What Obama and the Antichrist have in common

By Joel Richardson World Net Daily: Few will argue that President Barack Obama fueled his campaign with a textbook populist message. By claiming to stand up for the poor and the vast middle class, while negatively targeting “the wealthiest top 1 percent,” he only ran the risk of offending that 1 percent of the population. In terms of the political risks versus potential benefits, populism has always been a no-brainer for transparently ambitious politicians like Obama.

Even fewer will argue that Obama has now launched his presidency with an all out blitzkrieg toward radical wealth redistribution. What began as, “Ahhh ŠI just want to spread the wealth around” has become a near frantic fight for a nationalized health care system that he will admittedly fund through a surtax on the wealthy. According to the current plan being set forth by Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress, roughly half of the money needed to fund this nationalized health system will be extracted from individuals earning over $280,000 or couples over $350,000 a year. For now, Americans who fall into this category can expect to see between 1 to 5.4 percent of their income confiscated by the Obama administration.

Despite the brazen use of classism to get this big idea through, it seems as though even a good percentage of the rich themselves possess an innate desire to stick it to the rich. Apparently, envy is an endemic human trait. Robert Reich, professor at the University of California, Berkeley and former secretary of labor during the Clinton years, demonstrates just how easy it is to pitch such a message. “First of all [the plan] is fair,” Reich explains. After all, only “a tiny sliver of the incomes of the top 1 percent” will be needed. A small price to pay for the millions of thank-yous (read: future votes) from the multitude of Americans who believe that they have only to get free stuff out of the deal, right? This is populism. What Obama has reached for is the hero status of Robin Hood. For Obama, this is an all gain, no pain, win-win scenario. Again, when the people are gullible enough to swallow the populist message, it’s a politician’s dream. Just ask Hugo Chavez.

But is Obama really a champion of the lower classes? Opponents of the bill point out that the money taken from the rich will ultimately only cover about half of the cost. Inevitably, the remaining half of the $1 trillion needed over the next 10 years will have to be extracted from those who earn less than $280,000. Few economists believe that in the end the middle class will escape painful taxation as well. Remember Obama’s ever-changing figures during the campaign? First, he began by promising that if you earned under $500,000, you would not see a tax increase. Soon thereafter, that figure was lowered to $300,000. Then it seems as though Obama finally found the sweet spot of a quarter million dollars. “If you make less than $250,000, you will not see a tax increase under my plan. No matter what John McCain says.” Later Obama applied this figure to couples, effectively lowering the actual amount to $125,000 per individual. And before it was all done, then-vice presidential nominee Joe Biden lowered the figure to $200,000. And this was before they even came into power. This was before the Democrats gained control over both the House and the Senate. This was before the stimulus package. The American taxpayer hasn’t even begun to feel the sting of all Obama’s change will cost them.

The dirty little secret about populists is that they only pretend to stand for the poor and the middle class ֠which brings me to my main point. Though it isn’t hard for me to see through Obama’s transparent populist propaganda and radical left-wing economic agenda, in no way do I claim to be an economist ֠I am a Christian theologian with some very important observations. Obama’s populist message, his appeal to class envy and his overt move toward wealth redistribution find some very clear and dark echoes in the pages of the Bible.

Most people who have never even read the Bible have heard about the one Christians most often refer to as the Antichrist. In brief, according to many prophecies throughout the Bible, the Antichrist will be a satanically empowered man who will emerge as a powerful world leader shortly before the return of Jesus Christ. He will first emerge as a man of peace with a populist message and a large and popular following. Eventually, however, in his quest to expand his power base, he will seek to revive a powerful Middle Eastern empire. But even after his military campaigns begin, he will continue to use wealth redistribution as a tool to maintain his followers.

Before I continue, I want to make it very clear that in no way do I believe that President Obama is the Antichrist. For now, he is my president, and despite my deep disagreement with many of his policies, as an American, I pray for his protection and covering and that God would guide both his actions and his decisions.

