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TESTING THE FAITH
Did Jesus actually reveal name of the ‘antichrist’?
Viral video makes Hebrew word connection to latest White House occupant
Posted: July 30, 2009
9:50 pm Eastern
By Joe Kovacs
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
For centuries, many have wondered about the identity of a biblical leader who will do Satan the devil’s bidding, trying to thwart the plans of Jesus Christ shortly before His prophesied return to Earth.
That character has come to be known as “the antichrist,” even though the Bible never uses that word to describe any single person.
Now, after endless speculation suggesting Presidents John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush could possibly be the End Times Bad Boy, there’s a new viral video placing the current occupant of the White House into the club.
An American Christian has produced a brief film for YouTube that connects one statement by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke to President Barack Obama.
His 4-minute video focuses on the direct quote: “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke 10:18)
“When I started doing a little research, I found the Greek word for ‘lightning’ is ‘astrape’, and the Hebrew equivalent is ‘Baraq,'” said YouTube contributor “ppsimmons,” a self-described Christian with a theological education and many years in the ministry, who spoke to WND under condition of anonymity. “I thought that was fascinating.”
As he continued looking into the rest of the words in the phrase, he focused on “heaven,” and found that it can refer not just to God’s dwelling place, but also “the heights” or “high places.”
He then recalled Isaiah 14:14, where Lucifer, another name for Satan, is quoted as saying, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
“I wondered what the word ‘heights’ is,” said ppsimmons, “and I looked it up in the dictionary, and it’s ‘Bamah.'”
Thus, on the video, the announcer notes, “If spoken by a Jewish rabbi today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah, He (Jesus) would say these words in Hebrew … ‘I saw Satan as Baraq Ubamah.'”
“Gosh, was Jesus giving us a clue or was this just a freak coincidence?” thought the filmmaker at the time of his research.
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“I want to emphasize I’m not ashamed of what I put there,” he told WND. “I’m not proclaiming he is the antichrist, or that I’m some kind of a Hebrew expert, but the word associations are indisputable. The Hebrew word for lightning is ‘Baraq’ and the word for heights or high places is ‘Bamah.'”
The movie has a prominent disclaimer stressing the film does not declare “BHO” [Barack Hussein Obama] to be the antichrist, but is merely pointing out the Hebrew words and their “striking” correlations to Jesus’ statement.
Obama is far from being the first public figure to have his identity tied to Bible prophecy. For instance, President Reagan was considered by some to be a potential merely because each of his names – Ronald Wilson Reagan – has six letters, prompting some to think of 666, the “number of the beast” in the Book of Revelation.
Modern books such as “Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession” and “Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination with Evil” have chronicled a wide variety of other suspects including Henry Kissinger, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Italy’s Benito Mussolini, Juan Carlos of Spain, Israel’s Moshe Dayan, Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Elvis Presley and ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, perhaps for his famous birthmark on his head that some thought could be “the mark” of the beast mentioned in Revelation.
When WND asked if people should take the video seriously or with a grain of salt, its producer said, “I take the middle road. I don’t take it with a grain of salt, but I don’t use the Bible like a Ouija board either. It’s not like a magical crystal ball. Clear prophecy is one thing. Making word associations is another. Just look at it. I wouldn’t take it super serious and say that’s the proof we need. It’s a little weird.”
With the video posted now in several locations on YouTube and more than 75,000 total views, there has been plenty of reaction, with comments such as:
Anyone who knows multiple languages, which I do, and attempts to translate from one to the other knows that some meaning and inflection is lost in the translation. Here, we’re translating three times: from Aramaic to Greek, and Greek to English, and English to Hebrew. A lot to be lost.
If I went through thousands and thousands of pieces of text about the devil (the whole bible!), I could find things to say [Fox News anchor] Glenn Beck is the antichrist.
It was Michael Jackson. No wait. It was George Bush. No wait. It was Paris Hilton! What the [expletive] is wrong with you people? Grow up. I bet you don’t worship the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, too. Do you?
The Bible uses the word “antichrist” only four times, with one instance in the plural, in the following verses:
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (1 John 2:18)
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:3)
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (2 John 1:7)
Obama isn’t just Kenyan, he’s also the Antichrist?
