Things That Have Been Called the Antichrist

imagesThere are only a few passages in the Bible that describe the Antichrist, a man who will appear in the last days and lead many people into deception. However, this hasn’t prevented a whole mythology from developing around him.

I can remember seeing Barack Obama speak on television at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He talked about living in unity as Americans, about how we need to set aside our political and cultural differences and embrace one another as equals. “Even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America!”

It was the greatest speech I had ever seen by a candidate for state senate, and as the crowd rose to its feet in a display of adulation unseen during the rest of that week, I remember thinking two things distinctly: one, that Mr. Obama was going to be our next Democratic president; and two, that he had an Antichrist spirit.

Five years later, when I met the scary pastor, during one of our first visits we got to talking about politics. And he repeated to me, almost word for word, the story I’ve just told you. “When I saw that speech, I turned to my wife and said, ‘That man has an Antichrist spirit, and he’s going to be our next president.’”

Why would we both think that?

Nowhere does it say in the Bible that the Antichrist will be the greatest orator that ever lived. Nowhere does it say that TIME Magazine will name him their Man of the Year and that People will declare him the Sexiest Man Alive. Nor will you find any references to him bringing peace and unity, working to renew a broken world, or rekindling hope among a people who are lost and afraid.

In fact, the Bible really doesn’t have a lot to say about this person. The writers of the Gospels for some reason thought it would be more pertinent to focus on Jesus. However, this has never stopped well-meaning pastors and conservative leaders from declaring various things to be “the work of the Antichrist,” and growing up in the Evangelical subculture the following are just a few of the many things that at one time or another I heard labeled as the Antichrist:

– World peace

– Tolerance of other people / ideas / religions

– The Israeli / Palestinian peace process

– Liberal politics / theology

– The Roman Catholic Church

– Diversity

– The Lion King (the opening scene in particular)

– Any movie with talking animals

– Islam / Buddhism / Hinduism

– The push for unity between Christian denominations

– Social justice (feeding the poor, protecting the environment)

– The Gospel

I hope by now the point is obvious: if you want to create an army of people who are not like Jesus, the easiest way to do it is to shame them into thinking that the things Jesus valued are demonic.

Peace, justice, and corporal acts of mercy are all good things; and anyone who does these things is doing the work of the Lord. But dangerous end-times theology twists our perceptions, causing us to exalt what is evil and fear what is good (Amos 5:20). Rather than making the Antichrist the foundation of our eschatology, we should be looking at Jesus, the true Prince of Peace. Jesus, who prayed for his Church to be one just as he was one with his Father (John 17:22). Jesus, for whom those who fed the poor and comforted the sick and imprisoned were comforting him (Matthew 25:31-46).

Let’s work for an end to warfare, for an end to financial and military and spiritual oppression, for a world where people are no longer sold or abused or enslaved, in the confidence that in fighting for justice we are fighting for Jesus.

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4 thoughts on “Things That Have Been Called the Antichrist

  1. I figure if someone is going to go toe-to-toe with Jesus, they’re going to lose. So, the Antichrist is at the bottom of my list of Things I Need To Worry About. Hooray! If Jesus is who he says he is, the identity/characteristics of anyone who aligns against him make no difference. Jesus is cool like that. To miss that is to miss who Jesus really is. The following is slightly off-topic, but I’ll say it anyhow; I’ve had some issues with the recent Hobbit movies, but one line spoken by Balin really grabbed me, when he said of Thorin: “Our enemy had been defeated, but there were no feast or songs that night, for our dead were beyond the count of grief. We few had survived and I thought to myself then, ‘There is one I could follow. There is one I could call King.'” That’s really all that Jesus asks. I like it!

    • I must have been asleep when he said those lines, because I don’t remember any dialogue from the latest movie being so beautiful. I’ve been thinking about writing a post on the Hobbit movies, but figure I already have enough controversy in my life. 🙂

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