A History of the Second Coming: Did You Know? — Hall of Infamy

Nero (d. 68): “He will descend from his firmament in the form of a man, a king of iniquity, a murderer of his mother—this is the king of this world. . . . He will act and speak like the Beloved, and will say, ‘I am the Lord, and before me there was no one.’ ”

—Martyrdom of Isaiah (late first-century apocalyptic text) 

Justinian (d. 565): “Many men have been born who . . . have shown themselves terrible beings. But to destroy all men and to ruin the whole earth has been granted to none save . . . Justinian, Prince of demons.”

—Procopius, Secret History (late 6th-century)

Hitler (d. 1945):"I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”

—Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf

Frederick II (d. 1250): “What other Antichrist should we await, when as is evident in his works, he is already come in the person of Frederick? He is the author of every crime, stained by every cruelty, and he has invaded the patrimony of Christ seeking to destroy it with Saracen aid.”

—Pope Gregory IX

Napoleon (d. 1821): A friend of Samuel Johnson’s “ . . . was always happy to cite evidence of [the French Revolution’s] Antichrist—like character, culminating in Napoleon, whose name she believed meant ‘the Destroyer.’ ”

—historian Bernard McGinn, Antichrist

Reagan: “The beast recovers from a mortal wound, which, in the 1980s, caused quite a stir in evangelical circles when Ronald Wilson Reagan—each name having six letters—was shot and yet survived.”

—Robert Fuller Naming the Antichrist

Gorbachev:Gorbachev! Has the Real Antichrist Come?

—title of a 1988 book by Robert Faird

Luther (d. 1546): “He has rejected the sacraments, repudiated the expunging of sins through fasts, and rejects the daily celebration of the Mass. . . . Does this sound to you like Christ or Antichrist?”

—Pope Hadrian VI

John Paul II:"[This man] will be increasingly called upon to bring peace to a troubled world. His recovery from a deadly wound directed world attention and admiration to his personage, and he, like those before him, would seemingly like to establish authority over the Holy Hill of Zion.”

—radio host Noah Hutchings

Antichrist by Notre Dame historian Bernard McGinn covers all the major apocalyptic movements and beliefs from the New Testament to today, with special emphasis on the dark side of the world’s end.

Naming the Antichrist by cultural historian Robert Fuller examines the subject in a more American context, and while McGinn usually maintains academic distance, Fuller doesn’t (chapter five, for example, on conservative campaigns against socialism, unions, and modernism, is titled “Crusades of Hate"). If you’re looking for a scholarly book with an edge, this is it.

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #61 in 1999]

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