WorldNetDaily and Obama the Anti-Christ

WorldNetDaily carries an article explaining why Jesus may have warned that the anti-Christ would be named Barack Obama, based on a video found on YouTube:

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.'”

The “U” slips in as a Hebrew “vav” construction, supposedly to link “lightning” and “heaven” to together.

Of course, this is yet another farrago of nonsense; as with Walid Shoebat’s crackpot exegesis of the Book of Revelation, this kind of re-interpretation is not warranted by any problem in the text, and it does violence to the context – Jesus in Luke 10:17-20 is clearly celebrating Satan’s fall in response to his disciples’ reports of their successes as exorcists.

In fact, the Greek word used in the verse from Luke translated as “Heaven” is “ouranos” (or “ouranou”, to keep the correct case ending). If one wanted to render this into Hebrew or Aramaic (which is not, by the way, “the most ancient form of Hebrew”), it would be more appropriate to use “shamayim” than “bamah”, notwithstanding Isaiah 14:14 (where the context has Lucifer (actually the King of Babylon) desiring to rise to somewhere beyond the “bamah”, anyway). Another difficulty is that the verb “fall” has been dropped from ppsimmon’s final version: it’s obvious that Satan is being compared to the physical phenomenon of lightning, as Satan supposedly falls from the sky. Or did Jesus mean to say “I saw Satan fall like Barack Obama”? What would that mean? As for the “vav” construction, those are attached to certain verbs rather than nouns, and they are not used to indicate the preposition “from” [see update below for more].

This particularly daft theory has actually been around for a year or so. This blog post attributes it to a certain “Hon. Dr. Rabbi Sollog Immanuel Adonai-Adoni”; he tries to address the “fall” issue by suggesting a mistranslation of a Hebrew phonetic rendering of the word for “sin”:

In Luke 10:18, in GREEK, Pipto is not used. The word is pesouta. This is probably a Greek phonetic usage of the Hebrew word. Like Satan is Hebrew and translated phonetically as a Hebrew word, it seems pesouta, a Hebrew word, was not correctly translated, since a Greek word NOT IN THE GREEK TEXT for “fall” is credited by scholars as being in the Satan is Barack (Lightning) verse.

The Hebrew root of pesouta is a word normally used to refer to a “transgression” or a sin

…So, Luke 10:18 is correctly translated as;  “Satan is like Lightning (Barack) and the Highest (Bama) heavenly rebellion/sin/transgression!!”

 Alas, however, the Greek word used in the New Testament is “pesonta” – “having falled” – not “pesouta”. And again, “fall” makes obvious sense in the context of the passage.

Sollog Immanuel Adonai-Adoni has a website here; he claims to to have the power of prophecy, and to be an expert in Kabbalah. A 1996 report by Howard Altman from the Philadelphia Citypaper names him as John Patrick Ennis and describes his efforts to defend himself in court from some criminal charges arising from drunkenness by declaring himself to be God:

When I got a call that SOLLOG was on the stand, I knew I had to go see him.

He was, after all, the guy I reported to the FBI for making bomb threats against me. He was the guy who sent me dozens of faxes explaining the link between the Oklahoma City bombing and every natural disaster from hurricanes to earthquakes.

I wasn’t SOLLOG’s only object of affection.

Last September, the feds busted SOLLOG for making threats against the president.

The Secret Service has no sense of humor about such things and dispatched agents to SOLLOG’s Society Hill Towers apartment to arrest him. Though the charges were dropped, SOLLOG was held because law enforcement officials found two outstanding warrants for SOLLOG’s arrest.

One was from Maricopa County, Arizona, where in 1987, SOLLOG admitted to selling obscene materials. He was put on probation, but violated it with an aggravated assault later that year. When SOLLOG left Arizona, authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.

…His first business, he said, was working for Arizona’s largest porn purveyor, Peeps, a family-owned venture.

“Sollog” has his own religion, called the Temple of Hayah.

Meanwhile, ppsimmons’ other videos can be seen here.

UPDATE: Some bloggers with better Biblical language skills than me add some other points. The Spyglass points out:

One, the plural of bamah in Isaiah 14:14—to which the person who did the video refers in order to justify his back-translation of bamah—is indeed bamatey; or better, b?m?tê, since the yodh there isn’t functioning as a consonant but rather as a vowel marker. (Actually, the root word should really be written b?mâ, since the closing h? isn’t really a consonant either, but also just a vowel marker.)…The word is never used to denote Heaven, the place where God dwells, however, and never would have been, since the primary meaning of b?mâ was a place of worship (the “high places” that the kings of Israel/Judah are criticized throughout the middle OT for not taking down); the word for “heights” that is used in this way is m?rôm. Besides, if Jesus had used b?mâ, we wouldn’t have to guess, since it actually passed into NT Greek in the form b?ma.

Plus:

It is incorrect to say that vav “is often transliterated as a ‘u’,” and still more incorrect to say that ‘o’ is a different transliteration used by “some scholars.” Rather, sometimes when the consonant vav is in the text, it’s serving as a “u,” and sometimes it’s serving as an “o.” However, this is different from the use of vav in the Hebrew conjunction, which is the prefix ve-.

…the closest to “Barack Obama” that Jesus could have spoken would have been something like kibaraq min-ubamatey.

UPDATE 2: Ppsimmons has now updated his report to a “more accurate” version. This revised edition  – in which the narrator sounds slightly impatient – contains a citation from Wikipedia about the relationship between Aramaic and Herbrew, and a section on the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8. In that parable, Jesus compares seeds that are snatched up by “birds of the sky” to the way Satan snatches away the Gospel. Ppsimmons reads this homely simile as cosmology, and because the parable uses “ouranos” for “sky”, this shows that “ouranos” is therefore the demonic realm. This is another failure –  it’s a PARABLE! If this story means that “ouranos” is literally the demonic realm, then Satan and demons are literally birds! As in English, “ouranos” as “heaven” can mean either the sky or a spiritual realm – in Luke 8 it’s clearly “sky” in a natural sense, in Luke 10 a somewhat obscure mixture of the two. Of course, Paul also saw Satan as living in the air, but in Ephesians he uses “aeros” to express this, not “ouranos”.

As to the problem with his understanding of the use of “vav” – ppsimmons solves that by removing any reference to it in his revision. Instead, he is content to note that “Barack” has a phonetic similarity to the Hebrew for “lightning”, and that Jesus might or might not have used the word “Bamah” in the same sentence.

UPDATE 3: Elsewhere, ppsimmons exhorts us:

This is UNBELIEVABLE! Yet…documented, verified and TRUE! You have got to watch this film and forward it to everyone you know! This will blow you away! Obama, The Lottery and 666. It cannot be debated – the facts are documented…now we simply wait and see. Is he really the antichrist? You will also want to watch these films on youtube 1. Is Obama a Muslim or Arab? 2. Obama the Renegade 3. Is Obama the Antichrist? 4. OBAMA – The ONLY One 5. Obama – A Catalogue of Blasphemies! 6. Revelation is Happening Now!

UPDATE 4: “ppsimmons” apparently produced the video on behalf of Carl Gallups, pastor of  Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Florida.