Good Math, Bad Math

I normally try to ignore things like this, but this is just too funny.

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.

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?

Comments

  1. #1 AnyEdge
    August 3, 2009

    Your married name also anagrams to Harm Rural Clock. Clearly, you are engaged in some sort of deleterious bucholic temporal phenomenon.

  2. #2 Scott Hanley
    August 3, 2009

    IANAL (I am not a linguist), but there was 700-800 years between Jesus and Isaiah, so the differences in their languages surely would have been comparable to the difference between modern English and Chaucer, or perhaps even the English of Beowulf?

  3. #3 RayInDallas
    August 3, 2009

    He’s posted a new, updated version of that video which clears up the “translation” error (and makes an even further stretch!).

    Also, apparently if you were to get a rabbi to confirm that your Hebrew word for “melody” really does mean “melody”, then your claim that you are the anti-christ is correct.

  4. #4 Eric Lund
    August 3, 2009

    @Scott: That’s a reasonable assumption, but not necessarily true. Some languages evolve more slowly, and some have more of a punctuated equilibrium. I have heard (and if Steinn is around, he can prove or disprove) that there have been few changes in written Icelandic in the last 800 years (most of the changes being words borrowed or loan-translated to describe things that have been invented in the meantime). The same is reputed to be true of Japanese. I don’t speak either language (and IANAL either), so I don’t have firsthand knowledge.

    In any case, you’re probably right about Chaucer to modern English being a good approximate comparison. Written Hebrew does not indicate what vowels are used, so the vowels could easily have shifted. Consider that YHWH is routinely rendered as Yahweh or Jehovah (giving J a Y sound, as was originally done in Latin and still done in Scandinavian and East European languages)–we don’t really have any evidence for which, if either, is the correct transliteration.

  5. #5 ascendingPig
    August 3, 2009

    He made some basic errors about language that no well-informed Biblical scholar would make, too — The most obvious?

    “Aramaic is the most ancient form of Hebrew.”

    Aramaic was essentially a newer bastardized form of Ancient Hebrew contemporary to the Romans. Makes you wonder how much they even know about their own religious history.

  6. #6 Scott Hanley
    August 3, 2009

    ascendingPig,

    As a general rule, Evangelicals have a surprisingly poor knowledge of Israelite history, making very little distinction between the time of the patriarchs and the time of the monarchy, for example, or having any sense of Jewish religion evolving between 1200BC and the time of Jesus. I know I’ve learned a heckuva lot more since I stopped believing and started studying.

  7. #7 Kapitano
    August 3, 2009

    Let’s see…

    The prefix “Ma” in Hebrew sometimes means “country of”, as in “Magog”, the place of the Gog tribe.

    So MaCain means “country of Cain” – ie the land of nod, east of eden.

    “John” comes from the Hebrew “Ioannes” (as in “Jonas”). Oh, and it sounds a bit like “Jehova”, so therefore it must be related.

    So John McCain means “God from the East”. And where was he born? Panama, which is east of Washington!

    This from five minutes with Strong’s Concordance.

  8. #8 Jonathan Vos Post
    August 3, 2009

    I was just reading in Asimov’s Guide to the Bible on “Revelation” that “the tribe of Dan was to give rise to the Antichrist” via Genesis 49:17. So, (1) how to make the number 666 from the letters of Barack Obama; (2) Was the forged Obama birth certificate from Hawaii signed in the town of, or by a clerk with the name of, Dan? and (3) is “Dan” a corruption of a prophecy about Don Ho, born Donald Tai Loy Ho, (13 August 1930 – 14 April 2007), the Hawaiian and traditional pop musician, singer and entertainer? Oh, which makes Don the “Ho of Babylon.”

  9. #9 radio_babylon
    August 3, 2009

    i think obama is the carter of this generation, and the worst thing to happen to the country in 30 years… but the antichrist? i want some of what these folks are smoking.

  10. #10 Steve Cooper
    August 3, 2009

    It _is_ easy, isn’t it?

    * bla’ – to afflict
    * ir – an israelite.

    Therefore – tony blair is ‘afflictor of israelites’ — and where is he now? In the middle east, as an ‘envoy in the peace process’. An envoy of Satan, more like!!!

  11. #11 Tommy Duchesne
    August 3, 2009

    The president of the US is ALWAYS the Antichrist. Didn’t you never noticed?

  12. #12 Joshua Zelinsky
    August 3, 2009

    The Hebrew prefix for “from” “me” not “U” so I think the correct Hebrew would actually be pronounced something like Barack mebama. But Bama is more of a high place than “above” in this sense.

    Also, ch’s are normally turned into chets rather than hets so “chu” would probably become a chet followed by a vav. I don’t think “chu” is a word though either.

    There are other issues but this whole thing is so silly I’m not going to try to discuss the grammar issues (and since my Hebrew isn’t that great, I’ll probably end up saying something wrong if I try).

