Jesus spoke concerning Nathanael, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" (John 1:47). What kind of man was this young disciple, that Jesus should praise him? There was no guile, no deceit in this young man's heart. Oh, how we should desire this purity for ourselves! Nathanael had "eyes...within." He kept himself free from self-deception. When you cleave to the truth inwardly, you will perceive the truth outwardly. Nathanael looked at Jesus and declared, "You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel" (v. 49).
Jesus said to Nathanael, "You will see greater things than these...I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man" (vv. 50-51). Because of Nathanael's honest heart, Jesus knew open vision was inevitable. Open vision is the consequence of a pure heart. To those who fight against sin, who hate falsehood, who diligently pursue walking in holiness, your struggle is a preparation for seeing God. You shall see the heavens opened.
Because of our dullness of heart, we have come to expect spiritual blindness as an unfortunate condition of this world. The truth is, in the Old Testament, one of God's judgments against sin was that the heavens became "bronze" (see Deuteronomy 28:23).
Most Christians similarly see the heavens closed. Few see with open vision either into the heavenly realms or into their own hearts. The heavens are always "bronze" to a hardened heart. But the Lord promised, "You shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God!"
God wants us to have true spiritual vision. One sign that the Holy Spirit is involved in a church is that,"young men...see visions, and your old men...dream dreams" (Acts 2:17). There is continuity between God's Kingdom in Heaven and His Kingdom on earth.
Oh, there are those who say the supernatural was strictly limited to the first century, that today we "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Yes, we often do take steps of faith, where we walk without prior knowledge of what each step involves. But we do perceive Him who is with us! Ours is not a blind trust; it is a proven, seeing trust! Walking by faith and having spiritual vision is not an either/or situation.
Just moments before Paul stated he walked by faith, he wrote, "We look...at the things which are not seen...things which are...eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). Paul had revelation perception of the spirit realm. He saw the eternal spiritual body that was prepared and waiting for him in the heavens (see 2 Corinthians 5:1, 4)! He knew how "a man...was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words" (2 Corinthians 12:3-4).
We could continue concerning Paul's spiritual perception, but the fact is, he authored one-third of the New Testament out of his open vision of Christ.
How did he see the things he saw? Just after he declared, "with unveiled face [we behold]...the glory of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18), he wrote,"But we have renounced the things hidden because of shame" (2 Corinthians 4:2). Later he continued, "Having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God"(2 Corinthians 7:1). Out of a purified heart, out of his perfected holiness, came open vision of the glory of God.
Remember, we are not seeking experiences, we are seeking a pure heart. We are not running after visions; we want holiness. Even as the supernatural realm was an expected phenomenon in the primitive Church, so also was purity the expected condition in their hearts. Therefore do not be as the foolish ones who seek visions. You must seek sanctification, and when you are ready, if God wills, He shall speak to you in supernatural ways (see Acts 2:17-18). Do not seek to conjure up an "experience" with Jesus; seek to have a clean heart, allowing Christ to examine and purge you daily. And as He washes you with His Word and chastens you with His holiness, He will draw you into His presence. He will open your eyes to "things without and things within."
Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, Holiness, Truth, and the Presence of God which you can order now at The Elijah List.
Francis Frangipane is the founder of River of Life Ministries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and has traveled throughout the world ministering to thousands of pastors and intercessors from many backgrounds. Francis' heartfelt prayer is to see established in every city Christlike pastors and intercessors, united before God, revealing the love of Christ to their communities. Since 1985, he has written fourteen books, plus a number of study booklets. Over the past decades, Francis has served on a number of other ministry boards. However, in recent years he has gradually resigned from these various boards. As of June 2009, he has also retired from his position as senior pastor of River of Life Ministries. In this more simplified life, Frangipane is devoting himself to prayer and the ministry of God's Word.
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