Sue Tinworth, October 2014
How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God…— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you… They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. … the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Our Need for Break Through
- Have you been praying for years on a matter without seeing circumstances change?
- Is your striving to fulfil a cherished prophetic word – like pushing a wheelbarrow uphill?
- Are desires that God put in your heart turning sour in your stomach?
- Are relationships around you faltering despite your best intentions?
- Are there patterns of loss in your life, family or work?
- Do you wonder why God doesn’t prevent bad things happening?
We want to share a powerful way to have prayers answered so we can be free of the needless pain that we and others bear! I recall the old hymn,
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
Who Do We Come Before?
We all have multiple roles. My earthly father was my Dad, my children’s Papa, a designer, yachtsman, horseman and doctor. Our Father in heaven also has many roles and we approach him differently in those roles. God is our tender Daddy and welcomes us as his children to leap into his lap! God is our gracious Saviour and King and we can run to his throne of grace anytime! But when we come before God as our Sovereign Lord Yahweh in awesome glory we bow in worship and throw our crowns before him. Similarly we come in awe before God when he is in court as our Judge. It is vital to distinguish here that we are not speaking here about God’s role in final judgement. This paper is a very preliminary introduction to how we come into the ongoing heavenly courts where God sits presently to determine present circumstances, answers to our prayers, under the governmental system of heaven.
Bringing our Petitions to the Throne of Grace
Jesus’ blood and testimony has made the way for us to be saved by grace.
John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 10:9 Jesus said, I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
As the children of God, we come with uninhibited free, bold, confident access to his throne of grace because we our sins have been exposed, judged and dealt with under the blood of Christ.
Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Petition: Before the Courts of Heaven
We can approach the courts of heaven with the same confidence and faith but it is a more formal process. Sometimes the Holy Spirit specifically invites us to bring a particular matter to the courts of heaven.This invitation may come as an impression that we follow or arise out of our recognition in our spirit that something needs to be settled. Sometimes we simply find ourselves brought to the courts of heaven – for example in a vision. Ask the Spirit of God to show you which matters are to be brought to the courts of heaven, when and with whom. He is your paráklētos, “who intercedes on our behalf as an advocate in court”. We come to seek the intervention of God as our Judge who saves.
Isaiah 33:22 For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King; it is he who will save us.
John 12:47 Jesus said,I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
We are invited to confidently trust God and hand everything over to God – for him to set things right – to do things his way and in his timing so his will is done in our lives on earth – his kingdom come on earth as in heaven. Frequently we are asking for God to settle his redemptive justice on a matter that has not resolved through persistent prayer. The principles of the court of heaven are taught by Jesus in Luke 18:1-8. Jesus said his “chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night”… “should always pray and not give up” and seek justice from God, as from a judge.
Intercession: Representing Others in the Courts of Heaven.
Hebrews 7:24-26 “because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” (See also Hebrews 1:8)
We all have direct access to Jesus who lives to intercede for us in the courts of heaven. Intercession is speaking to God on behalf of another person. Jesus seeks those on earth who will stand before God on behalf of others to discern, identify and bring the legal accusations of the enemy under the blood of Christ and invite his rule in their region, nation etc.
Ezekial 22:30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”
Court Room Etiquette
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what to do in the courts of heaven. When we enter a court room on earth – there are etiquettes to express honour and maintain atmosphere of respect, order, security and awe. We are required to bow to the magistrate or judge, to sit and be silent until we have permission to speak. It is a profound privilege to bring matters on which we need justice before our heavenly Judge for his just ruling. We enter God’s court rooms, where he sits in judgement to hear and respond to our prayers. When we step into God’s court room we are bow in deep awe and reverence before the holy righteousness of God.
Isaiah 43:25-26 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.”
Ask Jesus to deal with anything ungodly in you before you enter. Unaddressed matters will be raised as we enter. We are drawn toward God’s convicting and consuming holiness which strips us of anything that is not pure. Any attitude, opinion or judgment that is not in harmony with God is sin.
We are pure only when we willingly lay down everything (our offense, unforgiveness, judgements, opinions) under the blood of Christ.
James 4:11-12 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbour?
Facing the Accuser
Revelation 12:10-11 “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
When we enter the court room we may have to face the accuser, who does the work of a prosecutor in the heavenly court system. He is at work before God day and night and will seize on anything not covered by the blood of Christ and use it as legal ground for legitimate accusations against us that block our access to the mercy of God. This is one reason why many prayers are still waiting to receive the redemptive justice of God. (Daniel 10:12-14) This is also part of why ‘bad things happen to good people.’
The sin identified by the accuser may be ours or associated with the request we bring. For example there may have been a covenant, oath, bondage made in previous generations of a family, or by leaders of a business, church or region that give legitimate access to the enemy. The enemy’s accusations should not lead us to feel unworthy and turn away from God’s mercy. Use the accusation as useful conviction of sin and surrender these matters quickly to Christ – so you may continue to press into the presence of the Judge without fear.
Hebrews 12:1-3 Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
God’s Will is Always Love and Mercy: a Full Life for All Who Will Receive.
