By Dr. Richard Ing
August 17, 2011
EYES THAT SEE AND EARS THAT HEAR
One of our members had a dream last night that was so vivid and scary that she could not get it out of her mind. She saw a clearing, like a pasture, with a group of young people standing around in the tall grass. They were enjoying themselves. Then, she saw a large snake in the tall grass. It looked like a python and had scales on it much like a crocodile. The snake moved among the young people, but no one noticed it. Suddenly, the snake stood up and became a young man like the rest. End of dream.
A couple of nights ago, the leaders of our church met at my house. In the course of the meeting, the Spirit gave me Ephesians 1:15:22:
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.
The apostle Paul prayed that God would give to the saints the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. He prayed that the eyes of understanding of the saints would be enlightened. Paul entreated the Lord that the saints may come to know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance is in the saints. He prayed that we would know the exceeding greatness of His power given to us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead.
The Body of Christ is greatly deceived today. They are blind and cannot see, being yet babes in Christ. The devil is moving among them, but they do not understand and have no knowledge or revelation of Jesus Christ. Evil has permeated every facet of life on earth and Satan is moving in the church unnoticed and un-resisted by the saints. As Watchman Nee pointed out in his book entitled Against the Tide, almost everything you touch on earth is tainted with the serpent's influence. The devil has invaded our governments, military, science, legal and medical professions, politics, business, arts, families, sexual realm, and every area of society. But we cannot see it.
Church leaders have become even more worldly and sinful than the world outside of the church. They are into drugs, pornography, extra-marital affairs, and are covetous and greedy. They preach a worldly gospel that appeals to the flesh and the people love to have it so. Jer. 5:31: "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" The people flock to mega-churches, eager to have their ears tickled (2 Ti. 4:3) and to laugh at the preacher's jokes. "Give the people what they want to hear," is the mantra of many preachers and teachers. They are blind leaders leading the blind. Both will fall into the ditch. Mt. 15:14; Lk. 6:39.
The Lord Jesus likened the religious leaders and Pharisees (when He walked the earth in the flesh) to whited sepulchres:
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Mt. 23:24-28.
Many modern televangelists are multi-millionaires and even billionaires, living in spacious penthouses, owning multiple houses, automobiles, airplanes, boats, and $10,000 suits while asking their audience to give to the poor. They are excessively involved in worldly pursuits. They have no fear of God. They are blinded. Not only are they blind, but those that follow them are also blind.
BLINDED BY THE DEVIL AND THE FLESH
The apostle Paul described un-believers who have heard the gospel and rejected Jesus as follows: "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 upon them." 2 Co. 4:4. The god of this world not only blinds those that do not receive the gospel; he can also blind the minds of them that claim to believe but continue to live according to the world and the kingdom of darkness. They are modern-day Pharisees.
The Lord Jesus came not only to give sight to the physically blind, but to point out those that see with their physical eyes but are blind spiritually. In John 9:1-15, the Lord Jesus healed a blind man but the Pharisees did not believe him. They questioned the man and his parents and cast the man and his parents out of the temple when the man and parents refused to renounce Jesus. In John 9:39-41, Jesus said, ". . . For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto Him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see, therefore your sin remaineth." If the Pharisees were indeed blind, they would have no sin, not knowing the laws of God. But since they claimed to see (and know the laws of God), their sin remained. They were not ignorant of the written law and yet violated them. Therefore, they judged themselves by their own confession that they knew the law.
GOD OPENS EYES TO SEE
It is God who opens eyes and enlightens those that are chosen. In Matthew 13:10-15, we find the following:
And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 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. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see and shall not perceive.
God searches the hearts of men. Rev. 2:23. He opens the understanding and enlightens the eyes of those He chooses. He will also allow hearts and eyes to remain closed.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing; and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. Mt. 13:15-16.
The Amplified Bible puts it this way: "For this nation's heart has grown gross - fat and dull; . . . ."
Not all Christians have eyes that can see and understand the mysteries of God. Neither do most Christians have ears that can hear. In fact, God Himself will blind the eyes of His own people and allow them to be deceived because of their refusal to obey God and their willful disobedience towards God. Jeremiah, the prophet, cried out, "Then said I, Ah, Lord God! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul." Jer. 4:10. One of the definitions of "peace" is "prosperity." Isn't "peace, blessings and prosperity" the message people love today? When was the last time you heard a preacher encourage his members to embrace suffering and trials and warning the saints that we are in a war?
When Christians refuse or neglect to follow the ways of God, they are blind. 2 Pet. 1:8-9. "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." Many Christians are unfruitful and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as they should.
Because of our refusal of the true gospel of the heavens and our disobedience, we have become blind and dull of hearing. Modern-day Christians come to church for the entertainment and "feel good" atmosphere that rubs off on them and can sustain them for the next week. But the apostle Peter taught the church "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." 1 Pet. 1:7.
