When I receive something from the Spiritual Realms, it seems like an idea or a picture just arrives in mind. This is often described as seeing in the Spirit.
To explain how this works, I need to compare it with ordinary perceiving.
When I am struck by an idea I have read in a book, it is retained by my memory. I can pull it out of my memory into my mind and think about it any time. If I have an experience that strikes me, it is retained in my memory. I can rehearse in my imagination any time. For example, if I saw someone that I had not seen for a long time getting off a train yesterday, I can pull that scene out of my memory into my imagination and see the scene again. These memories come through my physical senses. I see the scene and hear the conversation. I read the book with my physical eyes.
With spiritual stuff, it is very similar, except that I did not have the initial experience of seeing the scene of hearing the idea with my physical senses. The spiritual thought or picture is just there in my mind and I do not know how it got there (I presume by the Holy Spirit). It drops from mind into my memory, so I can recall the idea t and think about it, even though I have not come across it before. Likewise, I can bring the picture to my imagination and see it, and describe what I see, even though have not seen it with my physical eyes. The difference is that the idea or picture is put into my mind by the Holy Spirit, via my spirit, rather than passing through my physical senses.
The spiritual realms are not three dimensions plus time like our physical world.
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor 2:9).
The spiritual realms are a multi dimension is totally different from the physical world with which we are familiar. Our minds can only cope with three dimensions, so to see in see into the spiritual realms, we have to see things there as if they were three dimensions brighter and more beautiful).
The fact that the spiritual dimensions are hard for us to comprehend, does not mean that we should give up. Paul tells us to fix our eyes on the things that cannot be scene.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor 4:18).
We are to focus on the thing things that cannot be seen, because they are eternal, whereas the physical world that we see with our limited vision is temporary.
Paul's command seems slightly illogical. How can we fix our eyes on things that we cannot see? The good news is that the Holy Spirit. He is able to show us the physical realms in a way that our three dimensional eyes can see and our three dimensional minds can understand. Jesus promised,
The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in name, He will teach you all things (John 14:26).
He is able to show us what is happening in the spiritual realms.
These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God (2 Cor 2:10).
The Holy Spirit translates the things that are happening in the spiritual realms into three dimensions, so that we are able to see them. Given the limitations of our minds, that is probably the best that we can do, but we must remember that we are just seeing a representation of something different and much greater.
When receive our spiritual bodies and the spiritual brains that go with them, we will be able to see the spiritual realms as they really are.
Three Dimensional Seeing
A few Christians perceive what is happening in the spiritual realms through their external senses. Most of us perceive it in through our imagination when the Holy Spirit displays what is happening there in our imaginations for us. Sometimes, our own spirit will perceive things in the spiritual realms and put a picture of it into our imaginations. A limitation is that most of our imaginations can only see in three dimensions. This is natural because we live in a three dimensional world. The spiritual world has many more dimensions, so when we perceive something from the spiritual realm, our spirit or the Holy Spirit has to translate it into three dimensions, so that it will fit into our imaginations.
This means that we rarely see the spiritual world as it really is. When people describe their experiences of the spiritual realms, they describe it in a three dimensional way. They describe the height, width, layout and colour of things as if they were three dimensional. They should understand that they are not really seeing it as it is, but in a way that a human mind can understand.
Therefore, recording the height and hair colour of an angel does not mean much, unless the height and colour tell us something spiritual, such as the character of the angel.
When Daniel saw the ancient of days, he had hair like white wool. It was not real wool. Daniel's spirit translated what it saw into something that his imagination could perceive.
When John saw Jesus, he described him like this.
Among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters (Rev 1:13-15).
This is not the way Jesus actually is, because he now lives in the spiritual realms. The Holy Spirit translated this reality into something that John's imagination could actually perceive.The same applies to visions of the afterlife. It is a spiritual world. Our imaginations cannot handle it, so our spirit or the Holy Spirit, must translate it into three dimensions so that we can understand it. So we are seeing a reduced form of what it really is.
When Jesus began his ministry, he read of Isaiah 61:1-2.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me
because he has anointed me
to proclaim recovery of sight for the blind (Luke 4:18-19).
The anointed Jesus to restore the sights of the blind. He confirmed this by opening the eyes of those who are physically blind. However, the promise is much broader than this. All humans had been blind since the fall. They could not see into the spiritual realms. This is a serious defect, because it means that we can only see a small part of reality. It makes spiritual warfare difficult, because we cannot see what we are up against .
Jesus came to open the eyes of hearts so that we could see into the spiritual realms by faith. When he began his ministry, the evil spirits began to cry out in his presence. The anointing of the Spirit on him caused them to expose themselves and the people began to see the work of the forces of evil much more clearly.
