Antichrist, Birmingham, Mass Killings

Antichrist, Birmingham, Mass Killings


Another mass killing has happened. Already the news media frenzy has spilled all over the TV, Radio, the Internet, etc. Thirteen people died (twelve plus the shooter) at the Navy Yard just 2 miles from Congress and the White House. As I heard this, I groaned with a certain sense of irony. Some of you may remember that yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. Four little girls died in that criminal attack. I wrote a few thoughts about the event on my personal blog, never thinking that the very next day there would be a mass killing. While it currently appears that the shooter was not a terrorist but simply an angry man, nevertheless, I think that some of my words are appropriate and tie together with today’s events.

A terrorist is a terrorist regardless of the cause they espouse. The whole purpose of the Birmingham bombing was to strike fear into the hearts of the black community. It was a warning that if they continued to be involved in civil rights, innocents would suffer. Today’s jihadists and today’s dictatorial repressive governments use the same tactic, that of indiscriminate violence and murder against innocents. There is a sameness about it that dates back several thousand years.

If you read about the tactics of Babylon in the Old Testament, they most certainly qualify as state-sponsored terrorism. If you did not immediately submit to them and they defeated you, many of your leaders would be impaled, or led away with a hook through their jaw, etc. The treatment of captured peoples by Babylon, and the later corruption of Babylon’s leadership, was so bad that Babylon becomes a symbol in the Book of Revelation for both terroristic killing (I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.) and for corruption.

The Antichrist also shows up in the Book of Revelation. But, Saint John the Evangelist gives us a warning about what will happen before the Lord returns. He says, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.” That is, there are many people around who already are showing the same behavioral traits as the Antichrist who is to come, the same behavioral traits as Babylon that is to come (yes, I know the two are different), and the very same behavioral traits as the dragon who pursued the offspring of the woman of Revelation 12.

Those who commit terrorism show the behavior of a Babylon, of an antichrist. One becomes a terrorist when one switches over to the indiscriminate untargeted killing of people for the sole purpose of causing fear. What happened in Birmingham 50 years ago was terrorism. What happened in Birmingham 50 years ago was some antichrists at work.

Not all antichrists are terrorists. Some antichrists are simply angry men who have given in to the same anger by which Cain slew Abel. In the same way, the Book of Revelation speaks about the anger of the dragon that burns against the offspring of the woman who is revealed. And just like the anger of the dragon led to a great persecution and a great murder, so the anger of one man has led to yet another mass killing. And so, another little antichrist rose up for a very little while.

We need to remember Birmingham, and 9/11, etc., in order that we may know what is terrorism, in order that we might be able to spot the antichrists who would come among us and deceive those whom they could. In the same way, we need to remember events like today’s mass killing in order that we might be able to spot the anger of Cain, the anger of the dragon, that lets us spot the antichrists who would come among us with destruction in their hearts.

“Little children, it is the last hour; … even now many antichrists have come ….”

About author

Fr. Ernesto Obregon

I am a Cuban. My sister and I arrived in the United States of America in 1961. I was nine years old at the time and my sister was five. Yes, alone. Our mother, a widow, put us on the plane in La Habana, and we were taken to an orphanage upon our arrival in Miami. No, I never lived in Miami for longer than about six months. Yes, we and our mother were re-united. She escaped from Cuba by boat about four or five months after we arrived in the USA. We were re-united and were sent by the Catholic Welfare folk to Ohio, where they had found my mother a job and us a foster home while she learned English and got situated. So, I grew up in Ohio, had a paper route, learned to build snowmen, and moved from place to place as out mother got better jobs. Eventually she met a good man and re-married and we settled into his house in Mansfield, Ohio. I was a 15-year-old teenager.

Needless to say, none of this was necessarily guaranteed to keep me strong in the faith, although my mother tried. I rebelled during my teenage years and left Roman Catholicism for some vague hippie philosophies and a lot of rebellion. By 1970 I had been expelled from college after my first year, a year in which I was very confused and quite directionless. When I returned to Mansfield in defeat, I was approached by a friend who had become a “Jesus Person.” He took me to this “farm” that was filled with about four middle-aged adults and lots of early 20′s Jesus People. One of those adults was a Southern Baptist pastor, a former Campus Crusade staffer, and uncomfortable supervisor of hippy Jesus People, and is now the Very Rev. Gordon Walker, an Archpriest of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. His story, along with others whom I know, is chronicled in the book, “Becoming Orthodox” by the Very Rev. Peter Gillquist.

My journey was different. I eventually ended up as an Anglican priest, and a missionary. My wife and I served in both Bolivia and Perú, and our three intelligent and very perspicacious daughters spent a decade of their formative years in South America. I ended up as The Archdeacon of Arequipa of the Anglican Church of Perú, which is part of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which is part of the Anglican Communion.

We returned to the USA when our children began to attend college, and I took a parish in one of the dioceses of The Episcopal Church. Within less than four years, we realized that this was not a Church in which I could doctrinally live.

It was at this point that Fr. Gordon Walker came actively back into my life and told me that it was time that I came into Orthodoxy. He was right, and I have been Orthodox ever since. I was ordained in the Antiochian Orthodox jurisdiction, but am currently serving as an attached priest at a Greek Orthodox Church. God has blessed us. We have wonderful grandchildren. And we are truly blessed.