Holy Spirit Active in the Invisible Heavenly Realm
1. Why is it important for us to know how holy spirit has functioned in the invisible heavenly realm?
MAN MAY feel more interested in how God’s holy spirit functions in the visible, material realm or universe as man knows it. However, what has taken place in the invisible, heavenly realm has greatly affected human affairs. How holy spirit is to be set in motion in the near future, within our own generation, is linked with what takes place in the invisible realm and is highly important to man. We should therefore want to understand how holy spirit works in such a connection so important to us now.
2. In what way does Psalm 104:29, 30 show how dependent mankind is upon the invisible heavenly realm?
2 Modern-minded man may not like to acknowledge it, but mankind is dependent upon the invisible heavenly realm. If God the Creator were to turn away his face from us on earth, become “dead” to us, as it were, what would become of us? The Bible psalmist had it right when he said to God: “If you conceal your face, they get disturbed. If you take away their spirit, they expire, and back to their dust they go. If you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you make the face of the ground new.” (Psalm 104:29, 30) Consequently the principal study for man is not man himself, but, rather, the Creator, God. As far as God is pleased to reveal to us something about the invisible heavenly realm, this fundamentally deserves study by us.
3. Why would it be shortsighted and unreasonable for us to imagine that God dwells alone and without agreeable environment in heaven?
3 Let us always keep in mind that “God is a Spirit,” or, “God is spirit.” (John 4:24, and marginal reading) Correspondingly, he dwells in a spirit realm. All alone, and without an agreeable environment? No! It would be shortsighted and unreasonable for us to imagine that God can create only material things visible to us and has not also created things in the invisible heavenly realm. Such things of a higher realm would be of a composition higher than that of the material creation of which we humans are a part.
4. Why is the invisible heavenly realm not dependent upon our sun for light?
4 When we think of all the wondrous, beautiful things that God has put here in the material realm, it fills us with awe when we try to think of all the wonderful, glorious things that he has created in the spiritual realm. There is no dependence upon the sun of our solar system for light up there. No night there! The Creator of the light-giving suns is himself a heavenly Sun, a source of light. Literally and figuratively, morally, it is true: “God is light and there is no darkness at all in union with him.” (1 John 1:5) Long before the saying of the Bible writer John, the psalmist described the Creator as being as welcome as the sunlight of day, when he wrote: “Jehovah God is a sun and a shield; favor and glory are what he gives. Jehovah himself will not hold back anything good from those walking in faultlessness.”—Psalm 84:11.
5. What kind of persons does God have in the invisible heavenly realm with him, and how do they differ from men?
5 It is not just reasonable to believe so, but the Holy Bible itself testifies that God has with him in the invisible spirit realm intelligent persons of a spirit composition. With these he can have direct contact. They can see him even as he sees them. Being of higher, superhuman composition, as to their makeup, they are not dissolved, disintegrated, annihilated at the mere sight of him. They can be in direct touch with him, serving in his personal presence. (Luke 1:19) Not to angels, but to men, God said: “You are not able to see my face, because no man may see me and yet live.” (Exodus 33:20) So God said even to his prophet Moses.
6. According to Revelation 4:11, how did those spirit companions of God get there?
6 How did those spirit companions of God get there? Well, how did the first human couple get here? We shall take the answer as given by those whom the Bible writer John saw in a vision, worshiping God in heaven. We quote these words of theirs: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory, honor, and power, for you created all things; by your will they existed and were created.”—Revelation 4:11, An American Translation.
7, 8. On resurrection day, what did Jesus say that a spirit does not have, and what did he do about the body in which he appeared?
7 God made the first human couple flesh and blood. Prior to this, God had made his heavenly companions spirit, of a composition superior to that of man. On this point, Jesus Christ made a clarifying statement on the day of his resurrection from the dead. He appeared to his disciples in a locked room in Jerusalem. To do this, he appeared in a materialized body like that in which he had died, but they thought they were seeing a spirit. Well, what did he say to them? This: “A spirit does not have flesh and bones just as you behold that I have.”—Luke 24:36-39.
8 After conversing with those amazed disciples, the resurrected Jesus vanished. He dematerialized or dissolved that clothed human body. He did not take that body and its clothing into the spirit realm with him. Had it been possible to do so, it would mean that a spirit person in heaven does have flesh and bones, at least in the case of the glorified Jesus Christ.—1 Corinthians 15:50.
