All Roads Lead to Trump

Detroit native, Tim LaHaye, died on Monday at the age of 90. Did his Left Behind novel series prepare the way for Donald Trump? Here‘s one reason for thinking so:

“Left Behind” follows a group of Americans through the days after the Rapture — which occurs shortly after an Israeli botanist wins the Nobel Prize for devising a way to grow crops in the desert, thereby making Israel a self-sustained trading partner with its neighbors and bringing peace to the Middle East. In the series that follows, the Antichrist, a charismatic young Romanian leader named Nicolae Carpathia, works through the United Nations’ machinery to consolidate currency and erase national borders. Eventually all are brought together under the Mark of Loyalty, a biochip inserted into the hand or forehead that allows one to purchase food, and a tattoo — the Mark of the Beast.

“Left Behind” was well-timed. In 1995, with the Cold War ended, the USSR effectively dissolved and the Berlin Wall down — and well past the expiration date for “Late, Great Planet Earth’s” predictions about the 1980s — the average conservative evangelical in the pew was less worried about Russia and the bomb and more concerned about a twofold threat: apostasy and liberalizing trends in the church as well as the loss of national sovereignty through the United Nations.

17 thoughts on “All Roads Lead to Trump

  1. Even though Tim Lahaye has been left behind now, that does not mean he will be safe from being “taken away to destruction” when Jesus does come to earth. John 3:13 Nobody has ascended now to heaven, except the one who descended from there. When Jesus descends the second time, it will not about legally bearing the sins of the elect.

    Hebrews 9: 26 But now He has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— 28 so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.


  2. Romans 10: 6 But the righteousness that comes from faith speaks like this: Do not say in your heart, “Who will go up to heaven?” that is, to bring Christ down 7 or, “Who will go down into the abyss?” that is, to bring Christ up from the dead. 8 On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim: 9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you WILL BE SAVED 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in SALVATION. .

    The Son obeyed the Father before the Son’s incarnation, the incarnate Son died under God’s wrath for the sins of the elect.

    John 6: 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but raise them up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him have eternal life, and I will RAISE him up on the LAST DAY

    Lee Irons—Calvin didn’t want to tamper with an ancient Creed, so he interpreted it metaphorically (Institutes 2.16.8-12). He said that the descent of Jesus into hell means that Jesus endured the torments of hell in his soul prior to his death… Calvin’s metaphorical interpretation has had a tremendous influence in the continental Reformed tradition. It is the view enshrined in the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 16: Question 44: Why is there added, “he descended into hell”? Answer: That in my greatest temptations, I may be assured, and wholly comfort myself in this, that my Lord Jesus Christ, by his inexpressible anguish, pains, terrors, and hellish agonies, in which he was plunged during all his sufferings, but especially on the cross, has delivered me from the anguish and torments of hell.

    Lee irons—This metaphorical interpretation is defended by many Reformed pastors to this day, e.g., Daniel Hyde, In Defense of the Descent (Reformation Heritage Books, 2010). But I just can’t see that this is what was intended by “he descended into hell.” If the descent clause is a metaphorical way of describing Christ’s atoning sufferings on the cross, then it’s in the wrong place. It should be after “was crucified” and before “died and was buried.” On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished,” so we know that the atoning sufferings of Christ were completed before he died. He did not go into hell after his death to suffer further punishment in our place.


  3. Once the Russian bear prophecy failed to come to fruition the code needed to be reworked. We also have strong extrinsic evidence from the great Jewish Christian Nostradamus. Sure, Hisler is close to Hitler, but is more likely a conflation of Hillary hissing. Revelations and Nostradamus agree. Vote for Trump!


