Christian Newswire is reporting that the film, Jerusalem Countdown, adapted from Pastor John Hagee's book of the same name, is scheduled for release this fall. The film was produced by the Christian film company Pure Flix Cinema in conjunction with John Hagee Ministries.
From what we can gather from the trailer, this is a high-budget, action-packed production about rapture, terror and romance. The all-star cast includes Stacy Keech playing the role of "a converted Israeli Mossad Agent".
Rapture films, not unlike horror and science fiction flicks, have become a genre of their own and have something of a cult following within evangelical subculture.
Pastor Hagee is a master at marketing and no stranger to the film industry or American culture. This writer has previously noted how "hosts of preachers have made their deepest, darkest Armageddonish thoughts available via cable, satellite, and radio channels; on DVD at Walmart; in print through Amazon; and in cyberspace through blogs and YouTube. Rapture has been lampooned by the Simpsons and harpooned by Max Blumenthal, while being seriously discussed in White House prayer meetings and consultations."
Rapture is simply in vogue and in Vogue.
The Second Coming of Hagee's Tribulation
"Vanished", a 1998 Christian thriller (scare-tactic?), written by and starring John Hagee, quickly disappeared from the scene and got "left-behind" when the floodgates opened on blockbuster apocalyptic films.
But pyrotechnics and stunts have improved over the last 13 years, while megachurch and Christian film production company budgets have increased. This has opened up unlimited possibilities for fire and brimstone preachers. It seems Hagee's recurring rapture theme has been improved and born again, and is ready to compete with the best of secular Hollywood.
Movies rarely accurately mimic the books they are based on, and Jerusalem Countdown in its literary form left plenty of Jews squirming. So we imagine the following passages from Hagee's book likely got scrapped and "left behind" on the editing room floor:
Page 171, Jerusalem Countdown:
“Romans 11:32 states that, “God has committed them all to disobedience.” This verse means that God locked the Jewish people up in unbelief.”
Page 174, Jerusalem Countdown:
“When will the divinely imparted spiritual blindness upon the Jewish people end concerning the identity of Jesus Christ as Messiah? This spiritual blindness will end when Christ returns to earth and they see the scars on His hands from the crucifixion.”
Page 175, Jerusalem Countdown:
“Gentiles come to Christ by the propagation of the gospel. I have preached in auditoriums, churches, cathedrals, football stadiums, and to a massive audience in Nigeria of more than three million in the open air. When you preach the Gospel to Gentiles, it is that hundreds and often thousands respond to the invitation to receive Christ. This is the power of the gospel and the message of proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This is not true of the Jewish people, who have been judicially blinded to the identity of the Messiah.”
Page 56, Jerusalem Countdown (paperback edition):
“It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God’s chose people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve the only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.”
Page 215, Jerusalem Countdown (paperback edition):
"The salvation of the Gentiles was intended by God to 'provoke the Jews to jealousy,' exciting them to seek and claim a share in the blessing of the new covenant'."
Media commentators like Ben Smith are convinced that, "Hagee’s commitment to Israel...is itself controversial: It’s rooted in the belief that the Jewish state will — soon — be the site of Armageddon."
Whereas spokespersons for Pastor Hagee, like Ari Morgenstern, adamantly insist that, "to assert that Christian Zionism is driven by Christian eschatology is factually incorrect, theologically impossible, and deeply offensive to millions of Christians who know exactly why they stand with Israel."
Hagee and representatives from his organization Christians United for Israel (CUFI) have convinced vast numbers in the Jewish community that their love and commitment to Israel is not eschatological in nature but rather based on the following "biblical" mandates:
One wonders whether a high profile apocalyptic Christian production like the film Jerusalem Countdown, which with Hagee's involvement and blessing, is heavily laden with evangelical eschatology and political intrigue, will leave spinmeisters like CUFI's David Brog with an awful lot of explaining to do.
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