Millenarianism inwards the U.S. of A. of America has oftentimes been associated with a conspiratorial outlook. Narrowly defined, millenarianism is the belief inwards the thousand-year reign of the Messiah forecast past times the Hebrew prophets inwards the Hebrew Scriptures, or Christian Old Testament. The millennial dominion of Jesus Christ, believed past times Christians to hold upwardly the Messiah, is every bit good mentioned inwards the Book of Revelation inwards the New Testament.
More recently, the application of the term “millenarianism” has been expanded to include a diverseness of other groups who attempt to establish, or if inwards the hereafter to forecast together with promote, an ideal or utopian community. These include some Eastern together with Near Eastern religious movements, such every bit the Aum Shinrikyo, a derivative of Japanese Buddhism, together with apocalyptic sects inside Islam.
The term has every bit good been applied to certainly secular political movements, such every bit National Socialism together with communism, merely inside the U.S. of A. of America most millenarians accept traditionally been Christians, together with they oftentimes subscribe to a host of conspiracy theories.
Christian Millenarianism inwards American History
As early on every bit the colonial era, Puritans inwards the Massachusetts Bay Colony interpreted the perceived spiritual apathy, or “declension,” inside their envisioned millennial community every bit the number of dark, unseen forces, a perspective exemplified past times the notorious Salem Witch Trials inwards the seventeenth century.
Colonial religious leaders such every bit Cotton Mather together with the revivalist Jonathan Edwards saw world events every bit marching toward the institution of the Kingdom of God. In particular, Mather, who viewed the pope every bit the Antichrist inwards league with the French armies inwards Canada, saw the commencement of the French together with Indian War inwards 1754 every bit an lawsuit of apocalyptic proportions.
During the years leading upwardly to together with including the American Revolution, many colonists saw the British, together with King George III inwards particular, every bit emissaries of the devil, together with they interpreted British actions every bit purpose of a corking conspiracy that would fulfill the prophecies of the Book of Revelation.
Millenarian belief thrived inwards the early on commonwealth together with throughout the nineteenth century, together with it seemed to increase after the political together with social turmoil of the Civil War. During the 1840s, the revivalist William Miller together with his supporters eagerly awaited Christ’s furnish to works life a millennial kingdom, entirely to accept their hopes crushed when their expectations failed.
Yet the widely publicized Millerite debacle failed to dissuade farther converts to millenarianism. In fact, the intellectual pedigree of many contemporary Christian millenarians is rooted inwards the run of John Nelson Darby, a nineteenth-century Irish Gaelic government minister who developed a prophetic outline for interpreting events prior to the Second Coming of Christ.
Darby’s prophetic theories, which began to hold upwardly widely circulated inwards the U.S. of A. of America inwards the 1870s, became known every bit “premillennial dispensationalism.” Darby’s interpretations were afterward farther popularized past times Cyrus Scofield inwards his Scofield Reference Bible.
This work, which was foremost published inwards 1909, continues to hold upwardly influential at the get-go of the twenty-first century. Central to Darby’s scenario was the belief inwards the literal thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth, an lawsuit that would hold upwardly presaged past times an escalating moral spend upwardly around the world.
Both Darby together with Scofield every bit good emphasized such End Time events every bit the release of Jerusalem from Gentile control, an lawsuit that Scofield suggested had been fulfilled with the British capture of the metropolis inwards 1917, together with the eventual ascent of an evil representative of the devil, the Antichrist, who would terrorize the world inwards the days before Christ’s return.
Christian millenarians who back upwardly this interpretation that social, political, economic, together with cultural atmospheric condition inwards the world volition worsen before the Second Coming of Christ are to a greater extent than oftentimes than non classified every bit “premillenarian.” They hold that Jesus volition intervene inwards world affairs together with works life the millennial reign.
Conversely, millenarians who believe that Jesus Christ does non accept to furnish for the millennium to begin, or that humanity is capable of bringing it close through social together with political reform, are known every bit “postmillenarian.”
