The brief book of Colossians is an epistle (the name of a wife of an apostle. Kidding of course, “epistles” are simply the letters to early churches) of Paul’s in the New Testament. Among other things, God has called me to study different aspects of cults, the occult and ancient mystery religions for the past three years now, which has allowed me to read this little letter in a whole new light.
The reader should know that knowledge, power, immortality (either here or after death), “light” or enlightenment to truth(s) or reality, having mysteries revealed, being in contact with spirits/angels, achieving personal godhood, ceremonies/traditions/rites/rituals, costuming, symbols, secrets, and hierarchies are all common themes in any religion.
The difference and key, the not-so-secret that Paul seeks to emphasize in Colossians, is that Jesus is and was and will forever more be the ONLY one to fulfill and make true the aforementioned themes. Jesus (His death on the cross, His resurrection and His godhood all combined) is the line between truth and falsehood.
“Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding”
In Colossians 1:9, Paul writes it is the God of the Bible alone who can give knowledge, spiritual wisdom, and understanding. Paul goes on to say God gives us this wisdom for the purpose of pleasing God, doing good works, bearing fruit (as in the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. See Galatians 5:22-23), and growing in the knowledge of God (i.e. knowing God more).
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father…” (Colossians 1:9-12).
It is human nature to seek wisdom in order to gain power, influence, and authority over the environment, gods/spiritual beings, and other people. However, this will never satisfy us. We will always want more and better experiences, knowledge, friends, money, etc. Greed is never satisfied and people are forever power-hungry.
In verses 11 and 12, Paul writes that God gives power to strengthen Christians, provide them endurance, patience, and joyful thanksgiving. People naturally seek power in order to change their surroundings, themselves, and others.
“No Other God”
Verses 1:13-20 places Jesus at the head of creation. Jesus is not some god, He is not an angel, and He is not just a human teacher. Paul makes it clear he believes Jesus is no less than God.
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” (Col. 16-18)
"There is no god/goddess of creation besides Him, no god/goddess of the Earth, no god/goddess of the sky, not even a god/goddess of the dead “so that in everything He might have the supremacy” (Col. 1:18).
“The Kingdom of Light”
By worshiping Jesus alone, Christians have a share “in the kingdom of light” (Col. 1:12), and are reconciled to God through Jesus’s death (not anything we have done or could ever do)
“to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation-if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel” (Col. 1:22-23).
“The Dying Sun God”
Whereas ancient religions feature a dying sun god motif to mark and honor the annual seasons, Jesus (the Son-God) died once and for all (not a yearly, cyclical death) as recorded in history (as opposed to metaphorically or myth).
While the ancients recognized the need for a blood sacrifice to a deity, Jesus wished to
“reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross” (Col. 1:20, my emphasis added).
What other god/goddess anywhere voluntarily offers themselves as a sacrifice for their own creation?
“Mystery of the Ages”
“The word of God in its fullness [is] the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints” (Col. 1:25-26).
“The glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
“The Return of Paganism” (dun, dun, duunnnn!)
The Christian Church needs to wake up to some unsettling facts. The numbers of people choosing to practice Paganism (just like ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman mythology and more) and occult practices are growing by leaps and bounds
“One of the fastest growing religious groups in Western society falls into a broad religious category called Paganism…The growth rate of Pagan religions seems to be nothing less than phenomenal, with an annual growth rate of 29 percent” (Dr. Michael Cooper, Trinity University, http://www.tiu.edu/tiu/publications/trinitymagazine/paganism).
Churches are having an increasingly hard time gaining new members (http://www.bibleweb.com/library/jh24jan99-mainlinechurches.html), and even many Christians are leaving churches to pursue God on an individual basis (johnthebaptisttv.com). These are serious issues that cannot be fixed by hosting a more technological worship service.
The rise of Paganistic religions is no joke. The people who practice them are quite sincere in their beliefs, not necessarily following a “Harry Potter fad”.
The past few years have seen some scary events. Everything from major natural disasters, to world-wide economic crashes, meanwhile peace, prosperous populations, and environmental stability seem far away. Cultural values have changed, and there is technological and information overload, constantly bringing a stream of new ideas.
In our zeal for embracing and exploring new thoughts however, we rarely stop to consider if an idea is a good one or not.
Paul took the reigning beliefs of his day seriously enough to answer questions and address the basic needs in human nature. As Christians, we also would do well to become aware (but careful not to practice!) of essential pagan/occult beliefs in order
“to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:15-17).
If you are unsure of my proposition, simply go to your local theater and/or bookstore and take a critical look at the goods. It takes very little online research to verify and learn the truths about these growing trends.
To hide from view; mysterious; to cover; matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occult)
Civilian, country dweller, from pagus country district; especially : a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome); one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pagan)
In the broadest sense, is any act designed to cause intentional change. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magick)