The anointing of the Spirit on our lives can assist us with spiritual warfare. We need Jesus top open our spiritually blind eyes to see what we are up against .
How We See
God wants us to understand the links between events in the spiritual realms and events on earth, so he will reveal the spiritual realms in the way this is appropriate for us at the time. We should not demand particular types of revelation, but rather we should seek a better understanding of the spiritual realms, and leave him to decide how we will receive it.
On the other hand, we should be open to all types of seeing that he offers to us, and not set boundaries on what he can do. It would be sad, if we missed out on a revelation, because we had decided that a particular type of seeing was not for us, or not for this time.
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would teach us all that he sees the Father doing. We must allow the Holy Spirit to speak and reveal in whatever way he chooses. Those who hungry to understand God's purpose will be ready to accept whatever revelation the Holy Spirit gives.
We cannot decide how we will see. God determines how he will show us the things the he wants us to perceive. If he decides to speak with an still small voice, we cannot demand an open vision. We don't have the right to demand and particular type of revelation.
We can decide whether we will see or not. God wants us to see and understand the spiritual realms.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor 5:18).
Since he has commanded us to be aware of the spiritual realms, every follower of Jesus must be able to see in some way. If we are not seeing, it could be because we have chosen not to see, or are ignoring what he is showing us. Therefore, if we are not seeing, we should make the decision to seek to see more clearly.
If we ask him to show us what we need to know about events in the spiritual realms, he will do so. However, we cannot determine how we will see. He can show us however he chooses, and because he is God, he will show us in the way that is right for us.
Walk by Faith
We are called to live by faith, rather than relying on what we can see.
We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).
So Christians should aim to see in the spirit by faith, rather than needing to see the spiritual realms with our physical eyes.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words (1 Cor 2:10-13).
In most situations, seeing in the Spirit by faith should be sufficient. It requires faith, but that it is good because God wants us to grow in faith.
We are to walk by faith and not by sight, so in principle seeing and hearing in the Spirit should be enough. However, God is not stingy, so he gives us more when we need it, or just when he wants to bless us. There are several reasons why a person might get more intense perception revelation of the spiritual realms.
A common reason is corrective. Our world has become so secular and materialistic that we are almost ignorant of the spiritual realms, and most Christians lack the ability to discern them. God is allowing some Christians to see the spiritual realms physically, so they can communicate clearly what is happening to make his people hungry and open their minds to what they are missing.
Our understanding of the spiritual realms is so limited that we need descriptions by people who seen their working clearly to open our minds. Christians should be taught about the operation of the spiritual realms as soon as they come to faith. Most have not had this teaching. We need this understanding to become normal again. People who have seen vividly can help with this restoration.
When we have a big costly decision to make, God can give a more intense revelation, so that we can be certain of what he has asked us to do. Joseph is an example. God sent an angel to him in a dream. Through the dream, he knew exactly what God wanted him to do, even though he was not skilled in hearing and obeying the Spirit. He could not have this skill, because the Spirit has not yet been poured out.
People called to a task that is really critical for God's plan may get very clear perception and direction. Mary spoke with an angel face-to-face. A young woman caring for a baby conceived by the Holy Spirit would need tremendous faith. Receiving such a vivid and real communication would have built her faith. Mary was wise and fed her spirit by treasuring her experience in her heart.
Abraham saw three angels. This dramatic encounter would have contributed to his faith and enabled him to trust God's promise and move to a new land where he did not belong.
Many prophets were given an open vision at the beginning of their ministry as part of their calling. Elisha saw Elijah go up to heaven (2 Kings 2). Jeremiah saw a vision of an almond tree (Jer 1). Isaiah received a vision of angels (Is 6).
When prophets receive vision for way in the future, God sometimes give clear physical vision. The prophet is often called to prophesy about things so far in the future that they cannot even imagine the situation. God has to use powerful physical revelation to break that barrier. The Revelation of John is an example. John probably thought that he understood some of what he saw. But he could not even imagine the world in which some of it will be fulfilled. God gave the vision to him in a way that his mind could see and record, without needing the background understanding.
God will sometimes send intense revelation to sustain people who are being persecuted for their faith. We do not know when it occurred, but Paul had an experience where he went in the third heaven (also known as paradise). He saw things he could not speak about . This event would have sustained him through his frustration and loneliness during this may years of persecution in Roman jails.
Stephen was given an open vision of Jesus seated at the right hand of God when he needed the faith to face martyrdom (Acts 7:55-57).
When people are afraid, God sometimes gives a powerful and clear vision of the spiritual reams to increase their confidence. Elisha's servant is an example, he was afraid of the enemy army, so God gave him and open vision of the spiritual forces arrayed against it (2 Kings 6:15-17).