The apostle James stated, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him." Ja. 1:12. The writer of Hebrews pointed out:
Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. ... Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward iut yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Heb. 12:4-6, 11.
God perfects His sons and daughters through chastenings, scourgings, trials, tests and problems. Few understand and accept this truth. The blind lead the blind and both fall into the ditch.
GOD'S DESIRE AND GOAL FOR ALL SAINTS
On one of my recent trips abroad, a gentleman asked me, "What is God's purpose for all of this? Why did He create mankind? I've asked many pastors this question and no one has come up with the right answer." I replied, "From the very beginning, God desired perfect sons and daughters in His Son's image (Ro. 8:29) and a perfect church without blemish, spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that would become the bride of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-15; Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7-9; Rev. 21:1-2; Rev. 22:17) We are called into perfection in Jesus Christ." The brother nodded his head in approval and a smile lighted up his face. That is God's purpose for you and me and for the church. Ever heard of it? If not, you need to have God open your eyes of understanding.
GOD CAN OPEN EYES TO SEE AND UNDERSTAND
After Jesus was crucified, certain women and Peter, went to the tomb and found it empty. Two of the disciples were on their way to a village called Emmaus. As they walked and talked together about what happened, Jesus joined them. "But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him." Lk. 24:13-16. Jesus asked them what they were talking about and the disciples told Him of the events leading to Christ's crucifixion. After the disciples completed their story, "Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" Lk. 24:17-26. The Lord expounded on the scriptures, beginning at Moses and all the prophets. Still, they did not know it was Jesus they were walking with.
When they came to the village they invited Jesus to stay with them since it was almost night. "And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, He took bread and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight." Lk. 24:28-31.
Later, the eleven disciples were gathered together and the two disciples related what happened to them on the way to Emmaus. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in their midst. Lk. 24:33-37. After He had eaten with His disciples, He said to them, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures." Lk. 24:44-45. (Underlining added)
The eyes of understanding of the disciples were opened and they then understood the scriptures about Jesus. Only God can open the eyes and enlighten the minds and hearts of those He chooses.
In the story of Saul (his Jewish name), who later became Paul (his Greek name), Saul was zealous in persecuting, imprisoning and even killing Christians. He was blind and deceived and thoroughly believed that Jesus was not God. The Lord Jesus confronted Saul and physically blinded him for three days. At the end of three days, the Lord sent Ananias to speak to Saul. "And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized." Ac. 9:1-18. Not only did the Lord give Saul back his physical sight, He also gave Saul spiritual eyes to know Him. His eyes were enlightened and it changed his life forever.
SEEING INTO THE SPIRIT REALM AND KNOWING TRUTH
In the story of Elisha and his servant, the king of Syria sent horses and chariots and a great army to surround the town where Elisha lived. Elisha's servant "said unto him, Alas, my master, how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." 2 Ki. 6:15-17. (Underlining mine) When Elisha prayed and asked God to open his servant's eyes, the Lord performed what Elisha asked.
The apostle Paul spent his entire Christian life seeking to know Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Phil. 3:8-11.
It was Paul's burning desire to know Christ and his lifetime goal. It should be the desire of all true saints.
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Phil. 3:14-15.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached unto others, I myself should be a castaway. 1 Co. 9:24-27.
The apostle Paul knew many things that others did not. God anointed him in countless ways, but even those things were not counted by Paul as having attained the crown of righteousness laid up for him. At the end of his time on earth and just before he was executed, Paul finally reached his goal. "For I am ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearance." 2 Ti. 4:6-8. His final act of obedience was to die as a martyr of Christ.
God's desire for perfect sons and daughters in the image of His Son, Jesus, has never changed. The tribulation to come will be the final testing ground that will bring forth a perfect people. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." Rev. 12:11.
How great a prize the Lord has placed before you and me. The mystery of the ages has been "made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." There are mysteries that God has kept secret since the beginning, but has revealed to His saints that have eyes to see and ears to hear. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Rev. 2:7; Rev. 2:11; Rev. 2:17; Rev. 2:29; Rev. 3:6; Rev. 3:13; Rev. 3:22; Rev. 13:9.
Do you have eyes that can see the things of God and ears that can hear and understand? Or are you blind and deaf? In the Book of Revelation, the worse church of the end times, is the church at Laodicea. "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: . . ." Rev. 3:17. (Underlining added)
The church is in great need of eyes that can see, understand and know God. Only the Lord can open the eyes of the blind. We need to pray without ceasing for the body of Christ, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you (and others in the body of Christ) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened." Eph. 1:17-18.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Ja. 1:5. So, pray for wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Pray that your eyes of understanding may be opened and enlightened. Pray for others as the apostle Paul did. Surely, God will grant it to those who diligently seek Him.