I was raised in premillennial dispensationalism during Rapture Fever. I’ve tried to set that all aside and be more amillennial, after much study and becoming Orthodox–but those alarm bells keep going off these days. Many people have been wondering if Trump is actually the Antichrist, if maybe it’s time to take those End of the World predictions seriously after all.
It even trended on Twitter a while back, not seriously but jokingly–though some people pointed out alarming prophecies that sounded like him. Shortly after, I tweeted that Trump can’t be the Antichrist if he gets impeached. But then he said we were pulling out of Syria, and I tweeted that I take that back because here he goes and sparks Armageddon: His actions allowed captured ISIS members to escape, and Turkey and Putin to get what they wanted in Syria–along with one of our military bases.
However, Putin seems a more likely contender for the Antichrist, with the Russian Orthodox Church as his Prophet.
Trump may be too much of a puppet of other nations to be the Antichrist, too easily manipulated by Putin, Erdogan, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, etc. Putin’s definitely smarter than Trump, and he’s got the Russian Orthodox Church in his pocket (the Prophet). The last two patriarchs are rumored to have been KGB agents. The church blesses nuclear weapons, and separated from the rest of us when the Ecumenical Patriarch allowed the Ukrainians to form their own church separate from Russia. Putin’s tentacles have been reaching all over–all documented as truth, and not conspiracy theories, by intelligence agencies of various countries.
He’s even got members of the GOP doing what he wants, along with Trump. We see signs of this in both the Mueller Report and the Ukrainian debacle, along with reports in the news of politicians being benefited by Russians, Saudis, and others.
(Such as, McConnell is accused of allowing the end of sanctions against companies owned by an oligarch named in the Mueller Report–so that one of those companies could build in Kentucky. Also, a group of aides and former officials are accused of working around Congress in a potentially illegal deal to get nuclear power to Saudi Arabia–and fill the pockets of many.)
GOP House members have been pushing conspiracy theories that are confirmed by government officials (particularly Fiona Hill in the latest Impeachment Hearing) to have come straight from Russia’s propaganda machine, his cyber war to turn the West against Ukraine and weaken NATO. The biggest proponents of these conspiracy theories in the hearings included Nunes and Jordan, trying to shout down and ridicule and silence witnesses and House reps who told the truth.
Through Trump, American Evangelicals are falling into Putin’s trap as well, supporting Putin’s own tool to bring down our democracy.
As an amillennialist and preterist, I believe that the events commonly attributed by dispensationalists to the End Times refer to events that have already happened in history, either before or after the apocalyptic books (Daniel, Revelations) were written. Also, that several events referred to by Jesus happened in AD 70, when Jerusalem was besieged with devastating results. (Josephus describes the horrific events, complete with cannibalism.)
But the Bible also refers to antichrists not as a one-time event, but as a spirit that continually emerges. A good run-down of the various interpretations is here. My studies, including of Orthodox interpretation, have led me to believe that the prophecies refer to things that have happened, and things that will continue to happen. I thought we didn’t hold to any part of premillennial dispensationalism, but some Orthodox sources say the prophecies refer to the End Times as well.
So you can say that Antiochus Epiphanes was an antichrist. Nebuchadnezzar was an antichrist. Caligula was an antichrist. Hitler is the most obvious antichrist of the twentieth century, with the state-supported church as his prophet, bringing the whole world into Armageddon, then finally defeated. But he’s certainly not the only one even of that century. Soviet Russia was full of the spirit of antichrist. Communist China is also filled with the spirit of antichrist.
Trump is shaping up to be an antichrist of the 21st century, throwing our government into disarray, systematically setting himself up as a dictator until nobody is left around him but sycophants and justices who’ll do what he wants. The great irony is that Evangelicals, after spending decades warning us of the Antichrist, didn’t recognize him and are now worshipping him, becoming his Prophet.
But there are many people in power now who qualify as an antichrist: Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Erdogan, Orban; the crown prince of Saudi Arabia is certainly shaping up to be one. Trump is doing his best, but we still have the workings of democracy trying to get him in check. But are any of these the Antichrist at the End of the World?
That one can’t be answered until it happens. However, there are some significant elements now in the world that make it possible: Climate change, for one. We’re getting countless accounts from scientists warning us that the clock is ticking and if we don’t make drastic changes, we could soon see the end of human life on Earth. This has been going on since the Industrial Revolution, but never faster than now. Yet governments keep ignoring the warning signs because their fat cats don’t want to lose money. Another element is the computer age. Putin has been infiltrating the elections of various NATO countries not with the military, but with the Internet. He’s found it easy to manipulate millions through Twitter bots, not just in America but in the UK and probably other countries as well. There are ridiculous, unfounded rumors of body counts around the Clintons, but there are actual body counts piling up around Putin.
But then again, throughout history, antichrists keep meeting their end. They all die eventually, after all–often prematurely. Hitler met a spectacular end–like the hand of God–that led to the destruction of Nazi Germany and the deaths of many of the people in charge. Kingdoms and empires are strong for a time, but always fall eventually, sometimes thanks to people rising up and fighting back. We may still turn climate change around. Trump is most definitely going to be impeached; there are many reports of his health deteriorating, and if enough people speak out, the GOP Senate could very well change their minds about removing him. Putin could meet his own end in one way or another, or we NATO countries could finally win the cyber war.
Ever since my teens, I’ve seen various predictions of the End of the World from Christian “prophets” who turned out to be wrong. I don’t want to say we are definitely heading into the End Times only to find out nope, wrong again. Maybe, like every time before, the antichrist will fall but the world will keep turning. But we do need to keep an eye out for the spirit of antichrist, and take care not to fall into his trap–whether he is “an antichrist” or “THE Antichrist.”
Update 12/30/19: This is not specifically an “endorsement” because I haven’t checked out the site/videos yet. But here’s somebody who is convinced that Trump is the Antichrist: Brother James Key
Update 6/23/20: Benjamin Corey, a “former fundie” who starts out planning to make light of the whole thing, ends up, as he puts it, “unsettled” by what he finds in biblical prophecy, here. He updated his post a few weeks ago; things have happened since he originally wrote it that are alarming (such as COVID-19 and events during the BLM protests) and add more support to the idea that Trump could be an antichrist–or even the Antichrist.