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There are many “antichrists”

There seems to be some controversy about whether talk show host, preacher and birther Cold Case Posse booster Carl Gallups has identified Barack Obama as “the antichrist.” He claims not, but leaves the door open according to the article “Is Obama the anti-Christ? It’s irresponsible not to speculate, birther pastor says” at Raw Story by Travis Gettys.

… Gallups insisted during an appearance Monday on the nationally syndicated Dr. Laurie Roth Show that he had never claimed that Obama was the anti-Christ.

“I’ll tell you what Obama is,” Gallups told Roth. “He is an anti-Christ, he is a depiction of some of the characteristics of the anti-Christ who is to come. It could be in the future that we’ll discover he fits all of them, or it could be someone else. But I’m telling you there are many characteristics that he displays.”


“Christ and Antichrist” by Ilya Glazunov1

The popular notion of the antichrist comes from fictional works like the Left Behind™ series of books and it’s thought by many that the antichrist is described in the last book of the Bible, Revelation. (The Wikipedia has a nice article on the antichrist if you want to understand how the specific texts preceding lead to what is commonly thought of as the antichrist today.) In truth, the word “antichrist” never appears in Revelation, but rather in two short letters in the Bible, attributed to someone named “John.” In that context, “antichrist” is a descriptive term, not a particular individual.

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.  … 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. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

1 John 2 (ESV)

Identifying Obama as an antichrist by the Biblical definition is problematic since it is based on public proclamation, i. e., “confession.” Here’s what Obama said in public:

This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this ‘Amazing Grace’ calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short.  It calls me to praise God for the gift of our son — his Son and our Savior.

Conspiracy theorists seem more interested in hidden and ambiguous clues than plain authoritative statements. Again, from the Raw Story article:

Carl Gallups advanced the theory, based on Aramaic translations of biblical texts, that Jesus spoke the current president’s name when he prophesized in Luke 10:18 that he “saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

According to the theory, which Gallups says he did not develop but promoted, the Aramaic translation of that passage would be: “I beheld Satan as baraq u-bama.”

Someone named Joe objected to this at “Five Doves” saying:

“Baraq U Bama” means “Lightning and height” not “lightning from heaven”.  “Height” here could refer to something that lifts you up.  The Aramaic Peshitta of Luke 10:18 has been around a long time2 and reads, “Lightning from heaven” = “ברקא מן שמיא ” = “barqa men shmaya”.  So if the logic to the previous assertion is correct, then we are looking for an AC by the name of “Barqa Men Shmaya.”  In Hebrew it would be pronounced “Baraq min shamayim”, so any attempt to associate BO with this verse works better in Hebrew than in Aramaic, but in both languages it fails.

According to what I have read, no recognized scholar endorses the Gallups-cited “translation.”

I don’t know WHAT this is.

Popular figures always have their detractors: There is no small controversy over where Jesus was born.


1When I was in Moscow, I visited the gallery of Ilya Glazunov and saw his painting (controversial so it is said) titled “Христос и Антихрист” (Christ and Antichrist). I was very much impressed by his work. Particularly stunning are his large-scale works (can you find Bill Clinton?):

2The Peshitta is a translation of Hebrew and Greek scriptures into Syriac (or Aramaic). The Aramaic New Testament translation occurred as early as the 2nd century BCE and certainly by the 5th century.

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25 Responses to There are many “antichrists”

  1. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG December 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Well what do you expect? Literally nothing, including the word of God, is sacred to birthers. But manipulating the Gospel is nothing new. People have been doing that for centuries.

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy December 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    The prophet Jeremiah addressed this sometime around 600 BC, saying:

    8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise,
    and the law of the Lord is with us’?
    But behold, the lying pen of the scribes
    has made it into a lie.

    Jeremiah 8:8

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: But manipulating the Gospel is nothing new. People have been doing that for centuries.

  3. avatar
    Keith December 6, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    Excellent article Doc.

