Key Number Five: And Their Eyes Were Opened

We have spent the last four weeks discussing the story of Emmaus from Luke 24.  We have already seen that this last Chapter of Luke’s Gospel serves not only as the wonderful literary transition to his second volume – Acts – but also as a spiritual key, or set of spiritual keys, to the whole story of the messiahship of Yeshua and the restricted eyes of his disciples in the Luke’s writing.

Today we are going to talk about the last, and most crucial key: that their eyes were opened. We will remember that, on the way there, the eyes of the disciples were restrained by God himself and they didn’t recognize Yeshua.  Then, when the appointed time came, their eyes were opened, also by God Himself. The timing here is of utmost importance: we know that it happened at the specific moment of breaking the bread, leaving the disciples holding the bread in their hands, no doubt overwhelmed and trembling at the enormity of what had just taken place.

We need to examine some Greek here. We have already seen that both verbs – restrained and opened – represent the passive forms in both English and Greek: first, their eyes were restrained: Οφθαλμοι αυτων εκρατουντο.[1]  Then the crucial moment came, and their eyes were opened:  δε διηνοιχθησαν οι οφθαλμοι[2].  Let us try to contemplate the essence of this pivotal moment. First of all, it is important to mention that, according to scholarly opinion, the Greek of Luke is the best of the four Gospels. It is likely that Greek was the evangelist’s native tongue. There can be little doubt, therefore, that Luke knew the LXX (the Septuagint) well and, was probably influenced by it.  Indeed, he seems to be so comfortable with Greek that he is able to adapt his style to different circumstances and sources. For instance, the Greek of the Prologue (1:1-4) is classical, while the Greek of the infancy narrative is purposely semitized; the Greek of the sermons in Acts seems to be affected by the circumstances of each speaker.  Therefore, the comparative analysis of the Greek forms used by Luke, with those of the LXX, might be very helpful.

In Greek, the line their eyes were opened looks like this: δε διηνοιχθησαν οι οφθαλμοι. We have already seen that the word Δι-ανοιγω means completely, totally opened. This word is found several times in the Septuagint, but the only time in the entire Septuagint when this full line occurs in the same way and in the same very wording as it is found in Luke:  δε διηνοιχθησαν οι οφθαλμοι – is in the third chapter of the Book of Genesis, in one of the most dramatic scenes in Scripture. When Adam and Eve (Hava) sinned – when they violated the command God gave them and ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge; when sin first entered the world; when everything changed and everything was turned upside down; at this fateful moment of creation – it says: And their eyes were opened…[3]

What does this mean, that Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened?  This passage from the book of Genesis helps us to better comprehend the enormous change in Luke 24.  Yes, Adam and Eve realized, for the very first time, that they were naked, but it was so much more than just that! The Fall was not simply one of the main events in the history of creation – it was a global cataclysm, a total change in the status of the universe. What the Bible describes as the eyes (of Adam and Eve) being opened is one of the most substantial and fundamental manifestations and consequences of this global change. Adam and Eve, who had until then seen God in His reality – and saw everything only in His light and the light of His reality – then began to see the world with a clouded, sinful vision, which, from that time onward became, and has remained, humanity’s vision of reality. The ability to see God that was originally given to them, grew dim and was lost, and even Adam and Eve, not to mention their descendants, began to see this world the way humanity would continue to see it throughout the ages: weighed down, material, and physical. They left His presence – and their eyes were opened to this worldview. From now on, to see the invisible, man would need faith. That is why the Lord was so concerned that they would not put out their hand and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever[4]; that they would not remain forever like that, incapable of seeing the spiritual reality, able to see only material and physical.  And from that moment in the third chapter of Genesis, when Adam and Eve sinned, when their eyes were opened to this world and they needed to hide themselves from the LORD, God has been dealing with Tikkun Olam (repair of the world); from that moment on, He has been looking forward to the moment when the eyes of people will be opened again, but this time, opened in the reverse direction, to see that which is invisible to usual, weighed-down human vision.

