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Bible verses about Seeing and Believing
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 13:54-58

Here, He did not affect people positively. The overwhelming evidence of Scripture is that mankind did not see Him. Instead, they were perplexed or disturbed. He created divisions. Some were outright offended. Notice Jesus' reaction: "But Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.' And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (verses 57-58).

His statement begins to reveal an application of "seeing" to us. Will He be working in our lives if we do not see Him? If we do not understand His purpose, what He is working out in us? We have come out of a world in which there is just as much, if not more, confusion today regarding Him as when He walked the earth. The concern is not whether we can identify Him, because we recognize Him as the Christ—we "see" the real Jesus—but do we see Him as a vital part of our lives?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part One)


 

John 8:28

He may have been talking to His disciples directly—and not to the crowds—when He said this. It was not until after Jesus died, was buried, and was resurrected that His disciples first believed—really believed! Later on, Peter and John ran pell-mell to the grave where Jesus had been interred. Peter goes in. He looks and sees everything there—except Jesus. John peers in the doorway, and the gospel says, "And then this disciple believed." John was the first to believe. It took seeing the grave clothes in the sepulchre and no body of Jesus Christ in sight for him to finally get it. That act fulfills this little prophecy of Jesus': "Then you will know."

What momentous events they had just experienced—and they did not understand and believe. They did not really believe when He came into Jerusalem and was lauded by all the people, exactly fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah (Matthew 21:1-5; Zechariah 9:9). They did not see it when He gave the Last Supper, changing the symbols. They did not recognize it when one of their own betrayed Him with a kiss. He even gave the sop directly to Judas after John had asked Him, "Which one of these is it going to be?" He saw it go from Jesus' hand to Judas' hand or into his mouth. The fulfillment was just a few minutes away from His utterance, and they still did not believe! They still failed to see how it was all coming together.

Of course, there was the crucifixion. How many prophecies were fulfilled in the crucifixion, in His burial? And they still did not believe! The three days went by and still no belief. They had God-in-the-flesh leading them through all these prophecies, and they still did not get it—until that point when comprehension dawned on John.

It is arrogant and puffed up of us to think that we have prophecy figured out. In many cases, we do not have the mind even of the disciples. We do not have the teaching from the very mouth of God as the disciples had. Of course, they were not converted at the time. But if they could not get it, seeing these things happening right before their eyes, will we be able to see prophecy working out in our time any more clearly? Are we so much more advanced?

We can know the possibilities, but we cannot be certain of the exact progress and timing of prophetic events. Until the prophecy is fulfilled, we should not be dogmatic. We must always approach these things with humility. Because we are clay in the Potter's hand, He gives us what we need to know. And, in many cases, what we think we need to know is not really "need to know" until after it has already happened. God has His own ways, and He is working out His purpose.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 1)


 

John 20:28-29

Thomas, not yet having seen Christ after His resurrection, doubted the resurrection's reality. But upon encountering the risen Christ, Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord and My God!" Christ's reply to Thomas' statement is very telling.

The second appearance of the verb "seen" here is the same Greek word that is often translated as "know," as it is in verse 14. Mary is outside the sepulcher, and she saw Jesus and did not know that it was He. It could just as easily read that she "did not see that it was Jesus." In English, we often connect the idea of sight with knowledge or with knowing. We do it all the time. We can be staring at a formula or a concept straight in the face, as it were, and not understanding it or not agreeing, and we simply say, "I don't see it." And when the light finally dawns, we say, "Oh, yes! Now I see it. Now I understand."

Yet Jesus says, "Blessed are those who have not seen"—those who lack full understanding and knowledge—"and yet have believed." "Believe" here is the verb form of the Greek noun that is often translated as "the faith." Christ promises the blessing to those who do not see, who do not have full understanding, but who nevertheless believe. We often expect to know and understand so much, yet we are to live by faith.

Believing the prophetic word and putting into practice the commands to repent, to keep, and to watch that appear so often in God's prophetic word are walking by faith rather than by sight or by knowledge. Paul mentions this in II Corinthians 5:7.

Charles Whitaker
To Watch and Keep


 

2 Corinthians 5:7

There is a similarity between eyesight and faith simply in the effect that they have—one on the physical, the other on the spiritual. Nevertheless, in terms of II Corinthians 5:7, faith and eyesight are opposites. Recall that Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith is . . . the evidence of things not seen." Faith is the conviction of what we have heard but cannot see. "Faith comes by hearing" (Romans 10:17).

Man says. "Seeing is believing." So when a man sees something, he is convicted, and his mind, then, is inclined to what he has seen. In the life of the righteous, faith is the controlling factor that motivates his conduct. The importance of eyesight is true in the physical realm, but it means almost nothing in the spiritual realm.

