It is one thing to distort the record or facts concerning a candidate for political office; it is much, much worse to distort and even invent portions of the Word of God for such an end. A couple of different people have forwarded the following email to me within the last few weeks:
This will make you re-think: A Trivia question in Sunday School:
How long is the beast allowed to have authority in Revelations?
Revelations Chapter 13 tells us it is 42 months, and you know what that is.
Almost a four-year term of a Presidency.
All I can say is ‘Lord, Have mercy on us!’
According to The Book of Revelations the anti-Christ is: The anti-Christ
will be a man, in his 40’s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations
with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal….the
prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope
and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything..
Do we recognize this description??
I STRONGLY URGE each one of you to post this as many times as you can! Each
opportunity that you have to send it to a friend or media outlet..do it! I refuse to take a chance on this unknown candidate who came out of nowhere.
This email seems designed to prey on the ignorance and fear of those who know a little bit, primarily by hearsay, rather than study, about certain limited interpretations (with elaborations and imaginative exaggerations) of that highly symbolic book of apocalyptic literature which ends with the warning: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
Let me just go through the errors in this line-by-line, because it is chock full of distortions and complete fabrications, misrepresenting the Word of God for the purpose of creating fear, mistrust, and confusion: none of which, last I looked, qualified as fruit of the Spirit.
Now let’s compare the fabrications with the actual text of scripture:
42 months: This number is referenced in Revelation (not “Revelations”) Chapter 13. That’s three years and six months, so it might be technically accurate, if you don’t care about details, to say that forty-two is “almost” forty-eight. I’m only a little surprised that the letter-writer would argue that in divinely inspired prophecy, close is good enough.
a man: “I saw a beast rising out of the sea having ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion…One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.” (Revelation 13:1b-2a, 3) Interestingly, there is no reference to this entity being “a man” anywhere throughout this passage. (And I missed the news accounts of Obama —or, I guess, one-seventh of him — having recovered from a fatal wound.)
in his 40s: This is completely made up. Some things are taken out of context, but I can’t even find a false context for this one, in Revelation or anywhere else in the Bible.
of MUSLIM descent: Nope. Also completely made up. There are no references to Muslims in the Bible, as the religious movement known as Islam did not arise until six hundred years after this text was written.
who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal
If by “Christ-like” is meant things like “He was given power to make war against the saints” “a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies” I’d like to see where Christ ever did anything like these.
the prophecy says that people will flock to him
No word about people flocking to him, although Rev. 13:8 says “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”
and he will promise false hope and world peace,
Once again, this comes from the letter-writer’s preconceptions and imagination. There is no mention in Revelation 13 about anyone promising anyone world peace, but “He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.”
and when he is in power, will destroy everything
Good news — no he won’t! While there are terrible plagues and disasters described in the book of Revelation, they are attributed to God and his angels, as punishments poured out upon “anyone who worships the beast and his image“. This figure “is going to his destruction” according to Revelation 17:11.
Do we recognize this description??
Not if we are actually reading our Bibles.
Now, just suppose that despite my careful readings, I’m the one who is missing something, all these corrections of mine are inaccurate and the allegations of the email are true? What’s the appropriate action according to scripture?
I STRONGLY URGE each one of you …
“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus” (Revelation 14:12; see also 13:9-10).
Yep. Not frantic action, not fearful reaction. Patient endurance.
By the way, here’s every verse in the Bible that actually mentions the antichrist (a term that does not appear in the Book of Revelation):
1 John 2:18 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 2:22 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 4:3 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.
2 John 7 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.