An Israeli view of Trump's Jerusalem decision
Dec 09, 2017
Here is a view from the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, which expresses concern about evangelical views of prophecy today.
In order to truly understand the centrality of this “theological dog-whistle” to Trump’s evangelical base, you must take their religious beliefs seriously, argued progressive Christian commentator and pundit Diana Butler Bass, in a widely circulated thread on Twitter. Bass said the Jerusalem issue was so important to evangelicals because it is necessary to regain Judeo-Christian control of the Temple Mount.
This is vital, she explained, because rebuilding the Temple would initiate the “end-time” laid out in the Book of Revelation. End-time is a fundamentalist Christian belief in a prophecy that the living and the resurrected will one day be delivered from the Earth by God, their bodies transformed and protected in heaven, as he pours out his wrath on the sinners left behind.
Butler Bass asserted that “of all the possible theological dog-whistles to his evangelical base,” the Jerusalem declaration “is the biggest. Trump is reminding them that he is carrying out God’s will to these Last Days. They’ve been waiting for this, praying for this,” she wrote. “They want war in the Middle East. The Battle of Armageddon, at which time Jesus Christ will return to the Earth and vanquish all God’s enemies. For certain evangelicals, this is the climax of history. And Trump is taking them there. To the promised judgment, to their sure victory. The righteous will be ushered to heaven; the reprobate will be banished to hellfire.”
To these true believers, she added, the Jerusalem announcement “is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Donald Trump is not only acting on a campaign promise, but enacting a theological one. They believe that Donald Trump is God’s instrument to move us closer to the Rapture, the Judgment, and the End. Because to them that’s actually the beginning – the beginning of their reward and heavenly bliss.”
As a result, she explained, the issue of whether the Jerusalem move is a provocation that could harm the cause of peace is meaningless, since “peace in this world doesn’t matter.”
To nonbelievers, including mainstream Christians for whom this sounds far-fetched, she argued that it is actively preached in churches nationwide and that “millions of American Christians believe this and have based their faith and identity on it.”
I have the same concerns that this writer does. The evangelical view of eschatology and prophecy has motivated Christians to work feverishly to bring about Armageddon. Because they mistakenly believe that God will save Jerusalem at the last minute, they have no concern about the peace process. Because they believe that Armageddon is necessary for the return of Christ, they literally desire to do all they can to start that war as soon as possible.
In past years, I have read articles like the one below. Israelis are thankful for evangelical support—and they solicit that support at every turn—but they also are uneasy with the motive behind this support.
From my perspective, it is not very good to purchase one-way tickets for Jews wanting to move to the Israeli state. Why should Christians send them to Armageddon? Is that really a good way to show support for Jews and to “love” them? I think Christians ought to warn Jews to stay away, so that they may survive the coming destruction. I write these things, not because I hate Jews, but because I want no one to end up dead. If Jews want to immigrate to the danger zone, I would rather not help them get there.
But evangelicals today have no problem raising funds to “send Jews to Israel,” knowing full well (by their own view of eschatology) that most of the Israelis will be killed in the coming battle of Armageddon. In fact, they believe that only 144,000 will survive. What? 144,000 out of over 6 million? That’s a 2.4% survival rate! And every Jew that the evangelicals send will only increase the death toll, because 144,000 is a fixed number (in their view).
No wonder some Israelis are skeptical of evangelical support! They accept the support only because they have a different view of the future. They do not believe evangelical eschatology. They do not believe that Jesus is (or was) the Messiah. In fact, that unbelief, according to evangelicals, is the very reason for Armageddon. Their view is that most Jews will be killed, and only the 144,000 survivors will be left to accept Christ when they see Him coming in the clouds.
The rest of us “gentiles” are required to accept Christ before He comes, because once He comes, the deadline for salvation has arrived. But for Jews, they are allowed to accept Him after they actually see Him in the clouds! It is a crazy double standard, but such are the results of putting away the law of impartiality. Chosen flesh seems to have its benefits.
