Bible Believers' Newsletter #480
"We focus on the present Truth – what Jesus is doing now. . ."
Christian greetings in the precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and an especial welcome to our new subscribers. We are pleased you could join us in fellowship around God's unchanging Word.
Once again our guest contributor is Evangelist Brother F. F. Bosworth, waiting in the unseen sixth dimension for Christ's end-time Bride to make herself ready for the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. His subject is "Looking at the Unseen, or the Mental Habit of Faith," and his conclusion is, to see the unseen is possible only through faith in Jesus Christ. This is one of the teachings Brother Branham mentioned and preached Himself in 1950.
This Newsletter serves those of like precious faith. Whoever will receive the truth is welcome to feed their soul from the waters of the River of Life. Everything here presented should be confirmed personally in your own Bible.
Your brother-in-Christ, Anthony Grigor-Scott
Bush in "Fantasyland"
"President Bush is rushing to deploy a technology that does not work against a threat that does not exist," Cirincione says. "Iran is at least 5 to 10 years away from the capability to build a nuclear weapon and at least that far from having a missile that could hit Europe let alone the US. And anti-missile systems are still nowhere near working despite $150 billion spent since the 1983 Star Wars program started and years of phony tests staged to demonstrate 'progress' and 'success.'" . . .
"President Bush so fervently believes in something that doesn't exist that he jeopardizes – again – our real security interests. The fact is the Czechs don't want the radar, the Europeans don't trust his explanations and deplore his unilateralism, the Congress has already cut the funds on purely programmatic grounds. This was a dumb idea before, now it is yet another foreign policy disaster". . . In The Rise of US Nuclear Primacy, published in Foreign Affairs last year, Keir A. Liber and Daryl G. Press wrote: ". . .the sort of missile defenses that the United States might plausibly deploy would be valuable primarily in an offensive context, not a defensive one — as an adjunct to a US first-strike capability, not as a stand-alone shield. If the United States launched a nuclear attack against Russia (or China), the targeted country would be left with a tiny surviving arsenal — if any at all. At that point, even a relatively modest or inefficient missile-defense system might well be enough to protect against any retaliatory strikes. . ."
"President Putin thinks the US policies represent a new imperialism. Now, he sees President Bush trying to build permanent military bases on Russia's borders. Putin isn't afraid of 10 interceptors but he has to worry about what comes next — any Russian leader would. He doesn't believe President Bush and many Europeans don't either. This issue feeds into the mistrust of America that Europeans feel on a host of Bush Administration policies from global warming to Iraq". . .
"Politics drives this deployment decision," Cirincione says. "Bush Administration officials are trying to lock in the program before they leave office. They are trying to build bases they hope the next president will find impossible to shut down" . . . President Bush has fallen neatly into Putin's trap. They may have to invent a new name for this gambit."
Full story: thenation.com
Comment: The image of the beast that "exercises all the power of Imperial Rome, and will cause the earth and all who dwell therein to serve Papal Rome" (Revelation 13:12).
Putin’s Censored Press Conference
June 10, 2007 – Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an hour and a half-long press conference which was attended by many members of the world media. . . (Read the entire press conference archived here). . .
The meeting gave Putin a chance to give his side of the story in the growing debate over missile defense in Eastern Europe. He offered a brief account of the deteriorating state of US-Russian relations since the end of the Cold War, and particularly from 9/11 to present. Since September 11, the Bush administration has carried out an aggressive strategy to surround Russia with military bases, install missiles on its borders, topple allied regimes in Central Asia, and incite political upheaval in Moscow through US-backed "pro-democracy" groups. . . . The Bush administration’s belligerent foreign policy has backed the Kremlin into a corner and forced Putin to take retaliatory measures. He has no other choice. If we want to understand why relations between Russia are quickly reaching the boiling-point; we only need to review the main developments since the end of the Cold War. Political analyst Pat Buchanan gives a good rundown of these in his article "Doesn’t Putin Have a Point?" Full story: informationclearinghouse.info
Comment: Ezekiel 38-39, Zechariah 14 and Revelation 13 are unfolding before our eyes.
Katrina and the Question of Scalar EM Weather Weapons
Scalar technology which has been blamed for hurricane Katrina is now suspected as the cause of drought across much of southern USA. Meanwhile those interesting folk who brought us two World Wars, AIDS, 9/11, Y2K, and other hoaxes, have activated a further phase of the Report from Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace, which like The Protocols, was presented as satire but is in reality the revelation of the method. Their agents are now pushing the hoax of climate change as if it were caused by industrialization and not scalar warfare calculated to hasten deindustrialization and world depopulation. Now any change in weather, be it mild winters or cool summers can be attributed to "climate change." Whatever the weather, the news is very bad, and it seems Iran may be learning a lesson in just how "bad" weather can be in face of recalcitrance.
