Tim LaHaye Backs “Glenn Beck’s End-Times Prophet” on Islamic Antichrist

A coup for “Glenn Beck’s End-Times Prophet” Joel Richardson:

“In The Islamic Antichrist, Joel Richardson reveals that the return of the Islamic Imam of the 12th century is none other than the Antichrist of Revelation. Every preacher in America should read this book.” —Tim Lahaye

One wonders why LaHaye didn’t make this discovery himself, given that he’s been in the “prophecy expert” racket for several decades longer than Richardson and has churned out numerous books about the supposed “Last Days”.

LaHaye’s Left Behind series (co-written with Jerry B. Jenkins) famously presents a European Antichrist, who becomes head of the United Nations. The first instalment of the story’s novelised theology features two characters discussing the Antichrist’s characteristics:

“…Almost every end-times writer I respect will come out of Western Europe, maybe Greece or Italy or Turkey” (340)

The book’s Antichrist is described as being of Roman ancestry and as being blond (one character compares him to Brad Pitt); this was a judicious interpretation, given that a few years later Jerry Falwell’s alternative Jewish Antichrist concept was greeted with distaste, for obvious reasons.

LaHaye makes similar claims in his “non-fiction” companion to the series,  Are We Living in the Last Days?, in which he further explains that the Antichrist

will sit in the [rebuilt Jerusalem] temple of God and proclaim himself to be God. (278)


In our Left Behind series we imagined that as part of the covenant he promises to dismantle and move the Dome of the Rock to his new capital in Babylon, where the mosque will be set up as a Muslim holy place. That would solve the tension between the Jews and Arabs over the Temple Mount… (128)

To put it bluntly, these are the ramblings of a fool – the notion that someone could claim to be God incarnate and persuade Muslims to go along with such a scheme is one of the most ludicrous propositions that I have ever read. It tells us more about the dynamic within particular segments of Christianity than anything to do with Islam; there is a long tradition of charismatic individuals who claim to receive special messages from God or to have supernatural powers, and it looks to me that Christian fears about accidentally following a “false teacher” who seems plausible have here been projected onto another religion.

LaHaye’s throw-away reference to Turkey fits with Richardson’s predictions about the Islamic world uniting under a Turkish Caliphate, and Islam does have a role in LaHaye’s eschatology, as allied with Russia against Israel – this goes back to apocalyptic books from the Cold War era, although the extent to which Russia will lead the alliance has been tweaked over the years by authors such as Hal Lindsey. However, Islam is not at the centre of LaHaye’s “End Times” universe – the first Left Behind book was published in 1995, and reflects conservative fears about the role of the United Nations during the Clinton era.

The Left Behind industry will doubtless keep on churning out books and spin-off products; but LaHaye is more than happy to jump on a more topical bandwagon.

The Great British Paedo Twitch-Fork

For the last week or so, British Twitter-users have been re-tweeting a list of well-known Conservative Party politicians and activists, based on a rumour that they were members of a elite paedophile ring operating in the 1980s. Some users have made direct accusations, while others have merely posted the names with “nudge-nudge wink-wink” comments attached. Those indulging in this include members of the public, conspiracy theorists such as David Icke, and public figures who ought to have known better, such as Sally Bercow, wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons. The list yesterday jumped from the internet onto television, when an amiable light-entertainment presenter handed a copy of the names to the Prime Minister live, provoking a stern and irritated warning from Cameron about a “witchhunt”.

And now, the Guardian has published evidence that at least one person on the list is completely innocent, and the victim of mistaken identity. The obvious dangers of the current vigilante atmosphere have thus been amply demonstrated. George Monbiot has already issued a mea culpa.

It seems to me that a several factors have been in play, beyond the astonishing scale of abuse which Jimmy Savile managed to get away with.

First, public confidence in institutional authority has been severely battered in recent years: we’ve seen churchmen engaging in and covering over child abuse; politicians stealing from the public with each other’s connivance; a long history of highly politicized and inappropriate undercover operations by the police; and corrupt links between police and media. The whole system seems to be geared to the benefit of elite “insiders” rather than for society as a whole: it is therefore no longer fantastical to imagine people at the top operating brazenly outside the law.

