|- Terry Crisp -
As we have endeavored to show in our last two messages, there are definite similarities between Zarah and Pharez. Let's go over some of them together, in order that we can make note of the differences afterward.
* Both realize that there are enormous problems facing mankind in the 21st Century.
* Both agree that the answers to those problems cannot be found by escaping them (for example, by way of a "rapture").
* Both agree that the answers will come in the age to come.
* Both believe that we are even now crossing the threshold of that "new" age.
* Both agree that this new age into which we are entering will be unlike any which has preceded it, as much unlike as the present age is to the prehistoric age.
* Both believe that this age will be accompanied by powerful displays of supernatural manifestations.
* Both believe that the discoveries made in the fields of science and technology, especially since the beginning of the 20th century, typify the advancements made in the spiritual realm.
* Both believe that a progressive unfolding of divine revelation has been coming forth throughout history, becoming clearer and clearer as the Day approached.
* Both believe that, as a result of the unfolding of this revelation, a network has been forming, which, though agreement does not necessarily exist on all points, shares a core of common convictions and interests which will ultimately affect the entire human race.
* Both agree that this new Day or age will begin with the emergence of a representative company chosen from among humanity's teeming masses, a new corporate "Man," if you will, who will serve as spokesmen and "preparers of the way" for others to follow, and whose words will be confirmed by the unique and extraordinary powers of the age to come.
* Both agree that a selection process is now underway to determine those who will make the initial "cut"; that is, those who will be qualified or fit to be "the firstfruits" of this age of manifestation of spiritual power and authority.
* Both agree that in order to be among the first to participate in this new age of enlightenment and empowerment for the liberation of the creation, one must have a radical change in consciousness.
* Both believe that this change in consciousness has to do with the acknowledgment of "Christ in you, the hope of glory," and of His internal Kingdom within man.
* Both believe that a change in consciousness, or a transformed mind for the individual, will ultimately lead to a transfigured body.
* Both believe that a change in consciousness will also lead to a transformed society, and to a restoration of a Paradisaical state for the planet, as was depicted in Eden.
* Both liken this transformation process to a "birth."
* Both use Jesus the Christ as an example of this new corporate Man, and of the transfiguration process.
* Both believe that the body in which Jesus appeared after the resurrection illustrates the body we will receive at the time of our "metamorphosis," or transformation.
* Both believe that this metamorphosis will occur suddenly for those who are seeking it.
* Both believe that a state of perfection is attainable.
* Both believe that all of these changes were foretold in the Old Testament, by Moses and the Prophets.
* Both agree that they were prefigured by (among other things) the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Year of Jubilee.
* Both believe that oneness with God, or "at-one-ment," is the inevitable state of those who will walk in "the Spirit of the Day."
* Again, both believe that Jesus embodied this oneness. Now, let's examine some of the differences.
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN IN THE BASIC PRESUPPOSITIONS.
To begin with, the teachings of Sonship are built upon the law of non-contradiction, the either/or form of logic. New Age doctrines are based upon the law of dialectic, the both/and approach. Why is this so important to note? Because, unless one starts from the rock-solid premise that there is such a thing as absolute truth, and that God's revelation to man in the Scriptures is unique, absolute and definitive (objective, concrete and consistent to all generations), rather than relative (that is, subjective, or subject to private interpretation, depending on how one might choose to see it), he will never be able to know anything with certainty concerning the mind and purposes of God. Furthermore, he will never be able to make judgments concerning what is truth and what is error without feeling guilty about it. It stands to reason that two or more things, having opposite meanings, cannot all be right at the same time. And yet, this is exactly the way one would have to believe, in order to accept the many obvious contradictions found between the multitudinous forms of New Age expressions and the exclusive teachings of Jesus. One of the first precepts we run into when encountering New Age teachings is the one which says that all roads lead to God. This means you can take your pick from among the innumerable routes that are available on the religious roadmap, or you can make up your own if you like. The path that one takes is not the important issue. The fact that one has taken a path, and is following that path sincerely, is. After all, truth is a relative term (so they say), and what may be true for you may not be true for me. But as long as we have taken a path, and can respect the paths of others as being their God-chosen destinies, we will eventually reach the same goal in the end.
