Barack Obama has won the battle with Hillary Clinton to become the nominee of the Democratic Party to run against John McCain for the presidency of the United States in November. Despite the charges of improprieties that has been lodged against him by an investigative reporter, the rise of Barack Obama to the nomination has been meteoric.
The campaign of Barack Obama to the nomination has been presented in messianic terms. In fact, there is a whole blog dedicated to answer the question whether Barack Obama is the Messiah. The blog, Is Barack Obama the Messiah? introduces itself with a quote from Obama taken from a speech Obama gave in Lebanon, New Hampshire, on January 7, 2008, a quote that reflects the words of Isaiah 9:2:
“… a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany . . . and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Obama.”
The messianic movement associated with Obama seems to be growing. A Google search of the words “Obama” and “Messiah” yields more than 300,000 entries. The blog dedicated to finding out whether Obama is the new messiah quotes the words of several individuals who are fascinated with the Obama phenomenon. Here are some of the quotes taken from that blog:
“This is bigger than Kennedy. . . . This is the New Testament.” “I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often. No, seriously. It’s a dramatic event.”
— Chris Matthews
“I would characterize the Senate race as being a race where Obama was, let’s say, blessed and highly favored. That’s not routine. There’s something else going on. I think that Obama, his election to the Senate, was divinely ordered. . . . I know that that was God’s plan.”
— Bill Rush
In an article that appeared in the Jewish World Review titled “A Messiah in Our Midst?”, Jonah Goldberg writes about the messianic fervor that characterizes the Obama campaign. Goldberg wrote:
Obama’s apostles are hard to dismiss. Oprah simply calls him “The One,” because “we need politicians who know how to be the truth.” (Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth …”) Oprah goes on to say Obama will help us “evolve to a higher plane,” which would put Obama in the role of our Intelligent Designer.
Michelle Obama is arguably Obamanity’s greatest evangelist, even though she has a streak of Old Testament smiting and wrath to her. She insists her husband has redeemed the entire nation (hence her newfound pride in America). She proclaims her husband is the sort of leader who will fix our broken souls. But don’t hope for grace on the cheap. “The change Barack is talking about is hard,” she insists, “so don’t get too excited, because Barack is going to demand that you, too, be different.”
When asked in an interview what sin is, Obama defined it as “Being out of alignment with my values.”
On the night he gained the majority of delegates needed to secure his nomination, Obama gave a victory speech in which he used words that come close to the words of the Servant in Isaiah 61:1. He said:
I am absolutely certain, that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs for the jobless.
The purpose of this post is not to take a political position or to endorse one candidate over another. My fear is that so many people are mesmerized by the charismatic persona of Barack Obama that they are saying with words and actions that he is the new messiah. It is at this time that people must remember the words of Christ:
If anyone tries to flag you down, calling out, ‘Here’s the Messiah!’ or points, ‘There he is!’ don’t fall for it. Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere. Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better (Mark 13:21-22 The Message).
If Jesus said that false messiahs and false prophets will appear in the last days and with words, signs, and wonderful deeds will deceive, if possible, “those who ought to know better,” then one must be aware because whoever that false messiah will be, he will be very convincing.
Is Barack Obama the new Messiah? No, he is just a politician!
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary