Vol: 78 Issue: 29 Saturday, March 29, 2008
It was just a matter of time before somebody (actually, as it turned out, a bunch of somebodies) advanced the theory that Barak Obama is the antichrist.
One of our readers emailed me with his theory, and I found some of his points so intriguing I couldn’t help but follow up.
When I Googled “Obama antichrist” I was astonished to get 691,000 hits on the search term. Evidently, the thought has occurred to more than one person.
First, the usual disclaimer(s). The Bible does NOT charge Christians as watchmen for the antichrist. There is no reward for watching for the antichrist or loving his appearing. Knowing who the antichrist actually is would be essentially useless information to a Christian, in any practical sense.
Going around telling people you know who the antichrist is accomplishes little more than to marginalize whatever worthwhile theological information you may be sharing.
If you’re already saved, identifying the antichrist means nothing because when he assumes his mantle of power, you won’t be here.
And anybody you tell isn’t going to believe you — and even if they did, what good would it do them? Nobody gets saved by believing in the antichrist.
There is but one useful purpose in such an exercise, and that is in demonstrating the conditioning process that is already preparing global society for his eventual revelation.
And that is only useful to the Church in the same sense that when the calendar tells us its Thanksgiving, it means Christmas is just around the corner.
If the world is being conditioned to embrace the antichrist and the Bible says the Rapture happens first, seeing shadows of the coming antichrist is meaningful only in that it underscores the lateness of the hour.
Rather than causing Christians to mount a campaign to expose his ‘true’ identity, it should spur them on to campaign with greater urgency to warn of the soon coming of the Lord for His Church.
That can’t be emphasized enough, if one wants to be an effective witness for Christ. The antichrist will provide his own ‘witnesses’.
Here is why trying to put a name to the antichrist marginalizes your witness. Your faith is no longer in Christ, or even in the Bible, but rather, in your own ability to correctly forecast the future. And that is what your ‘converts’ put their faith in, as well. Your promise, not the Bible’s.
The Bible doesn’t promise the Church an antichrist, it WARNS of him. It doesn’t say, watch out for Barack Obama, or Javier Solana, it says that when the conditions are right for the antichrist, that we should “sorrow not, as others who have no hope,” because it means that Jesus is about to return for His Church.
It is a fine distinction, but a huge difference. WHO the antichrist is, as a matter of personal identification, is irrelevant for several reasons, the first being the most obvious — we don’t KNOW.
At best, we can make an educated guess that may or may not be wrong. Worse, you can never know if you are right, but you can be proved wrong in an instant.
Your guy simply has to get hit by a bus and your testimony is forever suspect.
After all, if you were so supremely confident of who the antichrist is that you went around telling people who he is, — and you turned out to be wrong on that, — maybe you were wrong about the whole ‘salvation by grace through faith’ thing, too.
On the other hand, the CONDITIONS under which the antichrist WILL rise to power are clearly and carefully outlined in Scripture, and it is those conditions that are relevant to effectively spreading the Gospel, since they are unique to a single generation, somewhere in time.
History is replete with antichrist wannabes that have tried to impose themselves on the people by force. From Nebuchadnezzar to Hitler, the formula has been the same.
Military conquest, followed by occupation, followed by edicts demanding worship. The Bible says the antichrist rises to power, not by conquest, but by acclamation.
The antichrist’s political power is exercised through is control of the global economy, which is so centralized that an individual dissident could be instantly cut off from society to the degree he would not be able to buy or sell without proper credentials.
And instead of being worshipped as a consequence of dictatorial decree, he will be declared a god by the world’s premiere religious authority.
None of these conditions could have been met in any previous generation. No single individual could capture the world-wide attention the Bible describes for the antichrist before the advent of mass communications. No single authority could, (in previous generations) restrict an individual’s ability to buy and sell.
And at no time was there such a universal hunger for a messiah figure to solve the world’s problems. In previous generations, the world’s problems were a lot less important than events in one’s own neighborhood, town or even one’s own country.
What happens today in Caracas, Tehran or Jerusalem determines how much a tank of gas will cost in Des Moines tomorrow. Or whether next winter you’ll have to choose between heating your house or paying for it.
It is the global CONTEXT that dictates the rise of the antichrist.
Satan has tried to launch his career in previous generations, (Hitler immediately comes to mind) but the TIMING was not yet right and his efforts went up in flames.
So what is significant to Bible prophecy is not so much WHO he is individually, but rather, that the timing is right for his appearance.
The fact that there are more than a half-million hits on the query string, “Obama antichrist” is powerful evidence that the timing is right. Whether or not Obama is actually the antichrist is irrelevant.
But he has many of the necessary credentials. He comes as a man of peace, promising to bring peace. (Revelation 6:2) He claims to be a Christian, but there are dark rumors swirling about that he secretly worships “the god of forces”[the religion of the sword]. (Daniel 11:38)
The antichrist is often pictured as either a Muslim or a Jew, since he will initially enjoy the support of both. Obama was born of an African Muslim and white American atheist, making him, in a sense, all things to all people.
Somebody has already traced Obama’s genealogy to Brad Pitt. If and when the time was right, finding a Jewish link in Obama’s family tree would not be that difficult.
While this is an American election, it is largely seen abroad in global terms, with many nations complaining they don’t have a voice. (Global polls show that if they did, it would be Obama in a landslide).
Although Obama claims to follow Jesus, his ties to the Nation of Islam run deep and he has gone on record preaching the gospel of “many ways to salvation”.
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1st John 2:18)
So, is Obama really the antichrist? (drum roll, please)
I dunno. Neither does anybody else.
Obama is as good a candidate as Javier Solana — actually, I think he is an even better fit. One can build at least as solid an argument.
The case for Solana is made largely on the strength of EU Resolution #666 which consolidated the power of the WEU and EU under a single office, which Solana now occupies.
But Solana doesn’t have the ethnic credentials, the religious credentials or the necessary power base for the job. A strong case could be made that Obama has all three.
The only problem is that America is not currently subject to a higher sovereign global governing authority.
(But that’s not really that big a problem — a few treaties like Kyoto and it would be. And with Obama in the White House, it certainly could be.)
It would not be the big a step from the White House to the UN, or whatever global authority replaces it.
So why am I making the case?
To show how easy a case it is to make. I could be completely wrong on Obama (and I probably am) but the fact is, it is a believable scenario only because the conditions are right for SOMEBODY to step up to the plate.
(If the real antichrist doesn’t show up soon, we’ll be forced to invent one.)
When asked to describe the times of the signs that would signal His return, Jesus outlined the events of the last days in detail, from the rise of new killer pestilences like AIDS to the fear of global warming.
He spoke of a world torn by wars and rumors of wars, religious persecution, false Christs and false teachers, and outlined in detail the antichrist’s coming reign of terror.
Jesus wasn’t so much outlining specific events as He was giving a general overview of the conditions that will set the stage for the Tribulation Period. It is the CONDITIONS that are relevant.
The name of the antichrist is much less relevant than the conditions that make his ascension to power possible. The Church will never know if they guessed right or not, so such speculation is more an exercise in intellectual arrogance than obedience to the Great Commission.
I don’t know if Barack Obama is the antichrist, and I don’t care. What is important is that it is an issue in the first place.
“For when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh,” Jesus said.
Beginning to come to pass — isn’t that exactly what we are talking about right now?