It is interesting that the early believers of Christ were referred to as the people of the Way. They deserved the title, because they believed emphatically that there was but one way to the Father, and that was through the Lord Jesus Christ (in fact, they were so emphatic about it that many of them lost their lives because they refused to compromise with Caesar on the issue). To them, the Way represented more than just a teaching; it spoke of a Person, who alone could lead men to God. This is the foundation upon which the church is built, and one which separates it from every other way known to man.
However, those who embrace the New Age postmodern philosophy of tolerance and inclusivity might well be referred to as the people of the ways. For them, it would be wrong to say that any one way is unique to the rest (which, ironically, is a violation of their own rule.)
This is an established fact, and one upon which we can count. Any time an attempt is made to fit eastern principles into the Christian paradigm, the paradigm ceases to be Christian. The reason for this is because there are irreconcilable differences which exist between them. But note this---these differences are not between East and West--- they're between East and Christ! East and West CAN be incorporated as one; in fact, this is exactly what the New Age movement is. It's Eastern philosophy dressed up in Western attire. But the basic principles of the doctrine of Christ will not accept the teachings of Eastern mysticism, no matter how they are presented.
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN IN THE BASIC DECLARATIONS.
The message of Pharez begins by declaring, "You must look within." The message of Zarah declares, "You must be born again"! New Age urges its listeners, "Acknowledge the Christ within as your higher self, and accept the fact that there is no sin"; Sonship says, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost"! Why is this so different? Because, while Zarah emphasizes an initiating point where Christ actually enters into an individual's heart, Pharez assumes that He's been there all along. This leads to a whole string of misconceptions.
According to A Course in Miracles, "To believe in the God in everyone is the ultimate religion". One of the primary problems arising from this error is this. Whenever an unregenerated man is instructed to turn his attention inward, and to believe that whatever (or whoever) he finds therein is the Christ, a great wrong has been perpetrated. You see, until the Spirit of Christ enters into his heart by faith, there is only one man in the temple. That man is the old man, Adam, the one into whom all men are naturally born. Jesus taught His disciples, "If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and WE WILL COME UNTO HIM, AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM...Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth IS COME, He will guide you into all truth" (Jn. 14:23, 16:13). Notice that He didn't say that all they needed to do was to awaken to his already indwelling presence. He told them, "...I WILL COME TO YOU" (Jn. 14:18; this, of course, in reference to His coming to dwell in them on the Day of Pentecost). Does it not stand to reason, then, that whenever an individual who has never had the experience of the coming of the Lord goes knocking on the door of his own unconverted heart, the only one who will answer that door will be the man of sin, who sits in the temple of God, and who loves to show himself to be God (II Thess. 2:4)? Even a child should understand this. Therefore, to teach men that they should seek "the Christ" that is already within them is to introduce them to the spirit of antichrist (meaning, that which is "other than Christ"), and to assist old Adam in his grand masquerade.
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN BETWEEN SOUL POWER AND THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT.
The question might be asked: if Christ is not in every man prior to a conversion experience, then how are the amazing and phenomenal powers sometimes exhibited through those who have never professed Christ as Savior explained? Doesn't the Bible itself teach that there is no power but of God, and that the powers that be are ordained of God? From whence then cometh this power? As we've pointed out in our studies previously, The New Age movement teaches that all men have a latent human potential resident within them, a power which awaits discovery. To this we would have to agree. But it is the latent power of the soul, not the power of the Spirit.
A wonderful little book on this subject is Watchman Nee's The Latent Power of the Soul. He begins by elaborating on the remarkable powers which God originally endowed the first man with in order to rule over His creation. He then goes on to describe how the fall affected Adam's usage of and accessibility to that power. He says, "...the living soul, which is the result of the coming together of the spirit and the body, possesses unthinkable supernatural power. At the fall, though, the power which distinguishes Adam from us is lost. Yet this does not mean that there is no longer such power; it only denotes that though this ability is still in man, it is nonetheless 'frozen' or immobilized. According to Genesis 6, after the fall man becomes flesh. The flesh envelopes the whole being and subjugates him. Man was originally a living soul; now, having fallen, he becomes flesh. His soul was meant to submit to the spirit's control; now it is subject to the dominion of the flesh.
"When Adam fell in the garden of Eden his power was immobilized. He had not lost this power altogether, only it was now buried within him. He had become flesh, and his flesh now enclosed tightly this marvelous power within it. Generation has succeeded generation with the result that this primordial ability of Adam has become a 'latent' force in his descendants. It has turned to become a kind of 'hidden' power. It is not lost to man, it is simply bound up by the flesh.
