What Is Spiritual Seeing and Hearing?

Blind man receives his sight – Artist unknown

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet… And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me… (Rev 1:10-12, KJ2000)

In the above quote from John’s Revelation there is much to be learned if we have spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear. Its one thing to read the scriptures and gain knowledge the way we gain knowledge from any textbook or course of study, but it is a whole other thing to gain the depth of spiritual knowing that can be ours if we abide in the Spirit of Christ. First of all, John was “in the Spirit” when He heard this voice, yet that was not enough. Most often it takes us entering into the rest of our Father and blocking out the noisy din of this world before we can be in the Spirit while we read the Bible or try to hear His voice. Sometimes He withholds deeper fellowship from us until we deal with some sin that has come between us and Him, and these things often come to our attention as we wait before Him.

Secondly, John turned to see this great Voice which was speaking with him. Spiritual hearing requires that we turn away from where we have been looking or going. Some of us have learned that when God speaks to us or shows us something, it is to get us to grow up spiritually beyond where we have been, and so a “turning” is required. All too often people hear His voice and then set out to put what was heard on everyone else without doing the necessary turning about in their own lives. Jeremiah wrote,

Surely after I was turned, I repented; and after I was instructed, I struck myself upon the thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. (Jer 31:19, KJ2000)

“I turned to see the voice that spoke with me…”  One might ask, “How do you ever see a voice?” Let me use this word see in another way, “Do you SEE what John means here?” There is hearing and then there is HEARING. There is seeing and then there is SEEING! When what is spoken comes from the Word, Jesus Christ, there is no end to what we can see. For instance we find out that a single Bible verse can, over the years, says many different things to us as we grow in Christ. If we are to get anything from the Spirit of God beyond normal seeing and hearing, “some say it thundered,” we must be IN the Spirit (see John 12:29-31).

The carnal mind and its five senses will never do. We can sit in Sunday school and sit through Sunday sermons all our lives or graduate from the finest Christian seminaries and institutions without the gift of spiritual sight or hearing and die just as clueless as the day we were born as to who God is or the nature of His Kingdom. When the learned Paul, the Pharisee, was met by the living Christ on the Road to Damascus, he asked the right thing, “WHO ARE you, Lord?” and his real spiritual education started that moment, overshadowing all he once thought he knew about God. As with Paul, it takes a crisis for many of us to blast through our accumulated suppositions and to start to let the Spirit teach us.

Job had a collision with God over this very thing. He thought he was wise, righteous and filled with knowledge about God, but let us read about God’s assessment of Job!

“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge  Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” (Job 38:1-3, NIV)

“Words without knowledge.” This is how God sees our learning that has not come through the Light of the Spirit which opens our understanding to what HE wants us to know. “Brace yourself like a man and I will question you,” “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” To which Paul replied with that all important lifelong question with its ever growing reply, “Who are you, Lord?”

Then Job replied to the LORD : “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge [Heb. Da’ath from root word yada – to ascertain by seeing]?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6, NIV)

Adam Clarke shed light on this passage.

I have heard of thee] I have now such a discovery of thee as I have never had before. I have only heard of thee by tradition, or from imperfect information; now the eye of my mind clearly perceives thee, and in seeing thee, I see myself; for the light that discovers thy glory and excellence, discovers my meanness and vileness. (Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary)

Paul spoke by personal experience of the meanness and vile nature of the natural mind with its unenlightened knowing.

… we know that all of us possess knowledge. This “knowledge [Grk, eido]” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known [Grk. ginosko] by God. (1Cor 8:1-3, ESV2011)

Ever since the fall, man has been in love with knowledge and the Serpent still hangs out in that forbidden tree. The problem is that this kind of “knowledge” puffs us up and makes us proud. We end up thinking we really “know” something and as a result that we are somebody because of our knowledge and degrees. In the eyes of God, this kind of “knowing” is totally empty, and if anything, it gets in the way of true spiritual growth that is ours IN Christ. God resists the proud and gives His grace to the humble. Real knowledge in the economy of God has to do with a love relationship with Him and Jesus Christ His Son. W. E. Vine shed light on this meaningful Greek word, ginosko.

