When we wake from our nightly sleep we enter once again the realm of the physical world. We shower and dress and eat our breakfast. We head off to work or school or play. We enjoy the company of work mates or school friends or play mates. And our enemies are those who hate us because they are envious of our abilities or possessions or family members. Everything in this realm is physical and real and
But at end of the day we slumber once more and enter a new realm of the mysterious world of sleep and dreams. A realm where we can fly like Peter Pan or jump from enormous heights only to land safely without injury or pain. It is also the realm where can’t stop things from overwhelming us. Freddy Krueger is chasing us and we keep falling over until finally and inevitably he catches us. We are trapped in a tomb in the dark and can’t get out. A realm where everything is larger than the life we know when we are awake. It’s a world we know is surreal. But the Bible tells us of another realm that lies beyond either of these first two. The apostle Paul describes it as the heavenly realm (Ephesians 1:3, 1:20, 2:6, 3:10 & 6:10), which has heaven at its centre, where God reigns on his eternal throne. Heaven, which is at the inner heart of the heavenly realm, is the place reserved for those who dwell in the righteousness of Christ. This includes God himself, the holy angels and all people who have been redeemed and sanctified because of their faith in Christ.
When we come to Christ we are informed that we are “blessed in the heavenly realm with every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3) and are “seated in the heavenly realm with Christ” (Ephesians 2:6). Beyond heaven, but still within the heavenly realm, are the remainder of the spiritual beings who have rebelled against God, including the Devil and unholy angels (also called evil spirits or demons) who have been cast out of heaven. They are described as “the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realm” (Ephesians 3:10). We are warned that humans who oppose us are not the real enemy “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood but the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm” (Ephesians 6:12).
We should not be surprised that when we get serious in standing with Christ in thekingdom of God, the devil responds with attacks against us from the kingdom of darkness. And such attacks are not signs of rejection by God but signs we are being blessed as his able servants (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-9).
by Frank Eames