"Today in each and every person who lives on the earth there lies this Adamic power, though it is confined in him and is not able to freely express itself. Yet such power is in every man's soul just as it was in Adam's soul at the beginning. Since today's soul is under siege by the flesh, this power is likewise confined by the flesh. The work of the devil nowadays is to stir up man's soul and to release this latent power within it as a deception for spiritual power. The reason for my mentioning these things is to warn ourselves of the special relationship between man's soul and Satan in the last days. "The Babylonians, the Arabs, the Buddhists, the Taoists, and the Hindus all try in their respective way to release the power which Adam has left to our soul. In any religion, using whatever means or ways of instruction, there stands a common principle behind all their apparent differences. This common principle is to aim at overcoming the outward flesh so as to deliver the soul power from all kinds of bondage for freer expression. Some lessons of instruction given in these religions are directed at destroying the obstruction of the body, some at uniting the body and the soul, while some are aimed at strengthening the soul through training and thus enabling it to overcome the body. Whatever the ways may be, the principle behind them all is the same. It is important to know this or else we will be deceived." ---end quote.
As he points out, soul power can be extremely dangerous...given the fact that it's function can lead one to believe that he is right with God. One may follow a strict regimen of mental and physical disciplines for the purpose of releasing the power within him. He may even be motivated by a sincere desire to help the hurting humanity around him. But unless he has submitted himself to Jesus Christ as Lord, he will invariably fall into the snare of the devil, and will use this power to advance his agenda (this is what we call "the Satanic / Adamic alliance").
Be it known that when Jesus manifested the miraculous during the days of His flesh, He was not exhibiting soul power. And when He told His disciples, "The works that I do shall ye do, and greater works than these shall ye do, because I go to the Father," He was not suggesting that they make a diligent search for their latent human potential. According to Lk. 4:14, Jesus moved by the power of the Spirit; and He did so throughout His earthly sojourn, from the time that the Spirit initially descended and remained upon Him at the River Jordan (Lk. 3:22). Furthermore, He told his disciples, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you..." (Acts 1:8). This should suffice to show that the power to which He referred, and by which they would do these "greater works," was not something which they inherently possessed, but was one which would come to them at the time appointed of the Father. But how might a comparison be made between these two powers?
A perfect illustration would be found in Acts chapter 8. As you recall, there was, in the city of Samaria, a certain man by the name of Simon, who for a long time had bewitched the people through sorceries, in so much that they all, in one accord, declared that "This man is the great power of God" (verse 10). Having no reason to believe that he was knowingly trying to deceive anyone, or that the power he demonstrated was merely sleight of hand, it's quite possible that he may have even been convinced of this himself.. But when Peter and John began to lay hands on the people, and to impart to them the gift of the Holy Ghost, Simon suddenly realized that these men had something that he did not, namely, the power to raise men up in the newness of life. Being covetous of this power, therefore, he sought to purchase it with money. But Peter rebuked him, saying, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter; for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity" (verses 20-23).
Keep in mind that Simon had power before the apostles came to town. In fact, it had caused a lot of people to believe that it was the power of God. But when it was compared to the power which Peter and John manifested, it was evident that his was soul power, wholly devoid of the quickening of the Spirit. You see, the power of the first man can be operated independently of the Spirit, at one's own discretion. The power of the last Man relies entirely on the Spirit for leadership. The power of the living soul can be used for selfish purposes, even though it may look for a while as if it may lead to a good end. The power of the quickening (or "life-giving") Spirit is the power of His resurrection, and will bring to life that which was dead. This is something soul power cannot do.
God's Word is the only thing that can divide soul and spirit; it will clearly separate the two. This is why the message of sonship relies upon the Word of God to make that distinction, rather than accepting everything that is beyond the realm of the natural as being of God. Remember, "for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14). And those who are the sons of God refuse to operate in soul power. They have the testimony, "The son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the son likewise...My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:19, 17).
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN IN THE BASIC NATURE OF GOD'S BEING.
The message of sonship advances the belief of monotheism; the New Age movement teaches pantheistic monism. Herein lies a major difference. C.S. Lewis once said, "It's not so much that pantheism is wrong, as it is terribly out of date." What he meant by that was that before God created, it could rightly be said that God was everything, and everything was God. But once He created, speaking things into existence by the power of His Word, a distinction was made between creature and Creator, something other than God existed, and from that point on, the term monotheism became necessary to describe that distinction.
