79 percent of evangelicals believe ‘violence across the Middle East is a sign that the end times are nearer’

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Is the return of Jesus Christ getting closer?  According to a survey conducted by the Brookings Institute’s Center for Middle East Policy entitled “American Attitudes Toward The Middle East And Israel“, 79 percent of all evangelical Christians in America believe that “the unfolding violence across the Middle East is a sign that the end times are nearer”.  In addition, the survey also discovered that evangelical Christians are also far more likely to be pro-Israel than the population as a whole, and most of them believe that Israel will control more territory than it currently possesses before Jesus comes back.  Many “secular” Americans may find this strange, but evangelical Christians really do view everything that is going on in the Middle East through the lens of Bible prophecy.  The vast majority of evangelicals truly believe that Jesus is actually coming back to our world, and most of them are fully convinced that Israel is going to play a leading role in the events of the last days.

Before I get to more of the survey results, I should disclose that I am a pro-Israel evangelical Christian that believes that the return of Jesus Christ will happen within my lifetime.  So this survey was very interested in finding out what people like me think.  With that in mind, here are more of the findings with my comments in italics after each point…

-Benjamin Netanyahu (16 percent) is the world leader that evangelicals admire most, followed by Ronald Reagan (11 percent) and Barack Obama (10 percent).

Comments: It should be no surprise that many evangelicals admire Benjamin Netanyahu more than any U.S. politician.  But how did Barack Obama get 10 percent?  Have 10 percent of all evangelical Christians in America gone completely insane?

39 percent of evangelicals say that Israel has too little influence on U.S. politics, while 23 percent say that Israel has too much influence on U.S. politics.

Comments: These numbers are much different than for the population as a whole.  Overall, the survey found that 37 percent of all Americans believe that Israel has too much influence on U.S. politics, and only 18 percent of all Americans believe that Israel has too little influence on U.S. politics.

55 percent of evangelicals say that “a candidate’s position on Israel matters a lot to them” when deciding who to vote for.

Comments: I know that this is true for me.  One of the very first things that I look for when evaluating any candidate is their position on Israel.  If I find out that a candidate is anti-Israel, I completely rule out casting a vote for that candidate.  Unfortunately, that means that there are hardly any politicians that I can actually vote for.

81 percent of evangelicals believe that Jesus will return to this planet.

Comments: So what are the other 19 percent thinking?  Haven’t they read the end of the book?  The Bible tells us over and over that Jesus is coming back.  Sadly, I believe that this is just part of a larger trend.  The church in America is increasingly moving away from interpreting the Bible literally, and that is a very bad thing.

75 percent of evangelicals believe that “things need to happen in Israel before Christ returns”.

Comments: This is very consistent with what the Bible says.  The Bible indicates that the nation of Israel will play a starring role in the last days, and what we have seen so far is just the beginning.

63 percent of evangelicals believe that “for the rapture or Second Coming to occur it is essential for current-
day Israel to include all the land they believe was promised to Biblical Israel in the Old Testament”.

I definitely agree that Israel will end up possessing more land than it does right now. But I think that the wording of this question probably threw a lot of believers off.  Were they referring to a pre-Tribulation rapture, a mid-Tribulation rapture, a pre-Wrath rapture or a rapture that comes at the end of the Tribulation?

Needless to say, these survey numbers are really surprising a lot of people – especially those that happen to be on the left end of the political spectrum.  For instance, just consider the following comments from Politico editor Susan Glasser

These numbers are very striking on the end of days theology that these respondents claim motivate them,” Politico editor Susan Glasser said during a panel discussion after the release of the survey at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Some of these numbers are really stark,” she added. “I mean, the percentage of American Evangelicals, according to your survey, who believe the end of times is nigh, is kind of eye popping, at least for secular America or blue America.”

And I am sure that some of these statistics are going to provoke some very strong reactions from my regular readers as well.

You have seen what I think, so now it is your turn.

What is your response to the numbers that you have just seen?  Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…

2 thoughts on “79 percent of evangelicals believe ‘violence across the Middle East is a sign that the end times are nearer’”

  1. I believe the majority of evangelicals seriously have the Israel question wrong! They believe God intends to give Jews the land that was promised because they are Jewish, and that is not biblical. From the very first time the land was given, God required faithfulness in order to inherit the land. Abraham had to be circumcised as a sign of faith in order to travel to the land and live in it as a stranger without possessing what was promised. All of the men in his household had to be circumcised as a sign of faith in order to live in the land. (Paul makes it clear that circumcision and Jewishness meant nothing without faith.)

    From the very beginning God said that those who were Jewish would be “CUT OFF” (CIRCUMCISED) from the land and the Promise of Abraham if they were unfaithful. When Moses led the people to the land, God turned them away because they were unfaithful. They had to wander in the wilderness for forty years to ponder just HOW unfaithful and thankless they had been until the whole faithless generation died. It was a brutal lesson.

