By Alfred Bouter
The so-called new age movement is very old – its beginnings are found in the garden of Eden. There the serpent seduced Eve (Gen. 3:1-6), and Adam became disobedient having transgressed God’s command (Rom. 5:14). More than 4,000 years later the apostle Paul warned the recently saved believers in Corinth to be careful so they would not be deceived by the serpent and his tactics or wiles of subtle deception (2 Cor. 11:2-4). Today this warning is more relevant than ever, for the enemy continues to attack in many different ways.
We thank the Lord that the Devil cannot undo the salvation we have as believers. Despite this truth, the Evil One tries to capture and control us, seeking to prevent us from living for Christ in this world. Therefore it is of the utmost importance that we have the right attitude, in honest self-judgment, and make sure that we do not walk according to the flesh even though we still walk in the flesh (2 Cor. 10:3). We should be in tune with God, relying on Him and His Word in true obedience because of love for Him.
Instead of trusting self, following outward appearance, or pleasing man or self, we should follow Christ’s example and not give any room to the Devil. All of Satan’s wiles and efforts failed when he attacked the Lord Jesus (Mt. 4:1-11), and we learn from Him as we take His yoke upon us (11:29). That is why it is so important for us to cast down wrong things; even though they seem to be right, they are in reality human strongholds of thought, opinion and prejudice. For this purpose we need to make everything, including ourselves, subject to the obedience of Christ. Everything needs to be tested by that measuring stick. Rather than following human influence, position or honor, we must obey Him and Him alone (2 Cor. 10:4-5). That is why we need to put on and keep on the full armor of God (consider Eph. 6:10-20).
A Multi-Faced System
The new age movement has many different names, concepts and ideas. They are linked loosely together in apparent harmony, yet sometimes they oppose each other. At the same time all these forms have some things in common. It is like an octopus with many tentacles: if one tentacle doesn’t get you, another will try. Likewise, this dangerous movement has numerous faces, attracting a lot of people in the western world in many different ways.
One such way is yoga. The “2016 Yoga In America Study” conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance shows that the number of people practicing yoga in the United States has increased to more than 36 million, up from 20.4 million in 2012. These people spend US$16 billion per year on yoga classes, clothing, equipment and accessories. However there are other matters related to the new age practice of yoga of great concern.
Some Quotes From A Few Experts
Caryl Matrisciana was involved in yoga, but the Lord in His grace liberated her from its yoke. She described the dangers of yoga in this manner: To experience the stilling or emptying of the mind, yoga practitioners must first master the physical postures and movements of yoga meditation. The physical exercises, themselves a religious Hindu ritual, are designed to bring a person into contact with spiritual beings.
Speaking of her yoga sessions, Cindy Senarighi said she noticed she was “in the presence of God in a way that I had never been before. The more I practiced, the more I experienced God’s presence.”1 Yoga positions facilitate altered states of mind so one may experience a mystical presence. But does yoga facilitate God’s presence? Can the use of a mantra or yoga meditation really bring Christ into our lives? George Alexander, the author of Yoga, The Truth Behind The Posture, answers this important question: “You cannot force Jesus to come into your life. But [a] mantra is something that … force[s] a spirit to come into your life. [The] Bible very clearly teaches you cannot force the Spirit of God to come into your life by just repeating His name.”2
Scripture shows that the presence of God cannot be manipulated by man’s desire for His presence. One is granted access to the biblical God only through Jesus Christ His Son, who declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 14:6 KJV). A born-again Christian has a personal connection with God because of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus has promised to abide with us as we abide in Him, through His grace and the power of His Spirit. There are no body movements or special positions necessary to bring one into communion with God’s Spirit. Jesus Christ made the only possible connection to God.
Satan’s servants, however, easily make contact with individuals using visualization, imaging techniques, mantras and so forth. In people’s minds, demons are able to make themselves appear as benevolent or superior beings – even as Jesus Christ Himself. Through Eastern meditation techniques, many mistake evil spirits appearing as Jesus for the actual Lord Jesus Christ. Yet the real Jesus is the only way to God the Father – no one else can also be a way to God: not Mary, an angel, a spirit claiming to be Jesus, nor any other being.
God is not deceived by appearances, and putting Christian labels on conjuring techniques does not change His mind about them. No matter what conjures up a spirit, it is always an offense to Him and sin for mankind. This includes ignorantly conjuring up a spirit by the “Kundalini” energy “released” by yoga exercises. Deliberately conjuring up spirit guides through meditation, the silence, or contemplative prayer is all part of enchantment or divination – “discovering things secret by the aid of superior beings, or other than human means.”3 God clearly forbids this kind of activity: “Ye shall not eat anything with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times … Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 19:26,31).
