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Slight of Hand

Most have attended a “magic show” where a “magician” will make a coin or a small ball disappear and then re-appear in an odd spot like behind someone’s ear or in their pocket. Most are aware that the magicians performing these amazing tricks are not magicians at all, but slight of hand artists. They learn to make things disappear or reappear by using mirrors or with the art of using diversions to take the watcher’s eyes off of the subject.

This type of trickery is alive and well, and being practiced on the minds of the faithful. There is teaching that seems to be gaining ground amongst the faithful in the “cosmic christ”. As we discussed in the last post, this is a belief that Jesus was not “the” Christ but one who was evidence of “christ” being released on the earth. The teachers of this belief will say that Christ was not Jesus’ last name and that we are all Christ (the anointed of God). To further confuse the issue they proclaim Creation as being the first “christ.”

Fr. Richard Rohr, the founder of the “Center for Action and Contemplation” in an interview with Msgr. Walter Nolen, the pastor of St. Paul’s Church in Princeton, New Jersey had a few interesting things to say about Christ. This interview can be found on YouTube and appears to be produced by the Catholic Corner.

Fr. Rohr makes the following statements:

“The big bang was the birth of the ‘christ’.”

 “The first ‘body of christ’ was creation itself.”

 “God is liberating and loving through everything that God created.”

What he is asserting is that salvation is handed down through a divine spark that travels through the collective energy of creation.

The following paragraph is taken from the Vatican document “Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Life,” 2.3.4.1. …the human person. The Vatican released this document in 2003, addressing the issue of “New Age Spirituality” being wrongly promoted from within the Church, and was published as a 90-page booklet titled “A Christian Reflection of the New Age.”

“In what might be termed a classical New Age account, people are born with a divine spark, in a sense which is reminiscent of ancient Gnosticism; this links them into the unity of the Whole. So they are seen as essentially divine, although they participate in this cosmic divinity at different levels of consciousness. We are co- creators, and we create our own reality. Many New Age authors maintain that we choose the circumstances of our lives (even our own illness and health), in a vision where every individual is considered the creative source of the universe. But we need to make a journey in order fully to understand where we fit into the unity of the cosmos. The journey is psychotherapy, and the recognition of universal consciousness is salvation. There is no sin; there is only imperfect knowledge. The identity of every human being is diluted in the universal being and in the process of successive incarnations. People are subject to the determining influences of the stars, but can be opened to the divinity which lives within them, in their continual search (by means of appropriate techniques) for an ever greater harmony between the self and divine cosmic energy. There is no need for Revelation or Salvation which would come to people from outside themselves, but simply a need to experience the salvation hidden within themselves (self-salvation), by mastering psycho- physical techniques which lead to definitive enlightenment.”

This belief in a “cosmic Christ” is nothing new; it is akin to Gnosticism and has been around for thousands of years. The statement that Christ is not the last name of Jesus is absolutely true. This is where deception is most dangerous – when truth is used with a twist. When a counterfeiter replicates currency they reproduce that currency as close to the real thing as possible. They do not place a picture of Daffy Duck on a twenty-dolor bill. No, they make it as close to the real thing as possible.

Christ is not the last name of Jesus, and most people shake their heads in an up and down motion of affirmation when they hear this being said. The “cosmic christ” proponents say that the word Christ signifies that God’s anointing rests on Jesus. Of course, this is true because Christ means “The Anointed One”, and if that is the definition, we must all be Christ because all that are saved are anointed by God. Also very true – all who are in Christ are anointed by God and can rightfully claim the title of Christ.

The following paragraph is taken from the Vatican document “Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Life,” 2.3.4.2 …God?:

“When it is consciously received by men and women, “divine energy” is often described as “Christic energy”. There is also talk of Christ, but this does not mean Jesus of Nazareth. “Christ” is a title applied to someone who has arrived at a state of consciousness where he or she perceives him- or herself to be divine and can thus claim to be a “universal Master”. Jesus of Nazareth was not the Christ, but simply one among many historical figures in whom this “Christic” nature is revealed, as is the case with Buddha and others. Every historical realisation of the Christ shows clearly that all human beings are heavenly and divine, and leads them towards this realisation.”

Here is the twist, or should I say, the untwisting. Christ is not just the description of the anointing that rests on Jesus. It is His title! He is “The Christ”, the Anointed One. This title is singular – He is the only Christ. We are saved by the name of Jesus who is “the” Christ. Jesus was not just another person anointed by God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit directly within the womb of the Virgin Mary. Some will try to say that Jesus did not receive the anointing of God before John the Baptist, baptized Him. Remember that John the Baptist leaped while He was still in the womb of Elizabeth, when our mother Mary came into Elizabeth’s presence. John did not leap because of Mary, but because Jesus was present within her womb (Luke 1:44).

“I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, 

the Only Begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation

he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.”

