18 January 2011

Armageddon Allies


The next figure on the "stage" of this print is Jesus. I was raised in a mainstream Protestant church-going family and as such I was taught that the Jews of the Old Testament had a special relationship with God. Since Jews and Christians share the same scriptures in the Old Testament, I figured that the God of the Jews and the God of Christians is the same God. I was taught that Jews who rejected Jesus as the messiah lost that special relationship, but in my mind as a child I figured that since we Christians had come from Judaism, the Jews and I were some kind of cousins.

Although the church of my childhood didn't emphasize the Biblical prophecies of Armageddon or the Second Coming of Christ, I knew about these beliefs. Books like The Late Great Planet Earth in the 1970s, and the more contemporary Left Behind series in the 1990s did much to popularize them. So I wasn't surprised to learn that in a 2004 Time/CNN poll, over one-third of those Americans who support Israel reported that they do so because they believe the Bible teaches that the Jews must possess their own country in the Holy Land before Jesus can return. As evangelical spokesman Pat Robertson said in a 2009 speech on the subject:
Mere political rhetoric does not account for the profound devotion to Israel that exists in the hearts of tens of millions of evangelical Christians. You must realize that the God who spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai is our God. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are our spiritual Patriarchs. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel are our prophets. King David, a man after God's own heart, is our hero. The Holy City of Jerusalem is our spiritual capital. And the continuation of Jewish sovereignty over the Holy Land is a further bulwark to us that the God of the Bible exists and that His Word is true.

Many Christian conservatives do not support peace initiatives in the region. Peace is not prophesied for the Middle East until Jesus comes and brings it himself, and Jesus is not prophesied to come until the Jews are returned to the land promised by God to their ancestors. Thus a Palestinian state in land that is Biblically considered "Israel" is not a possibility in this scenario.

Given that he is evangelical, I'm surprised that George W. Bush offered his "Roadmap to Peace" during his presidency. I respect him for that, actually.

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