(Scriptures to be in the Body of the Article)
Floyd Allen, Editor-in-Chief, GOD’S GOOD NEWS GAZETTE
(Let me start by telling you that this may be a tad longer than most of our Thought Provokers, so you may want to go get a cold beverage, get comfortable in your easy chair, and have at ‘er one time!)
I realize that you may be thinking, “Now, Floyder, don’t be dumb … we can’t see with our eyes closed?’ To which I would have to say, “Au contraire, mon Amie!” To prove my point, I’m going to take you to 2 Kings 6:15-23 (KJV)
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
So … If God opened the eyes of the servant of Elisha, they must have been closed, right? Yet, there is no reason for us to believe that he couldn’t see Elisha, and he certainly saw the army that surrounded them! Ergo, he must have been able to see with his eyes closed! We’ll come back and pontificate on this a little more in a bit. For now, just remember … This is a Thought Provoker!
Now, we have a similar, but different, situation in the New Testament as well. In this instance, the great man of God involved is Saul/Paul, as we find in Acts 9:8-20: 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. 10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
Well, we find Saul in an interesting situation … he opened his eyes and couldn’t see a smashing thing! So, he was led to Damascus by his friends where he spent the next three days unable to see anything. During that time, he didn’t eat nor drink. So, the question becomes, I suppose, what did he do during those three days?
The answer, I believe, is found in I Corinthians 12:2-10, where Paul tells us about a man who had a most intriguing experience. It is believed by most Biblical Scholars (and by me, too!) that the man Paul spoke of was actually himself! I believe it would behoove us to take a look at those verses at this time: 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Have you ever wondered how Paul could speak so knowledgably about what Jesus had said, though he had not been with Jesus like Peter, John, and the others who surrounded Jesus had been? I believe we can answer this question by bringing these two scriptures together: I believe that while Saul had those “scales” on his eyes, he could not look into the Earthly realm, but, rather, was looking into the Spiritual realm … the “third heaven” and “paradise.” It was during this time that God revealed unto him the things He promised in Acts 9 “16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
At this point let’s recap what we have discovered thus far. Elisha’s servant could see into the Earthly Realm but not the Spiritual Realm because his eyes were “closed;” Saul could see into the Spiritual Realm but not the Earthly Realm because he had scales on his eyes. In the case of the latter, it appears that the “scales’ were tangible, due to the terminology in Acts 9:18 – And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
I know you are probably thinking, “Well, Floyder, that’s a lot of truly interesting information, but where does all the thinking come in?” Like a good Infomercial, all I can say is, “But wait, there’s more!” Bear with me, now, as it may take a minute or two for me to get where I’m going on this one!
I have always been intrigued by a question that is, within itself, a real Thought Provoker: Where is the Garden of Eden? Before you throw your laptop down in total dismay and/or disgust, let’s take a quick look at Genesis 3:24-25 – 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. You see, the Garden is somewhere – – and, it is being protected by Cherubims AND a Flaming Sword!
Are you ready for this Issue’s real Thought Provoker: Is the reason we can’t see the Garden of Eden is because our eyes are “closed,” or because we have scales on them?