The Courts of Heaven: Answering the Critics
There’s been growing interest among believers in learning how to operate in the courts of heaven. Along with growing interest, there’s been growing criticism. In this message, I provide an explanation of what the courts and councils of heaven are and respond to the objections of critics.
I use the terms courts and councils because some of the venues are like courtrooms, where legal proceedings are transacted. Other venues are less formal. The proceedings there are more like council meetings. The courts and councils of heaven are places where spiritual beings carry out the governmental affairs of heaven and to some degree, the affairs of earth. In all of them, Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are the central figures
Are the Courts of Heaven Biblical?
Critics have objected that the courts of heaven is a concept not found in the Bible. Let’s take a look at the third chapter of Zechariah:
Then the angel showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Joshua. And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” Joshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Joshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”
This is the biblical model upon which my teaching on the courts of heaven is based. The court most people appear in is the court of accusation, where there is a defendant and an accuser. The Lord is the Judge, who hears the accusation and proclaims the defendant not guilty. The Bible doesn’t assign a name to this place but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to call it a court. On earth, we generally face our accusers in court.
Another venue found in the Bible is a heavenly council, where the Lord discusses His plans. In the twenty-second chapter of first Kings, we find the story of Ahab and his plan to attack Ramoth-Gilead. The prophet Micaiah was given a glimpse of a heavenly council as they discussed the fate of Ahab:
I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’
1 Kgs 22:19-22
There is no judge in this scene. No defendant and no accuser. Rather than a courtroom proceeding, it seems to be a council meeting. The Lord heard the council of an evil spirit, whose plan was put into operation.
The Effects of Sin
The court that is familiar to most critics is the court of accusation which provides a venue of arbitration between humans and evil spirits. Critics have objected that the doctrine of the courts of heaven views our relationship with God from an old covenant perspective; where the blood of Jesus has not yet freed us from the power of sin.
Sin and how it’s dealt with in the courts has nothing to do with our relationship with God. The issue being addressed is the opportunity it provides for evil spirits to attack us. The apostle Paul, writing after the death and resurrection of Jesus, teaching a new covenant reality wrote:
Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Paul taught that being angry creates an opportunity for the devil. If we choose to sin, it doesn’t make us less righteous in God’s eyes, but it does make us a target for demonic attack. The apostle John, again, teaching a new covenant reality, prescribed the remedy:
My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.
1 Jn 2:1
The word “advocate” in this verse can be translated, attorney. John taught that when we sin, we should let Jesus, our attorney, plead our case before the Father. And that is exactly what we do in the court of accusation. Demons can torment us until we face them in court and have the Judge pass sentence on them and clear us of the accusation.
Satan Can’t Appear in Heaven
Critics have noted that the Bible says Satan was cast down and thus, he cannot possibly be found in a heavenly court. This objection might seem valid, but we need to do a little more digging.
There is no debate that all the angels—both the ones who are loyal to God and the ones who rebelled against Him—resided in the heavenly realms. After their rebellion, the fallen angels were confined to some other realm. Some believe that they were removed from the heavenly realms completely and confined to earth. Those who hold this view cite passages like:
I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
The accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
Satan and his minions have without question, been removed from their former estate, but have they been confined to earth?
The apostle Paul, again writing to believers who lived after the resurrection, about a new covenant reality, taught that the evils spirits who oppose us, still reside in the heavenly realms:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
We must resolve the apparent contradiction that evil spirits were cast down from heaven but still reside there. The problem comes as a result of viewing heaven as a single realm without subdivisions. Heaven, in fact, has a multiplicity of realms, each of which is reserved for different types of spiritual beings. We see the multiple realms of heaven spoken of in passages like this one from first Kings:
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!
1 Kgs 8:27
This passage mentions two realms: heaven and a higher one; the heaven of heavens. What is the heaven of heavens?
What is a king of kings?
He is like other kings but has a higher level of authority. He rules over other kings.
The heaven of heavens is a higher realm of heaven that serves as the dwelling place of God and other spirits, but which is off-limits to Satan and his angels. When we understand that there are multiple realms of heaven, the apparent contradiction is resolved. Satan was cast down from heaven, but not to earth. He is confined to a lower realm of heaven; the one where the court of accusation is located.
Satan is Defeated
Critics have observed that Satan and his minions have been defeated and rendered powerless and that there is no need for us to obtain victory in a heavenly court.
Satan surely has been defeated and rendered powerless. But this objection fails to recognize the fact that there are two realms we must reckon with: the realm of time and the realm of eternity.
Healing is an example of how a reality in eternity doesn’t immediately manifest in the realm of time. God decided in eternity to provide healing for sickness and disease. Despite the victory that Jesus provided for our healing, we are not instantly healed when be believe. Healing must be enforced through prayer, the release of power, or the removal of evil spirits. Does our action against evil spirits mean that Christ’s victory was powerless? Of course not. It simply means that His victory in eternity requires our participation in the realm of time in order for it to manifest.
