the right hand of the Father.We can only go to heaven because of Jesus. Heaven is only open to us through Jesus. Jesus is the ladder. He is the door. He is the gate. In the story of Jacob’s ladder in Genesis, the Bible says that the Lord stood above the ladder. Jesus is our link from earth to heaven. Heaven was opened when the Spirit descended upon him like a dove, proving to John that he was the Christ. Jesus entered into the Holy place with his perfect, pure, sinless blood. God’s wrath against sin has been satisfied forever, once for all. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. He is the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. He is our high priest that has passed into the heavens. He only can pardon us. He only can forgive us. We can only go to heaven because of him. We only see heaven open because of him.
The Bible says that the heavens will literally be opened in a time very soon. The heavens will be opened in the future to reveal the coming Son of Man. The Bible says the tribes of the earth shall mourn and wail because of him. The Bible says the heaven will depart as a scroll. This time Jesus will be coming in war. For unbelievers, this will not be a joyous event. Jesus is coming in judgement. He will smite the wicked. He will rule with a rod of iron. He will put down all resistance. He will slay the armies of the wicked that ultimately gather together against him. Jesus will reign on earth. Then will earth experience true peace, true rest, true judgement.
Anyone can go to heaven today. The open heaven is available to all of us, yet only a few of us will experience the spiritual reality of the open heaven, and then the physical blessing of being welcomed into the open heaven for an eternity with our Saviour. For the believer, we have a blessed hope, because we not only experience the spiritual reality of the heavens opened as we commune with and have fellowship with God. But we will also see heaven opened physically at the translation, the rapture, when believers dead and alive are caught up together with the Lord in the clouds. Heaven is only open through the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. You will only see the open heaven if you believe and receive the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Receive his death, burial and resurrection in your place by faith. That’s all there is to it. You can do nothing. I can do nothing. It’s about faith. It’s about believing what Jesus has done. This is the work of God, that you believe on him who he has sent.