By Nathan Jones
One of the signs that we are in the last days before Jesus returns is a proliferation of false teachers promoting false doctrines (Matt. 24:24; Mk. 13:22). In these references Jesus brings forward the idea that these deceptions could even deceive those who are saved, "if that were possible." While some have contended that Jesus is saying the elect cannot be deceived, a quick look around shows that one of today's leading deceptions has deeply infiltrated the Christian community. It is what is mistakenly being accepted as a simple exercise program, and yet, it is anything but harmless. The elect have naively embraced the eastern occultic practice of Yoga.
I have felt burdened as of late about the detrimental spiritual affects yoga has had on Christianity, seeing church calendars filled with yoga classes and even witnessing people close to me participating in what is considered a harmless "Christianized" version of yoga stretches. If they only knew how occultic — how demonic — the purposes of yoga truly are. Even the "harmless" exercise portion is in reality various ritual genuflects to Hindu idols.
Jeremy (J.R.) Hall, Executive Director of Berean Watchmen Ministries located way up there in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada, has felt the same burden as I have. Jeremy is actively involved in the international ministry through lectures, contributing articles and commentaries relating to Bible prophecy and Christian living in these later days. He has written an excellent article titled A Stretch into the Occult: A Christian's Response to Yoga that delves deep into the occultic practices and demonic purposes of yoga. Jeremy has kindly allowed me to repurpose his article in the hopes that we can warn Christians away from this satanic deception.
Due to the length of the article, I've divided it into three parts: this part on the satanic deception behind yoga, the second on how yoga and Hinduism are one and the same, and finally the reasons why yoga is definitely not for Christians.
Now I know what some of you might be thinking. "Occult? Oh come on now. Aren't we over reacting just a little bit? Yoga is just exercise."
Who told you that?
A yoga instructor?
Have you ever looked into it?
It has become a disturbing trend as of late for me to witness just how many proclaiming Christians are unaware of the true nature of yoga and what it really means and represents.
Think back to a sunny Saturday afternoon. You're sitting in your living room when you notice out the window, two young men wearing black ties and white shirts, and going door to door with a black book in their hand.
Yep, you guessed it, Mormons.
You silently watch from your window as they pause for a moment at each of your neighbor's homes and then your heart beat quickens as you see them now turn up your own driveway. The two young men are clean cut, nice looking and appear quite respectable.
The door bell rings.
You open the door hesitantly and greet them with a smile. You listen to their best evangelistic efforts, but express to them that you yourself are a Christian, and that our belief system and theirs do not mix. You might converse back and forth with the young men, but in the end they go their way, and you stay in your Christian way. (Hopefully)
So how did you do in the face of a false religion? Even if you had a chance to share the gospel with them, it was clear to you that what they believed was different then what Christianity teaches. Perhaps you were prepared and you knew that Mormons believe in a different Jesus, a different salvation and that they are a cult. In any case you just experienced an evangelistic effort of the enemy. You just met two apostles of perdition — two missionaries of that old serpent the devil. And he's up to his old tricks again, when through these two young men you heard the echoes of the words, "Did God really say?" (Gen 3:1)
Relieved that you got through your ordeal with the Mormons, and perhaps even satisfied that you countered their arguments and planted the seeds of truth in their lives, you now pat yourself on the back for not being caught up in some false religion and that you have the discernment to recognize false evangelists when you see them.
Or can you?
Over the past few decades a missionary arm of another false religion has been allowed to waltz into our society unchecked by the Church; unchecked by those who should know better, and those who should be warning others of the dangers and definitely not partaking in this idolatry with their fellow man.
If one takes the time to study Yoga, it becomes apparent that it is, in fact, the major missionary arm of Hinduism and the New Age movement in North America. There are a surprising number of Hindu influences in our North American culture. Many of these go unchecked or even unnoticed by the Christian Church. For instance:
- The concept of reincarnation (Hollywood loves this one)
- Centering and contemplative prayer (Well supported by proponents of the Emerging Church)
- Karma (has worked its way into our daily conversation)
- Being 'One with God' (Oprah loves this one)
- Avatar (a common reference on the Internet for a representation of an Internet user either through icon or name)
- The fame and reverence of the Dalai Lama in modern times.
Hinduism encompasses a wide variety of religious beliefs, and has been influential in the foundations of other religions, such as Buddhism and the New Age Movement and spin-off religions.
In the next part we will look at the teachings of Hinduism and how yoga and Hinduism are one and the same.