How Jesus won the case for you, kicked Satan out of Heaven and closed the Courts of Heaven once and for all.
In one particular sub-culture of the Church, there is teaching referred to as the ?Courts of Heaven?. A number of books have been written on the subject.
After looking into this teaching, it is evident that this teaching turns the Good News into ?okay? news. For many, what I am writing won?t be relevant at all because you may not have heard of this teaching. But for others, it will be and possibly be confronting. But I confront to bring freedom.
I write this because I spent many years subscribing to similar types of teachings and systems to try and twist God?s arm to act on my behalf. These do not reflect the exceptionally Good News of what Jesus achieved. For the record, I also enjoy the prophetic and the things of the Spirit. So let me get straight into it.
Broadly speaking, the idea of this teaching is that God wants to answer your prayers but is unfortunately constrained by legal rights that the devil has because of your sin, the sin or your forefathers, generational curses etc. As one popular book tagline says ?Courts of Heaven ? Granting God the legal right to fulfil his passion and answer our prayers?. (As an aside, I?m not sure how we grant God anything. To do so would effectively make us God).
The teaching proposes that to assist God to answer your prayers, you need to go into the Courtrooms of Heaven to deal with sins, generational issues etc. via heavenly legal proceedings. We can get a ruling in our favour, and this will then enable our ?earthly? prayers to Jesus to be more effective. The teaching is ?confirmed? by testimonies of those who have succeeded in obtaining healings, stopping catastrophic weather events, and affect outcomes in Government.
The teaching is primarily premised on a couple of broad notions1. Judicial courts are operating in heaven2. Satan has access to these heavenly courts to accuse us3. Your sin, generational issues etc. give him the legal right to do so
THE COURTSFirstly, the use of the word courts in the old testament are frequently used in the context of ?royal? courts and not judicial courts.
However, there is evidence in the Old Testament of Satan coming before God and accusing man. Job and Joshua (Zachariah chapter 3) are clear examples. Notwithstanding that the whole spiritual environment drastically changed after the cross, Zachariah chapter 3: 6?7 is often used to justify that a Christian needs to operate in the judicial Courts of Heaven.
?This is what the Lord Almighty says: ?If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. (verses 6?7)
We need to keep reading one more verse to see that this is ultimately a foreshadowing of what Jesus would do for us:
??Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. (verse 8)
While it is very evident that Satan could go into the Courts to accuse pre-Cross, Jesus changed everything when he rose again. Let?s continue.
SATAN IN HEAVENIt?s important to note that the accuser accuses us to ourselves. He can?t accuse to God anymore because the blood of Jesus means that God doesn?t have to listen anymore, and neither do we.
?I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven? ? Jesus (Luke 10:18)
Paraphrase ? Satan got kicked out.
Hebrews 9:22?24 also has a fascinating account:
?That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.?
The parallel here between the earthly and heavenly is interesting. Put simply; it is saying that not only did the earthly tabernacle require cleansing but also the heavens required cleansing with ?better sacrifices? (i.e. Jesus? blood).
Why would Heaven need cleansing? Think about that!
The only reason is that Satan stood in the presence of God and Jesus needed to cleanse it. He?s now done it once and for all and Satan can no longer do what he did to Job or Joshua the high priest in Zachariah?s time. His blood, the resurrection and ascension fixed that.
If you put the devil back in heaven, then you need to put Jesus back on the cross again.
Jesus is not going to cleanse heaven again- he?s already done it once and for all time. The devil can?t come before Him to accuse us.
?And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.? ? Paul (Col 2).
But what about Revelation 12? The verses in this chapter often get cited as justifying that Satan is in heaven now accusing us. It is imperative to note that while there is conjecture as to the interpretation of this chapter (like all things Revelation), there is a good body of scholary work to say Revelation 12 is a past event.
The Book of Revelation is not to be interpreted as a linear sequence of events. Its prophetic in nature and speaks to events; past, present and future. In fact, the context of Revelation 12 centres on Jesus and the result of Jesus coming to earth, dying and being resurrected as follows:
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:?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. (Revelation 12)
Has the salvation and the power and the kingdom of God come? Yes! It then follows then that the next part is true. That is, satan has been cast down. If he hasn?t been cast down then the salvation, power and kingdom of God have not come. The two go together and are linked.
