by John Sutherland
One of the surest ways of testing a country’s political temperature is to look at the national bestseller list. The current No 1 on Amazon’s chart, Unfit for Command, in which “Swift Boat veterans speak out against John Kerry”, will draw attention in this country. Formerly No 1, currently holding on at No 3 among the mega-sellers, The American Prophecies, will probably not. It should.
The author, Michael D Evans, is part preacher, would-be sooth-sayer, big-time blowhard. He’s also rich, given his book’s runaway sales. Not that money is a main motive, any more than it was for Moses. The book purports to reveal how “ancient prophecies reveal our nation’s future”. More precisely these prophecies, correctly decoded, confirm that George Bush’s tearing up of the Middle East road map, last April, has found great favour with God.
The current conflict accords exactly, for those that have eyes to see, or teachers like the Rev Evans to instruct them, with the divinely ordained script for America and Israel. We are now, as Evans puts it, “in the eye of the prophetic storm”. Bracing, perilous, but for the American faithful, deeply reassuring.
Much of The American Prophecies is devoted to close exegesis of the page of the Bible on which incoming presidents have laid their hand while taking the oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony. It is a presidential privilege to choose the passage. What did the 42nd president (known to the irreverent as Slick Willy) select for that fateful day? Galatians 6:8, “For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.”
Prophetic or what? More damning, however, than his fleshly reapings with Monica, was Clinton’s betraying the sacred mission entrusted him by God. He cannot plead ignorance, when his time comes to stand before the divine bench. As governor of Arkansas, he was specifically instructed by his pastor, the Rev WO Vaught, “You might be president one day. You will make mistakes and God will forgive you. But God will never forgive you if you turn your back on Israel.” Which, to the great peril of his country, Clinton did, at Camp David in July 2000. What followed, 14 months later in Manhattan, was a mark of God’s stern displeasure at the errant president.
Evans’ exegesis demonstrates to his satisfaction, and that of millions of his countrymen apparently, that America, no less than Israel, is centrally alluded to in Bible prophecy. Under un-Godly presidents (notably Carter, Clinton and Bush I) the US has dallied with its false marriage partner Ishmael/Islam, foregoing religious principle for oil. Now, under Bush II, it is cleaving to its true partner, Isaac/Israel.
It is clear to Evans’ prophetic mind “that America must go to war against Syria, a much more dangerous terrorist-harbouring state than Iraq” and that “Israel must go into Iran and take out their nuclear reactor”. God wants these acts of war. Not to comply would induce Him to lift His “hedge of protection” and permit a “much, much worse” consequence than 9/11. For Evans, “God is foreign policy”. And there is only one item on the agenda: stand by Israel, crush her foes.
The American Prophecies would not matter were it not that (1) so many Americans are reading it and (2) Bush is wooing the Christian right as core voters for his re-election. How far will he go to keep them on board if he gets his second term? Will he have the good sense to use them and dump them?
Thoughtful Israelis must also have mixed feelings about Evans and his co-religionists. The latter’s support for the state of Israel is unswerving – but with the awkward proviso of a mass conversion to Christianity by the Jews after the “final battle in prophecy”.
With friends like Michael D Evans, they may think, who needs Yasser Arafat?