A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger. . . he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries, and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave).
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home. . . Not from us, our friends, or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.
My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked. . . And NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?. . .
We just call him, "TV."
He has a younger sister now. We call her "Computer."
Looking at the Unseen, or the Mental Habit of Faith
by F. F. Bosworth
"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4:18).
Our text suggests to us eight great things.
I. THAT WE ARE LIVING IN TWO WORLDS
The material realities which we see with our natural eyes, exist in the midst of the far better realities which are unseen.
There are two worlds – the world of sense, and the world of spirit: and the world of spirit surrounds, enspheres, and interpenetrates the world of sense. Both worlds occupy the same space at the same time. Many speak as though the world of sense comes first, and the world of spirit comes after; whereas the world of spirit is all about us now, though the veil of sense hangs between.
Many imagine that we dwell in time here, and shall dwell in eternity hereafter; while the fact is that we dwell in eternity here, though we take a little section of it and call it "time".
The Scriptures teach us that the unseen realities – the best of all realities, encompass us now. What sights might every one of us see at every moment of our existence, at every turn of our path, had we only eyes with which to see them!
The "Seen" exists in the Midst of the "Unseen"
The "seen" exists in the midst of the "unseen," the "temporal" in the midst of the "eternal." Faith, based on glorious and eternal facts, serves the Christian for eyes, and enables him to see and enjoy what others cannot see.
God, the greatest and best of all realities, and the Creator of them all, is everywhere; yet sin-blinded eyes see Him not. God, who is infinitely real, is nonexistent to those who are blinded by "the god of this world".
The servant of Elisha was greatly stricken with fear because of the Assyrian hosts at Dothan because he had not yet formed the habit of looking at things invisible. He had no perception of spiritual forces. Elisha, on the other hand, was kept calm by seeing the invisible host. Such a man is a match for ten thousand others, because with two clear eyes on the unseen forces of the living God, he can say cheerfully: "Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them".
The Scriptures tell us that "Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27).
Many are occupied with the matters that belong only to the material side of life, expecting that after death, in some way, they will be brought into contact with the unseen things. But in this text Paul makes an appeal for life as in the presence of these two empires, the seen and the unseen; because every day the heart beats in both, and a man cannot alienate himself from the one and stand solitary in the other. Thank God that while we are living in this changing world, we are at the same time living in an everlasting universe of unchanging and eternal realities!
Eternal Things are Present Things
The Apostle does not say that he looked at future things; the eternal things which filled his vision were also present. The present things which he looked at and enjoyed were eternal. We, too, can now look at unseen things, because they are closer to us than the things seen. The visible world is not always before us; darkness comes on and we are in solitude; but the world of thought, and the great invisible realities are still with us to be seen and enjoyed.
While the Christian, for the time, forgets the invisible, his thoughts of God, of Christ, of truth, of righteousness, of love, of the perfect and beautiful in life, engage his whole attention. The natural man is blind. He does not realize the fact that there are just as great realities in the realm of the spiritual as there are in the realm of the material.
The Scriptures tell us that the natural man cannot know the things of God. The reason is, that every contact he has made is only through his central nervous system and his five senses – sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. These senses belong to the physical body, and they can only contact matter. The purpose of the five senses was never to reveal God to man; man was to know God through his soul. God created man a spirit being but gave him a physical body with its five senses through which he was to contact the natural world, which was to be his home.
Invisible Things are Real Things
What a mistake to suppose that invisible things are not real! The facts are that visible and material things could never have had an existence unless the invisible was first here, and was real enough and wise enough to create the visible. The far superior invisible realities and personality were here before the visible or material were created. "The things which are seen" by the physical vision were created by the "unseen." This fact surely proves, the reality and the superiority of "the things that are not seen." The best part of man himself is his invisible personality – his soul.
If you ask: How can unseen things be real? I ask you: What about yourself? Your body can be seen, but no natural eyes have ever seen you.
The invisible God is a Spirit – a Person, and so are you. You are a much greater reality than your temporal body. Nothing is more of a reality to you than your invisible self. What is more real to you than your mind and your own thoughts?
Your whole life is occupied with them. You have never seen them; but they are as real to you as your body.
Surely the Creator is far greater than the universe which He created, so I am more interested in knowing and loving the Creator Himself than anything He made.