A second factor is wish-fulfilment; I get the distasteful impression that some people would be bitterly disappointed to discover that particular individuals have not been sexually abusing children. Some of the names on the list are associated with a political strand – the Tory Right – which many people find personally obnoxious. I can see why it would be grimly satisfying to imagine such persons ruined and disgraced through the discovery that they have been involved in exceptionally foul and self-debasing crimes – but mature adults ought to be able to be self-critical of the temptation (from which I don’t claim to be completely immune) to assume that a nasty rumour must therefore be true, or that someone asserting something in good faith cannot possibly be mistaken.

A third issue, for me at least, is the way that UK libel law and measures such as “super-injunctions” have been allowed to suppress information in the public interest – again, for the near-exclusive benefit of the wealthy. Not only is this an affront to free speech; it muddies the water for anyone who has a genuine grievance. Consequently, when I read about a successful libel action, or see a grudging “correction” in the media, I do not tend to assume that the person who brought a complaint has been vindicated. I suspect that some of those re-tweeting the names think that what they’re doing amounts to a form of samizdat.

The Twitter outburst gained momentum from a BBC Newsnight report into abuse at a children’s home in north Wales last week; the public was led to believe that an individual would be named as an abuser, but this did not happen. However, a week or so before that, Tom Watson MP had raised the question of a “powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament”.  Watson’s failure to be specific contributed to speculation – I myself assumed that he was perhaps referring to the north Wales case, when in fact he seems to have had other figures in mind.

I have no doubt that Watson spoke out in good faith, but the names on the Twitter list derive from a magazine dating from the early 1990s about which I am far less certain; I recall that at least one article indulged in crude racial stereotyping, and there seemed to be an unpleasant conflation of gay male sexuality with weird power games. I myself mentioned the magazine on Twitter when Watson made his statement; in hindsight, perhaps it would have been better not to have made even a passing reference to it.

It should be obvious that people waving around lists of names and news stories filled with innuendo is not the way to go about getting to the truth. I’m not dismissive of Watson’s general concern, but I fear he risks becoming another Geoffrey Dickens MP.

(see also this post by Heresy Corner)

(Last paragraphs amended)

Claim that Ancient Cedar Beams are being Burned in Jerusalem

From Arutz Sheva:

Video: Arabs Burning ‘First Temple Cedars of Lebanon’

A group of Jews that ascended the Temple Mount Sunday were shocked to see that ancient beams of wood that had apparently been used during the period of the Holy Temple were being used as firewood by Arabs on the Mount, and off it.

The background is that a number of wooden beams were removed from the Al-Aqsa mosque during refurbishments in the 1930s:

Some of the beams were dated to the first Temple period, others to Roman times, and at least one beam was found to have Byzantine-era designs etched on it.

Some were stored at the Islamic Museum, which is located on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, and  Arutz Sheva alleges that these beams have been exposed to the elements and now dumped; the story cites “reports” as saying that “that the Arabs, who have been trying for years to get rid of the beams, have begun burning them.”


Organizations that are involved in attempting to secure Jewish rights on the Mount expressed shock at the story. “It appears that this is part of the systematic attempts by Arabs to destroy all connections between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount,” said a spokesperson for one of the groups.

A short accompanying video shows some beams lying in a courtyard, with a small brazier burning some firewood in the background. It’s not at all clear whether these are beams taken from the Islamic Museum, or what is going on.

Certainly, the professionalism of Palestinian archaeology has been debased by denials of the existence of the ancient Jewish temples, and there are serious concerns about how recent building work in the area of the Temple Mount has been conducted (see my posts here and here). However, it’s not clear why the beams would be taken to represent some kind of “evidence” which Palestinians would try to destroy.

As well as the beams at the Islamic Museum, there is a collection held at the Rockefeller Museum, which has been subjected to recent scholarly analysis. In particular, the Journal of Archaeological Science published an article in November 1997 entitled “Comparative Dating Methods: Botanical Identification and 14C Dating of Carved Panels and Beams from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem”, by Nili Liphschitz, Gideon Biger, Georges Bonani, and W. Wolfli. The authors explain that twenty cypress tie-beams were identified in the 1930s, and that some of these were identified as cedar, “probably Cedar of Lebanon”, in the 1940s. The authors’ carbon-dating work revealed that:

Most of the timbers examined date to the Byzantine period, whereas two cypress beams and one log date to earlier periods (9th–2nd centuries BC).