 Paragraph 2 – The Nicene Creed

Look that the quote above. This is the second paragraph of the Nicene Creed typically recited during the Catholic mass. “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.” When I first became a Catholic, this part of the creed would get stuck in my throat. As a Protestant, I understood that I was in Jesus Christ in my mind. It took reciting this statement many times before this truth began to settle in my heart. When I first read this statement, I actually would think “where does that leave us if Jesus is the only Son of God.” Yes, the answer is obvious, that leaves us “in Christ.” I knew the answer to the question, in my mind, the first time I read this statement, but for some reason, it just bothered me. I am sure that many Protestants grasp this truth; I was just not one of them.

When I think back to my being uncomfortable with this statement, my issue may have been because it somehow made me feel very vulnerable. I think most people like to think of themselves as being independent – able to take care of themselves. We are completely dependent on Jesus. He is the Christ. Many say that Christians use Jesus as a crutch. This truth makes Jesus much more than a crutch; it makes Him our very life. Without Jesus we are nothing more than like a blade of grass that grows for a very short period, dies, and is forgotten forever in the wind (1 Peter 1:24).

This section of the creed also describes Jesus as being “light from light.” In the interview discussed above, Fr. Richard Rohr asserts that that in Genesis chapter 1, verse 3, when it reads, “And God said ‘let there be light,’” that God is referring to the first “christ.”

The following paragraph is taken from the Vatican document “Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Salvation,” 2.3.4.3 …the world?:

“The move from a mechanistic model of classical physics to the “holistic” one of modern atomic and sub-atomic physics, based on the concept of matter as waves or energy rather than particles, is central to much New Age thinking. The universe is an ocean of energy, which is a single whole or a network of links. The energy animating the single organism which is the universe is “spirit”. There is no alterity between God and the world.”

Richard Rohr furthers displays that he misunderstands the Scripture by asserting that this is that same light that St. John is referring to in the first chapter of his gospel. The “New Age” crowd equates the “christ” as being the life energy of creation. Their eyes are blinded to the truth that St. John is referring to the light as our “hope” not the life force of the planet. Let’s compare these two sections of Scripture.

3. And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

 4. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

5. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

 Genesis 1:3-5

 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2. He was in the beginning with God;

 3. all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

 4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 5. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

 7. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.

 8. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

 9. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.

 St. John 1:1-9

In verse 3 of the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John above the Apostle very clearly states, “all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” Christ is coeternal with the Father. God did not create Christ on the first day. In Genesis when God says “let there be light” God is referring to physical light that He spoke into existence through the Christ, as Scripture so plainly states. I don’t claim to understand how God created the Earth and all that it contains through His Son the Christ. Nobody understands this mystery. That’s what makes it a mystery. This is one of those things that we need to believe by faith.

Let’s take a look at what St. Peter said when being questioned by the Sanhedrin (Jewish Leaders). This was soon after the Apostles were filled with the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room.

8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders:

9. If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved,

 10. then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed.

 11. He is ‘the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.’

 12. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

 Acts 4:8-12

Not only does St. Peter use the name “Christ”, he narrows it down to say that “of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified.” St. Peter could not get much more specific.

Now that we are clear on how St. Peter felt about Jesus being “the” Christ, let us take a look at what St. Paul has to say on the subject.

17. For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.

 Romans 5:17

St. Paul is very clear that he believes that “justification” comes through “one person Jesus Christ.” This sounds very different from what the folks teaching about the “cosmic christ” would like for us to believe. They would like for us to believe that creation was the first “christ.” No – the Earth was created “in” Christ.

13. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

 14. in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 15.He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

 16. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him.

 17. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

 18. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead that in all things he himself might be preeminent.

19. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,

20. and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven.

 Colossians 1:13-20

Again, Jesus was not just a man who received the anointing of God; He is the Anointing of God. When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive Him. He is the anointing. “All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Let’s now see what Jesus says about Himself:

6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 St. John 14:6

5. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.

 6. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.

 St. John 15:5-6

48. I am the bread of life.

 49. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

 50. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.

 51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

 52. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

 53. So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;

 54. he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

 55. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

 56. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

 57. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

 58. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”

 59. This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caperna-um.

 St. John 6:48-59

The Apostle John gives very clear testimony in his gospel that Jesus proclaimed that He is the only way to Heaven. Not only does St. John record that Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me”, but further on in Chapter 6 he writes that “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

Jesus gives a further explanation during the Last Supper of His claim of being the Bread of Life (Luke 22:19). We will work through this claim in much further detail in as we move along. Understanding that Jesus as the Bread of Life will help us to see the “cosmic christ” deception more clearly.

Jesus is the only way to Heaven:

3. This is good and pleasing to God our savior,

 4. who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

 5. For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human,

 6. who gave himself as ransom for all.

1 Timothy 2:3-6

 

 

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