November 2008 Church & State | People & Events

TV preacher Pat Robertson is back with a new set of predictions, this time asserting that a huge war in the Middle East is imminent that could spark nuclear attacks on American East Coast cities.

“In a letter on his Web site,, Robertson said his opinion was that Israel would bomb Iranian nuclear sites between Nov. 4 and the inauguration of the United States’ new president,” the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported. “Robertson tied his warning to biblical prophesy.”      

Russia, Robertson said, will jump into the war, and things will quickly get very out of hand.

“It all will conclude,” he added, “when God has rained fire on the islands of the sea and on the invading force coming against Israel.”

In the letter, Robertson insisted that there is a passage in the Bible that refers to the United States – a claim he has made before.

“Where will the United States be in all of this conflict?” he asked. “According to Ezekiel, the ‘young lions of Tarshish’ will be questioning the Russians about their aggression – questioning, but not acting to stop it. Who are these ‘young lions of Tarshish?’ Tarshish was the region beyond Cadiz in Spain. In antiquity, explorers from Tarshish came to Ireland, then across the ocean to North America, traveling the Mississippi River as far as the present-day site of Davenport, Iowa. I believe the term ‘young lions of Tarshish’ refers to England and the United States of America. According to Ezekiel, when the Middle East trouble begins, the young lions of Tarshish will warn Russia and Iran, but refuse to act.”

Added Robertson, “We will suffer grave economic damage, but will not engage in military action to stop the conflict. However, we may not be spared nuclear strikes against coastal cities.”

A version of the 1,410-word letter was sent in September to Regent University, the Virginia Beach school that Robertson founded and serves as president.

“We have between 75 and 120 days before the Middle East starts spinning out of control,” Robertson wrote. “If there was ever a time for fervent prayer, it is now.”

This isn’t Robertson’s first venture into prophecies about world events, but most of his predictions have failed – especially those that deal with the Middle East. Back in 1980, Robertson predicted that the Soviet Union would invade several Middle Eastern nations and seize their oil, throwing the United States and Western Europe into economic chaos.

In 1981, Robertson predicted a major worldwide depression and rapid inflation. He predicted a Russian invasion of Israel in 1990 and in January of 2005 noted confidently that President George W. Bush “is now positioned to have victory after victory and that his second term is going to be one of triumph, which is pretty strong stuff.”

In 2007, Robertson predicted “mass killings” on American soil, probably from a terrorist attack.

AU staffer Rob Boston told the Virginian-Pilot that Robertson’s prognostications often fail to come true.

“I guess he believes he has a direct pipeline to God,” said Boston. “Given the number of false predictions he’s given, I might question who’s at the other end of that pipeline.”

Writing on AU’s blog, “The Wall of Separation,” AU Director of Communications Joe Conn wrote, “ Those who follow Robertson’s predictions say they fall into three categories: safe bets (such as claims that there will be continued strife in the world), the spectacularly wrong and the occasional random hit. (Hey, even a Magic 8-Ball may give you good advice some of the time.)”

Asked Conn, “Why in heaven’s name, do American elected officials and political leaders still regard Robertson as someone they should do business with, when his track record is so reckless and wrong-headed? Presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney both dropped by in 2007 seeking Pat’s blessing. And Giuliani appeared at a press conference with Robertson when the endorsement came through.

“Is this latest outburst enough to cause the folks in Washington to stop going on Robertson’s show and inviting him into the counsels of government? It certainly ought to be.”