God Endows the New Creature

“The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them. Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.” —Proverbs 20:12,13

A VERY IMPORTANT lesson for every Christian to learn is the fact that all the blessings which he enjoys are his as a result of the grace and mercy of God. This is true, also, of the natural man, who, as a product of the Creator, properly owes all that he possesses to him who is the fountain of all blessings.

Among the gifts with which God has endowed the natural man are the five senses of hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch. All that goes to make life truly enjoyable is communicated to the intelligence through these senses. In the symbolisms of the Scriptures, our Heavenly Father employs these natural senses to illustrate his endowment of New Creatures in Christ Jesus. Thus we find that there is a spiritual hearing, spiritual sight, spiritual taste, spiritual smell, and spiritual touch.

In our text are mentioned two of the senses with which both the natural man and the New Creature are endowed, with the reminder that it is only when one is awake that he enjoys the blessings that reach him through a proper use of the gifts with which he is provided. This is true in a very marked way with New Creatures in Christ Jesus, who are admonished not to sleep as do others, but to be awake and alert that they may at all times be responsive to the blessings which can be theirs by the proper use of divine provisions.—I Thess. 5:4-8

If we are indolent and drowsy as New Creatures, loving to be at ease in Zion, the result is sure to be spiritual starvation, and a consequent loss of the proper use of all of our spiritual senses. The apostle reminds us that the nourishing, life-giving meat provided by God belongs only to “those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”—Heb. 5:14


The sense of touch or feeling is used in the Scriptures to symbolize not only a similar gift with which New Creatures in Christ are endowed, but also to illustrate qualities of mind and heart possessed by those who desire to be in harmony with the Creator, even before they become Christians. The apostle speaks of those who ‘feel’ after the Lord. (Acts 17:27) The illustration here is that of one feeling for an object with his hands, when neither sight nor hearing reveals its whereabouts or identity.

Man when originally created, was given the quality of worship and veneration, and with it, a sense of dependence upon the Creator. As a result of the fall, the race has lost contact with God, but there have been those throughout the ages who have longed to be in harmony with him, and these are reaching out, groping for him. From this class he selects his people. God’s recognition of those whom he calls is manifested through his giving them eyes to see and ears to hear the truths pertaining to his plan, and their part therein.—Matt. 13:16

This longing desire of the individual to be in harmony with God, and to serve him as well as to depend upon him, does not cease with the divine call and recognition. It serves also as an important quality in the character of the New Creature, only now it is not a mere groping in the dark after God, but a passionate, yet enlightened desire to be pleasing to him, and to know and serve him better. David expresses the true feelings of every New Creature in Christ, saying, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”—Ps. 42:1

This proper feeling after God has associated with it a keen realization of our dependency upon him. If we are truly humble, we will seek the blessings from God which we so sorely need, and which he alone can provide. The humble-minded among the Israelites at the time of Jesus’ First Advent earnestly sought the blessings which they believed he was able to give. One of these said, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole,” (Mark 5:23) Here the close relationship between the sense of touch and the receiving of blessings from the Lord is emphasized.

When the Master revealed himself to Mary following his resurrection, and Mary sought to embrace him, Jesus said, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father … and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:17) The New Testament use of the Greek word here translated touch, shows its meaning to be that of making contact with the hope of receiving blessings. Jesus’ statement to Mary, therefore, is merely explaining to her that until he ascended to his Father and sprinkled the antitypical mercy seat with the blood of atonement, he was not in a position to grant her the blessing which alone would be of permanent value to her.

But now it is different. The blood has been applied for the responsive and receptive, and by faith they are able to make contact with him who is the fountain source of life and blessing. Symbolically speaking, then, our spiritual sense of touch is that quality which prompts us to seek divine blessings, and to worship at the throne of heavenly grace. Our natural feeling should neither influence us, nor be our guide as New Creatures. God guides us by enabling us to hear his Word of truth, and to see the vision of his great plan.


