do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is
perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is
but for a moment, is working
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the
things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are
temporary, but the things which are
not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
1. Our Lord
"has put eternity in their hearts"
-- and in all who love and follow Him!
reality of God's physical creation might be compared to the visible
tip of a deep iceberg. Only a small peak of the huge ice mass is
visible to the naked eye. Though such a comparison tends to minimize
the unfathomable wonders and vastness of God's physical and
spiritual realms, they remind us that the universe we know is merely
a speck in His infinite creation -- and in time and space.
Though the unseen realms reach far beyond anything our human minds
can comprehend, God prompts us to "look at... the things which are not
seen." But how? The answer is not found through our imagination. Many
popular story tellers have describe mythical details that God never revealed to His people. The result has been mass deception --
including outrageous lies about God and His
The true answer
can only be
found in His wonderful Word. It reminds us
that many Old Testament believers had a clearer understanding of our
promised future than today's churches. Consider Hebrews 11, God's
special Hall of Fame:
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by
the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made
of things which are visible."
"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to
the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went
out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in
the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in
tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same
promise; for he waited for the city which has
foundations, whose builder and maker is God."
"By faith Sarah
herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a
child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful
who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as
dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in
multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore."
"These all died in faith, not having received the
promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of
them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers
and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things
declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if
they had called to mind that country from which they had come
out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now
they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God
is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared
a city for them."
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be
called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to
suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the
passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach
of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he
looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the
king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible."
tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a
better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and
scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were
stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the
sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being
destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not
The next chapter
(Hebrews 12) reminds us to put the same value on God's eternal
promises -- and follow Him no matter what the cost:
also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily
ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is
set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author
and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before
Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at
the right hand of the throne of God."
"For consider Him
who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest
you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not
yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have
forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: 'My
son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be
discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord
loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.'
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for
what son is there whom a father does not chasten? ... Now no
chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful;
nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of
righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
"...you have come to
Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the
heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to
the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are
registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the
spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator
of the new covenant, and to he blood of sprinkling that
speaks better things than that of Abel.
"See that you do
not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who
refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if
we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then
shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more
I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.' Now this,
'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that
are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things
which cannot be shaken may remain.
"Therefore, since we are receiving a
kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we
may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For
our God is a consuming fire."
"We have an altar
from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the
sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the
camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the
people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
"Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His
reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we
seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us
continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is,
the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."
what He has already given us!
"Blessed be the
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in
Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before Him in love, having predestined us to
adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to
the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of
His grace, by which He made us accepted in the
"In Him we have redemption
through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to
the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in
all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the
mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which
He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the
fullness of the times He might gather together in one all
things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on
earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance,
being predestined according to the purpose of Him who
works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we
who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His
"In Him you also trusted, after
you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in
whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy
Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our
inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession,
to the praise of His glory."
invisible God made Himself visible to His people
3. When Christ
was born, He only revealed Himself to a select few.
Only some lowly
shepherds saw the angels and heard the message. Where there other
shepherds in the field who were not privileged to see and hear?
Probably. And no one else in Bethlehem (which was crowded because of
the census ordered by ) were invited to the heavenly feast.
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All
things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made
that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of
men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did
not comprehend it." John 1:1-5
"And the Word
became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the
glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and
"He is the image of
the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him
all things were created that are in heaven and that are on
earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or
dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created
through Him and for Him." Colossians
"...hidden in God
who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the
intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known
by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly
places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished
in Christ Jesus our Lord."
"Now there were in
the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping
watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the
Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around
them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them,
'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great
joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this
day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And
this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in
swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the
heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
A large army of God's
victorious angels were made visible to Elisha and his servant in Old
Testament days. God opened their eyes, and they saw what no one else
Now the king of Syria was making war against Israel; and he
consulted with his servants, saying, “My camp will be in such
and such a place.” And the man of God [Elisha] sent to the king
of Israel, saying, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for
the Syrians are coming down there.” Then the king of Israel sent
someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus
he warned him, and he was watchful there, not just once or
twice.4. The birth
of Jesus is central to the timeless drama of human history and God's
unfolding, eternal plan.
Therefore the heart of
the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he
called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me
which of us is for the king of Israel?”
And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but
Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel
the words that you speak in your bedroom.”
So he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and get
him.” And it was told him, saying, “Surely he is in Dothan.”
Therefore he [the Syrian king] sent horses and
chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and
surrounded the city. And when the servant of the man of God
arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the
city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him,
“Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
So he [Elisha] answered, “Do not fear, for those who
are with us are more than those who are with them.” And
Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he
may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man,
and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and
chariots of fire all around Elisha."
