Seeing the Invisible

By Lloyd Ellefson

We have been living according to things that are seen - the things that come to us through the natural senses of our body; the natural thoughts we have of the Bible, heaven, earth, seas and all that is in them. But now we are to live by faith; and faith is the evidence of things that are not seen! We no longer live according to our natural senses, but by faith! This is very interesting!

The kingdom of God is an invisible kingdom. We are able to see some of the effects of it, but the kingdom of God itself cannot be seen through natural eyes by either the natural or the spiritual man. However, it is seen or perceived by the spiritual man with spiritual eyes.

Jesus said, "...the kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, `Look, here it is!' or, `There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst." (Luke 17:20-21) The KJV says it "does not come with observation." It cannot be seen in any specific geographical place. The LCV says, "The kingdom of God is inside of you." It is within us! Some argue that it is among you - not within you. Since the kingdom of God is the Spirit of Christ, it was in Jesus Christ who was in their midst at that time. But now that the Spirit has come, we know that the kingdom of God is within us! It was within Jesus, because He said, "If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." (Matt. 12:28) The people could not understand that because they were expecting it in the seen realm, and it is in the unseen!

In John 3 Jesus said that we have to be born into the kingdom. Before we can even see the kingdom, much less enter it, we have to be regenerated spiritually. The kingdom of heaven is like the wind - we can see the effects of it, but we can't see it; we don't know where it comes from, and we don't know where it goes.

In Rom. 14:17 it says, "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." His kingdom is in the Spirit. It is God's invisible rule in the invisible man! Jesus said that we should seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first, and then the natural things we have need of will be added to us. Since the kingdom of God isn't available to us in the physical realm, how can we seek it? It is a spiritual kingdom and therefore has to be found in the Spirit! It is present even though it cannot be seen by natural man. To seek it means to put a priority rating on the things of God - for they are spiritual!

I experienced this in my own life. After I had repented and received the forgiveness of sins, I was very diligent in getting up early and spending 45 minutes in prayer and study. I sent for studies in prophecy, etc., but I was dry; I was not being fed spiritually. After receiving the Holy Spirit, the scriptures were opened up to me without any self-effort.

One of the first things I was reminded of, was the parable of the landowner who planted a vineyard and rented it out. (Matt. 21) Later the vinegrowers wouldn't give him the fruit, and put to death those who came to collect it. Finally he sent his son. When the vinegrowers saw that, they thought they could seize his inheritance by killing him. So they killed him. In this parable Jesus was obviously referring to Israel. They were not bearing kingdom fruit and they killed the prophets who brought them God's messages. They did not want to have anything to do with God's kind of fruit. Although the kingdom of God was to be operating through natural Israel, they were not producing the fruit of the kingdom. They were unable to do so because they were living in the letter of the law - and the letter always rejects the Christ!

Jesus said, "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it." (v.43) "The kingdom of God is "...righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" and "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." This is the kingdom that would be taken from them!

"And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust." (v.44) It will destroy you whether you fall on it or it falls on you. Jesus is talking about the Adamic man - the mind of the flesh (our human nature) that cannot please God. It resides in the death realm and puts to death the things of God's Spirit; it cannot bear spiritual fruit! Any system that natural man can devise to run the kingdom of God is not going to work! I suddenly realized that! I saw that God's kingdom cannot operate through natural man - through Israel or through anybody! Israel proved this! When I shared this truth, people gave me a surprised look, because they just didn't see it that way. This puzzled me until I understood that not everyone hears the Spirit, and not everyone hears the word of the kingdom. This is because the kingdom of God and His rule are in the Holy Spirit, and people can't hear the Spirit!

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world." This world does not refer to creation but to a rule! He came into this world to bear witness to the truth. Truth contains many facets. Since truth destroys all error, it brings us a wonderful new conception of God and of ourselves; it brings us a new realization of life! The same truth that destroys lies, brings life; the same God who destroys lies, brings truth. The same God who makes us a new creation through a new birth, also brings us into a new relationship with Him and with others, so that we can bear fruit in the Spirit to God.

