Michael Jackson or God?


Michael Jackson or God?

Richard Hollerman

Nearly everyone has heard of Michael Jackson, the eccentric superstar who died on June 25, 2009, in Los Angeles.  His was a household name to millions, even tens of millions, of people.  In fact, many in the world know of Michael since he performed in many other countries.  From Bangkok to Tokyo, from London to Mexico City, from Los Angeles to New York, from Paris to Berlin, Michael Jackson was well-known and followed.  Especially during the 1980s, he had a massive following, until charges of child molestation were brought against him

His Neverland Ranch displayed a wide assortment of bizarre items that were to be auctioned off, until Michael put a stop to the project in mid-April.  His collection included life-size bronze statues.  One report says, “The megalomania is naked and extreme; he had himself painted several times in the costumes of Renaissance royalty—complete with doublet, collar and crown” (“Michael Jackson Auction: The Thing about the King’s Stuff,” Canada.com).  One painting has himself in three different poses.  On either side, two Michael Jacksons kneel, on the left to be crowned and on the right to be knighted.  In the middle panel, another Michael Jackson holds a huge glowing sword, with a poem, written by Michael Jackson inscribed on the image (ibid.):

I am the thinker, the thinking, the thought

I am the seeker, the seeking, the sought. . . .

I am the desert, the ocean, the sky

I am the primeval self

In You and I

It is safe to say that Michael Jackson was not a humble man.  He was the epitome of pride, arrogance, self-centeredness, and grandiose feelings.  People worshiped him as a virtual God.  The above poem—along with his entire life, attitude, bearing, words, appearance, and relationships—shows Jackson’s fixation on himself.  But who was this Michael Jackson?

Michael was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana.  He was called a singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger, dancer, choreographer, actor, author, businessman, financier, and philanthropist (Wickipedia, with additional facts and information following below).  His life story is intriguing.  After being born into a physically and emotionally abusive home, he became part of a family singing group in the 1960s, the “Jackson 5.”  By 1982, Jackson produced Thriller, the album that was in the top 10 of Billboard 200 for a long 80 weeks!  The 1980s became Jackson’s success decade.  On March 25, 1983, Michael was seen on a television special, Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever.  This was seen by 47 million viewers!

The accolades began.  On May 14, 1984, President Ronald Reagan invited Jackson to the White House and gave him an award because of his charitable interests.  Later, President George H. W. Bush gave Jackson the White House’s special “Artist of the Decade” award.  Bush did this because of his influence in the field of music in the 1980s.  He went on to receive eight Grammy awards in 1984.  Later in the decade, in March 1988, Jackson bought property in California and built Neverland Ranch for $17 million.  The 2,700 acre tract sported Ferris wheels, a movie theater, and an animal menagerie.  Forty security guards patrolled the property.  By 2003, it was worth $100 million. 

Michael received large amounts of money over his lifetime.  By 1989, Jackson earned about $125 million a year. By 1992, Jackson made a “Dangerous World” tour, then sold the rights of the tour to HBO for $20 million!  It is estimated that during his lifetime, Jackson’s “earnings from royalties on his solo recordings and music videos, revenue from concerts and endorsements have been estimated at $500 million; some analysts have speculated that his music catalog holdings could be worth billions of dollars” (Wikipedia).

Americans and people around the world idolized this singer.  The renowned Elizabeth Taylor called him the “King of Pop” and gave him an “Artist of the Decade” award in 1989.  She said that he was “the true king of pop, rock and soul.”  He was also given the “Living Legend Award” in Los Angeles at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards.

In the 1990s, Michael performed at Super Bowl XXVII halftime show.  As the fireworks began, Jackson was “catapulted onto the stage” and landed before the audience, where he “maintained a motionless ‘clenched fist, standing statue stance,’ dressed in a gold and black military outfit and sunglasses; he remained completely motionless for several minutes while the crown cheered.  He then slowly removed his sunglasses, threw them away and began to sing and dance.”  This display was seen by 135 million Americans, besides others around the world!