Appearing in the court of heaven isn’t an admission that Jesus hasn’t defeated the powers of darkness. It simply recognizes that all which He’s done for us in eternity has not yet fully manifested in the realm of time. We don’t plead our case hoping for victory. We go there knowing victory is assured, but that it still needs to be enforced against evil spirits.
Believers Are Defendants in a Legal System
A final criticism of the courts of heaven is that it views us as little more than defendants in a legal system. Where is our sonship, critics ask? What about our kingship? Our place of ruling and reigning with Christ?
If you’ve only read about the court of accusation, as is true of most critics, your concern is understandable. It does seem like a place of powerlessness. There isn’t much glory there. Not much to be excited about. But the court of accusation is not a place we want to visit often. It’s only a starting point. It’s in the other courts and councils where we grow into sonship and kingship. These are the places where we’ve been seated with Christ in the heavens.
But critics don’t mention the other courts and councils. And that’s a shame, because the very things they want to experience are happening in them.
In the court of war, we learn the strategies of heaven. In the court of kings, we learn to make decrees that establish heaven’s rule. We receive angelic help in the court of angels. In the divine council, the Lord meets with angels and saints to decide the affairs of heaven and earth. There are many other courts and councils in heaven. In time, and with experience, we’ll gain access to all of them. As we explore them and meet with the Lord in person, we’re transformed into sons and kings who fully reflect the glorious image of God.
If you’re interested in learning more about the courts of heaven, you might check out my book Defeating Your Adversary in the Court of Heaven.
Once made aware of the principle of the courts of heaven you will be amazed at the high frequency of legal terms and situations which are recorded in the Word. If you pause on a word in your English translation which looks like it has a legal “ring” to it, search for and study the Hebrew or Greek source word in Strong’s. You will be amazed.
that is because common law is based in scripture.
Congress when making statutes after the bank take over said they borrowed common parlance to make there legalese, another language, that looks like ours but is not. To fool us. forked tongue and all.
so yes many words will be recognized.
At this point I am reading and trying to understand a topic that is completely foreign to me. I appreciate every post you write about it, and wanted to respond in some fashion to let you know that.
Thank you, Jerri.
Hi Jerri, I’m with you.. I see myself and some others absolutely stuck and needing a victory from various long time issues that don’t seem to give way to normal prayer, faith etc…. so I know there is a further answer and I’m trying to understand the court of heaven and find a way beyond what I now know
This was a needed post. I have just recently started to explore the courts of heaven. There are 2 reasons: one is that my hips have not been healed—numerous faith believing Christians have laid hands on me –with no manifestation of healing. Number two—as much as I want to get out of debt ( I have equity in a commercial property) I have not been able to for about 5 years. Both of these issues are ‘stuck’. I’m walking with God, repented, forgave all—but my prayers are not being answered. And because of these obsticles, I feel that I am not able to step into the destiny that God has for me. I need help in accessing the courts–anyone that you know is offering this as a ministry? I would also like to get a copy of your book—but, I do need support in this situation, asap.
Appreciate your help. Thanks!
Here’s a great learning resource for you. Don’t be overwhelmed with the steep learning curve and protocols. Keep it simple. Start where you are. Connect with folks there. Click on the files tab and read. Check out the testimony page. Get involved and after a short while you’ll start to get the hang of it. That’s where I am. It is incredibly powerful. Invite Terry Spencer (check out his facebook page which will lead you to more) to come do a training near you. He just left here from training. Check out his youtube videos.
Thank you for your encouragement. I will check out Terry and not give up!
I had hip trouble for 2 years. Good news is that I’m on my step machine and pain free while typing this. I encourage you to ask God what is hindering your healing and if there’s another part of you that needs emotional healing.
While getting prayer for my hip at my church, the gentlemen who were praying both received a word at the same time that I had a broken heart. It hit me hard because it was true. It took months for my heart to be miraculously healed because I had no idea what to do.
I love my Savior and have been many wonderful places with Him but this healing evaded me. I did know that once my heart was healed that my hip would be fine. Interesting thing is that a Google search revealed to me that the heart is somehow connected to the hips.
Anyway, it was at a Global Awakening conference with Randy Clark that a woman who was constantly overcome with joy and laughter (who at times got on my nerves) was instrumental in my heart healing. I wanted her joy so badly that at one of the last breaks, while she was in a fit of laughter, I came to her, put my hand on her heart and said, “I want what you have.” That’s what finally broke the dam that I was powerless over.
I was a complete stranger but God let her watch as He healed my heart. It wasn’t but maybe a month later that my hip came into alignment and has been fine ever since.
