The Christian Right, Zionism and the Coming of the Penteholocaust
Jesus was not a pacifist. He was not a sissy. -
Rev. Jerry Falwell
If you think that censoring books, records and movies, outlawing abortion and non-procreative sexuality are the worst that the politicians and preachers of the Christian Right have in store for you, think again. Seeing themselves as outnumbered by the wicked forces of "godless secular humanism," Christian fundamentalists and dispensationalists are convinced that the Last Days prior to the Apocalypse - the final earth-shattering war that will precede the Second Coming of Christ - are here now. Impatient for heaven, they would speed up the process whereby their Savior will return for them in glory. To this end, the are exerting and manipulating their considerable influence in both the U.S. and Israeli governments, in order that they bring about the conditions favorable to biblical fulfillment of Armageddon.
Could anything sound more insane? Is it actually possible that these no-necked bible thumpers want to trigger the nuclear destruction of Earth and all life upon it? Why would people who so self-righteously pride themselves on their goodness revel in the thought of mass death on such an incredible scale? And can they possibly succeed?
There'll be no more peace until Jesus comes. Any preaching of peace prior to his return is heresy; it's against the word of God' it's anti-Christ - televangelist James Robison, who delivered the opening prayer at the 1984 Republican convention at the invitation of Ronald Reagan.
Before delving into the current apocalyptic machinations of the Christian Right, it is necessary to understand the history of this baleful theology. In 1855, during the Crimean War between Great Britain and Russia, a Scots preacher, John Cumming, identified the Czar of Russia as "God, prince of Magog," the prophesied invader of Israel during the Last Days according to Ezekiel 38-39. Cumming was probably more inspired by British chauvinism than by theology, as there was then no state of Israel, and the Russian czars were almost pathologically Christian monarchs.
Later in the 19th century, an Irishman named John Nelson Darby developed the doctrine that the biblical God holds two distinct plans for two different groups of his Chosen: one for His Earthly Kingdom, Israel, another for His Heavenly Kingdom, the Christian church. The two will only converge in the End Times when a New Heaven and a New Earth are created out of the wreckage of the old. Darby toured America with this message, influencing many fundamentalists, including James H. Brookes, pastor of two Presbyterian churches in St. Louis. Brookes became the teacher of Cyrus Scofield, compiler of the Scofield Reference Bible, the most widely circulated and influential commentary bible in history, selling millions of copies. Scofield inserted explanatory notes into his bible which interpreted many passages as prophecies of then current events.
Scofield's annotations led to confusion between the original writings and Scofield's own commentaries. "The significance of the Scofield bible cannot be overestimated," one biblical commentator states.
History, Scofield claimed, is divided into seven distinct time periods that he called "Dispensations." In each Dispensation, the biblical deity tests the obedience of humanity to his revelations and dispenses justice, rewards or punishments, accordingly. The seventh and final Dispensation will witness the return of Christ. Scofield saw no hope for the world until the Earth and most of humanity would be destroyed in "the great, final world catastrophe," the battle of Armageddon, as foretold by John in the Apocalypse or Book of Revelation. However the "saved" Christians of the "True Church," those who were born again, would be spared the horrors of the seven years of carnage leading up to Armageddon (called the Tribulations) by the "Rapture", a literal airlift of the Elect, while still alive, into Heaven. The idea of the Rapture will occur; before, during. or after the Tribulations. The first, needless to say, is the most popular, but many muscular or macho Christians on the survivalist fringe prefer the second of even the third theory.
In 1917, the success of the Bolshevik Revolution and the institution of the officially atheist Soviet state revived the dormant "Gog-Magog" identification with Russia. Convinced that the Soviet Union was the earthly manifestation of Satan's power, the dispensationalist-fundamentalists forged an alliance with reactionary politicians and businessmen that continues to this day.
