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Mike Shreve was a teacher of yoga at four universities. (The portrait above was drawn by one of his students in 1970.) Then a spiritual rebirth brought him into a real relationship with God and drastically changed his heart, his life and his belief system.  Read his story here.

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Site Completed–10/15/01
Major Revision—5/28/03
Last Updated–03/19/09

The True Light Project
P.O. Box 4260
Cleveland, TN 37320
Phone: (423) 478-2843
Fax: (423) 479-2980

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©2002 copyright
Mike Shreve.
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Was Jesus ‘a’ Door or ‘the’ Door to eternal life ?

The general consensus in New Age sects and Far Eastern religious groups is that there are many doors to an ultimate state of being, many doors to oneness with the Creator. However, Jesus did not claim, "I am one of the doors to the sheepfold." Promoting a very exclusive approach, he asserted, "I am the door of the sheep." (See John 10:1–7.) He did not say, "I am one of many ways." Unashamedly he insisted, "I am the way." (John 14:6)

Of course, as a yoga teacher I professed to know what Jesus really meant by these statements—that achieving his "I AM" consciousness, his totally enlightened state, is the ‘door’ for all humanity and the ‘way’ to eternal life. Yet if this was what Jesus meant, he would have plainly said so. He would have used easily understood words like; "You must walk through the door of your Christ Consciousness, of an awakened ‘higher Self,’ in order to live in the realm where I abide." Instead, in simple language, he informed, "I am the door" and "I am the way…No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Without controversy, Jesus was affirming that all must go through him personally to obtain an experience of salvation, to receive the gift of eternal life. This is simple, straightforward language that can only be interpreted in a simple, straightforward way. There are many profound reasons why Jesus could make such an astonishing claim (his deity, his virgin birth, his sinless life, his crucifixion, his resurrection, and so on). The following unique theory could be just as relevant:

Three Heavens: Only One Door

According to the Bible, there are three heavens, probably divided up as follows:

  • The first heaven is the earth’s atmosphere and the universe beyond.

  • The second heaven is an intermediate, spiritual sphere.
  • The third heaven is the highest realm, the abode of the manifest presence of God, also referred to in the Bible as paradise. (See 2 Corinthians 12:2–4.)

These three heavens are concentric, blending together and sharing a common center. The second heaven is apparently an intermediate sphere, bridging the gap between the terrestrial abode of man and the celestial abode of God. Quite possibly, this realm could be similar to what Eastern or New Age thinkers refer to as the "Astral Plane."

Consider this comparison. The soul and the spirit of a human being, though spiritual and invisible, occupy somewhat the same space as the associated physical body. So also, the invisible planes of existence occupy somewhat the same area as the first heaven and yet are spiritual in essence. Though unseen to man, the second heaven is full of angelic and demonic activity that constantly overflows into this natural world affecting us all. Understanding the true nature of these realms pulls back the veil on two highly profound mysteries: (1) Why many religions misinterpret and de-personalize God’s nature; (2) Why Jesus could make the astonishing claims showcased at the start of this section.

The life "OF" God or life "FROM" God—Many who subscribe to a Far Eastern/New Age worldview claim that the ‘life-essence’ underlying all living things, in both the physical plane and the first two heavens, actually IS God—an all-pervasive, impersonal, cosmic life-force. Hindus and yoga advocates call this force prana; Taoists call it chi—and most advocates of these mindsets would readily suggest these terms are synonymous with what Christians call the Holy Spirit. Yet this cannot be the case. Prana or chi is described as an impersonal force, while the Holy Spirit is the personal presence of God. There is a vast and irreconcilable difference between the two concepts.

Why is this important? Because correct revelation presents God as a personal and transcendent Being, existing apart from the physical creation. He dwells in the third heaven (the "high and holy place"—Isaiah 57:15). However, he has also filled the physical plane and the first two heavens with a ‘life-force’ that exists apart from him. This is NOT the life OF God; rather, it is a life that comes FROM God. It enables plants, animals and human beings to ‘live’ in the natural plane; it enables angels, demons and other supernatural entities to exist in higher planes. As already pointed out in Question #3, in the New Testament, there are two main Greek words translated "life." Generally speaking, natural or physical life (life FROM God) is psuche (pronounced psoo-khay’); divine life (the life OF God) is zoe (pronounced zo’-ay).