  13. #13 Skemono
    August 3, 2009

    So, (1) how to make the number 666 from the letters of Barack Obama

    Seriously? That’s easy.

    Barack = 6 letters
    Hussein = 7 letters
    Obama = 5 letters
    6 + 7 + 5 = 18 = 3 * 6 = 6 6 6

    It’s all true!!one!

  14. #14 Chanan Carroll
    August 3, 2009

    Just for the record, “barak u’bamah” does not mean “lightening from above”, it is more like “high lightening” meaning powerful lightening, it would be a compliment. That’s why it’s both a first and a last name in Israel (hence the former Prime Minister), and a crack squadron in the Israeli Air Force is called “Barak”.

    Which, of course, is totally irrelevent, because, as the President has pointed out many times, his name is the Arabic version of the Hebrew name Baruch, Blessed. The Latin version of this name, by the way, is Benedict, the present Pope.

  15. #15 Rogue Medic
    August 3, 2009

    I feel so much more sane after encountering these crazies, although the ones I see at work are far beyond this guy.

    I suppose he also comes up with stuff that shows that Heydrich, or Himler, or Hitler is actually the Messiah and Christ was an anti-Messiah. Abbott And Costello 13 X 7 is 28. This at least is intentionally funny.

  16. #16 Chanan Carroll
    August 3, 2009

    But I’m not sure about this “Carroll is Hebrew for melody” thing. Melody in Hebrew is usually “Lachan”, or “N’ima”. But “carol” comes from “carole” which means “melody” in old French (which Rashi uses, so there is a Jewish connection). So if you really want to be the antichrist, mazel tov, your the antichrist!

  17. #17 Ahistoricality
    August 3, 2009

    If you really believe that THE BIBLE is code from the heaven, then you have to assume that THE DEITY would know in advance about our linguistic inability and couch the code with linguistic errors embedded that make it easier for us to grasp.

    The problem with arguing against these theories is a geometric one: you’re arguing in straight lines; they’re working in circles.

  18. #18 Soren
    August 4, 2009

    @16

    Mark talked about:
    “Now, let’s look at with my pre-marriage last name.”

    Apparently he changed his name when he got married, so he is not talking about the name Carrol.

  19. #19 MarkW
    August 4, 2009

    @18: Mark Carrol changed his name (when he got married) to Mark Chu-Carrol. ;-)

    And unless I’m very much mistaken, #16 is his brother.

  20. #20 Christophe Thill
    August 4, 2009

    No, it just means that you’re meant to be a devilishly good musician. Something like a Paganini of the clarinet.

  21. #21 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    August 4, 2009

    Re #18,#19:

    My family name before I got married was “Carroll”. (2 ls!) I married a woman named Jennifer Chu, and we decided to merge our last names – so now it’s Chu-Carroll.

    And yes, Rabbi Carroll in #16 is my older brother.

  22. #22 Freak
    August 4, 2009

    #13:

    Closely related to your method:
    Ronald Wilson Reagan
    6 letters, 6 letters, 6 letters

  23. #23 daedalus2u
    August 4, 2009

    I think the significance of 666 relates to the number system that was used at the time (which I presume was Roman numerals). 666 is written DCLXVI and is the largest number that can be written using each of the numerals only once. CDXLIV is the smallest number, or 444.

  24. #24 MarkW
    August 4, 2009

    #21: Oops sorry for spelling your name wrong.

  25. #25 Freak
    August 4, 2009

    I’ve heard that:
    – If you take the Hebrew spelling of “Nero Caesar”, and add up the values of all letters, you get 666.
    – While Nero was dead well before Revelation was written, his death was not fully believed; many thought him still alive.

    Also, IIUC, the subtractive rule with Roman numerals is comparatively recent and wouldn’t have been used at the time.

  26. #26 Alex
    August 4, 2009

    Well, I am a linguist, or at the very least I’m a student of linguistics who will be pursuing a PhD in the field at some point, and I did some research on this.

    Mark, not only are you completely correct, but you put it far more hilariously than I could have. Also, if you really want to get into the gritty details, set aside the silliness of applying a pick-and-choose Hebrew translation to a Greek or Aramaic phrase and check this out: the Hebrew word for heavens used in the Old Testament actually does also mean heights, but the important point is that that word is not even close to bamah. It’s shamayim.

  27. #27 Geds
    August 4, 2009

    but the important point is that that word is not even close to bamah. It’s shamayim.

    Hey, I made that exact point over at Dispatches yesterday. I’m glad to see an actual linguist agrees…

  28. #28 Anatoli
    August 4, 2009

    Well, they didn’t actually have to go that far, their butchering of the grammar notwithstanding.

    What they’re claiming is that you can translate ‘lightning descending from heaven’ as ‘lightning descending from a high place.’

