The Four Realms
These Bible studies are meant to be a simple straightforward presentation of Bible truths as a tool to help you to understand the Word, It is however only by the Holy Spirit (who leads us into truth) that you will be able to see the extent of what is here. Religious traditions make the word of God ineffective, so the Word is my focus rather than a particular denominational doctrine, ( Mark 7:13 ). I am so blessed that He has enabled me to see the part that I do. I believe the Father would have me to share these delights with others who seek to closely know Him as well. These lessons are to encourage you on into a deeper relationship with God.
[Bracketed words within verses are my comments inserted to add clarity. I have also CAPITALIZED some words in the verses for emphasis.]
These lessons are not for sale for profit but otherwise may be freely copied and distributed.
Brief Review of the Previous Lessons:
In Lesson One we learned of the differences between the 1st Adam & the last Adam, the difference between the natural realm verses the spiritual realm. Man in the natural realm thinks & plans apart from God. The natural, carnal mind is of the flesh nature, (not the nature of God’s Spirit). This way of thinking is therefore man’s way, not God’s way. The wisdom of the carnal mind is foolishness to God, (1Corinthians 3:18-20), and is opposed to God, (Romans 8:7).
The red flags that display the carnal mind are the things seen in the flesh nature of men like Cain & King Saul. They embrace the “I’m a victim” mentality. They were full of themselves, full of self-pity, anger, fear, insecurity, outwardly religious, ignored God’s word when it was contrary to their wisdom, and were easily offended, most of which is rooted in idolatry, (Galatians 5:19-24). This is typical of all of us until we move on in faith, then to hope (Christ) as shown in Lesson Two.
Lesson One also clarified that Jesus was not walking as the Christ/Messiah, (the prophesied Anointed One), until he had the full anointing. Anointing of what? Anointing of the FULL measure of the Holy Spirit, which came at the beginning of his 3 1/2 years of ministry.
A person is in one Adam or the other according to birth. Lesson two began to show how to die to the nature of the 1st Adam and to be born into the last Adam, which Jesus said was essential to enter the Kingdom of God. The first Adam can never enter the Kingdom of God because the first Adam is of the earth with a flesh body and therefore a flesh nature. Nicodemus could not figure out how to be born a second time because he was using his carnal (natural) understanding, (see John 3:4). Trying to understand God’s Word with natural understanding is both vanity & confusion. What Nicodemus needed was spiritual understanding, the mind of Christ.
Beginning of Lesson 3:
God created three different realms, each one for a specific type of life. The three different realms are defined in Genesis 1:6-10, 13 as shown below from Young’s Literal Translation.
“6. And God saith, ‘Let an expanse be in the midst of the waters, and let it be separating between waters and waters.’ 7. And God maketh the expanse, and it separateth between the waters which are under the expanse, and the waters which are above the expanse: and it is so. 8. And God calleth to the expanse ‘HEAVENS;’ and there is an evening, and there is a morning—day second.
9. And God saith, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be collected unto one place, and let the dry land be seen:’ and it is so. 10 And God calleth to the dry land ‘EARTH,’ and to the collection of the waters He hath called ‘SEAS;’ and God seeth that it is good.
…13. and there is an evening, and there is a morning—day third.”
These are the realm of Creation, but there is also the realm of the Creator. Let’s call that the Divine realm for now. Everything else was created by God, even darkness, (Isaiah 45:7 & 54:16 & Colossians 1:16, 17 among others). Note from 1John 1:5 that God is Light and that there is no darkness in Him, but in each of the created realms there is both darkness and light with the pattern for each day beginning with the period of darkness (evening) and ending in light (morning). This is the pattern shown in Lesson One of first the natural, then the spiritual.
Each creation realm was created for forms of life that are typical to that realm. Although there are many variations of life within each realm, they are often summarized by the predominate life form for each realm as shown below, (Genesis 1:24, 25). Some are fit for consumption and some are not. The list is found in Leviticus 11. The ones that are acceptable for man to eat are called “clean”, and those to be avoided for eating are called “unclean”.
Notice that each realm is in an order that is beneath or above another realm or realms, with the highest order of being in God. The first Adam was given domain of these 3 realms before he fell. We have all seen that man ruling with his natural, carnal, flesh-nature wisdom has increasingly made a mess of the planet. But now the governments of man are all crumbling as Christ is establishing His Divine government on the earth from within His people.
In the natural, man can live on or in the seas in boats and submarines. Man can live on or in the earth as well, and also in the heavens. Man can move back & forth among these creation realms. But these natural realms are examples of spiritual realms. Let us begin by looking into the Bible to see what each represents, starting with the seas.
