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When Heaven Invades Earth Expanded Edition: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles
by Bill Johnson
Learn More | Meet Bill Johnson
Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst... (Acts 2:22).
Jesus could not heal the sick. Neither could He deliver the tormented from demons or raise the dead. To believe otherwise is to ignore what He said about Himself, and more importantly, to miss the purpose of His self-imposed restriction to live as a man.
Jesus Christ said of Himself, “The Son can do nothing” (John 5:19). In the Greek language that word nothing has a unique meaning—it means nothing, just like it does in English! He had no supernatural capabilities whatsoever! While He is 100 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations that man would face once he was redeemed. He made that point over and over again. Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracles, wonders, and signs as a man in right relationship to God...not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if He did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle. Recapturing this simple truth changes everything...and makes possible a full restoration of the ministry of Jesus in His Church.
What were the distinctions of His humanity?
- He had no sin to separate Him from the Father.
- He was completely dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit working through Him.
What are the distinctions of our humanity?
- We are sinners cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Through His sacrifice He has successfully dealt with the power and effect of sin for all who believe. Nothing now separates us from the Father. There remains only one unsettled issue—
- How dependent on the Holy Spirit are we willing to live?
The Original Commission
The backbone of Kingdom authority and power is found in the commission. Discovering God’s original commission and purpose for mankind can help fortify our resolve to a life of history-changing significance. To find that truth we must go back to the beginning.
Man was created in the image of God and placed into the Father’s ultimate expression of beauty and peace: the Garden of Eden. Outside of that garden it was a different story. It was without the order and blessing contained within and was in great need of the touch of God’s delegated one—Adam.
Adam and Eve were placed in the garden with a mission. God said, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28). It was God’s intention that as they bore more children, who also lived under God’s rule, they would be extending the boundaries of His garden (His government) through the simplicity of their devotion to Him. The greater the number of people in right relationship to God, the greater the impact of their leadership. This process was to continue until the entire earth was covered with the glorious rule of God through man.
But in Genesis chapter 1 we discover it’s not a perfect universe. Satan had rebelled and had been cast out of heaven, and with him a portion of the fallen angels took dominion of the earth. It’s obvious why the rest of the planet needed to be subdued—it was under the influence of darkness (see Gen. 1:2). God could have destroyed the devil and his host with a word, but instead He chose to defeat darkness through His delegated authority— those made in His image who were lovers of God by choice.
A Romance Story
The Sovereign One placed us—Adam’s children—in charge of planet earth. “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Ps. 115:16). This highest of honors was chosen because love always chooses the best. That is the beginning of the romance of our creation...created in His image, for intimacy, that dominion might be expressed through love. It is from this revelation that we are to learn to walk as His ambassadors, thus defeating the “prince of this world.” The stage was set for all of darkness to fall as man exercised his godly influence over creation. But instead, man fell.
Satan didn’t come into the Garden of Eden violently and take possession of Adam and Eve. He couldn’t! Why? He had no dominion there. Dominion empowers. And since man was given the keys of dominion over the planet, the devil would have to get his authority from them. The suggestion to eat the forbidden fruit was simply the devil’s effort to get Adam and Eve to agree with him in opposition to God, thus empowering him. Through that agreement he is enabled to kill, steal, and destroy. It’s important to realize that even today satan is empowered through man’s agreement.
Mankind’s authority to rule was forfeited when Adam ate the forbidden fruit. Paul said, “You are that one’s slaves whom you obey” (Rom. 6:16). In that one act mankind became the slave and possession of the evil one. All that Adam owned, including the title deed to the planet with its corresponding position of rule, became part of the devil’s spoil. God’s predetermined plan of redemption immediately kicked into play, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). Jesus would come to reclaim all that was lost.
There Were No Shortcuts To His Victory
God’s plan of rulership for man never ceased. Jesus came to bear man’s penalty for sin and recapture what had been lost. Luke 19:10 says that Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” Not only was mankind lost to sin, his dominion over planet earth was also lost. Jesus came to recapture both. Satan tried to ruin that plan at the end of Jesus’ 40-day fast. The devil knew he wasn’t worthy of Jesus’ worship, but he also knew that Jesus had come to reclaim the authority that man had given away.
Satan said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours” (Luke 4:6-7). Notice the phrase “for this has been delivered to me.” Satan could not steal it. It had been relinquished when Adam abandoned God’s rule. It was as though satan was saying to Jesus, “I know what You came for. You know what I want. Worship me and I’ll give You back the keys.” In effect, satan offered Jesus a shortcut to His goal of recapturing the keys of authority that man lost through sin. Jesus said “no” to the shortcut and refused to give him any honor. (It was this same desire for worship that caused satan’s fall from heaven in the first place. See Isaiah 14:12.) Jesus held His course, for He had come to die.
The Father wanted satan defeated by man...one made in His image. Jesus, who would shed His blood to redeem mankind, emptied Himself of His rights as God and took upon Himself the limitations of man. Satan was defeated by a man—the Son of Man—who was rightly related to God. Now, as people receive the work of Christ on the cross for salvation, they become grafted into that victory. Jesus defeated the devil with His sinless life, defeated him in His death by paying for our sins with His blood, and again, in the resurrection, rising triumphant with the keys of death and hell.
