Seeing in a New Dimension

How would you describe something to someone who has never seen it or felt it? Some of you are acquainted, no doubt, with mathematicians or physicists who tell us that there is a fourth dimension. Some even say there is a fifth dimension. How would you describe this to someone who can only see, understand, and feel three dimensions, and cannot understand a fourth or fifth one? The best way I know to describe it is to look at history and see times when the human race saw things that they had never seen before.

Some years ago, a wonderful instrument was invented. It is called a microscope. As men started looking in the microscope, eventually they found that there were tiny creatures that people had never seen before. People did not know that these little creatures even existed. We soon
discovered that these tiny creatures could make people sick, so we developed a new theory because of what we had seen.

We had seen something in a new dimension, a micro-dimension, that we had not seen before. Because of what we had seen, we had a new experience of what reality was, and we developed a new theory about disease. We developed a theory about what made people sick, and we called it the germ theory, and these little creatures, we called germs.

In the nineteenth century, scientists, like John Harvey Kellogg and others, talked to people about germs, and this germ theory changed the practice of medicine and dentistry and all the health professions. It did not just change our theory about why people were sick; it changed our theory about the prevention of disease, preparation and preservation of food, sanitation, housekeeping, and how to manage buildings and premises.

In the nineteenth century people had to be convinced that it was really true. So the professors, who were giving lectures on health education, would take a microscope with them. They put the microscope up in front and inserted a slide. The most common little creature, a one-celled organism called an amoeba, would be on that slide. People would come up and look at it through the microscope and watch
it move about.

Some people still were not convinced. One lady looked in the microscope, saw the amoeba, and she said, “I still do not believe it!” Sometimes it is very difficult to see in a new dimension, because when you see in a new dimension, you are seeing something that is totally different, or totally foreign, to what you have always believed was reality.

Christ, An Imposter?

The Bible talks about seeing in a new dimension. You can read about a man who had an experience where he saw something in a dimension he had never seen before. He had been told that Jesus Christ was an imposter and an enemy. The Jews said that the disciples had stolen His body away while the soldiers were sleeping and that the resurrection was a myth.

He was told that these Christians were all deluded and were deceiving the world, and if he was going to save the church, he had to kill them and get them out of the way. He was in the process of doing just that. In fact, Scripture tells us that he was breathing murder against the Christians. He had letters from the High Priest and he was going to Damascus to have the Christians arrested and put in prison.

But on the way he had an experience. He saw something that he had never seen before. Scripture says a great light shone around him, and he looked, and he saw a Being that was brighter than the sun. That Being had nail prints in His hands and in His feet. It was the Being that he had been told was stolen away while the soldiers slept, and this did not look like a corpse. It was brighter than the sun and It spoke to him. (See Acts 9:3–6.)

He was so afraid. He asked the Lord, “What do you want me to do?” The Lord told him the way he was going was the hard way, and He told Paul to go down to Damascus, and it would be shown him what he was to do.

A Change in Plans

We do not know how long that experience lasted, whether it was just a few seconds or a few minutes. But from that experience, Paul was never the same again, because he had seen everything in a different dimension, in a different light. He was on his way to take the Christians as prisoners. He considered them his enemies, but after his experience, he considered them his brothers and friends.

The people whom he was going to try to kill, he was now going to try to save. The people whom he had hated, he now loved. The people whom he had scorned, he delighted to be in their company. You see, it changed everything in his life. When you see something in a new dimension, it changes everything; the way you feel, the way you think, the way you act, the way you talk, everything!

After that experience, as the apostle Paul traveled all over the world, he would tell people what it was that had changed his life. He told the Jews about it. (See Acts 22.) He told King Agrippa about it. He would repeat over and over again what had happened to him. He was an enemy, one who was going to kill and destroy the Christian Church—until he saw something in a new dimension.

The crucified One appeared to him, brighter than the sun, with the nail prints still in His hands. From that time on, everything was changed in his life. The book of Philippians describes his experience before and after he saw Christ. In this Scripture, Paul describes three things that he saw. This is what they were: “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3.

Let us examine this statement for just a moment. The Jews said, “We are the circumcision,” but Paul wrote to the Christians and said, “No, we are the real circumcision.” The Jews said, “We are the church.” The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians and said, “No, they are not. We are the church, the Christians, we are the circumcision. We are the people of God.”

“Not the circumcision made with hands, but the circumcision of Christ to the cutting away of sin from the life.” (See Colossians 2:11.) He said, “We are the true church, the circumcision that is made without hands. We worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though, I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” Philippians 3:3–6.

I Was Blind, But Now I See

This is what happened to him after he saw the vision, after he saw in another dimension, on the Damascus road. He had all these things. He was sure that he was saved because he had the right lineage, he had the right religion, he had gone through the right rituals, he belonged to the right race, he belonged to the right group, he was an educated man and he was a wealthy man.

He had all these things, but after he had that vision on the Damascus road, everything he had, he considered worthless. “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things for loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means I may attain to the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:7–11.

Paul said there was a time when he had everything. From the Jewish point of view, he did have everything. He was probably one of the youngest members of the Sanhedrin, the governing body of the Jewish nation. He says of himself, “I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews.” He belonged to the social elite; he was a Pharisee, the people that the Jews looked up to the most. He was respected and honored.

These Three Things I Desire

When Paul saw the crucified One, he said he considered all of that as rubbish. “I have lost it all and it is not worth anything. All I want to do is gain Christ. There are three things that I want.” (See Philippians 3:7–11.) After he had that vision, he was willing to lose everything else, but there were three things that he wanted.

  1. He wanted to have the righteousness that is of faith in Christ, not just righteousness because he had kept the law, the kind that he had when he was a Pharisee. He did not want that anymore. He wanted a new kind of righteousness, the righteousness that is of faith, the righteousness from Christ.
  2. He wanted to know Him and the power of His resurrection.
  3. He wanted to know the fellowship of His sufferings.