They also cited earlier study relating to “some other roof-timbers removed from the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the 1960s”, which revealed that one cypress log and a Turkey oak log “dated to the Iron Age, i.e. the time of the First Temple”; the mosque thus incorporated timber “that was already over 1000 years old”. However, the authors do not pronounce on the meaning of this:

…the existence of the cypress logs dated to the 9th–2nd centuries BC in the Al-Aqsa Mosque raises many questions concerning their origin in constructions built more than 1500 years earlier.

For the most part, though, the timbers are Byzantine, and the authors, quoting Procopius, suggest that they derive from constructions undertaken by Justinian and destroyed by earthquakes or Persians in the early seventh century. Other wood was taken from old Roman and Hellenistic buildings.

It therefore seems unlikely that the beams have much to say about “connections between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount”; and if the inference is that a beam may have been part of the First Temple itself, this seems a highly unlikely prospect given the site’s destruction in the early sixth century BCE and again in 70CE.

Having said all that, though, we need to have a proper explanation of the scene in the video. Are historically-valuable remains being destroyed? And, if so, why?

Nadine Dorries MP Seizes Self-Promotion Opportunity, Film at 11

As is being widely reported:

The Conservative party has suspended Nadine Dorries after it emerged she is to take time off from parliament to be a contestant in ITV’s jungle-based reality show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here.

…Dorries, who has flown to Australia to prepare for the show – which is set in an outdoor studio in the Queensland jungle – tried to justify the decision by saying the programme would act as a platform to reach the public and raise awareness about issues such as a reduction in the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 20.

She told the Sun: “I’m doing the show because 16 million people watch it. If people are watching I’m A Celebrity, that is where MPs should be going. I’m not going in there to upset people, but I have opinions.”

Of course, Dorries is essentially a narcissist, and it is absurd to imagine that she would have turned down the chance to express her opinions and promote herself on television just because the opportunity happens to clash with her duties as a public servant. Even a threat of de-selection would be unlikely to faze her; Dorries’ deteriorating relationship with the Prime Minister is almost certainly beyond repair by now anyway.

Fleet Street Fox has perhaps the best commentary (links added):

She can generate headlines, practice hypocrisy and nepotism, mislead, money-grab, shag [another woman’s] husband…, take bad advice, is blatantly opportunistic and appears never to have been blighted by self-doubt.

Taking all that on board, she’s an excellent candidate for celebrity.

With the taxpayers’ trough of state denied her and nothing to rely upon except her undeniable flair for guff, fluff and gobbing off, the only route left to her is the George Galloway Expressway, with stop-offs scheduled at Opikville, Midsummer Mensch and Widdecombe Historical Village.

Those supporting her decision include Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home, for which Dorries provides a column; he writes that she had told him about her plans “some months ago”. Also on board is Sally Bercow, wife of the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow; she asserts that appearing on the show is just a bit of moonlighting and that she may inspire “just a few to enter politics”. It’s sad to see Bercow pushing such a weak line for her husband’s benefit; John Bercow had been subjected to a barrage of personally-insulting abuse from Dorries (“oily opportunist”) until he decided upon a policy of appeasement.

Damian Thompson, meanwhile, attacks David Cameron’s decision to suspend her:

Nice one, Dave. You try to save the career of the odious snob [Andrew] Mitchell, but come down like a ton of bricks on a working-class woman who embarrasses you.

However, that’s not the only way by which we can contrast Cameron’s sudden ability to rouse himself now with his failure to act on previous occasions. As the New Statesman‘s David Allen Green notes:

So the Tories suspend #Dorries, not for irregularities over her expenses or falsehoods about bloggers, but because of a “reality show”

I’ve written about those “falsehoods about bloggers” myself; Dorries lies and distortions are designed to discourage critical scrutiny, and they have been used by others in bad faith to put a vigilante gloss on acts of harassment in relation to other matters (I’ve received some fire myself from these elements for daring to point out what’s been going on).

Incidentally, that Fleet Street Fox article includes a background passage worth noting:

 She was accused of having an affair with a married family friend, and when news broke instead of saying ‘well yes, but he had already left his wife and the children are fine with it’ her then media adviser told journalists his wife was an alcoholic. (When she said this to me, I turned off the tape and asked if she really wanted to go down that route. The media expert said yes because it would ‘kill the story’. Sigh.)

At the time, Dorries told a different story on her old Twitter account, which no longer exists. She wrote that “I would never have discussed but was boxed into a corner”, and that she “hated doing that, but had to to defend the kids from horrible lies”.

Enjoy “End-Time Insights from Joseph Farah” While on Holiday in Israel

How’s this for an offer?

WASHINGTON – The author of the No. 1 Christian book of 2012 and the producer of the No. 1 faith film of 2012 have teamed up for a super-tour of Israel one year from now.

Jonathan Cahn, the author of the runaway bestseller “The Harbinger,” and WND’s Joseph Farah, producer of the documentary based on that teaching, “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” the No. 1 faith video for the last 33 straight weeks, will lead a pilgrimage of Israel from Nov. 7 through Nov. 17 next year.

Clicking on that link leads to the tour operator’s website, where we’re promised

Contemporary End-Time Insights from Joseph Farah Plus SPECIAL Guests & Surprises

I’ve written about Cahn’s Harbinger, and his claims to have special insight into “Hebrew mysteries” previously; I’ve also logged some of Farah’s ludicrous pretensions to expertise in prophecy (clue: anyone who bills themselves being a “prophecy expert” or such is a charlatan; such persons should never be mistaken for Biblical scholars).

The tour itself looks like standard devotional fare, taking in sites traditionally associated with Biblical stories and the life of Jesus, as well as touristy experiences such as a “night in a Bedouin tent near the Dead Sea”. There’s also a hokey opportunity “to take part in prophecy by planting a tree in the Holy Land at Neot Kdumim”, but the overall emphasis is on the Biblical past rather than Farah and Cahn’s apocalyptic obsessions.

The tour is being organised by Shalom Almog’s Coral Tours, which specialises in Christian travel to Israel. His clients include Pastor Gary Burd, who runs a Pentecostal biker ministry called Mission: M25 Ministry of Hope. A year ago, Beliefnet described how  “a group of tattooed Texans on a mission of solidarity roared up to Israel’s Temple Mount and joined Orthodox Jews praying Sunday night at the Western Wall”.

Mitt Romney and the Return of Christ

There is renewed attention on 2007 comments made by Mitt Romney on the subject of the return of Christ; Hollywood Reporter notes:

Taped during Romney’s first presidential run on Aug. 4, 2007, the five-minute video features Romney defending his views to conservative radio host Jan Mickelson…

The video has been a hot topic on Twitter since being uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday. Alyssa Milano has tweeted it to her 2.2 million followersand film critic Roger Ebert and Graham Linehan, the Irish TV writer behind hit U.K. comedy The IT Crowd, have posted it, as well. Linehan then went on a lengthy tear, satirizing Romney’s beliefs.

In fact, although the video was re-uploaded on Wednesday, it’s been available for months; David Brody discussed it for CBN in March, and Tim Murphy at Mother Jones soon afterwards:

…Romney did recommend a [Cleon] Skousen book later in the discussion, when the subject turned to Mormon eschatology. “Cleon Skousen has a book called The Thousand Years,” Romney told Mickelson. The Thousand Years is actually a trilogy that details the 4,000 years that elapsed between the creation of the earth and the birth of Christ. The book, Romney said, could set Mickelson straight on what he actually believes. “It’s throughout the Bible. Christ appears in Jerusalem, splits the Mount of Olives to stop the war that’s coming in to kill all the Jews… That’s when the coming and glory of Christ occurs.”

Further, for the following one thousand years

…the world is reigned in two places, Jerusalem and Missouri.

This detail may sound particularly risible, but that’s because for most of us the concept of “holy scripture” is bound up with ancient texts whose authors had no clue about the existence of another continent on the other side of the world.

At Religion Dispatches, Joanna Brooks was sceptical of reading too much into Romney’s citation of Skousen:

Truth is, Mitt Romney probably couldn’t care less about Cleon Skousen, except as name to drop when trying to score on conservative talk radio… Forget Skousen. Stop thinking of Mormonism as a fringe religious movement.

We should keep this note of caution in mind. As I’ve written previously, many Christians, if asked, will affirm the imminent return of Christ, but the concept doesn’t really form a operative part of their religious identity or thinking. It’s true that some Christians are more actively interested in the subject, consuming the works of apocalyptic evangelists, just as a wider segment of the general public expresses enthusiasm for pop interpretations of Nostradamus or claims about the Mayan Calender – but this hardly ever translates into patterns of personal behaviour that make sense only in relation to an imminent divine intervention.

