By Ray Yungen
I believe the Bible contains an important passage, which clearly indicates a change of times and seasons may indeed be at hand. In Matthew 24:3-5, which is a chapter dealing with the tribulation period, Jesus spoke these words to His disciples concerning the signs of His coming and the end of the age:
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (emphasis mine)
I have heard two interpretations of Jesus’ reply. The first interpretation asserts various individuals will claim to be the returning, incumbent Jesus Christ. The other view says a number of messiah figures will appear and gather followers to themselves in a similar fashion to cult leader Jim Jones or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the guru leader who set up his idea of utopia in Oregon. I now believe neither of these interpretations encompass the bigger picture. It is in light of numerous New Age statements that Matthew 24 takes on new significance.
A basic tenet of New Age thinking is that of the Master Jesus. Adherents to this idea believe during the unrecorded period of His life, Jesus traveled to various occult centers and mystery schools in such places as Tibet, India, Persia, and Egypt; at these places this same Jesus learned the metaphysical secrets of the ages. Therefore, they claim this Jesus spent seventeen years of travel on a pilgrimage of higher consciousness. According to this viewpoint, Jesus of Nazareth became the Master Jesus, one who allegedly gained mastery over the physical world by becoming one with his higher self.
This is how the New Age interprets the word Christ. The word comes from the Greek word kristos, which means the anointed. New Agers believe this means being anointed or in touch with the higher self or divine nature. In other words, to be anointed is to be enlightened.
Since New Agers believe Jesus was completely in tune with his higher self, this made him a Christ. It is, they believe, a state of awareness and a spiritual condition rather than a title. For that reason, anyone who is in full attunement with his or her divine essence is also a Christ.
After reading innumerable such statements that promote this Christ consciousness, I took a closer look at Matthew 24:5. What I found astounded me! The Greek word for many in this verse is polus, which means a very great or sore number. The word may actually be saying that millions upon millions of people are going to claim deity for themselves. The Greek words for “come in my name” mean they shall come claiming to represent what Jesus alone personifies by misusing His name and mistaking His true identity.
In summary, Matthew 24:5 is saying a great number of people will come claiming to represent what He (Jesus) represents but will be in fact deceiving people. In light of Jesus’ warning (“many shall come in my name”), consider the following remarks taken from two New Age sources:
Jesus was one soul who reached the state of Christ Consciousness; there have been many others. He symbolized the blueprint we must follow . . . The way is open to everyone to become a Christ by achieving the Christ Consciousness through walking the same path He walked. He simply and beautifully demonstrated the pattern.1
The significance of incarnation and resurrection is not that Jesus was a human like us but rather that we are gods like him—or at least have the potential to be. The significance of Jesus is not as a vehicle of salvation but as a model of perfection. 2 (emphasis mine)
New Agers claim Jesus is a model of what the New Age or Aquarian person is to become. These statements could be called coming in His name or claiming to represent what He represents.
The remainder of verse five in Matthew, chapter 24, reveals the warning of Jesus that they will actually say: “I am Christ.” Again, we find a multitude of statements by New Agers that confirm the admonition of Jesus. Here are some examples:
This World Leader, by the way, is supposed to represent the new Aquarian Age and establish the Oneness of all mankind—one religion . . . In the Aquarian Age, you will not need the outer saviour, for you will be able to learn how to reach the inner Christ Consciousness . . . The Saviour of the New Age will be a channel through which all Cosmic Truth will come.3
The Christ is You. You are the one who is to come—each of you. Each and everyone of you!4
Christhood is not something to come at a point in the future when you are more evolved. Christhood is—right now! I am the Christ of God. You are the Christ of God.5 (emphasis mine)
It is not surprising to find those in the contemplative prayer camp who also subscribe to this view. Contemplative author John R. Yungblut, former Dean of Studies at the Quaker Meditation Center at Pendle Hill in Pennsylvania, echoes a similar notion:
But we cannot confine the existence of the divine to this one man [Jesus] among men. Therefore we are not to worship the man Jesus, though we cannot refrain from worshiping the source of this Holy Spirit or Christ-life which for many of us has been revealed primarily in this historical figure.6
Willigis Jager, who ironically titled his book, Contemplation: A Christian Path, stated the same perception of Christ’s role to humanity:
Salvation will now be nothing other than a realization of the fact that “the kingdom of God is within you” . . . This is the Good News Jesus proclaimed to humanity. The kingdom is already within all of us.7 (emphasis mine)
Although many contemplative authors still maintain a traditional view of Christology, enough subscribe to the New Age model to where there is cause for grave concern.