Three things. We will look at the third one first.

Fellowship With His Suffering

Do you know anything about the fellowship of suffering? Maybe we do not want it yet because we have never had the vision that Paul had. Maybe we have never seen in a new dimension. Until we see in a different dimension than the people of this world see, we will not want the fellowship of Christ’s suffering. But Paul did. He said “I want to know Him.”

If you are really going to know someone, you have to know how they feel. Can you know how someone feels if you have never felt it? When Jesus was here, He suffered for you and me. Are we ever going to understand that?

We will never understand it fully, but if we never have any suffering ourselves, we will not understand it at all. Paul wanted to understand; he wanted to know Him. If he was going to know Him, he knew he would need to have fellowship with His sufferings. Does that mean we must be burned at the stake, put on a rack and get stretched apart, or get thrown to the lions? No! Those things could certainly be included, but every single person that is in the kingdom of heaven will have had fellowship in Christ’s sufferings, but not all will have been martyred.

“Those who reign with Christ in His kingdom must have a fellowship in His suffering. Every defect in character condemned by the law of God, must through the grace of Christ, which is freely given to every soul who desires it, be overcome. Every hereditary and cultivated tendency to evil must be seen, subdued, and cleansed, that the soul temple may become fit for the indwelling of the Spirit of God. The divine will must be accepted, and the human will brought into harmony with God, though it cause bitter agony and tears.” The Signs of the Times, in July 18, 1895.

What is the bitter agony and tears mentioned here? It is bringing our stubborn will into harmony with the will of God. When we do that, the result is fellowship in suffering. Mrs. White says, “Traits of character that are offensive to God are often very dear to man, and are cherished as virtues. How blind is humanity unless the light of heaven is accepted and cherished!” Ibid.

Paul wanted to have fellowship with Him; he wanted to know Him and have fellowship with His sufferings. Paul knew his stubborn will must be surrendered to Christ’s will, even if it caused bitter agony and tears. If we are going to have fellowship with Him in glory, we must have fellowship with Him in suffering.

The Righteousness of Christ

But Paul also said he wanted another kind of righteousness. “I was alive without the law once.” He thought one time he was righteous because he was a Pharisee. He says, “As far as the righteousness, which is of the law, I was blameless. I was perfect.” Philippians 3:6.

But after he saw in another dimension, he realized he did not have any righteousness at all. He went from being perfect, to having no righteousness at all in just a few minutes. Have you ever had that happen to you? In fact, he wrote to the Romans, “I know that in my flesh there is no good thing.” I do not have anything. (See Romans 7:18.) So now, not only did he want to have fellowship in suffering, he wanted a different kind of righteousness.

What is this righteousness that he was talking about? “We can be fitted for heaven only through the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart; for we must have Christ’s righteousness as our credentials if we would find access to the Father. In order that we may have the righteousness of Christ, we need daily to be transformed by the influence of the Spirit, to be a partaker of the divine nature.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 374.

If you are going to have the righteousness of Christ, it must be imparted to you by the Holy Spirit so that your mind is transformed, as Paul says in Romans 12. Have you received the Holy Spirit? Remember what Jesus said to Nicodemus. “Unless you receive the Holy Spirit, there is no chance that you will be saved.” (See John 3:5.) It is the Holy Spirit that makes us a partaker of the divine nature.

The apostle Paul saw that he could keep the law perfectly his whole life, but that would not save him. You see, if we could keep the law perfectly and earn our own salvation, then Jesus would not have needed to die on the cross. Paul saw that he had to have an experience. He had to receive the Holy Spirit, which he had not received.

He claimed to be absolutely perfect, yet he was going to a city to murder the saints! He saw that he was all undone and he was the one who was responsible for that. It is the same thing that happened with the Jews. Remember the Pharisees? They considered themselves to be the chosen of God and perfect, yet they murdered the Son of God.

When we bring our lives to complete obedience to the law of God, regarding God as our supreme Guide, and clinging to Christ as our hope of righteousness, God will work in our behalf. This is a righteousness of faith, a righteousness hidden in a mystery of which the worldling knows nothing, and which he cannot understand. Sophistry and strife follow in the train of the serpent; but the commandments of God diligently studied and practiced, open to us communication with heaven, and distinguish for us the true from the false.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1118.

This is what constitutes righteousness by faith!

The Power of His Resurrection

Let us look closely at the third thing Paul wanted. In Philippians 3:10, he says, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.”

The first time you read that, you may say, “Well, that means that he was hoping that after he died, he would be raised from the dead when Jesus comes again. That would be included, but he is talking about a lot more than the resurrection that will occur at Christ’s Second Coming. He is talking about something that he wants to know right now. How can you know the power of the resurrection right now?

In The Desire of Ages, 209, 210, Mrs. White quotes Philippians 3:10. Then she says, “That spirit of life in Christ Jesus, ‘the power of His resurrection,’ sets men ‘free from the law of sin and death.’ (Philippians 3:10; Romans 8:2). The dominion of evil is broken, and through faith the soul is kept from sin.”

How is the soul kept from sin? It is the power of His resurrection. The dominion of Satan, the dominion of sin is broken in the life and, through the power of the resurrection, the soul is kept from sin. That is what Paul wanted to know right then. How about you? How about me? Do we know the power of His resurrection? Have we seen it? What is it?

Let us look at something that is a most fundamental point. There could never have been a resurrection until there was a crucifixion. Does that make sense? Christ was not resurrected until He was first crucified.

