Is an apocalyptic war on Iran by the US and Israel coming, driven by American Evangelical "rapture" theology of end times prophecy? Pompeo's latest suggestion that God "raised Trump for such a time as this" doesn't bode well for the region, or at least for those who hope to avoid a WWIII scenario. Apparently, Pompeo truly believes that Trump was sent by God to save Israel, and that the Golan is to be the first US bestowed "gift" bringing the world closer to "end times" fulfillment.
While on his multi-country tour of the Middle East on Thursday, the US secretary of state responded to a question from the Christian Broadcast Network's Chris Mitchell during a press conference in Jerusalem, who asked, "could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?"
Pompeo responded, "As a Christian, I certainly believe that's possible" in agreement with the bizarre question. Crucially, this came the same day Trump tweeted his intention for the US to formally recognize full Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. This after Syria previously warned Israel its continued unlawful occupation of the long disputed territory would lead to war.
Pompeo added that he's "confident that the Lord is at work here" in viewing firsthand the "remarkable history of the faith in this place and the work that our administration's done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains."
Pompeo was referencing in part the Trump administration's deeply controversial recognition of Jerusalem as the permanent capital of Israel last year, and related decision to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv.
Remarking on "the work that our administration's done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains," the secretary of state added: "I am confident that the Lord is at work here." — NBC
All of this makes the following a serious question: is the White House's Middle East policy being driven by some kind of Evangelical apocalyptic desire to usher in biblical prophecy?
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2019
As explained in a prior backgrounder by Quartz:
Belief in the Rapture, also known as millenarianism or eschatology, has multiple variations, but the core view is that there will an apocalyptic war, Jesus will return, and true Christians will be “raptured” or ascend to heaven, with the rest of the earth’s inhabitants punished. Rapture believers are split about the order of events, but they are united in the belief that only Christians will be saved.
Preachers of this scenario include the recently-deceased Billy Graham, mega-church founder Pat Robertson (who says Trump is implementing “God’s plan“) and many lesser-known “end is nigh” prophets around the country.
And "rapture"-inspired preachers have been leading group studies at the White House for a while now, though it should be noted that it's not the first administration to host such preachers.
Quartz observes further:
In the Trump White House, a weekly bible study group calls its brand of faith “historical evangelicalism.” Biblical scholars say the group shares the “end of times” message of “Rapture” theologians in its statement of faith and founder Ralph Drollinger’s own published lessons.
But again addressing the original question of whether US policy is now being driven by "rapture theology" — we do have the Secretary of State in his own words not long prior to the Trump administration's taking the White House.
In 2015 he said at a church event,
"We will continue to fight these battles, it is a never ending struggle... until the Rapture."
In light of the nutso "Esther" quote, here's your daily reminder that Mike Pompeo, our SECRETARY OF STATE, said "We will continue to fight these battles, it is a never ending struggle... until the Rapture." In 2015. pic.twitter.com/ciP0FykGP5— Tommy MMXIXtopher (@tommyxtopher) March 22, 2019
As Pompeo is now in Lebanon on Friday, continuing his Middle East tour, he's already received a somewhat icy reception from President Michel Aoun and other Lebanese officials.
In his remarks in Beirut, Pompeo urged the Lebanese people to stand up to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed group he said was “committed to spreading destruction.”