"In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Cor. 4:4) Christ is the image of the invisible God. Moses left the splendor of Pharaoh's palace to follow the invisible God and the things not seen in the natural! We cannot see the invisible God even though Christ is an image of God, unless we are in the same realm as He is!

The kingdom of God was operating in Christ and was manifested through His physical body. This spiritual testimony was not understood by the people, for it did not make sense to them. The people saw Him and heard Him, but because of their false idea of God, they could not accept the truth He was declaring! They could not see the invisible Christ within Jesus, the true unadulterated image of the invisible God! They had many ideas, but they all came through the natural mind and the letter of the Old Testament. So they began to devise a way to kill Him. Stoning was too merciful, but in order to crucify Him, they had to get the Romans to order the crucifixion - which they did!

Jesus and Paul often referred to the Old Testament scriptures. The New Testament was not in existence at that time; it was added later. Now we have the Bible - the Old and the New Testament. It is a wonderful testimony, but it cannot save anyone! It cannot forgive our sins, it cannot anoint us, it cannot give us a new birth, nor can it make us sons of God. But it does bear testimony to all these things! Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me, and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life." We must come to Christ to receive a consciousness or an understanding of life.

Invisible things do not include the Bible. The Bible is seen - it can be read. Faith comes by hearing the Word - hearing the voice of the Son in our hearts! This is not synonymous with hearing someone read the scriptures. Only when the Spirit brings life to the scriptures, do we hear the Son. Hearing His voice brings faith, and faith is the evidence of things that are not seen. Faith does not give us evidence of things that are in the seen realm - the things of this earth.

This will not come as a shock to you if you understand that the kingdom of God cannot be seen. When we live in the kingdom and are ruled by the kingdom, we have the love, peace, joy and righteousness that are in the kingdom of God; we have the Spirit of truth who tells us these things! He brings us faith that enables us to live in the unseen, while we are still living in this tabernacle of flesh (our physical body) as aliens and pilgrims on this earth!

"And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." (1 Cor. 15:49) The word BORNE means TO CARRY. Just as we have been carrying an earthy image, we shall also carry the heavenly image, for it has been birthed in us by the Word of God; the Word is the Son, so He always produces the Son. The Concordant reads, "And according as we wear the image of the soilish, we should be wearing the image also of the Celestial." Since we are born again of incorruptible seed, that is through the living and abiding word of God, Christ is birthed in us. This incorruptible seed always births His corporate Son, which is the Christ!

Christ is the Son of the living God! Peter said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matt. 16:16) Why do the scriptures so often refer to God as the living God? A living God differs from a dead god. The god who is in the natural mind is a dead god. The mind of Jesus was in conflict with the mind of the Jews, because the god of their mind was dead. Their god was only an image, an imagination, a conception of the natural mind; it did not have life nor reality! Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God; He is not a conception of the natural mind. When we are born of an incorruptible seed, we are children of the living God!

"...if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body." (1 Cor. 15:44) We have no trouble recognizing our natural body, but the spiritual body is somewhat elusive. Notice that it does not say we are going to get a spiritual body - it says there IS one! We are the body of Christ; it can only be manifested by its fruit, but it cannot be seen.

In Gen. 1:27 God created an invisible man. That man is the Son of Man who came down from heaven. (John 3:13) A MAN (an image of God), the Son of Man, came down from heaven. God prepared a body of flesh for Him. We now know that was Jesus, and in Him dwelt the Christ. He was the Son of God! The Word was made flesh; He was anointed of the Spirit and became the Messiah. The anointing is the receiving of the Holy Spirit, and the anointed One is the Messiah. The Greek word CHRIST is the equivalent of the Hebrew MESSIAH. That enlarges our understanding, doesn't it? God created an invisible man in Gen. 1:27, and in Gen. 2:7 God formed a visible man out of the existing creation. After God formed his body, He breathed into him the breath of life!