    That’s fair enough, and the Hebrew word for lightning -is- ‘barak’ (ברק), but translating heaven to a high place, and taking high place to mean ‘bama’ (במה), which has a VERY distinct meaning as a place of worship (Pagan and pre-temple Hebrew worship). If they were honest, they’d translate high place as ‘rama’ (רמה) (Height, or plateau) rather than ‘bama’ which interestingly enough, in modern Hebrew, means stage.

    Well, having taken that apart, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s suppose Jesus did say that he witnessed the anti-christ ‘lightning from the stage’, there’s still the Hebrew grammar to overcome.
    I’m not big on Aramaic (We’ve only encountered a few select passages in school) so I might be wrong on this, but as far as modern and biblical Hebrew is concerned, you wouldn’t say ‘lightning of the stage’ to mean ‘lightning from the stage.’
    And that’s exactly what they’re doing. The definite article in Hebrew is the ‘ha-‘ prefix (ה”א הידיעה)

    For Jesus to talk about lightning -from- the stage, he’d say something along the lines of “barak mibama, barak mehabama”

    Apparently, their argument is weak even under their rules. Just pathetic.

    Oh, just to give some full disclosure here, I’m just a teenager from Israel, so I’m basing my conclusions solely on my knowledge of modern and biblical Hebrew. So my conclusions might not translate as well to whatever grammatical structures Aramaic doesn’t share with Hebrew. Not to say that these loons have any sort of point.

  29. #29 Anatoli
    August 4, 2009

    The rabbi he found doesn’t know his Hebrew that well either. I’m really surprised HE of all people didn’t find the translation of heaven to ‘bama (במה)’ as strange and inappropriate as it is, considering the very significant connotations that word has, and how very rarely it’s used to mean high-place without relating to a place of worship.

  30. #30 natural cynic
    August 4, 2009

    Well of course Obama was born in America. Look at his last name – it will tell you where he was born. O bama was just a shortened version of the Gaelic O’Bama, or [of]from Bama. As everyone knows, ‘Bama is just a shortened version of Alabama. So that’s where he is really from.

    Now to get around the problem of a mixed race child birthed by a white mother in 1961 Alabama…

  31. #31 Jud
    August 4, 2009

    Chanan Carroll wrote: [M]azel tov, you’re the antichrist!

    We have so got to come up with a Jewish religious ceremony where a rabbi says this.

  32. #32 MikeTheInfidel
    August 4, 2009

    Something I noticed, using the same style of translation as the dimwit behind the video:

    The word ‘baraq’ is used to mean ‘lightning’. The reference is about seeing Satan fall like lightning from the heights.

    The same word ‘baraq’ is used to describe the face of Jesus as he emerged from the tomb after the resurrection – “his countenance was like lightning” or something like that.

    So it could equally be said that Jesus’ countenance, upon resurrection, was like Barack.

    This is what you get with the Big Book of Multiple Choice.

  33. #33 meloniesch
    August 4, 2009

    Ascendingpig @ #5 – Aramaic is neither the most ancient form of Hebrew, and nor is it a newer bastardized form of Hebrew. They are separate but related languages in the North-West Semitic language sub-group. One didn’t develop out of the other.

  34. #34 meloniesch
    August 4, 2009

    Also.. Aramaic is attested in inscriptions as far back as the 10th century BCE. It is still spoken today too. Not just a language contemporary with the Romans…

  35. #35 Keith
    August 4, 2009

    Apropos of nothing but this reminds me of back in November, when my wife and I were in Ireland. The driver, Michael, who carted us around was up on US politics (and even had an Obama sticker on the back of his bus). Talking to him was great fun, but my favorite part was how he pronounced Obama’s name, as if he was Old Mary O’Bama’s boy, from County Clair.

    I’m sure Michael would have some fine and pointed words for these Hebrew and Arabic mangling dullards.

    Also: i think obama is the carter of this generation

    You mean, a bearer of bad news who is mostly right but hamstrung by a party of spineless halfwits, an opposition of lunatics, and a political system broken by special interests? Agreed.

  36. #36 Alex Besogonov
    August 4, 2009

    23:

    Actually, 666 is a very interesting number. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/666_(number)

    It might have been picked exactly because it’s quite interesting from mathematic standpoint.

  37. #37 BeamStalk
    August 4, 2009

    To add about the 666 thing. 666 is a reading error. The real number written was probably 616, which could still be Nero (shows you how well numerology works). The other thing in Revelations that points to Nero is the pierced part, as Nero committed suicide by piercing his neck with a dagger.

  38. #38 CT
    August 4, 2009

    Also, U+0666 (Unicode Character) represents Arabic Indic Digit 6
    http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/0666/index.htm

    So, if you see a bunch of guys running around with Arabic 6’s on their forehead or hand….watchout! ;)

  39. #39 Freidenker
    August 4, 2009

    Native Hebrew speaker here. I wonder if they’re aware that “Vebamah” means “AND a platform/stage” (that’s right, “bamah” means “stage/platform” and not above, unless it’s somehow a metaphorical use, I guess).

