"Opened Eyes"; Ephesians 1:8
February 1, 2011

C. R. Oliver

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February 1, 2011

"Opened Eyes"
Ephesians 1:8

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know...
Ephesians 1:18

In the prayer of Paul, found in Ephesians 1:18, is a phrase, "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened." This is a most interesting request for all the saints, especially if one takes into account Genesis 3, where the opening of Adam and Eve's eyes changed the whole world. The serpent based his entire argument on that premise:
For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
Look at the series of events that occurred when mankind "reasoned outside of God." The Bible says, "When the woman saw that the tree was good for food," there and then began the triage of death. (It would seem there are degrees toward "fully opened" eyes.) Eve, for instance, took three stages: (1) Good for food; (2) Pleasant to the eyes; (3) Desirable to make wise. ("Reasoning without God" always leads to disaster and such reasoning is rampant today in every aspect of modern life. Governments govern using "reasoning without God." Societies regulate function without taking into consideration they are "reasoning without God." Religious organizations base many decisions on human reasoning, not factoring in God. This dangerous path touches every segment of life and moves government, society and religion forward into the three basic stages toward evil.)

The Scripture follows up on the theme of "opened eyes" by continuing the narrative in Genesis 3:7,
THEN the eyes of BOTH of them were opened and they knew
(Opened: OT: 6491 paqach [paw-kakh']; a primitive root; to open [the senses, especially the eyes]; figuratively, to be observant)
Acting on what Eve saw, along with human reason without God, she handed the fruit of the "tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" to the only other person on earth who could have been affected by such action. Sharing was a built-in component to her relationship, and they shared the results of human "reasoning without God." Not only did they share among themselves, but with the whole of mankind as they plunged them into sin. By the act of these first of created beings, their bloodline descendants sinned along with them.

This one act opened their senses to new realms of understanding. Their ears heard differently, their eyes saw differently, their touch carried different meanings and their smell differentiated a range of "other" scents, including the smell of death. Their taste and palate grew exponentially. Their minds changed. Their reasoning shifted and their attitudes were tainted. They knew things about themselves that changed the way they viewed each other and ultimately all others. They realized they were naked, vulnerable, and it made them more than a little confused. They stepped away from a realm to which they could never return. God's presence caused them to experience the heretofore unknown aspect of fear instead of an unchallenged daily fellowship. They hid themselves from God rather than coming directly to Him as children. For the first time in history, they sought to shift responsibility from themselves to another. Ultimately, the desire of Adam was to shift the blame to God, because He created and gave him the woman. He spoke evil.

The base on which Adam and Eve had been living had changed; it shifted to a dimension that embraced a myriad of repercussions for which they were unprepared. Instead of a world in agreement with their lifestyle, suddenly everything began to reject them and jeopardize their paradise, until finally they were driven from their home and faced a flaming sword should they attempt to return. For the first time in their lives, they felt the anger and wrath of God. For the first time in their lives, they heard from God in prophecy instead of direct edict. For the first time, they experienced a range of emotion and frustration of gargantuan proportion. The more they lived, the more they encountered the ravages of sin. They no longer resided in a world of accommodation, but in a universe of consternation.

"Where are you?"

That was the probing question God asked. They needed to verbalize where they were in order to appropriate reality. This is still the question God asks every human. "Where are you?" Until one knows where one is, there can be no gauge by which to determine variation or change.

Keeping these matters in the forefront, it is time to review a passage in Ephesians. It is time to compare spiritual with spiritual.

(Author's Note: Every day I personally read Ephesians 1, beginning by praying the prayer of Paul in verse 17 and continuing to the end of the chapter, then doubling back to verse 3 and reading through verse 16. I pray this prayer in the first person, believing God is causing the prayer to find effectiveness in me and as if Paul was praying for me individually. Then I follow Billye Brim's* example of declaring that satan and his demons have no place in me, my family [naming them], my possessions [including finances] or the work to which God has assigned me. Because of doing this on a daily basis, I have seen things in these verses which would have gone unobserved in the past---one being the matter for which this newsletter focuses today.)
*I encourage my readership to join Billye's live webcast each Wednesday, noon, CST, and pray for an "awakening" in this nation and around the world. They pray in tongues, operate in the prophetic and foundation all prayer in the Word.
Now, let us return to making comparison of the experience of our first parents with what Paul was praying for the saints in Ephesians.

Opened eyes of our Understanding
Eph 1:15-21:
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 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, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
For the time being, I want to concentrate on the underlined portion of this passage. Referring back to the verses in Genesis 3, how similar are these Scriptures? Basically, Paul was praying that every child of God have their spiritual eyes opened so they could know. If one were to take the various aspects of the fall and apply them to the "restoration," mighty parallels would emerge. The "opening of the eyes of our understanding" most likely comes about in degrees as one agrees with the Word and with God's will for one's life, reasoning which includes God. "Reasoning with God" is often as foreign to the new believer as sin was with Adam and Eve.

