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Hogarth judge

November 2018



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Hogarth judge

A screed of doctrine: Bush, Chirac, and Gog

Janos wrote:
Unless Jaques Chirac contradicts it, the story attributed to him today about Bush raising the specter of Gog and Magog in asking for French participation in the war on Iraq (http://jonathanturley.org/2009/05/25/report-bush-told-french-president-jacques-chirac-that-iraq-war-was-biblically-ordained-with-story-of-gog-and-magog/) will stand and raise a few interesting questions.

W's Biblical preoccupation is not a question, but who/what in hell Gog and Magog is/are should be. The extensive Wiki entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gog_and_Magog) left me unenlightened probably because there the information is so diffuse, from the Ahmadiyya (also unknown to me) to Alexander the Great to Kazars to the Goths to the Lord Mayor's Show in London.

I began part of that Wikipedia article, the part that deals with British mythology.

Gog and Magog are important figures in the heretical theology called "dispensationalism", that was invented in the UK in the 19th century, and got popularized in the United States thanks to the popularity of Cyrus I. Scofield's Scofield Reference Bible. This took off during the original "fundamentalism" controversy of the early 20th century. Dispensationalism became popular because it offered a way to preserve the "literal inerrancy" of Biblical prophesy, which was the chief "fundamentalist" tenet.

It preserved literal inerrancy by affirming that Biblical prophecy was not meant for moral instruction but instead contained a series of foreordained dooms for the world. That the Bible teaches otherwise, and that prophecy is for moral instruction and not necessarily literal fulfilment (see the book of Jonah) was lost on its advocates. By that time, literal inerrancy was more important than discerning the will of God.

At any rate, dispensationalism tries to preserve inerrancy by assuming that all the prophecies of Scripture would literally come true, but that while individual texts were inerrant, the collection had been edited by idiots, and it all had to be rearranged by contemporary believers. Some prophecies seemed to refer to historical events; their literal truth was assured. Others, that corresponded to no known events, were referred to the future. To dispensationalists, this process is called "rightly dividing the word of truth" (cf. 2. Timothy 2:15).

As such, dispensationalism developed an elaborate eschatology that looks for signs of unfulfilled Bible prophecy in current affairs. The entire theory turned into a sort of mass psychosis. The fact that the founding of Israel led to perpetual war in that region boosted the popularity of the doctrine. Israel was thought to be a harbinger of Armageddon, and as such dispensationalist Christians in the USA are eager to have the United States support Israel's territorial expansions and military.

Dispensationalism denies the communion of all believers affirmed in the Apostle's Creed, and holds instead that Jews and the Christian church have separate end-times destinies and eschatological paths. Instead of the single second coming and last judgment affirmed in the historic creeds, dispensationalism offers a multi-step second coming and multiple judgments. The "rapture" you may have heard about is not a historic Christian belief; it is part of the dispensationalist mummery.

Jesus blessed the peacemakers, Dispensationalists believe instead that the literal fulfilment of Biblical prophecy means that we should expect and indeed look forward to wars, especially in the Middle East. After all, one of them might be Armageddon. Human peace initiatives may in fact be paving the way for the coming Antichrist, who in Dispensationalist mythology is a Satanic false messiah, a tyrant who will establish "one world government". Depending on who's interpreting and which way the wind blows, either the United Nations or the European Community will be the seat of his empire.

While pretending to uphold "literal inerrancy", in their search for clues to prophetic fulfilment in the headlines, dispensational prophecy authors resort to fanciful metaphorical interpretations. They routinely claim that stars falling from heaven are nuclear weapons, and that plagues of locusts are really military helicopters.

Those are some of the reasons why I consider dispensationalism a heretical doctrine.

Back to Gog and Magog. Ezekiel 38-39 says that Gog and Magog were tyrants who would attack Israel and be destroyed in a bloody slaughter. Scofield's fanciful interpretation identifies Gog and Magog with Russia, claiming that "Meshech" is really Moscow and that "Tubal" is Tobolsk, a town in Siberia you've never heard of. This gets correlated with Armageddon in most Dispensationalist prophecies. Hal Lindsey, the Erich von Daniken of dispensational prophecy, wrote in his 1970s best seller The Late Great Planet Earth that "Russia Is a Gog". Written during the Cold War, Lindsey saw the Soviet Union (and hippies) as harbingers of prophesied doom.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, new candidates for Gog and Magog needed to be found. Apparently someone decided that Saddam Hussein fit the bill, and that was all George W. Bush needed to reopen his family feud.