In the light of all this, we can understand that the statement we find in Luke 24:31 does indeed bear a manifestation of this major reversal of vision. In Romans, Paul writes, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous”[5]; and though it is certainly beyond our subject here to deal with the Christian theological understanding of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as restoring the original state of the universe, it is important for us to highlight – and I am not aware that anyone has addressed this fact up to now – this striking symmetry between διηνοιχθησαν οι οφθαλμοι in Luke 24, and διηνοιχθησαν οι οφθαλμοι in Genesis 3.    

Thus, the whole story of Luke’s Gospel is reshaped and retold by this chapter.   A great writer, Luke wants us to review his whole Gospel in the light shed from this story.  Here, in the very last chapter of his Gospel, the evangelist shows us very vividly, the secret of the restrained and opened eyes: although everything about this stranger should have to reminded them of Yeshua, they perceived a mere man, not recognizing him until the moment when their eyes were opened by a sovereign act of God.

This is the culmination, not only of the whole story about the disciples, but of the whole Gospel as well: this striking symmetry between the phrase their eyes were opened in Luke 24, as against their eyes were opened in Genesis 3, helps us to understand the depth and enormity of what happened on the road to Emmaus – so this is our key for today, and our last key from this chapter, KEY NUMBER FIVE: AND THEIR EYES WERE OPENED. This key describes the crucial change in the status of the universe when Yeshua  is recognized as Messiah (though He becomes invisible). Next week, we will start to deal with the lessons and the conclusions of the Hidden Messiah series, and we will review all the keys we’ve been talking about and sum up all the ideas that we have discussed so far.



[1] Luk.24:16

[2] Luk.24:31

[3] Gen.3:7

[4] Gen.3:22

[5] Rom 5.19

About the author

Julia BlumJulia is a teacher and an author of several books on biblical topics. She teaches two biblical courses at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, “Discovering the Hebrew Bible” and “Jewish Background of the New Testament”, and writes Hebrew insights for these courses.

You might also be interested in:

Three Plus Four: Jacob

By Julia Blum

Three Plus Four: Isaac

By Julia Blum

Join the conversation (57 comments)

Leave a Reply

  1. Joe

    Wonderful insight, Julia…another example is Elisha’s servant, when the prophet asks God to “open his eyes, so that he might see”. When God does open his eyes, he can see the angel armies surrounding their enemy. This applies to our ability to respond to guidance, “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons (and daughters) of God”. No longer blind guides, but witnesses! Huzzah

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you for your kind words, Joe. Yes, all those examples in the Scripture where “the eyes are opened” are fascinating; in a sense, they all confirm one another.

      1. j49er

        Amazing article (even though it is back dated.) I am humbled by this study. And, yes , pun intended… my eyes are opened little by little ,, thank you Julia,, this is a wonderful lesson

        1. Julia Blum

          Thank you for your kind and generous words!

    2. j49er

      Very amazing. Thank you JOE. I learned much .. may the Most High bless! and thank you Julia.

  2. Clif

    I know this is an old post, but I was curious about one aspect of your post. In Luke 24 the assumption is that God opened their eyes. The verb is passive in both Luke and Genesis (LXX). So who opened their eyes in the Genesis passage?

    1. Joe

      Hey, Clif…great question.
      Y sense it is that it was the understood process when God says to them, “you will die”. Spiritual darkness (not able to see) is blindness. The old adage applies; what you don’t know can kill you”! Satan uses the “understood” aspect of Hods statement to drive them into disobedience by suggesting, “surely you won’t die”. He is telling Both a truth and a lie here…which is his MO anyway. They didn’t die physically, but became aware of the sin nature, which shows up in their shame consciousness (covering their nakedness). My take on it anyway.

  3. Pastor Dolores Solomon

    This has been one of my favorite readings of scripture and you did an awesome job of giving new insight.
    I never thought to put with Genesis 3 WOW the revelation is mind blowing and insight into he most precious words are beyond my thoughts. What an honor it is to live in this time in life where the internet can be used to bring such good revelation to those who seek to know the Messiah and Elohim. Many thanks for the research put into writing this and for the comments which also helps. I am in my 3rd year of Biblical Hebrew and enjoy being a student of THE WORD

    Pastor D. Solomon

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you, Pastor Dolores, for your kind words!I am so glad you find this blog helpful and enriching! Blessings!

