Evangelicals, Mystic Rabbis and Donald Trump

Last week, I noted this quote from Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz:

Jewish rabbis have historically viewed solar eclipses as warnings from God to Gentile nations. Therefore, my perspective on the upcoming phenomenon is not celebratory.

Lotz’s enthusiam for “Jewish rabbis” is perhaps an advance on her father’s (private) anti-Semitism, but the context here is not inter-faith appreciation but rather Rabbis as exotic mystical figures who have esoteric knowledge about how God makes himself known to the world.

This seems to be a growing trend in American Evangelicalism – the best-selling Messianic Rabbi and End-Times prognosticator Jonathan Cahn trades on his Jewish heritage to present himself as someone with special insight into “Hebrew mysteries“, while the website Breaking Israel News relays “End Times” statements by various Rabbis in Israel to a Christian Zionist readership (discussed here). The trend is perhaps related to the realisation that a proper understanding of Judaism and Jewish traditions can illuminate the life of Jesus – this is uncontroversial, but it has led to the appropriation of Jewish artefacts by some evangelicals (sometimes with eccentric and bad-taste results), and an idiosyncratic “Hebrew Roots” movement.

Another factor may be the popularity of the idea of “Bible Codes” – the concept developed out of the Jewish tradition, and purported discoveries both confirm the status of the Bible as revealed by God and provide believers with a sense that they have knowledge of the future. Thus last year an item in Breaking News Israel found its ways to the Evangelical/Pentecostal news service Charisma News under the heading “Rabbi Predicts Trump Will Win and Usher in the Second Coming“, in which Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson revealed codes linking Trump to the word “Messiah” (obviously he didn’t use the phrase “Second Coming”).

That particular article points towards a related theme: that Jewish mystical knowledge provides further confirmation of Donald Trump as a Divinely appointed figure within a Christian cosmological scheme. This was expounded last year by the conspiracy theorist Tom Horn, speaking as a guest on the Jim Bakker Show. Right Wing Watch has the clip, although I’m responsible for the transcription:

…Rabbi Meir Horowitz 300 years ago, working on Daniel’s time, time, and half a time, and he set a date, he set a date, 300 years ago. He said this will all happen, the Messiah will arrive, the End Times will begin in the Jewish calendar year 5777. The Rabbis have held that dear to them to since then. What is that? That 2016 to 2017, Messiah will arrive.

Now, they’re looking at Donald Trump. One of the Rabbis illustrated how his name in the Gematria, the numerology of his name, actually means “Messiah”. Now there’s some weird stuff here that’s going on. So, think about this for a moment. In the Jewish Zohar, 700 years ago in medieval Aramaic, Orthodox Jews speculated about when will the Messiah be on the earth, right? And in the [unclear] section of the Zohar they said he will arrive on earth in the year – he will make himself known – in the year 5773 which was 2012 to 2013.

Oddly enough, Trump goes to Israel in 2012, decides not to run for US President, meets with heads of states, comes out of that – you can watch the YouTube on television – and he starts talking to the Jewish people, telling them to vote for Benjamin Netanyahu in the Likud party, which they did, right?

The general outline for this has been taken from two Breaking Israel News items (here and here). Horn placed special significance in the year 2012 in his 2009 volume Apollyon Rising 2012: The Lost Symbol Found and the Final Mystery of the Great Seal Revealed, which he followed up in 2013 with Zenith 2016: Did Something Begin in the Year 2012 that will Reach its Apex in 2016? Horn’s new discovery that this “something” is that Trump made a statement supporting Netanyahu in 2013 seems something of an anti-climax, and hard to reconcile with his previous claims that the event to watch out for would be a sinister “installation of the King of the NWO”.

Horn continued by discussing how “the Jews” (a singular objectified entity in Horn’s mind) are waiting for a political Messiah who will defend Israel, and he claims that Trump’s election prompted “the Rabbis” to call for Jews to return to Israel, “because the Messiah is here”. Further:

They talk about when he arrives he is going to re-institute the Temple service. So what was the second thing they did? They called on Trump and Putin to use their power to rebuild the Temple and to re-institute the Temple service. I’m not saying that they think he is the Messiah. What I actually think is that most of the Rabbis there think he’s John the Baptist and the Messiah is about to appear. He’s the forerunner, he’s the guy who’s going to start the message in the wilderness, and the Messiah is going to come in on his heels, and so we need the Temple service, we need to get back into Israel, the Messiah – now, why are they saying that? They have identified somebody. I mean, there could be a few Rabbis who think he’s the Messiah.

The other third key is that he has to be of the Davidic dynasty. He has to be of the Davidic bloodline, and there is an effort right now to go back through the European monarchy, cousins of President Donald Trump, to show that his bloodline goes back to the Davidic dynasty.

The hedging here is incoherent. If Trump is not the Messiah, then why would there be “an effort” to look into his “bloodline”? And there is no link between European royalty and the “Davidic dynasty”, despite the fantasies of British-Israelism and similar.

But that’s just the start of the incoherence:

Why are these efforts underway? I’m just saying there’s something very strange here that’s going on, and everything I’m saying can be verified, multiple news agencies, the Jerusalem Post, Breaking Israel News, are all talking about this right now. So, they too believe that we are in the End Times. They too believe that the Messiah is about to appear. We would say the Second Coming is about to happen – but their Messiah is going to be a false Messiah, he’s going to be the anti-Christ, right? I also don’t believe Donald Trump is the anti-Christ.

This odd coda reveals two things.

First, the ambivalence of Christian Zionism towards Jews: Rabbis have special knowledge about God’s purposes, yet according to apocalyptic strands Jews will in due course align themselves with a living embodiment of evil. This is something I’ve noted before.

Second, the mental gymnastics required to be an “End Times” prognosticator in the age of Trump. Trump as the forerunner of the Anti-Christ is hardly much of an endorsement, yet somehow this cosmological significance is spun positively. This is because an old End Times scenario that played on uncertainty and resentment against a liberal establishment now has to be retconned for the benefit of a more congenial political development.

Footnote

(1) The Babylonian Talmud lists several causes of eclipses:

Eclipses of the sun occur for four reasons: because of the lack of prayers for the dead on the part of the head (high priest) of the Sanhedrin; because of the lack of aid to a fiancée who has asked the city for help when at the point of being raped; because of homosexuality; because of the simultaneous murder of two brothers. Eclipses of the moon and sun are also due to four reasons: because of those who falsify records (or signatures); because of those who allow false witnesses to step forward; because of those who breed small animals in the land of Israel; because of those who chop down trees in good condition.

3 Responses

  1. Short answer: Grifters gotta grift.

  2. Maybe it’s Jared’s bloodline they should be researching…

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