As I said, I believe that there are some very important lessons to be gained from President Obama’s meteoric rise, the cult like fervor displayed by his followers and, again, the populist message of wealth redistribution he is pursuing. In the book of Daniel, it is revealed that the Antichrist will invade the wealthy nation of Israel specifically to plunder and gain control of its commodities and wealth. But what is so interesting is that the Bible tells us that his reason for seizing this wealth is to give it away to his followers. While slightly more violent than Obama’s tax plan, it is no less populist in its methodology of radical wealth redistribution:

When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them. ŠHe will distribute plunder, loot, and wealth among his followers. ֠Daniel 11:24

While this view may be new to some, it is certainly not a novel observation. This view was also well-established in the early church. In his celebrated work, “Against Heresies,” Irenaeus, a bishop from the early third century wrote that the “[Antichrist] pretends that he vindicates the poor.” It is fascinating to note that 1,800 years ago, this leader in the early church was well aware of the fact that the Antichrist would not truly be a man for the lower classes, but simply that he would pretend to be such a champion. Between the one who gives a fish and the one who teaches to fish, the teacher is rarely celebrated. Obama understands this concept, and the Antichrist will understand it as well.

When I listen to the average Christian express his expectations regarding the coming of the Antichrist, I often feel as though I am listening to something out of a science fiction novel. But will the coming of the Antichrist really be so otherworldly? We have just watched as an entire nation rallied around a populist leader with an observable religious fervor. What we have just observed and are even now watching unfold is but a foreshadow. Another man is coming.

That reminds me of another very fascinating prophetic figure. This man, known as the Mahdi (or rightly guided one), is known little throughout the Western world, but is awaited with an increasing fervency by many of the world’s roughly 1.3 billion Muslims. The Mahdi is Islam’s primary messiah figure, emphasized more so by the Shi’a but also awaited by the Sunni. Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America declares that, “The coming of the Mahdi is established doctrine for both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, and indeed for all humanity.”

Like the biblical Antichrist, the Islamic Mahdi is expected by Muslims to emerge on the world stage at the end of the age in order to revive a vast empire. Muslims believe that the Mahdi will cause Islam to conquer the whole earth, leading to the ultimate victory of Islam over other religions and over unbelief. The numerous parallels that exist between the Antichrist and the Mahdi are shocking, but for the purpose of this article I want to highlight the Islamic expectation regarding their populist wealth-distributing Mahdi.

According to Islamic tradition, under the reign of the Mahdi, the Islamic religious community will be so blessed, so wealthy, that anyone who asks the Mahdi for anything, it will be granted. According to Sahih Hakim Mustadrak, a source of non- Quranic sacred tradition:

In the last-days of the Islamic community, the Mahdi will appear. … He will give away wealth profusely, flocks will be in abundance, and the Muslim community will be large and honored. Š(Emphasis mine)

Elsewhere, At-Tabarani relays that Muhammad once said:

In those years my community will enjoy a time of happiness such as they have never experienced before. ŠA man will stand and say, “Give to me Mahdi!” and he will say, “Take.” (Emphasis mine)

I just recently returned from Istanbul to meet with Adnan Oktar, a Turkish Muslim intellectual and author of literally hundreds of books. Over 65 million of his works are in circulation worldwide. He is also a prolific writer with regard to the Islamic expectation of the coming of the Mahdi. In his work “The Awaited Mahdi,” Oktar states:

During the Golden Age, people will enjoy great wealth, prosperity, and peace. The Mahdi will use all of his wealth to spread Allah’s religion, and will follow the noble morality and the dictates of peace in the countries he comes victorious. His unparalleled practices will soften people’s hearts and lead them to Islamic morality. Thus, within a very short time this morality will rule the world.

