The Bible Prophecy That Shapes Trump's Policy, Part 2
Conservative evangelicals believe that the Bible is literally true. Sarah Posner writes about religion for a bunch of different publications. Many of them believe that the Bible is a sort of prophetic road map to modern life, that events described and prophesied in the Bible will become true. The Bible, in my belief, is mostly historically accurate. The Bible is a book that dares to predict the future with 100% accuracy. For Evangelicals, the most important of the Bible's prophecies is the second coming when Jesus will return to earth. The Bible doesn't say when this will happen, but it does say where. Greg Laurie is an evangelical preacher, one of several who meets regularly to advise President Trump. They are the leaders of megachurches with tens of thousands of members, and many of them, including Greg Laurie, preach a belief called Christian Zionism. Christian Zionism is the idea that the return of the Jewish people to Israel is one of a series of events that will trigger Jesus' Second coming. From Pastor Greg Laurie's word, "Jesus is telling us that the rebirth of Israel is a sign of the end. not just the sign, it's the super sign." According to this theology, God will reward those who help Israel and punish those who don't. Let us rewind to 1947. After the Holocaust, the UN divided the then-British territory of Palestine, home to more than a million Arabs, into two states. The divide gave Jews who had been persecuted in Europe a homeland. Over the next few decades, Israel fought multiple wars with its Arab neighbors. During these wars, the Israelis seized much of the land initially set aside for the Palestinians; Evangelical Christians see that as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Ever since, groups like Hamas have been fighting against the Israelis trying to win that territory back, and the government of Iran has been one of their biggest supporters. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former president of Iran, had said, "The Zionist Regime is dried and rotten tree that will be destroyed by the storm." That's part of the reason Iran plays such an essential role in Evangelical beliefs about the present state of the world and the future. According to Christian Zionism, if the US wants to be on the right side of Biblical prophecy, they need to do everything possible to protect Israel and punish Iran. That also explains why a different Bible story, in the Old Testament, is also essential to them. The story of Esther tells a plot to destroy the Jews of Persia, modern-day Iran. The book of Esther Plays such an essential role for Christian Zionists that they even made multiple movies out of it. In the Bible, Esther saves the Jews by using her persuasion with the king. Evangelicals who are very wrapped up in this theology because of Persia being modern-day Iran are sort of contextualizing this Bible Story into foreign policies.
Secretary of state Mike Pompeo and vice president Mike Pence both Identify as Evangelical Christians, and both have an enormous influence over American Foreign Policy. A ProPublica investigation found that Pence routed millions of dollars in foreign aid that had been earmarked for humanitarian projects in Iraq, diverting it towards Christians groups in the country when President Trump Approved the drone strike that killed Iran's top military commander in January 2020. It was, according to the Washington Post, due to Pompeo and Pences' urging. When President Trump moved the US Embassy in Israel From Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the move had more support from American Evangelicals than American Jews. The other news swirling around the embassies move to Jerusalem is what it could signal as a part of Biblical prophecy. That Evangelical support is not an accident, the Trump administration courts it. After the administration introduced a peace plan that would have given Israel unprecedented control over Palestinian land, The Christian Broadcasting Network interviewed Trump's ambassador to Israel. The Network's coverage followed his lead. For Evangelical Christians in America, the Bible isn't just a foundational text. As stated earlier, to them, it is a prophetic road map that tells the future and shapes the way they view the present. What motivates their support for a foreign policy that they see as affirming those prophecies and a president who depends on their votes.