'Christian Zionism and Jewish Extremism'

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Tim Lahaye

Tim LaHaye has been called one of the most dangerous man in America today. According to many Mainstream Christian leaders, he has indoctrinated over a million and a half poor sheep into his brand of reconstructionist Christianity. He is anti-Gay, anti Occult, anti Jew, anti-everything, but his own version of Christian thought. He teaches a fantasy form of Christian "history" which has resulted in some American Christian conservative voters being unable to understand or accept reality.

He and his wife also teach sexuality for married xtians in ways some claim is helpful (that is supposing they were kept illiterate and dumb prior to marriage), but in ways that also indoctrinate extreme homophobia and delusional perceptions that depict common non-gender specific sex acts as "gay" and "wrong". It's important to be aware of this jerk because he isn't just leading a hundred person reclusive cult, but influencing over a million Americans to lose touch with reality.

Unknown to many, Tim LaHaye helped engineer today's Religious Right. LaHaye believes that "Jesus is the only way by which humanity can be saved; people's lives are significantly changed when they become Christians; and Jesus Christ is coming back — soon."

The 72_year_old Tim LaHaye has had a profound impact on American politics. LaHaye and his wife Beverly are 1950 graduates of the ultra-fundamentalist Bob Jones University. (a fact never mentioned in his biographies)

LaHaye's early pastoral ministry was mostly apolitical. In 1972, he assisted in the formation of the Institute for Creation Research, a group founded to promote the Biblical doctrine of creationism.

In 1979, LaHaye co-founded the Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell. He also published "The Battle for the Mind", his blueprint on how conservative Christians could take over the government of the United States. In the same year, his wife launched Concerned Women for America.

The Moral Majorities fundraising letters warned that America was faced with doom by secular humanists, militant homosexuals, and "baby killers" _ unless enough people were "saved, baptized, and registered to vote."

Meanwhile, left behind at home, Beverly LaHaye launched Concerned Women for America, which claims to be the largest women's group in the US.

Then, in 1980, Tim LaHaye organized the Council for National Policy, a vehicle for conservative religious leaders, politicians and business people to come together to share and implement their dogmatic ideas.

In 1984, LaHaye founded the American Coalition for Traditional Values, and began holding training seminars for Religious Right leaders..

Even though the Moral Majority and the American Coalition for Traditional Values collapsed through lack of funding, the Council for National Policy (CNP) and Concerned Women for America remain viable and important today. LaHaye is so fond of the CNP that he once said, "It isn't often in life that reality is better than the dream. That's the way it is with the Council for National Policy."

Rev. LaHaye is a Pre-tribulationist. That is, he believes that Jesus will return and take away believing Christians through the Rapture, an event that will cause Christians to fly off in the sky to meet Jesus. After the Rapture, an evil leader called the Antichrist will rule the world. Those who refuse to worship him will die. Christian fundamentalists believe that after the Rapture, Jews will believe in Jesus and fight the Antichrist.

Today, LaHaye, the author of more than 40 books, many of them bestsellers, has gone from activist to novelist. Instead of using sensational fundraising letters to exploit people's fears, he writes sensational novels which focus on propagating his "end time" doctrines..

He is doing this through his "Left Behind" series of 12 books. The first in the series, entitled "Left Behind", came out in 1995. One might say that he's exchanged one form of fiction for another. Yet, in his new role, he's reaching far more people than he ever dreamed of back at the Moral Majority. Tim LaHaye is the book series' theologian. His friend Jerry Jenkins is actually writing the series. LaHaye said he gives Jenkins the story outline and Jenkins fleshes them out. "Jerry is a phenomenal fiction writer," according to LaHaye.

The financial rewards aren't bad either. The authors report that their bestsellers have earned each of them $10 million. LaHaye, consistently has novels on The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.

The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession, is the newest installment in the fundamentalist "end times" saga by LaHaye. Advance orders for The Indwelling reached 1.9 million copies, propelling it overnight to number one on amazon.com, and The New York Times best_selling fiction lists. According to The New York Times, the writers, the Rev. Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, have pulled off "an unparalleled achievement for an evangelical novel."

The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession is the seventh book in the "Left Behind" series. The phrase refers to the Christian fundamentalist belief in the Rapture, that is, at the sound of a trumpet, Jesus will soon appear in the clouds to take believers up to meet him, thus escaping the horrible calamities foretold in the Book of Revelation.

Unbelievers who are left behind will have to engage in a three_and_a_half year battle with the forces of Satan. According to fundamentalist theologians, including LaHaye, all of the Jewish people will be left behind at the Rapture, and will suffer mightily during the dreadful period called the Great Tribulation. But before it's all over, 144,000 of them will accept Jesus as their savior. The rest will perish. The clear message to Jew and Gentile is "You don't want to be left behind."

So far, 17 million copies of the "Left Behind" series have been sold. Interestingly, when The New York Times tabulates its bestseller list, it excludes sales from the thousands of evangelical Christian bookstores across America. Last fall, this newsletter profiled Tim LaHaye in an article called "Tim LaHaye: the man behind the bestsellers."

Two other books which have appeared on the lists are are titled "Assassins" and "Apollyon". LaHaye dropped the "Rev." title on the book covers.

In describing Apollyon, The New York Times writes, "After the rapture of the saved, the world's remaining believers confront the Antichrist." A similar description accompanies Assassins.

LaHaye says that the Times and USA Today bestseller lists represent only one-third of the books sold. They don't take into account sales in Christian bookstores, Costco, and Sam's Club.

Cashing in on the popularity of the books, a Christian film company is producing a movie based on Left Behind, the first book in the series.

"Most of all," LaHaye said in an article in the Southern California Christian Times, "I believe God has chosen to bless this series. In doing so, he's giving the country and maybe the world, one last, big wake-up call before the events transpire."

"Jerry and I have made this a spiritual quest right from the laying out of the first book," LaHaye continued. "We have asked God to give us unusual insight in producing what we call believable conversions. Instead of producing a preachy book, we wanted it to have believable stories of Christian conversions that are reproducible in the heart of the reader. We're asking the same thing for the movie."

Using the Book of Revelation as an outline, the authors add present_day fictional characters to the ancient allegory. While their books are fiction, the authors truly believe the events that they describe will play out in our lifetime.

While spine_chilling fiction is run_of_the_mill, such fiction is usually hypothetical. But for LaHaye and millions of avid fundamentalist followers, "end_times" fiction is their reality.

That is truly scary.

The insatiable readers who devour the "Left Behind" series have limited vision and little hope. In recent years, many of these folks have become politically involved because they desire an America without non_Christian religions, humanists, homosexuals, abortion, and erotic images. But because in their hearts they know such a scenario will never unfold, they have turned to wishful escapism. Their escapism is not the kind of escapism most people enjoy when they pull the curtains and curl up with a gripping novel. For them, LaHaye's works of fiction beyond belief are gospel.

