God is Spirit so He is not visible to the human eye. The whole spirit realm is invisible to us. We are limited in what we can perceive, because we only see material things. So the whole idea of ‘seeing is believing’ or ‘if I can’t see it then it doesn’t exist’ is quite foolish.
The fact is that the spirit realm, including God and heaven, is more real than our natural world. Our natural world was created by God in the spirit realm, so we are inferior to that realm. It is arrogant and somewhat stupid of us to pretend that the material world is the only world, or the real world, or the most important world in which we exist.
Throughout the Bible spiritual things, that are more real than the material world we know and trust, were made visible to our eyes in different ways. Let me remind you of some ways people have been made aware that something spiritual was happening.
On the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church visible fire appeared then divided and rested on the heads of the disciples. There was also a sound, of a rushing mighty wind, and the disciples began doing something outside their natural ability, speaking in languages they had not learned.
When Jesus was baptised the Holy Spirit came down from heaven onto Him and it was made visible in a form of a dove.
When Elisha’s town was surrounded by enemy soldiers his servant panicked but Elisha prayed that God would open the young man’s eyes. Suddenly the young man was able to see a huge angel army surrounding the town, showing that God had the advantage, even though it was not visible to the natural eye.
When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to prove the reality of their God he set up a challenge where the God who responded by sending fire from heaven would be the true God. The prophets of Baal cried out to their god all day long and nothing happened, but when Elijah called on God fire fell from heaven and burned the offering, the altar and all the water Elijah had poured on it.
Balaam’s donkey was able to see an angel blocking Balaam’s path, but Balaam could not see it. God opened his eyes and he realised the donkey had saved his life when it veered away from the angel.
Many people were visited by angels, while others had dreams, or were spoken to by prophets sent by God.
Times when spiritual things are revealed to human perception can be called ‘manifestation’, or making what is otherwise not seen manifest (apparent). The Bible recounts many times and many ways when that happened.
So we should not be surprised when such things happen. They are more likely to happen in places and at times when God is moving and when the enemy is at work. During times of Christian revival, on the mission-field, during times of spiritual renewal and when people are praying against the enemy’s work, bringing God’s Kingdom, then evidence of God at work will be more apparent.
There was a great deal of manifestation during the three years of Jesus’ ministry. Miracles and healing revealed His power and authority. Jesus explained that when He cast demons out of people that revealed the Kingdom of God had arrived.
“If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Luke 11:20
When men came to arrest Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, they fell over under the power of God.
“Jesus stepped forward and asked them, Who are you seeking? Jesus of Nazareth, they answered. Jesus said, I am He. When Jesus said, I am He, they drew back and fell to the ground.” John 18:4-6
When God poured out the Holy Spirit on the Disciples at Pentecost, birthing the Church era, the ongoing manifestation of the Holy Spirit was for the good of the believers. The Apostle Paul explained that to the church in Corinth.
“To each is given the manifestation of the Holy Spirit for the common good.” 1Corinthians 12:7
Paul went on to list the Gifts of the Spirit. These gifts were found in all the churches, among all the Christians, and they revealed the wonder of God’s Spirit being part of our ordinary lives. When these gifts were seen in the church and among the believers it encouraged them all, since it was for their common good.
It is the same today. When we hear of people healed, prayer answered, powerful truth spoken into a situation, the enemy exposed and overcome, miracles, prophetic dreams or visions, and so on, believers are encouraged.
At times the manifestation of God at work seems strange to us. Back in 1801 strange things were recorded at the Cane Ridge Revival in America. In outdoor gatherings of over 20,000 people God moved powerfully.
Eyewitness Moses Hoge recorded how, “The careless fall down, cry out, tremble, and not infrequently are affected with convulsive twitchings. Sinners dropping down on every hand, shrieking, groaning, crying for mercy, convulsed; professors praying, agonizing, fainting, falling down in distress, for sinners or in raptures of joy!”
Thousands of people fell as in a faint, including those who came to mock and scoff and even those who were riding away as fast as they could.
While that sounds bizarre, there is no doubt that during almost a decade of these meetings God was doing a powerful work of revival.
When spiritual things become exposed in some way, so we can see or sense them, there are a number of reactions. One is that we get to see into the spirit realm around us and get a glimpse of what God is doing. Our faith can be built up and we can respond with godly wisdom.
At the same time many find such things scary. The disciples were often scared when strange things happened. However, each time Jesus told them not to be afraid.
Another outcome should be that we become encouraged to step deeper into the things of God, reminded that the spirit realm is real and that God is Lord of all. The most important experience of life is to be right with God so when we step out of this life we step into a glorious eternity as God’s child in heaven. May you be blessed and encouraged as Spiritual things are Revealed.