I wonder if you have ever had a dream where you have believed you were in some place that is real - like your home - to notice upon waking that everything was as it is in real life except for one or two things? For instance, an object may be in the wrong place, or a door in the wrong wall. If you have dreamed such a dream you have entered into a realm of illusion that is variously called the 'psychic' or the 'Second Heaven' - a world 'betwixt' or in-between truth and lies. This is the dimension ruled by the carnal nature and by dark angels.
I am sure that, like most people who believe in such things, you are curious as to what Heaven is like, and if you have acknowledged the existence of an invisible counterfeit world (which is called 'hell' by some) you are equally curious about what that is like too. And you will have heard the views of Christians and non-Christians alike whose models of the invisible world you will have read about. There are many different views based partly on experience, partly on Scripture, and partly on speculation and fantasy. Clearly, if there are invisible worlds and we are interacting with them on a more or less continuous basis, it is important for us to understand them.
The Bible speaks of three 'heavens', conveying a picture that they are somehow 'above' us. When we speak of 'heaven', our reflexive reaction is to think 'up'. The reason for this is that the First Heaven is located precisely there, for it is what the Bible calls the sky or our atmosphere. The Hebrew shameh which is used to render the word 'heaven' in English right from the first sentence in Genesis is a dual world which means both 'sky' and 'lofty' - that is, something which is 'high up' or 'above' us either physically or in comprehension. The Hebrews made no attempt to distinguish between the spiritual world and the sky by creating two separate words for it, as the context of what was being spoken was supposed to reveal that. Because a sophisticated vocabulary does not exist, contemporary intellectuals have accused the Bible of being 'primitive' as though having a limited vocabulary implies that one is somehow 'stupid'. If that is so, then the Finns - who have a dozen or so words for our singular English 'snow' - are highly intelligent and English-people are foolish. Yet you and I know there are different grades of snow even if our language has never thought it necessary to evolve the words to describe them all. Had English-speaking people lived in Finland, where a knowledge of the elements - and language to describe it - had been important for survival, we might by now have a dozen English words for 'snow' too. In the meantime, we are able - using long descriptive sentences - to communicate different types of snow to each other. I know that when I first came to Scandinavia I was amazed that there were so many different types - I had never seen powdery snow before. All I knew was wet, slushy English snow.
The Hebrews made no attempt to distinguish between the physical and spiritual heavens because evidently they did not suppose that they needed to. They were a very earthy people, rooted in reality and the physical world in spite of some of them, like the prophets, having extraordinary out-of-this-world spiritual experiences in dreams and visions. By the time we arrive at the New Testament we find the apostle Paul, who was a great revelator, speaking of three heavens, and relating how on one occasion he visited the "third heaven" (2 Cor.12:2). He was not sure whether he was in his body or out of it when he visited it, he just knew that he had been there. Knowing whether one is 'physically' present in a heaven or just 'spiritually' there with one's body somehow located in one place and one's spirit in another has often confused seers, and I suspect that is because whenever we think of the spiritual heaven we think in terms of 'up'. And the reason we think in this three dimensional sort of way is because we are conditioned to think in such simple concepts when we are small in order to get an initial handle on it. And added to this is the memory of the 'ascension' of Yah'shua (Jesus) who physically left this world by going 'up' into 'heaven'.
The physical universe consists of four dimensions - length, breadth, height and time. In addition to the resurrected Messiah going 'up', we recall how the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) came 'down' at Yah'shua's (Jesus') baptism. Angels are also seen to 'ascend' and 'descend', as Jacob saw in his ladder experience. Such movement is consistent with the dimensions of the First Heaven which is the atmosphere of this planet and of resurrected worlds, wherever they may happen to be located in physical space. The second and third heavens, however, are located not 'up' or 'down' to the same degree as the first, but for the most part alongside. I use the words "to the same degree" advisedly because properly-speaking the second and third heavens are 'contained' within the physical dimension of our planet. Many people will tell you, from personal experience, that Hell is 'under', or literally beneath their feet. I myself have experienced its drag or pull underneath me. Thus it would be true to say that hell exists in a parallel dimension 'under' us no matter where we are standing on the earth's surface. Head towards the earth's core physically and spiritually and you will at some point encounter Hell. 'Beyond' and 'above' that - both literally and metaphorically - is what we call 'heaven' or, to be more accurate, the Third Heaven.