    When Jews finally were allowed by God to enter the land, he ordered them to first pledge a curse upon themselves as a nation The curse stated that, shold they ever become unfaithful again while in the land, they lose the land. They could not KEEP it just because they were Jewish. The curse not only pledged that they would lose the land but that they would suffer horribly in the process. It is really quite a graphic and terrible curse that God ordered them to pronounce over themselves and all their progeny before he would allow any of them to enter. On the other hand, if they lived in the land faithfully, they would be blessed with abundance.

    Because Moses had at one point been slightly less than perfectly faithful (albeit far more faithful throughout than any other man or woman) he also was not allowed to enter the land as a clear sign of how important faithfulness was to attaining the Promise of Abraham. Generally, though, God has not required perfection, and he has been merciful in the face of a certain amount of unfaithfulness in the nation for the sake of the faithful and to extend time for the unfaithful to repent; but he has twice driven them out of the land based on the curse he had them proclaim over themselves and over their children for all time. Each time the lesson was bitterly painful. The suffering was almost beyond belief … to the point where starving Jewish women ate their own children!

    So, God is not (in my understanding) bringing them back into the land to simply give it to them because they are Jews. He has said he will bring them to the land as unfaithful IN ORDER TO MAKE THEM FAITHFUL. It is the last part that is all-important, not the first part about coming into the land. Simply put, they do not ever, nor have they ever, simply received the land for being Jews. In the current situation, God has given them only enough of the land to make the land a lure — to make them believe they can gain it as they are after leaving them without a country for almost 2,000 years. He has given them enough to draw a huge number of Jews there, but it is NOT to give them the land for being Jews — for simply being sons and daughters of Abraham. God could make sons and daughters of Abraham out of stones if that was all he wanted.

    If God wanted to give them land for being Jews, he would have given them the land when they first approached it with Moses. They were no less Jews when God brought them there under Moses just to turn them immediately away for being unfaithful than they were when they returned forty years later. The only difference was in how faithful the majority was. (Clearly they would not have ALL been perfectly faithful even when he let them enter.)

    These historic events almost always establish patterns for the future. So, if we look at that, we can understand that God is likely doing a similar kind of thing now. It is not in the least bit unlikely that he would bring them there again, just to turn them away the moment they thought they had the Promise in hand. The past is the best predictor of the future because God is consistent. The past establishes a pattern of how God will work with his people. It never has repeated precisely, but there is a pattern (like a metaphor) that makes sense of what is happening now.

    God has never cared for one race over another. He has cared about creating a people of faith, and he began doing that with Jews and extended that to all people in all nations through Jesus Christ. The ONLY acceptable way to show faithfulness to God now is in pledging and living faithfulness to Jesus, his son. THAT is what the Bible teaches, and God applied it to Jews from the moment Christ walked the earth. They lost the land of Israel because the majority rejected that plan.

    The land does not belong to anyone because they are a Jew. The land belongs to JESUS CHRIST and to all who are faithful to him, including Jews whom God is about to MAKE faithful. According to the Apostle Paul, Jesus Christ is the sole Jewish “seed” who inherited and passes along the Promise of Abraham. That is land and all. God is using the land of Israel to accomplish that aim. He has so entrenched a desire in the majority of Jews for that land that the desire naturally reaches a COVETOUS level, meaning a level to which many Jews crave the land of Israel more than anything else and will die and kill just to have the land. Many of them don’t express faith to God at all. Others insist they will express faith their way or NO WAY. A Jewish homeland is the most important thing on earth to many Jews (but certainly not to all). So, God has made the land the most potent lure imaginable, but that land is a curse to all who seek to attain it unfaithfully. It is a curse because they invoked that curse upon themselves and their children forever … long ago.

    This is not because God does not love them but because God prefers to work in natural ways. After all, he created nature because he loves it. The desserts of Israel are an anvil upon which God is going to hammer Jewish souls back into malleability. That’s a hugely unpopular thing to say that can get one labeled as anti-Semitic; but as I say, this is not because God hates Jews but because God let’s people have their own head. That’s and equestrian term for saying “let’s them go their own way.” The lesson will be as tough as it needs to be to pound itself home because faith is more important than life itself. Faith is eternal life.

    And THAT is why, since 1967, Israel has been losing land, not gaining it! Evangelicals are quick to point out that the post-war gift of the Land of Israel to Jews must have been a miracle from God, being as unlikely as it was for a nation to be restored after nearly 2,000 years. They are equally quick to point out that the Five-Day War in 1967 certainly looked like a miracle in how it delivered land and Jerusalem to Jews.