2 Kings 6:8-17
appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red
dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven
diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of
heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood
before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her
Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who
was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child
was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into
the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they
should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days."
To understand the
dragon's assault and the mortal danger to Jesus, ponder the next
passage. Remember, Herod was an intensely paranoid, brutal and
murderous ruler. Fearing competition and rebellion from his family
as well as court, he assassinated several wives and many of his
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of
Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to
Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the
Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to
When Herod the
king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of
the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to
be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus
it is written by the prophet:
‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the
least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men,
determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent
them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the
young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to
me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star
which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came
and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the
star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they
had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His
mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had
opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold,
frankincense, and myrrh.
being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return
to Herod, they departed for their own country another way."
opens our eyes to "see" unseen things through His Spirit
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
"But God has
revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit
searches all things, yes, the deep things of God....
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but
the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the
things that have been freely given to us by God. ... But
the natural man does not receive the things of the
Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can
he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:1-14
Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes
were restrained, so that they did not know Him....
Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them,
that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to
them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him;
and He vanished from their sight."
opened their understanding, that they might
comprehend the Scriptures."
disciples came and said to Him, 'Why do You speak to
them in parables?' He answered and said to them,
'Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries
of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been
given. ... Therefore I speak to them in parables,
because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not
hear, nor do they understand. And in them the
prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing
you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you
will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people
have grown dull....
blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears
for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many
prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see,
and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did
not hear it."
to open their eyes, in order to turn them from
darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to
God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an
inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world."
6. The unseen
forces of evil
behind the scenes. Notice two things: the primary action took place
in unseen realms and (2) God is absolutely sovereign:
"...the sons of God came to present
themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And
the Lord said to Satan, 'From where do you come?'
So Satan answered the Lord and said, 'From going to and fro
on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
"Then the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered My
servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a
blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?'
"So Satan answered the Lord and said, 'Does Job fear God for
nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around
his household, and around all that he has on every side? You
have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have
increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand
and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your
"And the Lord said to Satan,
'Behold, all that he has is in
your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord."
"...his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in
their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and
said, 'The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside
them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them
away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge
of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
"While he was still speaking, another
also came and said, 'The fire of God fell from heaven and
burned up the sheep and the servants, and 'consumed
them.... While he was still speaking, another also came and
said, 'The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels
and took them away...”
"...another also came and said, 'Your
sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine... and
suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness
and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the
young people, and they are dead...”
Job arose, tore his
robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and
worshiped. And he said:
'Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return
Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In all this
Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong."
Behind the scenes
"Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present
themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to
present himself before the Lord.... Then the Lord said to
Satan, 'Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none
like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who
fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his
integrity, although you incited Me against him...'
"So Satan answered the Lord and said,
“Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his
life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your
"And the Lord said to Satan,
'Behold, he is in your hand,
but spare his life.'"
response to the suffering inflicted by Satan -- with God's
permission and for His purpose:
"So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck
Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown
of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which
to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.
"Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast to your
integrity? Curse God and die!'
"But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.
Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we
not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with
"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."
"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on
the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against
the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and
blood, but against
rulers of the
this age, against
hosts of wickedness
in the heavenly
6. Our King
opened the eyes of the prophet Isaiah to "see" His heavenly glory.
I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and
the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood
seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And
one cried to another and said:
'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
"And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him
who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
"So I said: 'Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.'
"Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a
live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
And he touched my mouth with it, and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips;
your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.'
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?'
"Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.”
7. The Holy Spirit and God's holy angels showed John amazing scenes
of the world's future spiritual battles (Revelation 17). These
are glimpses, which, like the chapters in Daniel's visions,
are apparently not presented in chronological order.
he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw
a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of
names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The
woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold
and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup
full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And
on her forehead a name was written:
'MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE
ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.'
saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the
blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled
with great amazement. But the angel said to me,
did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of
the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the
ten horns. The beast that you saw was [past],
and is not [present], and will ascend
[future] out of the bottomless pit and go to
perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel,
[unbelievers] whose names are not written in the Book of
Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the
beast that was, and is not, and yet is."
"...I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast
rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten
horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a
blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard,
his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the
mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his
throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as
if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was
healed. And fall the world marveled and followed the beast.
So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast;
and they worshiped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast?
Who is able to make war with him?'
"And he was given a
mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given
authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened
his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His
tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to
him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And
authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose
names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb
slain from the foundation of the world."
"I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now
salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the
power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren,
who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast
down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and
by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their
lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and
you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth
and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great
wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
8. Only by His
grace may we set our hearts and "eyes" on His eternity!
He teach and enable us to do so -- more and more as we come
closer to that day when we will see Him
face to face!
See also The Armor of God
More will be added.