It is interesting to note that in John 20 Jesus did the same to those whom He had called. After His resurrection He came to them, breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." And they did - they received Him in the inner man!

"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while 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." (2 Cor. 4:16-18) There are two men, an outer man and an inner man. The outer man is the temporal one which we can see. The body of Jesus was temporal, and so is ours. The things which are not seen, that is the invisible man and the new creation, are eternal!

Continuing in 2 Cor. 5:1 "For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down (or dissolved), we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Our earthly house is visible. But we HAVE another building, an invisible building, that is made by God, in which we can dwell when our outward one is demolished. We immediately think that this physical body has to die before we can dwell in our building from God, because we do not understand what our invisible building is like. It says that it is not built by hands; it also says that God dwells in a temple not built by hands. So this new building is indwelt by God and by us! The old one is mortal and the new one is life! Life swallows up the mortal! We have this life now, for we have been baptized into the body of Christ, that spiritual tabernacle in which God dwells! This tabernacle is not an earthy one, for it is invisible. Our faith brings us the evidence of things not seen.

"For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked." (vv.2-3) The house in which we groan is our fleshly man. We long to be stripped of the mortal, of the Adamic man, but we don't want to be naked. To be clothed means to be walking in life. While we have this life, we do not always walk in this life, but our desire is to walk in life completely. To be completely clothed with our dwelling from heaven means we are walking in the life we already have. As we walk in Christ's life we shall not be found naked. Our dwelling place of life is in the invisible realm; we long for the removal of the flesh so we are not encumbered by it.

I believe the flesh can be redeemed or reclaimed so that it can become a tabernacle of witness for God. I know that, because right now I am witnessing to things unseen through a visible tabernacle. My old mind has been replaced with Christ's mind. His mind expels the ignorance and darkness that has its abode outside the kingdom of God. His mind takes away our inability to hear the Spirit of God, as well as our sin-consciousness! A transformation has taken place! Now that I have been made a new creature, I can testify in this tabernacle of clay as long as God wants me to, because it has been redeemed - not resurrected. Resurrection takes place in the inner man!

"Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer." (2 Cor. 5:16) What an eye-opener! We can recognize the unseen in people! But we cannot see Christ there unless we perceive the things of the Spirit. He gives us the discernment to recognize the difference between good works and outward humility produced by self--endeavor, and that which proceeds from the Spirit. We have all known Christ according to the flesh; we see Him born in a manger, maturing into adulthood, and His years of ministry ending in crucifixion. God didn't kill Him; the new man didn't killed Him; the new image of God didn't kill Him. He was killed by the old man that He put to death on the cross! He was the new image of God that survived all this!

We no longer know Him according to the flesh - according to the seen realm and the carnal mind! The Bible is a true witness of Him, but the Father is revealing the Son to us through the Holy Spirit! Since no one knows the Son except the Father, He has to reveal to us that Christ is the Son of God.

"Therefore if any man is in Christ, He is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (v.17) What does it mean to be in Christ? Christ is not an individual being; He is a corporate man. He is the anointed One, the Firstborn from among the dead. He is the anointing we receive! If we know Christ Jesus we are baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Being in Christ means we have been awakened from the dead; we have been brought out of our Adamic sense of being, and are living in a new realm of life! In Christ we are a new creation!

When we are born of incorruptible seed and anointed by the invisible Spirit, we receive the mind of Christ, and it can hear spiritual things! We receive a new faith. It gives us the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen! Old things have passed away, and all things have become new! This is important because the natural man cannot receive spiritual realization - he never did, and he never will! The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God and His kingdom. They are meaningless to him. This becomes evident when we share spiritual insights with those who are still living in their carnal mind. Even many well-intentioned Christians are only understanding the scriptures with their natural mind. So they just don't understand what we are saying; it doesn't mean anything to them. Neither will they understand this message.

We must remember that only those who have spiritual ears can hear the things the Spirit is saying to the church, and the spiritual message of the scriptures. The Bible is a wonderful book, a tremendous testimony, but it has to be understood spiritually, because Christ bears witness in the Spirit! There are actually two witnesses, the natural and the spiritual! The natural is death and the spiritual is life!

