I have written an e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which is free to anyone. To download that book, in several formats, go here.
Creative Commons License
The posts in this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. In other words, you can copy and use this material, as long as you aren't making money from it, and as long as you give me credit.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barack Obama is the antichrist?

Twice, in the last week, I've received digital communications claiming that Barack Obama, the current Democratic candidate for President in the U.S., is the antichrist (or anti-Christ, or however you spell it).

I have already posted on the dangers, even sinfulness, of passing on some of the political rumors making the rounds at this time of the political year. I'll repeat. The Bible says that slander is a sin. Some of the stuff being put forth, and not all against Obama, and not all in nationwide politics, is slander.

But Obama as the anti-Christ? In one of the two cases I mentioned, it's worse than slander.

Here's a quote from a forwarded e-mail message I got a few days ago:
How long is the beast allowed to have authority in Revelations?

Revelations Chapter 13 tells us it is 42 months, and you
know what that is. Almost a four-year term of a Presidency.

All I can say is "Lord, Have mercy on us!"

According to The Book of Revelations the anti-Christ is:
The anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40's, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive
the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything.

Well, I agree with one thing. "Lord, have mercy on us!"

The word, antichrist, does not occur in the book of Revelation at all. Evil entities that are found there include one or more beasts, and false prophets. But use of an on-line Bible search shows that "antichrist" is found only four times in the Bible, and only in 1 John and 2 John. Here are the relevant texts, from a more modern version, the ESV:
1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
1John 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Note that this is John writing, probably the same John who wrote Revelation, so he could have used that word, if he wanted to, but he didn't.

As to the antichrist being in his 40s? Where does it say that? I cannot find that in Revelation.

Promising peace? Where is that found? The word, "peace" does not occur in Revelation after 6:4, which is talking about the four horsemen, who are taking away the world's peace. There's no promise of a false peace in the entire book.

Of Muslim descent? Where is that found? There were no Muslims until Mohammed came along, over 500 years after Christ's death, which, of course, was long after Revelation was written, too.

And what does forty-two months have to do with being President? To say nothing of the fact that Obama may not be elected such, anyway.

(The rest of the quoted paragraph may agree with Revelation 13, which is talking about one or two beasts. I would point out, however, that not only Obama, but many other politicians, such as Sarah Palin, for one, have massive appeal and use persuasive language.)

The book of Revelation does say this:
22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

I wouldn't want to have begun, or circulated, an e-mail that seems to do exactly what John warned about, namely add to the prophecy of the book.

There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about Senator Obama, such as disagreeing with his stated policies, not trusting his judgment, questioning his experience, wondering about his past associations, doubting the sincerity of his Christian faith, or being afraid of what he might do if he becomes President. Even being a loyal Republican is a legitimate reason to oppose his candidacy. (Similar reasons exist for being concerned about McCain.) It is possible that one of the two of them might be the antichrist, I guess. But to claim that Barack Obama is the antichrist, and, worse, to falsely claim that Revelation says he is, is illegitimate, and seriously dangerous.

I'm old enough to remember when Hitler, Stalin, and Henry Kissinger were accused of being the antichrist. Napoleon, and one or more popes, were accused of that before my lifetime. A little Google searching shows that modern figures, including George W. Bush, John McCain, and even Sarah Palin have been so accused. My guess is that there will be other proposed candidates, from time to time, if Christ doesn't return soon.

Thanks for reading.


Keetha said...

Keep preaching, Prof.

I'm afraid some are so busy shouting rumors that they can't hear.

GraceHead said...

Guess who said what about Obama? [Check this out].

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you both for your comments.

I checked the link, GraceHead, and I don't understand it.

Patricia Burns said...

We will not know the identities of the two beasts of Revelation 13 until they ascend from the bottomless pit at the Fifth Trumpet.

Patricia (c) Bible Prophecy on the Web

Martin LaBar said...

Nope. Thanks, patricia burns.

Weekend Fisher said...

Go get 'em, Martin! If we could have a short moratorium on idiocy until we can figure out who the best president might be ... probably too much to ask.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

October 27, 2008.

