Sergei Torop, aka Vissarion, in prison
Not every long-haired man is the reincarnation of Christ.

A faith leader (or cult leader, depending on how you classify these things) who claims he’s the reincarnation of Jesus Christ has been arrested on charges of using physical and psychological violence against his followers in northern Russia.

Sergei Torop, AKA "Vissarion," faces up to twelve years in prison if convicted. Torop was a traffic cop until losing his job in 1989. The following year, he was ‘reborn’ as Vissarion, and in 1991 formed the Church of the Last Testament.

Over the last three decades, Vissarion amassed thousands of followers from Russia and abroad who believed his claims that he is Christ reborn and that God speaks exclusively through him.

Within Vissarion’s commune, everything from eating meat to consuming alcohol to using money is banned. Those within the cult count years starting from 1961 (Vissarion’s birth year) and have dropped Christmas in exchange for a similar holiday on January 14 (Vissarion’s birthday). Followers anxiously await Vissarion’s masterwork, a ten-volume sequel to the Bible.

And now it appears it’s all come crashing down for Vissarion, who, along with a couple of aides, was arrested earlier this week.

While it’s fairly clear that Vissarion is not who he claims to be, the idea itself is interesting. If Jesus really was reincarnated, how would we know?

Cultin' Ain't Easy

Vissarion’s far from the first person to amass followers by claiming to be the descendant of Christ (or Christ himself). Some of the 20th century’s most notorious cult leaders made similar claims, and it appears to be a pretty easy go-to for anyone hoping to start a cult.

In fact, look at any list of people who claimed to be Jesus Christ and you’ll find a veritable who’s who of cult leaders, from Shoko Asahara to Marshall Applewhite to David Koresh.

Charles Manson Wikipedia page

Perhaps none is more famous (in America, at least) than Charles Manson, a cult leader in 1960s Los Angeles whose followers, dubbed The Family, called him “God” and “Jesus”. Manson used his natural charisma and borderline hypnotic manner of speaking to amass over 100 loyal followers, claiming that they were the reincarnations of the original Christians.

Manson and his followers lived at the abandoned Spahn Ranch and practiced free love, free drugs, and free anything-else-you-can-imagine.

Ultimately, Manson directed some of his followers to gruesomely murder the inhabitants of 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, the infamous Sharon Tate murders that sent shockwaves through Los Angeles and the world.

Another infamous cult leader who claimed to be Christ is Jim Jones, who directed a mass murder-suicide of his followers at his commune, dubbed Jonestown, located deep in the Guyanan jungle, and who had U.S. Representative Leo Ryan assassinated.

Jones’ theology was a bit muddled: he claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, Gandhi, Father Divine, Buddha, and Vladimir Lenin. Interestingly, Jones himself was likely an atheist, and only used religion as a tool to more easily control his followers.

Jones’ wife, Marceline Jones, said as much in a 1977 interview with the New York Times, telling them that "Jim used religion to try to get some people out of the opiate of religion." Jones killed 909 of his followers by cyanide poisoning in the single largest loss of American civilian life until 9/11. 

Jesus, is That You?

Ok, so all those guys were mass-murdering psychopaths. But is it possible Jesus Christ could be reincarnated in a mortal body?

Hard to say.

Reincarnation – one’s mortal body dying, only for their soul to come back in a different body – is generally incompatible with most sects of Christianity, and has only gained popularity in western cultures as travel and communication between western and eastern cultures becomes easier and easier.

Indeed, elements of eastern faiths have grown in influence to the point that 25% of U.S. Christians believe in some form of reincarnation. That’s way up over just a generation prior.

Of course, the Book of Revelation in the Old Testament tells of Jesus’ return, and views vary as to what that might look like (or whether it’s even literal at all). 

What do you make of all this? On the one hand, it's possible this Vissarion fellow could be telling the truth. If a reincarnated version of Christ _did _appear on Earth, you'd have to expect that most people wouldn't believe it at first.

Plus, the powers that be might have an incentive to call this person "crazy" and put them behind bars on trumped-up charges. 

But on the other hand, we've seen no shortage of frauds exposed in the past for similar claims.

Do we have reason to believe this time is any different? What do you think?

25 comments

  1. Paul J. Fumero's Avatar Paul J. Fumero

    He is not Jesus. Move on flip the page.

    1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      How do you know? What if you are wrong.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Whether he's Jesus or not, crucify him!!!

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Weird.... I’m sure I saw an image of Sergei Torop on my toast this morning.

    🦁❤️

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      I saw it iny tea leaves, so I poured it out, and made some coffee.

      1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

        And your tea would have been the blood of Sergei Torop

    2. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

      So your toast would be the flesh of Sergei Torop

  1. Philip Joseph Ryan's Avatar Philip Joseph Ryan

    Why not just ask this guy to perform a miracle?

