Thursday, November 09, 2006

Christian Zionism Raises Questions among Jewish Community

by Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak

The leaders of major Jewish organizations have enthusiastically welcomed the Rev. John Hagee's Christians United for Israel, or CUFI, which is holding a "Night to Honor Israel" in San Antonio this weekend. But some aspects of Hagee's effort do not bode well for Israel or American Jews.

CUFI brings together powerful leaders of the Christian right (the Revs. Jerry Falwell and Benny Hinn and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, to name a few) whose domestic agenda is opposed by the majority of American Jews.

And because CUFI's support for Israel is based on a particular interpretation of biblical prophesies, CUFI opposes compromises that might let Israel secure peace. This puts CUFI at odds with most Israelis and ultimately will put it out of synch with Jewish organizational leaders, whose positions have historically evolved in response to Israeli policies.

Gershom Gorenberg, a leading Israeli expert on Christian Zionism, recently explained how Christian Zionists' positions on Israel and the Middle East (Hagee advocates a U.S. attack on Iran) place them "at the far edge of the radical right within Israeli politics." Speaking on the public radio program "Fresh Air," Gorenberg said the Christian Zionists "tend to support military action over diplomacy. It's worth stressing that this puts them far from the mainstream of Israeli politics."

Christian Zionists base their opposition to ceding land on biblical interpretation. Hagee, speaking on the same program, gave a scriptural defense for his opposition to territorial compromise: "Joel 3:2 says do not do it. Those who divide up the land of Israel will come under the judgment of God. Therefore, don't do it. It's just that simple."

Christian Zionism focuses on "end times" scenarios that involve "ingathering" all the world's Jews in Israel against a backdrop of major international warfare. Jewish leaders correctly dismiss this as an irrelevant rationale for the political support of CUFI's leaders and the millions of Christians whom they represent.

Gorenberg, however, points out the contradiction in the use of the term Zionism by these Christian leaders, who, he says, are "seeing the Jews as actors in a Christian drama leading toward the end of days." By contrast, says Gorenberg, "real Zionism, as a Jewish movement, is a movement aimed at taking Jews out of the mythological realm and making them into normal actors in history, controlling their fate and acting for pragmatic reasons connected to the here and now. So what's called Christian Zionism is actually very distant from Zionism."

Hagee has promised Jewish leaders that CUFI will not use its support for Israel as a cover for evangelizing the Jews. But most of the members of CUFI's board and its regional leaders believe that Jews cannot be "raptured" in the "end times" unless they accept Jesus Christ as messiah.

Especially problematic is the domestic divide between CUFI's leaders and the vast majority of Jews, who vote Democratic, favor church-state separation, support gay rights and privacy in matters of reproductive health.

In an interview with the Express-News in July, Hagee brushed them aside: "I think if I could put a dividing line, the Orthodox and Conservatives who have a Torah appreciation give us wholehearted support. The rest who are not driven by the Word of God have a liberal agenda. And the liberal agenda is they are pro-abortion. They're pro-homosexual. They're pro-gay marriage — they want men to marry men and women to marry women — and their difference with me is not really what I'm doing with Israel. Their hostility to me is poisoned by their liberalism."

With Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, billed as a featured speaker at the Cornerstone Church event, the majority of Jews whom Hagee describes as "poisoned" should worry about how forcefully Jewish leaders will voice the community's views on crucial domestic issues — not about their toxicity.

SOURCE: My San Antonio


At November 09, 2006 6:01 PM, Blogger Louise said...


The long-covered-up 19th century roots of militant Christian Zionism, a modern crusade supporting American politics and even military action to bring about the End, have been uniquely uncovered by long-time historian Dave MacPherson.
The roots of this vengeful and power-mad campaign have been traced by MacPherson to a quarterly British journal known as "The Morning Watch" which, in its Sep., 1830 issue, had the first public teaching of the "pre-tribulation rapture" (the most popular feature of "pre-millennial dispensationalism").
In that same issue, one writer stated that the raptured Christians would then collectively become "the victorious ministerer of the great tribulation" upon those left behind!
An 1832 issue of the same journal taught that the "vials" of wrath in the book of Revelation "shall be poured out by the risen [raptured] saints," and a few months later another issue went even further and declared that the collective group of raptured ones will "wield the thunders of its power against the dragon [Satan] and his angels, and cast them down from heaven"!
[Incidentally, Southeastern Baptist Seminary in North Carolina is the only institution in North America that has a complete set of every issue of "The Morning Watch" published from 1829 to 1832.]
But where in the Bible, asks MacPherson, did those British fanatics find support for such "rapture rage," and where are the followers of Christ commanded to pick up a sword and conquer or convert non-believers with it - or even support such sword-bearers?
The above is a tiny fraction of Dave MacPherson's 300-page book "The Rapture Plot," the most detailed and documented history of the "pre-tribulation rapture" view merchandised big time by John Hagee, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, Hal Lindsey, Jimmy Swaggart, Jack Van Impe etc. for their agendas - an escapist view that was never taught by any church before 1830!
MacPherson, BTW, has stated that all of his royalties have always gone to a nonprofit corporation and not to himself. To obtain a copy of his unique, eye-opening "Plot" book, call 800.643.4645 or visit online bookstores. (Type in "Scholars Weigh My Research" on Google to read endorsements of it by many leading scholars.)
Do Hagee and his fellow preachers really love Jewish persons as much as they say they do? Then why do they pervert Scripture to try to get raptured off earth before the final "tribulation" instead of wanting to be on earth during that period to minister love to ALL of earth's citizens?
Hagee stated on July 19, 2006 that "The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West...." Which Bible verse inspired him to utter this - the one that says "Love ye your enemies" or the one saying "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord"?
It would appear that Hagee, Falwell and other rapture merchandisers and Christian Zionists are trying to identify with the predicted group whose love will "wax cold" (a la Matthew 24:12) during earth's darkest days!


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