open heaven
What does the term 'open heaven' really mean in the Bible? (Flickr / Florin Gorgan)

While ministering in Long Island, New York, recently, the Holy Spirit asked me a question right in the middle of worship. "What happened in the Bible when an open heaven occurred?" 

I thought I knew the answer as I had studied this out a few times before. But instead of thinking I knew it all, I turned to the Holy Spirit and asked Him to show me in the Word of God.

I was quickly thrown in a Bible study that truly had the spirit of revelation on it. The download that came was amazing indeed. The following is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me from the Bible on "What Happens in an Open Heaven."

The following are some of the occasions in Scripture of when open heavens occurred and what happened as a result.

Genesis 28:13—Jacob fell to sleep on a rock and had a vivid dream where a ladder came down from heaven with angels ascending and descending. God stood at the top of the ladder as Jacob's perspective was changed concerning his assignment.

Ezekiel 1:26-28—The Radiant One appears in the midst of the four living creatures and the fire of God. Ezekiel sees the manifested dimension of the glory of God resulting in worship and the release of the penetrating voice of the Lord.

Matthew 3:16-17—The Holy Spirit descended and remained upon Jesus as the voice of the Father spoke declaring, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Acts 7:54, 55—Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit and gazed into heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

Acts 9:5—Saul had an intense God Encounter that changed his life, brought him to salvation and resulted in an apostolic call was released.

Acts 10—The sky was loosened while Peter was in meditation and the apostolic gospel to the Gentiles was given by revelation.

Revelations 4:1-2—A door was standing open in heaven and a sound came forth saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this." Then John was shown the throne of God and Him who sits up the throne.

What He did before He will do again! Like in historic revivals, open heavens on are the increase in our day. What can we expect in a true open heaven? Apostolic commissionings emerge, angels appear, the voice of the Lord rattles every cage, revelation pours forth and so much more happens.

But the common thread that I found in the midst of all the scriptural activities was profound and yet amazingly simple. God became more real! God stood at the top of the ladder, the radiant one manifested, the Holy Spirit descended, salvation was actualized, Jesus stood up, the Gentiles heard the gospel and worship resulted as the Ancient of Days took His place!

So like the dream in my previous email exhorted us, "Let's Get Positioned Properly for an Open Heaven!" Get into kingdom alignment. Step out of the shadows of the side edges and move into the center of His Word, will and ways. Be centered in Him—after all being "centered in Christ" is the best place to be!

Dr. James W. Goll is the president of Encounters Network, director of Prayer Storm and coordinates Encounters Alliance, a coalition of leaders. He is director of God Encounters Training—an e-school of the heart—and is a member of the Harvest International Ministries apostolic team. He has shared Jesus in more than 50 nations worldwide, teaching and imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry and life in the Spirit. Goll is the prolific author and co-author of numerous books—including Shifting Shadows of Supernatural Experiences (co-authored with Julia Loren), from which this article is adapted—and has also produced multiple study guides and hundreds of audio and video messages.

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