    And I agree. ALL of that was miraculous and part of God’s plan. And using Gentiles to get Jews into the land was part of his stated plan from the beginning. HOWEVER, if you are going to follow that reasoning, you also have to apply the same principle (in order to be honest) to understanding why they LOST Sinai and why they LOST Gaza. You can choose to say, as many evangelicals do, “Well, it is just because they have not grasped the land and fought for it with enough faith.” That’s pathetic theology. If you’re a Christian, how can you possibly not know that God does not care about people expressing their faith through land grabs? The New Testament clearly says that the ONLY expression of faith that is now acceptable to God is faith in Jesus Christ. You express true faithfulness, GOD’S way, not your own way.

    So, there is a reason they have been losing land ever since their last gain in 1967, and its not because they haven’t fought for it. That reason is the ONE THING the majority Jews in Israel today abhor most — Jesus Christ. How sad it is to have to say it in such stark terms. But many really do abhor Jesus. They cringe at his name.

    Missionary work toward Jews is outlawed, and those who are deeply involved in proselytizing Jews will certainly have insults hurled at them and the law thrown at them; but may also have rocks hurled at them. Some Christians (Messianic Jews especially) have had property destroyed by Hassidic Jews. Attempts to rebuild the temple and reinstitute the old religion that has not been practiced in the land for nearly 2,000 years are attempts to have things man’s way — the “Jewish” way. Those actions proclaim loudly, “We will NOT accept Christ! We will ONLY express faithfulness to God through the religion Moses gave us!” The modern temple builders truly and CONSCIOUSLY reject Jesus Christ as the cornerstone of faith and insist, instead, upon a temple built of stone with their own hands by their own efforts.

    And that is why (in my understanding) God has brought Jews there and why they are losing land as miraculously as they once gained it. I say “miraculously” losing land because … isn’t it odd that the stronger Israeli Jews have become militarily, the more land they have lost; and that they gained the most land in their military infancy? As they have sought to do more by their own power, the tide has turned from miraculous victories to surprising defeats.

    That is because the old curse invoked under the Laws of Moses is still active today. Those who try to live in the land in a faithless condition — the condition of all who reject Jesus Christ — are destined to suffer horribly, to gain enemies everywhere, and to lose what little land they have attained and to face complete obliteration until their own efforts are exhausted. That is to teach them that they can NEVER have the Promise without accepting the Promised Prince. They can NEVER do it their way and get what they want.

    There is ONE WAY, Jesus Christ, for ONE PEOPLE — all the people on earth who are faithful to Jesus and who inherit the promise given to Abraham through Jesus because God is no respecter of persons based on race. God is not creating two kingdoms of people — a Jewish one and a faithful Christian one. There is only one kingdom under Christ.

    The last days are all about God bringing Jews back into the promise BY BRINGING THEM INTO CHRIST’S KINGDOM. It is not at all about giving them land just for being Jewish. The land is their snare — God’s snare — by which he will capture them via the one thing that lures them most effectively. Given how hard their hearts are, the only way they will learn that they must accept Christ to enter the Promise is to have their hardened hearts tenderized. And how do you tenderize things? Pounding.

    The lesson will be pounded into them the hard way BECAUSE they insist on doing things their way — the hard-hearted way. The more they insist the land belongs to them simply because they are Jewish, the more they will gain enemies and lose friends. I see that as GOD’S plan because God has said in the Bible that it would happen in order to bring them to a point where they have exhausted all of their human efforts and all of the righteous acts that are done apart from faith in Christ. Thus, they will enter a situation that is existentially HOPELESS. And only then — in their time of absolute despair — will Jesus the Messiah return, and they will have the opportunity to accept him and his way 0R perish altogether. Each person will have their own individual choice to make.

    And that is why the people who were first to receive the Promise shall be last to obtain it. The people who were first to receive the scriptures shall be last to fully understand them and their part in them. A remnant of Jews, of course, has been faithful to Christ from the beginning of Christianity. After all, it was Jews who began Christianity and who spread it to the Gentiles. It started as a Jewish “cult” (in terms of how Judaism saw it).

    So, the promise and opportunity to participate in it has ALWAYS been available to Jews in every generation since. It is in that sense that it is eternal. An “everlasting promise” has NEVER BEEN UNCONDITIONAL. From the day in which it was expressed to Abraham, God laid out a condition of faithfulness to Abraham and his household and told Abraham that anyone could be “CUT OFF” from the promise if they were unfaithful to what God required. That was the meaning of circumcision — and outward sign on an intimate part of the body that you could be cut off. One cannot be unfaithful to a promise that has no conditions.

    So, it has always been wrong to understand “eternal” as meaning “unconditional.” The promise has always been held out to Jews (is eternal). Every year some Jews become faithful to it and enter it; but the majority of Jews have held stalwartly against accepting Christ as their messiah. So, when they eat their Passover meal and drink the cup of their Passover wine, they eat and drink judgment to themselves; because they are celebrating a feast that was entirely about Jesus Christ while refusing to recognize that fact.

    Truth is hard.

    –Knave Dave

    The Great Recession Blog

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