Of course, as a specific an relatively narrow religious organisation, the Church of Latter Day Saints allows less room for personal manoeuvre than a general identification with Christianity (or even with Roman Catholicism), but I would need more evidence in order to become seriously concerned that Romney would base foreign policy decisions on the prospect of Christ splitting the Mount of Olives.

However, it’s difficult to recall another presidential candidate expounding in public on the Last Days in such specific detail. Ronald Reagan supposedly discussed Russia and Ezekiel with California State Senator James Mills in 1971, and there are accounts of similar  ruminations while in presidential office, but his efforts to limit nuclear arms suggests that he was far from a fatalist on the issue. In all probability, Reagan’s apocalypticism was a private pop-culture quirk.

More recently, end-times pastor John Hagee had a line to George W. Bush, but evidence that Hagee succeeded in influencing policy is hard to detect.

Evangelists Receive Visions from God Confirming Divine Endorsement of Romney

As the election approaches, US neo-Pentecostal magazine of record Charisma is urging readers to vote for Romney. The magazine’s owner, Stephen Strang, listed his reasons a couple of days ago, but he’s also heavily promoting evangelists who claim to have received special supernatural signs from God.

First up, Lou Engle:

 …my closest friend (and a true prophet in my life) had a compelling dream concerning Romney’s viability as a candidate. In the dream, Romney was clearly favorable from a divine perspective. After this, the substance of my friend’s dream was immediately confirmed by another prophetic encounter from another well-known prophetic voice… these prophetic experiences seemed to indicate that Romney was a sort of window of mercy to America on several fronts, but chiefly the dividing of Jerusalem.

This may be disappointingly lukewarm, perhaps reflecting the Christian right preference for Rick Perry or Rick Santorum, but James W. Goll (among other things, an instructor at C. Peter Wagner’s Wagner Leadership Institute) more than compensates:

In early 2008 when the U.S. presidential primaries were in full swing, I was given a visitation from the Lord. It was one I did not fully understand at the time…

Then the voice of the Lord came in the dream, Liberalism will reign for a season in the land and then it will become popular for moderacy [sic] to rule, which could ultimately lead to true conservatism…

Suddenly, I was awakened from the dream and the basement room was tangibly filled with the presence of destiny. I then saw in the seer realm a baseball game in action… Then the external voice of the Lord came to me saying, When the nation has been thrown a curve ball, I will have a man prepared who comes from the state of Michigan and he will have a big mitt capable of catching whatever is thrown his way.

…Little did I know at that time that Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, was born in the state of Michigan. Little did I know, when I received this in 2008, that he would win his party’s primary for the 2012 national elections!

Third, we have Rick Joyner:

One of the questions I hear from Christians is the following: How can we vote for a Mormon? That is a good question. Though I am not an expert on Mormonism, I was shown 25 years ago that a great revival would be coming to the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was shown that they were like the Samaritans in Scripture, who did have a mixture in their beliefs, but who were the most responsive to the gospel of any other group.

I discussed Joyner’s appreciation for Mormonism – which includes a semi-endorsement of the unofficial “White Horse Prophecy” – here. Joyner also discussed his concerns about Obama’s alleged Liberation Theology:

…Some believe that the purpose of the Liberation Theology movement was to be a bridge between Christianity and Islam, which would lead Christians to Islam. I could not personally confirm that, but our President claims to be a Christian, yet the fruit of his practice and his policy has done more to hurt Christianity than any previous administration, and he’s done more to help Islam. Any thinking person should ask why would the Obama Administration give Muslims an exemption from the healthcare law, but use it to fundamentally attack the religious liberty of the Catholic Church, as well as other Christians who object to some of its basic tenets? These actions reveal core values, and they are deeply alarming.

As an American, I was also very troubled when our president once responded to the question of why he did not wear an American pin on his lapel—he said he didn’t want to appear to take sides…

Obama did indeed at one time express criticism of the flag lapel fetish, back in 2007 when he was a senator. However, his concern was that it had become “a substitute for I think true patriotism”, not that he didn’t wish to “take sides”; that claim was was an invented quote which Snopes has long-debunked. The “exemption from the healthcare law”, meanwhile, is for Amish and Mennonites, as I noted here, not for Muslims.

In 2011, in the wake of Fukushima, Joyner predicted an imminent earthquake that would destroy the west coast of the USA. One hopes not too many people fled to the east coast to escape.

(H/T Right Wing Watch for some of the links)