32. Appearance versus Substance
Adam was not deceived are among the most horrific of all words in the Bible. Adam knew exactly what was going on. He understood perfectly the meaning of the serpent's words. He knew exactly the intentions and psychology of the lie. Adam played the serpent as much or more than the serpent played Adam. The two made a deal. We must understand that deal.
32. Appearance versus Substance
Faith is the evidence of things not seen.
God is invisible; He is not and will never be seen. – He who has seen Me has seen the Father.Jesus
Man is God revealed; that is, man is the visible expression of a God who is forever unseen. Thus we are just like Jesus, the first One of our kind.
What happened to man? God has anointed me to uncover the root and essence of Adam's fall. Every time I think I see it clearly, I discover that all I have done is open the door to further depths of understanding.
Why? What difference does it make?
God makes NO plans, but God IS fierce and certain purpose. Adam could never have turned his back on being the express image of God's invisible Person except utterly inside the purposing and determination of God.
God did not purpose Adam to rebel, but Adam's rebellion existed only inside of GREAT and all-consuming purpose. One who thinks, “Oh well, that's over with,” does not value the heart and intentions of God. Sons who desire to know Him must know the purpose of His heart in all things. Our knowledge of God matches our thirst.
Most Christians live entirely in the rebellion of Adam, especially those who are filled with the Holy Ghost, especially those who draw near to the Holiest of All.
God intends to be glorified THROUGH this great pin-point of contention, this great contradiction that God calls His image. No flesh will glory in His presence, yet His glory is revealed in our mortal flesh.
We will never know what it means to overcome until we know what Adam did.
Consider this contradiction.
The love of God IS shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us. – God, who claims that He always tells the truth.
Fill us again with Your love, sweet Spirit of God. – Words of a song sung in earnest desire by those who “long for life and reality.”
Do you see the total disconnect? God will never give us something we already possess. All of God in Person fills us full; what more can God do or say?
Do you see how the song, as wonderful and “right” as it sounds, so filled with anointing when we sang it, tears streaming down our faces, is absolutely the rebellion of Adam?
If God Himself in all fullness filling us full is not enough for us, what more can He do?
God is invisible and un“know”able – forever. God is meek and lowly of heart.
God will be seen and known, touched and handled through human flesh, His image, forever – weak forever, the perfect counterpart of God's meek and lowly heart.
Now, to get at the real meaning of Adam's fall, which is the real meaning of God's story and purpose, which is the real meaning of the Lamb-Slain, I find that I must tackle a particular subject head on.
God does not do evil deeds.
Does evil (calamity) come to a city and I have not done it? – God, through Isaiah.
For he (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning. – Jesus
Let's walk through this one very carefully. The words of the Bible are not and cannot be equal. There are some words that are absolute, that rule over all. There are other things in the Bible that are subordinate, that must be ruled by those things God says that are absolute.
How do we know the difference? (Almost all Christians use the Nicene Creed, things God does not say, to rule by tyranny over all things God does say.) First, we are always free to find in the Bible whatever it is we are seeking. We are free to find Christ our life and we are free to find not-Christ.
The absolute are those words that are the essence and center of Paul's gospel of Christ our only life and supported at every step by John's words of abiding in Christ.
Here is the problem.
There is a whacky idea in some Christian circles that Satan did not begin good. There are some who argue that those two brief lines from Isaiah and Jesus, taken out of context, rule as absolutes in a peculiarly ungodly way. There are some who imagine that God created the unclean spirits as evil and unclean beings in their beginnings. They even go through great argument as to why this is so, never recognizing the horror they are saying.
God is eternal MEANS that God IS right now. God and time are intrinsically related. The thought “God was before time” is absurd. God is now; God is now every moment. God did not create (past tense). Past tense is just figurative language, as Jesus said in John 16.
God creates and sustains all things now. IS and NOW. Always IS and always NOW.
Yet God creates and sustains in a precise and particular manner. God is always creating and always sustaining all things right now by the Words that He speaks.
The Word God is always speaking is a Person who has a name, Christ Jesus.
If God creates unclean spirits as unclean spirits then Jesus IS the continual action of uncleanness.
If God created the devil and his angels fallen and evil, then every act of sin, every rape, every murder, every debauchery IS the immediate and continual action of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If God creates evil, then Jesus is the continual and only committer of all sinful acts. If a child is raped, then, by that argument, Jesus is the rapist.
You will understand why I think that to be one of the stupidest ideas ever cooked up in the fetid swamps of human insanity.