Pharez fails to see a distinction. In fact, an effort to disregard any line of separation is at the center of its teachings. For instance, in The Gospel of Thomas, this statement is attributed to Jesus: "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: all came forth from me, and all attained to me. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Pick up a stone, and you will find me there." (Saying 75). Likewise, in The Aquarian Gospel, we read, "The universal God is one, yet He is more than one; all things are God; all things are one. By the sweet breathes of God all life is bound in one; so if you touch a fibre of a living thing you send a thrill from the centre to the outer bounds of life. And when you crush beneath your foot the meanest worm, you shake the throne of God...now, men and birds and beasts and creeping things are deities, made flesh; and how dare men kill anything?" (Section 6, 28:4-5, 9).
The concept is a common thread among New Agers. Marilyn Ferguson says that "the principle of wholenessCnon-distinctionCrepresents the connectedness, the context, of everything. Just as science demonstrates a web of relationship underlying everything in the universe, a glittering network of events, so the mystical experience of wholeness encompasses all separation." (The Aquarian Conspiracy, p. 380). This comes from the notion that all things were made from a Primary Substance (as recognized by the Sanskrit word, "Akasha"), that substance being the spiritual "stuff" of which God is made. Indeed, if all things were made out of the substance of God's Own Being, then Pharez would certainly have a point. Where would one draw the line between creature and Creator? Logically speaking, the difference would merely be described as being one of degree, and not one of kind.
However, unless someone can show us otherwise, we will be so bold as to declare that nowhere in all of God's inspired Record do we find the idea that God created all things out of the substance of Himself. Heb. 11:3 says that by faith we understand the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Jn. 1:3 says that in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God; all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. Heb. 1:2, in speaking of the Word-Son, says, "by Whom also He made the worlds...." And Col. 1:16-17 says that "all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist." In all of these passages, we see that all things were made BY the Word, but in none of them do we read that He created all things OUT OF the substance of which He is. (We have not ignored Rom. 11:36, which says, "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things," or the fact that the word, "of" is translated from the Greek word, ek, literally meaning "out of". But according to Strong's definition, ek denotes origin, the point from whence motion or action proceeds. A simple examination of the way it's used throughout Scripture reveals this, and removes the idea that it means anything other than this.) The facts, as we have them, are that God spoke, and creation sprang into existence (Gen. 1:3,6,9,11,etc.) And Zarah will not go beyond that which is written.
In light of this, therefore, whenever the term, "At-one-ment" is used in sonship, it is not meant to be taken in the sense of pantheistic monism, or of this sense of wholeness. Far be it from it. It speaks of a state of oneness which we will have with God, not of a oneness which we possess as God.
Just for the record...does monotheism merely describe an illusionary separation between creature and Creator, an illusion which is destined to be dispelled? No. And will there ever be a time when monotheism will no longer suffice in describing the true relation of things, when once we reach the consummation of the ages, and God is all in all? Again, no. There will always be a dividing line between creature and Creator. The same goes for the new creation and the Creator, regardless of the degree of transformation to which the new creation achieves. This is what is meant by monotheism. As long as there is a creation, God will exist in a transcendent state above it, in that "higher than the heavens" dimension of the Spirit.
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN IN THE BASIC NATURE OF GOD'S FAMILY.
Those who take the Pharez perspective teach that God is the Father of all men, without distinction, and without exception, and that all men belong to the family of God. Since this is one of the cardinal doctrines in the movement, it could be shown from a great number of sources. However, we'll limit our quotes to these two:
In the Urantia Book, Simon Zelotes is quoted as asking Jesus, "'But Master, are all men the sons of God?' And Jesus answered, 'Yes, Simon, all men are the sons of God, and that is the good news you are going to proclaim'" (p. 1585). Later in the book, Jesus is reported to have said, "Your mission to the world is founded on...the truth that you and all other men are the sons of God" (p. 2043).
