I’ve had an email contributor ask about the term “OPEN HEAVEN” & what this term actually means. I think that’s where we need to start – time & again this we hear words & phrases used commonly movement but with very little if any explanation or teaching about what is actually meant. the term “Open Heaven” is one such phrase.. my experience of being in this movement, the river is that there is an unspoken understanding that “you know what is meant” because you are experiencing a renewal & are in the ” flow of the river” which as far as I can discern is to do with being in agreement & unity with everything going on around that is said to be prophetic or the presence of God.
ok, so as always I refer to the word of God, for specific references.. the first is from Ezekiel 1 which talks about heaven being opened so that Ezekiel can see visions of God.. the passage goes on to describe God as the four creatures. wheels within wheels. & ultimately a prophetic revelation of Jesus.
2nd reference is from John 1.. this whole chapter deals with who Jesus really is.. I urge you to review these 2 passages together in your own time. v 51 says “Jesus says to him (Nathaniel) I say to you hereafter you shall see Heaven Opened & the angels of God ascending & descending on the son of man” in other words Jesus is confirming here that he is the son of Man & he is God…
both of these scriptures are pointing towards revealing Jesus as both God & risen saviour. Jesus as king of kings is centralised in his rightful authority, from Heaven of heaven. yes it is ALL about him.
so the term “open heaven” as used in the river movement may mean something slightly different. We would expect it to mean a place where Jesus is revealed, – going by the context of these above scriptures… but does it?
here is a portion of a song by William Matthews. (Bethel Musician) we sang this in my Bethelized church
Deep Cries Out
I’ve got a river of living water, a fountain that never will run dry.
Its an Open Heaven you’re releasing and we will never be denied…
so in context of the above scriptures – this makes no sense…. because the purpose of heaven opening is to reveal Jesus – he has already been revealed & ongoingly so through our diligence in promoting the Gospel.. through our words & our lifestyle – through the witness of the Holy spirit in conviction of sin . Fair to assume then that this song teaches us & reinforces what this movement really believes an “open heaven” is…
Bethel teach that heaven can be present on earth, this is Kingdom Now – theology – & of course in Heaven there is no pain, sickness or death.. – the River movement teaches that we can have the presence of God right here & now in such abundance that there is nothing that is not allowed in heaven allowed on earth either… & that we are the ones responsible for bringing it in… through our fervent prayerful longing & obedience
the evidence for such an “open heaven” of course is the amount & magnitude of miracles signs & wonders, experienced… those inside of this movement will argue that Jesus is being revealed through signs & wonders & healings etc. because they feel that he is glorified & honoured this way.. however, is the emphasis here on knowing what Jesus has accomplished on the cross… are people responding to the Holy Spirit out of conviction of sin & repentance, are these things ever even mentioned?
the emphasis of the above song is having an open heaven experience where no one is denied their healing/miracle & this of course appeals to our flesh.. & its not what the bible teaches, blessed are those who are persecuted, & the poor will always be among us … furthermore, if total physical healing for all is for every person who accepts Christ, then he has power enough to restore them at the moment of conversion to him & we would see this without exception..
trials & difficulties come in our lives to help us grow in character, im not saying that God cant or doesn’t heal or work miracles I believe very much that he can.. but I also believe he works all things together for the good of those who love him.. we don’t often know his will but we submit to it even if it means the tough road… Bethelized teaching tho tends to point to “pray & believe all the bad stuff away – because God cant possibly want that for anyone” see that attitude serves our need for want very often, making our lives easier… in short it becomes all about ME my miracle, my experience, & my ministry….
& the whole slant of this teaching lives in denial of the biblical truth, that there will one day be a new heaven & a new earth…. well why so? if heaven & earth can be joined now.