In the day of their creation, God called all things, “Good.”
“Good” and “God” are originally the same words in English and German, in all Germanic languages.
All unclean and evil spirits are persons. Unclean and evil spirits are not an impersonal force; they are not a mindset. They are each an individual person, entirely responsible for each their own individual actions with no reference to any other person or to any group of persons.
All unclean and evil spirits are created by God GOOD!
God creates persons in both heaven and earth. All persons created by God have three characteristics shared by all. (Norman Grubb used the word “person” slightly differently than I would use it. For his definition, I would use the word, “life,” keeping the word “person” to its individual and personal connotation, each one unique, named, and highly regarded by God. Yet all persons are without question an extension of God's Person.)
1. Each person is created good (God is holy).
2. Each person has his or her own name (God is personal).
3. Each person is FREE of God, though sustained utterly by Him (God is love).
Each unclean spirit IS created by God good AND free of God. Each unclean spirit is fully responsible for every one of his own actions.
Each unclean spirit, then, has two names, a name of goodness and a name of evil. God treats each one by his good name, but requires of each one an accounting of his deeds. The evil name is, in actuality, a fiction.
God's respect for Satan now is the same respect God holds for the good and beautiful creature that comes out of His mouth, out of the speaking of Jesus.
The passages in Isaiah and Ezekiel that I quoted in “Judgment in Heaven,” are clearly a Spirit word speaking of heavenly and NOT earthly things or persons. Those who know visions of God and the seeing of the heavenlies all around us, visions and seeing such as the Annie visions, recognize those passages as a description of heavenly realities, not earthly individuals – not as Adam or some temporal and unknown king of Tyre.
Now, let's get to the brass tacks.
Satan, which means “accuser,” has another name as he comes forth from God's mouth by the speaking of Jesus. That other name is a name of life and holiness, pure and unfallen. The passage in Isaiah suggests a name – Lucifer, that is, the bearer of light (think colors of the rainbow). Yes, that is a suggestion only. The Hebrew word could easily be construed otherwise.
BUT – it is of absolute importance that we know Satan by his good name as God knows him. The last thing the devil wants us to think as sons of God is that God creates and sustains him good and not evil, that God still calls him by his good name.
We could call him Bob. If we don't want to call him Lucifer, Bob would work just as well. But Satan must sustain a good name, regardless of how much he hates it. To know his good name, the good name by which God continues to create and sustain him is to render his unclean “power” null and void.
Bob was created good and beautiful and righteous. Bob is continually created good and beautiful and sustained as good and beautiful every moment. If not, he simply cannot exist.
Yet Bob wishes to be known only as Satan, as the accuser, and preferably with a small s – satan, so that everyone things of him as the dark side of the force and not as an individual person created and sustained every moment good by God and fully responsible before God for every individual wicked action.
Let's call Bob's bluff.
Now hopefully you will be thinking, “Bob? What's with this Bob?” Exactly! No one knows “Bob,” but people do know of whom we are speaking when we use the name, “Lucifer.” It's called language. The purpose of language is to convey meaning from one mind to another. If meaning has not been transferred, then language has failed.
Calling or not calling Satan “Lucifer” as he comes out of God's speaking instead of “Bob” is a matter of semantics ONLY with no theological relevance and not to be found in any form of “believing” or “not believing.”
What makes “Bob” useful above “Lucifer,” however, is that we don't think of “Bob” as evil. Neither, then, is Lucifer an evil name; God never speaks evil. However the fall of both Adam and Lucifer, a fall that they continue to execute by every thought, word, and action, though God sustains them good, does have total relevance to us now.
The revelation of Jesus Christ in the day of His glory is a 100% match to the combined fall of Lucifer and Adam. And that brings us to this HUGE CONTRADICTION between appearance and substance, set by God at the center of all of His purpose.
Lucifer is all about appearance in the good speaking of God; yet Lucifer is not and can never be the image of God. God is all about substance, yet He is both invisible AND meek and lowly of heart.
Thus God can be made visible only by faith through vessels of weakness with no grandiose outward appearance.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – forever.
It is not wrong for God to create a servant-creature entirely as outward appearance. A rainbow is outward appearance only with no substance at all, yet we enjoy its beauty. But that outward appearance is not and can never be God's image.
