It's hard to be the next Messiah in the age of social media
Two thousand years ago, the O.G. Jesus informed everyone that he was the son of God the only way he knew how — he told Mary, who told the blacksmith, who told his grandpa, who told all the whores in the brothel — until the message of the Messiah had reached the ears of everyone and their mother.
Unfortunately, O.G. Jesus couldn’t post to Twitter or Facebook or Instagram to boast about his virgin mom. He couldn’t upload a YouTube video of himself turning water into wine. But for the numerous modern men who now claim they are Jesus Christ reborn, technology, the Internet and social media provide a wealth of gospel opportunity.
However, there's a downside. Social media prominence from Messiah wannabes also invite infinitely more cruel commentators, merciless critics, and ungodly online reviews than the original Jesus ever had to grapple with.
Álvaro Theiss, who later shed his name and became “INRI Cristo” after receiving a divine message that he was the next Messiah, is one such Second Coming of Christ who embraces the advent of technology.
INRI Cristo lives with a dozen of his disciples in a protected enclosure outside Brasília, Brazil, a space he has deemed “New Jerusalem.” To get around the grounds of his small religious city, INRI Cristo often rides his motor scooter. Atop his pulpit at the compound’s church, known as the Supreme Universal Order of the Holy Trinity, he keeps his iPad.
Because INRI Cristo loves modernization and innovation, he often interprets the ancient verses of the Bible to his indulge his need for state-of-the-art inventions. For instance, when he interprets the scripture found in Revelation 1:7, which states that Jesus will “come from the clouds,” INRI Cristo believes this provides him the privilege to travel the world by airplane. This same verse, which states that “every eye shall see” Jesus Christ, the modern Messiah deciphers to mean he must share his message universally over social media.
INRI Cristo frequently spreads the gospel from his Twitter or Instagram accounts, along with offering sermons through YouTube or Facebook Live, on which he has over 330,000 followers. Of course, INRI Cristo is not alone in his belief that the Internet will be essential to the Second Coming of Christ.
As evangelist Reverend Franklin Graham told ABC News, "The Bible says that every eye is going to see the second coming. How is the whole world going to see [Jesus Christ] all at one time? I don't know, unless all of a sudden everybody's taking pictures and it's on the media worldwide. Social media could have a big part in that."
Whether the next Messiah arrives on the clouds, on Facebook, or on YouTube, his (or her) resurrection will certainly invite far more visible condemnation than the first Jesus faced. With the Internet’s abundance of anonymous commentators and merciless Internet trolls, those who reject the reborn Lord have the perfect platform to voice their criticisms.
For example, on INRI Cristo’s Facebook, where he is registered as a “public figure,” users can rate and review him. Shamefully, the Son of God is ranked at an unimpressive 3.2 stars, a score substantially lower than that of The Church of Danny DeVito.
Among INRI Cristo’s reviews, the feedback ranges from ardent admiration to scathing contempt. Says a fellow devotee, “His words are full of wisdom. He's a genius philosopher, sociologist and theologian, of the wisest I've ever seen.” Says a hateful critic, “You're just as much Jesus as the crack dealers on skid row.”
Social media can uncover anything from the Second Coming of Jesus’ shitty Yelp reviews, to a seedy past where the next Messiah refused to pay child support to his baby momma. In connecting millions of people, the Internet and social media can spread condemnation just as easily as creed, and criticism just as easily as scripture.
Unfortunately, it seems even the Almighty God’s son isn’t immune from cyberbullying. Of course, if the modern-day Jesus can avoid crucifixion by the Romans, a few one-star Facebook reviews may be a fair enough trade-off.