(cue scary music)
Yes, they're still at it. And it looks like this.
(This is the updated version, by the way, which even tries to incorporate the second of the three "minor problems" below. But fails.)
But since I get into stupid, geeky language arguments like this, I started looking into it. Only to discover that somebody already went there. So, from Mark Chu-Carroll:
In general, I find arguments like this to be extremely silly. This is, basically, like playing with gematria - only instead of doing real gematria (which can be quite silly enough), it's like our friend "Gotcha" - mixing systems and screwing things up until you get the results you want.Damn it. Now I have to find something else to blog on.
Lots of the particularly crazy strain of Christians really, desperately want to believe that Barack Obama is the antichrist. They want an explanation for how this black man with a muslim name could possible have actually been elected - they don't believe it could possibly have happened honestly. And their doctrine requires the antichrist to come soon. Combine those two, and you've got what, for them, is a sort of perfect storm.
Which gives us things like this. For more mockery, see beneath the fold.
According to the video, if you take a phrase from the new testament that supposedly talks about the antichrist, and then you translate it to english, you'll get the phrase "lightning from above". If you then take the word lightning, and translate it to a third language, hebrew, you get "xarak". If you then take the word "above", and translate it, you get "bamah" or "bimah" (depending on conjugation). If you put those words together, hebrew requires a prefix on the "bamah" part, which our oh-so-brilliant video author claims would be "O-". So, according to this fundie nutcase, if you translate a line from the new testament into hebrew (using English as an intermediate), you'll get "Barak O-Bamah".
There are a few oh-so-minor problems with this.
1. The phrase in greek is actually "lightning from heaven". "Lightning from above" is a clear, blatant mistranslation. But hey, what's a minor mistranslation if it produces the results you want?
2. The correct conjugation in hebrew would use the prefix "U-" not "O-", and either prefix would cause the initial consonant to be shifted to the "V" form. So the phrase in hebrew wouldn't be "Barak Obamah" but "Barak Uvamah"
3. The name "Barack" in the case of the president of the US, is not the same as the Hebrew name "Barak". Our presidents name is arabic - the corresponding hebrew name isn't Barak, but "Baruch". The two words are quite different in Hebrew - Baruch means "Blessed"; "Barak" means lightning. They're different words, pronounced differently. (Barak ends with a hard-K sound; Baruch ends with an aspirate-H. The K and the CH are written with different characters - BRK versus BRC.)
So... If you mis-translate greek to english, and then translate the english to hebrew making a conjugation error, you get something which sounds (to an english speaker) kind-of like the name of the current president of the US. Therefore, he's the antichrist.
I'll just point out (in an attempt to work in something vaguely on-topic) that mathematically, this really isn't surprising at all. It's basically exactly the same as my usual critique of gematria-type stuff. There are a finite number of phonemes in human languages. Almost any combination of phonemes that you can imagine is a word in some language. If you're willing to search a bit, and be flexible in your translations, you can find almost any kind of pattern or correspondence that you want.
Looking at this, it looks unlikely. The number of phonemes is fixed, but it's big enough that the number of combinations is pretty staggering. For instance, english has somewhere around 40 distinct phonemes. It's a whole lot. Even if you're willing to cheat, what are the odds that even a mistranslation of a passage would produce a result like this?
And for that, we go back to the bible codes. You're not working forwards, looking for what's there. You've got a result that you want, and you're working backwards from it. You've got a name, like "Barak Obama", and you want to make an argument that he's the antichrist. So you try to find some way that you could translate something close to those phonemes into something from the texts that purport to speak about the antichrist. It would be surprising if you couldn't. There's no shortage of passages in the bible, and for many of the fundies, they see a huge number of them as being, in some way, about the antichrist.
Let me show you an example. I'm going to "prove" that I am the antichrist.
Let's start with my first name, "Mark". The name "Mark" has several possible histories to it. One connects it to the god Mars; another one to the babylonian god "Marduk". Some christian sects associate Marduk with the devil, because among other things, he was the god of magic.
Now, let's look at with my pre-marriage last name. One way of transliterating it into hebrew gives us the word for "melody".
"Chu" has no direct translation to hebrew, because hebrew has no "Ch" sound. But the closest thing I can come up with is a hebrew prefix which translates as "the".
So my name could be (stretching, but stretching no more than this Barak Obama" thing) translated as "The melody of the devil".
So, the things that I'm saying to you are the melody of the devil. Sure sounds like I'm the antichrist, doesn't it?