Watch & Discern

Is there more to the real world than we see? The Bible indicates that there is not just a world beyond the physical but that this unseen world also dominates the physical world around us. Consider an event from the life of Peter in the Book of Acts-

 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. 6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. 11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me— (Acts 12)

 First we see the power of prayer. If there is not a spiritual world, prayer is futile, because prayer belies the self-sufficiency of the physical world. A person who prays believes that the spiritual unseen world can influence and overpower the physical world. The disciples refused to believe that Peter would die, as was the intention of Herod, and prayed for his release, which took place entirely as an act of God.

We also see communication from the spiritual world coming in to the physical world and being appreciated by our physical senses. He not only sees the angel and the bright light, but also hears the words of the angel as he is led out of the prison. While in the scheme of creation, is not commonplace for the spiritual world to obviously communicate with the physical, this event shows that it is not only possible, but also not surprising for one who is attuned to the spiritual and refuses to be limited by the physical.

The impact of the spiritual on the physical is what is most extraordinary to the layperson. The chains fall off and the prison doors open as Peter is led outside. While it is indeed miraculous, it would benefit to think how these changes came about. No man did these physical acts but they did occur. The only explanation would be that the unseen angelic force interacted with the physical world and performed an act that inter-connected the spiritual with the physical. It is an awesome reality and one that opens up exciting possibilities for one who recognizes it.

Finally we also see the sovereignty of God in all these events. It wasn’t God’s will for Peter to die yet. Yes Peter like most of his contemporaries would also be martyred for the sake of the gospel, but this was an act of Herod, not one sanctioned by God. Ironically while Peter miraculously escapes death, Acts 12 concludes with a description of the miraculous death of Herod, who was struck down by an angel. Yes, the spiritual world exists, but it would be foolish to think that one who navigates the spiritual realm independent of the direction and rule of Christ would last long.

If only man were to recognize the existence of this Christ-dominated spiritual world, the possibilities would be limitless. In fact the spiritual world would appear to be more real than the one we see and feel.

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