Second coming, or third, or fourth, or…

June 24, 2008

Some guy, calling himself “Vissarion“, who used to be a traffic cop, is now holed up on a commune in Siberia (and has been, ironically, since the fall of the communist bloc and people were left with a gaping hole in their lives that they needed desperately to fill with some sort of direction and meaning – think there’s a connection?) with a bunch of other Kool-Aid drinking wackos, claiming to be the Messiah.

So, we’ve seen all this sort of megalomania before. (Religion tends to be quite a fertile breeding ground for such nonsense.)

What I’d honestly like to hear from the religious folks is this: Since you all believe that Jesus will, indeed, come again, my question is simply this – how will you know when this has happened? Or how do you know that is hasn’t already happened? These folks in Siberia certainly think he’s the real McCoy. Sure, we may all point and snicker, believers and non-believers alike – but what if it’s all true, and this guy in Siberia really is the Second Coming of Christ? Or, worse yet, what if you already missed Second Coming? What if Jesus already did come back, but was born prematurely and then died, or was stillborn, or was involved in a gruesome car accident when he was a child, or got beaten to death by bullies in grade school? With billions of humans on this planet, it would be easy to miss something.

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15 Responses to “Second coming, or third, or fourth, or…”

  1. Russ Says:

    “What if Jesus already did come back, but was born prematurely and then died, or was stillborn, or was involved in a gruesome car accident when he was a child, or got beaten to death by bullies in grade school?”

    Here is a description of the second coming from the Bible (“Son of Man” is another name for Jesus):

    Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. [Mat 24:30]

    Here is another (“Lamb” is another name for Jesus):

    And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” [Rev 6:16]

    Then what happens?

    Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. [Rev 20:12-15]

    …whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. [Rom 10:13]

  2. DD Says:

    It’s an interesting question. I’ve always wondered why it is that most Christians will dismiss a guy like this, or David Koresh, etc., but they absolutely believe that Jesus was the genuine article. Presumably they recognize the absurdity of these latter-day messiahs, just as we do, but I’m quite sure I’d have had a similar response to Jesus’ rantings, had I heard them firsthand. Do they simply reject all new claimants of divine prophesy? This would explain their rejection of Muhammad, but then I wonder why they don’t reject Jesus in favor of a still earlier prophet.

    And what about those who DO believe these claims? Since they are clearly willing to accept newer prophets, why aren’t they Muslim?

    It’s all so convoluted.

  3. Russ Says:

    “I’ve always wondered why it is that most Christians will dismiss a guy like this, or David Koresh, etc., but they absolutely believe that Jesus was the genuine article.”

    First of all, Jesus was predicted long before He was born in Bethlehem. Anyone foretell the arrival of David Koresh?

    Secondly, almost all of the apostles were murdered because they would not recant that they had seen Jesus after He was raised from the dead. You might say that this is not uncommon – people often give their lives for a lie. However, there is a big difference between giving your life for something that you believe is true as opposed to giving your life for something you KNOW is a lie. The difference is that of being an eye witness as opposed to hearing it second hand. Some will give their lives for something they hear second hand (i.e. if you die in battle, you will go to paradise) but few will give their lives for something they know is a lie. For the apostles to be martyred for claiming to be an eye witness is for ALL of them to die for something they knew was a lie – unless Jesus actually did rise from the dead.

    Thirdly, and quite frankly, no one has ever spoken like Jesus spoke.

    On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” [John 7:37, 38]

  4. mindserased Says:

    Um… so, Russ… let me get this straight. You believe (as do so many others like you), unequivocally, that the Judeo-Christian bible is correct, despite the fact that it was written by fallible humans and revised and rewritten and retranslated and reworked many, MANY times over the last two millennia. You believe the words of this said bible over other “sacred” texts of similarly dubious origin.

    Did you ever play the telephone game as a kid? The one where you sit in a circle, the teacher whispers something in your ear, then you in turn whisper it to the person next to you, and so it goes all around the circle, and then when the last person reveals out loud the message they received, the entire room, of course, bursts into laughter.

    This is precisely how I feel about the infallibility of the bible – that, because it has been passed down by rote through the ages by fallible human mammals, it is not at all truthful, however beautiful and poetic it may be at times (Ecclesiastes or Song of Solomon, anyone?). Can we, two thousand years later, be absolutely sure of what Jesus said (if anything) – verbatim??

    When an error is found in a science book, subsequent editions will include a correction of said error. This same process is curiously missing from the holy books. The bible is viewed by folks like yourself as an axiom; I, as an atheist, view it as just another book, no holier or more relevant than any other work of fiction.

  5. Russ Says:

    mindserased

    Were is your evidence that the Bible has been “revised and rewritten and retranslated and reworked many, MANY times over the last two millennia.”? Obviously, it has been translated many times – but revised? – No.

    Are you familiar with the Dead Sea Scrolls? Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

    The significance of the scrolls relates in a large part to the field of textual criticism. Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible were Masoretic texts dating to 9th century. The biblical manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls push that date back to the 2nd century BC. Before the discovery, the oldest Greek manuscripts such as Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus were the earliest extant versions of biblical manuscripts. Although a few of the biblical manuscripts found at Qumran differ significantly from the Masoretic text, most do not. The scrolls thus provide new variants and the ability to be more confident of those readings where the Dead Sea manuscripts agree with the Masoretic text or with the early Greek manuscripts.