In 2 Cor. 5:18 it says, "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." What a fantastic statement that God has given to us the ministry of reconciliation! The only thing that matters now is the new creation in Christ! The works of the flesh, like circumcision or uncircumcision, don't mean anything now. (Gal. 6:15) The Spirit's teaching always comes to us in understanding, realization and consciousness!

Those who are in Christ Jesus are new creatures - new creations. Amazing, isn't it? Our inner man has become our true nature - for Christ is our life! People cannot tell who we are or where we came from by our outward form. The Spirit has to make it known to them because they cannot see the invisible. Those who are not living by the Spirit do not understand what we are saying, or where we are coming from.

Let us look at Heb. 11:1. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Obviously he is talking to Christians, because the natural person always hopes for things that are seen: riches, health, a nice house, a nice car, etc. These are not the Christian's hope. Our hope is for the things that are unseen, because we have received a living hope - a hope that has been made alive in us. Since it is alive, based on God and His Christ (not on anything in this world), we know it is going to come to pass! Faith is the substance of things hoped for - not the things, but the substance of them. Wow! Faith is the evidence of things not seen! After Thomas had put his hand in Christ's side, Jesus said to him, "Blessed are those that do not see and yet believe."

In verse 3 it says, "By faith we understand that the worlds (ages) were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." This is the creative process. The evidence that is in the seen realm (the things that we see in this creation) comes to us through our physical body. So does the letter of the word. These things were made of something that is unseen, of things that we cannot see at present.

This means that there is an invisible creation and a visible creation, an invisible man and a visible man. The natural visible image of God, as seen in man, can only testify to an earthy image of God; the spiritual invisible image of God, as seen in Christ, can testify to the invisible attributes and things of God! In other words, we have an image of the natural and an image of the spiritual.

God made both images. The physical body itself is not the earthy image of God. It is a container and only does what it is told to do. But there is a sin principle which dwells in the flesh (not the physical body). God made man in His image by giving him the ability to think, reason, and create new things from existing materials. When we are under the lordship of Jesus Christ, we will portray the nature of Christ while we are still in this earthy body. We will speak spiritual words even as Jesus did while He was in a physical body. Just as people did not understand Him, they also will not understand us, because we have received His Spirit after we repented and received the remission of sins. After the Son of God was released from His body, His Spirit was given to us in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Now our body can be a temple of the Spirit - just like the body of Jesus was.

After Peter's first message to the church, the people "were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, `Brethren, what shall we do?' And Peter said to them, `Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'" (Acts 2:37-38) They were struck in their heart by the first message and wanted to receive the Holy Spirit. So many people are satisfied with the forgiveness of sins. These wanted more! They wanted the gift of the Holy Spirit; they wanted the Holy Spirit to be their new teacher! That is what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for. The law brought us to Christ. This new teacher, the anointing we have received, will teach us all things! He will not teach us lies nor will He allow us to remain in our delusions because He is the Spirit of truth!

God's word in the beginning was not spoken in Hebrew, English, or any language known to us. God is, and His Spirit emanates from His word. His word carries with it His eternal purpose. When He said, "Let there be light," He wasn't talking about natural light, like the light of the sun and the moon. That light did not come into existence until the fourth day, and it had nothing to do with the first light. Instead, the illumination of God's mind and purpose was to come forth.

Paul explains this in 2 Cor. 4:3-5. "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake." The god of this world had blinded their minds - not their eyes. The mind of the flesh minds the flesh. The god of this world has brought a blindness to the mind of humanity, so it cannot receive the light of the gospel.

"For God, who said, `Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." (v.6) This is the light that shines into our darkness! It is the same light that penetrated the darkness of Gen. 1:2 when God commanded the light to shine out of darkness. This light has shone into our hearts! It bypasses our natural mind to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God that is in the face of Jesus Christ! Why is this so difficult to understand?