    1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      Be carful what you ask for. Aldof Hitler was said to be the Messiah sent be God. Look at the miracles he performed. And don't you think providence was on his side? He escaped over 50 assignation attempts, some of them by a shear miracle. And ever time he survived it was an affirmation from God he was doing the "right" thing.

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        And while we're at it, let's crucify that fool, too!!!

  1. William Waugh's Avatar William Waugh

    My first reaction was to laugh out loud. But remembering that I belong to a church that believes everyone is entitled to their own personal interpretation of divinity and the accepted view of the science of physics predicts the probability of any conceived event can occurr at least once, all bets are off.

    He should be able to complete his biblical sequel while incarcerated. What with plenty of free time and all.

    If he completes it I will buy a copy (in english) just to see how much of it makes sense. It would not need a very high level of sense to compete with the original.

    1. Krystina S.'s Avatar Krystina S.

      And then there was Joseph Smith in the 1820s. He wrote "The Book of Mormon," which is in faux King James patois. And all the "Latter Day Saints, whose writings and persons are considered just as sacred and holy as Jesus, in an unbroken line after the "apostasy" from Jesus to Joseph Smith. And then there was "Dianetics" by L. Ron Hubbard, a truly gobbledygook book, so very over the top. And then there were so very many who wrote tomes. These writings don't mean they are The Divine.

      1. Matthew Bean's Avatar Matthew Bean

        I think he knows that... Do they not have sarcasm where you come from?

  1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

    He isn't the first nor will he be the last one to claim them-self the reincarnation of Jesus or some sort of Messiah or Prophet of god and there always will be misguided gullible fools who are willing to believe and follow them. Look what happen to the Russian Imperial Romanov Family, Emperor Nicholas II, his wife Empress Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maira, Antastasia and Alexei because of Grigori Rasputin's power and influence over their family.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    I met two Jesuses on the same mental ward, on the same day, as ND northern was aware of the others presence. Could that have been a split-soul reincarnation. That was in 1975. It's amazing how many more incarnations he's had since!

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    Modern day Christians would never accept Jesus,if he were to return. Jesus isn't a Republican, he'd be a socialist,and ya know Jesus is middle eastern, not Norwegian and so few people would believe a real miracle if they saw it.

  1. Adam Masters's Avatar Adam Masters

    It would be very dangerous for Jesus to incarnate into an environment that is So hostile and inhospitable. I have met Jesus. He is a remarkable healer, has been completely rejected by every health guru he has come across despite performing healing miracles, is in his late 50's you could mistake for your neighbor, and he will emerge in the spring of 2021 on to world stage under the Will of God.
    He says that Covid-19 is the greatest hoax masking the roll out of 5G blowing apart bio-available oxygen to breathe, and he currently has the ability to clear out every hospital globally for those whose hearts are open to receive. He says that the energy of Belief will be the biggest obstacle of a closed heart in Judgement to overcome. If he makes it that far.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    What prof does anyone have he is not Jesus? Christians believe there will be a second coming of Christ. What is we are wrong. Then what's God going to do? Create a virus that's going to kill millions? Turn Earth into Hell by increasing the temperature of the planet?

    1. Deloris Bullard's Avatar Deloris Bullard

      Carpe deim

  1. Wendy LeGault's Avatar Wendy LeGault

    All I'm saying is, we may be in the end of days here....

  1. Sara Lizabeth Rawlins's Avatar Sara Lizabeth Rawlins

    If these are indeed the end of days on Earth as we know it...Thank God! I'm so sick and tired of all you (that's a collective "you", nothing personal) professing your beliefs onto others. There use to be a saying: Live and Let Live. There is no honor; even the most pious have dark and dirty secrets (am I right Jerry Falwell Jr?). When I die (hopefully later than sooner, I'm not a fool. I kind of want to see how this farce will play out) I will become as what I started as, a mere thought, stardust that floats into the universe and joins the clusters of other stardust.

  1. Wayward73's Avatar Wayward73

    The one you know as Jesus didn't die left the planet to go live with his father, aunt, and uncle. Their species has a life span of about fifty thousand year. Being half human his life span might be a little shorter, but not much. He was in his thirties when he left and so is likely still alive. How can you be the reincarnation of someone who's still alive?

  1. Brian Konrad Elliott Balke's Avatar Brian Konrad Elliott Balke

    Re: reincarnation. Jesus identifies John the Baptist as the returned Elijah.

  1. Brian Konrad Elliott Balke's Avatar Brian Konrad Elliott Balke

    And for those that understand these things: it is not the "Second Coming of Jesus." It is the "Second Coming of Christ." Christ is a phenomenon of spirit.

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    The original Jesus had dark eyes as did his parents. The fate of the original Jesus is known. In Russia when they kill you your dead. His fate is more as living joke then some as a spiritual leader. If he wants to be know widely he might want to be seen as a reborn Stalin.

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