As Christians, we know Messiah has come the first time to bring us salvation. Many so-called Messiahs came before him. They lived, they died. Jesus was different. He lived, he died, he rose again. Now we are waiting for him to return in glory the same way he was taken up. We are warned in the Bible that many will come saying "I am He" and we are to reject all of them. Unless the Messiah comes in the clouds with great glory, anyone claiming to be such must be rejected. Problem is, not many people claim to be the Messiah. However, a WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE attribute that to those they see. I heartily recommend Frank Peretti's novel THE VISITATION where this very thing happens.
When it comes to John McCain, absolutely NO ONE would confuse him with any Messiah. While a well-experienced Senator and long time member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he has few fans who enthusiastically support him. Hardly anybody agrees with all of his positions. What political constituency, exactly, do the following satisfy? A pro-life voting record (except for embryonic stem cell research), opposition to gay marriage (but also opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment), favors drilling for oil by the Continental Shelf (but not in the tundra-like Anwar region of Alaska), cutting the gas tax to allow people to drive more in the summer (but buying into the man-made global warming junk science), attendance at a Southern Baptist church (but sticking his finger in the eye of every Christian of note including evangelical voters) and vowing to appoint strict constructionist judges (while compromising and basically adopting the positions of the other side of the aisle whenever he crosses it giving cause to wonder whether he will repeat the Reagan fiasco with Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor). He reminds us of leaders from other countries who form a government from disparate elements. Everyone has a piece of the pie, but no one likes the flavor they get. People supporting McCain are doing so because they think he is more experienced and consistent than his opponent, not because they love the guy and believe he will bring a new era of righteousness to our land. It is always dangerous to vote because you are AGAINST someone instead of voting because you are FOR someone. No Messiah here. Hopefully an honorable end to Iraq, an increase of the domestic oil and gas supply until alternatives become available for the masses, a decrease in the rate of spending growth, and moderated taxes would satisfy most of those voting for him should he be elected. Some progress on the moral agenda and a couple of great Supreme Court Justices would enable him to exceed all expectations. Yup, no confusion with a Messiah.
On the other side of the coin, Barack Obama has a sense of destiny. He attracted younger voters in droves and got votes where traditional stereotypes said liberals could not win - Iowa, Montana, you know the results. He presented a message of hope and going beyond politics. When I saw him along with 34,999 other people in Philadelphia, his introduction was simple and not laden with introductions by all the tired political cronies and hacks. He talked of bringing people together, of making the government accountable to the people and not special interests, and bringing to an end the racial divide that has plagued our nation. You'd be a fool not to be in favor of those aspects of his platform. Could this really be the political messiah we need? We have been waiting a long, long time.
You didn't have to wait long to discover that despite his refreshing attitude and pleasant style, politics as usual would raise its inevitable ugly head. He performed the obligatory excoriation of President Bush at that otherwise uplifting Philadelphia rally and only selective castigated special interests. Oil companies were bad, but trial lawyers who raise the price of a lot more than gas were given a pass - nary a mention. And so it went. You get the picture. I am not sure it is possible to be a major candidate today in this country without some pandering, but Barack was the one who set the high bar, no one else.
That high bar and unparalled idealism has caused many to attribute a messianic aura to Mr. Obama. I have even heard Christian-sounding "prophecy" that Obama is the Solomon for our time - the days of King David (President Bush) and Joab (the General) are gone. We are in for a time of peace and unparallel prosperity. The world will be as one. Nice thoughts. Sounds like the Millenium in Isaiah. Hard to picture though with the state the church is in (see my article IS DOCTRINE DEAD (or simply different)? on http://JohnTheEvangelist.blogstream.com).
Actually, the Bible does prophecy that there will be a man of peace who will bring the world together, but that is not for good purposes. I don't believe Obama is either a political messiah or the Anti-Christ. Either would have to be far more experienced and treacherous. I believe Mr. Obama has some lofty ideals. I am in favor of many of them, properly and evenly applied.
However, over the last few weeks, almost every position of the surging Democrat has been modified or muddled in some way. Even the usually predictable New York Times on July 4th was aghast at how quickly Mr. Obama was running to the middle. I love the fact he is moderating some positions that troubled me when voting for him in the primary election. However, do we really want a President who has no eternal abiding principles (even if they are wrong)? I love for people to change - that is why I am an Evangelist. Repentance and change are the keys to God's will being done on this earth. But are these changes heartfelt permanent changes or simply a repeat of the old playbook - win the primary by running to the left and the general election by stampeding to the center? Do we want a President who follows the fickle people instead of boldly leading people to where they need to go? I don't think so.
So what is an idealistic but practical person supposed to do? Stay tuned.