Why did the blind man see men like trees walking when Jesus first touched him?

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Deep-Truth

New member
Jan 11, 2020
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#1
And they (Jesus and the disciples) came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. (23) And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, "Do you see anything?" (24) And he looked up and said, "I see men, but they look like trees, walking." (25) Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly, Mark 8:22-25.

Trees walking 1.png
When I read this story of the blind man I thought it was unique due to the fact its the only time when Jesus had to lay his hands on someone twice before they were totally healed. And after contemplating a while about the peculiar two stage process that Jesus used to restore this man's sight, I had several questions concerning this miraculous event.
  • Why was the blind man's vision only partially healed when Jesus first touched him?
  • Was it because the people who brought the blind man to Jesus had little faith?
  • Or did Jesus get out of the wrong side of bed that day and was not walking in the full power of the Holy Spirit?
  • Why did Jesus have to touch this man's eyes a second time before his sight was completely restored?
  • Could there possibly be a spiritual meaning hidden within this story?
  • Or am I asking difficult questions about a few minor details that may not have any meaning in them after all?
  • Am I being too spiritually nit-picky?
Although I didn't know the answers to these puzzling questions I knew if there was an answer to be found it would be hidden in the scriptures.
  • The first important rule when studying the Bible is to humble ourselves and pray, asking Jesus for wisdom and understanding of the scriptures, Matthew 13:36, Jeremiah 33:3.
  • The second rule is to read a story in its context to see if the adjacent scriptures might shed any light on a possible hidden meaning.
  • And the third rule is to diligently search for other scriptures that might be spiritually related to a particular story.
Jesus and his disciples feed a crowd of 4,000 with 7 loaves and a few fish
With this in mind lets read the story of the blind man in context starting with Mark 8:1-12. Jesus with the help of his disciples miraculously feed a crowd of 4,000 with 7 loaves and a few fish and there were 7 baskets of broken pieces left over. After this they entered a boat and went to Dalmanutha where the Pharisees began to argue with Jesus seeking a sign to test him. Jesus said, "Why does this generation seek after a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation."

Jesus warned his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees
Then Jesus and the disciples got into the boat and he cautioned them “to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees." The disciples did not bring any left over bread after feeding the 4,000 and there was only one loaf in the boat, so they began to discuss the fact of having no bread in response to Jesus warning about the leaven of the Pharisees, Mark 8:13-16.

Do you not yet perceive or understand?
Jesus, aware of this, said to his disciples, "Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They said to him, "Twelve." "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" And they said to him, "Seven." And he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?" Mark 8:17-21

Jesus was telling his spiritually blinded disciples that they shouldn't be concerned about the lack of bread since he just fed 4,000 people with 7 loaves. And then he said, "How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." After Jesus spoke a second time to his disciples they understood to beware of the leavened and corrupted teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Matthew 16:11-12

The blind man sees men like trees walking after Jesus touched him
When they came to Bethsaida Jesus touched a blind man's eyes who said, "I see men, but they look like trees, walking." Jesus laid his hands on the man's eyes a second time and when he opened them his sight was completely restored and he saw everything clearly, Mark 8:21-25.

After this peculiar two stage healing of the blind man Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?"

Mark 8:27-29 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" (28) And they told him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets." (29) And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ."

Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

The disciples first recognized Jesus as Israel's Messiah not by their human intellect or through the wisdom of man, but by revelation from the Father in heaven.

After this Jesus told his disciples that he would be killed and rise again after three days when Peter began to rebuke him for saying this. Jesus replied to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God but on the things of man”, Mark 8:31-33.

At this point it's important to understand the scriptures describe two completely different Messiahs that would come to Israel. One Messiah is a conquering King similar to David who will deliver Israel from all their enemies. While the other Messiah is a suffering servant like Joseph who was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit and sold as a slave to Egypt.

The disciples first revelation of Jesus
was distorted by their expectation for a Messiah King
As I said, the first revelation the disciples received from the Father was that Jesus is the Messiah. However because of their flawed reasoning, they believed Jesus was their conquering King who would deliver Israel from their submission to the Roman government, Luke 24:21. And this is why Peter rebuked Jesus when he spoke about his death and resurrection after 3 days.