It was in the 1940s two events occurred which convinced most dispensationalists that the Last Days were indeed here. One was the founding of the modern Zionist state of Israel. A central tenet of Dispensationalism was that the Chosen People's return to their homeland was necessary before the process leading to the Millennium could begin. The 1967 Arab-Israeli war cemented this conviction with the capture of Jerusalem by the Israeli army. The second prophecy fulfillment happened even earlier in 1945 with the invention and detonation of the atomic bomb, which seemed to correspond with the account in Revelation of the destruction of the Earth by a great fire, a massive, all-consuming holocaust.
Jerry, I sometimes believe that we're heading very fast for Armageddon right now - Ronald Reagan to Falwell.
The most successful popularizer of “nuclear Dispensationalism” or “Armageddon theology” is Hal Lindsey. author of the The Late Great Planet Earth, which sold an estimated 18 million copies in the 1970s, second only to the bible itself. A latter-day Scofield, Lindsey describes the coming holocaust in this and other books by postulating a joint Arab-Soviet attack on Israel as the fulfillment of Ezekiel. Before this army of 200 million (!) is destroyed by nuclear fire in the valley of Har-Meggido (Armageddon), about 50 miles north of Tel Aviv, it will manage to kill one-third of Earth’s population. According to Lindsey, Jesus himself who will destroy the invaders. having returned to earth to take command of the defenses of Jerusalem as the military Messiah that the Jews originally expected.
As Grace Halsell relates the story in her book, Prophecy and Politics: Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War:
Jesus, Lindsay writes, will “lay waste” to the earth and scorch its inhabitants. When the “great war” reaches such a pitch that almost everyone has been killed, there comes the “great moment” - Jesus saves humankind from total extinction by preserving a faithful remnant. In this hour those Jews, who have not been slaughtered will convert to Christianity..
Only 144,000 Jews will remain alive after the final battle of Armageddon, Lindsey says. And the all - every man, woman, and child - will bow down to Jesus. As converted Christians, all the adults will at once begin preaching the gospel of Christ. “Imagine!” exults Lindsey, “They will be like 144,000 Jewish Billy Grahams turned loose at once!”
Now that would truly be hell on earth! But who are they going to preach to? It is symptomatic of the evangelical Christian mind that even with the entire planet turned into a spent match head, they can’t conceive of anything more important to do than preach the evangel, the “good news.” Imagine! Most of the human race murdered so that some Jews would get down on their knees and admit their ancestors of 2000 some years ago were wrong! Could Hitler have been a worse enemy? Could the devil himself be any more fiendish than this “Prince of Peace?”
The massive popularity of Lindsey’s books was the herald of something strange and ominous brewing in the American psyche, something previously underestimated or dismissed the emergence of reactionary evangelism as an organized political movement. In the 1970s, with the growth of the electronic church and the direct mail services of conservative lobbying groups, the Christian Right emerged as a serious force after the Watergate debacle. In 1976, a Gallup poll showed that 34% of Americans 18 and over claimed to have had a “born-again” experience. This accounted for nearly one-third of the electorate, about 50 million adult Americans, 43 million of them fundamentalists. Eighty-three percent of those polled agreed that the bible was either the inspired or inerrant word of God. Thirty-eight percent claimed it to be the literal word of God.
Two months after that poll, Jimmy Carter, a self-described “born again” Christian, was elected President. Although Carter is usually regarded as a liberal democrat, he was the first to introduce the notion of “morality in government” and a rededication to “traditional family values” as campaign rhetoric. But Carter’s failure to push into law the sacred cows of fundamentalist dogma alienated his erstwhile allies, who lost little time in seeking a candidate more to their liking. This candidate was also a born-again Christian, a former Sunday school teacher, a former state governor, and a Hal Lindsey fan. Ronald Reagan, the darling of the Republic Right.
The men most responsible for engineering the rendezvous between Reagan and the religious right were a cabal of professional fundraisers and PR flaks: Richard Viguerie, Terry Dolan, Howard Phillips, and Ed McAteer. Between them, they had founded, chaired, or advises such lobbying groups as: Conservative Caucus, Religious Roundtable, National Conservative Political Action Committee, Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, Christian Voice, Young Americans for Freedom and the now infamous Moral Majority. The term “Moral Majority” was coined by either Weyrich or Phillips (it’s disputed) in 1979 when they met with Falwell through McAteer, then director of the Christian Freedom Foundation, which was financed by Pew (Sunoco) and DeVos (Amway) money. Weyrich, PAC-man and co-founder of many of the aforementioned groups as well as the Coors and Scaiffe financed Heritage Foundation, and Phillips, a founding member of YAF and a cog in Nixon’s administration, had been impressed with Falwell’s performance in helping Anita Bryan defeat the Dade County Gay Rights bill in 1977.
