Does the Bible predict the future with stunning accuracy as so many in the end-times camp have claimed?
I grew up in the rapture-me-outta-here end times movement, and have spilled no shortage of ink critiquing it– even poking a bit of fun at it. As a theologian I fall into a category of belief that sees biblical prophecies about “the end” as being events that have mostly been fulfilled in the past, but I try to hold that belief gently and recognize I could be wrong.
Many of my fellow Christians in America have warned me over the years of exactly that, often telling me: “I feel sorry for you, because when the Antichrist comes you’re not even going to recognize him!”
To honor those who have given me such warning, I decided to spend the past week studying the most significant biblical prophecies and descriptions typically believed by my conservative friends to refer the Antichrist. If my evangelical friends are correct, and if it’s entirely possible that the Antichrist is on the global scene today, I certainly wouldn’t want to be the only person in the room who didn’t recognize the Antichrist when I saw him.
In case you too are a bit rusty in the area of biblical predictions about the coming Antichrist and don’t want to be oblivious if such a person were to arise, consider me your chief antichristologist who is more than happy to help you out.
Here are the no-kidding-not-satire-prophecies and signs of the antichrist the Bible tells us to watch out for… and that blew my mind by the time I was done:
The Antichrist will be the leader of a nation that is a military superpower with the ability to trample and crush the entire earth.
“The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.”
This verse helps us start by narrowing down the nations and times the Antichrist could come from. The passage directly states he is from a nation that was different from times before, in that it was powerful enough to crush and destroy the entire earth– likely a nuclear superpower. Revelation also speaks of the Antichrist and his prophet having the power to “call down fire from the sky,” which further supports this notion.
Thus, when considering the prophecy in light of the modern world, it most likely leaves Russia or the United States, as both have over 6,000 warheads with remaining nuclear nations having under a few hundred. Furthermore, Revelation 17:15 describes the Antichrist coming from a place where there are “multitudes of peoples, nations, and languages” which would most accurately depict a “melting pot” nation like the United States.
The Antichrist will be a man who is exceptionally arrogant and will be known for giving boastful speeches.
“I could hear his boastful speech…”
Daniel 7:8, Revelation 13:5
So, as you keep your eyes peeled for the Antichrist, be sure to keep in mind that it won’t be a quiet leader who is deceitfully humble and flies under the radar– The Bible says it will be someone who loves to give speeches where he boasts about himself.
The Antichrist will be someone known for making a lot of public threats against people.
“…had a mouth like that of a lion.”
Revelation 13:2, Daniel. 7:4
As we begin to assemble the biblical prophecies, Christians on guard should be looking for a king-like figure who loves to boast about himself, but who also loves to go around roaring like a lion– things like threats to his enemies and a constant verbal flexing of muscle.
The Antichrist will be someone obsessed with winning.
“…and he was bent on conquering.”
In addition to your king-like figure who likes to run his mouth, the Bible tells us to be on the lookout for someone obsessed with winning. Of course, most people like to win, but this figure will be different– he will be so obsessed with it that he’ll probably talk about it all the time. He might even fantasize about winning so much that one gets tired of winning.
The Antichrist will come from among 7 tall “hills” that each act as a “head.”
“And I saw a beast coming out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads, which stood for seven hills”
Revelation 13:1, Ch. 17
John described the Antichrist (beast) “rising up from the sea” as he looked out from the Island of Patmos in a supernatural vision. The Bible describes the beast as having 7 heads, which symbolized 7 “hills” that stood up high. Hills also are metaphorical for places of power in the Bible.
So, if the Antichrist were to come in the present age, we’d be most likely looking for an American president known for being exceptionally arrogant, boastful, and threatening others, but who also came from 7 tall “hills” or places of power… one of which would need to be somewhere in the vicinity of where John was looking out into the ocean where the vision occurred.
Huh… well this is a super weird coincidence:
Seven heads? Maybe like potential head-quarters?
Well, funny thing again: while Donald Trump owns at least ten skyscrapers that I’m aware of, apparently only seven of them are formally named Trump Towers:
Trump Tower, NYC
Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago
Trump Towers, Istanbul
Trump International Hotel and Tower, Toronto
Trump World Tower, New York
Trump Towers, Sunny Isles Beach
Trump Tower, Manila
And this is a little bizarre, but in John’s vision he said that the 7 heads had horns on them– some had just one, some had two… kinda like those antennas on top.
Wow, and you know what? John’s vision also said that the seven heads all had someone’s name written across them. Interesting!