There is also a movement flourishing in Jewish circles, which parallels the contemplative spirituality of Catholics and Protestants. Based on the Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical text, this version of contemplative prayer is spreading like wildfire through Judaism. Take a look at any section on Judaism at a local bookstore and you will find it saturated with books on this subject.
One such book, New Age Judaism (written by meditation teacher Melinda Ribner), is typical of such titles. Ribner explains:
Many people will be surprised to find that Judaism is fundamentally aligned with what we think of today as the New Age. Many of the beliefs and practices we associate with the New Age are not new but are part of kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition. . . . Though this knowledge has been mostly closeted throughout time, kabbalah is becoming increasingly popular and available today.8
Ribner echoes the view of mystical Judaism when she emphasizes:
Though the term “Messiah” refers to an actual person, Judaism believes that the Messiah is within the consciousness of every person. We all carry the sparks of Messiah within us. Though we await a person who will embody this consciousness and unite the world, we each have to develop this consciousness ourselves. . . . Thus, when a sufficient number of people have developed a consciousness of spiritual unity, the rest of mankind will be uplifted.9
Israel itself is ripe for this type of spirituality. One recent book, The Israelis by Donna Rosenthal, said that according to a Gallup-Israel survey, sixty percent of all Israelis are attracted to mysticism. In fact, Reiki News magazine reported there to be 6,000 Reiki healers in Israel. That is a very large number for such a small country.10
One Kabbalah proponent, Rabbi Phillip Berg, has opened fifty “Kabbalah Centres” around the world to spread its message to the masses. According to his literature, this organization has guided 3.9 million people into this mystical practice. His center in Tel Aviv alone has drawn in thousands of students. In addition, there is an entire publishing company devoted to the Kabbalah, Jewish Lights Publishing, with scores of titles on the subject. Their most prominent author is Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, who has reached a wide audience of readers.
This is significant to the prophecies in Matthew, chapter 24 because the mystic Jews also refer to the higher states they enter into as the “messianic consciousness.”11 So, in effect, this state of being, according to their view, makes one a messiah, or in the Greek language, a christos or a christ.
The Great Apostasy
In light of the many who will be coming in Christ’s name, I also believe the “prophecies” of the occulist Alice Bailey can provide further insight into what the apostle Paul called in II Thessalonians the falling away. Bailey eagerly foretold of what she termed “the regeneration of the churches.”12 Her rationale for this was obvious:
The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished.13
In other words, instead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness! The various churches would still have their outer trappings of Christianity and still use much of the same lingo. If asked certain questions about traditional Christian doctrine, the same answers would be given. But it would all be on the outside; on the inside a contemplative spirituality would be drawing in those open to it.
In wide segments of Christianity, this has indeed already occurred. Contemplative priest Thomas Keating alone taught 31,000 people mystical prayer in one year. People are responding to this in large numbers because it has the external appearance of Christianity but in truth, is the diametric opposite—what a skillful spiritual delusion! Could this possibly be the falling away Paul speaks of?
1. Davis and Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming, op. cit., p. 49.
2. John White, “Jesus, Evolution and the Future of Humanity” (Science of Mind magazine, Oct. 1981), pp. 40-42.
3. Donald H. Yott, Man and Metaphysics (New York, NY: Samuel Weiser, 1980), p. 74.
4. Armand Biteaux, The New Consciousness (Willits, CA: Oliver Press, 1975), p. 128.
5. John Randolph Price, The Planetary Commission (Austin, TX: Quartus Books, 1984), pp. 143, 145.
6. John R. Yungblut, Rediscovering the Christ (Rockport, MA: Element Inc., 1991), p. 164.
7. Willigis Jager, Contemplation: A Christian Path (Liguori, MO: Triumph Books, 1994), pp. 93-94.
8. Melinda Ribner, New Age Judaism (Deerfield Beach, FL: Simcha Press, 2000), p. xv, “Author to Reader” section.
9. Ibid., pp. 196-197.
10. William Rand, “Reiki in the Holy Land” (Reiki News, Winter 2003), p. 20.
11. Rabbi David Cooper, God is a Verb (New York, NY: Riverhead Books, 1997), p. 58.
12. Alice Bailey, Problems of Humanity (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing, 1993), p. 152.
13. Alice Bailey, The Externalization of the Hierarchy (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing, 1976), p. 510.