9. Directly of what composition did God create his heavenly companions?
9 In view of all those facts, the Lord God made his heavenly associates directly spirit. He did not transfer human creatures of flesh, blood and bones from our earth to keep him company in the invisible heavenly realm. To describe what kind of persons God created directly in heaven, the Christian apostle Paul writes: “He makes his angels spirits, and his public servants a flame of fire.” (Hebrews 1:7) Here the apostle Paul was quoting the psalmist David when he speaks of Jehovah God as “making his angels spirits, his ministers a devouring fire.” (Psalm 104:4) Accordingly, the testimony of God’s own written Word is that he has power to create spirit creatures as well as human creatures.
10. How does Genesis 1:26 indicate that the creation of spirit persons preceded that of human creatures?
10 The creating of spirit creatures predates the creating of human creatures. God’s own words as disclosed to us in the first chapter of the Bible indicate this. There we read: “God went on to say: ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every moving animal that is moving upon the earth.’” (Genesis 1:26) Now, when God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness,” he was not talking to himself as if he were a two-in-one god or a three-in-one god. He was talking to at least one other heavenly person separate and distinct from himself and was inviting that spirit person to join him in the producing of an earthly, human creature.
11. How does Job 38:1-7 indicate that there were more than one other person with God at the time of man’s creation?
11 However, at the time of the creation of man and woman, there were more than one spirit person in association with God. There were spirit persons whom God had created even before the creation of the earth. This fact was called to the attention of faithful Job of the land of Uz, when God said to him: “Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you do know understanding. Who set its measurements, in case you know . . . or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars joyfully cried out together, and all the sons of God began shouting in applause?” (Job 38:1-7) That occurred many thousands of years before the final part of God’s sixth creative day, at which time God created man and woman. (Genesis 1:27-31) Consequently those joyful “sons of God” were not creatures that had first been on the earth as humans and thereafter transferred to God’s presence in heaven. They were God’s spirit creatures from the start of their existence. God never populated the heavens from the earth’s inhabitants.
12. How do men and angels compare as to level of existence and of powers?
12 Those godlike “sons of God” are superior to man. Hence the psalmist David, after recognizing the highness of God above the heavens, went on to say: “What is mortal man that you keep him in mind, and the son of earthling man that you take care of him? You also proceeded to make him a little less than godlike ones.” (Psalm 8:4, 5) Who are those “godlike ones”? They are angels, for the Bible writer, when making an application of Psalm 8:5, says, in Hebrews 2:6-9: “You made him a little lower than angels.” So, as regards level of existence and of powers, man is unchangeably lower than those “sons of God,” those heavenly angels.
ASSEMBLIES OF SPIRIT PERSONS IN HEAVEN
13. Where do we have the first record of heavenly assemblies, and at these who presided?
13 Assemblies of those “sons of God” take place from time to time and the Most High God presides over them. He has revealed that fact to us in his written Word. The earliest reports that we find of such heavenly assemblies are recorded in the first two chapters of Job. “Now,” in the earlier part of Job’s life, “it came to be the day when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before Jehovah, and even Satan proceeded to enter right among them. Then Jehovah said to Satan: ‘Where do you come from?’ At that Satan answered Jehovah and said: ‘From roving about in the earth and from walking about in it.’” Some verses later, in the next chapter, a second assembly of Jehovah with his heavenly sons is reported on, and again that spirit person called Satan takes advantage of the opportunity.(Job 1:6, 7; 2:1, 2) Those assemblies, invisible to our sight, are purposeful, and Almighty God maintains order at them. All present have to answer to him as to their whereabouts and their doings. Even the individual called Satan has to be respectful, even though he is what his name brands him to be, the outstanding resister of Jehovah God.
14. What heavenly assembly is referred to in Hebrews 12:22, 23?
14 As regards such assemblies of spirit “sons of God” in heaven, we read further, in Hebrews 12:22, 23: “You,” Hebrew Christians, “have approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, in general assembly.” All those myriads of angels, who remain faithful to their heavenly Father and refuse to imitate Satan, make up one big heavenly family of God.
15. How does Paul refer to such a heavenly family in Ephesians 3:14, 15, and what relationship do the members hold to one another?
15 The Bible writer Paul refers to this heavenly family. When writing to Christians who recognize Jehovah God as their heavenly Father, Paul says: “On account of this I bend my knees to the Father, to whom every family in heaven and on earth owes its name.” (Ephesians 3:14, 15) Every family owes its name to its father, and it should live up to the dignity and worthiness of that name. Having but one Father, those heavenly “sons of God” are all brothers.
