Saturday, November 02, 2013

False Christs vs. False Buddhas vs False Mahdi

An acquaintance of mine got drawn into a cult some years ago.  The leader styled herself as a reincarnation of something or other, which caused me to ponder different views.  Jesus told us this in Mark -

"And then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!', or 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.  But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand." - Mark 13:21-23

Thus, Christians tend to bristle when any reference is made to an appearance of Jesus from the ascension until the final return at the end of the age in which Jesus is visible to the whole world simultaneously.  Even charismatic leaders will generate a lot of skepticism.  On the contrary, we do expect lots of anti-Christs:

"Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come." - 1 John 2:18

Where I dissent with many is that I don't believe that Obama is the antichrist.  The problem is that Obamacare isn't anything close to a wonder.  But it is a wonder that Americans should not have not seen through the empty rhetoric.  This isn't scriptural, but I expect the anti-Christ to have an IQ above 100, which rules out just about all current American politicians.  We are living, however, in the Forrest Gump Ages where dumb is admired more than clever, so it would seem that we are still a ways off from the final apocalypse.

For religions that believe in reincarnation, I suppose their founder can appear and reappear many times.  Can he reappear in two different people at the same time?  The only thing perplexing is that the end goal of these religions is annihilation.  If Buddha reached the supreme state, then wasn't he annihilated?  So how is it that he could be reincarnated into a different prophet?  Obviously I am missing something.

Then there is the Islamic concept of a Mahdi, who is some sort of religious leader to lead the final Jihad against the Infidels.  There seems to have been many of them already.

Getting back to the Christian teachings, the Bible lists a few appearances of Jesus after the ascension.  The first is in Acts when Stephen is stoned, and he declares that he sees Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  This is clearly a vision of heaven.  A second is when Saul sees Jesus on the Damascus Road, and the third is the vision of John in the book of Revelation.  In all three cases, however, the vision is of heaven, which is seen from Earth.

As for claims of being a Christ, the only person I am aware of who did this was the founder of the Shakers, Ann Lee.  According to the articles I have read, She claimed that Jesus was the male christ and she was the female christ, which sounds somewhat dualistic.  They seem to have taught a religion of salvation by simplicity, which would make some sense based on Ann's history of having lost everything dear to her.  The Shakers started in 1747, but the sect has completely died off.  Or did it?  I was surprised when the following song was presented in our church service about ten years ago.  I sent a note off to the worship leaders letting them know that it was a Shaker hymn and the Shakers weren't Christians, which set off some wonderful fireworks.


Delirious said...

We believe that Christ has appeared to individuals after His resurrection, but that is not the "second coming". When He returns for the "second coming", it will be to rule and reign.

The interestng thing about this wacky church here in China is that they use the same scripture we do about the second coming, but use it to promote their religion. I couldn't find it to share. I"ll keep looking. But clearly they misinterpret it. But it's very flattering to the Chinese ear, because they interpret it to mean that Christ will come as a woman, and come from the East. Therefore, they assume Christ will be a chinese woman....

Delirious said...

We also have the event of when Christ visited the disciples on the road to Emmaeus. This was not a vision of heaven, but of Christ on earth. He also appeared to Mary at the tomb. But like I said, these are not the "second coming" when He will come to rule for the millenial reign.

Looney said...

Yes, there was the road to Emmaeus, Mary at the Tomb, the Disciples in the locked room, and again by the Sea of Galilee. These were all after the Resurrection, but before the Ascension.

Inklings said...

I heard someone say last week - and this is a little off subject, but it has made me think about it ever since - that the world is as good as it is going to be until the second coming of Christ. Things will worsen until then, how fast is yet to be seen. But I will tell you right now that he is not going to come as a Chinese woman. :)