During the Reformation era the Biblical Hebrews came to be associated with their modern co-religionists. At the same time it became popular belief among Protestant adherents that the Jews scattered in their present dispersion would be regathered in Palestine in order to prepare for the Second Coming of Chirst... The Old Testament not only became the most popular literature for the Protestant laity, but also the source book for general historical knowledge. This is the moment when a process of historical manipulation began. -- Regina Sharif, Non-Jewish ZionismIt will be useful (even necessary) for the reader of this article to be familiar with my series "Who Wrote the Bible," as well as "Truth or Lies," both of which address many of the issues of religions and how they are created and imposed on the masses as means of control. A good synopsis of the problem is Henry See's article on Belief Systems. It is also extremely useful to read my review of Burton Mack's "The Book of Q and Christian Origins." Mack's conclusions regarding the importance of the "event of mythicization of "Jesus" on our world are quite startling considering what has transpired on the world stage since he wrote this book.
Who will the Antichrist be? ... Of course he will be Jewish. -- Jerry Falwell
Prophetically, the only thing that could prevent it (a Jewish holocaust) is Israel's repentance. - Dwight Pentecost in an interview with Paul Boyer
The creation of Israel in 1948 means "a return at last, to the biblical land from which the Jews were driven so many hundreds of years ago... The establishment of the nation of Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and the very essence of its fulfillment." -- Former president Jimmy Carter
As a Christian, I see the return of Jews to the Holy Land but one sign of the coming of the messianic age in which all humans will enjoy the benefits of an ideal society. -- Former Senator Mark Hatfield
For the first time in more than 2,000 years, Jerusalem, being in the hands of the Jews, gives the student of the Bible a thrill and a renewed faith in the accuracy and validity of the Bible. -- L. Nelson Bell, editor, Christianity Today
The Rev. Clyde Lott, Canton, Miss., a Pentecostal minister, interprets passages of the Bible to say that a third Jewish temple must rise in Jerusalem before the Second Coming can happen... Lott is producing perfect red heifers, virginal cows "without spot" that could be sacrificed to produce ashes for ritual use in the future temple. For that to happen, Muslim shrines like the Dome of the Rock would have to be knocked down... Lott is convinced that God will attend to this in due time. -- The New York Times, December 27, 1998
The question now is whether the discovery of Q has any chance of making a difference in the way in which Christianity and its gospel are viewed in modern times? The question is quite serious, because neither the university, nor among knowledgeable people in our society, nor among the Christian churches, have the results of biblical scholarship ever made much of a difference. [...]The reader may also want to pick up copies of Gershom Gorenberg's book The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, and "Forcing God's Hand: Why Millions Pray for a Quick Rapture and Destruction of Planet Earth. by Grace Halsell. These two books have provided much of the material reviewed in this article.
The discovery of Q effectively challenges the privilege granted the narrative gospels as depictions of the historical Jesus. The difference between the narrative gospels and modern retellings of the story can no longer lie in the distinction between history and fiction. The narrative gospels are also products of mythic imagination. [...]
Myths, mentalities, and cultures go together. [...]
Christian myth and Western culture go together. [...]
To acknowledge publicly that [the American Dream] may owe something to the legacy of western Christian culture is, on the other hand, taboo.
The exception to this general rule occurs, interestingly enough, when pressure on public policy and patriotism results in exaggerated expressions of those values for which our nation stands. We have a history of such platitudes: new world, new land, new people, righteous nation, manifest destiny, city set on a hill, liberty enlightening the world, a beacon for the homeless, one nation under God, moral majority, defenders of the free world, and new world order.
These truisms signal a messianic mentality. [...]
The recent history of what we have done with our technology and power throughout the world is troubling, as are the human cries for help from around a world grown small and yet too large to handle. The list of concerns has run off the page, and we seem to be overloaded with unsolvable problems and strife, and ecological responsibility. For thoughtful people, the issues have to do with assessing the chances for constructing sane and safe societies in a multicultural world while understanding the conditions for predation and prejudice, power abuse, and violence. In either case, it is irresponsible not to engage in public discussion of our own system of cultural values. [...]
In order to understand ourselves and register reasons for our social options, cultural analysis will have to include a comparative evaluation of mythologies. And that means having a close look at our own mythology.
Q should help with this analysis by breaking the taboo that now grants privilege to the Christian myth. That is because the story of Q gives us an account of Christian origins that is not dependent upon the narrative gospels. ... Christian mythology can now be placed among the many mythologies and ideologies of the religions and cultures of the world. The Christian myth can be studied as any other myth is studied. It can be evaluated for its proposal of ways to solve social problems, construct sane societies, and symbolize human values. [...]
The effect of Christian mythology has not always been humanizing. The Captain America Complex, a book by Robert Jewett has traced our zealous nationalism to its biblical roots.
Others have reflected deeply on the Christian persuasions that have under girded colonial imperialism, the taking of the West, the Indian wars, and the slave trade.
Still others have studied the relationship of the gospel story to the profile of the American hero, the American dream, and the destructive politics of righteousness wherever we have intervened in the affairs of peoples around the world.
The conclusion seems to be that the Christian gospel, focusing as it does on crucifixion as the guarantee for apocalyptic salvation, has somehow given its blessing to patterns of personal and political behavior that often have had disastrous consequences. [...]
Q's challenge to Christians is therefore an invitation to join the human race, to see ourselves with our myths on our hands... [The Lost Gospel by Burton L. Mack]
Gershom Gorenberg is an associate editor and columnist for The Jerusalem Report, a regular contributor to The New Republic, and an associate of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University. He lives in Jerusalem, where he has spent years covering the dangerous mix of religion and politics.
Grace Halsell served President Lyndon Johnson as his speech writer for three years. She covered both Korea and Vietnam as a journalist. She was the author of 14 books, including "Prophecy and Politics: Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War."
The facts that these two authors, one Christian and one Jewish, bring forward, are that the Armageddon theology of the New Christian Right is being propagated by numerous TV evangelists, including Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, along with Hal Lindsey's widely read The Late Great Planet Earth, and Tim LaHayes' "Left Behind" series, and that this theology is influencing millions of human beings worldwide to not only believe that the world is going to end soon, but that it is their duty to hasten the event in any way they can. It is in this context that we gain greater understanding of the politics of George W. Bush, though both of these books were written long before Bush effected a coup d'etat in 2000.
Halsell interviewed fundamentalists, all of whom believed that it is their duty to fulfill the biblical prophecy of fighting World War III preparatory to Christ's Second Coming. Most disquieting is her discussion of an alliance of the New Christian Right and militant Zionists who share a common belief and enthusiasm for a global holocaust. Alarming, too, is the extent of the political influence of the above mentioned tele-evangelists, the Israeli lobby and the fact that the policies of George W. Bush are largely subject to his alleged belief in the inevitability of a God-willed nuclear war. I suspect that Bush, behind the scenes, is not truly Christian, even in his own mind, but rather follows the ideas of Machiavelli which posit that a leader must appear to be religious in order to induce the masses who are believers to follow him. On the other hand, Bush and much of Congress may very well believe in this Armageddon Theology.
Both Gorenberg and Halsell detail and document the history of the alliance between militant Zionism and Christian fundamentalism and expose the purpose of the alliance which is the return to Israeli control of all of Palestine and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem on the site where the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock now stand. For the religious Zionist, these actions are the prerequisite to the Messiah's FIRST coming. For the Christian fundamentalists, it is prerequisite to Armageddon and Messiah's SECOND coming. Reclamation of Israel from the Palestinians who have lived there for over 5000 years, and establishing Jewish hegemony, including the use of nuclear weapons (Armageddon) are seen as events to be earnestly desired and supported.
Armageddon is seen by Christian fundamentalists as "nuclear and imminent", waiting only for proper orchestration from American political leaders. The Zionists, naturally, do NOT include Armageddon in their messianic aspirations. This conflict of interests at a higher level is exposed in Gorenberg's book.
Gorenberg's book was written before 9-11 and, in this sense, was extremely prescient. The reader who wishes to understand what is at the root of the current conflict that threatens to engulf our planet will find his history of those 35 disputed acres of the Temple Mount to be crucial. Gorenberg makes clear what is at the root of the volatile relationships between Arabs, Jews and Christians in Israel. He pays special attention to carefully documenting and analyzing the actions and beliefs of fundamentalist groups in all three religions.
Jewish messianists and Christian millennialists both believe that building the Third Temple on the site where both Solomon's and Herod's temples are alleged to have stood is essential for their respective prophetic scenarios to take place (never mind that they seem to both be using each other and each believe that the other is just a dumb tool), while the Muslim believers fear that efforts to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque to make way for the Third Temple will prevent fulfillment of the prophecy about Islam's Meccan shrine migrating to Jerusalem at the end of time.
Gorenberg calls Temple Mount "a sacred blasting cap".
The problem is, of course, as I show in Who Wrote the Bible, there probably never was a FIRST "Temple of Solomon," and the Old Testament is NOT a true "history of the Jews." So, the problem is: if Islam is predicated on two "manufactured" religions, what does that say about the faith of the Islamic fundamentalists?
