I was reading Luke 21 the other day, and one of the verses struck me;
He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. (Verse 8.)
According to psychologists, heightened states of illusion, such as belief that you are the Messiah can come from a range of different places; stress, experiences of insomnia or drugs. But apparently a tenth of the population of Britain think they are someone very important or chosen, or have special powers and receive messages. At one end of the spectrum, there are people who believe themselves to be uniquely talented, and at the other end are those who believe themselves to be members of the Royal Family or key religious figures.
This could serve as a good reminder for us all to take care who we ‘worship’. Be it a rock-star, footballer or philosopher; as well as to warn us against egoism and self-centered pride.
I have compiled a list of some people who have claimed to be some form of Messiah.
George Baker, also known as Father Divine, was an African American ‘spiritual leader’ from 1907 until he died. His full self-given name was Reverend Major Jealous Divine, and he was also known as The Messenger.
He founded a movement called International Peace Mission, Father Divine claimed to be God. This con-man was probably one of the first modern cult leaders.
This man claimed that he was the reincarnation of Jesus. As well as Buddha, Lenin, and Father Divine and more. He performed supposed miracle healings in order to attract new converts.
Members of Jones’ church called him “Father” (I’ve seen that somewhere before) and believed their movement was the solution to the problems of society (aren’t they all).
He was the American founder of the Peoples Temple, which eventually lead to a group suicide on November 18, 1978. Over 900 people took cyanide poisoning in their isolated community called which they called Jonestown.
He claimed to be the promised one of all religions, and founded the Baha’Ì Faith. Baha’u’llah declared that he was the “Promised One” of all religions, fulfilling the messianic prophecies found in world religions. He stated that his claims to being several messiahs converging one person were the symbolic, rather than literal, fulfilment of the messianic and eschatological prophecies found in the literature of the major religions.
Sun Myung Moon
Sun Myung Moon was the founder of the Unification Church often called The Moonies. He claims he is the Second Coming of Christ, the “Saviour”, “returning Lord”, and “True Parent”. He preaches that all people should become perfected like himself, because he “appears in the world as the substantial body of God Himself”. He is well-known for holding Blessing ceremonies, which are often called “mass weddings”.
In an interview on the Terry Wogan show in 1991, he announced that he was “the son of God,” and that Britain would be devastated by tidal waves and earthquakes. His statements were met with laughter and ridicule from the studio audience, to which Wogan famously replied, ‘They’re laughing at you, not with you’. You can watch the clip here.
After being made fun of a lot, he disappeared from public view. He’s said that for several years he was unable to walk down the street without people pointing and laughing, and that this experience helped him find the courage to develop his controversial ideas, because he was no longer afraid of what people thought of him.
In January 2003, he travelled to Brazil, and later talked about having used Ayahuasca: “[It] is a plant – a rain forest plant – which they turn in to what they call a turn and Shaman in South America have been using it for centuries at least to take people into other realms of reality… I took it twice and it was an experience – particularly on the 2nd night – that completely transformed my view of life. What it did was take my intellectual understanding that the world is an illusion into the realms of knowing it’s an illusion and there’s a difference between intellectually understanding it’s an illusion and this level of knowing it because you’ve experienced it.” Sounds sensible.
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and head of state of Vatican City.
In Catholic theology, he has something called papal infallibility, whichis the dogma that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error when he solemnly declares to the Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation. It is also taught that the Holy Spirit works in the body of the Church to ensure that dogmatic teachings proclaimed to be infallible will be received by all Catholics.
So potentially he could cause a lot of damage.
Mark 12:38-40 “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.”