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The Danger of Prophetic Inevitability
American Vision ^ | 11/12/2007 | Gary DeMar

Posted on 11/12/2007 10:08:14 AM PST by topcat54

In 1977, D. S. Russell warned that end-time theorists might “create the very situation which is being described [in their prophetic writings] so that the interpretation given brings about its own fulfillment.”1 Paul Boyer, professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and currently a visiting professor of history at the College of William and Mary and a long-time analyst of prophetic themes and their impact on politics,2 pointed out as recently as 2003 that “as the nation debates a march toward war in the Middle East, all of us would do well to pay attention to the beliefs of the vast company of Americans who read the headlines and watch the news through a filter of prophetic belief.”3 Concern for the way Bible prophecy is influencing foreign policy is becoming increasingly prevalent in numerous books and articles.4

The person at the center of much of the talk about an inevitable cataclysmic end is John Hagee, pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. His end-time-inevitability book Jerusalem Countdown has sold nearly a million copies. Christians United for Israel, a Christian support organization for Israel, has tremendous political and fund raising clout. Hagee’s rhetoric and long political reach are scaring a lot of people:

“While Hagee has long prophesized about the end times, he ratcheted up his rhetoric this year [2006] with the publication of his book, ‘Jerusalem Countdown,’ in which he argues that a confrontation with Iran is a necessary precondition for Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. In the best-selling book, Hagee insists that the United States must join Israel in a preemptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West. Shortly after the book’s publication, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which, as the Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, he said would cause ‘a political earthquake.’”5

Some of Hagee’s critics say he not only wants “God’s plan—as he sees it—to unfold, but to take an active role in seeing it happen.”6 At a July 19, 2006 CUFI event in Washington D.C., Hagee told the audience, “The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West . . . a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation . . . . and [the] Second Coming of Christ.”7 Hagee has been described as “Dr. Armageddon” and “Pastor Strangelove” by those who believe his prophetic inevitability scenario could lead a president to believe that an all-out world war is a biblical directive. Hagee is ranked as one of the top ten influential spokesmen among Pentecostals.8 With that kind of influence, war with Iran or any other anti-Jewish nation might come about because this large end-time-driven voting-block could put pressure on politicians to vote in terms of eschatology.

To help fuel the fire of another war based on prophetic considerations, books with titles like The Apocalypse of Ahmadinejad: The Revelation of Iran’s Nuclear Prophet and Iran: The Coming Crisis are rolling off the presses faster than people can read them. There is no doubt that Ahmadinejad has apocalyptic aspirations. But so did a lot of tyrants. In 1942, James C. Hollenbeck wrote The Super Deceiver on the World Horizon.9 And who was he? Syrian Prince Abdul Baraba Baha. Never heard of him? Welcome to the club. He’s an obscure historical footnote who many believed was the end-time deceiver.

Dan Gilbert’s Emperor Hirohito of Japan: Satan’s Man of Mystery Unveiled in the Light of Prophecy was another attempt to make the headlines of the day fit speculative prophetic propaganda and set the stage for another world war. Gilbert was certain, based on his reading of Bible prophecy, that Hirohito, even after Japan’s surrender, would amass “a gigantic yellow military horde that will total 200,000,000 men—the greatest army that ever was, or ever could conceivably be, created on earth.”10 Gilbert predicted, based on Revelation 16:20, that “the Jap islands will be sunk to a depth approaching the bottomless pit of hell itself.”11 Gilbert made this prediction in 1944.

Fear of a Soviet nuclear apocalypse has a long history. In 1948, Wilbur Smith wrote This Atomic Age and the Word of God. Smith summarizes a speech that French Prime Minister Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970) gave on June 29, 1947 in which he declared “that Russia had now become such a powerful military nation that she could be considered an actual rival of the United States, and that her power threatened to precipitate ‘a gigantic conflict from which no people and no man on earth will be spared,’ also, that Russia was ready to embark in the future on a final conquest of the world.”12 Similar declarations were made in 1947 by the emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists headed by Albert Einstein and Harold Urey. Their statement warned that “we approach what may be the last hour before midnight.”13 In 1951, using 2 Peter 3:9–13 as a proof text, as did Smith, M. R. DeHaan writes:

“For the first time in history we can now clearly understand the possibility of these statements of the Apostle Peter. It is a most amazing thing that almost two thousand years ago, Peter, an uneducated fisherman, was able to give us this clear, unmistakable picture of what would happen in the latter days, in the days in which we are living.”14

Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, American schools practiced “duck and cover”15 air raid drills, cities enacted civil defense measures, and families built fallout shelters in their backyard. It was a time of great fear and prophetic speculation.

So what’s the proper response? We can’t dismiss the notion that a nuclear first strike might happen. In no way would I call for any type of unilateral disarmament. The biggest guy on the block rarely has to fight. As Christians, we should be pursuing peace. There are Christians in other nations. We should work with them so they can put political pressure on their governments to pursue peace. The same needs to happen in the United States.


1. D. S. Russell, Apocalyptic: Ancient and Modern (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977), 64.

2. Paul S. Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture (Cambridge, MA: Belknap/Harvard University Press, 1992).