    You can read more here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Scrolls

  6. Mardé Says:

    Russ, it’s great to believe literally in what the bible says, but many Christians believe the bible contains mainly metaphors, great literature that is meant to teach us the right ways to live. Great literature makes us think. It’s dangerous to take things too literally. But that does away with ambiguity so that all thinking stops and pure believing begins. Who said the unexamined life is not worth living?

    I myself am not a Christian but I believe in the power of great stories and of the ultimate mysteriousness of all that is, or is not. As the Song of Creation from the Rig Veda says, “There was not then what is nor what is not.” Chew on that for a while. 😉

  7. Russ Says:

    The question is – is the Bible the word of God or the words of men? Is Jesus who He said He was or not? Is there life after death? Is hell a real place and do people suffer there for eternity?

    I have studied the Bible – a lot. I have come to the conclusion that the word of God is perfect – you can trust every word, every teaching – IMO.

    He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. [John 3:36]

  8. Mardé Says:

    Many think the bible consists of the words of men, living at different times, hearing and writing down different myths with many different meanings. Others, like you apparently, take it literally as the word of God. You’re certainly entitled to your beliefs as long as you don’t try to force them on others.

  9. Russ Says:

    Marde’

    It is impossible for me to force my beliefs on you.

    Suppose that I kidnapped you, took you to the darkest, deepest part of the church basement, and held a gun to your head and said, “become a Christian – now!” You might say you believe to convince me to let you go or you might stick to your beliefs and refuse – but even if you “say” you believe, I can’t force you to.

    Why is that? It is because God has given to mankind a free will. You are the only one who has control of what you believe and what you refuse.

    The Bible says that mankind is in rebellion against God. It says that mankind has chosen to use their free will to reject God.

    The world… hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. [John 7:7]

    Is not the crucifixion of Jesus Christ a clear testimony that mankind hates Him?

    However, if a persons repents, God will still receive them.

    All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. [John 6:37]

  10. DD Says:

    Your last comment was well said, ME.

    The commenters above may find this of interest: http://www.mountainman.com.au/essenes/

    I’m not going to take one side or there other on that, but it’s certainly thought provoking.

  11. Mardé Says:

    Thanks for the interesting link, DD. OK, maybe Constantine invented Christianity. Don’t remember hearing that one before but perhaps there’s some truth in it……. Why am I remembering this ditty now:

    Christianity hits the spot,
    Twelve apostles that’s a lot,
    Jesus Christ and the Virgin too:
    Christianity’s the thing for you.

    …sung to the tune of “Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot”. I apologize in advance, maybe also in retrospect, to anyone offended by this little ditty. But sometimes you just can’t tunes out of yer mind. Good fer Minds that his/hers is Erased — although I’m sure that’s just meant ironically, or to say that the mind should start with a clean slate..?

  12. Mardé Says:

    Just thinking…. on that ditty, I think there were more irreverent words in the last line — can’t remember what they were now though.

  13. Joris P Says:

    To reply on this question: go to this man who has called himself Vissarion, find out by yourself if it’s thrue or not. I was there, 3 years ago, and at the end, it’s not important if he is the second coming of Jesus or not, but what I have experienced there… I don’t have really worths for it…I never have met so much really heartly-open people together, people who live in love and understanding with eachother instead of fear and misunderstanding. People who want to give instead of wanting to take and keep as much as possible for themselves like most of the people in our western world do.
    Never before in my life I felt so much warmth in my soul, because all the people there are giving this warmth to anyone who wants to receive. This man is theaching the people how to create a new world, a better world, in respect to anything that lives. Because if you still didn’t get it I tell you now: The “Great Western Civilization” is dying, and worse than this: WE are killing our planet, not only because of the industrial waste, but more because of our collective fear and ignorance. But times can turn…
    We don’t have to wait till the apocalypse will come…
    We can act now! We are all responsible for the world that we live in, YOU are responsible for the world YOU live in…
    To come again to your question… If you don’t want to miss the second coming of Jesus Christ, if you really want to meet him, don’t worry, you will meet him and you won’t miss a thing, he will come to meet you, but if you are not really interested… then there is a big chance he is standing in front of you, waiting for you to wake up and search for your own inner truth

  14. mindserased Says:

    Well, Joris, he may be teaching y’all to luv yer brutha, but apparently he ain’t been teaching you how to spell.

  15. Mardé Says:

    How come you didn’t stay there, Joris, if it was so great? OK, maybe you wanted to apply what you learned there to your life back here (wherever ‘here’ is in your case). How are you doing with that? From the link to the ABC story provided by Minds, it appears that the conditions there are not all that great. Ticks and mosquitoes abound, and people are apparently getting Lyme’s disease. Also, they eschew modern medicine and are Vegans. It must not be that easy to live there in spite of everyone loving one another. Plus, how come Vissarion has a Quad motorcycle when everyone else has to walk? Oh, he’s Jesus Christ! C’mon, Joris, tell the truth. It wasn’t that great there, was it? Have you heard, incidentally, that Utopian communities never last?


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