Tell Them the Story

To understand the resurrection you have to understand the crucifixion. Here is a gem for the parents. Here is a story to tell to your children. Ellen White wrote this in The Signs of the Times, April 8, 1889. She said to parents concerning their children, “Tell them the blessed story of the cross of Calvary. This is the great, central theme of all wisdom.” Would you like your children to become spiritually wise? Tell them the story of the cross of Calvary. After Paul had seen his vision, he wrote to a church in Corinth, “If anybody thinks he is wise, let him become a fool so that he might become wise.” Concerning the apostles, he said, “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honored, but we are despised.” Sometimes we get too smart for ourselves. Ellen White wrote about this. She says, “I want to say to my brethren, Shall we humble our hearts before God and be converted? Shall we put off all the self-sufficiency and the lifting up of ourselves, and come down at the foot of the cross? The lower we lie at the foot of the cross the more clear will be our view of Christ.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 57.

Where? If we get low at the foot of the cross, then we will begin to see Christ. And then she says, “For just as soon as we begin to lift ourselves up and to think that we are something, the view of Christ grows dimmer and dimmer and Satan steps in so that we cannot see Him at all.” Ibid.

If we are going to see what Paul saw, we are all going to have to be humble. We are going to have to come to the foot of the cross. We will not think of ourselves as intelligent, wise or self-sufficient. “We should take our fitting place in humble penitence at the foot of the cross. We may learn the lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind as we go up to Mount Calvary, and looking upon the cross, see our Saviour in agony, the Son of God dying, the just for the unjust. Behold Him who could summon legions of angels to His assistance with one word, a subject of jest and merriment, of reviling and hatred. He gives Himself a sacrifice for sin. When reviled, He threatened not; when falsely accused, He opened not His mouth. He prays on the cross for His murderers. He is dying for them.” That I May Know Him, 62.

The Lesson of the Cross

Have you seen the new dimension? Ellen White says this is the first lesson that we need to learn. It is good to learn Bible doctrine and something about prophecy. We also need to know what the law of God says, since Christ had to die on the cross because we broke that law. There are many other lessons that we need to learn, but the lesson of the cross is number one. This is what will enable us to see everything and everybody in a new dimension.

When Paul had this vision, when he saw this light, and the Lord spoke to him, it was just for a few minutes, but it changed everything in his life. Before, he had hatred for those Christians. After that, his hatred was gone. It changed the way he thought. It changed the way he felt. It changed the way he acted. It changed the way he spoke. It changed the expression on his face. It changed everything in his life.

Would you like to be changed like that? If you can see what he saw, you will see in a new dimension and everything will be changed. Just like he records in Philippians, “Everything that I thought was so important before, I realize now that it is rubbish compared with this.”

“Lift the cross and deny self. Control yourself. Then there will be an opportunity for Christ to let His mind be in you. Your words will be sweet and pure.” (Would you like every word that you speak to be sweet and pure? If you see this, that is what will happen.) “You will give no place to the enemy by giving way to evil thinking and evil speaking,— his most successful means of keeping the church in a weak, unconverted state.” Australian Union Conference Record, April 15, 1905. This is what will happen to us if we see in a new dimension.

When you see what Paul saw, it not only changes what you say, it changes your very thoughts, the way you think.

Who Killed Jesus?

After Paul saw this vision, he wrote to the Christians and told them there was danger. You see, the Christians all thought that it was the Jews who had crucified Christ. Paul said, “Oh, no, it is not just the Jews. We are the ones who crucified Him, by our sins.”

Do you believe that just the Jews crucified Christ, or do you believe that Christ went to the cross because of what you and I have done? The reason we do not understand is because we have not seen in a new dimension yet. If you understand from God’s point of view—you see from God’s point of view; and He understands the past, the present, and the future.

God knew all about you when Jesus was here. He took all of your sins, and all of the sins of everybody that would ever live in the world, and He laid them on Christ at Calvary. He did not go to Calvary just for the Jews, or for the people in the Old Testament, He went to Calvary for you and for me. Paul said we, as Christians, can crucify Him again. He taught this throughout the New Testament. I imagine when people first heard that doctrine they were absolutely shocked. “How could we crucify Him again? I would not crucify Him again, I am a Christian. I call Him my Lord and Master.” Yet, Paul said you can crucify Him again. He talked to the Hebrews extensively about this. The apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation, said that when Jesus would come again, He would come with clouds and every eye is going to see Him, also those that pierced Him. (See Revelation 1:7.)

Lest you think that this refers only to the Jews, although they are included in this statement, look at Zechariah 12:10. “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me Whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”

Do you understand that? The people of God are going to see Him whom they have pierced and they are going to mourn and grieve over what they have done to Him. You may say to yourself, “I was not the one with the hammer.” No, but we only talk that way because we have never seen in another dimension.

The Hammer in Your Hand

We do not realize that when we sin we bring the identical, same kind of pain to the heart of God that Jesus suffered on the cross. Again in Education, 263, Mrs. White talks about how we can crucify Him.

Once you see in that dimension, it changes everything. It changes your whole outlook about sin, does it not? You realize that if you do it, you are going to hurt the One that loves you the most. “‘They also which pierced Him.’ These words apply not only to the men who pierced Christ when He hung on the cross of Calvary, but [also] to those who by evil-speaking and wrong-doing are piercing Him today.” The Signs of the Times, January 28, 1903.

Are there people piercing Him today? Yes! How are they doing it? By their evil-speaking and wrongdoing. “Daily He suffers the agonies of the crucifixion. Daily men and women are piercing Him by dishonoring Him, by refusing to do His will.” Ibid.

Do you want to see things in a different dimension so that sin will become hateful and hideous to you, so that you will never want to do it again? If you see what Paul saw, that is what will happen. When we see what he saw, instead of evil-speaking and wrongdoing, piercing Him, we will do the following: “It is our duty to help those who are downcast. Recollect what their privileges are, and do not talk of the difficulties, but go right to them and try to bind up the broken hearted.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 103.

Where are these broken hearted people you and I are supposed to bind up? “These are right in the church all around us. Never have an idea that you know more than your brethren do, but just keep humble. It was this spirit of evil surmising that brought all the weakness into the Jewish nation.” Ibid.

