The “opening of heaven” is mentioned several times in the Bible. To bring about the flood, the windows of the heavens were opened (Gen. 7:11).  The heaven opened at Christ’s baptism, and God spoke. (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21; John 1:51). Heaven opened to Stephen at his death, and Jesus stood to welcome the first martyr home (Acts 7:56). Heaven opened before Peter. A blanket of unclean animals was lowered for Peter to eat from (Acts 10:11). In the Gospel of John, he saw the heavens open and was given a vision of God on his throne. He also saw the heavens open in Revelation 19:11. Malachi calls the people to give their full tithe to God. If they do that, God says, “See if I will not open for you the windows of heaven (Mal. 3:10).” Ezekiel recounts the heavens opening to him in the first three verses of the chapter. It says, “In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.”

It doesn’t tell us how we, too, can see the heavens open to give us a glimpse of God or a revelation of the future. Some ancient Jewish prophets, referring to an inter-testamental book, “The Testament of Levi,” argue that there is a process by which we can entice a vision from God. It might be the source of theurgy. Theurgy is the “Manipulation of the supernatural through certain rites, deeds, and incantations.”[1] Some Jews had formalized the process. “What begins in the Testament of Levi as a description of what Levi did that brought about the vision (meditate, pray, sleep) eventually becomes, in the Hekhalot, a set of prescriptions for the visionary ascent.”[2] There are even some Christian sects that practice certain routines thought to manipulate God’s behavior. Prayer is sometimes presented as the means by which God guarantees a specific action. The New Testament teaches that if we pray according to “God’s will,” it will happen. Since God wants none to perish, to pray for the salvation of someone guarantees that they will eventually come to faith. There is a thin line between the power of prayer and theurgy.

There are no rituals or routines we need today to see God.  The heavens have been opened to you and me. Duguid explains, “All this is possible because to us too, in our contemporary exile, God speaks and reveals himself. Whereas in the past, he spoke to the exiles through the prophet, now, in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, Jesus (Heb. 1:1–2). In the coming of Jesus, God has definitively drawn aside the curtain and revealed his heavenly purpose to all of his people—that in all things, God is working for the good of those who love him so that in Christ we may ultimately be more than conquerors (Rom. 8:28, 37). As we look around us, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Jesus (Heb. 2:8). That is part of the experience of living in exile. But by faith, we do see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor at the right hand of the Father, and believe that our present suffering is part of God’s perfect plan to mold us into the image of the one who suffered first for us (2:9–10).”[3]

[1] Kurian, George Thomas. 2001. In Nelson’s New Christian Dictionary: The Authoritative Resource on the Christian World. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] Manning, Gary T., Jr. 2004. Echoes of a Prophet: The Use of Ezekiel in the Gospel of John and in Literature of the Second Temple Period. London; New York: T&T Clark International.

[3] Duguid, Iain M. 1999. Ezekiel. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.