Seeing In The Spirit Realm
With today’s world fascinated with the themes of Harry Potter, the demonic, the spirit-world, and imaginary heroes, the Church is being challenged in the very area that should be their strongest domain: the unseen world.
As Christians, we are promised in scripture an authority in the ‘spirit-world’ that is indisputable and limited only to the degree that we are under the authority of the risen Christ. And yet, incredibly, the vast bulk of Christians have abdicated that authority and choose to stand back and bemoan the darkness that is allowed to rule in that vacuum.
And then there is the issue of ‘quality of life’ which, for the true disciple of Jesus, is not about physical condition but about spiritual, mental, and emotional freedom that empowers us to represent Christ to this world. This, too, is an issue decided in the spirit realm.
Pause and ask yourself this question: “What would it look like to live in such a way that the physical, the tangible, and the things which are seen are no longer restrictions to experiencing the power of Father’s presence and experiencing the authority of His person?”
I believe that this is governed by what we see. Jesus only carried indescribable authority because of what He SAW His Father do. His miracles were because of what He SAW! So, what does it really mean to see in the spirit realm? Can you and I actually SEE what our Father is doing and then carry it out with boldness in this world of the tangible?
It all starts with understanding WHO God is and WHAT the nature of His world really looks like.
God Is Spirit
John 4:24 tells us that “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The word for ‘Spirit’ here is the Greek word ‘pneuma’ which means ‘a breath of air’, ‘that which is not tangible.’ What does that mean?
If you were to breathe out right now in a warm environment, what would you see? Nothing! Of course not. Even though our breath is real, it is not often tangible. But when the environment changes, such as on a cold frosty morning, we see a mist as we breathe out. The moisture in our breath (which was previously unnoticed) has been made discernible. The environment causes the unseen to become seen, the invisible to become visible.
In the same way, Father’s intention is that we would be so intimately close to His heart in the realm of the spirit, that we see Him with the inner eye of revelation and insight. Not to necessarily see in physical form with our human eyes (He is Spirit) but that the tangible manifestation of His presence, in our inner eye, would become a spiritual reality. For example, Isaiah “saw” the Lord on the throne, as a King high and lifted up (Isaiah 6:1). He saw the intangible as if it were tangible because, in that moment, that was the element of God’s nature that God wanted Isaiah to get a renewed revelation about.
It is also true that at times God will choose to allow humanity to see a tangible demonstration in their physical world of that world that is His reality. The spirit world, which is the world of God’s reality, has no tangible form. But it can manifest in a human form or tangible substance in order to communicate God’s intention.
There are many examples in scripture of the presence of God becoming tangible:
- For Moses and the Israelites, God’s presence appeared as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. (Exodus 13:21)
- Angels, who have no tangible form in the spirit world, appeared to Abraham, Gideon, Zacharias, Mary, Joseph, and others.
- At the baptism of Jesus, Holy Spirit, the breath of God, omnipresent, appeared “in bodily form as a dove” a highly intentional representation of God’s communication. (Luke 3:22)
The Invisible Becoming Visible
In order to achieve God’s intention, the invisible can become visible. This is so that the human heart is able to receive the communication intended from the Father’s heart. There is always a highly intentional message as the purpose of the tangible manifestation of God’s presence. It is never to entertain or give His people ‘goose-bumps’!
On the day of Pentecost, Holy Spirit appeared over each person’s head as “a tongue of fire” before filling them with His supernatural power (Acts 2:1-3). The original text makes it clear that they were shaped as actual tongues but that the substance they appeared to be made of was fire. Holy Spirit positioned Himself upon the disciples’ heads in such a manner because they would then associate that automatically with being anointed. (They were most aware that the anointing oil or the anointing hands of the prophet was always laid upon the head.)
The fact that He manifested as fire was to remind them of the time that He manifested to Moses and Israel as a pillar of fire. The fire was a declaration of His presence and His power. The tongue was an explanation to them, that the supernatural phenomena they were about to experience of speaking in the languages of other nations, was the result of His anointing them with His power to do so.
Jesus was transfigured on the mountain before Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1-3). Then Moses and Elijah materialised. These two no longer had physical bodies, and were now part of an unseen world, yet for the purpose of God’s intention, they manifested in human form! And they appeared in such a way that the disciples, who hadn’t a clue what they would have originally looked like, instantly recognised them.
Awesome! But there is always a Kingdom purpose. His manifestations are not for entertainment.
The purpose of this was so the disciples could see that Jesus was building His new Kingdom on the foundation of the law and the prophets. The Old Testament and New Testament were in perfect harmony. He was building the future with a redemption that did not disannul His Old Testament Covenant but, rather, fulfilled it.
In 2 Kings 6:8-17, we read that Elisha has been a trouble to the King of Syria, and a great army of horses and chariots and men has been sent against the city of Dothan where Elisha is. Elisha’s servant only sees the human situation and is intimidated by the suggestion of overwhelming odds. Yet Elisha says, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Elisha cried out for the servant’s eyes to be opened. And when this prayer was answered, the servant saw what Elisha already saw – a spiritual army of horses and chariots, surrounding Elisha. What Elisha saw in the spiritual was the source of his courage and boldness, his peace and certainty, in the midst of seeming disaster.
The Kingdom Purpose
Father desires that each of us would see with greater clarity into the spirit realm in moments when He wishes to reveal His purpose to us. That we would see a spiritual reality, a spirit world, coexistent with the reality of our natural sight, but dependent on the illumination of the Holy Spirit to become apparent.
As Father purposes to initiate on the Earth, He first accomplishes that task in the spirit-world, knowing that is the realm in which it must be first established prior to physical manifestation and outworking on the Earth. He then chooses an adopted son or daughter to “see” Him achieving that purpose (by way of Holy Spirit revelation to their hearts) so that they can achieve it in this tangible world in obedience to that which He has shown them. He doesn’t want us think of this as ‘spooky’, but rather completely normal for one that has truly been born of His Spirit and, therefore, invited to see through His eyes.
Our boldness and faith in the face of challenges doesn’t come from our disposition; it comes from what we are seeing in the spirit realm. We need eyes to see what already exists in the realm of the spirit but is invisible to the natural eye. How that is revealed to us will be, most often, unique and different from someone else’s experience. Father, knowing our uniqueness, wants to show us that world in a manner that will communicate meaningfully to us, as an individual, in our humanity.
As our love for our Father intensifies and our surrender becomes unconditional, we will find such Divine encounters more and more becoming our reality. As we do, our confidence and authority and the miracles that flow from that authority, will increasingly represent Jesus to this desperately needy world.
It starts with a fervent cry, “Open our eyes, Lord, so that we may see what YOU see!”