John 10:10 Jesus said,The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
God loves the world and the victory Jesus is complete for every matter we face – health, finance etc. God wants each one to choose the abundant life available to us but his mercy is only available to those who will come under his jurisdiction, who accept his sovereignty over allegiance to any other. God will not force our will or override legally binding vows, contracts or covenants that we have made, or that have been made on our behalf by previous generations of our family, leaders in our nation etc.
We may be a saved, born again follower of Jesus but if we are not under God’s protection in a specific matter, we have unconsciously given legal entitlement for evil to continue to reign in that aspect of our lives. So all the natural consequences of sin (patterns of confused thinking, pain, sin, illness, poverty, misfortune, abuse, addiction etc) will repeat their destruction in our lives, our families and culture.
The breadth of the destruction will depend on the sphere of the authority who made the decision that is counter to the will of God. Sins of idolatry, sexual sin, broken covenants and the spilling of innocent blood impact multiple generations of our family; permeate across the representatives of an ideology, denomination or business; and the people subject to a region’s governmental, legal and social services. This is why a nation’s laws are vitally important. People seek their ‘personal rights to freedom’ but all people under a nation are impacted when these laws are ‘unrighteous’. When a nation’s leaders turn from God and establish laws against God’s life-giving ways, they are no longer choosing God’s protection for their people who are then vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. Economic woes, famine, plagues, wars and natural disasters will increase in these families and regions – and innocent people will bear the consequences of other people’s sin.
Ezekial 22:23-29 “Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath.’ There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say,‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.
Our trend towards death is reversed when we acknowledge repentance for these choices, confess our sin and bring the issue under the redemptive mercy of God. The enemy’s legal entitlement to steal, kill and destroy our lives is removed and he has no legal grounds to block us from receiving God’s forgiveness and mercy – which is freely available to all.
Psalm 24:3-6Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Saviour. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Receiving God’s Rapid Judgement on our Plea and leaving the Court Room
God is longing to grant mercy so, once legal objections are dealt with, he will rule immediately. There is no need for petitions, plea and argument before God in his court room. We simply hand him our need and circumstance – seeking his perspective and ruling. As Jesus said in the parable of Luke 18:8, God will “see they get justice, and quickly.” When God has ruled on a matter in the court room we do see rapid outcomes on earth.
As in earthly courts, a supplicant subjects themselves to the decision of the court. We must abide by God’s decision – even though it may not be what we anticipated. For example: we may hope God will change a person’s insight but he changes a whole organisational structure! We may hope a house sale goes through but he exposes lack of integrity in a real estate business. Etiquette in an earthly court room requires us to face the judge and back out of the room, bowing as we leave. Similarly, as we leave the heavenly court room, we seek the face of our God, Lord and Judge to acknowledge with honour and gratitude our faith in his vindication and blessings.
On Earth as in Heaven
When we leave the heavenly courts we declare God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. Revelation 19:10 refers to “brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”We now hold the Word that Jesus has spoken and we give testimony to the perfection of Jesus’ rule. When we have the Word of God on a matter, we return in amazement, wonder and absolute assurance about what God has done. This is very different to the striving declarations made by people who are drumming up ‘faith’ to grasp the supernatural or assert their will on a matter. This is “O my God! Because of you and you alone, everything is now changed!” We will experience relief, freedom and joy. We will not feel the need to pray on the matter anymore – we can now leave this with the Lord. There may be a brief time of waiting for God’s ‘swift’ response to become evident on earth in surprising ways. We may be asked to ‘ground’ this – to activate this on earth. If it is required, this part too will be Spirit led. In Revelation 19:11 it says, “With justice he judges and wages war.” There is a sequence listed here.Once we have God’s judgement on a spiritual issue we can stand firm in the authority and victory of Christ in any further battle to be undertaken in the spiritual realm.
Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
God seeks those who will establish his kingdom ‘peace’ (righteousness) in our homes and together in our culture and so the enemy’s power is brought down in whole regions. (Luke 10:1-24) When we exercise the authority of Christ in the spheres over which he has given us influence – his kingdom becomes manifest in our lives and in our communities and nations. When we choose God’s will in our particular matters in lives, and on behalf of others, we are positioned to receive the blessings of God in that matter – protection, fruitfulness, healing, love, peace, joy, freedom, abundant and eternal life. This is how we fulfill the purpose for which we and the earth were created and this is how heaven and earth will see our Lord glorified!
Sources for Further Study:
- The Courts of Heaven Parts 1-4 on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Qqu7s6Wwc&list=PLfs0p40sDjLaHJXkdT8-m6NyZZCfq2GNY
- Resources: http://www.roberthenderson.org/#/home/
Suzette Torti represents Robert Henderson’s ministry ‘Global Reformers’ in Australia and travels around Australia to bring clear teaching on this.
Contact: Open Heaven International Australia Gold Coast
- Courts of Heaven Workshop Notes: Begin by reading the PLEASE READ FIRST document In the drop box below. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3054283/2014DTAudio/CourtsofHeavenWorkshopJan14/CourtsofHeavenWorkshopJan14.zip
- The Courts of Heaven MP3 Teaching Perth, 2014: http://paradoxaudio.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/david-tensen-the-courts-of-heaven/