Ten Men who have claimed to be Jesus

jesus

As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives and His disciples asked for the signs of His second coming, He gave several pointers and prophecies that will forecast the religious climate of the earth at the time of His return. One of them is:

For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many … and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. (Matthew 24:5, 11, 23-26)

Indeed, all through history, many people – whether overtly or covertly – have come in the name of God claiming to be the promised Messiah or the returned Jesus Christ. Many of them have established movements, gained followers and even worked signs and wonders to gain credibility.

The list of such self-acclaimed messiahs is almost endless and more will still come. But in this piece, I will give only recent examples, men who have made such claims in the last decade or so.

  1. Ariffin Mohammed

Born to a Muslim family in 1941, Ariffin alleged that in 1959 during a debilitating illness, he was visited by an angel and also in the 1970s when his spiritual career began.

Popularly called “Ayah Pin” (Ayah, being a common honorific meaning “father”), Ariffin was the founder of Kerajaan Langit (Sky Kingdom) in Malaysia. His movement had a commune based in Besut, Terengganu which was demolished by the Malaysian government in 2005.

Ariffin not only claimed to be Jesus, he also claimed to be a reincarnation of Buddha, Shiva, and Muhammad. He was said to have the powers of invisibility and telepathic killing.

His followers fondly believe that one day, Ayah Pin will return as the Imam Mahdi. Devotees of the Sky Kingdom cult considered Ariffin to have direct contact with the heavens, and that he is in fact, the king of the sky – the supreme object of devotion for all religions.

After surviving a wave of attacks, arrests and fatwa from the Muslim government against his movement, Ariffin fled, and finally fled to Thailand as an exile in 2009. By then, he had about 10,000 followers. In 2016, he died in the home of his third wife (he had 4 wives).

  1. Wayne Curtis Bent

Bent Waye (a.k.a Michael Travesser) who was born in 1941, was formerly a Seventh Day Adventist pastor but left the religious group with others of like mind in 1987. He claims that during an experience in his living room in June 2000, God told him, “You are the Messiah.”

Bent has since stated, “I am the embodiment of God. I am divinity and humanity combined.” With a group of about 80 adherents who migrated to Sandpoint, Idaho, Bent founded the Lord our Righteousness Church in Union County, New Mexico.

His cult became a target of media investigation in 2004 which Bent further heightened when he announced October 31, 2007 as the beginning of the Day of Judgement.

Bent allegedly told his congregation that “God told him that he was supposed to sleep with seven virgins,” including a member’s own daughters who were 14 and 15 at the time.

Bent freely admits having sexual intercourse multiple times with his son’s wife. Both he and his son state that “God forced Michael [Bent] to commit this act of consummation.”

Bent was eventually arrested by the New Mexico State Police on three counts of sexual contacts with a minor and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. After his verdict, Bent was quoted as saying, “Just as with Jesus, they’ve convicted an innocent man… They had to lie to get rid of Jesus, and they will have to do the same to me.”

Now a convicted sex offender, Bent was paroled from prison in 2016 after spending about 8 years behind bars. This self-proclaimed Messiah has since published The Little Book, based on Revelation chapter 10. Believe me; someone is already buying his lies as you read this.

  1. Sergey Torop

Known by his followers as Vissarion (“He who gives new life”), Sergey founded and leads a group called Church of the Last Testament with its head church in Siberia. He has around 4,000 followers living in his sacred Mountain settlement and around 10,000 followers worldwide. He also has branches in Bulgaria and Germany.

Sergey claims to be a reincarnation of Jesus which he said was revealed to him when he was 29 (he’s now 57). He claims to be “reborn” as a returned Christ in 1990, thus making him the Word of God.

His religious system combines elements of Russian Orthodox Church with Buddhism, syncretism and earth-centred beliefs, hence his followers are vegetarians.

He has two wives, the second of which had been living with him since she was 7. Sergey also considers Mary the mother of Jesus to be his biological mother and has even modeled his look after the purported picture of Jesus Christ.

The YouTube documentaries of this “Siberian Jesus” show that he predicted the coming of a great flood and spiritual protection for all his followers, many of who abandon their homes to build settlements near the holy mountain where the great Messiah lives. They all use a modified calendar set by his arrival on earth.

  1. David Shayler

Shayler, a former British M15 whistle blower, became a part of the 9/11 Truth Movement which maintains as its primary tenet the belief that the attack of September 11, 2001 was largely fraudulent.

