Last Sunday in my Sunday school class, I confess that I poked fun at the Left Behind series. References to the past and present in conjunction with the future in Revelation have persuaded me that it is referring in the first instance to the situation of the churches in Asia Minor to which the work was explicitly addressed and sent.
But current events might require me to rethink my view of prophecy. After all, Tim La Haye envisaged a deceitful ruler rising to power who would bridge the longstanding gulf between the United States and Russia, and would get religious people focusing their attention on himself instead of Jesus.
Most readers will recognize that the above is written tongue-in-cheek. In fact, the Bible uses “antichrists” in the plural, and Revelation does not refer to the figure called the Beast as an “antichrist.”
If there is something that undermines the status of Left Behind as genuine prophecy, perhaps it is the fact that it did not foresee the role of Twitter as it would be used by the antichrist and his prophet(s)?
And so the question should not be “Is Donald Trump the specific figure predicted in these specific passages?” but “Does the shoe fit, is Donald Trump the kind of figure the Bible talks about anywhere?”
When approached the latter way, the Bible turns out to be full of relevant warnings. And those warnings were the focus of a lot of attention in precisely those Christian circles in which Trump is most popular.
Focusing on antichrist and end times passages made many American Christians afraid. And that fear made them vulnerable to being deceived by the very kind of figure that they were supposedly on the lookout for, so that they could be ready and not be fooled by one who “if possible, will deceive even the elect.”