Today’s New Age Teachers
There are many popular new age teachers and writers today but the two most prominent and popular would be Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle. According to his website Deepak Chopra has, “gained worldwide acclaim as a teacher and writer in fields as diverse as mind-body medicine, the nature of God, and the path to success. [He is] the author of more than sixty-four books translated into eighty-five languages, including nineteen New York bestsellers, and has sold more than twenty million copies of his books worldwide.’ According to Eckhart Tolle’s wikipedia he sold over eight million copies of his first two books by 2009.
Reading some of their books you will find that they like to use Jesus quotes to support their new age ideas. At times they will quote Jesus out of the bible to have him endorse their new age beliefs, pulling short quotes from Jesus out of their original context or out of a larger dialogue and give them meanings which fit a new age idea or belief which they have that largely relates to those core new age beliefs I have described earlier.
In an Eckhart Tolle teaching video he speaks on the way to end suffering by saying, ‘Even the central message of the teaching of Jesus is finding the pearl of great price, finding the kingdom of heaven that is within you, here and now, as Jesus says.’
Here Tolle is equating the kingdom of heaven which Jesus speaks of in the bible as being Gods spirit or the God consciousness that we have inside all of us waiting for us to realize it. He uses the pearl of great price which comes from a Jesus parable to also name it.
In Deepak Chopra’s book The Third Jesus he says, ‘There is just as much evidence in the gospels that reaching the kingdom of God means arriving at a higher level of consciousness.’ And later he says in the same book that, ‘Where traditional Christianity uses Christ as the means to reach Gods presence, the path to God-consciousness uses awareness. Specifically, we follow Jesus words, repeated often in the gospels, about the need to wake up and remain awake.’ He then pulls the following bible verse to show Jesus agreed with his point of view about keeping awake or being aware to find God-consciousness:
‘Therefore stay awake, for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning, lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.’ (Mark 13:35)
Firstly I will explain what the Kingdom of Heaven which Jesus speaks of is. Tolle is correct on this point that the kingdom of heaven is the central message of Jesus. Throughout most of the Gospel of Matthew ‘Kingdom of heaven’ is used but the ‘Kingdom of God’ is used throughout the other three Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. (There are four gospels in the New Testament, the remaining books are letters from the apostles, the book of Acts which is a book about the actions of the apostles after Jesus’ crucifixion, and the book of revelation about the end times. Gospel means good news and the gospels are about the actions and teachings of Jesus). What Jesus is referring to here is the same thing. Matthew uses Kingdom of Heaven because he was writing mainly to religious Jews who were sensitive to having God’s name being thrown around casually but it is still the same thing as Kingdom of God. (Footnote: Almost all of Matthew’s use of ‘God’ are a direct reference to God, and so are appropriate. ‘Kingdom of God’ is an indirect reference to God, and so is avoided. The five times he uses ‘Kingdom of God’ is in close proximity to a direct reference to God.)
The Kingdom of God is described in so many numerous different ways by Jesus to try and to get his audience to wrap their heads around the concept, and the numerous times he mentions it attests to its importance. It is the most important thing which Jesus speaks of, the most important message he wants to get across to those listening, so it is extremely important for us to understand.
Firstly Jesus says:
‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ (John 18:36)NIV
Meaning it is not like all of the kingdoms we have seen in this world on the earth. Where a king and kingdom is set up and a man or woman rules over a group of people in their kingdom, or of any form of reign we see in the different forms of leadership or government the world has, whether democracy, dictatorship, monarchy, oligarchy, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, whoever is in power of a country, or whatever the form of the reign is over a nation, state, empire etc., Jesus’ kingdom and reign will not be like the kingdoms we’ve seen here on earth. The kingdom of God will be very different. But for a kingdom there needs to be a king and Jesus will be the King in the Kingdom of God.
When is this kingdom of God supposed to come?
