The Yoga Issue

Arno Froese

Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:4-5).

We note the words, “like all the nations.” After Samuel compassionately warned Israel of the disadvantages of having a king rule over them, they decidedly answered: “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles” (verses 19-20). Note again the words, “That we also may be like all the nations.”

God elected Israel to be His special nation, separated from all other nations of the world. During Moses’ time, they were instructed to enter the Promised Land and destroy the people with all their idols, and not to develop any relationship with the Gentile nations. They were chosen by God “to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2b).

Later in history, we read of the glorious and wise King Solomon and his downfall. Here is what 1 Kings 11:4-7 says: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.” In spite of being the wisest king on earth, in his old age, he practiced what Israel demanded under Samuel: “That we also may be like all the nations.”

What a sober warning this is for believers today. We, the Church, “…are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). An overwhelming number of people in the Church do not believe it by their actions. They want to be nationalists and patriots. But, does not the Lord warn us that we are in the world, but not of this world? We, the Church—consisting of born-again believers—belong to another nation. We have heavenly citizenship, and our destiny is indescribable glory.

The Yoga Issue
A recent report in the Jerusalem Post had this to say:

Yoga arrived in Israel not long after the country’s inception and drew a strong following in the 1960s and ‘70s from soul-searchers seeking new ways to improve their bodies and expand their minds. Today, the Indian-derived practice has evolved and branched out to reach a broader range of Israelis of every age, from soldiers to schoolchildren, Tel Aviv hipsters to New-Age hippies, and even some in the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities.

But is it Kosher?

This is the part where things can get a little “twisted” (pun intended). While some of yoga’s origins are deeply rooted in Hindu religious practices, Jerusalem-based yoga instructor Ayo Oppenheimer Abitbol explained that contemporary yoga is not always connected to the religious aspects of these roots. “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date back to 400 CE and is a philosophical treatise on the theory and practice of yoga that draws from universal sources rather than championing the beliefs of Hinduism or any singular faith. Beyond the ancient sources, much of modern yoga practice today actually evolved from Western and British influences on India, including gymnastics and other disciplines.”

However, this is not enough to convince a handful of prominent rabbis. Ayo pointed to Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg’s opposition to practicing yoga as having the “dust” of idolatry.

Yoga-instructor turned ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Gutman Locks—sometimes known as “Guru Gil”—claims that various elements of yoga and poses are, indeed, forms of idolatry. He notes that the common “Sun Salutation” yoga sequence originally meant “worship of the sun” in Hindi, but that the translation has been changed to appeal to Westerners.

Locks holds that these elements are still deeply embedded in yoga practice and they are a form of deity worship that contaminates Jews. He says Jews should keep away from yoga because of the dangers that come with straying from Jewish ideologies and practices., 12 October 2019

The religion of yoga is deeply imbedded in the Western world, and in the Church. The Lord God, the Creator of heaven and earth, is no longer the ultimate authority. We need additional religions to “find ourselves,” to know ourselves, and to better control ourselves. The Word of God is no longer sufficient.

To be like others is the spirit of the end times. Particularly now, as the final stages of globalism are developing, unity and equality are the keys to a so-called perfect world.

Even in modern times, Israel desperately desires to be just like all the nations of the world. As a matter of fact, in Israel’s Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948, one can read the following statements: “…by opening the gates to all Jews and lifting the Jewish people to equality in the family of nations…It is moreover the self-evident right of the Jewish people to be a nation as all other nations.” At the end of this Declaration, we read: “We appeal to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building of its State and to admit Israel into the family of nations.” That is the great tragedy of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.

Yet, there is a distinct difference between Israel and all nations of the world. Hosea 14:4-5 has this to say: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.”

Midnight Call - 12/2019

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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