“…The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.“— Revelation 17:15
“20. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.“— Isaiah 57
You can see from this that spiritually speaking the Sea realm represents “lost humanity”. The lowest part of the earth realm is at the bottom of the sea. The sea is not only the lowest realm but it is the darkest realm, receiving light only for a very shallow distance. In the natural this is a good type of what it is in the spirit. It is the realm with no significant awareness of God.
Moving upward, Earth is the next highest realm. In the natural it is under the natural light of the sun, moon & stars. In the spiritual realm it is the realm where man was created, and it is where man rules with his natural understanding, and when there is daylight it is often darkened by clouds. Spiritually it is the realm of man’s knowledge where like Nicodemus he uses his natural reasoning to try to comprehend God by reading and hearing the Law, (the Word of God).
The realm above the Earth is the Heavens. Just as it is above the earth in the natural, it also represents a higher realm spiritually. The Heavens is where a relationship with God comes into more light by understanding the Word in faith by trusting God’s Holy Spirit to lead us.
The combined realms of the Heavens and the Earth represent God’s family, His church. The Greek word for church is “ekklesia” which means “the called out ones, a Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven”. They are the ones called out of the restless sea of humanity to begin a journey to attain Christ…to apprehend that for which they were apprehended.
“14. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,…“— Ephesians 3
Now let’s look at the Divine realm, which is the realm of Christ. There are many verses in the New Testament (such as a good part of Romans 8) that reveal that we can enter into this realm of Christ now, similar to how Jesus was one with the Father. Note however that Jesus had the full measure of the Holy Spirit and at this time we only have a measure therefore ours is a more gradual transition than was his. The day will soon come when those living in Christ will receive the full measure of the Holy Spirit. I believe that will happen at the beginning of the last 3 1/2 years before they receive their resurrected bodies…but that would be a lesson all by itself.
This concept of four realms of life adds clarity to the pattern seen in our last lesson as shown by the comparison below.
God wants a witness of Himself to creation. He plans to do this through a people whose outward behavior reflects an inner nature that is His, (the Word & Spirit). This next scripture, (Revelation 11) talks about His two witnesses.
“3. And I will give power unto MY TWO WITNESSES, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth… 6. THESE HAVE POWER TO SHUT HEAVEN, THAT IT RAIN NOT in the days of their prophecy: AND HAVE POWER OVER WATERS TO TURN THEM TO BLOOD, AND TO SMITE THE EARTH WITH ALL PLAGUES, as often as they will..”
Who is the witness that turned water into blood and brought plagues? That would be Moses. Moses is also the one through whom God brought the Law to show to His people what was pleasing to the nature of God and what was not.
And who is the witness who shut up the heavens so that it didn’t rain? That would be Elijah. Elijah is also the one in the Old Testament who testified of the Spirit of God. Both brought testimony to the Lamb of God, Christ. With your carnal mind you would say that Moses & Elijah are the two witnesses of God. But with the mind of Christ you would realize that they are types of the Word & the Spirit.
Now look at this famous passage from Matthew 17 on the Mount of Transfiguration (from the New King James Version).
“1. Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2. and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3. And behold, MOSES AND ELIJAH APPEARED TO THEM, TALKING WITH HIM, [their focus was on Jesus]. 4. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5. While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED. HEAR HIM!””
God is rebuking Peter that they are not equal, but that the Word & the Spirit point to the Son, Jesus the Christ. The purpose of the Word is to take you to the higher realm of the Spirit, and then the purpose of the Spirit is to lead you to the highest realm of God’s true Son.
The Greek word for Heaven is most often plural (Heavens) in the New Testament. There is more than one Heaven. This verse shows us that Jesus Christ is above them all.
“He that descended is the same also that ASCENDED UP FAR ABOVE ALL HEAVENS, that he might fill all things.“— Ephesians 4:10
And this next verse tells us that there are three Heavens. Who do you suppose Paul saw reigning in the highest Heaven? Look up this chapter and read on to see that it is the one that he gives glory to, and that would be Jesus. After the verse below I illustrate the three Heavens as I see it. Each one is in a different realm.
“I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the THIRD HEAVEN.“— 2Corinthians 12:2
The Word is clear that we cannot by our works achieve a higher realm in our relationship with God. Our next diagram will show some wonderful promises of God to move us upward in His order and in His timing.
The promises below were given regarding the seed of Abraham. With our natural carnal understanding we think that they are nice metaphors to emphasize that there will be many. Yes, there will be many, but they are much more than that. They are promises to have a people raised up into Christ.
Galatians 3:29 is clear that the seed of Abraham is one seed and that seed is Christ. Verses 7 & 26say that all who are in the Faith realm are children of Abraham, (immature). Those that are part of the seed must be found in Christ, (mature). God has promised to raise a people up into Christ, Jesus being the firstfruit. He has paved the way for a firstfruit company to follow.
