The first Grail message adherent I met on a personal level was Fola. We were course mates in the university and were posted to the same state camp for NYSC in 2011. I had assumed she was a Christian until she admitted being a “cross bearer.” At my request, she loaned me her Grail message book, In the Light of Truth by Ab-dru-shin. Reading through it, I realized its content wasn’t really different from most mystical or New Age books.
Now, when you have the truth of the Bible, the reality of Jesus Christ and the witness of the Holy Spirit in you, you won’t fall for the philosophies in such writings. You can’t own gold and start to crave for dross, unless you are blind or ignorant. In this piece, I will be pointing out several snares in the Grail message and its movement.
Their Nigerian website says: “The Grail Movement is not a legal organization, but a collective term for conceptual efforts to spread the knowledge of the Grail Message and to realise it in all walks of life.”
The British website states that the Grail foundation serves “to further the public welfare in the spiritual and ethical spheres through dissemination of the work, In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message, and the spiritual and ethereal knowledge therein transmitted.”
The Grail movement originated in Germany in the late 1940s, inspired by the works of the self-proclaimed messiah, Oskar Ernst Bernhardt (pen/craft name: Abd-dru-shin). Oskar was born near Dresden in 1875 but was interned in the Isle of Man during WW 1. There, his mysticism began.
In 1928, he completed his Grail writings, but was expelled from Austria and had his work banned by the Nazi government. They were finally published in 1945, four years after his death. Other books used in the Grail movement are The Ten Commandments: The Lord’s Prayer, Book of Javada and Ephesus.
Today, Grail teachings have covered about 22 African countries garnering about 10,000 members. In Nigeria presently, there are over 3,500 adherents (persons who have been “sealed” or initiated into the circle) and many more readers and supporters. In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message book, has been translated into 16 languages and has spread over 90 countries.
Grail adherents call themselves “cross bearers” and they often wear a cross enclosed in a circle (also seen at Grail temples). They usually gain recruits through public lectures and media broadcast.
New applicants or readers are directed to study the 3 volumes of the Grail Message and subsequently invited to face a panel of judges who drill them with questions to assess if they are “evolved” or mature enough to be sealed into the Grail circle or still need to undergo further orientation.
Grail temples have weekly hours of worship (which includes Sundays) and Grail festivals (thrice in a year) during which members to-be are sealed. Non-cross bearers are not allowed to be part of their worship.
Some non-Christians (and uninformed Christians) think the Grail Movement is just another Christian denomination, or at least, a sect, but a cursory reading of their materials quickly divests one of such an idea. Their antagonistic stance against Christianity is rather conspicuous:
“Do not allow yourselves to be confused by those men and also churches who have already long ago surrendered to Antichrist … No wonder then, that he could penetrate to the altars, and that representatives of earthly religions, also of the Christian churches were bound to become his victims … Observe his dubious methods in defence and attack; for he will once more make use of only of slander and insinuation since his followers are incapable of doing anything else” (Grail Message, 1, ch. 3).
“And this present, only apparently harmless form was born out of the same unspeakable spiritual arrogance of the representatives of all churches, as hitherto. And where this damnable arrogance is not present there is to be found an empty conceit based on the earthly power of the churches.”
“Every Catholic thinks himself far better before God than a Protestant without there being any cause for it, but every Protestant thinks himself more enlightened, more advanced, and thus nearer to his God than the Catholic! … Both parties are fools, who rely on something that does not count in the least before the Will of God!
“An icy blast will sweep them away like worthless chaff; for they lack pure humility within themselves … By their nature they are the worst misusers of the Name of ‘God,’ the most flagrant transgressors of the Second Commandment! They all serve Lucifer, not God! And thus they scorn all the Commandments of God!” (The Ten Commandments of God, Sunday Punch, December 2015, 9).
Indeed, the Grail movement is rabidly anti-Christian. Jesus said “whoever is not against us is for us” (Mk. 9:40). By opposing Christianity, the Grail message shows it’s from the spirit of lies. “We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” (1 Jn. 4:6).
Those quotes also establish the Grail movement as a cult. In his work, What is a Cult? renowned cult expert Ronald Enroth, laid out some identifying marks of cults. “Their beliefs, practices, and values are counter to those of the dominant culture. They often place themselves in an adversarial role vis-a-vis major social institutions” (What is a Cult? Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1981, 18).
