It’s one thing for Christians to have a particular perspective on the end-times and how it’ll all play out. But a segment of the Christian population has taken their end-times scheme into their own hands, for years now, attempting to elect politicians who will arrange the political pecking order in such a way that their eschatological agenda is forcibly realized. They lobby and promote agendas that privilege Israel, no matter whether Israel is just or good to her neighbors, because they believe Israel has a special place in God’s end-times story. They lobby and promote agendas that ignore the suffering of Arab populations – including Christian Arab populations that you’d at least think they’d have some affinity for – because they see these Arab nations as the end-times enemies of the state of Israel. As JR Madill Forasteros has said, These Christians “support hostilities between Islam and Judaism, between Israel and Palestine. Escalated violence doesn’t matter. The body count doesn’t matter. They’re HOPING for these things.”
It is one thing for these Christians to believe such things. At least when it was just in the realm of belief it was not politically problematic on a world stage. But now, many of these folks have not only espoused such beliefs, but they’re actually attempting to move the pieces around on the political chessboard to force their end-times scenario to come together.
It is, in the most literal sense, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Or to use a different metaphor, it’s basically an illusionist using slight of hand, and while he fails to convince the audience of his illusion, he has somehow convinced himself he’s done real magic.
Or if you’ll stay with me for one more metaphor, these people know they’re the ones behind Oz’s curtain. They know they’re the ones pulling all the strings that make Oz’s mouth move, a voice speaks, and ears smoke. And yet, despite all their theatrics, they believe Oz is the one doing it all. Apparently, they’re just “helping.”
On a world stage, they’re playing God while pretending Toto hasn’t torn the curtain open.
In their God-games, they’re taking on a role for themselves that does not belong to them. It’s more than ignorance; it’s arrogance. It’s more than arrogance; it’s injustice. It’s more than injustice; it’s a slap in the face of the God who loves the Arabs as much as he loves the Israelis, as much as he loves Americans. It’s more than a slap in the face of God; it’s a slap in the face of a neighbor.
By essentially forcing the fulfillment of their own end-times narrative, these Christians are instigating violence in the Middle East – violence that will cause the deaths of thousands, if not millions, of innocent lives – all in the name of a particular eschatological agenda writ large. And when it’s all said and done, and the rapture doesn’t happen, they’ll look at the Middle East in ruins and say, “Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself,” ever refusing to acknowledge the role they’ve played in the violence. That’s right: I’m calling it now. It will be impossible for them to acknowledge they’re wrong because that’s how these groups work. They will blame the Arabs and Muslims for the violence, scapegoating them instead of owning their own wrongs. That’s how it’s been working since the 70’s with this group. And once their end-times scheme is proven false, they just re-shuffle the deck and do it all over again. Nothing reinforces arrogance and ignorance like political power mixed with end-times religious beliefs.
Tom Fuerst is the Associate Teaching Pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee and a graduate student in Communication at the University of Memphis. He is also the author of Underdogs and Outsiders: A Bible Study on the Untold Stories of Advent.
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