â€œAnd he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.â€ (John 1:51)
by Dr. Henry Morris, Ph.D.
In Jacobâ€™s dream (Genesis 28:12), angels were ascending and descending on a great ladder between Earth and heaven. Christ promised a future reality in which He Himself would be the ladder to the opened heaven.
But that was to be â€œhereafter.â€ Until Christ came to die and rise again, heaven was closed, for nothing unclean could enter there and death had â€œpassed upon all men, for that all have sinnedâ€ (Romans 5:12). Even those who died in faith could only be â€œcomfortedâ€ in â€œAbrahamâ€™s bosomâ€ deep â€œin the heart of the earthâ€ (Luke 16:22, 25; Matthew 12:40), because â€œit is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sinsâ€ (Hebrews 10:4).
Then Christ died and rose again â€œto put away sin by the sacrifice of himselfâ€ (Hebrews 9:26). In His spirit, â€œhe also descended first into the lower parts of the earth,â€ and â€œwhen he ascended up on high, he led captivity captiveâ€ (Ephesians 4:8-9), leading all pre-Calvary saints with Him into heaven. Then was fulfilled the wonderful scene predicted in Psalm 24:7: â€œLift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.â€
Since that wonderful day when Christ ascended back to heaven, â€œto be absent from the bodyâ€ is â€œto be present with the Lordâ€ (2 Corinthians 5:8). Heaven someday will even receive our resurrected bodies. John prophesied it this way: â€œI looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice . . . said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafterâ€ (Revelation 4:1). Heaven thenceforth will be open eternally to all the redeemed. â€œThe gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night thereâ€ (Revelation 21:25). HMM