The fact is: There is an alliance between America and Israel in the war on Islam. They are both determined to establish Israeli control over Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple where the Dome of the Rock now stands and the Palestinians are in the way. This is the core issue behind the current "War on Islam" disguised as a "War on Islamic Terrorists" and more recently, "War on those who hate our civilization." And just as Christians and Jews are quite willing to sacrifice their own people for this monstrous agenda, so are Muslims undoubtedly raising up terrorists to do as much damage to the "infidels" as possible so as to save their holy site. But to really get a grip on the explosive situation, we have to lay the major share of the blame for Islamic terrorism in the current day where the power has resided for a very long time: in the West, the Christian West:
There's a new religious cult in America. It's not composed of so-called "crazies" so much as mainstream, middle to upper-middle class Americans. They listen - and give millions of dollars each week - to the TV evangelists who expound the fundamentals of the cult. They read Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye. They have one goal: to facilitate God's hand to waft them up to heaven free from all trouble, from where they will watch Armageddon and the destruction of Planet Earth. This doctrine pervades Assemblies of God, Pentecostal, and other charismatic churches, as well as Southern Baptist, independent Baptist, and countless so-called Bible churches and mega-churches. At least one out of every 10 Americans is a devotee of this cult. It is the fastest growing religious movement in Christianity today. -- Dale Crowley Jr., religious broadcaster, Washington D.C.The "Rapture of the Church" is an idea popularized by John Darby, a nineteenth-century British preacher. The word "Rapture" describes the joy of the believers while the rest of humanity is facing apocalyptic terror, seven years' worth, before God's kingdom on earth is established.
Tim LaHaye - with his ghost-writer Jerry B. Jenkins - has produced a series of books that seek to make that terror real, to depict the "Rapture" in the world of jumbo jets and IMacs.
LaHaye's books are REAL to people living in frightening times. For the true believer, LaHaye's books are not just accurate descriptions of how it is all going to actually happen, they provide satisfyingly delicious scenarios of being proven RIGHT. The non-believers are treated to long and drawn-out descriptions of what is going to happen to them on earth after the Rapture.
One of the key elements of the "Rapture" theory is the Antichrist. This individual signs a seven-year peace treaty with Israel - which includes rebuilding the Temple. Jews are expected to unanimously support this project and Muslims also will agree to move the Dome of the Rock to "New Babylon."
The rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem is required in the scenario because the Antichrist must desecrate it half way through the Tribulation which is supposed to include war, earthquakes, and locusts. All of this is to be hoped for as a necessary preliminary to establishing God's kingdom on Earth.
The theory demands something else: that Jews will convert to Christianity in masses so that they can then become "witnesses" or converters of more gentiles. Darby's theory insists that God's promises to the people of Israel must be read literally as applying to literal Jews. Therefore, the Jews WILL convert (because it is in the eschatological screenplay).
At the "End of the World," the believers of three faiths will watch the same drama, but with different programs in their hands. In one, Jesus is Son of God; in another he is Muslim prophet. The Jews messiah is cast in the Muslim script as the dajjal - another name for the Antichrist, the deceiver predicted by Christian tradition. The infidels in one script are the true believers of another. If your neighbor announces that the End has come, you can believe him, even if he utterly misunderstands what is happening.Thus, we see that, for those Christians who believe in Armageddon Theology, the only thing to do is to promote the well-being of Israel with money, arms, and other kinds of support, so that the Temple can be rebuilt; never mind that it is going to be desecrated and that Israel is supposed, in the scenario, to be utterly destroyed in the process of establishing God's kingdom!
It makes sense: Christianity's scriptwriters reworked Judaism and Islam rewrote both. David Cook notes that from the start, apocalyptic ideas moved back and forth between the faiths; the global village is older than we realize. Some of the early spokesmen of Islamic apocalyptic thinking were converted Jews and Christians; they arrived with histories of the future in their saddlebags.
What's more, a story's end is when the truth comes out, the deceived realize their mistake. The deep grievance at the start of both Christianity and Islam is that the Jews refused the new faith - so the Jews must appear in both religion's drama of the End, to be punished or recognize their error.
And the setting of the End is also shared. The crucial events take place in or near Jerusalem. After all, the script began with the Hebrew prophets, for whom Jerusalem was the center not only of their world but of God's, and everyone else worked from their material. Isaiah's announcement of the End of Days comes directly after he laments that the "faithful city [has] become a harlot." That sets up the contrast: In the perfected age, " the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the top of the mountains" and "out of Zion shall go forth the law." The messiah's task is to end the Jews' exile and reestablish David's kingdom - in his capital.
Christianity reworked that vision. Jesus, says the New Testament, was not only crucified and resurrected in the city, he ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives - and promised to return there. Without the Jews' national tie to the actual Jerusalem, Christians could allegorized such verses. The Jerusalem of the end could be built on other shores, and countless millennial movements have arisen elsewhere. But the literal meaning is there to be reclaimed, particularly in a time of literalism, such as our own.
Most striking of all is Islam's adoption of the same setting. For Muslim apocalyptic believers, Jerusalem is the capital in the messianic age. At the end of time, say Muslim traditions, the Ka'ba - Islam's central shrine in Mecca - will come to Jerusalem. The implication is that in Islam, speaking of the apocalypse at least hints at Jerusalem - and a struggle over Jerusalem alludes to the last battle.
Curiously, academic experts often say that Islam assigns scant space to apocalypse. In the religion's early centuries, believers attributed a vast body of contradictory traditions to the Prophet. Early Islamic scholars winnowed the sayings, establishing which were most reliable. Meanwhile, Islam became the faith of an empire, and it was time to talk softly of overthrowing the given order. So the authors of books containing the "most accurate" traditions, the pinnacle of the canon, said little of the End. "High" Islam appears un-apocalyptic. [Gorenberg]
What a double-cross!
I've listened to Muslim sheikhs explain how verses in the Koran foretell Israel's destruction, and to American evangelical ministers who insist on their deep love for Israel and nevertheless eagerly await apocalyptic battles on Israel's soil so terrible that the dry river beds will, they predict, fill with rivers of blood. I also came to realize that the center of my story had to be the Temple Mount. What happens at that one spot, more than anywhere else, quickens expectations of the End in three religions. And at that spot, the danger of provoking catastrophe is greatest. [...]According to Gorenberg, between a fifth and a quarter of all Americans are evangelicals. In Latin America, the number of Protestants subscribing to these beliefs has climbed from 5 million in the late sixties to 40 million in the mid-nineties. "One reason for the rise [was] the campaign of John Paul II against the leftist faith of liberation theology. Denied a tie between religion and hope for a better world, Latin American Catholics have been more open to the catastrophic hopes of premillennialism."
Melody, the cow that could have brought God's kingdom on earth, or set the entire Middle East ablaze, or both, depending on who you ask, has her head stuck between the gray bars of the cowshed and is munching hay and corncobs. [...]
Melody's birth in August 1996 seemed to defy nature: Her mother was a black and white Holstein. In fact, [Gilad Jubi, dairyman of the Kfar Hasidim agricultureal school] says he'd had trouble breeding the dairy cow, and finally imported semen, from Switzerland, he thinks, from a red breed of beef cattle. But "red" cows are normally splotched. An entirely crimson one is extraordinary: The Mishneh Torah, Moses Maimonides twelfth-century code of Jewish law, records that just nine cows in history have fit the Book of Numbers' requirements for sacrificing as a "red heifer." Yet the rare offering was essential to maintaining worship in the Temple in Jerusalem. The tenth cow, Maimonides asserts, will arrive in the time of the messiah. That's when Jewish tradition foresees the Third Temple being built on the Temple Mount. [...]
Finding a red heifer is one precondition to building the Temple. Another, it's generally assumed, is removing the Dome of the Rock from the Temple Mount. [...]
The next day, a newspaper broke the story. [Adir Zik, an announcer on the settlers pirate radio station known for his fiery rhetoric] spoke about the red heifer on his radio show. The madness about Melody had begun. [...] Press photographers arrived. The rabbi, sans calf, appeared on national TV. The Boston Globe's man did a story, and other American correspondents followed. ... A CNN crew made a pilgrimage to the red heifer, as did crews from ABC and CBS, and from Japan, Holland, France.
If much of the world's media reported on Melody in a bemused tone, as a story about the strange things people believe, not everyone saw the cow as a joke. On the opinion page of the influential Israeli daily Ha'aretz, columnist David Landau argued that the security services should see the red heifer as a "four-legged bomb" potentially more dangerous than any terrorist. Landau... understood the expectations of building the Temple that the cow could inspire among Jewish religious nationalists, and its potential for inciting war with the Muslim world. "A bullet in the head," he wrote, "is, according to the best traditions, the solution of security services in such cases..."
Too shrill? As Landau alluded, the nameless agents of Israel's Shin Bet domestic security force, caught off guard by the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak rabin in November 1995, had underestimated the power of faith in the past. At Kfar Hasidim, Melody was moved from the cowshed to "solitary confinvement" in the school's petting zoo, where she could be kept slightly safer from the visitors arriving daily. A dog was posted to guard her. It couldn't guard against sprouting white hairs. [Which Melody did, disqualifying her and saving her from being turned into cow toast.]
Unquestionably, the reactions to Melody seem bizarre. But there are three very solid reasons for the fears and hopes she engendered: the past, the present, and most of all the future.
Numbers 19 is one of the most apaque sections in scripture. A red heifer, "faultless, wherin is no blemish, and upon which never came a yoke," is to be slaughtered, and its body burned entirely to ash. Paradoxically, this sacrifice must be performed outside the Temple, yet the heifer's ash becomes the key to the sanctuary: It alone can cleanse a man or woman tainted by contact with human death.
For, says the biblical text, anyone who touches a corpse, or bone, or grave, anyone who even enters the same room as a dead body, is rendered impure, and must not enter the Temple. Yet proximity to death is an unavoidable part of life, and sacrifice was how Israelites served God. So to free a person of impurity, says Numbers, mix the heifer's cinder with water, and sprinkle the mixture on him. As Jewish tradition read those verses, the heifer really had to be faultless. Two white hairs would disqualify it. The rarest possible beast was essential to purify a priest who'd attended his own father's burial, or to allow any Israelite who'd been in the presence of a corpse to share in the sacrificial cult. [...]
The last ashes of the last red heifer ran out sometime after the Romans razed the Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70. Every Jew became impure by reason of presumed contact with death which, practically speaking, didn't matter much because there was no sanctuary to enter and sacrifice had ceased being the center of Judaism. The tenth heifer logically belonged to the imagined time of the messiah because a rebuilt temple also did.
