Seeing is believing — a maxim tried and true for most situations. Yet, Jesus upbraided the disciple who failed to believe until his eyes had seen his resurrected Savior. Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed, John 20:29. Jesus pointed to a belief that goes beyond the sight of our eyes.
We know that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1. In fact, this passage goes even farther to say in verse 6, But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Let us unpack that a bit. What is the reward, and how do we diligently seek?
I submit that our initial reward is seeing our need to obey the Gospel: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, Acts 2:38. How does this occur? It starts with what God does.
We understand that no one can come to God unless that person is drawn (John 6:44). When the hint that God was drawing me to Himself started to filter through my carnality many years ago, I began to turn my thoughts toward Him. My life at that time was so worldly that nobody in my circle would have suspected any connection with God beginning to form, but it was, and I responded. One small act of pulling away from a choice that I sensed God was discouraging me from taking turned something in my life. I was all alone and grown and no one but God would have known, but in that moment, though I did not fully understand what I felt, I chose to respond. From that simple act, more choices began to be presented to slowly take the path that could bring me closer to what I knew of God. When I had gone as far down that path as I knew, He drew me further to what He desired for me to know, the Acts 2:38 Gospel, which was new to me. At every step there was a choice, and there continues to be one every day.
Beyond salvation, through the act of walking obediently with God by faith, reading and hearing the preached Word of God, conditioning my heart with prayer and worship, striving for a holiness lifestyle, loving Jesus with all my heart, and knowing the joy of serving Him, I have been blessed to experience, to see, and thus to truly know truths that once were hidden to me. Let me share a few of those with you.
Revelation – I am not talking about the book of the Bible by that name, but rather to the idea of God imparting knowledge to a prepared heart, knowledge that the individual could not otherwise have received. Let me be perfectly clear: this is not referring to any supposed idea that “goes beyond” what is written in the Word. I will address that misconception first:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation, 2 Peter 1:20
Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven, Psalm 119:89
…thou has magnified thy word above all thy name, Psalm 138:2
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book, Revelation 22:18.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that ye have received, let him be accursed, Galatians 1:8
From these Scriptures, it should be clear that there is a warning against casually handling the Word of God. We are not to look into the Word to find justification for what we already believe. We are never to claim some new “revelation” and peddle our “new truth” to hungry souls, exalting our own ideas as though they could supersede the Word of God.
Do you see and understand what I am not alleging? I will not advocate any “revelation” that grants the alleged receiver assumed authority to reinterpret what the Word clearly says.
Rather, I demonstrate to you that there is a revelation that opens the eyes of the obedient believer to see the Word and its treasures as God meant them to be seen by obedient hearts. Consider these Scriptures:
Blessed art thou Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in Heaven, Matthew 16:17 Simon Peter was the first among the disciples to see the truth that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. At that point something had been revealed to him that had not yet been revealed to others.
Then opened He their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45. This refers to the all the disciples who, though they had walked with Jesus three and a half years, did not understand His Words or the Scriptures prophesying of Him. Jesus had to open their understanding so that they could see what was meant by the Scriptures. At that point, truths were revealed to them that were not revealed to others.
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given, Matthew 13:11 Do you see the pattern? Some saw in their spirit, their mind and understanding, what others were not allowed by God to see.
I know this to be true because I experienced it. I clearly recall when I was in the stage of going to an Apostolic Pentecostal church and begin drawn to the power of the Holy Ghost that flowed there and to the preaching of the Word that had such authority (as the people described the preaching of Jesus in Matthew 7:29) because of the anointing. A desire to have that in me was growing but I was skeptical with my education and background of a traditional church view for this area. One of the most striking aspects of this time in my life was reading the Bible and having the knowledge that the One who wrote this Word now was drawing near to me and illuminating its pages. Remember, the drawing works two ways: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you, James 4:8.
During this time, God led me from a vague understanding of how the godhead is to be viewed to a soul-deep knowledge and understanding of the Holy One. Sound bold? It should, because it is. I know the moment God opened my eyes to see that He is the Mighty God in Christ, and His name is Jesus.
A revelation is God-directed; it opens the understanding to truth in the Word of God (never beyond it, for such is not revelation but deception), and it comes to some while others do not yet (or ever) have it.
There are those who say this idea is dangerous and even heretical, that God shows Himself in unique ways to individuals and opens their understanding to the truth. It was not a strange idea to Jesus when He promised, And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free, John 8:32.
To whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed? Where is the dividing line of who does and does not receive a revelation? Remember the expression, “water off a duck’s back”? We understand that the coated feathers of a waterfowl do not receive water as readily as thirsty, prepared soil. It is the same with the human heart. Some receive the knowledge of God as life-giving water, while others splash around a bit yet are never affected inside. Is the individual hapless in this? Do people bear any responsibility for their condition with regard to receiving truth? More specifically, do they have any power over whether they are ready to receive a revelation from God?
Our pastor recently preached on the relationship between repentance and revelation. Some people in Jesus’ day, like the Pharisees, walked all around Jesus in earshot of His words yet received nothing from Him. His main interaction with them was to rebuke their proud and evil practices. The poor people on the other hand, who knew they were in need, heard Him gladly.
In another contrast a multitude of people were fed and then tried to crown Jesus king. Many of those same voices later called out for His death, while a remnant clung to Him and were still there to claim His Spirit when it was poured out on the Day of Pentecost. Prepared hearts, willing to obey, made the difference. Consider these Scriptures:
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth, John 16:13
And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him, Acts 5:32
If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand, Luke 8:10.
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory, I Timothy 3:16.
Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed, Isaiah 53:1
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? Romans 10:16.
The Apostle Paul, after humbling himself in repentance and being baptized in Jesus name, receiving the Holy Ghost, summed up his desire this way:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death, Philippians 3:10. Whatever it took to know more of God, Paul wanted it. Do you?
Beyond revelation, what have I seen and know? I have seen and know that the Word of God is complete and it addresses every minute aspect of our lives: thoughts, words, relationships, finances, secret places of our hearts, our “private” lives, and this list could go on and on infinitely. The Word of God bears this out in many Scriptures, but consider these:
Through desire, a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom, Proverbs 18:1
Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee, Psalm 119:11.
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple, Psalm 65:4
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, Hebrews 4:12
There is no aspect of the life we are to live, no place of hurt or triumph, no area of uncertainty or concern left out of the scope of the Word of God.
Here is a simplistic picture that many may relate to. When I was young, my mother packed my lunch. I would grab my little lunch box off the counter and take it to school, not thinking much about it until the time came to eat. When I opened it, I was sure to find what I needed for that moment. It was already in there, waiting for me, when the time arrived to use it. I have found the Word of God, as I have tried to hide it in my heart consistently, has been there for me, both in the times of my need and the seasons of my joy.
Your move. Do you want more? Would you have God reveal Himself to you? Seek to know Him, to understand His Word. Respond as He draws you, with a made-up mind to obey what He reveals to you. Find a place where the Word is preached under the anointing of the Holy Ghost in a church built on the foundation of the Apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:38).
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart, Jeremiah 29:13
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled, Matthew 5:6.
Questions? Thoughts? Leave a comment below; I would love to hear your thoughts.