In 2007, Shayler made waves in a British magazine, Daily Mail, when he brazenly declared: “I am the messiah and hold the secret of eternal life” and that he is a reincarnation of various historical figures and has pledged his commitment to destroy the “Zionist empire.”

He claimed that God came to him one day and declared him as Jesus. “Ten years ago when God came to me I realized that I was Jesus Christ. Most of the people think you are insane when you say that, but I would say the opposite is in the Bible,” he said in an interview.

What makes Shayler’s claim to divinity rather remarkable was his admission that he lives part of his life as a woman who squats in a 17th century farmhouse in Surrey; in plain terms, he’s a transvestite.

Someone please page Dr. Fix This.

  1. Inri Cristo

Brazilian educator and former waiter, Alvaro Theiss, was born in 1948 and has admitted to hearing a “powerful voice” in his head since childhood. Obedient to this voice, Theiss left home at 13 and eventually became an atheist, severing all ties with his Roman Catholic background until he allegedly received a revelation of his new identity.

At the age of 21, he began his public life as a self-professed prophet and astrologer, introducing himself as “Iuri de Nostradamus.” In 1979, while observing a fast in Chile, he claims a raspy voice said, “I am your Father” revealing to him that he was the same Christ crucified 2,000 years ago.

The voice also told him that the second letter of his name (“u” in “Iuri”) would now be turned upside down making his name Inri. But wasn’t it easy to deduce that this man simply took the initials INRI inscribed on the cross of Jesus Christ?

Since then, Inri now dresses in white tunic and sandals announcing that his mission will usher in an era of the New Age. The 69 year old “celibate” guru with his dozen disciples lives in a small compound behind an electrified fence. His devoted female disciples, who live with him, push him around on a fringed red satin platform on wheels.

Inri has toured about 27 countries to spread his message but he has been banned from three countries: the U.S., Venezuela and UK, though he has been welcomed by France. He has also been arrested by police more than 40 times.

  1. The “Jesus” of Kitwe

In 2013 a former taxi driver, Bupete Chibwe Chishimba, a resident of Mindolo Township in the Zambian copper mining city of Kitwe began to make his own proclamations:

I am Jesus Christ from the heavens who has come to save you from this world and I would put an end to the Political Government of this world and I will start ruling no one can stop me because I posses the divine power,” he said.

Chishimba claimed he fell off from heaven in 1999 with the sole purpose of initiating judgment for mankind and end political rule. His preaching has been known to attract many street traders as well as irate youths who assault him for his gross blasphemies.

Chishimba has however denounced church leaders and urged them to stop deceiving people by saying Jesus is coming when he was already there, because he came from the heavenly Kingdom. These days the 43-year-old goes by the names of Parent Rock of the World, Mr. Faithful and Mr. Word of God.

He drives a taxi inscribed with the words “Lord of Lords” and walks around the local marketplace dressed in a robe, spreading the message of the returned Christ.

  1. José Luis de Jesus Miranda

Born in Puerto Rico, José became addicted to heroin at 14 and asserted that he was delivered by the power of God and later joined a Baptist church.

In 1973, José claimed he had a vision on which he was visited by a pair of angels as he later told ABC News: “The same spirit that was in Jesus of Nazareth, and the same spirit is in me. He came to me. He [integrated] with my person.”

From there, he began to preach his own peculiar doctrines and later assembled a number of followers forming the Creciendo en Gracia (Growing in Grace) church in Miami, Florida, in 1988. A decade later, José declared himself to be the reincarnation of Apostle Paul.

Perhaps not been satisfied with his own flights of fancies, in 2005, he announced himself to be the Man Jesus Christ, who has returned for the second time. “Anyone who doesn’t believe in me, is miserable,” he declared, to his audience’s applause.

In 2006, he openly claimed to be the Antichrist which he defined as one “no longer following Jesus of Nazareth as he lived in the days of his flesh.” Followers showed their support by getting 666 tattoos on their bodies; some of them displayed these tattoos on YouTube.

José, known to be a charismatic preacher, taught his followers that 666 is not a sign of the devil, but of wisdom, implying “put your faith in the Jesus after the cross … and that’s me.” In 2008 he was estimated to have two million followers in 30 countries, no thanks to his motivational-style preaching on radio and TV.

Miranda finally died from liver cirrhosis, a condition that is at odds with his expected immortality. After his death, his followers crowned him as Melchizedek – the king of justice and of peace.  His cult later divided into 4 factions with different doctrinal positions and agenda.

