We do not fix our eyes on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.

In this passage, we have four different words that are important to understand: seen, unseen, temporary, and eternal. The visible is what we call the physical realm, which is visible to the physical eye. This realm can be studied and experienced through our five natural senses of taste, touch, sound, sight, and smell.

The unseen is another realm. Like the physical realm, it can also be experienced with the five senses. Our physical body’s five senses do not interact with the unseen realm, but we have five senses in our spirit that interact with this realm. The physical realm and the spiritual realm are what Paul was referring to when he mentions the visible and the invisible.

Next, we have the eternal and the temporary. The eternal is any realm other than the physical. For example, ten billion years ago, God existed in the heavens and in the spirit. In ten billion years, God will still exist in the heavens and in the spirit. When Paul writes about the temporary, he is referring to this physical realm that began in Genesis 1 and continues only until it is replaced by the New Earth in Revelation 22.

If you were to draw a line to represent time and it extended infinitely into the past and infinitely into the future, and if you were to put a one-inch mark on this line, it would give you an idea of what the duration of the physical realm looks like from Heaven’s perspective. This is a good perspective to have when considering the reality of the spirit realm.

Many have stated that the spirit realm is just as real as the physical realm; this is actually a huge understatement. The truth is that the spirit realm is far more real than the physical realm. In fact, if you died this second while reading this book, you would immediately dwell in the spirit realm. You are one heartbeat away from existing entirely in the spirit realm. Yet, some live their whole lives denying the existence of the spirit realm.

When an angel appears in the physical realm, people generally think the angel has come from heaven. It is true that the Lord’s angels have their home in heaven with God, but they can also surround us on earth in the unseen realm, as with Elisha and his servant in 2 Kings 6. They sometimes manifest in the visible realm to deliver a message and then return to the unseen realm, as with Balaam in Numbers 22.

Sometimes, this delivery of a message can take a long time and involve a war we may not be fully aware of. For example, the angels Michael and Gabriel had to war together against the prince of Persia (perhaps a regional evil spirit) to finally break through 21 days of warfare and deliver a message to Daniel (see Daniel 10:13).


Some teachers in the Body of Christ have coined new extra-biblical terms to explain three different realms. [Authors’ Note: “Extra-biblical” simply refers to things that are not in the Bible. It is not the same as anti- or non-biblical.] Based on Paul using the phrase “third heaven” in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, they have extrapolated that if there is a third heaven, it would logically follow that there must be a first and a second heaven, neither of which is mentioned by name in the Bible. Theologically, this is not an incorrect assumption.

However, when we start creating new extra-biblical terms, we usually frighten and separate ourselves from other parts of the Body of Christ. I have chosen to use biblical language as much as possible so that I can bring other more timid parts of the Church into a new experience with the Holy Spirit.

When people refer to the first heaven, they mean what the Bible calls the visible realm. When speaking of the second heaven, it is what the Bible calls the unseen realm, which surrounds the physical realm. The term third heaven is mentioned only once in the Scriptures, and it is mentioned as an experience that happened once in 14 years, and the author could not even describe this precious experience.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body, I do not know – God knows. And I know that this man (whether in the body or apart from the body, I do not know, but God knows) was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

Because the third heaven is mentioned only once and without description, I have chosen not to use this term lightly. Consider that the third heaven must be something profound in that it was indescribable and unusual in that it occurred once in 14 years. Although we have access to the heavenly realm and experiences, according to Paul, the third heaven is quite different.


Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:13-17).

In this story, Elisha had been surrounded by enemy forces during the night. When the servant woke up and realized they were surrounded, he was full of fear. However, Elisha was calm, cool, and collected. He ordered his servant not to be afraid and informed him that there were more forces on their side than the enemy had on their side. Elisha was seeing into the unseen realm of the spirit. He prayed for his servant to also see. The servant received this communication and was able to see what Elisha saw. My friend Harold Eberle has an interesting insight into how we see things in the spirit and how God communicates with us.

To see how spiritual dynamics relate to natural consequences, consider how the prophet Elisha and his servant were surrounded by enemy soldiers. When Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened to the spiritual world, “he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17 LSG). Knowing that God was with him, Elisha had no fear. He prayed for God to strike the enemies with blindness, and they immediately became blind for a season.

This story is enlightening on how the spiritual realm appears to one who can see into that realm. God communicates through visions. He uses images we can relate to in order to communicate what is happening in the spiritual world.

Concerning Elisha and his servant’s vision, it is hard to say if the horses and chariots actually existed in the spiritual world or if the horses and chariots they saw represented God’s power available to defend them. For us today, horses and chariots would not be a very effective representation of God’s power because a modern military machine like a tank could defeat thousands of horses and chariots. Perhaps, then, if God wanted to reveal his power to us, he would show armies with all the latest and deadliest equipment.

This reveals how the realities of the spiritual realm are communicated to us in the natural realm. It is similar to the images seen in dreams. There are real messages behind the spiritual images, but the images are just a form of communication.


Daniel lived a life full of incredible spiritual experiences. In Daniel 10, Daniel sees into the unseen realm, but the men with him did not share his experience. He had recently had a vision of an upcoming war and had been emotionally troubled for several weeks. One day, as Daniel stood on the bank of the Tigris, he began to see into the spirit realm:


This text is an extract from the book “THE SCHOOL OF SEER” written by Dr. Jonathan Welton.

We invite you to read the following article “QUESTION ABOUT THE ANGELIC REALM.”

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