Except that today, the absent ashes of the red heifer have a new function. They are a crucial factor in the political and strategic balance of the Middle East.
Over nineteen hundred years have passed since the Temple's destruction, but its location - give or take a few crucial meters - is still a hard physical reality. [...] In principle, Temple Mount remains the most sacred site in Judaism. [...]
But the Mount itself isn't in ruins. As Al-Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary, it is the third-holiest site in Islam. [...] A glance at the Mount testifies that any effort to build the Temple where it once stood - the one place where Jewish tradtion says it can be built again - would mean removing shrines sacred to hundreds of millions of Muslims, from Morocco to Indonesia. An attempt to dedicate even a piece of the enclosure to Jewish prayer would mean slicing that piece out of the Islamic precincts.
On June 7, 1967, the third day of the Six-Day War, Israeli troops took East Jerusalem, bringing the Temple Mount under Jewish rule for the first time in almost 2,000 years. Israel's leaders decided to leave the Mount, Al-Haram al-Sharif, in Muslim hands. The decision kept the ingredients for holy war apart, just barely. [...]
Yet a separation made by the civil government would not have worked without a hand from Jewish religious authorities. From the Six-Day War on, Israel's leading rabbis have overwhelmingly ruled that Jews should not enter the gates of the Mount. One of the most commonly cited reasons ... is that under religious law, every Jew is presumed to have had contact with the dead. For lack of a red heifer's ashes, there is simply nothing to be done about it: no way for Jews to purify themselves to enter the sacred square, no way for Judaism to reclaim the Mount, no way to rebuild the Temple. Government officials and military leaders could only regard the requirement for the missing heifer as a stroke of sheer good fortune preventing conflict over the Mount. [...]
In 1984, the Shin Bet stumbled onto the Jewish settler underground's plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock. One of the group's leaders explained that among the "spiritual difficulties" that kept them from carrying out the attack was that it is forbidden to enter the Temple Mount because of impurity caused by contact with the dead - that is, they lacked the ash of a red heifer. In a verdict in the case, one judge wrote that if the plan had been carried out, it would have "exposed the State of Israel and the entire Jewish people to a new Holocaust."
The danger hasn't gone away: The Temple Mount is potentially a detonartor of full-scale war, and a few people trying to rush the End could set it off. [Gorenberg]
South Korea's apocalyptically oriented Protestants have gone from 15 percent of the total population to 40 percent during the seventies and eighties.
The old stereotypical image of the apocalyptic believers as tramps on street corners carrying signs saying "The End is Nigh" no longer stands. Today's adherents of the Rapture theory wear suits in boardrooms and stride the corridors of power.
Reverend Irvin Baxter, a Pentecostal minister from Richmond, Indiana, made Melody the cover story in his "Endtime" magazine, which provides "World Events from a Biblical Perspective," then published a follow-up article when he was able to come and visit himself. To his 40,000 Christian subscribers, he explained Maimonides' view that the tenth red heifer would be offered in the messiah's time - and then noted that under the diplomatic schedule then in effect for the Oslo accords, "the final status of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount is to be settled by May of 1999. It's in 1999 that Melody will be three years of age..."In 1994, Rabbi Richman visited Lott in Mississippi where he was shown four heifers. One caught his attention and he examined it for fifteen minutes or so. Then he declared: You see that heifer. That heifer is going to change the world." It was the first cow in 2000 years to satisfy Numbers 19. Lott had "proved he could deliver." However, Richman wanted a heifer born in Israel to insure that it was "legally unblemished."
In other words, the calf, the medieval Jewish sage, and the Israel-PLO peace agreement all proved that the Temple would be in place for the End Times to begin by the millennium's end.
Televangelist Jack Van Impe likewise noted that "scripture requires the red heifer be sacrificed at the age of three," and asked breathlessly, "Could Melody's ashes be used for Temple purification ceremonies as early as 2000?"[...]
[In] 1999, I [Gorenberg] dropped in at the offices of the Al-Aqsa Association... to see Ahmad Agbariay [who] is in charge of the association's efforts to develop the mosques at Al-Haram al-Sharif. [...] The Jews, he told me, "intend to build the Third Temple"
Was there a target date? I asked.
"All I know is that three years ago they said a red heifer had been born... and that in three years they'd start building. Three years will be up in August 1999." [...]
The folks with the cow have a star role on the stage of the End. [...]
[Rabbi Chaim Richman, a proponent of Religious Zionism] ... asserts that human beings are acting to bring the world's final redemption. Jews returning to their land and building a state is a piece of that. [...]
Reverend Clyde Lott knows cows... Knowledge of what rabbis want in a cow has come more recently. [...] At the end of the 1980s, Lott recalls, "there was a wave of prophecy preaching going through Mississippi, and the question was when is Israel going to build the Temple." For that, Lott knew, a red heifer was needed. [...] The question weighed on him for months. Until one day, when he was working in the field and a piece of equipment broke down and Lott got in his car to head for town, the car took him instead to the state capital of Jackson, where he strode uninvited into the office of Ray Manning, international trade director for the State of Mississippi. ... The bizarre meeting eventually produced a letter to the agriculture attache at the U.S. embassy in Athens, responsible in his specialty for the entire Middle East.
Manning explained that he'd been approached by a cattle producer who'd made this offer: "Red Angus cattle suitable for Old Testament Biblical sacrifices, will have no blemish or off color hair, genetically red... also excellent beef quality."
What Lott did has a logic. Cattle-raising today is biotech. It was his life's work. But did it mean anything? Lott isn't the only technical person pulled to the vision of Temple-building because it promises that a technical skill is essential to the world's salvation. Nor is he the only one in our technological age to read the Bible itself as a tech manual, installation instruction for the final, fantastic upgrade of the universe. [...]
Lott's name was getting out, people who'd never met him were inspired by his plan, in one significant swath of American society he was not nuts but cold sane. [...]
The "restoration of Israel" - the term Christians concerned with the End have used for generations to refer to the prophesied return of the Jews to their land - must also, he decided, be the "restoration" of Israel's livestock industry. [Gorenberg]
Lott gave up his family farm. At a Nebraska ranch, he began raising Red Angus bred to the highest standards, which means, he explains, "marbling in the meat, white flakes through the flesh... easy calving, hardiness... longevity." To further the effort, the Association of Beef Cattle Breeders in Israel set up a professional board whose members included Lott, Richaman, and several Israeli Agriculture Ministry officials. [...]In 1998, Rabbi Richman broke his connections to Canaan Land after learning that Lott had been filmed at a Florida church talking about converting the Jews to Christianity. Gorenberg notes that this was symbolic of the state of the much wider alliance between the Christian Right and Israel. It is "an alliance in which each side assumes that the other is playing a role it doesn't understand itself, in which each often regards the other as an unknowing instrument for reaching a higher goal."
In the spring of 1998, Canaan Land Restoration of Israel, Inc., a nonprofit body dedicated to bringing cattle to Israel, was established, with pastors scattered from California to Pennsylvania as officers and advisory board members. Lott appeared at churches, raising funds, and on Christian TV. Donation cards, adorned with sepia photos of grazing cows, allowed supporters to sponsor the purchase of "1 red heifer - $1,000.00," a half-heifer or quarter, or "1 air fare (1 cow) at $341. A fundraising letter exhorted, "Remember, Gen 12:2-3: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse" a verse often cited by evangelicals as a reason to support Israel. [...]
Guy Garner ... pastor of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Porterdale, Georgia [gave up his tire sales business] to commute to Israel to handle Canaan Land's affairs. [...] The cows, Guy stresses, are "a giveaway to the Jewish people." The growers get them and the calves they produce free of charge, with just two obligations: After a number of years they must provide Canaan Land with the same number of young cows as they received originally. And, along the way, Canaan Land has the right to examine every newborn calf, and to take any it judges to be "special" - likely to qualify as a red heifer and speed establishment of the Temple. [...]
Yet who is supposed to reap the real benefit of bringing red heifers to Israel? Garner's certainty he is helping Israel is sincere. But he has humbly cast himself as a bit character in an Endtime drama whose script is somewhat rougher on Jews than on born-again Christians. In fact, the Christians will safely exit to the wings, while on stage, the Jews will find themselves at the center of the apocalypse.... "It's not a pleasant thing to think about, " Garner says glumly, "but God's going to do what He's going to do." [...]
[Lott says] "God has been waiting for six thousand years to share with mankind to prove to the world who He is. And he's chosen people just like us to be a part of the greatest Endtime plan that mankind could ever have experienced." [Gorenberg]
Richman speaks astringently of the "doormat theology" of Christians who see Israel as a stepping-stone to an apocalypse from whose horrors only Christians will be saved. ... On the Christian side are those who want to "bless" Israel, and provide it with what they believe is the fuse for Armageddon. And perhaps also to convert the Israelis, another "blessing" since only the converted will make it through the Last Days. [..]The question we need to ask is: Why does faith look for a finale? What power does this idea hold over humanity. Why can't modern people put the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the museum of religious concepts alongside Zeus and Ishtar?
In letters after the breakup [of Richman and Lott] Richman said that "the Temple Institute has its own plans with regard to red heifers." [...]
Prophecy, Guy Garner explains, is "history written in advance." He's not unusual in thinking so. [Gorenberg]
Gorenberg proposes a partial answer: A true believer in God (be he Jew, Christian or Muslim), is highly invested in both the power and GOODness of his god. God MUST be good. And for an individual raised in a particular faith, who had no choice about his social, cultural and religious conditioning, this necessity for god to be good has very deep roots in his or her psyche. Being convinced that the "faith of our fathers" is GOOD is natural and powerful.
BUT, here is the rub: bad things happen in this world that do NOT fit with the concept of a GOOD and All-Powerful god. And so, to be a believer means to exist in a state of dissonance that must be resolved.
