Are Your Ears and Eyes Blessed?
HEARING and seeing are the most vital and precious of all the senses we possess. Ears and eyes, though often taken for granted, are in fact priceless blessings provided by a beneficent Creator. The more we examine these wonderful organs, their marvelous and intricate scientific construction, and also the nervous system conveying the impressions received to the brain where they are there interpreted to give an intelligent meaning, the more we realize the truth of the proverb: “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, Jehovah hath made even both of them.” (Prov. 20:12, AS) And who thought of two ears and two eyes? Was it some blind “god” of nature, or the impersonal force of evolution? If we credit man in his ascent with such an ingenious idea, then why do we find the lowliest creatures similarly equipped?
Though one may be blessed with good hearing and sight, it does not follow that one’s ears and eyes are blessed as mentioned in the Scriptures. Why not? Because God’s Word frequently speaks of seeing and hearing in a figurative way, referring to mental perception and understanding. This often occurs in daily speech, as when someone says, “Oh, I see,” meaning he has grasped the point of your remarks. Good hearing and sight in this figurative sense are more important than the literal, as is seen in Paul’s words when he prayed that God “may give you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the accurate knowledge of him, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened.” (Eph. 1:17, 18, NW) This is even better than figurative sight, for the apostle is really talking of spiritual enlightenment. But what is meant by the “eyes of your heart”?
We are helped to understand this when we recall that on their coming up against the bad heart attitude of the Jews both our Lord and the apostle made this quotation from Isaiah’s prophecy: “For the heart of this people has grown thick, and with their ears they have heard with annoyance, and they have shut their eyes; that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back; and I heal them.” (Isa. 6:10; Matt. 13:15; Acts 28:27, NW) The majority of the Jews hardened their hearts in disobedience and a lack of faith. (Heb. 4:6, 7, NW) Selfishness, pride and prejudice prevented their seeing and accepting Jehovah’s servants and their message of truth. Their eye, their outlook as governed by their heart attitude, was not “sincere,” or “in focus; generous.” No, they had a “bad” eye; “wicked; envious.” (Matt. 6:22, 23, NW, footnote) They were ungenerous and unwilling to give themselves in sincere wholehearted devotion to do God’s will, which is a primary requisite for those whose ears and eyes are blessed.
In direct contrast and referring to these blessed ones, Jesus went on to say: “However, happy are your eyes because they behold, and your ears because they hear. For I truly say to you, Many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things you are beholding and did not see them, and to hear the things you are hearing and did not hear them.” How were their eyes and ears made specially happy? Two aspects are involved. First, they were given a revelation of the “sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens,” “carefully hidden . . . from wise and intellectual ones.” This was a source of happiness not only to the disciples, but also to Jesus, who became “overjoyed in the holy spirit” when he saw how his Father was blessing these who were “to become God’s children.”—Matt. 13:16, 17, 11; Luke 10:21; John 1:12, NW.
Their happiness, however, was not limited to mental perception, but was backed up by real, live experience, things which they actually saw and heard. The ‘prophets and righteous men’ living before Christ’s day saw with the eye of faith, though but dimly, that there were special blessings in store for God’s people, but they could not begin to experience them in their day. (1 Pet. 1:10-12, NW) But when Jesus was born that began to be changed. How it overjoyed the heart of Simeon when he actually took the babe into his arms and said: “My eyes have seen your means of saving that you have made ready in the sight of all the peoples, a light for removing the veil from the nations.” (Luke 2:30-32, NW) John too stresses the point of firsthand seeing and hearing and the joy resulting therefrom when he writes: ‘That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes and our hands felt, we are reporting to you, that you too may be having partnership with us. And we are writing these things that our joy may be in full measure.’—1 John 1:1-4, NW.
EYES AND EARS BLESSED TODAY
Is the same true in our day? Most assuredly it is, and with even greater emphasis. Jesus’ quotation from Isaiah’s prophecy, chapter six, was but a miniature fulfillment. The greater fulfillment is seen in this day of Christ’s second presence as a judgment pronounced on Christendom, the counterpart of unfaithful fleshly Israel. The earlier part of that prophecy is also fulfilled in our day. Isaiah felt condemned at first because of what he saw in vision, crying: “Woe is me! . . . because I am a man of unclean lips, . . . for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts.” But when his lips had been cleansed he then realized how greatly his eyes had been blessed, and his ears too, as he heard that word that meant an invitation to be Jehovah’s spokesman and ambassador: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” With the situation and his own part therein now in proper focus, he at once made that sincere and generous response: “Here I am; send me.”—Isa. 6:1-8, AS.
