The Unseen

by Morris Ruddick on June 8, 2014


(c) Morris Ruddick

“Do you hear the secret counsel of God, and limit wisdom to yourself?” Job 15:8

Throughout the Word of God, reference is given to a dimension described as “secret.” The secret place is used to refer Picture13to God’s presence. The secret things allude to God’s wisdom. Job points to the secret counsel of God.

These dimensions are likewise described as the hidden and the unseen.

Jesus taught that prayer works effectively when we get alone and pray to our Father, who is in the secret place. The NIV version of this passage depicts the Father as the One who is “unseen.”
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matt 6:6-7 NIV

Paul illuminated this nugget of truth in his letter to the Corinthians with his admonishment to give focus, not to the seen, but to the unseen.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:18 NIV

This dimension being referred to is the spiritual.

Despite being beyond the normal human perception of things, the “unseen” is foundational. It drives the reality we live in rather than the other way around. Our grasp of this dimension provides insight into the priorities we select in our pathway of life.

Applying the Unseen to the Seen
The unseen dimension is the distinguishing characteristic of those we characterize as the heroes of faith: ordinary people doing extraordinary things by means of applying the unseen to the seen, through God.

During his time in Egypt, Joseph bridged the seen with the unseen. In spite of his position as a slave in Potiphar’s house, he made a significant difference. The scripture in Genesis 39 indicates that everyone recognized the difference operating through Joseph. They saw that the reality of God accompanied Joseph and made all that he did to prosper. Joseph effectively wielded the mantle of his great-grandfather Abraham: to be blessed to be a blessing. The means toward this end has always been in bridging the seen with the unseen.

I like being around people who bridge the gap between the seen and the unseen. Yet, I have experienced backlash, just as Joseph innocently experienced spiritual repercussions with Potiphar’s wife, as something beyond the seen challenges us operating in the unseen.

This process and what is unleashed challenges the focus which resides solely in the seen. It can trigger the forces of darkness, which seek to usurp and bypass the dimension of the unseen controlled by God. It can be deadly.

Within the unseen are the realms of the real and the counterfeit. Reaching for the unseen that is truly God extends beyond the natural and human realms. It involves a process. It is a process of unfolding dynamics which challenge both the counterfeit and the seen. The process begins with individuals, but evolves to be facilitated by the community. When this process is traversed according to God’s standard, it releases God’s glory. The process defiled or short-circuited triggers the counterfeit.

Operating in this domain, bears uniquely on the choice of being a God-pleaser rather one whose destiny conforms to the ways of man or to the trappings of power that sidestep the Lord.

The Dynamic Operating
2 Kings 6 describes the king of Syria being troubled, when it was recognized that on each occasion that he sent out his army against Israel, that they walked into an ambush. He surmised that there might be a spy in his inner circle. However, his advisors explained it was the prophet Elisha, who was discerning their secret plans and warning the king of Israel. Through God, Elisha penetrated the unseen realm.

This is one of the reasons intercessors need to prevail in unraveling the burdens they carry, to get past the seen, in order to gain a grasp of the unseen, in order to know what to do. Many years ago, I was in prayer. I kept having bad thoughts concerning a certain person. I initially thought I might have had a hidden attitude toward them and began praying in an effort to correct it. Then the Lord spoke to me and told me what I was sensing was that they were speaking against me.

I was skeptical about this premise and asked the Lord for a scripture to confirm that this was so. In the same hour, I began my regular Bible reading and came across the passage in Ecclesiastes 10:20 that admonishes: Curse not the king or the powerful in your bed-chamber, not even in your thoughts, for winged creatures will make the matter known.

The unseen realm is where both the angelic and the demonic operate. Those with backgrounds or encounters with the occult and witchcraft understand this reality. It explains why Jesus taught His followers to seek first God’s Kingdom, along with His standard of righteousness. God’s Kingdom has its foundations in the domain of the unseen.
“Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure. Bless the LORD, all His works, in all places of His dominion.”  Psalm 103:20-22

There’s a reason that Paul, operating within his apostolic mantle, refers (1 Cor 13) to the two primary dimensions of tongues, as tongues of men and of angels.

The Entrance and Cost
Entrance into the unseen arena comes only at a cost. That cost requires a choice, an ongoing choice and a discipline to stay the course. Joseph’s high calling carried a requirement beyond his already significant prophetic gifting. It necessitated a wisdom and authority beyond anything he had previously known.

It called for the harnessing of the resources of Egypt to avert the impact of the judgment triggered by his brothers. Joseph’s brothers self-righteously, but deceitfully and dishonorably, broke covenant and sought revenge against Shechem for defiling their sister Dinah. Dishonor defiles what honor established in covenant.