Human beings struggle with this problem daily; trying to find answers that will solve the issues of death, disease and destruction; trying to fit their experiences with their faith in a Good God. Gorenberg gives an example of a clergyman who preaches endless sermons about men whose lives were saved because they gave to charity when the fact in the background was that his own daughter died at the age of twenty of cancer.
And so, the most daring idea of all is to assert that the world is broken and needs to be fixed. Of course, God - being omnipotent and omnipresent - MUST know that the world is broken, and being Good, he plans to fix it someday. And so, the answer of the millennialist is "desperately honest": there IS something wrong with the creation of the Good and All-Powerful God, and in the same moment, the despair about the situation, the cognitive dissonance of the Good God who lets bad things happen - is rejected because God is going to make everything alright.
Naturally, your vision of the repair will depend on what you think is broken. [...]Throughout their growing up years, people are told that when something good happens, that is god acting, and when something bad happens, that is Satan who got in the door because the person's faith wasn't strong enough. With that kind of conditioning, it's no wonder that people are powerfully invested in maintaining the "goodness" of their god. To insist that a messiah or saviour is "yet to come" is, essentially, a rejection of NOW, of Response-ability. The Millennialists hang on to their beliefs for dear life because the alternatives are to either accept the world as it is, and reject the "good god hypothesis," or to abandon the world completely, both of which would bankrupt their faith.
The picture of God's kingdom follows accordingly, but there is also the matter of how badly broken things are, of whether God acting through men and women is already fixing the world, or whether there is no choice but to wait for the Repairman to come to smash and break down and rebuild the world the way He always meant it to be. [Gorenberg]
The power of Millennialism is enormous! The problem that the religions face, however, is how to keep that hope burning, keep dangling that carrot, without letting it explode in their faces.
Because, when people give signs to know when the Time has come, and others discover that the signs have been fulfilled and that the day is near, and others say the day IS here, the irresistible force of enthusiasm inevitably smashed into immovable reality: The world doesn't end.
And it's nothing but rivers of blood everywhere. Every time.
"God does not look on all of His children the same way," said Dr. John Walvoord, president of Dallas Theological Seminary, mentor to Hal Lindsey.What is not widely reported, but is well known among these fundamentalists circles is that, once Israel has done what the Christians want it to do: re-create itself and re-build the Temple, then they are finished. Those that do not convert will be destroyed. It's that simple. Christians can love and support Jews NOW, encouraging them and praising them and sending them money and everything they need to "get the job done." But, once that is accomplished, do not think for a minute that this love and support will continue as long as the Jews remain Jews.
God, he tells me, had plans for Jews and Christians, but not for the others - unless they became Christians. God, he said, had a heavenly plan for Christians, and an earthly plan for Jews.
And, I ask, the earthly plan for Jews?
"To re-create Israel." [Halsell]
In early 1999, members of a Denver, Colorado dispensationalist group called Concerned Christians were arrested by Israeli police, handcuffed, jailed as common criminals and deported back to the States. Israeli police accused them of planning a "bloody apocalypse" to hasten the Second Coming of Christ. It was suggested that they plotted the destruction of Jerusalem's most holy Islamic shrine.Indeed, the Torah devotes a lot of words to animal sacrifice, yet Judaism has survived without such barbarity for nearly two thousand years.
In a fervent wish to replace the mosque with a Jewish temple, the Denver cult members are no different from other dispensationalists who believe God wants this done. As I learned from Christians on a Falwell-sponsored tour, they hold this idea quite sacred. A retired Army major named Owen, who lives in northern Nebraska, seems typical.
I spent much time with Owen, a widower, who is slightly built and about five feet, five inches tall. He stands erect and has a pleasant smile. Well dressed and with a full head of sandy hair, he looks younger than his age. He had served in Europe during World War II and later for a number . of years in Japan. One day, as I am walking alongside Owen, our group moves toward the old walled city. As we enter Damascus Gate and pass along cobblestone corridors, I easily imagine Jesus having walked a similar route. In the midst of a rapidly changing environment, the old walled city, guarding layer-upon layer of history and conflict, provides the stellar attraction for tourists and remains home for 25,000 people. As the Palestinian Muslim Mahmud had told me earlier, throughout its long history, Jerusalem has been predominantly and overwhelmingly Arab.
We approach Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, which encloses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque - sites which I had visited earlier with Mahmud. Both these edifices, on raised platform grounds, generally are called simply "the mosque" and represent Jerusalem's most holy Islamic shrine.
We stand on lower ground below the mosque and face the Western Wall, a 200-foot-high and 1,600-foot-long block of huge white stones, believed to be the only remnant of the second Jewish temple.
"There - " our guide said, pointing upward toward the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque - "we will build our Third Temple. We have all the plans drawn for the temple. Even the building materials are ready. They are hidden in a secret place. There are several shops where Israelis work, making the artifacts we will use in the new temple. One Israeli is weaving the pure linen that will be used for garments of the priests of the temple." He pauses, then adds:
"In a religious school called Yeshiva Ateret Cohanim �the Crown of the Priests - located near where we are standing, rabbis are teaching young men how to make animal sacrifice."
A woman in our group, Mary Lou, a computer specialist, seems startled to hear the Israelis want to return to the rites of the old Solomonic sacrificial altar of the temple.
"You are going back to animal sacrifice?" she asks. "Why?"
" It was done in the First and Second Temples," our Israeli guide says. "And we do not wish to change the practices. Our sages teach that neglecting to study the details of temple service is a sin."
Leaving the site, I remark to Owen that our Israeli guide had said a temple must be rebuilt on the Dome of the Rock site. But he said nothing about the Muslim shrines.
"They will be destroyed," Owen tells me. "You know it's in the Bible that the temple must be rebuilt. And there's no other place for it except on that one area. You find that in the law of Moses."
Did it seem possible, I ask Owen, that the Scripture about building a temple would relate to the time in which it was written - rather than to events in the current era?
"No, it is related to our era," Owen says. "The Bible tells us that in the End Times the Jews will have renewed their animal sacrifice."
In other words, I repeat, a temple must be built so that the Jews can resume their animal sacrifice?
"Yes," said Owen, quoting Ezekiel 44:29 to prove his point.
Is Owen convinced that Jews, aided by Christians, should destroy the mosque, build a temple and reinstate the killing of animals in the temple - all in order to please God?
"Yes," he replies. "That's the way it has to be. It's in the Bible."
And does the building of the temple, I ask, fit into any time sequence?
" Yes. We think it will be the next step in the events leading to the return of our Lord. As far as its being a large temple, the Bible doesn't tell us that. All it tells us is that there will be a renewal of sacrifices. And Jews can do that in a relatively small building."
Isn't it atavistic, I ask, to go back to animal sacrifice? And what about a multitude concerned with animal rights in our modern age?
"But we don't care what they say. It's what the Bible says that's important," Owen stresses. "The Bible predicts a rebuilding of a temple. Now the people who are going to do it are not Christians but Orthodox Jews. Of course the Old Testament made out a very specific formula for what the Jews must follow regarding animal sacrifice. They can't carry it out without a temple. They were observing animal sacrifice until 70 A.D. And when they have a temple they will have some Orthodox Jews who will kill the sheep or oxen in the temple, as a sacrifice to God."
As Owen talks of reinstating animal sacrifice - a step he feels necessary for his own spiritual maturity - he seems to block from his awareness the fact that Muslim shrines stand on the site where he says God demands a temple be built.
That evening, after dinner, Owen and I take a long walk. Again, I voice my concerns about the dangers inherent in a plot to destroy Islam's holy shrines.
" Christians need not do it , " Owen says, repeating what he told me earlier. "But I am sure the shrines will be destroyed."
But, I insist, this can well trigger World War III.
" Yes, that' s right. We are near the End Times, as I have said. Orthodox Jews will blow up the mosque and this will provoke the Muslim world. It will be a cataclysmic holy war with Israel. This will force the Messiah to intervene." Owen speaks as calmly, as softly as if telling me there'd be rain tomorrow.
"Yes," he adds, as we return to our hotel. "There definitely must be a third temple."
Back home in Washington, D.C.... I talked with Terry Reisenhoover, a native of Oklahoma, who told me he raised money to help Jewish terrorists destroy the Muslim shrines.
Reisenhoover - short, rotund, balding and a Born Again Christian blessed with a fine tenor voice - told me he frequently was invited during the Reagan administration to White House gatherings of dispensationalists, where he was a featured soloist.
Reisenhoover spoke freely to me of his plans to move tax-free dollars from American donors to Israel. In 1985 he served as chairman of the American Forum for Jewish-Christian Cooperation, being assisted by Douglas Krieger as executive director, and an American rabbi, David Ben-Ami, closely linked with Ariel Sharon.
Additionally, Reisenhoover served as chairman of the board for the Jerusalem Temple Foundation, which has as its sole purpose the rebuilding of a temple on the site of the present Muslim shrine. Reisenhoover chose as the foundation's international secretary Stanley Goldfoot. Goldfoot emigrated in the 1930s from South Africa to Palestine and became a member of the notorious Stern gang, which shocked the world with its massacres of Arab men, women and children. Such figures as David Ben-Gurion denounced the gang as Nazis and outlawed them.
Goldfoot, according to the Israeli newspaper Davar, placed a bomb on July 22, 1946, in Jerusalem's King David Hotel that destroyed a wing of the hotel housing the British Mandate secretariat and part of the military headquarters. The operation killed some 100 British and other officials and, as the Jewish militants planned, hastened the day the British left Palestine.
"He's a very solid, legitimate terrorist," Reisenhoover said admiringly of Goldfoot. "He has the qualifications for clearing a site for the temple."
Reisenhoover also said that while Christian militants are acting on religious fervor, their cohort Goldfoot does not believe in God or sacred aspects of the Old Testament. For Goldfoot, it's a matter of Israeli control over all of Palestine.
