A Tennessee billboard that seemingly compared former President Donald Trump to Jesus has been removed following backlash.
The billboard, which was located in Fort Oglethorpe just outside of Chattanooga, Tenn., included a photograph of Trump on the right portion of the billboard with a Bible verse featured prominently in the middle in all caps: "unto us a Son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulders." An American flag comprised the background.
The verse, Isaiah 9:6, is viewed by Christians as a prophecy looking forward to the Christ Child. The billboard did not include the first few words of the verse: "unto us a child is born."
The billboard also included the words "Joint Heirs" and "Romans 8:17."
The billboard went viral on social media, with multiple Christians saying it was a form of heresy.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that Reagan Outdoor Advertising – the billboard vendor – removed the ad Monday.
"The billboard apparently wasn't up for long, but it was up long enough last week to make more than a few people boiling mad," Clint Cooper of the Free Press wrote. "Perhaps it made a few people happy, but we would submit they may be confused about their allegiances."
"... The intimation that Trump, no matter what one thought of him or his administration, is akin to a messiah, the one prophesied in Isaiah or otherwise, is arrogant at best and blasphemous at worst," Cooper added.
It is not known who paid for the billboard.
Matthew Henry, an 18th-century minister and author, said the Isaiah prophecy is a "prophecy of Him and of His kingdom." Henry wrote. "This Child was born for the benefit of us men, of us sinners, of all believers, from the beginning to the end of the world. Justly is he called Wonderful, for he is both God and man. His love is the wonder of angels and glorified saints.
Scott Hibberts, general manager of Reagan Outdoor Advertising-Chattanooga, told the Free Press that "the views expressed on our displays belong to our advertisers."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Zack Seckler
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.