I think the best way I can help you flesh this out in your minds is if I give you an illustration by sharing an experience I recently had and which prompted me to prepare this lecture. Like me, I expect you have sometimes been frustrated by your dreams. There you are living out your Christian life to the best of your ability in your awake state, to then have the most horrible dreams when you go to sleep which give the impression that you are some kind of monster or a slave to invisible forces. Without going into a detailed analysis of the different types of dream state, let it suffice for me to say right now that there can be different causes of such dreams, remembering that there are always three possible origins for dreams: self, God, and Satan. Learning how to untangle them as well as to be 'consciously aware' when you are a sleep so that you can intelligently interact with your dream state instead of becoming a helpless puppet or unwilling audience, is something that all believers can do if they want to. Ever since I was at university I have been writing and noting dreams in a bid to try and understand them, and I remain convinced that they are a vital spiritual tool that are neither circumstantial not accidental. In our dream state, as in our awake, we are interacting with both the divine and the unholy and have to make choices.
On the morning of 18 December 2003 I had a very interesting experience. I had been having a discussion the night before with my wife in bed and had started to doze off as it was late. With my eyes closed I could 'see' the room I was in with my spiritual eyes which were 'open'. Everything was as it was except in this psychic state of awareness my wife was on my right side instead of my left where she was in physical reality. At first I thought nothing of it and simply 'believed' what I could 'see' with my inner eye not realising that at that very moment I was being subject to a demonic illusion. It seemed so innocuous - why would a demon be at all interested in rearranging a single item in my immediate surroundings? The answer is simple: because in persuading me to believe in one lie it could persuade me to believe in more. From this one deception - my belief that my wife was sleeping on my right side instead of the left (which she always does) - I descended into a state of unconsciousness where, over a number of hours, I began to live out a nightmare that had no basis in reality but which contained many elements from my experience. When I fully awoke the next morning I knew that Satan had had me for breakfast mentally.
What actually happens is this ... for this I have 'seen' with both my physical and spiritual eyes. When we slip into unconsciousness, we can mentally and spiritually interact with one of two different dimensions: the Second Heaven or the Third. The Second Heaven is what I call the psychic realm which is under the full control of Satan. The Third Heaven is the spiritual realm and is under the government of Yahweh-Elohim, our Heavenly Father. The Second Heaven is an astral world of illusion, fantasy and lies, but so well constructed that once you are in it, and have been in it long enough, you can soon come to believe that is it 'real'. It is only when you awake that you sometimes - if you have sufficient spiritual awareness - discover you have been 'tricked' in some way. Many people who 'wander' in this Second Heaven believe they are in Yahweh's Kingdom and are shown things which they believe to be genuine revelation from God but which turn out to be false. In this world of demonic spin they may even encounter a being who appears to be 'Jesus' who talks to them and gives them great and holy truths, as they suppose. It's a demon in disguise, however (2 Cor.11:14). In the Second Heaven there is 'mystical experience' to satisfy every unredeemed and deceived palate. Here you will often be treated to a spectacular theatre performance if the enemy is out to perpetrate a major deception on you, or here you may simply become the mouse in a game of demonic cat-sport to experience nightmares and live-out every fear. Both heavens are enormous places and both have been catering to humans for millennia. In the Second Heaven you may be told that you are a god or a goddess and have your vanity and pride puffed up like supernova; here you may experience a Nirvana-like transcendental bliss but with certain key spiritual elements missing that may, for instance, numb your feelings so that all you are occupied with is self rather than with other people and their welfare. In the Second Heaven you may lose the ability to relate with people in the way that Yahweh intends, or lose the ability altogether as the demons themselves have.
On the morning of 18 December, as I said, I slipped into a state of semi-consciousness and without realising it entered the psychic world of the Second Heaven. I had been in an agitated state for many days and was not at all 'myself'. My wife, as I said, was on the wrong side of the bed in this world. After a while, more and more things began to change until I was in an environment that was almost totally unrecognisable. And here, in this demonic theatre, I was subjected to a nightmare and made to play a rôle I did not wish to play. I was, in the dream, a patient in a psychiatric institution, misunderstood, denied my freedom, and patronised. I became the sport of demons.
This is how it happens. The Second Heaven is all around you - it isn't 'in' you unless you let it in. You are your own world. However, because you were designed by Yahweh to coexist in a spiritual world, you will always move into one spontaneously. Whether you 'move into' the Second Heaven or Third Heaven is entirely up to you and will depend on whether you are tuned into Yahweh or Satan. You may find yourself moving in and out of both the Second and Third Heaven, rather like the double-minded man described in James' Letter who is "unstable in all his ways" (Jas.1:8), and such people are easily seduced (2 Pet.2:14) who in turn distort reality (2 Pet.3:16). You can often wake up from such dream condition in a state of exhaustion and unprepared to meet the challenges of the new day.
