The claim has been circulating that Jesus referred to Barack Obama and singled him out as the antichrist, when he said he saw “Satan fall as lightning (baraq) from heaven” (Luke 10:18).
I could list a number of flaws in this argument, but I’ll mention only that the speaker fundamentally misunderstands Luke 10:18. This pasage actually points to an event in Jesus’ own lifetime, not an event in the distant future. When Jesus says that he saw Satan expelled from heaven like lightning, he is announcing that the kingdom of God has been inaugurated on earth now that his own ministry has begun; he is announcing Satan’s defeat, not the coming of the antichrist. Parallel passages in the gospels show this is the case (John 12:31; 16:11).
Theologically, the whole arguement is based on a false premise. While this may be the most obvious blunder the video makes, let’s dig a little deeper in to the origin (or etymology) of the words being used.
Correct Claim: Baraq [ברק] is the word in Hebrew for ‘lightning.’ In Aramaic, its cognate is also “baraq” [ברק] or “barqa” [ברקא] depending on dialect and context.
Mistaken Claim: Mr. Obama’s first name does not come from the root “baraq” [ברק; bet-rish-qof] but the root “barak” [ברך; bet-rish-kaf] and is a common Semitic name and means “blessed” or “blessing.” To claim that these two words are the same is like saying that “right” and “write” are the same word, as they sound similarly but both come from very different etymology.
Transcript from the video:
Now consider this amazing fact: The Book of Isaiah is the source of the origin of the Christian concept and understanding of Satan or ‘Lucifer’ as Isaiah calls him in chapter 14, especially in verses 12 – 19.
Mistaken Claim: Isaiah does not call Satan ‘Lucifer.’ Latin translations of Isaiah use the name ‘Lucifer’ (which literally means the “morning star” “day star” or the planet Venus) as a translation of the Hebrew phrase הילל בן־שחר [“hillel ben shakhar” = “morning star, son of dawn”].
Isaiah 14: 12-14: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
As I have said before, the popular interpretation that this passage is a reference to the moment Satan was thrown from Heaven is a tradition based largely on extra-Biblical material.
First, the passage expressly refers to a “king of Babylon”, a “man” who seemed all-powerful, but who has been brought low. Second, it should be pointed out that the words ‘devil’, ’satan’ and ‘angel’ never occur in this chapter. This is the only place in Scripture where the word ‘Lucifer’ occurs. Thirdly, why is Lucifer punished for saying, “I will ascend into heaven” (v. 13), if he was already there?
In conclusion, it was not until post-Biblical times that Lucifer was associated with Satan, or that Satan was thought to have been cast out of heaven before the creation of Adam and Eve. While this may be common place Christian meme today, it was not shared by the Hebrews who wrote the Bible.
As another blogger correctly point out:
It is difficult to see the coherence of linking a passage where Satan is cast down to the rise of the antichrist. The Bible clearly has the antichrist and Satan as distinct personalities. Revelation 20:10 makes this explicitly clear: “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. The beast, of course, is the antichrist in the Bible, the one whose number is 666 (cf. Rev. 13:18). In Rev. 10:10 Satan and the antichrist are separate figures thrown into the lake of fire. This means that Luke 10:18 (and Isaiah 14 for that matter) have nothing to do with the antichrist. It is nonsense to have Jesus meaning something like “I saw the devil cast out like the antichrist (lightning/baraq)” in Luke 10:18. The result is simply incoherent.