Allies for Armageddon

Allies for Armageddon

VICTORIA CLARK
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vm56q
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    Allies for Armageddon
    Book Description:

    Guided by a literal reading of the prophetic sections of the Bible, Christian Zionists are convinced that the world is hurtling toward a final Battle of Armageddon. They believe that war in the Middle East is God's will for the region. In this timely book, Victoria Clark first explores the 400-year history of this powerful political ideology, laying to rest the idea that Christian Zionism is a passing craze or the province of a lunatic fringe. Then Clark surveys the contemporary Christian Zionist scene in Israel and in the United States, where the influence of the religious fundamentalists has never been greater.

    Clark engages with Christian Zionism directly, interviewing leaders, attending events, and traveling with Christian Zionists in the Holy Land. She also investigates the Christian Zionist presence in Israel. She finds that the view through the Christian Zionist lens is dangerously simple: President Bush's War on Terror is a mythic battle between good and evil, and Syria and Iran represent the powers of darkness. Such views are far from rare-an estimated fifteen to twenty million Americans share them. Almost one in three Americans believes Israel was given to the Jews by God as a prelude to the Battle of Armageddon and Jesus' Second Coming. Clark concludes with an assessment of Christian Zionists' impact on American foreign policy in the Middle East and on America's relationships with European allies since the attacks of 9/11.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-17707-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction: Chuck Missler’s Tour of the Holy Land
    (pp. 1-24)

    Jerusalem is beautiful. Nowhere more so than the Haram al-Sharif or Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque stand, where the Jewish Temple once stood.

    Access to that holy place, the most bitterly contested 35 acres in the world, is only possible for the non-Muslim via a claustrophobic funnel of Israeli security checks. But once past that ordeal, with the Old City’s labyrinthine tensions and the new one’s hustle and bustle forgotten, time and space expand. A lighter, higher, wider view takes in the acres of pristine paving stones, the fringing groves of cypress trees, the...

  6. PART ONE: 1621–1948
    • CHAPTER 1 ‘One Book of the Whole Bible’
      (pp. 27-38)

      King James I of England and VI of Scotland had a lively sense of humour, so the new book of bible commentary he was perusing one day in the spring of 1621 made him laugh.

      On the basis of more than 200-odd pages of meticulously selected bible chapters and verses and some ingenious calculations, the book’s author was claiming that between 1650 and 1695, the Jews would be converted to Christianity and returned to their ancient homeland in Palestine, which would then become the mightiest, wealthiest kingdom in all of Christendom.

      The first two propositions struck James I as absurd...

    • CHAPTER 2 ‘This New English Israel’
      (pp. 39-50)

      When a thousand Puritans set sail for New England in April 1630 there was every reason to fear that England’s sins were inviting ‘some heavy Scquorge and Judgment’¹ from God, of the kind that he’d meted out to the ancient Israelites.

      Twelve years before the outbreak of the Civil War, King Charles I was even less well disposed towards the Puritans than his father James had been. His soon-to-be Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, loathed those holier-than-thou radicals with such a passion he was rooting them out of the Church, systematically hunting down members of their ‘malignant faction’, torturing their...

    • CHAPTER 3 ‘The English Madness’
      (pp. 51-72)

      ‘These oaks shall remain standing and the hand of man shall not be raised against them till Israel return and is restored to the land of Promise.’¹

      So said the last will and testament of an eccentric old lady of Exmouth in Devon with regard to a grove of old oak trees on her property. And so it came about in 1811 that a romantic young evangelical Christian – a visitor from London who happened to be riding by the grove – resolved to devote his life to the project of converting the Jews and returning them to Palestine.

      An...

    • CHAPTER 4 ‘The Americanising Effect’
      (pp. 73-97)

      In early 1866, the journal of the new Church of the Messiah in Maine, New England, announced that its pastor and much of his flock – with all ‘our houses, our agricultural implements, also our mechanical implements and our furniture’¹ – would shortly be relocating: not to Texas or California, Idaho or Wyoming – but to Palestine.

      As convinced as British Restorationists that bible prophecies about the End Times were about to come true, 156 members of Pastor George J. Adams’s church were hurrying out to the Holy Land to ‘regenerate’ it for an influx of Jews whose arrival would...

    • CHAPTER 5 ‘A Great Idea’
      (pp. 98-122)

      The Anglican chaplain to the British embassy in Vienna could scarcely contain his millenarian excitement.

      Brandishing a copy of a new booklet entitledDer Judenstaat, he hurried round to alert the British ambassador that here, at last, in February 1896, was a Jew – a journalist and playwright named Doctor Theodor Herzl – laying out a practical, reasoned argument for a national homeland for his people. Here was the man the world had been waiting for, the one who could restore his people’s ancient greatness. ‘The fore-ordained time has come!’¹ he declared.

      William Hechler had lived for this moment. The...

