Meet Five Men Who All Think They’re the Messiah

National Geographic

These men say they’re the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Their disciples agree.



Near Brasília, Brazil, followers of INRI (Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews) push their messiah around on a rolling pedestal. A dozen disciples—most of them women—live full-time with the celibate 69-year-old in his walled compound, which is protected with barbed wire and electrical fencing. INRI takes his name from the initials that Pontius Pilate inscribed on Christ’s cross. His awakening came in 1979.




also known as The King of Kings, The Lord of Lords, Jesus

In Eshowe, South Africa, Moses Hlongwane preaches to his flock during his own wedding ceremony—an event he says marks the beginning of the End of Days. Moses says that God identified him as the Messiah during a dream in 1992. At the time Moses was working as a jewelry salesman. Since then, he’s preached in Eshowe, Johannesburg, and other cities in the region. Moses has about 40 disciples.



This guy really looks the part.


also known as The Christ of Siberia

In an off-the-grid Russian village called Obitel Rassveta (“abode of dawn”), Vissarion sits in the living room of a disciple. Born Sergei Torop, he had a revelation around the time the Soviet Union collapsed that he was Jesus Christ reborn. Founder of the Church of the Last Testament, he now has at least 5,000 followers; many of them live with him in several utopian eco-villages in the Siberian woods. They’ve built their own schools, churches, and society. Vissarion’s proclamations have been published in 16 tomes titled The Last Testament.



In Russia, disciples of Vissarion, aka the Christ of Siberia, walk past the village of Cheremshanka on their annual Christmas pilgrimage. Led by priests carrying a lit candle in a glass box, the followers sing psalms, exchange greetings, and indulge in merrymaking.




also known as Parent Rock of the World, Mr. Faithful, Mr. Word of God

Bupete Chibwe Chishimba sits on a sofa in his home in Kitwe, Zambia. This messiah goes by several names, but his disciples refer to him simply as Jesus. He spends his days driving a cab, spreading the gospel, and preparing the world for the Kingdom of God.



Jesus of Kitwe walks around a marketplace in the town of Ndola, Zambia, proclaiming the arrival of the Messiah and the End of Days. When he’s not sermonizing, the 43-year-old man named Bupete Chibwe Chishimba wears street clothes, drives a taxi, and lives with his wife and five children in neighboring Kitwe, a copper-mining city with more than half a million inhabitants. This Jesus says he received a revelation from God when he was 24. Shortly after this image was taken, a crowd of churchgoing Christians accused him of blasphemy. When the crowd began to threaten violence, Jesus of Kitwe left in a hurry.




also known as The Only God. In Tokyo, Jesus Matayoshi sermonizes during his most recent campaign for a seat in the Japanese parliament. His scripture is titled How the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the One True God, Jesus Matayoshi Will Change Japan and the World.



Atop a van in Tokyo, Jesus Matayoshi delivers a fiery sermon as part of his campaign for a seat in the House of Councillors, instructing opponents to commit suicide and threatening hellfire upon transgressors. During two weeks of campaigning in 2016—he’s run in many elections over the past two decades—he drove around Tokyo, spreading his message. Many people ignored him, but he did garner 6,114 votes. Mitsuo Matayoshi was born in Okinawa in 1944. In 1997 he founded the World Economic Community Party, which bases its policies on his identity as Jesus Christ reborn. Jesus Matayoshi says his goal is to bring about the End of Days via the democratic political process, eventually occupying the post of United Nations secretary-general and instituting the will of God on Earth.

Instructing opponents to commit suicide! Bring about the End of Days via the democratic political process. This is a bad Jesus.

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