And let’s not even open the can of worms regarding the building on 5th ave… Yeah, the same deal that was bailed out by Justice Kennedy’s son before Kennedy surprised everyone and retired– giving Trump what had been a swing vote on the Supreme Court. #PowerMove
Bummer of an address Jared! Glad you were able to offload that.
The Antichrist will cause people all over the globe to be filled with wonder and “follow” him.
“The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.”
This verse also speaks to the likelihood the coming of the Antichrist is more likely to be in the modern world instead of the ancient one. 2,000 years ago it would not have been possible for people all over the globe to become fascinated by a political leader, let alone “follow” them.
Okay, I get it…
Some predictions and prophecies can be like horoscopes: they can appear to apply to anyone.
And I’m with you… when you get into stuff like numerology and interpreting seven-headed beasts, it’s hard to know if something is an eerie coincidence, or just plain silly.
I’d honestly started this post intending to be silly, and during my research began to find the coincidences and certain numbers happening to match a bit amusing the first few times. But at a certain point the coincidences added up or got too specific, and it wasn’t funny anymore– it was deeply unsettling.
And by the end? Well, stick with me as the prophecies grow more specific, and you’ll see why my mind was a bit blown– and why as a Christian my spirit was deeply unsettled by the the end of it:
The Antichrist will be a political outsider with despicable character and a contemptuous personality who wins an election that no one expects him to win.
“… a despicable person will arise… a man of contempt… to whom the royal honor has not been rightfully conferred. He will slip in when least expected and will seize the kingdom through flattery and intrigue.”
When looking to identify the Antichrist, the Bible starts to help us with some really specific prophecies. Based on what the Bible predicts, a most likely scenario for the arrival of the Antichrist would be a candidate for president who came from the private sector (not of ‘royal’ background) being found with despicable morality along with a contemptuous personality, who campaigned on flattery and lies– but somehow went on to win an election no one expected him to win… leaving the country stunned.
The Antichrist will give speeches where he speaks “great things” and then about things that are even “greater.”
“He had a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions…”
Starting to get weird now, isn’t it? This is about the point I got goosebumps and a little freaked out also.
Yes, in warning us of the Antichrist the Bible predicts in both Daniel and Revelation that when the Antichrist comes, he’ll not only be the contemptuous and arrogant political outsider who pulls an upset in the election– but warns us that he’ll specifically be speaking of “great” and “greater” things along the way.
The Antichrist comes to power through collusion with a secret alliance who uses disinformation to help him win– even though he has a minority number of supporters.
“After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people.”
So, you know… according to God’s holy and infallible word and all, one of the other major signs to warn us of the arrival of the Antichrist would be an election where someone won with fewer supporters, and where it was also proven that an evil outside power meddled with the process to specifically put that person in office.
But I can’t imagine the country would turn a blind eye if that ever happened, especially for my evangelical friends who tell me we need to always be on guard for the arrival of the Antichrist.
The Antichrist’s rise to power will seem like a miracle that God performed, tricking people into following Satan instead of God without even noticing.
“The arise in power of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie.”
2 Thess. 2:9
Evil is evil, but evil is not stupid… or at least, Satan isn’t. When the time comes to make his power move in the human story, he’ll find a way to not only make evil palatable– he’ll try the ultimate bait and switch by making God himself seem responsible for this evil. What better way to get a hit in, than to do it and make it look like God actually did it?
When the Antichrist comes, be sure to look for powerful religious folk claiming it was a miracle from God:
As president, the Antichrist will immediately find ways to make himself and his friends richer– and he will do it in a way no president had ever done before.
“Then he will distribute among his followers the plunder and wealth of the rich—something his predecessors had never done.”
In this verse the Bible continues down the path of helping us get more specific about the rise of the Antichrist so we won’t miss it when we see it: He says that the Antichrist will be unique from all other presidents before him in the way he will be able to use the presidency to instantly get richer and toss lots of money over to his friends.
While all modern presidents are wealthy, and politicians give kick-backs, Daniel indicates something will be different about this president and that he will uniquely profit off the presidency in a way that previous presidents never imagined.
This prophecy could likely only be fulfilled if a rich business person were to win a deceptively influenced election, and then serve as president with some sort of business structure that got he and his friends richer and richer just from being president.
If such a thing were to ever occur, you might likely hear a government oversight body state something to the effect of: “The president has turned the government of the United States into a money-making operation for his family, his friends and himself.”
