“Happy Are the Eyes That Behold”
THE eyes are one of our choicest possessions, so indispensable to our complete happiness. They enable us to enjoy the vision of the starry heavens above, the beauties and marvels of our mundane sphere, and the very sunlight itself. By use of our eyes and our reasoning faculties we can appreciate that God indeed exists and that he made all things beautiful in their time.—Eccl. 3:11; Rom. 1:20.
Jehovah God not only made natural light and provided man with eyes with which to see natural things, but he has also made provision whereby man can see spiritual light and discern spiritual things by means of the ‘eyes of the heart’. (Eph. 1:18) His Word is a light to our path, and today it is shining with ever-increasing brilliancy. (Ps. 119:105; Prov. 4:23) By means of that light one gains an understanding of Jehovah God, who he is and what his purposes are; learns that God’s kingdom is at hand and that soon this wicked old system of things will be replaced with a new world wherein righteousness dwells.—Ex. 6:3; Rev. 11:15-18; 2 Pet. 3:1-13.
Great as is the affliction of being without the use of one’s eyes, to be without mental or spiritual sight is to suffer a far greater loss; in fact, it means to suffer destruction. (Matt. 15:14) And how widespread is this spiritual blindness! Whereas only one or, at most, two persons in a thousand in the United States are physically blind, the ratio is just reversed as regards spiritual sight: only one in a thousand can see! In India only one in about a million has this spiritual sight, while in China only about one in four million understands about Jehovah and his purposes.
WHY SO MUCH SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS?
Why are so many people spiritually blind? First of all, because Satan, the god of this system of things, has blinded their minds to the truth. (2 Cor. 4:4) He is the prince of darkness and the archenemy of light, and he and his demons do all they can to keep the people in darkness.—Isa. 60:2; Eph. 6:11, 12.
Because of his blinding influence millions of people in China, India and behind the iron curtains have never had the opportunity to see the light. All such people are blind simply because they never have had an opportunity to use their eyes, to learn the truth. Today a great work is being done of beaming forth this light to all parts of the world. Hundreds of thousands of light bearers are letting their light shine from house to house and on the street corners; the radio is being used and missionaries are being trained and sent to those lands where the darkness is the greatest, so that as many as possible may come in contact with the light and see, provided they want to see.
Provided they want to see? Does not everyone want to see the light? you ask. From a natural standpoint, yes, most people do want to see, but not so from a spiritual standpoint. Just as there are certain wild beasts that prefer the darkness to the light because of their predatory habits, poor eyesight, etc., so the facts show that some human creatures, for one reason or another, prefer darkness to the light. They are the counterpart of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. These were blind, not because of lack of light, for the Light had come into the world, but because they refused to see that Light, refused to recognize Jesus as the promised Messiah.—Matt. 4:15, 16; John 3:19-21.
Why did they shut their eyes to the light? Because of pride, prejudice and greed. Trying to justify their position they asked for more signs and for Jesus to tell them point-blank whether or not he was the Messiah. But Jesus did not comply with their captious demands for more proof. To their demand, “If you are the Christ, tell us,” he replied: “Even if I told you, you would not believe it at all.”—Matt. 16:1; 21:23; Luke 22:67, NW.
Jesus warned against a ‘wicked eye’. (Mark 7:22; Matt. 20:15, NW) Malice, envy and greed made his opponents blind to the truth, to the beauty, to the reasonableness and the Scripturalness of what he was telling them. More concerned with the praise of men than with God’s approval, how could they see? (John 5:44) And the same is true of the leaders of organized religion today: pride, prejudice, and greed blind them to the simple and reasonable explanations of Jehovah’s Word and purposes as brought to them by his servants and witnesses.
Another reason why some cannot see is that they do not have a “single eye”. It is as when the eyes are unable to focus properly, and so the mind is filled with a lot of conflicting rays, with no clear vision of what the eyes are looking at. The trouble with those who do not have a “single eye” is that they are trying to serve God and riches, or Mammon or self-gain, at the same time. Such is a double vision or viewpoint, unable to see that partial devotion and partial service is pleasing to neither of the two great masters, Jehovah God and Satan the Devil. Each demands the whole or nothing.
