When it comes to the end times, there isn’t much that I agree with Hal Lindsey about. Hal Lindsey, author of the huge (and phenomenally misguided) “Late Great Planet Earth” and rapture promoter wrote a column last week comparing the reception received by Barack Obama on his world tour to the reception that the Antichrist will one day receive.
After describing some of the detail of Obama’s trip, Lindsey says this:
And the Bible says that such a leader will soon make his appearance on the scene. It won’t be Barack Obama, but Obama’s world tour provided a foretaste of the reception he can expect to receive.
He will probably also stand in some European capital, addressing the people of the world and telling them that he is the one that they have been waiting for. And he can expect as wildly enthusiastic a greeting as Obama got in Berlin.
The Bible calls that leader the Antichrist. And it seems apparent that the world is now ready to make his acquaintance.
I am not sure that the rise of Antichrist is as imminent as Mr. Lindsey might believe as there are still a number of things that need to happen before he makes the scene, but Mr. Lindsey is right about the reception that the “man of sin” will initially garner.
Mr. Lindsey, by even making the comparison, opens himself up to the usual ridicule on this topic. I suspect he knows that and doesn’t really care that much. His remarks have been fodder for many, and let them have at it. However, I was particularly struck by the comments of Libby Purves in the Times Online. She writes:
On the other hand, nowhere that I can find in the Apocalypse mentions that the Beast or Antichrist wears natty tailored suits and a grin. It takes a bit of a stretch to see Obama as “a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy. … and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion.”
In her remarks, Purves throws cold water on the notion that “Antichrist wears natty tailored suits and a grin.” No, I am afraid you are wrong. That is exactly what he will do.
First, Tradition (with a capital T) has always held that Antichrist will be an individual man. To hold otherwise puts you on thin ice. St. Robert Bellarmine, a saint and Doctor of the Church and one of the most learned men of his time, has this to say about the individuality of Antichrist and those who oppose this concept. The following is from Desmond Birch’s Trial , Tribulation, and Triumph quoting St. Robert Bellarmine.
For all Catholics actually perceive Antichrist to be one certain man, but all previously mentioned heretics in a manner peculiar to them teach Antichrist not to be a single person, but rather the Antichrist to be a single throne, or a tyrannical kingdom, or the apostolic chair of those who preside over the Church.
To deny the individuality of Antichrist is to be in league with heretics according to St. Robert Bellarmine. It is thus obvious that the language describing the beast is a literal mechanism, not a physical description. It is also a long held belief that during his ascent to power he be viewed as a “bringer of light” in a way similar to Mr. Obama, however on a much grander scale. Only after achieving power will his cruelty become readily apparent. This list of saints and scholars that support this notion is too long to list here.
We can certainly chuckle at the comparison of Obama to Antichrist, I know I did. But if we fool ourselves into thinking that he won’t be wearing nice suits and smiling, that he will visible as the beast from the beginning, then we are certain not to recognize him when he finally does make the scene. Laugh at Mr. Lindsey if you will, but on this point he is entirely correct.
August 6, 2008 at 6:19 pm
Gee, Bill, such a, well, Henry VIII attitude, and so eloquently and intellectually expressed.
But back to the article — is Senator Obama clear on the matter?
August 6, 2008 at 6:21 pm
Catholicism would be much cooler if we believe chant and incense turned a cracker into a sky wizard 🙁
Unfortunately, that’s not what we believe.
On to a better topic:
I had real concerns about Obama going to Germany. (Hundreds of thousands of screaming German youth) +( a charasmatic leader making empty promises and blaming others)= And now it’s…
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Deutschland is happy and gay!
We’re marching to a faster pace
Look out, here comes the master race!
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Rhineland’s a fine land once more!
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Watch out, Europe
We’re going on tour!
Springtime for Hitler and Germany…
Winter for Poland and France 🙁
Whoever thought Mel Brooks and Hal Lindsey were on the same page, Eschatologically? The end must be near!
August 6, 2008 at 7:02 pm
Obama scares me!!
…and Hal Lindseys book on Islam, The Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad is actually fairly good.
For someone who appears to be quite intelligent I always wonder where he gets some of his weird ideas.
August 6, 2008 at 11:48 pm
LCB, I doff my hat to superior wit! My poor In Mel We Trust attempt:
He rode a blazing jet plane
He was his own shining star
His job to offer payoffs
To bad men near and far…
August 7, 2008 at 2:56 pm
Hal Lindsey was pretty good on Barney Miller. He had some great scenes with Abe Vigoda.
I didn’t know he wrote apocalyptic literature as well.
August 8, 2008 at 2:10 am
I apologize if this is posted twice, I haven’t quite caught on to the proper use of OpenID yet.
There is an early 20th century distopia written by a priest (a convert from Anglicanism, the son of an Archbishop of Canterbury) which deals with exactly this subject. The anti-Christ character in the book is very much a man of the modern world. The book is called Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson. There is a small but decent wikipedia entry on that gives a good background to the plot.
If you enjoyed Brave New World, 1984 or similar books you’ll probably enjoy it. It is full of early 20th century Catholic imagery and is a speculative fiction about the end of the world based on tradition and scripture which also provides some great commentary on the effects of humanism (a topic as relevant now as it was then, particularly in Europe, the site of most of the plot of the book). You can find it at amazon or other sites but it is hard to find at libraries. I lucked out because I have access to a large university library which for whatever marvelous reason had the book. Inter-library loans could get you it from somewhere I suppose.
February 20, 2009 at 6:05 pm
Speaking of Hal Lindsey, there’s a piece I just saw on Google titled “The NEWEST Pretrib Calendar” that is sure to increase the blood pressure of Hal and his fellow rapture escape artists! Jody