In the NT ginosko frequently indicates a relation between the person “knowing” and the object known; in this respect, what is “known” is of value or importance to the one who knows, and hence the establishment of the relationship, e.g., especially of God’s “knowledge,” 1Co 8:3, “if any man love God, the same is known of Him;”

To have this kind of knowledge requires that we have a deep relationship with the One who is known. This same Greek word was used in the following passage.

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife [Mary]: And knew [ginosko] her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (Matt 1:24-25, KJ2000)

Here we see ginosko speaks of the consummation of a marriage in the most intimate act that can be had between a man and his wife. Consider Paul’s words once again, But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” Jesus spoke of such intimacy between us and the Father and the Son when He prayed for us, That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21, KJ2000- emphasis added). When we come into Jesus and the Father and they come into us, the doors of heaven are opened and they start sharing their mysteries and their very lives with us. It is in this same knowing that the Church can also become one, but never by belonging to the same denomination or ascribing to the same doctrines. When two people are IN the Father and the Son and they are IN them, a spiritual intimacy without fear begins because “perfect love casts out all fear.” It takes much more than a casual Sunday acquaintance to come into such a relationship with His saints. Intimate spiritual relationships require us dying to our old carnal natures and what we have once clung to and becoming one IN the Father and the Son.

Paul also wrote about such intimacy with God saying, “’Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Eph 5:31-32, ESV2011– emphasis added)

If we are to know such intimacy with the Father and the Son we must leave all that has fathered and mothered us in this life. That includes any relationships we have had in church with spiritual mothers and spiritual fathers. There might be a season for these types of relationships, but eventually they get in the way of a deeper intimacy with Jesus and His Father. When we say, “I am of Paul or I am of Peter or I am of Apollos or whoever,” we are yet carnal. This is why Jesus said, “Who is my mother…He who does the will of my Father is my mother…” He also said, “Call no man ‘father’ for only One is your Father and He is in heaven.” Jesus was quite adamant about our earthly family ties when they get between us and Him,

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matt 10:34-37, KJ2000)

Our God is a jealous God (see Exodus 34:14). No man or woman is allowed to come between us and Him. We can come along side one another as we walk out this journey together, but others cannot become our total focus and desire.

Oh, the wonders of the knowledge of God in we who are His! Such intimacy can be ours if we will give up the wrong knowledge and want to know Him above all other relationships, “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” Oh, the depth of meaning in this verse spoken by Paul. I did not learn these things in seminary. In fact, God firmly forbid me go to one of these. No, He showed these things to me personally as I sought to know Him.

Isaiah prophesied hope to the Jews while they were in captivity and it is true of us today,

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isa 30:18-21, ESV2011- emphasis added)

God is our Teacher through His Holy Spirit who abides in us and gives us spiritual sight and hearing. He is there to show us every detail of how and what to choose in our daily walks with Him. Nothing is too small or too big in our lives that He does not have His will for us in these matters.

Along with Paul I pray for each of us,

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:14-21, ESV2011)


12 comments on “What Is Spiritual Seeing and Hearing?

  1. Amen to this biblical prayer, Michael. 👍🏻
    May God enlighten the ears and eyes of our hearts so that we may know Him as He really is.

    Spiritual mothers and fathers are anti-Christian by nature since they tend to replace the spiritual relationship God wants to have with us. As for loved ones, I think we all come before God as idolaters as we naturally put family members always (?) before Him. Who never does such a thing because (s)he loves Christ more than anyone else must be a perfect (wo)man. Certainly not me! I know my old nature’s limitations that can only be removed by Him one day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, thanks for your honest reply. We all have our “idols.” For some of us it is the need to be affirmed by family relationships, others it is the need to be a “somebody” among our peers and worldly success and for some it is the love of money, etc. Jesus knows how to put His finger on what we need to let go of. Thank God He also gives us grace to obey, even though it might take a while for us to come into alignment with His will.

      “I know who I have believed in and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that final day.”

      It is coming to the place where we believe in Him more than we believe in our own abilities to do what only HE can do that takes time.