Consider physical Israel. The Israelites saw multiple miracles in Egypt and in the wilderness, but they seem to have profited them almost nothing. They saw the Nile turn to blood. They saw the frogs. They saw the lice. They saw the darkness. They saw the hail. They saw the fire on the ground. They saw the murrain kill the cattle. They saw the firstborn die. They saw the Red Sea part. They saw the pillar of fire and the cloud. They saw water coming out of the rock. They saw manna on the ground every day for forty years. They saw all those things.

Yet, what they saw did not affect their minds spiritually at all because eyesight means almost nothing in terms of the spiritual. Faith is the foundation, the assurance, the substance, the confidence, of things not seen—the invisible realm of God. In terms of faith, what a person can see with his eyes is more likely to frighten him and create doubt than it is to build faith.

Faith, according to Ephesians 2:8, is a gift of God. It is a gift because we did not have real spiritual faith until God began to call us. It is a gift because, by a mighty miracle, God opened our minds to enable us to understand His Word so that we can process the evidence we hear from His Word and make right choices relevant to His Kingdom.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 2)


 

2 Corinthians 5:7

There is a similarity between eyesight and faith simply in the effect that they have—one on the physical, the other on the spiritual. Nevertheless, in terms of II Corinthians 5:7, faith and eyesight are opposites. Recall that Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith is . . . the evidence of things not seen." Faith is the conviction of what we have heard but cannot see. "Faith comes by hearing" (Romans 10:17).

Man says. "Seeing is believing." So when a man sees something, he is convicted, and his mind, then, is inclined to what he has seen. In the life of the righteous, faith is the controlling factor that motivates his conduct. The importance of eyesight is true in the physical realm, but it means almost nothing in the spiritual realm.

Consider physical Israel. The Israelites saw multiple miracles in Egypt and in the wilderness, but they seem to have profited them almost nothing. They saw the Nile turn to blood. They saw the frogs. They saw the lice. They saw the darkness. They saw the hail. They saw the fire on the ground. They saw the murrain kill the cattle. They saw the firstborn die. They saw the Red Sea part. They saw the pillar of fire and the cloud. They saw water coming out of the rock. They saw manna on the ground every day for forty years. They saw all those things.

Yet, what they saw did not affect their minds spiritually at all because eyesight means almost nothing in terms of the spiritual. Faith is the foundation, the assurance, the substance, the confidence, of things not seen—the invisible realm of God. In terms of faith, what a person can see with his eyes is more likely to frighten him and create doubt than it is to build faith.

Faith, according to Ephesians 2:8, is a gift of God. It is a gift because we did not have real spiritual faith until God began to call us. It is a gift because, by a mighty miracle, God opened our minds to enable us to understand His Word so that we can process the evidence we hear from His Word and make right choices relevant to His Kingdom.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 2)


 

Hebrews 4:1-2

Consider these Israelites. They saw a multitude of miracles performed by God through His servant Moses and on occasion through Aaron. They experienced the water turn to blood and frogs hop all over the place. They experienced the eerie, penetrating darkness that pervaded all of Egypt. They experienced the division between Goshen and Egypt, and they knew God spared them from the remaining plagues.

They knew something was "working" in their lives. They could see it occurring when the flies were all over Egypt except in Goshen. They saw it happen through five other plagues. They experienced it again on Passover night when the firstborn of Egypt were killed, but the firstborn of Israel, shielded by the blood on their doorposts and lintels, were not. Did they not see that?

Did they not spoil the Egyptians? Did they not leave Egypt? Did not God part the Red Sea before their eyes and drown all the Egyptian army in its waters? Did they not eat manna supplied from heaven every day for forty years in the wilderness? Did they not see water flow like a river out of solid rock? Did they not see quail blown toward them so that they had all the meat they could eat?

They saw the glory of God descend on Mount Sinai. They felt the earth shake under their feet. They saw the pillar of fire and cloud. They saw the glory of God rest upon the Tabernacle when it was set up. Nevertheless, every single one of them, except for two men and their families, perished!

Is seeing believing?

The Israelites never really saw God in those works. What they physically saw did not produce the spiritual faith that enables one to see God, because, as these verses explain, the one whose eyes are opened must voluntarily respond. The Israelites never responded positively to God.

The Christian's responsibility is to respond to God's calling through acts of faith. The apostle reminds the Hebrews of the deadly seriousness of their situation. God's calling is not indiscriminately handed out to anyone who might happen to see or read. It is a personal invitation (John 6:44). God has addressed it specifically to us!

These verses also contain a warning: Since Israel did not enter into God's rest, someone else will, because God will fulfill His purpose. The Christian ought not to think that he will automatically enter it in Israel's place.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part One)


 

 




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