In this day and age of marketing easy solutions to difficult problems, people are all too willing to follow false teachings in order to fill a gaping void in their souls. These are the direct consequences of materialism and secularism. We live in a time and an age of scepticism and inquiry, or so we think – yet the evidence all around us says clearly that we have become easier to fool and dupe than ever before.
A case from the Russian hinterlands in Siberia is sufficient to prove the point – a man there was recently arrested for pretending to be the second coming of Jesus Christ, and it turns out that, contrary to what is written of Jesus in the Gospels, this particular chap was quite a naughty character:
SergeI Torop got a rude awakening this week when the Russian secret police mounted a dawn raid on his home in a remote part of Siberia.
Four helicopters and dozens of heavily armed troops in a fleet of vans and buses descended on the hamlet of Petropavlovka, 2,600 miles east of Moscow.
Within minutes they had located their target and masked men in camouflage gear bundled the handcuffed Torop into a waiting chopper, as others with machine guns kept his associates at bay.
The unusual aspect of the operation was that Torop, 59, was not a murderer, or an oligarch wanted for tax fraud, but a former traffic cop known as the ‘Jesus of Siberia’, whose Church Of The Last Testament was based in a settlement he had renamed City of Sun.
Usually seen in long, flowing robes reminiscent of the Messiah himself, Torop — who goes by the name of Vissarion — was clad, instead, in an unspiritual-looking tracksuit.
He stands accused of exploiting his 5,000 Russian followers — 200 of whom lived with him in the City of Sun — using ‘psychological violence’ and causing ‘serious harm to their health’.
Torop’s view was that women should serve men, just as men serve God.
Three years ago he told the BBC: ‘We have a school of noble maidens here. We’re preparing girls to become future wives, future brides for worthy men.’
He has fathered six children of his own and, to boost the community’s birth rate still further, insisted women should share their husbands in polygamous so-called ‘Triangles’.
People were hungry for something to believe in, and Torop attracted an eager crowd, including such notable figures as his future chief priest Sergei Chevalkov who, in the Red Army, had been one of the men in charge of the Soviet Union’s nuclear missiles.
He sold his home, left his job and followed ‘Vissarion’ to the wilds of Siberia, along with hundreds of others, among them many doctors and lawyers.
Proclaiming the end of the world was nigh, Vissarion promised disciples salvation as long as they surrendered to him their money and possessions and followed the strict rules in The Last Testament, his nine-volume ‘sequel’ to the Bible.
Along with such laudable aims as kindness to all, there were some surprisingly specific diktats — including which brand of washing powder they should use.
Although assimilating many Orthodox rituals, Vissarion also prohibited alcohol and tobacco, enforced veganism, and banned money. Dissent was not tolerated.
Not that he seemed to abide by many of his rules himself. While his followers endured freezing winters in the thin-walled huts they built, he rarely appeared among them.
Instead, he luxuriated in the three-storey chalet they had constructed for him on a mountain peak, reportedly equipped with wooden verandas and warm towels along with the latest hi-fi equipment and a flat-screen TV.
Well now. That is as good an example as you can find of men and women being led astray by false doctrine.
Let’s take a look at this “Vissarion” character – by the way, does anyone want to put odds on the notion that one George Rape Rape Martin got his inspiration for the name of one of his dragons in his interminably long, depressingly nihilistic, and almost certainly never-to-be-completed, A Song of Ice and Fire series from this Torop character?
Here he is:
That’s him pretending to be the Messiah reborn. And here he is in decidedly more ordinary garb:
This is a cautionary tale if there ever was one. Be very careful when given doctrines and teachings by others – never trust them until and unless you verify them for yourself by digging through them for the truth.
If you find that, no matter how you attack something, no matter which way you approach it, the core message has strength and integrity and consistency, then you know that it’s almost certainly true.
That is why we know that the Bible is true – because it has withstood every single test that has ever been put against it. The Bible has withstood textual, historical, literary, redacted, and archaeological criticism, and has done so handily.
That, in and of itself, seems an extraordinary, and in some ways absolutely ridiculous, claim. There is plenty of room to have doubts about the Bible’s authorship, historicity, and contents.
How, then, are we to square this seeming contradiction in terms? At first it seems an impossible task.
You can argue, for instance, that many of the events depicted in the life of King David were grafted in by later authors, or that multiple authors wrote the Pentateuch. And you can certainly have a very robust debate about whether certain parts of the Gospels of Matthew and John were probably added in by later authors. It is even possible to have fierce arguments about who exactly wrote Epistles like Ephesians, Colossians, and other books of the Bible.
One can, in fact, question the integrity of the Bible’s collected books. We know that the Bible has been subjected to historical revision. This is not a secret. We Christians can find out for ourselves, very easily if we so choose, about books that used to be in the Bible 500 years ago, but are not any longer. We can see for ourselves that the Bibles used by the Roman Catholic Church are different in composition from the ones used by Lutherans and other Protestant denominations.