Interestingly, George Alexander also said that the serpent “is a very prominent deity” in Hinduism. He explained the significance: “If you look in the picture of Lord Shiva in Hinduism, you see a snake wrapped around his neck. They believe that the serpent power is in every person and the serpent power is sleeping in you. By practicing yoga, it awakens that Kundalini power in you … [W]hen the Kundalini power is awakened, that goes up to the brain and awakens the psychic power.”4 This is why the positions in yoga are so important; they are based on serpents’ movements to facilitate the flow of the Kundalini serpent energy. Western yoga practitioners think this energy is a neutral force. It is not. Yoga exercises do not release the energy from within a person’s own spine. The sensations of Kundalini energy and an altered state of consciousness are produced by a demonic presence.
Most cultures view the serpent positively and worship it for its “wisdom.” Only the Bible describes the serpent as man’s enemy, a usurper who wishes to take the Creator God’s rightful place in the mind of mankind. In Hinduism the serpent (Kundalini) is believed to be awakened through yoga meditation, grant-ing the practitioner an awareness of God, a stillness or a god-consciousness. But we remember that the Bible records that Satan, in the serpent, cunningly beguiled Eve and seduced her mind, corrupting her from a sincere, whole-hearted and pure devotion to God. He deceived her into believing a lie: that she, through her mind, could be like God (Gen. 3:5). Ironically, yoga, through arousal of snake power – the mind-altering experience of the Kundalini spirit in the body – continues to deceive its practitioners with the same lie.5
God’s Word Gives Many Warnings
The New Testament, especially in the Epistles, has unmasked many facets of this old movement, which today is sometimes called “New Age.” It is a counterfeit to God’s new age that He will introduce publicly through the Messiah, also called “the world to come.” The enemy’s counterfeit is a system of deception coming from the father of the lie (Jn. 8:44).
The Bible provides the needed help. First of all, we read about the Lord Jesus, who, as we already mentioned, said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6 NKJV). This excludes alternative routes suggested by the enemy or our own thinking.
The Lord Jesus is now in heaven, from where He has sent the Holy Spirit to guide the believers on earth: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (15:26). “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (16:13).
In accordance with this statement, the Lord in the glory, through the Holy Spirit, provided the needed help through His apostles. I quote, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). The Holy Spirit indwells all true believers, and He has given gifts so “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph. 4:14).
A Solemn Reminder
When people know the truth but reject it, they place themselves by default under the power of the enemy. That is what happened after Noah’s flood, when people fell into idolatry. According to Genesis 10-11, what took place in connection to the tower of Babel was itself a form of the so-called “New Age.” About this the apostle Paul wrote: “Although they knew God,6 they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:21). The consequences of this development in God’s moral government7 are spelled out in the following quote and show the seriousness of such unconcern for Him: “… knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death” (v.32). He gave them over to wrong thinking because they gave up the truth for the lie (vv.25-32).
Our days are marked by a similar development of hardening and rejection of God’s truth as revealed in creation and redemption. For this reason, “God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2 Th. 2:11). It will be in full bloom after the rapture, but in divine discipline we already see it today in various ways.
Even in the apostle John’s days the enemy was busy, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 Jn. 2:18). About twenty years earlier Paul had a similar word of warning: “From among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:30).
Therefore we need to cling to our Lord in heaven, who is sufficient for every challenge and able to provide help in every need. Let us always turn to Him and keep serving Him, until He comes to snatch us away from this scene of deception and turmoil, taking us to Himself (Jn. 14:3; 1 Th. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:51-58). Praise His name!
1. Yoga Uncoiled: From East To West, (Menifee, CA: Caryl Productions, 2007) quoting George Alexander, quoting Cindy Senarighi.
2. Ibid., quoting George Alexander.
3. Smith’s Bible Dictionary, http://www.bible-history.com /smiths/D/Divination
4. Yoga Uncoiled: From East To West, op. cit., quoting George Alexander.
5. From Out Of India. To understand the true spirituality behind Yoga, read Chris Lawson’s booklet tract, “Yoga And Christianity: Are They Compatible?” and Caryl Matrisciana’s book, Out Of India.
6. This is as He had revealed Himself as Creator and Sustainer to humankind, and as Judge in the flood. The memories of this catastrophe have been kept in many different records.
7. See the warning not to be deceived, “for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7-8).