Benjamin Creme, a New Age leader and follower of the Alice Bailey teachings, in 1982 placed full-page advertisements in the world's leading newspapers. These announced that "the Christ" had returned, was living in London in a physical body, and would shortly reveal himself as the "Messiah" when conditions were favorable. Although Creme calls his Christ by the name of Maitreya, he claims he is the same person as the Jesus Christ crucified on the cross in Palestine 2,000 years ago.

On October 23, 1988, an interesting article connected with Benjamin Creme ran in the distinguished British newspaper the Sunday Times. The most profound part of the article, titled "Messiah Is Alive and Well and in London," read:

A journalist from the Kenyan Times arrived. Job Mutungi also has a fantastic story to tell. In June he was present at a Nairobi prayer meeting of 6,000 people when a bright star appeared in the sky.
Shortly afterwards, a white-robed, bearded figure appeared, gave discourse for some minutes, then vanished. "Everybody in that meeting was unanimous that man was Christ," Mutungi told me.

On hearing of Benjamin Creme, Mutungi came straight to London to investigate. He brought with him a picture of the figure who appeared in Kenya. Pitchon [a woman who claims to have had a vision of Maitreya the Christ during a Creme lecture in 1982] says it is the same man she saw in Brick Lane [London].

Another report [Whole Life Times, February 1989] stated that this appearance of Christ took place at the Church of Bethlehem in Nairobi.¹

Could the white-robed, bearded figure who appeared in Nairobi be the same Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Palestine? In answering this, we need to consider some questions.

Question 1. Why consider Jesus Christ at all? Did Jesus tell His followers He would one day return to this world? We should be able to find some clues in the Bible.

Here are a few texts that show us clearly that Jesus' followers were definitely expecting Him to return one day:

John 14:2, 3 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." This is probably the clearest text in all the Bible that Jesus said He would come again.

Matthew 24:42 "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." This is a reference to Jesus. His followers considered Him as Lord. This text also tells us that though His followers would expect Him to return one day, the actual time beforehand would not be known.

1 Corinthians 1:7 "So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:" No doubt a reference to spiritual gifts (see chapter 12). Here Jesus' followers were told to be enriched by Him (verse 5) that they would not be missing any spiritual gifts He desired them to have, while they were waiting for Him to return.

1 Corinthians 11:26 "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." The ordinance of the Lord's supper (bread and wine, communion etc) was to be continued by Jesus' followers until He returned.

Revelation 22:20 "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." The second last verse in the Bible even tells us Jesus is coming again. Note that even though time has continued on for a couple of thousand years, the Bible depicts the coming of Christ as soon and His coming as quickly.

The answer to this puzzle with time can be found in 2 Peter 3:8 "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." In the light of eternity, as the ceaseless ages roll, the few thousand years here will seem like a very short time. As we read in verse 10, the time will come: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."

This brings us to the second question;

Question 2. If the Bible does tell us that one day Jesus will return, then does the Christ who has been seen fit the picture of what we would expect according to the Scriptures?

From the last verse we read our suspicions may be aroused. It should be a noisy affair--the world on fire etc. Is this correct? Let's check a couple of verses.

2 Peter 3:12 "Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"

A similar picture is also found in the Old Testament;

Isaiah 66:15, 16 "For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many."

That we here have a view of the return of Christ is shown by the following verses;

2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"

This sounds pretty harsh, but we must remember that God is love. Jesus' return will be as a Saviour and Deliverer to His children who have waited for Him.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

For Jesus' followers, these words of His return are to be a comfort. After the world is destroyed by fire, we are told;

2 Peter 3:13 "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."

This will be Eden restored in the earth made new, which Jesus' followers will inhabit happily forever. To finish this question, consider this last verse;

Revelation 1:7 "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him …"

Finally, on this point, should the Christ seen in Nairobi and London be the same Jesus the disciples knew? Consider the message given to the apostles in Acts 1:9--11 "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

Now from these verses we should be able to piece together a very good idea of what the coming of Jesus will be like.

  1. It is the same Jesus who returns.
  2. He descends from heaven--up in the sky. Many mighty angels will attend Him.
  3. Jesus' feet will not touch the ground.
  4. Every one then living will see Him.
  5. It will be a very noisy affair--the trump (trumpet) of God etc.
  6. First resurrection takes place--the dead in Christ raised.
  7. Jesus' followers taken up to the Lord in the air.
  8. The world destroyed by fire.

Obviously we have enough points here to clearly show there are some serious problems with the "appearances" of "Christ" in Nairobi and London.

This brings us to the third and last question;

Question 3. Why are there "appearances" of "Christ?" Are these to be expected?

According to Matthew, Jesus actually warned His followers that before He returned, false Christs would arise.

Matthew 24: 23, 24, 26 "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not."

From this we see that Jesus warned His followers that false Christs would arise. When Jesus comes, He will be in the sky. The false Christs will be on the ground. The plan would be to deceive His elect. The final culmination for this world will be the second coming of Christ. With all this conditioning along the way, couldn't we expect the enemy to go for the big one? One Christian writer has given the following scenario;

"Persons will arise pretending to be Christ Himself, and claiming the title and worship which belong to the world's Redeemer. They will perform wonderful miracles of healing and will profess to have revelations from heaven contradicting the testimony of the Scriptures.

As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour's advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: 'Christ has come! Christ has come!' The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, ... This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion. Like the Samaritans who were deceived by Simon Magus, the multitudes, from the least to the greatest, give heed to these sorceries, saying: This is 'the great power of God.' (see Acts 8:10).

But the people of God will not be misled. The teachings of this false christ are not in accordance with the Scriptures."²

With respect to the deceptions that Satan will bring with all power and signs and lying wonders (see 2 Thessalonians 2), Peter wrote: "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness." 2 Peter 3:17.

Let us be faithful and escape all these things that shall come to pass (Luke 21:36) and stand before the true Jesus at His coming, and say, "… Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Isaiah 25:9.

1. The opening paragraphs here are from Deceived By The New Age, pp. 209, 210, by Will Baron, Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1990.
2. The Triumph of God's Love, pp. 545, 546, by Ellen G. White, Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1939.

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Stephen Buckley
Last revised: 22 Jul 2012.