New Life of Beauty and Grace
For by grace you have
been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 WEB


Two Realms of Habitation

It is hard enough learning how to live in one world, this one. Yet, our calling is to learn to live in two realms at once. It’s no good saying you can’t—God knows you can with His help. In fact, you have already been “seated with Christ” in the heavenlies. You are in this world, but not of it: Like our spiritual forefather Abraham, we are on pilgrimage through this life looking for the “city not made with hands” which God is building with the new creations He is raising up.[1]

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6 ESV

Flying with Two Wings

A common complaint against “hyper-religious” people is that they can be so heavenly minded that they are of little earthly good. We certainly want to avoid that pitfall, but it can be just as Stairways to Heaven : Two Realms of Habitationdebilitating to be only earthly minded with none of heaven’s freshness breezing through. Just as a bird needs both of its wings to fly, we need to learn the way of balance when faced with any set of “matched pairs”—especially since we are already living in two realms of habitation. 

The truth is that eternal life is in us right now.[2] We are seated with Christ in the heavenlies right now. We have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. We have already come to the city of God.[3] This is surely meant to give some advantages to our life on earth. Why would the Lord tell us these things if it was meant to be nothing more than a pretty thought buried in the pages of a Book?

The truth is stranger and stronger than an ordinary common sense view of earth would have us suppose. We are eternal beings—entirely new creations—living temporarily in physical bodies.[4] No matter how badly we may have it in the moment, we will outlast the Grand Canyon and our best years have only just begun. Our future is glorious! Now, that’s a heavenly thought guaranteed to lift anyone’s feelings. Reach through to heaven and grab it; see what it does to your heart when you connect with it. We have been given a stake in heaven to keep our hearts encouraged and to give us victories in the battles.

A. Encouragement: A Change of Perspective

Everything on earth looks different and better from heaven’s perspective. The perfect natural analogy for this is the way things appear as you rise in an airplane above the earth’s surface. The jumbled dwellings, crowded thoroughfares and inevitable eyesores of natural decay and human neglect slowly take on a different aspect. Soon the sprawling surface looks more lovely, more orderly, and more intelligently designed than when it was thrust in your face. Or think of how stunningly beautiful the earth appears in those photos taken from outer space. Jesus lives with that perspective always before Him. He sees things down here differently from us.[5]

The Lord God has issued a standing invitation for us to “come up higher,” get our eyes back on Jesus, and see things from heaven’s perspective.[6] When should we take Him up on the offer?  Anytime we become troubled by gazing too deeply at earth’s woes or our own. Hannah Whithall Smith once wrote that for every “one look at self” we should take ten looks at Jesus.[7] His perspective is truth—unchanging eternal truth—and it is always liberating, if you gain eyes to see it and have a heart to believe it.[8] God’s perspective is so good that He is even laughing at His enemies![9]

Here are two methods for enhancing your vision:

1) See Earth by “Looking Through” the Eternal Promises

Use the promises of God to open your eyes to see present trouble in the right light. We are promised that our sins are forgiven and not held against us, that all things are being made to work for our good, and that God is loving us every step of the way (no matter how badly we may be doing).[10]  The final outcome is always going to be worth the pain of the passage.[11]  If God the Father and Jesus see me as someone They always want to love, forgive and make good plans for, then what do I have to complain about?  In fact, I want to rise up higher and see not only myself and my life, but everything and everyone from heaven’s perspective.

2) See People by “Looking Through” to Heaven

This is especially helpful for those who have lost a loved one or are afflicted by someone’s stubborn ways. The ultimate cure for grief is to “see” that your departed loved one is truly in heaven, is deliriously happy to be there, has no complaints about how they got there, and actually want you to be happy for them while you wait your turn to come up. This also works incredible well when someone close to you is bound up in ways that are painful to you as well as to them. You can’t see how they will ever change. “Look through” that earth-bound blindness to heaven. See that one Day they will be there, they will be completely set free, and your relationship with them will be fully restored. So relax and thank God that He has good plans for transforming them. Amazingly, in the letting go of our cares by “looking through” to heaven, God often works wonders down here.

B. Battle: Displacing the Enemy

As residents of two realms we have been given authority to affect both earth and heaven.