When people have been hurt by traumatic experiences, they can find it hard to accept that God loves. Sometimes a powerful vision of Jesus, where they can see his love is needed to open their hearts.
Spiritual visions are a quick way of understanding the cause of the problems carried by people who come to us for ministry, especially if we do not know them. God can expose the root of the problem in a spiritual revelation.
Children sometime see into the spiritual realms very clearly, because they have not yet learnt to ignore them. John the Baptist had a physical experience of Jesus when has still in the womb. Children growing up in Christian families should learn about the spiritual realms from their parents, as they are growing up. I suspect that many would get insight quickly. I presume that many children experience things that parents think are quaint, such as invisible friends, which are really experiences of the spiritual realms. Parents should help their children to get a broader understanding of the spiritual realms in which they live, rather than just laughing.
Seeing by faith is probably better than seeing by sight. However pretending to see by faith, when you are really walking in darkness is foolish. We need a lot more of both seeing by sigh and seeing by faith. We will need a lot more seeing by sight before God's people are proficient at seeing the spiritual realms in the spirit by faith.
Some Christians are getting very intense revelation of the spiritual realms. However, powerful revelations are not a sign of spiritual maturity. Often really intense spiritual encounters are experienced by quite new Christians. Amazing spiritual experiences can be false. We should not assess the maturity of ourselves or other Christians by the intensity of their seeing.
The means by which a revelation is received does not determine its truth. We should be careful about assuming that a revelation is received by an intense spiritual experience is true. We should not trust what a leader says just because they received in an open-eyed vision or other heavenly encounter. All humans are capable of being deceived. The enemy masquerades as an angel of light.
The rules of testing apply to all revelations, no matter how they are received. Some visions will be fake , just as some spiritual internal impressions are false. Intensity of revelation does not make spiritual discernment and testing redundant. It actually makes them more important.
The Holy Spirit is lives and moves in the spiritual realms, but he can take a physical appearance. When Jesus was baptised, the Holy Spirit descended on him. Luke tells us that he came down in a physical form.
The Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove (Luke 3:22).
The Holy Spirit is a spirit, so he would not normally seen . In the situation, he deliberately took a physical form. I presume that he did this to authenticate Jesus ministry.
Luke says that the Holy Spirit looked like a dove. A Holy Spirit in physical form is a bit of a contradiction for human eyes and human minds. The best that could be done to describe his appearance was to say that it was like a dove.
Luke does not say who saw this physical appearance of the Holy Spirit. It can be assumed that Jesus perceived it. John's gospel tells us that John the Baptist saw it too. John the Baptist said,
I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him (John 1:32).
It is not clear if the other people who were present saw what John saw. John may have seen more, because the Spirit had been upon him since his birth (Luke 1:41).
Angels do not have physical bodies. They are not three-dimensional beings like us. They live and move in a multi-dimensional spiritual world. This is why we usually do not see them. Our three dimensional eyes and minds cannot cope with the multiple dimensional spiritual realm .
Angels can sometimes appear in a three dimension formal, as if they have physical body. That was the situation when three angels appeared to Abraham.
Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby (Gen 18:2).
He offered them food and drink and offered to was their feet. Angels do not need to eat physical food, and do not need their food washed, but Abraham made the offer because they appeared to him like other men. He only realised they were angels once they had spoken to him on behalf of God. These angels had changed their appearance to a physical form, so that they were visible to human eyes.
Joseph seems to have been less spiritually aware, because the angels had to appear to him in a dream.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream (Matt 1:20).
This happened three times for Joseph (Matt 2:13, 2:19). In contrast, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in a way that enabled her it see him physically (Luke 1:28-29).
When humans see angels in the spirit, we are not really seeing them as they are. We actually see a three dimensional representation of the angels, which are multi-dimensional spiritual beings. They Holy Spirit shows them to us in this way, because that is all our minds and imagination can handle.
When an object is translated to a reduced set of dimensions, it loses some of its glory and splendour. A sphere becomes a disc when it is painted onto a piece of paper. In the same way and angel loses some of its glory when it is represented to us in three dimensions. Gabriel reminded Zechariah that he stood in the presence of God (Luke 1:19). His natural home was the spiritual realms where God dwells. What Zechariah saw was a representation of that glorious existence.
Isaiah saw angels with six sets of wings. He saw them flying around the throne. This vision amazed Isaiah, but it was a reduction of true reality. Angels do not really fly through the air with physical wings. They can move instantly to any place in the physical world at any time, because they are spiritual beings and are not constrained by physical boundaries. Humans see them flying, because that is the only way that our human minds can cope with what they do.
Sickness and Healing
Luke says something interesting about sickness.
Those troubled by evil spirits were cured (Luke 6:18).
