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The United States has seen its share of apocalyptic sects in its over 227-year history. In 1844, William Miller and his Millerites took to their rooftops to await the end of the world. In more recent times, the followers of Chen Tao, True Way, have migrated to Lockport from Taiwan, through California and Texas, to wait for God’s spacecraft to take them away before the end of the world. But both of these groups, and many others like them, have been content to sit and wait for the end time. A new breed of fundamentalist Christians, with ties to the Bush administration, is not that patient. They are committed to fulfilling biblical prophesy of the apocalypse by assuring that these events take place. They bring new meaning to the Bush invitation to “bring it on.” Convinced that their “born again” status will give them immunity from the horrors of the apocalypse and will give them a chosen place in God’s new heaven and new earth, they are not content to wait for the end time; they want to hasten its arrival, with the aid of George W. Bush.

The promoters of this theological plan to bring on the end time include some of the well-known evangelists, such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Billy and Franklin Graham, and Jack Van Impe. Belief in the end time finds its support in the charismatic, Pentecostal, Bible churches and in Protestant fundamentalist groups. They are thought to number at least 20 million strong in the United States and, according to Jerry Falwell, may boast as many as 100 million believers. About 25 million of them are also part of a political-religious movement known as “Christian Zionism,” the belief that a preserved State of Israel is a prerequisite for the second coming of Christ and the end time. As evidence of their numbers, Tim LaHaye’s series of books on the end time, the Left Behind series, have sold more than 50 million copies in the United States. “Christian Zionism” has its roots in the 19th century theological system known as “premillenial dispensationalism,” which was developed by Irish clergyman John Nelson Darby. “Premillenial” is the time before Christ’s thousand-year reign on earth, and “dispensations” are the ages or epochs that man goes through before the end time. American Cyrus Scofield later interpreted current events as fulfillment of biblical prophesy in his Scofield Bible. These two come together in the “Christian Zionist” movement, which stresses that the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 began the fulfillment of biblical prophesy toward the end time. To these “Christian Zionists,” Bush and his Middle East policies are seen as aiding the course of these prophetic events toward their inevitable end of the world as we know it and the ushering in of a new heaven and a new earth as predicted in the Bible.

In fact, a question to Jack Van Impe in August 2003 regarding Bush’s role in biblical prophesy resulted in this startling reply from Van Impe: “I am not sure whether he knows all of the prophesies and how deep of a student he has been in God’s Word, but I was contacted a few weeks ago by the office of public liaison for the White House and by the national security advisor, Condoleeza Rice, to make an outline. And I’ve spent hours preparing it. I will release this information to the public in September. But it's in his hands.” This statement seems to have stemmed from a meeting between Rice and 40 members of the religious community, who were invited to a national security briefing on Middle Eastern policy in Washington last July. Van Impe was unable to attend this briefing, which centered around the controversy over the Roadmap for Peace plan to set up a separate Palestinian state, in direct conflict with biblical prophesy of an undivided Israel. A separate Palestine would stop the end time clock.

The Christian Zionists give unequivocal support to the nation of Israel, and they work closely with that country's Likud Party. Jerry Falwell aligned himself with Israel’s former prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, and the Likud Party in the 1990s against President Bill Clinton’s plan for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They were joined in this effort by Pat Robertson and many other Christian Zionists. This expedient alliance between the Zionists and the Christian Zionists got a boost when Netanyahu was replaced by the hardliner, Ariel Sharon, and the despised Clinton, who threatened to stop the end time clock with the division of Israel, was replaced with the “born again” George W. Bush.

April 2002 saw two major events in this Christian Zionist movement. More than 100,000 people attended the Washington Rally for Israel in the Washington Mall. Bush sent Paul Wolfowitz as his representative to this rally. Also attending were Representative Dick Armey (R-Texas), Netanyahu, Rudy Guiliani, and our own Governor George Pataki. Also, when Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, began demolishing Palestinian homes in the West Bank in response to the Passover bombings in Israel, Bush urged Sharon to withdraw from the city of Jenin. More than 100,000 calls and emails to Bush from the Christian Zionists demanded that Bush let Israel continue its incursion into Jenin. In response to this outpouring from the Christian Zionists, Bush backed off on his request to Sharon. In an interview with the CBS news show, 60 Minutes, shortly after this showdown, Jerry Falwell stated, “I think now we can count on President Bush to do the right thing for Israel every time.”

