Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Barack Obama - Antichrist?

I'm glad to see Barack is in good company in this video - remember when Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, and Prince Charles were identified as the Antichrist? There's a book called Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession, which will make you very skeptical about such attempts.

The main problem with claims like this is that they attempt to find coincidental similarities between a modern figure and the Antichrist while ignoring the central characteristics of the Antichrist. No one is eligible to be an (or the) antichrist unless he persecutes Jews and/or Christians, and sets himself up as an object of worship even above the pagan gods. Leaders like Domitian, Mao, Stalin or Hitler (whose names probably don't mean anything special!) might qualify on those grounds - but not a politicaly liberal president who doesn't agree with Evangelical Christians on some matters.

Linguistically, the claims of the video are off. In Hebrew and in Aramaic, lightning is baraq. (BTW, the speaker is not accurate to say that Aramaic is the most ancient form of Hebrew - the first hint that he is not an expert. His use of Strong's concordance is another hint that he doesn't actually know Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek). But in Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic, that q at the end is a different letter from k, and is even pronounced differently. In all three languages, barak (with slight spelling differences between the languages) means "blessed." The parallel name in Hebrew is Baruch, and Mubarak is another Arabic name with the same root. English speakers may think that barak and baraq are about the same - but non-English speakers would think that watch and wash are about the same.

"Obama" fares no better. I am no expert in this area because Obama is an African tribal name, not Arabic or semitic. That means there is no linguistic connection between the Hebrew bamah (heights, hills) and the tribal name Obama. I can't vouch for this website, since I haven't studied any African languages, but it seems much better informed than the video.

Finally, the video has its biblical interpretation off. Jesus does talk about the antichrist, but not in Luke 10:18. The Bible makes a clear distinction between the human antichrist and the angelic/demonic Satan, and there is absolutely no discussion of the antichrist anywhere in Luke 10. The video also refers to Isa 14:12-14. Although it is common for Christians to think this passage is talking about Satan, you will have a hard time finding an Old Testament scholar who agrees. It is a hyperbolic description of the king of Babylon, as the first line in the poem says (14:4). Even if the passage was describing Satan, the word "heights" is not a description of Satan. We might as well pick other random words from the passage and claim that anyone with a name like that might be the antichrist (Maybe Ken Starr? Isa 14:12).

And if that's not enough, you can tell that the video was really fishing, since lightning in the Bible is associated with Satan only once, and is associated with God or the Son at least thirty times (Ezek 1:13, Lk 17:24, Rev 4:5).

2 comments:

  1. Gary,

    Amen! Well put, as usual. As we discussed I was particularly perturbed with this video and its inference. Although I didn't vote for President Obama, nor do I agree with many of his policies, I believe my responsibility as a Christian is to pray for those in authority, not circulate videos that make ludicrous and scripturally inaccurate insinuations. I suggest that instead of complaining, we all should commit some of our "complaint time" to "prayer time" for those with whom we disagree. Secondly, as Christians, let's take the time to check out the purported facts of accusatory videos, e-mails, etc. before we willingly forward them to everyone on our e-mail list!

    Glad to have that off my chest!

    Mike

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  2. Thanks, Mike! As you can tell, that video was an example of one of my pet peeves, too. For me, the annoying thing about this video was the bizarre twisting of Scripture to get it to mean what the speaker wanted it to say.

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