Revelation 9: 13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
Many Evangelical Christians will celebrate joyously on Sunday, firm in their belief that Donald Trump is delivering to them their Rapture, Armageddon and anti-Christ – and the slaying of the third-part of men. Trump has previously proclaimed himself the best president ever for Israel, or something like that. Now he has taken an overt action that could lead to war with Iran – the biggest wet dream of Zionists, uniting many (but not all) Christians and Jews in the United States.
I will cite from two sources through the remainder of this post.
The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, Robert L. Wilken (all information Julian is from this book)
Hubers describes Christian Zionism eschatology:
The modern state of Israel is a catalyst for the prophetic countdown. If these are the last days, then we should expect an unraveling of civilization, the rise of evil, the loss of international peace and equilibrium, a coming antichrist, and tests of faithfulness to Israel. Above all, political alignments today will determine our position on the fateful day of Armageddon.
Uniting Christians and Jews! According to Wilken, in the first centuries of the Church such a thought would not have been considered by either Christians or Jews or Romans or Greeks. Such a thought extended even centuries beyond this:
Medieval Christian attitudes towards Jews were largely defined by “replacement theology,” which relied on a heavily allegorical reading of the Old Testament to give credence to a belief that the Church had “replaced” Israel in God’s salvation plans. (Hubers)
Julian was emperor of Rome in the fourth century. He was the son of Julius Constantius, the half-brother of Constantine. He was raised with a solid education in the Greek classics and Christian Scriptures. It was the latter that made him a most dangerous critic of the new faith – he knew the Scriptures as well as anyone. He has come to be known as Julian the Apostate.
Julian was born in 331, eighteen years after Rome recognized Christianity as a “licit cult,” but some fifty years before Christianity was declared the official religion of the Roman world, in 380 – seventeen years after his death.
Julian was one of the most effective critics of Christianity, being very well-read and having studied the Scriptures. As Roman emperor – albeit for only nineteen months until his death – he was also in position to take strong action against the Christians. This action would come along two paths: first, an attack on the Christian faith via the Jewish religion; second, by a curious construction project.
After the 1967 war, when Jerusalem was to pass wholly in Jewish hands, Billy Graham’s father-in-law, Nelson Bell, who was at that time editor of Christianity Today, summed up how many dispensationally-inclined evangelicals felt at the time (Hubers):
…that, for the first time in more than 2,000 years Jerusalem is now completely in the hands of the Jews gives a student of the Bible a thrill and a renewed faith in the accuracy and validity of the Bible.
Thank god (yes, small “g”) for the 1967 war. After 2,000 years, I think many Christians were starting to lose hope.
Julian was twenty years old when he turned from his Christian faith. “The philosopher Maximus of Ephesus was instrumental in leading Julian away from Christianity.” Yet Julian could not announce his apostacy, as his cousin was both emperor and Christian. He stayed in the closet for ten years.
In the meantime, he led Roman armies in victories over the Franks and Germans; Julian then presented his cousin with the reality – backed by the army – that he preferred to be emperor. His cousin conveniently died before the two met.
Hal Lindsey would publish The Late Great Planet Earth in 1969, fortuitously on the heels of Israel’s victory over Jerusalem; it would become the bestselling non-fiction book of the decade (Hubers):
Lindsey’s book was a popular presentation of classic dispensationalist themes, beginning with what it said about Israel:
The same prophets who predicted the worldwide exile and persecution of the Jews also predicted their restoration as a nation. It is surprising that many could not see the obvious: Since the first part of these prophecies came true we should have anticipated that the second part would come true, also.
Julian was now sole emperor; he no longer needed to pretend to worship the Christian God. An early edict required that all teachers should be appointed based on their character – meaning belief in the specific religious and moral values transmitted through Greek literature.
He was also free to attack Christianity through his writing. His knowledge of Christianity made him an especially potent critic. He attacked on many fronts, including through the difficult comparisons of the Jewish texts (Old Testament) and the Christian texts (New Testament) – pointing out that the Christians, somehow, accepted both.
