Spiritual Meaning of Eye


“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.” (Proverbs 20:12) NKJV
Are we influenced by powers of darkness?

Have we become “short sighted” in spiritual things, resulting in us living in a spiritual mediocrity, influenced by attracting powers of darkness? Because of our weakened state, of spiritual blindness, our flesh is leading us and, in this, we rebel against the truth of God’s Word. We feed on our flesh through carnality. We find our eyes are drawn to the very things we should be fighting against.

At the same time – on the positive side – we need to yield to the power of Holy Spirit and become aware of the familiar voice of God’s Spirit. We are created to walk in such a high level of faith that we should see and hear with great clarity. This is so important today because we are in a spiritual battle for our very lives – the battle over the flesh verses the spirit.

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:7-8)
Every member of the Body of Christ receives grace and gifts in a measure from Him. Though we may have gifts differing one from another, all these gifts are valuable, so that there is no room for pride, envy and contempt. If there is any discord it will break the unity of the spirit and cause a level of suspicion and jealousy.

Sight is: a light and darkness issue.

What every joint supplies’, the most significant and representative of our spiritual senses is our sight, “the eye.” Jesus often used the eye as a metaphor in His parables in referring to spiritual things, calling it “the lamp of the body.” (Luke 11:34).

“The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:34).

The clarity of the inward eye imparts to the whole body.

The ‘inner eye’ expresses what is pure, good and perceives the potential of the heart. Jesus revealed that when He was speaking of the inner eye of the body He was referring to our spiritual condition and heart condition?

Jesus is saying: “A healthy eye gives light to the whole body, but a diseased eye leaves the whole body in darkness.” “…Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:34)

When your eye is good, your whole body is full of light; but when it is unsound, the body is full of darkness. Scripture often speaks about eyes. This is important because our minds receive imagines from our physical eyes. Our “spiritual eyes” refer to our “regenerated spirit” (eternal spirit), heart, the inner person and spirit man. It also refers to our human spirit through which we communicate with God.


The body that lacks spiritual sight is full of darkness, but the spiritually sighted body is full of light. Christ often used sight as a synonym for wisdom and understanding referring to those religious leaders who lacked sight and insight namely that they were blind.

Jesus said in Matthew 15:14, “They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a pit….”

Our ‘eyes’ are the chief channel of information for man. Of all the five senses, sight is the most needed and greatly valued.

  • Sight is the KEY to knowledge.
  • What you cannot conceptualize, you cannot understand.
  • Both in the natural life and in the spiritual life.
  • Seeing precedes knowledge.

Our moral flesh, our mind and soul, is not spiritual and so has no capacity to communicate with an immortal God.

In 1 Corinthians 2:14 it states: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

So if we lose our spiritual sight we become spiritually blind thereby losing a vital portion of our spirituality.

Scripture states in Ephesians 1:18 “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.”

When we are able to discern situations in life then we have the eyes of our understanding enlightened” and or illuminated” by God’s Spirit through revelation and through God’s Word. Our spiritual insight can come through divine dreams and visions, and the revelation gifts of the Holy Spirit. However, one of the primary ways we communicate with God is through spiritual insight, including impressions and promptings in our human spirit that reveals the still small voice of The Lord.

“And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:12)
Whatever, our physical eyes can see, our spiritual eyes can comprehend much more. Our spiritual eye is very sensitive and has a heightened awareness, and function in a much greater depth and often includes graphic vision.

We read in Ephesians 3:16-20, “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”
(Ephesians 3:16-20) – Further word meanings to these scriptures:

  • Inner man – a) Inner strength. b) Conscience (is an aptitude, faculty, intuition)
  • Comprehend – a) Grasp mentally. b) Understand.
  • Length – a) The measurement of something from end to end. b) The greater or greatest of two or more dimensions of an object.
  • Depth – a) The distance from the top to the bottom of something.
  • Height – a) The measurement of someone b) Something from head to foot. c) From base to top.

Without spiritual insight (revelation) we cannot take what is freely given to us by Christ Jesus. All spiritual insight must line up with God’s Word and the principles of His Word.