The Second Heaven consists of a series of 'envelopes' or 'veils' - that is the best way I can describe it. It is not quite like moving into different rooms in a building because you may remain in a single room and yet move through several such 'envelopes'. Those of you who have seen the science fiction movie Stargate will remember a force field through which the travelers passed across one side of the universe to the other. Astral envelopes or veils are a bit like this only they are largely invisible - you pass across the astral field without knowing you have done so unless you are very spiritually alert. Thus in my own recent experience I passed through a series of envelopes, and as I did, so something else in my room 'changed' from the way it is in real life. Thus I was progressively lured into the demonic trap, and at each envelope was given time to 'acclimatise' and believe the lie. Once I had accepted the deception, I was taken across the next envelope, and so on.
A Russian doll might be a good illustration. You start on the outside in the real world and progressively move in across several layers until you are in the very inner doll or core. When we cross these psychic envelopes we are progressively moved into the heartland of demonic deception, to either be deluded into believing something bigger than ourselves (like reincarnation, for example), to become the sport of demons (who love to see us suffer), or to be punished for not doing what they want (if we are not saved and may perhaps be servants of Satan as occultists, witches or whatever). Every type of deception imaginable exists in the Second Heaven. It is dirty, polluted, and demonic through and through. It is a preparation for hell. Though it will eventually be totally destroyed, and our supernatural psychic functions restored to us in a future millennial world without Satan and demons, for now it is enemy territory and potentially very dangerous.
The Third Heaven is completely different. What you see there is completely real, even more real and intense than the world of the First Heaven in which we live. This is the pure world of the Ruach (Spirit). And though it has different envelopes as the Second Heaven does, these are not envelopes of deception but veils which separate out different degrees of purity and holiness. When you are in the Ruach (Spirit) when you are asleep you will move only as far across the veils as you are able to according to your natural state of sanctification. No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of Yahweh and so you will only be permitted to go as far as you have been purified. So many Christians believe the lie that they are instantly sanctified upon profession of faith and can enter into the literal presence of Yahweh, but forget that we are only entitled to enter into the presence of Yah'shua (Jesus) who is our advocate and intermediary precisely because we are not pure enough to go on our own. We are able to approach the Father through Him because of our jurisdictional right thanks to the blood atonement of Calvary but if we are unclean in any way we cannot draw near to Yahweh Himself unless it be viâ our agent Yah'shua (Jesus). Accordingly, many Christians open themselves up for Second Heaven deceptions by demons who will gladly accommodate false belief and give mystical experiences to back them up. So, then, how can we know the difference between a genuine and a counterfeit spiritual experience? By constant prayerful reference to the Scriptures as we live the obedient life, of course.
In my ministry I deal with a great many people who have been, or are, involved in abuse and who come to believe the lies they are taught by their abusers. Demons use a wide range of tools of entrapment which oscillate between flattery and threats. Demonised Christians behave in the same way. As Peter de Vries so eloquently puts it, they smile with Christianity out of one side of their face while with the other they express outrage. Demons and their human agents are expert at posing as 'Christians' but always with a major twist of hypocrisy. Many people live out false Christian lives admitting Christ into one part of their souls but retaining their alliance to Satan with the other. Yah'shua (Jesus), in His undeserving loving-kindness, will minister for so long but cannot remain in a double-minded man indefinitely (Jas.1:8). No man can serve two masters - he will come to love one and hate the other, and the hated one will at length be expelled (Mt.6:24). Once the true Christ has at length been expelled - for the Ruach (Spirit) will not remain indefinitely to be mocked and blasphemed - the dark demonic side will learn to imitate Him, reproducing His words and behaviour but always with a false spirit and always imperfectly. Someone with the Ruach (Spirit) will detect the deception immediately but one who has not will likely be taken in by the lie.
There are many counterfeit Christians who are both empowered by, and believe in, the mystical experiences they have in that world they often unwittingly share with New Agers, occultists and Satanists. The Second Heaven theatres may have different plays and productions but the satanic manager is the same.
One of the easiest ways to enter into the Second Heaven is to fantasise and then believe it is reality. That's a sure admission ticket. Go into any mental asylum and you will find that every patient believes in some lie or another, and without exception they will have demon problems. Worse (for them), many if not most of the psychiatrists - whose lives deal almost exclusively with the Second Heaven - will be little better than their patients. The only differences are the theatrical rôles. The world, as perceived by Dylan Thomas, as "half the devil's and my own", is a perfect description of the Second Heaven.