It is not that he respected the Jewish texts – he ridiculed the myths and legends; however, he did respect the traditions – it was an old religion, just as the Greeks had an old religion.
What about the Palestinians? asks Hubers. In 1948, four hundred thirteen Palestinian villages were razed, ensuring that the Palestinians could never return. In 1967, hundreds of thousands of additional Palestinian refugees were created. And the Christian response? Radio Bible Class founder Dr. M.R. DeHaan offered (Hubers):
…the Balfour declaration gave Britain the mandate over the entire land of Palestine, the Holy Land. Here we believe was the golden opportunity. She had it in her power and her right to clear the land of its unlawful possessors and make it exclusively the homeland for God’s scattered people.
As Julian saw it, Christianity was an apostacy from the Jewish faith. Christians emphasized the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. as the end of the Jewish religion. Jerusalem was no longer a Jewish city, as all Jews were driven out. Never before was the city devoid totally of Jews, and never had they been driven out for so long.
Judaism was no more; the Christians were the rightful and sole heirs of this tradition. As long as the temple was in ruins and the city devoid of Jews, it seemed that the Christians were correct. Julian was in a position to take this argument away from the Christians.
What would be the impact of Christian appeals on history if the Temple were no longer in ruins and the Jews not only returned to the city but once again offered sacrifices in their Temple? …What greater proof could there be that Christianity was false and that the Jews, not the Christians, were the rightful inheritors of the ancient tradition of Israel?
If the temple was to be rebuilt, that would pretty much do away with Jesus’s prophecy that no stone will be standing on another. Yet this isn’t how Hal Lindsey saw it – and Christian Zionists see it: the temple will be rebuilt today, as it must in order to fulfill “prophecy.”
Christian Zionists have adopted what is considered even by many Israelis to be the most extreme and problematical position vis-à-vis the occupation--that of the militant settler movement.
Yes. Christian Zionists have made enemies even among Israeli Jews. But this won’t slow down the train.
“The Jews are authorized by the living God and creator of the universe as a legitimate, eternal people with unalienable rights to the entire Land of Israel,” says Ian Lustick, characterizing their views. “The Palestinians have absolutely no legitimate claim to nationhood or to any part of the country.” (Hubers)
The Palestinians? Is there no Christian love for the Palestinians?
…one would expect followers of Christ who are actively engaged in the area to address the Palestinian plight at some length. Yet relatively little is said about the human cost of this nation-building exercise in Christian Zionist literature. (Hubers)
Wait. I have heard something like this before. Where? Who?
Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
- Adolph Hitler, 22 August, 1939
Now, for pointing out that Christians such as these are no better than Nazis, I am certain to be labeled a Nazi. Oh, and an anti-Semite for pretty much this post and everything else I have written on this topic.
From the Fourth International Christian Congress on Biblical Zionism, held in Jerusalem in February 2001:
Christians must take courageous action to support the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel in all its parts… The Bible puts its full weight behind the Return of the Jewish exiles to Eretz Israel. Therefore Christians have no biblical grounds upon which to base support for Palestinian nationalism.
Funny how few Christians ever believed such a thing until the last couple of centuries. The Christian fathers, scholastics, monks, and saints (to say nothing of Martin Luther) must have all missed this – probably too busy with more trivial matters of salvation and the like.
In the winter of 362 – 363, Julian appointed his close friend, Alypius, to oversee the rebuilding of the temple.
The construction, however, was abruptly cut short later in the spring by an earthquake or some other disaster. The pagan historian Ammianus Marcellinus said that balls of fire burst from underneath the foundations, and Christian historians reported that fire came down from heaven to burn the site and the workers. The project was abandoned.
In June, Julian was killed in battle. And that was that.
Perhaps a warning from history – or God? Let’s pray that history repeats itself. Soon. With minimal loss of innocent life.
As for the guilty, I am a fan of destruction in Biblical proportions.