Falwell first made news when he denounced Martin Luther King in a 1965 sermon. But it was his 1976 “I Love America” rallies conducted from every state capital and his 1977 “Clean Up America” campaigns that brought him to the attention of the Gauleiters of the emerging Right. He discussed theology and nuclear war with Reagan in the candidate’s limousine. The Christian Right took quite a bit of credit for Reagan’s landslide victory in 1980. Right-wing clergy soon became common fixtures around the White House, with Reagan consulting with them on all major issues.
In fact, Reagan would not see ministers who were not of the right. Although he was actually the least popular of all televangelists, Falwell was the most influential. In 1983, Reagan allowed Falwell to attend National Security briefings on US plans for nuclear way with the Soviet Union. Reagan also approved Hal Lindsey to lecture on nuclear way to Pentagon strategists. Reagan filled his cabinet and other posts with fundamentalists and pentecostals as well as conservative Catholics. Reagan set into motion a program which even the pious Carter never attempted” to turn a secular society into a theocracy.
Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell had developed contacts at high levels in Israel. The good reverend began spending his time becoming the most influential non-Jew lobbyist for the Zionist state and its increasingly expansionist policies. As congressional observer Allan Kellum told Grace Halsell, “The New Christian Right is the rising star of the Republican party. And Israel is reaping political benefits within the White House from its alliance with it.”
Israel is the only stable democracy we can rely on as a spot where Armageddon could come. - Ronald Reagan, 1980.
In 1983, Grace Halsell visited Israel as part of a Falwell inspired “Holy Land Tour”. Hailing from a Texan fundamentalist background and still a believing Christian, she took the tour to ascertain to what extent Falwell’s Armageddon theology figured in the thinking of his followers. She found that it held a prominent place. Most of those on the tour to whom she spoke were not merely expecting it in their lifetime, they were eagerly anticipating it. None expressed any fear or despair at the idea of a divinely induced nuclear war because they were certain that they themselves were guaranteed survival and immortality. These people viewed the modern state of Israel as the revivification of the theocratic kingdoms of the Old Testament, and they reveled in the glory of its military exploits.
As the tour proceeded by bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Israel guide told the group that, among other things, Palestinians (who he referred to as Arabs because, echoing official Israeli policy, there are no Palestinians) preferred to live in poverty, that the Arabs had constantly spurned Israeli attempts at friendship, and that “the Muslims are terrorists.” He diplomatically neglected to mention whether or not Christian Palestinians were also terrorists. The tour bus stopped at Nazareth only long enough to let the passengers use the restrooms. Halsell suspected that the tourists were being deliberately kept from talking with any Palestinians or Christians living in Israel. The tour finally caught up with Falwell at a Jerusalem hotel where they heard Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens boasts of Israel’s then recent victory in the Lebanese invasion.
Ms. Halsell realized that Falwell’s “Holy Land Tours” were not religious pilgrimages but pro-Israeli propaganda tours. Falwell himself has been very well rewarded by the Israelis for this services to the Zionist cause. A forest is Israel has been named after him, he has taken many free trips to Israel, and has received a personal jet plane from the Israeli government (which, considering the massive amount of US aid to Israel, was paid for by the American taxpayers). In 1980, Falwell became the only gentile to receive the Jabotinsky medal. Vladimir Jabotinsky was the Zionist leader who advocated a ruthless war of extermination against the Palestinians in order to insure a trans-Jordanian Israeli empire. This doctrine was instituted by his successors, including his protege, Menachem Begin.
One of Falwell’s greatest coups was helping to turn his friend, ally and financial patron, Jesse Helms, from a militant anti-Zionist to a militant pro-Zionist almost overnight.
