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Mysteries and Mysticism

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babylonThis post follows on from The Deep, deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism where we looked at Mystery Babylon, the Tower of Babel, Nimrod and the ancient roots of the “mystery” religions – all  sprung from the root of Satan’s lie:

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God….”

It is my belief that the Church is willing to accept rituals, prayer labyrinths and other pagan practices because we have lost the anointing of the Holy Spirit both in our churches and in our prayer closets.  Friends – we desperately need a revival!  Where are those who, like Elijah, will cry out to God until He sends the rain?

I believe we have lost the anointing in our churches and prayer closets because are not willing to pay the price to have it.  The anointing is costly. 

Yes, salvation is free to all because of Christ’s atonement at Calvary – that is undisputed – but the anointing of the Holy Spirit is an expensive treasure.  To follow our Master is not always easy.  The way of the cross is hard, it demands sacrifice, humility, self-denial and death to self.  Are we willing to pay the price?

This is something we need to decide, because there is an influx of Mystery Religions coming – and from the way of the cross they are completely opposed…

treeoflife

The Tree of LIfe

knowledge tree


The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

                                                           Which Tree will you choose?

 

Characteristics of the Mystery Religions

In contrast to the way of the cross, these mystery religions all have one thing in common:

They elevate humankind to god-hood.

Rather than death to self, “Self” is exalted.

“.…you will be like God….” Gen 3:5

Just as Lucifer tried to exalt himself above the throne of God; just as Nimrod tried to elevate himself above the heavens by his tower, so too the mystery religions continue to attempt to exalt humankind to deity. What these mystery religions proclaim, in essence, is that : humankind is essentially divine, we just need to realize it.  Our divine consciousness simply needs to be recognized and released.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Gnosticism, the New Age & Western Occultism all hold to this belief.

The Bible calls this the “Mystery of Iniquity”.  Man in his “divinity” seeks to reach up to god-hood.  He tries to elevate himself through some sort of works.  These may include: religious rituals, asceticism, enlightenment through meditation, good works etc.

New Age believes in the essential goodness of Man and the Divine Spark in Man (http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm)

Notice that this “reaching up” is the exact opposite of what God did in sending His Son, Jesus Christ:

who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phillippians 2:6-8

While mystery religions attempt to lift man UP to the heavens, Christ, the true God, humbles Himself and leaves heaven to come DOWN to save us from our sin.

The Bible calls this the “Mystery of Godliness”.  We cannot save ourselves. Our eternal salvation and redemption required for God to come down to us in order to save us.

  • The Mystery of Iniquity says that humankind is divine – our problem is that we don’t know it (PRIDE)
  • The Mystery of Godliness says that humankind is sinful, unable to save ourselves and that it required God to come down to us in the flesh to save us (HUMILITY)

Which is more appealing to human flesh?

Has the “Mystery of Iniquity” Entered the Church?

For Christianity, the central problem is how God could have become person. How spirit could transform itself into matter. Word become flesh. Consciousness become protoplasm. The direction is from the top down. For Judaism, on the other hand, the problem is how humanity could possibly attain to God’s word and intention. How matter could raise itself to spirit. How simple desert souls could hear the word. Human substance attain consciousness. The intention is “to permeate matter and raise it to spirit.” The direction is from the bottom up. Perhaps the two traditions, one moving down, the other moving up, are destined to meet in the divinity of humanity.” Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, pg. 191

We affirm our divinity by doing what is worthy of gods, and we affirm our humanity by taking risks only available to mortals. God had to become one of us before He could become heroic … Robert Schuller affirms our divinity, yet does not deny our humanity … isn’t that what the gospel is? Isn’t God’s message to sinful humanity that He sees in each of us a divine nature of such worth that He sacrificed His own Son so that our divine potentialities might be realized? … The hymn writer who taught us to sing ‘Amazing Grace’ was all too ready to call himself a ‘wretch’ … Forgetting our divinity and over-identifying with our [Freudian] anal humanity… Erich Fromm, one of the most popular psychoanalysts of our time, recognized the diabolical social consequences that can come about when a person loses sight of his/her own divinity …” Tony Campolo

Um, I’d say that’s a resounding “YES”.

But what does Jesus say? “If any man will be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me.”

The way of the cross is death.  First death, then life.  Christ Himself died and was raised up.  We also need to die to self and be raised up to resurrection life by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We need to confess that we are sinners only saved by God’s grace, not by any human works.

The anointing has a price: and it comes at the expense of human pride.

Definition of Mysticism

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy “The term ‘mysticism,’ comes from the Greek μυω, meaning “to conceal.” In the Hellenistic world, ‘mystical’ referred to “secret” religious mysteriousrituals. In early Christianity the term came to refer to “hidden” allegorical interpretations of Scriptures and to hidden presences, such as that of Jesus at the Eucharist.”

knowledge tree

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

In all of the “mystery” religions, we see that there is something hidden or concealed, a higher knowledge that only the elite few, being enlightened, are privy to, whilst the majority are left in the dark…..Remind you of anything?…

Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘….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

Another mystic described (reality) as “It is hidden, it is hidden and it is hidden“.”  (http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm)

This is why the triangle is a symbol of the mystery religions representing:

      The enlightened few at the top

tri

The majority of the un-knowing at the bottom

This is true for gnosticism, the New Age, Freemasonry, the cults and the occult.  In fact “occult”  is “from the Latin word occultus, meaning “clandestine, hidden, secret” is “knowledge of the hidden” (source: Wikipedia)

Contrast this with the pure simplicity of the Word of God.  God has spoken through His Word and it is open and available to whomsoever wishes to read it.  It is suitable both for the intellectual ex-Pharisee and for the uneducated fisherman.  God’s plan of redemption is through His Son Jesus Christ and is plainly declared throughout scripture.