"It is all a matter of sovereignty," Goldfoot deputy Yisrael Meida, a member of the ultra right-wing Tehiya party, explained. "He who controls the Temple Mount, controls Jerusalem. And he who controls Jerusalem, controls the land of Israel."
Reisenhoover told me he had sponsored Goldfoot on several trips to the United States, where Goldfoot spoke on religious radio and TV stations and to church congregations. Reisenhoover helped me secure a tape cassette of a talk Goldfoot made in Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. In soliciting donations for a temple, Goldfoot did not tell the Christians about plans to destroy the mosque.
Reisenhoover had given me several names of persons who knew Stanley Goldfoot, among them George Giacumakis, who for many years headed the Institute for Holy Land Studies, a long established American-run evangelical school for studies in archaeology and theology. On one of my visits to Jerusalem, I made an appointment with Giacumakis, a Greek American with dark eyes and cultivated charm.
Might he, I asked, after we had visited casually over coffee, help me arrange an interview with Goldfoot?
"Oh, no," Giacumakis responded, dropping his head into both hands, as one does on hearing a disaster. "You don't want to meet him. He goes back to the Irgun terrorist group!" Raising his head and waving an arm toward the King David Hotel, he added, "Stanley Goldfoot was in charge of that operation. He will not stop at anything. His idea is to rebuild the temple, and if that means violence, then he will not hesitate to use violence."
Giacumakis paused, then assured me that while he himself did not believe in violence, "If they do destroy the mosque and the temple is there, that does not mean I will not support it."
It was also Terry Reisenhoover who helped me get acquainted with the Reverend James E. DeLoach, a leading figure in the huge Second Baptist Church of Houston. After we had talked a few times on the telephone, DeLoach volunteered he would be in Washington, D.C. He came by my apartment, at my invitation, and I set my tape recording running - with his permission.
"I know Stanley very very well. We're good friends," he said. "He's a very strong person."
Of Reisenhoover, DeLoach said, "He's very talented - at raising money. He's raising $100 million. A lot of this has gone to paying lawyers who gained freedom for 29 Israelis who attempted to destroy the mosque. It cost us quite a lot of money to get their freedom."
And how, I ask, did he and the others funnel the money from U.S. donors to the aid of the Jewish terrorists?
"We've provided support for the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva."
The Jewish school, I asked, that prepares students to make animal sacrifice?
"Yes," he agreed.
And Christian donors are paying for that?
"It takes a lot of training," he said. Then, quite proudly: "I've just hosted in my Houston home two fine young Israelis who study how to do the animal sacrifice in the temple to be built." [Grace Halsell]
Sometime during the Roman siege of Jerusalem, Yohanan ben Zakkai escaped the city and established a new center of Jewish learning in the town of Yavneh. Ben Zakkai was a revolutionary posing as protector of tradition. Before, the ram's horn had been blown on Rosh Hashanah only in the Temple; he ruled that it could be blown elsewhere. He did not say the same of sacrifices. His successors instituted prayers that took the place of burnt offerings, in part by praying for the Temple's restoration. [...]A pamphlet for tourists tells us:
In nostalgia, Jews idealized the Temple; it stood for a lost utopia where God and human beings enjoyed a perfect relationship, a lost childhood. Its destruction symbolized loss of innocence. Judaism became a religion of the intellect, with study as the central religious act. It superseded sacrifices by remembering them. The modern denominations of Reform and Conservative Judaism altered their liturgy to diminish that memory. Except that sometimes a culture's old memory can come suddenly back to life, like a recessive gene that has waited generations.
For its part, Christianity regarded the razing of the Temple as proof that God had moved his covenant from the old Israel who'd rejected Jesus to the new Israel of the Church. Second-century Christian philosopher Justin Martyr lumped sacrifices together with the Sabbath, circumcision, and all the other commandments that, he said, were irrelevant after Jesus. Besides, Christians argued, Jesus' crucifixion was the last atonement by blood - a thesis that both accepted the idea of sacrifice (even human sacrifice) and rejected it. [Gorenberg]
The beauty and tranquility of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem attracts thousands of visitors every year. Some believe it was the site of the Temple of Solomon, peace be upon him ... or the site of the Second Temple ... although no documented historical or archaeological evidence exists to support this.There is something to be said for this as the reader will know from reading "Who Wrote the Bible." Archaeologists have been digging up the "Holy Land" since the nineteenth century and, so far, there has been not a shred of evidence to support the "Temple of Solomon" story, nor much of anything else in the Bible "as history."
Nevertheless, Temple Mount IS standing there, taking up nearly a sixth of the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is certainly true that Herod built a Temple in the vicinity that replaced the earlier temple built by Jews returning from exile in the fifth century BC. Those, in turn, claimed that they were building the Temple on the spot where the former "Temple of Solomon" had stood. As we discover in Who Wrote the Bible., the so-called "Temple of Solomon" was very likely a pagan Temple that had existed for some time in Jerusalem and had fallen into disrepair and was restored by King Hezekiah as part of his religious reform project.
But, even the Temple Mount is a matter of stories and not facts. Medieval philosopher, Moses Maimonides says that not only was Adam born where the altar stood, but Cain and Able made their sacrifices there and Noah did the same after the flood (never mind that he supposedly landed on Mt. Ararat in Turkey). Abraham was told to go to "Mount Moriah" to sacrifice his son Isaac and Mount Moriah is where the Second Book of Chronicles informs us Solomon built the Temple. As noted in Who Wrote the Bible, Second Chronicles is a late rewrite of Jewish royal history and it is altogether likely that the redactor took the name "Moriah" and assigned it to where the Temple that was refurbished stood in order to affirm its sanctity.
Another curious point that Gorenberg makes is the fact that the word "Jerusalem" occurs hundreds of times in the Bible, but NOT in the Torah. The closest is "Salem", possibly an early, pagan name for the city. Archaeologists tell us that Jerusalem was a sacred center long before the alleged time of David and Solomon. The Temple was supposedly built on a "threshing floor," which may indicate that the religion practiced in the region, and the temple that actually stood there already, was devoted to fertility gods and goddesses.
In our own more recent history, Christian Spaniards who conquered Cordoba turned its Great Mosque into a cathedral and the Ottoman sultan who vanquished Constantinople in 1453 converted the church of Hagia Sophia to a mosque. Central Asia's oldest standing mosque in Bukhara, north of Afghanistan, stands on layers that archaeologists have shown reveal the prior existence of both a Zoroastrian temple and a Buddhist temple.
The temple that was in Jerusalem - which was NOT Solomon's - was destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians. Seventy years later, the returning exiles were tasked with building a new Temple "on the site" of the old one. The big question is: after so many years, did they actually build on the right spot? Did they even know what was the place where the former temple in Jerusalem stood? For that matter, is what is now known as Jerusalem really the place that was known as Jerusalem before the exile? Gorenberg points out that it's hard to understand why any city stood there at all. "It's on the edge of a desert; the soil is rocky; the sole spring is grade C; the trade routes cross to the north."
It seems that the temple built by the returning exiles from Babylon was little more than a human-built platform on top of the mountain, achieved by moving a lot of earth to accommodate the crowds that came to witness the sacrifices. It was on this earthwork platform that Herod built the temple that remains in the memory of the Jews.
Josephus described Herod as "brutish and a stranger to all humanity. He married the last princess of the Hasmonean dynasty and murdered her and her sons and another of his sons by a different wife. But he certainly did build the most magnificent temple that Jerusalem had ever seen. The purpose of the temple, according to various sources, was to make money. The building project attracted pilgrims by the thousands - "customers for faith, the only product Jerusalem has ever had to sell."
Herod's temple didn't last long. It was razed in the summer of 70 AD by Titus and sixty years later, the emperor Hadrian rebuilt the city as "Aelia Capitolina, dedicated to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. It is very likely that the "Wailing Wall" so revered by Jews as the last remnant of Herod's Temple, is actually part of the Temple of Jupiter built by Hadrian. [see Tuvia Sagiv]
Nevertheless, the troops of the caliph Umar, second commander of the faithful after Mohammed, conquered Aelia Capitolina in 638. At that time, the city's Christian patriarch, Sophronius was asked to show him where the Temple had formerly stood. A Byzantine account tells us that, when the patriarch saw Umar there, he knew the world was ending (but remember, at that time the idea of rebuilding the temple was not part of the Christian theology), and so he pointed out the mount which had become a heap of rubbish.
Do not say things about God but the truth! The messiah Jesus, son of Mary, is indeed a messenger of God ... So believe in God and all the messengers, and stop talking about a trinity... Verily God is the God of unity. Lord Almighty! That God would beget a child? Either in the Heavens or on the Earth?"And, for the Jews, there was also a message in the structure itself: The Dome stands where everyone knew the Temple did, and therefore, it can be seen that Islam is the culmination of Judaism and Christianity.
Many of the popular ideas about the location of the Temple in Jerusalem are due to the work of Sir Charles Warren.
Lieut.-General Sir Charles Warren was born at Bangor, North Wales, on 7th February 1840. His early education took place at the Grammar Schools of Bridgnorth and Wem, and at Cheltenham College. He then entered the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, and from that passed through the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and received a commission as lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on 23rd December 1857. After the usual course of professional instruction at Chatham, Warren went to Gibraltar, where he spent seven years, and, in addition to the ordinary duties of an Engineer subaltern-looking after his men and constructing or improving fortifications and barrack buildings -he was employed on a trigonometrical survey of the Rock, which he completed on a large scale. He constructed two models of the famous fortress, one of which is now at the Rotunda at Woolwich, and the other at Gibraltar. He was also engaged for some months in rendering the eastern face of the Rock inaccessible by scarping or building up any places that might lend a foothold to an enemy.Michael Hoffman wrote in 1996:
On the completion of his term of service at Gibraltar he returned to England in 1865, was appointed Assistant Instructor in Surveying at the School of Military Engineering at Chatham, and a year later his services were lent by the War Office to the Palestine Exploration Fund.