Please be encouraged to continue to chase your healing. It’s there. You just need the key. My key was finding out about my heart.
God bless you for sharing your heart – truly.
Thank you for sharing your testimony. I feel in my spirit that ‘my broken heart’ is the financial debt that I have been carrying. It can be taken care of by the sale of 2 properties that I owe. So–my problem—nothing has sold. But, I’m not giving up on God. I’m pressing forward–to fight the enemy—in the courts.
Kathy have you tried looking up Generational Curses passed down . Blessings and Curses . Derek Prince has some videos on YouTube
Thank you, I will check out his videos. I have Derek’s book: They Shall Expel Demons. It helped me personally to get rid of the demon of depression.
Thanks for the clarification… this is all so fascinating.
I have ordered all your books because I love your teaching.
God is so good!!!
Excellent article. It is a great apologetic resource. Thanks for the help. I’ve come across other helpful things you’ve written before. I’ve found that Robert Henderson’s book ‘Operating in the Courts of Heaven’ to be an excellent resource as well.
In Psalm 100 it says
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; – it does say courts.
I suggest anyone who has doubt over this issue have a conversation with Jesus about it. Because we can argue over scripture all day long – when Jesus is the expert with respect to the operation of heaven.
Courts in this sense is “courtyards” not a court of law. Avail yourself of a Hebrew lexicon to see for yourself.
Brother Maff . that is a serious issue . so much presented in these ” courts books” is such ambiguity of reference . they encourage trust in form and ritual prayer -which is the very opposite of faith . That sot of teaching is often lapped up by those who struggle to believe , therefore they think there is something that themselves must ‘do better ‘ to -attain victory. And again, that , is the very opposite of faith .. –
@Mike – you speak absolutely corrrectly; it’s a gimmick to sling product to those weak in faith and/or struggling with genuine repentance (which at its core is to come into agreement with God vs. doing their own thing – Amos 3:3).
Going before the Lord as a humble child and putting your entire life at the foot of the cross (i.e. under the blood of the Lamb) and truly turning your heart and mind to God – thus entering into his gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise – is what creates severance from demonic/occult forces.
And as you rightly pointed out – ritual prayer is the opposite of faith, which works via LOVE! (Gal. 5:6)
From there it’s purely a matter of walking in (the baptism of) the Holy Spirit day by day and knowing both your identity and authority in Christ.
To Praying Medic’s credit, he has wisely chosen to let all comments post – even the ones that do not entirely agree with his theology.
I also get many comments stating that most of the courts of heaven have references in the old testament, not in the New Testament and did Jesus ever refer to the courts of heaven? It seems that many Christians from this area have believed a Bible of Judgement, then to a Bible of Grace…that after you have committed your life to Christ you are good to go because of Grace and that’s it. If you pray and don’t get answers according to how we prayed, then that was God’s will for that person. While introducing the courts of heaven, I have got alot of rejection because they say that it is a matter of believing and faith. I have requested some help in this area. I have seen the results of the courts in a spiritual matter concerning the spirit of Jezebel. And there was no way on earth I could have prayed into that one…I did not know how to pray. That spirit brings alot of confusion and so manipulative…then someone took me to the court of heaven, and I was in complete rest and God took care of everything! Amazing! These questions are not to dispute the truth of entering the courts, they simply are asked to help others see it’s importance. God bless you for your teaching!
Thank you for posting and applaud you for standing your ground on your Godly authority to defend the courts of heaven. I’ve read the comments of one of the critics so I know exactly what you were addressing here. My heart was grieved when I’ve read the critic as it was something not expected from him. I’ve been into the different courts and different realms and all I can say that those who are not learning or not willing to go higher with God are only limiting themselves.
Pursuing the relationship with the Lord and who He is expecting the unexpected. Do not put God in a box. There are many places to go, see, explore with God and all of His creation.
From my experiences, I’ve learned to enjoy Star Trek and Star Wars. Some of the things in those movies must have been God revelation.
Last night I was taken to a place or time where or when the Father had prepared the only Way out of the Judgment day for humanity. At that place or time, the Son, Yeshua selflessly and obediently accepted His role in taking our place. Though a blameless victim, Yeshua willingly accepted His preordained role to receive the:full force of the vicarious punishment for: sin, the curse, our betrayal, our indifference, our insults, our blasphemes, the whiplashes, the torture and the excruciating agony. The second place where I was taken was both terrifying and comforting. My eyes were trained on Yeshua, this was the very comforting part. I was being interrogated by principalities if I was really putting all my hope in the atonement death of the man Yeshua. I said yes, I can’t trust in anything of my own doing. Yeshua is my redeemer and He paid my debt in full with the most valuable currency in the Universe. I knew also that it is useless and counterproductive to hold grudges and grievances against anyone since we have been forgiven of much more serious offences. I knew it was a court system in the heavenlies and today while searching the internet about this most uncommon experience arrived on this site.
