For the rapture end times Evangelical Christian true believers, their thinking regarding the Middle East is muddled. They are very versed in discussing their thinking/ version of biblical end times, including the rapture doctrine.
The two members of the republican President Trump’s administration who are steeped in these faith based dogmas are his Vice President Mike Pence and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
I’ve no problem with Evangelicals practicing their beliefs even though I genuinely worry that they are being led astray, but when this thinking seeps into the formation of US foreign policies, then I have a issue.
That the Evangelical community has been exerting an out-sized level of influence on current US policies is exactly what I believe has been happening, as President Trump is very dependent on their support to keep his hold on power. Evangelicals comprise about 35% of his base of voters.
I’m concerned that this could pose a US national security risk.
Two examples of this possibility, is when President Trump ordered the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Evangelicals suffer a strong antipathy towards the acceptance of science, worldly organizations ( the New World Order) like the United Nations and NATO; muti-national agreements like the 2015 Climate Change Accord and the US-Iran Nuclear Deal.. They’re in full agreement with Israels’ hatred for Iran to where they would not be opposed to US intervention.
UPDATE ON 4/15/ 2019: Here’s what an Israeli paper, Haaretz has printed / twitted on 4/15/2019:
If President Trump dares to order an attack on Iran, US peoples will turn on him faster than a speeding bullet. If Israel and Saudi Arabia have been counting on US for help based on whatever President has been saying, they will find that what they are holding are bags of his B.S.
At the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem after its relocation from Tel Aviv, one US preacher Robert Jeffress who preaches the Rapture, delivered the opening prayers.
Pastor Jeffress, who has previously said that Mormons are heretics, Jews fated to hell, Islam promotes pedophilia, and homosexuals are filthy, prayed, “We thank you everyday that you have given us a president who boldly stands on the right side of history, and more importantly on the right side of you, oh God, when it comes to Israel.”
Ahead of the embassy opening, over 63% of Americans opposed the move.
The following information is from 5/15/2018 Quartz report, “Trump’s foreign policy looks a lot like Rapture Christians’ plan to welcome the apocalypse” by Heather Timmons:
“In 1995, the US Congress voted to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. But until Donald Trump, presidents both Republican and Democratic resisted implementing the move, worried it could set off deadly violence. Yesterday, Trump’s advisors and family members Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner finally inaugurated the new Jerusalem embassy—while the death toll of Palestinian protestors ticked steadily up to over 50, including several children.”
“Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama all faced pressure from wealthy potential campaign donors to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but Trump is listening to a voice they were not: evangelical Christians who appear to believe in the “Rapture.” Some, like vice president Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, hold posts inside his cabinet. For Rapture Christians, returning Jerusalem to the Jewish people is a key to the second coming of Christ.”
A new ideology in the White House
“In the Trump White House, a weekly bible study group calls its brand of faith “historical evangelicalism.” Biblical scholars say the group shares the “end of times” message of “Rapture” theologians in its statement of faith and founder Ralph Drollinger’s own published lessons.”
“The bible study group is run by Capitol Ministries, an organization with the stated mission “to teach God’s Word and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with state legislators, judges, and constitutional officers.” Capitol Ministries supporters include ten members of Trump’s cabinet, including in addition to Pompeo, labor secretary Alex Acosta and housing secretary Ben Carson according to the Capitol Ministries website. Drollinger, a UCLA basketball player-turned politician-turned-preacher, has also been holding weekly bible study groups with dozens of Congress members since 2010.”
“On May 8, as Trump was pulling the US out of the Iran deal, Capitol Ministries put out its latest study, “The Bible on When War Is Justifiable,” rebutting pacifism. If Jesus calls us to be “peacemakers,” it asks, “then how could a Christian Cabinet Member or Congressman support the idea of going to war?” The answer, Drollinger, explains, is simple: Saint Peter instructs men to submit “to every human institution” and the Book of Revelations discusses the “righteousness” of a God who “judges and wages war.”
Jerusalem is key
“A fundamental part of believing in the Rapture is believing that all of Jerusalem (currently split between Arab and Israeli-held territory) must be returned to the Jewish people, and then the rest of the world must go to war. For Christians awaiting end times, Israel “is at the center of the end of history,” said Greg Carey, a professor of the New Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary. “History will culminate with this great battle” in Israel, Carey said.”
“Some White House officials and supporters have described the Trump administration’s actions in Israel with similar language. ”When we open the American Embassy in Jerusalem, we will in a very real sense end this historic friction, we’ll embrace reality,” vice president Pence said in an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network on May 3. Trump supporter and Fox News host Jeanine Pirro said Monday that the president had fulfilled a biblical prophesy.”
Widespread in the US
The idea that the apocalypse is coming is shunned by many mainstream Christians, biblical scholars, and theology experts. But it has been part of US history since the late 1800s, and continues to spread through megachurches and hundreds of publishers, online discussion boards, and local bible study groups.
Millenarianism rejects both evolutionary science, and the biblical scholarship that reanalyzed the Scriptures as historical documents, rather than the literal word of God. It is remarkably popular. The “Left Behind” series of Christian apocalyptic novels first published in 1995 have sold over 80 million copies. “There are tens of millions of Americans who are part of religious communities who hold a Rapture theology,” Carey said. While it’s impossible to know how committed the individuals are to the ideology, they’re an important voting block, he said.
“Rapture theology is not a majority position but it is a powerful enough force to shape elections,” he said. White, evangelical Christians voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016.
Anti-environmentalism, isolationism, King Cyrus
Rapture theologists and historical evangelicals hold several other views that hew closely to Trump administration policies. They believe that earth was created for man’s use, for example, and that environmentalism is a form of blasphemy.
In an April 2 Bible study, Drollinger focused on the “huge and dire error” of “radical environmentalism”. He argues that humans are incapable of destroying the earth on their own, because it is up to God to “continually renew the face of the earth until He forms a new heaven and a new earth in the end times.”
“Rapture believers also tend to be suspicious of international alliances, including the United Nations, global trade pacts, and even the European Union, Carey said. In particular, “they are very suspicious of any international alliance that can accomplish peace,” he added. “Because history is not headed towards peace.”
“While Trump’s alleged adulterous affairs and irreverent style might make him seem an unlikely vessel for Christian prophesy, he has been compared in evangelical circles to King Cyrus the Great, an ancient Persian king who predicted the Jews’ return to Jerusalem. In March, Benjamin Netanyahu made the comparison, and Pirro did the same on Fox News.”
“Christian evangelicals “don’t like Trump because they think he is holy,” explains Ziegler. “They like him because they think he’s God’s tool.”