The blessing of spiritual hearing is of inestimable value. Jesus said to his disciples, “Blessed are … your ears, for they hear.” (Matt. 13:16) The blessing to which he referred by this symbol is described where the Master said to his disciples, “It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” (vs. 11) Jesus did not tell the disciples that they were to be congratulated upon their ability to fathom the mysteries of the kingdom, but reminded them that the understanding which they enjoyed had been ‘given’ to them.

Referring to Israel as a whole, at the time of his First Advent, Jesus explained that their ears were “dull of hearing.” (Matt. 13:15) Because of this, it was not given them to know the mysteries of the kingdom. In the case of these, the gift of hearing was withheld because of their lack of appreciation and hardness of heart. Even if this condition had not existed, they could not have enjoyed the blessings of spiritual hearing unless favored by God. In verse 17 are mentioned men who were as godly and zealous as the disciples, and yet they could not ‘hear’. These were none other than “many prophets and righteous men,” of whom Jesus said that they desired to hear these things, but failed in their attempt, because it was not God’s due time to reveal these truths.

From this we can see how greatly favored we have been of the Lord if we have been given ears to hear, and hearts to appreciate the glorious Gospel of the kingdom—the divine plan of the ages.

Let us not think for a moment that we have attained this wonderful knowledge through any brilliancy of our own. Let us remember that others who have been similarly blessed also have this mark of divine approval. A proper attitude of humility before the Lord, in view of the great things he has done for us, should make us careful in our judgment of the brethren and in our dealings with them.

If we properly appreciate God’s gift of the hearing ear, we will endeavor to use the gift to his glory. Jesus said to his disciples concerning statements of truth he had made to them, “Let these sayings sink down into your ears.” (Luke 9:44) Evidently Jesus’ thought here is that the disciples should give special attention to what he was saying. The importance of properly using the sense of hearing given to us by the Lord is further emphasized in Proverbs 8:32-34, where we read, “Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.”

Of special interest at this time—the period of Christ’s Second Presence—are the words of Jesus recorded in Revelation 3:20, where he says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Here we have brought to our attention our part in connection with the hearing of the truth, that is, the privilege of responding, and inviting the Lord to come in and sup with us.

The apostle admonishes that we be not merely hearers of the Word, but also doers. (James 1:22) If the Lord has blessed us with the hearing ear so that through this medium we have been made acquainted with his presence and the glorious message of truth associated therewith, we should act in harmony with what we have heard. We should be doers of the Word. If we expect to continue receiving the blessings of the Lord, we cannot go on in life as the world does, merely being glad that we know something of the truth but otherwise doing nothing about it.


Through the Prophet David, the Lord addresses those whom he invites to become a part of the bride class, saying, “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” (Ps. 45:10,11) Here, again, our part in connection with hearing is reiterated. We are not only to incline our ears to hear the words of the Lord, but upon hearing, we are to forget all other considerations except that of doing his will. Even such things as important and dear to us as our own people must take second place in our lives, if God’s gift of a hearing ear is to result in the rich blessings for us that he intended.

Isaiah 55:3 reads: “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” To ‘incline’ our ears unto the Lord means to give close and undivided attention, to shut out from our hearing, as far as possible, anything and everything that distracts our attention from what the Lord is saying to us. Only those who thus shut out these diverting things from their lives, through making a full consecration to do God’s will, and faithfully carry out that consecration day by day, can expect to receive God’s covenant blessings. Again, we are reminded of our part in the receiving of this divine gift of spiritual hearing. It is the gift of God, but if we fail to use it, or misuse it, we will be depriving ourselves of the rich spiritual blessings that could be ours.

“Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.” (Isa. 30:21) The use of the symbolism here indicates that it is through our spiritual sense of hearing that God reveals his will to us, to guide us in the way we should serve him. If our ears are dulled to the hearing of God’s instructions, we will be uncertain of the direction in which we should walk, and the manner in which we should serve.


Jesus indicated that spiritual vision, as well as the gift of spiritual hearing, is to be esteemed as a great blessing from the Lord—another means by which we are able to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 13:16) Spiritual vision is closely related to spiritual hearing, yet the symbolism brings additional thoughts to mind. Ability to hear the Word of the Lord seems to be related more particularly to God’s invitation to serve him, and our hearty and obedient response thereto, while spiritual sight conveys the thought of ability to discern not only God’s present will for us, but his plan in general, especially the wondrous truths pertaining to the establishment of his kingdom.

