Summary: How does Jesus measure up against the ’spirit guides’ of the New Age?
The Gnostics of the first century were no different than those of similar beliefs throughout history; including today. The names get changed, but the belief system remains basically the same, because the same demons are being worshipped and the same falsehoods are being perpetrated by the same Devil.
You would be more familiar with some of the more modern terms. “New Age”. “Spirit Guides”...etc.
But the spirits behind the beliefs and practices of the New Age are much, much older than any human who serves them. New Age beliefs and practices are traceable back to Nimrod.
Now, I have not personally spent a great deal of time studying the beliefs of the New Age movement; I direct my efforts more in the opposite direction. So I don’t want to say too much more about them here and take a chance on saying things about them that are not true.
There are books written by notable Christian authors who expose these demonic beliefs and practices, and for anyone who is interested I would encourage you to go find those books and read them.
Let me just say what I need to say about the connection between the Gnostic/New Age beliefs and our verses of focus today.
This demonic belief system held a very strong sphere of influence in the Greek world then, and although it has always existed and flourished in certain areas of the world, it grows strong again in our culture, in these last days.
In light of that, isn’t it interesting that our modern culture parallels the Ancient Greek culture in so many ways. The strong emphasis on science and the arts, sexual permissiveness and tolerance of sin under the pretense of being ‘open minded’ and accepting of differences, the rampant, unhindered, state-blessed murder of babies...
These things and more, were present throughout the Greek world, and threatened to permeate the infant church; just as they are slowly seeping their poison into the church today.
It therefore falls to every thinking Christian, and true preachers of the faith, to expose these things as they crop up and combat them with the truth of Scripture.
One writer, in reference to the word ‘fullness’ in verse 19 of Colossians 1, said that the word was probably “...employed in a technical sense by the heretical teachers at Colossae to denote the totality of divine emanations or agencies, those supernatural powers under whose control men were supposed to live. “
He was talking about the Gnostic belief that spirits fill the space between God and the world, and any communication (either from man to God or from God to man) must pass through the ‘spheres in which they exercised rule’.
In short, don’t do anything to upset the rulers and authorities in the heavens, or your Christmas wish list won’t get through before December 25th.
So perhaps Paul’s use of the word in 1:19 served a double purpose; to say that Christ transcends the power and authority of those ‘divine emanations or agencies’, and the teaching that is more apparent to us...that He was fully God, while being fully Man.
So believers, listen carefully today. Because even though Paul’s primary focus here may not have been to combat the Gnostic heresies, the information he gives quite adequately serves that purpose, nonetheless. And whether you’ve been previously aware of it or not, our culture has come to such a place that the New Age movement is one of our greatest hurdles in the spreading of the gospel and the growth of the church.
More and more, I see it creep into television shows, the movies, women and girls (sometimes ignorantly) wearing New Age symbols in their jewelry, (such as crystals, Ying/Yang symbols, triangles, rainbows, etc), its in the school system in the form of meditation, ecology (earth day), political correctness in speech, exhortations to look deep within one’s self for the answers to life’s challenges, and the list is endless.
We in the church therefore, must be knowledgeable of these things, steeped in the scriptures, fortified by prayer, and ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us, without mixing New Age mysticism into our message.
We need to know exactly who Jesus is, exactly what He has done, exactly how that information applies to our lives and how it can apply to the seeker of truth.
These things are taught in the whole of the scriptures, of course, but the basics are taught in these two verses, Colossians 1:19,20, so we’ll spend the rest of our time there.
Who is Jesus?
According to verse 19, He is the fullness of Deity, dwelling in a man.
That word translated ‘dwell’ means to inhabit; to reside.
John 1:1-14 is a perfect apologetic outline for the teaching of this truth.
John begins by establishing who the Word of God is: