A False Messiah

Michael Jackson

Yeah, yeah.  I know.  This is probably old news and a stale observation to many.  But something occurred to me the other day.  I’ve been listening to my late brother JJ’s music collection out of curiosity and to get to know him a little better.  And the songlist turned to Michael Jackson’s Greatest Hits CD.  It’s called “HIStory.”  There’s a song on there called “Heal the World” and it’s about the power and innocence of children to bring healing to all that’s broken in the world.  In other words, the innocence and love innate in children has the possibility to bring salvation.

This is not a new idea, especially in our secular post-Christian culture.  Lots of people believe that babies are born innocent and are only later corrupted by the evils of their environment.  Some even think that is what Jesus meant when he commanded to let the little children come to him, for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matt 19:13-15).  So this doctrine that being innocent like little trusting children will usher in the kingdom of righteousness has religious and secular manifestations.

What struck me was that Michael Jackson devoted the better part of his life to lead the way to creating a utopia by adopting the demeanor, values, and innocence of children.  Just reflecting on his life ambitions and music will reveal what he valued most.  Some other songs besides “Heal the World” that reveal Jackson’s desire to transcend personal and society problems include “Man in the Mirror“, the “We are the World” project, “Black or White“, and perhaps “Beat It“.

In a sense, he was inadvertently set on this path by his parents when he had surgery as a child to preserve his vocal cords in their immature state.  This would lend him the appearance of eternal childhood.  His message of world peace, caring for children, and preserving the magic of childhood through fantasy and play struck a cord with millions of fans worldwide.  Remember how immensely popular Michael Jackson became?  He was adored and admired by the young and young at heart.  It also didn’t hurt that his music was infectiously fun to listen and dance to.  But it was the message of self-salvation that he preached that won him cult-hero status and made him what the Bible calls a false messiah.

Go back and listen to his music to see what I mean.  His music stirs up certain emotions when you also listen to the lyrics.  It gives you a sense of purpose and empowerment that if you just decide to make a difference, then you can do your part to save the world.  Again, this is just warmed-over romanticism and sentimentality in the form of legalistic self-righteousness.  But coming in the overwhelmingly attractive package and talent of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, it seems possible and doable.  After all, he went from being the “Thriller“, to being “Bad“, then to “Dangerous“, and finally “Invincible“!  If anyone could lead us out of world poverty and hunger, the hostility of the Cold War, and into the new age of love and peace, Michael Jackson, the Apostle of the Children could do it!

But false messiahs always fall hard.  Ironically, their strength is often exposed as their weakness and is ultimately the cause of their fall from grace.  In Michael Jackson’s case, his love for children was his strength and weakness.  The innocent eternal youth turned out to be none of these things.  Like all false prophets and messiahs, he led his followers into spiritual danger (salvation apart from Christ) and let them down by his well-documented fall.  No one follows Michael Jackson anymore (at least not in droves).  His disciple-fans have moved onto other false saviors.  Can you identify false messiahs today?

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20 Responses to A False Messiah

  1. Daniel says:

    Oh my friend, how much and little you know. I have been tracking this man down for 21 years and the information that I have compiled will shock you. I think you are not really digging deeply enough into his lyrics. He is no longer an entertainer he is a political figure. His popularity is growing around the world with the exception of the US and UK. Here he is a joke. I want to give you more information but I want you to do some more research. Listen to Another Part Of Me and JAM. acronym for Judge All Men. the Spirit of the Anti Christ is over him. He calls God his father and his biological father he calls him Joseph. Hmm that is probably what Jesus call his step dad as well. He is Antisemitic but lets go back farther, Lucifer aka Bringer of Light aka Captain EO, was kicked out of Heaven by Michael the ache angel. Have you seen ” You are not alone” Video? He shows himself as Michael the angel with wings. Do some more research. I have to go. remember Lucifer was in charge of music so it’s no suprise he wants to be a musician here on earth. read his interviews. He matches every aspect of the one to come in every way. No regard for women and the list goes on and on. He is the most recognizable person on the planet and he is living as a price in the Middle East as we live and breath right now. The funny thing is every one is looking for a devil or the pope. No one will think that MJ will harm them. He loves everybody but the whole world has the answer right now just to tell you once again He’s Bad, Dangerous with Blood on the Dance Floor. Your view is very unpopular that is why I am the only person to comment to this blog. I have much more insight and facts on the man and I will like sharing them with you. By the way, my name is Daniel …. no coincidence

