Is the return of Jesus Christ getting closer? According to a survey conducted by the Brookings Institute’s Center for Middle East Policy entitled “American Attitudes Toward The Middle East And Israel“, 79 percent of all evangelical Christians in America believe that “the unfolding violence across the Middle East is a sign that the end times are nearer”. In addition, the survey also discovered that evangelical Christians are also far more likely to be pro-Israel than the population as a whole, and most of them believe that Israel will control more territory than it currently possesses before Jesus comes back. Many “secular” Americans may find this strange, but evangelical Christians really do view everything that is going on in the Middle East through the lens of Bible prophecy. The vast majority of evangelicals truly believe that Jesus is actually coming back to our world, and most of them are fully convinced that Israel is going to play a leading role in the events of the last days.
Before I get to more of the survey results, I should disclose that I am a pro-Israel evangelical Christian that believes that the return of Jesus Christ will happen within my lifetime. So this survey was very interested in finding out what people like me think. With that in mind, here are more of the findings with my comments in italics after each point…
-Benjamin Netanyahu (16 percent) is the world leader that evangelicals admire most, followed by Ronald Reagan (11 percent) and Barack Obama (10 percent).
Comments: It should be no surprise that many evangelicals admire Benjamin Netanyahu more than any U.S. politician. But how did Barack Obama get 10 percent? Have 10 percent of all evangelical Christians in America gone completely insane?
–39 percent of evangelicals say that Israel has too little influence on U.S. politics, while 23 percent say that Israel has too much influence on U.S. politics.
Comments: These numbers are much different than for the population as a whole. Overall, the survey found that 37 percent of all Americans believe that Israel has too much influence on U.S. politics, and only 18 percent of all Americans believe that Israel has too little influence on U.S. politics.
–55 percent of evangelicals say that “a candidate’s position on Israel matters a lot to them” when deciding who to vote for.
Comments: I know that this is true for me. One of the very first things that I look for when evaluating any candidate is their position on Israel. If I find out that a candidate is anti-Israel, I completely rule out casting a vote for that candidate. Unfortunately, that means that there are hardly any politicians that I can actually vote for.
–81 percent of evangelicals believe that Jesus will return to this planet.
Comments: So what are the other 19 percent thinking? Haven’t they read the end of the book? The Bible tells us over and over that Jesus is coming back. Sadly, I believe that this is just part of a larger trend. The church in America is increasingly moving away from interpreting the Bible literally, and that is a very bad thing.
–75 percent of evangelicals believe that “things need to happen in Israel before Christ returns”.
Comments: This is very consistent with what the Bible says. The Bible indicates that the nation of Israel will play a starring role in the last days, and what we have seen so far is just the beginning.
–63 percent of evangelicals believe that “for the rapture or Second Coming to occur it is essential for current-
day Israel to include all the land they believe was promised to Biblical Israel in the Old Testament”.
I definitely agree that Israel will end up possessing more land than it does right now. But I think that the wording of this question probably threw a lot of believers off. Were they referring to a pre-Tribulation rapture, a mid-Tribulation rapture, a pre-Wrath rapture or a rapture that comes at the end of the Tribulation?
Needless to say, these survey numbers are really surprising a lot of people – especially those that happen to be on the left end of the political spectrum. For instance, just consider the following comments from Politico editor Susan Glasser…
“These numbers are very striking on the end of days theology that these respondents claim motivate them,” Politico editor Susan Glasser said during a panel discussion after the release of the survey at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“Some of these numbers are really stark,” she added. “I mean, the percentage of American Evangelicals, according to your survey, who believe the end of times is nigh, is kind of eye popping, at least for secular America or blue America.”
And I am sure that some of these statistics are going to provoke some very strong reactions from my regular readers as well.
You have seen what I think, so now it is your turn.
What is your response to the numbers that you have just seen? Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…