    So there’s no way it’s be “lightning from heaven”.

    There is no such thing as an “O” prefix (milit) in Hebrew. There’s “Ve” or “ooh” (in the case of “Bamah”, but then it’d be “Barak Oovama” because whenever a word in Hebrew starts with either Bet, Gimel, Daled, Kuf, Pei or Taf, you don’t put an accent on it after a “vav hahibur” (which is the “Ve” we’re talking about it here).

    Anyway, seeing Christian idiots trying to use Hebrew as a tool for spreading hate-propaganda against the president of the US is hilarious, although a bit annoying, mainly because they obviously have no clue how Hebrew is used.

  40. #40 Mu
    August 4, 2009

    Well, #14 nailed it, it’s all a case of mistaken identity. Reading Pharyngula clearly reveals Benedict to be the anti-Christ, so they just confuse the Arabic Baruch with the Latin Benedict. Plus it doesn’t make difference from the biblical point of view, the only important part is that there IS an anti-Christ to usher in the last days. I don’t think they really care who it is (unless it’s Chuck Norris, and he wins the final battle).

  41. #41 Keith Gaughan
    August 4, 2009

    @ascendingPig: Describing Aramaic as “essentially a newer bastardized form of Ancient Hebrew contemporary to the Romans” is like describing Old Welsh as “essentially a newer bastardised version of Old Irish contemporary to the Anglo-Saxons”, which is plainly incorrect. Aramaic and Hebrew were/are fairly closely-related Semitic, but they belongs to separate subfamilies, not entirely dissimilar to the relationship between Old Welsh and Old Irish, which are both languages with a common ancestor, but neither being a bastardised version of the other.

  42. #42 Calli Arcale
    August 4, 2009

    Aramaic is Hebrew??? That’d be a big surprise to one of my family friends. It’s his mother tongue. He was able to watch “The Passion of the Christ” and criticize the subtitles. ;-)

    What really makes me shake my head in disbelief is the weird way they went about “proving” this. Foreign language teachers everywhere are now throwing up their hands in disgust at the idea that you can reverse-translate an English translation of a Greek probably-translation of an Aramaic text by using an English-to-Hebrew dictionary on a few of the words. It’s just . . . it’s so bad, it’s not even wrong. It’s just a WTF.

    I do wonder why they didn’t go to the bother of locating an Aramaic Bible. They do exist. Of course, that would have involved Work and even Personal Effort. Learning Hebrew would also be useful, as it is universally recognized that you can translate more effectively when you can actually speak the language. But that would involve actually wanting to know what you’re talking about, and that’s clearly not something that interests these people.

  43. #43 أبو مقاومة
    August 4, 2009

    Barack or Buraq is the winged horse “Lightning” who transported Muhammed between Mecca and Jerusalem on Muhammad’s “Night Journey“.

    This proves that BHO is Muslim.

  44. #44 Puzzled Pawn
    August 4, 2009

    Reminds me of an article I read about a Taiwanese cult’s exodus to Garland, Texas. The article reported the reason they picked Garland was because the leader thinks it sounds like “God’s Land”. Google “Teacher Chen Garland Texas cult”.

  45. #45 cambrico
    August 4, 2009

    I would believe it if in someplace in the armagedon it stated something like: “the antichrist’s name is Many Ramirez and will play with the LA Dodgers”· Why an all powerfull god needs to mess up with the language so much? Oh, yes, its ways are misterious and only crazy crackpots could understand them. If god exists it really has a wicked sense of humor.

  46. #46 Hank Roberts
    August 4, 2009

    All just trying to distract you from the really significant numerology going on.
    Hat tip to Krugman for this one:

    http://tauntermedia.com/2009/07/28/unconscionable-math/

    “… To understand why 0.5% of the people Assurant covers is a lot of people – a jarring, terrifying, probably criminal lot – you need to understand a little bit of math. You need to understand just enough math to understand what Don and his legal team are not telling you. You need to understand conditional probability. And the folks at Assurant are counting on the fact that you don’t….”

  47. #47 AgnosticTheocrat
    August 4, 2009

    Barack (Arabic) = Benedict (Latin)

    The current Pope is Pope Benedict, and the current President is Obama. As we all know from centuries of evangelical paranoia, the Pope is a servant of the Devil. The Pope and Obama share the same name! Coincidence? I think not!

  48. #48 Brian X
    August 4, 2009

    ascendingPig:

    Not quite. Aramaic is a somewhat close relative of Hebrew (at least as far as the rather murky relationships between the Semitic languages can be worked out) but developed roughly to the northeast, more or less in what is now Syria, and spread throughout the region as related languages like Hebrew and Akkadian died off. Hebrew developed in the south, more or less in and around the Jordan valley, and by Jesus’ time existed only as a liturgical language among Jews and Samaritans (and in rather drastically different forms at that); Aramaic was the daily language, and if you were speaking to someone from outside the area, Greek was probably the language of choice even when speaking to a native Roman.

