Glenn Beck Book Club: Impending rapture edition

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If you listen closely, you can hear the hoof beats of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, racing toward the battle.

John Hagee, Can America Survive?

Earlier this month, Glenn Beck hosted a variety of preachers and pastors on his TV show to give us a look at the news "through their prism." Beck called his guests "leaders in the faith community" and a "few brave preachers" who are examples of "people that need to start standing up."

One of these "brave preachers" was John Hagee, whose controversial views caused John McCain to publicly reject his endorsement during the 2008 presidential campaign.

During the show, Beck plugged Hagee's "excellent" new book, Can America Survive? 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are The Terminal Generation, saying that he "just started to read last night." As we documented last week, this book is about how the world is fast-approaching Biblical Armageddon. Hagee offers a wide variety of "evidence" to buttress this theory, but much of it focuses on a supposedly impending conflict involving Israel, Iran, Russia, and the rest of the world that, according to Hagee, was foretold in the Bible.

Not only did Beck promote Hagee's book, but he also explicitly endorsed Hagee's theories by stating as fact that "a lot of the pieces that have never been here for the prophecy are here now."

The "prophecy" Beck referred to was the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which Hagee describes in great detail in his book. After reading through the book and discovering the "prism" through which Hagee views current events, it's worth asking why Beck singled out Hagee as one of the "few brave preachers" that "need to start standing up."

Defending his focus on Bible prophecy, Hagee explains in the book that "prophecy is the history of the future," and writes that "people in this era of doubt and skepticism feel that a person has to be either mentally unbalanced or a religious fanatic to manifest an interesting in Bible prophecy."

You be the judge.

The "very real fact" that one third of humanity will soon die:

Early in the book, Hagee informs readers that the current "terminal generation" is fulfilling "Bible prophecy for the first time in world history," and recites the "fact" that one-third of humanity will soon die in an ecological disaster:

Because America, believed to be the most powerful and "unsinkable" nation on the face of the earth, is now racing across the stage of history in a similar perfect storm -- this one driven by the winds of political correctness, economic meltdowns leading to the death of the dollar, the rejection of Israel, the maniacal nuclear ambitions of the theocratic dictatorship in Iran, the ten prophetic signs that we are the terminal generation now being fulfilled in Bible prophecy for the first time in world history, and the very real fact that in the near future planet Earth is going to experience, on a specific day, global ecological disaster in which one-third of humanity will die. [Pages 6-7]

Mixing his Biblical soothsaying with some Mayan mythology, Hagee asks, "Could this specific day be 12/12/12?"

"It is the cloud of death!"

Hagee spends much of the book engaging in a favorite past-time of conservatives: war-mongering against Iran. Hagee writes that he has it on good authority from a "confidential source" that Al-Qaeda, working with Iran, is going to detonate nuclear weapons in seven American cities.

Based on a 2005 WorldNetDaily article by Paul Williams, Hagee lists the seven cities that will supposedly be wiped off the map in the near future, and excitedly details what the actual explosions will be like:

Williams also states that seven cities in America have been targeted by terrorist [sic] as prime targets. Those cities are identified as New York, Miami, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC. The attacks are designed to occur simultaneously in these seven cities.

Before you breathe a sigh of relief and say "I don't live in one of those major cities," do you remember Oklahoma City and the Murrah Building? The truth is, jihad came to America on 9/11, and every city in America is a potential target.

[...]

Minutes later, there is a thunderous BLAST! The noise is deafening! You see buildings melting like butter before your eyes, now blazing in what appears to be a spontaneous inferno.

Then you see the mushroom cloud. It's surreal!

[...]

Downwind from the detonation point, the clould of radioactive debris will began [sic] to spread. It is the cloud of death! Its shape and size would depend on wind and rain conditions, but within one day, people who live within ten square miles who do not find shelter or flee within hours would receive a lethal dose of radiation. [Pages 68-71]

"World War III is about to begin"

Hagee's interest in taking military action against Iran extends far beyond just preventing an attack on U.S. soil. He believes Iran's aggression against Israel is actually a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and states as fact that "World War III is about to begin":

Israel is unlike any nation on the face of planet Earth: Israel is the only nation created by a sovereign act of God who entered into an eternal blood covenant with Abraham 3,500 years ago.

[...]

Why is this divine covenant for a specific land to the Jewish people so crucial in the twenty-first century? It's urgent because World War III is about to begin over the failure of humanity to recognize Israel's historic right to the land. [105, 108]

Hagee later details the coming Biblical struggle, apparently to be led by Russia:

There are six nations whose exact names are given by the prophet Ezekiel that, at some point in the future, will unify in a massive Islamic army to invade and attempt to destroy Israel.

Who are they?

Will they succeed?

What will be their end?