WASHINGTON — Move over, Birthers. It turns out President Obama is actually part of a far, far more sinister plot, one that will make you long for the days when you only worried that someone had ginned up a phony birth certificate for him.
As a breathless new report on the loony World Net Daily makes clear, Obama isn’t just Kenyan — he’s also the Antichrist. And Jesus himself knew it.
A YouTube clip published earlier this week reveals the evil truth, by delving into some Aramaic words that come together to sound like the president’s name. The key to the theory is a line from the New Testament, specifically Luke 10:18, in which Jesus says, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Whoever put the video together — someone named “ppsimmons,” who World Net Daily couldn’t persuade to go on the record — reveals that the ancient Aramaic, and modern Hebrew, word for “lightning” is “barak.” And then, using the word “bamah,” or “the heights,” which appears in Isaiah 14:14, ppsimmons argues that in the original Aramaic, Jesus would have said, essentially, “I saw Satan as Barack Obama.” (When combining “barak” and “bamah,” the narrator says, you’d have to add a “u” or “o” sound in between.)
Throughout the clip, the narrator keeps referring to how “a modern Jewish rabbi” would pronounce the Luke phrase. (At one point, the video helpfully provides a photo of one such rabbi, looking authentically Semitic — if a bit stereotypical — with a beard, a tallis and a Torah in front of him.) “If spoken by a Jewish rabbi today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah, [Jesus] would say these words in Hebrew: ‘I saw Satan as Baraq Ubamah,'” the video says.
Actually, as Woody Allen’s Alvy Singer character in “Annie Hall” might say, Salon happens to have a “modern Jewish rabbi” right here. “They want to say it would be pronounced ‘Ubamah,'” says Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, in Wyncote, Pa. “No — it would be ‘Uvamah.'” The YouTube video’s narrator is correct that the Hebrew letter vav would have to become a “u” or “o” sound, but the letter that the word “bamah” starts with would also have to shift, to a “v” sound. “It doesn’t hold up even within its own silly logic,” Ehrenkrantz says. (I had also tried to reach a Salon editor’s nephew, who has been studying Hebrew for his upcoming bar mitzvah, but he was in math camp and unavailable for comment.)
In essence, the whole video seems to be the political conspiracy theory equivalent of taking a phrase and running it back and forth among different languages in Babelfish until it becomes gibberish. The line in Luke 10:18 wouldn’t typically be translated as “I saw Satan fall as lightning from the high place,” as the YouTube clip does it, but rather, as “I saw Satan fall as lightning from heaven,” or “from the sky.” That phrase, “lightning from heaven” is rendered in Hebrew as “barak min ha-shamayim,” not “barak uvamah.” (Even the basic instruction I had years ago in Hebrew school was enough to figure that much out.)
The video’s producer does make a fig leaf attempt to step back from the conclusions he’s drawn. “I’m not proclaiming he is the Antichrist, or that I’m some kind of a Hebrew expert, but the word associations are indisputable,” the producer told WND. “The Hebrew word for lightning is ‘Baraq’ and the word for heights or high places is ‘Bamah.'” The video also includes a disclaimer saying it’s not proof of Obama’s true identity; the whole thing could just be a fluke.
But the linguistic twists needed to produce the whole theory give away the game. Once you start playing around with language and deliberate mistranslations, of course, it’s not too hard to come up with something that fits whatever preconceived notions you may have already had. “It would take us about a half an hour to come up with a crackpot theory, and we can make just about anybody into either the Messiah or the Antichrist” by picking and choosing words from the Bible, Ehrenkrantz says. The idea that Obama is the Antichrist has been around long enough that Snopes.com posted a thorough debunking of it in April 2008 — about 14 months before this latest YouTube clip popped up.
And while it may be easy to mock the video — for its spooky music, its insane conclusions and, oh, yes, also the fact that it misspells “heights” as “heigths” — there’s no doubt some people on the right’s lunatic fringe will take it as, well, gospel. After all, it’s been more than a year since Obama’s campaign posted a copy of his Hawaii birth certificate. By this time next year, will Lou Dobbs be asking why Obama hasn’t put the Antichrist rumors behind him yet?