According to this idea, we all have the same relationship with God as our Father (the only difference, they say, is that some are just aware of it, while others are not). But Zarah keeps in mind that there is a difference between being a created son and a being a begotten one. What would be meant by that? Well, according to what Paul said in I Corinthians 15, there are only two men in the earth. And according to Luke's genealogical record, both of them are sons of God (Lk. 3:22, 38). However, the two are not brothers. You see, while Jesus is declared to be the only begotten Son, Adam was only a son in an abstract sense, by virtue of the fact that he was created. (He would have had the opportunity to become a son, begotten of the Father; and thus, to become a part of the family of God; but we have no record of that ever happening during the days of his flesh). Adam's sonship, therefore, was natural, the result of his having come forth from the creative faculties of God's mind (we might refer to him as God's "brainchild"). But Jesus' sonship was spiritually related, being begotten of God by the Holy Spirit. This cannot be said of Adam. Without acknowledging the difference between these two men, great confusion can result.
It is true that whenever anyone comes into the world, it may be said that he or she is a part of the corporate son of God. But the question must be asked: which one? The created son, Adam, of course. It could well be said that he is in Adam (by way of lineage), and Adam is in him (by virtue of the fact that Adam's corruptible nature is unilaterally shared by all of his posterity). But being a part of the created son is by no means the same as being a part of the begotten Son. This is why Jesus told Nicodemus, "Marvel not that I say unto thee, YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN (that is, BORN FROM ABOVE)". To be in Adam, all that is required is that we be born from beneath. We automatically receive his "hand-me-down" genes; genes, which have had the law of sin and death programed into them since the fall. Is that not evident with every individual who has ever possessed an earthly father? The fallen, selfish, self-centered and self willed nature of the flesh is clearly seen from the earliest moments of a young child's life. But in order to be born from above, and thus to become partakers of Christ's divine nature, He must come to dwell in our hearts by faith. It is at this moment that we become members of the family of God; and it is then that we receive the Spirit of adoption which cries "ABBA FATHER". This is a term of endearment, somewhat likened to "Papa"; a term which is completely foreign to a created son.
To show the distinction between the sonships of these two men, consider the way Jesus compared Himself to the Pharisees... "Ye are from beneath; I am from above; ye are of this world; I am not of this world..." (John 8:23). He was clearly stating that while they were of the first man, who was "of the earth earthy"; He (Jesus) was the second Man, who was (and is) the Lord from heaven (I Cor. 15: 47). Understanding Adam's sonship, then, explains why Jesus, on the one hand, could tell those listening to the sermon on the mount of their Father which is in heaven (Matt. 7:11), while on the other hand, tell the Jews who had just claimed God as their Father, "If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God...Ye are of your father, the devil, and the works of your father ye will do..." (Jn. 8:41, 42, 44a). This is why Paul could say to unsaved men at Mars' hill, "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God..." (Acts 17:28b-29a); and then, turn right around and rebuke Elymas the sorcerer, saying "O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?" This is why John the Baptist could accurately describe theirs as being a "generation of vipers" (Matt. 3:7), while Jesus taught His yet unconverted disciples to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven..." (Matt. 6:9). Is this confusing? Not as long as we keep in mind that, naturally speaking, God was their Father in a creative, abstract sense; but spiritually speaking, they were not yet a part of the family of God. The fact is seen, therefore, that those who view things from the Pharez perspective simply do not understand that a difference exists between these two men, nor do they understand Jesus' teachings concerning the family of God. Speaking to those who had accepted Christ as Savior, Paul said, "For YE are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26). It is NOT, therefore, an automatic status.
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN IN THE BASIC VIEW OF GOD'S SON.
Zarah sees Jesus as the Firstborn of many brethren. Pharez sees Him as just another of the many brethren. Zarah sees Him as being the Pattern Son. Pharez sees Him as being one of many pattern sons revealed throughout the course of history. Zarah holds Him as the sole Head of the body of Christ. Pharez sees Him as one of the heads, or, as a part of the headship of "ascended Masters". Zarah holds Him as unique, unlike any among the sons of men, and yet, fully identifying with us in our human experience. Pharez sees Him as just another individual, who, having realized his inner Christ nature, evolved more than others in His day. Finally, Zarah sees Him as Jesus the Christ, the God-Man. Pharez sees Him as two distinct personages: Jesus the man, and Christ the universal Spirit.