We exist in at least two worlds simultaneously - the outer First Heaven (which is the atmospheric coat we exist and breathe in) and a world within. If we live in the Second Heaven within, we will view the First Heaven with distorted lenses and believe things about people and our environments which consist of different proportions of truth and lies. If we live in the Third Heaven within - a life in Christ controlled by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) - we will see things and people as they really are. Thus all around us are people living in different states of awareness - of reality and illusion. Our conflicts derive from these, and the demons exploit them to the full. It is only when we all see alike - and that is only possible in Yah'shua (Jesus) - that we will have peace.
I must point out here that the Second Heaven isn't all lies. It can't be, because we wouldn't be fooled otherwise. Satan has always expertly mixed truth with falsehood, using the truth elements as bait. Only the core or inner doll is 100% lies and any human being that enters there will flee at once. Only Satan and demons are able to exist there - that is their 'natural' state, which is why humans are kept away by them. The closer you approach it, the more demonised you are, and the more lies you will believe. To see the demonic core, all a person has to do is ask Yah'shua (Jesus) to reveal the truth of the demonic world and to dissolve the veils that hide them. So many abuse victims have done this in my ministry and received a huge shock - their reality turned out to be a massive illusion.
What I have spoken about today makes people uneasy and restless. We would all, if the truth be known, prefer life to be simpler, and may indeed delude ourselves into believing it is so by, amongst other things, denying the existence of Satan and demons altogether. That is all very well but it does not solve man's inner yearning or resolve his inner conflicts and contradictions.
In the Second Heaven the demons use our mental images and experiences as stage props in their theatre of what may at times seem reasonable but is, in truth, absurd. It is amazing what people will be led to believe by demons. I met one lady recently who genuinely believed she was immortal. Then there are those who are so deluded that they believe they are poached eggs or the reincarnation of Napoleon. The person who believed he was a poached egg (and there is at least one known clinical example of such a person - it is regarded as a classic case) was not born that way: he came to believe that through a series of steps, each lie progressively becoming greater. That is how Satan works. A person is not born thinking they are physically immortal. Our reality is progressively stolen from us in distinct steps. In the case of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) it is through a series of traumatic experiences which leads to the fragmentation of personality itself into different identities. That is why abuse is a favourite tool of Satan - it is why 1 in every 5 persons in the West is a victim of sexual abuse - these people are emotionally crippled for life and can do little or nothing about regaining normalcy without the supernatural intervention of Yah'shua (Jesus).
So what do we do if we have been, or continue to be, victims of the Second Heaven? Rule #1, FIGHT! If you allow yourself to be passive, the demons will take you deeper and deeper into their deception until you are no more than a slave with a slave's 'yes'-man mentality. And typically they may suffer from what psychiatrists call the 'Stockholm Syndrome' wherein the abused come to actually love their abusers! The psychology is very subtle and Satan has been using it for generations. This condition came to light during a back robbery in Stockholm, Sweden, some years ago. What resulted was that the hostages started protecting their captors, one even marrying a captor and the others supporting them in their trial! How did this come about? Simply, by the captors abusing their victims and then rewarding them for being obedient. The gratitude experienced by the hostages led to a distorted sense of reality because the only world they knew was the world of their captors, so they had nothing to compare with outside. They should have been enraged, but as time wore on, so they began to passively mentally adjust to their situation and began to believe it was normal. Truth became relative to their situation! And that is how Satan gets his victims to love and serve Him. It is the relative displacement of truth which then becomes distorted. Normality is defined by Yahweh, the Ultimate Reality, in the Bible. Everything else is a distortion. Being a human is being in one's natural place, which is in Christ. Everything else is to be non-human to one degree of another.
People ask me sometimes: "How can the fundamentalist Muslims be so barbaric?" And the answer is that their reality and humanity have become distorted by the lies they believe in. It is the same as those who are victims of SRA. Only the other day a Christian brother was telling me of his amazement at meeting a university-educated woman who was into BDSM (Bondage and Sado-Masochism) and who believed she was born to be a sex-slave because that was the only kind of sexuality she had ever experienced! She believed it was her 'duty' to be a sexual machine for lusty men.