In Israel, Falwell visited illegal settlements on the West Bank where he had his photograph taken with a recently transplanted American-Jewish settler. In 1983, Falwell convened a meeting in Annapolis to proclaim support for Israel’s Lebanese incursion, and among the attendees were Reagan administration members James Watt and Richard Allen, Jewish leaders like Yehuda Hellmann, New Right ideologues Viguerie, Phillips and Wyrich, and former president Richard Nixon. That year, Falwell told a Texas newspaper that Israel was entitled by “biblical mandate”, by the covenant between Yahweh and Abraham, to parts of what is now Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan, and all of Lebanon, Jordan and Kuwait. Of course, neither Falwell nor the Israelis expect to get this land by peaceful means. “Peaceful intentions,” the good reverend has said, “are acts of stupidity.”
Zionism is mysticism. Zionism will wither away if you cut it from its mystical-messianic roots. Zionism is a movement that does not think in rational terms... but in terms of divine commandments. What matters only is God’s promise to Abraham as recorded in the Book of Genesis. - Rabbi Moshe Levinger, one of the terrorists who attempted to blow up the Dome of the Rock mosque.
We should not forget that the supreme purpose of the ingathering of exiles and the establishment of our state is the building of a temple. The temple is the very top of the pyramid.
- Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Hachoven Aviner.
In the old walled city of Jerusalem, atop Mount Moriah, sits the third holiest shrine of Islam: Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, comprised of the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which harbors a massive boulder from which the prophet Mohammed is believed to have ascended to heaven. Part of the Sanctuary grounds sit atop a 200 foot high, 1600 foot long wall believed by many Jews to be remnants of either the first Jewish temple (built by Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 CE) or the second temple (destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE). This is the Western or “Wailing Wall.” It is central to both Jewish Millenarianism and Christian Dispensationalism that the messiah cannot come (or come again) until the Temple of Jerusalem is rebuilt on the very site where it once stood. And according to many Jewish and Christian fundamentalists, that very site is on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount, where the Noble Sanctuary of Haram al-Sharif now inconveniently stands.
Despite the fact that many archaeologists dispute the Temple Mount as the site of the original temple, and despite the belief of some fundamentalists that an earthquake or some other “act of God” will be the agent responsible for removing Holy Mount from heathen hands, there are those fanatics who, being aware that the Muslims are not in the market for a new Holy shrine, human intervention in the form of terrorism is the only viable solution to this urban renewal problem.
From 1967 to 1988, more than 100 attacks on the Noble Sanctuary by bands of Israeli fanatics, most of them rabbinical students led by armed rabbis, have occurred. In 1984, members of the terrorist group Gush Emunim (“Bloc of the Faithful”) which included many army officers and others with friends in high places, attempted to blow up the Dome of the Rock. The attack was aborted by the early arrest of the conspirators after three Palestinians mayors were wounded, two seriously, in the wake of car bomb assassination attempts by the same group as a prelude to the assault on Temple Mount. Apparently, this all occurred with the connivance of Shin Bet (the Israeli FBI), which failed to intervene, according to Gush terrorists at their trial, because the Gush Emunim had the covert support of high-level military and government officials. The commission headed by Yehuda Karp, deputy attorney general of Israel, determined that the Jewish vigilantes had acted with the tacit support of police and army in their attacks on the Palestinians. Karp resigned from the commission after the Begin government suppressed the report.
Despite this, 18 members of the Gush conspiracy were sentenced to prison, with sentences ranging from four months to life. Calls for mercy and parole began soon after the sentencing, with Shamir leading the pack. The Gush terrorists received the acclaim of many Israelis (including the judge who sentenced them) and were popularly regarded as heroes. Defense funds poured in from America, from Jews and fundamentalist Christians alike. Wealthy American Jews continue to subsidize the Gush Emunim as well as Meir Kahane’s Kach Party. One of the Gush’s chief financial angels is Mexican arms merchant Marcus Katz, who has made his biggest killings in weapons sales to Iran and various Central American nations. One of Kahane’s principal backers, both for his Kach part and his US-based Jewish Defense League, is Hagen-Dazs ice cream magnate Ruben Mattus.