    Particularly stunning are his large-scale works (can you find Bill Clinton?):

    I found him three times. Once on Boris’ left near the base of the pyramid; once near Uncle Sam; and again on Boris’ right near the base of another pyramid between the cigarette ad and the gender ambiguous Marilyn. Are there more?

  4. avatar
    Rickey December 6, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    That last picture looks like Sean Penn.

  5. avatar
    JPotter December 6, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    With this claim being so pedestrian among birther commenters … why would Gallups bother deny making it? Is this one of those disingenuous, “I wouldn’t never say such a thing [because my denying saying it serves it up to the audience anyway]” type of ‘denials’?

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy December 7, 2013 at 12:39 am #

    Take the long view. Once Obama leaves office, Gallups will want to latch onto another apocalyptic figure and it will hurt his creds for people to say, hey wait a minute, I thought you said Obama ….

    JPotter: With this claim being so pedestrian among birther commenters … why would Gallups bother deny making it?

  7. avatar
    RanTalbott December 7, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    Given that, to the best of our knowledge, the world did not come to an end 2000 years ago, I think we have to take the rest of John’s analysis with a rather large bag of salt…

  8. avatar
    JPotter December 7, 2013 at 1:34 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: people to say, hey wait a minute, I thought you said Obama ….

    Don’t overestimate that audience, Doc! They hop from “antichrist” to “antichrist” like lilypads. Use “antichrists” like used Kleenex. If Gallups is backpedaling, it’s just weaselly wording. Imply, associate, suggest, but never commit to a position.

  9. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny December 7, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    Keith:
    Excellent article Doc.

    Particularly stunning are his large-scale works (can you find Bill Clinton?):

    I found him three times. Once on Boris’ left near the base of the pyramid; once near Uncle Sam; and again on Boris’ right near the base of another pyramid between the cigarette ad and the gender ambiguous Marilyn. Are there more?

    Considering that the banner in front of Yelstsin in that last picture says “Impeach impeachment”, my guess would be that the dark-haired lady next to Bill is Monica Lewinsky. Look carefully, it is not Bill who is holding the USA flag, but the NATO star. No idea whether Ken Starr is included in the symbolism, or it is purely a “happy coincidence”.
    At the bottom there are two references to Russian children. One advertisement says “We sell Russian children for transplantation, for adoption, for adoption as a daughter (yes, that is what it says) and for any other purpose”. Slightly to the right, a bunch of Russian kids are thanking Uncle Soros for … (unvisible).
    The banner under the pyramid, with Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill behind it says “New Order for ever”, and yes I think that may be ambiguous too.

    I hope that helps a bit…

  10. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG December 7, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Take the long view. Once Obama leaves office, Gallups will want to latch onto another apocalyptic figure and it will hurt his creds for people to say, hey wait a minute, I thought you said Obama ….

    I firmly believe that when Obama leaves office in 2017, birthers who fell for the cons of people like Gallups and Zullo will be out for proverbial blood, possible literal blood too. “You lied to us! Nothing happened to Obama like you promised! Now its time to pay!” I think it will give them that final push over the edge. Not terribly unlike that old chestnut of a cautionary tale, popular in many a sci-fi movie, those men who tampered with things they shouldn’t oughta have, are devoured by that which they created.
    At that point it will be “Face the music” or “Move to Canada” for Zullo and pals. I’m guessing they’ll go with the latter option, as the first would require taking responsibility for their actions, and con men have no interested in that sort of thing.

  11. avatar
    Rickey December 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    JPotter: Don’t overestimate that audience, Doc! They hop from “antichrist” to “antichrist” like lilypads. Use “antichrists” like used Kleenex. If Gallups is backpedaling, it’s just weaselly wording. Imply, associate, suggest, but never commit to a position.

    There was a time when some people believed that Reagan was the antichrist because he had six letters in each of his names – Ronald Wilson Reagan. Then there were claims that barcodes were the “sign of the beast.” Before that there were books such as “The Late, Great Planet Earth” which claimed that the 1970s would be the decade of the antichrist, that the Soviet Union would invade Israel, and the world would likely end during the 1980s.