      “May God enlighten the ears and eyes of our hearts so that we may know Him as He really is.” Amen, dear sister.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Kenneth Dawson Dawson says:

    Excellent article and I am printing it so I can meditate on it—Also I love that picture and put it as my desk background on my computer–I also Googled up that guy, Adam Clarke, and was looking at his bible commentary—Good stuff—After a disappointing day at church you have brightened up my day.

    Thanks much for the uplift—-Ken

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you for your encouraging comment, Ken. I appreciate the way you give thought to what I share. Sometimes I think that when we write something that is near to the heart of God, the more accurate we are, the less comments and responses we get from people. This seems to be a common problem…

      “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, ‘How long do you halt between two opinions? if the LORD is God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.’ And the people answered him not a word.” (1Kgs 18:21, KJ2000)

      Yes, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible has often been a help to me as well.

      I remember going through a season of trying to find a church where I could hear the Lord and be edified in my spirit and I always came away worse off than before I went. It was like beating my head against the wall… it felt so much better when I quit! 🙂

      Love you, my brother,

      Liked by 2 people

      • Kenneth Dawson Dawson says:

        Yes I want to stop going to this institutional church but Dad wanted me to go there and He said just go as an observer,you dont need to become a member.In the meantime I am still job hunting,so I will see where he puts me for a job and then I will get the church situation figured out–or rather He will—-I am just going to keep going and waiting for Him to fix the situation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Father, please direct Ken’s path that he might find the job you have for him and fellowship IN Christ. Amen


  3. Patricia Leliòn Lozano says:

    Patricia wrote:

    What a blessing to teach, Michael. Each time the Spirit writes through you, God confirms what he has spoken through the years inside my spirit.

    “And even if the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your Master will not hide anymore, but your eyes will see your Master …” says Isaiah. And the Lord has given me to eat of that bread and to drink from that water to bring down all the religious conceptions obtained from my childhood in the Sunday school, going through such Bible seminars. God had to take my husband so that I would understand that all my knowledge was rubbish and that I should die to all that.

    God broke me and in my affliction so I could see in depth to My Master and He has taught me His way. How patient God has been with me throughout this time of learning.

    Thank you Michael.

    Que bendición de enseñanza Michael. Cada vez que el Espíritu escribe a través de ti, Dios me confirma lo que ha hablado a través de los años en el interior de mi espíritu.

    “Y aunque el Señor te dé el pan de la adversidad y el agua de la aflicción, tu Maestro no se ocultará más, pero tus ojos verán a tu Maestro…” dice Isaías. Y el Señor me ha dado a comer de ese pan y a beber de esa agua para derribar todas las concepciones religiosas obtenidas desde mi niñez en la escuela dominical, pasando por los tales seminarios bíblicos. Dios tuvo que llevarse a mi esposo para que yo entendiera que todo mi conocimiento era basura y que yo debía morir a todo eso.

    Dios me quebrantó y en mi aflicción pude ver en profundidad a Mi Maestro y Él me ha enseñado Su camino. Qué paciente ha sido Dios conmigo en todo este tiempo de aprendizaje.

    Gracias Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      You wrote, “Each time the Spirit writes through you, God confirms what he has spoken through the years inside my spirit.” Patricia, it has been my heart’s cry to be used by Him in this way. This desire led to me praying those “dangerous prayers” that led up to my 14 years in a spiritual wilderness (the dark night of the soul). I prayed, “Father, make me like your Son, that I would only say the things you give me to say and only do the works that you give me to do.” Then He showed me my “spiritual” pride and I cried out, “God, this is ugly! Just kill it! Do whatever it takes to cleanse me of this thing that desires to take your place in the eyes and hearts of your saints.” Little did I know the price that was connected God’s answering such a prayer… death to self and the daily crucifying of my flesh.

      Jesus told the Pharisees that their traditions made of no effect the commandments of God. It is always a blessing to meet another dear saint that has had to go through such testing and destruction of all their religious suppositions so that they can hear and obey HIS voice instead of the traditions of men. You are a blessing.

      Your brother IN the Son,

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Patricia Leliòn Lozano says:

    Amén. Es una bendición encontrar hermanos como tú, que han dejado que la Guillotina Divina arrase con su cabeza. En el amor de Cristo. Tu hermana Patricia.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amen.
    Beautifully written, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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