However, lets for argument?s sake say that Revelation follows a linear timeline and Satan is getting cast down is a future event. I.e. He?s still there right now accusing us. The problem with this approach is that Revelation Chapter 8 is before Revelation Chapter 12.
?When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.? (Rev 8)
If Satan is yapping like an annoying dog in heaven and accusing us without stopping (day and night) then why is there half an hour of silence in heaven before he apparently gets kicked out?
The bible is very clear that He has been kicked out because of the Jesus and the cross and has no access to Heaven anymore.
THE DEVIL?S LEGAL RIGHTSIt is common teaching to hear that the devil has legal rights to our lives if we sin.
Jesus calls the enemy a thief (John 10:10) However, if our sin causes him to have legal rights then he is no longer a thief. Put simply; if you have legal rights to something, then you aren?t a thief. So is Satan a thief or the rightful owner of some part of our life?
The only being that would want you to believe that the Devil has legal rights is the Devil. Why?
To believe anything else affects our confidence before the Father and points us to ourselves instead of everything that Jesus has done.
We are free. We have been bought with a price and Satan has no rights to us.
Even if I indulge the argument further and say that sin does open a ?door?, the devil still has no legal rights to access. It would be like us leaving the front door of our house open. Just because I have accidentally left it open, it doesn?t mean a thief has a ?legal? right to go in. The thief is there illegally and has to get out.
Does sin affect us? Yes of course. Sin has an in-built punishment where we feel miserable because it doesn?t suit the new nature of a believer.
Because of the cross, sin is not the devil?s stronghold. The Father now has a luxury through the blood of Jesus to use my sin for His glory and my benefit. All things work together for good.
David says ?Goodness and Mercy follow me?. They follow me and clean up my mess as I make it.
THE ADVOCATEThe other verse which gets taken to ?prove? the Courts of Heaven teaching is 1 John 2:1. Most translations render it something like ?My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father ? Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.?
Note -it doesn?t use the word ?Judge? in 1 John 1:2. It says an advocate with the ?Father.? It?s a family thing, not a judicial thing.
Additionally, the word for Advocate is parakletos. This is the same word that is used to describe the Holy Spirit as Comforter. While a legitimate rending of the term is ?advocate?, some scholars don?t believe it?s the only rendering for this word.
The translator of the Passion Translation notes the following:
The Greek word used here is parkl?tos, a technical word that could be translated ?defense attorney.? It means ?one called to stand next to you as a helper.? Various translations have rendered this ?Counselor,? ?Comforter,? ?Advocate,? ?Encourager,? ?Intercessor,? or ?Helper.? However, none of these words alone is adequate and fall short in explaining the full meaning. The translator has chosen the word Savior, for it depicts the role of the Holy Spirit to protect, defend, and save us from our self and our enemies and keep us whole and healed. He is the One who guides and defends, comforts and consoles. Keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, our Savior. The Aramaic word is paraqleta, which is taken from two root words: (1) praq, ?to end, finish, or to save,? and (2) lyta, which means ?the curse.? What a beautiful word picture, the Holy Spirit comes to end the work of the curse (of sin) in our lives and to save us from its every effect! Paraqleta means ?a redeemer who ends the curse.? (The Passion Translation ? Footnotes)
EXPERIENCEThe other argument that is frequently presented is that people have literally experienced freedom and victory through engaging with the Courts of Heaven system.
I am not here to deny anybody?s experience. I am fully aware that God is gracious enough to help out no matter how we approach him. Often we enter into faith and expectancy and God responds.
However, experience alone does not prove or confirm the truth of a teaching. Those who practise other religions or New Age will often cite their experiences of angelic encounters, healings, or insights into the future. I doubt any believer would be keen to endorse the validity of these teachings based on the stated experience.
SUMMARYJesus paid it all. Satan has been kicked out. Satan has no legal right to your life. The courts are closed.
Courts of Heaven is a religion system rooted in the unbelief that Jesus hasn?t accomplished it all. We are encouraged by it to enter into works rather than rest in faith.
Ultimately it puts the responsibility of success at the feet of the worshipper, rather than in the hands of Jesus.
?Where are your accusers? ? Jesus (John 8)