  2. Daniel,

    Thank you for you comments, but I’m really not interested in pursuing theories that MJ is THE anti-christ. In my opinion, someone can be a false messiah and not be the “man of lawlessness” that Paul speaks of in 2 Thess 2:3-4. In fact, I believe there are plenty of false messiahs throughout history. Jesus told us there would be (Matt 24:23-25).

    And one more thing…do you mean to say by your last sentence that you are a prophet like Daniel or especially understand biblical prophecy like the biblical prophets? Just curious–why in the world would you think such a thing?

  3. I’ve received a couple of stupid reactionary comments calling me a Jehovah’s Witness. First, I am not (and never have been). Second, why would you think that by reading this post–why is that even relevant? Third, if you are going to call me names, please don’t post anonymously.

    Thanks!

  4. C Turner says:

    Dear Brian.
    I hope you are still active on this blog! I just wanted to say that I agree with everything you said. I suppose that Daniel is correct in some aspects, but if you read too much into the lyrics of any recording artist you will find either the new messiah or the anti-christ (there’s the old urban myth that on playing certain Beatles songs backwards you can here messages from the devil)
    However, I believe that we have to look at the actions of the man as well as his music. Daniel, if you are reading this, why would MJ even sing songs like Heal The World if he was the devil?
    My mother has recently gotten into reading lots of enlightening books, and as we are spiritualists (a term which I believe is linked to the way we live as opposed to who or where we worship- we are not avid church goers), we keep an open mind on every subject. One of these books talks of a “new messiah” among us- he is already here, in his 40s, and has the power to change the world. Unfortunately, because we have been conditioned to not trust our instincts and live in fear of being ridiculed and shot down for our beliefs, not many people have the guts to put forward our views on matters such as this, therefore I applaud you in starting this blog.
    I have to say that I have not spent sleepless nights wandering who this “Messiah” might be, but after watching a television programme dedicated to MJ I became aware of the lyrics of his songs.
    As I lay in bed, more and more comparisons came to me between Michael and Jesus:
    His love of Children, Nature and Animals
    His extraordinary fan base
    His lyrics
    His “Stigmata”
    Selfless living
    He has been ridiculed and sent into the wilderness.
    Actually, there’s no point in going on as you put it much more eloquently. Suffice to say that I think it is a shame that he no longer feels welcome here in Britain or the States. The man is a genius, and the fact that he is still the biggest selling artist around is a testament to how he is loved. I wish we as a nation could move past this goading and sneering at peoples beliefs and actions because it doesn’t fit in with our modern conditioning. If more people lived like him, maybe the world would be a better place.
    Daniel, I am not sneering at your belief, either. Everyone is entitled to his opinion and whether you believe the man in good or bad is neither here no there. I think it is great that you have dedicated so much time in researching your theory and the fact that you are doing so means that he has obviously left his mark on you. I feel it is a slight shame that there seems to be a battle going on with whomever you talk to before you’ve even met them.
    I just wanted to point out that I am neither an active Christian or avid Michael Jackson fan. I’m just someone who woke up at 5 a.m. with an idea and googled it!
    Also, I do think that there are Messiahs popping up all over the place throughout history, and just because Jesus was the first and most famous, does not mean that others are any less important and should be less worshipped. If a man is good through to his heart, whether he be your son or a person you met on the bus for a fleeting moment, He should be respected and loved just the same.
    Bless you both, C

  5. sco0by says:

    Let the king rule for 1000 years and the beast will come.