The mantra for the Christian Zionist movement is a quote from the Bible, “Israel shall not be divided.” Although some in the Bush administration, most notably Colin Powell, still push for the two-state solution to the conflict, Bush has continued, almost invariably, to back Sharon. This has left the “Roadmap” all but dead and on the ash-heap with all of the previous plans for peace in the Middle East. A new group, however, made up of former world leaders, has been working for the past two to three years on the “Geneva Initiative” for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It closely follows the Clinton Plan for a two-state solution. The “Geneva Initiative” would not only divide the state into two states, it would also divide the City of Jerusalem into two state capitals. In addition, this plan would cede control of the Temple Mount to the Palestinians. Reaction from the Christian Zionists has been a swift and vehement opposition to the plan. Pat Robertson called the initiative an “outrage” on his December 1 episode of the 700 Club television show. He also repeated the mantra that “Israel shall not be divided,” and he accused anyone who criticizes the actions of Ariel Sharon or supports the rights of Palestinians of being “anti-Semitic,” “communist,” and “anti-American.” The last days of three of the world’s major religions come together at the Temple Mount/ al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. Jews, Muslims, and Christians all believe that events at Temple Mount will signal the beginning of the end time. For Jews, this is the place where the Messiah will come to be King of Israel and high priest of the newly built temple. For fundamentalist Christians, this newly built temple will be the place where Christ will reign for the millennium. To Muslims, this site is where the Prophet Mohammed ascended into heaven on a steed, and the valley below will be the site of the final judgment. The Dome of the Rock and the al Aqsa Mosque currently occupy this site.

This place, sacred to three of the world’s religions, is currently under the control of the Muslims and was only opened to non-Muslims about three years ago. It is forbidden, punishable by kareth (death by heavenly decree) for unpurified Jews to enter the Holy of Holies section of the Temple Mount, the site of the first and second temples. The only way to be ritually purified is with the ashes from a flawless red heifer. Without this purification, the third temple, signaling the end of days, cannot be built. A group of Christian fundamentalist cattle-breeders from Texas have attempted to remedy this situation by breeding a flawless red heifer. They claim that she will be ready for sacrifice in 2005, setting up the potential for a new attempt to build the third temple at Temple Mount. The cornerstones for this temple are ready, and some believers have already attempted to bring them to the site. The danger of these prophesies is in the sheer number of believers from all three religions who are willing to bring on World War III if necessary to fulfill these prophesies. And the question of whether Bush is a willing participant or an unwitting pawn in the fulfillment of biblical prophesy becomes irrelevant when he is perceived by millions of believers all over the world as doing so. The perception is aided by Bush’s rhetoric which echoes that of the “Christian Zionists,” and in his policies, which, so far, have also followed their plan for bringing the world to the end time.

References and Further Information: Donald Wagner, “The Evangelical-Jewish Alliance” and many books on the subject. Available at http://www.religion-online.org. Jack Van Impe Ministries available online at http://www.jvim.com and on the TCT network. Pat Robertson and the 700 Club available online at http://www.cbn.com and on the CBN network. Information on the Temple Mount from the Jewish perspective available at http://www.templemount.org. The “Geneva Initiative” full text and maps available at http://www.heskem.org.

By C. Roberts-Abel

Is President George W. Bush the unwitting pawn of the fundamentalist Christian movement committed to beginning the biblical apocalypse or is he actively assisting them? His rhetoric of “evil” and “evildoers” and his actions, wars, and rumors of war would suggest that he is one of them. He has surrounded himself with fundamentalists and evangelists as both religious and political advisors and as members of his administration. He admits to being “born again” under the guidance of the evangelist Billy Graham. His rhetoric and actions have excited the end time proponents into believing that he is the means to their ends. His advisors are often the same people who advised Ronald Reagan, another believer in the coming apocalypse. Reagan once invited Hal Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth to attend a National Security Council briefing on plans for a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Is this administration, then, following the same path?