Pastor Robert Jeffress’ declaration that the Invisible Wizard has authorized Donald Trump to incinerate North Korea inspired Bruce Gerencser to publish a welcome piece taking-up the evangelical hunger for Apocalypse, “fire and fury,” the return of Jesus, et cetera, et cetera.
Evangelicals such as Jeffress believe that life on planet Earth will continue to spiritually and morally deteriorate until God has had enough and tells Gabriel to blow his trumpet, signaling to Jesus that it is time for him to return to earth and safely carry away all the True Christians®. For the Jeffresses of the world, the rapture will be the mother of all middle fingers, telling us God-haters that we are in for it now; that God is going to literally do to us what is recorded in the book of Revelation.
This kind of thinking should scare the shit out of rational people, not because Jesus is going to return to earth — he’s not — or that a mythical God is going to turn the earth into a dystopian novel of epic proportions — she’s not. What should scare us is that people who believe these things have the ear of the toddler-in-chief, Donald Trump.
This is something that needs to be understood: Right here in America, where free education is universal, there are people whose minds are so dysfunctional that they actually believe this deranged vengeance fantasy. They yearn for the day when the Godly are whooshed off to a different plane and all the rest of us get what’s coming to us.
What is more, they are sure this is going to happen … any time now.
So a nuclear conflagration is … good news! The time is at hand!
The inspiration for this madness is the book of Revelation, so here are a few things you need to know.
Nobody knows who wrote Revelation. It may have been a minor, early church official known as John the Presbyter. It may have been John the Baptist. It may have been some guy named John. Given the bizarre events ‘foretold’ in Revelation, it may have been the 1st-century analog of a bunch of drunk college boys.
Because of stylistic and theological differences, practically every serious-minded scholar on earth agrees that it wasn’t the same person who wrote The Gospel of John.
Nobody knows when Revelation was written, but most scholars think it was written during or soon after the failure of the Jewish Rebellion. Thus the lurid hunger for bloodshed.
Because of doubts about Revelation’s inspiration and provenance, theologians argued for centuries about whether or not the text ought to be part of the canon.
Perhaps coincidentally, the inclusion of Revelation was first promoted by Ireneus ~ 175 A.D.; he was then the Bishop of what is now Lyons, France. His district’s sales were in decline and his church’s followers were immensely unpopular — and Revelation gave him just the carrot-and-stick he needed to keep them in line and drive his numbers back up.
You can read all about it in Jonathan Kirsch’s A History of the End of the World, a well-researched and -written history of Revelation and its baleful influence.
The Bible in general, and Revelation in particular, remain important because insecure and foolish people fall for the brazen marketing lie that the Bible is inerrant, a seedy bit of legerdemain that serves no purpose but to affirm the authority of preachers as guides to the mysteries.
Enough. It’s degrading nonsense, and the people who peddle it deserve only our contempt.