We have to come to the foot of the cross and we have to see things that we did not see before. When that happens, the same thing will happen to us that happened to the apostle Paul.

Friends and Enemies

Here is an amazing fact about Jesus. As you study the life of Christ, it appears that He does not know the difference between His friends and His enemies. He treats them all the same. Ellen White wrote, “Can you stand under the shadow of the cross and there talk your crosses, your darkness, your wicked feelings? Can you do it? Dare you do it? You never dare to do it when standing under the shadow of the cross.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 208.

You see, our problem is that we have somebody difficult with whom to deal. Do you know who that difficult person is? It is me! That is the person I have the most trouble with, me! “Self is the most difficult thing we have to manage. In laying off burdens, let us not forget to lay self at the feet of Christ. Hand yourself over to Jesus, to be molded and fashioned by Him, that you may be made vessels unto honor. Your temptations, your ideas, your feelings, must all be laid at the foot of the cross. Then the soul is ready to listen to words of divine instruction. Jesus will give you water to drink of the water which flows from the river of God. Under the softening and subduing influence of His spirit, your coldness, and listlessness will disappear.” The Upward Look, 218.

Oh, friends, what you and I need, what the Christian church needs, what Adventists need, what the historic Adventists need, what the revival and reformation movement needs, is to see in a different dimension. Then, all of a sudden, all of the troubles that we think we have will disappear.

What really happens to a person when they start to look at the cross of Calvary and start to think through the spiritual meaning of what they are looking at? A lot of Christians know the story. They have crosses hanging from their rear-view mirrors and in their homes, and all over the place, but they do not know the spiritual meaning of the story.

Redemption is a process by which a human soul is trained for heaven. It means a knowledge of Christ. After Paul saw that, he said in Philippians 3, “All I want is just to know Him. I want to know the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings. I just want to know Him, that is all. Everything I had before is junk.”

“It means emancipation from ideas, from habits and practices, that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness. The soul must be delivered from the feelings and practices which are opposed to loyalty to God.” Signs of the Times, January 17, 1895.

Are you being delivered day by day from wrong thoughts and feelings? If you are starting to see in a different dimension, it will happen.

Oh, what a change it would make if we could see our spouses, our children, and our fellow church members in a different dimension. “We are here to learn submission to the divine will, or we shall not be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Those who are corrupt in their sympathies, that have never had the divine touch, never can sing the song of the redeemed. They would be unhappy in heaven.” Ibid.

If you do not have the Divine touch, if you do not see in a different dimension, (what Paul saw), if you never come to the cross of Calvary in your mind to study its spiritual meaning, the Lord cannot take you to heaven because you would not enjoy it. You would be unhappy in heaven. “They would feel that they were inharmonious elements.” Ibid.

We must have this experience, friends. We must pray for it and say, “Lord, help me to see what Paul saw. Help me to see what the cross means, and to experience it. Not just as a story, but as a change in my life so that I see everything and everybody differently.”

Seeing with New Eyes

Steven Colby, the famous author, tells of an experience that he had on a subway in New York. One Sunday morning he was riding on the subway. People were sitting quietly; some of them reading newspapers, and some were lost in thought. Some even had their eyes closed. It was very calm and very peaceful. Then suddenly a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and so rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.

This man came in with these unruly children and sat down right next to Mr. Colby. The man just sort of hung his head, closed his eyes and he seemed totally oblivious to what his children were doing. The children were yelling and were throwing things. They were even grabbing people’s newspapers. It was very disturbing, and everybody in the subway car was getting very irritated.

Yet the man sitting next to Mr. Colby just sat there with his eyes closed, doing absolutely nothing. It was difficult not to feel irritated. It was difficult not to be angry at this man who had no control over his children who were disrupting everybody in the whole car. He could not believe this man could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all.

It was easy to see that everybody in the whole car was irritated. Just like people get in the church sometimes. Mr. Colby thought he was exercising an unusual amount of patience and restraint, but finally he thought, “I have to do something.” So he turned to this man, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you could control them a little more?”

The man raised his head a little bit and opened his eyes as if he had just come to consciousness for the first time, and he said softly, “Oh, you are right. I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I do not know what to think, and I guess they do not know how to handle it either.”

Mr. Colby said he was changed instantly. All of sudden he was not irritated any more. He felt so sad. He changed his speech, he changed his words, he changed his thoughts, and he changed his feelings instantly. Why? Because now he saw this man and his children in a different dimension.

If you and I are gong to go to heaven, we are going to have to see Jesus on the cross. We are going to have to see a vision that is going to change our dimension of thinking so that we see each other, our spouses, our children, our fellow church members in a different dimension than we have seen them before.

Do you want to see and experience reality in a different dimension so that you will be Christ-like in every situation? We have to have more than a storybook religion if we are going to go to heaven. We have to actually be converted and see each other in a different dimension. Let each one of us pray that we might have that experience today.

I See

David the Psalmist says, “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, created by a God who is infinite in goodness.

One of the most wonderful gifts we have received is the ability to see. The eyes are a marvelous mystery to man. We cannot fully understand how they work.

Medical journals tell us about the eye: The photographic camera is patterned after it, but it is only a feeble approach to the eye itself. The sensitivity of the retina is adjusted to the intensity of the light, and the eye adjusts itself automatically to the varying amounts of light and to the distances near and far. It creates its own transparent skin to separate it from the outer world but to shut out no light. This covering will allow oxygen to pass through it and into the eye, but will not let it escape. It will allow carbon dioxide to escape, but will not allow it to enter. The eye imparts to the brain a perfect picture of everything in front of it with all of the vivid colors and teeming activities, and does it continuously so that the least motion is detected. These pictures are impressed upon the brain so vividly that the record of them remains as long as life lasts. The eye is an amazing thing!

