'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.'
So read the first chapter of the Book of Acts after the resurrected Jesus had ascended into heaven. And, according to Benjamin Creme, the Messiah has kept his promise.
If it was betrayal and crucifixion in Jerusalem last time, this time according to the Prophet Creme, you might find the Messiah in an Indian takeaway in the East End of London. Well, you could have, until recently. The Messiah has had to move from the Asian community in Brick Lane to the Asian community in south-west London. According to his prophet, he was concerned about media harassment.
But before the year is out, he may be coming to you, whether you like it or not. Benjamin Creme, a 70-year-old Scottish painter who has devoted the last four decades of his life to preparing the way for the Messiah's return, says that this could be the year when the Messiah comes out. 'The chances are very high,' he said at his home in Tufnell Park, north London. 'He has been appearing more and more frequently recently. Soon he may well decide to mentally overshadow every person's mind in the world and thousands of miracles will spontaneously occur.'
Maitreya, the World Teacher - to give him his proper title - has actually been on earth for some time. About 95,000 years by Mr Creme's calculations, mainly living in the Himalayas at a height of 17,500 feet where there is a 'centre for spiritual masters'.
But in July 1977, Maitreya descended from the heights and moved to London's Asian community, where, surrounded by a group of swamis, he has been meeting MPs, diplomats and journalists, although he does not give personal interviews. 'He prefers not to see individuals,' Mr Creme explained. 'He concentrates on mass appearances.'
It was at just such an appearance that the only known photograph of Maitreya was taken in June 1988 when he appeared 'out of nowhere' to 6,000 Pentecostalists at a healing meeting in Kenya and spoke in fluent Swahili for 15 minutes. But the photograph is no help in recognising Maitreya because he always 'appears in the particular thought-forms that people have of their Christ'.
It was in 1959 that Benjamin Creme received a 'beam of light in my head' and Maitreya told him of his imminent return. As well as regular speaking engagements in this country, Mr Creme has published dozens of books and undertakes two lecture tours of the US annually: 'It is my job to create a climate of hope so that he can come into our lives without infringing our free will.'
And it could be soon, Mr Creme said. 'The media networks have the responsibility to invite him to a live global press conference in which he will talk directly to every man, woman and child on earth about the art of god realisation.'
All media invitations to Maitreya can be made care of Mr Creme. Only serious broadcasters need apply.
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