Men may rise to make bogus claims about themselves, but death usually comes around and deals them its blow and all their boasts end right there.

  1. Omowole Isaac Omogoroye

Mr. Omogoroye, a Nigerian, and a one-time Student Union President at the University of Lagos during an interview with Sahara TV made this rather astonishing disclosure in 2017:

Today, I’m appearing to the whole world as the one and only Son of God expected back to life and I come in the new name of God as documented in the only living book, the Bible … What I’m trying to say is that I’m the awaited Jesus Christ. My mission here is to let the world know that Jesus Christ is back.

No man born of a woman will come from the sky down. It was only a parable in the bible. I’m here to decode that parable in Revelations. I am the Jesus Christ the Bible is talking about.”

In the video which lasted 15 minutes and 32 seconds, Omogoroye further disclosed that he has been appearing in different countries of the world as the awaited Son of God expected to redeem the world, and has also been given the divine mandate to occupy Aso Rock, the seat of the nation’s power come 2019.

He added that as soon as he becomes the President of Nigeria, the government will change its name to the New Jerusalem of the Bible. We will be waiting, with baited breath.

  1. Apollo Quiboloy

Said to be born on a “prayer mountain” in Davao City, Philippines in 1950, Apollo Carreón Quiboloy was a member of the United Pentecostal Church till he founded the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church – the Name Above Every Name in 1985.

He also claims to be the Appointed Son of God which stirred much criticism. His followers refer to their community as a ‘Kingdom nation’ and it has been estimated that there are about 4 million “kingdom citizens” in the Philippines and about 2 million followers abroad.

Quiboloy oversees the operation of several radio stations, newspapers and a sprawling 8-hectare compound in Davao City where piped central music is played all over the place 24 hours a day. Who says the brainwashed too don’t need some music to luxuriate in the message?

They also hold Bible study sessions and prayers and their cult leader has been known to wield much political and religious power over many in that country.

In 2018, Quiboloy was investigated for human trafficking in Hawaii after the authorities found $350,000 in undeclared cash and rifle parts inside the aircraft belonging to the sect’s leader. He was later freed to fly again, no thanks to his wealth and influence.

  1. Moses Hlongwane

The South African “Lord of lords”, Moses Hlongwane, says that God identified him as the Messiah during a dream in 1992. At the time Moses was working as a jewelry salesman. Since then, he’s preached in Eshowe, Johannesburg, and other cities in the region.

He claims to be a reincarnation of Jesus and is known to wear a baseball cap embellished with yellow satin. He surrounds himself with dozens of disciples, many of whom have abandoned their families and whose welfare payments fund his Jesus compound in KwaZulu-Natal town.

Hlongwane said he, like Jesus, spent years in the wilderness and has been resurrected as the Son of God. “I was in this room from 1992 and have spent 22 years in a fight with the devil and have overcome him,” said Hlongwane.

As I speak to you I will never see death and I am now getting ready for the opening of the graves and healing of blind and lame,” he said during an interview with eNCA.

Notice a consistent cultic pattern in all these figures:

  1. A claim of supernatural revelation or visitation
  2. A codification of unorthodox beliefs or heretical doctrines
  3. Claims of self-divinity
  4. Authoritarian control over followers
  5. Isolating followers from the rest of the “ungodly” society.
  6. A searing of conscience and justification of crime under the pretext of “We are God’s special people.”

Were these men insane loons infected with a messianic complex? Perhaps. But one thing is certain, they are all under the control of the spirit of Antichrist and their multiplicity is proof of the signs of the time we are in.

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Who Mediates for the “Great Crowd”?

The key to reaching Jehovah’s Witnesses is by asking them the right questions that will get their thinking wheels spinning. This is because their mode of brainwashing is often so thorough that it’s almost difficult to reach them by engaging them in a Bible verse shooting contest. I’ve walked that path before and I can tell you it leads nowhere.

The right questions are aimed at making them realise that what the Watchtower Society teaches doesn’t agree with the Bible. That should be the crux of your arguments. If you ask the wrong questions (e.g. “Why don’t you people preach about heaven?” or “Why do you reject blood transfusion?”) or make direct attacks (e.g “You guys are rank heretics”), you will likely get into a Bible ping pong game that will leave both parties exhausted and exasperated.

Many Christians have missed vital witnessing opportunities because of negative attitudes. An informed, tactful and respectful approach to Jehovah’s Witnesses will work better than a bullying, aggressive and demeaning attitude.