Time and time again throughout the New Testament it tells us that Jesus was saying;
‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ (Matthew 4:17)NIV
‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matthew 4:17)RSV, ESV, KJB
‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. (or has come, or is coming soon)’ (Matthew 4:17)NLT
Here we have the same verse with slightly different translations. In the Greek there is not always an exact translation to English but sometimes it depends on the context as the meaning of some Greek words could change slightly in a different context. Here in Matthew 4:17 the translations described the kingdom as, ‘come near,’ ‘at hand’ ‘coming soon’ or ‘has come.’ (Footnote: The New Testament was written in the Greek of that time as that region and many others had been conquered by the Macedonian Greeks of Alexander the Great sometime earlier and even though the conquered areas often had their local languages the Greek was spoken as the wider prevailing culture of that region of the world.) The Greek word here is engiken, it is the same word used to describe when Judas was bringing the Jewish leaders to arrest Jesus and Jesus is telling his disciples the time has come (engiken) for my betrayer to arrive. So it was imminent and happening at that moment. It would be perfectly fine to simply be translated as the kingdom of God has come. Jesus is the king so the kingdom has come with him.
Then what is the Kingdom of God?
Jesus uses many parables for us to try and understand what the Kingdom of God is. Parable means side by side, so he is comparing something else that we can picture to the Kingdom so we can get an understanding of what it is. He uses something we can understand to get a grasp of something which may be harder to understand.
Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat [the actual word here for weeds is tares. A tare is plant which looks very similar to wheat but is a weed], and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. ‘The owner’s servant came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. ‘The servants asked him do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ (Matthew 13:24-30)NIV
This parable describes the kingdom of God but what does it mean? Jesus tells us what it means just a bit further on in Matthew chapter 13:
His disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man [this is the title Jesus refers to himself as throughout the New Testament]. The field is the world, and the seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. ‘As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (Matthew 13:36)NIV
Here Jesus tells us that He plants the kingdom. The kingdom of God is full of the believers and followers of God’s word. The kingdom is the believers and followers of their king Jesus. The believers are in God’s kingdom which was started by the ‘man who sowed the seeds’ or Jesus, he sowed them out of the people of the world or ‘the field’. But even in the kingdom there are some of the believers and followers of Jesus who are wicked and do evil. But they must continue in the kingdom until the end of the age at the resurrection when Jesus returns and then be removed from the kingdom.
He told them still another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds (or about 27 kilograms) of flour until it worked all through the dough.’ (Matthew 13:33)NIV
The yeast that is spread through the whole of the dough is like the kingdom of God in this age (before the next age when Jesus returns) which is spread through the whole world. It is spread through and mixed in with every type of peoples on the earth. By the time Jesus returns there will be believers amongst every nationality or ethnicity. It has spread out since the time Jesus arrived on earth until it is all mixed in when he returns.
‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’ (Matthew 24:14)NIV
‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.’ (Matthew 13:44)NIV
Here Jesus explains the great value of being in the kingdom of heaven. You would give up anything in this world to have it. It is worth more than anything we could imagine, any valuables, all our possessions, all our money, this man would sell anything to have it, to own it. Nothing can compare to the value of being in the kingdom of heaven.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.’ (Matthew 13:45)NIV
Here is the parable Eckhart Tolle used to describe finding our god-consciousness, or a realization of us as gods, part of this idea in a universal spirit in all things. But this parable is similar to the previous one and has the same point that to be in the kingdom of heaven, the promise of eternal life and the rewards are worth giving up every worldly thing we think has value to be a part of the kingdom. Jesus is comparing a great pearl of immense value which the buyer gave up everything to purchase to the kingdom of heaven, not to a god or spirit/consciousness of god inside of ourselves as Tolle suggests.
‘Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace…” (Matthew 13:47)NIV
Here Jesus is still trying to get us to see what the kingdom of heaven will be like. This is a great example which reaffirms the previous parables. Jesus has cast the net (the kingdom), spread the word of God, created believers and all the believers are the fish in the net and contains ‘all kinds of fish’ or believers from every different type of nationality or ethnicity from every tribe, he has created the kingdom for when he comes back and at the resurrection the evil and wicked believers who have also being caught up in the net will be removed.