  49. #49 Brian X
    August 4, 2009

    Freidenker:

    Christians tend to have their own rather twisted concept of Biblical Hebrew translation. Look up the “‘almah” vs “betulah” controversy on Isaiah 7 — there are many, many Christians out there who insist “‘almah” doesn’t mean “virgin” like hebrew dictionaries say it means. (The slightly disturbing part is that the Septuagint — written for Greek-speaking Jews and apparently from an older textual tradition than the Masoretic text — breaks the tie in favor of the Christians with the Greek “parthenos”. I have no idea what to make of that.)

  50. #50 Gadow
    August 4, 2009

    #14 & # 46…

    Not to be pendantic or anything, but the name Benedict comes from the Latin phrase bene dicte, “well spoken.”

  51. #51 Anonymous
    August 4, 2009

    #48

    No the Christians are arguing that “almah” DOES mean virgin, which is nonsense. As for the Septuagint, it is the source of the whole error – Greek speaking Christians looking for a way to make their Jesus palatable to people raised on classical “born of a virgin” deities, hit upon using the Septuagint mis-translation of Isiah as biblical prophecy of virgin birth. Considering the Isiah passage is actually about something rather specific (the future of a specific kingdom), the issue is dead for anyone not blinded by dogma.

    The Septuagint mistranlation came first, the Christian error is due to it.

  52. #52 viverraivd
    August 4, 2009

    oops #50 is me.
    Apologies for misspelling Isaiah.

    Also, forgot to mention, the gospel writers use of the Septuagint mistranslation demonstrates they were native Greek speakers with no knowledge of the Hebrew bible, make of that what you will.

  53. #53 Blake Stacey
    August 4, 2009

    What Isaiah says about “Emmanuel”, namely that “before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings” (7:16), is suspiciously like what he says about his own son, Mahershalalhashbaz: “For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria” (8:4).

  54. #54 Guy
    August 4, 2009

    Whats the deal with these christians? All scared of thier end of days biblical prophecies? Look if you want to be in a religon where one day some antichrist figure takes over the world, and 4 horsemen start spreading around plagues and famines and such then you might as well be celebrating and encouraging it even. Because if this is part of your belief system, thats what supposed to be happening. “Dont vote for Obama hes the antichrist!” emails circulated around before the election, and I started wondering arent you denying your biblical prophecy if you dont vote for him? Dont you want your end of days to come to fruition? Christians, you are going against your gods wishes if you go around trying to undermine his divine plan by not going along with voting for antichrists. Embrace your destiny if this is what you truly believe.

  55. #55 Chanan Carroll
    August 4, 2009

    re: #49 Etymologically, you are correct. However, the meaning of the word is “blessing” same as “baruch” or Barak” (the Pope actually spoke of the meaning of his name when he took it).

  56. #56 Mark Bellis
    August 4, 2009

    Bit presumptuous of the Rev. to think Jesus was speaking Aramaic in the first place – it’s recorded as being said in Greek – he was recorded as saying some phrases in Aramaic, but not in this case.

    @Eric Lund – The Icelanders try to keep foreign words out of their language, so they use sími for telephone, so you could say it hasn’t changed much – probably people say that it’s like old Norse because their nouns have a complicated inflection system that other Germanic language used to have but has mostly faded away. Japanese has changed quite a bit over the years.

  57. #57 Stan
    August 4, 2009

    The video states at approximately the 3:09 point (updated version) the following:

    In the verses of Isaiah that refer directly to Lucifer, several times it is mentioned that Satan has fallen ‘from the heights’ or ‘from the heavens.’

    This entire statement is a lie.

    In Isaiah, Strong’s H1116 is used precisely five times — in the whole book. In only one of these is Lucifer mentioned, being 14:14 as the video cites, but it speaks not to Lucifer falling, but ascending. In fact, the only reference to Lucifer falling in all of Isaiah is two verses prior, which may even be an intentional reference on the part of the author of Luke. In Isaiah 14:12, Young’s literal translation says the following:

    How hast thou fallen from the heavens, O shining one, son of the dawn!

    Now, I am no linguist, and I absolutely agree that this whole episode is sheer rubbish, but the Greek in Luke 10:18 might be referencing Isaiah 14:12.

    Of course, so what? In no way would Jesus’ speech have sounded like “Barack Obama,” except in the troubled and laughably simple minds of the birther fundies who actively pursue end-of-the-world scenarios.

    Clearly, the video’s author(s) sought to slander Obama, and used a Hebrew lexicon, with no working knowledge of Hebrew, evidently, to “support” the case. Only the willfully ignorant, dishonest, and libelous would promote such trash.


    Stan

  58. #58 Mu
    August 4, 2009

    Guy, the one good thing about living in the US: We don’t have to worry about the four horsemen, no way they get those mangy animals past veterinary inspection at immigration.