Because fundamentalists have failed to adopt a positive worldview, they hang onto his every oracular word, believing that their "blessed hope" will come when they take wings with their soon_coming king. LaHaye's notions are the epitome of quick_fix solutions to life's real challenges. What about overpopulation, disease, hunger, and world peace? Fundamentalists haven't a clue about what to do about any of these problems, and it doesn't bother them in the least. Don't worry, Jesus will whisk the believers away – too bad for those left behind. If LaHaye and his fundamentalist followers don't want to be part of the solution, then they shouldn't be part of the problem.

To most, the fundamentalist interpretation of the Book of Revelation is just plain wacky. But, for others, especially Jews, it's downright uncomfortable. For they are told that the day is coming when they'll have to choose Jesus and life, or death and hell. LaHaye doesn't seem to mind that this doctrine is abhorrent to Jews. In fact, he rejoices. After all, 144,000 fortunate Jews will choose Jesus and life.

The fact that LaHaye is an ardent foe of the separation between church and state is evidenced by a letter he wrote to The Freedom Writer in 1988. He wrote that The Freedom Writer "is full of disinformation," and, "typical of left_wing journals like yours, you print anything you can find that is derogatory to those with whom you disagree _ without checking the facts."

"Why not admit that the words 'separation' and 'church' do not even appear in the U.S. Constitution," he added. "Instead, they do appear in Article 52 of the Constitution of the Soviet Union."

Also see three other pages written by Christians who also have reservations about Tim:

Tim & Beverly LaHaye General Teachings/Activities

* Tim LaHaye & Psychoheresy

* Tim LaHaye Promotes Sigmund Freud

* Temperament Analysis/Personality Typing* Christian or Psycho-Occult?

This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Milton Frihetsson, 2:52 AM | link | |

Israeli Extremists and Christian Fundamentalists: The Alliance

By Grace Halsell
At the time I began my research for my book Prophecy and Politics, I discovered the average American I met in Washington, DC, and New York was not interested in TV evangelists and their link to Israel. Neither were book editors. I went to 25 top editors in New York with my book idea on religion and politics. Michael Korda of Simon and Schuster was typical. "Jerry Falwell? Pat Robertson? Who is interested in those crazies?"
By the time my book came out those "crazies" were on the front page of every American newspaper and on every news channel. Of course, I didn't give them this instant fame, which extended throughout the world. Two of them earned it themselves by being in the middle of scandals.
The press told us that Jim Baker had committed adultery and that Jimmy Swaggart regularly visited a prostitute. A fellow marine said Pat Robertson never had to dodge bullets in Korea because he had used his father's influence as a senator to escape front line duty. But almost everyone ignored the biggest scandal of all: the peculiar mixture of prophecy and politics professed by these and other Christian Zionists.
The Christian Zionists Message
What is the message of the Christian Zionist? Simply stated it is this: Every act taken by Israel is orchestrated by God, and should be condoned, supported, and even praised by the rest of us.
"Never mind what Israel does," say the Christian Zionists. "God wants this to happen." This includes the invasion of Lebanon, which killed or injured an estimated 100,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, most of them civilians; the bombing of sovereign nations such as Iraq; the deliberate, methodical brutalizing of the Palestinians—breaking bones, shooting children, and demolishing homes; and the expulsion of Palestinian Christians and Muslims from a land they have occupied for over 2,000 years.
My premise in Prophecy and Politics is that Christian Zionism is a dangerous and growing segment of Christianity, which was popularized by the 19th-century American Cyrus Scofield when he wrote into a Bible his interpretation of events in history. These events all centered around Israel—past, present, and future. His Scofield Bible is today the most popular of the reference Bibles.
Scofield said that Christ cannot return to earth until certain events occur: The Jews must return to Palestine, gain control of Jerusalem and rebuild a temple, and then we all must engage in the final, great battle called Armageddon. Estimates vary, but most students of Armageddon theology agree that as a result of these relatively recent interpretations of Biblical scripture, 10 to 40 million Americans believe Palestine is God's chosen land for the Jews.
Has the power of the Christian Zionists diminished?
I do not think so. Rather, we are seeing how the Christian Zionists, motivated by religious beliefs, are working hand in glove with politically motivated, militant Jewish Zionists around the world. It is the Christian support of Zionism that emboldens Zionists to believe they can dictate to relatively weak and dependent countries such as Austria, whom they may choose as their president.
It is the Christian support of Zionism that allows Manuel Noriega to remain the strongman in Panama, misusing his power, regardless of what harm he causes to the United States, his neighbors, and his people.
It is the Christian support of Zionism that enables the militant Israelis to take over Palestinian homes surrounding the Al-Aqsa mosque in pursuit of their well-documented plan to destroy Jerusalem's most holy Islamic site, sacred to a billion Muslims around the world—one-fifth of humanity.
Christian Zionists and the Iran-Contra Scandal
Remarkably,it was this Christian cult of Israel that brought us the Iran contra scandal, perhaps the most self-destructive act in the history of the United States. Marine Col. Oliver North, the perpetrator of this misguided series of actions, is a Christian Zionist. A born-again charismatic figure, he endeared himself to the militant Israeli Zionists who plotted Iran-contra. "He is more Israeli," said one Jewish general, "than we Israelis." This is often the case. In his zealotry, the Christian Zionist can become more Zionist, more militant, than the Jewish Zionist.
In the Iran-contra hearings, Sen. James McClure (R-ID) explained to North that the US had a stated policy of neutrality in the Iran-Iraq war. That policy differed radically from Israel's policy of selling arms to Iran. Yes, agreed North, the two policies were not the same. The question, to which McClure's efforts yielded no response, then becomes: Why would the US forego its American policy to pursue Israeli policy?
The answer, unfortunately, lies in the belief system of Christian Zionists: They believe that what Israel wants is what God wants. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to give the green light to whatever it is Israel wants and then conceal this from the American people. Anything, including lies, theft, even murder, is justified as long as Israel wants it.
Another perfect example of a Christian Zionist is Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI). Throughout the hearings on the Iran-contra scandal, the Hawaiian kept the focus on the contras and steered determinedly clear of any criticism of Israel. If, in answer to questions, witnesses sought to explain the seminal and continuing role of Israel, Inouye abruptly broke off the line of questioning that had led the hearings to this unwanted destination.
Despite the political problems created by its lay practitioners and the scandals that rocked some of its TV ministries, this belief system—this cult of Israel—has not been diminished.
Indeed, I hold that Christian Zionism threatens not just the lives of Palestinians and other Arabs, but the very existence of the United States. Because of the cult of Israel, we have become a nation that does not have its own Middle East policy, but the policy the government of Israel tells us to have.
Despite the terrifying aspects of the alliance of militant Christians with militant Jewish Zionists, I find some encouraging developments. In my visits to colleges, clubs, and churches around the country, I have found strong support for the message and warning in Prophecy and Politics. It has come not only from liberal congregations, but from across the whole spectrum of Christianity, including those Christians who call themselves fundamentalists. These supporters see Christ as the bearer to humanity of God's message of peace, brotherhood, love, and reconciliation. These Christians do not endorse either the cult of Israel or its killIngs and beatings of Palestinians.
I have found many such Christians in my frequent visits to my home state of Texas. There and all over this slowly-awakening land of ours, I have found a small but increasing number of ministers and lay people who are deeply alarmed by the cult of Israel and willing to stand up and speak out about it.
Grace Halsell's book,Prophecy and Politics. The Secret Alliance Between Israel and the US Christian Right is available through the AET Book Club Catalog to readers of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
(This article was adapted by author Grace Halsell from her speech at the North American Regional Non-Governmental Symposium on the Question of Palestine held in June 1988 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.)


