Like Lightning

According to a recent story in Newsweek magazine, a contemporary TV personality has built up quite a following by claiming to be the second coming of Jesus Christ:

"In the rapturous eyes of his flock, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is, in fact, the second coming of Christ. As the head of the Growing in Grace International Ministry, he presides over a sprawling organization that includes more than 300 congregations in two dozen countries, from Argentina to Australia. He counts more than 100,000 followers and claims to reach millions more through a 24-hour TV channel, a radio show and several Web sites." ('He Calls Himself God,' by Arian Campo-Flores, Newsweek, Feb. 5, 2007)

Is there any need, Biblically, to investigate this man's claims?:

  • “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.
    “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
  • (Matthew 24:23-27).

Jesus Christ Pantocrator

In other words, if you have to ask, it's not Him.

Dramatic end-times claims can be a stepping-stone to greater things:

"Mr. Muhammad told me that one evening he had a revelation that Master W. D. Fard represented the fulfillment of the prophecy.
"'I asked Him,' said Mr. Muhammad, 'Who are you, and what is your real name?' And He said, "I am The One the world has been looking for to come for the past two thousand years."'
"'I said to Him again,' said Mr. Muhammad, 'What is your true name?' And then He said, "My name is Mahdi. I came to guide you into the right path."'" (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, p. 208).

There was a false Christ back in the 1970's named Oric Bovar who found his little flock amongst Hollywood starlets and underemployed writers in New York City. While his track record at making predictions was not so hot, you must admit he had the courage of his convictions:

"By 1976 Bovar was assuring his followers he was Jesus Christ and ordered his followers to observe Christmas on his own birthday, August 29, rather than on December 25. . .Finally, the police broke in on the scene and charged Bovar and his followers with failing to report a death. While awaiting a court appearance on the charge, Bovar faced a flock that had increasing doubts about his claims. Bovar announced he could demonstrate his great powers by stepping out a window, fluttering about for a time and coming back inside. On April 14, 1977, Bovar stepped out of his 10th-floor apartment window and plunged to his death. (Carl Sifakis, Hoaxes and Scams, A Compendium of Deceptions, Ruses and Swindles, pp. 36-37).