Thanks, weekend fisher.

God help whichever one wins, and us.

Fox said...

I am not the Antichrist.

Martin LaBar said...

November 1, 2008. No, I don't suppose you are.

Lee said...

4 Hurting Christians comments: (On Obama now winning US Election)
I think the Berlin speech did it for a lot of people, meaning if you watch Michael York in the end time films, on TBN, when you hear Obama address another country as fellow citizens of the world, one does wonder.

The point is, anyone who is born in to this world, not yet accepted Jesus, genuinely as saviour, born again spirit filled Christian is going to belong to the prince of this world, satan.
Also we look at what a man stands for, Obama apparently has made it no secret he is not pro-life, will allow a woman the right to murder her unborn child, so on.

Only time will tell, but God makes it clear in the Bible that this time He won't intervene like He did at the tower of babel and allow the one world global system to continue until it involves Israel in some massive way, a threat, then Yeshua (Jesus) will return and finally set up His kingdom.

So watch, if everyone, including around the world, leaders, start swooning as well over Obama, oh what a wonderful man and so on, one will wonder.
Personally more likely to be the False Prophet, as the first beast is clearly going to be the revived roman empire area, Europe.

Martin LaBar said...

Nov 8, 2008. Thanks, Lee.

Yes, Obama was elected. I imagine that much of the swooning will be over by, say, April, when various kinds of reality kick in. (And I am praying for Mr. Obama. He surely needs it, as does the outgoing President.)

I can't remember for certain, but suspect that Presidents Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Reagan and Kennedy might have used similar language about world citizens. There was considerable swooning by other nations over Kennedy.

As to "clearly going to be the revived roman empire," maybe. This (and a lot of other stuff) are not clear to me, and there is disagreement among Bible scholars about who or what the first beast is or will be.

Revelation seems to be crystal clear on three things:
1) Christ will return.
2) Christ is pre-eminent.
3) It's dangerous to add to or subtract from the book of Revelation.

Thanks again.

Barbara Martin said...

Martin, my King James Version bible doesn't mention that quote either.

You might want to consider Revelation 13:15.And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast should both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.16.And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:17.And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

The reason I bring this up, is I had read in the summer that Bush was planning on implementing a way to keep track of the population to combat terrorism on American soil by inserting metal transplants just under the skin. If someone didn't have one of those transplants then they were not people who belonged to the U.S.. In combination with having a number imbedded in the transplant, the citizen would be able to do all their banking transactions just like a debit card. Spooky stuff to control people like that.

Martin LaBar said...

Nov 12, 2008: Thanks, Barbara. I don't think that even President Bush has gone, or will go, that far, yet, or there would have been a pretty big stink about it. Maybe someone will sometime.

There are references to marks in Ezekiel, too.

In Revelation, whatever the mark is, it is usually, or always, associated with worship of the beast (or, with the other mark, whatever it is, of Christ). That seems to me to be the central issue.

I've heard social security numbers called the mark, and there have been suggestions to implant a chip for commercial purposes, for purposes, supposedly, of deducting an appropriate amount from your bank account when you leave the store, without having to go through checkout. They all scare me a little, I guess. Perhaps something like this will be that mark.

GraceHead said...

LINK where God spoke concerning the mark of the beast on 7/7/05, through someone gifted with prophecy.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, GraceHead. Perhaps that's the way it will be.

Mr G said...

I came here because one of my wife's co-workers said that she was certain that President-Elect Obama will solve the current financial crisis because he's the anti-christ, and I just gave one of those "Charlie Brown sighs" that says "what an idiot this person is."

I was looking for a list of other politicians who've been pegged as being the anti-christ by people who only had a cursory knowledge of what's in Revelation, who wrote it, the circumstances under which it was written, and most important, the fact that quite a few early church fathers didn't want it included in the canon because of how easily some dipstick could misinterpret it in just the ways I'm seeing it done here.

Well, I found my list, for which I am incredibly grateful, but I saw one other thing here that bothers me, and that I'm going to take the time to try to straighten out.