In New Age teachings, it seems inevitable that one of two things have to happen...either Jesus has to be portrayed as being merely a man (as simply "an avatar", holy man or "ascended master"), or else, mankind has to be elevated to a place of absolute equality with Him in His divinity. In The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, for example, Eva Dowling says in the introduction, "Orthodox Christian ecclesiastics tell us that Jesus of Nazareth and the Christ were one; that the true name of this remarkable person was Jesus Christ. They tell us that this man of Galilee was the very eternal God clothed in flesh of man that men might see his glory. Of course this doctrine is wholly at variance with the teachings of Jesus himself and of his apostles. The Aquarian Masters in council have formulated an answer to this question..." "As a child Jesus differed but little from other children only that in past lives he had overcome carnal propensities to such an extent that he could be tempted like others and not yield. In many respects Jesus was a remarkable child, for by ages of strenuous preparation he was qualified to be an avatar, a savior of the world, and from childhood he was endowed with superior wisdom and was conscious of the fact that he was competent to lead the race into the higher ways of spiritual living." The author later has Jesus saying, "What I have done all men can do, and what I am all men shall be...I am your brother man just come to show you the way to God; you shall not worship man; praise God, the Holy One" (178: 43 & 46, and Section 6, 26:23-24).
The error of Pharez results from an attempt to separate the individual, personal, historical Jesus, from the universal, impersonal, eternal Christ or Christ Consciousness (which Jesus is said to have merely channeled). Consider, again, the way the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary defines the words "Jesus" and "Christ": "Christ is the divine-idea man. Jesus is the name which represents an individual expression of the Christ idea. Jesus Christ is the form of the name that is commonly applied to the man of Galilee who demonstrated perfection. Christ Jesus is the idea that is being expressed by men as a result of their faith and understanding of Truth. This Christ, or perfect-man idea existing eternally in Divine Mind, is the true, spiritual, higher self in every individual. Each of us has within him the Christ, just as Jesus had, and we must look within to realize our sonship, our divine origin and birth, even as he did. By continually unifying ourselves with the Highest by our thoughts and words, we too shall become sons of God manifest." ---end quote.
Notice also the way Jesus is redefined in A Course in Miracles: "The name of Jesus is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God. The man was an illusion, for he seemed to be a separate being, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self, as all illusions do" (Vol. 3, p. 83). This attempt to separate Jesus from the Christ is precisely what the Gnostics were doing in the first century, and why the apostle John told his readers, "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whoso denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father..." (I John 2:22-23a). In other words, unless an individual accepts the fact that Jesus IS the Christ, the Anointed One come in the flesh, he has not God as his Father. John made it that simple.
It is doubtful that improvement can be made on the definition of Chalcedon, when describing the true state of our Lord: "at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards His Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards His manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards His Godhood, begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ..." The fact is, had He not been truly Man, He could not have fulfilled the role of our Kinsman-Redeemer. And had He not been truly God, then He could not have been the Child prophesied to be born , and the Son promised to be given (Isa. 9:6).
A last word along these lines: Zarah recognizes a difference between the Son and the sons, whereas Pharez does not. The fact that Christ is a corporate, many-membered Man, and that the Spirit of Christ thus inhabits every member of the body of Christ, should not be considered apart from the fact that there is but one Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is the Christ; and in this He must be distinguished from all others. Because of His unique qualifications, He uniquely holds this position of Headship, and does not share it with anyone else. Furthermore, it should be noted that not only is Jesus the Pattern Son and Elder Brother; He is also the Everlasting Father to the overcomer (Isa. 9:6; Rev. 21:7). This is something that will never be said of the sons.
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN IN THE BASIC CONSTITUTION OF THE NEW CREATION.
Whenever any one is in Christ, Paul said, he is a new creature. Old things pass away, and all things become new. Therefore, it should be acknowledged that the new creation is just that; it is new, unique, unlike anything that has ever existed before. What this speaks of is an organic change originating in one's inner being, rather than just a renewed or enlightened state of his mind regarding what the individual was all along. "A new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you" (Ezekiel 36:26). Did that mean that He was simply going to give a new or different mindset to those who expect it of Him? No. At the moment the Spirit of God enters a person, He joins Himself to his human spirit. A fusion occurs between the two, and a brand new species begins to emerge as a result. This is what we call the new birth. And yet, this is the exact opposite of what Unity School of Christianity teaches. "Being 'born again' or 'born from above' is NOT a miraculous change that takes place in man; it is the establishment of that which has always existed as the perfect idea of divine Mind" (Charles Fillmore, Christian Healing, p. 24).