Now, we MUST have an assumption about the serpent in the garden that explains one half of all human psychosis. That assumption must be that this serpent, coming out of God's mouth as good and pure, is the most glorious being in the universe in all outward appearance. If that is not true, then half of human psychosis is without explanation. Yet human psychosis (human insanity) is central to the purposing of God, central to “overcome,” to “subdue all things.”
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. Genesis 3:1
That is, the serpent was superior to all.
“I was afraid because I was naked.” Adam – of inferior outward appearance, yet the image of God.
Thus I will continue to present all human psychosis as a trade, an exchange between Adam and Lucifer. Adam possessed something Lucifer wanted above all things – the image of God. Lucifer possessed something Adam wanted above all things – outward appearance. Together, they made a deal.
When I wrote “Judgment in Heaven,” a phrase, repeated twice in Ezekiel 28, made no sense to me.
“By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned – You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading.
I am writing in response to seeing what that means. Adam and the serpent made a deal; they made a trade.
And suddenly, I see a very real possibility that Adam and the serpent fell from God's grace at the same moment and by the same deed. Although I have assumed with all others that evil began in heaven first, there is no actual Scripture to ground that thought one way or the other, (that I can think of right now) or that prevents us from thinking that just maybe, both Adam and Lucifer fell at the same moment by the same deed, by making a trade.
And that very reality explains all human psychosis perfectly; the trading continues right on today.
Adam and the serpent looked at one another; in the same moment, both envied utterly the possession of the other. The serpent envied being the image of God; Adam envied the outward appearance of strength and beauty.
Thus we understand these words, spoken through Isaiah, “I will BE like the most High,” to mean, “I will make a deal with Adam by which I will take control of him and thus be like God.”
My sister asked me about a verse I have deliberately ignored, suspecting that the translation cannot be right because the words come out of the serpent's lie and have no relationship with anything God says elsewhere.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— Genesis 3:22
Suspecting I would find the truth, I looked up the Hebrew, here:http://biblehub.com/text/genesis/3-22.htm
The words are translated correctly in this verse, according to how they are translated elsewhere, except one, the Hebrew word mim·men·nū. This word is a preposition, used many times and usually translated “as” or “than,” but it can carry other slightly different shades of meaning. But the phrase used here, “like – Us” is simply a bad, no, a preposterous translation, coming entirely out of one of the most incredulous beliefs in Christianity. But before we tackle that preposterous belief, held by almost all, here is Genesis 3:22 as God says it.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become as one who knows good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—
Now that makes perfect sense, doesn't it, and fitting with all God speaks elsewhere. That is what God said. So where comes the preposterous rendition of “like one of Us”? It's just hard to imagine, but most Christians think that the serpent was telling Adam the truth!!! And thus, out of that incredulous blindness, the translators force a simple Hebrew preposition to repeat here the lying of the serpent! Here are the outward words of the lie.
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5
You see, a lie is NOT. A lie is not something; it is no-thing. Every single word, every phrase, every assumption upon which these words are spoken, every thought created by these words, every interplay of action-reaction going on between the mind of the serpent and the minds of Eve and Adam – all are simply untrue!
BUT! My seeing is turning, and the writing of this letter is causing me to see the power of understanding we hold over all angels, fallen or unfallen.
We have always had the picture that the serpent was the bully and Adam was the victim. What if it is quite the other way around? What if the two roles were shared equally by each? What if, in equal measure, Adam was as much the bully and the serpent as much the victim.
What if it was an equal exchange? What if they made a deal?
But let's push that just a little bit further. What if Adam had just a bit the upper hand? What if he were more the bully and the serpent more the victim? Let's bring in two things Paul said.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 1 Timothy 2:14
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— Romans 5:12
Eve was deceived. That means she truly believed that the serpent, a beautiful and glorious creature, was speaking from God. She was likely only a few days or hours old, knowing only a hot and heavy relationship with quite a hunk of a man. She knew only goodness and joy; she had no knowledge of falseness or deceit.
Adam was not deceived are among the most horrific of all words in the Bible. Adam knew exactly what was going on. He understood perfectly the meaning of the serpent's words. He knew exactly the intentions and psychology of the lie. Adam played the serpent as much or more than the serpent played Adam.
The two made a deal. We must understand that deal. And we must understand that the deal went immediately bad for both of them at the same time. The serpent was then cursed as much as Adam and all the universe.
Death came upon all through Adam. Paul does specify, “all men,” but by extension we can see that all creation is included in Adam's death.