When religious seekers in this world (Buddhist, Hindu, Jainist, New Age, etc) open themselves up to a higher spiritual realm through various techniques (like meditating on chakras, chanting mantras or visualizing yantras), they may actually experience the next level above us, but they are unable to proceed into the third heaven, Experiencing this highest realm of the personal presence of God is impossible unless seekers approach God through the ‘door’ of his Son. Jesus is spoken of as the eternal "image of the invisible God" and the only "mediator between God and men." (Colossians 1:15, 1 Timothy 2:5) Those who do not acknowledge this God-appointed ‘door’ become ‘locked’ inside a lower spiritual realm—filled with an impersonal life—which they mistakenly label "Ultimate Reality," for that is all they have ever known.

Entities inhabiting the second heaven—It is also important to understand that when Adam and Eve fell, Satan became the ruling force in this world. As "the prince of the power of the air," along with his demonic underlings, he succeeded in surrounding the globe with a suffocating layer of impenetrable spiritual darkness. (Ephesians 2:2) No one is exempt from facing such negative influence. According to Revelation 12:9, Satan has succeeded in deceiving "the whole world." Though this "prince of darkness" and his subordinate demons cannot be observed literally moving through the physical atmosphere (the first heaven), they constantly travel through the second heaven, its spiritual counterpart. In this dimension of existence, angelic forces from God oppose satanic activity and work to establish God’s purposes in the lives of those who are surrendered to the truth. (See Hebrews 1:13–14.) Various orders of angels populate the third heaven, while demons are apparently restrained from entering this celestial sphere (though it is apparent that Satan, in the past, has come into God’s presence in the third heaven in an accusatory role—Job 1:6-12).

The satanic strategy—The Bible teaches that Satan (Lucifer) can appear as an "angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14) In other words, he and his associate spirits are very adept at granting false supernatural experiences that appear to be of the "True Light." In the beginning, part of his rebellion against God included an attempt to be "like the Most High." (Isaiah 14:14) Undoubtedly, he is still endeavoring to accomplish this goal—providing a counterfeit experience of the Divine. Those who open their hearts to the realm of the supernatural, but do not use a proper approach to God (like calling on the name of Jesus and claiming the cleansing effects of his blood) invariably come under this deceptive influence. (I personally experienced visions and out-of-body sensations during meditation that I now know were a product of this negative influence.)

Yes, this is the dilemma! Even those who passionately love God and are sincerely searching for understanding are subject to this predicament. This is exactly why God outlawed various occult practices in the Old Testament such as: necromancy (contacting the dead), astrology, fortune telling, sorcery, channeling, divination and the like. (See Deuteronomy 18:10–13.) He was not denying the children of Israel valid experiences in the supernatural realm; he was trying to guard them from demonic deception. He knew such spiritual subterfuge would draw them into false doctrine, and eventually rob them of spiritual reality and the power of truth.

The following diagram illustrates what happens when
seekers from various religions attempt to reach God,
using non-biblical methods, and why biblical
methods alone are successful.

The Awesome Power of Spiritual Rebirth

As the above illustration indicates, the experience of being born again originates from the third heaven. Jesus said, "Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:7) The Greek word translated "again" is anothen, which means from above. When seekers call on the name of Jesus and ask the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) to come into their hearts, he does so, simultaneously depositing a "new spirit" within them. For this reason any ‘saved’ person is biblically referred to as a "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17). When this inner transformation takes place, newborn believers are delivered from "the power of darkness" and translated into "the kingdom of God’s dear Son." (Colossians 1:13) From that moment onward, true Christians are ‘connected’ with the third heaven and can live in an atmosphere of the presence of God.

Ephesians 2:6 explains how Christian believers "sit together in heavenly places." In other words, though still existing in a natural plane, those who are saved can maintain a daily, supernatural awareness—a blessed sensitivity to the overflow of the kingdom of heaven in their lives. They are filled with divine life (zoe) and because of this, able to experience communion with God daily.

Unfortunately, men’s religious bridges always stop short of this goal. Construction always ceases once the builders penetrate the next realm above us. Satanic powers will allow them to progress no further. This is why truth-seekers of good intention and great spiritual fervor can purport to have life-changing supernatural revelations and visionary insights—and yet be wrong. Only God’s bridge completely spans the gap between eternity and time. No wonder the axiom is so popular that "religion is man’s effort to reach God, but Jesus Christ is God’s effort to reach man." And no wonder the Scripture reveals: "He who has the Son has LIFE (zoe); he who does not have the Son of God does not have LIFE (zoe)…This is the TRUE GOD, and eternal LIFE (zoe)." (1 John 5:12, 20)

"In Search of the True Light" ©2002 copyright by Mike Shreve.
All articles unless otherwise noted are copyright by Mike Shreve.
Personal Stories are the work of the individuals.
All Rights Reserved.

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