The issue of honor is essential in navigating God’s dimension of the unseen.
“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. So Jabez called upon the God of Israel.” 1 Chron 4:9

The story of Job is a story of honor. Job, as God’s emissary, begins with Job having only a superficial grasp of the honor needed as God’s representative. Zeal is not enough. Personal accomplishment while acknowledging God is not enough.

Like Joseph, Job had to be stripped of his superficial exploits to be able to truly wield the mantle he bore. In that process, his spiritual eyes were opened to the unseen that he had never before grasped. It is a dimension requiring a total dependency on God.

The manner in which Joseph was so abruptly thrust into Egypt gave him every reason to give up. He had every reason in the natural, or the seen realm, to turn his back on God and the unseen, which had caused him to lose everything, including his freedom. Yet, Joseph chose to press into God more fully.

While yet a slave in Potiphar’s house, Genesis 39 tells us, that everyone saw that the Lord was with Joseph and made ALL that he did to prosper. Joseph walked out the principle of “bringing every thought captive” to God’s standard and will. Despite his circumstance, he put into practice the mantle of his great-grandfather Abraham in being blessed to be a blessing. Without position, he did so honorably and righteously.

These consistent choices of honor and the discipline they require are the mark of true Kingdom leaders.

Harnessing the Imagination
Taking every thought captive involves harnessing the imagination. Jesus gave extremely strong warnings about not allowing your anger or lusts to run rampant in your imagination. James alludes to the dangers of jealousies and selfish ambitions. The imagination holds great potency and is the bridge into the unseen dimension.

This taps the truth that James gave to be doers of the word and not hearers only, who deceive themselves. Living in the seen alone is not enough. It’s more than personal exploits. Walking out a call of God requires the gap to be bridged into the unseen and then walked out in the seen.

Going onto the Offensive
Years ago, I served in a Marine combat unit that went deeply into enemy territory. Tactically, we were trained and disciplined to move about largely unseen. These real-life experiences imparted a wisdom that the Lord has revealed to me to apply in intercession, in spiritually navigating through enemy territory while remaining hidden.

When the unseen is fully embraced, the result will be a moving onto the offensive. It doesn’t happen immediately, but takes time and faith. Yet, it will override the seen and the counterfeit. Jesus said, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing will be impossible to you (Matt 17:20).

The unseen also requires appropriate authority. By the time Joseph faced the baker and wine-taster when in prison, he possessed the know-how and authority that operated deeply in the hidden realm. Going into enemy territory, discerning and preempting the enemy’s intentions, and setting the stage for God’s counter-purposes sometimes call for obedience that only “sees” the next step. Yet, this dynamic is strategic to this hour, in preparing the way for those who follow.

Prevailing in the unseen world means discerning, from God, the path to be taken from what is discerned. God always imparts strategy to those willing to pay the cost and prevail in this dimension of reality.
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them.”  Ps 34:7

God’s purpose is for the community of his people to be restored to operating in this dimension. This will be the result from what Jesus referred to as being a light to the world, a community set of a hill.

The Community Dimension
Moses wasn’t just speaking to an elite inner-circle when he gave the instruction to listen carefully to the voice of the Lord and do what is right in His eyes. He was speaking to the entire community.

When the community begins bridging the seen with the unseen, God’s glory is released. When that dynamic prevails, the first evidence will be the spiritual climate changing.

As this dimension of reality gains momentum, then God’s converging purposes and priorities will align. The consciousness of God will become evident to even non-believers. What we call revival then begins manifesting.

When revival manifests, the unseen has penetrated the seen. As this spiritual dynamic gains increase, it ignites a high-level flow of unity driven by a broad obedience and flow of the Spirit. This release of God’s glory, orchestrated by the Spirit, overcomes evil with good, with the common ground of His glory manifesting and the supernatural becoming natural

When the Life of God within a community truly manifests, it goes beyond a warm feeling or a pristine doctrinal focus. It is Life itself and cannot be stopped.

The Bible is full of stories of prophets, priests, kings, apostles and everyday people who penetrated the unseen and refused to turn loose, and by prevailing they changed the course of history for God’s people, setting the stage for eternity.

Abraham staked all on bringing the unseen into the seen. Joseph restored the promises to God’s heritage and blessed Egypt in the process. Moses made the connection and infused the truths of his insights into all future generations of God’s people. David did all the Lord expected of him and connected the seen and the unseen and in so doing, brought God’s people into kingdom unity. Jesus bridged the gap, giving His life as an example to those who would grasp this dimension, establishing the foundation that will restore God’s original reality for all eternity.
“The secret things belong to the Lord, but those that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever.”
Deut 29:29

Previous post:

Next post: