Together at Last: Joel Richardson and Glenn Beck

Joel Richardson has finally made it onto Glenn Beck’s show – WorldNetDaily reports:

Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck today said Americans should be alarmed over the revelations of a WND Books product, The Islamic Antichrist, in which author Joel Richardson documents the similarities between the “bad guy” of the Bible, the Antichrist, and the “good guy” of the Quran, the Mahdi.

Richardson’s book discusses his analysis of the Bible’s account of the end times and that of the Quran, including his conclusions about the “Antichrist,” who is described by the Bible as the ultimate enemy of God and His people, the Jews and Christians. The Mahdi, meanwhile, in Islam is forecast to be someone who comes to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

The book has a cover blurb from Robert Spencer, and WND has puffed it on numerous occasions. Further:

Media Matters for America launched an immediate response, called, “Who is Joel Richardson, Beck’s End Times Prophet?”

The Media Matters article can be seen here; it includes as a subheading “Beck’s Media Empire Increasingly Promoting Richardson”, and there is a partial transcript of an interview with Sid Roth, in which Richardson explains the supernatural inspiration that guides his Biblical exegesis:

…Just before my wife and I met, there was a prophetess that prayed over my wife and one of the things she said, was she said, “Your husband, you will marry someone that will have significant insight into the end times, and he’ll release new prophetic understanding concerning the end times to the church and to the world.” And so my wife and I are sitting in this meeting, 7,000 people, large civic center type of situation, in the very back. And before he spoke, he said, “I want to share a prophetic word in order to show that what I want to speak on is from the Lord.” He called us out by name, and then he spoke things to us that no man could know. Things that we had been praying about. Things that only we know, that only the Lord, only God could reveal to a man. And that gets your attention.

Media Matters also notes that Richardson agrees that “Islam is of the Devil“, although it should be made clear that he wrote against Pastor Terry Jones’ plan to burn the Koran. But what of Beck’s Mormonism? Is that “of the Devil”, too? Richardson is personable, and he has occasionally left comments on this blog. He explained his position to me back in July:

As an orthdox Christian, obviously I do not agree with various tenets of Mormon theology. However (in exchange for your reliability with regard to drawing more attention to my writings, I will supply you with an excellent quote for future use) Glenn Beck is one of the most genuinely prophetic voices to have emerged in this nation in many years. If your opinion of him however is formed largely through such biased and extremist outlets such as Media Matters or the Huffington Post (Gog and Demagogue) and if you don’t watch his show regularly, you will certainly fail to see this. End quote.

Of course, Richardson is far from unique in his enthusiasm: most Christian Right leaders in the USA have a symbiotic relationship with Beck, in which they promote him, and, in return, receive huge publicity boosts for themselves. This was seen most clearly at the end of last August, at Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally.

However, while Richardson takes a relaxed view of Mormonism, even though it rejects fundamental aspects of historic Christian theology, he takes a sterner line with Christians who have socio-economic views that he finds uncongenial: Christians with a concern for “social justice” are actually Marxist infiltrators working for the anti-Christ.

WorldNetDaily adds:

Richardson’s book also takes on the popular assumption among Christians that the Antichrist will come from a revived Roman Empire, which many have assumed is associated with the Roman Catholic Church and the European Union.

“The Bible abounds with proofs that the Antichrist’s empire will consist only of nations that are, today,Islamic,” Richardson explains. “Despite the numerous prevailing arguments for the emergence of a revived European Roman empire as the Antichrist’s power base, the specific nations the Bible identifies as comprising his empire are today all Muslim.”

Richardson believes the key error of many previous prophecy scholars involves the misinterpretation of a prediction by Daniel to Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel describes the rise and fall of empires of the future, leading to the end times. Western Christians have viewed one of those empires as Rome, when, claims Richardson, Rome never actually conquered Babylon and was thus disqualified as a possibility.

This is all absolute rubbish. As I’ve written previously, the Book of Daniel, like the other books of the Bible, was written with a contemporary audience in mind; it does not contain secrets that make sense only thousands of years later. The various empires that concern the author end with that of his own time and location: the Hellenistic kingdoms of the post-Alexander period. The author is not interested in Rome, and shows no knowledge of any kind of “Islamic Empire” hundreds of years in the future.  Babylon as a city had already lost much of its historical significance by the time the book was composed, and by the Islamic period the town itself was largely a ruin.

But then again, God hasn’t “released” to me a “new prophetic understanding concerning the end times” that would obviate the need to consider the Bible in historical or literary context – or to use a bit of reason.