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The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens.
Prov. 3:19

Part 2 - The Sanctifying Work of Christ

Separated in the Heavenly Dwelling Place of Christ

Day two continues with the concept of separation: "Then God said, 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day" (Gen. 1:6-8). The waters had been one, and now they are separated by the "firmament" which is called "Heaven." Division is the emphasis here. The waters are divided by the firmament.

The sea

Another aspect of the separation that Christ wrought is the heavenly position that all believers are delivered to in Christ. This is modeled in the dividing of the waters by the firmament. After the waters are divided, those that are beneath the firmament will be called "seas" in day three. The sea is a type of the mass of unsaved humanity. Isaiah 57:20 states, "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt." Jude calls unbelievers "raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever" (Jude 1:13).

When Jesus spoke of the great tribulation that would come upon the earth in the last days, He referred to the sea in such a metaphorical way: "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring" (Luke 21:25). The beast of the tribulation period is said to come out of the sea, representing his rising up out of the unsaved nations: "Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name" (Rev. 13:1).

Jesus made an analogy between fishing in the sea and drawing people out of the world and into His kingdom. Matthew records: "And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men' " (Matt. 4:18-19). The realm of the sea is used here as the realm of the lost.

Since the sea represents the unsaved and unbelieving people of the earth, there will be no sea in the new heavens and new earth that God creates for His eternal kingdom. Revelation 21:1 states: "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea."

The heavenly places

That which divides the waters is the firmament. This is called "heaven." In the physical creation, this is the expanse of the sky. However, the word "heaven" is used in Scripture to speak not only of the expanse of the sky and the expanse of space, but also of the spiritual realm, the dwelling place of God.

The dividing of the waters by the firmament is a parallel event to one aspect of the sanctifying work of Christ when the types of the sea and heaven are considered. Christ takes those in the world who believe and delivers them into the heavenly realm. They are no longer considered to be of the world, but only physically in it. Those in the world are separated. Some are of the world; some are in the heavenly realm in Christ who is seated on the right hand of the Father.

Ephesians 2:5-6 tells us that God, "even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." These "heavenly places" divide those who are saved from those who are not. Those who are below, of the world, will then represent the "sea" after this division.

The work of Christ

Those who have received the salvation of Christ are set apart in that they are no longer of the present world but are now a heavenly people, one of God's kingdom. This happens not when one dies physically, but when one who is spiritually dead is born again. As a new creation, such a one is considered to have risen with Christ to the Father. God "made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

This heavenly status, dwelling with Christ before the Father, is the result of Christ's ascension. God has "raised us up together" in Christ. Paul says to the Colossians: "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:1-3).

In a spiritual sense the Christian will not die and go to heaven. He has already died and gone to heaven. "For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Christ has already brought the believer before the throne of God and into His presence. Thus Philippians 3:20 states "For our citizenship is in heaven." The only part of redemption not completed is the transformation of the Christian's physical body by Christ, "who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body" (Phil. 3:21).

A heavenly nation

Just as God separated the children of Israel from all the nations and made them His special people, a unique nation on the earth, so He has done on a spiritual level. God spoke to Israel through Moses saying, "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Ex. 19:5-6). God accomplished this in the Exodus, and made Israel a unique nation. Peter the Apostle has this in mind when he says of the church, "you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ . . . But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy" (1 Pet. 2:5,9-10).

This separation between those of the world and those of God's heavenly kingdom occurred in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. This is His sanctifying work.