Since the disciples did not yet understand that Jesus came to die on the cross as Israel's suffering Messiah, their first revelation from the Father was partial and limited, and it was also distorted by the disciples hope for a victorious Messiah King, Mark 9:31-32, Luke 9:44-45, 18:31-34, 24:21.

And at this point in time the disciples initial perception of their Messiah was vague and inaccurate, just like the blind man who saw men like trees walking when Jesus first laid hands on him.

What the disciples needed was a second touch of revelation so they could recognize Jesus as their suffering Messiah, just as the second touch from the Lord completely healed the blind man who at first saw men like trees walking.

Two discouraged disciples on the road to Emmaus
do not recognize Jesus on the day of his resurrection
On the day of the resurrection Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James told the disciples that the tomb was empty and how two men in dazzling apparel said Jesus had risen, but the disciples did not believe them, Luke 24:10-12.

Later that day Jesus approached two of his disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, however the spiritually blinded disciples did not recognize their risen Savior.

The two discouraged disciples began to explain to their new acquaintance that Jesus was a mighty prophet of God who was crucified and how they hoped he was the Messiah who would redeem Israel (as their conquering King). The disciples went on to say how a few women went to the tomb that day and said it was empty and how some angels said Jesus was alive, Luke 24:13-32.

Emmaus.png

- Continued -
 

Deep-Truth

New member
Jan 11, 2020
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#2
Part 2

A second touch of revelation opens the disciples blinded eyes
Jesus said to his disciples, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" Luke 24:25-26

Jesus then explained the scriptures concerning his death and resurrection to his spiritually blinded disciples, and when he broke bread and gave it to them, their eyes were opened and they recognized their resurrected suffering Messiah who became broken on the cross for their sins.

This story of the two disciples who failed to recognize Jesus as their resurrected Savior reveals this is the Lord's second healing touch for his partially blinded disciples who incorrectly believed Jesus was their Messiah and King who would redeem Israel from their submission to Rome.

Now instead of grieving over their imaginary King whom they thought was defeated and dead in the tomb, the two disciples now see Jesus clearly for the first time in the scriptures as their victorious resurrected Messiah who came to suffer and die for their sins.

After this Jesus appeared to eleven of his disciples in Jerusalem when doubts arose in their hearts since they thought he was a spirit, Luke 24:37. Jesus then opened the minds of his doubting disciples to understand the scriptures concerning his death and resurrection.

disciples j 3.png

This again is the second touch of revelation that healed the disciples spiritual blindness so they could clearly recognize Jesus as their victorious risen Savior and Lord, Luke 24:33-49.

The story of the blind man who at first saw men like trees walking may appear to be just a miraculous two stage healing, however in context it's meant to be a symbolic picture for the partially blinded disciples who did not recognize their suffering Messiah until after the resurrection, when they were given a second healing touch of eye opening revelation to understand the scriptures.

I believe there are several important spiritual lessons that are being revealed in this two stage process that Jesus used to restore the blind mans sight.
  • God progressively opens our blinded eyes to his mysterious Word in stages, to whom he wants and at the specific time that he chooses, Dan 12:4, Mat 11:25.
  • When God gives us a partial revelation of his Word, we can make the mistake of distorting it with our flawed and blinded reasoning, just as the disciples did when they incorrectly believed Jesus was their Messiah King who came to redeem Israel.
  • The more we stubbornly hold on to our inaccurate interpretation of scripture, the more challenging it will be to accept the truth, just as Peter could not accept the truth when Jesus said he was going to be crucified, Mark 8:31-33.
  • God gives us progressively deeper and deeper revelations as we desire to grow closer in our walk of knowing Jesus. For example, at first the disciples knew Jesus was their Messiah, however it was not until after the resurrection when they recognized Jesus as the suffering Messiah. And later through a vision, Peter understood the gospel was to be shared with the Gentiles (John 10:16, Acts 10-11), and that true circumcision is of the heart by the Spirit, Galatians 2.
  • When we are first saved we know that our sins have been forgiven in our childlike understanding of the Father, 1 John 2:12. This is a result of God's first touch of revelation that opens our blinded eyes so we may be able to believe in Jesus as our Savior.
  • And if we abide in Jesus and his Word, we will grow into strong young men who will overcome the evil one, John 15:5, 1 John 2:13-14.
  • Then if we continue on in our lifelong path of following God, we will become spiritual fathers who know Christ who is from the beginning. Spiritual fathers have matured through years of walking with Jesus in faith and love while they suffer persecution in total dependence on the Lord's strength and power, as they seek to know their Bridegroom through deeper and deeper revelations from the Spirit and the Word, 1 Corinthians 4:15, 2 Corinthians 12:10.
  • Philippians 3:8, 10 For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ....(10) that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

The blind man's blurred vision when Jesus first touched him is also symbolic for our vague and limited understanding when we first read a scriptural story, that we can misinterpret with our sin corrupted reasoning just as the disciples did when they incorrectly believed Jesus was their conquering King, Proverbs 3:5-7.

