Here is Mike Pompeo talking with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN):
Sarah Pulliam Bailey gets us up to speed at The Washington Post. Read here piece here.
Here are some really random thoughts about Pompeo’s remarks:
The fact that CBN asked Pompeo to compare Trump to Queen Esther in interesting in and of itself. Let’s be clear: Pompeo was responding to a question, not offering-up his religious views on Middle East foreign policy in an unsolicited fashion.
CBN has a long history of trying to connect biblical prophecy to developments in the Middle East. The people at CBN believe, along with millions of other evangelicals, that God still has a special place in His plan for the nation of Israel. The establishment of the state of Israel will be a sign that Jesus Christ’s return is coming. This theology is often described as dispensationalism. Those at CBN understand their mission in terms of 1 Chronicles 12:32. In this Old Testament passage, David builds an army at Hebron to overthrow King Saul. It says that “the men from Issachar” were men “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do….” Today CBN wants to “understand the times” so that it can help evangelicals win the culture war and shape foreign policy.
Pompeo’s answer reveals that he also believes God still has a plan for Israel. His answer makes it clear that he favors a pro-Israel foreign policy partially for dispensational or “end times” reasons. It does not surprise me that he would see Iran as Haman and Esther as Trump. What is most telling is that Pompeo is not running for office (like Trump) and thus does not have to appeal to evangelicals to shore-up an electoral base for 2020. Unlike Trump, he seems to really believe this stuff.
One illustration of the evangelical love of Israel comes from Peter Lillback, the President of Westminster Theological Seminary, an evangelical Reformed seminary in the Philadelphia area. In 2011, Lillback wrote an entire book arguing that George Washington was a supporter of Israel. Here is one of his arguments: “If there had been no George Washington, there would have been no American Independence. If there had been no American Independence there would have been no United States. If there had been no United States, there would have no super-power to support the existence of Israel. If there has been no super-power to support Israel, there would be no Israel.” He then concludes that George Washington was part of God’s plan for “the destiny of Israel.”
Trump has also been compared to King Cyrus. Some evangelicals make this comparison metaphorically—Trump is a pagan ruler who set the evangelical church free from the captivity of the Obama administration much in the same way that Cyrus, a pagan ruler, set the Israelites free from Babylonian bondage. Others apply the Cyrus example to Israel. Mike Evans, a Christian Zionist, has said that God used Trump to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem much in the same way God used Cyrus to advance biblical prophecy as related to a future for Israel. I wrote extensively about this in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.
It is worth noting that Harry Truman was also hailed as a King Cyrus after the state of Israel was established in 1948.
Back in 2012, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu gave Barack Obama a copy of the Book of Esther. It was a clear message that Obama, according to Netanyahu, was NOT acting as an Esther in his support of Iran over Israel.
Many evangelicals compared Sarah Palin to Queen Esther when she was John McCain’s vice-presidential candidate in 2008. (She would save Christian America from the threat of an Obama administration and secularism.
Abraham Lincoln was compared to Queen Esther for freeing the slaves. (He was also compared to Moses).
And that brings my random thought to an end. 🙂