I had a previous experience in a court of Angels about 30 years ago. A friend had an accident which fractured his skull and was in comma. I helped him somewhat. Then I went to take a nap and three messengers interviewed me, inquiring about my motives to help my friend who had suffered the accident. Three times I was asked the same question. Three times I answered that I did it (authorized the brain operation) because I expected that someone would do it for me if I ever needed that kind of help. On the last and third time they asked me the same question, one of the watchers ( the word “watchers” stuck to my memory at that time) said: “Your friend will live (survive)” He was operated that same day by a neuro surgeon and remained 17 days in comma and then my friend woke up from comma and indeed survived his ordeal.
Amazing testimony. So glad to hear of your experiences. Thank you for sharing them.
Excellent post, PM. Concise and to the point.
Sir, if we’re constantly pleading the Precious Blood of Christ, which is efficacious and cannot fail to atone for our sins, why do we have to go through the motions of the formality of the heavenly courtroom dramatics?
If what you are doing is working for you, then buy all means keep up the good work.
But as you well know, each of us has a path that might differ from one another and for this reason, Papa has provided this for those who need and or want this path.
It is really not a “formality” but a desire to draw closer to Him that we pursue this avenue but I can add, with great joy.
We will see you at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
I’m really excited to read this book. I got it over Christmas but haven’t had a chance yet to read it. I think some people miss the feast that is before us because it comes from the things Father has done/ taught to our brothers and sisters. I had to learn this in a hard way. The first 10 years of my walk I was heavy under the law and apparently back then no church was good enough except our home church! And everyone else was wrong in some way or another. You certainly can’t receive anything from the other parts of the body if you think everyone else is wrong. ( we all know differently now. That in and of itself is a huge miracle) It is a blessing to be able to receive from the body things that are new and different. How can one person know all the things of Father? If I had to labor for everything my brothers and sisters labored for, I would never enjoy living and enjoying the life he has for me. I know the fear of being deceived really has a lot to do with keeping people from new things. That word you shared about that was awesome. This was a vision he gave me one time. There were a lot of mountains. I was climbing mine. Others were climbing there’s. It was lonely, rough terrain. Basically a straight rock face with some hand holds here and there. It wasn’t easy but I kept going and got to the top. When I got to the top, it was a wonderful, lush meadow type of area.He was there. Once I got to the top, my mountain went flat to the ground and all these people were able to walk right in and enjoy my mountain without having to go through my labor. I was really happy for them that they didn’t have to labor like I did. I, in return got to walk on other people’s mountain and enjoy what they had labored for. I labored to get my part but now I can offer it to my brethren. I hope that eyes will be opened to see that this is the feast and it comes from our brethren The delicacy that they offer is going to be different from our own delicacy. He told me one time “If I am in it, it will produce fruit. Period.” If You have testimonies about something, well there’s your fruit and confirmation. There are so many different types of fruit/food! If it wasn’t different, there would only be I type of dish offered at the meal. That’s Boring and our Father is not boring! His love is endless therefor His gift are endless! Can’t wait to share testimonies about the Courts of Heaven. ?
I have received answers to prayer for almost 43 years without knowing about or using the courts of heaven. I’ve seen my daughter totally healed of encephalitis after getting chicken pox, another child healed of a broken foot, healing of my thyroid and complete healing of Lupus after following the conditions required to get answered prayer. I’ve seen many instantly healed of all manner of afflictions when I “lay hands on the sick”.
People seek me out to pray for them. I had to recently understand why my prayers get answered. I seem to meet the biblical conditions that have nothing to do with the courts of heaven teaching while watching people who use this teaching still have unanswered prayers.
These conditions are for all of us and quite simple. Like the prayers of Jesus and Paul.
Hello–Davian. I am so excited by your comment. I have been inflicted with hip issues—looking for answers for healing. Any possibility that we can connect on private message on FB?
All courts are adversarial if there were no controversy some judge would not be needed.
at the lower levels the statutory administrative courts require an accuser.
At common law the one prosecuting a claim is the pursuer. Not the accuser. but we are talking about bible law and the laws of nature and of natures creator.
At that point I disagree.
Contracting with god as many in the bible have i have often wondered. usually god initiates with a command and man then requires provisions to fulfill gods command.
I would suggest getting a rudimentary understanding on how earthly courts operate first.
And that christians need to get iff their blessed assurance and occupy their god ordained offices instead of playing in church. Instead we have let the devil worshipers run the courts, and clerks offices. So here we are. Those agencies are ministerial in nature.
I will have to explore this more.