Compared with the reality of the great unseen world, all that can be seen with the natural eyes is scarcely a shadow. The poorest vision in this world is the optic nerve, because it is blind to everything but temporal things. I have heard physically blind men saying "Praise the Lord" in nearly every sentence they uttered, because of what they were seeing among the eternal realities which are invisible to the optic nerve. Many sympathise with the physically blind while they themselves have a much worse form of blindness; for they have never seen the superior things which satisfy the soul.
Truth is invisible, and yet it is the only thing that can set us free. "Two and two equal four" is an invisible fact. Character, honesty, love, happiness and virtue are all invisible, but they are eternal realities. They can only be seen with the mind.
Senses are not essential to Spiritual Joy
The five senses are not essential to spiritual joy. Christians, when they have lost their five senses through physical death, instantly become happier than they had ever been before because then they are "absent from the body and present with the Lord".
Some people are so miserable they try to get rid of their five senses by committing suicide.
If a material body were essential to the highest happiness, then God the Father would create for Himself a physical body.
Angels are happy, yet they are without material bodies. Jesus tells us that Lazarus after he died was happy with Abraham. Instead of making them happy, what men have contacted by their five senses has often made them unhappy.
Things not less real because Unseen
Because you do not see things with the natural eye, does not make them any less real. Suppose you close your eyes so that you cannot see the things around you, this does not do away with them. If you think it does, then open your eyes and you will see the things which were unseen a moment before.
The angels at Dothan would have been none the less present if Elisha’s servant had not seen them, just as the Assyrian troops would have been none the less there if Elisha had not seen them.
Things both temporal and spiritual are real whether you see them or not. The new power of Elisha’s servant to see the chariots and horses of fire sweeping around Elisha did not create these spiritual forms or beings. His new sight could not create, any more than his blindness could destroy these supernatural realities.
The angel host which Elisha saw, the spiritual warriors of God, was the great reality, while the army with banners which Elijah’s servant saw was but a shadow.
The Bible is full of this kind of thing, and this is God’s effort to impress upon the world the great facts of the invisible and the eternal.
II. THAT MATERIAL THINGS ARE INSUFFICIENT
The common occupations of the world, the keen and ever-increasing competition of business, the cares of home, have a most pernicious effect upon us, unless some counterbalancing influence is brought to bear. They make us grow intensely secular in thought and feeling. They beguile men by insensible degrees into the belief that what we see are the only realities. They drag men down to the very dust.
The Great Corrective
The great corrective of this state of mind is to look away to the better things which are not seen. The very remembrance that all around about us there is a region of spiritual existence – a world which, though unrealized by the senses, is as real as, yes, more gloriously real than the solid earth on which we tread, will help to keep the soul from injury. Within that invisible region lie all of our supreme interests. God is there; and Christ is there; and all the gracious influences which save and sanctify the soul are there.
The unseen magnetic pole controls the needle of the compass and enables the mariner to navigate the pathless ocean; even so only the unseen God can rightly guide us. Thank God we are not shut in on all sides by solid walls of matter; there is an existence outside and independent of it! The Christian feels a spiritual existence within him which no philosophy can explain away. We are conscious that we ourselves are spirit and not flesh. We have a body, but we ourselves are not visible. The invisible in man thirsts for the invisible, without which he cannot live.
Two Kinds of Rest
There are two kinds of rest – one for the body, the other for the soul; two classes of enjoyment those derived from things, and those drawn from thought; and for the unseen sources of enjoyment and rest, men thirst.
More than a hundred thousand people who were living in physical bodies yesterday are today absent from the body, and are face to face with the eternal realities which many of them did not recognize yesterday. If temporal things only have been their aim, if their enjoyments have been pleasures only of sense, they are now, since death, like living creatures taken from their native element. By making things "seen" their portion, they are now exposed to destitution. The good things which they have seen are gone.
Things Seen do not Satisfy
Because there is more in man than what is seen; because the invisible in man thirsts for the invisible outside and beyond, we say that the good things seen are not enough for us. We need living bread, water of life, raiment which waxes not old, houses not made with hands, treasures which moth and rust do not corrupt, "fullness of joy," "pleasures for evermore," perfect peace and undisturbed rest. These are not to be derived from things temporal. Worldly things, wealth, honor, happy homes, all cry, "Heaven is not in us." "The things which are seen are temporal." This common truth has long been in our Bibles. God wants it written in our hearts.
