II Corinthians 4:18 We look not at things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The things concerning man – his world and all that is in it – are the things which are seen, and they are temporary. The things concerning God and His world, on the other hand, are unseen and eternal. Jesus, standing before Pilate, said, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 19:38). His Kingdom is unseen and eternal. Therefore, He says, “The Kingdom of God comes not with observation” (Luke 17:20). Man tends to think of the Lord and His Kingdom in terms of man’s world. Consequently, Christians often come up with doctrines that are incorrect. You cannot see the world of God through the eyes of man; spiritual perception is needed.
The Bible is written in terms of man’s world. The things easily seen in the Scriptures are of man’s world and are temporary. God and the things of His world, which are unseen and eternal, cannot be discovered by man; they must be revealed by the Holy Spirit. You might say that the eternal is hidden underneath the temporary. The Old Testament, for example, is largely concerning the Kingdom of Israel. But the nation of Israel is a nation of man and is temporary. Hidden within the Scriptures concerning Israel is spiritual Israel and is the true Israel of God – eternal and unseen. The true Israel is Jesus Christ and His spiritual offspring. The seed of the eternal springs forth out of the dry ground of man. For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; He has no form nor comeliness.... Isaiah 53:2.
The Scriptures begin with Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The heavens and the earth that are seen are temporary, will pass away, and will be replaced with a new heaven and a new earth that is eternal. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. Revelation 21:1. The new heaven and new earth that is eternal was already in existence. John saw it in Revelation 21:1, but that doesn’t mean it had no reality until then. It existed in Genesis 1:1, but not in the realm of man. Now, if you are only aware of the temporal world of man, then that is all you will see in the first chapter of Genesis. But if your spiritual senses have been quickened by the Holy Spirit, then you will begin seeing the invisible new heaven and new earth.
These are the things of which Jesus spoke to Nicodemus. Except a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3). The Kingdom of God is eternal, which means it is invisible. It cannot be detected by the natural senses of man. To see it, you must be born of God. And when you begin seeing it, don’t get puffed up because seeing it is one thing and entering it is another. Jesus told Nicodemus in verse three that he had to be born again to see the Kingdom of God. Then in verse five he would have to be born of water and the Spirit to enter it.
How did the apostle Paul feel about this? Listen again to what he said, We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 4:18. When Paul and the other writers of the Scriptures wrote of the things which they saw in the eternal and invisible world of God, they wrote of them in man’s language using man’s thoughts and understandings. In other words, they write of the unseen in the realm of the seen, of the eternal in the realm of the temporal. So when you read the Scriptures will you look at the things which are seen or will look at the things which are unseen?
What must you do if you cannot see the things which are not seen? You must be born again! “But, I’m a Christian!” Most Christians are living in the temporal realm of man. They speak of being born again and are yet blind. The Christian world, in general, has relegated the experience of being born again to something far less than what the Scriptures speak of. One thing that hinders many Christians from really being born of God is religious pride. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither does corruption inherit incorruption. I Corinthians 15:50. Man’s nature is corrupt; it cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; it cannot see or enter the Kingdom. If you want to see the things that are unseen of God’s Kingdom, you will have to reject the corruption of your self nature. The problem of many Christians is that they protect their self-life from God. If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. Matthew 16:24-25. Look not at the things which are seen. That means, do not desire the temporal things of man’s world. Say with Paul, “We look at the things which are not seen; our hearts are set on the things of our Lord.”
Copyright © 2007 by Henry DuBose