Not only should we note that the new creation is something new; it is also to be noted that it is a part of the created realm. This is often an overlooked fact by Pharez. While there is truth to the fact that there is a divine side to our being, in that we have been born of the Spirit, and can honestly claim God as our Father; this is balanced by the fact that we also have an earthly heritage, as well. This keeps us from going to extremes. As John said, "now are we the sons (children) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is". (Jn. 3:2-3). Certainly, great change is coming. But as long as we abide in any form of existence, we will have a direct connection with our created side.
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN IN THE CONSCIOUS SHIFT ITSELF.
As was pointed out, both groups believe that a change in consciousness must occur. What they differ on is over where the change must begin, and of what it consists. It is a matter concerning which paradigms we are shifting from, and which we are shifting unto. Sonship emphasizes the need for a shift from self to Savior; New Age emphasizes a shift from Savior to self (or, shall we say, from Savior apart from ourselves to Savior as ourselves.) Now, the way this is done is very subtle. The subtlety lies in the way Christ is defined. Take, for instance, the way Archdeacon Wilberforce, in Mystic Immanence, describes Christ and the process of salvation: "...it is not those who rely on a personal historical Jesus for their salvation by 'belief,' but the real Christians are those who have recognized that the cosmic Christ principle is verily and truly their own higher self, and who strive to have that 'brought to birth' in them, so that even here and now they may act in the power of that supreme divine nature, even as the historical man Jesus is reputed to have done. It is these alone who can truly say that their life is hid with Christ in God." Continuing, he says, "The discovery of the mystic Christ in you is being 'born from above.' This knowledge is of the utmost importance to human victory over the lower self. The imperishable secret of human life is the mystical Christ in all men, their hope of glory."
As was mentioned, the shift is subtle. An unsuspecting reader might assume that such speech is deeply spiritual and Christ-centered. But when he notices that Christ has been redefined to mean "the Higher Self," then it becomes painstakingly clear that the emphasis is directed away from the Lord.
To reiterate, then, when they speak of looking to the Savior, what they are actually implying is that we should acknowledge self for our salvation ("higher" or "lower" makes no difference. Self is self.). But when sonship makes such a statement, it specifically points to Jesus, the One who bled and died for us, and whom God raised from the dead that we might be justified. He Alone saves us from ourselves, not as ourselves.
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN IN THE BASIC EMPHASIS.
This difference is directly connected with the one listed above. Usually, when we speak of a breached child, we are referring a baby whose feet come out first. In speaking of a corporate birth, however, the feet refer to those members of the body which are in contact with the earth. Therefore, when the birth order is backward, and the feet come out first, this would indicate that the members are being put before the head.
If anything could be noticed about New Age theology, it's the fact that man is its primary focus. This is why it is often referred to as "Cosmic Humanism". It is the open deification of humanity, its emphasis being on man. In The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, the teacher Elihu tells his students, "If you would ask me what to study I would say, yourselves; and when you had studied them, and then would ask me what to study next, I would reply, yourselves. He who knows well his lower self, knows the illusions of the world, knows of the things that pass away; and he who knows his higher self, knows God; knows well the things that cannot pass away...the only devil from which men must be redeemed is self, the lower self. If man would find his devil he must look within; his name is self. If man would find his savior he must look within; and when the demon self has been dethroned the savior, Love, will be exalted to the throne of power" (Section 3, 8:14-15, 21-22). This represents the epitome of self-centeredness, and the perfect illustration of Adam's chief doctrine. To him, the only reality that exists anywhere is Self.
A good rule of thumb to follow is this: whenever you see folks focused more upon themselves and upon what they are becoming, rather than upon the Head, and what He has accomplished to make what we are becoming a reality, it's a good indication that they're involved with the wrong birth.
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN IN THE UNDERSTANDING OF HOW SONSHIP IS ATTAINED.
Though both groups talk of attaining manifested sonship, a major difference exists in the way that attainment is understood. Consider the Rosicrucian's description of the path to sonship: "...This light, to a lesser or greater degree, is in all men. It is that which the philosophers and initiates of all ages have called the divine spark, the voice of conscience, which, to the degree of its growth and development, speaks to all men...he who follows the light assuredly follows the Christ, the Manisis, and with each good deed, kindly act, loving thought, and compassionate service, the Christ child in the manger (the body) grows stronger, until at last manhood is attained and man has become (glorified) the son of God." (Swinburne Climer, The Sons of God).
