Hal Lindsey appears to have been one of the first. His reading of Revelation 12:14-17, ‘The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert’ takes the passage to refer to ‘some massive airlift’ transporting escaping Jews from the holocaust. ‘Since the eagle is the national symbol of the United States, it’s possible that the airlift will be made available by aircraft from the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean.’
Lindsey does not explain why ‘the eagle’ should mean the United States, rather than Germany or the Czech Republic for instance. Nor does he explain why in Revelation it refers to modern aircraft, while in Exodus 19:4, Deuteronomy 32:11-12 and Isaiah 40:31 it does not. This is hardly evidence for a consistent ‘literal interpretation’.
Mike Evans has caused an even bigger splash with his latest offering, The American Prophecies:
Is America in prophecy? Yes, it is. Evans insists
“As a Middle East analyst and minister who has worked closely with leaders in that region for decades, I tended to be sceptical of attempts to come up with schemes to plug America into prophetic interpretations. I have often referred to such teachers as “Pop Prophecy Peddlers.” But, after thousands of hours of research, I am totally convinced that America is found in prophecy, and I believe you will, too, after reading [my] book.”
Even the reviewer for Amazon observes that actual quotes from Scripture are rather sparse.
Controversially, Evans goes on to claim
“September 11 would never have happened if America had fought the same bigotry in the 1990’s rather than trying to appease it. Millions of Jews would be living today if anti-Semitism had not been ignored in the 1920s and 1930s. The Great Depression, as well as other American tragedies, happened because of America’s pride and challenge to God Almighty’s plan.”
The danger with this kind of prophetic speculation is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is how D.S. Russell summarises the dilemma:
“One rather frightening by-product of this process of interpretation is that it is easy to create the very situation which is being described so that the interpretation given brings about its own fulfilment. Russia, for example, is to be destroyed by nuclear attack – and scripture must be fulfilled! It needs little imagination to understand the consequences of such a belief, especially if held with deep conviction by politicians and the military who have the power to press the button and to execute the judgment thus prophesied and foreordained.”
If you feel you need an antidote, check out Zion’s Christian Soldiers for instant protection and lasting relief.
For further examples of wacky theology see: