There is a realm that is a far greater reality than that which we are living in the earthly. We see and experience the earthly, but in comparison, the heavenly realm makes the earthly appear to be a mere dream. Could it be that we are called to live and base our experience in the heavenly realm rather than the earthly?
Epouranios, in the Greek, means the heavenly place where God dwells, heaven, the heavenly temple, the abode of God, the spiritual realm. It is used twenty times throughout the New Testament but Paul, in Ephesians, uses it in a particular fashion, adding emphasis and meaning to the word.
Simply, the emphasis of epouranios is not on a location “out there somewhere” but rather is pressing in upon us. In one aspect, the heavenly place (the abode of God) is now our lives (1 Corinthians 6.19) but in the spiritual realm sense, it is all around us, though “just beyond you” – beyond your ability, strength, resource, talent, and intellect. Further, epouranios will not take place sometime in the future, it is taking place right now. All that is going on in the heavenly realm is a reality at this very moment.
Epouranios is a place of total surrender, submission and dependency on Jesus. It is when we come to the end of ourselves we find we must rest, rely, and depend on Jesus to produce and bring about that which we cannot. We must therefore continually be IN CHRIST! We are to have His cloak of righteousness constantly upon our shoulders.
Paul uses this word, epouranios, five times throughout Ephesians, giving insight and clarity to the realities of being IN CHRIST. Let’s look at the first one.
1. All Spiritual Blessings (Ephesians 1.3)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in epouranios in Christ.
Paul is stating that there is something going on within the heavenly realms – blessing is pouring forth! God is called “blessed,” meaning he doesn’t have or give a blessing but rather is blessing itself – it is a part of who He is. Our God is a blessed God! From this state of blessing there oozes forth a mist of glory, praise, power, and greatness in which He lives. This blessing literally burns within Him until He must do something about it. What does He do? He speaks. What is it that He speaks? Blessing.
Do you get the picture? God is sitting on His throne in a state of blessedness, which burns within Him until He can’t help but speak a blessing on your behalf. Can you even imagine? But what is the blessing He is speaking? Oh it is Jesus! Jesus is the blessing God is speaking forth in our lives!
God is not a store clerk who dishes out things when we ask Him; no, rather He gives us Jesus who becomes everything we need. To use a simple analogy: you walk up to God and ask Him for patience. He goes to the backroom, finds the jar “patience,” and hands you the pill which you swallow as you leave the room. As you head out you soon realize that it wasn’t patience at all which you needed but joy. So you rush back in asking for the pill named “joy.” No! If you walk up to God and ask for patience, He is going to give you Jesus – who becomes your patience. But in the process, not only does Jesus become your patience, but also your love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. You have all you need IN CHRIST!
As you walk through the blessings found in Ephesians 1.3-14, you discover they are all focused on the person of Jesus: chosen, accepted, made holy, made blameless, adopted as children, redeemed, forgiveness, given all wisdom and prudence, sealed with the Holy Spirit, and a partaker of the Mystery (Christ IN us). Jesus is our blessing! Have you come to the point where you believe and reckon the FACT of this Scripture? Claim, upon the authority of the Word, that you are chosen, accepted, made holy, made blameless, adopted as children, redeemed, forgiven, given all wisdom and prudence, sealed with the Holy Spirit, and a partaker of the Mystery (Christ IN us). Allow Jesus to be the blessing and entirety of your life!
Next week we will look at the next two uses of epouranios (click here). Until then, spend some time reading Ephesians 1.3-14 and marvel at the majesty and might of Jesus who dwells IN you! May He be all you need and cling to.
Read the other Bible Studies in this Heavenly Realms series: