Luca Signorelli: Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist (1499–1504)

Reader note: This article contains presumptive interpretations of the books of Daniel and Revelation and should not be taken as absolute or literal interpretation of the visions God provided us. It is important to recognize that we are not expected to decode the visions described but rather, to understand the message well enough to fit the pieces together when the events inevitably come to light.

Donald TrumpCould Donald Trump be the Antichrist?

Is Donald Trump the Antichrist? It’s not surprising that it’s a question on many people’s minds. After all, we elected a man that despite living the antithesis of our beliefs, rose through a series of bizarre events into the most powerful position on the planet. Within days, protests erupted throughout the country and foreign partners (e.g. China) openly declared they were positioning themselves for a trade war, a common precursor to real war. It seemed as if the planet was shaking apart at the seams. And it all came to light because we fired a shot at elites knowing that shrapnel would inevitably wound African Americans, Muslims, women, Hispanics, and other underprivileged innocents.

In the aftermath, we can’t help but marvel at how a “flawed” man such as Trump was universally supported by Christians and Christian religious leaders (exit polls revealed that 81% of Evangelicals voted for Trump). Regardless, this early in the tale, it would be foolish to draw the conclusion that Trump was the Antichrist – there are many prophecies that must be fulfilled first. Still, Donald Trump’s ascent to power does serve as an excellent example of how the Antichrist could “slip through the cracks” and rise to power.

This is how the Antichrist could unexpectedly rise to power

It’s rare that a presidential candidate loses the popular vote but wins the election but it is just this sort of turmoil that could allow the Antichrist to ascend to power. Leading into Trump’s presidency, there are aspects of his rise that match the visions described in Daniel and Revelation. However, at this early stage, we could likely stuff any candidate into that mold. Still, although Donald Trump may not be the Antichrist, at the very least, we can take advantage of a potentially divisive situation by matching the Bible’s predictions to our current scenario and use the experience to explore how the Antichrist could sneak past us and take control of our country (and eventually, the world).

The beast rises to ascension near the sea (Revelation 13:1)

“The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.”

Scholars have long interpreted this verse to mean the Antichrist would likely rise from a location near a large body of water. New York City has always been a popular choice.

Babylon: The Mark of the Beast (?)The beast partners with three world leaders (Daniel 7:4-7)

“Four great beasts… The first was like a lion… a second beast, which looked like a bear, another beast which looked like a leopard… it had four wings like those of a bird… it was given authority to rule… a fourth beast – terrifying and frightening and very powerful…”

This section of Daniel is commonly thought to describe the Beast’s rise with the assistance, cooperation, or support from three great nations or leaders. Given the nations were depicted as animals, many have surmised the three nations to be China (lion), Russia (bear), and the United States (winged leopard). When the world found that in a surprise turnaround, Donald Trump had won the presidency, the most notable countries to support the outcome (outside of United States) were – China and America’s greatest rival, Russia.

The beast is arrogant and boastful (Daniel 7:8, Revelation 13:5)

“This horn [the Antichrist or False Prophet) had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.”

“The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words…”

Few can deny that Trump is arrogant and boastful. He’s demonstrated many times his propensity for braggartry in his Tweets and public speeches. The Bible tells us in several verses that the beast will be extremely arrogant. It’s one of the most oft-mentioned characteristics and likely the one that will stand at the forefront of the Beast’s personality traits.

The Antichrist will be extremely successful (Daniel 8:24)

“He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does.”

Surprising to some, most portrayals envision the Antichrist as being successful. It’s difficult to imagine.  How can a leader cause devastation and be considered successful? Indeed, the Bible tells us that the Beast will “succeed in whatever he does” while causing astounding devastation across the world.  Trump was successful in his bid for presidency but still triggered widespread protests, angst, and chaos throughout the world.

The Antichrist dominates others (Daniel 7:7)

“It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left.”

Most interpret this to meant the Antichrist will be a strong, dominating figure, crushing opponents while maintaining popularity with the people. We saw this during the Trump/Clinton election which was drenched with poisonous hatred and inflammatory campaign rhetoric. When asked by the Wall Street Journal if he had gone too far, Trump replied, “No. I won.”

Luca Signorelli: Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist (1499–1504)The Antichrist will be a liar (2 Thessalonians 2:10, Revelation 16;13)

“He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.”

“Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”

It goes without saying that the Antichrist will proffer deceit and lies. At least two verses strongly suggest this. And no candidate in history spewed more blatant lies, saturating his speeches with half-truths and flagrant falsehoods, than Trump did during his run for presidency. When caught, Trump asserted his lies were meant as sarcasm.  In his book, Trump: The Art of the Deal, he explained the logic behind his actions:

“I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts…  I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

Christians and religious leaders lend unintended support for the Antichrist (Daniel 7:25)

“The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.”

Today, religious leaders are trying to justify their support of Trump rather than admitting that our choice in Clinton and Trump boiled down to a metaphorical decision between cholera and the plague. However, we should not be surprised. Daniel 7:25 hints that the Antichrist will somehow be able to win over our religious leaders. The election of Trump showed just how this unimaginable turn-of-events could happen.

Ironically, in the verse above, “time” means 1 year, “times” means two years, and “half a time” means 6 months. Daniel tells us that the Antichrist will lead for 3 ½ years – just 6 months short of a full United States Presidential term.

The Antichrist will have a partner – the False Prophet (Revelation 13:11-18)

“Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.”

“And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.”

“It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.  This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.”

