Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is Obama the Antichrist?
Several questioners during the last several months, including some of the same people who once asked me, "Is Bill Clinton the Antichrist?"
Is President Obama the Antichrist? No, I think not. According to how I read the Scriptures, the Antichrist will rise up out of the ashes of the old Roman Empire, subduing three nations and forcing the others to join in a coalition that moves to destroy Israel—leading up to the Battle of Armageddon (Daniel 7-9; Ezekiel 38; Revelation 13:2-3; 16:16-21 and 17:9-18). While there is some question as to his heritage, the Antichrist will most likely be a Jew. Obama fails to qualify on several accounts including: he is not European and not a Jew. He is not, nor apparently will he ever be the leader of one or more of the nations in Europe.
Before we go further, let's remember that Paul distinctly tells us to pray for our governmental leaders. Paul's reasoning is that those who rule over us need all the help they can get. The easier and better governmental leaders are able to do their jobs, the better off we all will be (Romans 13:1-7). We need to pray for President Obama—not vilify him just because his political leanings might be different from ours.
To put things in perspective, my most intensive prayer for our President is that he lead!
Remember, the Constitution is structured to keep the minority from being over run by the majority. Stubbornly refusing to compromise is the abdication of true leadership.
It's unfortunate that many rumors attempt to tie Obama to the Antichrist. Some are really nasty. One rumor has it that the Antichrist will be a man of Muslim/Arab descent, in his 40s, and will rule for 42 months (close to the length of a U.S. presidency). President Obama declares a Christian faith and emphatically denies he is a Muslim—and he is not of Arab descent. The "42 months" idea occurs in numerous prophetical passages, but there is absolutely nothing to connect the 42 months with the 4-year (48 months) first-term of a U.S. President. Rumors and wild speculation only distract us from perhaps identifying the real Antichrist.
Now, let's continue. The Antichrist will be a man indwelt by Satan himself (Revelation 12:7-9). The indwelling of the Antichrist apparently occurs three-and-a-half years after the Antichrist engineers a peace treaty between the coalition of European nations and Israel. Israel will dwell safe and secure for three and one-half years (Ezekiel 38:10-11, 14-16 and Daniel 9:27) until shortly after the Antichrist is Satan indwelt. Then, all Hell breaks out on the earth. The Antichrist will slaughter a pig and set up a graven image of himself on the altar of a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24-27). Jesus verified this image as the Abomination of Desolation which initiates the greatest slaughter of Jews in history. Jesus's advice for the inhabitants of Israel at this time is to "get out of town" as soon as possible. I'm using The Message paraphrase Bible below to give Jesus's teaching a more contemporary rendering:
Jesus said, "… When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don't panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming.
"They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name. And then, going from bad to worse, it will be dog-eat-dog, everyone at each other's throat, everyone hating each other…. Stay with it to the end. You won't be sorry, and you'll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world,… and then the end will come.
"But be ready to run for it when you see the monster of desecration [literally: “The Abomination That Makes Desolate”) set up in the Temple sanctuary…. If you've read Daniel, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you're living in Judea at the time, run for the hills; if you're working in the yard, don't return to the house to get anything; if you're out in the field, don't go back and get your coat. Pregnant and nursing mothers will have it especially hard. Hope and pray this won't happen during the winter or on a Sabbath.
"This is going to be trouble on a scale beyond what the world has ever seen, or will see again. If these days of trouble were left to run their course, nobody would make it. But on account of God's chosen people, the trouble will be cut short.
"Following those hard times, the sun will fade out, the moon will cloud over, the stars fall out of the sky, and the cosmic powers will tremble.
“Then, the Arrival of the Son of Man will fill the skies—no one will miss it. Unready people all over the world, outsiders to the splendor and power, will raise a huge lament as they watch the Son of Man blazing out of heaven. At that same moment, he'll dispatch his angels with a trumpet-blast summons, pulling in God's chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole” (Matthew 24:4-30).
The Antichrist will be a counterfeit Christ. Satan continually tries to mimic the works of God. He longs to be worshipped. His ungodly pride was unveiled by his rebellion in Heaven—which resulted in his fall (Isaiah 14). He begged Jesus to worship him (Matthew 4:8-10). One day he will use the Antichrist as a tool to elicit worship. This man will receive a mortal wound and yet, miraculously, he will survive (Revelation 13:3-4, 12). The Greek word for "wound" describes cutting the throat. He will stage a resurrection and demand to be worshipped as god—under penalty of death and starvation for those who refuse (Revelation 13:14-18).
The Antichrist's coming will be with all sorts of power, signs, wonders, deceit and sin. Fortunately, he will be destroyed by a puff of the breath of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10).
Already many "antichrists" are now preparing the way for the coming of the Antichrist. The Bible defines all who fail to surrender to Christ as their Lord and Savior as antichrists (1 John 2:18 and Matthew 12:30).
It is fashionable today for some to identify the Pope as the Antichrist. I don’t know what to think about their guess; however, I have a hard time believing that he will fulfill the role.
Fortunately, we know his name—at least the number of his name. Greek gematria is useful in adding up the letter values of his name. The letter-numbers add up to "666" (or "606"). I will answer the meaning of "666" as soon as someone asks me on "Ask Roger" for an answer!
Many believe that even Satan has no idea who the Antichrist will be. The Roman Emperors Augustus Caesar through Nero were all prime candidates during the first century. Charlemagne was ready in the 800s. The Pope was in a great position to fulfill the role during the 1200s and the 1500s. Adolph Hitler was certainly ready in the 20th century. Watch those in power in Europe. It could be the real Antichrist is already alive and well on planet Earth.
But none of the Antichrist, Satan and the False Prophet will escape punishment for their crimes:
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations… to gather them for battle... They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:7-10).
Good riddance! I hope my answer gives you all some helpful insights to the identity and coming of the Antichrist. President Obama is not he!
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
Publication date: October 15, 2013