Glenn Beck's Restoring Courage event is scheduled for next week, and Beck is excited. However, many are worried that such a rally would increase the tension in a region that is already quite volatile. Others are apparently concerned that Beck is one of the small minority of extremist Christian Zionists who are actively looking to cause trouble in the area to hasten the fulfillment of biblical policies. In fact, according to Beck, one reporter went as far as asking him whether he was pushing for "the destruction of Jerusalem to hasten the return of the Messiah."
Beck told the reporter that he is not pushing for the destruction of Jerusalem, and we take him at his word.
However, that does not mean people shouldn't be worried about Beck's event. Beck has claimed that his event may fulfill biblical prophecy. He has repeatedly suggested the end times may be approaching. And Beck's event promises to be remarkably provocative at a time that Beck believes is a particularly dangerous moment for the Middle East.
Beck has explicitly stated that a "religious figure that [he] respect[s]" had told him that his rally "may be a fulfillment of Zechariah prophecy." Beck has also claimed that Restoring Courage would be "a planet course altering event" where "there's a possibility a pillar of fire appears." Furthermore, he suggested that his rally would open the "very gates of heaven" while "the very gates of hell are gonna open up against" attendees.
Furthermore, Beck has repeatedly suggested the end times may be approaching. Beck's invocation of the end times include his speculation about whether an agreement between Russia and Iran might fulfill the prophecy in the Book of Revelation that Gog and Magog will become allied; his statement that "I think these are the latter days"; and his statement that "a lot of the pieces that have never been here for the prophesy are hear now."
Moreover, Beck has repeatedly harped about the imminent dangers to Israel and Jews. He has predicted that Israel may be "overwhelm[ed]" and "destroyed" by Labor Day weekend. He has repeatedly suggested another Holocaust is coming, asking at one point: "Would you hide Anne Frank?...Would you be Oskaar Schindler?"
While Beck's rhetoric is overblown, there is no denying that the region is volatile and that Beck's rally is not lessening the volatility. The Jerusalem Post highlighted the issue:
Glenn Beck's Restoring Courage rally at the Southern Wall excavations site next Wednesday could spark a conflagration of violence in Jerusalem, Arab Knesset members and activists warned Wednesday.
The Jerusalem mass rally will be the central event of the American broadcaster's three-night attempt to demonstrate to Israel and the world that the Jewish state does not stand alone. There will also be a rally for Christian leaders Sunday in Caesarea and a Holocaust-related event on Monday.
"There are enough racists in Israel without importing them from the US," Hadash MK Muhammad Barakei said.
"The lessons from Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount apparently haven't been learned. This event isn't for building coexistence, but to spark fires in a sensitive location ahead of the United Nations vote on a Palestinian state in September.
"There is a danger that the event will lead to people being harmed, and the police should have prevented it," Barakei added.
Arab activists in east Jerusalem criticized Beck's decision to hold the rally so close to a tense area.
"There is a message [in the location] - especially to come to the City of David, that's close to Al-Aksa and other Muslim holy sites and the Western Wall - it says a lot," said Murad Shafa, a member of the Popular Committee of Al-Bustan, one of the neighborhoods in Silwan. "I don't know him, but I know one thing: this area belongs to all the religions."
Shafa expressed concern the event would attempt to erase parts of the historical narrative that hold that the site is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. "Why are we the smallest people? Is their god bigger than ours?" he asked.
So while Beck is not seeking to actively hasten the destruction of the worldly Jerusalem, he is hosting a provocative rally that he claims may fulfill biblical prophecy during what he says may be the end times. Talk about a dangerous mix.