Saturday, January 8, 2011

Matthew 24, the New Age "Master Jesus," and The Message

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Matthew 24:4-5 (KJV)

Lighthouse Trails Research Blog, one of the best resources available, has just published a fascinating post by Ray Yungen (taken from the 2007 edition of his book For Many Shall Come in My Name (Lighthouse Trails Publishing), pp. 151-156) on Matthew 24. This paragraph in particular (from page 152) got my attention:

A basic tenet of New Age thinking is that of the Master Jesus. Adherents to this idea believe during the unrecorded period of His life, Jesus traveled to various occult centers and mystery schools in such places as Tibet, India, Persia, and Egypt; at these places this same Jesus learned the metaphysical secrets of the ages. Therefore, they claim this Jesus spent seventeen years of travel on a pilgrimage of higher consciousness. According to this viewpoint, Jesus of Nazareth became the Master Jesus, one who allegedly gained mastery over the physical world by becoming one with his higher self.

I knew I’d seen the phrase "Master Jesus" before, and I remembered where I'd seen it: The Message. As I’ve previously posted, the phrases "Lord Jesus" and "Lord Jesus Christ" aren’t found in The Message even once, but a quick search at Bible Gateway finds that the phrase "Master Jesus" is used in The Message 73 times (!)--in each instance, a change from the word "Lord."

One such passage that struck me was Philippians 3:20. For purposes of comparison, here’s how that verse reads in the King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and New International Version (2010), followed by The Message’s rendition:

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: KJV

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; NASB

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, NIV (2010)

But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, The Message

The perceptive reader will notice that in The Message’s rendition of Philippians 3:20, there's no statement that we’re waiting for the "Master, Jesus Christ" to come from heaven. To read this version, the "Master" could well be someone who’s already on Earth when he’s revealed as the Saviour--a change in the text that I regard as very suspicious!

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