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?):
- Вечная Россия. 1988
- Великий эксперимент. 1990
- Мистерия XX века (2). 1999
- Моя жизнь. 1994
- Вклад народов СССР в мировую культуру и цивилизацию. 1980
- Рынок нашей демократии. 1999
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.