This thought is suggested in Isaiah 33:17, where we read, “Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.” The ‘king’ whom we see by spiritual vision, is Jesus, as Jehovah’s agent. The Apostle Paul speaks of this, saying, “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9) What a great blessing it is to be able thus to ‘see’ Jesus. Millions see Jesus as a teacher of high moral ethics, and a leader in other respects, but only those who are blessed by God with true spiritual vision, see him in his true position in the divine plan as the Redeemer of the world.

Millions who have hailed Jesus as the Redeemer have not been blessed with an understanding of the words they use. They have not discerned the ransom feature of the divine plan. They have not discerned Jesus as the Son of God, the Logos, who was made flesh for the suffering of death. Not discerning this, they have understood only that which they have learned through human philosophy, which has been far from the truth.

But the vision of ‘seeing’ Jesus includes more than our discerning the ransom feature of the plan, fundamental though this is. The Messianic promises of the Scriptures reveal Jesus also as the future king of earth, the one, who, reigning for a thousand years, will subdue all enemies under his feet, and, at the close of that mediatorial reign, will deliver up the kingdom to his Father.—I Cor. 15:24-28

The apostle says: “Now we see not yet all things put under him.” (Heb. 2:8) That which we do not yet see as an accomplished fact is that which the prophet speaks of as the ‘land … very far off’. True spiritual vision, then, enables us not only to discern the purpose of Christ’s First Advent, but also the object of his Second Presence. It enables us to understand that the work of redemption is a necessary precursor to his glorious kingdom reign. It is the ability to understand the entire plan of God, to ‘see’ what has already been accomplished, and to look forward to the fulfillment of that which has been promised—in ‘the land … very far off’.

One Beatitude says, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8) Here is spiritual discernment enabling us to see beyond the plan of God to the Author of that plan. It is a perceiving of the divine character that is revealed by the plan. Such ability to see is given only to the absolutely pure in heart, which signifies undivided devotion to the Lord. If in our hearts there is still some room for self, and we are not all for God, our vision will come short of actually beholding the glorious character of our Heavenly Father.

If, on the other hand, we can truly say from the heart, “None of self, and all of thee,” and are prepared, in self-sacrifice, to do the Lord’s will, our devotion is rewarded even now with faith’s vision of the glory of God. If we continue our wholehearted devotion to the Lord faithfully even unto death, our vision of faith will be rewarded with the glorious privilege of being in the actual presence of our God, and seeing him face to face.


When God enlightens us, and we find him whom we seek, he gives us the great joy of ‘tasting’ that he is good, and gracious, and loving, and kind. David refers to this, saying, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:103) From this symbolism we get the thought of experience. In the natural realm, we may see food that appeals to the eye, but when we taste it and find that it is good, the appraisal of sight has been verified. So, in the spiritual realm, when we taste the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, it means that we have taken these things to ourselves and have proven their value in our own experiences.—Heb. 6:4-6

This thought is borne out by the words of David, saying, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Ps. 34:8) In other words, ‘tasting’ of the Lord through his Word is putting his promises to the test. We have the assurance of his Word, and our own experience, that those who do this in sincerity are truly blessed.

The Apostle Peter exhorts that those who have “tasted that the Lord is gracious” (I Pet. 2:2,3), should desire the sincere milk of the Word, “that ye may grow thereby.” Evidently the apostle is not here using the term ‘milk of the Word’ as in contrast with what Paul designates the “strong meat.” (Heb. 5:14) Verse 1 admonishes the laying aside of “all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking.” Those who do this, he says, are like newborn babes, that is, they are pure, innocent, unassuming and wholesome. Peter’s illustration is evidently the same as that employed by Jesus when he said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”—Matt. 18:3

Having employed the illustration of infants, it was but fitting that Peter continue with a logical sequence of symbolism by using the food of infants to picture the purity of the Word of God, upon which we feed and grow strong in the Lord. In Hebrews 5:12-14, Paul contrasts the elementary truths of Christianity with the more advanced doctrines of the Word, referring to one as ‘milk’, and the other as ‘strong meat’. But Peter seems to be using the term ‘milk’ in a different sense, namely, to illustrate the purity and the rich, nourishing qualities of the truth and its power to promote growth in those who are pure in heart.


