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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 29

[Continuing a discussion of End Times.]

Sometimes people try to identify the Antichrist. Hitler and Stalin were put forth as candidates years ago. One or more of the Popes also have been, at various times. Here’s a recent example, copied from a mass e-mail received during the 2008 Presidential campaign. Its purpose was to imply that Barack Obama was the Antichrist:

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.

I should point out something that Revelation says:

Revelation 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book. 19 If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.

Now, back to the e-mail. Here’s the passage referred to:

Revelation 13:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads, blasphemous names. 2 The beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3 One of his heads looked like it had been wounded fatally. His fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled at the beast. 4 They worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” 5 A mouth speaking great things and blasphemy was given to him. Authority to make war for forty-two months was given to him.
11 I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon. 12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. He makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, even making fire come down out of the sky to the earth in the sight of people. 14 He deceives my own people who dwell on the earth because of the signs he was granted to do in front of the beast; saying to those who dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast who had the sword wound and lived.

Revelation 13 refers to a “beast,” and the Antichrist is not mentioned. Forty-two months is almost the term of a Presidency. But so are 39 months, and 45 months. So what? As to Revelation saying that the Antichrist will be of Muslim descent, John didn’t say that. He couldn’t have, as there were no Muslims at the time John wrote Revelation. Nothing in Revelation tells us how old anyone is, or will be. Mr. Obama did have some powers of persuasion, or he wouldn’t have been the nominee of his party, but so do a lot of other people. He probably wishes that his powers were stronger than they are. (Actually, Revelation 13 doesn’t mention powers of persuasion, just power.) Some people think that Mr. Obama is a deceiver, and a destroyer. Perhaps. He has his faults, and I have no wish to defend them, or point them out, in this space, but to claim that he, or any other prominent person, is the Antichrist is a real stretch. Whoever wrote this e-mail should have been much more afraid of having violated John’s command not to add to the Book of Revelation than he or she should have feared for the election of President Obama.

With the advantage of hindsight, we can now say that Mr. Obama served as President for more than forty-two months!

It is as foolish to claim someone is the Antichrist as it is foolish to predict a date for Christ to return.

The above is an excerpt from my recently published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, which is in the public domain.

The previous post in this series is here. God willing, the next post in this series will continue a discussion of this topic, prophecy. Thanks for reading.


atlibertytosay said...

But I John 2:18 says …

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.

I certainly believe Hitler was an antichrist. Obama - not so much - maybe just bad on policies and promises.

Martin LaBar said...

Hitler, and others, including some of my on-line contacts, unfortunately for them, are (or were) antichrists. Not THE antichrist. (That term doesn't occur in Revelation, but, as you pointed out, in the epistles of John, and he doesn't seem to have been talking about some world-influencing person.)