For the Evangelical Church, the 70s and 80s were a hotbed for Christian science fiction pertaining to the “end times.” From Hal Lindsey’s “late Great Planet Earth” to Jenkins’s and LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series, there was a general feeling that we were either in or nearing the end times.
Alleged signs of the end times included:
- Forming of Israel in 1948.
- Formation of the European Union (10 horns of the fourth beast per Daniel 7).
- General moral decay of Western civilization.
- Ability of humans to destroy the world in fire through nuclear annihilation.
- Environmental destruction on a global scale.
Another key part of the prophetic end times is the rise of an Anti-Christ (or Anti-Christs per 1 and 2 John). The Anti-Christ is also considered to be the “Beast” per Revelation and “Man of Lawlessness” in Paul’s Epistles.
The end times narrative of the 70s and 80s went something like this: True believers in Christ are raptured to heaven, the lack of Christian influence allows rapid moral decay, Satan is let loose and uses the Anti-Christ/Beast to deceive the nations all while God pours out judgment in seven seals and trumpet blasts. This is all during the 7 year Tribulation. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ returns in glory and defeats the armies of the World in the Battle of Armageddon. Christ ushers in the Millennium — 1,000 years of peace on Earth under Christ’s rule. Current Christian theologists are divided on the end times, but for the most part have abandoned the above-described “Pre-Tribulation” narrative.
How will the end times happen in reality? No one knows for sure — those that make specific predictions have been invariably shown to be wrong (e.g., Harold Camping predicted 21 October 2011 and Grigory Rasputin predicted 23 Aug 2013 as the end of the World and Christ’s return).
But what about the Anti-Christ? Is there a figure from history or current events that meets the Biblical description? Some Biblical scholars say that Roman Emperor Nero was the Anti-Christ (he certainly persecuted Christians). Martin Luther claimed that the “Pope of Rome” was Anti-Christ; Many Popes, including current Pope Francis I have been accused of being the Anti-Christ. Most recently Barack Obama, Kamala Harris and Donald Trump have been labeled as Anti-Christ.
So who is or was the Anti-Christ? No one knows except God.
While the Bible-predicted person(s) of Anti-Christ is unknown, we can certainly compare any person, past or present to the person/character of Christ.
Donald Trump, for example, in many ways is a mirror image of Christ — to wit, some of Christ’s teachings compared to Donald Trump’s actions:
John 8:30 “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” In spite of being one of the most sinful human beings in public life, Trump relishes condemning others.
John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Trump would not give a dime to help anyone unless valuable for his self-promoting nature.
Matthew 5:43–46 “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” Trump seethes with hate for his enemies and never forgives.
Mark 10: 42–45 “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Trump is pride personified and desires to be first in all things and to be served in all circumstances. Trump Idolizes strongmen and despises those without power.
Matthew 23:12 “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Trump exalts himself above all others including God. Trump steals credit for things he has not done.
Matthew 7:12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Trump does to others as he pleases and is incredulous when he is treated similarly.
So is Trump the Anti-Christ? Who knows. His recent fall from power in the 2020 election suggests not. On the other hand, his ability to deceive is beyond any recent figure since perhaps Hitler (comparisons to Hitler are almost always hyperbolic and unfair, but this one fits). All we can do is pray for wisdom and discernment from God and remind ourselves that no man or woman will save the World.
To those that believe Trump is somehow anointed by God, I refer you to Trump’s behavior contrasted with the person of Christ. God may be using Trump, but Trump is not a man of God in any way. To those that exhibit near “worship” of Trump, I remind that only Christ can bring peace and only Christ is worthy of worship — the present “worship” of Trump is idolatry at best.