Why Conservative Christians REALLY “support” Israel

March 7, 2007 at 7:59 am | Posted in Christianity, conservatives, Iran, Israel, Middle East, War | 14 Comments

Pastor John Hagee on just how the Rapture and Armageddon will play out

Bottom line, they “support” Israel because they know that the destruction of Israel will bring about their own “Rapture.”

Hagee seems intent on a catastrophic war that will trigger “The Rapture” :

Russia with Arab allies will plot and plan Israel’s destruction. That’s happening right now. It has been happening for 10 years. Iran’s nuclear weapons have been produced with Russian scientists. The Islamic Arabs are using the Roadmap to Peace to get all of the land of Israel they can get. And when Israel finally says, `Enough!’ you’re going to see the beginning of the implementation of Ezekial’s war in 38:39. The critical point is the church is raptured before this war begins. I am telling you that makes this message one of the most thrilling prophetic messages you’ve ever heard in your life. You could get raptured out of this building before I get through finished preaching. We are that close to the coming of the Son of Man. – Pastor John Hagee, from a September 18, 2006 interview in WHYY’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross

What John Hagee leaves out of his “thrilling” apocalyptic narrative, is that he believes, subsequent to the “Rapture”, that most Jews in Israel, who by definition are not a part of the ones who will get “raptured” to Heaven, will die in the apocalyptic conflict Hagee and his fellow apocalyptic Christian zionists yearn for. IN “Jerusalem Countdown”, Hagee does not specify what percentage of world Jewry would be killed in the apocalyptic global conflict he has described as “thrilling”, but he gives a general sense. In reference to passages from the Bibles Book Of Isaiah 10:22, 22, Hagee writes :

“Who is this remnant [those who will survive] ?

First, it’s obvious that all of that remnant is Jewish…..

God promises that by his sovereign grace a “remnant” would be saved by the grace of God, a group of survivors who have the opportunity to receive Messiah, who is a rabbi known to the world as Jesus Christ.” ( Jerusalem Countdown, paperback edition, pages 192 and 194 )

Many Christian Premillenial Dispensationalists — the theological persuasion Pastor John Hagee belongs to — believe that the majority of the Jews currently living in Israel will be killed in the period of warfare that follows the “Rapture,” when “believing” Christians ( fundamentalist Christians, that is ) are bodily transported up to safety in heaven. The standard interpretation is that 2/3 or more of Israeli Jews will be slaughtered during this period but that a righteous “remnant”, who have realized the error of their ways and converted to Christianity, will survive what Christian Zionists often call the “final Holocaust” or the “second Holocaust.” Writings and statements made by CUFI board members Jerry Falwell and George Morrison sum up such views:

Millions of Jews will be slaughtered at this time but a remnant will escape and God will supernaturally hide them for Himself for the last three and a half years of the Tribulation, some feel in the rose-red city of Petra. I don’t know how, but God will keep them because the Jews and the Chosen People of God.” ( CUFI Executive Board Member Jerry Falwell, in a December 2, 1984 sermon)

As recounted by Terje Langeland, reporting for the Colorado Springs Independent in 2003, one of Pastor John Hagee’s CUFI board members, George Morrison, expresses his sense of how Israeli and Israeli Jews will fare in the apocalytpic scenario Hagee and others long for:

“Morrison, whose casual, folksy manner belies his apocalyptic beliefs, already sees signs that the End is approaching. The European Union, he says, might be the alliance of nations that according to prophecy will join the Arabs to wage war against Israel during the final days.

“Great wars will begin to take place” Morrison says in a matter-of-fact voice. “Those wars are going to involve nukes.”

The extent of the destruction will prompt Jesus to return in order to stop it, Morrison believes. Unfortunately, he says, many Jews will be killed.

“It’s another Holocaust, if you will” Morrison says. ”

When talking to many Jews and Israelis, Hagee seems stress the need to protect Israel and promises his group’s unwavering support for what Hagee calls God’s historic covenant with Jews to whom, Hagee believes, God gave the historical lands of Israel for perpetuity.

When talking to the Christian Zionists of CUFI, however, Hagee speaks of other matters : the need for an apocalyptic war in the Mideast that will trigger the “Rapture” of fundamentalist Christians into Heaven but also kill, Hagee believes, most Jews now living. That “necessary” war ( necessary to trigger the “Rapture”: of Christians, that is ) may even lead, Hagee speculates in “Jerusalem Countdown”, to massive nuclear strikes that will destroy America’s East and West coasts and kill hundreds of millions and which would amount to, Hagee feels, divine punishment visited, via ICBM, on liberal Americans for insufficient support for the sort of far right, even fringe, Israeli politics Hagee promotes.

