Monday, July 20, 2015
Is This the Real Reason Evangelical Republicans Oppose the Iran Nuclear Accord?
"For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon.”
(Revelation 16:14, 16).
The Bible has been translated, interpreted, rewritten over the ages through one version of that Holy Tome or another. Biblical writer John Ramsden (Bible Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 1) tackles the complex Evangelical notion of a Middle Eastern war to end all wars, to decimate the heathen (including the Jews in Israel) and to lift the true believers from the earth with the Second Coming of Christ. Armageddon. It’s a bit long (and boy did I edit it!), but worth noting, because of a powerful belief among Evangelicals that a well-armed Israel facing a well-armed regional foe (often deemed to mean nuclear weapons) will trigger the return of Christ, the destruction of all non-believers (sounds a bit ISIS-like, huh?) and the salvation of true Evangelicals.
“In order to present what the Bible has to say we must first clear away a lot of misinformation on the subject. Considering that the word ‘Armageddon’ occurs only once in the Bible, it is amazing how well it is known -- whilst at the same time so little understood! This is simply because it has been taken completely out of context and applied to pretty well any major battle in the history of mankind. Popular belief is that it refers to some forthcoming battle involving Russia, Arabs, Israel and others on the plain of Esdraelon in Northern Israel which is also described as Jezreel or the valley of Megiddo…
“Unfortunately so-called ‘experts’ in linguistics and religious studies seem unable to agree about the location of Armageddon. Some say that it was originally spelt ‘Har-Megiddo’ and therefore means a Hill at the end of the Megiddo valley. The problem with that is that we never read in the Bible of a battle on any such hill. On the contrary the Biblical battles fought at Megiddo were on a plain -- such as when Josiah was killed by Pharoah Necho (see 2 Chron 35:22). Meanwhile, another expert assures us that even though in the 1881 Revised Version of the Bible the word Har-Mageddon appears (and it is the only major version of the Bible to carry this description), the earliest known interpretation extant is in Arabic and means ‘a level trodden place.’ Nevertheless, the general consensus among popular writers and preachers is that Armageddon refers to the place in Northern Israel where a future battle is to be fought out…
“Over 140 years ago a Bible student, John Thomas, pointed out the symbolic meaning of the term Armageddon. While some experts were studying the detailed origins and etymology of the word, and others were scurrying around the Middle East looking for a literal battlefield, Thomas, in his exposition of Revelation(2) demonstrated the need to stand back and take an overall view of what was involved, and what lay behind this essentially symbolic Hebrew term. By doing so he was able to perceive what others may have missed, namely that the word Armageddon could be broken down into three major components: Arema-gai-dun. When put together into a meaningful phrase these Hebrew words could read ‘A heap of sheaves in a valley for judgement.’ Although this is not the place to do so, a digression to show how these words and ideas are used elsewhere in Scripture is extremely interesting. Clearly such an analysis of the word shows how consistent it is with the overall teaching of those prophets who spoke in the Hebrew tongue about things to do with God's land and coming events thereon…
“[But when will Armageddon occur? We don’t know.] The real reason, however, why we do not know when Armageddon will take place is because it involves not just a war between nations but the return of Christ himself. We have seen this in the earlier extract from Revelation chapter 14. We have also seen that it is not just another Middle East war between Jews and Arabs: it is the Great and the Terrible Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31). It is indeed the same event as we read about in Ezekiel (chapter 38), Daniel (chapter 11), Zechariah (chapter 12-14) and elsewhere. A careful reading of those chapters and the contexts in which they occur make it quite clear that they refer to the event described in Revelation 16:14-16 as Armageddon, or, the time when the nations of the earth are gathered together for the battle of that great day of God Almighty. That being so, and as Christ and the saints are involved, it suggests that Armageddon must take place sometime after the return of Christ, after the resurrection and subsequent judgement of the baptized believers (or saints). It is only after this that the work of re-establishing the Kingdom of God on earth can begin… So it is very simply because we do not know when Christ will return that we cannot say precisely when Armageddon will occur…
“Why is it that some people look for Armageddon to occur prior to Christ's return, or believe that his return will be prompted by some such disturbance? We do not know for sure, but if you asked some Bible readers: ‘From whence did Christ ascend, and to what place will he return?,’ they might well say ‘The Mount of Olives,’ but they would be wrong! Where does the Bible provide that information? Curiously enough, it doesn't.”
So if Iran literally slows or stops its nuclear program, the potential for nuclear holocaust (choice of words most intentional) decreases proportionately. Evangelicals love Israeli PM Benjamin “Bibi’ Netanyahu, the ultimate hardliner, a man who favors tough military responses to most of his nation’s issues with hateful neighbors. If anyone can foment Armageddon, Bibi’s your man. But politicians catering to Evangelicals can’t exactly come out and say there are fostering a world where Armageddon will actually annihilate every Jew in Israel (along with the rest of the planet’s non-believers), and that they can, through their policy machinations, literally force the Second Coming of Christ (so Christ is open to such crass manipulation?).
Nobody’s going to tell you that the new nuclear accord with Iran is remotely bulletproof. For those in Congress who pretend to believe that additional sanctions – which have failed to stem Iran’s nuclear program over the years – will bring Iran back to the table, ready to deal, they know that isn’t going to happen. Why should something that has failed for so very long suddenly succeed, and why would the United States believe that the rest of the world would accept such a U.S. restriction and not deal with Iran?
No, the real reason is that having such a treaty pushes back or even eliminates Iran’s nuclear arming… and hence delays Armageddon and the Second Coming. Folks won’t talk about this inane theory, but unless you understand the religious undertones behind this right wing blast of the Iran nuclear reduction accord, you might actually think that the real reason for such fervent opposition is based on detailed strategic analysis and military intelligence. While such considerations cannot be ignored, the real reason is so incredibly unbelievable, other than to an indoctrinated Evangelical, that it truly cannot be spoken openly without a severe risk of global derision.
I’m Peter Dekom, and if you do not believe my analysis, try Googling “Armageddon + War in Israel” and see what other experts have to say on the matter.