Let us hold the good things seen with a slack hand. They are temporal, and they will be taken from us, or we will be taken from them; if we grasp them firmly the removal of them will shake us from head to foot; but if we hold them lightly, when they are taken away, we will stand unshaken. Let us all enjoy our glorious heritage and our portion in that which is unseen and eternal. We may thus enjoy the foretaste of heaven every day.
True Philosophy of Life
The true philosophy of life is the philosophy which turns the eye of the soul towards a present eternity. All should realize that the life that transcends the senses is the real one, and not the life which is simply in the senses.
We have five gate-ways of knowledge to bring us into contact with the visible world; but that world is but a symbol of the other; it is not the great reality. The life, therefore, which deals only with those things which can be measured and weighed, is the life which is making the most serious of all blunders.
You cannot go very far in existence without realizing the sweep of such forces as love, faith and hope, and these at once draw you away from the material.
Oh how many people are living as though there was nothing so permanent as the tangible and visible; and nothing so elusive and transient as the invisible! This is an eternal blunder, the opposite of the truth. Man’s true life is above the level of the senses. If we neglect this truth, we cannot truly live.
In proportion as we trust in that which is seen, we are weak in its weakness, and insecure in its uncertainty. Our affections are sure of their object only as they entwine themselves with the unseen.
III. THAT GOD HAS MADE THE TEMPORAL AND VISIBLE THINGS TO BE TYPES
OF THE SUPERIOR INVISIBLE AND ETERNAL THINGS
Paul rejoices that the invisible things of God, even His eternal power and Godhead, are from His creation clearly seen.
In Romans 1:20 he tells us that "the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they [the heathen] are without excuse".
The material things which God has created are types and images of the most effective and most glorious truths of Christianity. The rising and setting sun speak to us of a day that never ends. What are all human relationships but types of unseen realities? Are not fatherhood and motherhood drawing and wooing the heart to the Infinite One, Who is our Heavenly Father? The waters and springs which quench our thirst, point us to the "living water" which satisfies the soul. The bread that feeds our bodies points us to Christ the "Living Bread." God uses the growing corn in its various stages, the tares growing with the wheat, the lilies in their beautiful clothing, the clouds and the sun, and countless other things as illustrations of the better things which are eternal.
God aims to compel Us to see Eternal Things
It is a continual object in all God’s management, temporal and spiritual, secular and Christian, to bring us into positions where we can see, or rather be compelled to see, the eternal things of His government.
God’s scheme of providence is adjusted so as to open the windows upon us continually in "this earthly house of our tabernacle," through which the "building of God not made with hands" may be better discovered. Our complaint, therefore, that temporal things hide the eternal and keep them out of sight, is like a man complaining of telescopes hiding the stars, or window-panes shutting out the sun, or even eyes themselves obstructing the view of things visible.
Paul looked on material things just as one looks on a window-pane through which he studies the landscape without. So we are to live in these temporal things as in glass houses, looking through them into the grand realities which are eternal. The true use of the temporal things puts us under the constant all-dominating impression of things eternal.
Temporal and Eternal Related
There is a fixed relation between the temporal and the eternal, such that we best realize the eternal by rightly using the temporal. Paul saw even the temporal things a great deal more penetratingly than any mere worldly mind could. He saw far enough into them to discover their transitory consequences, and to apprehend just so much more distinctly the solid and the eternal things represented by them.
The Son of God Himself came out of his eternity to be incarnated among these earthly scenes, to live in them, and to look upon them with human eyes, He thus hallowed these things, making them the types of eternal realities.
The Visible reveals the Invisible
Every existing thing or object in the created empire of God, all forms, all colors, weights, magnitudes, come out of God’s mind covered all over with tokens, saturated all through with flavors of His intelligence. They all represent God’s thoughts, the invisible things of God; and an angel coming into the world, instead of seeing nothing in them but only temporal and temporary things, would see God expressed by them just as we are expressed by our faces and bodies.
God is turning our experiences always in such a way as to give us the more inward sense of things, acting always on the principle that the progress of knowledge is but a progress out of the matter view into the mind view of things. All the laws and classification of objects are thoughts of God made visible in them so that all the growth of knowledge is a kind of spiritualizing of the world; that is, a finding of the eternal in the temporal.
IV. THAT ETERNAL THINGS ARE VASTLY SUPERIOR TO TEMPORAL THINGS
The transitory character and the uncertainty of the things which are seen, and the certainty of the things that are not seen, should encourage us to set our hearts on the things which are eternal. What we cherish most in temporal things are often taken from us; but no such uncertainty prevails in regard to the eternal things; they are as firm and sure as the everlasting hills.
