The end of the world will be preceded by the rise of the Antichrist, the return of Jesus Christ and a heavenly war upon Earth. These are some of the beliefs held by niche Christian groups and conspiracy theorists who follow literal interpretations of biblical prophecies. A chief evangelist among them is pastor Paul Begley of West Lafayette in Indiana, US, who has prophesied the end of the world on numerous past occasions.
Most recently, the preacher took to YouTube where he told his more than 336,000 subscribers of the threat posed by the Antichrist.
In biblical prophecy, the Antichrist is an evil anti-messianic figure that will appear before the Second Coming to falsely proclaim himself the true Messiah.
Pastor Begley said: “Does anybody agree with that, that’s here today, that Lucifer is fighting hard to prevent the Second Coming of Christ?
“That is what our entire Christian faith is founded on – the Second Coming of Christ.
“And you betcha Lucifer is trying to stop us.”
Antichrist-like figures are described by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, where he warned his disciples of deceit and unrest in the end days.
Jesus said: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
The Antichrist is also described in various passages found in the Epistles of John.
In particular, pastor Begley bases a lot of his predictions and prophecies on the Book of Revelation – the final chapters of the Bible.
However, the Book of Revelation does not mention the Antichrist by name.
Instead, pastor Begley said Revelation speaks of a terrifying beast in the end times, which he believes represents the Antichrist.
He said: “It does not use the word Antichrist in the Book of Revelation.
“But we know what it means because it talks about the beast and the false prophet, and the beast would be the Antichrist.
“Now, in 2 Thessalonians it tells you who he is: The man of sin, the lawless one, the son of hell, the son of perdition.”
But there is no guarantee these prophecies will come to pass now or in the foreseeable future.
Christian scripture itself states no one but God will know when the final hour of judgement will strike.
In Mark 13:22, Jesus said: “But as for that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”