Look carefully at these two images of shadows below. Remember what you see because I’ll get back to them in a minute or two.

But First, I know many of you, who have followed what I have written about evil (Part 1, Part 2Part 3Part 4) and my perspective of seeing God of the Old Testament only through the lens of Jesus, have had some very valid questions about specific stories in the Old Testament.

  • What about the flood?
  • What about Sodom & Gomorrah?
  • What about God sending fiery snakes to punish the complaining Israelites?
  • What about God commanding Saul to commit genocide?
  • What about Abraham being told to sacrifice his only son?
  • What about the 10 plagues and the Red Sea destroying the Egyptian army?

To be honest, I don’t yet have an exact answer to explain every single example. And I am ok with that. I have peace knowing that Jesus is the true image of God, and that is what I cling to. I have peace because I know I don’t need to have the entire Old Testament figured out and I have peace because I know the Old Testament is a shadow. Now shadows are interesting things…

A shadow is a 2 dimensional reverse negation. It has no depth, no character and no texture. It gets distorted by the surface it is projected on and it changes depending on the angle of the light. It is impossible to gather great insight from a shadow alone. If you were to look at only my shadow, would you be able to tell what colour my eyes are? Or what my face looks like? Can you tell if I am smiling or can you even see any expression of emotion whatsoever? Can you see my personality, or my body language? There is much that is left open to your own interpretation when it comes to describing shadows.

But let’s see if we can look at one of these questions above before I get to philosophical over shadows. Let’s start with an easy one; God sending fiery serpents to punish Israel for complaining so much. Interestingly enough, my Mac’s built-in-dictionary defines serpent firstly as ‘a biblical guise of evil’, and secondly as ‘the same as satan’. My Mac has seen the light!

Num 21:5-6 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” 6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. (NKJV)

Now when we read passages like this, we can interpret it in many different ways. One way is the literal way, meaning it says what it says and what is says is literally what happened, no doubts about it and no use in arguing over it. That is possible with many scriptures I agree, but not with all, because if you realize that you are looking at a shadow, you would know you can’t take shadows very literally. There is something hidden, that is yet to be revealed.

Pro 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. (NKJV)

So now on one hand we apparently have God sending serpents to kill, and on the other hand God making a way for people to be healed of the serpents, which He sent. So is God a bit bipolar? Is His kingdom divided? Is He both killing people and then saving them from Himself? Which person is Jesus, and who is the shadow?

How do we know when what we are reading is a shadow? Personally, everything I read that doesn’t line up with image of the Father, which Jesus perfectly presented, I regard as a shadow, something hidden. Just replace the words ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ with Jesus and see what happens: ‘And the people spoke against Jesus… …and Jesus sent fiery serpents among the people, they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.

Can you imagine Jesus sending snakes to kill people? People spoke against Jesus and He said ‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do’ and thus I regard this scripture as a shadow that can’t only be taken literally. But what is the reality then? The reality is found in the next few verses when God instructs Moses to erect a bronze serpent on a pole, and all who look on it are healed. Now this clearly shows Christ as the Saviour on the cross! And now look at Paul’s interpretation of this very event.

1 Cor 10:9-10 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. (NKJV)

This paints a whole different picture of what happened and links the serpents to the destroyer, aka satan. Now the story makes more sense. Now I can see Satan planning and launching a well-timed attack against Israel, exactly when they complained, which firstly makes Israel think the attack is a punishment because they complained, and secondly that God is short-tempered, unreasonably cruel and in the killing business. But God comes and destroys the devil’s plan and saves His people through a prophetic image of Christ on the cross. Now that is a much better story, and one that lines up with what Christ revealed about the devil and about the Father. (John 10:10). And there is one question answered.

I hope that this example will help you to identify what is shadow and what shouldn’t be interpreted literally line upon line and precept upon precept when you read the Bible. Always read it through the lens of Jesus on the cross. And if something doesn’t seem to reconcile, ask God for wisdom to interpret the shadow.

God is light and in Him there is no shadow at all! Oh, and before I forget. Remember those shadows at the start? Below you will see the full picture and hopefully realize why shadows can easily be misinterpreted.

Grace to you!

Cornel

 

 

37 Responses to The Truth About Evil: Part 5 – A Game Of Shadows

    • Cornel says:

      Just trying out to see if Adsense is worth it or not. I’m sure there will be a few crazy ads displayed here and there, they will be different every time you view the page.

  • Justin says:

    I’m loving this post. I’m feeling empowered by the reminder that the enemy works in shadows, but Christ doesn’t. He’s the perfect picture of clarity!! CHYEAAAAH!!!!

  • John Meyer says:

    Only one comment.

