“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1 :4) When we learn about God, the understanding can come from two sources. It could be revealed to us directly or it could be an understanding that from someone preaching to us or from reading it through as doctrine trying to understand it through commentaries. What is the difference? What is the difference between receiving the light from God directly or receiving the reflected light of God?
There are many differences. Firstly, the direct light is a shining from God, based on the Spirit. The reflected light is a shining from men, based on the flesh. The direct light imparts the glory of God into us. The reflected light provides an understanding of the glory of God. Reflected light gives us an understanding, direct light is transformational.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai after being in the presence of God, the glory of God glowed from his face that the children of Israel could not bear to look at it so he wore a veil. Being in the presence of God, Moses was transformed. His face shone with the glory of God. However, the children of Israel who looked on Moses’s face and saw the glory of God reflected there, they were not transformed. But in fact, “to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts.” (2 Cor. 3:15) That is because any word that comes to us as a doctrine, as a commandment, as philosophy, “according to human tradition” (Col. 2:8), is reflected light. It comes externally. It is not “according to Christ” (Col. 2:8), which operates internally. “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col. 2:8) “But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” (2 Cor. 3:16) We cannot just know doctrines; we have to experience the Lord. We must come under the light of the Lord directly within our spirit. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just us from [the] Lord, [the] Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
When we receive the word today, realize we have to receive it directly from God. We have to experience ourselves the revelation directly from God. So we have to know the word. Receiving the word from a preacher or from a commentary that we read gives us only an understanding. Understanding the doctrine of the word without the Spirit is emptiness. But to be truly transformational so that our lives and our beings are changed we need to receive the word from God himself. That is why “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” (Heb. 1:1-2) God speaking to us is directly through the Son. The Son is the embodiment of all that God is. That is why “The Word became flesh.” (John 1:14) The Word is the ‘logos’ (Gr.) we have today in the Bible. It transmits the person of Christ into us. That is why people in the past considered the Bible holy, holding it up as something sacred. The ink on the paper is not holy, but the thoughts it conveys through the Spirit is. That is why, “The Word of God is living and operative.” (Heb. 4:12) It conveys to men who God is, not just as an understanding, but when combined with the Spirit, it brings into our inner being the realization of the Father and the Son. That is why “All Scripture is God-breathed.” (2 Tim. 3:16) When we read it, Christ comes into our being to be the reality of what is written as the Word. It is how the Father and the Son makes his home in our hearts. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.’” (John 14:23) When he makes an abode within our hearts, he is showing himself to us. “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:20-21) To ‘manifest’ means to ‘disclose” (NASB), to ‘show’ (NIV), or to ‘reveal” (HCSB) himself to us. The revelation of Christ within us requires our loving of him. For his light to shine in our hearts requires our love for him. The more we seek him in this pure and honest way, coming into his presence, the more he reveals himself to us, transforming us.
The direct revelation of God to Paul happened on the road to Damascus. While he was “still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1), when “he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were travelling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.” (Acts 9:3-8) Saul, who knew the Old Testament and the laws so well, in the light of Christ, was blind. Though he thought he knew the doctrines and the teachings of God, and thought he understood the things of God so well, he was relying on his own understanding, an understanding ‘of the flesh.’ When he met Christ on the road to Damascus, he realized all that he had understood concerning the things of God had been in error. All that he had learned, to do the things of God, to preserve the nation of Israel, to uphold the law, his zeal as a persecutor of the church, his righteousness under the law, he had to “count as loss for the sake of Christ.” (Phi. 3:7) Realize this, brothers, so we would not remain blinded. Have we seen the Lord? Do we “count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord?” (Phi. 3:8) Have we “suffered the loss of all things and count them rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.” (Phi. 3:8-10) When we see Christ himself, it is no longer a doctrine, no matter how right or correct it may be, it is an experience in reality of who Christ is. We all need to see who Christ is personally and directly so we don’t work for a righteousness of our own. No wisdom of men, no doctrinal understanding, no excellent commentaries, no preaching by man will be able to transform you. You need to see Christ directly, not by the reflected light, but look directly on Christ within your spirit. See the Spirit in your spirit. Even wrestle with him (Gen. 32:22-32), fellowship with him (1 John 3:24; 2:27; 2 Cor. 13:13-14), rejoice with his Spirit within your spirit (Luke 1:47; Phi. 3:1-3; 4:4; Psa. 16:9). No one else can do this for you but you yourselves. You need to do this with Christ alone to be transformed. That is why we need to receive the light from God directly. It is transformational. Jacob became Israel. Simon became Peter. Saul became Paul. Realize we will also have a new name. (Rev. 2:17) The divine life in man transforms him from something that is of the flesh, to something that is divine in nature. That is why, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)
To demonstrate the difference between reflected light and direct light, lets use an example. In Eph. 3:17, Paul says, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—“ We could understand that Christ is dwelling in our hearts helping us to be good people and doing the right things through our belief in him. That is reflected light according to doctrine. Now go to a quiet place, free of distractions, and say, “Lord, you are the Christ, the God Almighty who created this universe, the infinite God who emptied himself to become a man, humbling himself to even die on a cross, so my sins could be forgiven. My sins could be forgiven. Today, you live inside of me as the Spirit, being one with me, this hopeless creature, and transferred me into your kingdom. You did this by making a home in my heart so that I would have your nature, something that is divine so that I would be transformed to be the same image as you. You are not changing me only, but all the brothers and sisters you have put me with, making a home in their hearts, and transforming them to be like Christ so you can head up all things unifying us to create the one new man. This is how you will be the all in all.” This is what God might say to you. This is direct light revealed to us by the Spirit.
In his resurrection, Christ as the Spirit is able to come into us. Christ as the Spirit, in a tangible way, is the Word of God. That is why, “The Word became flesh…” (John 1:14). When we receive the Word, realize it is God as Christ who comes into us. “All Scripture is God-breathed,” (2 Tim. 3:16) breathed out by God for us to breath in. “But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.” (Job 32:8) What we breath in is actually “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17) It is what gives us the power “to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phi. 3:14) Today, “we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Phi. 3:20-21) “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Eph. 1:22) By transforming each one of us, we will behave and function as one, to build up the one Body of Christ.