When Jesus said that false christs would arise, I don’t think He had the likes of Alan John Miller—or the many others over the years who have claimed to be Jesus—in mind. Miller has set the Twitterverse ablaze with his claims to divinity.
An Australian, Miller claims he arrived on the earth for the first time just more than 2,000 years ago. The 50-year-old former information technology guru—who also happens to be divorced—is making some wild claims on his Divine Truth website about himself and his second wife, Mary Suzanne Luck:
“My name then was Yeshua ben Yosef, or the Jesus of the Bible, the son of Joseph and Mary. Mary’s name then was Mary of Magdala, the woman identified in the Bible as Mary Magdalene. Mary was my wife then, and the first person I appeared to after I was crucified.”
Of course, Miller is not the first (and won’t be the last) false christ to arise. I actually met one at the Christians United for Israel conference in 2008 in Washington, D.C. I’ll never forget the jaw-dropping experience of sitting across from an everyday-Joe-looking filmmaker wearing a blue baseball cap at a popular restaurant when he said, “You are a trustworthy soul, so I am going to confide something to you … I am Jesus Christ.”
This man went on to explain, in great detail, how he was reincarnated, why so many reject him as Messiah and all the supernatural events that confirmed him as the Son of God. I thought he was joking. I felt like I was on Candid Camera or in the Twilight Zone. But he was dead serious. I would have thought he was a complete mental case, but he was a semi-successful Christian film producer. I am not sure what causes him to believe with such zeal that he is Christ—or what causes the many other false christs to believe the same.
In June, a South African man also claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Moses Hlongwane has attracted more than a dozen disciples and set up a compound for his followers in what looks like a cult in the making. Also in June (and also in South Africa), Phetole Selepe claimed he was Jesus Christ and is here to save the world. In February, a hatchet-carrying homeless man named Jett Simmons claimed to be Jesus Christ in a racist rant.
And that’s just in recent days. A little digging shows this false christ syndrome is nothing new. In the 19th century, at least six different men claimed to be Christ. Interestingly, that number swelled in the 20th century. One of the most high-profile “christs” in recent years was Davis Shayler, a former M5 agent and whistleblower who called himself the Messiah in 2007 via YouTube. Then there’s Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez. He claimed to be Jesus Christ on a mission to kill President Obama, whom he considered the Antichrist.
Many false christs are indeed rising, but maybe not how we thought. Most of them are easily discernable as whacks and quacks, but a day is coming when false christs will be more convincing. And that’s why it’s time to grow closer to Jesus in this hour than ever before. Intimacy with God will help us from falling for the deceptive signs and wonders in the days ahead.
Talking about the end times, Jesus said there would be “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
“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” (Matt. 24:21-27).
No, Jesus Christ hasn't returned yet, but He's coming soon. Amen.