  4. Jo Ann Abreu

    Thank you for the insight between Luke and Acts and the fifth key “their eyes were opened” . I enjoyed reading about all five keys. Thank you again

  5. Tom Englehart

    I did not quite understand the opening of the eyes as being able to see the invisible from Luke. Could you elaborate
    on this point for me? I am sure it is right in front of me, just having a small mind blip.

    1. Julia Blum

      It’s what the text of Luke tells us: 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. The moment their eyes were opened, they recognized him, “they knew Him” – but He became invisible for them , Or we can put it another way: only when He became invisible, their eyes were opened. In any case, their eyes were opened to recognize invisible Messiah !

      Does it help, Tom? if you still have questions, I would be happy to elaborate more on this point.

  6. Tom Englehart

    Thank-you for opening doors of insight into Scripture

  7. Tom Englehart

    The truth of God’s Word can only be learned by studying both the New and Old Testaments and by understanding
    the various languages used. The keys you used to open doors prove this point.

  8. […] at jewishstudies.eteacherbiblical continues a series on Luke 24. The latest is entitled, “Key Number Five: And Their Eyes Were Opened.” Michael J. Kok has an article on Hebrews and Subsequent Christian […]

  9. Annette Campbell

    Thank you Julia! Blessings to you. This is confirmation that we can’t separate the old testament from the new. It is all linked together and is necessary to bring light into a dark place or in other words to open our eyes, so that we might see.

  10. Anthony Taylor

    Wonderful correlation between the promise of the Old Testament being fulfilled in the New!

  11. Duncan Smith

    This is so cool (understatement for emphasis:)). Thank you for teaching this.

  12. DAO Emmanuel

    Julia. Reading your articles and the comments from the brothers and sisters is helpful to me. I just praise the Lord for you all. Thanks a lot.

  13. Angeline

    This is wonderful Julia. What an insight you have! Am I getting it right? Adam and Eve opened their eyes to darkness and the disciples opened their eyes to light. Yeshua the bread of life, hidden from us until the appointed time. Adam and Eve listening to the voice of the snake are being drawn to spiritual death and the Disciples listening to the voice of Yeshua are being drawn to life. The Tree of Life which God concealed from sight is revealed to the disciples. Thank you Julia, you are a blessing to all of us.

    1. Julia Blum

      This is a very good way to say it: Adam and Eve opened their eyes to darkness and the disciples opened their eyes to light! I really like this wording. Thank you, Angeline!

  14. Elizabeth (Lisa) Seibel-Ross

    Like so many others, I’m struck by your awesome juxtaposition of Gen. and Luke! The first time their eyes were opened they lost connection with the spiritual reality of their Creator, the next time they were opened they were once again made aware of its reality. What a moment that must have been! Thank you. What a privilege to be here with all these beautiful insights you give us.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you so much Lisa! It’s a privilege for me to have so wonderful readers! I am very thankful to the Lord that all these insights are touching hearts and minds and so many people find them helpful and enriching.

  15. Dorothy Healy

    Awesome insight Julia. It is always in the bringing together of the Old and the New that we get the full picture – the most astounding insights into all that Yeshua purchased for us, and calls us to.

    How profound that the Father chose Him to be ‘known to them in the breaking of bread’ – that most humble daily staple – and when their eyes were opened, He was, as it were, replaced by the bread he had broken and blessed, and all that meant. Interestingly, in John 6, where we read a long discourse from Yeshua about the “bread of life”, saying also that ‘he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life … ,” he then goes on to say, “No-one can come to me unless the Father draw him …(v.44), and again in v.65 Therefore … no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” How blessed and privileged we are to have our eyes opened.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Dorothy! Yes, I agree, this is exactly the message of this story: no one can see Him unless the Father opens the eyes – and how blessed and privileged indeed are those whose eyes are opened!