We live in peculiar times. Many theologians and prophecy teachers are in agreement that world trends and events are clearly merging toward the final period of this age. If this is the case, then many of the biblical prophecies regarding the coming of the Antichrist will soon become real. It is imperative that Christians and non-Christians alike become aware of all the Bible has to say about these things. It is imperative that we learn how to identify the signs and trends that appear to be good, that have a veneer of “justice” about them but are in fact merely time-tested tools of men of ambition used to curry favor with the poor “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

It is also imperative that we become aware of just how perfectly these expectations align with the prophetic religious yearnings of roughly 1.3 billion Muslims. As Robert Allen Zimmerman once opined, “the times, they are a changing.” Let us wake up and remain awake during these days. As buzzwords like “economic justice” swirl around us, it is imperative that all freedom-loving people learn how to recognize the subtle tactics and the candy coating that dictators, men of ambition and even the devil himself have used down throughout history to manipulate, to divide and to conquer. Just because something is called “social justice” does not mean that it is just. The goal of genuine “social justice” is determining what is actually fair. Today the top 1 percent of income earners in the U.S. ֠a mere 1 million families ֠pay for over 30 percent of the United States budget each year. If Barack Obama’s health bill goes through, that 30 percent will jump to closer to 40 percent. For many American families, over half of their earnings will literally be plundered by the IRS. Let us not rejoice.

Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul warned the church in Colossi not to give in to that human propensity toward racism, classism or any other form of envy.

In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. ֠Colossians 3:11

We have just watched as a man lacking virtually any proper qualifications rose to become the most powerful man in the world, almost solely on his charisma and his shallow appeal to class envy. Today, throughout the Islamic world, the masses are yearning for and longing for a populist messiah figure known as the Mahdi who, according to their very own prophecies, will employ precisely the same methods as Obama. And as we have also learned, the Bible and the understanding of the early church also clearly warn that a man is soon coming who will also employ these very techniques in his to rise to power. Over half of the American people fell for it this time. When the soon coming imposter messiah arrives, will be any wiser? As the Apostle Paul warned, “Let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6) The days we live in demand no less.

Note: One of my favorite christophobic secular fundamentalist commentators, Richard Bartholomew has commented on my use of Daniel 11:24 as a reference to the Antichrist. Batholomew comments:

The person described here is Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Seleucid king hated in the Jewish tradition for his enforcement of Hellenistic culture and religious forms on Judea. Christian fundamentalists accept this historical context, but see it as some kind of ԦoreshadowingԠof events still to come ֠which the text itself does not warrant.

I wanted to simply reply by showing that my opinion is also shared by Jerome (347-420) who in his commentary on Daniel mentions that this position was affirmed by the majority of the early Christians. (except Porphyry of course, Jerome’s theological nemesis in this case.) Commenting on Daniel 11: verse 24, Jerome states:

Up to this point the historical order has been followed, and there has been no point of controversy between Porphyry and those of our side. But the rest of the text from here on to the end of the book he interprets as applying to the person of the Antiochus who was surnamed Epiphanes, the brother of Seleucus and the son of Antiochus the Great. He reigned in Syria for eleven years after Seleucus, and he seized Judaea, and it is under his reign that the persecution of God’s Law is related, and also the wars of the Maccabees. But those of our persuasion believe all these things are spoken prophetically of the Antichrist who is to arise in the end time. But this factor appears to them as a difficulty for our view, namely the question as to why the prophetic discourse should abruptly cease mention of these great kings and shift from Seleucus to the end of the world. The answer is that in the earlier historical account where mention was made of the Persian kings, only four kings of Persia were presented, following after Cyrus, and (712) many who came in between were simply skipped over, so as to come quickly to Alexander, king of the Macedonians. We hold that it is the practice of Scripture not to relate all details completely, but only to set forth what seems of major importance. Those of our school insist also that since many of the details which we are subsequently to read and explain are appropriate to the person of Antiochus, he is to be regarded as a type of the Antichrist, and those things which happened to him in a preliminary way are to be completely fulfilled in the case of the Antichrist. We hold that it is the habit of Holy |130 Scripture to set forth by means of types the reality of things to come, in conformity with what is said of our Lord and Savior in the Seventy-first [i.e Seventy-second] Psalm, a psalm which is noted at the beginning as being Solomon’s, and yet not all the statements which are made concerning can be applied to Solomon. For certainly he neither endured “together with the sun and before the moon from generation to generation,” nor did he hold sway from sea (p. 566) to sea, or from the River unto the ends of the earth; neither did all the nations serve him, nor did his name endure before the sun; neither were all the tribes of earth blessed in him, nor did all races magnify him. But in a partial way these things were set forth in advance, by shadows as it were, and by a mere symbol of the reality, in the person of Solomon, in order that they might be more perfectly fulfilled in our Lord and Savior. And so, just as the Savior had Solomon and the other saints as types of His advent, so also we should believe that the Antichrist very properly had as a type of himself the utterly wicked king, Antiochus, who persecuted the saints and defiled the Temple. Let us therefore follow along with the explanation point by point, and let us briefly observe in the case of each item what it signifies to those of the other school of thought and what it signifies to those of our school, in accordance with each of the two explanations. Our opponents say that the one who was to “stand up in the place of” Seleucus was his brother, Antiochus Epiphanes. The party in Syria who favored Ptolemy would not at first grant him the kingly honor, but he later secured the rule of Syria by a pretense of clemency. And as Ptolemy fought and laid everything waste, his arms were overcome and broken before the face of Antiochus. Now the word arms implies the idea of strength, and therefore also the host of any army is known as a hand [i.e. manus, “hand,” may also signify a “band of armed men”]. And not only does the text say that he conquered Ptolemy by fraud, but also the prince of the covenant he overcame by treachery, that is, Judas Maccabaeus. Or else this is what is referred to, that after he had secured peace with Ptolemy and he had become the prince of the covenant, he afterwards devised a plot against him. Now the Ptolemy meant here was not Epiphanes, who was the fifth Ptolemy to reign in Egypt, but Ptolemy (713) Philometor, the son of Antiochus’ sister, Cleopatra; and so Antiochus was his |131 maternal uncle. And when after Cleopatra’s death Egypt was ruled by Eulaius, the eunuch who was Philometor’s tutor, and by Leneus, and they were attempting to regain Syria, which Antiochus had fraudulently seized, warfare broke out between the boy Ptolemy and his uncle. And when they joined battle between Pelusium and Mt. Casius, Ptolemy’s generals were defeated. But then Antiochus showed leniency towards the boy, and making a pretense of friendship, he went up to Memphis and there received the crown after the Egyptian manner. Declaring that he was looking out for the lad’s interests, he subjected all Egypt to himself with only a small force of men, and he entered into rich and prosperous cities. And so he did things which his father had never done, nor his fathers’ fathers. For none of the kings of Syria had ever laid Egypt waste after this fashion and scattered all their wealth. Moreover he was so shrewd that he even overcame by his deceit the well-laid plans of those who were the boy-king’s generals. This is the line of interpretation which Porphyry followed, pursuing the lead of (A) Sutorius with much redundancy, discoursing of matters which we have summarized within a brief compass. But the scholars of our viewpoint have made a better and correcter interpretation, stating that the deeds are to be performed by the Antichrist at the end of the world. It is he who is destined to arise from a small nation, that is from the Jewish people, and shall be so lowly and despised that kingly honor will not be granted him. But by means of intrigue and deception he shall secure the government and by him shall the arms of the fighting nation of Rome be overcome and broken. He is to effect this result by pretending to (p. 567) be the prince of the covenant, that is, of the Law and Testament of God. And he shall enter into the richest of cities and shall do what his fathers never did, nor his fathers’ fathers. For none of the Jews except the Antichrist has ever ruled over the whole world. And he shall form a design against the firmest resolves of the saints and shall do everything [he wishes] for a time, for as long as God’s will shall have permitted him to do these things.

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