  6. Hi Brian!
    I’m not really sure if you’re for or against the theory of Michael being the Messiah?

    Lots of love,
    xx S

    • Sara,

      First, that’s for commenting. I’m a Christian, so that makes me obviously against the idea that Michael Jackson is the Messiah. Christians believe that history will be full of false messiahs (antichrists) since the spirit of antichrist is already in the world, and there will be one final antichrist who will appear near the end of history. That guy will fool a lot of people into thinking that he is the Messiah (Christ), but the Bible teaches there is only one Messiah: Jesus Christ.

      Hope this helps.

  7. Angel Paris-Jordan says:

    I believe Michael is the second coming and BTW JAM (song by michael) is not suppossed to stand for judge of all.

    That’s something you just invented.

    Michael’s father is called Joseph. Like Jesus
    He is innocent
    sexless
    ambiguous (in both sexuality and gender)
    he appeals to ALL races, colours creeds and has put half his life into giving nearly 1billion to charity

    ‘I just want you to recognise me in the temple’
    ‘ I told my brothers don’t you ask me for no favours, I’m conditioned by the system don’t you talk to me or scream and shout’
    ‘we must live each day like it’s the last’
    ‘then the nations will turn their sowrds into plough sheers’

  8. Angel Paris-Jordan says:

    JAM – Judge all men (That is not the meaning of the song JAM)
    it is a song where mj wants to be merely ‘recognised in the temple’ but abstains from his religion (former religion) for which he was once devoted to. It is Jehovas Witness Tract Society that he and I were involved in. He merely acts out a role of messiah in order to bring it to the forefront of our minds and HE HAS OBVIOUSLY ACHIEVED THAT….. ROLL ON REPLY AND REPLY AND REPLY…….
    HE WANTS US TO KNOW WE ARE IN THE LAST DAYS
    DOES THIS MAKE HIM DIVINE? MAYBE
    MESSIAH? MAYBYE NOT

  9. “Angel PAris-Jordan” if you see this, please write to me, I’d like talk to you about this Michael and Messiah thing. Wretljung@hotmail.com

    lots of love,
    xx S

  10. Michelle says:

    Thanks. Good article. It’s almost like a cult. The agelessness and sexlessness that he projected: all plastic surgery distortion. His interests in private were alcohol, drugs and smut (police reports not gossip mags). Yet he tried to appeal on TV as some etheric, angelic icon of perpetual, eternal innocence and asexuality.

    I knew he had cultish fans but I didn’t realise it was this far gone.

    I actually fell in love with his personality in the 1980s, when I was in my teens. Back in those days, he actually was a kind of role model to kids who were fed up with the stuffiness of our parent’s brand of Christianity. In interviews, he was painfully polite, softly spoken, and it was very likeable in an age of obnoxious, self-indulgent celebrity.

    By the time of Bad however, it was plainly evident where things were going. He behaved with an unlimited sense of entitlement throughout the 1990s (his home in Neverland was filled with pseudo royalistic/religious artwork which depicted him as anything from the King of England to some kind of archangel or Pied Piper). His once sublime and brilliant choreography became an increasingly tawdry, indulgent, debauched display of self-gratification.

    Just like Elvis though ‘redeemed’ himself through his sweet crooning of ballads and gospel, MJ did with his overblown, self-styled Messianic imagery and modern hymns.

    Sad as it is though, this is how spiritually broken and bankrupt modern culture has become. MJ is simply more ‘relevant’ and intriguing to the new generation than Jesus, and perhaps we are partly ourselves to blame because we ourselves have sold out to insipidity in our religion.

    In many ways I feel that MJ struggled with the two sides of his own nature his whole life, and never fully managed to reconcile them. (The solution certainly wasn’t his self-destructive plastic surgery.) Looking back, there was always a certain tension in his work suggestive of the inner struggle – which most teenagers going through confusing adolescence and identity crisis themselves instantly respond to. It was perhaps also the essence of the appeal of Elvis to his own generation, in the overly repressive culture of the 1950s.

