Christian Zionists Want to Hasten Armageddon. That's Why Trump Attacked US Jews.
August 26, 2019
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH
Much of the mainstream media didn’t understand Trump’s dabbling in assertions that he was an anointed leader. Take, for instance, this interpretation in a CNN email briefing just a short time ago:
What might not play as well [with his basel]? Using messianic language -- about yourself. Speaking to reporters at the White House about trade relations with China, Trump paused and pointed to the heavens, saying, "I'm the chosen one." He'd earlier thanked a conspiracy theorist who described him as being like the King of Israel and said Jews "love him like the second coming of God."
The Washington Post also missed the mark in its interpretation of Trump’s messianic invocations:
President Trump on Wednesday tweeted a fawning quote from a non-Jewish conservative radio host who described Trump as the “King of Israel” and who said, without evidence, that Israeli Jews “love him like he is the second coming of God.”
Trump’s tweets cited Wayne Allyn Root, who described himself in a 2016 Townhall column as a “Jew turned evangelical Christian” and has promoted several conspiracy theories in the past, including that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States and that he is gay.
The Post then went onto analyze Trump's invocation that he was a savior in terms of his relationship to Israel and Jews. This was understandable, particularly in light of Trump’s remarks earlier last week that Jews who vote Democratic have “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” The following day, Trump expanded upon this charge when he said, “"In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you're being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you're being very disloyal to Israel.” (71 percent of Jewish voters cast ballots for Hillary Clinton in 2016. 79 percent of Jewish votes went to Democrats in the 2018 midterm election.)
The Post cast Trump’s remarks about the vast majority of Jews backing Democrats in a headlined article, “Trump, frustrated by unpopularity with Jews, thrusts Israel into his culture war.”
The real target of Trump’s criticism that US Jews who vote Democratic are disloyal to Israel and his approbation of biblical titles for himself are actually barely coded messages to his Christian Zionist, evangelical, and fundamentalist base (which often include all three combined). This is the audience Trump was signaling his prophetic biblical leadership to, not American Jews.
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First of all, in regards to his claim that Democratic Jews were “disloyal” to Israel, this was not an anti-Semitic trope, as most mainstream media interpreted the remarks. In fact, it is the opposite. Trump was accusing Democratic US Jews of not having “dual loyalty.”
As one evangelist leader noted of Trump’s Jewish disloyalty remarks:
Trump’s statement on Jewish disloyalty is EXACTLY CORRECT. The Democrats hate Israel and hope for its demise. Guess what?? GOD PROMISES THAT ISRAEL WILL ALWAYS BE VICTORIOUS.
— Pastor Greg Locke (@pastorlocke) August 20, 2019
Why does this appeal to a Christian Zionist base? Because Christian Zionists believe that Israel is the necessary precursor to the Second Coming of Jesus. Christian Zionists assert that Israel will engage in a war, Armageddon, with a merciless invader and triumph. The result of Israel’s victory will be the return of Christ, at which time Jews will either have to convert or suffer a fiery death. Some versions of Christian Zionism foresee that only 144,000 Jewish will survive after the Messiah returns.
Israel’s leadership — and especially under Netanyahu — has welcomed the influential support of Christian Zionist organizations, ministers and politicians (Ted Cruz and Pastor John Hagee as just two examples) as though they were VIP’s. There are frequent visits to Israel of Christian Zionist leaders, politicians and groups, and ongoing financial support for Israel.
Why would Israel embrace apostles of alleged biblical prophecy who only see Israel as the door to the conversion of the world to Christianity, the end of Judaism, and the death of most Jews in a war that results in a sea of blood?
That is because Israeli leaders, epitomized by Netanyahu, are making a deal with the devil, so to speak, because they think that the “righteous gentiles” are wrong. In short, Israel will accept their support not because they share a common vision, but because Israel has a far differing biblical interpretation from the Old Testament that assumes the survival of the Jews, not their conversion to Christianity.
Trump may not be the smartest bulb, but he is intuitively wily. His messaging about US Jews, Israel and his own messianic importance are meant to reinforce both the apocalyptic vision of the Christian Zionists and the evangelical view that Trump may be a sinful man, but the authoritarian leader that is needed to usher in the era of a Christian nation., and eventually the rapture.
To the branch of Dominionism that Sarah Palin belongs to and the evangelical movement as a whole, Trump is indeed a king, and represents that God works through imperfect vessels, as long they are forceful advocates of biblical prophecy and Christian “values.”
This Week listed some of the Christian fundamentalists who believe that Trump has been chosen by God to usher the US into an age where Christian precepts will reign. They also interpret his actions, such as his movement of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, as hastening Armageddon and the return of Christ:
Trump is beloved, even worshipped, by people who love Jesus and abhor Mexicans named Jesús.
At CPAC in February, Mike Lindell, the Jesus-loving CEO of My Pillow, said, "I see the greatest president in history. Of course he is. He was chosen by God."
Last year, Candace Owens tweeted: "I truly believe that @realDonaldTrump isn't just the leader of the free world, but the savior of it as well."
In April, Trump's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, tweeted: "Only God could deliver such a savior to our nation." That same month, former congresswoman Michele Bachman said, "We will, in all likelihood, never see a more godly, biblical president again in our lifetimes."
Jeff Sharlet (who BuzzFlash will be interviewing soon), author of The Family, asserts that members of The Family, an organization of “elite” Christians who believe that they are empowered to be change agents on behalf of Christ view democracy as “rebellious.” This also reflects the viewpoint of evangelical fundamentalists who consider democracy a manifestation “of ungodly pride that usurps” the incarnation of Christ and the Holy Spirit. into Christ’s kingdom on earth.
In The Family, Jeff Sharlet explains that the elite Christian authoritarian leadership needed by God to herald the Second Coming of Christ will not come from sheep or the meek, but from the cunning wolf king. As noted by Amanda Marcotte in Salon, evangelicals laud the arrival of Trump as,
The "wolf king," a leader anointed by God to enact the Christian right agenda. The ruthlessness or immoral conduct of such a leader isn't seen to be at odds with the forgiving spirit of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, these evangelical leaders believe God wants their leaders to be ruthless, because that's what is effective….
These "king" metaphors allow them to make a different argument: God chooses "imperfect" men to be "vessels" for his will because they have talents — in Trump's case, belligerence and bullying, interpreted as "strength" — that matter more than their sinful behavior.
Trump is appalling and abominable, but he knows how to reinforce the biblical role that the leaders of the evangelical movement and the Christian Zionists have bestowed upon him like a mantle. He’s playing to his fundamentalist base to energize their turnout in 2020.
That also helps understand the context of his attacks on Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar for being advocates for Palestinian rights. The Christian Zionists do not care an olive pit about the Palestinians. Only the Jewish State, they fervently believe, is the prerequisite for the Messiah. Trump may not have the smarts for chess, but he sure knows how to motivate his evangelical base.