Japan's Disaster Is Goldmine for "Armageddon Entrepreneurs"
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 23, 2011 at 01:01:15 PM EST
As unseemly as it is, some conservative evangelical Christians appear to be downright ecstatic about the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. Add to it the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and you've got America's Armageddonists proclaiming that we may be living in the End of Days.

However, before the clock runs out completely, there's lots of End Times products left to be sold.

Armageddon entrepreneurs

Mother Nature's fury has been good to folks like Joel C. Rosenberg, Tim LaHaye, Mike Evans, and John Hagee, End Timers that are media-savvy, best-selling authors, and, in the case of Pastor Hagee, the operator of a multi-million dollar mega-media ministry.

CNBC.com's Jeffrey Weiss recently pointed out that there's a whole group of "Armageddon entrepreneurs: preachers who view today's headlines as crib notes signaling the world is approaching its final days."

According to Weiss, "Already, the first quarter of 2011 is a bull market for these end times predictors. RaptureReady.com -- a website with a customized index predicting how close we are to the end -- had its busiest February ever. And [Christian] publisher Tyndale House has begun ramping up plans for new editions of its blockbuster Left Behind series." The Left Behind series of 16 novels, co-authored by LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, sold more than 65 million copies and resulted in two films and two video games.

(Just to be clear, there are a number of evangelical Christian organizations gathering relief funds and supplies and faithfully delivering them to the Japanese people.)

Weiss pointed out, "It's been a while since American pastors have shown this level of apocalyptic fervor. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, some suggested that event was a precursor for the return of Jesus to earth, and their belief that this would result in the end of the world. Just before the end of the last millennium, what with the inevitable heavy-duty calendar turn and the predictions of high-tech Y2K mayhem, interested believers were deluged by books, videos and conference invitations."

In a recent online newsletter, Pastor Hagee, responding to events in Egypt wrote: "Get ready! Planet earth is about to become the playground for the Anti-Christ and his New World Order. The church will be raptured before the Anti-Christ appears; and I believe he could be introduced in Europe at any time. Pray up! Pack up! "

"The Bible tells us in Matthew 24 that one of the signs of the last days - one of the birth pangs to occur - is an increase in earthquake activity and intensity," LaHaye told WorldNetDaily.

In a story headlined "ARE WE LISTENING? God is trying to get our attention through the traumas in Japan & the Mideast," Joel C. Rosenberg, the best selling author of several apocalyptic novels, wrote: "That day of great trial and judgment seems closer ... as we see events around the world going from bad to worse. Bible prophecy tells us that the Lord is trying to get our attention. He is seeking to focus all nations on our desperate need for His love and His mercy. Is the world listening? Are you?"

Mike Evans of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, and a man who claims close friendship with Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote in a recent email: "When we realize what is happening to this old planet - the earthquake in Japan, the tsunami that followed, and now the nuclear meltdown, it should quicken our spirits... . It should affect the way we invest in the Kingdom of God. Jesus is coming soon!"

On his radio program, Glenn Beck said he thought that the earthquake in Japan could be a "message being sent" by God.

"Is Japan Disaster Another Apocalyptic Sign?"

In a story headlined "Is Japan Disaster Another Apocalyptic Sign?", Charisma News' Jennifer LeClaire  wrote: "The crisis in Japan is worsening. At the same time, the situation in the Middle East is volatile. And let's not forget last month's seismic shock in New Zealand, Sumatra 9.1, Katrina, Rita, massive flooding in Australia, birds and fish dying around the world, and bees disappearing.

"Even the secular media is using phrases like 'of biblical proportions' to describe current events. Believers who recognize the signs of the times aren't surprised, and high-profile evangelists are proclaiming that the end is near," LeClaire pointed out.

She then quoted (Luke 21:11,25,26): "There shall be signs, and great earthquakes in various places...the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear and for the expectation of those things that are coming upon the earth."

LeClaire asks: "Does such an idea reflect merely the hardhearted ravings of religious fanatics bent on making a buck from humanity's misery, or is it possible that planet earth is indeed approaching the biblical 'end of days'"?

For answers, she turns to Steve Wohlberg, director of White Horse Media and author of 25 books, including Surviving Toxic Terrorism and End Time Delusions,

Charisma: What's going on, Steve? Nobody knows the day or the hour of Jesus' return, but the signs of the times appear evident.

Wohlberg: When you look at the trend of natural disasters-and many other types of disasters and other things that are happening in the world-it seems pretty clear to me that we are seeing an escalation of large-scale problems on the planet. To me, these are indicators that we are getting closer to the return of Jesus Christ.  As you mentioned, nobody knows the day or the hour so I'm very careful not to set any kind of dates. (More: http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/30446-is-japan-disaster -another-apocalyptic-sign#ixzz1GtUJ1F7M.)

While Wohlberg, Rosenberg, LaHaye, Hagee, Evans et al won't set the date for the ushering in of the End Times, they use language and Biblical references to set the stage. The fact that the folks at the Tyndale publishing house plan on re-packaging some of its apocalyptic novels seems more akin to savvy Armageddon entrepreneurship than religious finality.

for those jerks to start blaming the Japanese people for the disaster.  You know "God is punishing them for being Shinto!" or some such nonsense.

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Mar 23, 2011 at 06:22:48 PM EST

...Moment of my life was when, 11 minutes after I claimed Rep. Peter King had been possessed by the Dybbuk of Japanese Internment, there was an 8.9 quake in Japan...


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