The eye gives us the ability to see in color. God could have given us eyesight to see only in black and white. That would have been all right, but, oh, how much more wonderful is color! Color only comes by way of light. In other words, light produces color.

The Sight of Light

Is it necessary to have physical eyesight in this life to have physical life? Is eyesight necessary for spiritual life? The answer to both questions, interestingly enough, is that everyone who is blind is dependent upon those who see. This is true in the physical world as well as in the spiritual world.

What does God say is needful for us to have sight—physical sight or spiritual sight? “For with Thee is the fountain of life: in Thy light shall we see light.” Psalm 36:9. Light is necessary for sight.

What is God’s light that gives us sight? Psalm 119:105 tells us, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” God’s Word, if we choose to believe it, is a light that gives us sight.

There is no sight in unbelief. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” John 8:12. In John 1:14 we are told that “The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.…Jesus, the Light of the world, came to give sight to those who know they are blind and who desire to see. “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” John 9:39.

There are some people who believe they can see when, in fact, they cannot. Jesus came to open the eyes of those who know that they are blind. Is it not wonderful that as you read through God’s Word, a picture builds before you of what is necessary for our salvation? God’s Word, indeed, is light to those who believe it.

What actually brings condemnation to mankind? “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:19, 20.

Choosing Darkness

If we, and every human being in the world, are condemned at last, we will not be condemned because we chose darkness. We will be condemned because we did not choose the light. To reject light is to reject Him who is the light of the world. It does not get any simpler than that. The gospel is good news, because it is so simple that even the little ones can understand it, if it is rightly told to them.

Isaiah 59 gives us a tremendous description of how heaven looks at this world and what it sees. It is a description of our world in the dark. “Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.” Verses 9, 10.

That is a description of this world, spiritually speaking. It is a description of the world that lies in darkness; that is what sin brings. Sin shuts the light away. “We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before Thee, and our sins testify against us.…” Verses 11, 12.

Sin brings darkness. Darkness brings blindness. Blindness brings transgression. It is a cycle that continues from generation to generation to those who choose to love darkness rather than light.

When we combine Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” with John 17:17, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth,” what we see is simply that God’s Word is light, that light equals truth, and that truth gives us sight into the reality of the eternal world.

Ah, to See!

This, too, is a cycle. It can be a cycle as much as sin, darkness, blindness are a cycle. We can choose to have light and truth and sight and reality. We can choose that because the gospel is an alternative to sin.

God has allowed the light of His grace to cover this world through the life and death of His Son, that He might bring the light to a darkened world. The gospel of Jesus Christ is light; it is salvation, and it is reality.

Psalm 34:8 tells us another truth about light. “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” Spiritual sight is not a profession, it is an experience. You can have a profession and be blind. You can have an experience and see.

Tasting is trusting, believing the Word. When we believe the Word, the Word becomes light to us. Then we can see where God wants us to walk.

To be satisfied with a profession or a form of godliness is to choose blindness. Let us look at what the blindness of the leaders in Israel, in Jesus’ day, caused them to do.

Out of Focus

What did they do in their blindness? “Howbeit,” Jesus said, “in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” “Making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”
Mark 7:7, 13.

They put men’s laws in the place of God’s laws. Only blindness will do that! Only darkness would attempt to do such a thing. They put tradition above God’s Word. Spiritual blindness distorts our priorities and puts things totally out of focus.

“Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?” Matthew 23:16–19.

Did they have distortion in regard to their priorities? Oh, yes, they were totally out of focus, and yet they proclaimed themselves to be the children of God, the chosen of God, the light of the world, but their priorities were all upside down. Is it any different in our day?

What Possesses You?

In our day, among professed Christians, men are satisfied with a profession of truth rather than a possession of truth. You and I will never walk through one of those tall gates into the city of God without allowing the truth to possess us. You can hold this truth and walk around with the Bible that has all this light in it; you can put it in your mind; you can memorize it, but if it never gets to your heart, if it never possesses you, you are in the darkness. Possessing truth will take you from darkness into light.

Men today are satisfied with merely professing the truth, not allowing the truth to possess them. Men are satisfied with hearing God’s Word rather than doing it. They are satisfied with following religious leaders more than with following Jesus. That is a sad thing.

I do not care who the man is, he is not Jesus. One of the great distortions of our day is that we find Christians who profess the truth, who are defending a name and a church more than the truth. Is that a distortion of priority? Yes, it is. When we start compromising the truth, while defending an organization or a church, we are in darkness.

The Invitation

The message to Laodicea brings us up to date, as it were, because we are in the midst of the period of Laodicea. Laodicea has some serious priority problems. Laodicea has some serious eyesight problems. Jesus says to Laodicea, “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17.

Laodicea says, I can see. God says, You are blind. Whom are we to believe, our leaders or God, our own understanding or God’s understanding? Do we have needs? Yes, we have tremendous needs. The description says we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Those are not complimentary statements. Yet, we are patting ourselves on the back for all the wonderful progress we think we have made in regard to the Three Angels’ Messages. Something is wrong with this picture.

Jesus gives a solution, because Jesus always has a solution. He has a solution for every problem that you and I have, no matter what sin it is. In verse 18 He says, “‘I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich. And white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear. And anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.’” You notice that He never forces us—He invites us. The gospel is an invitation from God in heaven who loves us supremely and who is looking out for only our best, our highest good. He will not force our choice, but He will counsel us. He will woo us because He loves us. The “gold tried in the fire” is faith that works by love in the midst of the fire, the fire of temptation, the fire of trial. The white raiment is the wonderful righteousness of Jesus. Truly, to receive Jesus is to receive His righteousness, and it is in receiving His righteousness, imputed and imparted, that we become like Him. His name alone will not save us. His name alone will not transform us, but His righteousness will. Jesus wants us to see—not in black and white, but in color, in reality—the things, that without faith, we cannot see.