We read in 1 Corinthians 2:10, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”

We learn that with growth comes insight and with maturity more understanding, working effectively with knowledge and wisdom for life in the Spirit.


If we are feeding our “souls” with carnal things, our eye gate will be drawn in the direction of fleshly desires. The lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life are carnality, and it brings forth sin, darkness and finally death.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
The opposite is true: if we feed the soul through the eye gate with good things and with the Word of God, more faith and light begins to shine through our lives with more illumination and revelation is revealed through the Holy Spirit.

“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.” (Ephesians 1:17)


In both our natural and spiritual birthing, we must be born before we can see. Just as an infant grows to see in the natural realm with natural eyes, this is also true of a person’s spiritual understanding. To see with spiritual eyes, they must be born again of the Spirit of God.

The apostle Paul put it this way, “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.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

How do we look at things that are not seen?

  • We look with eyes of faith. A believer walk is “by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
  • This is ambiguous language, a paradox. Spiritual sight is necessary for spiritual understanding.

Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, an exceptionally educated man and a Rabbi of Israel, came to Jesus by night, wanting to understand spiritual matters. He greeted Jesus, knowing He was a man who knew more than he did on understanding spiritual matters. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” (John 3:2) NLT

Nicodemus conceded to Jesus as Rabbi, desiring to learn about His kingdom. Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) NKJV


The spiritual eye, as the eye of the body, signifies sight and understanding.

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.” (Ephesians 1:18) NKJV

  1. In Ephesians 1:18, the phrase “eyes of your understanding “is a metaphor referring to the ability to perceive with the heart. Just as we can’t see with our physical eyes if we have them closed, so none of us can see with our understanding if our spiritual eyes are closed. We need to have our understanding opened by the Lord to perceive spiritual truth. (Luke 24:45)
  2. In Ephesians 1:18 we read that wisdom and revelation can only be received as the “eyes of our hearts are enlightened” (revelation). Several modern translations have rendered the English word “understanding” as “heart” in this verse.

    The Greek word for “understanding” is “DIANOIA,” and it was translated in the KJV as “mind, “or “understanding,” and “imagination.” Our way of thinking has to be illuminated in order to come into a more accurate and thorough knowledge of God. In fact spiritual mindedness is the only way to true life in the spirit and of peace. (Romans 8:5-6 and Isaiah 26:3). The renewing of the mind is the way to knowing the perfect will of God for lives (Romans 12:2).

  3. In Ephesians 1:18, the culmination of this wisdom and revelation was that the Ephesians church might know (1) “the hope of his calling,” (2) “the riches of the glory of his inheritance,” and (3) “the exceeding greatness of his power toward us.” Without a revelation from God, no one can realize these blessings.

    Question – Did the Ephesians already know these things? There are several Greek words in the New Testament for the word “knowledge.”

    “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,” (Ephesians 1:17)
    The Greek word used for knowledge is “EPIGNOSIS” (Ephesians 1:17).

    Its verb counterpart, “EPIGINOSKO,” carries the idea of full, accurate, expert knowledge (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon). It’s one thing to know about a car engine; it’s quite another to have the expert knowledge of a mechanic to fix the car. Paul’s prayer was that through a spirit of wisdom and revelation, the Ephesians would come to know the Father in a deeper, more perfect way than they had before.

  4. In Ephesians 1:18 notice what Paul said “the hope of His calling” not our calling. Through our faith in Christ, we have become partakers of everything that Christ obtained. It takes a divine revelation to understand this, and that is exactly what Paul was praying for in this verse.
  5. In Ephesians 1:18 it is important to notice that the inheritance that is within us, is

    His inheritance.” Everything we have is all through Christ. It came through His holiness, not ours and not ours, remains because of His faithfulness, not ours.

  6. In Ephesians 1:18 notice that “the riches of the glory of his inheritance” are in the saints. Most people picture the streets of gold and the wonders of heaven when they think of the glories of God’s riches. The treasures that are within every believer right now are the glorious gold and the amazing riches.
  7. In Ephesians 1:18 we read The eyes of your understanding” — The true interpretation of your heart, for which the words “of your understanding” has been substituted.

“The eye” in Matthew signifies the Word of understanding.

