It is embarrassing to read the multitudes of praises lavished by the choruses of overjoyed Evangelicals at this moment upon the yesterday’s decision of Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For them the President’s decisions was a prophetic milestone. In their view Donald Trump had just proved himself to be the Cyrus of our age, a leader handpicked by God, and the defender of modern Israel. Dr. Michael Brown now asks rhetorically, subliminally jubilant: “Will God bless Trump for moving our embassy to Jerusalem?” No doubt Franklin Graham will bless the President’s move soon enough too.
Trump’s evangelical constituency believes that their prayers are being answered. The President’s status as the Lord’s anointed one is being verified. In their eyes, Donald Trump is a fulfillment of the last-day prophecies. He is giving a helping hand to God so that the coming of the Lord may be hastened. His yesterday’s announcement, they believe, presented a big leap forward towards the rapture. In their views, we may soon expect the final seven years to begin, ushered in by the Antichrist. Of course, his evangelical constituency does not see him as a valid candidate. How could they since his evangelical advisers, prophets, and associates helped set stage for the Trump’s decision?
Let me put this in a straightforward language. His evangelical constituency is overwhelmingly populated by people who firmly believe in the theology of the “Left Behind” apocalyptic fiction; a deceptive belief falsely taken for the Biblical truth. It is widely popular across many denominational lines, and heavily preached by too many popular preachers, evangelists, self-styled prophets, and leading evangelical TV networks, and based on the faulty theology of dispensationalism. And when blended with the American international politics, it becomes explosive.
Dispensationalism is a religious fiction that misses to understand, in the words of St. Paul, the “mystery of Christ” – namely that “Gentiles and Israel are members together of one body, and sharers together in the promises of Christ” (Eph. 3:3-12. NIV). It fails to understand that all messianic prophecies of the Old Testament were met in Jesus, and not in the geographical Israel of the 21st century. Its followers fall into the same trap the Jews of the days of Jesus fell two thousand years ago, who missed to see the true significance of Jesus because they expected a militant messiah, a heavily armed warrior who would lead their wars against the Roman oppressor. Mistakenly, they believe that the current Israel plays the leading and central role in God’s economy of salvation in the final days of human history. One day, so they believe, Jesus is going to fight the physical war for Israel, and they want to make sure they and America are fighting along the wining side. Thus, the Trump’s evangelicals believe that in order to be blessed one has to bless Israel. And, so they believe, this was exactly what their redeemer-president did yesterday.
And yet, we who read the Bible prophecies somewhat differently, know that a new pandora box has been opened. We will not need to wait for a long time to see the damaging consequences of the latest President’s decision upon the international affairs, knowing that the President is intimately and professionally surrounded by an army of advisers, counselors, prophets, and spiritual warriors – all of them firm believers in the “Left Behind” deceptive fiction. What a nightmarish prospect for misguided decisions and actions, when made to fit in the pre-made paradigm of the questionable prophetic interpretations?
Today we have witnessed only a beginning. More is coming. Indeed, the yesterday’s decision of the President might just as well have a prophetic meaning. If it does, it will be of a different kind from what the President’s evangelical friends believe. But there is a hope. Not all Christian leaders have fallen for deception.
One more thing. What we believe does have consequences. For, what Michelle Goldberg, the author of the article “Antichrist Politics” published sixteen years ago said, could be more than true today: “When people believe their politics are endorsed by God, today’s ally can be tomorrow’s Satan”.
PS. I am adding some now points that I shared on Facebook in response to the comments shared by the readers of this article:
- It is not the Gospel that does this to people but the twisted beliefs about the Gospel. I am not criticising the Christian faith, but its perversions. Dispensationalism is one of them, and at this moment many who surround DT believe in it. When you bring a twisted belief into the political arena, it becomes dangeorus. Our President craves a continuing support of 81% white evangelicals and he wanted to please them. Now he can do whatever he wants, and they would not mind because they are now reasured in their deceit that DT is a man sent by God to bring America and the world in order. I have an issue with them, not with the Gospel of Christ.
- I am not sure I know what the Presdident believes. But I do know what his faith constituency believes. He would not have ever become the President if it were not for the 81% white evangelicals who brought him to the White House. Many of them believe in what I have described in the text. They have blended a perverted belief with politics, thus the issue has both – religious and political connotations. In their view Donald Trump has scored big with what he did yesterday. Now he can do whatever he wants, and his evangelical constituency will not mind. Who cares now that he groped who knows how many women, and that he lies and brags about himself habitually. He is now their champion appointed and annointed by God. And this is the only thing that matters to them.
- I have no issue with Israel deciding about its capital. I have an issue with the way the President goes about his business, and the influence of a large segment of his evangelical friends who are definitely formatting the US international politics with their misguided beliefs.
- Also, a clarification is needed. Not all Evangelicals support Donald Trump. The 81% (most likely less by now) who are behind him are still a minority, but a vocal, militant and restless minority. There are many evangelicals, and even more other Christians who see things differently. So we need to be careful, including myself, that we do not put all American Christians into the same box.
- Dec 9, 2017: I feel tempeted to expand this earticle further because at this moment a number of statements and comments are growing at many places across social media that demonstrate that my article, urgently completed two days ago, was not an exaguration at all. Feel free to google and visit YouTube. For example, Senator Doug Broxson declared yesterday: “When I heard about Jerusalem, where the King of Kings, where our soon-coming King is coming back to Jerusalem, it is because President Trump declared Jerusalem to be capital of Israel!…” It seems Senator Broxon and many like him cannot wait for the Armagedon to start, and they would be very proud if some credit for it would go to the Presdient Trump and his faitful followers. It almost seems that one day Jesus would have to say “Thank You” to Donald Trump. However, such an insane statement reminds me of the Bible warning given to many Christians today who are ready for some kind of Christian jihad to take place: “Because of you the name of God is being blasphemed among the people”. Romans 2:24. What we believe does have consequences, indeed. And what Michelle Goldberg, the autor of the article “Antichrist Politics”, published sixteen years ago said, might just as well come true today: “When people believe their politics are endorsed by God, today’s ally can be tomorrow’s Satan”. Read also this and this.