We Are Born To Rule
In redeeming man, Jesus retrieved what man had given away. From the throne of triumph He declared, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore...” (Matt. 28:18-19). In other words: I got it all back. Now go use it and reclaim mankind. In this passage, Jesus fulfills the promise He made to the disciples when He said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 16:19). The original plan was never aborted; it was fully realized once and for all in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. We were then to be completely restored to His plan of ruling as a people made in His image. And as such we would learn how to enforce the victory obtained at Calvary: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20 NIV).
We were born to rule—rule over creation, over darkness—to plunder hell and establish the rule of Jesus wherever we go by preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. Kingdom means King’s domain. In the original purpose of God, mankind ruled over creation. Now that sin has entered the world, creation has been infected by darkness, namely, disease, sickness, afflicting spirits, poverty, natural disasters, demonic influence, etc. Our rule is still over creation, but now it is focused on exposing and undoing the works of the devil. We are to give what we have received to reach that end (see Matt. 10:8). If I truly receive power from an encounter with the God of power, I am equipped to give it away. The invasion of God into impossible situations comes through a people who have received power from on high and learn to release it into the circumstances of life.
The Key of David
The gospel of salvation is to touch the whole man: spirit, soul, and body. John G. Lake called this a Triune Salvation. A study on the word evil confirms the intended reach of His redemption. That word is found in Matthew 6:13 (KJV), “Deliver us from evil.” The word evil represents the entire curse of sin upon man. Poneros, the Greek word for evil, came from the word ponos, meaning pain. And that word came from the root word penes, meaning poor. Look at it: evil-sin, pain-sickness, and poor-poverty. Jesus destroyed the power of sin, sickness, and poverty through His redemptive work on the cross. In Adam and Eve’s commission to subdue the earth, they were without sickness, poverty, and sin. Now that we are restored to His original purpose, should we expect anything less? After all, this is called the better covenant!
We were given the keys to the Kingdom (see Matt. 16:19)—which in part is the authority to trample over all the powers of hell (see Luke 10:19). There is a unique application of this principle found in the phrase key of David, which is mentioned in both Revelation and Isaiah (see Isa. 22:22; Rev. 3:7). Unger’s Bible Dictionary states, “The power of the keys consisted not only in the supervision of the royal chambers, but also in deciding who was and who was not to be received into the King’s service.”1 All that the Father has is ours through Christ. His entire treasure house of resources, His royal chambers, is at our disposal in order to fulfill His commission. But the more sobering part of this illustration is found in controlling who gets in to see the King. Isn’t that what we do with this gospel? When we declare it, we give opportunity for people to come to the King to be saved. When we are silent, we have chosen to keep those who would hear away from eternal life. Sobering indeed! It was a costly key for Him to purchase, and it’s a costly key for us to use. But it’s even more costly to bury it and not obtain an increase for the coming King. That price will be felt throughout eternity.
A Revolution In Identity
It’s time for a revolution in our vision. When prophets tell us, Your vision is too small, many of us think the antidote is to increase whatever numbers we’re expecting. For example: if we’re expecting 10 new converts, let’s change it to 100. If we were praying for cities, let’s pray instead for nations. With such responses, we’re missing the sharp edge of the frequently repeated word. Increasing the numbers is not necessarily a sign of a larger vision from God’s perspective. Vision starts with identity and purpose. Through a revolution in our identity, we can think with divine purpose. Such a change begins with a revelation of Him.
One of the tragedies of a weakened identity is how it affects our approach to Scripture. Many, if not most theologians, make the mistake of taking all the good stuff contained in the prophets and sweeping it under that mysterious rug called the Millennium. It is not my desire to debate that subject right now. But I do want to deal with our propensity to put off those things that require courage, faith, and action to another period of time. The mistaken idea is this: if it is good, it can’t be for now.
A cornerstone in this theology is that the condition of the Church will always be getting worse and worse; therefore, tragedy in the Church is just another sign of these being the last days. In a perverted sense, the weakness of the Church confirms to many that they are on the right course. The worsening condition of the world and the Church becomes a sign to them that all is well. I have many problems with that kind of thinking, but only one I’ll mention now—it requires no faith!
We are so entrenched in unbelief that anything contrary to this worldview is thought to be of the devil. So it is with the idea of the Church having a dominating impact before Jesus returns. It’s almost as though we want to defend the right to be small in number and make it by the skin of our teeth. Embracing a belief system that requires no faith is dangerous. It is contrary to the nature of God and all that the Scriptures declare. Since He plans to do above all we could ask or think, according to Ephesians 3:20, His promises by nature challenge our intellect and expectations. “[Jerusalem] did not consider her destiny; therefore her collapse was awesome” (Lam. 1:9). The result of forgetting His promises is not one we can afford.
We are often more convinced of our unworthiness than we are of His worth. Our inability takes on greater focus than does His ability. But the same One who called fearful Gideon a Valiant Warrior and unstable Peter a Rock has called us the Body of His beloved Son on earth. That has to count for something.
In the next chapter we’ll see how to use a gift to manifest His Kingdom—causing heaven to touch earth.
- Unger’s Bible Dictionary, “Key,” (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1957), 629.
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