There was one thing going through my mind when I read this headline: could Hugo Chavez be the Antichrist? Let’s take a look at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. While it could be the subject of an hour-long sermon (as other quotes I’ve used), we’re going to use it exclusively for the purpose of using it as a rubric to grade Chavez.
1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
So, doing a basic breakdown (being far from thorough, and lacking cross-references), actions will include:
- opposition and exaltation of himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped (v.4a)
- thereby sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God (v.4b)
and preceding signs:
- rebellion must occur first. (v.3, unsure of clarifying characteristics)
- will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders (one ref: Egyptian wisemen and sorcerers) and in every sort of evil (v.9)
I think it’s safe to say that, so far, Chavez hasn’t met the criteria for points 1 and 2. It could be said, on the other hand, that as a figurehead of the non-alignment movement, he could be seen as a fulfillment of point 3.
Even so, despite Chavez’s relatively good standing, it’s no prediction of future events. As is usually the case, time can change situations and people for the worse when hearts, minds, strengths, and souls are not turned to God.
In the words of the British historian Lord Acton:
Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely
So, what should we do?
Be on guard! Be alert[a]! You do not know when that time will come.
Chavez Calls Bush ‘Devil,’ Assails US Policies
via NPR news.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez took the podium at the United Nations, where he launched his latest verbal salvo against President Bush and U.S. world influence. Making the sign of the cross, Chavez described Bush as “the devil” and decried Washington’s misuse of its far-reaching power.