The Apostle Paul, having divided in his mind all existing things into two classes, temporal and eternal, seems to have asked himself: "Which are the best? Which shall I take as the objects of my pursuit?" He decided upon the invisible things, because of their great superiority. He prefers them because they are more enduring.
When in Christ, we obtain immortality. What matters it then to us what things are? Will they abide? Will they?
Visible Things not equal to Capacity of Human Soul
As to the intrinsic value of the two classes of things, the disparity is inconceivable. Visible things are not equal to the capacity of the human soul. All temporary objects put together cannot afford the soul a happiness equal to its capacity. But when we take a survey of invisible things, we find them all great and majestic – not only equal but infinitely superior to the most enlarged powers of the human, and even of the angelic nature.
When men are tempted to any unlawful pleasures, how they would shrink away from the pursuit of them had they a due sense of the misery incurred and the happiness forfeited by them. When men’s hearts are eager after things below, had they a suitable view of eternal things, all these things would shrink into trifles. Paul counted them but refuse in comparison with Christ and His blessings.
A suitable impression of eternal things would alter the aspect of things in the world. It would turn the capacity of the world into another channel.
V. THAT LOOKING AT THE UNSEEN BRINGS GREAT BENEFITS
The mental habit of Spirit-filled Christians – the habit of looking at the unseen, removes the obstacles out of the way of infinite benevolence, which then showers upon them the blessings which are a foretaste of heaven. A steady contemplation of invisible realities brings repose to the spirit amidst the ceaseless changes of life. The sense of things eternal gives endurance to bear the pains of present discipline. God keeps those souls in perfect peace whose minds are stayed upon him.
Afflictions Temporal, their Resultant Glory Eternal
The most grievous things should not make the Christian faint. The afflictions of Christ’s disciples are all temporal, but the good wrought for them by their afflictions is eternal. "The peaceable fruits of righteousness" remain after the blossoms are destroyed. The fire of the refiner is transient, but the refinement, thank God!, endures.
If we are Christians, our light afflictions, as Paul regards them, are only temporary; our prisons have no everlasting doors. Our circumstances may be complicated, but all are working together for our good. What a glorious fact! While we are looking at the things which are unseen even our afflictions increase our glory.
If nothing seen by any man is neither his hell nor his heaven, no consuming fire here need be unquenchable. Thank God, there is a fire-annihilator – a Brother able and ready to raise us from the pit! When sorrow surges against us, when difficulties spring up as mountains before us, we are able to smile at them all, because we know that they are short-lived, and because we have a vision of things which never perish. This vision of the perishable nature of these temporal things, and of the enduring quality of the things in the spiritual realm, enables the Christian to triumph over all things on the earth. He becomes, as Paul says, "more than conqueror".
Though Powerful Temporal Things are Transitory
The power of things visible is great when they have our attention. It was a supreme point of view that the Apostle had attained. The material things which so impress the natural man, Paul looked upon as only transitory. He looked up with other than the physical vision, saw God, and declared Him "eternal".
This insight of Paul’s was evidence of spiritual attainment. He shows that his soul had been struck through and through with heavenly truth. This experience, however, was not peculiar to the Apostle, for he says, "while we look" – including the Corinthians to whom he was writing, "and to all that in every place call upon the name of the Lord." This spiritual insight belongs to all Christians, but of course more perfectly to those who are more perfect. The glory of the Gospel is that it brings these transforming truths to the minds of men continually and irresistibly. It addresses faith, revealing the eternal nature of invisible things.
True Greatness a Result of Seeing the Invisible
No man is great in any department who does not see the things that are invisible. Only when he looks above the material and grasps great principles, has the statesman any depth of observation. Then he sees when others see not. The poet, thus inspired, beholds what others do not see, when he looks upon the storm which seems to tear and split the very heavens over head.
Looking at the unseen gives confidence, and even joy, amidst the sorrows and afflictions of life. Paul heaps one word upon another in order to describe his many buffetings: "In labors more abundant, in stripes beyond measure, in prisons more frequent," and many more such things: but his vision of the "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" which these things were working out for him caused him to say of all his buffetings, "These light afflictions." He looked straight through all these visible things to the glorious things which are not seen, as you would look through your window at a beautiful landscape. The sense of the eternal is the key to the Christian position. To quicken that sense, to develop it, to intensify it, is the master purpose of all religious training. This is our aim in speaking to you on this subject.
It is wonderful and glorious what looking at the unseen will do for us! It puts God to work creating within us that which is well-pleasing in His sight. It transforms us into the image of Christ from one degree of glory to another.