What and who, then, are these two that began the entire debacle, the vanity of human folly, out of which God forms His many sons to glory? There is no question in my mind that the more God gives us to see what went down here, the more we walk as the victory over all of it, the more we walk just as Jesus walked.
The word translated “God” in Genesis 1 is the Hebrew word, “Elohim.” Elohim is the plural form of “El.” El means “judge.” Thus Genesis 1:1 should actually read either one of these ways. In the beginning the Gods created the heavens and the earth – In the beginning the Judges created the heavens and the earth.
Then, Genesis 1:26 reads thus, And the Gods/the Judges said, “Let Us make man in Our image and after Our likeness.”
Now, we don't take the plural to mean anything. Paul said, “There is only one God, the Father.”But the very word, “Father,” requires that God, in His essence and being, is family. More than that, God is NOW; there is no past tense in God. If we are in Jesus IN the Father, than that IS, there is no “was” state for God.
But El means Judge. And Adam was created as the outward visible expression of this invisible Judge. And when we say, “visible,” we mean to both heaven and earth. Adam was to be as much the visible expression of an invisible God to all the spirit heavens through his spirit as he was to be to all the physical earth through his body.
And thus David said, “You have made (man) a little lower than El, a little lower than the Judge.” It was only later Jewish unbelief that required this to read “angel.” But David also said,“You have set him (man) over all the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” Psalm 8
But Adam was more than the visible expression of the invisible Judge, that is, the image of God, Adam was also like God, that is, Adam was also a judge.
A human being IS a judge. And we judge everything; that is our nature and being. We are that way because we are just like God.
On the other hand, consider the serpent. Here is what God says about angels, both from Hebrews 1.
And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.” – Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
The word “minister” is better translated “servant.”
Thus we see that when God said, “Subdue – and have dominion over..., He was not referring to earthly creatures only, because Adam was as much a heavenly being as an earthly being. Adam was created as both heaven and earth in one person. Thus it is right for us to understand that, just as animals were created to be of service to man in the earth, so angels were created to be of service to man in the heavens.
The two most important animals to the service of man are horses and dogs. Consider a dog, whipped and abused by its owner, turned into a vicious attack animal, yet cringing in fear if its master. If this dog rips apart an innocent human being, what will a judge decree? A judge will decree that the dog be put to death, yes, but no “blame” will fall upon the dog. Rather, it is the master who holds full liability for the deeds of the dog.
By the same judgment, it is apparent that Adam holds full liability for the deeds of the serpent ever since the deal went sour. Now, we take this comparison only so far. An angel is responsible for his deeds in a way that an animal is not. A dog would not be blamed, but an angel would most certainly bear his own measure of responsibility.
Adam was, in every way but one, ABOVE, OVER, IN COMMAND OF the serpent.
The one advantage, the only advantage that the serpent had over Adam was outward appearance.
Adam looked ridiculous, or so he thought, whereas the serpent looked beautiful and smart and strong.
Now understand the scene. Adam is the master of the stage. The serpent, the tree of knowledge, and the woman are all minor characters. Adam's intellect is piercing; he understands everything; the calculations of his mind are rapid and definite.
Adam is not deceived. He knows exactly what he is doing; he commands all things.
The decision is 100% between appearance versus substance.
First, this yet unfallen serpent, though he possessed all outward glory, wanted the one thing he did not have, the serpent wanted to be a judge. You see, this is the first time that Lucifer has seen Adam. Lucifer is not stupid; he knows exactly what he is looking at, the image and likeness of God. Up until that moment, Lucifer had been perfectly content with the way God had created him. But the moment he saw Adam, this great and mighty angel wanted something he did not have, something God had not granted to him. And iniquity was found in him. Yet that iniquity had not yet formed the seed, the LIE, that would not bear fruit until the TRADE is made.
And this is also the first time Adam has seen the serpent. Adam is not stupid; he knows exactly what he is looking at, the most beautiful, the smartest, the strongest creature in God's universe. Up until that moment, Adam has been perfectly content with the way God had created him. But the moment he saw the serpent, this image and likeness of God wanted something he did not have, something God had not granted to him.
Now understand, the serpent was the SECOND new thing Adam saw that day. Just seconds before Adam saw the serpent for the very first time, Adam saw the tree of life. And in seeing the tree of life, Adam understood perfectly and clearly all that tree was and all that tree meant.
Adam did not choose between being himself as God had created him in that present moment and being outwardly glorious like the serpent. Oh no! Adam was not deceived. Adam chose entirely between all glorious outward appearance and the bloody, bruised, naked, and unashamed image of a God who is meek and lowly of heart, who lifts up the weak, and gives comfort to the weary, a God who carries even His enemies inside Himself, stumbling in their weakness all the way into life.
