November 20, 2008

Obama is the "Anti-Christ"?

Various emails are circulating regarding President-elect Barack Obama being the anti-Christ.1 It seems since John the Revelator put quill to parchment people have been figuring out various ways to discover who "the" anti-Christ is using math, etymology, and other approaches. In this case, the name "Barack" is the clincher.

From the email:
"In Luke 10:18 Jesus states, "I beheld Satan as Lightning fall from Heaven." Barack, also transliterated as Baraq in Hebrew, is LIGHTNING (Strongs Hebrew word 1300). Even in Greek, Barak is LIGHTNING (Strongs Greek word 913) for the name of a person!"2
If the punchy ALL CAPS and lack of authorial source isn't enough to tip people off as to the specious reasoning, it would do well to check the claims. First, Barack Obama's name is Arabic, not Hebrew, though both are Semetic. It derives from the Semitic root *BRK [to kneel, bless] and is not etymologically related to the Semitic root *BRQ [to flash, gleam], whence the noun for "lightning" derives.3 Even if it did mean "lightening," I fail to see how this is proof of anything significant in relation to the Bible, especially from an LDS stnadpoint (we don't really expect Satan to be embodied, do we?)

Interestingly, just as "solid" a connection could be made with Joseph Smith. Older versions of the Doctrine and Covenants contained code-names intended to conceal the identity of people mentioned in the revelations.4 One name used for Joseph Smith was "Baurak Ale." Loftes Tryk, eager to find problems with the LDS Church, explained that this code-name revealed the sinister nature of Joseph Smith:
Barak is a Hebrew term for lightning. . . . Ale is the common English transliteration of El, the Hebrew word for power, almighty, or God. Joseph was '"Lightning God." Alternatively, [the name] may have identified a home-made brew sometimes known as white lightning, a slightly ribald reference to Joseph's occasional heavy drinking."5
In response to Tryk, Daniel C. Peterson explained:
In fact, the Jewish Hebraist Louis Zucker, speaking of our very phrase, has observed that "the form 'baurak' is not actually found in the Bible but is a perfectly valid hypothetical form." And Prof. Zucker implicitly approves the translation of "Baurak Ale" as something like "God bless you" or "God blesses."6
So if anyone wants to equate Obama with the anti-Christ, I'll associate him with Joseph Smith, instead. More on Obama and the Anti-Christ can be found at Snopes. The place all should go when you get a mysterious email with "fwd: fwd: fwd:" in the subject line. If I haven't convinced you that the tie is spurious, perhaps you would help me obtain the millions of dollars I just inherited from my dead great uncle in the UK. All I need is your bank account number and you'll get to keep 20%. I swear. 

Kevin Barney over at By Common Consent certainly scooped me, but given that several visitors were brought to this site looking for information on the constitution of the United States "hanging by a thread" (another post forthcoming) I thought it appropriate to go ahead with a few thoughts on President-elect Barack Obama.

Email sent to "Ask an Apologist" on the FAIR organization website, November 18, 2008.

See Kevin Barney's explanation, ibid. If it turns out that the name really does mean lightening and that Obama is the anti-Christ, please blame Kevin Barney.

See the code names listed at the Book of Abraham Project site, in their incomplete annotated History of the Church.

Loftes Tryk, The Best Kept Secrets in the Book of Mormon, 121, as quoted in Daniel C. Peterson, "A Modern Malleus maleficarum,"  FARMS Review 3:1.



Anthony E. Larson said...

Well argued; well documented.

I get very tired of the "anti-Christ" mentality that permiates Christianity today--especially when it comes from Mormons, who should know better. Joseph Smith made no such reference. It's a spurious concept, just as is the rapture. These are fairly recent, Millenialist ideas that have no place in a correct vision of the restored gospel.

Thanks for attempting to clear up the confusion and misdirection.

Officer Yates OPD said...

I'll take you up on that 20% offer...sounds too good to pass up (or to be true.) :^) Although, my bank said in order to get the money wired from your account to mine all I need is your account # and social security number. You can go ahead and post it here in the comments section and I'll let them know to check this site for it. Thanks in advance.

BHodges said...


Steve M. said...

Have Mormons been circulating this garbage? I hope not.

BHodges said...

Unfortunately, Steve, yes. Mormons have been circulating this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Obama is for a "world Order," or New World Order, or "One World Government." (Alex Jone's The Obama Deception). Which was warned about by Ezra Taft Benson, during his talk at BYU, during the Veitnam war era, "Veitnam, Victory or Surrender." In this talk, he mentions those before Obama, who seek to disarm America & build up the arms of the UN, as other nations' arms are sapped by the UN, so as to weaken the state nations, so that the UN armed forces couldn't be challenged in the coming One World Government. Obama may not be the anti-Christ, but he's helping to bring in an anti-Christ World Order that brings about the fulfillment of Joseph Smith's prophecy that the "constitution would hang by a thread."

BHodges said...

Anonymous, but I'm not sure who you are and I don't think your link helps further the conversation. I also think your comments make you seem a little disconnected and paranoid. :)

Jeffrey said...

I for one am very pleased that Latter Day Saints are thinking regarding the signs of the coming Anti-Christ. No, Obama, is not the Anit-Christ, but has used many of the techniques the Anit-Christ will use to capture popularity and power.

However, what Obama is is most probably the worst President that our Republic has had in her history. The Anti-Christ will probably rise out of Europe,in the relatively near future, but Obama is destroying the U.S. Constitution and the Republic, now!

Certainly, Obama is a forerunner of the Anti-Christ using many of the techniques of crowd persuasion and control, but worse, he is a certain destroyer of the Constitution and the Union. This destructive work is also anti-christ, although, not Anti-Christ with the capital "A'.

The important note, is he is not come from our Holy Messiah, but rather, he is inspired of the doctrines of the evil-one. This is true, Think well.

BHodges said...

Oh, I think well. And I think your declarations are short-sighted and false, and frankly, you sound a little overzealous. I advise going and reading our recent General Conference report. It will give you a good idea of where the current prophets stand on the times.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind *1 John 2:18*,for there are many antichrists.However the antichrist,you wont know untill* Thessalonians 2:4* he the antichrist stands and sits in the temple of god ,claiming he is god!The TEMPLE has to be REBUILT!

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