16. What heavenly assembly did the prophet Micaiah see in vision in the latter part of the tenth century B.C.E.?
16 A heavenly assembly took place in the latter part of the tenth century before our Common Era. The Israelite prophet Micaiah had a vision of it. Describing it, Micaiah said to two allied kings, Ahab and Jehoshaphat: “Hear the word of Jehovah: I certainly see Jehovah sitting upon his throne and all the army of the heavens standing by him, to his right and to his left. And Jehovah proceeded to say, ‘Who will fool Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And this one began to say something like this, while that one was saying something like that. Finally a spirit came out and stood before Jehovah and said, ‘I myself shall fool him.’”—1 Kings 22:19-21.
17. The army then alongside God was made up of what kind of persons?
17 Let us note that the angel who proposed the successful method for fooling wicked King Ahab to his ruin in battle is called “a spirit.” This signifies that all that “army” at God’s right hand and left hand are likewise spirits, yes, intelligent spirit creatures. They are differentiated from us human creatures.
18, 19. What judicial court session in heaven did Daniel see in vision, scheduled for our twentieth century?
18 Are we humans of today aware of the fact that a judicial court session was long ago scheduled to be in heaven during our present twentieth century? A miraculous vision of this was given to the prophet Daniel while he was a captive slave in Babylon more than two thousand five hundred years ago. In his description of this he writes:
19 “After this I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! a fourth beast, fearsome and terrible and unusually strong. . . . I kept on beholding until there were thrones placed and the Ancient of Days sat down. . . . There were a thousand thousands that kept ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand that kept standing right before him. The Court took its seat, and there were books that were opened. . . . I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! with the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming; and to the Ancient of Days he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One. And to him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin.”—Daniel 7:7-14.
20. Which heavenly son of God is it that is so highly honored as the one spoken of as “a son of man” in Daniel’s vision?
20 Is there any other spirit son of God in heaven who is honored so highly as this one who appears in Daniel’s vision as “a son of man”? No! Who, then, is he? The psalmist identifies him. In Psalm 89:26, 27 he says: “He himself calls out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God and the Rock of my salvation.’ Also, I myself shall place him as firstborn, The most high of the kings of the earth.” This statement of Jehovah does not refer to King David, with whom God made a covenant for an everlasting kingdom in his royal family line, nor to David’s royal successor, Solomon. Neither of these kings were the firstborn sons of their fathers. (Psalm 89:28-37; 2 Samuel 7:4-17) The later facts show that Jehovah was referring prophetically to his own “firstborn” in heaven, the Son who had been with him for time indefinite before Jehovah God created man.
21. According to Revelation 3:14, did God have a heavenly wife at the time that he brought forth his “firstborn” son?
21 Naturally someone may ask, How could God have a “firstborn,” when He had no wife in heaven at that time? In answer to that question, the one who proved to be that “firstborn” speaks for himself. In the Bible’s last book, in Revelation 3:14, he says: “These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God.” The speaker of those words was the resurrected, glorified Lord Jesus Christ, who is a “faithful and true witness” and who does not lie about the matter. He himself says he is “the beginning of the creation by God.” Hence God could have no wife before the one whom He created first.
22. What did Jesus, although a creation, speak of God as being to him?
22 Although he is a “creation” and not the child of a mother, Jesus continuously speaks of God as his own Father. (Revelation 3:21; 14:1) He also speaks of his Father as being his own God. In Revelation 3:12 he says: “The one that conquers—I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and . . . I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God.” This agrees with what he said on the day of his resurrection to Mary Magdalene near the empty tomb: “Be on your way to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17) This was on Nisan 16, 33 C.E., the third day after he had cried out on the torture stake on which he had been impaled to die: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And, finally: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.”—Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34; Luke 23:46; Psalm 22:1; 31:5.
THE “ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON”
23. In being God’s “only-begotten Son,” Jesus Christ would rank where in the order of creation by God?
23 In words addressed to the Jewish ruler Nicodemus, what did Jesus Christ speak of himself as being? Listen: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) In speaking of himself as God’s “only-begotten Son” he was identifying himself as God’s “firstborn.” God’s direct, unshared creating of things out of nothing began and ended with this “firstborn,” “only-begotten Son.” In addition to Jesus’ calling himself “the beginning of the creation by God,” the apostle Paul adds a similar designation to him, saying: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15) So, after God created “the firstborn of all creation,” all things that were brought into existence afterward were other creations. When creating all those other things, God took into his employ his “only-begotten Son.”