    • CHAPTER 6 ‘The Wrong Kind of Jew’
      (pp. 123-144)

      For armies of eager decoders of bible prophecy, the signing of the Balfour Declaration and General Allenby’s conquest of Jerusalem had little to do with righting a historic injustice or with winning the war, but everything to do with Jesus’s Second Coming.

      At last, in that momentous winter of 1917, millenarian Christian Zionists on both sides of the Atlantic could point to concrete proof of God’s existence and engagement with human affairs – what American evangelicals call today ‘a validating sign’, but of a quality and magnitude not seen since the age of the Apostles.

      Thomas Brightman, Sir Henry Finch,...

  7. PART TWO: 1948 ONWARDS
    • [PART TWO: Introduction]
      (pp. 145-148)

      With the disastrous end of the British Mandate in Palestine and the demise of the British Empire, the British role in the history of Christian Zionism dwindles to almost nothing. To the bewilderment of American Christian Zionists today, Christian Zionism in Britain is about as negligible a force as it is in any other traditionally Protestant country – somewhat weaker than in the Netherlands or Norway or South Africa; stronger than in France.

      The Christian Zionist story from 1948 to the present day is, therefore, an overwhelmingly American and Israeli one. America is where the theological scaffolding of modern Christian...

    • CHAPTER 7 Apocalypse Loud
      (pp. 149-176)

      With his luxuriant crest of silver hair, Zapata moustache and Californian suntan gleaming under the spotlights of this mega-church in a northern suburb of St Paul, Minnesota, Hal Lindsey could pass for an ageing film star.

      None the worse for a recent knee operation, he strides to centre stage, settles his bible on the lectern and opens the prophecy conference. ‘Tonight I’ll deliver a message,’ he begins in a confiding Southern drawl. ‘I don’t need to tell you we live inexcitingtimes …’

      Long ago relegated to the pages of history books or the cranky fringe in Britain, prophecy...

    • CHAPTER 8 ‘A Disciplined, Charging Army’
      (pp. 177-200)

      The little traffic there is in Lynchburg, Virginia, on this bright Sunday morning is all heading up a back street, straight into a heavy jam around two large parking lots serving Reverend Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church.

      Anyone can see that America’s best-known Christian Zionist has outgrown the site, just as anyone headed for Falwell’s fundamentalist Christian Liberty University on the edge of town can see that God will shortly be blessing him with a gigantic new church – a 6,000-seater measuring a million square feet. In this age of the mega-church – minimum 2,000 members – Thomas Road...

    • CHAPTER 9 Watchmen for Israel
      (pp. 201-230)

      Spread far and wide on the south side of the russet Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs started life in 1871 as a health resort so popular with English tourists it was nicknamed ‘Little London’. Today it’s ‘The Evangelical Vatican’ or the home of the US Air Force Academy, or simply, America’s ‘best big city’.

      All three factors – religious, military and quality of life – combined to attract veteran Christian Zionist Ted Beckett here. A fourth, the city’s extraordinary rate of growth, was another consideration. Ted is in real estate.

      Perched up high beside him in the front of his SUV,...

    • CHAPTER 10 ‘Two Shining Cities upon a Hill’
      (pp. 231-255)

      Nobody has done more than Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to accustom American Jews to the novel notion of teaming up with Christian fundamentalists for the greater glory and safety of America and Israel.

      If Israelis are not receiving any ‘clear message to stay away from these people’, as Yossi Alpher put it, that’s in large measure because Rabbi Eckstein has been doing a first-class job of persuading his fellow American Jews to ignore Christian Zionists’ End Times schedule and any missionary agenda, and look instead at their no-strings-attached financial ‘blessing’ of Israel. His Chicago-based International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ)...

    • CHAPTER 11 Talking Texan
      (pp. 256-283)

      In the summer of 2006 Reverend Jerry Falwell was defending Israel’s bombardment of southern Lebanon in terms that made sense to most Americans:*

      ‘If someone were to lob missiles over our cities from either Canada or Mexico,’ he reasoned, ‘I have no doubt that we’d make black swimming pool holes over whoever did it. And if someone didn’t like what we did, we’d probably talk a little Texan to them …’¹

      Harking straight back to the Puritan ethos of Old Testament eye-for-an-eye justice, of us and them, good and evil, black and white, the language Falwell imagined talking to Hezbollah...

  8. Afterword
    (pp. 284-289)

    In November 2006 popular dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war in Iraq – generally, the Democrats wanted to bring the troops home while the Republicans wished Bush had gone in harder in the first place – swept the Democrats back into power in Congress. The result seemed to suggest that the powerful coalition of Rapture-ready Christian Zionists, neo-cons, Jewish-American lobbying organisations, Israeli settlers and right-wingers might have had its day.

    There were other reasons why those uncomfortable with Washington’s approach to foreign affairs might be feeling more optimistic. Following the elections, key neo-cons – Secretary of State for Defense...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 290-310)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 311-321)
  11. Index
    (pp. 322-331)