The object of the Palestine Exploration Fund was the illustration of the Bible, and it originated mainly through the exertions of Sir George Grove, who formed an influential committee, of which for a long time Sir Walter Besant was secretary. Captain (afterwards Sir) Charles Wilson and Lieut. Anderson, R.E., had already been at work on the survey of Palestine, and, in 1867, it was decided to undertake excavations at Jerusalem to elucidate, if possible, many doubtful questions of Biblical archaeology, such as the site of the Holy Sepulchre, the true direction of the second wall and the course of the first, second, and third walls, involving the sites of the towers of Hippicus, Phaselus, Mariamne, and Psephinus, and many other points of great interest to the Biblical student.[...]
It was Warren who restored the ancient city to the world ; he it was who stripped the rubbish from the rocks and showed the glorious temple standing within its walls 1,000 feet long, and 200 feet high, of mighty masonry : he it was who laid open the valleys now covered up and hidden; he who opened the secret passages, the ancient aqueducts, the bridge connecting the temple and the town. Whatever else may be done in the future, his name will always be associated with the Holy City which he first recovered.' [...]
It was on his way to Kimberley from Cape Town via Port Elizabeth ... that he had the late Mr. Cecil Rhodes as his traveling companion. As they were driving over the brown veldt from Dordrecht to Jamestown, Warren noticed that Mr. Rhodes, who sat opposite to him, was evidently engaged in learning something by heart, and offered to hear him. It turned out to be the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. In the diary of this journey, also published in 'Good Words' of 1900, Warren relates ' We got on very well until we arrived at the article on predestination, and there we stuck. He had his views and I had mine, and our fellow-passengers were greatly amused at the topic of our conversation-for several hours-being on one subject. Rhodes is going in for his degree at home, and works out here during the vacation.'
Sir Charles Warren was later appointed Metropolitan Police Commissioner in London, a post he held at the time of the famous Jack the Ripper murders. Warren never made any statements about who he thought the killer might be but in a report to the Home Office on Oct 17 1888 he wrote "I look upon this series of murders as unique in the history of our country."
The most recent Palestinian uprising, this past September, began in the wake of the opening of Jerusalem's "Hasmonean Tunnel," which runs adjacent to the Haram al-Sharif, Islam's Third Holiest Shrine, is the former site of the Temple of Herod, destroyed in A.D. 70 by Roman legions commanded by Titus.With all the things that have happened since 1996, with all that Halsell and Gorenberg have uncovered, Hoffman doesn't sound so nutty, now does he? Fact is, after his expedition, Warren wrote a book entitled "The Land of Promise," a book arguing that Britain's East India Company should colonize Palestine with Jews. The idea was quite popular in England for two reasons: 1) it promoted British imperial interests and 2) it fit Bible prophecy. These two factors would motivate the Balfour Declaration of 1917 in favor of a Jewish Homeland.
Though the media repeatedly discounted it at the time, the Palestinians were enraged due to their fear that the opening of the Tunnel was the beginning of the end for the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the start of the rebuilding of the Third Temple, which is the fabled goal to which most of the esoteric secret societies of the West and most especially the orders of Freemasonry, are oriented (indeed, masonic iconography is obsessed with a rebuilt Temple).
The establishment media, in a remarkable demonstration of the uniformity and power of their monopoly control of large scale communications, were able to stifle any substantial reporting in September, providing evidence that Palestinian fears on this subject had some justification.
In what James Shelby Downard terms a "cryonic process" (after the method by which Walt Disney's mortal remains are supposedly preserved)--the freeze-wait-thaw operation--the truth about the intense concentration of the resources of both esoteric Zionism and esoteric Freemasonry on this "Temple Mount" complex, was frozen while the riots raged. When they subsided, a waiting period ensued as the crisis left the front pages and moved slightly to the rear of the consciousness of the group mind of the masses. After the waiting period, came the thaw, when the truth was taken out of the deep freeze and presented to the public. [...]
The opening of the tunnel in September, 1996, with its ritual bloodshed, a precursor of the sacrificial blood ordained to flow if the Temple is rebuilt, was orchestrated in 1867. It was then that the future General Sir Charles Warren, England's Commissioner of Police and co-conspirator in the occult ritual murder known to history as "Jack the Ripper," had been dispatched on yet another masonic mission, to lay the groundwork for the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem. And so it was that in 1867, one of England's most important Freemasons, a member of its "research lodge" (Ars Quator Coronatorum), "rediscovered" the claustrophobic, 500-yard tunnel.
The "implements" of the old Temple, according to the Talmud, were hidden on the Temple Mount before the destruction of the Second Temple. With Warren's Tunnel now open, the "treasure hunt" begins, as the establishment media admitted, between the lines, during its mid-October "thaw."
In the second week in October, Zionist zealots involved in crimes of terrorism linked to the hoped-for destruction of Al-Aqsa mosque, suddenly entered stage center from their establishment-imposed positions of obscurity. In the processing of the group mind, chronology is everything. Hence, mid October was the time designated for slowly pulling the curtain back and revealing the actual game afoot . At this juncture the establishment media unveiled Mr. Yehuda Etzion, head of Hai Vekayam, spearhead of the drive to rebuild Herod's Temple upon the ruins of Islam's revered Al-Aqsa mosque. As if on cue, seven Hai Vekayam "activists" were arrested by Israeli police when they tried to force their way onto the Dome of the Rock in October.
Also on cue, a petition was presented to the Israelis in October, dotting every "i" and crossing every "t" of every Palestinian fear about what the Zionists intend with their "tunnel." The petition, put forth by the Temple Mount Faithful organization, a group financed by deep-pockets Judeo-Churchian fundamentalists in the U.S. and shadowy, international Zionist and masonic moneybags, calls for the removal of the mosque from the Temple Mount. James Shelby Downard and I have a term for that call: Truth or Consequences via Revelation of the Method. For more on that, interested persons may consult my Truth or Consequences lecture, available on audio-cassette. [Michael Hoffman]
Certainly, the British had territorial interests in Palestine, but one cannot ignore the issue of religion and millennialist aspirations about the British. Yes, Imperial logic would say that Britain should take Palestine because it was the gateway to the Ottoman empire and to Africa as well, but notice what Gorenberg writes:
On November 2, 1917, two days after General Edmund Allenby's Egyptian Expeditionary Force took Beersheba from the Ottoman Turks and prepared to march north toward Jerusalem, the British government announced an entirely different rationale for the campaign: Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent a letter to British Zionist leader Lord Rothschild, informing him that the cabinet had approved "a declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations: His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people..."August 16, 1929, the day that the Palestine Mandate burst into flames, predictably, as Gorenberg notes. The day before, on the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple, hundreds of Jews had demonstrated along the Western Wall, demanding rights to the spot. A surviving photograph of the demonstrators is interesting because it shows some of them in shorts and regular shoes. Why is this interesting? Because as a sign of mourning on such days, religious Jews do not wear leather shoes on a fast day. This means that the protesters were not demanding rights to the Western Wall for religious reasons, but for nationalistic and territorial reasons. They raised the Zionist flag and sang the Zionist anthem.
Five weeks later, Allenby's army took Jerusalem. For two days after the actual conquest, the general's arrival was meticulously planned. ... Christian armies were returning to the city for the first time since the Crusades. Allenby arrived at Jaffa Gate riding a white horse, with the pomp of a king. Then, before he entered the Old City, he dismounted and walked. A standard account of the general's reason: His Savior had entered this city on foot, and so would he. [Gorenberg]
Allenby's action makes sense of the Balfour Declaration: Conquering Jerusalem had to not only be considered strategically, it had to be accomplished "according to prophecy." The British logic was rooted in their fervor for the Old Testament and the hope for the millennium. That logic was derived from the cultic teachings of the Christadelphians and John Darby's premillennialist Plymouth Brethren, as well as the hopes of mainstream Anglicans. It was their desire to convert the Jews and return them to their homeland. Barbara Tuchman writes of these passions about the influential Earl of Shaftesbury, that "despite all his zeal on the Jews' behalf, it is doubtful if Lord Shaftesbury ever thought of them as a people with their own language and traditions... To him, as to all the "Israel-for-prophecy's sake school, the Jews were simply the instrument through which Biblical prophecy could be fulfilled. They were not a people, but a mass Error that must be brought to Christ in order that the whole chain reaction leading to the Second Coming ... could be set in motion."
Neither Balfour nor Lloyd George was a millennialist, but they were products of an England suffused with such belief, and of the ardor it produced for the Old Testament. Balfour defended his declaration to Parliament by arguing that Christendom must not be "unmindful of the service [the Jews] have rendered to the great religions of the world." Lloyd George commented that when he discussed Palestine with Weizmann, Zionism's apostle to the British government, Weizmann "kept bringing up place names that were more familiar to me than those of the Western front." The two statesmen could regard restoring the Jews to their land as a British task because English millennialism had made this a reasonable project, even for those who weren't thinking about the millennium. Except that once England actually ruled Palestine, the simple commitment of the Balfour Declaration slammed into the real world. [Gorenberg]
So, the next day, Muslim protestors came and beat up the pious Jewish worshippers who had nothing to do with the demonstration of the day before. The following Friday, tensions had increased to such an extent that Arabs began assaulting Jews in the old city, armed with clubs and knives. Within an hour, the attacks had spread to other areas of the city and the British police force was so undermanned it could do nothing.
The violence spread and on the second day (24 August), in Hebron, rioters moved from house to house murdering and looting. Sixty-seven Jews were killed, including a dozen women and three children. Most of the town's Jews were saved by their Arab neighbors.
One historian records that Jews went well beyond self defense. In one instance, in retaliation, Jews broke into a Mosque and destroyed holy books. A Palestinian version of the events tells us that the people of Palestine reacted to the provocation of Jewish religious extremists at the holy site, which seems to be what actually happened.
