On August 19 2016 Rev. Bert M. Farias published a blog entry titled "Heaven is our home" which contained this concerning the awareness of denizens of God's realm of all that transpires on this one:
"Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us" (Heb. 12:1).
This huge crowd of men of faith or cloud of witnesses does not observe us from a mere natural standpoint. They are not concerned about our earthly status in the sense of our wealth, prestige, or reputation. They are not concerned about how many houses, lands, cars, or material possessions we own. They are mainly concerned about one thing: The condition of our spiritual lives, and the salvation of sinners and maturity of the saints.
For example, the late Kenneth E. Hagin had an Enoch-like experience he describes in his book, "Following God's Plan For Your Life", where he was taken up to heaven. There he saw his sister Oleta, who had died of cancer at just 45 years of age. Hagin was allowed to talk to her. She told him since her arrival in heaven that she had already seen several family members, while expressing concern for others on the earth who were presently away from God. She told Brother Hagin that he should talk to her eldest son about the Lord and that he would listen to him. These things are real friends. Heaven knows what goes on spiritually down here on the earth. What an incentive to run our race and fulfill God's plan for our lives! What an incentive to finish strong! What an incentive to be about our Father's business!"
What Rev. Farias was sharing falls in line in some ways with the Roman Catholic teachings concerning the "Communion of Saints" (which should not be confused with the forbidden conjuring up of spirits). As readers of this blog may know, I converted to Roman Catholicism in my early 20s (but was spirit baptized and entered the Charismatic movement well before this) and later gravitated into the messianic movement in a quest for the original body of beliefs and practices held by followers of Yeshua HaMashiach ("Jesus the Messiah").
I am intrigued by Rev. Farias's thoughts on the "Communion of Saints" but especially that of the late Rev. Kenneth Hagin. The reason Hagin's account is especially interesting to me lies in the fact I encountered the reality of the "cloud of witnesses" some thirty five years ago. Got your attention? Here is my personal account:
In the fall of 1980 I contracted a devastating pulmonary infection that eventually subsided but left me with lung scarring and reduced lung capacity. During this time I read how Saint Bernadette Soubirous (Lourdes) had died of pulmonary disease at a young age (I actually corresponded with Sister Noel who was serving in the convent at St. Gildard in Nevers, France, about Bernadette. Sister Noel's order - the Sisters of Charity of Nevers -- is part of Lourdes and as I learned she was a missionary in Japan when WWII broke out who wound up a prisoner of the Japanese Imperial Army. She was in Hiroshima when the bomb fell and survived this, contracted leukemia, and survived this too). Long story short: I knew better than to get into necromantic activities, so what I did was ask God to have St Bernadette (along with other saints in his presence) intercede for me. Almost immediately I had an interior vision of the diminutive French saint kneeling and praying -- facing an indescribably bright blue-white light which I knew was the Almighty (The first of a series of such visions that stretched across a handful of months*). I could hear Bernadette praying in a French sounding dialect which was instantaneously translated as she spoke. I then heard the Spirit tell me this saint would be one of those who intercede for me in perpetuity (that is, for the remainder of my earthly sojourn). Cutting to the chase: my pulmonary challenges reversed leaving few vestiges. In addition, I have had an awareness ever since of the intercessory activity of St. Bernadette (But have never, ever attempted to "conjure her up" in order to engage in dialog as this would constitute a form of necromancy. In my case, I make my petitions known to God who then involves the "communion of saints" including Bernadette).
Protestant and Catholic clerics, theologians and parishioners have rightly condemned necromancy among believers and others though some missed the fact that there is no sin in asking God to assign intercessors who "have his ear".
No matter what your personal position is on the "Communion of Saints", the overriding question is your relationship with God (Not mental assent but your becoming "one new man"). Not sure what is means or perhaps you think you have it worked out but are not sure? If so, grab a copy of "The Real Salvation" and once you have read and acted on this, buy/borrow and carefully, slowly read Dr. Robert D. Heidler's "The Messianic Church Arising". Then visit the Messianic Torah Observant Israel website.
* The visions varied as to when they occurred and how Bernadette was attired and what she said or carried in her hands. I manipulated every variable I could to see if I could alter or banish the visions, but could not. I kept a written record of these visions which is under lock and key in Dallas (A storage unit I maintain there).