3. Paul S. Boyer, “When U.S. Foreign Policy Meets Biblical Prophecy,” Alternet (February 20, 2003)

4. The most recent example is Zev Chafets, A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews, Christian Zionists, and One Man's Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), chap. 3.

5. Sarah Posner, “Lobbying for Armageddon” (August 3, 2006): www.alternet.org/story/39748/

6. Dave Eberhart, “Pastor John Hagee’s D.C. Meeting Worries Jews” (May 17, 2007)

7. Eberhart, “Pastor John Hagee’s D.C. Meeting Worries Jews.”

8. “Pastors Reveal Major Influencers on Churches,” The Barna Group (January 14, 2005)

9. James C. Hollenbeck, The Super Deceiver on the World Horizon (Los Angeles: Harry J. Gardener, 1942).

10. Dan Gilbert, Emperor Hirohito of Japan: Satan’s Man of Mystery Unveiled in the Light of Prophecy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1944), 31.

11. Gilbert, Emperor Hirohito of Japan, 43.

12. New York Times (June 27, 1947). Quoted in Wilbur M. Smith, This Atomic Age and the Word of God (Boston: W. A. Wilde Co., 1948, 11.

13. Quoted in Smith, This Atomic Age and the Word of God, 11.

14. M. R. DeHaan, Signs of the Times and Other Prophetic Messages (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1951), 145.

15. Pat Zacharias, “When bomb shelters were all the rage” See the “Duck and Cover” instructional film produced in 1951 by the United States Civil Defense Department branch shortly after the Soviet Union began nuclear testing. “In The Iron Giant, Hogarth Hughes and his classmates in the year 1957 watch a film clearly inspired by Duck and Cover called Atomic Holocaust; it features groundhogs who, like Bert the Turtle, are wearing Civil Defense helmets. Later on in the film, when a nuclear missile is headed for the town, Mansley suggests ‘We can duck and cover!’ (to which General Rogard responds, ‘There’s no way to survive this, you idiot!’).”. You can see the original “Duck and Cover” film at www.youtube.com


Gary DeMar is the President for American Vision.

Permission to reprint granted by American Vision P.O. Box 220, Powder Springs, GA 30127, 800-628-9460.


TOPICS: Theology
KEYWORDS: dispensationalism; hagee; prophecy; strangelove; zionism

1 posted on 11/12/2007 10:08:16 AM PST by topcat54
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To: ItsOurTimeNow; HarleyD; suzyjaruki; nobdysfool; jkl1122; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Dr. Eckleburg; ...
Reformed Eschatology Ping List (REPL)

"For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." (Luke 21:22)

2 posted on 11/12/2007 10:08:55 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: topcat54

At a July 19, 2006 CUFI event in Washington D.C., Hagee told the audience, “The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West . . . a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation . . . . and [the] Second Coming of Christ.”7
***Hmmm, that’s one I had not heard before.


3 posted on 11/12/2007 10:11:17 AM PST by Kevmo (We should withdraw from Iraq via Tehran. And Duncan Hunter is just the man to get that job done.)
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To: topcat54

The fun thing about prophecy is that it is like driving a car with the windshield totally frosted over, the side windows partially clear, and the rear view mirror crystal clear...


4 posted on 11/12/2007 10:18:58 AM PST by Hegemony Cricket (You can't seriously tell me you think we need more laws, or that we don't already have too many.)
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To: topcat54
In 1977, D. S. Russell warned that end-time theorists might “create the very situation which is being described [in their prophetic writings] so that the interpretation given brings about its own fulfillment.”1

There is the patina of lack of faith in this perspective. God's will be done. God is in control.

5 posted on 11/12/2007 10:21:57 AM PST by Greg F (Duncan Hunter is a good man.)
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To: Greg F
There is the patina of lack of faith in this perspective. God's will be done. God is in control.

How so?

6 posted on 11/12/2007 10:43:26 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: Kevmo
Hmmm, that’s one I had not heard before.

I take it you are not one of the Hagee faithful.

7 posted on 11/12/2007 10:44:52 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: topcat54

The implication is that it is end time theorists self-fulfilling prophecies that will bring about Armeggedon. It is not; God will bring about the end of times. See Daniel 6-12.


8 posted on 11/12/2007 10:46:04 AM PST by Greg F (Duncan Hunter is a good man.)
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To: topcat54

I think the biggest danger is both political sides are both right down the path of the seven deadly sins. Satan has both is his vice.


9 posted on 11/12/2007 10:48:26 AM PST by bmwcyle (BOMB, BOMB, BOMB,.......BOMB, BOMB IRAN)
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To: topcat54

I take it you are not one of the Hagee faithful.
***Nope. Here’s a hint of spiritual danger: “While Hagee has long prophesized...”

The test for a true prophet of God was in Deuteronomy. You get it 100% correct (for the verifiable ones) or you die by stoning.


10 posted on 11/12/2007 10:49:35 AM PST by Kevmo (We should withdraw from Iraq via Tehran. And Duncan Hunter is just the man to get that job done.)
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To: topcat54

Isn’t this exactly what the Iranians are trying to do with their 12th Imam beliefs? Bringing about the end times with nukes. Just perfect.