How graphically this portrays the experience of the anointed remnant from the time Jehovah came to his temple to judge in 1918 (A.D.). Beyond question we are living in the day when there are wonderful things to be seen and heard, not only by a spiritual understanding, but in actual experience. After cleansing his people from “transgression in Jacob” Jehovah brought them into his kingdom organization, Zion. We not only perceive that the Kingdom is established, but we have been brought into the Kingdom organization to share in its blessings of intense activity. Do we not experience the foretold increase that would come flocking into Zion? To see and hear the truth in Zion means that your ears and eyes are blessed. To see and hear the results of your efforts in helping others to grasp the truth and come into Zion means that your ears and eyes are doubly blessed. “Then thou shalt see and be radiant, and thy heart shall thrill and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned unto thee, the wealth of the nations shall come unto thee.”—Isa. 59:20; 60:5, AS.
“This is Jehovah’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” (Ps. 118:23, AS) Yes, we give him the credit and praise for all these favors. We can be used by him only if we keep humble before him and with our brothers. We are all in this work together and all have to meet the same righteous requirements. No one should expect special preference. By all means let us do the exulting as we see Jehovah’s blessing on our labors, but let him do the exalting in his own good time and way.—Luke 14:11, NW.
What of the future prospects? In Satan’s world today there is not much that is a blessing to eyes and ears, either literally or figuratively. If you live in a big city there is but little that refreshes the eye, just endless buildings and an endless stream of cars and such a din that you can hardly hear yourself speak.
What a contrast as you take a look at the conditions that will prevail in the “new earth,” as pictured in the last two chapters of Revelation, and that already prevail in a spiritual way in the New World society! What a restful and peaceful vista opens up before your eyes as you gaze down a long, quiet avenue of trees! There is no confusing din of traffic, but a lovely bird suddenly flits into view, a golden flash, as it flies homeward through the trees. Is this a picture of the depth of the countryside? To the contrary, it describes the great “broad way” of the city itself, the “New Jerusalem.” Instead of a hard macadam road with cars competing in speed, why, there is a river, “a river of water of life, clear as crystal.” And look at those trees; they too are “trees of life . . . yielding their fruits each month.”—Rev. 22:1, 2, NW.
Lasting life in happiness and peace is what the human family sadly needs and it is just that blessing held forth that makes the prospect of the “new earth” so inviting. Happy are you and blessed are your ears and eyes if you are already one of the New World society, learning not only to see the beauties of the truth and to hear and heed the life-giving instruction “flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” but also learning how to open the blind eyes and unstop the deaf ears of others of good will, inviting them to come with you to Zion, the “mountain of Jehovah,” to be taught of him and walk in his paths.—Isa. 2:3; 35:5, AS; Rev. 22:1, NW.
Will these blessings come to a climactic end at the close of the thousand years, as so often happens with a musical work you have particularly enjoyed? You can sense that end coming by the rising tension and then at last comes that loud final chord, leaving you with the feeling that however much you have enjoyed that melody there is not another note to be heard. You have had it. But it will not be that way when Christ hands over the Kingdom to his Father. Oh yes, there will be a climactic end for those who join in the final rebellion described at Revelation 20:7-10. But for those who are in full accord with the supreme Judge there will be no apprehension of all being lost in a tense climax.
And why need that music come to an irrevocable conclusion? Instead, when it comes to the last movement and that lovely melody goes sweeping on, having overcome all the threatening complications of minor chord, then suddenly the orchestra lifts the theme to a higher key, but with a variation in the harmony and, while you are listening entranced, the solo violin with its rich notes goes soaring away, unbelievably high and inexpressibly sweet, while the accompaniment sinks to a breeze that scarcely stirs the forest leaves, yet still with that change of harmony, leaving you with a delightful feeling that its possibilities are by no means exhausted and there is much yet to be enjoyed. So it will be at the close of the thousand-year Kingdom rule. Jehovah’s treasures will never be exhausted.
Meanwhile, as the apostle says, God has now revealed by his spirit many wonderful things, which you can enjoy by actual experience. (1 Cor. 2:10, NW) Now is the time when you can see and hear and enter into those things that prophets and righteous men of old so greatly desired to see and hear. Now is the time to be busy in heeding and extending that invitation to “anyone that wishes” that they, with you, may “take life’s water free.” (Rev. 22:17, NW) If you are actively sharing in these things your ears and eyes are indeed richly blessed.