[Bumped to the top, with additional links and updates.]
When fringe blogs and websites publish this kind of thing, I can understand why many don’t pay attention. When a well-credentialed Middle East expert, author, widely published columnist, and Iranian ex-pat, with a reputation for sober-minded strategic analysis and no particular religious axe to grind lays out the same kind of thing in a staid, mainstream publication like Forbes Magazine, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up on end.
Amir Taheri leads off his latest column with this:
…[one Islamic] Hadith (or tradition) from a Shiite text of the 17th century… comes from Bahar al-Anvar (meaning Oceans of Light) by Mullah Majlisi, a magnum opus in 132 volumes and the basis of modern Shiite Islam.
According to the tradition, Imam Ali Ibn Abi-Talib (the prophet’s cousin and son-in-law) prophesied that at the End of Times and just before the return of the Mahdi, the Ultimate Saviour, a “tall black man will assume the reins of government in the West.” Commanding “the strongest army on earth,” the new ruler in the West will carry “a clear sign” from the third imam, whose name was Hussein Ibn Ali. The tradition concludes: “Shiites should have no doubt that he is with us.”
In a curious coincidence Obama’s first and second names–Barack Hussein–mean “the blessing of Hussein” in Arabic and Persian. His family name, Obama, written in the Persian alphabet, reads O Ba Ma, which means “he is with us,” the magic formula in Majlisi’s tradition.
I start with the assumption that Amir Taheri does not wish, any more than any of us, to gamble his credibility on mystical speculation just for kicks, and that his reputation, more than mine, depends on staying well back from the lunatic fringe. Perhaps not coincidentally, similar phonetics are used, in the Hebrew scriptures, to refer to the worst-of-the-worst ‘high places’ of pagan worship.
As for the tall black leader, it’s interesting to note how the Hadith Taheri cites mimics closely the descriptions of Nimrod, as I laid out in an update to this post a few weeks ago. Is Obama exalting himself like that first world leader who drew God’s ire and like the last one who is prophesied? Draw your own conclusions; many are inviting as much, while others are busy defending a false, hagiographic image of him.
For those interested, there’s yet more to Obama’s name that goes even deeper, pointing to April 8th as a key date for… something (highly recommended link, but not for the fainthearted or deeply skeptical).
When Hebrew and Christian prophecy head in an apocalyptic direction, that’s one thing. When Islamic prophecy coincides but in mirror image, it’s time to pay closer attention. When other world religions also prophesy a cataclysm in 2012, it virtually demands the attention of those inclined to pay it. Which unfortunately is not all that many, yet, as most are still interpreting the times through a purely economic lens — though some, even in the most respected parts of that sphere are beginning to use apocalyptic language without blushing, including Neil Cavuto.
One key to deciphering and identifying the forces Obama is allowing, if not encouraging to drive his world view and agenda, as I’ve said before, is to watch how Obama behaves vis a vis God’s chosen people Israel and towards her sworn, determined enemies. It is fantastical (and phenomenally arrogant/ignorant) to imagine that God would shepherd the Jewish people through several milennia of trials and challenges only to dump them on the ash bin of history at the very end.
There is an entire theological ‘unpacking’ behind that idea that I don’t have time to delve into here but, which Roy Schoeman lays out with a head-spinning number of well-researched historical and biblical references in his book ‘Salvation is From the Jews’ (Ignatius Press, 2004) – H/T: archangel. Schoeman’s biography alone is fascinating: on tenure track at the Harvard Business School after MIT, he expanded his understanding of Judaism (as he might put it), embracing the Catholic faith and being baptized.
Among the important connections Schoeman outlines are the close links between various pagan-secular threads and the Nazis, and between the Nazis and various Middle Eastern regimes still in power… regimes which this administration is now befriending. He also lays out the sad, thin secular soup that passes for cultural Judaism post-Holocaust, hinting years before Obama at the constituencies that helped propel him to power. It’s a complex and extremely delicate set of interlocking subjects but Schoeman has the standing, the intellectual firepower and the tact to treat them with truth spoken in love. The book substantially enhanced my understanding of what’s going on right now.
