When Jesus said that false christs would arise, I don't think He had the likes of Brian Leonard Golightly Marshall—or the many others over the years who have claimed to be Jesus—in mind.
Yes, Marshall, who hails from Toogoom, Queensland (several hundred miles north of Brisbane, Australia) is claiming he's the reincarnation of Christ.
Marshall, 71, is circulating photos and videos he absolutely insists proves he is the image seen on the Shroud of Turin. Also called the Turin Shroud, some believe this linen cloth was Christ's burial shroud. It bears the image of a man's face.
To be sure, Marshall is pulling out all the stops to convince us he's the resurrected Christ. He even has a letter allegedly penned by Pope Benedict that refers to him as "Jesus Christ reincarnated" and reads:
"You see, many days ago Mr. Brian Marshall sent me photographs of Him and the Most Holy Shroud of Turin—He actually looks so much like that of the Holy Image on the Shroud. 'There is no other explanation. He is simply the Lord Jesus Christ Almighty! I was so penetrated with love and compassion from God that I requested a photo the I saw to be put in a place of honor somewhere. He is the Most Royal Man Alive, The King of Kings ... The Messiah, Almighty and Everlasting. Have Faith in Him."
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Marshall insists Benedict was going to unveil his true identity (Christ) to the world but the pontiff apparently retired before he had the chance. Marshall argues that Pope Francis hindered a frustrated Benedict's well-laid plans, and refers to the new pontiff as the antichrist. He told the Daily Mail Australia that his wife is embarrassed of him. I wonder why.
Is there something in the water in Australia? Marshall is not the first false christ to rise from Down Under. In 2013, Alan John Miller—also an Australian—set the Twitterverse ablaze with his claims to divinity.
Miller claims he arrived on the earth for the first time just more than 2,000 years ago. The middle-aged former information technology guru—who also happens to be divorced—has made 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."
The list of false christs goes on and on.
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 South Africa, Phetole Selepe claimed he was Jesus Christ and is here to save the world.
In fact, 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 happened since the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be. 'Unless those days were shortened, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
"Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ,' or 'There He is,' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Listen, I have told you beforehand.
"So, if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert,' do not go there; or, 'Look, He is in the private chambers,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man" (Matt. 24:21-27).
As I've said before, Jesus Christ hasn't returned yet, but He's coming soon. Amen.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening; Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. She is the co-founder of AwakeningTV.com and a leader in the New Breed Revival Network. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and on Periscope @propheticbooks.
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