Those "troubled" by evil spirits were "cured". The word "troubled" in the Greek is "ochleo". It comes from the noun " ochlos ", which means crowd or multitude. This noun is used in both the previous and subsequent verse. The implication is that those troubled or vexed by evil spirits were "crowded" or "thronged" by evil spirits.
Luke does not say that those troubled by evil spirits were delivered or set free. He says they were cured. The Greek word is "therapeuo ", from which we get the word therapeutic. This implies that these people were cured of sickness or disease. Luke realised that many of the sick were actually harassed by evil spirits. This aligns with his statement about sickness in Acts 10:38.
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Those who are sick are under the power of the devil.
We have accepted a materialistic view of sickness. We assume it is caused by a virus or a bacteria . Cancer is cell tissues that are out of control due to a genetic defect. We have this distorted view, because we are stuck in the physical realms and have forgotten that they are just a small part of reality .
If we could see into the spiritual realms, we would have a very different view of sicknesses. Viruses are entities that were created by the forces of evil to harm our body. Cancer is a time-bomb that evil spirits put into human bodies to destroy and kill them. If we understood this reality we would stop trusting chemical and physical solutions that only half work, and seek after the solution that Jesus demonstrated.
The crowd all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all (Luke 6:17-19).
Land and the Spiritual Realms
Each place on earth comes under spiritual influence. We see the earth divided up by rivers, seas, and mountain barriers. It is further divided by the boundaries of nations and states. If we looked from the spiritual realms, we would see it divided by spiritual influence. The key to interpreting what happens in the world is to understand the distribution of spiritual authority.
The spiritual forces of evil work through the political and economic powers that control the world. Their authority works in parallel to the authority of political powers and the owners of land.
The owners of land have authority over their land. If the owner of a tract of land is being influenced by a spiritual power, it will have some control over what happens on their land. Political powers have much greater authority than those who control land. If they can be manipulated by the spiritual powers, these spiritual powers will have a much stronger influence over events in the territory.
When we enter a place, we should be careful to discern what spiritual authority is at work. If we submit to the owner's authority, we can make ourselves vulnerable to the spirits with control of that place. If we enter a shopping mall, we do not need to submit to the owners of the mall. However, when we take employment, we are submitting to the owners and opening ourselves to their spiritual influence.
Every earthly authority with significant scope can have evils spirits trying to control it. We should be careful about how we submit.
Working in the Dark
When Naaman was healed of leprosy by washing seven times in the River Jordan, he had a problem. He had switched his allegiance to God, but he would still have to take his master the King of Aram into a pagan temple of Rimmon. Namaan did not understand the nature of spiritual reality, so he took two mule loads of soil from Israel back to his home town (2 Kings 5:17). He would have spread it on the floor in the pagan temple where is master worshipped. It would probably appear like dust on the floor, so no one would realise it was there.
By this symbolism, Naaman created a space in the pagan world that belonged to God. When he went into the pagan temple as part of his work, he could worship the true God. His solution was not ideal, but he understood the problem of submission, and his heart was right.
People at the bottom level in a business have very little authority. However, they should try to create an area that belongs to God. It might be limited to the space around their desk, or the counter where they serve. By quiet prayer, they can claim this spot as a place where the Holy Spirit is welcome. They can invite him to be there every day. This gives them freedom to walk with God. It also allows other people to come into contact with the Spirit. They should expect to see them touched.
Some people will not be able to control a space, but they have authority over their words, and their smiles. They should dedicate what they do control to God, each day.
When cleansing land, it is important to focus on authority. Someone has authority over every piece of land on earth: usually the owner, or owners. Some pieces of land (and the buildings on them) have evil spirits attached to them. There will often be more than one spirit, but they work in hierarchies, so one will be in control. The spirits will usually have got a hold on the land through their inference with a past or present owner. This often occurs when traumatic events, like a war, massacre, or unjust events happened there, especially one that creates fear or trauma for the person with authority over the land.
These evil spirits can only remain with the permission of the person who currently has authority over the land. That person often gives that permission unwittingly, by allowing the evil spirits to influence/control/dominate their life. If the person with authority over the land is a political entity, the position may have tactical importance for the spiritual powers of evil.
Insights into the identity of the spirit attached to a piece of land can be gained by looking at the history of the owners. Common patterns of behaviour might be obvious. These might show up in mottos and messages on tombstones and buildings.
People praying against these spirits need to know what they are doing. The spirits are there with permission of the person exercising authority over the land. We have authority to enforce them out, but the person with authority will be implicitly allowing them back, unless they have a change of heart, so our prayers may not have much effect.
Authority is crucial. The owner of the land usually has more authority in the situation than the person praying, so it is hard to triumph. So spiritual warfare must be accompanied by evangelism to be effective.