Premillenarianism together with Conspiracy Theory
Conspiracy theories are to a greater extent than oftentimes than non found alongside advocates of premillenarian beliefs. Some premillennialists are what certainly scholars accept termed “apocalyptic millenarians” and/or “revolutionary millenarians.” Apocalyptic millenarians believe that the millennium is imminent together with that they volition play an active purpose inwards bringing it about.
Revolutionary millenarians are currently actively involved inwards over-turning the structures of monastic say inwards an endeavor to convey the millennium to fruition. Many apocalyptic millenarians, together with most revolutionary millenarians, promote conspiracy theories.
These oftentimes include belief inwards a New World Order, the thought that the U.S. of A. of America authorities is bent on removing private freedoms, a belief inwards the sinister dimensions of modern technology such every bit computers or credit cards, or an interpretation that considers the planned economical together with possible political unification of Europe dangerous.
These conspiracy theories are oftentimes good publicized. For instance, when quondam U.S. of A. of America President George Bush proclaimed a New World Order inwards the post–cold state of war world, many conservative evangelical Christians interpreted his words every bit a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
These included Pat Robertson, the primary host of the 700 Club, a goggle box programme pop inwards conservative Christian circles. Robertson is the boy of a quondam U.S. of A. of America senator, together with was himself a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination inwards 1988.
In his mass The New World Order, Robertson suggested that a conspiratorial New World Order was a concerted excogitation past times specific groups together with organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, together with the Federal Reserve Board, to works life a one-world government.
Robertson attributed many of these machinations to a supposed “invisible hand” that engineered U.S. domestic together with unusual policies. Robertson left niggling dubiousness close the supposed wicked nature of these plans together with warned Christians to hold upwardly both aware together with wary.
Robertson’s high-profile status notwithstanding, the most recognized distributor of Christian millenarianism inwards the concluding few decades has been Hal Lindsey, the writer of a number of books, most notably The Late Great Planet basis (1970), which was the best-selling nonfiction run of the 1970s.
Only sales of the Bible outdistanced Lindsey’s sensational work concern human relationship of End Time prophecy, which was reissued inwards subsequent editions. Lindsey emphasized the ascent of a European dictator who would dominate the world before the furnish of Christ. In developing his assertions, Lindsey relied heavily upon the formulations before devised past times both Darby together with Scofield.
Recently, however, Tim LaHaye together with Jerry Jenkins accept popularized millenarian conspiracy theories inwards their best-selling Left Behind series. LaHaye together with Jenkins outline a fictional scenario for End Time events, supposedly based on prophecies inwards the Book of Revelation, inwards which a conspiratorial world-ruling dictator, a villain capable of enormous evil, reward state of war on all truthful Christians together with seeks to exterminate them from the earth.
The consistent popularity of the volumes inwards this series—these books accept regularly been on the New York Times bestseller list—underscores the marking to which millenarian belief together with its attendant conspiratorial fascination accept invaded pop culture.
The Future of Millenarian Belief
It is unlikely that millenarian belief, together with the conspiracy theories that arise from it, volition recede. Although specific millenarian interpretations, such every bit the thought of William Miller together with his followers that Christ would furnish inwards 1843, tin hold upwardly disproved, the millenarian model for agreement the world cannot hold upwardly together with so easily undermined.
Millenarian beliefs are persistent together with tin hold upwardly made to rhetorically jibe almost whatever social together with cultural context. Contemporary advocates of millenarianism, premillenarians inwards particular, are unlikely to hold upwardly convinced that their portrayal of the conspiratorial nature of electrical flow events is inaccurate.
In fact, the belief that 1 is instrumental inwards bringing the millennium to fruition, or at to the lowest degree that 1 is witnessing or close to witness the cataclysmic events that volition Pb to the destination of the world, is seductive. Millenarians are oftentimes drawn into a fantasy realm to which their lives seem integral.
Although critics may struggle that such belief is delusional, advocates of millenarianism are probable to sense a psychological sense of relief, together with fifty-fifty a sense of eager anticipation, occasioned past times their thought that the course of didactics of world events is predetermined together with that political, social, together with cultural alter is imminent. They volition therefore stay on the sentinel for “signs” of the end, signs that are oftentimes found inwards the night corners of U.S. conspiracy theories.