In a week and a half of terror, 133 Jews and 116 Arabs were killed. From any point of view, the event was a turning point in the struggle for control of Palestine. The fact is that there was, at this early stage, a great opposition of Palestinians to the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, and it's easy to understand. Palestine was basically "given to the Jews" by Britain. But, many in Britain began to think that the Balfour Declaration's promise of a "national home" for the Jews had been a mistake.
The facts are: two national groups were struggling for one piece of land. One of the groups had been there for a very, very long time, and the other group intended to come and take over what they were convinced was theirs either by right of the British mandate, or by right of their god. The British plan to settle the Jews in Palestine was a disaster and they ran with their tails between their legs, leaving the Palestinians and the Jews to duke it out on their own.
But the fight was not equal. The desire among the Christian West for the Jews to remain in Palestine, to re-create Israel, to re-build the Temple, and to fulfill prophecy was behind the Jewish presence. The Palestinians didn't have a chance from the beginning.
Avraham Stern was a rebel even among rebels, too extreme for the average extremist. A Polise-born Jew who admired Mussolini, he'd been a member of the Irgun Tzva'i Le'umi (National Military Organization), the right-wing Jewish underground in Palestine. In the late '30s, Palestine's Arabs revolted against British rule; attacks on Jews were common. The Irgun rejected the mainstream Haganah policy of restraint and launched revenge attacks on Arabs: gunfire at a bus here, a bomb in a market there, the murder of innocents as payment for the murder of innocents. From there it went on to battling the British, who sought to satisfy the Arabs by restricting immigration even as desperate Jews were trying to get out of Europe. But when World War II broke out, the Irgun declared a truce: Fighting Germany was more important than driving out the British. Such zigzagging wasn't for Stern: In spring 1940, he and his followers left the Irgun to create a more radical group that would keep fighting the British. They robbed banks, tried to assassinate mandatory officials. In Hebrew the group was called Lehi... the English called it the Stern Gang, even after police ferreted Stern out in a Tel Aviv apartment in 1942 and shot him dead. The group's ne leaders included Yitzhak Yezernitzky, who later changed his name to Yitzhak Shamir and decades later became Israel's prime minister. [...]Gorenberg tells the story of David Shaltiel who was commander of the Haganah, the Jewish militia-turned army. Shaltiel had been raised in an Orthodox home in Hamburg. He claimed that, at the age of thirteen he walked out of the synagogue on Yom Kippur and ate pork and waited for God to strike him down." When nothing happened, he was finished with religion. Shaltiel went on to join the French Foreign Legion and later became and arms buyer for Haganah in Europe. In 1936, the Gestapo arrested him in Aachen. He is said to have been Dachau and Buchenwald and "another sixteen prisons". Somehow, he was released before World War II began and returned to Palestine where he became a Haganah officer.
In a newspaper called The Underground, Lehi published its eighteen principles of Jewish national renaissance. Number 18 read: "Building the Third Temple, as symbol of the era of the Third Kingdom." After Israeli independence, the group's veterans republished the principles, with an emendation. Now number 18 said: "Building the Third Temple as a symbol of the era of otal redemption." Historian Joseph Heller explains that "Third Kingdom" sounded too close to "Third Reich" - a sensitive point since Lehi was stained by having unsuccessfully offered its services to the Axis against Britain in 1941.
The emendation make the point clearer: "They were a messianic movement, especially under Stern," says Heller. [Gorenberg]
In November of 1947, after WW II (which must certainly have profoundly affected Shaltiel), the United Nations (which also was profoundly affected by WW II, as was the entire world) voted to partition Palestine between a Jewish and an Arab state. You might even say that this vote was a direct result of the events of WW II and many people have suggested that there was Zionist complicity in the murder of millions of Jews for the express purpose of generating guilt and sympathy for the Jewish people, to put them in a position of unassailable "moral right" to Palestine.
In any event, the Arabs were opposed to partition (not a surprise) and were battling Jews even as the British pulled out leaving Palestine in a shambles.
On May 28, 1948, two weeks after the Zionist leadership proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem fell to Jordanian forces.
At dawn on July 17, a U.N. cease-fire was due to go into force. Shaltiel, the guy who had ceremonially eaten pork on Yom Kippur so many years ago, now decided that - before he had to stop fighting upon the execution of the cease-fire - he was going to be a hero and re-take the Old City as his last Hurrah. The Old City didn't have any strategic value, but apparently, its symbolic significance was enormous to the Jews. Shaltiel had the help of the Irgun and Lehi forces, as well as a special explosive charge designed by a physicist.
So confident of victory was Shaltiel that he had a lamb ready to sacrifice on Temple Mount.
Shaltiel died in 1969 and no one knows if he expected the resumption of animal sacrifice as a regular practice, but it is certain that he thought that sacrificing a lamb was the proper way to celebrate the re-taking of Jerusalem. Shaltiel probably would not have contravened David Ben-Gurion's orders not to damage any of the Muslim shrines had he been successful in his bid to re-take the mount, but the same cannot be said for the commander of the Lehi forces, Yehoshua Zetler. If the attack was successful, he had definite plans to raze the Muslim shrines on the Mount and he equipped his men with the explosives to do it.
As it happened, the offensive failed. The special bomb made a black mark on the four hundred year old Muslim walls, but didn't even crack them. At 5:00, the cease-fire went into effect.
Yisrael Eldad wrote pornographically of his feelings about that night, later published in a memoir:
And the heart imagines: Perhaps it will break out tonight...(Speaking of sanctified lies and hypocrisy, the Old Testament has to be the mother of them all.)
If only they had a sense of history. Oh, if only! And precisely on this night, the night of the first destruction, the night of the second destruction, precisely on this night if only they burst through and got there - for they are capable of bursting through and getting there... There are enough arms, and there are young men, and there is Jerusalem, all of her desiring it, ready for a dread night like this, if only they would burst through, if only they would get there.
To the Wall, to the mourning, to what has been abandoned.
To break through and set it all aflame. In fire it fell and in fire it will rise again. To raze it all there, all the sanctified lies and hypocrisy. To purify, purify, purify.
But it didn't happen: the Jewish State was born without the Old City which remained in the hands of the Palestinians who had lived there for 2000 years. Many of them are probably descended from original Jews who converted.
In his 1996 book "Beginning of the End: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Coming Antichrist", Texas pastor John Hagee recalls sitting with his father when news came over the radio that Israel was a new nation. His father told him: "We have just heard the most important prophetic message that will ever be delivered until Jesus Christ returns to earth." For the millennialists, the Balfour Declaration had been exciting, but Israel's "birth" produced absolute frenzies of apocalyptic ecstasy. The prophecies of the Last Days were coming TRUE!
Except for stories I'd heard in my childhood Sunday School, I knew little or nothing about a Jerusalem where people live everyday lives - where they are born, got to school, get married, have children, at times laugh and celebrate, at other moments cry and mourn. Then, one day, moving to Jerusalem, I began to experience the realities of a people who have always lived there.A late 1998 Israeli newsletter posted on a "Voice of the Temple Mount" web site says its goal is "the liberation" of the Muslim shrines and the building on that site of a Jewish Temple. "Now the time is ripe for the Temple to be rebuilt," says the Israeli newsletter. The newsletter calls upon "the Israeli government to end the pagan Islamic occupation" of lands where the mosue stands. It adds, "The building of the Third Temple is near."
I walk the cobblestone streets with an Arab Muslim, Mahmud Ali Hassan, who was born in Jerusalem, bought his first pair of shoes, got his first shave from a barber, was fitted for his first suit of clothes, was married, saw all his children born and watched them grow up - all in the Old Walled City.
With Mahmud, I walk along narrow corridors within one of the few remaining examples in the world of a completely walled town. The walls stand partially on the foundations of Hadrian's Square, built in A.D. 135. they include remains of earlier walls, those of King Herod in 37 B.C, and Agrippa, A.D. 41, and Saladin, 1187. And finallyt the walls were rebuilt by the Turkish Muslim, Suleiman the Magnificent, in the sixteenth century.
"This Old Walled City throughout its long history has been predominantly inhabited by Arabes," Mahmud tells me. "And Arab markets, Arab homes, and Arab religious sites make up about ninety percent of the Old City.
"As Arabs, we are descendants of an indigenous people, a people who never left Palestine, continually having lived within these old walls," Mahmud continues. "I can trace my forebears back more than ten generations. And in the case of my father and his father and his father, our famili8es have lived in the same house for the past three hundred years." [...]
"This is one of the oldest cities in the world, " Mahmud reminds me. "Arabs called Amorites came here four to five thousand years ago. they established this site as a religious foundation to honor their god. And these early Arab worshippers of a god they called Shalem gave us the name of our Holy City, Jerusalem. Then came others of our forebears, the Canaanites from Canaan. They made Jerusalem an early center of worship of the One God. the Canaanites had a king named Melchizedek, and it is written that he also was a priest of God Most High.
"All this early history predates the arrival of the Hebrews by many centuries... And when a tribe of Hebrews, one of many tribes in the area, did arrive, they stayed for less than 400 years. And they, too, like many before and after, were defeated. And 2000 years ago, they were driven out."
From Al-Aqsa, we walk a short distance toward the magnificent Dome of the Rock, one of the most beautiful shrines in all the world - often compared in its beauty with the Taj Mahal.[...]
