When God Speaks…Listen

I have learned that when God wakes me up, I need to act on what He is teaching me, immediately. Otherwise He will keep waking me up night after night. These times are precious to me.

The Revelation Thomas Missed

Reblogged from Plain Speaking Ministries

Most Christians have heard of the story of Doubting Thomas. When we doubt, we are often encouraged not to be a “Doubting Thomas” and instead to believe God. We’ve read the account of Thomas in the bible. Jesus rose from the dead, and many of the disciples were reporting how they had seen Him. Thomas emphatically declared that unless he saw Jesus with his own eyes he wouldn’t believe.

Later, Jesus appears in the midst of the disciples and shows Thomas the holes in his hands from the nails. He tells Thomas to stick his hand in His side and proves to Thomas that He is flesh and blood. Then Jesus says this to Thomas:

“…Thomas because thou has seen me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” – John 20:29

I woke up in the middle of the night, and God began showing me some truths about myself. He showed me where I was missing it in believing Him and in doubting Him. He encouraged me that I still had in me the seeds and the growth that He put in me from my mother’s womb.

I got excited knowing God was speaking to me and revealing to me some of what was in my heart–both good and bad. At the same time, the scripture above kept rolling through my mind. I started forming ideas about the meaning of this scripture, but for a little while as God was speaking to me, I avoided looking the scripture up to remind myself of the exact wording.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that God put this scripture in my mind, and He prompted me to take a look at it. In fact, God was giving me understanding of a scripture most people misinterpret.

But I doubted the new understanding.

Finally, I said, okay, Lord. If this scripture really means what I think it does, then the word “yet” will be in italics when I look the scripture up. That’s the only way it could mean what I think it means.

Let me explain for those who might not have learned this yet. The bible translators try their best to make the bible as clear as possible for English readers. The New Testament was originally written in Greek.

When a sentence translated from Greek to English doesn’t seem to make sense, the translator will add a word or two to make the meaning of the sentence plainer. Unfortunately, they can only go on their own intellect. Sometimes God’s original meaning can get jumbled in the process.

The translators wanted to indicate where they added words, so in the King James Version of the bible, the added words are in italics. When God gave me understanding of John 20:29, I knew that the italicized word was incorrect to the true meaning of the scripture. It was “proof” to me that God was leading me.

Let’s look at the scripture again, and I’ll explain what it seems to be saying according to the translation.

“…Thomas because thou has seen me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” – John 20:29

Here’s a paraphrase. Thomas, because you see me with your eyes you believe, but blessed are people who have seen nothing YET believe.

These people don’t see anything, but they still believe. The word “yet” makes it a blessing in spite of promise. If “yet” doesn’t belong in the original text, which it doesn’t, then this sentence must have a different meaning.

The scripture should read: Thomas because thou has seen me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.

Most Christians think they are commanded from this scripture to see nothing and hold onto faith with everything they’ve got. They think that seeing nothing is what having faith is, that it’s the definition of faith. Seeing nothing and holding on until you see something.

Jesus didn’t say that at all.

Let me say that again. Jesus didn’t say to Thomas see nothing but believe. Jesus said “Not Seen” and believe. To understand this better, let me remind you of another scripture that we all know.

2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

For simple terms, let me say it like this. There are two types of substances in the universe. There is no “nothingness” just as there’s no non-belief. You can’t believe in nothing. You either believe the truth or you believe a lie.

There is the “seen” and the “not seen.” One is in the physical world, what we see with our eyes and what we experience with our five senses. Then there is the one that is spiritual, which we interact with spiritually.

The bible says in 2 Corinthians that we don’t look on the seen things. We look on the unseen. The unseen things exist, but they cannot be seen with the natural eye, unless of course, God manifests something in the natural. But it is still a spiritual happening.

Jesus was telling Thomas, don’t rely on the seen world for your information, Thomas. The real blessing is in seeing the “not seen.” What is the “not seen”? It’s when God speaks to your heart, when He gives you a vision, when you receive revelation, any connection with the Lord on a spiritual level, that’s seeing the “not seen.”

When you hear God tell you something, you choose to believe it. It’s that simple. What Jesus shared with Thomas was a clue to what was coming when He sent the Holy Spirit to us. He was sharing how the Lord would interact with His people going forward.

Jesus gave a similar hint when He spoke with the woman at the well in John 4. Jesus told the woman that there would come a time when people won’t worship the Lord here on this mountain or in Jerusalem but people will worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. Mark gives a teaching that opens these scriptures up even more so that we learn the true place of worship is in our own heart.

In John 20, Jesus wasn’t telling Thomas we have to be blind and still believe. Granted, we do believe God despite the circumstances and even if we don’t know what to do or don’t see the way out of a situation, we trust Him. However, that isn’t the subject of John 20:29.

I can go on and write about Hebrews 11:1 where it says “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” but you get the picture. Jesus was telling us we have a new language with Him that is a spiritual experience, and it will bless us. We walk by that leading because He is faithful to speak to us and show us the way. He doesn’t leave us blind.

Jesus was saying by My Spirit I will show you and speak to you and lead you. You will see the spiritual and you will believe and you will be blessed. Such an awesome revelation! God is good.