  59. #59 Guy
    August 4, 2009

    [i]Guy, the one good thing about living in the US: We don’t have to worry about the four horsemen, no way they get those mangy animals past veterinary inspection at immigration.
    Posted by: Mu[/i]

    Considering what is going on down in Mexico, all the gangs fighting for territory, and drugs getting smuggled in. I believe you’re right Mr. Mu. The christians would step up and manage to figure out a way to keep them pesky horsies out of this country, instead of embracing thier destiny… :P

  60. #60 Tina St. Sebastian
    August 4, 2009

    @ Eric Lund & Mark Bellis:
    Icelandic hasn’t changed all that much in the past 8-900 years. That is, most Icelanders with a decent education can read the old Icelandic texts.

    OT: The word ‘sími’ originally means ‘line’. IMO a cooler example of the obsession we have with only using Icelandic words is the word ‘sjalfrennireid’ (Icelandic letters excluded on purpose), the original suggestion for a translation of ‘automobile’. Now we use ‘bíll’, which is an adaptation (Icelandicisation?) of the Danish word.

  61. #61 Owlmirror
    August 4, 2009

    Aramaic is neither the most ancient form of Hebrew, and nor is it a newer bastardized form of Hebrew. They are separate but related languages in the North-West Semitic language sub-group. One didn’t develop out of the other.

    My thought (on seeing Aramaic asserted to be the most ancient form of Hebrew) was that it was like saying that French is the most ancient form of Romanian. Or that Yiddish is the most ancient form of English.

    Aramaic is attested in inscriptions as far back as the 10th century BCE. It is still spoken today too. Not just a language contemporary with the Romans…

    I recently found http://www.peshitta.org/ , which has an interlinear Hebrew-Aramaic-English Targum, (with modern Hebrew letters for the Aramaic). It also has the NT Peshitta, but uses the Syriac script. There are many other Christian Aramaic sites as well.

    (The Eastern Churches argue that the peshitta is the true original, not a translation from the Greek, but this is, obviously, disputed.)

    Another Targum is here, of course:

    http://www.mechon-mamre.org/i/t/u/up0101.htm

  62. #62 Kaleberg
    August 4, 2009

    I have a friend who speaks Old Norse and managed to use it to get around in Iceland back in the 80s. His accent was marked as archaic, but understandable in ordinary conversation.

    Hebrew is also highly conserved as it was a liturgical language until recently with an emphasis on exact textual preservation. I read a recent report that modern Hebrew religious documents are basically identical to documents 2,000 years old. I think if a scribe copied wrong, he had to rewrite the whole thing.

  63. #63 Brian X
    August 5, 2009

    Gadow:

    Which at some point came to mean “blessed”. You can’t always analyze a compound word’s meaning based on its roots.

    Mark Bellis:

    Actually, if you’d ever seen an Old Norse text next to its Icelandic translation, you’d probably wonder why the translator bothered. There’s a few spelling and phonetic differences, but the difference isn’t much further than that between Shakespeare and modern English.

  64. #64 arithmoquine
    August 5, 2009

    I think you are all missing the point. We’ve just conclusively proven that some dude named Baruch Uvamah is going to fall from the sky at some unspecified point in time. Watch the skies!

  65. #65 Thunderbird5
    August 5, 2009

    @7 – The Hebrew ‘Ma’ also translates as “What?” As in TF… a succinct summarization of this Semitic Sudoku apocalyptoid crap.

  66. #66 Quercus314
    August 5, 2009

    I’m sure it’s been commented before, but as an Israeli and fluent Hebrew speaker, I wish to make this absolutely clear: “barak u bamah” does NOT mean “lightning from the heavens”.
    Anyone in their right minds would translate it to “lightning and a stage”, and NOTHING else.

    Even if you allow a very large area of manipulation, considering that we’re talking about Biblical Hebrew and not the modern language, and that it was probably originally in Aramaic, the translation they’re offering here is not even close to being accurate, by any stretch of the imagination.

    If that’s the best they could do, considering the mind-blowingly vast array of options to pick and choose from (as explained and demonstrated by Mark), I guess there can’t be anything even remotely implying Obama being evil in the Bible (which is just the same anyway, since it was written several thousands of years ago).

  67. #67 ms physics
    August 6, 2009

    Didn’t Hebrew come from Ugaritic?

  68. #68 Keith Gaughan
    August 6, 2009

    @ms physics: Unlikely – it’s more likely they were just closely related Northwestern Semitic languages.

  69. #69 ms physics
    August 6, 2009

    Good to know. Thanks, Keith.

    It’s still fun to say “Ugaritic,” though, and one doesn’t often get the chance!

  70. #70 CanadianChick
    August 6, 2009

    first time I saw this stuff I laughed and laughed…

    I’m basically at kindergarten level in Hebrew. I’m an atheist who sings in a Klezmer/Jewish band, and decided to learn to read Hebrew to help my pronunciation (sometimes transliterations SUCK).

