By Ray Yungen
I believe the Bible contains an important signal that the changes 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 revealing words to His disciples concerning the signs of His coming and the end of the world (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 [indication] of thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]? 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)
In the past, I have heard two basic ways of interpreting verse 5—“for many shall come in my name, saying, ‘I am Christ;’ and shall deceive many.” The first interpretation is that there will be various ones claiming to be the returned Jesus Christ. The other view, which has gained greater acceptance in the last ten or fifteen years, is that a number of messiah figures would appear and gather followers to themselves in a fashion similar to Jim Jones or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. I now feel both of these interpretations may be incorrect. It is in light of some predominant New Age viewpoints that these verses take on major significance.
A basic tenet of New Age thinking is that of the Master Jesus. Adherents to this idea believe that 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 where He learned the metaphysical secrets of the ages. Thus, they claim He spent seventeen years of travel on a pilgrimage of higher consciousness. According to this theory, Jesus of Nazareth became the Master Jesus, one who has gained mastery over the physical world by becoming one with his higher self.
You will recall that one of the terms that New Agers regularly use for the higher self is the Christ consciousness. To them, Christ is not a person, but a state-of-being. Excerpts from the following New Age sources explain it this way:
Jesus Christ educated His followers to discern the real man. He taught that there is a power in man that gives him authority over the things of the world. This principle is the higher self, the spiritual man, the Christ.1
The Christ Consciousness or Christ Principle represents the idea of a Saviour, but not, as taught in orthodox religions, a physical, material person. Jesus became the Saviour as He rose to the heights of His inner powers and became a True Son of God. . . . In other words, when Jesus, the man, was ready, the Christ Principle or Consciousness took over and predominated.2
After reading innumerable such statements in New Age material, I decided to take 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, as in millions and millions. A term derived from this word is hoi polloi, which translates the masses. The Greek words for “shall come in my name” means they shall come claiming to represent what He represents by using His name or authority. Therefore, Matthew 24:5 is saying that a very great number of people shall come claiming to represent what He represents, but are in fact, deceiving people. In light of come in my name, consider the following remarks taken from a variety of New Age sources:
Jesus was an historical person, a human being; Christ, the Christos. is an eternal transpersonal condition of being. Jesus did not say that this higher state of consciousness realized in him was his alone for all time. Nor did he call us to worship him. Rather, he called us to follow him, to follow in his steps, to learn from him, from his example.3
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.4
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.5
Jesus was aware of himself as a finished specimen of the new humanity which is to come—the new humanity which is to inherit the earth, establish the Kingdom, usher in the New Age.6
This view, then, is that Jesus is a model of what the New Age or Aquarian person is to become. I would say these statements can be called coming in His name or claiming to represent what He represents.
Now let us look at the second part of verse 5 in Matthew 24, “saying I am Christ.” Again, we find a multitude of statements such as the following:
Every man is an individual Christ; this is the teaching for the New Age. The experiences of contacting the Christ Self and the subsequent vibrational lifting are not to be reserved for a favored few. Every person in the world, sooner or later, will receive this lifting action. No one will be left out or left behind. Everyone will receive the benefit of this step in human evolution.” (emphasis mine)7
Could it be that many Christians have been looking for “the Christ” in all the wrong places? Could it be that when Jesus said “no man knoweth the hour” of his return, it was because the return of the Christ comes now, within us, and is beyond space and time? Jesus may have been hinting at this when he told us the kingdom of God is within you—not in some time, nor in some place, but within. When we look within, through meditation and the expansion of consciousness, we move beyond time, and meet face-to-face with the Christ.8
The Christ is You. You are the one who is to come—each of you. Each and every one of you!9
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.10
Even more specific evidence ties the New Age into Jesus’ prophecy. In Luke 21:7-8, we find the same discourse as in Matthew 24:3-5. Again, note the warning:
And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near; go ye not therefore after them. (Luke 21:7-8)
Notice “Christ” is italicized in verse 8, meaning that it was not in the original manuscript. The translators of the King James Bible probably thought it awkward that it said, “Many shall come saying, I am.” Probably for the sake of clarity and to be consistent with Matthew 24, the translators added the word “Christ.” It is very interesting that New Agers refer to themselves (or their higher selves) as the “I AM,” (one of the names of God). Note the following:
The first experience of unification with the Christ consciousness may come with the initial crossing of the psychic barrier and contact with the Christ Self or I AM Self.11
This Inner Self is called by many names such as: God-self, Higher-self, Christ Consciousness, I-AM, Buddah Nature, and many others.12
This I AM is God . . . this I AM is You.. . . Universe and Individual Consciousness.. . . God knowing Itself as God, God knowing Itself as You, and You knowing Yourself as God.13
So what Jesus may have been saying is many shall be saying “I AM.”
Because of these statements, I firmly believe what Jesus Christ was prophesying in Matthew and Luke was the current New Age movement when it reaches its full fruition world-wide. He clearly stated that just before His physical return, a huge number of people will proclaim their own personal divinity and that “many” (polus) will deceive—not some, but “many.” There was a good reason for Him to preface these prophesies with the warning, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” These people will be offering a spiritual message that will look, feel, and sound like it is of Jesus Christ but is not.
(from For Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen).
1. Charles Fillmore, Metaphysical Bible Dictionary (Unity Village, MO: Unity School of Christianity).
2. Donald H. Yott, Man and Metaphysics (New York, NY: Sam Weiser, Inc., 1980), p. 73.
3. John White, “Jesus, Evolution, and the Future of Humanity” (Science of Mind magazine, September 1981), p. 15.
4. John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming (Wyoming, MI: Coptic Press, 1982), p. 49.
5. John White (Science of Mind magazine, October 1981), pp. 40-42.
6. John White, “Jesus, Evolution, and the Future of Humanity” (Science of Mind magazine, September 1981), p. 15.
7. Armand Biteaux, The New Consciousness (Willits, CA: Oliver Press, 1975), p. 128.
8. Gregory Barrette, “The Christ is Now” (Science of Mind, March 1989), p. 17.
9. Life Times, Vol. 1, No.3, p. 91.
10. John Randolph Price, The Planetary Commission (Austin, TX: Quaratus Books, 1984), pp. 143, 145.
11. Anne P. and Peter V. Meyer, Being a Christ (San Diego: Dawning Pub., 1975), p. 49.
12. John Baughman, The New Age (Self-Published, 1977), p. 5.
13. John Randolph Price, The Planetary Commission (Austin, TX: Quaratus Books, 1984), p. 98.