Maybe you think a bird flu pandemic will be a world destroying event and maybe you don’t think so. Most people who read this site, however, fear a pandemic. There are others, though, for whom a really bad pandemic is just the ticket. They are the “End Times” religious groups, and all of the Big Three western superstitions have them. More (if you can handle it), below the fold.
. . . mega-church pastors recently met in Inglewood to polish strategies for using global communications and aircraft to transport missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission: to make every person on Earth aware of Jesus’ message. Doing so, they believe, will bring about the end, perhaps within two decades.
In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a far different vision. As mayor of Tehran in 2004, he spent millions on improvements to make the city more welcoming for the return of a Muslim messiah known as the Mahdi, according to a recent report by the American Foreign Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank.
To the majority of Shiites, the Mahdi was the last of the prophet Muhammad’s true heirs, his 12 righteous descendants chosen by God to lead the faithful.
Ahmadinejad hopes to welcome the Mahdi to Tehran within two years.
Conversely, some Jewish groups in Jerusalem hope to clear the path for their own messiah by rebuilding a temple on a site now occupied by one of Islam’s holiest shrines.
Artisans have re-created priestly robes of white linen, gem-studded breastplates, silver trumpets and solid-gold menorahs to be used in the Holy Temple — along with two 6½-ton marble cornerstones for the building’s foundation.
Then there is Clyde Lott, a Mississippi revivalist preacher and cattle rancher. He is trying to raise a unique herd of red heifers to satisfy an obscure injunction in the Book of Numbers: the sacrifice of a blemish-free red heifer for purification rituals needed to pave the way for the messiah.
So far, only one of his cows has been verified by rabbis as worthy, meaning they failed to turn up even three white or black hairs on the animal’s body.
Linking these efforts is a belief that modern technologies and global communications have made it possible to induce completion of God’s plan within this generation.
Though there are myriad interpretations of how it will play out, the basic Christian apocalyptic countdown — as described by the Book of Revelation in the New Testament — is as follows:
Jews return to Israel after 2,000 years, the Holy Temple is rebuilt, billions of people perish during seven years of natural disasters and plagues, the antichrist arises and rules the world, the battle of Armageddon erupts in the vicinity of Israel, Jesus returns to defeat Satan’s armies and preside over Judgment Day. (LA TImes)
This is the bedrock for evangelical Christian support for Israel.
For Christians, the future of Israel is the key to any end-times scenario, and various groups are reaching out to Jews — or proselytizing among them — to advance the Second Coming.
A growing number of fundamentalist Christians in mostly Southern states are adopting Jewish religious practices to align themselves with prophecies saying that Gentiles will stand as one with Jews when the end is near.
Evangelist John C. Hagee of the 19,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio has helped 12,000 Russian Jews move to Israel, and donated several million dollars to Israeli hospitals and orphanages.
“We are the generation that will probably see the rapture of the church,” Hagee said, referring to a moment in advance of Jesus’ return when the world’s true believers will be airlifted into heaven.
Well, that’s fine, but friends of Israel might want to be careful whom they get in bed with:
By contrast, Bill McCartney, a former University of Colorado football coach and co-founder of the evangelical Promise Keepers movement for men, which became huge in the 1990s, has had a devil of a time getting his own apocalyptic campaign off the ground.
It’s called The Road to Jerusalem, and its mission is to convert Jews to Christianity — while there is still time.
“Our whole purpose is to hasten the end times,” he said. “The Bible says Jews will be brought to jealousy when they see Christians and Jewish believers together as one — they’ll want to be a part of that. That’s going to signal Jesus’ return.”
Jews and others who don’t accept Jesus, he added matter-of-factly, “are toast.”
Oops. Well, nevermind. Jews are also in on the act:
Meanwhile, in what has become a spectacular annual routine, Jews — hoping to rebuild the Holy Temple destroyed by the Romans in AD 70 — attempt to haul the 6 1/2 -ton cornerstones by truck up to the Temple Mount, the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock shrine. Each year, they are turned back by police.
Among those turned away is Gershon Solomon, spokesman for Jerusalem’s Temple Institute. When the temple is built, he said, “Islam is over.”
“I’m grateful for all the wonderful Christian angels wanting to help us,” Solomon added, acknowledging the political support from “Christians who are now Israel’s best lobbyists in the United States.”
However, when asked to comment on the fate of non-Christians upon the Second Coming of Jesus, he said, “That’s a very embarrassing question. What can I tell you? That’s a very terrible Christian idea.
“What kind of religion is it that expects another religion will be destroyed?”
You mean like, “Islam will be over”?
What a bunch of fruitcakes. As I remember, most people don’t really like fruitcake, though. Bad for the teeth.