All of these questions are answered by the prophet Ezekiel. The six nations that will form an Islamic military force "as a cloud to cover the land" will be Persia (Iran), Ethiopia, Libya, Germany, and Turkey - all being led by Russia. [142]

Hagee finds "comfort" in Ezekiel's "prophetic portrait" because he thinks God is "deliberately" dragging these nations to Israel to "crush them":

There is comfort and consolation in Ezekiel's prophetic portrait of the world tomorrow. The message is that God is in total control of what appears to be a hopeless situation for Israel. He has deliberately dragged these anti-Semitic nations into Israel to crush them so that the Jews of Israel and the nations of the world will know that He is the Lord and there is no other. America and Europe will not save Israel... God will!

[...]

God will destroy Iran and Russia along with this massive Islamic coalition with three weapons of war He has used before in Scripture. [146]

Hagee explains near the end of the book in a section called "The Jewish People Turn to God" that after God crushes Russia and their "Islamic coalition," the Jewish people will eventually come to "recognize Jesus as the Messiah."

Of Nazis and Wizards

Near the end of the book, Hagee enumerates the various bits of "evidence" that the Antichrist will soon return. In a section headlined "Adolf Hitler and the SS were absolutely committed to and controlled by the powers of the occult," Hagee invokes the popularity of the Harry Potter series:

The Antichrist will rule the world with the full authority and anointing of Satan himself. Satan and his legions are coming!

Even a casual observer will be aware of the cultic explosion now taking place in Western civilization. The Harry Potter book series is nothing less than Witchcraft 101 and is the most celebrated publication in the history of literature other than the Bible. Children in every country have been exposed to blood curses, witches, and the occult in a positive light. Satan is preparing the youth of the world for the appearance of his messiah, the Antichrist, to rule with world with demonic power!

Cultic movies magnify the demonic power of hell's legions. Books and magazines exalting the power of witchcraft have a large and enthusiastic audience in the Western World. [222]

Brace for the rapture

In the book, Hagee explains that the Bible is a "literal book from cover to cover," and uses this to buttress his idea that the rapture will soon arrive.

The truth is the next prophetic event that will shake the foundations of planet Earth is the rapture of the church. The word rapture is the Latin version of a phrase the bible uses to describe the catching away of all Christians, both dead and alive, on the earth at the appointed time.

The rapture is a global event where every believer on planet Earth will be taken from the earth into heaven in the "twinkling of an eye." Simply stated: billions of people will instantly disappear and not return for seven years!

Think it can't happen?

Think again! [201]

Hagee later informs readers that "rapture could happen before you finish reading this page!" (It didn't.) He also explains that our global economic crisis will be hastened by the sudden disappearance of billions of Christians, which will pave the road for the arrival of the Antichrist:

The leaders of the world will call for and even demand that there be a global economic czar to save the world from an economic catastrophe. That man, like Hitler, will come out of Europe and will be the Antichrist. [221]

Don't believe Hagee? "Good for you!"

Responding to potential critics of his rapture theory, Hagee posits that their doubt is simply more evidence that he is right:

"Well, I simply don't believe Jesus Christ is ever coming back, and I think this rapture thing is a scare tactic," says the skeptic.

My response? "Good for you! The very fact that you doubt His coming is proof positive He is coming." The Bible states in 2 Peter 2:3-4

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, saying 'Where is the promise of his coming?'

The scoffer, the agnostic, and the atheist are nothing more than cheerleaders for the doctrine of rapture.

Hagee's self-reinforcing theological feedback loop is perhaps best encapsulated by a short passage in which he recounts the various weapons God will use to destroy the Russians and their "Islamic coalition." While discussing the "great hailstones, fire, and brimstone" that God used to level Sodom and Gomorrah, Hagee writes:

To this day geologists have sought to discover the location of Sodom and Gomorrah, but God so completely destroyed them they have never been found. Some speculate that they have been buried beneath the Dead Sea, which would explain the rare sulfuric odor and the taste of the water in the Dead Sea. [148]

In 2006, Beck foresaw "a world war of biblical proportions"

Beck is no stranger to promoting theories of Biblical Armageddon like those detailed in Hagee's book. In 2006, Beck stated that he believes "in the second coming of Christ," and floated the idea that August 22 of that year was the possible date of "all-out Armageddon." As we detailed at the time:

On the August 9 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Beck had declared that August 22 "is the day that Israel might be wiped off the map, leading to all-out Armageddon," and "could be the day that agnostics get down on one knee and start to pray, 'Sweet Jesus, are you coming today?' " Responding to a viewer email critical of his coverage of the issue, Beck declared on the August 22 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck: "I wasn't predicting Armageddon today. ... We talked about the predictions of renowned Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis." Beck continued: "It is amazing to me to be called a nut job for quoting a scholar who thinks we might expect aggressive behavior from a man who wants to wipe Israel off the map. I know. Sounds crazy! But, hey, who has time to actually listen?"

The program began with an announcer stating that "[s]ome day, you'll tell your grandkids where you were when absolutely nothing happened." Nonetheless, later in the program, Beck featured a segment in which he stated: "I believe in the second coming of Christ. Is this it?" Beck maintained that he foresees a "world war of biblical proportions," and ended the program by eating a slice of "doomsday cake."

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Glenn Beck
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