In the Holy Bible, the book of Revelation is filled with Apocalyptic imagery and prophesies that could make even the most gruesome of horror lovers squirm in their seats.
According to the Journal of Religion and Science, visions of famine, unrest, war, earthquakes, darkness, and seas turned to blood are only the beginning of the horrors that the Bible warns that humanity will face when God unleashes his wrath upon the disobedient world.
One may think that this would be enough to encourage believers of this religious text to try and avoid such a tumultuous and horrifying time, but it seems that many believers are hoping to usher in the Biblical Apocalypse with their social and political support.
According to Pew Research Center, Christians made up the largest religious group in the world in 2015, with nearly 2.3 billion Christians across the globe. ABC News reports that among American adults, 83% identify themselves as Christians.
According to David Heilbroner, award-winning documentary filmmaker, “There are some 50 million Evangelicals in the US who believe in the literal truth of Bible prophecy.” He goes on to say, “This massive block of citizens possesses the unshakable belief that the end of the world will be heralded by a series of prophetic events, some of which have occurred [e.g. 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina], some of which are ongoing [the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan].”
Heilbroner explains that this large cross section of America controls nearly 60,000 radio stations, with members who are actively involved in the community and politics.
This influence is no more apparent than with the decision last year by President Donald Trump to openly recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This announcement cemented support from the evangelical voter base and, according to Allison Kaplan Sommer, allowed the president to show that “he is behind the evangelical agenda not only when it comes to enacting domestic agenda… but on foreign policy issues close to their heart as well.”
When speaking on the church’s support of Israel, Pastor Pat Robertson says, “Ladies and Gentlemen, evangelical Christians support Israel because we believe that the words of Moses and the ancient prophets of Israel were inspired by God. We believe that the emergence of a Jewish state in the land promised by God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was ordained by God. We believe that God has a plan for this nation which He intends to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth.”
But the idea behind the emergence of a Jewish state in Israel comes with a backstory. It is an integral part of the Christian belief in bringing about the rapture, followed by the much-feared Apocalypse.
According to the Journal of the Melbourne College of Divinity, “Revelation confronts the ideology of empire and what John considers to be an oppressive, violent and unjust political, religious, and economic power—an idolatrous system that his apocalypse reveals as a destroyer of the earth and of human lives.”
Christians can find comfort in the coming of the Apocalypse because they have been promised, through the Holy Bible that they will be saved before the horrors that are prophesied with the second coming of their Savior, Jesus Christ. They will be raptured away, or caught in the air, with Jesus before the Judgement of God will be poured out upon those sinners remaining on Earth, explains a pastor of Solid Rock Family Church in Jefferson City, Missouri.
This pastor says, “We are doing our best to bring as many people to Jesus as we can before that time comes. We are not rejoicing in the suffering that nonbelievers will be forced to endure, but in the new world that is promised to believers after the period of tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon.”
Sara Barks, a local Athiest argues, “Wishing for the end of the world does not seem like the Christian thing to do. My father was a preacher and it is views like this that drove me from the church as an adult. If Jesus was the son of God, he would not promote the seeking of the demolition of the planet. He would want us to be kind to one another and learn to live harmoniously without such destruction.”
Evangelical Christians, however, are willing to endure and overlook wars, sexual assault allegations, and infidelity if it furthers the world toward the time of rapture, Barks suggests.
Barks’ opinion may not be far from the truth, as the Boston Globe found that accusations against Senate candidate Roy Moore did not stop his Evangelical supporters from continuing to support him. In fact, according to Astead W. Herndon, “Christian conservatives are increasingly willing to overlook sexual misbehavior if a political leader is firmly committed to opposing abortion, gay marriage, and transgender rights.”
While some believe this may be a great indication for President Trump in the polls for the 2020 Presidential race, Joseph Loconte, Associate Professor of History at King’s College in New York City, says “By embracing Trump, conservative Christians have validated a secular mythology about America’s experiment in self-government: no need for faith or morals. They have forgotten that history is littered with the tragic mistakes of leaders blinded by ambition, hubris, lust, racism, and greed.”
Joshua C. Wilson, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Denver, and Amanda Hollis-Brusky, Associate Professor of Politics at Pomona College agree, “The election changed everything. And while some argue that support of President Trump could harm conservative Christians, it already has produced benefits, redirecting the movement from the margins to the center of power. The appointments of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, and Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, to head a higher education task force show what the Christian Right can gain.”
Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Denver, and Amanda Hollis-Brusky, Associate Professor of Politics at Pomona College agree, “The election changed everything. And while some argue that support of President Trump could harm conservative Christians, it already has produced benefits, redirecting the movement from the margins to the center of power. The appointments of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, and Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, to head a higher education task force show what the Christian Right can gain.”
Only time, and the upcoming 2020 presidential election, will tell if Christian Americans are willing to sacrifice their country for their hopes of fulfilling the biblical prophecy of Armageddon. One can only hope they will choose to follow the teachings of their proclaimed savior, Jesus Christ, and show love to their neighbor instead of supporting a candidate that will continue the trend of vilifying immigrants, imposing unreasonable laws that force continued suffering on the poorest in society, and continuing to discriminate against citizens based on their skin color or sexual identity.