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees [who were the Jewish religious leaders] when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst (or within you).’ (Luke 17:20)NIV
Here in this passage with Jesus speaking of the kingdom all the time and that the kingdom has come the religious Jewish leaders did not see any great kingdom forming as they would have imagined a great earthly kingdom with a king and army setting up to rule. They didn’t see a kingdom from the Jewish people with a Jewish leader who would rule the world as they believed was prophesied in their bible. A kingdom had been prophesized in the old testament and they expected a kingdom like the most powerful empire of their time the Roman empire which ruled over them but they expected a Jewish Messiah (translated in the greek as Christ) which means ‘anointed one’ so which really means a king as the kings were anointed, but Jesus the messiah was different to what they expected, he was much more than the narrow view they had of the prophesized Messiah. His kingdom wasn’t from this earth, his was the Kingdom of God.
Here you can see it has the second verse which Eckhart Tolle quoted. ‘The kingdom of God is in your midst (or within you)’ (Luke 17:21) Here in different translations it will often have Jesus saying here the kingdom is ‘in your midst’ with an asterix saying ‘within you’ because they are not one hundred percent sure which it should be but they favour ‘in your midst’. The original Greek word here is entos. The only other use of entos in the New Testament is to describe the inside of a cup, so the meaning there is on the inside or within. There are other words which could have been used and are used in the bible to describe ‘in your midst.’ For Jesus to say ‘The Kingdom of God is within you’, this would be the only time Jesus explains the kingdom in this way and I believe this is the main problem for the translators. The modern Christian translators don’t like this idea of Jesus saying this and how can the Kingdom of God be within you, this sounds like some kind of new age teaching and is therefore snatched up by the new age teachers like Eckhart Tolle as proof Jesus was some new age type guru supporting their ideas that to find god we have to find another level of consciousness because God is inside us all along.
But this is not what Jesus meant. I do believe Jesus is saying here ‘the kingdom of God is within you,’ and the King James Bible got it right and it shouldn’t be changed to ‘in your midst’ or something similar. Because as I have said the Jewish religious leaders were asking when the kingdom would come, expecting to see it, almost mocking him because they didn’t believe that they would see it come with Jesus, they didn’t comprehend how He could set up a kingdom, but Jesus’ reply is clear, that you cannot see it. ‘The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.’
(Footnote: I believe it is just a general misunderstanding of the passage for the concerns of some modern Christian translators that how can Jesus be saying to the Jewish religious leaders that questioned him, who were largely his enemies and not believers of Jesus as the promised Messiah, that the kingdom of god is within them like they are a part of his kingdom. The ‘you’ is plural and used in the generic sense to reference ‘people’ not specifically used towards the Pharisees. ‘In your midst’, ‘in your presence’ or ‘amongst you,’ has just been preferred for theological reasons. To say ‘in your midst’ was Jesus meaning the kingdom is in your grasp if you repent, or in your presence in the form of Jesus makes a lot less sense as well in the context of the passage.)
The kingdom cannot be seen until Jesus’ return. The kingdom is in the world today with every believer and follower of Jesus Christ, everyone who obeys the king is clearly a part of the kingdom but it cannot be observed like the earthly kingdoms we have, it has no outward appearance of a typical kingdom. Like the nations, states, countries, we might see ourselves a part of, we are a part of a new nation, a new state, a new country, a new kingdom, the kingdom of God with Jesus as our king.
Jesus tells us about when he will return that the time is assigned by God and we must be ready. Ready in the sense that we must not think he has been so long he’ll never return since his first coming and we can do what we want and continue doing evil things, but we must always try to be righteous as he could arrive anytime when we don’t expect him as he says in the following passage the same one Deepak Chopra believes quotes about being aware of our true god-conscious nature.
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home he puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake-for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. (Mark 13:32)ESV
What do we gain from being in the Kingdom of God?
We gain everything from being in the Kingdom of God, we gain life. Eternal life. Death will no longer have a hold over us, what greater reward could there be. What greater blessing could we be given, for God to bring us into his kingdom with him, to be with us and us with him, for death to be extinguished and us to live forever, in peace and harmony and love.
Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.’ (Matthew 19:27)NIV
In this passage Jesus tells us we will also reign with him when he rules over the world ‘at the renewal of all things’ which means when the new age begins on Jesus’ return. The people we will be in charge of will be people of a similar background and identity to ourselves, as Jesus says to Peter that the disciples will rule over the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jesus speaks more of these rewards for those in the kingdom on his return here in the following parable which I have shortened to get the point across and contains the same parable from both Matthew and Luke.