24. According to Colossians 1:15, 16 and John 1:1-3, by means of whom were all other things created by God?
24 In bearing out this thought, the apostle Paul first mentions the “firstborn of all creation” and then goes on to say: “Because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible.” (Colossians 1:16) Now we can understand the apostle John’s words in John 1:1-3: “In the beginning the Word [Greek, Logos] was, and the Word [Logos] was with God, and the Word [Logos] was a god. This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.” In the Bible’s last book, also written by John, he tells us that the glorified Jesus Christ bears the title “The Word of God,” not God the Word: “And the name he is called is The Word [Logos] of God.”—Revelation 19:13.
25. Why and in what way did the Logos have the “preeminence”?
25 Upon the one called “the beginning of the creation by God” were conferred the dignity and rights of God’s “firstborn,” “only-begotten Son.” As “firstborn” Son, this one had the preeminence over all future “sons of God.” (Colossians 1:18) This included his being taken into association with his heavenly Father in bringing all other things into existence in heaven and on earth.
26. Why are the spirit creatures who were brought into existence by means of the Logos not called his sons?
26 When the Word or Logos was used as the means by which all these countless “sons of God” were brought into being, holy spirit from God his Father must have operated powerfully upon him and through him. It was with him and active in his behalf. The manner of operation must have been there as it was later on when he became a perfect man on earth and performed miraculous cures. Hence he said that he expelled demons by means of God’s spirit. (Luke 11:20; Matthew 12:28) Because the spirit of Jehovah God likewise operated by means of the Logos up in heaven, those “sons of God” that were brought into existence through him consider, not him, but Jehovah God as their Creator and Father. They are not called the sons of the Logos. They are termed “sons of the true God.”—Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7.
27. At man’s creation, to whom did God say, “Let us,” and why was He the proper one to say this?
27 It is now evident, therefore, that when God said on his sixth creative day, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness,” he was speaking to his “firstborn,” to “his only-begotten Son.” (Genesis 1:26-31) God might also have said “Let us” to this Son when God contemplated creating the heavenly angels, including the cherubs and the seraphs. Jehovah God as the Most High and the Creator of all things was the One to determine upon what should be brought into existence. The angels were to be sons of His. As a prospective Father, he exercised his will as to when to have more heavenly spirit sons. His spirit was the only active force by means of which further things could be made to exist.
28. What “sons of God” did the expelled Adam and Eve see at the garden’s entrance, and what operated the continually turning sword there?
28 In course of time cherubic “sons of God” became visible at the entrance of the Garden of Eden. Why? Well, the first human couple, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God and were driven out of their Paradise home. So the cherubs were stationed at the garden’s entrance to prevent the two sinners from getting back in to try to counteract the death penalty. (Genesis 3:24) What Adam and Eve saw were materialized cherubs. The “sword that was turning itself continually” at the garden’s entrance was certainly kept in motion by God’s holy spirit, in order to keep out unholy humans.
29. What kind of sons of God did Isaiah see in vision, and, later, what kind did Ezekiel see?
29 In the eighth century B.C.E. the prophet Isaiah saw in vision seraphic “sons of God.” These seraphs were attending upon Jehovah God in his temple. (Isaiah 6:1-7) In the following century, the prophet Ezekiel in Babylon was given a vision in which he beheld cherubic “sons of God.”—Ezekiel 1:1-25; 9:3; 10:1-20; 11:22.
30, 31. What indicates that the cherubs are speedy in flight when God sends them on errands, and with what government are they associated?
30 Cherubs, as “living creatures,” must be very speedy in flight when God sends them on errands. So, in response to an appeal to God for help, “he came riding upon a cherub and came flying, and he came darting upon the wings of a spirit.”—Psalm 18:10.
31 Evidently in the spirit realm tremendous distances must be covered in a short space of time. Distance did not keep speedy help from coming to King Hezekiah of Jerusalem after he went to the temple in a time of national crisis. He prayed: “O Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, sitting upon the cherubs, you alone are the true God of all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Isaiah 37:14-37) To Jehovah God the cherubs are subject, as if he sat above them; and they will be associated with his kingdom that is to bring speedy relief to all mankind in its direst need. In accord with this blessed fact are the opening words of the prophetic psalm: “Jehovah himself has become king. Let the peoples be agitated. He is sitting upon the cherubs. Let the earth quiver.” (Psalm 99:1; also Ps 80:1) Jehovah’s superior position with regard to the cherubs was portrayed in the ark of the covenant that the prophet Moses was commanded to construct.—Hebrews 9:5.
