Word Study: See God




Matthew 5:8: “Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

“It’s a highway to heaven
None can walk up there
But the pure in heart” – Tommy Dorsey

I caught a couple episodes of the 43 year old TV series Highway to Heaven on Pure Flix. Michael Landon plays an angel who solves people’s problems. Although the scripts would never come close to winning a Writers Guild award, it is still a feel good series despite its contrived plots.

What drew my attention to these episodes, at least the ones I watched, is how the angel Jonathan only knew what God revealed to Him but when God reveal His plan or a part of the plan to Jonathan he would act on that bit of knowledge he had even if it appears that he was making a fool of himself and no one else understood. He had no idea where it would lead but he trusted God that it would end up with everything in its rightful place. Michael Landon played the angel Jonathan and probably had the most difficult role to play because he had to portray someone with a pure heart and not make it look phony. I will leave it to you to decide how successful he was. But he had to portray someone with a pure heart because it stands to reason that if a person has a pure heart, they will know God’s will. In fact Jesus taught in Matthew 5:8 that the pure in heart will see God.

I know our first thought when we read this passage is that seeing God means going to heaven. The problem with that is not all believers have a pure heart, yet they are still saved and going to heaven. A pure heart seems to be something that is a goal of the believer and not automatic. A pure heart is something that we strive for.

This seeing God is not a physical sight. The word in Aramaic is chaza. The Greek uses the word opsontai from the root word horao which means to see but is often a reference to spiritual insight. The Aramaic word that Jesus used is chaza which goes further as it means to be made evident, that is to become very aware of something. To be aware of something that others are not aware of. In this definition the angel Jonathan in Highway to Heaven could see or chaza God, not to see Him in the physical sense but to be so aware of His presence that he knew God was always there, he was walking in the presence of God and thus able to know God’s heart.

I have spent the last eight years searching for God’s heart. I found that in my years of searching I was becoming more aware of the mind of God. Not that I have achieved a pure heart, I am still far from it. But I know I am headed in the right direction. For instance, I grew up in a fundamentalist home where dancing, going to movies and drinking were all sinful and if I saw anyone dancing, going to a movie or taking a drink, I really did not believe that person was saved and going to heaven.

As I continued my journey to God’s heart I began to see that the Bible did not condemn dancing, in fact it encouraged it. It did not condemn going to movies as they did not exist in Jesus’s day. It also did not condemn drinking, it only condemned getting drunk. Today I would never condemn a person for taking a drink nor question their salvation. The closer I get to God’s heart the more I realize that that is His call, not mine. It was man who decided that dancing, movies and drinking was a sin and of course the church would like to tell us what is sinful and not and indeed new believers need someone to tell them. But if we follow God’s design and grow in our relationship with God we should reach a point where we can discern God’s heart in a matter. A former alcoholic knows that if he takes one drink he is hooked again so God’s heart says no. If I am attending a Passover and my host asks me to drink wine and since I never took a drink in my life I am in little danger of becoming an alcoholic God’s heart may say it is ok.

You see Jesus spoke these words in Aramaic. A pure heart in Aramaic is dadaka balevahu which really means pure in heart. The word dadaka comes from the root word daka which means to purge, to remove all the toxin out of something. In the Hebrew there is also the word daka which means a field that is ready for planting. It is plowed and all the stones and rocks have been removed, the prior year’s harvest has been removed and now it is ready to receive new seeds without anything from the past plantings hindering it. Oddly daka in Aramaic and daka in Hebrew do not represent the same thing but Jesus was using a common first Century rabbinical teaching tool by using the Aramaic word to make a play on a Hebrew. The Hebrew equivalent to daka is zabah which means to prune. When you prune a tree you are removing all the dead and none productive branches leaving only the good branches. Thus there are no none productive branches taking nourishment away from the productive branches.

The phrase pure in heart is really an Aramaic Idiom. It is used for a person who is sincere, and contrite. One who has a clear mind. It was taught by the ancient Jewish sages that one who has a clear mind and heart is able to perceive God’s presence. When one’s mind and heart are clouded with self desires and personal gratification one cannot see the good in something that one’s personal desire interprets as a threat. For instance you get a flat tire. You curse because you will be late for an appointment or inconvenienced never realizing that the delay may have kept you from being in an accident or car jacked further ahead. The pure in heart are those who have been purged of all the toxins, wrongful thoughts, desires and pride that keep you from knowing God’s heart. As Paul said in Titus 1:15: “Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” When you have a pure heart you will see horao or know and discern God’s heart. You will see it is ok to take a sip of wine at a Passover feast to honor your host even though your fundamentalist background would condemn it.

Hollywood had to portray such a pure in heart individual as a supernatural angel, because, after all no such person could exist. Yet Jesus is teaching that you could achieve a dadaka balevahu or pure in heart, if you allow Him to purge your heart of all its toxins of self desires and selfish agendas. Then you will see or chaza God that is you will always be aware of his ever presence and know and discern His heart.

How is this accomplished, the same way you build an earthly relationship. A married couple who have had a successful marriage for many years where they have put the other person before their own desires and will, they will almost be able to read each other’s mind. They will know by a look, a touch, a word exactly what is on their beloved’s heart. So too with God if you build that relationship by always putting God’s desires above your own you will know just by instinct what His heart desires.