    John 3:36
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

    • Cornel says:

      So why then did Jesus tell James and John that they were of the wrong spirit when they wanted to call down wrath on those who openly rejected Him? If you reject Christ, by default you remain under law. Living under the law is living under death. That is the the system in which you choose to live. God doesn’t have to physically pour wrath out on you, just like He doesn’t physically kill every person that jumps of a building. Gravity does that. In the same way when we choose to remain under law, we are choosing to do something that will destroy us. Living under the law and jumping of a cliff kill on principle, not by God’s direct hand. Also, if it is God doing the killing in His wrath, is Jesus saving us from Himself? Seems like we have a bipolar trinity on our hands. And even more, John 3:36 is still part of the Old Testament. The New Testament didn’t start until the cross.

  • robin bremer says:

    WOW WOW WOW, This really opens up my eyes on how to interpet the TRUTH of the word. I love the way you explain Jesus being the except image of God and If we replace God with the word Jesus we get the truth. EVERYTHING about God is love. You are so gifted in explaining this truth. Thank you. I can now share the truths I saw but couldnt explain…….
    Robin Bremer

  • Asha says:

    Hi Cornel,

    I read this last night and I’ve given it a lot of thought. I’ve stated my position on FB on the RoR page and I found it interesting how quickly the labels of ‘heresy’ and ‘gnostic’ came out. I was surprised (but I supposed I shouldn’t have been).

    Anyway, I gave it even more thought last night and the more I look at the whole ‘shadow’ scenario, the more it makes sense. I admire how well you are able to put it into words because I felt like I was fumbling. I think what people fail to realise is that the writers of the OT only saw a shadow. That is as far as their relationship with God, revelation and knowledge of God went. You can only tell so much from a shadow. Does it give a description of what it’s a shadow of? Yes. But, you can incorrectly interpret a shadow (Is it turned facing or away? Is it that a hat or is it the hairstyle?), you can miss information about a shadow (I can’t tell if you’re smiling, frowning, love me or don’t love me from looking at your shadow) and it can also be mimicked (think shadow puppets).

    The great thing is that when you see the substance, you can then look back at the shadow and appreciate it for what it is. You can’t, however, make the shadow more important than the substance and the substance is ALWAYS to be used to judge the shadow or you’ll miss the substance (like the Pharisees!)

    I thank God for sending His Substance. I’ve been playing shadow games for far too long.

    • Cornel says:

      I’m sorry about that. I have not seen your comments on RoR. I know people have a lot of questions about this so if you have any please send them to me at cornel@charismaminitries.org. I’m glad this has made you think and see that there is more to the goodness of God than we thought! Peace!

  • Sarah Tiu says:

    Also, in response to the comment about John 3:36, notice that it says “he who does not believe the son shall not see life.” If you don’t believe that God’s nature is fully represented in the nonjudgmental, fully merciful, always forgiving Jesus, then the only image of “god” that is left for you to see is one of wrath. If you can’t see that the Father is fully known in Jesus, then a false belief in a wrathful god remains or abides on you. You will mistakenly attribute the works of satan to god. And it is impossible to enjoy true life that belief in Jesus brings when you live under that kind of constant fear and condemnation. Just some thoughts.

    Thank you so much for this Cornel. I have been incredibly blessed by this series! I hope you’ll continue with it! :) There is much freedom and life in these words!

  • Steve Hackman says:

    Great post Cornel! I especially love the idea of substituting the word “Jesus” in the Old Testament in place of “God” or “Lord”. Helps reveal the shadow for what it is…and incomplete representation!

  • Marperor says:

    John 3 (14 specifically) also speaks of this serpent situation.

    Jesus, the true image of God, a God who cannot lie, said in John 5:39 “the scriptures testify of me.” He also said Moses “wrote about Me” in v46. If so much of the OT got God wrong how are we to take Jesus’ statement that those scriptures do in fact testify of Him?

    I do wish for your answer but I’d like to point something compelling out, as far as I know Jesus never told anyone to read the scriptures. He read them himself, he explained them, & he quoted them but is there a single place where Jesus commands or even condones reading the old testament scriptures?

    • Cornel says:

      My shadow testifies of me. But my shadow can be made to look like a dog if I clasp my hands together. So even though my shadow is then still testifying of me, what is seen is much harder to reconcile.

  • Abbie says:

    My mother hounded me until I read these posts, and I’m glad she did.

    The Lord has been showing me bit by bit who He is, and (as is often the case with an unfathomably gargantuan Creator) most of what He’s been revealing has forced me to stop and reevaluate, and then stop and reevaluate again, because it’s difficult for my deeply indoctrinated mind to grasp new things. Anyway, recently, my mom and I were talking about David and Uzzah and the whole “touch the ark end up dead” thing. And I realized that David was shocked that God killed Uzzah. He didn’t expect that of the God he knew so well, and suddenly, dancing, happy David is saying, “Get that thing away from me before it kills again.” I wonder – and this hearkens back a little to Sarah Tiu’s comment – if we experience what we expect from God, sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy situation. If we expect to receive suffering for an action, not consequences, but punishment, will we then suffer? Did Uzzah expect to die from touching the ark? Would David have died from touching the ark, or would he have lived, because he didn’t expect evil? Is it possible that neither God, nor Satan killed Uzzah, but that Uzzah, in effect, killed himself?

