Wondering how we got to a point where Donald Trump can say “I am the chosen one” and Christians don’t go bananas? You know–the folks looking for the Anti-Christ in every pope, a New World Order in every meeting of the UN, the mark of the beast in every new piece of technology, and the devil in every game of Dungeons and Dragons?
Well, these folks have been building this story for awhile now.
The morning of his self-coronation as the Messiah last week, Trump retweeted the words of conservative wackadoodle Wayne Allyn Root, who said that Israeli Jews love him like he is “the second coming of God.” Granted, that makes no sense, since Jews don’t believe that there was a first coming, but theological accuracy or respect for Judaism aren’t what Root is known for.
That’s just one high profile example. Head over to the internet to find zillions of websites and YouTube videos explaining why Trump is heaven-sent.
Or, if you dare, hit a Trumpian church one Sunday morning to hear people praying for–though sometimes it feels like to–the president.
WND, the far right (“wingnut” would not be too far, I think) website reported in 2016 that at least one far right rabbi sees Trump as a messiah but not the messiah.
And last month, Miriam Adelson, wife of megadonor Sheldon Adelson, said that she thought that a Book of Trump should be added to the Bible. In a newspaper which she oversees, Adelson wonders why American Jews aren’t as enthusiastic about Trump as they ought to be–something he griped about a few weeks later himself when he invoked the anti-Semitic trope of Jews being “disloyal.” Adelson tries to insert him into the Bible as a prophet rejected by the very people he is saving:
Scholars of the Bible will no doubt note the heroes, sages, and prophets of antiquity who were similarly spurned by the very people they came to raise up.
Christians will hear a comparison to Jesus: a prophet has no honor in his hometown.
But Adelson wants more for Trump–an actual place in written Scripture:
Would it be too much to pray for a day when the Bible gets a “Book of Trump,” much like it has a “Book of Esther” celebrating the deliverance of the Jews from ancient Persia?
This should have made American Christians, many of whom were at least open to the idea that Obama might be the anti-Christ (though I have some concerns about this polling company), recall Revelation 22:18.
But they didn’t.
I’ve done some work examining how pro-Trump Christians have worked to insert him into the Biblical narrative. Was he a David–a sinner but, ultimately, a man after God’s own heart? An Esther (as Adelson invokes), called to a time such as this? King Cyrus seemed to settle them down: a non-believer whose politics restored power to the Jews taken into captivity. That works well, because, in this metaphor, since Trump is a non-Christian, he can’t be held to Christian standards, but he can still hand off power to believers. Other parts of Cyrus’ story, told in the apocryphal passages in Daniel, are ignored.
But an election is coming up, and King Cyrus isn’t cutting it any more. So it’s time to ramp up the pressure. Can voters dare vote against a (the?) messiah?
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by Trumpian Christians’ foolishness. Here is Jesus, in Luke 12:54-56, expressing his own frustration with a crowd of people who don’t seem to be able to face reality:
“When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?”