Sadly, I’ve listened to Christians (even pastors) boast of how they shouted on and talked down at JWs and even banned them from coming to their houses! That is not only a display of immaturity and insecurity, it’s also unchristian.

The more we do that, the more we reinforce the negative ideas drilled into their minds about “Christendom” (a rather derogatory term JWs use for Christianity) and convince them of their errors. A better approach can start out by asking them, “What would you do if you found out that what the Watchtower teaches is not what the Bible teaches? Who would you obey? Jehovah God or the Watchtower?”

When you use the term “Jehovah God,” it resonates with them. This question is to probe the JW’s readiness to find the truth. Look for his/her reaction. If he admits he is willing to obey God, proceed. If he says it’s the Society he wants to go with or refuses to answer the question, you may have a tough one on your hands.

The Mediator role of Christ is an example to use. Paraphrase 1 Timothy 2:5-6 and ask, “Is Jesus your Mediator?” He will answer “Yes.” Tell him that Jesus is also your Mediator. You both agree on that after all, God’s inspired Word says so. You can then inform them, “But the Watchtower says Jesus is mediator only for the 144,000.”

Here are some quotes:

The red wine represents Jesus’ blood. That blood makes valid the new covenant. Jesus said that his blood is poured out “for forgiveness of sins.” Humans can thus become clean in God’s eyes and can enter into the new covenant with Jehovah. (Hebrews 9:14; 10:16, 17) This covenant, or contract, makes it possible for 144,000 faithful Christians to go to heaven. There they will serve as kings and priests for the blessings of mankind …

“Who should partake of these Memorial emblems? Logically, only those in the new covenant – that is, those who have the hope of going to heaven – should partake of the bread and wine” (What Does the Bible Really Teach? 2005, 207)

After instituting the Lord’s Evening Meal, Jesus made a covenant. (Read Luke 22:28-30.) Unlike other covenants, in which Jehovah is one of the parties to the covenant, this is a personal covenant between Jesus and his anointed followers. Thus, the Kingdom covenant is made with the 144,000 anointed Christians” (The Watchtower October 2014, par. 15-16).

He mediates the new covenant between God and those taken into the new covenant, the congregation of spiritual Israel. (Heb. 8:10-13; 12:24; Eph. 5:25-27) … Holding the offices of Mediator and High Priest, Jesus Christ, being immortal, is always alive and able to plead for those of spiritual Israel approaching God through him, so that he can mediate the new covenant until these persons receiving his mediatorial assistance are saved completely. (Heb. 7:24, 25)” (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2:360-363).

From these quotes, it can be seen that while the Bible says Jesus is our Mediator, the Watchtower says He only mediates for the 140,000 ‘anointed class.’ Unless the JW at your door is part of the ‘spiritual Israel,’ according to the Society, he is wrong to say Jesus is his Mediator.

This takes the question back and the Witness realises this contradiction. You can ask them, “If Jesus mediates for only 144,000 people, who then mediates for the ‘great crowd?’ Actually, the great crowd have to look up to the ‘spiritual Israel’ i.e. Watchtower Society as mediators:

That faithful slave is the channel through which Jesus is feeding his true followers in this time of the end. It is vital that we recognize the faithful slave. Our spiritual health and our relationship with God depend on this channel. – Matthew 4:4; John 17:3.” (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, 362, par. 2)

In other words, those making up the faithful slave have one mediator (Jesus) but all other JWs have the 144,000 (anointed class) as mediators. So the relationship of the great crowd Witnesses with God and their receipt of God’s blessings depend on their relationship with the 144,000 elites. This is as far from the Bible as the North pole is from the South pole.

If Jesus became the “mediator of a new covenant” (Heb. 9:15) by His blood and His shed blood made forgiveness of sin possible, by claiming He is Mediator of only 144,000 people, the Watchtower leadership is implicitly teaching that Christ’s ransom and all its benefits apply only to the ‘spiritual Israel.’ Of course, the Bible never taught that Jesus died for only 144,000 people. The blood of His covenant applies to as many receive Him, making the forgiveness of sin possible (Heb. 7:25; 9:22; 1 Tim. 2:6 etc).

If the Witness is still not convinced of the deviation of Watchtower leadership from God’s inspired Word, you can use the crucifixion and bodily resurrection of Christ to establish your arguments. Encourage him/her to study further if not persuaded. They must reach the point where they will choose between following God’s inspired Word or the uninspired Watchtower Society.