    • Cornel says:

      Uzzah is a tricky story for which I have opinions, but perhaps not answers. First we need to know that the law produced death. It is the ministry of death and it kills. A lot. Part of the law was how to carry and treat the ark. Breaking those laws had consequences, most involving something similar to what happened to Uzzah. David should have known better.

      The ark was to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites, yet it was placed on the back of an oxcart. This was the dwelling of God amongst His people. Imagine in today’s terms if the President of the USA was found stuffed into the back of a car’s trunk, driven by somebody who was not an American. What would happen to such a person? It is interesting to note that throughout the remainder of the OT, the ark was never again transported in a dishonouring way.

      • Justin says:

        You just said the law “kills. A lot.” So how is it that you dont acknowledge that God is the one that kills that lawbreaker? Please dont give me the gravity answer because this situation is different. Laws of physics are totally different than laws of ritual. What is so wrong with God killing people if He is omniscient, thus He would only kill if one had exhausted more than enough opportunities to do whats right. Doesnt that possiblity make more sense? Thank for youre posts and feedback, bro. :-)

        • Cornel says:

          Perhaps the difference lies in the law itself. The law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. The law was something given outside the person of God. It was external rules and regulations. Therefore if the law kills, it is not necessarily God doing the killing. In fact very often death came from the hands of man having to pick up stones and execute people.

          • Marperor says:

            This reminds me of a brief post I once wrote. I think it will help, here it is

            Did God Desire for All of His Laws to Be Obeyed?
            In the Old Covenant God commanded sacrifices & offerings but in Psalm 40 and Hebrews 10 God said that He does not desire such offerings and sacrifices that He commanded.

            In John 8 a woman was about to be put to death for adultery as the law said to do in Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22-24. Jesus did not condemn the woman.

            If God did not desire the sacrifices He commanded in the law perhaps He did not desire other commands He gave in the law. Jesus is the exact representation of God so we are to look to him for the character of God. In John 8 Jesus did not desire to kill the woman even though the law said that is what should be done.

            Often we try to justify the Old Covenant laws with logic but perhaps these laws were to speak to the people’s hearts about the need for forgiveness. Jesus said the second greatest law was to “love your neighbor as yourself.” If you were caught in sin that was punishable by death you would want to be forgiven. You would not want to have stones picked up by others to kill you. If you love your neighbor as yourself you wouldn’t pick up stones to kill Him. You would instead say, “Lord have mercy on us all!” Ultimately in Jesus God did show us all mercy and He freed those who trust Him from the law and its penalties.

            For those who think that the story from John 8 should not be in the scriptures based on it not being found in the earliest manuscripts consider that in John 4:18 Jesus knew the woman at the well’s heart and revealed that she was an adulterer. He did not take the woman at the well and stone her! Jesus fulfilled the whole law yet He did not come into the world to condemn the world, think about that.

  • Justin says:

    So whats your take on Ananias and Sapphira.?Thats in the new testament/new covenant. Why did they die for being selfish and lying to the Holy Spirit? Thats in the period of grace, not the law. With all respect to you, again. Thanks for your patience. And how can anything of God be outside of God unless it is an animate object that refuses to operate within the system He created? This was not the case with the law, as far as I know.

    • Cornel says:

      There are many takes on A&S but all are at best opinions since scripture is not very clear on the matter. It is however important to note that Scripture DOESN’T say is that God killed them. It does say they ‘gave up the ghost’ which sounds more like what Jesus did on the cross when He voluntarily ‘gave up His ghost’. Another opinion goes that Peter was responsible as we know he has a short temper, has tried killing in Jesus’ name before, and was the very disciple astounded by the cursing of the fig tree. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Another opinion is that they simply got to go to heaven sooner, which is hardly a punishment really.

      The law is a system. Grace is a relationship. A system can’t have a personal connection because it is not a person, there is no spirit of the law. The law has no life therefore it is inanimate, void of God’s personality.

    • robin bremer says:

      About A&S the Bible said “a certain man named Ananias with Sapphira…..” I dont believer that they were saved I think they were religious people hanging out, checking it out. Normaly They would be called apostals.

      • Cornel says:

        I don’t think people were called apostles normally. Whether or not they were saved is also only speculation. There is not enough evidence to support either. But what I do know is that God is not in the killing business.

  • adrian says:

    Hey bro love your posts and I totally get the heart of them. There’s just one problem. The word destroyer here is only used once in the Greek in the whole new testament. There are no clues this is referring to a satan or adversary.

