Those familiar with Christian theology know that Jesus -- according to scripture -- will one-day return to earth. While the time and place were left up in the air in the Holy Bible, some theologians believe that Christ's purported return is rapidly approaching.
So -- in some moves that could help two prominent, Christian television networks capture the epic moment on film, Daystar TV and Trinity Broadcasting Network have reportedly setup cameras overlooking the Mount of Olives, the location where Jesus is slated to re-emerge. The original report detailing these purported actions was published in The Los Angeles Times on October 1.
While Jesus' return is mentioned in the lede, the main reason Daystar and Trinity have made their way to the region is to fulfill a more controversial goal: Spreading the Christian gospel in Israel (neither network has actually claimed that they are in the region solely to capture Jesus' return). The Times reports:
If the Messiah descends from the Mount of Olives as foretold in the Bible, America's two biggest Christian broadcasters are well-positioned to cover it live thanks to recent acquisitions of adjacent Jerusalem studios on a hill overlooking the Old City.
Texas-based Daystar Television Network already beams a 24-hour-a-day live webcam from its terrace. Not to be outdone, Costa Mesa-based Trinity Broadcasting Network last month bought the building next door.
The dueling studios are part of an aggressive push by U.S. evangelical broadcasters seeking to gain a stronger foothold in the holy city. Their presence not only offers boasting rights with American viewers and contributors, but also — and more controversially — a platform for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to Jews in Israel.
While some outlets seem to be focusing upon the notion that the networks' presence is based on a thirst to capture Jesus Christ's return, as stated, the facts seem to point more to the companies' urge to spread Biblical ideals in the region. As the Times highlighted, TBN is working to bring its Shalom TV channel to Israeli satellite television; Daystar already has English-language programming running in the nation, with a presence on both satellite and cable.
"The main thing we want to do is help sponsor what we call Messianic Jews, or Jews that have received Jesus Christ as their Messiah," TBN co-founder Paul Crouch told the Times. "We want to do some Hebrew language programs to reach out to Jews and entice them to read the word of God and become what we call a completed Jew."
Naturally, this is controversial. While it's perfectly legal to proselytize in Israel, the practice isn't necessarily welcome; Orthodox Jews, in particular, have a strong disdain for it. Still, others welcome evangelicals, whom they have formed strong allegiances with and view as viable partners. The Times continues:
Some Israelis are welcoming members of the American evangelical community as strategic partners, both politically and economically.
In addition to becoming the fastest-growing segment of Israel's tourism market, U.S. evangelicals tend to be staunchly pro-Israel, lobbying in Washington on the Israeli government's behalf on such matters as the Palestinian conflict or West Bank settlement construction.
Christian broadcasters have donated tens of millions of dollars in recent years to build Israeli schools, community centers, hospital wards and even synagogues. Part of the support is based upon their belief that the return of the Jewish people to Israel will usher in the second coming of Jesus.
Now, back to the live feeds that could capture Jesus' eventual visit back to earth (here's Daystar's live feed from Israel). The Huffington Post has more about the theology behind Christ's scriptural return:
Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives. "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight," reads Acts 1:9-12 of the King James Bible. It is at the Mount of Olives where Christ is supposed to make his second coming, according to Christian scripture.
In Christianity, the Book of Revelation, the last book in the New Testament, describes Armageddon. Some Christians believe Revelation details exactly how the world will end. Judgment Day will come on Armageddon, and Jesus will save all the true believers, according to History.com.
While a live feed of Jesus' return is certainly possible with today's technology, in the mean time, it seems there's some discontent brewing between the two Christian media companies that's worth exploring. In a subsequent article about the ongoing competition between Daystar TV and Trinity Broadcasting Network, the Times notes the following about the networks' new studios: "Both prime properties feature sweeping, unobstructed views of the Mount of Olives, Old City and Mt. Zion.
In a bizarre back-and-forth, TBN is accusing Daystar of trying to prevent the network from getting its own Israeli channel on the Yes satellite provider. And earlier this month, Daystar put a large sign on its balcony, advertising its presence. The problem with the banner? It is in a position where it can only be seen almost exclusively from TBN's balcony -- and it will make it nearly impossible for TBN's cameras to capture Mt. Zion, the Times reports.