Decent and naïve people are astonished by such things because they have not always confronted the reality that is around them. They are in denial about Satan and his works. But we cannot afford to be. To live in a world of make-believe where everyone ought to be nice is counterproductive and gives Satan more authority. Confronting the lies around us and by fighting for the truth is a solemn vocation if we care about people. They may hate you for it initially but ultimately they will thank you. As Christians we must be prepared to suffer for these people until they see the light of truth and can be free. The moment Truth starts entering our psychic system within, the demons start losing their grip and we can start leaving the Second Heaven and move into the Third. Once truth is embraced we can start casting out our own demons whose presence is based on our belief in their lies. Then the inner worlds of fantasy start dissolving and collapsing, making way for Total Reality, pleasant and unpleasant. And that's the thing - you have to be prepared to 'see' the good, and bad, and the ugly. We may not want to be in this world, but we are here, and purposefully so. Dealing with that reality will go a long way in providing the ground of reality on which we can stand and intelligently and purposefully interact with each other and come to know Yahweh. Without the ground, we will only be press-ganged by demons into their carnal theatre of deception.
This is an enormous subject about which I could speak for many hours. What I wanted to do today is two things: (a) make people aware of how we can get sucked into the Second Heaven even as believers if we are not careful, and (b) to assure people that there is a way out. So I will end with that by simply repeating the plan of salvation which the Son of Man taught: (1) Repent of your sins; (2) Invite Yah'shua (Jesus) into your heart and whole soul; (3) Obey Torah (the commandments and rules for daily living given by Yahweh; (4) Continue to actively work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil.2:12); and (5) go on to perfection (2 Cor.13:11). Whatever you do, don't sit still. It is fatal. This is not paradise, we are in a war zone and the enemy isn't going to wait for you. You have to be alert as Paul reminded Timothy:
"Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Tim.4:15-16, NIV).
Laid-back believers are always overwhelmed. Satan will find a theatre for them in the Second Heaven where they can play-act their lives going nowhere. Such people are easy to spot. But he will also find a Second Heaven theatre performance for them if they are active but won't pursue sound doctrine and practice. The fact of the matter is, there is only one Way, one Truth, and one genuine spiritual life (Jn.14:6) and that Way is very, very NARROW (Mt.17:13-14) and it requires great effort to get through it once it has been found (Lk.13:24). The way to heaven is not as broad as many would have you believe! So beware of the deceptions of the enemy.
Let me finish by briefly mentioning what some people call 'atmospheres' - not the air we breathe but spiritual atmosphere, which we in Scandinavia call a stemning which combines the sense of both 'atmosphere' and 'feeling'. Christians often shock themselves when they enter a place where this atmosphere feels 'good' and yet wrong things are happening in it. They discover that their mind and heart are out of harmony. What is happening? For instance, many people who know that Christmas is pagan and forbidden by Yahweh often miss the 'atmosphere' and so begin to wonder if their belief was wrong after all. I knew a Jewish man who became a believer who missed the 'atmosphere' of the Jewish synagogue so much that he rejected his Saviour in order to retain the stemning. Another man I knew missed the atmosphere of the English pub life when he became a believer and soon gravitated back to it - he preferred to spend time with his pals drinking, smoking and playing darts on the Sabbath instead of assembling with other Christians for worship. When this happens - when you start longing for your old sinful life again, it is because you suddenly enter the Second Heaven - with its mixture of truth and lies - once more. There are many beautiful things about Christmas, the Talmudic Jewish liturgy, and (I suppose) the social interaction of the pub or bar, but so long as truth and error are mixed together Satan has a hold on you if you are attracted to them. This is the way the enemy of our souls plays on our feelings.
There is only one true atmosphere or stemning and that is the one we read about in the Bible. It is the theocratic world of Messianic Israel. All other ones will lead us astray. By living out the Israelite life with its festivals and Sabbaths can we ensure the correct way. As gentile believers we have become grafted into Israel - a believer is Israel! And those Israelites by descent who reject the Messiah cease to be a part of Israel (Rom.11). That is what your Bible says. We are a nation with a national way of life even if we may presently be scattered in gentile nations. And that is probably one reason why true believers are always persecuted, just as the Jews have been over the centuries for 'keeping apart'. We are to be in the world system but not of it. We are dual citizens, aliens in one and at home in the other, the only enduring one being the heavenly and Israelite nation (Eph.2:19). The Second Heaven may be all around us but we are not supposed to be of it, whether awake or asleep.
May Yahweh guide you into all truth, love and peace, and especially at this Hanukkah season when we rededicate our temples (bodies) of flesh and blood to Yah'shua (Jesus). Amen.