Much as he did with his Restoring Honor rally in Washington, D.C. last year, Glenn Beck is hyping his upcoming Restoring Courage rally in Jerusalem with his usual mix of hyperbole and self-importance. Beck is promising that the rally will be a "life-changing, life-altering event" that could "change the direction of the world" and open up "the very gates of Heaven."
As part of the lead-up to the rally, Beck addressed a Knesset committee last week. The Jerusalem Post reported that Beck suggested at the close of his speech that "Israel advocacy was more important than his usual work back in the states." The Post quotes Beck as saying, "As a man who also worships the one God, in the times that we live in, it is clear that what is going on is God's work. If we are silent, evil will win. But if we stand up and take charge, God will do the rest."
Both Beck and his rotating cast of religious "experts" have repeatedly suggested that "the times that we live in" are, in fact, the End Times.
In light of the location of the Restoring Courage rally, it's noteworthy the extent to which both Beck and his religious "experts" view Israel not just as an ally in the typical sense of the word, but as central to the impending Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the End Times.
"Gog and Magog. That is a huge, huge sign." -- Glenn Beck
On the April 7, 2011, edition of his Fox News show -- the day after he announced that the program would be ending -- Beck concluded a long segment about the always-imminent "perfect storm" by highlighting "some new alliances" among world powers.
After saying he likes to call it "Gog and Magog time on The Glenn Beck Program," Beck pointed to Russia helping Iran build a nuclear power station and announced, "Russia and Iran - this one is really important because Russia and Iran - this has never happened. This alliance is a little spooky."
BECK: Let me just explain this to you. Iran and Russia -- Russia's building the nuclear power plants and huge trading partners. Egypt and Iran -- that's Sunni Shia. These two do not get along. They're now buddy-buddy and it's getting more and more cozy. Russia and China and Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia is so upset with us right now and our president that Saudi Arabia is negotiating a deal with China for their oil. What do you think is going to happen with that one?
And these three are really critical. Nobody ever -- nobody ever thought these countries could come together and form any kind of alliance. And the reason I say nobody ever thought it is because people have been looking for these three to bring an alliance together for thousands of years. Well, since the book of Revelation said that Gog and Magog would come together. This is the alliance of Gog and Magog. Well, does that mean anything? I don't know. But let me ask you this. Do these countries seem friendly to the United States? Are these countries aligning themselves together to make our world -- our Western way of life -- more stable or less stable? Do they lead to higher gas prices, lower gas prices? More people killed, less people killed? More freedom or less freedom? Less corruption or more corruption? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 4/7/11, via Nexis]
The next day on his radio program, Beck told listeners that if you haven't taken the time to "educate yourself" and decide where "you stand on Israel," you "better hurry - please hurry." Beck referenced the "alliances between Russia, Turkey, Iran and Egypt," and announced that "it is really not good." He once again invoked "Gog and Magog," which he called a "huge, huge sign," and said that he is "not saying that this is it, I'm saying you should probably educate yourself."
BECK: The reason why this is important is if you've ever read Ezekiel. It has never happened before, and everyone said it couldn't happen. It wouldn't happen - it's ridiculous. Remember, MSNBC will tell you that the Bible is nothing but nonsense. Well, the Bible is seemingly right on predicting something 5000 years ago. It's surprisingly accurate. I mean, what are the odds? That alliance - you might have heard these two words before: Gog and Magog. That is a huge, huge sign. Gog and Magog, and they come and gather their armies, and they go after Israel. Gang, I'm not saying that this is it, I'm saying that you should probably educate yourself. And what does it mean if you don't stand with Israel? What does that mean?
Later in the same segment, Beck said that it is "logical to at least consider this seriously, and it only gets more logical the more times we're right," prompting Beck's co-host to sarcastically respond that he has "not seen Gog or Magog on the news once...so we don't have to worry about." Beck followed this by informing listeners that he has a "theory" that he "is working on that doesn't end in the Apocalypse. It actually has a happier ending -- fewer people around the world die than in the all the other endings that I've come up with."
In the Book of Revelation, Satan rallies the armies of Gog and Magog to invade and destroy Israel. The armies are destroyed by God and the devil is "thrown into the lake of burning sulfur":
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth--Gog and Magog--and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
The theory that the War of Gog and Magog is (possibly) imminent has been pushed by numerous Beck guests and "experts," including Joel Rosenberg. Though Rosenberg, Beck, and others regularly point to evidence that the End Times and the War of Gog and Magog are fast approaching, they often temper this speculation by explaining that the Bible makes clear that nobody will know the exact time and date.
"The rebirth of Israel in 1948 was the supersign." -- Joel Rosenberg
Beck frequently urges his followers to do their "own homework" on the topics he discusses. One recommended way for fans to do this is through Beck University - a subscription-based site that offers web-based videos.
Currently featured in the "Highlighted Programming" section of the GBTV website is a Beck University video entitled "Understanding the Holy Land." The mini-documentary presents a brief history of Israel and details the fighting between various religious groups over Israel's right to exist and the city of Jerusalem. Of particular note is the extent to which Beck's guide to "Understanding the Holy Land" hinges on the role of the region in End Times prophecies.
The video features several familiar faces, including Tim LaHaye, author of the incredibly popular End Times novel series Left Behind, Joel Rosenberg, and author Joel Richardson, whom Beck hosted on a February episode of his Fox program.
Since that appearance, Beck has repeatedly referenced Richardson's theory that the Mahdi from the Quran and the Antichrist from the Bible may be same figure. Richardson's book, The Islamic Antichrist, makes the case that Islam is "the primary vehicle that will be used by Satan to fulfill the prophecies of the Bible about the future political/religious/military system of the Antichrist."
Richardson also claims that a "prophetess" told his wife before she met him that she would one day marry someone with "significant insight into the End Times" and that this man would "release new prophetic understanding."
[You can watch the entire documentary at GBTV -- subscription required.]
At one point, the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 is placed directly in the context of its fulfillment of Biblical prophecy about the End Times. The narrator explains that "people have predicted the end of the world" for centuries, but "there was always one major prophecy that was yet to be fulfilled." Rosenberg explains that "the rebirth of Israel in 1948" represents this "supersign":
NARRATOR: For centuries, people have predicted the end of the world - through a depression that nearly destroyed a generation, nations at war, rulers and dictators who tried to conquer the world. They all seemed to point to the signs that the world was coming to an end. While the evidence was compelling to many, there was always one major prophecy that was yet to be fulfilled.
ROSENBERG: The rebirth of Israel in 1948 was the supersign. In other words, there have been wars and rumors of wars and earthquakes and persecution of believers for the last two thousand years. What we haven't seen happen in the context of all the other prophecies coming true is we haven't seen, until 62 years ago, the rebirth of the state of Israel.
LaHaye, Richardson, and Rosenberg all sing the praises of prophecy in the video, explaining that it is "history written in advance" and a "storm warning from the future."
In the documentary, Joel Rosenberg directs viewers' attention to "a prophecy" in the Book of Joel "that doesn't get much attention but needs to get that attention." Lending importance to Beck's warning that his listeners should "please hurry" and "educate yourself" on "where you stand on Israel," Rosenberg explains that according to the Book of Joel, "God says that when history comes to an end, he is going to judge all the nations who have divided his land."
ROSENBERG: A prophecy that doesn't get much attention but needs to get that attention, particularly in the geopolitical world we live in right now, comes from the Book of Joel, chapter 3. And it indicates that God says that when history comes to an end, he is going to judge all the nations who have divided his land.
Rosenberg echoes these ominous warnings for nations that don't support Israel in several blog posts at his website. He writes in one entry, "The Bible is crystal clear: the Lord Almighty will judge all nations who divide the Land of Israel."
"I think these are the latter days." -- Glenn Beck
In the section of the Beck University documentary detailing "Prophecy And The Abrahamic Faiths," Rabbi Joseph Potasnik says that there are "many of us who believe that this is a precursor to the Messianic period."
Joel Richardson says that the piece of evidence indicating the imminent End Times that he "would highlight specifically is the increase in earthquakes." (Richardson, Rosenberg, and LaHaye have all recently pointed to earthquake activity as a possible sign that we are living in the End Times.)
Beck himself got into hot water earlier this year when he responded to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan by "not not saying" that God is "causing earthquakes." In response to criticism of his comments, he clarified at length that even if the earthquake was viewed in the context of the Book of Revelation, it should not be seen as a punishment, but instead as "just a signal that these are the end of days," adding, "Are they? I don't know."
Later that same week, Beck, referencing the fact that he "happens to go to a church that has Latter Days in its name," said that he thinks "these are the latter days" and that "this is the Book of Revelation End of Days."
As he often does when he suggests the end of the world is approaching, Beck explained that he doesn't "know how many days" there are, and that it "might be another thousand years."
"A lot of the pieces that have never been here for the prophecy are here now." -- Glenn Beck
In recent months, Beck has repeatedly attacked President Obama over his supposed betrayal of Israel.
Tonight, Beck will be giving the keynote speech at the Washington Summit for the group Christians United for Israel (CUFI). CUFI is headed by John Hagee, a controversial pastor whom Beck has hosted on his Fox News program more than once. Beck also invited Hagee to take the stage at the Divine Destiny event preceding the Restoring Honor rally last year.
On his Fox News program last April, Beck presented Hagee as an example of the "leaders in the faith community" that "need to start standing up." During the segment, Beck plugged Hagee's "excellent" book, Can America Survive? 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are The Terminal Generation, and remarked to Hagee that "a lot of the pieces that have never been here for the prophecy are here now."
In the book, Hagee lays out his various pieces of evidence that we are currently living in the "terminal generation" (i.e. the generation that will witness Rapture, Armageddon, and the Second Coming). His case rests on evidence like the creation of the State of Israel and things like popularity of the Harry Potter book series, which he declares "is nothing less than Witchcraft 101" and evidence that "Satan is preparing the youth of the world for the appearance of his messiah, the Antichrist, to rule with world with demonic power!"