A Film By: Franco Sacchi, Kate Davis and David Heilbroner
Reviewed by: Fern Sidman
In an hour and a quarter, filmmakers Franco Sacchi, Kate Davis and David Heilbroner take us through a tumultuous journey to the final scenario of the world as we know it, as they present the religious prophecies of the 50 million strong American Evangelical Christian movement in a new and powerful documentary entitled, “Waiting For Armageddon.” Riding the wave of the all pervasive eschatological (or End Times) phenomenon that has, in recent years, been highly touted in the media and in literary circles; the filmmakers provide an in depth view of what some interpret to be the Biblically mandated perspective on the final days of our universe. Told in the first person voices of mainstream Christians who subscribe to the beliefs of the evangelical church, they inform us that the end of days will occur in the Land of Israel, with the Jewish people figuring prominently in this venue.
“The Jewish people are G-d’s chosen people” says one American Christian, “and as such they are a light unto the nations. Whoever blesses the Jews will be blessed and whoever curses them will be cursed”, he continues. Providing historical proof of the downfall of the nations that have attempted to eradicate the Jewish nation such as the Babylonians, the Assyrian-Greeks, the Romans, as well as the Nazis, the Christian spokesperson lauds the Jewish people as G-d’s treasured, cherished nation, not to be fooled with. The predicate for their belief emanates from the Book of Revelations and is outlined in four stages – The Rapture, The Tribulation, The Apocalypse and The Millennium.
The film incorporates multiple interviews with everyday, lay people such as James and Laura Bagg, a Connecticut couple who are employed as jet propulsion engineers, Tony and Devonna Edwards of McAlester, Oklahoma and Dr. H. Wayne House of Salem, Oregon who explain in chilling detail the catastrophic and violent events that will unfold in the end of days. We also hear from an Orthodox Jewish scholar who casts aspersions on the ominous prognostications of the evangelicals as well as professors of religious studies and an evangelical tour guide that leads a group to Israel so that they may visit the Temple Mount and other sites such as Meggido.
Clearly, the foundation of their belief rests upon their interpretation of the second coming of Jesus, and they promulgate that notion as a potential, “World War III” in which they will be “raptured” or lifted into the skies to join their perceived messiah while the remainder of humanity suffers for seven years during “The Tribulation”. During this time, they assert with great assuredness that an anti-Christ will emerge and the nations of the world will coalesce to attack Israel and the Jewish people. While they proclaim the immense and pivotal role of Israel will play; it is because of their belief that the battle of Armageddon will take place there and they further claim that the battle will leave the earth ravaged and that their purported messiah will create a new and perfect world. The Jews they say, will eventually abrogate their belief in a monotheistic G-d and embrace the teachings of their deity. “The blood from this battle will be as high as a horse’s bridle. It’s just something mankind has never witnessed before” says Laura Bagg.
As to their take on the Muslims and Islam in the Middle East, the Christian tour guide states that in order for the future biblical prophecies to unfold, “the Dome of the Rock, the Al Aqsa mosque must be removed” and as such shows a photo of his group in Jerusalem with an image of the Beit HaMikdash (the Second Temple) superimposed over the golden dome symbolizing the Al Aqsa mosque. While the filmmakers probe the politically powerful and potentially explosive alliance between evangelical Christians and Israel by clarifying this elusive relationship in the hopes of fostering dialogue among dissenting groups, many questions remain about the dubious agenda they have foisted upon the Jewish people and the ultimate goal of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of international holy war.
Right now however, it appears that Christian evangelicals and the Jewish people share a common threat arising from the spread of radical Islam. Pastor John Hagee, a fervent Christian Zionist leader, and an enormously influential minister of an 18,000 member mega-church in Texas, declares in this film, “There is a war between Islamofascism and freedom. There is a war between the culture of death (the Muslims) and those who love life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (Christians and Jews). It is a war we must win.” Something to ruminate upon as madmen, such as Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continue to pursue their global nuclear ambitions.