The scriptures give plenty of examples of people who are not present seeing other people doing things.
- Elisha saw Gehazzi ask Naaman for money even though the was not there. He said "my spirit was with you" (2 Kings 6:26)
- Jesus saw Nathaniel under the fig tree before he met him. He had already discerned his character (John 1:47-48).
- Paul seemed to know what the Corinthians were thinking and doing.
Because we are spiritual, ie active in an additional dimension, we are not constrained by the three dimensions of space plus time.
These experiences can have two causes.
- Gifts of the Spirit
- The spirit born person becoming more like Jesus.
I used to presume the experiences described above occurred because the Holy Spirit showed someone something. I assumed that all knowledge beyond the natural is a "word of knowledge" which is the gift of the spirit.
I now realise that the latter is more important. As we become more like Jesus, we can begin to operate more in the way that Jesus did.
Over the past year, several books have been written by people describing an amazing ability to see spiritual things. They each had this as a child, before they developed a relationship with Jesus and discovered the gift of the Spirit. This suggests that they were seeing with some human spiritual senses. This seeing created all sorts of problems for them, but once they started walking in the Spirit, it started to make more sense.
Before the fall, humans could see into the spiritual realms. Adam and Eve could see God walking in the garden. Well, they described it that way, because words were not good enough, but they did see him.
After they sinned, they lost that ability to see into the spiritual realms, and what was going on in other people's spirits. Their eyes became more focussed on the physical world. That is why the realised they were naked. Before they sinned they were naked, but they were so focussed on the spiritual dimensions, that they never noticed.
I think that a residual of that seeing ability continues on in some people (maybe everyone). Some people have a residual of seeing that manifests when they are children. In traditional societies, they were probably selected for training to be shaman or tohunga. This tends to perverts the ability. In the west, we teach children that what they are seeing is not real, so it is drummed out of them early. Our Western education system quickly gets rid of all ability to see spiritually.
So the potential is there in many of us, but it has been destroyed by the fall. For a few people a residual remains, but often get knocked out of us by family or education.
If we are born again of the Spirit and walk in the Spirit, we should become more like Jesus, not just in character, but also in ability. Jesus had an amazing ability to see what was going on in people's hearts. His response to the woman at the well. She asked about the nature of worship. Most of us would have launched into a theological discussion with a few scripture quotes. Jesus said, "Where is your husband?" It seemed totally off the wall, but it was right on the nail.
He did that all the time. He did not respond to what people said, but to what was going on in their hearts. So he must have been able to see into their hearts, often before he met them (otherwise why did he end up at that well). You could say it was a word of knowledge given by the Spirit, but it seems more likely it was ability to see from his spirit in the same way that Elisha did with Gehazzi.
Therefore, as we grow more like Jesus, we should expect a foretaste of living like him. We should get better at seeing people the way that he saw them, as whole people with body, soul and spirit, not just physical beings. We should also get better at seeing what is going on in the spiritual realm, in the same way that Jesus saw Satan falling. We never teach people to expect these things, but that is what becoming a new Jesus-like person should mean.
We should encourage new Christians to expect to see into the spiritual realms, and to see other people they was Jesus saw them. We will not get perfect seeing until the final resurrection, and before then will have to live by faith more than by sight, but we should be expecting to get a foretaste of the resurrection.
While it is dangerous to become obsessed with seeing in the spirit, we should ask the Holy Spirit to teach us how to see a Jesus saw, for his purposes and to bless others.
Seeing needs wisdom. 1 Pet 1:5 suggests that we add self-control to knowledge. We must learn when to share what we see and when to be quiet.