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What is the open heaven concept?

open heaven
Question: "What is the open heaven concept?"

The idea of “open heaven” is growing in popularity among Charismatics today, who look for tangible proof of heaven on earth and see times of God’s presence being poured out over the life of an individual, a church, a city, or a nation. Such “open heaven” times are characterized by revival, outpoured blessings, and manifestations of God’s glory and power. A window in heaven has been opened, and those under the opening experience miracles, healings, wealth, and other blessings.

According to proponents of the open heaven teaching, an open heaven is a season of blessing when revelation is bountiful through God’s apostles and prophets, God’s people experience visitations from angels, God’s presence dwells among us, and the church receives an influx of wealth and financial resources.

Teachers of the open heaven doctrine point to various passages of Scripture in which they say a season of an open heaven occurred. Isaiah 64:1 is a primary passage: “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!” Other open heaven passages cited include Ezekiel’s vision in the first chapter of his book, Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3:16, Jesus’ promise to Nathanael in John 1:51, Stephen’s martyrdom in Acts 7:54–61, John’s vision in Revelation 4, and “Jacob’s ladder” in Genesis 28.

Based on these passages, some believe that God is again sending seasons of open heavens with more and more frequency. They see modern-day apostles emerging, angels appearing, the voice of God thundering, and new revelation pouring forth as God makes His presence known.

Maranda Curtis’s song “Open Heaven” details some of the “open heaven” beliefs: “We are under an open heaven / Where His glory shall be revealed / Where the sin, sick all shall heal / We are under an open heaven / We are under an open heaven / Where his power shall overflow / Where the broken shall be made whole.” Likewise, the Pentecostal band Hillsong Worship has a song called “Open Heaven (River Wild)” that speaks of signs and wonders, dreams and visions, and an “Open heaven / Crashing over me.” Also, there are numerous Christian books currently with “Open Heaven” in their titles.

Part of the purpose in seeking an “open heaven” is to have God become more real in our lives as we move away from ritualism into a deeper relationship with Him. Such a goal is worthy, but the open heaven movement, like many trends in the Charismatic realm, moves away from Scripture as the sole source of truth, substituting experience, modern-day prophecies, and a yearning for the exceptional.

Recommended Resource: A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement by Geivett & Pivec

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