Isaiah had the answer to this question. He said, "For the Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep. He has shut your eyes, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, the seers. And the entire vision shall be to you like the words of a sealed book." (29:10-11a) The Lord poured out the spirit of this deep sleep. This doesn't mean that the people lay down and slept. I think this is the same sleep Adam received in the garden; this deep sleep is poured on all men. That is why a veil lies over people's hearts, and they cannot understand.

We know that the Bible is sealed to the natural man, because he cannot understand the Spirit. Unless he has received the Spirit and has ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church, he will not understand spiritually. But those who do not hear the Spirit still continue to preach and pray, to set up churches, formulate doctrines, and evangelize the world according to the letter of the law.

"The entire vision shall be to you like the words of a sealed book" (or scroll), "which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, `Please read this,' he will say, `I cannot, for it is sealed.' Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, `Please read this.' And he will say, `I cannot read.'" (v.11-12) Without the Spirit it remains a sealed book; literacy or illiteracy is not the criterion which enables us to hear the Spirit.

"Then the Lord said, `Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote. Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed." (vv.13-14) Many are praising God and honoring Him with their lips, but not with their hearts. God says that He is going to do a marvelous work among the prophets, preachers, the learned and the unlearned!

Paul sheds light on this subject in 1 Cor. chapters 1-3. He said, "And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God." (2:4-5) His wisdom was not of this age; he spoke God's wisdom in a mystery. Then he went on to say that the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit, for he is unable to do so. Spiritual realities can only be understood by the spiritual man - the new man in Christ!

Isaiah says that the potter can make anything he desires out of the clay, and the clay has no say in the matter! (29:16) It's wonderful when we wake up to this truth! We are not in charge of ourselves! We can't make ourselves righteous! Because a veil lay over their heart, the Jews thought the law could make them righteous. "But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart." (2 Cor. 3:15) Moses used to put a veil over his face that the Israelites might not see what was fading away. The Jews couldn't understand why Moses did this. It was to illustrate the fact that they would not believe the law would end in Christ. They were closing their eyes to the fact that the glory of the law would end.

"And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed." (Rom. 13:11) This was written almost 2000 years ago. It is high time to wake out of sleep. "The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand." It doesn't say days or milleniums, it says day. This refers to the day of the Lord. "Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." (Rom.13:12-14)

"And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light." (Eph. 5:11-13) God took the kingdom away from Israel because they did not bear fruit! Israel was only a showcase. Every natural man is unfruitful in the things of the Spirit. We are to expose this. When a dark room is flooded with light, everything in it becomes visible. Light makes visible the things which are not seen. The light of Genesis 1 began a process of manifesting the things that were in darkness. Even so the light that is in Christ Jesus makes the things visible that are in our darkness.

"For this reason it says, `Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'" (v.14) Christ is the light of life. (John 1) We've been sleeping in Adam, for God has poured out a spirit of sleep on us. In this sleep we are unconscious of the things that are transpiring in the kingdom; we are only conscious of the things that are happening in the realm of the flesh, the earth, and in this natural material world.

Light is obviously the Christ, the anointed One who has come. Jesus Christ is the light! He came as the light, and said that now we are to be the light of the world, even as He was the light of the world. To be that light we first have to be awakened and quickened by the Spirit! We have to be made alive to spiritual things and live in the day of the Lord - in the enlightenment that eliminates the darkness and ignorance of our human nature. The mind of the flesh can only see the natural; it sees the temporal, and the temporal always ends in death. The natural realm separates us from God.

In our union with God through Christ, we are joined to life! We become conscious of things that are not seen; we learn that we are born of an incorruptible seed by the Word of God. Every seed has its own body. God gives each kind of seed a body that pleases Him, and the body of the incorruptible seed is the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 15) Living in our invisible body means living by faith - faith in things that are not seen!

There is so much more that could be said. If you have not yet learned to hear the Spirit, please make it your first priority! Seeking the kingdom rule of God first, will bring into fulfillment God's promise to give us all the things needed for this life. God bless you. Amen.

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