This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Milton Frihetsson, 2:50 AM | link | |

Christian Zionism, Evangelicals and Israel,

by Gary M. Burge, Ph.D.

If there ever were doubts about the ongoing presence and influence of Christian Zionism in Israel, you only had to visit Jerusalem earlier this month to witness the Christian Embassy's one week Tabernacles Festival. On Tuesday the 14th 15,000 people paraded outside Jerusalem's Old Walled City. The predominant colors for clothes were red, white and blue, and many Americans wore necklaces sporting a Star of David, a Menorah and a Christian fish symbol. American flags were distributed liberally to cheering parade-watchers. A delegation from the South wore gallon-sized cowboy hats and steer-horned belt buckles while they carried a large banner, "Oklahoma loves Israel." The city predicts that the assembly pumped about $10 million into the struggling Israeli tourist economy.

Who are these people and what do they stand for? And how do they link their religious faith, politics and commitment to Israel?

The Bible and the Romance of Palestine
It would be wrong to think of Christian Zionism as a recent phenomenon invented by Gary Bauer and Tim LeHaye. Some scholars think that its roots go as far back as the pilgrims who saw their journey as a re-creation of the Israelite pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They did not apply this to Judaism, however, but took the Biblical story as an allegory for their own pilgrimage. Nevertheless this created a sympathetic understanding of the religious refugee that is seated deeply in the American psyche and likely shapes many of us even today.

The more important story begins in the 19th century. Religious interest in Ottoman Palestine grew dramatically during the Victorian era as travelers - romantic travelers - sought adventure by ship, train and horseback. And they came to Palestine in great numbers. The 1880s found a number of influential preachers there too. Rev. DeWitt Talmage pastured the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York and returned home from such a pilgrimage to publish his Twenty Five Sermons from the Holy Land. In it he offered a romantic picture of a Jewish renaissance in the country. He praised philanthropists such as Montifiore and Rothchild for financing the return of Jewish life there. Here is a sample from one of his sermons:

"[Many who are] large-hearted have paid the passage to Palestine for many of the Israelites, and set apart lands for their culture; and it is only a beginning of the fulfillment of Divine prophecy, when these people shall take possession of the Holy Land. The road from Joppa to Jerusalem, and all the roads leading to Nazareth and Galilee, we saw lined with processions of Jews, going to the sacred places, either on holy pilgrimage, or as settlers. All the fingers of Providence nowadays are pointing toward that resumption of Palestine by the Israelites."

In 1891 George Adam Smith wrote his popular The Historical Geography of the Holy Land and there portrayed an empty, biblical land awaiting the return of Judaism. Such publications resonated with a growing public interest in Palestine and the Bible, especially in Britain,. And during WWI when the prospect of the fall of the Ottomans, Jewish Zionist leaders influenced by men such as Theodor Herzl (1860-1904) could capitalize on these British interests. The little letter of Nov. 2, 1917 from the British foreign office - now called the Balfour Declaration - is likely the final synthesis of this religious vision and politics in Britain.

Among conservative Christians in Britain, this unity of political destiny and religious fulfillment was given its theological form in the hands of an Irish pastor J.N. Darby. As Herzl was the father of Jewish Zionism, one could argue that Darby was the father of Christian Zionism. Darby's system - soon called Dispensationalism - taught a literal fulfillment of prophesies in the near-present age. He used the biblical books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Revelation to weave a consistent picture of the Last Days. The church is raptured, the anti-Christ arises, Armageddon erupts, and Christ returns to establish his kingdom on earth. But above all, the revival of Israel is the catalyst of the End Times.

Despite eight missionary trips to America, Darby was greeted here with indifference. But when leading evangelists such as Dwight Moody, Billy Sunday and Harry Ironsides saw how the drama and fear and hope in this scenario influenced audiences, Darby's views caught on like wildfire. In 1881, for instance, Horatio and Anna Spafford and 16 friends opened the American Colony in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City to watch - as they put it - "prophesy being fulfilled."

William Blackstone (1841-1935) was a Chicago evangelist and student of Moody. In 1878 he published Jesus is Coming which was America's first Dispensational best-seller. The book went through three editions and was translated into 42 languages. In 1890 Blackstone was visiting Jewish settlements in the Holy Land and organizing conferences in Chicago to restore Jews to Palestine. Blackstone worked closely with Jewish Zionists and in 1918 was hailed by the Zionist Conference of Philadelphia as a "Father of Zionism." In 1956 Israel memorialized him by naming a forest in his name.

In 1909 Cyrus Scofield published a popular study bible, the Scofield Reference Bible, and in its footnotes readers throughout America inherited Darby's theological program. (To date over 2 million of them have been sold.) In 1917 five weeks after the Balfour Declaration, the Turks handed Jerusalem over to Britain to the amazement of prophesy watchers. In 1918 dispensationalists organized their first prophesy conferences and they continued for decades. Before long - throughout the 1920s and for the next 40 years - Dispensationalism tied to Israel and prophesy became the litmus test of evangelical orthodoxy.

Dispensationalism had a variety of detractors over time and today we cannot think of all evangelicals as dispensationalists. Nevertheless, while formal Dispensationalism with its complex view of the covenants has lost a large following, what remains is the skeleton of its eschatology. Technically called pre-tribulation, pre-millennialism it defends Darby's basic outline: Israel returns to the Holy Land, the church is raptured, a tribulation brings Armageddon, and Christ returns.

This framework remained prominent for evangelicals but throughout the 1940s dispensationalists began to believe that the birth of Israel was imminent. When it occurred in 1948, Dispensationalists were euphoric. The key piece was now in place. Israel's swift victory in 1967 - hailed by many as a divine miracle - sparked even more zeal for prophesy. Writers such as Walvoord and Ryrie viewed modern history through this Biblical lens for a new generation. In 1970 Hal Lindsey then published The Late Great Planet Earth which popularized and dramatized the unfolding of political events in Israel and how the Bible predicted them. To date, Lindsey's original book has sold 25 million copies. More recently Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' popular Left Behind series fictionalizes this eschatology and has sold over 50 million copies in 11 volumes.