‘Again, it will be like a man on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them…each according to his ability…After a long time the master of those servants returned…’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:14)NIV
‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a small matter take charge of ten cities.’ (Luke 19:17)NIV
The setting up of the kingdom began with Jesus’ first coming and will be fulfilled on Jesus’ second coming. When the kingdom of God is fulfilled it will be set up and will reign forever.
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah and he will reign forever and ever! (Revelation 11:15)NIV
Everything will be new on Jesus’ return, a new earth and a new heaven it tells us in the bible, where heaven and earth will come together, with heaven as God’s place of being or God’s space now being one with us, with or our new earth. God will be with us and we will be with God.
Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ (Revelation 21:1)NIV
God is not the Universe
The universe is not God. The universe is not eternal it had a point where it began. The universe had a beginning and was created by God. God is not the universe, God created the universe and everything in it.
What is the universe? Wikipedia define the universe as; ‘all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy.’ The universe is estimated to be around 13.7 billion years old and contains over 200 billion galaxies of which our galaxy has approximately 200 billion stars. The universe is unimaginably massive.
The universe has not existed forever, it is not eternal. Infinity is just an idea which exists in our mind and not something that exists in reality. An actual infinite number of things cannot exist. If you minus infinity by infinity you get self-contradictory answers which shows it does not work in reality.
In 1915 Albert Einstein came up with the gravitational theory, the theory of general relativity and this allowed us to try and to meaningfully understand the history of the universe. The theory told us that time and space are co-relative which means these two things came into existence together at the same time. Because space/time is the area in which all matter and energy exist, the beginning of space/time is also the beginning of all matter and energy, it is the beginning of the universe.
Using Einstein’s theory of general relativity it was predicted that the universe was expanding and in 1929 astronomer Edwin Hubble through observations discovered from the light of galaxies that all galaxies are moving away from one another. It was not the actual galaxies which were moving but space itself is expanding making the galaxies move farther away from each other and Hubble discovered the expansion, predicted on the basis of Einstein’s theory that the universe is not static but is expanding.
This expansion of the universe then means that as you trace the expansion back in time the universe gets denser and denser and time and space shrinks down until the distance between any two points becomes zero to a boundary in the past and it finally collapses down to a point where the universe did not exist and that initial event has come to be known as the big bang. The big bang represents the origin of the universe from literally nothing as all matter and energy even physical space and time came into being at the moment of the big bang.
Everything which begins to exist must have a cause and since the universe can’t cause itself its cause must be beyond the space/time universe. You can’t get something springing into existence from nothing without something causing it. Since the universe or natural world began to exist, then something supernatural completely outside of the universe or natural world and who transcends time and space had to cause it to come into existence. So there was a supernatural cause for the universe to exist.
God existed before the universe therefore God is not equal to or a part of the universe. Our true nature is not God, God created us just as God created the universe, God is not creation, God is outside of creation.
The New Age Movement in Our World Today
Today the New Age movement comes in many forms and practices some of these you might see in today’s culture include astrology, psychic readings, tarot cards, angel cards, yoga, meditation or transcendental meditation, fortune telling, mediums who speak to the dead, numerology, chakras, ouiji boards, séances, crystal healings, palm readings, aura photography, mantras, reiki, spirit writing, astral projection, out of body experiences, reading people’s minds, horoscopes, ESP, belief in karma, reincarnation, past lives, the third eye and a six sense, visualization boards, channeling, telepathy, telekinesis, psychic powers, pyramidology and clairvoyance.
When reading the bible it might seem strange that they mention these practices. Without understanding the origins or purpose of the new age you might see them as harmless really, but once you begin to understand more and more about the nature of these practices and ideas and the negative sources and the deception from where they come from you will begin to understand why the bible spoke out against them. The new age movement and its practices and beliefs are a deception. It doesn’t lead to any truth but instead tries to lead us away from our God and creator and this is its purpose.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19)NIV
Then there is this Old Testament quote which comes from a much different time but still has the same meaning.
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD. (Deuteronomy 18:10)NIV