You see Jesus is the Head and those found in Him are His Body. There is Christ the Head, (Jesus), and then Christ the Body. This is explained in 1 Corinthians 12.
Jesus is the first true Son. But at the resurrection will come a body of Sons raised up in Him. All creation, all three realms of it, groan waiting for this to happen, (See Romans 8:19-23).
These promises are found in Genesis, Isaiah, Hosea, Romans & elsewhere. Here again the natural is an example of the spiritual. Sand is washed up from the sea onto the earth. Dust is blown from the earth into the heaven. And stars are the highest points in the natural heavens. Stars are not reflective light, but rather the light shines from within and that is the goal, to be so yielded to Him that it is His life that is seen rather than our own.
Having all of this for background, particularly that the Heavens & the Earth represent the church, let us now read the first verse of the Bible and see a much deeper meaning to it.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.“— Genesis 1:1
But now read it in Young’s Literal Translation which gives a more accurate portrayal.
“In the beginning of God’s preparing the heavens and the earth—”
This single verse is the introduction to the entire Bible. It could be a chapter in itself. It is a summary of God’s plan. God, who is Love, desires to have a bride to be the object of His love, a woman who is so one with Him that she not only knows in her mind what to do to please Him, but she also desires in her heart to do his pleasure.
God is willing to lay down His life (His Son) for such a woman, but such a woman must come into the realm of perfection that is Him. And so He lays out a plan to raise up such a woman…a woman so in love with Him that she will birth a son in His exact image. When Mary, a virgin, gave birth to Jesus it was a type of a virgin church giving birth to a company of sons to be the Body of Christ, to rule and reign with Jesus the Head over all three realms of creation.
These thoughts stagger the natural mind, so what scripture do we look at to support this perfect, pure church? Start with this translation from The Living Bible.
“9. This new agreement will not be like the old one I gave to their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; they did not keep their part in that agreement, so I had to cancel it. 10. But this is the new agreement I will make with the people of Israel, says the Lord: I will write my laws in their minds so that they will know what I want them to do without my even telling them, and these laws will be in their hearts so that they will want to obey them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people.“— Hebrews 8:10
This bride must be washed of her imperfections. Her wedding garment is to be without wrinkles as well. Numbers 31:23 relates an ordinance of God that things are cleansed by water and by fire. Ephesians 5:25,26 says that Jesus loved the church enough to die for her that He might wash her with the water of the Word. Then in the next verse says that His dying for her was also to present her without wrinkles…in other words that she might endure the fires of ironing out imperfections. These fires that this church is to go through is spoken of in 1Peter1:7as well.
We have learned a principle in Lesson One that “first the natural, then the spiritual”. And so the Heavens and the Earth, (which symbolize the Bride-to-be), must be cleansed first by water, (as it was in the days of Noah), and then by fire, (which is now beginning to happen). Then there will be a NEW Heavens & Earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness!
There are three levels of truth here. The truth of one level does not negate the truth of another level. First, to be understood by the natural mind, the natural heavens and earth were cleansed from the wickedness of the first Adam by a flood at the time of Noah, and then as in the days of Noah, to be cleansed again in the end times, but this time by fiery shakings.
Then to be understood by those with the mind of Christ at a deeper level, the heavens & the earth symbolize the church. The church is to be washed of her ways by the water of the Word, then with this foundation of relationship she is ready for a walk of faith trusting the Holy Spirit to lead her, even through situations that she would not otherwise endure. Here she walks with her Lord through fiery trials where her nature changes more significantly. She is now ready for union with Him.
The deepest level of truth however is that this is to happen within us individually in our personal walk with the Lord. We are to hunger and thirst for the Word and we desire to enter into the ark, which is Christ. So we start with a foundation of reading and hearing God’s Word, and crying out for Him to raise us up into a realm closer to Him. As we are washed by the water of the Word we grow in faith and start a walk by the Spirit, doing things such as forgiving and showing love where we normally would not. It is more of Him working in and through us. As this walk strengthens we are then ready to be drawn up into Christ where we must pass through fiery trials to verify our true choices and love.
We now see by the mind of Christ an example of this when Elijah departed in a chariot of fire to leave the realm of the prophets, (the Heavenly Spiritual realm) He was ready to enter into God who is a consuming fire. It was safe for him to do because all of his flesh nature had already been burnt up by staying faithful through his fiery trials. He entered into a high calling, the prize that Paul pressed for. Note the carnal systems & works of men are destroyed, not the literal planet.
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; …when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned;….“— Isaiah 43:2
Eric J Ellis
PO Box 400
Easton, ME 04740