Here the Lord says in Matthew — “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)
Verse 22: The light — (the lamp) of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be good.

– As applied to the outward eye, this means general soundness, not looking two ways. Here, it is used figuratively to denote the simplicity of the mind’s eye, singleness of purpose, looking right at its object, as opposed to having two ends in view.

The whole body will be full of light(illuminated) As with the bodily vision, the man who looks with a good, sound eye, walks in light, seeing every object clear with the persistent purpose to serve and please God in all things.

Verse 23: But if your eye were evil(disorder) if we have a bad eye. “The whole body will be full of darkness” — Just as an eye that does look straight and full at its object, sees nothing as it is, so a mind and heart divided between heaven and earth is in the dark.

As the conscience is the regulative faculty of man’s inward purpose, scope and aim in life, it determines his character. If this faculty is not focused heavenward, but distorted and double minded all the other faculties and principles of his nature will be influenced because his conscience and character are in darkness.

In Luke 11:36 we read “If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”

This scripture statement expresses what is pure, what is good and leads to visible perceptions. The brightness of the inward eye imparts life and light just as a candle gives light.

When Jesus turned to His disciples and said to them privately: “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see.” (Luke 10:23).

Here again the eyes which see and perceive have faith, are meant for seeing the Lord, and His miracles and His works. We comprehend these things with our understanding and having faith, we see with our spiritual eyes and apply those things which we have heard which results in obeying the Holy Spirit.

For those who did not see with faith, they were not blessed.

Jesus said to the disciples, “But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? 18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?” (Mark 8:17, 18)

  1. It is because we have no bread? When Jesus spoke of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod, the disciples did not relate it to a spiritual idea at all.
  2. Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Jesus confronted His disciples over their lack of understanding.
  3. Do you not remember? Their understanding should have been based on seeing what Jesus had already done. We need to learn from our understanding of the past faithfulness of God as a promise of His continued love and understanding.


Oracles (Oracles are like prophetic stories)

  1. Visual Oracles – an inspired, non-premeditated utterance, arising from a vision can also be given as a prophetic word, a message or as a song.

    In Isaiah 22:1- 4 “The burden against the Valley of Vision. What ails you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops, you, who are full of noise, a tumultuous city, and a joyous city? Your slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle. All your rulers have fled together; they are captured by the archers. All who are found in you are bound together; they have fled from afar. Therefore I said, “Look away from me, I will weep bitterly; do not labor to comfort me. Because of the plundering of the daughter of my people.”

  2. Auditory Oracles – an inspired, non-premeditated utterance arising from hearing God’s spoken word.

In Numbers 24:4 we read, “The utterance of him who hears the words of God. Who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, with eyes wide open.”

In 2 Samuel 23:1 we read, “Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; thus says the man raised up on high, The anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel.”


Different Visions occur frequently in the Bible as means by which supernatural revelation is communicated. They can be audio-visual means of communication between God and man. The terms used to designate visions in both Old and New Testaments have to do with seeing or perceiving. The Old Testament term for vision the Hebrew words (verbs) “raa” and “haza” and the (noun) ‘off shoots’ mean “to look at” or “to see.”

In the New Testament, the Greek word (verb) for “horao” is to “see, observe, or perceive,” but its related (noun) “horama” the word for “vision.”

Revelatory visions portray scenery or setting of a spectacular event to the human recipient while the human is asleep or awake. The distinction between a vision and a dream has to do with whether the human is awake or asleep the result is the same.

The prophetic use of dreams and visions is summarized in the Lord’s dramatic defence of Moses in the face of Aaron and Miriam’s revolt: “When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams” (Numbers 12:6).

Visions are found in the prophetic portions of the Old Testament and other prophecies from Ezekiel, Daniel, and Isaiah, which developed a greater capacity for visionary revelation.

Prophets in the Bible implied that visions were a normal medium for receiving the divine word in a “vision.” The Old Testament prophets signify not just a visionary drama that is perceived

by the eyes (Isaiah 6) but also a perception of reality that was proclaimed throughout the prophets.