A still further knowledge of God and his truth is brought to our attention in Revelation 10:9, where the divine plan is likened to a book, which when eaten is sweet to the taste, but causes bitterness in digestion. Here we are given warning what to expect as a result of fully appropriating the truths of God and applying them in our lives. The promises of God are always sweet—how we rejoice in them, relishing, as it were, every blessed assurance of his Word by which he tells of his love and tender care.

We are not to forget that obedience to the Word leads to bitterness of experience through trial and persecution. No one could rejoice in the sweetness of the Father’s Word more than did Jesus, yet his faithfulness to it led to suffering and death, even the cruel death of the cross. Those who are following faithfully in the Master’s footsteps should not expect to have experiences different from his.


The symbolism of smelling is used in the Scriptures in connection with the thought of sacrifice and devotion. In Ephesians 5:2 the apostle says, “Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.” By this language the apostle takes our minds back to the services of the typical Tabernacle, where, in connection with the sacrificing work of the priest, incense was burned, the odors of which penetrated beyond the second veil into the Most Holy.

The regulations governing the services of the Tabernacle were very exacting. In taking the blood of the sacrifice into the Most Holy to sprinkle upon the Mercy Seat, it was essential that the incense first be burned at the Golden Altar in the Holy in order that the smoke of the incense could precede the High Priest as he passed under the veil. If the smoke of the incense did not reach the Most Holy ahead of the High Priest he would die as he passed under the veil. The typical significance of this seems clear. The smoke of the incense was the evidence of the sacrificial work properly carried out. That is why the sacrifice of Jesus is spoken of as ‘a sweetsmelling savor to God’.

But the application of this symbolism is not limited to Jesus alone. The church is invited to “fill up that which is behind” of his sufferings, and to share his sacrifice. (Col. 1:24) Our work of sacrifice is directed particularly on behalf of the brethren. Indirectly, it is also on behalf of the world. In Philippians 4:18, the Apostle Paul, alluding to the evidence of sacrifice on the part of the church at Philippi in sending him a gift while in prison at Rome, refers to it as “an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.” Here we have the authority of Paul himself, for applying the typical lessons of the Tabernacle to the church, as well as to Jesus. It shows, furthermore, that God is testing the sincerity of our consecration by the wholeheartedness of our sacrifice.

The symbolism of smelling is used particularly to help us understand God’s viewpoint of Christian sacrifice, but we can profit from it otherwise, also. It should enable us to discern between true devotion to God, and mere lip service. It is a sense by which we may test, as it were, the value of truth, and its application in our own lives specially, and in a limited way in the lives of others. Where we can smell no odor of sacrifice, we may well wonder how deeply the truth has taken hold of the life. Our vision of truth should reveal the privilege of sacrifice on behalf of others, and our heart devotion to the truth should make us quick to lay down our lives that others may be blessed.

Should there be two groups of professed Christians in the same community, both believing the same truths of the Word, and one group is actively sacrificing in order to reach out and help others understand more about God’s plan, while the other group is merely enjoying the truth for themselves, our sense of spiritual smell should direct us to those who, according to the standards of God’s Word, are the most pleasing to him. Surely those who are most pleasing to God should also please us most.

If the spiritual endowments of the New Creation are to react in genuine and lasting blessings to us as followers of the Master, it is important that we use them continuously. In the natural realm when sleep overtakes an individual, all his senses lie dormant. But the apostle, admonishing us against spiritual lethargy says, “Let us not sleep, as do others.”—I Thess. 5:6


Let us, then, dear brethren, remain awake and alert, using the spiritual senses which the Lord has so abundantly provided, in order that we may know him better and serve him more faithfully.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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