    • Cornel says:

      So what make you of this?

      Rev 9:11 And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

      Both Abaddon and Apollyon mean ‘destroyer’

  • Adrian says:

    lol you the man cornel, thanks for clearing it up. but i guess another thing. do you have any other bible verses at your disposal that speak of the angel of satan being the destroyer and/or in direct opposition with our poppa? cause i’ve noticed alot of the times when devil is mentioned in the greek it’s “diabolos” and it’s an adjective. and when satan appears it’s literally a name and a noun. i understand they both mean pretty much the same thing but then why isn’t devil capitalized or a noun? and why does the bible refer to some people being “A SATAN” (someone who gets in the way) and not simply the angel satan? i guess you can say i’m just confused with who/what exactly our enemy is, if indeed we need to be worried about him/it. anyway hope you can help me out. thanks

    • Cornel says:

      Will these do?

      Zec 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.

      Mat 16:23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

      Luk 13:16 “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound–think of it–for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”

      Luk 22:3 Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.

      Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.

      Rom 16:20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

      1Th 2:18 Therefore we wanted to come to you–even I, Paul, time and again–but Satan hindered us.

      Rev 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

  • Adrian says:

    thanks bro.. hey the thing that still gets to me is all the other times the devil is mentioned in the greek it’s in lower case, with the exception of rev 12:9 when it’s actually being used in the same sentence with Satan. i’m still confused. also there are people of course who say “the devil” (not to be confused with Satan) is more-so a spirit of judgement and false accusations, rather than an actual “being”, and that the serpent in the beginning wasn’t actually satan. sorry for my rambling, i guess i’m just confused. i’m 100% for the belief that in god there is no darkness and i don’t believe that just because something happened doesn’t mean it was god’s will. but after taking a look at hebrew and greek texts and also looking into a bit of the jewish beliefs from the ot, i’m starting to think we have the “devil” and satan mixed up as they may very be 2 different “ideas” for lack of better word. i guess it matters cause we get to see what exactly it is (or who it is) jesus has conquered. your thoughts?

    • Cornel says:

      For me personally I understand it as follows:

      The devil = Satan

      a devil = an evil spirit (under control of Satan).

      Devils, and the devil, are real spiritual beings.

  • Adrian says:

    oh and one more bro, sorry.. hebrews 2:14… if the “devil” here has had his power broken, why is “he” still around with that same power today? thanks again bro

    • Cornel says:

      When David defeated Goliath, the Philistines’ fear-hold over Israel was broken. But the armies of Israel still had to give chase and finish what David started. Likewise the power the devil had over us was broken through the abolishment of the law, but we are still charged to make him into a footstool for God and set those still captive free. In other words, he has no rights, go take back what he stole from you.

  • Felix says:

    This was a good series. I need to reread the whole thing however. I still struggle with some of the ideas you have presented. Not necessarily that I disagree as much as some things are just hard to grasp based on “my understand” of Old vs New.

    The one thing I would like to ask is, under the Law of Moses, the Sinaitic Covenant, did God demand a punishment for sin?

    I ask this so that if He did indeed demand a punishment for our(their..Hebrews) sins then perhaps there WAS a difference made by the Cross. Of course God gave the Hebrews an out by at least giving them the opportunity, with the blood sacrifices, again a “shadow” of the resurrected Christ, to relieve them of the need for His punishment for their sins. In that sense He was indeed a loving, caring Father. But He still demanded a punishment for their failures.

      • Felix says:

        That brings me to my next thought. Then why did Jesus have to suffer such a horrible fate in the end with His Chastisement? Was that not to pay for “our” sins? “He was bruised for our iniquity” He took on the sins of the world, all mankind, forever. Those sins demanded punishment. Are you suggesting the punishment was because the Hebrews asked for it?

        The blood covenant “shadow” was long before the Law was given. Abraham performed the shedding of blood for his son Isaac long before Mt Sinai.

        Was this not the Father’s plan from the time of Adam? Did Christ need to suffer no matter what choice the Hebrews took at Mt Sinai? Sin was still in the world due to Adam’s original sin.

        • Cornel says:

          That depends on if you hold a penal substitution view of the atonement. I don’t see God punishing Jesus, I see God punishing sin. Jesus was the only person in whom sin could be destroyed and who could also survive the process.

  • Mel says:

    Oh Man! Where was I when you were posting all these?!! This series has literally transformed the way I interprete scriptures – through the lens of the cross! I might not know all the scriptures, but from now on, if what I read, hear being preached or see doesn’t line up with the JESUS I read of in the Bible, I am not buying it. PERIOD!!!
    Thank you so much brother.

  • A Rivers says:

    Thank you for the powerful words and amazing shadow art!

    Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. – 3 John 1:11

    No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

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