These remarkable numbers of publishing sales are important because they show that among countless Christians in America, there is a residual eschatology at work - and most of them have no idea where it came from. Just ask someone who goes to church how they think the world will end. Many will recite Lindsey to you claiming that this is what the Bible teaches.

Christian Zionism
Today a movement called Christian Zionism has harnessed these disparate parts. Its advocates have shed much of Dispensationalism's theological program but have kept its eschatology. Christian Zionism weds religion with politics and interprets biblical faithfulness in terms of fidelity to Israel's future. Its spokespersons are today well-known among those on the Christian Right: Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, Ed McAteer, Gary Bauer, and Kay Arthur. Those committed to Christian Zionism share the same five core beliefs:

(1) The Covenant. God's covenant with Israel is eternal and unconditional. Therefore the promises of land given to Abraham will never be overturned. This means that the church has not replaced Israel and that Israel's privileges have never been revoked despite unfaithfulness.
(2) The Church. God's plan has always been for the redemption of Israel. Yet when Israel failed to follow Jesus, the church was born as an afterthought or "parenthesis." Thus at the rapture the church will be removed and Israel will once again become God's primary agent in the world. We now live in 'the times of the Gentiles' which will conclude soon. This means that there are two covenants now at work, that given through Moses and the covenant of Christ. But the new covenant in no way makes the older covenant obsolete.
(3) Blessing Modern Israel. We must take Gen. 12:3 literally and apply it to modern Israel: "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you." Therefore Christians have a spiritual obligation to bless Israel and "pray for the peace of Jerusalem." To fail to bless Israel, to fail to support Israel's political survival today, will incur divine judgment.
(4) Prophesy. The prophetic books of the Bible are describing events of today and do not principally refer to events in Biblical times. Therefore when we look at, say, Daniel 7, if we possess the right interpretative skills, we can see how modern history is unfolding. This quest for prophesy has spawned countless books interpreting Middle East history through the Bible.
(5) Modern Israel and Eschatology. The modern state of Israel is a catalyst for the prophetic countdown. If these are the last days, then we should expect an unraveling of civilization, the rise of evil, the loss of international peace and equilibrium, a coming antichrist, and tests of faithfulness to Israel. Above all, political alignments today will determine our position on the fateful day of Armageddon. Since the crisis of 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it has been easy to persuade the public that history is unraveling precisely as dispensationalism predicted.

It would not be difficult to offer fatal criticisms of this theological framework. Many biblical scholars have already done so. For instance, the covenant's promises are conditional and their blessings are revoked when there is faithlessness. The Babylonian exile is the best example of this. But in addition the New Testament is making a stunning claim about genuine continuity between the covenants, that Christians are the children of Abraham and heirs of his promises.

But the most important critique - and here I think we discover the Achilles' heel - is that Christian Zionism is committed to what I term a "territorial religion." It assumes that God's interests are focused on a land, a locale, a place. From a NT perspective, the land is holy by reference to what transpired there in history. But it no longer has an intrinsic part to play in God's program for the world. This is what Stephen pointed to in his speech in Acts 7. The land and the temple are now secondary. God's wishes to reveal himself to the entire world. And this insight cost Stephen his life. Such an understanding is a far cry from the views of Christian Zionists like Ed McAteer who recently commented, "Every grain of sand, every grain of sand between the Dead Sea, the Jordan River, and the Mediterranean Sea belongs to the Jews." Stephen would be alarmed.

Blessing Israel
The theological commitments of Christian Zionism are therefore not new. But today they are boldly proclaimed and closely linked to a political agenda in America. And today evangelicals are told that we hold a spiritual obligation to "bless Israel." When pastors such as John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, can deliver $1 million to Israel, a new definition of evangelical missions is at work. But blessing Israel is not simply a matter of giving money. It is also found in political advocacy. For instance, when Israel invaded the West Bank in April, 2002 following the Passover bombings, President Bush urged Ariel Sharon to withdraw from Jenin. Christian Zionists mobilized an email campaign that produced 100,000 letters for Washington. And it worked. Bush never said another word.

Leaders like Jerry Falwell thus see their mission as protecting Israel politically. On CBS's 60 Minutes (June 8, 2003) he remarked, "It is my belief that the Bible Belt in America is Israel's only safety belt right now." Falwell continued, "There is nothing that would bring the wrath of the Christian public in this country down on this government like abandoning or opposing Israel in a critical matter. And when the chips are down Ariel Sharon can trust George Bush to do the right thing every time." These words were as much warning to Bush as anything since Bush's political analysts believe that Falwell's "Christian public" is a core constituency.

Today the same strategy is at work. On May 19, 2003, 23 Christian Zionists sent President Bush a letter outlining what was wrong with his Roadmap to Peace and urging him to end it. Its signatories included Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, John Hagee, James Kennedy and others. In a similar manner Gary Bauer spoke at this year's AIPAC convention. Even Pat Robertson can rebuke Israel's foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, on his nationally syndicated "700 Club."

In recent days no one has matched House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R, Texas) for his zeal to bless Israel. Delay is often sought in Washington as a spokesperson for Christian Zionism. And he is forthright in his commitment even when it contradicts the president. On July 30 of this year he addressed the Israeli Knesset and his views were so extreme that the Labor Party leader Danny Yatom commented afterwards, "Geez, Likud is nothing compared to him!" Another legislator commented, "Until I heard him speak, I thought I was the farthest to the right in the Knesset!"

Delay announced that he was an "Israeli at heart" and then upon his return home challenged the Bush's Roadmap openly. He has appeared at meetings of the influential Christian Coalition with Benny Elon, the leader of the pro-ethnic cleansing Moledet Party arguing that a "transfer" of Palestinians out of Israel could be justified on Biblical authority. Recently the Los Angeles Times condemned DeLay for using "the considerable power of his office" to "promote his personal apocalyptic views."

But in addition to blessing Israel, Christian Zionists are clear that those who fail to bless will be punished. Kay Arthur appeared with Falwell on CBS's 60 Minutes and there surprised her audience when she suggested that the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin was linked to his involvement in the Oslo Peace Accord.

In June CBN (The Christian Broadcasting Network which produces Pat Robertson's 700 Club) published a news item warning America about natural disasters that will be God's punishment on America. The day after Mahmoud Abbas was sworn in and the Roadmap was set in motion, CBN told us that the next day began the worst month of tornadoes in America's history. Their best example happened on Oct. 30, 1991, when former President Bush (Sr.) met with Israelis and Palestinians to discuss compromises. CBN commented, "That same day, thousands of miles away, a powerful storm was brewing off the coast of Nova Scotia. On October 31, what would be called 'the perfect storm' smashed into New England pummeling the president's Kennebunkport, Main, home with waves 30 feet high. It was a storm so rare that the weather patterns required to create it only happen once every 100 years." The deduction was clear: Bush had angered God in his negotiations and God had sent America punishing weather in response.

