The United Nations functions “independent of God” and has failed in its main purpose of preventing war, “Left Behind” author Tim LaHaye said Tuesday on CNN.
LaHaye, named this week by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America, joined four others from the list on “Larry King Live.”
In LaHaye’s popular novel series, a fictional U.N. General Secretary is revealed to be the Antichrist, who sets up a one-world government that LaHaye believes is prophesied in the Book of Revelation.
While it isn’t clear whether President Bush has read any of the books, some have suggested that LaHaye’s “Dispensationalist” theology influences U.S. foreign policy, particularly with regard to support for Israel.
According to a transcript of Tuesday’s program, Franklin Graham, who also made the Time list alongside his father, Billy Graham, shares LaHaye’s literal reading of Bible passages predicting events signaling the end of the world.
“The Bible speaks of an Antichrist who will come at the end times, who will unite the world, talks about the world having one monetary system,” Graham said. “There will be peace for a while under his leadership. But yet he is anti-God, he is anti-Christ and he will do everything he can to fight God in his statutes and his son the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Questioned by King whether viewing such events as foreordained leaves room for free will, LaHaye chimed in.
“We’re talking about government,” he said. “There are three things that are going to be the hallmark of the last days when–after Christ raptures the church and the church goes through the tribulation.
“As Franklin said, we’ll have a one-world commercial system, we’ll have one-world government and we’ll have a one-world religion. Now, that’s after all the Christians are taken out. And so the world will function that way. But still, God will give people an individual opportunity to receive Christ.”
King then asked LaHaye if he opposed the United Nations and the will for peace.
“I see the United Nations as functioning–one more of the functions of man, independent of God,” LaHaye said. “I said back in 1945, as a young preacher and they were starting the United Nations, that it will fail because they excluded God deliberately.”
“There have been more wars since the initiation of the United Nations than any other comparable period in history,” LaHaye said. “They have not solved one thing that they were supposed to solve.”
Dispensationalism, developed by British preacher John Nelson Darby in the 19th century and popularized in America by the Scofield Reference Bible, is a literal reading of Bible prophecy that divides history into seven “dispensations,” culminating in a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth.
The view has gained a new hearing with the runaway popularity of LaHaye’s “Left Behind” books, co-written with Jerry Jenkins.
Other Christians, however, read the passages cited by LaHaye as metaphorical rather than literal. A view called amillennialism, for example, views the thousand-year period described in the Bible as an idiomatic expression for “all time.”
Non-literal readings of Revelation also view images in the book as symbolizing historical events that were unfolding at the time the book was written, rather than predictions of future events.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.