In other words, for a person to actually embrace the Grail movement and its teachings, he/she must have already had a level of underlying opposition or hostility against mainstream Christianity. Notice that the reader is being baited to dismiss any criticism of the Grail message as “slander and insinuation” from the Antichrist. Persecution complex is a tool commonly deployed by many cults to control their followers:
“Perceived persecution is one of the hallmarks of virtually all new [cultic] religious movements. Their literature, public statements and in-house indoctrination all convey the theme that in one form or another their group is being singled out for persecution – by mainstream Christians, the president, parents or the government” (What is a Cult? p. 22).
The preface to In the Light of Truth issues this warning: “Religious fanatics and irresponsible enthusiasts may hold aloof, for they are detrimental to the Truth. As for the malevolent and prejudiced, they shall find their sentence in the very words.”
This is a preemptive threat aimed at fostering blind subjection of the mind in the reader. If the Grail message is the truth; if it’s a word for mankind to find the right path and lead them to the longed for height, then Oskar need not try to deter critics, fanatics or the prejudiced from sifting through it.
In the Bible, God allowed even Satan to quote from His Word. A divine revelation is never afraid of criticism. Pure gold does not fear test from the hottest fire but is in fact, refined by it. The Bible has survived intense attacks from religious fanatics, irresponsible enthusiasts and the malevolent, yet it’s still very alive “reviving the soul” and “making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7).
By appealing to only readers who are willing to put their brains under Abdrushin’s toes, the Grail message evinces another feature of destructive cults: esotericism. Grail adherents believe they are seeking “ascent to the luminous height” while others outside are “spiritually inferior and indolent” people.
They typically assert that the Grail message is an extension of Christ’s teachings, although in a more developed form. “Developed,” because the Gospel writers supposedly never met Christ, hence the Bible is incomplete and riddled with contradictions, until Oskar brought the real thing in the 20th century.
How could Oskar a 20th century mystic who wasn’t an eye witness to any Biblical event offer a superior account than the inspired first century Gospel accounts penned by “eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Pet. 1:16)? Not possible.
The validity of the New Testament is based upon the facts of fulfillment of prophecies, symbolism and typology of the Old Testament. Thus, if the Grail message is to be received as divine, it must meet the test of being in complete agreement with the Holy Scriptures as found in the Bible.
Logically, since the Bible was before the Grail message and the Grail message – to an extent – appeals to the Bible, then whenever there is a conflict between the two, the newer and lesser (Grail message) must give way to the older and greater (the Bible). Thus, a fair and rational person must reject the Grail message if it contradicts the Bible. Here are some examples:
a] Another Christ
“Jesus was procreated physically, otherwise an earthly birth would not have been possible … With this gross material act of baptism, the beginning of the Mission was firmly anchored in the World of Gross Matter. The bandage fell. From the moment Jesus himself was conscious that He was to carry the Word of the Father among mankind on earth” (1, p. 82)
Jesus is eternal; He wasn’t created. He has been from “eternity past” (Mic. 5:8). Jesus had been a Messiah from birth and He knew who He was even at age 12, long before being baptised (Lk. 2:49).
The Old Testament gave many precise prophecies about the birth, lineage, ministry, and mission of Christ centuries before He came in the flesh. Lastly, Jesus didn’t “carry” the Word of God, He is the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:14).
b] Denial of Christ’s atonement
“Neither was the death on the cross a necessary sacrifice, but a murder, a dastardly crime … Christ certainly did not come to the earth with the intention of letting Himself be crucified; neither does redemption lie in the crucifixion!” (1, ch. 55)
On the contrary, Jesus is presented as “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29). God’s plan has been that Jesus would “give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28). He said: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father” (Jn. 10:18).
c] Denial of Christ’s resurrection
“The physical body of the Redeemer followed the same course that every other physical body has to follow in accordance with the Natural Laws of the Creator. Consequently, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, did not rise again in the flesh” (2 ch. p. 48).
Since Jesus is the God-Man, He is above natural laws. Only His physical body died – not His spirit nor soul – and only His body rose again. He told His disciples, “It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see me I have” (Lk. 24:49). Every instance of resurrection in the Bible is a return to life of physical bodies. Jesus’ case wasn’t an exception.
d] Fictitious stories
“Three kings found their way to the stable and presented earthly gifts; but then they went away, leaving without protecting the child whose earthly path should have smoothed with their wealth and power...” (1, p 82)
The number of the wise men (they weren’t kings) from the East wasn’t given. They could have been more than three. God – not men – protected Jesus as a child.