The primary fundamentalist Christian financial supporter of Israeli terrorism is the Jerusalem Temple Foundation, headed by the self-styled “new Nehemiah” (Nehemiah was governor of Jerusalem after the return from Babylonian captivity) Terry Reisenhoover, an Oklahoma oil and land speculator. Some of the lands he has “speculated” on, with his Israeli partner Shony Braun, are those formerly belonging to West Bank Palestinians. As secretary to the JTF, Reisenhoover appointed Stanley Goldfoot, once implicated in the 1946 bombing of the Jerusalem King David Hotel which killed 100 occupationist British forces. Goldfoot’s outstanding attribute as a holy man in Terry Reisenhoover’s eyes is this: “Goldfoot is a very solid, legitimate terrorist.’' Reisenhoover has sponsored Goldfoot on many fund-raising pilgrimages to the USA, where he often forgets to mention that a Moslem mosque sits on the real estate upon which he plans to rebuild the Temple, the third and most important goal of the Revisionist (far right) Zionists, of which the Stem Gang was the militant activist wing.
It is the goal of the Jerusalem Temple Foundation to raise 100 million dollars annually to help finance this project (as well as to finance a yeshiva where students for the soon-to-be-revived Temple priesthood are learning the proper method of animal sacrifice). In 1983, the JTF provided the funds to pay the defense lawyers of the Gush terrorists. Another source for financing Zionist terrorism is the International Christian Embassy, which was founded by fundamentalists who are working overtime to place their government’s embassies in Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv. ICE is allegedly bankrolled by South Africa, one of Israel’s staunchest allies and trading partners.
Most fundamentalist Christians are involved in the Temple Mount scheme because they believe the rebuilding of the Temple to be the central event in the process leading to Apocalypse. While the Christians are praying for worldwide nuclear destruction, the powerful militant right-wing in Israel is convinced that they can win a Holy war if they provoke the jihad with the Arab world.
We have, first of all, to come to the conclusion that the right-wing reactionaries are the natural allies of Zionism, not the liberals. — Jacques Torczyner, American sector of the World Zionist Organization.
Jews can live with all the domestic priorities of the Christian right on which liberal Jews differ so radically because none of these concerns is as important as Israel. — Nathan Perlmutter, Anti-Defamation League of the B’Nai B’rith.
Along with much of the rest of the country, American Jews took a turn to the right in 1980, helping to elect that staunch friend of Israel, Ronald Reagan. Among the intelligentsia and religious leaders, dissatisfaction with the liberal Protestant churches which made up the National Council of Churches, increased, as the NCC espoused sympathy for the Palestinian cause. Feeling abandoned by their former allies, some Jewish community leaders sought the patronage of the waxing evangelic right, where anti-Semitic attitudes have traditionally resided. Fearing a rise in anti-Semitism in the growing public disapproval of Israeli expansionism and sympathy for the Palestinians, some Jewish leaders theorized that any possible wave of anti-Semitism could be headed off by recruiting the leaders of those most likely to express anti-Semitic beliefs into active and uncritical supporters of Israel, a position that dispensationalism already inclined them towards.
“We need all the friends we have to support Israel ... let’s praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,” said Nathan Perlmutter of the ADL. Irving Kristol declared that Jews should abandon Liberalism, and take their allies wherever they could find them. “American Jews should join the ultra-right,” Kristol proclaimed, concluding that they should back winners, not losers. What Israel gained from this strange alliance, according to Grace Halsell, was money, more land, and grassroots Christian support. Since Israel already receives four billion dollars a year in U.S. aid, how much more money could it possibly need? A lot more, apparently, as groups like Bobbi Hromas’ American Christian Trust and Mike Evans’ JerUSAlem DC indicate. Hromas, wife of an executive with TRW, maintains a mansion with built-in soundproof, open 24-hours chapel directly across the street from the Israeli embassy in Washington, where wealthy fundamentalists, many of them high-ranking government officials, pray for the “redemption”: (i.e., appropriation) of the land from the Euphrates to the Nile and pay for the privilege. (Among ACT patrons are former Dallas Cowboys owner Clint Murchison and former Cowboys coach Tom Landry.) The money raised goes to Israelis involved in grabbing Palestinian land by any means necessary, from force to fraud.