Proverbs 18:13 If one gives an answer (about scripture from his blind and imperfect human reasoning) before he hears (knowledge and truth from the Holy Spirit), it is his folly and shame, 1 Corinthians 3:18-19.

However if we continue to seek after God and ask him for wisdom and understanding, we will receive a second touch of eye opening revelation from the Spirit so we may be able to perceive and clearly understand the deep prophetic truths that Jesus has hidden within his mysterious Word, Proverbs 2:1-7, 1 Corinthians 2:12-14, 1 John 2:27, John 16:13, Revelation 2:17.

Ecclesiastes 7:24 That which has been (in the past in scripture) is far off (and prophetic for the future), and deep (deeply hidden), very deep; who can find it out?

Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
 
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evyaniy

Guest
#3
thank you for this thought provoking presentation.

when they were on the road to Emmaus while He opened the Scriptures to them, do you think He mentioned Psalm 119 and how it is His eternal prayer for life and to be raised from the dead after giving His life to save us?

It is interesting that the NT does not fully explain how the Psalms are mainly His prayers. There are clues throughout Hebrews particularly that quote various Psalms and attribute what is said to Father, Son or Spirit, but not a direct explanation about Who is praying in the Psalms. It is like it is purposely left a partial mystery to be revealed over time and understood eventually.
 
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evyaniy

Guest
#4
After all, the Psalms reveal the prayers of the suffering Messiah while He lived His earthly life and gave His life to save us. Once that is recognized, His prayers in the Psalms reveal more and more, knowing that He prayed them while suffering to save us.

it is almost willful blindness to refuse to recognize that He is the One praying through most of the Psalms. Then once you accept that it is Him and Father and Spirit speaking in the Psalms it is like your eyes being opened to a clearer understanding of Him and the Word.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
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#5
And they (Jesus and the disciples) came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him.
Perhaps the answer lies in this verse: And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town. This is not usual. Perhaps Christ did not want to be fully identified at this point. There could be other reasons. Some things are left behind a veil. No need to speculate.
 
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evyaniy

Guest
#6
talk about a veil. as in the veil that remains in reading the OT without recognizing it is all about the suffering Messiah with His very prayers recorded in the Psalms? Is it like almost being able to see if it were not for the veil that obscures the clearer vision?

even David told us that the Psalms were not his prayers before he died. They were the Spirit speaking through Him revealing the prayers of Messiah the Son of YAH.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
24,338
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#7
talk about a veil. as in the veil that remains in reading the OT without recognizing it is all about the suffering Messiah with His very prayers recorded in the Psalms? Is it like almost being able to see if it were not for the veil that obscures the clearer vision?

even David told us that the Psalms were not his prayers before he died. They were the Spirit speaking through Him revealing the prayers of Messiah the Son of YAH.
 

ResidentAlien

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2021
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#8
Does everything have to have a "deeper" significance? The important thing is Jesus healed the man. If we're always looking for "deeper" meaning, we miss the truth that's right in front of us.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
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#9
talk about a veil. as in the veil that remains in reading the OT without recognizing it is all about the suffering Messiah with His very prayers recorded in the Psalms?
All the Psalms are not AUTOMATICALLY the prayers of Christ. That is really stretching it. Here is an example which is Psalm 3:(A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.) So you are mistakenly pushing your theory to the detriment of understanding the Psalms.
 