They were giddy and gleeful last summer when Israel bombed Lebanon. They thought that that was going to bring about their Rapture. They’re giddy about Israel’s threat of attacking Iran. They’re giddy about a possible attack against Israel by any number of nations. They’re giddy about nuclear bombs going off on America’s coasts (because of course liberals live on the coastlines and conservatives live in the heartland). Why are they giddy? Because it will bring about THEIR salvation.

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  1. Never been a pre-tribulation rapturist myself. I think Christians have to endure the tribulations along with everyone else.

    However, at least Hagee can’t do much to influence the end times as they will happen on God’s schedule, not on his.

  2. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6097356

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6097359

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6097362

    Here’s the links to three different segments on Christian Zionism on NPR that aired back in September. You’ve mentioned the Pastor John Haggee interview, but the other two interviews give a little different take on the subject. Max Blumenthal and Gershom Gorenberg’s interviews? I remember listening to both twice, because I found their take, perspective and interaction with these Christian Zionists so interesting.

  3. The problem with Hagee and those like him is that he is part of a lobbying group called, “Christians United For Israel.” They are small, but apparently unusually strong lobby in the US that pull strongly for anything Israel. The Huffington Post had this to say about Hagee:

    “But CUFI has more on its agenda than simply “supporting Israel.” Its founder and president, Pastor John Hagee, is determined to see America and Israel adopt his Armageddon-based worldview as their foreign policy. Consider what Hagee wrote this year in Charisma magazine: “”The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty. Israel and America must confront Iran’s nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. For Israel to wait is to risk committing national suicide.”

    “Hagee’s desire to doom the now-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process is equally disturbing. As I detailed in the Nation, in his book, The Beginning of the End, Hagee celebrated the murder of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy and glorified his assassin, Yigal Amir. More recently, Hagee’s allies, like nationally syndicated evangelical radio host Janet Parshall, became ecstatic at the outbreak of violence in Lebanon and Israel. “These are the times we’ve been waiting for,” Parshall told her audience on July 21. “This is straight out of a Sunday school lesson.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-blumenthal/israel-the-us-and-the-c_b_26995.html

  4. totaltransformation,

    Thanks for commenting.

    However, at least Hagee can’t do much to influence the end times as they will happen on God’s schedule, not on his.

    I don’t think they understand this very crucial point. They see signs of the Second Coming all around them (and there really are some signs of prophecy being fulfilled), but they don’t understand that if they participate, and willfully support the destruction of others, they are not going to be a part of the people of God, but of the wicked men who war with each other in the last days.

  5. Sherpa,

    Thank you for sharing those links.

    Curtis,

    Thanks for sharing that too. It’s tough these days to talk straight about Israel, because people like Hagee and his supporters will immediately call you an anti-Semite for daring to challenge their own distorted views on Israel. Who is really a friend to Israel? I’m afraid that Israel has very few friends on earth right now, friends who aren’t friends for their own selfish benefit.

    Are Mormons friends of Israel? I think they are. I don’t see Mormons gleeful when Israel fights her neighbors (with a few extreme exceptions). I certainly do not trust the intentions of other Christians (most specifically Southern Baptists) when they talk of their “support” of Israel.

  6. Dan, if you get a chance-listen to them. They present a little different view and its worth checking out. The situation makes for strange bedfellows–as one of the interviewees says more than once.

    Personally, I think the issue of Israel is a very, very complicated issue and the more I study the issue the less I feel comfortable with a firm stance on the whole situation. But then, I adore complicated issues that are truly impossible to take an absolute stance on because of all the different perspectives, slants and facts. But I disgress.

    As far as being a “friend” of Israel…I am to an extent–but I can’t turn a blind eye to their treatment of the Palestines and some of their actions in Lebanon. Its just an extremely complicated issue–and one that I personally don’t take a black/white view.

    Also, I’ve had several CES instructors who had studied the issue in depth have talked about Israel’s treatment of the Palestines and who weren’t absolute supporters of Israel also.

    Its just a difficult situation.

    As far as other christian’s and Southern Baptist’s go–I listen to their views on other things also. Some are reasonable and have rational views, some are loonies. You get the crazies in anything that people are passionate about.

  7. I took the Arab Israeli Conflict class at BYU. It was the most revealing class I took at BYU, meaning the most I learned that I hadn’t already known beforehand. Our American media is VERY pro-Israel, and has a very hard time showing the full picture of what is going on in Israel and Palestine.

