Obama, Trump or Putin: Will the real Antichrist please stand up?

By Nick Gier
Reader Columnist

We just can’t work with him because our base thinks he’s the Antichrist.
—Barack Obama paraphrasing GOP leaders (8/25/16)

President Putin is the Antichrist, and Russia is
the 10-horned beast of the Book of Revelation.
—Psychic T. Chase (1999)

Former President Barack Obama has been called many things: a Muslim, an illegal Kenyan immigrant, a socialist, a gay man, a sex offender, and why not, the Antichrist himself. Nothing in the Bible, however, says that the Antichrist would start his career as a community organizer, a role that describes very well Jesus’ work with the poor and the oppressed.

Treacherous Traitor” Obama is the Antichrist
A local writer, referring to a non-existent letter between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, claimed these men predicted that an ex-president would become a “treacherous traitor.” This man was unable to provide the reference, but he is certain Obama is this person and the “Bible calls this man the Antichrist.”

Obama will “build an army of agitators,” who will lead “marches, even riots” and will spread hatred throughout the land. This does not quite describe the kitesurfing ex-president relaxing in the British Virgin Island, but of course this may be one of the Antichrist’s ruses.

Another crazy prediction referring to Obama is that “the Antichrist will be a man of Muslim/Arab descent in his 40s who will rule for 42 months.” First, Kenyans are not Arabs (only 20 percent of Muslims world-wide are); and second, Obama of course governed for 96 months. Incidentally, the conservative Conservapedia.com (at the end) has good arguments against Obama being a Muslim.

Christian Website Responds to Antichrist Hype
The claim above is too much for the pro-Bible www.gotanswers.org: “The Bible nowhere says anything about the ethnicity, religion, or age of the Antichrist. There is absolutely nothing to connect the 42 months (Rev. 13:5-8) with the 48-month tenure of a U.S. President.” One more biblical prophecy, among dozens, that bite the dust.

This site also disputes that charge that the name “Barack” is found in the Qur’an. The word “Buraq” is found there, but it refers to a winged creature that carried Abraham and Muhammed to their destinations. The national airlines of Libya is named after this mythical creature, but moderate Muslim Indonesia has chosen “Garuda,” the Hindu god Vishnu’s flying mount, as the name of its airlines.

According to the “gotanswers” Christians, “the name ‘Barack’ is etymologically unrelated to ‘Buraq,’” and “Barack” is thoroughly Judeo-Christian, being “the African form of the Hebrew name ‘Baruch,’ which means ‘blessed.’” Yes, I would say that he must be blessed by God to have withstood all these hateful, false charges.

I respect the intellectual honesty of these conservative Christians: “Intentionally spreading such misinformation [about Obama] will likely make it more difficult to recognize the true Antichrist once he appears on the scene. . . .Rather than speculating and demonizing, our responsibility is to be wise and discerning, based on what the Bible says about the Antichrist.”

Where are Obama’s Seven Heads and Ten Horns?
Obama has failed to grow the Antichrist’s “ten horns and seven heads” (Rev. 13:1), and this allegedly weak president did not take over the earth and establish a one-world government. (He has far less power to do so now.) According to Revelation groupies, this is the goal of the first “beast” of the Book of Revelation.

Conservative Christian leaders have backed away from their more extreme followers. Baptist Pastor Robert James Jeffress, who led an interfaith pre-inaugural prayer service, states: “While I am not suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist, the fact that he was able to propose such a sweeping change in God’s law and still win re-election by a comfortable margin illustrates how a future world leader will be able to oppose God’s laws without any repercussions.”

Is Trump the Antichrist or just a Fellow Traveler?
It is only fair to ask if Donald Trump might be the Antichrist. The “gotanswers” Christians conclude: “While Trump does possess some traits that are similar to the Bible’s description of the Antichrist, the same could be said of many world leaders. In our evaluation, it is highly unlikely that Donald Trump is the Antichrist. Ultimately, though, the answer to the question has to be ‘wait and see.’”

The Antichrist is described as a “man of lawlessness” (2 Thess. 2:3). Obama haters will of course say “case closed,” but Obama’s sins pale in comparison to Trump’s many infractions:

  • Trump has violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause because he has not separated himself from his vast business interests.
  • The U.S. is a signatory to the 1951 Convention on Refugees, which prohibits banning them based on their religion.
  • Trump was forced to pay $25 million for defrauding students at his fake university.
  • Trump was forced to settle with the federal government on charges that he had discriminated against blacks in his New York City apartments.
  • According to Noah Feldman, Trump’s charge that Obama tapped his phones, without giving proof, is an impeachable offense (www.bloomberg.com/view/ articles/2017-03-06/trump-s-wiretap-tweets-raise-risk-of-impeachment).

There are Many Antichrists, not just One
Many Christians notice that most of the references to the Antichrist indicate many not just one, and they follow a general, non-apocalyptic interpretation. For them an Antichrist is any person who behaves in anti-Christian ways.

I believe that inclusion lies at the core of Jesus’ teachings. As the greatest feminist in the ancient world, he elevated women over his often-clueless male disciples. He stood for acceptance of the Other in his treatment of the adulteress and the Samaritans. Here is his famous call for compassion: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40).