Once in power the Antichrist will reveal that his heart wants to make alterations to the “appointed times” that are in current laws.
“He will try to change the set times and the laws.”
What’s fascinating is that the Bible never tells us he actually succeeds or does change the appointed cycles, but that he expresses wanting to change them. What would it look like to express an interest in changing laws around cycles and appointed times? It would likely be that the Antichrist will want to change elections, skip/delay an election, or extend term limits, etc, thus what the Bible says of “intending to alter laws for appointed times…”
The Antichrist will make fake news popular and will be a chronic liar. His followers will believe his delusions because they hate the truth.
“He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior… He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.”
Daniel 8:25, 2 Thess 2:10
Daniel 8 and 2nd Thessalonians 2 are incredibly descriptive warnings to help us recognize the Antichrist. Predicting that under his rule “deceit will prosper” warns us to look for someone who calls the truth “fake news” and who is known for constantly lying.
In fact, the Antichrist lies so much that the Bible stops calling him the Antichrist and starts calling him The Liar– using the definite article for effect– as if he begins to personify fake news and lies.
The Antichrist will reward those who are completely loyal with powerful positions and lucrative real estate deals.
“He will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will sell them land at a price.”
No kidding: the Bible predicts the Antichrist will be someone who negotiates powerful real estate deals with his friends.
The Antichrist is someone in need of constant affirmation, so the Bible predicts he will use his position to surround himself with blind loyalists who honor and submit to him.
To spot the Antichrist as the Bible predicts, look for a president who gives high level positions away on the basis of personal loyalty. While all politics involve a level of this, the Bible calls the Antichrist a worthless shepherd’ so he will likely have a cabinet of leaders in disarray and incompetence, with many being blatantly unqualified or even a bunch of them going to jail.
If that’s not enough to help us identify the Antichrist, the Bible throws us a major bone: He’ll be a president experienced at negotiating land and property deals, and he’ll have access to plenty to buy and sell.
While some prophecies are general enough to fit certain leaders here and there, thankfully the Bible give us some rather specific clues to also look for– like a rich and arrogant political outsider who happens to be in the business of negotiating land and property deals.
The Bible says that we’ll be able to spot the Antichrist because he will give an arrogant public speech in the middle of his first term where he boasts of “great things” but also uses God’s name as a curse in the same speech.
“And there was given to him a mouth speaking of ‘great things’ and blasphemous words… and he opened his mouth saying terrible things and blasphemed the name of God.”
I mean, if this were to happen all my end-times friends would spot it, wouldn’t they? Revelation 13 very specifically tells us that somewhere in the middle of his first three and a half years in office, the Antichrist will give a very specific and telling speech: he will arrogantly brag of his accomplishments and ‘great’ things, and will also use God’s name in a way considered to be blasphemy.
This would be exceedingly eye-brow-raising for any serious Antichrist hunter, were this to ever happen in a presidential speech… right?
The Antichrist will draw strong support from many Christians as if they are willfully blind and outright delusional.
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and appear to perform ‘great’ signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, God’s own people. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction…”
Matt. 24:24, 2nd Thess 2:10
Sorry, but I’m old enough to remember when revivals were for God and blasphemy was a serious sin.
The Antichrist will spend his first term in office having an ongoing feud with the leadership of the nation on his southern border.
“He will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South…”
Creepy coincidence? The entire Antichrist narrative of Daniel 11 is situated around a conflict along the southern border where the Antichrist is wanting something that the king to his south wont give him. Based on the whole of Antichrist prophecies and the common thread of money and greed, it certainly appears to be money that he wants from the nation to his south…
The Bible predicts that negotiating a deal will be hopeless, as neither side is willing to budge. The Antichrist hates the leadership south of his border and hates his people. Not surprisingly, the Bible says they aren’t big fans of the northern king (v11:27). Scripture tells us that negotiations never get off the ground, as kings to the south don’t want to give the Antichrist anything.
It also says that the Antichrist will go down to the southern border as things heat up– there is a crisis where both sides have troops along the southern border– and that the Antichrist will return home with a large sum of money shortly after.
Another interesting coincidence: in April 2019 Trump toured the southern border and returned home days later to the Pentagon awarding him $1 billion toward his border wall.
The Bible also says that even though the Antichrist will come home with a large sum of money, that he’s even more furious about things after.
Maybe the money wasn’t enough for what he wanted and didn’t know where the rest would come from?
The Antichrist will be so angry at the king to his south that he will decide to intentionally inflict harm on that ethnic group in retaliation.
