I love the first few chapters of Genesis, as that gives us a clear picture of our heavenly Father's original intention and plans. Everything in the Garden was "good", however, what we see around us now is a world corrupted by sin (Rom. 8:20,21).
For example, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had supernatural eyesight to see in the spirit. They were created in God's image, and He is Spirit (John 4:24). So as spirit beings they engaged God easily and walked and talked with Him in the cool of the day. They also interacted with other spirit beings, like the devil, who is a fallen angel (Gen. 3:1-7).
Which is why it is so interesting that they were tempted by the words "your eyes will be opened" (Gen. 3:5b). From where I'm sitting, their eyes were already wide open. They were obviously interacting with other spirits in the spirit realm—angels, God Himself—their eyes were already very open to see and hear in the supernatural world, naturally and easily.
So what happened then when they sinned? The Bible says that "the eyes of both were opened" (Gen. 3:7a) but what were they opened to? What did they now see that they hadn't been aware of before?
Their humanity. Their nakedness. Their physical bodies.
And as soon as their eyes were opened to the natural world, they were simultaneously closed to the spiritual world. They didn't talk with angels, fallen or otherwise, and they no longer enjoyed fellowshipping with God in the garden.
Adam and Eve had been effortlessly living in a world where spirit and physical co-existed beautifully and perfectly, but all of a sudden, there seemed to be a separation and a falling- out. Now it appeared to them to be two distinct worlds, no longer accessible as one unified dimension. The supernatural realm immediately became something they felt far removed from, as the natural realm was fast becoming their new reality.
Just like that, their world got very small. They chose not to live out of dependence on the Spirit and relationship with Him, so all of a sudden there were limits and boundaries.
Before, they could eat from the tree of life, which meant they would live forever. God had created time; there was evening and morning. But Adam and Eve had infinite amounts available, so essentially for them, time didn't exist. Until now. The moment they sinned, the countdown started, and their time on earth began running out.
It reminds me of the movie The Matrix. The main idea was that people were under an illusion of what the world consisted of and misunderstood what their lives were even about. Everyone was going about their days believing they were actually living, but it was just an artificial environment and wasn't the real true life they could be experiencing.
Unfortunately, as Adam and Eve's descendants, we have unwittingly found ourselves in a similar situation. Ever since the fall, we've been born into the illusion that the confines of this four-dimensional matrix are actually a limit to us. We believe our world is only made up of what our natural eyes see and our physical ears hear.
But God says don't look at this natural world and the things that are seen; look at the things that are unseen (2 Cor. 4:18).
The spirit realm is right here. All around us. The supernatural infuses the natural. Christ is all and in all and in Him all things hold together (Col. 1:17; 3:11). Christ is Spirit, so it is spirit that is holding all this seemingly solid physical world together.
Where is heaven? We might be tempted to think it's a couple billion light years away, far off in a distant galaxy somewhere. But Jesus declared the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 10:7). The kingdom of heaven has come near you (Luke 10:9). The kingdom of heaven is in your midst; the kingdom of heaven is within you (Luke 17:21).
How many other ways could He say, "It's here! It's now! Live into heaven and live out of it"?
Like magnetic fields, radio waves and wifi signals—it's invisible. But just because we can't see any of those things doesn't mean they aren't there, surrounding us all the time, literally permeating our atmosphere.
It is significant to notice the very first recorded words of Jesus' public ministry. What does He say, before anything else? Matthew 4:17 tells us: "Repent!" In the Greek the meaning of that word is "think differently." (Strong's Greek Number: 3340, μετανοέω, metanoeo: I repent, change my mind, literally, "think differently afterwards.")
Basically, Jesus is saying, "Get a new mindset. See this differently than you have been. Change your thinking about this."
Sure thing, Jesus. We can do that! What do we need to think differently about? What are You telling us to get a new understanding on?
Jesus explained, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17b).
He's saying, "Hey, you know that heaven you've been looking for? It's arrived. That kingdom you've been waiting for? Yeah, it's here right now, actually. It's not far off. It's not way in the distance separate from you. It's close by! Adjust your thinking. See the truth! The kingdom of heaven is here. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. The kingdom of heaven has come near you. The kingdom of heaven is in your midst.
"You had been thinking God was far off. You had been seeing heaven as the sweet by and by and very much removed from your everyday existence. And that's where you missed it. That's what I've come to change. In fact, it is so important, it's the very first thing I'm going to announce and declare. The very first message I'm going to preach to the world: 'Get a new understanding, guys! Wrap your mind around this!'
"The kingdom of heaven is here. And the kingdom of heaven is now."
Charity Virkler Kayembe has a doctorate in biblical studies, is passionate about the sacred supernatural and writes about the unfolding adventure that is walking by the Spirit on her blog at GloryWaves.org. She has been featured on Sid Roth's It's Supernatural!, Cornerstone TV, Charisma magazine and The Elijah List. Charity is the co-author of four books, including Hearing God Through Your Dreams, Unleashing Healing Power Through Spirit-Born Emotions and Everyday Angels.
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