As odd as all of this may sound, it is consistent with the theological worldview embraced by Christian Zionists who believe that Christian faith and politics must be wed in Israel. To deny this synthesis is not only to contradict the Bible, but it is to stand in the way of what God is doing in history, a history foretold millennia ago by the Biblical prophets.


Rev. Dr. Gary Burge attended the University of California at Riverside, where he was an exchange student at The American University of Beirut studying political science and religion. This experience studying in the Middle East made an indelible mark on him. Lebanon’s civil war broke out that year and he watched a dangerous, national tragedy unfold before his college dorm. After graduation in 1974, Dr. Burge attended Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. While at Fuller Seminary he married Carol Wright and in 1982 their daughter, Ashleigh, was born. In 1991 four year old Grace Elizabeth joined their family through adoption. Thanks to the encouragement of Fuller and their home church, LaCañada Presbyterian, in 1978 Dr. Burge entered a three year Ph.D. program in New Testament at King’s College, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. From 1981 until 1987 Dr. Burge taught as a professor of New Testament at King College in Bristol, Tennessee. In 1987 he moved to North Park College & Seminary to chair the department of Biblical and Theological Studies and teach New Testament. In 1992 he joined the faculty of Wheaton College & Graduate School where he teaches today as Professor of New Testament. Dr. Burge is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and from 1987-1999, he served as a Presbyterian Chaplain in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Dr. Burge’s publications include The Anointed Community: The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition (Eerdmans, 1987); Interpreting the Johannine Literature (Baker, 1992), the translation of John’s Gospel in the New Living Bible; a commentary on John’s letters (Zondervan 1996) and a major commentary on John’s Gospel (Zondervan 2000). He has traveled extensively in Lebanon, Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Israel. In particular he has returned to Israel over 18 times to study New Testament archeology and has led many groups of college students on study tours. In 1993 he wrote a study of Biblical theology, modern Israel, the Palestinian Christian church, called Who Are God’s People in the Middle East? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians (Zondervan, 1993). A second volume was published recently entitled Whose Land? Whose Promise? (Pilgrim Press, 2003). He is also the president of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, a coalition of pastors and theologians which works to bridge the Arab and American church.


This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Milton Frihetsson, 2:45 AM | link | |

Christian Zionism

By Dr. Bishara Awad, Bethlehem Bible College

Definition and Introduction

As a person committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, one thing I will always search for is the truth. Therefore my commitment to Christ must take priority over my feelings as a Palestinian, as one who has been oppressed, become a refugee and live among people who continue to suffer. The subject before us is Christian Zionism. Simply stated, Zionism is defined as a national movement for the return of the Jewish people to Palestine and the sovereignty of the Jews over the whole Land. The Zionist movement was officially organized in 1897 calling for the restoration of the Jewish national home in Palestine. The movement was secular in nature and the leaders brought foreign ideologies to Judaism such as socialism and nationalism. However, the Zionist movement eventually picked up support from most Jewish traditions and factions, particularly after the Holocaust. This support for the Zionist movement appealed also to many Christian traditions, especially those evangelicals who adhere to the theology of dispensationalism. Christians who strongly and actively support Jewish claims of return to Palestine, and continue to offer support for the Jewish State, are known as Christian Zionists.

Christian Zionism and Israel

Christian Zionists see themselves as defenders of the Jewish people and in particular the State of Israel. They support Israel’s policies whether right or wrong. This support involves opposing those who are critical or hostile toward Israel. Consequently, most of them have little or no sympathy toward the Palestinians and are against any peaceful solution that may result in Palestinian statehood. From their perspective, God gave the Land to the Jews, period. The native Palestinians are dismissed as trespassers that have no rights in the Land of the Promise. Christian Zionists cite the Bible as justification for their positions. Dr. Rev. Stephen Sizer, in his thesis Christian Zionism and its Impact on Justice, itemizes several categories of behavior defined by Christian Zionism as being a true friend to Israel:

1. Encouragement of dialogue between Jews and Christians
2. Opposition to anti-Semitism
3. Education regarding Jewish origins of Christian faith
4. Humanitarian work among Jewish refugees
5. Opposition to moderate Jewish positions that are striving to negotiate Land for Peace
6. Misuse of Christian faith to justify denial of human rights
7. Apocalyptic Eschatology in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy

Theology of Christian Zionism

1. Restoration: The theology of Christian Zionism is based on the belief in the restoration - that the promise of the Land made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph was unconditional and eternal. Thus they encourage and pray for the Jews to return and occupy what was given to them by God. God’s promises cannot be made void. Therefore they believe:

· God who scattered Israel will gather Israel back. (Deuteronomy 30:1-6, Jeremiah 31:10, and Isaiah 11:11-12)

· The Church’s responsibility is to provide comfort and blessing to Israel. If the Church fails, it will lose God’s blessing in consequence. “I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you”. Genesis 12:3

· According to the Christian Zionists, the role of the Church is to help restore, support, comfort, and commit to the survival of God’s Chosen People.

2. Chosen-ness: To the Christian Zionists, the Jews remain God’s chosen people and have a unique and unbroken relationship to God. God thus has never rejected or replaced His Jewish People, overlooking the New Testament teaching concerning God’s people.
But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham… Romans 9:6-7

3. Apocalyptic View of the future: Basic to Christian Zionist theology is the concept of dispensationalism. According to this concept, God planned the world from beginning to end according to a timetable, and each period is referred to as a dispensation. Israel plays the main role at the end of the last period, when it is to be restored as a nation, rebuild the Temple, and reinstitute the priesthood and sacrificial system. The dispensationalists keep Israel and the Church apart, and God works separately with both until the great battle of Armageddon. Then Jesus Christ will return as King of the Jews, who will rule the nations from His throne in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. In the last battle, Israel will be brought to destruction and hundreds of thousands of Jews will die. For years the dispensationalists have been looking for the signs of times and fulfillment of prophesies. The declaration of the State of Israel in 1948 and the 1967 War have both been perceived as fulfillment of these prophecies, disregarding and overlooking the disposition of Palestinian Arabs and specifically Palestinian Arab Christians. All current world events are interpreted as “signposts” for the Second Coming of Christ. Prophecy charts are drawn up depicting these coming scenarios. Events—even the Holocaust, as evil as it was—were all considered as instruments of God’s judgment. So Hitler, who did not believe in the Bible, did help to fulfill an outstanding prophecy by driving the preserved people back into the preserved land.

It is very obvious that, without Israel, Christian Zionists’ entire prophetic plan, all dispensational theories and their fulfillment, would fall apart. This is why Christian Zionists have a special love for the State of Israel. To them, it is not a matter of two peoples fighting over a piece of land. It is a serious fulfillment of prophecies, the coming of Christ in glory and being in the perfect will of God. Christian Zionists are not willing to consider other interpretations of scripture and very clear teaching concerning peace and justice.