The Mystery of God

This is not to say that there is not mystery surrounding God.  Of course there is.  He is so much higher than us, His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.  It is impossible for the human mind to fully comprehend God in all His goodness, power and glory – truly now we “see through a glass darkly”.  Yet He has made Himself known to us through His Word, through His Son and by His Spirit and because of Christ’s atonement it is possible for us to have a personal relationship with God.  This is indeed a divine mystery.

However what can be known of God is open and available to the lowest and the highest of the human race.  There are not different levels or hierarchies in the Kingdom of God.  Some are not privileged with a “special” knowing or knowledge whilst the rest of the plebs are left in the dark.  “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all”.  God wants us to know Him and has revealed Himself to us through the Word made flesh (Jesus), and the Word of God (The Bible).

The thing that concerns me about the Emergent Church is that they are turning away from how God has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity – the Word of God – because, as Leonard Sweet says:

Doctrine does not convey the mystery of God.”

This is very subtle and very clever.  This statement is appealing because in a sense it is true. Reliance on pure doctrine in a Christian can bring about legalism, rigidity and life-less coldness.  Doctrine-only without the Holy Spirit’s anointing is dead.  I have known Christians and churches with a purity of doctrine. They do not tolerate false teachings nor teachers, and yet there is no warmth, no love and no life.   They label anyone who has had a personal experience of God as a “mystic”.  They have run to the extreme of “truth” with no grace.  This is not right. As Christians we need a personal experience with the living God, like Isaiah and Peter did.  We need a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.  We must know not only the Word of God, but the God of the Word.  We need the anointing!

Yet, the other extreme is also faulty – to give away doctrine completely in order to search out the mystery of God, usually through experience-only.  God has given us doctrine (or teaching) in His Word so that we can truly come to know Him.  If we base our knowledge of God purely on our experiences then there is no objective point of reference as to whether who/what we are experiencing is truly God or whether it be a deceptive spirit. The Bible says to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God”.  It is only through the safe-guards of the Word of God that we can measure our experiences to see whether they line up or not.  Anything that falls outside of scripture is prohibited and not of God.

treeoflife

Tree of Life

So we need the Word of God and the anointing of the Spirit of God.  Together they bring life.

The Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus Christ, so when the Word is preached (in the power of the Holy Spirit) the Spirit is there.  When the authority of the Word is denied another spirit is able to gain access – the spirit of the “Mystery of Iniquity”.  We see that that is what is happening in the Emergent church.  Pagan spiritual practices are now acceptable and openly promoted.  Labyrinths are being installed in churches, Eastern meditative breathing techniques are being taught from the pulpit, people are praying to pictures of Jesus, prayer stones are being handed out.

In my next post I would like to look at:

  • Some of how these techniques and practices are being taught and promoted in the Emergent Church
  • Their (hidden) purpose and
  • Where its heading – The Age of Aquarius and One-World Religion

In A Meditation on Emergent Spirituality

Blessings!

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Author: GraceandTruth

bringing the gospel to life

2 thoughts on “Mysteries and Mysticism

  1. As far as faithful living we need knowledge (The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge) and we need to personally experience God. Faith without works is dead. Secret/hidden is definitely not God’s way, as you say. But when symbols, rituals and doctrine are nothing more than tools for evangelism or personal spirituality I am hesitant to brand them all misleading. When one worships the symbol, becomes enslaved to a ritual or confident in doctrine the tool has become an idol and will mislead. However, I will be categorical and say that any cloth, object or fluid that someone claims is endowed with magical powers because the right person prayed the right way over it will always be misleading! Finally, your point about the high cost of being a true follower of Jesus, anointed as you term it, is avoided by people like a plague, when the plague comes when we don’t take up our cross daily. Easy and convenient, especially in western culture, trumps righteous living and the “anything goes” in so many congregations and denominations is disheartening. I think of Psalm 15…
    Peace

    • Thanks for your comment and your insights. I think it’s important to remember that there is always the genuine and then there’s the counterfeit. There is the tree of Life and there is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There is the Mystery of Iniquity and the Mystery of Godliness. So knowledge and wisdom – yes, they’re important, essential really, but knowledge gained God’s way – not the esoteric knowledge rooted in Satan’s lies which God has forbidden (Deut 18). Works yes – but works as a result of salvation by faith in Christ, not in order to earn our salvation. I believe pagan symbols, rituals etc no matter how convincingly they are draped in “Christianized” terms are symptomatic of a greater malady – and that is of the Mystery of Iniquity. I absolutely agree with you that there is a terrible lack in CHristians to “taking up our cross daily” to follow our Lord. Comfort and convenience is the WEstern Church’s god. I can recommend watching this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv59vWZfJB0
      It has absolutely affected me and my life. God bless!

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