  16. Rudy Cyphert

    Very Good !!!
    This gives a more complete understanding of the Genesis story;

  17. Sharon Stern

    The juxtaposition of the only two places that ‘their eyes were opened’ demands a close evaluation and lends itself to a study tool I was taught years ago and it involves the image of a menorah. Perfectly balanced, this image allows us to look at mirror image thoughts, ideas, concepts, facts – to see how they weave together around a central theme. For me, these two narratives lend a closer evaluation using this imagery. So, imagine a menorah with eight branches, anchored by a center branch. If we consider the difference between the consequences on the one hand of Adam and Eve’s eye’s ‘being opened’ and the two disciples of Yeshua in Emmaus’ eyes being opened; the consequences couldn’t be polar opposite; and yet it is the same concept.

    The center branch that ties these two narratives is the necessity for TIKKUN OLAM — repairing the world, returning to Eden.

    Simply, as I see this beautifully balanced menorah looking at these two narratives; it is almost like a Jannus poetry, opposite and yet mirror imaged.

    The first pair of branches closest to the center evolve around 2 people. Adam and Eve on the one hand, and the two disciples on the other side of the menorah.. The next set of branches looks at how these two sets of individuals engage with and understand HaShem. Adan and Eve knew HaShem intimately and saw everything in His light and His reality. On the opposite branch, the two disciples of Yeshua who had walked with him for 3 years and knew him intimately appear to have failed to recognize His role as Maschiach and divinity – our theme of being hidden shows up again.

    Our next set of branches as we move away from the center and consider these two sets of individuals now focuses on the fact that FOOD is the agent through which their eyes are opened. Adam and Eve partake of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, resulting IN THE BEGINNING OF EXILE form the 2 very things they were created —- dust of the ground (land) and the breath of HaShem. They are exiled from the Garden and the presence of HaShem. Contrast this to what happens to the two disciples in the home at Emmaus as Yeshua blesses and breaks the bread and shares it with his two disciples whom He knows well. In this case it is MATZAH, the symnbol of remembrance THE END EXILE, the end of slavery, and the return to the Promised Land, leaving Mitzraim – a place of narrowness and restriction.

    Our next set of branches looks at the results of partaking in these foods and what it means that their eyes were opened. Adam and Eve partake in this forbidden food and their eyes open to physical and material world while they move further and further away from HaShem. Contrast this to the 2 disciples whom by partaking in the symbol of the matzah as the bruised, the striped, and the crushed Messiah and their eyes opening to the realization that He has Risen and we are all truly moving back towards Eden and the presence of HaShem – Maschiach is alive, and while He disappears immediately after this realization; I think those two disciples must have been filled with joy and an understanding that anchored them in the hope; the reality; the promise of redemption and the beginning of Kingdom living.

    1. Julia Blum

      Wow, Sharon, it is very beautiful and very graphic! Thank you for taking time to write and to share with us this amazing image!

  18. john miller

    Thanks…we understand from Scripture as a whole, that without God’s intervention, man would be without understanding. As in Genesis 1, the Spirit overshadowed the face of the deep – the void. Then was created all for God’s glory. Until the Spirit overshadows each of us in our lost condition, we are restrained from seeing God’s reality and embracing it. It is His revelation and His salvation all to His glory. In Luke, the Spirit was given after Jesus was glorified in resurrection, eyes were opened, 3000 saved on Pentecost, and onward to today.

  19. Angelika Walter

    Dear Julia, let me add my thanks, too, for showing us the spiritual depth of this well-known story. I always enjoy to read your articles, I learn so much from a perspective I never saw before. Thank you for showing us the connection between Luke 24 and Genesis 3 in this word “their eyes were opened”. It is awesome to understand that in the moment the disciples recognized him and recognized him as suffering Messiah the whole tragic effect of sin is reversed, that now his followers can see again everything in His light and when he comes back we will see him like he is ! I pray, that God will open the eyes of many jewish people to recognize Yeshua in these days, but also for us who know him, to see him and love him anew!
    God bless you

    1. Julia Blum

      Great to hear from you, Angelika! I’ve been wondering why I don’t hear your voice here anymore. I know you are very busy – so thank you for reading and staying interested and active. And thank you for your wonderful comment!

  20. premkumar samuel

    The connection between Genesis 3 and Luke 24 has been vividly brought out. Thanks a lot.

