I'm Spiritual, but not religious!
New Age mysticism is nothing new to the Jewish people. For many centuries Kabbalah, which has been committed to writing in books such as the Zohar has sought to explain the relationship between an eternal and mysterious Creator and His creation. Today a more modern and controversial version of Kabbalah has been popularised by Philip Berg through his international Kabbalah centres. Jewish Renewal started by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi is another modern New Age movement, which is said to combine aspects of both Judaism and Buddhism.
The New Age belief system is often promoted as philosophy or science, and is therefore embraced by high numbers of Jewish people. Take for example the pseudo-Christian A Course in Miracles, a combination of New Age philosophy, psychology, and religion. It’s interesting to note that many of the most prominent personalities associated with it are from Jewish backgrounds, including two of its leading proponents, Jerry Jampolsky and Marianne Williamson. One of today’s leading New Age thinkers, Andrew Cohen, was born into a secular Jewish family in New York in 1955. His website tells how he “had his passion for spirit unexpectedly ignited at the age of sixteen, when a spontaneous revelation of “cosmic consciousness” opened his eyes to a new dimension of life.” b In 1988 he established EnlightenNext, a global organisation dedicated to catalyzing evolution in consciousness and culture.
With such a legacy of Jewish metaphysical exploration, why are a growing number of Jewish people turning away from the new spirituality and embracing Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah and the only hope for the Jewish people?
In his book, “Messianic Jews”, John Fieldsend relates the true story of one young man, who was brought up in a good, but not particularly spiritual, Jewish family. He'd become interested in eastern religions: "I found a natural affinity with Hinduism, because it seemed to be a path of holiness, and it seemed like some sort of answer.“ “I had a guru ... But this guru wasn’t what I thought he would be. He said, ‘I want you to look into your heart to see who is really most important there.’ However, when I looked into my heart, there was one name that was there more strongly than any other; the name of Jesus.” c
He admits that he became increasingly "disillusioned with eastern religions, and was really at the end of myself.” d This disillusionment is common to many spiritual seekers, who move from one discipline or belief system to another; all the time trying to find something that works and ultimately satisfies the soul. “As a Jew who was very far away from my roots and far away from anything rabbinical at all, the person of Jesus was an attractive enigma. I knew he was a Jew, an outsider, and somehow a holy man. There was something of a mystery about him.” e Why should we be surprised that the most famous Jewish man who ever lived, who is revered by many for his compassion for the weak and marginalised, and for the miracles he performed, is still calling Jewish people to follow Him? In the end, this young man surrendered to the call of Yeshua, and since then his life has radically changed for the better.
Yeshua, was far more than a First Century Jewish carpenter turned rabbi. His birth, life, death and resurrection were a fulfilment of many ancient Hebrew prophecies; He even claimed to have come from eternity and to be one with God. He spoke with wisdom, love and a divine authority that has never been equalled before or since. Most importantly, in his death and resurrection, he fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy, in Isaiah chapter, 53 by giving his life in payment for our wrongdoing. He did this so that we might live in his power, loved, forgiven and accepted for all eternity. There has never been anyone to compare with Yeshua. He is unique!
Why not meditate on these words from the ancient scriptures, which are spoken to each one of us:
“Yeshua said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6) “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) “Stop doing wrong therefore, and turn to God, that you may be forgiven, and that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19-20) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
a Drury, Nevill (2004), The New Age: Searching for the Spiritual Self, London, England, UK: Thames and Hudson, ISBN 0-500-28516-0
b Andrew Cohen, http://www.andrewcohen.org/andrew/biography.asp
c Fieldsend, John (1993), “Messianic Jews” Monarch Publications, p79. ISBN 1 85424 228 8
d Fieldsend 1993, p81.
e Fieldsend 1993, p80.