How do Christian Zionists support Israel?

For dispensationalists or, for that matter, Christian Zionists, not to support Israel is to align oneself against the purposes of God. Support for Israel comes in several forms:

1. Financial
2. Military
3. Propaganda
4. Service in the Israeli armed forces
5. Sponsorship of mass return of Jewish immigrants
6. Humanitarian
7. Prayer for Israel
8. Political
9. Miscellaneous support

What does this mean to Palestinians?

Because there is no time to expand on all the above points, I will have to give one example. In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon. A Zionist Christian spokesman who was interviewed in the Jerusalem Post, made the following comments: “We (Christian Zionists) are better Zionists than you Israelis. You are too accommodating, too willing to compromise.” He urged Israel to secure its “God-given rights to the Land” by a more aggressive drive to build Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

As you can see, the Palestinians are not only facing the very strong Zionist state of Israel, but they also have a hidden enemy in the Christian Zionists. These Christians, though often well meaning, see themselves as not only helping the Zionist state but as helping and hastening the coming of Jesus.

The Christian Zionists base their theology on assumptions and theories. What is the real Bible message? Is God not concerned about the rights and welfare of the Palestinian population in the Land? Are the Christian Zionists doing justice to the Bible with their very selective interpretations?

Do Christian Zionists have the only Biblical Interpretation?

Let’s look at the Bible as a whole, both the Old and New Testaments. I believe that the Christian Zionists are in error in failing to appreciate the continuity and the relationship between the Old and New Covenants, and how the new annuls the old. We need to look at the scripture with Christian eyes. The book of Hebrews tells us very clearly “the Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” Hebrews 10:1

(Also look up Heb 8:1-6, Colossians 2:16-17)

In the Old Testament, revelation from God came in shadow, image, and prophecy. In the New Testament, we have reality, substance, and fulfillment. I want to hold on to what is real as revealed in the Son of God Jesus Christ: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in many various ways, but in these days He has spoken to us by His son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” Heb 1:1-2

One also wonders how many times a promise should be fulfilled. The people of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, did cross and they did posses the Promised Land. We read in Joshua 11:23, “So Joshua took the entire Land, just as the Lord had directed Moses and gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the Land had rest from war.”

Invasion of Canaan by Joshua.

Many Christians overlook the reason God allowed Joshua to destroy the Amorites, Hittites, Hivites (check this), etc. It was because of their idolatry and gross immorality. It is clear from the Book of Deuteronomy and later in the Book of Joshua, the nations are allowed to stay in order to test Israel’s relationship with God. God gave these nations 400 years to repent and He told Abraham, “for the sins of the Amorites have not yet reached full measure.” Gen 15:16

Finally this time of grace ran out and Joshua took the Land. However, later when the Kings of Israel were committing the same sins as the Amorites (I Kings 21:26) God’s judgment fell upon Israel as it had upon the Amorites and they were expelled from the Land. So God does not show favoritism.

Palestinians are not enemies of God

Let us remember that the Palestinian Arab people are not idolaters. They worship the God of Abraham. The moral standards of the Palestinians in general put most Americans to shame. What is happening to the Palestinians today certainly is not a judgment from God, but a result of political greed and man’s inhumanity to man.

Who are the descendants of Abraham

The Bible actually does not say “God gave the Land to the Jewish People.” What it does say is that God promised the Land to “Abraham’s seed (descendants).” Both Old and New Testaments affirm that Abraham’s promise is based on faith and obedience and not merely on fleshly descent.

Some Pharisees told Jesus, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus replied to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the things Abraham did.” John 8:39

Paul puts it in a beautiful way: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the Promise.” Gal 3:29

Maybe at one time the Jews were the Chosen People of God, but after the coming of Christ “all those who accepted Jesus became the Children of God.” John 1”12

The New Testament and the Jewish People

The New Testament does not suggest at all that the Jewish People have an unconditional divine right to the Land. Romans 9-11 suggests that as soon as the hardening towards the Gospel by the Jews is over they will be blessed, and their blessing can only be obtained through the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The future blessings are:

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Rom 11:25

In the above and throughout the New Testament, there is no suggestion that the future salvation of the Jews is conditional in any way on possession of the Land. So it is thus “…through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and share together in the promise of Jesus Christ.” Eph 3:4-6

The Love of God

The summation of all this is based on the love of God for the whole world. The Promise of the Land has become the Promise of the World. This sect of Christianity known as Christian Zionism needs to repent to God for their misinterpretation of the scriptures, for being the instrument of division and hate, for siding with an evil power, and for hindering the witness of Christ to the people of the Land. Wrong interpretation of scripture can destroy lives that Jesus died for. The Israeli government in the year 2000 deported several foreign fanatic Christians out of Israel. Intelligence information accused some of them of inflaming the start of a war. Their enthusiasm for the Second Coming of Christ is making them very anxious for the Last Battle. Jesus’ words to all Christian Zionists and to us today is still: “It is not for you to know times or seasons…but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the world.” Acts 2:7-8

As Palestinian Christians, we do not see the theology of the Christian Zionists as being in harmony with the scriptures and the teachings of Our Lord Jesus. It has a negative impact on proclaiming the Gospel and could mislead the American Church in its understanding its role in the Middle East. Our message to the Jews and Arabs is a message of hope, life, love and good news. Jesus did not die to redeem a land. He died to redeem humanity, to “rescue us from the domain of darkness and to bring us into the Kingdom of the Son He loves.” Gal 1:13. Jesus loved the world and thus saved it.

Dr. Bishara Awad
Bethlehem Bible College


This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Milton Frihetsson, 2:32 AM | link | |

The Father of Apocalyptic Christian Zionism

"There will be no peace in the Middle East as long as the world entertains the Arab's fanciful visions of dividing and conquering Jerusalem".

The Significance of Hal Lindsey to Christian Zionism

Hal Lindsey is undoubtedly the most influential of all Christian Zionists of the 20th century. Although rarely quoted by others, he has nevertheless been described by Time as 'The Jeremiah for this Generation', and by the New York Times as 'the best selling author of the decade.'1 His newest publisher describes him as 'The Father of the Modern-Day Bible Prophecy Movement,'2 and, 'the best known prophecy teacher in the world.'3 He is apparently one of very few authors to have had three books on the New York Times best seller list at the same time.4

This chapter will explore the significance of Hal Lindsey within Christian Zionism, his dispensational hermeneutic, uncoventional view of prophecy and eschatology, his distinctive apocalyptic Zionism and his stand against anti-Semitism.

