“Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.”
“and worship of angels”
“Worship” in this verse signifies religion in its subjective aspect, especially the mediation of angles on one’s behalf. Acts 26:5 uses this word for the religion of the Jews. James 1:26, 27 uses “worship” to contrast that which is unreal and deceptive, whereas “pure religion” consists of visiting “the fatherless and widows in their affliction.”
Paul argued against incipient Gnosticism in this passage. Gnosticism held that there is a hierarchy of angels among all human beings. The idea is that people must placate God via these angels. Knowledge, which began in virtual ignorance, increases until, at last, one enters into the fullness of understanding of the Oneness of all things. This process is how one pleases God. This Gnosticism is a form of mysticism, a subjective approach to worship that does not arise from objective doctrine. This “worship” is religion oriented around the subjective self rather than the objective Word of God. Any irrational or non-objective approach to worship is heresy.
Gnosticism of our day is the New Age Movement.
Satan deludes people by religion. The ancient heresy of Gnosticism appears widely today under the name of the New Age Movement. It seeks the Oneness of all things. They tell us that we are all part of the universe of created matter. We unite in Oneness with God.
New Age claims that we can escape from the self and move into oneness with the universe. Paul refers to it here as a “false humility.” It claims to move you beyond self. In actual practice, they focus on self. The real goal is to develop all your self powers. We call this the human potential movement. All you need is already there inside you. All you need to do is bring it out and develop your possibilities and full potential.
The New Age world of strange spirit beings, astrology, ouija boards, tarot cards, assorted holy men, psychics, swamis, yogis, and gurus are present-day Gnosticism. All of these purport to offer help in increasing our understanding to fulfill the possibilities of our humanity.
The Christian involved with the human potential movement is a present-day Gnostic, a heretic who departs from the Word of God (Mt 4:10).