The Media’s Obsession with Armageddon
For various reasons, the mainstream media seems to be back to their old habit of slandering Christian supporters of Israel by presenting them as warmongers who are thirsting for Armageddon. This is more than religious bias and journalistic malpractice, it is a modern-day blood libel. And if anyone is obsessing over the Apocalypse, perhaps it is not evangelical Christians so much as the ‘fourth estate.’
The recent wave of negative reports and commentaries on the evils of Christian Zionism have likely been fueled by a series of concurrent events. Most notably, many on the Left are piling on Evangelicals in general after the defeat of their favorite leaders, Donald Trump in the US and Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel. They also have reported and commented with some glee on recent polling numbers which suggest that white Evangelicals are on the decline in America and that Israel is enjoying less support among young Evangelicals. But one sure catalyst for the on-going denigration of Christian Zionists is the documentary film “Til Kingdom Come,” which was deliberately timed for release during the US presidential election campaign last year.
The documentary was produced by Israeli filmmakers Maya Zinshtein and Avraham Troen and purported to offer a fresh take on Evangelical Christian supporters of Israel, yet it simply rehashes the same old, well-worn stereotype that Christians are still the worst enemy of the Jews, and even the entire world. The film had its world debut in Israel last summer and was shown in numerous film festivals and before American Jewish audiences in the ensuing months. It was then scheduled to be broadcast on PBS stations in the US in late March, but now has been indefinitely postponed pending an independent review of its many flaws and deceptions.
The film is on hold largely due to the efforts of Dexter van Zile, a Christian media analyst for CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis), who has exposed its real malignant agenda (See webinar “The Media Assault on Christian Zionism.” He has identified a number of significant deliberate deceptions in the film, including:
- The producers deliberately doctored the audio of remarks by former US President Donald Trump, when he introduced his ‘Deal of the Century,’ to make it sound like his plan called for Israel to annex the entirety of Judea/Samaria (the West Bank), instead of just the portions where the Jewish settlements are located and other parts of ‘Area C’ needed for valid security reasons.
- The producers deceptively used a clip of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo making a tongue-in-cheek reference to the “Rapture” from years earlier, delivered in a completely different context while holding a different office, to make it appear that he had incorporated Dispensational eschatology into the official policies of the State Department on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
- The producers seriously misrepresented the remarks of David Brog and the lobbying efforts of Christians United For Israel concerning UNRWA, making it appear they were heartlessly seeking a total cut-off of all US foreign assistance to Palestinian refugees, when in fact they were advocating for greater accountability and efficiency by re-channeling the funds through USAID. The film also portrayed CUFI’s efforts to defund UNRWA as going against the advice of Israeli political and military leaders when in fact Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked the White House to do this very thing.
- The producers derisively portray Evangelicals as supporting Israel not out of a genuine love and concern for the Jewish state and people or a firm biblical belief that God promised to restore them to their ancestral homeland, but rather out of a bloodlust for the end of the world.
This latter false accusation is inescapable for anyone who has viewed the film “’Til Kingdom Come.” And it has already been shown to Israelis over the main state TV channel last year and to many American Jewish audiences in the months since. The documentary is intended to invoke fear and loathing of pro-Israel Christians among its viewers. In his review of the film before it aired on Channel One here in Israel, Ha’aretz commentator Gideon Levy even warned Israelis to bring along a barf bag due to the odious nature of its subjects and their beliefs.
Yet it turns out that Zinshtein and Troen’s caricature of blood-thirsty Evangelicals blocking peace in the Middle East was far from accurate. Instead of playing the spoilers to Middle East peace, out to provoke a global conflagration pitting Israel against the Arab/Islamic world, Evangelical leaders in fact were actively working to bring about peace between Israel and the Arab nations through the Abraham Accords. This was totally ignored by the filmmakers even though it was well-known to them during their three years of shooting and editing the movie.
HERE at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, we have been battling for decades this canard that Christian Zionists are thirsting for Armageddon. In the lead up to Y2K, I personally was interviewed by some 200 major media outlets who were hyping stories about the hordes of crazy Christians who were coming to Jerusalem to blow up the Dome of the Rock and force the Apocalypse in order to bring back Jesus in the year 2000. Afterwards, I wrote about this experience in the manuscript “Swords into Ploughshares,” which recounts how the media were all wrong yet they never apologized for slandering tens of millions of good people. The paper further sets out our real motivations and theological beliefs concerning Israel, the Jewish people, and the momentous events foretold in the Bible concerning the end of the age.
In my paper “Swords Into Ploughshares”, I also quote from the resolutions of the Fourth International Christian Zionist Congress, which set out our true approach concerning Israel and the Apocalypse, that our focus is on the prophetic vision of the Hebrew prophets for that glorious time of worldwide peace afterwards, when the nations will “beat their swords into ploughshares… and learn war no more.” (Isaiah 2:4)
Those resolutions further state that Christian Zionists…
“are not longing for the fateful battle of Armageddon, but rather for… ‘that glorious vision of coming peace for Israel and for the world which was first proclaimed in times past in the sacred writings of the Hebrew prophets and confirmed by our Lord and His Apostles. We consider this biblical concept of peace to be the one that has furnished hope and shaped human history like none other, inspiring faith and uprightness throughout successive generations and surpassing still any other path to world peace yet conceived of man. It is our enduring devotion to this promised epoch of Messianic peace and rest that ever governs our approach to the present circumstances confronting Israel, the Church and the world… No greater hope has ever been instilled in the heart of mankind, as when ‘they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’ (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3).”
So the question now becomes: “Who are the ones really obsessing over Armageddon?” Perhaps it is the mainstream media, and some documentary makers looking for awards and acclaim.
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