    So, I can pronounce/read Hebrew, provided vowel notations are included (three cheers for phonetic languages). I know almost no grammar, and my vocabulary is pretty limited.

    And *I* knew it was totally wrong.

    yeesh.

  71. #71 Chanan Carroll
    August 6, 2009

    Just checked in my Soncino “Hebrew-Ugaritic Dictionary”, and it seems to be almost as close to Hebrew as Aramaic.

  72. #72 Marko Budisic
    August 7, 2009

    Hi Mark, IDK if you read it, but U. Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum” is a fiction book that revolves around people using association based reasoning to construct a world conspiracy. Spiced with templars and Christian mythology, it’s a much better read than anything written by Dan Brown. Check it out if you enjoy making/mocking such arguments that you wrote about in this post.

  73. #73 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    August 7, 2009

    Re #71:

    Read it, and loved it. It’s a brilliant piece of work, incredibly funny in a really dark way.

    (For those who haven’t read it, this is a spoiler, but it’s not really the kind of book where spoilers hurt.

    It’s been a while since I read it, so my memory might be off… But the book revolves around two guys who run a publishing house that sells woo books. In order to increase sales, they make up a deliberately ridiculous, all-inclusive conspiracy theory. It folds together the illuminati, the
    knights templar, Alistair Crowley, black magic, the inquisition, and much, much more.

    Then it turns out that all of those groups are real, but clueless. Whatever secrets they once had, they’ve lost. They don’t even know why they still exist, or what they’re supposed to be doing. Since the hero’s written all of the books about them, they believe *he* knows, and they all start chasing after him and fighting over who gets to have him, because he can tell them what they’re supposed to know.

    It’s chock full of wonderfully elaborate plots, fantastic interconnections, and general insanity – but written in a down-to-earth, serious style. It’s a wonderful book.)

  74. #74 Marko Budisic
    August 7, 2009

    Re #72: I’m glad I read your interest well! The summary is close enough, it seems your memory still serves you. ;)
    I agree, the work is a real piece of art and a tour de force of Eco’s erudition.

  75. #75 GodLovesHide&GoSeek
    August 8, 2009

    “Your married name also anagrams to Harm Rural Clock. Clearly, you are engaged in some sort of deleterious bucholic temporal phenomenon.”

    Crop Circles FTW!

  76. #76 GMan
    August 8, 2009

    OK, let’s look at this from another angle.

    Let’s assume President Obama is the Anti-Christ.

    The Constitution states that there is no religious test required to hold any office.

    1. As long as the Anti-Christ is a natural born citizen of the United States and…
    2. Has reached the age of 35 and…
    3. Has been a resident within the United States for the last 14 years.

    So the Anti-Christ can hold any political office in the United States, including the office of President. At least the Anti-Christ is not an atheist!

  77. #77 JNBenson
    August 8, 2009

    RE: 71, 72, 73
    It started as 3 guys, one of whom developed cancer. As was pointed out, that was essentially just scrambling his DNA. I suspect Eco would view that as justice, mess with the semiotics pay the price.

  78. #78 JNBenson
    August 8, 2009

    BTW, since my family name is an anglicized version of Bengtsson does that mean that Barak Obama traveled back in time used the Swedish version of his name and had kids? I’m confused.

  79. #79 craig
    August 8, 2009

    Hot snot…O’Bama is a good ol’ boy…The Gaelic O’Bama makes much sense. Thanks to natural cynic for his foray into this pile of ….

  80. #80 Stefan W.
    August 10, 2009

    Sometimes the antichrist is a soviet, then a rock musician, then Saddam Hussein or Kim Yong Il. He’s allways a present threat to american interest – doesn’t that look a little nationalistic?

    Which christian church claims the bible to be a kind of quiz? How does that make sense? Well – not that I claim that religion has any sense, or nationalism is better without religion.

  81. #81 Michael
    August 10, 2009

    To the person who commented that all US presidents are the antichrist… true. oh so true. The first thing like this I ever saw “proved” that Reagan was the antichrist. The second I saw proved that Gorbachev was.

    If I could grab all of these lunatics together in an auditorium I’d love to let them know that they do far more harm than good. Thankfully this is one form of radicalism that only attracts like-minded fools.

    During my teen years I began to look at nonsense like this and the crap about how dinosaur bones were “plants from the Devil Himself meant to throw us off the Righteous Path” and honestly thought I had to make a choice: Believe science and common sense or believe in what was being presented to me as Christianity. I thus chose atheism.

    Many years later, for personal reasons that belong well outside this blog, I became a believer again but on my own terms. I rejected nonsense like this and have easily reconciled the supposed differences between theistic and scientific worldviews.

    Anyway…. that’s a tangent of a tangent. My point is these bozos should realize that they are called to “help others see the light” and stuff like this runs contrary to that goal.