The prophetic vision may be a scenic and or a visual communication and a type of prophetic worldview. Sometimes a prophetic message is introduced as a burden or an “oracle.” The prophet “sees” usually using the term “haza” (Habakkuk 1:1 NKJV) (“the oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received”). “The burden (oracle), which the prophet Habakkuk saw.”

  1. Ordinary Vision a picture seen within the human spirit. A perceiving of something, which is visual. It is a sight or insight into the spiritual realm, a picture. The picture can be stationary or moving in different colours. The picture vision can have a number of parts to the same story.

    In Isaiah 2:1-2 we read, “The word that Isaiah the son of Amos saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days. That the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow to it.”

  2. Gazing Visiongazing (looking intently) into the spiritual realm. An example of seeing an angel or a vision of an angel or of a city or nation, a storm or to be aware of a spiritual event that you are part of or a revelation of an event in the vision of a current or future happening.

    In Daniel 8:2 we read, “I saw in the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, that I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai.”

  3. Day Vision
    to mentally dream while awake. Day visions are often confused with daydreams (images cast upon the mind by your own imagination). Day visions are images cast by the Holy Spirit to reveal something significant. Here Daniel saw the vision not merely in his mind but with his natural eyes.

    In Daniel 5: 5 we read, “In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lamp stand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.”

  4. Night Visionthere is a state halfway between waking and sleeping, when the conscious mind has not quite been stirred to full alertness, where we receive revelations. We see in vision and we hear the Word of the Lord.

    In 2 Samuel 7:4 we read “But it happened that night that the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying…”

    In 2 Samuel 7:17 we read, “According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.”

  5. Abstract Vision a vision that is obscure in meaning and highly symbolic, figurative, metaphorical, abstract and rhetorical. The abstract vision is compared to being overcome or dominated by a strong feeling or emotion, almost half drunk or hallucinating. It blurs the line between visions and dreams.

    A lack of sleep may cause such a vision instead of the Holy Spirit, so discernment is needed.

    In Isaiah 28:7 we read, “But they also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink,

    They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.”

  6. Open Vision spiritual sight with the eyes wide open. Here the eyes actually see into the realm of the spirit world. The gift of discernment can operate this way, and assists us to separate or divide up, hence, to examine carefully, investigate, then to determine, judge or estimate. (As used in 1 Corinthians 2:14-15)

    In Numbers 24:4 we read, “The utterance of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, with eyes wide open.”

    In 2 Kings 6:17 we read, “And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” The vision is external to the person, not merely experienced in our spirit or mind. People often describe it as panoramic or like a movie. A movie screen opens up before their eyes and they observe the open vision.

  7. Mirror Vision – seeing something no one else sees. It is obtaining a reflection in the spirit, or discerning a presence when everyone else is oblivious to the vision. An example of angels of light – not everyone sees the angels and it can be a reflection in your spirit.

    In Ezekiel 1:1 we read, “Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.”

    In Daniel 10:7 we read, “And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.”

  8. Book Vision – of our lives highlighting certain parts that we have done or a future vision of what God has revealed about your destiny as yet to be fulfilled.

    In Daniel 7:10 we read, “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”

    In Revelation 20:12 we read, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”

    In Psalm 139:16 we read, “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”


    We may receive revelation of the book of life by being allowed to read something in these books. To have a glimpse in the books of life for a family member or dear friends and to have a sense of what is written in the book. During times of ministry while prophesying to people, you may see a chapter, or paragraph of pages of what is written there. This can happen as a vision in the mind.

  9. Countenance Vision looking at someone who reminds you of someone else. For a moment you have the countenance of someone who you recognize. This will often unlock information to you about the person you are looking at physically in that moment.

    For example: Someone who looks like a friend. I could prophesy to that person what my friend had experienced and it will totally apply to this person.

  10. Expansive Visionan unfolding, lengthy, on-going vision, and could have a number of parts to the same vision. They are often long and complex and very symbolic and have different meanings that are – For example: The book of Revelation (John was told not to write down certain parts).
  11. Visions in a Dream as we can often have a dream within a dream. So we also can have a vision within a dream.

In Genesis 28:12 we read, “Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”

Len and Linda Buttner
Eagle Ascend Ministries