A politician who uses Christianity to promote immorality and economic exploitation through lying propaganda is considered an antichrist in the Bible. Christians who embrace Trump and his promises of salvation (or any politician who uses God as a pretense) are unwittingly supporting an antichrist figure, according to their own Scriptures. Through their denial of climate change and support of figures who usher it in, many Christians are buying into the economic order of the Beast (the antichrist) and disobeying the Bible’s call to champion nature. Trump lives the exact opposite lifestyle of Jesus. Jesus loved his enemies, defended immigrants, opposed rich oppressors, told the truth, and practiced humility. Trump rages against his enemies, imprisons immigrants, colludes with greedy corporations, lies pathologically, and focusses the presidency on building his ego. It is tragic that so many Christians support this anti-Christ figure as God’s chosen. This is not the Spirit of Truth whose testimony is the way of Jesus (John 15:23); it is “a different spirit” (2 Corinthians 11:4).
In the Bible, teachings about the End Times (eschatology) are not just about End Times events; they speak to types and patterns that exist in all times. Thus, I make use of their figurative application as types, showing how current events match templates that provide us with moral lessons. I am not advocating a literal antichrist or apocalypse. Biblical teachings about the Apocalypse condemn world powers that promote economic gain at the expense of morality and justice. They and their political supporters are held responsible for the plagues of the book of Revelation, which result in the destruction of nature together with humankind. These ideologues are considered antichrists because they oppose the message of Jesus by proclaiming its antithesis. Jesus warned his followers about them, “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many” (Mark 13:5-6). They proclaim themselves political messiahs, promising liberation even as they degrade freedom and justice. Trump proclaims himself the messiah of working-class Americans, while he bolsters the fortunes of the corporations who oppress them. He preaches his commitment to the American Dream, even as he erodes the institutions that form the basis of our democracy.
In the Bible, antichrists perform signs and wonders in order to lead Christians astray: “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). Fantastically, Trump and world economic powers, like the fossil fuel industry and corporations that destroy the environment, are attempting “economic signs and wonders” that have resulted in climate change, which is an apocalyptic self-destruction. It turns out that a “Christian nation” is willing to sell its soul, along with “God’s creation,” to the dragon (the devil) for the promise of economic gain (Revelation 13).
Trump and the Republican party deny climate change not because of conviction, but because destroying the environment supports the greedy interests of their corporate donors. They advance an economic agenda that undercuts the human right to a livable earth (“life and liberty for all”), and the rights of impoverished communities (like the First Peoples) to unpolluted, healthy land and water. Jesus condemned the wealthy nobles of his time who profited from the oppression of the poor, or who simply overlooked the suffering of the poor while they amassed wealth (Luke 16:19-31). All Christians who prosper financially have a mandate from their savior to alleviate the suffering of Lazarus, their poor American neighbor, based not on his merit or lack thereof, but solely on his status as a fellow creation of God. This is not a Republican/Democrat or Capitalist/Socialist issue: it is a choice between the gospel message of social justice and wickedness.
Christians have every biblical reason to support environmental conservation and the gospel message of climate change salvation, along with warnings from the Bible to fear God’s judgment if they do not. Their opposition is political and economic, not religious. For in the Bible, God promises to “destroy those who destroy the earth” for political-economic gain, unleashing the full force of God’s destructive fury against them (Revelation 11:18). But God need not exert godself, for we are destroying ourselves. God’s destruction of the earth together with his unfaithful people in the book of Revelation is prefigured by the Fall of humanity, the Flood, and Israel’s exile. People defile the land when they disobey God, so God punishes the land along with his people in a kind of cleansing judgment: “Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you” (Leviticus 18:24-28). In the Babylonian exile of Israel, God killed off his people or exiled them into a kind of hell, so that the land could rest from its human inhabitants who defiled and destroyed it: “The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested” (2 Chronicles 36:21). Similarly, climate change can be seen as a kind of earth-cleansing and vomiting up of humanity. The earth needs to rest from its human destroyers: will it rest through our extinction, or will we clean up our act?
In Revelation, the earth is destroyed through plagues of nature like earthquakes, fires, hail, and poisoned water, which are starkly similar to the weather catastrophes we see today that have come as a result of climate change. These nature plagues are unleashed as judgments because people buy into the Beast’s earth-destroying economic system. The parallel between these Scriptures and our times is clear enough. The entire scientific community agrees that climate change is really happening as a result of our human action, and that it will lead to irreversible destruction if we do not take radical, immediate action to transform our energy system and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. This is confirmed by the “signs and wonders” of measurable changes in climate, extreme weather events, elevating sea levels, melting glaciers, mass extinctions, and nearly limitless scientific studies. Why are Christians the ones denying climate change? The scientific evidence does not persecute Christians or contradict the Bible in any way; if anything, it fits perfectly with the Bible’s admonitions. What do Christians have to gain by climate change denial, apart from economic wealth? They are only contributing to the construction of the End Times City of Greed: Babylon.
The Beast’s economic world order is known as Babylon, or the “Revived Roman Empire.” It is a counter Kingdom of God that runs on the currency of oppression, violence, lies, and slander against God. It is government based on the economics of immorality. Anyone who buys into it betrays their values and sells their soul for the promise of financial salvation: “[The false prophet] 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” (Revelation 13:16-17). Babylon is personified as a harlot because she prostitutes herself with greed and immorality rather than being faithful to the good of the people. Politicians and corporations are also destroyed because they have committed adultery with her: “For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries” (Revelation 18:3). But the people of God are commanded not to participate in her economic system of oppression: “‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues” (Revelation 18:3). But if they buy into the false economic salvation message (“gospel”) of the Beast (“receive its mark”), Christians are counted as God’s enemies: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury” (Revelation 14:9-10).
The Beast has a False Prophet (the second beast), which is his propaganda machine. The False Prophet sets up an image (an idol) which people sell themselves to and worship (Revelation 13:11-17). They take the mark of the Beast, which means buying into his political agenda. Revelation describes the character traits of the Beast as pride and blasphemy: “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God” (Revelation 13:5-6). A blasphemer is someone who militates against God by seeking God’s glory for himself, because of pride. Trump has set up a propaganda machine based around his narcissistic agenda of being worshipped. Trump and his propagandists have gained the support of Christians simply by claiming to be Christians, and by advancing a few token issues that are meaningful to many Christians, like pro-life abortion policies. Their hypocrisy is evident, for Trump claims to be a Christian while he brags about groping women, oppressing the poor, and getting away with murder.
Jesus warned us of false prophets like Trump who lead people into immorality by claiming to be Christians. We are commanded by Jesus to judge our leaders not by their words or church attendance, but by their actions: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:15-20). According to Jesus, we should not trust the promises of immoral people like Trump, even though they claim to support seemingly Christian policies we may agree with. Such people are incapable of producing righteous legislation due to the extent of their corruption.
The False Prophet’s propaganda is effective because it is deceptive (Matthew 24:24, Revelation 13:17). It has the power to deceive even followers of Jesus. For Christians, deception means abandoning faithfulness to the testimony of Jesus and following the worldly ways of the Antichrist (Revelation 20:4). The False Prophet is successful in persuading Christians to follow the Beast because he masquerades as a servant of God: “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Trump constantly spews out blatant, demonstrable lies. He degrades all who point out his untruths as “fake news.” According to Jesus, the mark of Satanic allegiance is pathological lying: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
The faithful are called to resist the lies of the Beast and to endure ridicule even from Christians if need be: “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people” (Revelation 13:10). They endure for the promise of a new economic order that marries the welfare of all people, regardless of race (“the nations”), with that of nature (Revelation 22). Revelation’s vision of Final Salvation is an ecocity, with the Tree of Life at its center providing “the healing of the nations.” Rather than humankind’s pollution of greed, the pure, holy water of the River of Life irrigates the nature city. The message is clear. Corporations, politicians, and their supporters who proclaim environmental destruction as an economic necessity are staging an Armageddon showdown against the Kingdom of God. We must construct a city of heaven on earth, marrying the technological and economic achievements of humanity with life: harmony with nature. Movements like permaculture, mycoremediation, and ecospirituality are the building blocks of this Heavenly Jerusalem. Nature’s perseveration is bound up with our salvation and “eternal life.”