January 18, 2017
The Court of Heaven (Part 1): Do You Know You Have Access To It?
And when we examine Scripture, there are many references to legal terms in God's relationship with men: judgment, appeals, law, contract, evidence, witnesses, indictment, jurisdiction, debt and debtors, redemption, punishment, condemn, testimony, and verdict. Starting to get the idea? And we must always keep in mind the admonition of our Lord: Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven. The judicial system of the ancient Israelites, as well as our own court system, are modeled upon the Court in Heaven. Furthermore, the Court is part of the judicial government of the Kingdom of Heaven, and guess what? We have access to it as part of His Kingdom here on earth!
First, I want us to understand that there are really two aspects of the Court of Heaven for Believers: 1) Jesus as our legal defender, and 2) our ability to prepare a case for our own defense. In both instances, we can be present and have access to God in this heavenly Courtroom.
Let me see if I can paint a picture for you from Scripture... In Zechariah, Chapter 3, the prophet receives a vision from a guiding angel of the High Priest, Joshua, standing before God, and Satan stands to his right, as his accuser. The High Priest Joshua represents disobedient and sinful Israel, who has been brought to the Court of Heaven to receive what Satan thinks will be justified punishment for their sins. (Remember: He is known as the Accuser). But that isn't what happens! God rebukes Satan and replaces Joshua's filthy rags with the clean white robes of forgiveness.
Then it gets even more exciting! God counsels Joshua, telling him that if he will be faithful and walk in the ways of the Lord, he will be given greater authority to govern His house and have charge of His earthly courts, and most importantly, Joshua will have free access to the Court in Heaven and to God's presence. I want you to read that last comment again ... God promised Joshua privileged access into the presence of God. This isn’t a surprising promise for a High Priest, but we have the same promise: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16).
NOTE: I am currently seeking revelation from God about whether the Court of Heaven takes place in the Throne Room of God. At this time, I am seeing Daniel 7:9-10 as confirming this, but I have asked some notable Bible scholars for their opinion, and I will give you their feedback as I receive it. But for your own discernment and determination, here is the passage in Daniel: As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool; His throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before Him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. I see both the Throne Room and the Court of Judgment pictured in this Scripture, but as to whether they always coincide together, I am not prepared to say. And perhaps the Court appears in the Throne Room only when God (The Judge) calls the Court into session. What do you think?
But I don't want us to skip over another very important fact ... God's promise wasn’t just that we can go to the Court of Heaven to petition, making a formal request for a Judicial decision, but if we will follow God's commandments and live in obedience, then we can oversee the affairs of the Judge (God), and make the decisions!! That is a realm of authority in the Kingdom Government on earth that is available to all of us! So it’s not just about us being able to appear in Court to plead our case, (it starts there, of course), but we are given the authority to rule and reign and be part of God's justice system in His earthly Kingdom. In that particular responsibility, there is a significant aspect of our position in the Kingdom of God that I'm afraid most Christians don't fully understand... We are Kings and priests of our God, and He intends for us to participate as the government of heaven will increasingly invade the earth.
There are other obvious views of the Court of Heaven in the Bible. Perhaps the most familiar one is in the story of Job ... One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan who was his designated Accuser came along with him. We also see that the Court in Heaven is where Satan got permission to curse Job and strike him with severe sores and other misfortune. It is important for us to understand, as in this case with Job, God does allow Satan to attack and harass His people, but He always strictly regulates what Satan is allowed to do. And whether we realize it or not, Satan has been going to the Heavenly Courtroom, (just like he did with Job), to get permission to steal from all of our lives. And because we Christians haven't known that we can go into Court and say, "NO, I want to present my case and oppose what the Accuser is saying", we have experienced defeat after defeat! How often have Believers perished for lack of this knowledge?!?
And I don't want to leave this topic without pointing out one of the strongest visions of the Court of Heaven, which takes place in Revelation 12:10: Then I heard a strong (loud) voice in heaven, saying, Now it has come—the salvation and the power and the kingdom (the dominion, the reign) of our God, and the power (and the authority) of His Christ (the Messiah); for the Accuser of our brethren, he who keeps bringing before our God charges against them day and night, has been cast out.
But here's something we must also consider ... in the instance of Job, we know that Satan was allowed to appear before the Court of Heaven, and accuse Job before God, The Judge. But in the first 12 chapters, Job does nothing to defend himself. He laments the attacks against him, but does nothing to defend himself --- until Chapter 13! Finally, in this chapter he says, NOW I have prepared my case (verse 18). So, do you think Job might have saved himself and his family a lot of harm and suffering if he had prepared his case earlier? Would he have been able to block Satan's attempt to destroy him and his family in the Court? No one can say for sure, but Job makes it quite evident that now that he's prepared his case, he knows he will be vindicated!
Can we perhaps learn a lesson from Job and be prepared to make our own cases in the Court of Heaven against our Accuser? Stay tuned for the next post as I present how the whole Heavenly Court system is rigged on our behalf, and how we can go to the Court on behalf of ourselves and our families, with the knowledge that Jesus stands with us. It's time we begin to prepare our own defense against the lies and accusations of our Adversary!
Thank you to the notes of Steven McKie, David Herzog, and Terry Spencer of New Horizon Community Church for their helpful insight on this topic. They pointed me to Scripture on the Court of Heaven, which contributed to my understanding of this Biblical concept.
Psalm 35:1 "Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me".