“He will set himself against the people… doing much damage before continuing his journey.”
Yes, you’re tracking with me correctly: the Bible predicts the Antichrist will be an arrogant political outsider who talks about “great” and “greater” things, who wins an election where he has less supporters due to the election being tampered with, who then instantly gets rich off the presidency and spends his time in a feud with the president across from his southern border.
And yes, the Bible actually says that after negotiations fail at the souther border he decides to get even by intentionally inflicting harm and distress on that ethnic group.
Get ready to have your mind blown with what Zechariah’s prophecy about the coming Antichrist says on this matter, especially in light of what Daniel tells us regarding the Antichrist’s retaliation along the border:
“There will be a leader over the land who will not help the ones who are dying.
He will not go looking for the young who got lost, or care for the children.
He won’t help the ones who are sick or broken, or even give nourishment to the hungry ones who are still healthy.”
– Zechariah 11:16-17
Children being ripped from their parents as a deterrent from crossing into the “northern kingdom,” refugees being locked in cages without adequate care, some dying in our custody, children still missing or given for adoption even though they weren’t orphans?
Yeah, the Bible references the “worthless shepherd” who will do that– AKA: the Antichrist.
Still need a few more warning signs from the Bible as to the identity of the Antichrist? Apparently God doesn’t want us to miss it, because the last few drive it all home:
The Antichrist will be furious over “rumors and reports” that come from the east and north, and will fly into fits of rage as the reports surface.
“But reports will trouble him from the east and north, and he will set out in a tremendous rage to destroy and wipe out many.”
That’s right: In the middle of the Antichrist’s feud along the southern border he will hear troubling “rumors and reports” that specifically come from the eastern and the northern parts of the country.
The Bible goes on to predict the rumors will “frighten” him and leave him so furious, that he has fits of rage and will want to destroy people over the reports.
The Antichrist will appear to receive a wound he can’t recover from, but will survive to put down the first attempts to remove him from office.
“[He] appeared to be fatally wounded, but the fatal wound was healed– and the whole world was amazed.”
And of course, when Trump squeaked by in the Russia investigation due to internal DOJ policy which doesn’t allow the indictment of a sitting president, and because the jury who decided the outcome of his impeachment trial announced the outcome before the trial was even held.
The Antichrist will have the nation’s most powerful religious leader influencing the country for him. This leader will try to convince Christians that the Antichrist is “God’s pick” and that we need to support him.
“And then I saw a second beast come from the Earth who looked like a lamb but spoke like a dragon… and it deceived the inhabitants of the Earth…”
The Bible predicts the Antichrist will survive the near-fatal wound to his rule, but then goes on to tell us he will need the most powerful religious leader in the country to help him solidify support among the religious in order to stay in power– specifically around the 3 1/2 year mark.
3 1/2 year mark? That’s re-election season. Interesting!
The prophecy describes a political/religious alliance where the most influential religious leader in the country goes around speaking to large crowds, displaying any and all religious credentials he can muster, in order to generate support for the Antichrist rule to last more than just 3/12 years.
During the rule of the Antichrist there will be a global pandemic that will kill many people.
“…and many people died from the waters that had become bitter”
The Bible predicts that during the rule of the Antichrist that there will be a global pandemic where an illness enters the country from a foreign place, spreading in liquid form (cough, sneeze) and ends up killing many, many people in the nation and globally.
During the pandemic the Antichrist will not prioritize the vulnerable.
“”There will be a leader over the land who will not help the ones who are dying.”
When the pandemic hits, be on the lookout for a leader who delays action even though he knows people will die, someone who publicly spreads scientifically false information that could get people killed, and someone who is in far more of a hurry to get back to winning than he is to help the sick and the dying.
During the rule of the Antichrist people will begin having strange and vivid dreams.
“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
Recently people have begin having strange and vivid dreams all across the country, and scientists have been busy trying to explain why it’s happening. The New York Times reported that the query on Google, “why am i having weird dreams lately” has quadrupled. Even National Geographic has a full article on the spike of people reporting having strange dreams.
During the rule of the Antichrist there will be food shortages and huge spike in food prices, but will be a surplus of oil that remains cheap.
“Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil!”
The Bible predicts that there will be food shortages that cause a dramatic spike in food prices, while leaving some commodities untouched.
In March and April of 2020, many Americans had their very first experience walking into a grocery store and finding the shelves completely bare. This period also marked the biggest price increase in American food prices since 1974– at a time when oil was at such a surplus that for a moment, it had a negative price.
