Remember that “Obama is the Anti-Christ” video that was going around last week? Well, John Mark Reynolds, professor of philosophy at Biola, watched it, didn’t like it, and proceeded to demolish the arguments behind it.
Here is his summary of the arguments:
1. take a verse written in Greek (and spoken in Aramaic)
2. find Hebrew words that may (but probably are not) equivalent
3. listen to the sentence in English and hear what the words sound like
4. suggest that the President may be the Antichrist.
I didn’t make any comments at the time, but I feel that video, if it was made sincerely and not as satire, is wrong in so many ways.
First, it shows a complete ignorance of not only ancient languages, but also of even rudimentary dispensational theology. I will confess that I have not seen the updated video, but in the original, it explains that Aramaic is the most ancient form of Hebrew. A cursory check of Wikipedia would have shown that to be false at worst, and an extreme generalization at best. Claiming words Jesus spoke in ~30 CE (words that were subsequently recorded in a completely different language) can be defined by a language spoken 500 years earlier is ludicrous.
The video also somehow takes a passage referring to Satan and twists it into a passage about the Anti-Christ. Dispensationalism does not teach an equivocation of the man known as The Anti-Christ and Satan. (Not being a dispensationalist, I could be wrong.) While they hold that Satan may indwell the body of this man at a certain point, the Anti-Christ figure is never Satan himself.
Second, any good dispensationalist knows that you have to produce evidence when you assert a leader is the anti-Christ. I mean, a few twisted words here and there does not make an anti-Christ; at least bring some other prophecies into it to make your case. This video is basically just the Bible Code with a nice devil background. Put some more effort into it.
Which brings me to my third point: the Bible is not some code book that has to have all the right conditions in order to be properly interpreted. This video is not only American-centric, but it also robs much of the Scriptures from the Church. I mean, if Jesus was talking about Pres. Obama, then what did the disciples get out of it? How did the 1st through 20th century church benefit? This kind of interpretation makes the Bible about us and no one else.
Finally, as Dr. Reynolds states, this type of interpretation denigrates true martydom. If Obama is The Anti-Christ of dispensationalism, then why aren’t Christians suffering here in America? Let’s not kid ourselves and think we have it bad here; we have it better than almost anyone else in the world.
I don’t think it uncharitable to point out the flaws in the video. The people who produced it put it out there for all to see and have proven by their very words they do not understand the Bible. They are attempting to teach the world and are making all of us look like fools (even more so than usual). We can and must stand up and say “That’s not us.”