Historian

Paducah, KY

#1 Jun 6, 2013
No. 1

ISRAEL & CHRISTIAN ZIONISM: A LONG-TERM DISASTER FOR AMERICA

Safe to say, most people in rural America have never met an Arab, and know very little about the Arab-Israeli conflict. I include among my friends and acquaintances a great many Arabs, mostly Palestinians but also Jordanians, Iraqis, Egyptians, and Bahrainis, plus a few non-Arab Middle Easterners such as Turks, Iranians, and Kurds. A few are like family.

Arabs view the American people’s general ignorance or outright denial of the truth about the Israelis’ actions over the last 65 years with dismay, alarm, hurt and outrage. They are especially dismayed by the Christian Zionist doctrine that is preached by many prominent evangelical Christians such as televangelists John Hagee, Pat Robertson, Rod Parsley, Franklin Graham, Hal Lindsey, and Richard Land. This doctrine is especially upsetting to the large minority of Arab Christians—people who trace their Christian heritage in an unbroken strand all the way back to the Apostles and Jesus himself. When one looks closely at what the expounders of Christian Zionism say, it is no wonder that non-Jewish Middle Eastern people, Christians among them, view it with abhorrence.

Many if not most American evangelical Christians assume that the present nation-state of Israel is the divinely restored Israel of biblical prophecy, and many have turned belief in that assumption into a requirement of Christian faith. Collateral to this is another scripturally inspired but mistaken notion that the present state of Israel’s borders are divinely ordained to encompass all the land that God promised to the descendants of Abraham in Genesis 15:18,“From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the River Euphrates.” At its broadest interpretation, those boundaries would take in not only pre-1967 Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, but also all of Jordan, all of Lebanon, the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt east of the Nile River, the large portions of Syria and Iraq west of the Euphrates River, the Arabian Peninsula, and a sizable chunk of southeastern Turkey. It could conceivably even include the African nation of Eritrea and those parts of Sudan and Ethiopia east of the Nile. Zealots declare that no people except the Jews have any right to possess or live in even one square inch of this vast territory. They are of the opinion that all the land within those boundaries belongs to the Jews, and that Israel has a God-given right to take it from its non-Jewish inhabitants by force.

However, if you look at the scripture, it is quite clear that God’s promise was to all the descendants of Abraham, not just to the descendants of his second-born son Isaac. And the Arabs, I remind you, are descendants of Abraham through his first-born son Ishmael. Even if one discounts Ishmael as illegitimate as John Hagee has gone to great lengths to do, the inescapable fact remains that Abraham had other legitimate sons in addition to Isaac. After Sarah’s death, Abraham married a woman named Keturah and fathered six sons with her (Gen 25:1). These became the progenitors of Middle Eastern peoples that over the centuries were assimilated into the larger “Arab” category.

The fear-mongering apocalyptic preaching of self-proclaimed prophets of the End Times such as Hagee and the many thousands of church pastors who follow their lead is destructive and dangerous. Christians who adhere to this doctrine, by their self-identification with and political activism on behalf of the Jewish state that has dispossessed, robbed, and systematically abused the Palestinians for over sixty years, are contributing substantially to the undercutting of America’s once-exemplary moral standing in the world.
Historian

Paducah, KY

#2 Jun 6, 2013
No. 2

Ignorant and divisive evangelical Christians in the U.S. must bear a heavy burden of blame for ongoing bloodshed in the Middle East. After President Bush’s Middle East peace talks at Annapolis in November 2007 ended in failure, Hagee’s Christians United for Israel boasted,“The Middle East Peace Summit in Annapolis has ended. As the delegates board their planes back to the Middle East, we are closing our Annapolis Action Alert campaign. This campaign was a great success. CUFI activists sent over 14,500 e-mails to the White House and placed thousands more calls asking President Bush not to pressure Israel to make territorial concessions at Annapolis. We are pleased to report that the Annapolis Summit ended without any such pressure being placed on Israel. In fact, the Summit was little more than an extended photo opportunity. In this narrow sense, our campaign was a success.”

How, I want to know, can Christians gloat that they sabotaged a peace conference?

The frightening truth is that these so-called Christians do not want peace. During the lead up to the 2012 U.S. election, Hagee told his television congregation,“God chose Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.… The third world war will start over the issue of who owns that land [Jerusalem and the West Bank] and you’re watching it start right now on national television. The Jewish people do not occupy the land – they own that land.… It’s not a matter of if war is coming between Israel and Iran; it’s only a matter of when.”

Hagee and his followers want an apocalyptic Middle East war, which they believe is necessary to set the sequence of events leading to the Second Coming in motion.

