LCN Article
Looking Through the Eyes of Faith

September / December 2016

Dexter B. Wakefield

How many eyes do you have? Two? Think again! In an important sense, whether you are sighted or blind, you have many eyes. You will look through one kind of eyes in one situation and through another kind of eyes in another. For example, if you look through the eyes of offense, you will see only faults. If you look through the eyes of envy, you will see only unfairness.

There was once a popular song called “Looking Through the Eyes of Love.” It was about someone who found another person special by “looking through the…”—well, you can guess from the title. We see someone we love differently than others do. A particular man may seem to be unremarkable to most people—but to his little son, he is a tower of strength. And to his wife, he is the most wonderful person in the world. Often, what we see depends on which eyes we look through—and, usually, we choose how we will look.

Abraham and the others named in the “Faith Chapter” of Hebrews 11 saw something that others could not see. They saw the promises of God “afar off.” They were able to do that because they were looking through the eyes of faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:8–10).

This chapter also mentions Abel, Enoch, Noah, Sarah and others. It tells us, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).

These individuals saw something that the rest of the world could not see, because they believed God. We in God’s Church are informed both by what we see in the material world around us and also by faith—which involves seeing and trusting what God has revealed to us. What do you see when you look through the eyes of faith? Can you see what they saw?

The Fall Holy Day season is a good time to look at the future of this world and the coming Kingdom of God through the eyes of faith.

Spiritual Blindness

There is an old saying: “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” Alas, it seems that some politicians keep trying! But God says that Satan successfully deceives the whole world, attempting to deceive even the true Church of God (Revelation 12:9; Matthew 24:24). How does Satan deceive almost all of the people all of the time? The “eyes” have it!

Through what eyes does the world look at God’s word? Through eyes blinded by disbelief. The Apostle Paul explained, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:3–4).

Faith illuminates our world. We can see more—not less—through faith. God makes it possible for an uneducated person to know things that the greatest professors do not know. King David wrote, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). God had a reason for inspiring King David to write that. The Apostle Paul often confronted intellectual authorities who were either offended by his message or thought it to be nonsense. He explained to the Church in Corinth why this was so: “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are calledBut God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mightythat no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:26–29).

Many secularists have the conceit that they are intellectually superior to people of faith, whom they see as intellectually deficient. But the opposite is true. Believing God makes you smarter! You can know and understand things they cannot.

Through faith, we can see the things not seen—such as divine law, which truly identifies what is right and what is wrong. We can see God’s plan for humanity and a comprehensive way of life that leads to fulfillment and happiness. We can even see God in action in our lives. But you cannot see these things if you do not believe what He reveals in His word.

The world is blind to things that are revealed by God—and the reason is that mankind likes it that way: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19–20). The world prefers its spiritual darkness.

So Secularism Prevails

A lot of debate goes on about the role of religion in public life, and the secularist view is winning. Generally speaking, secularists believe that they can only be informed by the material world and what they can reason from it (what they would call “evidence and reason”)—a worldview often called materialism. God’s Church believes that God reveals things we cannot know otherwise. We have an additional source of information. We understand that we can be informed by faith, and as a result, we know more, not less, because of our faith.

The light of faith is very dim in public life of Western societies, if it can be seen at all. Many people see religion as merely a comforting tradition that can be turned to in times of difficulty. They seek no personal relationship with God and see Him mainly as an abstraction, or a projection of their own spirituality—sometimes useful, sometimes not. Instead, Western societies are increasingly moving their foundation from the bedrock of revelatory knowledge to the shifting sands of secular human reason.

Is Western society now more secular than religious? Have we reached a moral “tipping point”? Do more people reject faith in God’s revealed word for a secular, materialist worldview? Have Western governments willingly blinded their “eyes of faith”? The following scripture could indicate that they have: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:28). Solomon said, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint…” (Proverbs 29:18). That is certainly the case in our society today. However, Solomon continued: “…but happy is he who keeps the law.” That is certainly the case with God’s Church today. God’s divine law arises from His own character, and God repeatedly says in Scripture that those who love Him love His law also (e.g., John 14:15, 21; 1 John 2:3–4; 5:3; Deuteronomy 11:13, 22; 19:9).