A whole new world opens to the saint who never before experienced such knowledge of Christ or known one could attain such depth. Instead of being fearful of God, there is a "strange and wonderful" peace. Coupled with this "awakening" is a desire to fellowship with God and His Son, Jesus. Instead of fear, there is faith. Instead of a steady stream of resistance, there is assurance, assurance of a good outcome through His mercy and grace toward us as sons.

Sharing becomes the joy-filled experience that draws one into fellowship with one another on a basis unknown to the world. Spiritual children are born to them and enrich their lives with the victories they gain through their family of God interaction. What was once stained is now washed clean!

In the world of "enlightened understanding," one's eyes see differently, one's ears hear with an intensity heretofore unknown. Touch takes on a holy quantity. Smell appropriates its own incense to the soul. Having tasted of the heavenly things, there is no desire to return to one's former frame of reference.
Heb 6:4-6
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
Notice, there is that word again, Enlightened. The intent of God has never been to enhance worldly humanity and explore avenues whereby the individual comes to a compromised meso agreement with his world. God has come to bring us into a world that we cannot see with natural senses---to enlighten our understanding until we ARE like Him and live as He does. Our minds are to be like Christ's; our perspective is to be like His.

We are to know things about ourselves that will change the way we view each other and ultimately all others. We realize we are clothed with Him. We must grasp that we are no longer vulnerable to circumstances and are not slaves to confusion. We have stepped away from a realm where we are never to return. The base on which we have been living has changed; it has shifted to a dimension that embraces the supernatural and relishes revelation.

It is into this dimension that Paul cried out to God, prompted by the Spirit, in behalf of his brethren. He prayed they be "given the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him." Transition can only take place through this spirit. Wisdom and Revelation take us down the path to the place prepared for us, our seat in the heavenlies.

As spiritual wisdom and revelation become the vehicles by which we live, our reliance on them is a daily, moment by moment, continuous attestation of His presence and power working in us. Just as sin became that pernicious beast that was encountered at every turn and was a new element in Adam and Eve, so wisdom and revelation is to the believer. It spreads into every area of our existence, until there is no other venue for the believer but to constantly yield. Our knowledge of God and His Son expands our horizons and offers us a "newness of life" that expresses itself in joy, peace and love.

Notice the three elements Paul delineates:
  1. That we may know: what is the hope of His calling.

  2. That we may know: what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

  3. That we may know: what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
It is this "calling and election," once established, that forms a foundation for all other considerations. It is our understanding of sonship and how we are His treasure through Jesus Christ that brings us to continuous confrontations of His grace and mercy. But Oh! When one enters the third echelon of wisdom and revelation and comes in contact with God's electrifying power is when one experiences surging energy and comes into the very being of the Godhead.

With that one phrase: "(When we know) What is the exceeding GREATNESS of HIS POWER toward us who believe," everything changes. The moment I truly begin to "know" this, my life is forever different. It is as drastic as the change experienced by Adam and Eve when they opened their mind to evil and darkness. Their new world was incomprehensible to them. It's affectations were without measure or end (for mankind denigrated to the point that God had to destroy all but Noah).

But Oh! My world, when it is connected to the third echelon becomes comprehensible through the spirit of wisdom and revelation, causing me to yield more and more to what pours from His Being into mine. It is this dimension of His grace that touched Charles Finney and Martha Wing Robinson and whoever through history that are characterized in Hebrews 11.

As I know "the Greatness of His power toward me," my prayers change, my interests change, my dynamic for living changes. Nothing is outside the reach of Him who "fills all in all."

And Yet!

The Spirit reminds me of Paul's other words in I Corinthians 2:9-10
'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.'

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
This quote in Isaiah 64:4 ends with, "Who acts for the one who waits for Him." That's us! HE acts in our behalf. Without the enlightenment of our understanding by the spirit of wisdom and revelation, we should have been like the blind world which only sees the hope of humanism and their race toward existentialism. We are not like the rest of the world. No, our eyes are opened! Without this enlightenment, the world does not have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the hearts to entertain the things of God. Adam and Eve once lived in the glory of God and were clothed by His power and light. The light went out and the sorry state in which they found themselves is still the sorry estate of the world, and yes, it is so for many who call themselves Christian.

Paul continued in I Corinthians 2:12 and said, "That we might know the things that have been freely given unto us by God."

There it is!

Oh! Let the church hear this! Let them know they are as different in Christ as Adam and Eve were when embraced by sin. Our world is not their world. It is time to know.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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