While studying scripture I`ve often found myself captivated by episodes of people experiencing the reality of the spirit realm. The fascination compelled me to prayerfully seek with the intent to further understand as much as I could about spiritual phenomenon. Subsequently, throughout my research, meditation, and prayers, multiple questions surfaced. The following questions frequently surfaced in my mind; I asked; how did he/she feel when experiencing the unseen reality? Why didn`t biblical characters share much about such experiences? Had the experience prepared them, or perhaps encouraged them for or in ministry? How did their new found awareness of the unseen world affect their perspectives and their relationship with God? The frequency and influential force, behind these specific questions (and personal experiences) inevitably led me to share what follows.
It`s significant to note that a major characteristic of scripture is that it teaches understanding of spiritual things by using analogies to natural things. In other words, the bible often uses similarities of "visible things" to explain "invisible things." The reason why analogies are employed is because the degree of difficulty is very high when it comes to grasping spiritual stuff.In fact, this is why the most expressive words of our human language are employed by way of analogies of things in the physical world too help interpret things of the spiritual world.
For example, Psalm 34:15 David writes, "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry." In this passage "the eyes of the Lord" and "his ears are open" , are types or phrases which are called anthropomorphic. Anthropomorphic is a descriptive method of simply using something in the physical world to explain the function or purpose of something spiritual. God is Spirit, and therefore does not have physical eyes or physical ears, yet we know that he does see and hear everything. Therefore, in the above passage, David used the anthropomorphic method to describe God`s omniscience: Knowledge of everything.
THE Spirit Realm Defined
The spirit world is the non-material world which co-exits, and parallels the physical world. In the spirit realm, "time" as we experience it, in the physical world does not exist. Their is no decay or death in the spirit world. That which is spirit is not temporal its eternal. It is a place inhabited by a hierarchy of spiritual beings, and often the borders of these two worlds do merge. The nature of spiritual beings provides a great deal of information about the environment they inhabit.Luke 2:36 tells us that these spirit beings don`t die, Hebrews 12:22 they are innumerable, Luke 2:12, Ezekiel 1:14 reveals how spirits travel at incredible speed, Revelation 4:8 Lets us know that spirits can be present yet invisible, then, appear visible.Hebrews 13: 2 & in Daniel 10:15-16, we can see that supernatural beings can even appear in human form. Not all spirits can appear in human form. Angels can appear in human form, but nowhere in scripture does it record demons being able to physically manifest like angels. Demons are bodiless spirits and can only have a physical presence by embodying humans and animals or by manipulating objects. Although difficult for many to believe, scripture assures us that they work through the mind, will, and emotions of humans. ( For more on spirit beings see my page: Seeking To Devour).
Such capabilities (listed above) tell us something about a greater logic spiritual beings must have in order to operate so swiftly and effectively in both the spiritual and physical realms. It`s noteworthy to compare how much spirit beings know about us and how meticulously they operate in both realms, against, how people operate primarily in the physical realm, while in comparison, know so little about these beings. Since this is true, it`s extremely significant to prayerfully consider how "reality" for these spirit beings must be so much more "real" than it is for us.
Now visualize the daily routines or assignments of, hundreds of thousands of powerful spiritual beings; needing no rest, traveling at incredible speed, able to appear visible and invisible, and even appear in human form, using these abilities with great precision within an invisible community. This is the realm of the spirit. The spirit realm is a higher place; every thing that is done in the spirit realm exceeds and outclasses what goes on in the physical realm. You see, the spirit realm is parental to the physical realm. To say that the spirit realm is parental means everything material has its origin in the spirit realm.
Role Of The Spirit Realm
Scripture tells us the physical world derives from the invisible spiritual realm. We read in Genesis 1:1-2 " In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." This means that the physical realm was created after the spiritual realm, as the Spirit of God moved when the earth was without form, and void. Material things are depended on spiritual things for their existence. A good way to look at this is to consider what happens when the spirit leaves the human body at death. Immediately after death, the spirit continues to live, but the physical body immediately begins to decay rapidly. This is exactly what`s happening (but on a larger scale) with the physical universe. It too, is constantly losing energy and never gaining. The quality of matter/energy deteriorates over time. This is know as the "Second Law Of Thermodynamics" and this law concludes that the universe is not eternal. Yes! material things are indeed depended on spiritual things for their existence. Colossians 1:16-17 " For by him were all things created, that are that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." This passage conveys multiple truths and it is very clear as to who created , preserves, and for what purpose everything was created: the Lord Jesus.