During the rein of the Antichrist those who are wise to what is happening will rise up and resist in a period of civil unrest that will get a lot of attention. They will face violence from security forces and receive no help from the Antichrist.
“Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them.”
How do we know the time is at hand and the Antichrist is in power?
Well, according to Daniel, look for a period of civil unrest where those who “resist” speak out against the culture of the Antichrist. Protesters will face violence from security forces, some will “fall” and get no help when they do, and their movement will be co-opted by opportunists whose motive is to plunder (loot) but who are not sincerely members of the resistance movement.
The Antichrist will use his armed forces to remove people from the area surrounding a church and will do something detestable in front of it.
“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the area surrounding the temple, so that they can set up the abomination that leaves the area empty.”
In ancient times God-followers went to the temple to sacrifice, worship him, and gather together. The Bible tells us that during the rule of the Antichrist there will come a time when churches do not gather like they used to.
It further tells us, both in Daniel and then mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24, that the Antichrist will use the military to clear out the area outside a church until it is empty and desolate. Once the area is cleared, the Antichrist will do something just outside of the church that is an abomination to God.
On June 1, 2020, Donald Trump had federal officers fired teargas (a weapon that is outlawed under the Geneva Convention) and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters in Washington D.C. and make the area desolate so that he could walk to a local church for a staged photo op. It was not a church he attended (he prefers to play golf on Sundays), and the photo op was to help him with conservative religious voters (and interestingly, he held the Bible upside down and backwards for the photo).
What is also interesting is the Bible tells us in the very next verse that after the Antichrist engages in this act in front of the church, he will flatter and compliment Christians who have betrayed their faith to follow him. In an interview after his staged event, Trump said that religious people were happy he did it and mentioned Franklin Graham and Robert Jefress– offering them both flattery.
The pastor of the church was absolutely furious that he would not only do this to peaceful protestors in front of the church, but that he would use their church and a Bible from inside, as a photo op. They even threw a priest off church property in order to do it.
The Antichrist will see himself as being above everyone else, as if he had no need for God. He will eventually elevate himself as the God and King of Israel
“And he will exalt himself above all… so that he sets himself up in God’s own temple in Israel, proclaiming himself to be God.”
2nd Thess 2:4, Rev 17
However… it’s hard to imagine this actually happening. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a professing Christian who saw themselves as being so flawless or had zero reverence for God. Well, take that back– never mind the admission that he’s “never seen a need” to ask God forgiveness for anything, or saying, “Why should I repent if I haven’t done anything wrong?” just TODAY he did something that seemed unthinkable…
Here’s Donald Trump, just as the Bible predicts, setting himself up like he’s the God and King of Israel:
Beyond words. This is what Antichrist looks like.
But you know what? He is not the God of Israel. He doesn’t worship or even know the God of Israel.
But are you ready for some Antichrist trolling about 2,600 years in the waiting?
Well, we know the Antichrist hates God and doesn’t worship him– but the Bible *does* actually let us in on a secret and tells us who the Antichrist does worship… and spoiler: it’s not actually Satan.
The Antichrist will worship the god of border walls.
For real. The Bible actually says that.
“He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god no one will have heard of before: the god of fortresses. And he will worship this god with a lot of money.”
You can’t even make this stuff up– yes, the Bible *actually* says that instead of worshipping the true God, the Antichrist will worship an unknown god of “fortresses.”
What does this word “fortress” literally translate to?
Border walls that secure a city or country, that’s what.
Yes, the Bible says the Antichrist will worship the god of border walls.
Some commentaries argue it’s not even referencing a real deity (though some think it was the ‘god of towers’ like a gate tower), but instead note that it is likely the Antichrist will be so obsessed with a border wall, worshipping it with a lot of money, that it functionally becomes his god.
Yup- trolling from long-since-dead-guys. Priceless!
The Antichrist’s most devoted followers will wear a sign of their allegiance to him on their foreheads.
“And they received a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads…”
And we all thought it was going to be a barcode or chip….
And the final biblical prophecy on the Antichrist:
… But the people who truly know God and remain faithful, will firmly “resist” him.
With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.
Yup– even the name of our movement is mentioned in the Antichrist narrative.
So in the end, what do I believe theologically on the subject of eschatology after this research project?
I don’t know yet.
But what I do know is this: If the Antichrist comes, I’m not going to be the one guy in the room who doesn’t recognize him.