    In his self-contained bubble of celebrity and being a prodigy, MJ poured all his frustrated, unsatisfied hopes and yearnings (which all teens can relate to) into his dance moves and dynamics. Mixed with his pure inventiveness and creativity, the results were mesmerising, before the ravages began to take over.

    I’m going to use ‘false Messiah’ in the figurative and not the literal sense. To me however, there is nothing glorious and noble in the way his life has ended. His fans are intent on painting as a victim of society and a martyr. When the truth is his own limited perception and lack of good judgement – as well as a long history of prescription drug abuse fuelled by enablers to his sickness ‘just doing their job’ – led to his downfall. (Okay, what sort of celeb in his 30s or 40s, single and unattached, has minions of young boys sleeping in his bed and thinks no questions are going to be asked? Really! In an age where unfortunately the threat to children is greater than ever and we attempt to educate them on self-protection and boundaries without removing their innocence, his blithe and minimising comments on TV concerning the matter sent chills through the average viewer.) More of a cautionary tale than anything, by no means something to look up to, inspirational or ‘heroic’. I am hoping the vast majority, swept along right now by the present media crazy, wake up soon.

  11. karen s says:

    Hi, I have only been falling under the Michael jackson spell since he died; I am actually beginning to believe he was a messiah/messenger of God of sorts. It all started with researching, listening, reading…and discovering that every time he spoke, he spoke of trying to heal the world, and how children need to be protected and given the love that is so very missing in our society. I was reading all the comments on Youtube video’s putting him down and ridiculing him…and suddenly thought– How would Jesus be received if he came amongst us now?
    He would meet ridicule, distrust, disbelief, disregard, and a media portrayal of ridiculous proportions..or he would just be dismissed out of hand by a too cynical society.
    Much like MJ was.
    I wasn’t a huge fan when he died, but I am now…and his messages inspire me every day to live well and love others…so I don’t see how he could be a false prophet or anti-christ or any other bad thing. He gave himself from the heart and soul and gave more money to charities than anyone can keep count of.
    I don’t care if he was a “false prophet” in the media and public’s eye– he made clear statements that he did NOT compare himself to Jesus or see himself in a messianic light…the media demonised him and made it seem as if he thought that of himself, because society just couldn’t stand to see someone so successful retaining pure intentions and ideals.

  12. stephen says:

    Michael Jackson never claimed Jesus Christ as his saviour and Jesus claimed to be the only way, the only truth, and the only life. No one could see Heaven unless it was through Him. Michael is in God’s hands now and is judged by the scriptures. To many men he would have been god-like, but he was not God.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I hope Michael did not think he was a Messiah. I certainly have believed he had a message from God. I’m like the others, it came after his death.
    I was pretty shocked to see him singing The Earth Song in the Britt awards in 1996. He sure looked like he was acting like a Messiah. I didn’t know what to make of it. I just saw it today.

  14. Timothy Garcia says:

    I have mused on the possibility of there arising a messiah myth around Michael Jackson. It’s a fascinating possibility, but the only way we will know how powerful he is as a transformative figure is by how people who claim inspiration from him, fare. “You shall know them by their fruits.”

    I personally hope he does become a modern messiah of sorts, so that we can re-examine anew our non-functioning beliefs, because they are not serving us well as a world, for we also are known by our fruits.

    Few people really knew the man, and it is all a bit silly to imagine one can judge another effectively based on second-hand reports, or even cursory first-hand experience; we aren’t even able to righteously judge a spouse or a child whom we have known intimately for years, much less a person whose image is distorted by the unnatural light of “celebrity!”

    Most people didn’t know him, but they know his music, so the pressing question isn’t whether he was messiah, false messiah, anti-christ, self-indulged entertainer, or whatever, but what his music inspires in us, if it does. The trick is, what we think of him, will cause us to see and hear different things… :)

    …And that is the very reason why we should not *conclude* anything at all about *him*, but enjoy (or not enjoy) and critique his work.

    That Jesus fellow still makes a lot of sense today. =]

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