1) First the Earth Realm

When the New Testament mentions “the flesh” or “the body” in a negative way it is ALWAYS referring to the fallen nature and its effects, such the body’s mortality and subjection to “decay.” Likewise, when the world is described negatively it is that which is fallen about humanity and controlled by the kingdom of darkness, not people themselves or the earth. Bring the Lord in, get the enemy out, and watch both human beings and the earth respond with beauty and fruitful growth. Don’t lose your vision!

2) Now the Heavenlies

The kingdom of darkness has apparently set up operational headquarters above us, not in hell where popular imagination has them. No doubt some are there tormenting the damned, but that is probably not their preferred assignment. They are spread out like weeds all over the earth and, surprisingly, in the heavens. Not the highest heaven—that’s God’s heaven. Scriptures shows Satan making appearances there, barging in to demand that someone be “sifted” and hurling accusations.[12] Nevertheless, the evil ones are in “heavenly places” according to Paul.[13] Since Paul told us that he was lifted up to the third heaven, the common short-hand for Satan’s domain is the “second heavens.”

Under the leadership of Jesus, we are equipped to wage a war of displacement against these “second heaven overlords” in two ways. By prayer Daniel evidently assisted an angel fighting his way past second heaven resistance. Something of the enemy’s power over Persia was displaced as Daniel fasted and prayed.[14] Additionally, by repentance and righteous living, the enemy loses his ability to set up shop over whole territories in order to curse them with oppression.[15] When true liberty in Christ is restored even the land recovers.[16]

Solomon’s great prayer of dedication for the Temple brought a divine response, indicating that with prayer and true repentance the land would be healed. This necessarily means that an accompanying victory would have been won in the heavenlies against the powers and principalities enforcing that curse upon the land which had begun due to the people’s disobedience. Our disobedience builds the enemy’s empire; our return to righteousness topples it. Jesus said that whatever we would bind on earth would be bound in heaven.[17] Does this have a second heavens counterpart? This is not meant to be a definitive answer, but a goad to get you seeking and praying for your part in the battle.

Next Double to See

Two Invisible Kingdoms  You won’t find this in your science books. They don’t even have it on their radar. What science reveals to us, however, is the presence of invisible realities we never knew existed. Things like bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, and radioactive emissions threaten our lives even though we cannot see them. It’s time to gain eyes to see what science is blind to. Two invisible kingdoms are at war all around you; sometimes you even feel the “tug of war” going on within you. It really helps to know what you are up against.

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Heaven’s Perspective Scriptures

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Psalms 2:2-4 ESV

The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. Psalms 37:12-13 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. Ephesians 1:3-4 ESV

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 ESV

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Hebrews 11:8-10 ESV

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24 ESV

Scripture and Foot Notes

[1]  For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Hebrews 11:10 ESV
[2]  And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 ESV
[3]  This passage makes it clear that we have already entered two realms of habitation: But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering. Hebrews 12:22 ESV 
[4]  Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:5-6 ESV
[5]  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV
[6]  Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 WEB;
Look to me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. Isaiah 45:22 WEB
[7]  Hannah Whitall Smith, The God of All Comfort. Moody Press: Chicago. 1956. p. 140. Hannah gives this statement as a quote she learned from a book by Adelaide Proctor (no further citation is given).
[8]  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  John 8:31-32 ESV
[9]  He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Psalms 2:4 ESV
[10]  See the Father’s Heart of Love at These truths can be found in Romans 8:28-39 among many other places. Find the promises that best open your eyes and steady your heart.
[11]  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18 ESV
[12]  Remember the story of Job in the Old Testament and Peter in the New: "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat." Luke 22:31 ESV;
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. Zechariah 3:1 ESV
[13]  Paul speaks of wickedness “in heavenly places” in Ephesians 3:10 and 6:12. His experience in the “third heaven” is described in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4
[14]   In Daniel 10:10-20 an angel tells of having to battle through from heaven past the “prince of Persia” in order to reach Daniel. Since no earthly prince could possibly delay an angel, this is evidently one of the dark kingdom’s rulers.
[15]   According to the extensive testimony of Deuteronomy 28 it is clear that our own sins bring a curse. This has an accumulated effect upon even the land we inhabit: For the land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land mourns, and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up. Jeremiah 23:10 ESV

The Lord told Solomon the land could “be healed” with sufficient prayer and repentance: If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
[16]  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Romans 8:20-21 ESV
[17]   “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:18-19 ESV

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Rescued from Hell

I'm Steve, a former hippie and carpenter, now a passionate follower of Jesus.

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