While Christmas may leave many with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, fundamentalist evangelicals and Bible prophecy nuts see dragons and beasts, men of sin and rebuilt temples.
They see that tiny little sliver of land that has linked Africa to Europe and across which our pre-human ancestors strode, now called Israel, as the Promised Land for the Chosen People. All others, of course, are not so chosen or special. That’s the problem with the concept of the chosen people. Everyone else has to be the unchosen. And that's the way it feels today when it comes to the Middle East and all her people.
These Bible literalists and prophecy geeks seek meaning for today from the Book of Daniel, with its statues of gold,silver, bronze and iron mixed with clay. They see rams and goats pushing their way across the Middle East and find meaning in the Kings of the North and of the South, though they can never quite figure out who’s who and when.
They just adore Daniel 11, which they read like a newspaper with its four great beasts of the lion, the bear, the leopard and something more astonishing than the others, crashing its way across the planet. It has ten horns all with eyes and a little horn to boot. The meanings of it all are endless but they keep churches full.
These beasts are world empires prophesied, except these descriptions were written after they had come and gone, but don’t bring that up to the read-the-Bible-as-a-newspaper crowd. Most Bible prophecy isn't prophecy at all, but that's for another time.
Later in the Gospels, we see that the end is really getting close now. Wars, rumors of wars, like that’s something new, are everywhere. Every earthquake, flood, tsunami, tornado and cold front just screams at us, “you can sure tell that Jesus has to return any day now.”
Weather can’t just be weather. It has to be prophecy come alive. Of course, it is just weather, but that won’t wash with those who play Bible Roulette with world news and natural disasters. It never dawns on them how God seems limited to expressing his wrath during the appropriate season or plate slippage in slippage-prone areas.
Enter the Book of Revelation. Written by who knows who under the influence of who knows what. Astro-theology at it's best. The Book of Revelation has been responsible for more insane Christian sects, cults and "send in your money because you won’t need it when this all happens", lunacy, than any book in the Bible. Replete with scrolls and lambs, seals and trumpets, vials and plagues, it’s a Fundamentalist preacher’s dream come true and not a bad fear mongering tool for government leaders who just know that Voice in their head is coming right from the throne room of God Himself.
I’ve kidded in the past about having met 23 of the Two Witnesses in my former life as a church pastor, lest you think I don’t know what I’m talking about on this topic. I’ve met a few more since. These are the two great ones, two men actually or Elijah and Moses, Amos and Andy , depending on who you ask, who torment us sinners the last three and half years before Jesus comes.
Of all things, the Two Witnesses just returned from Jerusalem where they set off to start their mission, but it didn’t go all that well, so they came home. Actually it’s a minister, who has rather lost his mind, that I knew in the church. He said the trumpets and seals would break open in April of 2008 and get louder and louder, ending in planetary death on a huge scale and nuclear explosions in our port cities this summer. Hey, it could happen, but that would not be prophecy come alive, it just might be the government needing to cancel elections. Who knows anymore?
Conveniently, he declared his wife the other witness. God works in families, you know.Anyway, old Ron said that if by June of this year it was not obvious the Book of Revelation had come true as HE said, then he’d declare himself a false prophet because anything less would “be quite insane.”Well guess what? He changed the rules of engagement, kept his office as prophet, kept his dwindling church and kept the money. He’s also a liar.
What is Bible Roulette? Bible Roulette is the misuse of the Bible by religious zealots to promote governmental insanity on the world scene so that perhaps out of all the chaos of, say an attack on Iran and the ensuing explosion in the Middle East, Jesus, who loves all the little children of the world, well except Palestinian, Iraqi or Iranian, evidently, will come back and bring Peace.
Our President plays Bible Roulette every time he listens to the likes of John Hagee and his beer belly prophecies about what surely are his accurate views of the Bible and what it means for the Middle East and Christians all over the world. John Hagee plays Bible Roulette for a living.
Most fundamentalists and Bible literalist pastors do. You can get an amazing amount of mileage out of the Book of Revelation and spin it into a career. So do all the ministerial advisors to the candidates. Scary people actually whose mouths needs be shut at times, it seems to me, lest we end up, not with the return of Jesus, but only a large sanitation problem on a major part of the planet and world chaos.
Bible Roulette is currently responsible for more bad decisions in high places than one might ever wish to contemplate. It’s also quite possible that religious zealots who think they have influence in high places are being played the fool so that the narcissists and psychopaths in government can do what they want and prophet, or rather profit, from it all.