  21. Martin Caleni

    Thank you Prof. Julia

    I am learning a lot as an African preacher. You’d understand the difficulty to understand original meanings of some of the words especially reading the bible in my language (Sesotho) which I feel that translators might not have done due justice to it.

    I am enjoying your posts all the time and try to pass on these teachings to my bros and sis in the Lord


    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Martin! It is a great joy to hear that these articles help you – and it is a privilege to uncover and unearth the meaning of the words that might be not translated correctly. May the Lord bless you and your ministry!

  22. jane z mazzola

    A very mystical unfolding of this Genesis & Luke parallel w/the depth of symbolism & understanding that has been given to you, Julia. Truly, the gift evokes awe & wonder. Thank you for sharing with us.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you for your kind words, Jane! It’s always a blessing to hear from you!

  23. Loy de Mello

    Looking forward to hearing more.

    1. Julia Blum

      Great ! Stay tuned Loy! New posts are coming!

  24. Gaea

    Interesting both times their eyes were opened they were physically eating. Wonder what is the correlation there…

    1. Julia Blum

      Very interesting observation. I’ve never thought about it. Let’s keep thinking together.

  25. Henrietta Wisbey

    Dear Julia
    Eye wateringly beautiful!
    The house was filled with the glory of God that night
    As the Son of righteousness arose with healing in His wings.
    From the garden to the city
    They returned……

    1. Julia Blum

      Beautiful! thank you so much Henrietta!

  26. Jimmie Snow

    I really appreciate your incite of the scripture. I like the fact that you are willing to take the time to go into your thought more deeply. I have been to Israel 45 times since 1969. I studied Hebrew for 8 years, and love learning.

    Thank you,


    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Jimmie, for your kind words! I am especially blessed to hear them from someone with such a love for Israel and for Hebrew! Blessings!

  27. Sue

    PS, from Sue. I meant to say revelUtionary. Sorry!

  28. Sue

    Thank you so much for this teaching, it is revAlationary! Indeed I have never heard these two verses ( from Genesis and Luke ) brought together before. Perhaps I need to look at the LXX more often!
    Every blessing

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Sue, neither have I – and it is so strange, because this parallel is so beautiful and so meaningful.

  29. Leaky Kaburu

    As an artist, observation of key features over a subject, is important. What I see is not only the figure ahead, but telepathic vision..Did Yeshua look like the way most artists portray Him?..I once saw a distinct light with a silhoutte figure behind and that image still haunts me.

    1. Julia Blum

      Yes, Leaky, I understand your point and can relate to it. sometimes the images we see , can define our understanding or perception for a long time. That’s why I am trying to be very careful when I choose a picture for the post. The problem is that the choice is very limited, and sometimes I have to be satisfied by what they have, even if it’s not what I wanted.

  30. Rudolf van Leusen

    Shalom Julia,

    This subject has been occupying my mind very much lately. I have been preaching about the Emmaus story and we have been blessed but this beautiful symmetry ads so much depth and spiritual revelation to it all. I wished I had seen this before. Thank you again for adding another precious jewel to our spiritual treasury.

    1. Julia Blum

      Shalom Rudolf, great to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words, and welcome to these pages. I don’t think I’ve heard your voice here, and I hope to hear it much more!

  31. Marci Howard

    Greetings Julia. I want to thank you for the wonderful insight of Gen. 3 and Luke 24. I am praising G-d for the opening of understanding of how the universe was put back into order at that moment. Thank you. Best one yet!

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Marci, I am so blessed by your kind words!

  32. Fr Youssef Chehata

    This is WONDERFUL
    Many thanks
    I believe that this idea of ” eyes were opened” also introduces the next Gospel of John which repeatedly emphasized the idea of ” see and believe” and ” come and see”
    Many thanks to you
    Fr Youssef Chehata

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you, I am so glad you found this article helpful!

  33. Patrick Kelley

    Obedience brings peace in decision making. If we have firmly made up our minds to follow the commandments, we will not have to redecide which path to take when temptation comes our way.

  34. Gwen Staveley

    HI Julia
    This is spine-chillingly wonderful. Thank you for sharing these things – I am studying Hebrew – but I cannot read Greek and would have totally missed this exciting insight.

    Thank you so much.