Last night I was struggling to keep my thoughts on what is true and honorable and right and pure. I asked the Lord what to do in order to get my thoughts back on track. I believe He led me to read from the gospel of Mark. I was intrigued by Mark 1:10.
And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him. NASB
I thought about what it must have looked like—for the heavens to open. At first I pictured it merely as clouds parting and the Holy Spirit coming down to Him as a dove out of the sky. Then it hit me, as I read verse eleven—“And a voice came out of the heavens…”—that Jesus actually saw into the seventh heaven, that heaven where His Father was, was opened to Him.
Praise God! My thoughts began to be on heaven. God had answered my prayer. The next morning (this morning) I did a little study of this subject. I found seven Bible characters, including Jesus that saw into heaven. I will give them to you in chronological order.
1 & 2. Elisha and his young servant saw horses and chariots of fire—a heavenly army—all around them that were protecting them.
2 Kings 6:15-17.
Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. NASB
3. The heavens were opened to Ezekiel as he was by the river Chebar, and he saw visions of God (Ezek. 1:1). Much of the entire book of Ezekiel records what he saw in these visions. We can learn a lot about heaven from the book of Ezekiel.
4. After Jesus was baptized he saw the heavens opening and He saw the Holy
Spirit like a dove descending upon Him.
And it came about in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.” NASB
5. Stephen, as he was about to be stoned, saw into heaven.
But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56 and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” NASB
6. God allowed John to see through a door into heaven. And he was supernaturally translated out of the physical realm into the spiritual realm, where he saw things as they are in heaven (I got this from John MacArthur).
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. 3 And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. 4 And around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. 5 And from the throne proceed flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; 6 and before the throne there was, as it were, a sea of glass like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. 7 And the first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”
9 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.” NASB
7. Paul was caught up to heaven and heard wonderful words.
2 Corinthians 12:2-4
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a man was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know how such a man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows — 4 was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. NASB
Well, this was quite a good study for me, and has really helped me to think on heavenly things. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:1-4,
If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. NASB