Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Crushing on the Antichrist - a history of heartbreak
Christians just love the Antichrist. Oh they would deny it if you asked them of course – they are supposed to be saving themselves for Jesus and all – but you can tell from the way they are constantly seeking the big AC with a sense of breathless excitement that they want nothing more than to marry the Antichrist and have like a million of his babies. The main Antichrist crush of the moment seems to be Obama of course. Despite all the warnings from the good folks at Snopes that Obama might not be the Man of Lawlessness (aka the man of our dreams!!) that those emails promise (internet dating profiles always seem to disappoint!) that has not diminished the hopes one bit. The fun folks over at Rapture Ready are positively dizzy with excitement that Obama might finally fulfill our hopes, dreams and prophecies and start persecuting us already! However I’m hesitant to get my hopes up about this, after all we’ve had our hearts broken before! Just look at these 6 (see what I did there?) guys who showed such promise but ultimately just failed to deliver:
The early Christians (and modern Preterists) regarded Nero as THE Antichrist. This view is certainly not popular among modern fundamentalist Christians, but a fair academic case can be made that the Antichrist described in the book of Revelations was in fact none other than Nero himself – the famed number of the Beast certainly works as a code name for Nero. He certainly showed a lot of promise too, he persecuted the crap out of the Church in cruel and inventive ways for one thing and no one doubted that he was a whole new class of evil – he did sleep with his mom and then tried to have her killed in a Bond villain-esque way (which didn’t work so he just had her stabbed) after all! The problem is that despite all the promise he showed, he never made the big commitment to our dreams of Armageddon and Apocalypse.
Odds that he’s our guy: Nonexistent. Seriously, he’s been dead for around 2000 years. I think it’s fair to say that he left us and he’s not coming back.
It would be impossible to talk about the Antichrist without mentioning the great white hope himself – the Pope. To this day many Christians (especially Lutherans, Seventh Day Adventists and Jack Chick) still hold a candle in their hearts that any day now, the Pope will actually live up to their dreams. For one thing the office of the papacy sure seems to fulfill a lot of the prophetic descriptions. I mean come on, a woman sitting on many waters who rides a beast with 7 heads and 10 horns and fornicates with the kings of the earth? Could it be any more obvious?? In days of yore the papacy certainly behaved in a remarkably Antichrist-like way and persecuted the Protestants (as well as the Jews, Muslims and pagans) quite viciously. Also, the current Pope bears a creepy resemblance to the Emperor from Star Wars. That may be a total coincidence but it sure is creepy.
Odds that he’s our guy: Medium to low. One can’t really rule out the Pope completely since there will probably always be a Pope and you never know what the future may hold. Yet you can’t blame me for being a wee bit skeptical about this. After all the Catholic Church is nowhere near what it used to be, especially when it comes to political influence and the legal right to burn heretics at the stake. The Pope is pretty much our Mr Big (yes that was totally a Sex and the City reference). He is always around and shows so much promise but he just never seems to come through. Seriously, it’s been centuries and we are currently on Pope #265. How long before we realize that he is just not interested in us in that way?
Now if ever there was a great candidate for the post of Antichrist its Mr. Adolph Hitler. He just seems to pass the Biblical checklist for the Antichrist with flying colors! He will rise from obscurity (a “little horn” Daniel 7:8) – check. He will speak boastfully (Daniel 7:8; Rev 13:5) – check. He will change the laws, to gain an advantage for his new kingdom and era (Dan 7:25) – check. His whole focus and attention will be on his military and he will conquer lands and distribute them (Daniel 11:39-44) – check. He will survive an assassination attempt (Rev. 13:3; 17:8) – check. He will brutally persecute the Jews (Daniel 7:25; Rev 13:7) – check. It just goes on and on. I’m pretty sure that it would have been very easy for anyone in Europe during World War 2 to believe that the Four Horsemen were out and about and that the Apocalypse had begun.
Odds that he’s our guy: Nonexistent. He may have been the perfect candidate but for one fatal flaw – a serious case of being deceased.
King Juan Carlos of Spain
The late prophecy teacher Charles Taylor was a big proponent of the idea that Juan Carlos is the Antichrist in his book "The Antichrist King: Juan Carlos" and many antichrist watchers seem to agree. They certainly make a strong case: For one thing Spain was the 11th nation to join the EU and according to prophecy the Antichrist will be the leader of the 11th nation to join the Roman Empire (Daniel 7:23-25). As we all know, the EU is like totally the new Roman Empire. With some numerological tweaking various renderings of his name (in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German and Russian) apparently add up to 666. The Antichrist is also supposed to play a big role in Middle East peace talks and Juan Carlos has been playing either an indirect or a direct role in the Middle East peace process for some time. The 1991 Madrid Conference for instance kicked off multi-lateral talks among Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and representatives of Palestine. Most damningly of all he allegedly has a yacht called The Dragon, which is obviously a reference to Satan, who is depicted as a dragon in Revelations 13: 2, 11-14.
Odds that he’s our guy: Low. Maybe it’s just me but the guy just seems a little underwhelming. I admit to not being as clued up on international politics as I should be but I just don’t see the 71 year old king of Spain as that much of a threat. Time will tell I guess. I just think we can do better.
During the 80’s a lot of people seemed to believe that beloved US president Reagan was none other than the Beast of Revelations. Of course they based this conclusion on some pretty solid evidence: His first, middle and last name each had 6 letters for one thing. James Brady, press secretary to Ronald Reagan, was shot in the head during an attempt on the president's life. Hearing that Brady's wound was certain to be fatal, a Whitehouse staffer mistakenly informed the press that Brady had died. The major television networks announced the death of James Brady and the story traveled throughout the world at electronic speeds. Miraculously, Brady survived his surgery and the press revealed that the man they had been memorializing was still alive – exactly as Revelations 13 predicted!! Revelations also talks of the Beast having feet like a bear and the Reagan family coat of arms has a bear on it AND the state animal of California – his home and powerbase – is a bear!
Odds that he’s our guy: Nonexistent. While the proof may have been overwhelming that he was our man there are a couple of obstacles. First and foremost is the fact that he’s dead. Really with an obstacle like that do I even need to mention the Alzheimer’s or the fact that he left office without starting Armageddon?
During those heady Cold War days, that ravishing Russian Mikhail Gorbachev set Christian hearts aflutter and made the hope burn high that the Antichrist has finally come among us. He was a commie after all and we all know that those people are like totally evil incarnate right? After all, those Russians were all atheists meaning that they didn't believe in Jesus so in other words they were "anti-Christ"! He also had a mark on his forehead and the Bible does say in Revelation that the Antichrist will require everyone to "receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand." (Revelation 14:9). I mean that’s some solid evidence right there, you have the word “mark” and “forehead” right there in a sentence AND on the person of Mr Gorbachev. Since he ran the USSR (the biggest country in the world) he would also totally be able to run a one world government!
Odds that he’s our guy: Very Low. For one thing he is no longer in power and is happily retired from politics. Instead of bringing about the nuclear war that so many Christians had hot sweaty dreams about he instead brought about the collapse of the mighty “Evil Empire”. In short he dashed all our apocalyptic hopes in a mean-spirited, cruel way. Call me crazy but I don’t think this guy deserves a second chance with our hearts.