How to understand the Visible
If we want to understand the visible, or to get the highest good out of the things which are seen, we must bring into the field of vision the things which are not seen. Those who look at the things which are eternal have the true measuring rod and standard by which to estimate the duration and the intensity of the things which are present. By letting the steady light of eternity and the sustaining pressure of "the exceeding weight of glory" pour into our minds, we carry with us a standard which will lighten the pressure of the most crushing sorrow, and set in true dimensions everything that is visible.
There is nothing that makes man’s present existence so utterly contemptible, insignificant, and transitory, as to blot out from his sight its connection with eternity. If you shut out eternity from your life in time, then it is an inexplicable riddle. If you think only of that which is visible, you will be utterly puzzled. Should you take faith away from the world where you stand, the eyes of your heart will be smitten with blindness – a blindness which is worse than physical.
Seeing the Unseen prepares One for Eternity
Looking at the unseen is the condition on which time prepares us for eternity. The Apostle is speaking about the effect of affliction in making ready for us an eternal weight of glory; and he says that it is done while, or on condition that, during the suffering, we are looking steadfastly at "the things which are not seen." But no outward circumstances or events can prepare a weight of glory for us hereafter unless they prepare us here for the glory.
When a Christian suffers reproach or contempt for Christ’s sake, a due estimate of eternal things fortifies him with undaunted courage. A realizing view of eternal things animates us in our devotion. Paul gained what no historic research or scientific insight alone could discover – an apprehension of the unseen by the exercise of faith. Power of character comes not from intellectual training, or from association with the greatest men of the race, but by conscious relation to God, by reflecting the glory shining from above. Looking at the unseen imparts to us a devout appreciation of God and an intelligent recognition of His providential control of the world’s affairs.
Paul saw this unseen power in other lives, and felt it in his own. He knew, and so do we, how this indwelling life and love blazed forth in suffering martyrs and in the toiling missionaries, and was a power more real than a city, or a sea, or a mountain. He saw the greatness of immortality; and how infinitely great it is!
Looking at the Eternal lifts One above the Transient
By looking at the things that are unseen the human soul can rise from the transient to the eternal. Looking attentively at these eternal realities, regarding them habitually, realizing the fact of our being surrounded by them, and acting in relation to them, elevates and dignifies all things. The world and the man are no longer merely material; life is no longer temporal and unimportant; for everything is capable of being associated with these eternal, infinite, unseen things. There is no littleness even in the follies and vices of society, when we regard their relation to God and to eternity.
Seeing the Unseen an Incentive to doing One’s Duty
Looking at unseen things affords the Christian a glorious reason for the fulfillment of duty, and the resistance of temptation. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might," because the principle is an eternal thing.
Temptation is nothing to the man who sees that it is merely the bubble rising to the surface of the stream, and knows that though it looks beautiful for the moment, in the sunbeams that are falling upon it, it shall perish and pass away, but that he has to do with things real, God-like, and enduring. Looking at the unseen is the great secret of the inward life, by which we may bear sorrow, and get good out of everything which may come upon us.
VI. THAT TRUE CHRISTIANITY BEGINS AND ENDS WITH THE INVISIBLE.
It has to do with the invisible God, with the unseen Saviour, and with another world.
The glory of the Gospel is that it is saturated with the unseen. A quiet lake, over whose bosom not the faintest breeze is felt, seems like a mirror suspended between two immensities, the one seen above, and the other in its liquid depths. Just so the Gospel shows the realities of both worlds as in a mirror.
The Secret of Paul’s Power
In our text, the Apostle discloses the great secret of his life and power. He was one of the world’s greatest benefactors; and yet the world repaid him with contempt, stripes, and imprisonment; but all of his sufferings fitted him for his work. He lived close to God, weaned from all low and selfish aims, and was filled with zeal.
The Church does not exist primarily for charity or for education; but to bring men to Christ, and then lead them to see the source of all true permanence.
No man is what God intends him to be until he grasps the invisible. In the great railways there are many branch-lines, but there is a trunk-line into which all the branch-lines run, and the trunk-line of the Apostle Paul was the invisible. Paul was kind to all he met, he took an interest in everything that he saw, he was gentle to everybody, and was willing to help everybody, he admired everything that was worth admiring; and still his trunk-line was toward the invisible, the everlasting; and all his earthly plans and joys ran into that and served him.