Often the secularists who used to advocate tolerance for diverse views now demonstrate intolerance for religious views.

Some Things God Reveals

Our God reveals things that “eye has not seen, nor ear heard” (1 Corinthians 2:9)—things that we cannot know without His help. For instance, He tells us that His power works in us through faith. The Apostle Peter explained that we are those “who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). The salvation that Peter speaks of is our salvation from death at the resurrection to immortality, which takes place at the end of this age—“to be revealed in the last time.” We “put on immortality” in the future “at the last trumpet,” which occurs at Christ’s return (1 Corinthians 15:52–54). That eternal life is a gift from God (Romans 6:23).

God uses our faith to keep us in His way all our lives, which leads us to a great reward upon the coming of Christ. But it is all nonsense to those who are blinded and cannot see it. One can only know it through God’s revealed knowledge in His word.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church of God in Corinth, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4–5). He told them that we speak of the “hidden wisdom,” ordained “for our glory,” which the world’s rulers don’t understand (vv. 7–8). God reveals His great purpose for mankind, and physical, material means are not capable of knowing it apart from God’s revelation.

Paul continued, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (vv. 13–14). What God has in mind makes no sense to the worldly mind.

God also reveals future history to those with faith to believe. The Creator God of Israel said, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand’” (Isaiah 46:9–10). God reveals that He has a Holy City planned and that Jesus Christ will rule from Jerusalem. Abraham was able to see it (Hebrews 11:10, 13).

God’s great plan for mankind—the good news of the Kingdom of God—is another thing we can know only through His revelation to us, and one of the ways He reveals it is through His Holy Days. As noted earlier, the Fall Holy Days picture this “salvation ready to be revealed in us in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).

In order to complete this extraordinary plan, we must live in that faith. Paul told the Church of God in Rome, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:16–17).

Our spiritual vision is precious. Jesus said, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it” (Luke 10:23–24). Do we sufficiently value what God shows us?

observing from a high pointCan We See What Abraham Saw Afar Off?

In his letter to the Church in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul tells them that he prays that God might give them “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17–19).

Let’s look at each of the three items Paul mentions.

Can you see “the hope of His calling” (v. 18)? The three Festival seasons remind us of an important part of our calling, and they culminate in the Feast of Tabernacles, picturing the beginning of the rule of the Kingdom of God on earth. These three seasons teach us what Christ did, what He is doing, and what He will do. Do we see that hope year-round? God makes it possible to see it through His Holy Days, when we look through the eyes of faith.

Can you see “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (v. 18)? God has glory reserved for His children! Jesus prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was… And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one” (John 17:5, 22).

John explained further, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2–3). Do the “eyes of our understanding” comprehend being as He is—a time when Christ “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (Philippians 3:21)?

The saints will also inherit rule and authority. They will administer law and government in God’s Kingdom—His Holy Mountain—serving beside Him at a time when “He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off” (Micah 4:3). Such righteous rule will provide hope for a blind, hopeless world.

Finally, can you see “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19)? This includes the great hope of eternal life.“Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:1–2). That hope includes an increase of God’s government and peace, with no end (Isaiah 9:7). And that hope includes many other good things for the world, such as healing, right agriculture, properly designed cities, righteous social policies, along with good art, and good music.

God promises such things, and He has the power to do what He promises (Isaiah 46:10).

Do You See It?

The Fall Festival Season is a good time to think about our faith as something that changes how we see. The Bible often presents faith that way. Faith does not limit our vision. We don’t see less because of our faith—we see more. True faith is never blind faith, because faith increases and adds to our vision. We don’t have less knowledge because of our faith. We have more.

Believing God makes you smarter. If God can make even the simple wise (Psalm 19:7), think what He can do for a smart person like you! We need to keep the eyes of faith wide open and, particularly during this Feast of Tabernacles, catch the vision of what God wants us to see in the picture He presents in these fall Holy Days. This Feast, let us catch the vision—by looking through the eyes of faith!