32. How was Jehovah’s position with regard to the cherubs shown in the case of the golden ark constructed by Moses?
32 This golden ark or chest was used as a receptacle for sacred articles. It had a cover surmounted by two golden cherubs with wings spread out to cover the mercy seat or propitiatory. When this ark was placed in the Most Holy of the tabernacle or temple, a miraculous light (the Shekinah light) appeared above the wings of the cherubs. (Exodus 25:10-22; 2 Kings 19:15) Thus Jehovah was represented as throning above the cherubs and giving instructions from there. Moses tells of his own experience in this regard, when he writes: “Now whenever Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with him, then he would hear the voice conversing with him from above the cover that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubs; and he would speak to him.”—Numbers 7:89.
AN UNSEEN PLACE OF ACTIVITY
33. Why must heaven be a place of activity greater than that which is going on throughout the earth today?
33 Heaven is no place of ease and lounging around, like dangling one’s feet over the edge of a slow-moving cloud. The most active Person in all the realm of existence, the central Source of all dynamic energy, is there! His holy spirit as an active force is pervading all the unseen heavens. The activity of those inhabiting that realm and serving Jehovah must exceed by far all the activity that is going on throughout our earth today. Distances inconceivably greater than those possible on our earth or from here to the moon need to be covered in the service of the universal Sovereign, Jehovah God. Numberless are the things to be done, besides the giving of attention to our comparatively tiny planet, Earth. May we not blind ourselves to heavenly activities just because our weak eyes cannot actually see them. Every basis there is for us to see them by the eye of faith.—Hebrews 11:1, 27.
34, 35. How did the psalmist David express his recognition of the superior capabilities of heavenly angels, and what lesson can we humans learn from them?
34 In harmony with the purposes of the Lord God, his heavenly sons lead a most active life. They are capable of accomplishing far more than we humans can. They are superhuman. Their power we cannot measure. According to Bible history, they have, by holy spirit, been enabled to do things for which Science cannot account.
35 David recognized their superhuman ability when he lifted his attention to them and said: “Bless Jehovah, O you angels of his, mighty in power, carrying out his word, by listening to the voice of his word. Bless Jehovah, all you armies of his, you ministers of his, doing his will.” (Psalm 103:20, 21) In doing Jehovah’s will, those armies of heavenly angels set an excellent pattern for earthly man to imitate. If such mightily powerful superhuman creatures do not consider themselves to be too qualified in themselves to serve their Creator, then we frail, short-lived humans down here ought not to be so self-conceited and self-admiring as to be rebellious against Jehovah God, feeling absolutely no responsibility to him. Better is it for us to bless him.
36. How does holy spirit express itself in all the heavens, and why will unity up there not be sundered?
36 Holy spirit from god expresses itself in all the heavens as his only-begotten Son, his cherubs, his seraphs and all his angels lovingly serve him, the one living and true God. His spirit, imparted to all these loyal ones, produces among them a “oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace,” to borrow a phrase from Ephesians 4:3. They all cooperate together under the Most High God, Jehovah. By their united service in all the variety of their duties, they are really worshiping him. Such unity of service and worship will never be sundered, not even by demons.
37. Who takes the lead in heaven in worshiping and serving God, and how was appreciation of that fact displayed in John’s vision in Revelation 5:11-14?
37 Taking the lead in rendering such unswerving service and worship to God is Jehovah’s “firstborn,” “his only-begotten Son.” This one was once willing to serve as a sacrificial Lamb here on earth. No less so than we Christians, the faithful heavenly throngs appreciate such self-sacrifice. In confirmation of this, the apostle John is given a vision of the heavenly scene that now finds fulfillment in our twentieth century, as follows:
“And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘The Lamb that was slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.’ And every creature that is in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, and all the things in them, I heard saying: ‘To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.’ And the four living creatures went saying: ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”—Revelation 5:11-14.
38. In view of that vision, what choice is there for us to make, and in what case will we be favored with holy spirit?
38 How about us who are now on the earth, yes, on the earth’s surface and not yet “underneath the earth” in burial places? There is a choice for us to make. Shall we take part in fulfilling that prophetic vision by joining in with the myriads of myriads of holy angels and giving due honor to the Lamblike Son of God and giving our heartfelt devotion to the One sitting on the throne, Jehovah God? If we choose to do this of our own free will, then, like the glorious heavenly throngs, we shall be favored with holy spirit from the Giver of every perfect gift, Jehovah God.—James 1:17.