  82. #82 Andrew
    August 11, 2009

    i think obama is [...] the worst thing to happen to the country in 30 years

    Really? Really? Worse than Katrina, worse than 9/11, worse than the revocation of the writ of habeus corpus, illegal wiretapping, rendition, indefinite detention, the collapse of the US economy, torture in the name of American citizens?

    You don’t need what Antichrist video boy is smoking. Sounds like you’re already on the industrial stuff.

  83. #83 Geir (Gerhardt) Smith
    August 15, 2009

    hi Mark Chu-Carroll, you mentionned three minor errors; but you didn’t mention the most important one which is your total idiocy. It’s important.

  84. #84 GOTCHA
    August 18, 2009

    A simple direct singular referral to a specific name, is hardly a form of strong evidence. Even the number 666 is of no great value if it simply relates to the numerical value of a person’s name. An endless number of people may relate to such a number, thus the value of such a proof is lost.

    If proof of identity is actually to be found, it must be found, and then found again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, thus it be found numerous times over via numerous variations.

    George Walker Bush, for instance, is associated with the number 666 many times over, in combination with other forms of proof, as seen here at this web site.

    http://www.outersecrets.com/real/biblecode2.htm

  85. #85 Mason
    August 23, 2009

    i may be the antichrist. contact me for more info….

  86. #86 jay
    September 15, 2009

    does someone here knows how to break a cipher of ancient-hebrew gematria, which is then combined with asymmetrical cryptographical algorithms with the use of matrix ?

  87. #87 Eunoia
    September 17, 2009

    FWIW, if you round the atomic weights of the elements in the Viagra molecule to the nearest integer, then the molecular weight of Viagra is 666 ;-)

  88. #88 Lawrence Manning
    September 25, 2009

    I agree with the general sentiment of the author even though I am a staunch conservative Baptist myself. It is aggravating the way these dimwits keep speculating on the identity of the Antichrist. They are unwittingly helping the cause of the one they seek to oppose. In II Peter 3:3-4 we are told that in the last days people will have grown weary of all such speculation and use it as mockery against us saying “Where is the promise of his coming?”
    And since we also have clear teaching that we will not be here when the Antichrist is set up what is the point of even trying to identify him? Be sure Christ will return for us and the Antichrist will have his day here. The real question is where will you be?

  89. #89 Lawrence Manning
    September 25, 2009

    Side note: Isn’t it clear to most now that Obama was elected on the basis of racism? There was no real analysis of his ideas or political views, just an excited rally behind a man with black skin. We all look so progressive now that we elected a man with black skin. However, we are also getting ready to pay a very heavy price for electing a man whose view of freedom and democracy is radically different from that of our founding fathers. I would gladly have elected a man or woman of any nationality or culture provided they held to the ideas and precepts of our original constitution. The mindless hordes of cheer leading voters who got excited by the idea of a black man in office are the real racists. I don’t believe he is the Antichrist and I don’t really care if he turns out to be; I just know he is the wrong man for the office of President of the United States of America and we are about to pay for this mistake.

  90. #90 mb
    October 12, 2009

    I like the theory that Prince Charles is the anti-christ. It is more interesting and oddly feels right to me….
    And doesn’t anyone think that Obama could easily be from O’bama? This is all tracing back to the hatred of the Irish. He is hiding is Irish heritage. Must be an alcoholic or a Catholic. Maybe both….

    Enjoyed the thread! Thanks for the perspective.

  91. #91 mavis Hintermeister
    October 23, 2009

    I totally agree with Lawrence, in my belief, Obama is not the antichrist..if he were, we believers in Jesus Christ would not be here. Thankfully I will be in eternity with Christ when the antichrist appears and woe to those who are left behind. Every one has to make their own choice. Heaven or Hell awaits all people.

  92. #92 mavis Hintermeister
    October 23, 2009

  93. #93 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    October 23, 2009

    @88,@90:

    (A) I think you’re a pair of jackasses.

    (B) You’re welcome to believe in your stupid little stories about the antichrist. But you’re *not* welcome to your own version of reality. Reality is what it is. Whatever you church tells you, it doesn’t change reality.

    (C) Like most people who voted for our president, I knew *exactly* what I was voting for, and it had nothing to do with his skin color. In fact, my main concern about voting for him in the primaries was that he wasn’t progressive *enough*. The people, like you, who rant and rave about how “unamerican” he is are either delusional, deluded, or liars. Obama is nothing if not a mainstream american moderate.

  94. #94 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    October 23, 2009

    @91:

    If you keep double-posting, I’m going to start deleting the duplicates. Really, one copy of *any* comment, even if it’s wonderful, is enough.

  95. #95 Evans Agomuo
    May 28, 2010

    I said let woe tide any man that will be call deciver of the brethren because his/her own punishment in hell will be unlimited and severe. So i adverse you this day if you know that you are involve kindly withdrew your self.

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