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God’s Shadow

When light shines on an object, it casts a shadow. On a sunny day we can go outside and recognize our shadow; however, if we were to see someone else’s shadow, we wouldn’t know what they look like because those shadows are only dark impressions caused by the light behind them. We may know a few things based on the shadow, but we can’t see the real image. 

What do shadows have to do with God? John tells us that God is light and in Him is no darkness (1Jn 1:5). However, the Scriptures also say that God dwells in thick darkness (1Ki 8:12), and that He made darkness his secret place (Ps 18:11). How is it possible for God, who is all light, to live in darkness? What is this darkness that is being mentioned? 

If we look at the word darkness in 1st Kings, the root word is Araph. In the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon Bible, it means drop, clouds; as in the dropping of rain from clouds. [1] The word darkness in Psalms is the word Choshek, meaning obscurity or a secret place; figuratively it speaks of ignorance. [2] If we look at the corresponding Greek word for both of these it is Skotos, which speaks of a metaphorical ignorance respecting divine things and human duties. It stems from the word Skia which means shadow; an image cast by an object and representing the form of that object. [3]

So, the darkness where God hides is not a place of wickedness, but a shadowy or secret place. It’s a place of ignorance in us where we don’t fully see the image of God, or where the Word of God is not fully seen. He dwells in the shadow or secret places, which are also known as the mysteries of Scripture. It’s not that God wants to remain hidden; He wants to show us who He really is and what He looks like, but, in order for that to happen, there must be a removal of the veils that cover His Word. It’s in the secret place that He releases revelation to us.

“I will open my mouth in a parable (in instruction by numerous examples); I will utter dark sayings of old [that hide important truth],”

Psalms 78:2

Those parables and dark sayings are the mysteries of the Kingdom, the revelatory teachings, which can be likened to rain dropping. Origen, a prominent Early Church Father, said: 

“Indeed, if one considers the multitude of speculation and knowledge about God, beyond the power of human nature to take in, beyond the power, perhaps, of all originated beings except Christ and the Holy Spirit, then one may know how God is surrounded with darkness.” [4]

Origen, Commentary on John Bk II Ch 23

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, the religious leaders, saying they searched and investigated the Scriptures diligently, thinking they had eternal life through them. Those very Scriptures were a testimony of Him, and they still refused to come to Jesus to have eternal life (Jn 5:39-40). They knew the word of God, having the Torah memorized, yet Jesus told them they were in darkness. They couldn’t see the Word was Him and He was the Light, because they were reading the word with a veil on. 

“In fact, their minds were grown hard and calloused [they had become dull and had lost the power of understanding]; for until this present day, when the Old Testament (the old covenant) is being read, that same veil still lies [on their hearts], not being lifted [to reveal] that in Christ it is made void and done away. Yes, down to this [very] day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their minds and hearts”

2 Corinthians 3:14-15 – AMP

This is why there has to be a removal of the veils, or we’ll never be able to see the true image. Just as a blindfold prevents us from seeing where we are going, the veils over the scriptures prevent us from seeing the deeper and symbolic meaning concealed inside. It isn’t just knowing there are deeper things in the Word; it is the very heart of the Father, hidden in the shadows, that He wants to reveal to each of us. How do we remove those veils? 

Paul said a true circumcision starts with the heart. Therefore, we must get rid of the flesh or fat from our heart – anything that prevents us from becoming closer to God. We were formed in His image and likeness (Gen 1:26). He wants us to come back to the glory in which He created Adam. That means, we are meant to become like Jesus! However, if we don’t clearly see the image of God, how are we going to know if we look like Him? 

Being in the shadows isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the shadow of God is a place of learning, as we all start out in darkness or ignorance. The issue is, what do we do when the revelation, which brings illumination/light, is released to us? Jesus said the judgment was the light had come to the world, but men loved darkness more than the light because their deeds were evil; and those that do evil hate the light because their deeds are exposed, but those who practice truth, come into the light so their deeds can be clearly shown (ref Jn 3:19-21). 

Darkness is a place of ignorance of the truth of God’s Word, so, when the revelation of Christ comes, it forces us to look at the flesh we live in and how we see the Word of God. Do our actions really line up to God’s truth, or have we twisted/manipulated the Scriptures to fit our lifestyles? The revelation should convict us to bring us back to the light then we are able to walk in righteousness or right understanding. The illumination reveals the true Jesus to us, so we are no longer following a false image of Him. 

“But we, the eyes of whose soul have been opened by the Word, and who see the difference between light and darkness, prefer by all means to take our stand ‘in the light,’ and will have nothing to do with darkness at all.” [5]

Origen, Against Celsus Bk VI Ch LXVII

Who God says He is, through the revelation of His Word, will always differ from man’s theology of God. Paul confirms this when he spoke to the church in Corinth saying, the god of the world had blinded the minds of the unbelievers [that they should not discern the truth] and it prevented them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image and likeness of God (ref 2Co 4:4 AMP). Everything in heaven is an image of the Father, therefore, in order to take on the Father’s image, we must step from the shadows into the light. 

“For we were once in darkness, but now are we light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (Eph 5:8). 

Ephesians 5:8

Every time the veil is removed and God reveals who He is, there is an impartation we receive, which changes and transforms our minds. The Word tells us with every unveiling, we behold the glory of the Lord, and are being transformed into that image from glory to glory (1Co 3:18). 

References:

  1. Ancient Hebrew Lexicon Bible Dictionary 
  2. Brown Driver Briggs Dictionary
  3. Thayer Bible Dictionary
  4. Origen, Commentary on John Bk II Ch 23
  5. Origen, Against Celsus Bk VI Ch LXVII

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