The Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor. 4:6
The reference to the “face of Jesus Christ” in the above quoted verse must be taken in context. Paul had previously spoken of the veil that was over the glowing face of Moses that represented God’s glory. (See 2 Corinthians 3:7) This same glory is found in Jesus that was represented by the glow on Moses’ face. Moses was bringing knowledge from God, i.e. the tablets of the Ten Commandments, whereas Jesus brought the knowledge of the Gospel, the promise of eternal life.
I would like to look at the communication of knowledge from God, the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God” as Paul called it, that has shown out of darkness upon God’s command, and has become our view of the knowledge of the Spiritual world. First, let’s step back at look at the bigger picture.
We exist and function in a physical realm but we are aware that there is also a spiritual or metaphysical realm. We also are aware that the spiritual realm is not directly accessible from the physical realm. We cannot observe the spiritual realm by any physical means, even with the aid of science or technology. As such, we don’t have an understanding of the spiritual realm in the same way that we have come to understand the physical realm of atoms and molecules, and various physical interactivity such as the laws of physics.
Throughout history man has attempted to gain access to the spiritual realm, to gain knowledge about it, and to gain understanding of the secrets or mysteries of the spirit, or perhaps to gain power or enlightenment.
It is recorded in the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament that the Lord warned the people of Israel through Moses that they should not learn to follow the spiritual practices of the people who they were dispossessing (this was thousands of years ago):
“When you come into the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering (or makes his son or daughter pass through the fire), any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominable practices the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For those nations, which you are about to dispossess, give heed to soothsayers, and to diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you so to do. The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren – him you shall heed –“ Deut. 18:9-15
It should be understood that these same practices that attempt to gain knowledge from the spiritual realm are being done today, some with slightly different methods, but the core practice is the same. The purpose of these practices varies but are mostly done to gain information about the future, or to impact future events, or to cast a spell on someone (e.g. voodoo), or to gain some secret knowledge, or to bring about physical healing.
Most importantly, we need to look at the motive of those involved in these practices. The motive is clearly to gain some type of power to benefit them in this physical world. It is to gain wealth or material possessions, or to improve health or be healed, or to influence some future event for their benefit, or to know something of the future to be used for some benefit, and many other similar things.
Shamans, witchdoctors, medicine men, gurus, sorcerers, witches and the like have communicated with the spiritual realm to gain power to benefit them or their followers in this physical realm, and have been doing so for thousands of years. Similarly today, fortune tellers, palm readers, eastern mystics, new agers, mediums, psychics, etc. are doing the same. The “faith” that they use is focused on the access to the power that is available in the spiritual realm, and involves their imagination, visualization, or suspension of their consciousness. Sadly, these methods have even entered the “Christian” circles in the guise of Christian faith.
One of the main dangers in this type of communication is that the spiritual “entity” or source that is being contacted is a demon. I believe that most if not all encounters are with demonic spirits who can impersonate dead loved ones or whoever. The Scriptures also state that Satan comes as an angel of light. He and his demons will lie and deceive to accomplish their purposes as enemies of God.
Regardless of the source, we as Christians are specifically commanded to avoid any and all participation in these practices which the Lord calls abominable.
In contrast, the communication from the living God through the Lord Jesus Christ is not about power to benefit us in this life. The faith that is promoted is about trusting Him and submitting to Him, not about using “faith” to trigger some supernatural power for miracles or changing future events for our benefit. Rather, we recognize that our true power comes from realizing that we have no power in ourselves, but that we must look to His power. It is foolish for us to seek to gain some elevated status by learning some secret knowledge of the supernatural power structure or a method/practice for tapping into the spiritual realm.
I have said all of this to make this very, very clear: God’s communication to us from the spiritual world is not about accessing spiritual power. It is not about giving us some secret method so that we can tap into spiritual power for our benefit here on earth. God’s revelation is about the knowledge of the truth.
A few weeks ago I was riding my bicycle and come across an event at the local fair grounds. It was called “Pagan Pride”. In a fenced off area there were numerous tents and displays of pagan items and groups. I stopped briefly and spoke to the man at the table where you paid to enter. I said, “What’s this about?” (although I thought I already had a good idea). He said, “We have a different view of things, sort of opposite of the Bible.” I said, “Hmm, well, what about the truth?” He replied, “There is no such thing as truth. Truth is what you make it to be.”
We didn’t get to talking about this because we were interrupted and I ended up leaving, but his statement implies that there is no right or wrong either, nor is there any accountability to the Creator. Looking to the spiritual world for power without a regard for the truth, especially the truth about our relationship with and responsibilities towards our Creator was one of the reasons why these pagan practices are an abomination to the Lord.
In the message from Moses in Deuteronomy, there is a prophecy concerning Jesus:
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me (Moses) from among you, from your brethren – him you shall heed – ” Deut. 18: 15
This verse was referring to the future Messiah, to Jesus. He was raised up as the prophet to declare the sum of all truth from the spiritual world that we need to listen to. The truths that Jesus revealed stand in stark contrast to the spiritual communications that occur with non-Christians or pagans.
Rather than saying that we can access spiritual forces and powers by using our inner imagination or visualization, or by suspending our consciousness to connect with spirits, the Bible communicates the knowledge that we need – the truth about our situation and the solution. The truth is that we live in a cursed world that is under the Creator God’s wrath and judgment because of our sin and rebellion, and that by placing our faith in Jesus, the Savior who has paid the price for our redemption, we can be reconciled with the Father, and receive the promise of eternal life in His kingdom as His children. We are told that our faith should not be focused on gaining power or benefits in this life, but rather be exercised by trusting in the Father’s power and wisdom for us, and to humbly submit to His discipline, and to look for His return to establish a new Heaven and new Earth in justice and righteousness.
Paul continues in 2 Corinthians regarding this glorious revelation of light/knowledge to us:
“And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.” 2 Cor. 4:13-14
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:15-18
….and more about the glorious information that we have come to know by revelation:
“For we know that if our earthly house (physical body), this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.” 2 Cor. 5: 1-6
To summarize, God has revealed to us the truth through His Word in the Bible, starting with Abraham and his descendants, and consummated by the coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. God has allowed this light to shine into our hearts so that we can now function in true faith, submitted to the Lordship of Jesus and thereby to God the Father, and trusting Him for our future, both in this life, and ultimately for eternal life in Heaven.
This revelation of light and knowledge is in stark contrast to the knowledge that is sought by those who attempt to communicate with the spirit world outside of the truth of the Gospel. For most of these pagan practitioners, their motive is to gain some power to benefit them in this life or to follow some erroneous belief such as reincarnation or self-deity. They see “god” as a neutral force that all people have some connection with and the metaphysical/spiritual world is a means of accessing this force. There is therefore no accountability to this “god” and no truth or standard that has been established by a Creator for His creation in their view.
Christians are prohibited from any participation in these abominable practices and they should recognize that all they really need is found in the revelation of God in His Holy Scriptures. There is no need for Christians to know the future since they are trusting Jesus with their future. True faith requires that we rest in His protection and abilities to work out our future as He wills. Also, Christians align their desires with His will, and submit to His lordship and His ability to meet their true needs. We make our requests to the Lord, but leave it to Him to decide on what we really need.
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3
Let us heed also the warning of Paul found in 2 Timothy concerning the last days. He mentions Jannes and Jambres who were the Egyptian sorcerers who were able to duplicate some of the signs that Moses and Aaron performed before Pharaoh when attempting to set free the people of Israel:
“Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these (men who are deceivers in the last days) also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning faith; but they will progress not further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs (Jannes and Jambres) also was.” 2 Timothy 3:8-9
“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, but you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:13-15
These evil men will have real power, but its source will be demonic. Don’t be deceived. Look to the Scriptures for the truth and keep your heart set on things above.