    That said, both Israel and Palestine have very few real friends in the world. Palestinians don’t have any real friends, except maybe the Jordanians. Certainly Egyptians and Saudi Arabians (and from pre-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein) are using them for their own gains. Europeans do business with Israel (in fact the EU is Israel’s biggest trading partner), but politically find it hard to back Israel’s policies. Asians don’t care that much, though the Chinese military does a lot of business with the Israeli military.

  8. Interesting post. I’ve never really quite “gotten” Hagee, but I’ve a close Christian friend who’s really sold on his views – we both love Israel, and have a heart for God’s Chosen People, but I certainly wouldn’t buy into his particular viewpoint, although can appreciate where he’s sort of coming from on it. I’m a pre-trib person myself, having studied the various possiblities, but am not so arrogant as to assume I might not be wrong, although figure that at my age, it’s more likely I’ll be home with the Lord through natural means anyway, so not stressing on it, and thus I think it is important that Christians don’t get hung up on particular doctrines in this respect.

    At the end of the day, if the Rapture happens, it’ll be done and dusted before we’ve any realisation of what’s hit us, and if not, most of us will either be home with the Lord anyhow, or will absolutely know that we have a role to play here through the tribulation period, and be given the Grace to do so. I think it’s dire to listen to how many Christians have got SO heavily into one position or other, they’re actually sinning by ‘fighting’ with their ‘family’ over it – unbelievers look on and marvel at how vitriolic some are even, and think “If that’s what Christianity is about, you can keep it!”

    Lets remember – time IS growing very short indeed, and rather than concerning ourselves on such various views, we should be working on the more important task at hand – the Commission to share the Gospel NOT the Rapture!! 🙂 Blessings, TKR

  9. Yeah, Most of my study of Israel has been self-motivated, but I’ve read a lot on the subject- Israel’s history, the Zionist movement, the Palestinian movement, the wars, the diplomatic ties and shifts Israel and Palestine has, their economy, the countries status today etc. etc. Its a fascinating subject, and one that I enjoy digging into. It’s one that I truly can say, the more I learn, the less I know–there’s just so many perspectives/details/historical background/culture/etc etc that makes it a subject that is truly complex.

    It was refreshing to hear a CES instructor give a nuanced approach on the subject of Israel/Palestine.

    Your right about the US mainstream media here. They haven’t always told the whole story……

  10. Good Israel/Bad Palestine or Bad Israel/Good Palestine debate aside. I find it truly disappointing when you look at the sheer amount of dollars that have been given to the Palestinian government only to still see the people wallowing in poverty. If I recall the amount is in the many, many billions of dollars and yet they seem to have done nothing constructive with it at all.

    Where is the government investment in Palestinian businesses, where is the government involvement in the building of civil infrastructure, where are the giant food and medical centers? Methinks that a little spankage is in order for the men who are lining their pockets with said money instead of helping to improve their people’s conditions.

  11. Ha Tikvah,

    Lets remember – time IS growing very short indeed, and rather than concerning ourselves on such various views, we should be working on the more important task at hand – the Commission to share the Gospel NOT the Rapture!!

    Thanks for commenting. And yes, this message is far greater than the pressing of the coming of the Rapture. As a Mormon I don’t believe in a Rapture, as Evangelicals believe it. But definitely the message of Jesus Christ and of salvation through him is far more powerful a message to pass to the world around us.

  12. cewsmoke,

    very good points. The Palestinians are certainly not doing well with the money they have been given over the years. One does wonder just where it has all gone.

  13. CEW,
    I’m sure in the first place that the money Palestinians have received from international donors has been nothing close to what Israel has received. In the second place, the illegal theft of palestinian money by Israel right now is a huge reason for a severe rise in poverty there currently. Also, the wall that Israel has built has kept many palestinians from their livelihoods and has increased poverty.

    I think the spanking of the palestinians has already been carried out by the Israelis who have a whole lot more support from international donors than Palestinians do.

  14. Pastor Hagee may very well be right on things
    shaping up, but continues to push the 2 comings
    of the Lord. Please Pastor Hagee understand the
    progressive Revelations of our Lord. Their are not
    2 Salvations for Gods people but only Christ and
    the Jews that will accept Christ Gift of eternal life
    will do so by a believeing Faith, just as you and I have. It is a mistake to go back to the 1st covenant on end times. Although Daniel saw in part< John the Revelator saw the fulness of God’s
    plan. The Bible is not nor has it ever been intended to be a jig-saw puzzule. I know that this
    responce will be in vain but the people of God would have to look at things in a different light if
    they realized will will go through the great tribulation. Send me scripture, not from the History of Isreal but the covenant that God made to the Church, you know, the one of Grace. I have never been able to find the secrete coming of Christ, just the one time, of course thats the NewTestament.


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