  4. ….(However)”in the Old Testament, hell (or sheol in the Hebrew texts or Hades in Greek texts) referred to “the place of the dead.” (Interestingly, our English word hell is derived from a Germanic name for the place of the dead in Teutonic mythology.) This hell was for both the good and the bad, the just and the unjust. It was the nether world, a region of darkness. In the later writings of the Old Testament, a clear distinction is made between where the good resided in hell and where the bad were, the two being separated by an impassable abyss. The section for the unjust was named Gehenna, where the souls would suffer eternal torment by fire.
    Our Lord attested to this understanding of hell: Recall the parable of Lazarus, the poor beggar, who sat at the gate of the rich man traditionally called Dives (cf. Lk 16:19ff). Lazarus dies and is taken to the “land of the dead” (the original Greek text uses the word Hades) and is comforted at the bosom of Abraham. Dives also dies and go to the “land of the dead”; however, he finds eternal torment, being tortured in flames. Dives sees Lazarus and cries out to Abraham for relief. However, Abraham replies, “My child, remember that you were well off in your lifetime, while Lazarus was in misery. Now he has found consolation here, but you have found torment. And that is not all. Between you and us there is fixed a great abyss, so that those who might wish to cross from here to you cannot do so, nor can anyone cross from your side to us.”
    Out Lord also emphasized the “eternal punishment” of hell: When Jesus speaks of the last judgment and separating the righteous from the evil, he says to the latter, “Out of my sight you condemned, into that everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (cf Mt 25:31 ff). Jesus also speaks of “risking the fires of Gehenna” for serious sins, like anger and hatred (Mt 5:21ff), and adultery and impurity (Mt 5:27ff).
    Given this understanding, we believe that the sin of Adam and Eve had closed the Gates of Heaven. The holy souls awaited the Redeemer in the land of the dead, or hell. Our Lord offered the perfect sacrifice for all sin by dying on the cross, the redemptive act that touches all people of every time—past, present and future. He was then buried. During that time, He descended among the dead. Remember St. Paul wrote, “‘He ascended’—what does this mean but that He had first descended into the lowest regions of the earth? He who descended is the very one who ascended high above the heavens, that He might fill all men with His gifts” (Eph 4:9-10).
    His descent among the dead brought to completion the proclamation of the Gospel and liberated those holy souls who had long awaited their Redeemer.
    The Gates of Heaven were now open, and these holy souls entered everlasting happiness enjoying the beatific vision. Please note: Jesus did not deliver those souls damned to eternal punishment in hell nor did He destroy hell as such.
    An “Ancient Homily” of the early Church for Holy Saturday captured this event: “The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and He has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began… He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, He has gone to free from sorrow the captives of Adam and Eve, He who is both God and the Son of Eve… ‘I am your God, who for your sake have become your Son… I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.”


  5. To the extent that you are saying that the post-mortem agony of Jesus is that which saves, to that extent you are discounting the value of Christ’s once for all time physical death on earth. To the extent that you are saying that humans when they die to heaven or purgatory, to that extent you are discounting the necessity of Christ’s resurrection and second coming.

    Glenn Peoples— “It is finished” had to have been uttered before Jesus died. Jesus could not have said it after he was dead. But his declaration was based on the inevitable— He just about to die. John portrays Jesus saying these words as he dies: “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” The gospel of John links the saying directly to the death of Christ. The atoning work of Jesus is finished when Jesus died.”

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  6. Hi Mark,

    I was just pointing out that Lee Irons ( I used to go to church with his Dad. Good man) appealing to J. Calvin as under standing what the descending into hell part of the creed meant, was odd since the Church had previously known what was meant by “he descended into hell”.
    The historic understanding isn’t wrong, so why act like it needed redefinition or reform?


  7. One more thing, Mark. You have a righy to be irked. I didn’t address you to start off with but instead rudely butted in. That was wrong of me.
    I got carried away, and I’m sorry.


  8. See?

    And then a very sad lightbulb went off for me, it is this very same kind of thinking, that terror can bring you to faith, that leads otherwise kind people to follow the likes of Donald Trump. And then, an even worse thought occurred to me – that an entire branch of the Christian family has actually been training people that fear leads to salvation. I’m not even sure what to do with the heart-breaking truth that so many people are led to and “love” God because they are afraid not to love the megalomaniacal deity portrayed by evangelicalism. This paradigm prepares people to follow a political leader that peddles the most terrifying fictional scenarios while positioning himself as the one and only savior from these tribulations.
    Y’all – This is true. This is terrifying.



    Revelation 6: 15 Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

    Jeremiah 32:40 “I will put fear of Me in their hearts so they will never again turn away from Me.”

    Even though I don’t think Christians are going to heaven but instead Jesus Christ is coming back to earth, this does not mean that I think we should discount the fear of God. Even tough I do not think we should read providence as a specific witness of God’s judgments, I do believe that God is both sovereign and just.

    In the year 2000, after listening to a series of sermon tapes on Romans (about the righteousness revealed in the death of Christ) , I confessed myself not to have ever been born from above, to be lost and under God’s wrath. I took sides with God against myself, and repented of thinking I had been a Christian. I called all my works “dead works” done by a dead worker. Instead of seeing it as difficult to understand and accept doctrine, I came to rejoice in the good news of Christ’s death as a propitiation which was only for the elect. What could be good about it being only for the elect? The good news was that Christ’s death (and resurrection)will one day actually save all the elect.

    I learned to fear God . Unless I was going to continue substituting possible interpretations of the Bible in the place of what was clear (repressing the truth, holding it down, Romans 1), I was taught to love the God who revealed Himself as the one who is just both in condemning some and also just in saving the elect. The death of Christ really really did take away the sins of the elect (both guilt and punishment). Does this mean that elect people don’t sin? No. It means that their sins are paid for in advance.

