THE BATTLE FOR JERUSALEM
The battle for Jerusalem between the Jews and their neighbors seems ageless, and according to pastor and author Hagee (The Revelation of Truth; From Daniel to Doomsday; The Beginning of the End), it is. Writing from an evangelical Christian perspective, Hagee claims that the Bible prophesies enmity between the offspring of Abraham (Ishmael, son of Hagar, representing the Arab contingency) and Isaac (son of Sarah, representing the Jewish people). Hagee asserts that this war will continue until biblical prophecies about the Antichrist's rise and Christ's return are fulfilled. Hagee is crystal-clear about whose side God is supposed to be on: all Christians are duty-bound to prayerfully intercede for the nation of Israel, and her enemies will be swept away. In the tradition of two millennia of Christian prophecy writers, Hagee points to current events and ties them to biblical prophecy. (Now, however, the villains include ATM cards: a cashless society, according to Hagee, will enable the Antichrist's projected one-world government to thrive.) The book is bound to offend many; Jews may be upset to find that Hagee considers Judaism important only in its role vis-à-vis Christianity, and Muslims will rightly be disturbed by the book's stereotypical portrayals of Muslims as violent and dangerous "fundamentalists." Evangelical Christians who have devoured the Left Behind series may enjoy this book, though it is considerably less detailed than other evangelical prophecy tomes and the prose doesn't exactly sparkle. (Apr.)
Forecast: Long before Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins became household names, preachers such as William Miller, Cyrus Scofield and Hal Lindsey became bestselling authors of biblical prophecy books. Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth was the bestselling nonfiction book of the 1970s, with a whopping 28 million copies in print by 1990. Today, in the wake of Left Behind's phenomenal popularity, a book on the apocalypse could be positioned to perform very well—even if it's the runt of the litter.