In 1993, Jackson was accused of child abuse, but this was later dismissed.  He began to take prescription painkilling medications and became addicted, thus he went to drug rehabilitation for some months.  Again in 2003, the entertainer was charged seven counts of child sexual abuse, since he allowed children to share his bed.  Elizabeth Taylor came to his rescue on Larry King Live, stating that there was nothing immoral involved.  Again, Jackson fell into a drug dependency.  By 2005, the charges against Jackson were dropped.  At this time, Shiekh Abdullah invited the entertainer to move to the island of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.

Jackson was married twice—first to Lisa Marie Presley (daughter of Elvis Presley) and then to Deborah Jeanne Rowe, but was divorced from both.  He had several children.

In the year 2000, the Guinness World Records Book listed Jackson for supporting 39 different charities which was more than any other person.  Again, in 2006, Jackson received eight records at the Guinness World Records office in London, including “First Entertainer to Earn More Than 100 Million Dollars in a Year,” and “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time.”  Later, at the World Music Awards, Jackson received the “Diamond Award” for selling more than 100 million albums!

In the recent past, Michael tried to return to the limelight.  He had scheduled 50 sold-out concerts in London that were to run from July 13, 2009 to March 6, 2010.  This was to be a late career comeback after years of defeat. The first ten of these alone would have given him 50 million pounds income!

Jackson was working out physically with TV’s Incredible Hulk.  He had had a number of physical challenges during his life, including vitiligo and lupus.  He had multiple experiences with plastic surgeons to alter his appearance, thus had a strange appearance; not all of these were successful.  Finally, his overworked and drug filled body couldn’t take more abuse with his various physical maladies.  On June 25, 2009, Jackson collapsed with cardiac arrest.  Despite his personal doctor’s attempts at reviving him, the superstar died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Immediately the world poured forth cries of despair and regret, along with peons of praise.  The world could hardly believe that their pop star was gone.  Fans in Mexico City held candles and displayed photos and messages, such as “I love you Michael Jackson, King of Pop,” and “I will love you forever.”  Fans gathered at Notre Dame in France to sing and mourn their fallen star.  Around the world, grief-stricken followers lamented Jackson’s untimely death. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 27, 2009).  One report stated, “For his legions of fans, he was the Peter Pan of pop music; the little boy who refused to grow up.  But now he is gone” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 26, 2009).  It was said that his death “was a tragic end to an eccentric life full of erratic actions” (Ibid.).

Numerous reactions came from the news of Jackson’s death.  LL Cool J, rapper and actor, said, “Peace to the King. . . . He was one of my childhood idols.  I salute you, King of Pop.  You made the whole world moonwalk together.”  Wyclef Jean, rapper and former member of the Fugees, stated, “Michael Jackson was my musical God.  He made me believe that all things are possible, and through real and positive music.  He can life forever.  I love Michael Jackson.  God bless him.”  Russel Simmons, hip-hop entrepreneur, stated, “Michael Jackson was my generation’s most iconic cultural hero.”  Dick Clark, host of the old American Bandstand, said, “I knew Michael as a child and watched him grow over the years.  Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding.  Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched.”  (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 26, 2009).

Michael Jackson’s life was one of wonder, excitement, pride and self-centeredness.  His bizarre style, music, dancing, and costumes displayed a man who craved the worship of the crowds and was unashamed to perform bizarre acts to claim the worship of adoring followers.  Michael donated millions to an array of charities which helped to endear himself to others.  But he also lived in regal splendor, reigning as King at his California ranch.  He inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984.  One report stated that “for much of his career, he had an ‘unparalleled’ level of worldwide influence over the younger generation through his musical and humanitarian contributions” (Wikipedia). 

How should we look at this wonder man who sold more than 750 million albums?  How should we view this “Most successful entertainer of all time”?  How do we look at this “King of Pop” and this “Living Legend”?  What should we think of this winner of the Grammy awards, the Diamond Award, and the Guinness Book of World Records holder?  Do we consider him an idol?  A good example?  One worthy of worship?  A virtual God?