It used to be reassuring to remember how patently obvious it once was that the current Iranian regime was against us as much as Israel and that we were in this together with them (Israel). I just don’t think that’s the case anymore in terms of how this administration sees things.
If what I’m seeing and saying is correct, then as far as Obama is concerned, the whole Axis of Evil concept is silly. And that failure, on the part of the administration, to see and identify evil men, regimes and intentions for what they are and act accordingly helps shed light on who Obama is and where he’s headed. Evil cannot see the distinction with itself any more than a fish knows its wet.
All of that is made even more sobering and urgent in light of developments like this and this (from North Korea) and this (from Iran) over the weekend. (Short take on the former = EMP combined with a strike on SoKo.) [UPDATE: This piece on Iran is essential background reading.]
It is no accident that, as U.S. foreign policy shifts towards kinder-gentler talkie-talk, delay and the appeasement of brutal dictators, the most evil regimes on the planet are emboldened further to do what they do and to be more aggressive.
Whatever the merits of a diplomacy (and I’ll grant there are some in combination with credible threats of other things), Israel does not have the luxury of trying such an idealistic approach towards those who threaten them (and they are myriad.) Thus, as I have said since I began blogging four years ago last month, I will not be at all surprised the morning I wake up to learn of a ‘hot’ strike by Israel on Iran or vice versa. Not surprised in the least.
Which is why, when I read things like this, from someone with a Christian worldview but hardly a fringe one, I think, as I have since last fall, that there are much MUCH larger things brewing than just the economy and its problems, as unprecedented and dire as those may be. (Entire world economy to shrink in 2009 for the first time since WWII… what was I just saying about Nazis??)
Another clue to Obama’s intentions and identity lies in this, wherein the Catholic Church could become (if it were possible to be even more so, in the administration’s and world’s eyes) an enemy, target and victim all in one. Which isn’t all that surprising; not surprising at all. When I wrote last month about the re-emergence of the Freedom of Choice Act, several well-balanced, faithful individuals wrote to point out that they didn’t think it was credible for the FOCA to re-emerge in the form I suggested. Whatever stance you might have taken then (including ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’ll wait and see’, it now seems clear, eight weeks later, that the chances of it happening in just that way are, if not certain, at least somewhat greater.
Bottom line: when an individual, his administration, his policies and his allies — in Congress and the larger world — stand in firm and increasingly bold opposition to Israel and to the largest and arguably most orthodox Christian church on the planet (please, no Belfast circa 1980 comments), we have gained a very important set of contextual clues as to the forces (powers and principalities) at work. When those admitedly intuitive hunches are confirmed by finer-grained specifics like the one at the front of this post, much more becomes clearer.
What to do? In addition to turning and holding onto the one solid rock in this storm, (and praying fervently), it’s worth keeping watch for what may come next. Christ comes like a thief in the night (a rude, unwelcome surprise) only to those who think and say peace is imminent and wish we could just go back to being happy pagans. He comes like a thief in the night from the perspective only of those who have not stayed alert to the many clear signs of the dire and urgent season we’re in.
UPDATE I: This piece from Stratfor, on Obama’s diplomatic blitzkrieg (their words, not mine) is a must read for background and perspective.
…as long as each player questions the ability of Washington to follow through in any sort of “grand bargain,” these talks are unlikely to result in any major breakthroughs. So far, Obama has demonstrated that he can talk the diplomatic talk. The real question is whether he can walk the geopolitical walk.
UPDATE II: Related to the main post but in an entirely different direction from the above earthly update, comes this 268-year-old classic (H/T – Tigger):
However unconvinced you may now be of the truth of what you hear, by and by you will be fully convinced of it. Those that are gone from being in the like circumstances with you, see that it was so with them; for destruction came suddenly upon most of them; when they expected nothing of it, and while they were saying, Peace and safety: now they see, that those things on which they depended for peace and safety, were nothing but thin air and empty shadows… [but] now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God.