Jerusalem and Rapture — Two wrongs don’t make a right.
It was announced that the President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, ordering the move of the US embassy there.
President Donald Trump’s decision Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has temporarily derailed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, two senior White House officials acknowledged after Trump’s speech.
I mean, what could possibly go wrong with this decision? It’s only the world’s oldest powder keg region. We have a few major religions which place significance to the city. We have wars that have been fought over the modern state of Israel. We have disputes over the actions of the Israeli government. We have a host of terror related actions throughout the region. Why not poke people in the eye while were at it. That should certainly help the peace process out.
Throw in Rapture theology and you have the recipe for disaster and war. The potential for peace has just been diminished significantly. Rapture theology is all based on Jesus being pissed off at the world and coming back to destroy everything. Rapture theology supports a large-scale war that would set things in motion. Rapture theology is all about the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Not for the sake of the Jews, but for the sake of setting events in motion to bring about the return of Jesus — as if humanity controlled the schedule of when Jesus was returning. Rapture theology takes verses of the bible out of context and strings them together when they have no business being strung together. And it relies on interpreting words and phrases in a twisted way, all the while claiming a literalist interpretation of the bible. Never mind that the meaning of words changes when you go from ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek to English and from the ancient Levant to modern-day America.
If I’m not clear enough, let me state it here — Rapture theology is wrong and it is dangerous. It has serious and destructive geopolitical implications. And it is at the heart of evangelical support for the decision to move the embassy.
“The evangelical connection to Israel has many roots, including some linked to end-times prophecies that include Jewish control of Israel and Jerusalem, a war of civilizations, and a choice for Jews to either convert to Christianity or die.”
That whole statement could be summed up in Rapture theology. To be fair, the article cited does say that some support the move for other reasons. But these same figures cited, like Pastor John Hagee, are huge proponents of Rapture theology — making millions off of the theology through the sale of books, videos, and other resources. You can browse and buy a whole variety of apparel, books, gifts, movies, and music from a variety of Hagee family members and some other guests who are invited in on the action.
And here’s Hagee talking about the move:
“…I believe at this point in time, Israel is God’s stopwatch for everything that happens to every nation, including America, from now until the Rapture of the Church and beyond,” he said.
Now granted, Hagee isn’t the only one making a nice profit off the Rapture, but he’s one of the big names promoting this flawed theology. And why his credibility continues is a good question. This is a man who has predicted the Rapture with specific dates many times, all accompanied with books, movies, and other merchandise to help followers prepare for the event. And each time, he has been wrong. Yet, people stay loyal. I guess after you’ve bought into the idea, and bought the merchandise, you experience cognitive dissonance and double down on supporting a flawed and failed idea.
Am I being harsh on Hagee and adherents of Rapture theology. Yes, I probably am. And for good reason. Rapture theology is dangerous for humanity and the world and I’d rather not see it grow and have us suffer the consequences of implementing this theology. I’m not a big fan of war and destruction.
Instead, I much would much rather see a different apocalyptic vision come to fruition. That of Revelation 21:1–14.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,‘See, the home of God is among mortals.He will dwell with them;they will be his peoples,and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.’
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
This isn’t a pissed off Jesus coming to destroy everything. This is Jesus fulfilling his promise that was made at the end of the Gospels — to bring resurrection, restoration, and transformation. This is Jesus coming to restore all of creation to what it was at the beginning of Genesis when God said “it is good” about creation. Yes, creation is broken because of sin. But if we believe that Jesus conquered Sin and Death, then someone needs to explain to me how God is still pissed off and wants to destroy everything as opposed to bring life.
This decision regarding recognition of the capital of Israel in Jerusalem is a bad decision. It doesn’t move us towards restoration, resurrection, and transformation. It moves the world toward war and destruction. And I can’t be silent about that.
Originally published at laceduplutheran.com on December 7, 2017.