Time or Eternity? ™

Heavenly Places

In Heavenly Places on July 8, 2011 at 8:00 am

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3)

The Church, though “militant here on earth,” is yet ” seated in heavenly places.” She is in a position of conflict and yet of rest, and the rest precedes and is an indispensable condition of successful conflict. The believer finds peace with God, before he begins to fight for God. “When his pardon is signed, and his peace is procured, From that moment the conflict begins.” That position of assured pardon and settled peace, is described by the expression “heavenly places,” which is only used in the Epistle to the Ephesians; but is there used five times, to set before the people of God their calling, dignity, and responsibility.  It is said of Christ that “God raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1: 20.)  It is said of those who are one with Christ, that “God hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Eph. 2:5, 6.)  There they have everything which it is possible for God to give them, for He who is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” (Eph. 1:3)  There angels behold in the mystery of the Church the perfection of God’s counsel, for “now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places (is) known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God,” (Eph. 3:10.)  But here, also, though the scene of all spiritual blessings, of assured forgiveness, of peace with God, is also the scene of determined, ceaseless warfare, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places,” ( Eph. 4:12.)

“Heavenly places,” therefore, are not heaven. In heaven there is no conflict, no wrestling, no spiritual wickedness. The Church that is “militant here on earth,” is in ” heavenly places,” though not in heaven. The redeemed from among men, who constitute that Church, are united to Christ, quickened with Christ, seated with Christ, blessed in Christ, exhibiting in Christ the wisdom of’ God, and fighting in Christ against His enemies. They are justified, but not glorified. Though in the sight of men they are on earth, in the sight of God they are in heavenly places; for they are in Christ, and where the Head is, there is the body.  “Heavenly places” then describe that actual condition, in which every child of God by virtue of a new birth, every member of the bride of Christ by virtue of union, every living soul by virtue of resurrection, is already placed. In the sight of God and of angels, in the positive experience of his own soul, he is in heavenly places, though his feet are yet on earth.

This apparent contradiction is illustrated by the tribes of Israel when in the wilderness. They occupied a twofold position; though it may seem strange to say so, they were in two places at once. As regarded their bodily position, they were in the wilderness—their feet trod the sand of the desert.  As regarded their spiritual position, where were they? Look for a moment into the tabernacle, and see the high priest as he walks amidst the shadows of the heavenly things, amidst those “holy places,” which were “figures of the true.” How is he dressed? What are those flashing jewels that he wears on his heart? Twelve stones, each deeply graven “with the gravings of a signet,” and exhibiting the name of a tribe. They were deeply set in gold, securely fastened to the robe of glory by “chains of gold,” and “laces of blue,” so that they “should not be loosed from the ephod,” “borne upon his heart continually for a memorial before Jehovah for ever.”  There was Israel representatively; indissolubly united to their high priest—in the ever-burning brightness of the light of the holy place,—in its stillness of peace, removed from the stir and bustle of the camp,—fenced in by the curtains of fine linen,— sustained upon the shoulder and the heart of Aaron,—there was every Israelite; though strangers and pilgrims in the wilderness, they were at home in God. He was their dwelling and their restingplace. Few of them might have understood the figure, but it none the less exhibited a glorious truth. For it was a beautiful and expressive type of the twofold position of the Christian. Practically he is on earth, a pilgrim, a soldier, weary, hungering, thirsting. Virtually he is in heavenly places, where Jesus his High Priest is, in the very presence of God. “Your life is hid with Christ in God,” (Col.3:3.)

The twelve stones were indissoluble from the ephod, that garment which, being made of the same material as the veil, symbolised the flesh of Christ, (Heb. 10:20;) but which, being in addition interwoven with gold, showed His immortality in resurrection life, for it could not be rent. They could only be separated from the high priest’s person by hie divesting himself of his garments “for glory and beauty.” That he had to do when it became his duty to make atonement every year with blood of bulls and goats. But Jesus, our High Priest, has made atonement once for all, and once for ever. He need not, cannot lay His glory by again. “Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more.” He wears for ever the garment for glory and beauty, and they who are joined to Him by the purpose and grace of God, can never be separated from Him. His life is their life.  He is their life, and He says, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” The believer may echo the triumphant words of the apostle, and say, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 7:38, 39.) Jesus must lay aside His glory before one of His ransomed ones can be taken from His heart.

Books by LB Tibbs available for Download at US and UK Amazon.com

US Links

Who is Jesus Christ?

The Way to Jesus Christ

In the Beginning

Death is the Enemy of Man

Christian Growth and Experience

Now Faith is..

Eternal Life in Christ

UK Links

Who is Jesus Christ?

The Way to Jesus Christ

In the Beginning

Death is the Enemy of Man

Christian Growth and Experience

Now Faith is..

Eternal Life in Christ

 

 

 

 

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