11 posted on 11/12/2007 11:07:07 AM PST by ovrtaxt (You're a destiny that God wrapped a body around.)
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To: Kevmo

But remember, NT prophets are a bit different, and not subject to the same requirements of perfection as the OT order.

Agabus wasn’t 100%, and the scripture notes him as a prophet.

It’s a different deal with us now, the Holy Spirit being available to us all. We are all commanded to judge the rhema word for ourselves, we all have an anointing from the Holy One, there is no mediator between the individual believer and God, and we can all prophecy.


12 posted on 11/12/2007 11:11:59 AM PST by ovrtaxt (You're a destiny that God wrapped a body around.)
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To: ovrtaxt

Agabus wasn’t 100%, and the scripture notes him as a prophet
***Can you please point me to where it says this? I find 2 hits on Agabus in Biblegateway.com.

Acts 11:28
One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.)
Acts 11:27-29 (in Context) Acts 11 (Whole Chapter)
Acts 21:10
After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
Acts 21:9-11 (in Context) Acts 21 (Whole Chapter)


13 posted on 11/12/2007 11:16:03 AM PST by Kevmo (We should withdraw from Iraq via Tehran. And Duncan Hunter is just the man to get that job done.)
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To: topcat54
Emperor Hirohito of Japan: Satan’s Man of Mystery Unveiled in the Light of Prophecy

That's probably out of copyright now. Someone ought to get that into Project Gutenberg.

I can see it now: The C. I. Scofield Memorial Failed Prophecy Collection.

14 posted on 11/12/2007 11:17:52 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("Dispensationalism -- threat or menace?")
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To: Kevmo
I take it you are not one of the Hagee faithful.

Tee Hee. Check his tag line.

Hagee has "issues".

15 posted on 11/12/2007 11:22:02 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("Dispensationalism -- threat or menace?")
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To: Kevmo
The test for a true prophet of God was in Deuteronomy. You get it 100% correct (for the verifiable ones) or you die by stoning.

And if he is 100% correct, and he leads you away from the one true God, you're still supposed to kill him. It's a test.

16 posted on 11/12/2007 11:37:28 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("Dispensationalism -- threat or menace?")
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To: Lee N. Field

Interesting point.


17 posted on 11/12/2007 11:40:04 AM PST by Kevmo (We should withdraw from Iraq via Tehran. And Duncan Hunter is just the man to get that job done.)
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To: Kevmo

Sure. As you read it, you’ll notice that the way it played out was actually opposite of what Agabus said. He was bound by the gentiles and delivered into the hands of the Jews.

******************

Acts 21:10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

11And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

**********

Now fast forward...

31And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.

32Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.

>>>>>>>33Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. <<<<<<<

34And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle.

35And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people.

36For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him.

*****************

Acts 22:30 On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them.

Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

2And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.

3Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?

4And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest?
etc. etc.

So what do you think? I never noticed it before someone pointed it out to me.


18 posted on 11/12/2007 11:48:53 AM PST by ovrtaxt (You're a destiny that God wrapped a body around.)
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To: ovrtaxt

So what do you think? I never noticed it before someone pointed it out to me.
***I think it’s a pretty good point. I’ll be praying about it.


19 posted on 11/12/2007 11:52:10 AM PST by Kevmo (We should withdraw from Iraq via Tehran. And Duncan Hunter is just the man to get that job done.)
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To: Kevmo

Cool. Be blessed!


20 posted on 11/12/2007 11:58:44 AM PST by ovrtaxt (You're a destiny that God wrapped a body around.)
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To: Greg F
The implication is that it is end time theorists self-fulfilling prophecies that will bring about Armeggedon.

Actually, I think the implication is that these prophecy nuts have no concept of biblical Armageddon, but what they will provoke by their rhetoric and action is something like Armageddon-lite. Just enough nukes to toast the faithful in the Middle East.

21 posted on 11/12/2007 12:02:30 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: topcat54

Ah, so you are worried that a group that has their eschatology messed up will create a war that is not Armeggedon, but just a bloody mess. Could happen.


22 posted on 11/12/2007 12:06:23 PM PST by Greg F (Duncan Hunter is a good man.)
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To: topcat54
Actually, I think the implication is that these prophecy nuts have no concept of biblical Armageddon,

"Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him.Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?" (Amos 5).

23 posted on 11/12/2007 12:12:45 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("Dispensationalism -- threat or menace?")
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To: Greg F
Ah, so you are worried that a group that has their eschatology messed up will create a war that is not Armeggedon, but just a bloody mess. Could happen.

Eggzacktily … Wacky theology on paper is a nuisance. Wacky theology used to influence kings and presidents is a dangerous thing altogether.

24 posted on 11/12/2007 12:46:14 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: ovrtaxt
Isn’t this exactly what the Iranians are trying to do with their 12th Imam beliefs? Bringing about the end times with nukes.

Sure seems like it.

25 posted on 11/12/2007 12:50:46 PM PST by GoLightly
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