"As Arabs, as Muslims, our quarrel has never been with Jews as Jews, or with the great religion of Judaism. The places that the Jews and Christians revere as holy, we revere as holy. The prophets the Jews and Christians revere as holy, we revere as holy. My point is that everyone in history has borrowed from what went before. No one or no one group has exclusive rights here. There were countless batttles over Jerusalem. And the Hebrews were in power here only sixty years." [Halsell]
There remains but one more event to completely set the stage for Israel's part in the last great act of her historical drama. This is to rebuild the ancient Temple of worship upon its old site. There is only one place that this Temple can be built, according to the law of Moses. This is upon Mt. Moriah. It is there that the two previous Temples were built. -- Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Plane EarthThe Christian Church, throughout most of its history, has been anti-Semitic. With the reformation, however, many Christians turned from anti-Semitism to a new kind of discrimination rampant in the world today: philo-Semitism. This is a stance which views the Jews as practically necessary AS Jews, because they have a role to play in the salvation of Christians! This "love of Jews" includes in its parameters the complacent sureness that the Jews ARE different and are destined for extinction once they have performed their assigned task.
An anti-Semite "is someone who hates Jews more than he's supposed to." -- TV Evangelist Jomes Robison.
Certainly, there are personal and political differences among Christians which make a generalization inaccurate and perhaps even dangerous, but the fact remains that many fundamentalists who are leading the "let's help Israel every way we can" and "let's go after the Muslims" charge of the present day have an established history of having taught their followers that Jews were behind all of the world's troubles.
It was after the full horrors of Nazi Germany had been revealed that Western Christianity realized that promoting anti-Semitism a la The Protocols of the Elders of Zion could be seen as sympathizing with the Nazis. So, those fundamentalist who were blatantly anti-Semitic backed up and regrouped.
With the birth of Israel in 1948, the anti-Semitic Christians changed their tactics. They were still anti-Semitic (still ARE), but they acted differently on the outside; they became "loving" and "grateful", benign and patronizing toward Jews. Thank goodness the Jews were NOW doing what they were supposed to do: regather in Israel so Jesus could return and blast them all to smithereens!
As this new appreciation of the Jewish role merged with dispensationalist beliefs, Western Christians became fiercely supportive of the new Jewish state. Nothing must come between Israel and its destiny! Anybody could criticize any other nation in the world, but NOT Israel. Criticizing France, Germany or even the U.S. was just "political." Criticizing Israel was criticizing God Almighty.
At the same time that millennialists proclaim their love for Israel, they frequently reveal that they have no liking for Jews at all.
Standing, overlooking the Megiddo valley, Clyde, a traveling companion, explained to me that this was the site where Christ would lead the forces of good against evil. "Two-thirds of all the Jews will be killed," Clyde said, citing Zechariah 13:8-9. Pausing for some math, he comes up with nine million dead Jews. "For two hundred miles, the blood will reach to the horses' bridles."Traditionally, Jews have been liberal and supportive of liberal agendas. Having known discrimination and racism, they were allied with liberal agendas. However, in 1967, after Israel seized Arab lands that it did not want to relinquish, the Jewish state moved rapidly to the conservative right. American Jews, formerly liberal supporters of the rights of others were persuaded that their number one priority was to support Israel. Under this influence, they also moved rapidly to the right.
When I express concern over this scenairo, Clyde explains, "God is doing it mainly for his ancient people, the Jews. He's devised a seven-year Tribulation period mainly to purge the Jews, to get them to see the light and recognize Christ as their savior."
But why, I ask, would God have chosen a people = "God's favorite" as Clyde says - only to exterminate most of them?
"As I said, God must purge them," Clyde says. "He wants them to bow down before His only son, our Lord Jeus Christ."
But a few will be left? To bury their dead?
"Yes," Clyde tells me. "There'll be 144,000 who are spared. Then they will convert to Christ." [Halsell]
Only 144,000 Jews will remain alive after the battle of Armageddon. These remaining Jews - every man, woman and child among them - will bow down to Jesus. As converted Christians, all the adults will at once begin preaching the gospel of Christ. Imagine! They will be like 144,000 Billy Grahams turned loose at once!" -- Hal Lindsey
As long as they don't convert, Jews are "spiritually blind." -- Jerry Falwell
The Israeli Right and The Christian Right became strange bedfellows, each with a doctrine centered around Israel and a cult of land. Nathan Perlmutter of the ADL explained why American Jews support the Christian Right in America: First he says, he feels himself a somewhat typical American Jew in that he weighs every issue in life by one measure: "Is it good for the Jews? This question satisfied, I proceed to the secondary issues."
American Jews support Jerry Falwell because he supports the expansionist aims of Israel. Perlmutter knows that evangelical-fundamentalists interpret Scripture as saying all Jews eventually must accept Jesus or be killed. But, meanwhile, he says, "We need all the friends we have to support Israel... If the Messiah comes, on that day we'll consider our options. Meanwhile, let's praise the Lord and pass the ammunition."
Irving Kristol urges American Jews to support such as Falwell telling them that "in the real world" Jews are better off to back the Right, those that are strongly pro-Israel. To be sure, he adds, yes fundamentalists preachers will say that God does not hear the prayer of a Jew. But "after all, why should Jews care about the theology of a fundamentalist preacher when they do not for a moment believe that he speaks with any authority on the question of God's attentiveness to human prayer? And what do such theological abstractions matter as against the mundane fact that the same preacher is vigorously pro-Israel?"
Douglas Krieger, an evangelical lay leader of Denver, Colorado, closely connected with Terry Reisenhoover in raising money to eradicat the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, early on urged Israel to work with and totally embrace evangelical-fundamentalist issues in exchange for their support of Israel.Militant Zionist Jews and fundamentalist Christians have therefore formed an alliance that embraces the same dogma. This dogma has nothing to do with spiritual values or living a good life as either a Christian or a Jew. The alliance is about political power and worldly possessions. It's about one group of people physically taking sole possession of land holy to three faiths, occupied for two thousand years by a people that certainly resist their lands, their rights, and their lives being taken from them. It is a dogma centered on a small political entity - Israel. Both Israeli leaders and the Christian Right make ownership of land the highest priority in their lives, creating a cult religion - and each group is doing so cynically, for their own selfish reasons, expecting the other to be destroyed by their own hubris.
In a lengthy anaysis paper prepared for Israeli and American Jewish leaders, Krieger points out that as a consequence of its wars of aggression, Israel faced two choices: to seek peac by withdrawing from "territory acquired by war," or to continue reliance upon even greater military strength, i.e. the Christian Right controlled U.S.
If the Israelis took the second choice, which Krieger urged them to do (as a millennialist he very much wants them to re-take all of Palestine and re-build the Temple), then the Israelis and American Jews would face the danger of an outbreak of anti-Semitism.
Because of Israel's military seizure of Arab lands, "a rise of anti-Semitism could possibly surge in the West." This could be prevented, however, Krieger said, through its alliance with the New Christian Right. He pointed out that Israel could use the evangelical-fundamentalists to project through their (the Jews') vast radio and television networks an image of Israel that Americans would like, accept and support.
Moeover, Krieger said, "The Religious Right could sell the Americans on the idea that God wanted a militant, militarized Israel. And that the more militant Israel became, the more supportive and ecstatic in its support the U.S. Right would become.
Dispensational beliefs reduce "the complex and diverse societies of Africa, Asia and the Middle East to walk-on roles as allies of Gog in God's great end-time drama... the consensus was clear: prophetic imperatives required the elimination of Arabs not only from (Jerusalem) but from most of the Middle East... They stood in the way of God's promises to the Jews." -- Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No MorePresident Reagan represented a dispensationalist view that since "Christ is at the door," spending on domestic issues should not be taken too seriously. "Most of Reagan's policy decisions," said James Mills, a former California state official, were based on his "literal interpretation of biblical prophecies." This led to Reagan's idea that there was "no reason to get wrought up about the national debt if God is soon going to foreclose on the whole world."
The Evangelical New Right ... systematically seized control of the leadership of the southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination ... altering long-held theological positions for political advantage. -- Sidney Blumentahal in The New Republic
I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns. -- James Watt, U.S. secretary of the interior speaking before the House Interior Committee, in an apparent refutation to arguments for conserving natural resources.
George W. Bush apparently has the same view.
Reagan's support of gung-ho neo-conservatives can only be understood in the light of the president's millennialist thinking. "Why waste time and money preserving things for the future? Why be concerned about conservation? It follows that all domestic programs, especially those that entail capital outlay, can and should be curtailed to free up money to wage the War of Armageddon.
The Dispensationalists who preach Armageddon Theology are a relatively new cult - less than 200 years old. There are four main aspects of their belief system:
1) They are anti-Semitic. They profess a fervent love for Israel. Their support of Israel does not, however, arise out of a true love for the Jews and their sufferings. Rather, their "love and support" is based on their wanting Israel "in place" for the "Second Coming of Christ," when they expect most Jews to be destroyed.The frightening by-product of these beliefs is that, since the Cult is in Power in the United States, it is so easy to create the very situations which are described, thus ensuring the fulfillment of the ideas of the Dispensationalists: the Cult that wants to Create Armageddon and needs 5 billion people on the planet to go willingly to the sacrificial altar, and the Muslims have been chosen to be first.
2) The Dispensationalists have a very narrow view of God and the six billion people on the planet. They worship a tribal god who is only concerned with two peoples: Jews and Christians, who said tribal God intends to pit against one another for His favor. The other five billion people on the planet are just not on this God's radar except to be killed in the final battle.
3) The Dispensationalists are certain right down to their bones that they understand the Mind of God. They provide a scenario, like a movie script, theat unfolds with time sequences, epochs or "dispensations" all ending happily with an end-time escapism called the Rapture - for a chosen few like themselves. They appeal to those who want to feel that they are on the "inside" of a "special group" with secret, profound knowledge. This desire for certitude causes millions of the followers of Dispensationalism to trust their leaders to an extraordinary degree.
4) Fatalism is the fourth aspect of Dispensationalists. The world, they say, is getting steadily worse and we can do nothing, so there is no point in doing anything. The teachers teach about the wrath of a vengeful god and declare that God does not want us to work for peace, that God demands that we wage a nuclear war: Armageddon that will destroy the planet.
This is the the Most Dangerous Cult in the World.