From this, we can see that manifested sonship is viewed by Pharez as a state one may attain through the performance of good works, rather than by the grace of God alone. Of course, when a person can't distinguish between himself and God, he might easily think that the works are of God. Be that as it may, it nevertheless constitutes another way, rather than the one given in Scripture.
A principle which undergirds all true sonship teaching is that we take on the mature image and likeness of the Pattern Son, not by our own works of righteousness, lest we should boast, but by simply beholding His glory. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Cor. 3:18). The change, therefore, comes naturally. As a result of the inworking of Christ, and of an unfolding of a revelation of Himself, He creates a desire in our hearts "both to will and to do of His good pleasure." We are then enabled to "work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12-13). Therefore, good works result from the maturing image of the Lord within us, not the other way around.
* A DIFFERENCE MAY BE SEEN IN THE IMPORTANCE PLACED ON THE SCARLET THREAD.
As we'd said in Part One, the "scarlet thread" represents deliverance. But we don't mean deliverance in a pragmatic sense (that is, whatever works at the time must be right). Rather, it speaks of deliverance from sin, sickness and death through the shed blood of Jesus. Sonship emphasizes the importance of the atoning work of Jesus, as was accomplished upon the cross. Pharez teachers downplay the sacrificial aspect of the atonement---or else they do away with it altogether. They offer a bloodless religion, and one which is based on one's own good works and deeds. For example, in A Course in Miracles, Jesus is accredited with saying, "I have been correctly referred to as 'the lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world,' but those who represent the lamb as blood-stained do not understand the meaning of the symbol. Correctly understood, it is a very simple symbol that speaks of my innocence...Innocence is incapable of sacrificing anything, because the innocent mind has everything and strives only to protect its wholeness" (Vol.1, p.33). And again, "Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God." A list of scriptures could be strung together here to counter this, but we'll have to limit them to these: "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness... He [Jesus] has appeared once for all at the climax of history to abolish sin by the sacrifice of Himself...so Christ was offered once to bear the burden of men's sins..." (Heb. 9:22, 26, 28, NEB). And last but not least, "And He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (I Jn. 2:2). If this is not enough to show the Biblical emphasis on the importance of the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for the remission of our sins, then nothing will. But Pharez refuses to acknowledge the necessity of such a sacrifice, because, for one thing, it would force him to recognize that there were sins to be forgiven in the first place, and for another, that Jesus was uniquely qualified to be the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world."
John also encountered those who considered sin to be unreal, and sacrifice to be a foreign concept to God's mind. To them, he said, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (I John 1:8-10). This was Zarah's conviction then, it is still His conviction now, and it could not have been stated plainer.
There is much more that must be said about these differences, and others not yet mentioned. But further elaboration will have to wait until our next writing. Nevertheless, we will conclude for now by saying this. We are thoroughly convinced that there are many well-intentioned, caring individuals in the Pharez movement, who have never been exposed to the truth that is in Christ. They have no ill will toward their fellow man, and no realization of the contradictions which exist within their belief system. Furthermore, it's our persuasion that God not only can, but will incorporate many of them into His glorious plan at His appointed time. We find it interesting that Pharez is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:3---which leads us to believe that something good can certainly come out of that which Pharez prefigured. It's imperative, therefore, that we, who have hope of being a part of Zarah's birth, keep this in mind as we deal with the child of the breach. We must keep the fast which Isaiah prescribed---wherein we cease from putting forth the finger of condemnation, from doing things our own way, or from speaking our own words in an argumentative or vindictive spirit. And we must be faithful to deal our bread to the spiritually hungry, to cover those who are naked (devoid of the proper vision), and to let the oppressed go free in a caring and compassionate manner, all without compromising on the issues which alone have power to bring about genuine change. When we have done this, we shall then be called The Repairers of the Breach, the Restorers of Paths to dwell in (Isa. 58:12). Our light shall break forth as the morning, it shall arise in obscurity, and our darkness (the darkness which we presently experience in the womb) shall be as the noonday. At such a time, the Day will dawn, and the Daystar shall arise in our hearts. And Zarah, the "rising Son," the earnest expectation of the creature, shall be manifest for all the world to see (Rom. 8:19). Therefore, our prayer is, Lord hasten the Day!
to be continued...
Writings in This Series: