Perhaps it was just coincidental timing, but just a week after Newsweek declared “The End of Christian America,” Sarah Posner points out that Newmax is out with its own special edition entitled “Jesus: Will He Return?”
Experts of various stripes tell Newsmax that public buzz about the biblical last days is at its highest level since 9/11. Although the Second Coming may appear purely theological to some, end-times beliefs can profoundly influence where people worship, where they donate their money, which politicians they vote for, and how they spend their time and energy.
Over the course of more than a dozen pages, Newsmax reports the views of a variety of right-wing figures, including the likes of Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, Richard Land, Chuck Colson, Tom Minnery, and Tim LaHaye:
“There is rising concern over the economy and national security, as well as downright open alarm at the leftist drift of our national government in the Obama era,” says Tom Minnery, the Focus on the Family executive who frequently co-hosts Dr. James Dobson’s influential Christian radio program. “Although evangelicals are confident about the outcome in the long run — that is, the Second Coming — we are very concerned about the short term.”
Similar concerns are voiced by radio host, author, and Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson. Prison Fellowship is a nonprofit prison ministry. Colson has seen his share of personal tribulations, including his front-row view of Watergate, the Arab oil embargo, and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.
Yet with all that perspective, Colson confides, “If I were in the business of speculating when Christ will return, I would certainly have a field day today. There is enough going on to make you think that Western Civilization is in the balance. If civilization falls there’s nothing to keep stability in the Middle East and then, of course, you could see the Armageddon.”
The article actually contains an interesting analysis of whether predictions about the End Times are actually harmful because, when they fail to come true, it damages the Christian faith and “hurts the Bible’s credibility in the eyes of the secular world” … and, as LaHaye points out, the secular world already hates Christians as it is:
“The one thing that the seculars hate more than anything else is Christians,” he tells Newsmax. “You see that in our newspapers today. It indicates that they don’t trust Christians. They hate Christians. They want to stamp us out and keep us out of the public schools.”
But, of course, that didn’t stop him suggesting that the rise in “socialism” might just be a harbinger of things to come:
LaHaye sees ominous parallels between today’s times and Christ’s message to his disciples in Matthew 24:5-8. In it, Christ said: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: See that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
In an exclusive interview, LaHaye tells Newsmax: “What we see going on in the world is just like Jesus said — in the last days, perilous times will come. Well, they are perilous, not only in the political field. And socialism is sweeping the world. Even Newsweek magazine recently announced on its cover that ‘We Are All Socialists Now.’
“It’s a new thought, for the American people anyway. World socialism is the forerunner to the Antichrist kind of government that he is going to run during the Tribulation period.”