There are at least three realms of reality talked about in Scripture. I will borrow some of the explanation of these realms from Chris Blackeby because I find it helpful for us in learning how to train our souls to walk in the rest of God.
Before we discuss these realms, we should understand “framing.” What we believe about things have been significantly framed for us—by our environment, our parents, our church, our learned knowledge, and life experiences.
In the past, I’ve called this the “box” we put around God when talking about theology. Our “Christianity” was framed for us by the church we went to, by our pastor and others who’ve influenced us.
If Bible-believing wasn’t important in our church, it’s not important to us…if no angels or demons, no angels or demons for us. If we were taught spiritual gifts aren’t for today, or no more apostles or prophets, we don’t believe these things are for today either. Conversely, if we’re taught that these things are important and relevant, we believe they are. Furthermore, those who don’t believe like us must be wrong (or worse, heretics!)
This is what framing does. While it helps us make sense of things, it can also keep us from growing up “in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (see Eph.4:11-16).
Now, if you want to push back on all this and say your view is strictly based on the Bible, then maybe you should look up the term, “confirmation bias.”
As Jesus told the Centurion, He tells us:
“…Go your way; and as you have believed,so let it be done for you.” (Matt.8:12 NKJV*)
This is why leaders should teach people how to think, not what to think, because Holy Spirit is our ultimate teacher under the New Covenant (Heb.8:7-13; John 2:27). Our role is to teach people how to receive from God for themselves.
The Three Realms
The first realm is the earthly realm. It’s the natural or physical realm. It’s the realm of science and laws of physics. This is also the realm where many churches operate from, based in learning principles to live by within human possibilities. Christians in this realm love Jesus and hope for heaven when they die so they can see God and experience His life.
Those with financial means and access to good education and medical care do well in this realm. People who don’t have this access, don’t do well.
The second realm is the spiritual or supernatural realm. It includes angels, demons, principalities and powers and other spiritual but created beings. This is the realm where most of the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches focus their attention. It’s about spiritual gifts, signs and wonders, divine healing, spiritual warfare, etc. It involves knowing spiritual laws like reaping and sowing, getting to the root of curses or sicknesses, and being unswerving in your faith confession over negative circumstances.
This realm works well for strong self-willed people who are able to maintain their faith confession and get to the bottom of spiritual issues. Those who don’t may not have as much success.
The third and highest realm is the heavenly realm where God is. This realm is what we call heaven. There’s no spiritual warfare, knowledge of sin, sickness, lack, fear, or brokenness in this realm. There’s only love and provision.
People who simply believe do well in this heavenly realm.
Initial Thoughts on the Three Realms
Many world religions believe in these realms. The difference being, they’re trying to work their way up to God (Nirvana, perfection, etc.). Christianity is the opposite of religion. It starts in the highest realm, with God working His way in us.
The first two realms involve effort. There’s something we can do, but in the highest realm we know there’s nothing we can do. Everything is received as a free gift. This is the “rest of God” (Heb.4:9-11). Everything is initiated by God and empowered by His grace (1 Cor.15:10).
The lower two realms operate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but the heavenly realm operates from the Tree of Life, which is for “the healing of the nations” (Rev.22:1-2). This Tree is Jesus Christ Himself.
I should also note that these realms are backward-compatible. So the person living from heaven can easily function in the other two because the source code of heaven is written in the language of other-centered, self-giving love (more on that another time).
It’s also important to understand that whatever realm you appeal to has power or jurisdiction over you. For instance, if you get sick in the first realm, your only options are to go to a doctor, take medication, and hope you have a healthy immune system; in the second realm, you can use your faith to overcome the sickness; in the third realm there is no sickness.
Now, before you dismiss this as just esoteric mysticism, you should know that ALL believers actually live in this highest realm with Christ right now.
6 He raised us up with Christ the exalted One, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ! (Eph.2:6 TPT*)
We just haven’t learned how to live from there yet (or don’t believe it’s possible). And this is unfortunate since living from heaven to earth is supposed to be normal Christianity.
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil.3:20 NIV*)
Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too. This is why we are to yearn for all that is above, for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the place of all power, honor, and authority! 2 Yes, feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.
3 Your crucifixion with Christ has severed the tie to this life, and now your true life is hidden away in God in Christ. (Col.3:1-3 TPT*)
There’s a growing number of believers learning how to live from the highest realm. They’ve learned how to go in and out through the Temple curtain, which is now the torn body of Christ, into the Holy of Holies, to experience His life. They’re learning how to train their souls to walk in rest. And you should know that this is available to all of us anytime we want.
More on these realms next time.