Contrasting Visions in Heaven before and after Jesus’ birth
Vision of Heaven as seen by Ezekiel – Living creatures and God
“As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings.” (Eze 1:4-6 ESV)
“And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings. And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance.” (Eze 1:25-26 ESV)
“These were the living creatures that I saw underneath the God of Israel by the Chebar canal; and I knew that they were cherubim.” (Eze 10:20 ESV)
Vision of Heaven as seen by Isaiah – The Seraphim and God
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isa 6:1-3 ESV)
We see in both the visions, there is God and there are the Cherubim and Seraphim creatures. The Seraphim are similar to Cherubim in description. The tabernacle was also modelled in the most holy place based on the above. God is described as one seated below the glorious Cherubims:
“O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.” (Isa 37:16 ESV)
“The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!” (Psa 99:1 ESV)
Also Moses was to make the glory of God by representing God in the “mercy” seat and Cherubims spread over the mercy seat thus:
“Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. “ (Exo 25:19-21 ESV)
Question: Where is Jesus? Jesus has no mention either in heaven or the tabernacle design. Also no-one under the Old covenant worshipped Jesus because he simply did not exist.
Now when we come to the vision of God after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven there is a new being in heaven – i.e. The immortalized and exalted Jesus.
Stephen’s vision of heaven in the NEW Testament
“But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Act 7:55-56 ESV)
This is new! Jesus is now at the right hand of God. Jesus is exalted to the right hand of God because of what he achieved through OBEDIENCE! We cannot take this for granted. Jesus did not automatically attain this state nor did he have this position before his birth. His way of life which was different from that of Adam brought eternal life to himself and mankind. Adam brought death through DISOBEDIENCE while Jesus brought life through OBEDIENCE.
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” (1Co 15:21 KJV)
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Rom 5:19 KJV)
Visions of John – NEW song
“And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:9-10 ESV)
Jesus is now active in heaven with the angels, elders and even the living creatures subject to him. This was not the vision neither Moses saw when he interacted with God, neither Ezekiel nor Isaiah. Only John sees these visions because Jesus came into existence at this point of time.
“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. “ (Rev 5:11-14 ESV)
They sing about the slain lamb (“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,”) and give glory now to God AND AND AND AND the Lamb.
The “AND” relationship is important to understand and emphasize as the scriptures emphasize.
Contrast the ‘AND’ formula that is biblical to the unbiblical Formula of ‘Trinity’.
Hierarchy in heaven and earth – Then and Now
Old/Previous Hierarchy in heaven and earth
There is hierarchy of roles on earth and heaven. For instance in the church there is diversity yet unity:
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?” (1 Corinthians 12:27-29 KJV)
In heaven also there are cherubs, chief angels, angels, etc. The angel Gabriel asserted his authority as one who stands in the presence of God:
“And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.” (Luke 1:18-19 KJV)
Michael is referred to as a chief Angel:
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one o the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:13 KJV)
NEW/Present Hierarchy in heaven
Amongst all this hierarchy that exists, Jesus after his resurrection has been exalted to the right hand of God, above all, but just below God. He is now only second to God because of his faith and trust he put in his God and brought salvation for all mankind:
“Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” (1 Peter 3:22 KJV)
This new hierarchy was prophesied by king David when he wrote:
“A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” (Psalms 110:1 ESV)
RIGHT HAND: This also very clearly signifies that he is now second to God while God is in the centre of the throne.
John the baptist, Moses or any of the prophets and including angels have not been included in this prophecy. Jesus, A man like you and me would actually sit at the right side of God. David in the Hebrew language distinguishes between the two LORDS. The ASV translation will clarify:
Psa 110:1 A Psalm of David. Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
I.e Jesus after he was resurrected did not set up the Kingdom on earth but ascended to heaven according to the above prophecy till the Father determines the right time to send him back. the reason Jesus has gone to heaven was prophesied.
|Moses (Before Jesus’ time)||Jesus (After his resurrection)|
|God mediated via Angels the law to MosesWho have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. (Acts 7:53 KJV)
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (Galatians 3:19 KJV)
|The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John (Revelation 1:1 KJV)
During the Old Testament Times Jesus was missing as he did not have an existence. When he does appear he is a ‘future’ event or a ‘prophecy’:
As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:12-14 KJV)