Lindsey acknowledges that 'The future is big business,'5 and has proved the axiom true. He is a prolific writer, the author of at least twenty books spanning 27 years, most of which deal explicitly or implicitly with a dispensational interpretation of the future, biblical prophecy and Christian Zionism.6 He hosts his own radio7 and television programmes, leads regular pro-Israeli Holy Land tours, and by subscription makes available a monthly Christian Intelligence Journal called Countdown as well as the International Intelligence Briefing8. Lindsey, along with fellow Zionist, Grant Jeffries, hosts a weekly news programme, International Intelligence Briefing on the fundamentalist Trinity Broadcasting Network television station.9

Lindsey's most famous book, The Late Great Planet Earth has been described by the New York Times as the '#1 Non-fiction Bestseller of the Decade.' It has gone through more than 108 printings with sales, by 1993, of more than 18 million copies in English, with estimates varying between 18-20 million further copies in 54 foreign languages.10

Despite dramatic changes in the world since its publication in 1970, Lindsey maintains that the prophetic and apocalyptic scenario depicted in the book is biblically accurate and therefore it remains in print in its original un-revised form. Sales increased 83% during August and September 1990 amidst fears in the United States that Saddam Hussein would drag the world into total world war. Paul Van Duinen, an executive of Lindsey's publishers, admitted, ' Often times we see during a crisis that people more actively turn toward God and things spiritual.'11

Lindsey's popularity may be attributed to a combination of factors including his readable, journalistic style of writing, his imaginative, if apocalyptic, insistence that contemporary geo-political events are the fulfilment of biblical prophecy and, above all, his categorical assertion that the end of the world is imminent.

What makes Lindsey's writings distinctive, however, is that like J. N. Darby12 and C. I. Scofield13, he confidently claims his interpretation of the Bible shows what will happen in the future.

Like Darby, Lindsey claims his novel interpretations to have been revealed directly and personally by God.

His popularity may also in part, however, have to do with his tendency to revise those predictions in the light of changing world events. So for example The Final Battle (1994) is essentially an unacknowledged rewrite of the 'Late Great Planet Earth' (1970); 'Apocalypse Code' (1997) is a rewrite of 'There's a New World Coming' (1973); and 'Planet Earth 2000 A.D.' (1994, & 1996) are both revisions of 'The 1980's Countdown to Armageddon' (1980). Planet Earth: The Final Chapter (1998) is, the latest version in the 'Planet Earth' series.

A good example of Lindsey's prophetic revisions concerns the future of the United States. In Planet Earth 2000 A.D. Lindsey specifically draws attention to a prophecy made in The Late Great Planet Earth as evidence of his prophetic accuracy. A comparison, however, shows that he has edited out the prediction of communist subversion which did not occur.

Without access to all Lindsey's books one would not necessarily be aware that he has adapted his material to fit the changing world since he rarely acknowledges his sources or uses footnotes. The Introduction to two of his books serves as a good example. Reading Planet Earth 2000 A.D. (1994), one is led to believe this, and not 1980's Countdown to Armageddon (1981), was the long awaited sequel to The Late Great Planet Earth (1970).

In criticising clergy for getting caught up in 'the save-the-earth gospel,' Lindsey reveals something of his estimation of himself,

There is no doubt that Lindsey has had a profound and lasting impact on the American as well as British Christian scene. Indeed, the popular influence Christian Zionists such as Lindsey have had, even in American political circles, is highlighted by Don Wagner who claims that as long ago as 1980,

'White House Seminars' became a regular feature of Reagan's administration bringing Lindsey into direct personal contact with national and Congressional leaders. Lindsey subsequently became a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs not only to the Pentagon but also to the Israeli Government.46


This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Milton Frihetsson, 2:20 AM | link | |

Why Evangelical Christians Support Israel

By Pat Robertson

The Herzliya Conference, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy, December 17, 2003

Pat celebrates the shared heritage of Christianity and Judaism and argues that a Palestinian state would mean the destruction of Israel.

PatRobertson.com - One day in the late 19th Century, Queen Victoria of England reportedly asked her Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, this question:

"Mr. Prime Minister, what evidence can you give me of the existence of God?"

Disraeli thought for a moment and then replied, "The Jew, your majesty."
Think of it, according to Disraeli the primary evidence that God exists is the existence of the Jewish people… A people who in 586 BC were deported to Babylon, yet returned after seventy years to rebuild a nation. Who were again brutally massacred and dispersed by the Romans in 70 AD, yet after countless centuries of Diaspora, expulsions, pogroms, ghettos, and attempts at genocidal extermination, have clung to their faith, their customs-and now after some 2500 years of wandering have returned to the land promised by God to their ancestors. A new nation began in that land in 1948 named after their ancestor Jacob, whose divinely appointed name Israel means "Prince with God." And to fulfill another ancient prophecy, God moved on the heart of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, whose son Ehud told me that, while his father was living in Eastern Europe, he heard a voice and saw a light directing him to bring forth for the Jewish people a pure language-Hebrew-the language of the Torah and of the ancient prophets.

Yes, the survival of the Jewish people is a miracle of God. The return of the Jewish people to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a miracle of God. The remarkable victories of Jewish armies against overwhelming odds in successive battles in 1948, and 1967, and 1973 are clearly miracles of God. The technological marvels of Israeli industry, the military prowess, the bounty of Israeli agriculture, the fruits and flowers and abundance of the land are a testimony to God's watchful care over this new nation and the genius of this people.

Yet what has happened was clearly foretold by the ancient prophet Ezekiel, who, writing at the time of the Babylonian captivity, declared this message for the Jewish people concerning latter days.
"For I will take you out of the nation; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back to your own land… I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you… to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness.

"I will call for the grain and make it plentiful… I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine…

"This is what the Sovereign Jehovah says, 'On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, "This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.'

"Then the nations around you that remain will know that I, Jehovah, have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I, Jehovah, have spoken, and I will do it." Ezekiel 36:24 ff.

Ladies and Gentleman, evangelical Christians support Israel because we believe that the words of Moses and the ancient prophets of Israel were inspired by God. We believe that the emergence of a Jewish state in the land promised by God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was ordained by God.

We believe that God has a plan for this nation which He intends to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth.

Of course, we, like all right-thinking people, support Israel because Israel is an island of democracy, an island of individual freedom, an island of the rule of law, and an island of modernity in the midst of a sea of dictatorial regimes, the suppression of individual liberty, and a fanatical religion intent on returning to the feudalism of 8th Century Arabia.
These facts about modern day Israel are all true. But mere political rhetoric does not account for the profound devotion to Israel that exists in the hearts of tens of millions of evangelical Christians.

You must realize that the God who spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai is our God. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are our spiritual Patriarchs. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel are our prophets. King David, a man after God's own heart, is our hero. The Holy City of Jerusalem is our spiritual capital. And the continuation of Jewish sovereignty over the Holy Land is a further bulwark to us that the God of the Bible exists and that His Word is true.

And we should clearly take note that evangelical Christians serve a Jew that we believe was the divine Messiah of Israel, spoken of by the ancient prophets, to whom He entrusted the worldwide dissemination of His message to twelve Jewish apostles.