Working In Harmony

What is the eyesalve that He wants to give us to help us see? It is His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to see. “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.…” John 16:13. We have learned that truth is God’s Word, and God’s Word is light. This truth is reality, reality from the heavens of light. So He leads us into all truth, “for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come.” Ibid.


The Holy Spirit always works in harmony with God’s Word, with God’s truth. They always go together, always! John 16:8 tells us that God wants us, through His Holy Spirit, to see three things clearly. “And when He is come, He will reprove [convince] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

First God wants us to clearly see what is sin. We have already seen that sin brings darkness, darkness brings blindness, and blindness brings sin. God wants the Holy Spirit to show us sin so we can understand what sin is, because He does not want us to be blind. Does that mean that He is going to show us sin in everybody else? No. He wants to help each of us to see our own sin so we will not be blind.

The second thing the Holy Spirit is to help us see clearly is righteousness. How is God going to show that to us? By His Holy Spirit, by His Word, and by His truth.

If we are separating ourselves from those, we cannot expect to see clearly. Even if we pray for the Holy Spirit, if we are not bringing our minds into contact with God’s will, we will not see clearly. There is always balance in salvation.

The third thing God wants us to see clearly is the judgment. He wants us to see that we will have to give a personal account to Him of what we have done in this earth. He wants everybody to understand that it is a personal account. We are not saved in groups. We are not saved in families. We are saved as individuals, and we will be judged as individuals. He wants us to understand our personal responsibility to Him.

Receiving Sight

How can a person, who recognizes that they are spiritually blind, receive their sight? We have alluded to it in some degree, but I want you to notice a few things. Let us look at a man who was physically blind, and then healed, and see what we can learn in regard to spiritual healing of our blindness.

“And they came to Jericho: and as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto Him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. [I want to see. I want to see the color. I want to see what You made.] And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.” Mark 10:46–52.

Immediately he began to see! Immediately! What did he do after he could see? He “followed Jesus in the way.” Verse 52.

Are You Blind?

What can we learn about spiritual blindness in the physical healing of Bartimaeus? One thing about Bartimaeus, he knew that he was blind. That is number one. We have to recognize that we are blind. We have to know we are sick before we seek a physician. We must know and recognize that we are spiritually blind, that we need help.

Number two, as he cried out to Jesus, he believed that Jesus could heal him. When he cried out, the people said, Shhhh, shhhh. Shhhh, keep it quiet; do you not understand this is a man of God? What did Bartimaeus do? He cried out all the more!

Bartimaeus was determined. He wanted to see, and he knew and believed in his heart that Jesus could heal him. Nothing anybody said could change that faith. He was determined, and we must be determined if we want to see, spiritually. We must show God that we do want to see and that when we receive our spiritual sight, we will follow Him.

Taking Responsibility

I want you to notice, also, that Bartimaeus was being personally responsible. He did not ask anybody else to go to Jesus for him. His faith was laying hold of the Great Healer, personally. It must be personal; there is no proxy salvation! My wife cannot stand in for me, and I cannot stand in for her. It is personal. If we are going to see, then we must address Him personally.

Jesus said unto him, “Go thy way.” I know that he obeyed that command. How do I know? Because he was healed. He obeyed the command because he believed the word spoken to him.

Do we, when we confess our sins before God and in our heart forsake those sins, believe God when He says, I forgive you? We can, because He does. He is a God who is faithful, a God of His Word.

Notice in verse 51, Bartimaeus comes to Jesus. Is it evident that this man is blind? Yes. What does Jesus ask him when he comes over to Him? “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” Why does Jesus ask such a question? Because He wants us to personally bring our needs to Him. He wants us to verbally tell Him what are our needs. Does He know what you need right now? Does He know your sickness? Yes, physical or spiritual, He knows all about you, but we are to come to Him by faith and let Him know our needs. That is the way that we regain our spiritual eyesight—just like Bartimaeus regained his physical eyesight.

Compromising the Light

Bartimaeus had spiritual eyesight before he regained his physical eyesight. We can have the same spiritual eyesight. God’s program does not change. He is not dealing with dispensational salvation. He does not do one thing one time and then say, this is how we are going to do it next time. It is always the same. He says, I never change. I am the same yesterday, today and forever. (See Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8.) How He saved Abraham is how He is going to save you and me—if we believe and allow Him to give us sight to see, because no one is walking through the gates into the Holy City without spiritual eyesight.

The light, we have already seen, is the most important factor to give us sight. Light and sight go together. A warning is given about compromising the light. This warning deals with losing our sight and how that could happen. “Yielding to temptation begins in permitting the mind to waver, to be inconstant in your trust in God. If we do not choose to give ourselves fully to God then we are in darkness. When we make any reserve we are leaving open a door through which Satan can enter to lead us astray by his temptations. He knows that if he can obscure our vision, so that the eye of faith cannot see God, there will be no barrier against sin.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 92. So we can lose our spiritual eyesight by compromising the light.

Mark 8:22–25 shows us that God wants us to see clearly, not dimly. “And He cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto Him, and besought Him to touch him. And He took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when He had spit on his eyes, and put His hands upon him, He asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that He put His hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.”

Through the Eyes of Jesus

That is what Jesus wants us to see. He wants us to see men clearly. He does not want us to see men as trees, as just objects to pass by. He wants us to see men in their needs, so we can be used of God to help them. It takes spiritual eyes to see men like that.

What will God’s people eventually see? “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.” Isaiah 33:20.

The New Jerusalem is a city that shall never pass away, never come to an end. It is a city that the redeemed shall some day see on the horizon as they approach it with Jesus. Can you see it on the horizon? We are told that there is One waiting in the city. When Jesus comes the second time, He comes with every angel from that city. There is only One person left there. It is God the Father, all alone, waiting, waiting, waiting for you. Only spiritual eyes will see that wonderful city some day. I want to have those eyes, because someday I want to see that city, and I do not want to see it from the outside in the second resurrection. I want to see the city on the inside, nevermore to leave.