One with such a blurred, compromising vision is in the dark concerning God’s kingdom and life in the new world just at hand, and, groping about, now on this side and now on that, he gets nowhere on the path of light, but stumbles down the broad road that leads to destruction. He may think he is in the light, but what he thinks is light is actually darkness, and because of his wrong, selfish opinion, “how great that darkness is!”—Matt. 6:23, NW.
LEARNING TO SEE
An infant at birth, though looking with its eyes open, recognizes nothing. But gradually, as the days and months go by, the same shapes and patches of color keep on reappearing. The child becomes familiar with them; he remembers them and can identify them on sight. Thus he learns to use his eyes and becomes familiar with the world about him.
So with one who comes in contact with the light of truth. At first it is all unfamiliar ground and we can see but little of what is revealed to us. But if we have honest hearts that seek to know and to retain what we learn, we will keep on peering into the pages of God’s Word and into the workings of the organization which he is using on earth. Thus we grow familiar therewith. With good remembrance and familiarity we increase in perceptive powers, that is, in powers to select or pick out various things and distinguish them from other things and to detect details and peculiar features. The Lord answers our prayer: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”—Ps. 119:18.
Of course, such learning to see takes time and practice, but the reward in the way of results is blessed. No more following of blind guides, no more groping in darkness, no more confusion because of the many religious creeds, no more being baffled by perplexing questions. The beauty of God’s truth causes us to exclaim: “This is Jehovah’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.”—Ps. 118:23, AS.
We must now treasure the ‘eyes of our hearts’ most jealously and exercise the greatest care for them. We must never let them deteriorate in visual power and sharpness, nor to relapse back into worldly blindness. They must continually be strengthened so as not to be strained or offended at the increasing brilliancy of the present-day light from God’s Word. We must not let them grow dull but must continually exercise them in harmony with the fine rules of the art of spiritual seeing.
Jesus, speaking to his disciples who had just come in from a campaign of field service, preaching the kingdom of God, said: “Happy are the eyes that behold the things you are beholding. For I say to you, Many prophets and kings desired to see the things you are beholding but did not see them, and to hear the things you are hearing but did not hear them.” (Luke 10:23, 24, NW) Our eyes are far more blessed than even theirs, because we can see by the fulfillment of Bible prophecy that Jehovah’s royal government by his Christ is now fully established in the heavens forevermore. That being so we can with the greatest confidence proclaim to all nations the presence and active operation of God’s kingdom.—Matt. 24:14.
Jehovah God is our great Teacher, and concerning him the prophet says: “Your Teacher will no more hide himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher.” (Isa. 30:20, AT) We must keep our eyes on him by watching for his instructions as revealed through his unfolding Word and his organization, even as the eyes of a servant watch the hand of his master. (Ps. 123:1, 2) We must also keep our eyes fixed “intently at the leader and perfecter of our faith”, Christ Jesus.—Heb. 12:2, NW.
And as we press along the only right way with our eyes fixed on Jehovah God, Christ Jesus and the Kingdom, let us also look with generosity upon the poor people in darkness and who hunger for the light of Kingdom truth. As we move about them let us remember: “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.” (Prov. 22:9) Not material bread, but that which is of far more importance, spiritual bread, which results in good vision, like the honey Jonathan ate while pursuing the Philistines. (1 Sam. 14:27-29; Matt. 4:4) Of the same import is the proverb: “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.”—Prov. 28:27.
Christ Jesus looked upon the poor, blind sheep in his day with compassion. Let us today do the same, thereby having a share in the fulfillment of the scripture: “Those to whom no announcement has been made about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” (Rom. 15:21, NW) Our eyes have been blessed by the light of truth; let others have the light, that they also may see!