A few weeks ago televangelist John Hagee took a group to the nation’s capitol where he pushed his Christian Zionism agenda for Israel. His phrase “Christian Zionism” could not be more contradictory. It is an oxymoron and more cult than Christianity.
Hagee topped off his lobbying blitz with the astounding demand that America should invade Iran. He and other TV preachers see an invasion of Israel by Russia and Iran. He gets that by reading between the lines in Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. He must be reading between the lines, as these 2,500-year-old words do not say anything about the 21st century world. He sees Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as part of a conspiracy to wipe out Israel and establish an Islamic world order.
Preacher Hagee claims God gave him all this end-time wisdom out of his King James Bible. Hagee did not invent Zionism or Christian Zionism, but brought it out of the mothballs. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 played right into Hagee’s hands. A number of Jews (True Torah Jews and others) do not accept the Zionist approach. In the same way, the majority of Christians do not adhere to Christian Zionism.
In the meantime, anyone with half-an-ounce of Bible knowledge is aware that none of the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel are related to the modern nation and politics of Israel. America has put more foreign and military aid into Israel than most countries — much of that due to the Israel lobby — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (known as AIPAC). You can be called anti-Semite if you even question that lobby.
The term “Zionism” was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum. It is the dream of establishing a homeland for the Jews. The name comes from Mount Zion, where the Jerusalem Temple stood during Bible days.
Birnbaum and others found England useful for their cause. The British and Lord Balfour ruled Palestine after World War I.
The history of the Jews has been one of continual repression and terror by Roman Catholics, Protestants and by good and bad governments. The harried Hebrews have not had a homeland since the Assyrians from Nineveh (modern Mosul, Iraq) conquered the northern part of Israel in 612 B.C. The south fell to the Babylonians in 586 B.C.
Once, I heard Hagee say there was no such thing as a Palestinian or a land of Palestine, claiming all those thousands of years that Palestine (Arab cousins) really belonged to Jews, who made up a minority of the population.
None of that is as scary as Hagee’s pushing for more war, starting with Iran. He and the prophetic voice of Hal Lindsey (author of “The Late Great Planet Earth”) see Russia and Iran joining forces to destroy Israel. These modern prophets never give a date for the final battle. They just spread fear about the impending Armageddon. But God’s army (American, I guess) will come to their aid and righteousness will prevail after a bloody exchange.
The term prophetic means “to tell forth” more than it means “forth tell.” The Bible is not a fortune-telling book, but a guide to finding peace with God. I have read Bible translations in more than six languages and all of them stress peace over war. Call wars just, preventive, necessary, but they are still hell on earth for all sides. Peace is the hallmark of Christ’s message, even if some of his disciples still do not get it. Both their Christian faith and patriotism are misplaced.
There is definitely something wrong when a man of the cloth lives in the lap of luxury and says the way to God is through a world-ending war in the Holy Land. Scary? Yes, for beside preacher Hagee, we have some politicians and industrialists who are in agreement. War makes money for some, but death and destruction for many more.
War is madness, and those who promote it should be opposed with correct Bible interpretations and much prayer.
Britt Towery is a visiting Bible teacher at Howard Payne, Houston Baptist, Baylor universities and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His column appears in the Bulletin on Fridays. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.