    I realize that this is not good news for most people who describe themselves Christian. They want a religion that really makes people better than they otherwise would be. The good news for me was that my salvation was not conditional on my ever getting any better. The offense here is not only that God saves only some sinners. The offense also is the God who saves sinners by death on the cross By nature, we would rather believe that there is more to it. By nature, we believe that community with other religious people will change us so that by grace we really in ourselves do become more acceptable to God.

    By nature, we believe that God is not strict on justice. By nature, we believe that what we believe about God is a condition of salvation, and not a result of God’s purpose. So I still believe in predestination. But now I know that the content, the ultimate object of believing by the people God has chosen to salvation is not in what God will do in them (even in that future resurrection) , but what God has done for them in Christ’s death. The Bible way of saying this is Romans 6: Christ died to sin, and His people died with Him.

    This is my way of talking about my fearing God. It’s like I died when I was converted. My faith is not in my conversion narrative but in Christ’s death, but psychologically, it feels like I died. The law of God was written on my heart so that I now know that my only hope is God’s forgiveness of my sins. Now that I have despaired in that way, now that I fear God in that way, I do not fear Trump or the Clintons in the way I used to. I don’t even fear not having anything to show for my time since then. I fear God too much to be afraid that my continuing lack of fear will be a condition of my condemnation.


  10. oh boy. Why-oh-why do you have to post these things, and why-oh-why do I read them

    agreeing with a few things anyway…like

    -Kimberly Knight: “Y’all . This is terrifying.”
    -Kimberly Knight: “For some time now, moderate and progressive Christians have been wondering aloud how evangelical Christians can support Donald Trump in all his obvious clash with Christian values”
    -Rev. Dr. William Barber II”: When religion is used to camouflage meanness we know we have a heart problem

    Then, though ….. y’all this is terrifying…..
    -Rev. Dr. William Barber II”: Hillary is working to embrace our deepest moral values
    Does he mean like the moral value that everybody has their rights -you know, such as to choose…. murder
    – Kimberly Knight’s “Gospel of Jesus” : It propagates the truth that everyone, everyone, everyone is welcome at God’s good table
    -Kimberly Knight: we MUST lift our voices every day to renounce the heresy of fear-centered theology

    I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.-George Washington

    Indeed, it is indisputable fact that all the complex and horrendous confronting us at home and worldwide have their answer in [the Bible]. -Ronald Reagan

    My great concern is not whether God is on our side. My great concern is to be on God’s side. -Abraham Lincoln

    Who will not fear (in the right way) , O Lord, and glorify Your name? Rev 15: 4


  11. markmcculley says: But now I know that the content, the ultimate object of believing by the people God has chosen to salvation is not in what God will do in them but what God has done for them in Christ’s death.

    what God will do in them =what God has done for them in Christ’s death (and resurrection) ?

    Reminder: be careful who you follow and listen to Mark

    Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; 2 Cor 5:17
    For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son Rom 8:29


  12. If you are already conformed to Christ in this present age, what need would you have for Christ to come again to earth and there be a resurrection/glorification day? If you are already (enough) like Christ in this present age to base your assurance on your new ability and new obedience, how can you be sure that you will continue to be able to come to God tomorrow with your hands full? Why should you fear God, or expect the second coming?

    Romans 6—“Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply?”

    There is not more and more grace, but either grace or no grace.

    Romans 6:5—“For if we have been JOINED WITH Him in the likeness of HIS DEATH, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order to abolish sin’s dominion over the body.”

    Gospel imputation is not only God counting the sins of the elect to Christ
    Gospel imputation is God counting Christ’s death to the elect

    Romans 6 calls this counting being “joined with Him in His death”

    Romans 6:7 “a person who has died is justified from sin’s claims. We died with Christ…”

    We cannot “multiply grace”

    We cannot “increase grace”

    We cannot make grace go up by sinning more

    We cannot make grace go down by sinning less

    100 percent grace enabling me to do enough to add to what Jesus did by death is NO GRACE AT ALL


  13. See?

    Clark brings up the Wells categories to assert that the Reformation unleashed the passions of the “communities of will” of Germanic Northern Europe, against the “communities of faith and obedience” of Latin Southern Europe.


  14. See?

    In short, Lakoff’s imaginary Strict Father Religion, concocted in blithe indifference to the demonstrated facts on the ground — I think of C. S. Lewis’s old tutor Kirk: “You can have enlightenment for ninepence, but you prefer ignorance” — is characteristic of evangelicalism neither in its strongest (most historically and biblically grounded) forms nor in its desiccated Prosperity Deist forms. And, given that Lakoff wants to explain the popularity of Trump among evangelicals … well, the Donald isn’t exactly a Strict Father, is he? More like a sugar daddy, promising to use his unmatched personal charisma to make all the good white people safe and rich — the perfect Mortal God (to borrow a phrase from Hobbes) for Prosperity Deists.


  15. I have heard and read that Trump is semi-illiterate, but I bet he read the Left Behind series to know what to do once in power!!!


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