Of course, this eschatological view was developed a century ago with the belief that all Jews would move to the old land, now called “Israel.” That has not happened. The vast majority of Jews still live elsewhere. To my knowledge, evangelicals have not tried to say if the 144,000 will be the surviving Israelis or the surviving Jews throughout the world.
There are many other problems with their eschatology. They assume, for instance, that the 12 tribes of Israel are all represented in the Jews themselves. They do not understand the difference between the house of Israel and the house of Judah—the northern and southern kingdoms. The so-called “ten lost tribes” were never known as Jews. Yet the 144,000 in Revelation 7 are said to come from the 12 tribes—not just a single tribe of Judah.
Then there is the issue of the “rapture,” which is a warped interpretation of the fulfilment of the feast of Tabernacles. The evangelicals do not understand the concept of antichrist, mostly because they do not relate it to the story of Absalom, who usurped the throne of David. Neither do they understand the “tribulation,” because they do not study the law of tribulation and do not relate it the beast systems prophesied in the book of Daniel.
For a longer study on these matters, read my book, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.
Misunderstanding prophecy, along with ignorance of the law of God, has combined to bring blindness to the church. What is today seen as mainstream eschatology has only been taught for about 150 years. It has little historical support and is, I believe, evidence of blindness that has come in order to allow “Judas” to do his second betrayal in our time.
The New Testament Judas fulfilled his role in the dispute over the throne rights of Judah. He helped the Jewish leaders usurp the throne of Christ. He thought he could force Jesus to manifest Himself as the Messiah. He thought he could speed up the fulfillment of prophecy if only he could force Jesus into a position where He had to do a great miracle that would prove to all that He was the Messiah.
Today Judas has arisen again, but this time in the dispute over the birthright of Joseph and the birthright name, Israel. Christian Zionists are the modern Judas, thinking that they can force Jesus to return by igniting Armageddon. They do not realize that you cannot fulfill prophecy by betraying Jesus. Judas discovered this only too late, and he hanged himself, in the same way that his prophetic predecessor, Ahithophel, hanged himself after betraying David.
This is serious stuff, and I would not want any of you to be part of the modern Judas company. I know that someone has to play that role in order to complete the story, but I do not want our readers to do this. It is much better to play the role of the other disciples, especially John, who alone stood at the foot of the cross.
Peter denied Jesus three times, but he repented in the end. Even so, Peter later had to be rebuked by Paul for his hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11, 12, 13). The Roman church has made Peter its foundation (whether they know it or not). With Peter as its spiritual “father,” that church has manifested the same problems that Peter had. The Roman church has denied Christ in the same way.
The Roman church has set Peter above Paul. So we see that St. Peter’s cathedral at the Vatican was copied in St. Paul, Minnesota, when they built St. Paul’s cathedral smaller than that which is found in the Vatican. Both Rome and St. Paul, Minnesota are cities set on seven hills.
The evangelicals today are also following in Peter’s footsteps as his spiritual children, insofar as his later problem was concerned. Peter joined in with the doctrine of partiality that is inherent in Judaism (Galatians 2:6, 7), and this was the cause of Paul’s rebuke. Today’s evangelicals have come to agree with Peter by rebuilding the dividing wall that Jesus tore down (Ephesians 2:14, 15) to create “one new man.” By placing Jews above others as “chosen people,” they must be rebuked in the name of Paul for showing partiality in violation of the divine law.
(In no way does this affect the validity of Peter’s epistles. All scripture was inspired but came through human writers who themselves were imperfect.)
These are very important issues that we ought to take seriously. There is still time to repent of being part of Judas or of being begotten spiritually by Peter. We need to be begotten by the Holy Spirit in order to be the sons of God. But if we act like Judas or Peter, then one of them is our father.
It is important to know that flesh and blood is not “chosen” by genealogy, but by faith. It was this way in the days of Elijah, when the remnant of grace numbered just 7,000. Paul says in Romans 11:4, 5, 7 that they were “elect” (or “chosen”), and the rest were blinded (or hardened). It is no different today. There are many genealogical Israelites and Judahites, but only a few are actually “chosen,” along with all who are of Abraham’s seed by faith (Galatians 3:7, 9, 29).