“Disquietude drove Mary away from Nazareth, and Joseph seeing her silent suffering and longing, granted her wish solely to make her happy. He handed over the management of his carpenter’s shop to his oldest employee… in the course of their everyday life of works and cares; the meaning of the Radiant Star faded from their minds… it was only on his [Joseph’s] deathbed that … [he] saw in passing the Cross and the Dove above Jesus Who stood alone at his bedside” (ch. 1, 82)
Who was the eye-witness to these events? These are concocted stories without a shred of historical documentation.
“The physical bodies merely act as spiritually animated instruments, which themselves only took shape through the power of the spirit. The same applies to trees, stones, and the whole earth. Everything is animated, permeated and driven by the Creator spirit” (1, p. 39).
God spoke other things into existence, but man received “the breath of life” which made him “a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). Only pagans believe the delusion that “God” permeates trees, animals, rocks and the universe. The God of the Grail message is not the God of the Bible.
“You can then joyfully start working off all your karmic burden. What you do for your neighbour you do in reality only for yourselves! Solely for yourselves, since according to the Eternal Law everything returns to you without fail, good or evil, either already here or there” (1, pp. 29-31).
But the Bible teaches forgiveness as a gift God offers by grace to all who trust in the perfect sacrifice of Christ (Rom. 5:15; 6:23). Belief in Karma is illogical, unbiblical and amoral. It is an erroneous belief that emanated from Hinduism.
g] Salvation by works
“Therefore free yourself! Do not delay a single hour in setting a limit to this enforced atonement! The honest volition for what is good, for something better, reinforced by a truly heartfelt prayer, will bring redemption!” (1, ch. 7)
This sounds a lot like a satanist’s creed: “Here and now is our day of joy! Here and now is our opportunity! Choose ye this day, this hour, for no redeemer liveth. Say unto thine own heart, ‘I am mine own redeemer'” (Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible, 33). But God’s Word says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8).
h] Sexual liberty
“There will be far less unhappiness if people will only free themselves from the error of the merits of sexual continence. Compulsory continence is an interference which may have dire consequences … Suppression is unnatural” (2, ch. 14).
What a free license for sexual immorality! The book says there is a “continual conflict with the natural instincts” which “consumes a great part of the person’s spiritual powers, keeping them in constraint so that they cannot be active in other directions. Hence the free unfolding of these spiritual powers is hindered.”
Lastly, sex is a “necessary process of an intimate fusion and a mutual exchange of vibrations, thus producing greater power.” This idea is well-entrenched in the beliefs and practices of both ancient and modern pagan fertility cults, and it’s straight from the Evil one (1 Cor. 6:18).
i] Occult powers
“Through the continuing good volition in every thought and deed, a constant reinforcement also flows retroactively from the homogeneous source of power, so that the good becomes more and more firmly established in man himself, emerges from him and first of all forms accordingly the ethereal surrounding that envelops him like a protective covering” (1, p. 41).
Drawing on the Arthurian legend of the “holy Grail” the book overtly introduces its readers to Satan’s spirit realm and the spirits therein:
“Far above the eternal cycle of Creation, there floats like a crown in the centre, an ‘Azure land,’ the abode of the blessed, of the purified spirits; who may already dwell in the Regions of Light! This island is separate from the world. [There stands] the Grail Castle … Light of Greatest Glory and harbours the Sacred Vessel of the Pure Love of the Almighty, the Grail!” (1 p. 77)
In witchcraft, the chalice or cauldron represents their great goddess Astarte/Venus/Ashtaroth (called by many names). Occultists believe green is Venus’ sacred colour and it’s no coincidence that the Grail books (In the Light of Truth) are completely green.
Grail adherents observe 3 annual festivals: Festival of the Holy Dove, Festival of the Pure Lily and Festival of Love/Radiant Star. The lily festival is said to be specially for women.
A Grail adherent pointed out that lily and rose symbolize “two female figures of Light Awe; through whom God out pours His gracious powers of Love and Purity.” Apparently, they represent the two demonic queens in Satan’s kingdom: Asherah (queen of the coast) and Astarte (queen of heaven) respectively. Oskar wrote:
“Certainly, there is a Queen of Heaven, Who according to earthly conceptions could also be called the Primordial Mother, and Who yet possesses the purest virginity … since the human spirit can only see the spiritual, from which it has emerged, it is unable to behold the Primordial Queen, Who is of a much higher species. But should anyone ever be so blessed, it would be possible to see Her spiritually radiated picture … This, however appears lifelike, and can be so strong even in its radiation, that it works miracles wherever it finds the soil prepared for it…” (1, p. 50)
If you are seeking an interaction with a false god, false Christ and demonic entities, then you need the Grail message. But if you want truth, peace, eternal life and a relationship with the true God, study and meditate on the Bible.