Hebrews 11:3 "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
First, it`s significant to note what is meant by the following, "Through faith we understand..." in this passage. Dick Iverson said it well, "The word "through" is a translation from the Greek word "dia" and denotes the "channel of an act"; faith is like an inlet (entrance) for all of Gods` provisions. Faith is Gods` gift to humans which among other things, enables us to operate in both, the natural and spiritual realms. If we are to tap into the unseen realm of the spirit, one way, according to scripture would be through faith, since faith is the evidence of things not seen.
Next, it`s important to know that there is a double meaning used for the word "world" in this passage. The first meaning of "world" tells us that the physical world was not formed nor did it evolve from previously existing physical/visible materials. God the creator created all things from himself out of nothing (ex nihilio) this includes all spiritual beings. Then the second meaning speaks of the Greek translation for "world" which is "aion" meaning "ages" which would suggest periods` of time. Either way you decide to view it;the meaning of the passage remains the same. It tells us that the physical world, or various ages of time, and or space were created by the spoken word 'rhema" of God. Since our focus is on spiritual things, while considering how God framed the worlds it is equally important to understand why he created levels within the spirit realm.
One reason for various levels in the spirit world is because God is holy, pure, and dwells in unapproachable light. 1 Timothy 6:16 " Whom only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen" Unapproachable light means that a human being would actually vaporize if God would uncover his full presence to us. He is absolutely indescribably pure in his glory! This is confirmed in scripture when Moses was praying and he asked God to show him his glory. In other words Moses asked God to let him see what he looked like. Moses wanted to see the face of God. God answered Moses`s request when we read Exodus 33:20-23, "And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock; And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shall see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen."
Remember, the term "anthropomorphic" is a literary tool often used in scripture descriptively by employing something in the physical world to explain the function or purpose of something spiritual. It is used above when we read "and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by;" God is Spirit and does not have physical hands, and so, the use of the word "hand" is not to be taken literally,but rather it is used figuratively. Whenever the word "hand" is used in reference to God in the bible it is employed mainly to describe God`s power, authority, or his activity. Another good example of this is shown in scripture ( Matthew 22:44 ) speaks of Jesus sitting on the right hand of the Father. Obviously, the passage does not suggest that we believe Jesus was literally sitting on our heavenly Father`s right hand. This particular passage actually refers to the Lord Jesus`s power and authority.
Based on our focus; examining spiritual things in relation to physical things, let`s look a little closer at the way the bible employed the word "hand" to reveal how God can somehow shield us from being vaporized when he draws close to us. Functionally the "hand" is the point of contact here both realms actually merged; Moses and the rock were representing the physical on one side of the hand, ( This "rock" was a symbolism which actually represented the Lord Jesus Christ, who upon entering the earth became the brightness of God`s glory and the express image of God. Hebrew 1:3) and God passing by on the other side of his hand revealing the interactions of both realms.
Even though God protected Moses by shielding him in the clift of the rock, while passing by him, the brilliancy of the encounter effected Moses profoundly. After coming so close to the afterglow of God`s presence on Mt. Sinai, Moses face was shinning so bright that when he returned to the camp everyone took off running away from Moses. The radiance emanating off of Moses skin was so strong that it was is if the people were trying to look directly into the sun, and so Moses had to veil himself. In fact, from that point forward, Moses had to put the veil back on, every time he left the present of God. Exodus 34:30-35
We have examined a couple of reasons why there are levels in the spiritual realm (1) Was because God wanted to reside among his creation, and since he dwells in unapproachable light, and his holiness and absolute purity prevented him from doing so, that he had to create descending spiritual levels to keep humankind from vaporizing in his presence. (2) We also examined how the physical world can not exist without the existence of the spirit world. We supported this truth by considering what happens when humans die. Immediately at death, the spirit continues to live, but the physical body begins to decay rapidly. This is because God knew that humans would sin, consequently, a lower level had to be in place. And so, the visible world as we know it is temporal, and the invisible world of the spirit is eternal, Henry Drummon, AD 1890 wrote "The visible is the ladder up to the invisible; the temporal is but the scaffolding of the eternal. And when the last unmaterial souls have climbed through this material to God, the scaffolding shall be taken down, and the earth dissolved with fervent heat-not because it was base, but because its work is done." In Jesus name it is my prayer that this study has helped establish for some and strengthen for others biblical perspectives concerning the unseen reality of the spirit realm. God bless.