So how, then, do we square this particular circle?
By remembering that the Bible is not the Word of God. We do not make that claim and if we do, we are being ridiculous.
The Bible is a record of the Word of God – which points to THE Word of God. That Word goes by the name of Jesus Christ.
And no matter where you look in the Bible, whether it is in Genesis Ch. 2 or Psalm 22 or the Book of Daniel or the Book of Jeremiah or anywhere else in the Old Testament, you CANNOT escape the clear and overwhelming signs that they all point to the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
When you then start unpacking all of the evidence within the Bible and looking at its historical accuracy and the archaeological evidence that backs up its stories, you are led to the increasingly unavoidable conclusion that Jesus was, and is, who He said He was (and is).
That is the test that must be applied to all things. It comes in the form of three simple words: Is It True?
The moment that you find something that contradicts or fails this test, then it must be discarded. And the reason it must be discarded is because you are likely dealing with a kernel or grain of truth surrounded by lies.
Consider this “Vissarion” character. Look at his teachings, as outlined in the article above. He taught that women should serve men, as men should serve God. That is sort of true. The actual words in Ephesians are:
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.— Ephesians 5:22-30, English Standard Version
Far too many Churchians fixate on either the husband’s responsibilities to his wife, while absolving the wife of all responsibility, or on the wife’s submission to her husband, without ever focusing on a husband’s duties to his wife. They always forget the rest of that passage. Woman was created for Man as a companion and helper, that is true – but Man has responsibilities to Woman.
The really important part, which this guy Torop ignored, is that marriage consists of one woman and one man. It’s not a difficult formulation to figure out and anything else is adulterous, sexually immoral, and just plain more f***ed-up than a football bat.
If someone comes along teaching anything other than that precept, which is TRUE because no matter how you look at it, that proposition works and makes sense, then he’s LYING.
Doesn’t matter how eloquent his words are. Doesn’t matter how cool his outfit is. Doesn’t matter how good he looks. HE. IS. LYING.
By the way, every one of you reading this should apply that same simple test – IS IT TRUE? – to everything you read and hear from me. Make no mistake, brothers – my life is a dumpster fire and I am convinced that my only reason for existence is to demonstrate to others, through force of example, what NOT to do with one’s life. Anyone who unquestioningly and uncritically accepts my word as authoritative, about anything, deserves a swift kick up the backside and possibly a mandatory psychiatric evaluation as well.
Do not be fooled by people who call themselves prophets and teachers. They are most likely lying and trying to sell you on something that will be very, very bad for you.
Worse than that, by far, will be the fact that these same people will gladly and willingly break their own rules in order to secure for themselves some degree of personal gain. Take a look at the way Mr. Torop exploited his followers to get material comfort and enjoyment for himself, while preaching to them to live out in the cold and wet and misery of Siberia.
Having spent quite a bit of time in Russia, among Russians, I can tell you that winter in Russia is absolutely no joke. If Moscow is bad, Siberia is about a hundred times worse. And in the summer… well, I’ve lived in Moscow during a summer, and the mosquitoes there are ridiculous. You can actually feel the bastards bite you. They’re huge and slow, which is their only saving grace – well, that and the fact that they only bother you for about two months of the year in that part of the world. But they are NASTY little shits, and I say that as a boy born and brought up in the tropics. So I know a thing or three about mosquitoes.
Siberian mosquitoes are like regular Muscovite mosquitoes on steroids. The kind that shrink your balls and make you really pissed off because of it. You DON’T want to be in Siberia during the summer among the mosquitoes.
So when someone like this Vissarion guy comes along talking a good game, but walking a very different one, then you know something is off.
That is how you know that other doctrines are false too. I make no claims about the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, simply because I have no idea what they actually teach, but from what little I understand of their doctrines, that stuff is Bad Juju. I do, however, know quite a lot about Islam, and based on that knowledge I can tell you that Muhammad, the so-called “prophet” of Islam, was nothing more than a giant fake – in more ways than one.
If you take Islam at face value – which I think no one will be able to do with a straight face after 2020, not after the revelations that have come to light from historical and scriptural evidence – then you would have to conclude that Muhammad was treated suspiciously well by his god. He went around telling his followers to take up to 4 wives and all of the slave-girls that their right hands could possess – but he himself supposedly had nine wives and countless slave-girls, and was in fact a paedophile who married a girl when she was 6 and consummated the marriage when she was 9.
(Excuse me a moment while I barf up my lunch.)
To conclude, the lesson is the same as it was two thousand years ago. Never trust in false teachers and false revelations until and unless you can test them for yourself. Never believe one word that a man says unless his “miracles” are proven beyond reasonable doubt. Never put your faith in mere men, but only in the one God who is far above and beyond mere men.