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Truthsmack #15: Russia, Armageddon & the New World Order
Plus: COVID origins debate, JFK & Watergate
Five days after Russia invaded Ukraine, 92-year-old televangelist Pat Robertson emerged from retirement to broadcast a message from his old stomping grounds, “The 700 Club.” The headline was familiar to followers of Dispensational theology: Russia is going to eventually invade Israel and push us towards Armageddon.
“Is Putin insane?” Robertson asked in his thumbnail explanation of Ezekiel, chapter 38. “Yes, maybe so. But at the same time, he's being compelled by God. He went into Ukraine, but that wasn't his goal. His goal was to move against Israel ultimately. And he will link up with Turkey and they will come together.”
Robertson, Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship, prophecy watcher Gary Stearman and numerous other evangelical leaders have been talking about Ezekiel’s prophecies regarding the war of Gog and Magog. And 70 percent of evangelicals believe the Russian invasion is a sign of the last days, according to a recent poll by the evangelical Joshua Fund.
Dispensational theology, popularized in the U.S. by Dallas Theological Seminary, views the Hebrew prophets, the Book of Revelation and scattered other New Testament passages as pieces of a prophetic jigsaw puzzle regarding the end of the world. Countless books, videos, sermons and Bible studies have been devoted to matching current events to images, symbols and sayings found in these ancient apocalyptic writings.
While “Russia” isn’t mentioned in Bible (“Rosh” is), Dispensationalists consider “Magog” to be an ancient designation for that land. Gog is a person. Ezekiel, a Jewish prophet during the Babylonian exile, had this to say about Gog and Magog:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army … Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops” (Ezekiel 38:3-6).
Pat Robertson and other Dispensationalists interpret the rest of the chapter as a depiction of a future war – not the climactic “Armageddon” described in Revelation, but a precursor – in which Rosh (Russia) will invade Israel in coalition with Magog (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia and Azerbaijan), Persia (Iran), Cush (North Sudan and Egypt), Put (Libya), Gomer (Ukraine or Eastern Europe), and Togarmah and Tubal (Turkey and Syria).
But the invasion will – literally – go south, according to Ezekiel. “When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Lord … I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him.”
So prophecy buffs have been discussing an emerging alliance between Russia, Turkey and Iran. Dispensationalists are also watching NATO and the European Union to fulfill predictions in Daniel and Revelation about the Ten Kings (revived Roman Empire) to be ruled by the Antichrist.
Robertson blended Dispensational theology and geopolitics in his 1991 bestseller, The New World Order. Writing just months before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he warned that even well-meaning globalists like then-President George H.W. Bush were unwitting puppets of a shadowy Illuminati, “whose goal is nothing less than a new order for the human race under the dominion of Lucifer and his followers.”
Echoing decades-long conservative opposition to the United Nations, Robertson wrote the basic principles of this sinister New World Order are: 1) elimination of private property, 2) end of national sovereignty, 3) end of churches, and 4) a one-world government run by illumined elites.
An early version of the New World Order conspiracy theory was penned by John Robison, a Scottish physicist and mathematician, in 1797. In Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the Secret Meetings of Free-Masons, Illuminati and Reading Societies, Robison presented a secret history in which members of the Bavarian Illuminati infiltrated Masonic lodges to spread a doctrine of materialism and a new atheist world order.
A century later, Russian monarchists countered the challenges of modernization by promulgating a similar theory – in their version, the sinister puppetmasters were the Jews. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, published in 1903, claimed to reveal 24 subversive strategies from the minutes of a secret Zionist conclave.
From the John Birch Society, Lyndon LaRouche and the militia movement, to Glenn Beck, Pat Robertson, Behold a Pale Horse, Alex Jones and Q, modern versions of the New World Order conspiracy theory frame globalization as a threat to freedom. Maybe climate scientists just want to control the economy. Maybe the Mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:16-17) will be a vaccination chip under your skin. Maybe Armageddon will come as soon as Russia is out of the way.
It’s a good example of how believing is seeing. Will the Illuminati please go on the record!
After two years of COVID, origins still debated
About a year ago, the World Health Organization completed an investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus. The verdict was that COVID-19 spread to humans from infected animals at a Wuhan food market and, further, it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The news triggered an immediate black-out on any questions about the “lab leak” hypothesis until last summer, when the U.S. Director of National Intelligence told the world “two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident.”
Since then, scientists have been racing to find evidence to support one hypothesis over the other, all hamstrung by Chinese restrictions on data collection. Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona led an international team that published two yet-to-be-peer-reviewed studies at the end of February.
The papers concluded that the coronavirus most likely jumped from a caged wild animal like a raccoon dog into humans at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market during the first known COVID-19 outbreak in December, 2019.
A third study, published around the same time by George Gao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, suggested the virus was imported there – supporting researchers like Mike Farzan of Scripps Research, who believed early on that the virus could not have evolved naturally.
Every time researchers press China for more access to the relevant data, the government reiterates its own theory that the U.S. developed the coronavirus at Fort Detrick, the home of the U.S. biological defense program.
Steven Saint Thomas will be leading an online dissection of “COVID Coverups” for Cal-Poly Humboldt’s OLLI extension on May 10 (click below for details).
If you are not an OLLI member or cannot attend this, we’re scheduling other classes for Truthsmack subscribers - Click here to find out how to join in!
Watergate-JFK connections mulled 50 years later
Coming of age during the Watergate scandal and applying for journalism school after reading All the President’s Men, I thought the Bay of Pigs was ancient history. Reading a gaggle of Watergate memoirs in 1978 – especially H.R. Haldeman’s The Ends of Power and John Ehrlichman’s Witness to Power – opened my eyes to the Watergate cast of characters’ previous life together back in the 1960s.
Haldeman and Ehrlichman met with Nixon’s CIA director, Richard Helms, about a week after the June 17 Watergate break-in. Former CIA agent Howard Hunt had been implicated in the break-in after his phone number had been found in one of the burglar’s address book.
Helms was a deputy director of CIA covert operations during the Bay of Pigs, a plan to overthrow Fidel Castro supported by Vice-president Richard Nixon in 1960. Hunt had been in charge of forging a government-in-exile to replace Castro if the 1961 invasion succeeded in ousting him.
Haldeman delivered a message from Nixon to Helms on that fateful June day in 1972 – the CIA needed to tell the FBI to stop investigating the Watergate money trail to Mexico or “the Bay of Pigs may be blown.”
“Richard Helms yelled like a scalded cat,” Ehrlichman wrote. “‘We’re not afraid of that!’ he said with more animation than I’d ever seen in that urbane gentleman before.”
“The whole Bay of Pigs thing” as a euphemism for the Kennedy assassination was brought to mass attention in Oliver Stone’s 1995 film, “Nixon.” Jeff Morley, author of the forthcoming Scorpions’ Dance, will explore the connections on the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in.
“New evidence proves that Haldeman was right,” writes Morley, a former Washington Post reporter who’s been covering the JFK assassination since 1995. “I’ll present the proof and explain how the murder of 35th president figured in the downfall of the 37th president.”