Antichrist 2016: An anatomy of a false prophecy

Marko Joensuu         No comments
Recently, CharismaNews posted a video and an article where Tom Horn puts together predictions from various sources, and proclaims confidently that the Antichrist will emerge in 2016. 

"How ironic it is that while we see what's happening with ISIS and their apocalyptic vision and what's happening in the Middle East," author Tom Horn tells Jim Bakker. 

"And look at all these other prophecies, like the burden of Damascus, and all these other things that could unfold as a result of these conflicts, isn't it interesting that you also have people of other faith, including the Jews, who believe the Messiah is about to appear?" Horn says. 

"It appears many people of faith throughout time believed the Antichrist would appear in 2016", the writer of the article says.



Tom Horn’s presentation on video is an extreme example of a false prophecy, and as such very useful for analysing how false prophets work.

1. An illusion of research and facts

Tom Horn claims that they have found plenty of “university-level” evidence in the letters of Jonathan Edwards forecasting that the Antichrist would appear in the year 2016. This gives an appearance that he has done his homework, and added credibility, as Jonathan Edwards is a respected American revivalist and theologian who passed away in 1758.

As these are “letters”, presumably hidden in some vault, he doesn’t need to present any evidence, and we are supposed to take him at his word.

Except, it is pretty certain that Jonathan Edwards could never have written a letter like that. 
For anyone that bothers to do even basic research on this, it becomes strikingly clear that Jonathan Edwards’ theology of the end times was rather different from how Tom Horn presents it.

To begin with, Jonathan Edwards believed that the rule of the Antichrist had already begun in his time. He writes

“I am far from pretending to determine the time when the reign of Antichrist began, which is a point that has been so much controverted among divines and expositors. It is certain that the twelve hundred and sixty days, or years, which are so often in Scripture mentioned as the time of the continuance of Antichrist’s reign, did not commence before the year of Christ four hundred and seventy-nine; because if they did, they would have ended, and Antichrist would have fallen before now.”

Put simply, to Jonathan Edwards, the rule of the Pope was the Antichrist, and it had begun already somewhere during the 1st millennium.

And to make this even clearer, Jonathan Edwards believed that the Millennium rule of Jesus—only with Jesus not visibly present, but rather as a natural result from the expansion of the gospel—would begin latest by the year 2000. 

Jonathan Edwards believed that there would be around 1,000 years of the rule of the Church in the world—a time of peace and prosperity. 

According to him, the rule of the Antichrist would be gradually eroded before that, as Protestant preachers would keep on preaching the gospel.

“There is no reason from the word of God to think any other, than that this great work of God will be wrought, though very swiftly, yet gradually. As the children of Israel were gradually brought out of the Babylonish captivity, first one company, and then another, and gradually rebuilt their city and temple; and as the heathen Roman empire was destroyed by a gradual, though a very swift, prevalency of the gospel; so, though there are many things which seem to hold forth that the work of God would be exceeding swift,—and many great and wonderful events should very suddenly be brought to pass, and some great parts of Satan’s visible kingdom should have a very sudden fall,—yet all will not be accomplished at once, as by some great miracle, like the resurrection of the dead. But this work will be accomplished by means, by the preaching of the gospel, and the use of the ordinary means of grace, and so shall be gradually brought to pass. Some shall be converted, and be the means of others’ conversion. God’s Spirit shall be poured out first to raise up instruments, and then those instruments shall be used with success. And doubtless one nation shall be enlightened and converted, and one false religion and false way of worship exploded, after another. By the representation in Dan. ii. 3, 4. the stone cut out of the mountain without hands gradually grows.”

Essentially, Jonathan Edwards believed that revivals and preaching of the gospel would usher the era of the Millennium, and the Antichrist would lose what was left of his power. 

What Tom Horn presents is not even a misrepresentation of what Jonathan Edwards taught. At best, it is an entirely fictional Jonathan Edwards, at worst it is a deliberate lie. But most certainly, it is not based on what Jonathan Edwards believed in.

Jonathan Edwards wasn't waiting for the Antichrist to appear. Instead, he was waiting for the Antichrist to fade away.

But this illusion of research and facts gives an appearance that Tom Horn has actually studied carefully what he’s talking about, and it is based on the fact that most Christians don't bother to do much research.

2. Prophecies from other religions

There is a worrying trend in the prophetic circles today, which is to take a “prophecy” from another religion and "Christianise" it. For example, Rick Joyner took a Mormon prophecy at the 2012 elections and used it to back Romney. 

Tom Horn does something similar, although he stretches this even further. He takes a medieval Jewish prophecy interpreted by the modern day rabbi Chaim Kanievsky 
about the year when the Messiah would come, but then makes the Messiah into the Antichrist on the basis that the Jewish mystics got the identity of this man wrong. 

So, on the other hand, Tom Horn says that this Jewish prophecy should be trusted, as it gives us the date, but in the same sentence, he says that it shouldn’t be trusted at all, as the medieval Jewish mystics got the Messiah confused with the Antichrist!

That is one weird understanding of what prophecy is.

But there is a bigger problem with this prophecy, as according to the rabbi (if these news stories are correct), the Messiah should have returned latest by 12th September 2015—not in 2016!

But Tom Horn isn’t happy with this date, probably because it has already passed, and instead talks about the year 2016.

So, not only does he take a prophecy from a questionable source, but he also changes the prophecy completely, so that it becomes unrecognisable. 

If you follow the modern-day speculation about the end times, you will have probably already come across this same date—12th September 2015—before, or rather 13th September 2015, as both dates refer to the same event, the end of the Sabbatical year. 

According to Jonathan Cahn known for his book The Harbinger, America should have been judged on that day, and he predicted a stock market crash. 

It didn’t happen, as you probably know.

As we can see, the Jewish calendar is not that reliable when it comes to predicting future.

Then, Tom Horn refers to the apocalyptic prophecies of Islam, and implies that they would somehow confirm that the year 2016 as the year the Antichrist will appear, because they refer to Mahdi. But Islamic apocalyptic writings—incidentally written roughly around the same time than the Jewish prophecies about the Messiah—are hardly a source any Christian should look into when predicting the future. 

I have already written extensively about what the Islamic apocalyptic prophecies really say before.

3. Invisible disclaimer 

If you listen to Tom Horn now, you will feel that he is certain that the Antichrist will appear in 2016. That’s what he appears to say. But if you were to watch this same video again in 2017, you would notice that he never really commits 100% to the year 2016—his argument is that Jonathan Edwards, the rabbis and the Muslims do. 

That is his get-out clause: It was all these other people that got the date wrong, I merely reported it.

Obviously, after some fact checking you realise that, in fact, Tom Horn is the only one who ever talked about the year 2016—it never featured in the predictions of Jonathan Edwards, the rabbis and the Muslims in the first place. 

The false prophets often use the rhetorics of prophecy. It appears that they are prophesying, but, in fact, they are only prophesying in a rhetorical level. 

These kind of prophecies should come with a lot clearer disclaimer, such as,

"This prophecy is a work of fiction. All references to real events and characters are entirely coincidental."

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at facebook.com/marko.joensuu or by visiting markojoensuu.com.



Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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