I Shall See the King

Paul says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. But there is more to see! “Thine eyes shall see the king in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.”

Some day Jesus will be a reality to these human eyes. Some day, with our spiritual sight and His righteousness, we will be able not only to see the city but also to see the King. We are told in the inspired writings that some day Jesus is going to put a crown, personally, upon the head of every redeemed soul. (See The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 464.) That means you and me, if we choose to make our calling and election sure by allowing God to help us to see and to maintain our sight.

God would have us see clearly sin, righteousness, and judgment. May we each recognize our spiritual blindness and seek God’s healing hand.

The Pool of Bethesda, Part II

There is not one habit, inherited or cultivated, that God’s power cannot break! The reason we do not have that power is because we do not believe in that power. The reason we do not have it is because we do not access it. We do not crave it.

As a freshman in high school, I made the varsity team. I remember getting my uniform, No. 23, and the coach telling the team, “Young men, if you are going to be great basketball players, you must eat, drink, and sleep basketball.”

I was so excited to go home and tell my mother that I had made the first team. When the sun set, instead of putting on my pajamas, I put on No. 23 to go to bed. The next morning I was up, going to the bathroom to get ready for school, and I heard my mother call me. Now, when my mother wanted my attention, she did not call me by my first name; she said, “Boy!” And when she said that, I knew that I had better stop at attention! This particular morning, she got my attention, then asked, “Where are you going?”

“I am going to prepare for school.”

“What is that you have on?”

“My uniform.”

“Did you sleep in that?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Is that appropriate?”

“Well, no.”


“Mom, my coach said that if I am going to be good, if I am going to be great, I must eat, sleep, and drink basketball.”

She looked at me like I was stupid. She said, “Son, you have to understand what he was saying. He was saying that you must have a passion for it. That is what he meant.” Are you following this? You have to have a passion for it.

My wife has always been No. 2 in my life. She knows that. We started dating when we were 17 years of age. We went to high school together and have been together ever since. When I got out of college, we married.

When I was in high school, I thought I was something very good because I was a basketball player. My wife could not stand basketball players. That was a challenge in itself. Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, there were a lot of street gangs, but basketball kept me out of those gangs. I would play in the winter; I would play in the rain; I would play in the snow. When my date wanted to go out somewhere, I would always put her off, saying that we would do something the next week.” It always occurred that way. I do not know why she stayed with me, because she was No. 2 to basketball. She is still No. 2, but not to basketball—to Jesus now. My point is this: there is a power in passion.


When I played basketball, I was in so much pain. The drugs would wear off; the needle would wear off; the ultra-sound treatment did not work, but I had such zeal and passion for the sport, I rose above the pain. That was for a corruptible crown.

When you are possessed by God, you do not become fanatical. No. You have a radical change in your life, but there is a balance. The fact is that you love God more than the necessary food. You love God so much that you are willing to do anything to make Him happy.
People say, “I want to be happy.” Wait a minute! When you make God happy, you are going to be happy.

In Romans 1:16, Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation.” From 1 Corinthians 1:18, we know that the cross of Jesus is the power of God.

Romans 1:16 includes the phrase, “unto salvation.” Salvation means, to save from sin. What is sin? 1 John 3:4 tells us that “Sin is the transgression of the law.”

So, the gospel contains the power to deliver us from sin. That power is invested in Jesus Christ. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12. To those who become sons and daughters, Jesus gives authority; He gives them power. We are not talking about Internet power or nuclear power; we are talking about a power that made the Internet. We are talking about a power that made nuclear. It is the energy and power that brought the world into existence. This same energy that brought the world into existence is found in God’s Word. There is power there. When we receive His Word, not intellectually only, but when it becomes a part of our lives, there will be a change in us. We are not going to be the same. The change is going to be radical. That does not mean we are instantly perfect and ready to go to heaven, but that the power is transforming.

Do Not Practice Spiritualism

God gives you power. If you have been struggling with the same sin problem, year after year after year, when you hear His voice today, access this power. You do not have to continue to be under the control of the demonic forces. You are going to have trials and tests, but that does not mean you succumb to them. The Spirit is the President; the flesh is the resident, and the resident does not tell the President what to do.
In Galatians 5:16, we read, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” It does not say that you are not going to have tests and trials, but it says that you do not have to succumb to them. Do not converse with the resident. When you listen to the resident, you practice spiritualism.

Spiritualism simply means the dead communicate with the living. Now, we definitely know that the dead are dead in the grave. We know the situation with Saul (see 1 Samuel 28), but at the same time, the average Seventh-day Adventist is not going to be caught up into believing that the dead communicate with the living. But the average Christian Adventist will be caught up if they do not get the victory over the flesh, because the Bible says, “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin?” Romans 6:11.

So, if that flesh begins to speak to you, enticing you to do something you know you should not do, telling you that it is all right, that nobody is watching you, and you begin to converse with that flesh that is supposed to be dead, I know it might sound a bit strange, but you are communicating with the dead! Do not listen to that flesh; listen to the Spirit of the living God, who is alive and will give power to you.

We read of the power of God in Jeremiah 10:12: “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.” We see also the words of Jesus, in Acts 1:8, promising the power of the Holy Spirit. That is what we should be looking for today, that Pentecostal power. How did the apostles receive it? They emptied themselves of themselves. A person that is already full with self cannot be filled with anything else, just as you cannot pour more water into an already full glass of water. When we empty ourselves of ourselves, God will fill us with power.

History is Past

At the pool of Bethesda, the people were waiting for the moving of the water, but there was no power in the water. That certain man had been lying there beside it for 38 years, unable to get into the waters when they were stirred. (John 5:5.) Inspiration says that the reason this man was in such a condition for 38 years was because of his own choices. “His disease was in a great degree the result of his own sin, and was looked upon as a judgment from God.” The Desire of Ages, 202. He had messed up! How many of us have fallen? How many of us have messed up? But when Jesus overshadowed that man with His dignified shadow, He did not rehearse to that man the history of his mistakes. He just asked one question: “Wilt thou be made whole?” John 5:6.

That is what He is asking of each one of us today. He says, “I know your history; I know where you have fallen. Wilt thou be made whole?” I am sure you would want to instantly respond that you indeed wish to be healed; you want that power! Do you believe that Jesus is going to give that power to you? He gave it to that man.

Too many of God’s people are struggling with the sin problem, and we are told that we will keep sinning till Jesus comes. To me, that is almost blasphemy! Calvary should be a revelation to our dull senses of what sin does to the heart of God. God hates sin. He will eradicate it, and He will get it out of us.

The Blind

There were, by the pool of Bethesda, other impotent people, including the sightless, those who were blind. (John 5:3.)

Revelation 3 directs us to the Laodicean church, which is rebuked for its lukewarmness, and then, in Revelation 3:17, another element of this people is described:

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” [Emphasis added.]

This is not speaking about other churches, but about God’s people, of which there are those who are blind, spiritually blind. This is why God counseled: “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Verse 18.

“I counsel thee to buy of me . . .”; to whom is “Me” referring? It is definitely not referring to man or to a church. God holds the resources. Isaiah 55:1 tells us, “Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” How are we going to buy or otherwise acquire power from Jesus? We cannot buy it; all He wants is our sin in exchange for His righteousness. He just wants to hear: “Lord, here I am. I recognize that I am wretched, miserable, and poor. I am blind, God. I have failed, and You have promised me that You will give to me, if I come and buy. The only thing I can give You is my sin.” What kind of a deal is this, when God says, “Just give Me your sin; I will give you My righteousness”?

Read again Revelation 3:18. The “gold tried in the fire” is understood to be faith and love, faith that works by love and purifies the soul. It goes on to state, “Anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” The anointing of the eyes is that the Holy Spirit wants to awaken us to the reality that we might see our need. We need eyesalve so that we may see how we look. We need to pick up and look into the mirror—the perfect law of liberty—to see in what kind of condition we are. As we draw closer to Jesus, we will continue to see our wretchedness.

God is not going to save us in our sin; He is going to deliver us from our sin. The more we behold Jesus, the more we see our need. But the more we behold one another, the more we think that we look pretty good. We must behold Christ, and the more we see ourselves through the eyes of Jesus, we are going to cry, as did the apostle Paul, “O wretched man that I am.” Romans 7:24.

We need the eyesalve to help us to see our wretchedness, and then we need the other eye anointed so we can see the needs of our fellow human beings. We need to see ourselves the way we are and know that God can clean us; then we need to see that our fellowman needs our help. We must turn our eyes from ourselves, from me and mine. There is no healing in the pool of Bethesda for that, but Jesus said, “I counsel thee, . . . anoint thine eyes.”
“I will bring the blind by a way [that] they knew not; I will lead them in paths [that] they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16. God said that He would take the blind, and lead them out of darkness. All we need to do is ask.

To be concluded . . .

Thomas Jackson is a health evangelist and Director of Missionary Education and Evangelistic Training (M.E.E.T.) Ministry in Huntingdon, Tennessee. He may be contacted by e-mail at: or by telephone at: 731-986-3518.

Question – What does it mean when the Bible says: you know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked? Revelation 3:17.

What does it mean when the Bible says: you know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked? Revelation 3:17. I cannot see how a person can be in such a condition as this and not know it.

Physically speaking, in order for a person to be in any one of these conditions and not know it, he would have to be asleep, anesthetized, intoxicated, or in a coma.

In the Bible when it talks about these conditions it is referring to us spiritually. It compares our spiritual condition to conditions in physical life. Physical terminology is being applied to a spiritual condition. This aptly describes the true condition of our present church. Spiritually speaking, many are asleep or blind or unconscious of the seriousness of the times in which we live. Satan has lulled us to sleep. We can hear the most stirring messages about the end of time, and then hear, “Get ready, get ready, get ready,” and then go right on with our life as usual without giving it a second thought to prepare for our last day on earth.

God’s word has described our situation in several different places in the Bible. Paul tells us, “It is high time we awake out of sleep.” Romans 13:11. If we are asleep, we are not aware of our condition. Jesus said, “If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14. And in cautioning the Israelites, He said, “Beware lest thou forget the Lord.” Deuteronomy 6:12.

There is a mental blindness that often goes unrecognized. You can be blinded spiritually by looking at so many things of the world that you can no longer see the spiritual. For instance, if you fill your time and mind with novels and fiction, TV and other media, the appreciation of the Bible or other spiritual tools is lost. The desire leans toward temporary thrills or excitement. Spiritual awareness is blinded, and the beauty of the words in the Bible are unseen.

And, as the Bible says, the blind leading the blind causes them both to fall into the ditch. People speak more of the media and other trivial topics than those of a spiritual nature. I’m sure you have seen it—a group of people laughing till there sides hurt, and you find out it is over something they saw on TV, usually of an immoral nature. These are situations where the blind are leading the blind, and unless they open their eyes they will all fall into the ditch.

Spiritually speaking, we can also be anesthetized by the cares of this life, by covetousness for the things of this world, or even just making a living and working too many hours a day, pushing out time for prayer and study. Jesus warned us when He said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34.

Then there are people who are intoxicated or who are in a state of drunkenness. When we pay heed to vain philosophy and so-called “science,” we are actually drunk with nonsense and can no longer comprehend the simple truths of the Bible. As to how this wonderful earth could be created in six days … you cannot reason that out. It has to come by faith. But science tries to show that that was impossible, not bearing in mind that they are contending with the creator of science. They are drunk with vain philosophy. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8.