    To demonstrate how these things never die, the author of “The Late, Great Planet Earth,” Hal Lindsey, suggested in 2008 that Obama is the antichrist:

    The speculation reached a fever pitch after Obama’s European trip and the Berlin speech in which he called for global unity. Conservative Christian author Hal Lindsey declared in an essay on WorldNetDaily, “Obama is correct in saying that the world is ready for someone like him — a messiah-like figure, charismatic and glib … The Bible calls that leader the Antichrist. And it seems apparent that the world is now ready to make his acquaintance.”

    http://content.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1830590,00.html

    The question is, why would anybody believe any of Lindsey’s predictions when he has been wrong so many times? It doesn’t matter how often these people are wrong. They have an audience which is all too willing to suspend disbelief.

  12. avatar
    Krosis December 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    ““New Order for ever”, and yes I think that may be ambiguous too”.

    It’s a translation of Novus Ordo Seclorum motto.

  13. avatar
    RanTalbott December 7, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    Rickey: Hal Lindsey, suggested in 2008 that Obama is the antichrist

    Gee, and he seemed so nice when he played Barney Miller. Who could’ve known he was such a dick? *

    Maybe the reason Gallups is nervous about outing Obama as the Antichrist is that he’s afraid of being killed by a demon-possessed elevator or freight train: that’s what always happens in the movies. If he works in a tall building near a rail yard, he’s probably updating his will about now.

    * While double-checking the spelling of Linden’s name with google, I discovered that he’s not only still alive, but still performing, as a big band singer and clarinetist. There’s a youtube clip of him covering a few iconic Benny Goodman songs, and he’s very good. Finally, something good has come out of birferism.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy December 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Maybe a different Hal Lindsey.

    RanTalbott: Gee, and he seemed so nice when he played Barney Miller. Who could’ve known he was such a dick? *

  15. avatar
    Thinker December 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    Yeah. Different Hal Lindsey. There’s a guy named Hal Lindsey who used to be a columnist for WND. 100% wingnut. Not the actor.

  16. avatar
    RanTalbott December 7, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Actually, it was Hal LindEN (see the footnote).

    I guess I need to find out if there HTML tags for circles ‘n arrows and a paragraph on the back of each posting explainin’ what each joke was…

  17. avatar
    Thinker December 7, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    Ack! I missed that. Hal Linden is the actor. Hal Lindsey is the wingnut.

    RanTalbott:
    Actually, it was Hal LindEN (see the footnote).

  18. avatar
    Keith December 7, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    RanTalbott:
    Actually, it was Hal LindEN (see the footnote).

    I guess I need to find out if there HTML tags for circles ‘n arrows and a paragraph on the back of each posting explainin’ what each joke was…

    Berners-Lee has just what you are looking for:

    WWW: Circles and Arrows

  19. avatar
    Suranis December 9, 2013 at 3:00 am #

    The Roman empire did, which is what Revelations is mainly concerned with.

    And which is one of the Catholic Church bases itself in Rome, as the “Bride of the beast” portion of the prophecy has been considered to have been fulfilled. Presbyterians and others disagree.

    RanTalbott:
    Given that, to the best of our knowledge, the world did not come to an end 2000 years ago, I think we have to take the rest of John’s analysis with a rather large bag of salt…

  20. avatar
    Suranis December 9, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    “I don’t know WHAT this is.”

    It looks like a pic of a man with a moustace superimposed on a painting of a demon. I’d say Gallups is having a little fun with himself.

  21. avatar
    ZixiOfIx December 9, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    I sincerely hope you’re correct, but think they’ll be happy to drop the whole matter. President Obama will be out of office, and it won’t matter any more. Birthers won’t be wanting to face the fact that they’ve been suckered out of time, money… and lots more money.

    Already many are saying that they’re tired of waiting, tired of all the broken promises. They don’t seem angry so much as annoyed, though. Being angry means admitting that you were wrong, that you placed your trust in the wrong place, and that you made foolish decisions. I don’t see birthers in possession of that sort of frank introspection.

