Glossary: Lifting The Eyes

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Probably seeing something heavenly or spiritual


  • Of course, this term has the physical meaning of someone merely lifting their physical eyes to see something, but symbolically the term “they lifted their eyes” does seem to be present when God is speaking symbolically to someone and wants them to see through the symbolism, to the spiritual truth (the following examples will only mean something to you if you are aquatinted with the symbolism behind them).
  • When promising Abram the whole earth (Romans 4:13), but using Canaan as a symbol:

Genesis 13:14-15 (KJV) And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever [new earth is the only earth that is forever].

  • When Balaam sees Israel in the spiritual, rather than just physically:

Numbers 24:2-4 (KJV) And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him. Verse 4) He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open

  • When God asked Abraham to offer Isaac, Abraham knew full well that what he was doing was symbolic of Jesus. That’s why Abraham referred to it as an act of “worship,” being fully confident that God did not want Isaac’s death, saying that “they” would return. Abraham certainly saw the crucifixion of Jesus in this offering, though it was “afar off” in time. Therefore it seems that God may have a double meaning when he states that “Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off…” — seemingly also referring to Abraham lifting his eyes to see the symbolism — seeing the place of Christ’s death, afar off in time.

Genesis 22:4-5 (KJV) Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

John 8:56 (KJV) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

  • Lifting the eyes is the common way of referring to seeing heaven or something heavenly.

Psalms 121:1-2 (KJV) I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills [which means heaven – see Mountains/Hills], from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

Psalms 123:1 (KJV) Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.

Isaiah 40:26 (KJV) Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

Isaiah 37:23 (KJV) Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.

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