Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”(Psalm 119:18)
Revelation, inspiration and illumination are three critical concepts for Christians to understand. God has revealed Himself to humans in two ways.
The first way is known as “Natural Revelation.” The word “natural” speaks about nature, so the first way God has revealed himself is through nature – through what He has created.
The second way God has revealed Himself is through “Special Revelation.” This includes direct verbal communication such as Adam and Eve enjoyed before the fall, prophecy, God becoming man through Jesus Christ.
Finally, from His Holy Word in the Bible. Most of what we learn about God is contained in The Bible. The Bible was written by humans under the direct inspiration of God. Inspiration, then, is what God uses to reveal Himself to us.
Illumination refers to God’s work in the lives of believers to make us able to believe and understand the words of the Bible. This is why King David, in writing Psalm 119 asked the Lord “Give me understanding, that I may observe your Law.”
Revelation is a supernatural communication of divine truth presented to men (Deut 29:29), of that which they otherwise would not know, the Scriptures (Old and New Testament) the chief locus (Ps 138:2) of the Revelation. Inspiration is the term used to describe how the Scriptures were given by God, men supernaturally guided to express exactly what God intended (verbal-plenary), therefore that word spoken in old time by holy men of God is infallible, and preserved for us today (2 Pet 1:19-21; 2 Tim 3:16; Jer 1:9; Ps 100:5; Ps 12:7). Illumination refers to the Spirit enlightening the understanding of man whereby the meaning of Scripture is understood by the believer (1 Cor 2:10-14; 2 Cor 4:6; Eph 1:18; 2:1; John 16:13; Isa 29:18). The Spirit of God acts immediately upon the soul (John 3:7).
In the twenty fourth chapter of Luke Jesus, when appearing to the disciples after His resurrection, “opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Following His ascension, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide and to illumine the Scriptures for us. Paul referred to this many times, often praying that his readers would experience it. Perhaps the clearest example is in Ephesians 1:17-18 where we read “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints…”
Illumination, then, is that method used by the Holy Spirit to shed divine light upon all those who seek Him through the Word of our living God.
We need illumination because:1. We are naturally blind because of sin. (1 Cor. 2:14, Matt. 16:16-17) 2. We are satanically blind. (2 Cor. 4:3-4) 3. We are carnally blind. (Heb. 5:12-14, 1 Cor. 3, 2 Peter 1). Revelation is when God makes truth known to man, while inspiration is the communicating of that truth. Inscripturation is the writing down of the truth that has been revealed, while illumination is God’s work in the believer when He helps us acquire, grasp, and understand the truth that was inscripturated.
There are many wondrous things in nature: the trees, oceans, the sky, the rainbow, butterflies and flowers, an infants smile -- yet what are these things to us if we are blind? In the same way, unless the Lord opens our spiritual eyes, the wondrous things in the word of God will be of no significant value to us. Since we are helpless in ourselves to see spiritual beauty and the wonder of God in the teachings and events of the Bible without God's gracious illumination, we should ask him for spiritual insight.
The prayer that every living person should pray is "Open my eyes." Because the Bible is clearly the most influential book the world has ever known. George Washington, the 1st President of the United States said “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.” Abraham Lincoln called it "the best gift God has given to man." Patrick Henry said, "It is worth all other books which were ever printed." Noted British statesman William Gladstone wrote that "an immeasurable distance separates it from all competitors" while the famous philosopher Immanuel Kant declared, "The Bible is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced." King David said “I will worship toward your holy temple, and praise your name for your loving kindness and for your truth: for you have magnified your word above all your name. “ (Psalm 138:2.)
We must value the vital virtues of God’s word above every opinion of men because it is exalted above all things. It is a timeless book. (Psalm 119:8), a truthful book. (Psalm 119:142) and a treasured book. (Psalm 119:72).
We must value Scripture above human reason, above scientific inquiry, and above all other sources of truth because God has exalted his word above all. You can pick up any other book and read it, but this is the book that reads you. It liberates a person from the prison-house of his myths, class, race, customs, standards and even his own beliefs and traditions.
It is the fountain by which character is formed, mind is refined and the intellect is sharpened, as a result, one can stand against all storms of life.
It pulsates with life and power. It cuts, burns, crushes, and wields mountain-moving power. His Word has a life of its own. It is the voice of God to you. You cannot refuse it, deny it, distort it, or dilute it. You can only bow before it.
Therefore we must guard ourselves against lowering the standard of God’s Word to our level of understanding or political correctness. And we must guard ourselves against raising the standards of human philosophy and human traditions above the standard of His Word. The Bible is not meant to be paraded past the judgment bar of human mind. Bible says “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”(Colossians 2:8).
Wesley rightly prayed “Enlighten my mind by the light of thy Holy Spirit, and dispel all ignorance and error.”
God says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge ;”( Hosea 4:6) Bible also state “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). Sight is a function of the eyes (physical). Vision is a function of the Heart (spiritual). Eyes restrict you with present (temporary), but vision releases you to the future (eternal). Vision makes the unseen visible and the unknown possible. Vision is the Source of hope and purpose of life. If we have a scratch on our glasses it may seem like everybody around us has scratches too, but the problem actually lies with us because our vision is impaired. If our heart becomes bitter, jealous, hurt or in some way infected, the lens of our heart is distorted. Vision is the lens that interprets the events of our life, the way we view people and our concept of God and his word. Therefore vision consists of foresight, insight and oversight that come from God’s sight. This is why Apostle Paul said “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) King David was physically not blind but he is praying to God for his eyes to be open. Therefore, the eyes referred to here are Spiritual eyes, something similar in verse 105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
We need God’s word to shine into our hearts. Helen Keller, probably the most recognized blind person who has ever lived, once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Like the writer of that great hymn, “Amazing Grace,” the believer is aware that “I once was blind, but now I see….if we do not see and understand the beauty of God’s word, then we will not appreciate the word of God. If we do not appreciate the virtues of the Word of God, then we will have no desire to assimilate and be appropriate the Word. So how do we make Bible come alive and active in our daily life? To Make Bible come alive and active in our daily life, we must appreciate the Virtues of the Bible and assimilate the Vitality and appropriate Values of God’s word. We must pray over it, ponder it, Preserve it, Practice it and proclaim it.
Apostle Paul prayed that the eyes of our heart would be enlightened. (Ephesians 1:18) so our prayer needs to be that of the Psalmist “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”
GOD BLESS YOU.