It should be noted that today Christianity, with well over two billion adherents, is by far the fastest growing religion in the world. Within twenty years, that number will swell to three billion. Of these, at least six hundred million are Bible-believing evangelicals and charismatics who are ardent supporters of the nation of Israel. In twenty years, that number will reach one billion. Israel has millions of Christian friends in China, in India, in Indonesia, throughout Africa and South America, as well as North America.

We are with you in your struggle. We are with you as a wave of anti-Semitism is engulfing the earth. We are with you despite the pressure of the "Quartette" and the incredibly hostile resolutions of the United Nations. We are with you despite the threats and ravings of Wahabbi Jihadists, Hezbollah thugs, and Hamas assassins.

We are with you despite oil embargos, loss of allies, and terrorist attacks on our cities.

We evangelical Christians merely say to our Israeli friends, "Let us serve our God together by opposing the virulent poison of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism that is rapidly engulfing the world."

Having affirmed our support, I would humbly make two requests of our Israeli friends:

First, please don't commit national suicide. It is very hard for your friends to support you, if you make a conscious decision to destroy yourselves.

I hardly find it necessary to remind this audience of the stated objectives of Yasser Arafat, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad. Their goal is not peace, but the final destruction of the State of Israel. At no time do they, or their allies in the Muslim world, acknowledge the sovereignty of Israel over even one square inch of territory in the Middle East. If a Palestinian State is created in the heart of Israel with sovereign power to deploy troops, import modern weapons-even weapons of mass destruction-and operate with full secrecy and diplomatic immunity, the ability of the State of Israel to defend itself will be fatally compromised.

The slogan "land for peace" is a cruel chimera. The Sinai was given up. Did that bring lasting peace?-No. Southern Lebanon was given up. Did that bring lasting peace?-No. Instead Hezbollah rode tanks to the border of Israel shouting, "On to Jerusalem!" Now, as many as 10,000 rockets aimed at Metulla, Qiryat Shemona, and all of Northern Israel have been put in place throughout Southern Lebanon.

Arafat was brought up at the knees of the man who yearned to finish the work of Adolf Hitler. How can any realist truly believe that this killer and his associates can become trusted partners for peace?

I am aware of the deep feelings of many Israelis who yearn for peace. Who long to be free from the terror of the suicide bombers of the intifada. I would draw their attention to the fact that during the Cold War, the American people yearned to be free from the constant threat of a nuclear holocaust. Then, at Reykjavik, Iceland on the occasion of a summit between President Ronald Reagan of the United Sates and Premier Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, what seemed like an incredible opportunity for peace was presented to President Reagan by Mr. Gorbachev. An offer was made for hitherto undreamed of reductions in nuclear weapons. Gorbachev's offer included everything the U.S. arms negotiations had wanted, except one thing. The condition for the Russian offer was to be the agreement by the United States to abandon the so-called "star wars" Strategic Defense Initiative.

Mr. Reagan carefully considered the offer-then reluctantly said no. Without the Strategic Defense Initiative, there would be no deal. Gorbachev was stunned. Then both leaders, with sadness in their hearts, adjourned the meeting and departed Reykjavik.

Once again, the world was hovering on the brink of nuclear annihilation. The American liberal press was apoplectic at Reagan's decision. But he held firm.

Now we all know that he was right. The Russians could not compete with the United States in a nuclear arms race and Gorbachev knew it. The bluster was over-the threats were over-Reagan had won by standing firm. Soon freedom broke out in Poland-in Hungary-in East Germany. The Berlin Wall came down. The barbed wire fences came down. And Soviet Communism came down.

The world is safe from super power nuclear terror. This terror is no more because one strong leader stood against public opinion-against the advice of many of his own counselors and said no! May the leaders of Israel in 2004 have the courage to look the nations of the world in the eye, and when your national interests demand it-say no!

Second, the world's Christians ask that you do not give away the treasured symbols of your spiritual patrimony.

I read recently in the Wall Street Journal an article written by an American Jewish commentator who remarked that the Temple Mount and what is termed the "Wailing Wall" are "sacred stones and sites," but hardly worth bloodshed.

Just think-the place where the Patriarch Abraham took Isaac to offer him to God. The place bought by King David from Araunah where the Angel of the Lord stood with drawn sword. The place of Solomon's temple. The place of the Holy of Holies. The place where Jesus Christ walked and taught. The very spiritual center of the Jewish worship of the one true God-nothing but a pile of sacred stones-unworthy of sacrifice? What an incredible assertion!

Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake-the entire world is being convulsed by a religious struggle. The fight is not about money or territory; it is not about poverty versus wealth; it is not about ancient customs versus modernity. No-the struggle is whether Hubal, the Moon God of Mecca, known as Allah, is supreme, or whether the Judeo-Christian Jehovah God of the Bible is Supreme.

If God's chosen people turn over to Allah control of their most sacred sites-if they surrender to Muslim vandals the tombs of Rachel, of Joseph, of the Patriarchs, of the ancient prophets-if they believe their claim to the Holy Land comes only from Lord Balfour of England and the ever fickle United Nations rather than the promises of Almighty God-then in that event, Islam will have won the battle. Throughout the Muslim world the message will go forth-"Allah is greater than Jehovah. The promises of Jehovah to the Jews are meaningless.

"We can now, in the name of Allah, move to crush the Jews and drive them out of the land that belongs to Allah."

In short, those political initiatives that some have asserted will guarantee peace, will in truth guarantee unending struggle and ultimate failure. Those political leaders who only understand the secular dimension of Israel's existence and who cavalierly dismiss the spiritual dimension will find that they receive the mess of pottage of Esau rather than the inheritance of Jacob.
On Christmas Day in 1974, I had the privilege of interviewing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for my television program, The 700 Club. Rabin lamented the fact that after Israeli military victories, the nation had been stopped from achieving a peace treaty.
That was thirty years ago. Israel seemed as isolated and alone then as it does today. As I concluded my interview, I asked Prime Minister Rabin a final question. "What would you want the United States to do now for Israel?"

He replied without hesitation. "Be strong! Be strong!"

That evening I joined for dinner a group of several hundred people who had accompanied me from the United States. We were meeting in the large dining room of the InterContinental Hotel on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, whose floor-to-ceiling windows gave a stunning view of the illuminated Temple Mount. As I related to the group the substance of my meeting, I began to recall the feeling of sadness which had come from the Prime Minister-the sense of the isolation of his nation. That evening, I made a solemn vow to God that, despite whatever might happen in the future, I and the organizations I headed would stand in support of Israel and the Jewish people. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say that I have kept that vow each year since 1974.

In closing, I would deliver to Israel in 2004 the message Yitzhak Rabin delivered to the United States on Christmas Day in 1974. For you are the living witnesses that the promises of the Sovereign Lord are true. "Be strong! Be strong!"

He will be with you and so will your evangelical friends.

Thank you, and God bless you!


This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Milton Frihetsson, 1:56 AM | link | |