The New Age is not one unified religion or doctrine. It is a religious philosophy that comes in a bewildering variety of forms. At its heart is the divinity of self, so the individual is free to build whatever individualized brand of New Age he pleases.
The New Age has been discredited time and again since its inception. Its channelers have often proven to be charlatans. Its prophecies have often been false. It has demonstrated a frightful level of gullibility and rampant quackery. It is filled with contradictions. Its gurus and organizations have failed by the thousands. It is faddish and has been highly commercialized and is often simply ridiculous. Its practitioners are hypocritical in the extreme, claiming that they are gods when they live like the devil, calling for world harmony when they can’t get along with their own neighbors, calling for global peace when they can’t maintain peace in their own marriages, saying that truth is not found in doctrine while publishing shelves upon shelves of New Age doctrine, calling for tolerance while they are viciously intolerant not only of dogmatic Bible truth but often even of competing New Age philosophies.
Yet the New Age keeps growing, and the reason is that it is one aspect of the “mystery of iniquity” that is prophesied in Scripture.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).
The term “mystery” in the New Testament means something that was formerly hidden but is now revealed. The mystery of iniquity is the revelation that the spirit of antichrist would be at work throughout the church age. John said, “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18).
We see that there will be one antichrist, singular, at the end of the age, but there are even now antichrists, plural, in the world.
2 Thessalonians chapter 2 calls these “antichrists” the “mystery of iniquity.” The coming of Christ will be preceded by the appearance of the antichrist, singular, a world ruler who is called many things in Scripture. In 2 Thessalonians he is called “that man of sin” and “the son of perdition.” He will announce that he is God and will sit in the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Elsewhere in Scripture, we are told that he will require that the whole world worship him on pain of death (Revelation 13).
Preceding the appearance of the antichrist, singular, is the “mystery of iniquity,” which was already at work in the apostle Paul’s day. This describes the devil’s activity in preparing the way for the antichrist. The Bible says that this demonic activity--this mystery of iniquity, this resistance against the true Jesus Christ, this attack upon the gospel--will increase throughout the church age until it finally blossoms into the full-blown antichrist government described in Revelation 13.
2 Timothy 3:13 describes the course of the church age as the gradual growth of error. “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”
On the one hand, Christ is at work in the church age through Bible-believing churches to call sinners to salvation before it is too late. By this means the body of Christ is being filled up with saved people from the ends of the earth. On the other hand, the devil is at work trying to hinder the gospel and preparing men’s minds for the rise of the antichrist.
Paul tells us that there is one who “letteth,” which is an old English word meaning to restrain. There is one that is in the world and that has the power to restrain the devil’s program until God is finished with His work for the church age and the body of Christ is complete. That one is none other than the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, who came down from heaven on the day of Pentecost 2,000 years ago to empower the work of world evangelism. After His resurrection Jesus said:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
We are now standing somewhere toward the end of the church age. Multitudes have been redeemed out of every nation on earth, out of every tribe and tongue. Soon the Lord Jesus Christ will begin to open the seals of the book that contains the title deed to the overthrow of the present world system and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth (Revelation 4:1-5). And the 24 elders representing the church will sing the wonderful song of redemption before the throne of God in heaven.
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 4:9).
Before the Great Tribulation described in Revelation 6-19 occurs, Christ will catch away all living church age saints and will resurrect those who are dead (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Until that glorious day the divine work of worldwide gospel preaching must continue and the demonic work of the mystery of iniquity will proceed apace.
Understand that the mystery of iniquity is far more than the New Age movement. It is anything that undermines the authority and sufficiency of the Bible, that downgrades Jesus Christ, and that promises a way of salvation different from Scripture.
The mystery of iniquity is theological modernism and universalism and evolution and atheistic communism and Hinduism and Islam and Buddhism and anything else that stands in contradiction to God’s Holy Word. All of this and much more is preparing men’s minds and hearts for the antichrist.
And part of this iniquitous business is the New Age in all of its illicit glory.
In her book The Aquarian Conspiracy New Ager Marilyn Ferguson describes the movement as “a leaderless but powerful network working to bring about radical change.”
That is somewhat true from a human standpoint but from a spiritual standpoint the New Age definitely has a leader, and his name is Satan.
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