Lee stated that it is clear that Obama is not pro-life, etc, etc. Let me now state that just because a person is pro-choice doesn't mean that they're pro-abortion. I, and a lot of "pro-choice" people would like to see the number of abortions go down to zero. However, I'm also old enough to remember the old laws. Laws that meant that people with enough money could go somewhere else, and those who didn't might die from a backalley or "coathanger" job. Abortions were still done.

I don't think there's a single politican out there who believes that a woman should be able to have an abortion just because it's a Tuesday and she feels like it. I think that most people are what I would call "pro-choice with a heavy heart," which is actually a misstating of the original "pro-life with a heavy heart," but both of which mean the same thing. They mean that in a perfect world (which this is not), they could say "no." But this isn't a perfect world. 12yo girls get raped, mothers lives are endangered by a new pregnancy, and there are difficult choices to be made all around. Choices where there is no perfect answer.

When you consider the different views among devout Christians as to when life begins (check out when twinning happens), and then consider the Jewish view of when a person becomes a living soul (while also checking out the fact that "ruach" means both "breath" and "soul" in Hebrew, and you'll see why Obama wisely said that the decision about when life begins is above his pay grade. You may see it as a political dance step.

Quite frankly, the question as to when life begins is above my pay grade too, but I prefer to err on the side of caution.

I also think, though, that in the past 40 years we've made it so that fewer people feel a need to have an abortion because the social stigma of an unwed pregnancy has pretty much gone away. A social stigma which, by the way, was placed by nice church-going people - the very people that many feel are part of the pro-life movement. Sort of ironic that girls felt a pressure to have an abortion so that people wouldn't wag their tongues about them in church.

Again, let me say that pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. By the same token, let me annoy some of my friends at the other extreme from Lee by saying that pro-life doesn't mean that they only care about the baby in the abstract, and wouldn't want to assume responsibility for it themselves.

I'll say it again; all want to decrease the number of abortions. But dividing us into extreme camps of pro-choice and pro-life doesn't help that. Especially when most people are in what's called the "messy middle" and have no time for the rhetoric that comes from both of the extreme camps. Lose the self-righteous rhetoric, realize that you're not going to get a perfect solution, and let's all work together to get the numbers down.

I've done my part. How? By telling my 15yo daughter that if she ever gets pregnant, and I hope she doesn't until she's much older, that I want to see my grandchildren.

Again, thanks for the great list of other anti-christ candidates.

Martin LaBar said...

Nov 16, 2008: Thanks, mr g.

I think you are correct on pro-choice, or at least I hope so -- I hope that there is no politician who is in favor of wholesale abortion in all circumstances, such as "because it's a Tuesday."

However, there are a lot of evangelical Christians (and others, including Catholics) who have convinced themselves that overturning Roe v. Wade is the most important issue in all elections, or, in some cases, the only issue that should be paid attention to. I'm not sure of that, myself. I may set forth my reasons in a future post.

Mr G said...

You know, as I was thinking about this whole "Obama as the anti-christ" thing, I was wondering about a couple of things.

1) Just how many things does he have to fail to get through before he's disqualified from being the anti-christ?

2) The Republicans who claim that he's the anti-christ do so on the basis of him being so charismatic and persuasive. But had their own candidate been charismatic and persuasive, would they have had the same worries about him or her?

3) (And this, to me, is the biggie) Aren't both Christians and Jews prohibited from consulting oracles and the like? And if so, isn't the way people have treated (or rather, mistreated) Revelation for centuries tantamount to consulting an oracle?

Martin LaBar said...

Nov 18, 2008: Thanks again, Mr. G.

Who knows why someone would say things like this?

There are Old Testament prohibitions against consulting mediums. I don't know of any in the New Testament, but, on the other hand, I don't think it's smart to do so. But, as I said in my post, quoting the book of Revelation, there is a warning about adding to that book, and I think the e-mail I quoted is an example of that. I am afraid there have been a lot of other cases of that, before Obama (or I) was ever born, but it's up to God to judge these things, not me.