What do you want???
I know of no other place where you can make your decision than on your face on the floor in tears before a meek and a holy God.
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
This is God; this is who we are. Do we really want to be like Him?
The serpent wanted to be like Adam, that is, like God, a judge. Adam wanted to be like the serpent, that is, outwardly impressive.
In the very moment that Adam comprehended the beauty of the serpent, he rejected with all knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who had no form or comeliness, nor any beauty that we should desire Him.
The thought in the serpent's mind was this: “If I could just get inside of this image of God and bring him under my control, I could be a judge like God.” The thought in Adam's mind was this: “If I could just bring this serpent under my control, I could take his beauty, strength, and smarts upon myself.”
Both Adam and the serpent made the deal entirely out from ENVY birthed in their hearts at the same time by their own willful and knowing determination. As they together made the exchange, facilitated through Eve and the fruit of knowledge, they both together birthed sin and rebellion, death and ruin into the universe. They both obtained what they wanted only to discover it was the very opposite of what they had imagined.
And now, like the wicked step-sisters of fairy-tale, they have only each other to gnaw upon. Yet man remains the master and angels, twisted and dark, remain the servants. It appears that the addict is the slave of dark powers, and in one sense he is. But the man, just as much, uses those dark powers to feed his own lusts, and thus they are his slaves as well. No demon can keep any man from calling upon the Lord.
We repudiate Adam utterly and with all our hearts; we put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
But we must understand the ongoing psychology of this binding union between fallen men and fallen angels, bound together with cords of misery, cords of their own making.
Outward appearance (Adam's preference, provided by the serpent) means everything on the one hand; judging and condemning everyone else in the exaltation of self (the serpent's preference, provided by Adam) means everything on the other hand. What a horrific union! Is this not man as we have known him?
I do need to draw a distinct line here. There is a godly desire to excel, to create beauty, to do one's best, to please others, to achieve skill. All of these things come from our design as the likeness of God. But, at the same time, there is a lust to appear superior in the eyes of both God and man. Sometimes this lust appears as a face alongside the godly desire for beauty and skill and sometimes it exists as a face without anything true at all.
But there is a distinct difference between the two, and we can usually tell when someone is wearing a face for self-gain versus a genuine delight in excellence. However, all con-men, all rip-off artists use a face that feels totally real to the victims, yet it is entirely deceit.
One mark of a son of God is one who is completely comfortable with him or her self as God made him to be, one who always enjoys the image of God expressed through others, one who never needs to feel superior or inferior.
But let us come back to purpose. The action of God's universe, “overcome,” is found entirely inside this tension between appearance vs. substance, between the image presented to man by the serpent versus the image of the Lamb-Slain. You see, there is a thought, I realize, that faith is temporary, that, when we “get to” heaven, we will see and thus no longer need faith.
...until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He (God) will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. 1 Timothy 6:14-16
The inner reality of who and what God is cannot ever be seen or known by any created being, except those sons who see Him by faith. Thus it is these sons that God desires with all of His being, drawing them each, one by one, out of the masses of humanity, out of the debacle of Adam's fall, out of confusion and loss.
Then we who know Him by faith alone turn and reveal Him to all, heart of His heart.
God is fashioning us to be the visible form of His invisible Heart, His inner and secret Person.
And thus the contest He has set before our eyes, and before the eyes of all, between outward appearance and inner substance, the first by envy, the second by faith.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is the manifestation of God.
I want to close this letter with a truth that will then shape the second part of the next letter.
God... has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (ages); who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:1-3
Let's reduce that to the essence we need.
God upholds/sustains all things by the speaking of Christ.
Then this: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
Let's recast that to the essence we need.
Good, the speaking of Christ, overcomes evil.
If Satan and his demons are sustained good every moment by the speaking of Christ. If their evil is nothing more than the trap of their own continual actions by which they have bound themselves to man and man to them. If the Good speaking of Christ overcomes, swallows up, all evil – entirely by goodness.
Then we have the knowing of who and what we are – the prophetic word of Christ by which God transforms the universe by birthing a brand new reality out from Adam's painted mess.
Evil is appearance only; substance is all good, that is all God – God all in all.
The Word is in our mouth, this word of Christ that sustains all things good and that subdues all things by goodness, that is by Godness.