We will not deny that Michael exerted a major influence in music during the past several decades.  We wouldn’t deny that he had musical talent and attracted people to him.  Nor would we deny that he was able to amass a massive amount of money.  But our concern is what God thought of Jackson!  If we know how God views him, his music and lifestyle, we will know how we should also view him.  What does God say about Jackson and his lifestyle according to His divine Word?

The Christian seeks to view all things in light of God’s own perspective.  We must remember that the Lord said, “’My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).  If we don’t normally and naturally think as God and Christ does, where does that leave us?  The true Christian is one who is indwelt by the Spirit of God, and he is one who has his mind and conscience formed by the Word of God.  This makes a dramatic change of perspective!  This is why Paul could say, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).  He also calls on us, as believers, “Have this attitude [or mind] in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).  The genuine believer in Christ Jesus, filled with His Word and His Spirit, will view life and the world vastly different than those who are in the world.  Our mind has been renewed (Romans 12:1-2) and we can see truth and reality differently.

It is true that many people in the world did idolize Michael Jackson—we would acknowledge that.  But what did God think of him?  Obviously, nearly everything that Jackson sang was of the world, nearly everything that Jackson did was of the world.  Jackson’s bizarre appearance was definitely of the world and an abomination to God.  Jackson’s pride, arrogance, boastfulness, materialism, sexual escapades, waste of money, and much more revealed his worldly and carnal perspective—and this was an abomination to a holy and righteous God.  The way of Christ simply does not harmonize with the kind of perspective and lifestyle that Michael Jackson had.  “What partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

It is important for us to remember that just as Elvis Presley and the Beatles affected a generation and brought death, decay, and destruction to one generation of young people, so did Michael Jackson a generation later (although there was an overlap of all of these performers).  Together—along with thousands of other artists, composers, musicians, and super-stars—they degenerated a vast number of young people.  Millions and millions, even tens of millions of people in America and around the world, were perverted and degenerated by the music, actions, appearance, and lifestyle of these degenerate cultural pacesetters.  Scripture warns, “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).  This was true regarding Michael Jackson and all other performers of pop music.  It was true whether they are identified with rock music, country and western music, hip hop music, jazz, and all of the rest.  Bad company does corrupt good morals.  When young people were influenced by the “bad company” of Jackson and all of the other immoral artists, their own morals degenerated.  Their own appearance degenerated.  Their own speech degenerated.  Their own attitudes and character degenerated.  This is one leading reason that we have a generation of young people today that is virtually wholly given over to the world and the ways of Satan.

We hope that you who are reading this article at present will check out other articles on this True Discipleship website, especially under “worship” in Biblical Topics section and the “music” category in the General Subjects section.  Check also the “entertainment” category under General Subjects.  Many articles are listed to help you to see the mind of God regarding entertainment, music, and worldliness.  Much of this would pertain to the morals, lifestyle, and music exemplified by Michael Jackson and other contemporary performers.

We began this article by asking the pointed question, “Michael Jackson or God?”  Were the crowds right in making Jackson an idol, a virtual icon (idol)?  Were they wise in calling Jackson a God and devoting their worship and focus on this musical performer?  We know the danger and tragic results of one who would revel in the idolizing praise of the crowds (see Acts 12:20-23).  Anyone who is so fallible, so weak, and so subject to infirmity and eventually dies a tragic death is not worthy of God status!  We worship the “living God” (Acts 14:15), the “living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), along with the One who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  It is far better to believe in, obey, serve, and worship the Lord Jesus Christ who died and rose again, and who is alive forever, and who alone can save from sin, death and hell! 

Be willing to repent of following Michael Jackson as your idol and confess this as the sin that it is.  Turn from your allegiance to all other performers of worldly and fleshly music.  “Repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19).  Now is the time to open your eyes to the folly of following a super-star who can die and leave you empty and deserted.  And now is the time to come to the Lord Jesus Christ who offers you forgiveness, life, and a place in His eternal Kingdom!  He will never leave or desert you!  Michael Jackson is dead.  Jesus will never die!

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