Revelation 13:11 provides the most recognized description of the Antichrist’s partner – known as the False Prophet (or alternatively, the “second beast”).  The verses indicate the False Prophet will act as an underling to the Antichrist, an agent of the Beast, working on his behalf.  The verses suggest the False Prophet (not the Antichrist) will be individual who introduces the Mark of the Beast (the enigmatic “666”) to the public. And many have long-believed the symbolic description of the False Prophet rising from the Earth indicates he will be of Jewish heritage (as opposed to the Antichrist who rose from the sea, a purported symbolic representation of Gentiles).  Together with Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet form an unholy trinity that ultimately will be cast into the lake of fire.

Many would point to Trump’s Jewish campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, as his biggest “worshiper”, but another of Trump’s most venerated admirers is his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, son of convicted felon Charles Kushner (convicted and disbarred in 2004 for various crimes including illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering ).  Shortly after Trump was elected President, it became apparent that Kushner was destined to be his right-hand man (he was pronounced “special adviser to the President” on January 9, 2016).  It should have come as no surprise – he had often been described as “Trump’s Mini-Me”.  As per prophetic scripture, Jared Kushner is indeed Jewish and astonishingly, owns (and paid a record price for) the iconic office complex located at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City (see Mark of the Beast discussion below).

Much prophecy is yet to be filled

Despite the similarities, the Bible reveals many more indicators of the Antichrist’s identity – and this is where we must be careful. Prophecy in the Bible is not meant to be interpreted before the events take place. The symbolisms used will only be resolved when they *all* fit the circumstances. In the end, Christians who are intimately familiar with the Bible prophecy will recognize the signs while others will remain lost. Here are a few critical prophetic events that seem to have not been fulfilled.

Will be healed from a “fatal” wound (Revelation 13:3)

“One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed.”

For me, this has always been the telltale sign of the Antichrist. Either the Antichrist or someone related to his leadership council will suffer a “fatal” wound but survive. However, it is unclear if John’s description of a “fatal wound” is describing a new physical injury, an old scar, or some other anomalous feature (in the 80’s, many surmised Gorbachev could be the Antichrist given the notable birth mark on his head).

Interestingly, Trump is indeed rumored to have a massive scar underneath his unique hairdo.  According to Harry Hurt III in his 1993 book, Lost Tycoon, Trump was furious over a botched scalp flap surgery by a plastic surgeon recommended by his then-wife, Ivana. Flap surgery involves cutting away the balding section of the scalp and stretching and sewing together skin that is still producing hair.  According to Hurt, Trump confronted Ivana screaming, “Your *#&*ing doctor has ruined me!”

A notable hair-loss expert agrees with Hurt’s claim.  According to Dr. Paul McAndrews and reported in Men’s Health magazine, the normal men’s apex to hairline is missing on Trump’s scalp.

“I do not question Trump’s assertion that is 100% his hair, I believe it is his hair, I just do not believe that God was the architect of his hairline.”

Trump refutes these accusations and there is no definitive photographic evidence at this time.

A slightly shortened presidential term (Revelation 13:5)

“The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.”

42-months is only 6 months short of a full United States presidential term. Some believe this may relate to the “fatal” head wound mentioned in an earlier verse but others note it could be describing only the truly active time during a normal presidential term (i.e. not counting the “lame duck” periods).

Death on a Pale Horse (1796 - Benjamin West)Will invade many countries with help from other nations (Daniel 11:40)

“He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.”

The Bible tells us that the Antichrist will be a warmonger, invading countries while maintaining the support, even admiration, of his followers.

Will try to change religious laws (Daniel 7:25)

“He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws.”

Most believe this verse indicates the Antichrist will attempt to change religious laws or possibly the perception of those laws (e.g. left-leaning doctrines such as legalization of drugs or abortion).  Others believe this verse relates specifically to Jewish people and their Old Testament laws.

Will control the world’s economy and force a “mark” required to buy and sell goods (Revelation 13:16)

“It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark.”

This is a popular verse and typically the first to come to mind when considering end-time prophecy. Many think the “mark”, which will likely be required to buy and sell goods, may not necessarily be a physical mark but rather, a small, computerized device embedded under the skin. The related number “666” could be an identifier, a numerological alphabetic phrase, or even a postal address – such as a remittance payment location (e.g. 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City).

How did we get here? We painted ourselves into a corner

Trump’s rise to presidency happened unexpectedly but not without reason. Americans struck out against the establishment during the primaries by voting against anyone who was a part of the system. In the general election, this strategy came back to haunt us. We found ourselves again forced to vote for anyone but the establishment, in most part because we knew the damage a Clinton-appointed Supreme Court could do to our religious freedoms.

Once painted into a corner, we tried to rationalize that Trump’s ideals mimicked our own but we forgot that he was admittedly non-religious. We rationalized that he was pro-life – but ignored that fact that he shifted from pro-choice shortly before the election. We applauded his support for our military – then cringed when he denigrated our military leaders. We cheered as he raged against the elite and promised to rid the country of corruption then squirmed when we found he used the law to avoid paying federal taxes. We looked the other way when he ran his campaign as a demagogue, fabricating “truths”, and lashing out at a myriad of religions, races, countries, and cultures. We ignored the division he created when he spoke not of unity but of building of a wall. He was our kind of candidate, espousing family values despite being married three times and admittedly spending very little time with his family.

As a result, a man that represents the antithesis of our ideals rose to the office of presidency – and we helped put him there.

The Christian solution to a divisive situation

Today, Christians and Christian leaders find themselves in a deeply divisive situation, under threat of being considered supporters of misogyny, racism, sexism, and hate. The best we can do now is pray and hope that Donald Trump grows while in office.

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