Gary discusses the death of Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson and the legacy he left behind.

Getting the interpretation of prophecy right will help in dealing with those who are not familiar with the topic and see danger in some of the talk about an inevitable nuclear holocaust. When a prominent prophecy writer associated with the Christian Right asks, “Is War with Iran Inevitable?,” people get nervous. In his book American Fascists, a vitriolic critique of the Christian Right, Chris Hedges includes a chapter on “Apocalyptic Violence.” He describes Revelation as a “bizarre book” that “is one of the few places in the Bible where Christ is associated with violence.” He sees the Bible as a text that can lead to “apocalyptic terror.” He laments that “mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches,” which are declining in membership, “cannot hope to combat the hysteria and excitement roused by these prophets of doom until they repudiate the apocalyptic writings in scripture.”

There is no need to repudiate the apocalyptic writings, as Hedges suggests, but there is a need to understand them by using the Bible to interpret itself. While not agreeing with all of Hedges’ analysis of the Christian Right, he is on to something with the following comments:

[Tim] LaHaye and [Jerry] Jenkins had to distort the Bible to make all this fit—the Rapture, along with the graphic details of the end of the world and the fantastic time line, is never articulated in the Bible—but all this is solved by picking out obscure and highly figurative passages and turning them into fuzzy allegory to the apocalyptic vision.

Unfortunately, Hedges, along with many journalists who write on the topic of prophecy, assume that the interpretive methodology outlined by LaHaye and Jenkins is the Bible’s methodology. Like so much of the rest of his book, Hedges didn’t do his homework. While the Lindsey-LaHaye-Hagee end-time paradigm is popular, it is by no means the only one in town. It is being challenged on a number of fronts. But because the alternatives don’t fit the “if it bleeds, it leads” journalistic standard, any challenge to the prevailing prophetic orthodoxy only get a few column inches or none at all.

The Gog and Magog End-Time Alliance

The Gog and Magog End-Time Alliance

Jet planes … missiles … and atomic weapons. You will search in vain in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and you will not find them. You will, however, find horses, bows and arrows, shields, clubs, and chariots. If the Gog and Magog prophecy was written for a time more than 2500 years in the future from Ezekiel’s day, why didn’t God describe the battle in terms that we could relate to and understand? Why confuse Ezekiel’s first readers and us?

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Gary discusses the death of Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson and the legacy he left behind. Like Jerry Falwell, Robertson was great when it came to mobilizing Christians and getting them to act about social issues, yet their eschatology was such that everything getting worse and worse was supposed to happen. Gary gives an example of an article that ran on the CBN website the day before Robertson died.

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