Earthly Affairs must be adjusted to Heavenly Affairs
We have our earthly affairs to attend to; but all must be arranged in relation to the everlasting. This will not make one less attentive to earthly duties. It is said of the lark that while up in the air it can see the smallest things on the ground below. So the man soaring in contemplation and looking toward the everlasting God will attend to all the little duties which come upon him every day, and enjoy them.
Looking at the unseen should be the mental habit of all Christians. Paul takes it for granted that every Christian man is, as the habitual direction of his thought, looking toward those things which are unseen. The immensely superior value of the things not seen require that they shall be first in our attention and in our esteem. On the same principle on which we readily sacrifice one dollar to gain a thousand dollars, or would be willing to endure five minutes of pain if it would secure to us a whole life time of comfort, we must admit that the transitory things which are seen ought to be subordinated to things which are abiding.
Revelation tells us that our life which is lived here among things which change and pass away, is also surrounded by what is permanent. It teaches us that the relationships in which we shall enter the spiritual realm will never be broken; that the good we attain will never be in danger of being lost. Among the visible things nothing is constant, while the eternal things are like God Himself – fixed and secure.
A True Metaphor
It is the truest of metaphors that "the soul has eyes as well as the body." With your physical eyelids closed your soul is all the freer to gaze on the world within – the world of thought and feeling. Paul employed more than his body in his various activities; the energy that he exhibited was sustained by his keen gaze on spiritual realities.
Let your heart be set on human beauty, and it is but a question of time when you will be weeping over its loss. But, thank God! if your affections are fixed on charms and graces of character, you will find them again unchanged, imperishable, and eternal.
VII. THAT FAITH IS LOOKING AT UNSEEN THINGS AND ACTING UPON THEM
Men talk about "blind faith" and "enlightened reason." The history of the world proves the reverse. Reason is often blind; faith never, because it sees that which is perfect reason for believing. As far as the optic nerve is concerned, "faith is the evidence of things not seen." But when with the mind we see and act upon the unseen realities, faith is the evidence of things seen.
Walking by faith is really walking by sight, for we see God, we see His promises, we see His faithfulness, and are so fully convinced by these great facts that we act upon them. Faith is the most rational thing in the world, because it is based on the greatest and best of facts and realities.
Faith is produced and grows by looking at the Unseen
Faith is produced, increased, and accomplishes its wonders "while we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen." As a condition of salvation, God said, "Look unto Me, all ye ends of the earth, and be ye saved." When the serpent of brass was put upon the pole, it is written of those who were dying from the serpent’s bite, "Everyone that looked lived".
What it means to "Look"
The word "look," which stands for faith, is a very peculiar one. It means a steady, fixed gaze. You may walk through a garden with some friend and see the trees and flowers and walks, and as you pass through your friend says to you, "Did you see such and such a tree?" Turning back, you look at that tree until it is impressed upon your mind. You had seen the whole garden before, but you had not "looked" at anything in particular.
Our text represents the Christian in an attitude of attention. The word "look" signifies to "look at earnestly," intently. The word "look" is more than merely seeing; you can see things and yet have your mind wholly occupied with other things. The word "look" in this passage means that we are looking with our minds occupied with what we are seeing. So you see the Scriptural statement that "faith is the evidence of things not seen" (because they are not material) is true only of natural sight, while to our spiritual vision it is the evidence of things seen. Faith is believing only what we see with our spiritual vision. Paul shows that the mental habit of a Christian is walking by faith, and not by sight, meaning that we walk by spiritual and not by physical sight. The Apostle’s statement, "The just shall live by faith," is another way of saying that they shall live by looking at things unseen.
"The Word is God," says John. It is God speaking. It is always a present tense fact. God’s Word is the healer of both soul and body; it goes to work when we so believe it that we act upon it.
Mental Assent is not Faith
We must distinguish between mental assent and faith. Mental assent is acknowledging the truthfulness of the Word, the integrity of the Word, without acting upon it. Mental assent is standing outside the bakery window looking at the cakes and pies; it is not possessing. The promises of God which cover your case are of no value to you until you act, upon them. The man who wishes to be strong in faith, and free from doubt, must feed his faith constantly; he must study and meditate upon the Word of God, which is the only food for faith, with the same persistence, regularity, and liberality as he feeds his body.
Faith is both Negative and Positive
Our text as well as many others show us that faith is both negative and positive. "While we look not at the things which are seen" is the negative side. "But at the things which are unseen" is the positive side. We cannot look in opposite directions at the same time; so if we are to be under the domination of eternal realities, we must refuse to be influenced by the things that are seen. When Peter saw only Jesus, he walked on the water; but when he looked at the waves he began to sink. The wind and the waves could not hinder him until he looked at them.