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evyaniy

Guest
#11
All the Psalms are not AUTOMATICALLY the prayers of Christ. That is really stretching it. Here is an example which us Psalm 3:(A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.) So you are mistakenly pushing your theory to the detriment of understanding the Psalms.
you have already said that you do not even recognize Psalm 119 as the Son's prayer. Have you changed your position on that? If you cannot see Him praying Psalm 119 as His eternal prayer to be raised to life again, then why go further.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
24,338
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#12
you have already said that you do not even recognize Psalm 119 as the Son's prayer. Have you changed your position on that. If you cannot see Him praying Psalm 119 as His eternal prayer to be raised to life again, then why go further.
And there is no INTERNAL EVIDENCE to prove this. Just your imagination. Christ did not need to say this as the perfect God-Man: O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Do you see the absurdity?
 
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evyaniy

Guest
#13
those who continue to obscure that it is the Son praying in most of the Psalms are a detriment to convincing others of the truth of the Scriptures and how it is all about the Son the Messiah.

There was another thread where the first 20 Psalms were shown to be the Son and Father and Spirit speaking in entirety and showing which verses was Whom speaking. Since there was no interest the effort was stopped.
 
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evyaniy

Guest
#14
And there is no INTERNAL EVIDENCE to prove this. Just your imagination. Christ did not need to say this as the perfect God-Man: O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Do you see the absurdity?
the only absurdity is that others don't get it.
 
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evyaniy

Guest
#15
when someone was admonishing such an absurd notion as to think Psalm 119 is the Son's prayer, he referred to it as a fanciful idea but wrong.
 
Jun 20, 2022
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#16
talk about a veil. as in the veil that remains in reading the OT without recognizing it is all about the suffering Messiah with His very prayers recorded in the Psalms? Is it like almost being able to see if it were not for the veil that obscures the clearer vision?

even David told us that the Psalms were not his prayers before he died. They were the Spirit speaking through Him revealing the prayers of Messiah the Son of YAH.
Agreed!
And still, the Jews of the Messiah's day were expecting the King.
The Tanakh, clearly shows us Suffering before Ruling.
But the Jews, no longer taught it as such. They were consumed with the Romans and Jesus told them to Love the Romans. Yeah, they did not see that coming at all.
 
Jun 20, 2022
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#17
Does everything have to have a "deeper" significance? The important thing is Jesus healed the man. If we're always looking for "deeper" meaning, we miss the truth that's right in front of us.
Nope!
But being raised in the 60's, this portion of Scripture, was taught that when the blind man opened his eyes and saw a Tree, he was seeing the Tree of Life, in the Garden. And there is much meat for deeper meaning in this concept. Milk, is simply telling the story and relating it to only a Miracle.
 

birdie

Senior Member
Sep 16, 2014
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#18
The blind man sees men like trees walking after Jesus touched him
When they came to Bethsaida Jesus touched a blind man's eyes who said, "I see men, but they look like trees, walking." Jesus laid his hands on the man's eyes a second time and when he opened them his sight was completely restored and he saw everything clearly,

Thanks Deep-Truth for your enjoyable post. Notice at the second touch from Jesus the Bible says that 'he saw everything clearly'. This compares very favorably with verses from John 16:

"25These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. 28I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

29His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God."

To my mind, the phrase 'now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb' is a similar situation to 'he saw everything clearly'. The word used for 'proverb' in this verse is also used for 'parable' elsewhere in the Bible. Consider that the term 'tree' is a parable word in the Bible, for we learn that every tree is known by its fruit. This is meaning every person is known by their fruit, so the word 'tree' is a parable word, with an interpreted meaning. Further, God 'plants' believers, and so forth, as further example of parable language associated with botany. And, of course, there is the 'tree of life' in the midst, which position (in the midst) is one usually associated with Jesus or the true believers). We are told, in Psalm 78, that the entire Bible in fact, the law of God, is written in parable form. And we are told that Jesus only spoke in parables, in Mark 34.

In John 16, Jesus spends a little time explaining that he is there for the disciples to see right then, but that he is going to the father (leaving the world) so that they will not see him, but then they will see him again and they will have joy.
 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
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#19
After all, the Psalms reveal the prayers of the suffering Messiah while He lived His earthly life and gave His life to save us. Once that is recognized, His prayers in the Psalms reveal more and more, knowing that He prayed them while suffering to save us.

it is almost willful blindness to refuse to recognize that He is the One praying through most of the Psalms. Then once you accept that it is Him and Father and Spirit speaking in the Psalms it is like your eyes being opened to a clearer understanding of Him and the Word.
Are not all Scriptures God-breathed/inspired?