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: I firmly believe that when Obama leaves office in 2017, birthers who fell for the cons of people like Gallups and Zullo will be out for proverbial blood, possible literal blood too. “You lied to us! Nothing happened to Obama like you promised! Now its time to pay!” I think it will give them that final push over the edge. Not terribly unlike that old chestnut of a cautionary tale, popular in many a sci-fi movie, those men who tampered with things they shouldn’t oughta have, are devoured by that which they created.
    At that point it will be “Face the music” or “Move to Canada” for Zullo and pals. I’m guessing they’ll go with the latter option, as the first would require taking responsibility for their actions, and con men have no interested in that sort of thing.

  22. avatar
    The Magic M December 10, 2013 at 5:57 am #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: I firmly believe that when Obama leaves office in 2017, birthers who fell for the cons of people like Gallups and Zullo will be out for proverbial blood, possible literal blood too. “You lied to us! Nothing happened to Obama like you promised! Now its time to pay!” I think it will give them that final push over the edge.

    Birthers have been promised dozens of ways Obama wouldn’t get a second term (because he’d resign, or be frog-marched, or not run again, or not be on any ballot, or Romney would win in a landslide, or…). That didn’t cause them to turn on their prophets when Obama won re-election. I don’t think it will be any different after he’s served out his term. They will simply focus their attention on the next target (like Hillary).
    The pain of having had a black President will subside and they will be more concerned with the “evil Marxist Democrats'” next candidate for office.
    Just like they never cared if Clinton showed his original BC. The past, or ex-Presidents, doesn’t interest them. (I know quite a bit of it is fueled by racism, but if birthers have the choice between bickering about a black ex-Prez or worrying about the next non-Tea Party Prez, I think most will choose the latter.)

    Turning on the con artists would mean admitting they were conned, that’s something they can never do (and another reason why cons are so successful).

  23. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG December 10, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    Maybe the dyed in the wool ones will stick around, but I can’t see run-of-mill birthers sticking around after thought of “I just wasted eight years of my life, on something that never came to fruition. I’ve lost friends, and I have family members who have all but disowned me, yet I haven’t a thing to show for it!” sinks in.

  24. avatar
    The Magic M December 10, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: after thought of [...] sinks in

    When has anything reasonable ever sunk in with birthers?

    And what birthers are “run-of-the-mill” and still not “dyed-in-the-wool” after 8 years? I’ve seen far too many cranks who never give up and always double down. The number of actual drop-outs will be low, the rest will sink in the generic conspiracy sewer, just like Orly is now.

  25. avatar
    Crustacean December 10, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    “There is no small controversy over where Jesus was born.”
    ~Dr. Conspiracy

    How ironic that so many birthers who call themselves Christians question President Obama’s birthplace while their messiah’s birth story is so shrouded in controversy.

    Nazareth, of course, is a Galilean village, but for the ancient prophecies to be true, the messiah would have to come from Judea. As The Story goes, a pregnant Mary walked the 70-odd miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem to take part in a Roman census. The census, however, was for the purposes of taxation, and the Romans taxed people based on where they lived, not where they were born.

    So it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that Mary would make that trek (disclaimer: a lot of things don’t make sense to me). But I guess if you’re willing to believe that story, you’re also ripe to believe that Obama’s pregnant mother would make a three-day trek to Kenya to give birth among her in-laws, whom she barely knew, while not showing up on US Immigration’s radar as having made that trek.

    I don’t know; maybe if Jesus would just show us his long-form, we could put this all to rest.

    And I’m highly suspect of the authenticity of Einsatzleiter Zullo’s ” ’00 Vital Statistics Instruction Manual.” I’m pretty sure the term “Judean American” didn’t exist then.

    P.S. in “The Weight” (song by The Band) the line “I pulled in to Nazareth” is a reference to the town in Pennsylvania where Martin & Co. makes some of the sweetest-sounding guitars you’ll ever find. As far as I know, Robbie Robertson is not a birther for Jesus.