Why do you look in the heavens?
The disciples of Jesus watched him being taken up when he ascended on high right before their eyes when he was translated into heaven. A cloud took them from before their eyes. He spoke to them as he ascended and told them to go and wait till they receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit to give them ability to be his witnesses.
As he disappeared into the heavens two angels appeared to the disciples and asked them: ‘why do you look into the heavens? This same Jesus will come again as you see him go.’ This was the angelic promise of Jesus’ 2nd Coming at the end of time.
There is a reason why this question was asked. It needs an answer. Today we are going to answer that question.
Here are several reasons why we need to answer that question:
1. It is a question asked by angels
2. It has never been answered
3. It has life changing results
4. It puts the future into perspective
5. It gives historical significance
When Elisha followed Elijah there came a moment when Elijah told him to stop following him. But Elisha persisted. At the Jordan River 50 sons of prophets asked Elisha if he knew that his master would be taken away from him on that day. Elisha also knew. So when Elijah told him to wait at that side of the river Elisha refused.
Elijah took his mantle and smote the water and the water parted to allow them to walk through on dry ground.
On the other side of the river Elijah asked Elisha why he was so persistent in following him and what he wanted from him.
‘I want a double portion of your anointing,’ Elisha answered.
Elijah thought for a while and then answered: ‘it is a hard thing that you ask, but if you see me when I am taken from you, then you will have what you ask.’
They walked on for a while.
All of a sudden a chariot of fire with fiery horses parted between them and Elijah was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind.
My question to you is this: if you were in Elisha’s shoes, what would you have looked at: the fiery chariot and fiery horses or Elijah going up in the whirlwind?
There is a tendency in Christianity to seek excitement and spiritual experiences. It is quite common in charismatic Christianity today to try to command angels and to go and lay on graves of famous men and women to do ‘grave sucking’. Experience always excites for a while and then it looses its attraction. People seek a better and more impressive experience.
If you were an experience seeker you would have looked at the fiery chariot & horses! If Elisha were seeking an experience he would have looked at the chariot & horses!
But the challenge to Elisha was to keep his eyes on Elijah. Then he would have the promise.
We are not to seek experiences in the spirit world, but to keep our eyes on Jesus.
One thing Nola & I have learned over 36 years in full time ministry as missionaries to all the nations of the world, is to keep our eyes on Jesus. This is something no one else can do for you.
Hebrews 12:1 clearly instructs us to keep our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despised the shame.
How do you keep your eyes on someone you cannot see? It is by faith in the Word of God, the Bible. By faith David set the Lord
before him so that he might not sin. By faith Moses endured as if seeing him who is invisible before him.
It is not a matter of creating a picture of the face of Jesus, but a matter of the heart. You do not see him with your physical eyes, but with the eyes of faith, the eyes of your spirit man, the eyes of your heart. It is a matter of trust in someone you cannot see. That is how faith works. It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
It is very easy to get your eyes on people.
Moses kept his eyes on Jesus by faith: ‘as if seeing him who is invisible’ (Heb 11:27) He regarded the suffering with Christ richer than all the wealth of Egypt and led a nation to the Promised Land.
David said: ‘I put the Lord before me continually that I sin not.’ He was known as a man after God’s own heart.
Paul says: ‘Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher (developer) of our faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross despising the shame.’ Paul endured the suffering he went through for the Gospel’s sake and kept the faith.
Here is the secret why Elisha kept his eyes on Elijah: he wanted a double portion of his anointing. There are 7 miracles recorded in the life & ministry of Elijah and 14 miracles in the life & ministry of Elisha, precisely double!
Elisha wanted the double portion of the firstborn son. He wanted to be Elijah’s spiritual son. In the Old Testament the firstborn son got a double portion.
But here is the good news: in the New Testament we can all receive a double portion because Jesus died to establish the Church of the Firstborn registered in heaven! We can all get the
double portion! The only requirement is that we keep our eyes on Jesus and not on any man or on spiritual experiences!
There are so many winds of doctrine in the global church and so many false doctrines that toss believers to and fro like waves of the ocean, that we need to be perfected in our faith to avoid them.
The disciples of Jesus knew about Elijah & Elisha. They were expecting some experience, maybe the mantel of Jesus falling on them. That is why Jesus told them: ‘go and wait till the Holy Spirit comes upon you!’ This time there was no physical mantel that they could handle, but a deposit inside of their own spirits that would remain there!
When Elijah was taken up and Elisha kept his eyes on him, Elijah’s mantel fell down and Elisha could pick it up. When he reached the Jordan River again he asked: ‘where is the God of Elijah?’ and smote the water with the mantel of Elijah. The waters parted like they did when Elijah smote the waters and Elisha walked through on dry ground. The 50 sons of prophets saw that and said: ‘the God of Elijah is with Elisha now!’
Here is the problem with that experience: only one man could have the mantel. Only one man could smite the water. All the others had to watch.
But in the New Testament all believers can have the mantel of Christ: all believers can claim the double portion of a first born because we have already come to the Church of the Firstborn registered in heaven! (Hebrews 12:20-24)
We have spent years and thousands of dollars to register Harvester International Church in 5 continents and now we are about to register it in France! But we are already registered in Heaven where it matters most! Praise God!
This morning you have the same anointing abiding in you that was in Peter, John and Paul! The same anointing that was in Elijah & Elisha! Their God is your God! Nothing is impossible to our God! If you believe all things will become possible!
Now you understand why those disciples looked up into the heavens! They wanted something from Jesus and they got it because they kept their eyes on him – not on the cloud that took him out of their sight!
If you learn to keep your eyes on Jesus you will have your reward! Just walk humbly with him and keep your eyes on him the best you can and you will receive your reward: the double portion that belongs to all believers that are registered in the Church of the Firstborn in heaven! Jesus told his disciples not to rejoice because demons are subject to them in his name, but because their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life! Their names are registered in heaven – in the church of the firstborn!
If you have never given your life to Jesus, if you have never asked him to be Lord of your life, do it right now! This is your moment! Get your eyes on him, not on a church denomination or on traditions of men, but get your eyes on Jesus! Keep your eyes on Jesus and you will have the double portion due to you! Do not be sidetracked by all the experiences offered by experienism in churches that are all about performance and glamour! Learn to walk simply with your Lord, like a child, and the Kingdom of Heaven will be yours! Amen.