Anti-Christian Trump vs. Christian Obama?

In stark contrast, Trump is anti-Christian in his condemnation of Muslims and Hispanics. His serial lying is not very Christian either. He expressed an inkling of compassion, when he appeared to exempt immigrant families from deportation, but Homeland Security will now separate out women and children. It is Trump, more than any other American leader, who has spread hatred and violence throughout the land.

Obama used the phrases “God bless America,” “God bless the United States of America,” or “God bless you” frequently. Trump, however, was the first president-elect since Ronald Reagan’s “thank you” in 1980 not to use any such language in his victory speech. Instead, Trump finished by saying “Thank you, Mike Pence. Thank you.” OK, they do say that Pence is a godly man.

Even though Trump claims that the Bible is a “special” and “incredible” book, he ignorantly said “Two” instead of “Second” Corinthians, and he punted when asked what his favorite Bible verse was. At the annual Prayer Breakfasts, Obama talked about his Christian faith and referred to his favorite scripture verses, but at his first breakfast Trump made a fool of himself by criticizing Arnold Schwarzenegger for his poor ratings on The Apprentice.

Trump’s Own Presbyterians Reject Him
When Trump told Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody that he “will be the greatest representative of the Christians that they’ve had in a long time,” one might interpret this as one of “those people” comments—not his people. One might also take the following boast as blasphemous or at least hubristic: “I will be the best job producer that God ever created.”

Trump always puts himself first, not other people, presumably not even God. The Antichrist “will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thess. 2:3–4). Trump appears to assume omnipotence in his claims that he will fix every single problem. He should know that only the Hindu Goddess can wipe ISIS from “the face of the earth.”

Trump proclaimed that he is a “very proud Presbyterian,” but his home church Marble Collegiate had not seen him in years and reported that he was no longer a member. The Rutgers Presbyterian Church sought to excommunicate him because of his anti-Muslim statements, but found out that that they obviously could not boot a non-member.

Trump: An “Immoral and Ungodly Man”—not Born Again
Even though 80 percent of evangelicals voted for him, some of their leaders doubt very much if Trump is a Christian. Christian writer Rachel Held Evans declares that “Donald Trump hasn’t been born again. The Religious Right has simply sold out.” John Stemberger, President of Florida Family Action, contends thatTrump is the most immoral and ungodly man ever to run for president.”

Does this mean that Trump is an Antichrist? We should be very suspicious about a person, claiming to be a Christian, who obviously flunked Sunday School and claims that he does not need God’s forgiveness. With regard to forgiveness, this is what Trump told a CNN reporter: “I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t. I don’t do a lot of things that are bad.”

Revelation’s Two Beasts: It Must be Russia and America
Trump has expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin, and in 2008 his son bragged that “we see a lot money pouring in from Russia.” Last summer Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager was forced to resign because of his business dealings with Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs. We now know that last December former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner talked directly to the Russian ambassador.

In the 1950-60s it was common to hear from conservatives Christians that the Soviet Union was the “beast,” which had “feet like those of a bear” (Rev. 13:2). The bear is of course the Russian totem animal, and some Revelation junkies still support this thesis.

Eduardo Freire Canosa once believed that the beast’s seven heads represent the number of Soviet leaders up to Gorbachev, and its ten horns are the seven Warsaw Pact nations plus the three Baltic States. After the break-up the Soviet Union in 1989, Canosa conceded that the prophecy is not fulfilled, along with, if I might add, dozens of others.

In 1999 psychic T. Case was convinced that “President Putin is the Antichrist, and Russia is the 10-horned beast of the Book of Revelation.” Case acknowledges that the beast does incur a fatal wound, but the wound has healed (Rev. 13:3) under Putin, so the Bible is still correct. Except for the fact that it now must have ten heads (Yeltsin, Medvedev, and Putin added) and only one horn=nation! Oh, those prophecies are always so hard to get right!

There is also a second beast, which comes from the earth, and this has led to a flurry of speculation. Is the first one Obama and the second Hillary? No, Obama must be paired with the Pope, who for centuries was the first wicked beast. No, that’s not right either, because the beasts are nations, not persons. (The Antichrist is a person.) So, of course, it must be Trump’s America and Russia.

Trump’s Artful Deal with Russia
There you have it, folks. Trump’s ties to Russia artfully seal the deal, the first of seven seals (Rev. 5:5) on the book that Christ will open at the End of Time. And, if Steve Bannon, Trump’s right-hand man, is correct about total war with Islam and China, then the six other seals will also be broken. After a great cosmic war, a mere 144,000 (Rev. 14:1) will be taken up to heaven and the rest of us, including millions of Trump supporters, will be lost forever.

Nick Gier of Moscow taught philosophy and religion at the University of Idaho for 31 years. He was Coordinator of Religious Studies from 1980 to 2003. Read all his columns on the 2016 election at www.NickGier.com/Election2016.pdf. Read many of his articles on religion at www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/religion.htm. He can be reached at [email protected]

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