This is certainly something that all Christians will have to think about, sooner or later. I don’t really mean thinking about Mrs Thatcher, I mean all this stuff about the Beast and antichrists and all that malarkey. Partly because I think it is obvious that we are in the End Times, although some may disagree, and also partly because Revelations in the Bible seems to be a very misunderstood book, and also one that has been often completely misinterpreted throughout history and also in recent times, too. It seems that it is so easy to misinterpret, or so hard to understand that I sense many Christians really don’t want to read it or really be bothered with it, which is a shame. I think it is one of the key books of the whole Bible, and probably pulls the whole story from the very beginning right to the very end. Stark and brooding indeed.
Now, I have to admit something. I wasn’t the greatest fan of Mrs Thatcher if I am being perfectly honest. I’m not alone in that view. I don’t think she was a particularly loveable woman, even though she definitely had strength, charisma, drive and was very principled, though many of us felt that all her principles were wrong. Way out of kilter. You can hold very deeply held principles after all, but they can still be completely wrong very deeply held principles. Abroad she was seen as a very strong politician, just like Gorbachev was seen as a very strong politician the further he was from Russia. But in Britain Mrs Thatcher was seen as either divisive, vindictive, prejudiced against working class people and their solidarity, determined to push through neo liberal economic ‘free market’ policies and abandon any kinds of social checks and balances that kept British, but particularly English, democracy fairly balanced and reasonably equitable, or she was seen as progressive, forward thinking and a necessary catalyst for change in a backward and stagnant economy. I think of her in the same vein as Elizabeth the 1st, or Cecil Rhodes, or Oliver Cromwell and strong people like that, empire builders and great generals, people who are often seen more fondly or looked at a little more wistfully with the obvious hindsight of history and the sharp edges smoothed off. But, does that make her an anti Christ? And, just what exactly is an anti Christ when she or he’s at home anyway?
What does the Bible say? ’15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 18Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.’ (1 John 2:15-19)
I believe that the key word firstly is antichrists and not some one individual antichrist. This is often where people who haven’t really read the Bible, nor studied or prayed about what they have read make mistakes and then make false assumptions thereon about what they have read, or what they think they have read, and then of course the utter confusion of so many different people claiming to know what this means or that means in the Bible, particularly when it comes to End Times theology. A veritable industry has grown up around this in America, and I have heard about some of it, regarding the rapture, although admittedly I haven’t read any of the books doing the rounds. I do believe that if we as Christians want to understand Revelations and all the End Times theology, we need to read it without prejudices of what we may have heard outside the Bible, even if claiming to be biblical, and we need to pray about it and study it with an open but also focussed mind. God wants to reveal something to us.
Why do I think Margaret Thatcher was an antichrist? Because she presented herself in an almost quasi religious light when the Conservative party was voted in, in 1979 and quoted Francis of Assisi’s famous prayer, ‘Where there is discord may we bring harmony...’ etc. To many, she seemed to bring the exact opposite of what the prayer was. And, she was a ‘devout Methodist’ or certainly claimed to be. What exactly is an antichrist and what would an antichrist do, and/or represent? I think that an antichrist would be a counterfeit messiah, not necessarily someone pretending to be Jesus, although that has happened and may happen again, but someone who comes along promising complete solutions to all the problems at a particular time. In recent history, we saw this with Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Franco particularly, men who came along with a religious zeal promising either to change everything radically, or to uphold what they claimed was law and order, or a bit of both. What happened in those cases many of us know only too well. Their religious zeal, combined with dreadful Machiavellian political machinations caused more death and suffering and atrocities in such a short space than at any time in history. Hitler was actually believed by some to be a German messiah sent by God and was worshipped by some children as a god. I’m sure that many more didn’t believe he was literally a messiah, but millions of Germans believed that he was the answer to their woeful economic and social problems. This I feel is one of the major aspects of an antichrist, someone who seems to offer perfect or radical political solutions in desperate or extreme times, that some people feel uneasy about but many others find irresistible because of what they say or how they say it.
I am a Christian, as some of you may have noticed. I have no doubt that antichrists have been part and parcel of the world since Jesus came to earth and have been with us in the form of political leaders, ‘religious’ leaders, military leaders and many other powerful figures that hold sway over others. I think this means that whatever politics we hold, and whatever our views about current local, national and international events, we have to be careful about who we place our faith or solutions in that seem too good to be true. If they seem too good to be true, they almost certainly are too good to be true. I read in a Christian book recently that as Christians we should not actively partake in politics but remain spectators, which is something I really need to take on board. I do get too involved sometimes and I actively get angry at the injustice meted out to poor people and people who are already struggling whilst political and wealthy elites make more and more. As Christians, we know that the whole social, economic, political and religious system in the world is fallen and deeply flawed, and only works in a dysfunctional manner at best, and utterly chaotically at worst for the majority of people. There is enough money, resources and know how in the world to ensure everyone could work and eat, but the world system operates on a very selfish basis for a relative few, those small political, economic, political and even religious elites who claim to be acting in the interests of everyone else, but seem time and time again to make themselves wealthy and make laws, rules, regulations and political decisions that benefit the few over the many. This should come as no surprise to we who are Christians. ‘1 You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. 2 For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them!’ (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
We know, as Christians, that the world is in the power of ‘the enemy’ so we have to hold on to God and His promises and we have to be obedient to God, not the whims of the world or our passions or faulty ideals, nor fear the future or worry about whatever negative circumstances we presently live in. We have a mighty God that can deliver us from all evil and suffering and seeming inevitable harsh realities. Just have faith. I say again, just have faith.