Mike Evans, on the other hand, is a a born-again convert, whose organization’s primary goal is to get the U.S. and other governments to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thereby recognizing the Israeli claim that the city sacred to three religions and populated primarily by Arabs, is exclusively Jewish property. Working the fundamentalist circuit, Evans has been as blunt as any Zionist on this matter. “It will cost you the lives of your sons and fathers if you do not recognize Jerusalem as Jewish property. God will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel,” he told a Texas congregation attended by Halsell. Evans has had the previously unheard-of honor (for a Christian) of having an orthodox rabbi lay his hands atop his head and pray for him, and of being the only Christian minister to appear on Israeli tv. (It is illegal in Israel to proselytize for any religion other than Judaism.) Evans initiated a drive to put one million signatures on a petition for the the United Nations to recognize Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel.
These are only two of the more obvious pro-Zionist Christian groups. Others include the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, which proclaims that, “to be Christian is to be Jewish,” and that i Christian’s first duty is to the “land of Israel.” The organization ran full-page ads in the Washington Post and The New York Times praising the Lebanese invasion. The group is linked with International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, and numbered W.A. Criswell, Jim Bakker, and Pat Robertson among its members. Other such organizations include The National Christian Congress (a different NCC), and offshoot of NCLCI, was primarily formed to oppose the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia; Christians United for American Security; TAV Evangelical Ministries; American Coalition for Traditional Values headed by Tim and Beverly LaHaye; and the infamous Christian Voice.
I think I could walk right through a nuclear strike and not even smell of smoke if God’s got a plan for my life .. I believe there’ll be enough of us left to rally the church to preach the revival around the world.— Rev. James Robison.
The question that must now be asked is this: Ronald Reagan, who brought many fundamentalists into power with him, is no longer president, and George Bush, while actively courting the fundamentalists vote and claiming to be born-again, is obviously not one of them. In the after-math of the downfall of the Bakkers and Swaggart, and the defeats suffered by Falwell and Robertson, some would have you believe that the fundamentalist threat is not only passe, but that it never really existed. In the media’s current vocabulary, “Moral Majority” is almost a nostalgic term.
But that is not the case. If anything, Christian right agenda has actually seeped into the mainstream. Its theocratic attitudes are stronger than ever, and on the offensive, with manufactured panics over drugs, child molestation and Satanic cults distracting nearly everyone. All this is no accident. Pat Robertson did not lose the Presidency, he actually re-jiggered the Republic platform. Grudgingly throwing his support to Bush (as Falwell had willingly done), Robertson wasted no time in aiming his sights at the grassroots level, with local, county, and state positions becoming the new targets for fundamentalist takeover. The religious right’s new strategy is to become shy of its religious identifications. (Example: Citizens for Excellence in Education, a secular enough sounding group, is dedicated to “putting God back in the schools.”) Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation, has a three year plan to unite right wing groups with fundamentalists. These people are patient and disciplined, and are in it for the long haul. They have not given up on the idea of a Christian Reconstruction of America, with the attendant policing of its views.
Alarmingly, fundamentalism has infiltrated into police departments and the military. According to Conway and Siegelman in their book, Holy Terror, an anonymous “Captain X” revealed that “The fundamentalist segment of the Armed Services was developing into a separate subculture within the military community.” Captain X “emphasizes that the fundamentalist subculture in the military seemed to be stronger in leadership positions that at the enlisted men’s level.”
It is an ancient belief of black magic that manifesting the presence of the deity required sacrifice of human victims. It was also believed that the life energy of the victims would increase the potency and longevity of the sorcerer. A mass sacrifice might even confer enough life energy to make the sorcerer immortal. Could this be the real reason among the inner circles of the Christian Right, that the Penteholocaust, the sacrificial burning of the earth, will invoke Christ the Vampire and render His disciples immortal?