October 2nd, 2017
6 Men Who Think They’re the Second Coming of Jesus Christ
From Zambia to Japan, photographer Jonas Bendiksen tells their stories.
Jesus of Kitwe
Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter by trade. Upon his return two thousand years later, he operates two unlicensed taxis in Kitwe, Zambia. When he was twenty-four, Bupete Chibwe Chishimba received a revelation from God that he was the second coming of Jesus. Jesus also goes by the names Parent Rock of the World, Mr. Faithful, and Mr. Word of God.
INRI takes his first name from the initials of the inscription Pontius Pilate placed on the cross to spite Jesus two thousand years ago: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, or Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. His first awakening as the Christ came in 1979 during a fast in Santiago de Chile. Subsequently, INRI spent many years as a wandering preacher before settling in what he calls New Jerusalem, which is located outside of Brasília, Brazil.
David Shayler/Dolores Kane
David Shayler the Christ, a former MI5 agent, had the revelation that he is Jesus in 2007. In Galatians 3:28 Paul the apostle writes, “nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Thus the Messiah today has an alter ego named Dolores Kane, who embodies the feminine aspects of divinity. Like Jesus of Nazareth, David and Dolores move in circles far outside of society’s establishment.
Jesus Matayoshi was born in Okinawa, Japan, in 1944. In 1997, he founded the World Economic Community Party, which bases its policies on Matayoshi’s identity as Jesus Christ reborn. Matayoshi, also known as The Only God, will bring about the End Times and God’s Kingdom through the democratic political process. Matayoshi is famous for his vigorous campaign style. He often instructs his opponents to commit suicide and threatens hellfire upon sinners.
In 1992, when Moses was working as a small-time jewelry salesman, God came to him in a dream with the word that he is the Messiah. Now, Moses Hlongwane is known to his forty or so disciples in South Africa as The King of Kings, The Lord of Lords, or simply: Jesus. According to Moses’s teachings, Judgment Day is approaching fast. The resulting End of Days is in part triggered by the conclusion of Moses’s successful search for a wife.
Vissarion of Siberia
The man born as Sergei Torop had his first revelations that he was Jesus Christ just as the USSR collapsed around him. In the early 1990s he founded the Church of the Last Testament, renamed himself Vissarion, and settled with his disciples in an off-the-grid utopian eco-village in the Siberian woods, the Abode of Dawn. The community now numbers some five thousand followers.
Jonas Bendiksen is a photographer based in Oslo. This feature is adapted from Jonas Bendiksen: The Last Testament, published by Aperture in September 2017.