In recent months, Glenn Beck has spent a lot of time talking about Israel and has been busy promoting a pro-Israel rally scheduled to occur later this month in Jerusalem. But Beck -- who has insisted that "there is no one more pro-Israel or more pro-Jew than I am" -- has close ties to the activities and legacy of the late Jerry Falwell, the controversial televangelist who infamously claimed that the Antichrist was likely a living male Jew.
In 1999 Falwell told attendees at an evangelical conference in Tennesee that the Antichrist was "probably" alive and "of course he'll be Jewish." Soon after, Falwell issued a non-apology apology and said, "I apologize not for what I believe, but for my lack of tact and judgment in making a statement that served no purpose whatsoever."
Later that year Falwell told author Jeffrey Goldberg that "the Antichrist will be a counterfeit of the true Christ, which means that he will be male and Jewish, since Jesus was male and Jewish."
Falwell's assertion was of course amazingly offensive and borderline anti-Semitic. It is also out of the mainstream of Christian thought and is rejected by even many conservative, end-times Christian leaders. For example, Tim LaHaye, the author behind the end-times "Left Behind" series, told Goldberg he didn't believe that the Antichrist would be Jewish.
Rev. Jerry Falwell stated that the United Nations is "the infrastructure, the stage on which the Antichrist will build his one-world government." Falwell also asserted that the prevalence of online bill-paying is a sign that "God is setting the stage for ... a cashless society," and that "the day will come" when "the only way you can get cash and trade and to do business is to have the mark of the beast."
In recent days, some members of the conservative media have seen signs of the Apocalypse in the escalated conflicts in the Middle East and Asia. Pat Robertson has considered the possibility but has seemed to reject it, while columnist Hal Lindsey has simply asserted: "Now Armageddon looms large before us." But as recent reports on CNN and in USA Today attest, conservatives are not the only media figures to raise the question of whether current events are a sign of the "End Times."
In a March 12 sermon, Rev. Jerry Falwell claimed that "scientists who are not on the payroll of the government" believe that "the jury's still out" on the existence of human-caused global climate change. Similarly, in a March 5 sermon, Falwell said of global climate change, "I don't think the science supports it." In fact, it is a small minority of scientists who dispute findings that global warming is caused by human activities.