True Faith makes Us more than Conquerors
The words of our text were written by the Apostle Paul who was thoroughly tried by the antagonisms of this world’s wrong. But by refusing to look at this world’s wrong, and by looking at the unseen things, he was "more than conqueror".
If we follow Paul’s path, we see it is shadowed by storms; but his gaze is fixed on the unseen. Paul steadied his life by the standard of a Divine righteousness. He thus gives us the creed of life which is to be lived by those who recognize God, and are living in a more enduring realm than the domination of the visible. Everything in the life of a man of faith tends toward the invisible; his life is arranged on that plan; it is his aim to secure the invisible.
VIII. THAT IT IS OUR DUTY TO PASS BEYOND VISIBLE THINGS AND TO LOOK AT
AND ENJOY THE THINGS WHICH ARE UNSEEN
It is our privilege to look away from the seen trial to the unseen support. This is what Elisha’s servant did after Elisha prayed, "Open the young man’s eyes." The young man’s eyes having been opened he looked away from the Assyrian hordes to the hosts of God, even the horses and chariots of fire.
We have the glorious privilege of looking away from the seen reflections to the unseen substances. The visible is a parable of the invisible. Things temporal are types of things eternal. How many people stop short with the parable! How many begin and end with the types! The best of realities they do not reach.
One Gravitation against Another
It is a glorious privilege to be occupied with eternal things; for by looking at the unseen God’s righteousness peaceably draws its fibers around our nature and draws us upward. It is one gravitation against another. The earth would hold you, but God’s righteousness counter-works the earth and wings you Godward.
It is our privilege to look at the glorious and abiding things until they are far more precious to us than material things. Creation changes, the Creator is the same. If all material things should vanish, I would still have the Father of my soul for my portion.
Failure to look at the Unseen Weakens
Failure in the matter of looking at the unseen is the reason for so much weakness in the lives of modern Christians. The things which are seen will soon lose all the value which they now appear to possess. Gold cannot procure a plaster that will heal a wounded conscience, a bandage that will bind up a broken heart, or a pillow that will ease a dying head.
Pitiable beyond expression is the case of the dying sinner. All his joys are past. But on the other hand how glorious are the prospects of the faithful in Christ Jesus! Their trial is ending, but the eternal triumph is commencing. Oh what an infinite disparity there is between an eternity of the most perfect happiness and a few years of unsatisfied delight with the things that are temporal! In heaven, the rivers of pleasure flow untroubled without a drop of sorrow.
The thing which is eternal is Revelation (the contact of the Divine mind with the human mind), the impartation of heaven’s high purposes; the revelation and the impartation of the nature of God.
How to see the Invisible
Every man whose duty is real to him, is looking at the things unseen. If it is hard for you to look at the unseen, then come closer to God. Here is a man who is striving hard to see the object he is working at. If he would take a few steps nearer to the light his striving to see would not be necessary. A man may have difficulty trying to see the stars from the basement of his home. He has this difficulty because of the houses which surround his. If he would go to the top floor of his house, what an expanse there would be before him without the slightest effort.
The secret of looking at things unseen and finding it easy lies just here – take up the right position. The right position is the spirit of reconciliation. Unless you take this position, a cloud is lying between your soul and God. If you would see the unseen things which are eternal, come out into the sunshine of God’s love.
Dwell on the unseen things that you already see and you will see more. Look steadily at the unseen things of duty which are the most real and weighty to you, and it will not take long for a tender and brave conscience to come in sight of the greatest things.
Sorrow for sin visits all men, but only some welcome it; but the wise recognize it as among their best friends.
It is in the darkness of life that men see the stars of heavenly guidance.
Think much of Christ as He appeared on earth. He was the invisible made visible. He is the bridge between the seen and the unseen.
To see the Unseen is possible only through Jesus
It is of importance to see that the look at the things that are unseen is only possible through Jesus Christ. He is the only window that opens out and gives the vision of the best things – the things which are eternal. Jesus is the Columbus of the New World. It is only in Christ that the look which our text enjoins is possible. With Christ, we can positively know the things which, without Him, we can only believe.
My friend, since there is to be a total separation between you and the things which are seen, how important that you recognize them as only "temporal"! However attractive they may appear, this is unavoidable but that your connection with them must be brief. It is in this world that we are to deal with things eternal. nl480.htm
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Brother Grigor-Scott is a non-denominational minister who has ministered full-time since 1981, primarily to other ministers and their congregations in other countries. He pastors Bible Believers' tiny congregation, and is available to teach in your church.
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