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A Foolish Gospel

If you are reading this blog you have probably realized that prophecies of the latest, rescheduled, return of Jesus, are in fact…false. May 21st 2011 did not end up being the end of the age. According to the latest news from Yahoo…

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Warnings by a US fundamentalist preacher that Saturday is Judgment Day have sent some people into hiding or scrambling to repent, while others are planning parties to wave off good Christians.

Eighty-nine-year-old tele-evangelist Harold Camping’s prophecy says the Rapture will begin with powerful earthquakes at 6:00 pm local time in each of the world’s regions, after which the good will be beamed up to heaven.  Source

These sort of predictions (with the obvious back peddling after the fatal day passed without the prophetic words of the faithful revealing anything but the tragic and gullible nature of evangelical Christians) are not new. By 1989, the book entitled, “12 Reasons why Jesus is coming in 1988”, strangely had no more sales, but the theological position that lay behind the publication continues to march on with never a glimmer of  questioning by its adherents. The “Left Behind”  series of books continued to sell like hot cakes. Perhaps if the writer of the 1988 book had failed to make a prediction in the form of a concrete date, he may still be getting royalties to this day. But the issue with Christian Zionist credibility does not rest on its so far inability to predict the correct date for Jesus return (they’ll probably get it right sooner or later!).

The consensus view of the Christian Church over 2,000 years has been that Christ can return  any day, and that no one knows the hour or the day of Jesus return. The very words of the Messiah that we wait for declare that there is no particular sign of Jesus return that we are waiting for. If such a sign did exist, then in times prior to the arrival of that sign, we could surely say in unison, “He’s not coming today!”, an attitude not endorsed by any of the Gospel narratives.

In Old Testament times, the prophets were social critics rather than soothsayers. Their concern was Israel’s conformity to the ethical and religious traditions of the Torah. They were not Judaic versions of Nostradamus. Eschatology in the Jewish religious tradition is based on the premise of the hope that tomorrow can be a better day than today. Christian Zionist Eschatology, with its longing for the rapture, Armageddon and world Judgment, produces an indifference to all attempts at making peace in the Middle East.  In some extreme versions, it encourages all out war-mongering. You can’t have Armageddon if we get rid of the world’s nuclear arsenals!A wise man once said to me that if your view of eschatology leads you to become indifferent to the cause of peace and reconciliation in the world, then regardless of the seemingly endless “proof texts” touted by Christian prophets of doom, your Eschatology is going in the wrong direction. The Gospel calls us not just to be peace lovers, but peace makers. Jesus said:

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

The sum of the Law and the Prophets is a statement of ethics, not doomsday predictions. This ethic is not conditioned upon whether or not one is on the right or wrong side of the Christian Zionist Eschatalogical blanket.

The words of an anti-Zionist Haredi from the True Torah Jews against Zionism website are very apt for anyone whose view of the Middle East is driven by Christian Zionist Eschatology:

“Our business is only to follow the laws of the Torah. Of course, often when people try to fulfil scriptural prophecies they end up violating G_d’s laws on the way. Our opposition to Zionism is based on the laws of the Torah, which obligate Jews to be in exile until the messiah comes “. Source

Craig Nielsen


Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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June 2023