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Where was Jesus during his hidden years?

As a yoga teacher I believed and taught that Jesus spent a great portion of the years between twelve and thirty studying under gurus in the Far East who taught him how to awaken his Christ nature. I based this view on the general opinion that prevailed among my peers, but even more so, on The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ written by Levi Dowling and the teachings of Edgar Cayce.

Both of these individuals claimed to receive insight on this matter from the Akashic Records. This is supposedly an immense field of knowledge surrounding the earth containing a complete record of every thought, emotion, or action in this world since its inception. After becoming a Christian, I realized that the accounts given by Dowling and Cayce actually contradict each other. If they got their inspiration from the same source, why did this happen?

According to Edgar Cayce, Jesus was discipled by an Essene teacher named Judy. She later instructed him to travel to Persia and India in order to learn astrology and other yogic and spiritual disciplines. It should be noted that this is highly unlikely because the Essenes traditionally did not regard women as capable of filling such positions of prophetic influence.

Levi Dowling shares an altogether different version. He explains that an Indian prince named Ravanna obtained permission from Jesus’ parents to take him to India in order to learn from the wisdom of the Indian sages. Dowling offers that Jesus studied under Brahmic masters for a season, then went on to Benares of the Ganges where he was mentored by Hindu healers who taught him their art, then on to Tibet. Finally, he journeyed to Egypt where he allegedly became part of a “Secret Brotherhood” in Heliopolis. There he advanced through seven degrees of initiation to become the Christ.

The Bible is largely silent about Jesus’ hidden years. However, it does shed some light on what probably happened. When Jesus was twelve years old, he purposefully remained in Jerusalem after attending the Passover Feast with his family. Joseph and Mary, who thought he had been lost from their caravan, finally found him in the temple area discussing vital spiritual concepts with the teachers of the Word of God. Seeing their concern and responding to their request, the Bible explains, “he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.” (See Luke 2:41-51.) The wording is very plain.

Years later, when Jesus announced his ministry in Nazareth at the age of thirty, “as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” This wording suggests that this practice had been a pattern in his life for some time. When he announced his claim to Messiahship by quoting Isaiah 61, the awed listeners “marveled at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth” and questioned, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:16, 22, emphasis by author) Obviously, this unique Nazarene was a familiar figure to them all. Because of these and other pertinent arguments, I now contend that Jesus never departed from the land of Israel during his ‘hidden years.’

The popular Christian author, Ron Rhodes, offers an informed and insightful observation:

“Among those who became angriest at Jesus were the Jewish leaders. They accused him of many offenses, including breaking the Sabbath, blasphemy and doing miracles in Satan’s power. But they never accused him of teaching or practicing anything learned in the East. The Jews considered such teachings and practices to be idolatry and sorcery. Had Jesus actually gone to India to study under “the great Buddhas,” this would have been excellent grounds for discrediting and disqualifying him regarding his claim to be the promised Jewish Messiah. If the Jewish leaders could have accused Jesus of this, they certainly would have.”1

1 Ron Rhodes, The Counterfeit Christ of the New Age Movement (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1990) p. 52.

Copyright © 2003 Mike Shreve

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Written by Mike Shreve