A frightening nexus has developed between the Apocalypse-seeking American Christian fundamentalists, the Republican Party, and Israel’s Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful), an extremist religious-political Zionist movement centered among Jewish settlers in the West Bank whose ultimate goal is to expel the Palestinians.

A large and powerful segment of the Israeli people have no interest in peace. In a letter to the New York Times in July 2012, Dani Dayan, chairman of the Judea and Samaria Council of Settlements, declared that there could be no two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Dayan stated that there would never be a withdrawal of Jewish settlements from the West Bank, nor would Israel cease to build new settlements. Dayan called for Israel to annex the West Bank, but made no mention of giving its Palestinian residents Israeli citizenship with rights identical to those of Israeli Jews. Instead, Dayan leaves the impression that the Palestinians should become subjects of Israel but not citizens. In Dayan’s vision, Israel is to become an apartheid state.

Among American evangelicals, support for Israel has come to mean supporting the extreme Zionists’ aggressive program of land expropriation, settlement building and territorial expansion. Examples of this can be found in the remarks made by Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry in New York on September 20, 2011, and the delegation of Republican congressmen who visited Jewish settlements in the West Bank in November 2011 and expressed their support for continued settlement building. The most alarming is Newt Gingrich’s statement on the Jewish Channel cable network on December 9, 2011,“I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places.” This, together with Gingrich’s other comments in the interview that vilified Palestinians as “terrorists,” amounts to an endorsement of “Transfer” the Zionist euphemism for forcible expulsion of the Palestinians from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. As history so clearly demonstrates, it is only a short step from ethnic cleansing to genocide.
Historian

Paducah, KY

#3 Jun 6, 2013
No. 3

The danger that the Israelis will attempt to expel or massacre the Palestinians under cover of a future war is real and increasing. Bizarre though it seems, Jewish fundamentalists have formulated a perverse biblically inspired Hebrew version of the genocidal Master Race ethos of the Nazis. In 1980, Rabbi Israel Hess published an article entitled “Genocide: A Commandment of the Torah” in which he identified the Palestinians with the ancient Amalekites and called for their extermination. Another prominent leader of this extremist Zionist group, Rabbi Dov Lior, proclaimed that under Torah law it is “permissible for the Israel Defense Forces to attack in the course of warfare a civilian population that is innocent of wrongdoing.” He added that Jews “should not feel guilt out of the morality of unbelievers.” The “unbelievers” whose moral strictures Lior sees no need for Jews to respect are Christians. In 2009, another fundamentalist rabbi, Yitzhak Shapira, published a book entitled Torat Ha’Melech (The King’s Torah) in which he sanctioned killing the children of an enemy people, even infants, to insure that they did not grow up to become a threat to the Jews. Shapira even approved the killing of Gentiles when they present no threat, writing,“It is permissible to kill the Righteous among nations even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation. If we kill a Gentile…there is nothing wrong with the murder.” Another influential rabbi, Manis Friedman, said in a 2009 television interview,“I don’t believe in Western morality, i.e., don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites…and don’t shoot until they shoot first, because it is immoral. The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women, and children.”

This hateful, religiously based racism is becoming increasingly prevalent among Israeli youth. In 2003, Shulamit Aloni, a courageous left-wing member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament), revealed that Jewish religious schools were teaching children that the Palestinians are Amalekites and that killing them is a religious obligation. The accusation was chillingly confirmed in 2011 when a Zionist organization headed by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu published an editorial in the Israeli Orthodox magazine Fountains of Salvation that envisioned a time in the near future when Israel would establish “death camps” for the extermination of “Amalekites.”

This Jewish zealot movement’s racial hatred encompasses more than just the Arabs. In a 2010 sermon, Ovadia Yosef, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel and spiritual leader of Shas, a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) religious political party, declared,“The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve the Jews.” Of Gentiles, he said,“Why are Gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.” Effendi is an Arabic word that means “overlord.” In another sermon he declared,“Gentiles were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no purpose in the world.” Put plainly, the Chief Rabbi of Israel thinks that Gentiles—including American Christians—should be slaves to the Jews. Those that are not enslaved are to be killed.
Historian

Paducah, KY

#4 Jun 6, 2013
No. 4

Disturbingly, this hateful Zionist racist ideology meshes with the apocalyptic End Times visions adhered to by evangelical Christians. In Jerusalem Countdown, Can America Survive? Ten Prophetic Signs that we are the Terminal Generation, Final Dawn Over Jerusalem, and Earth’s Final Moments, John Hagee equated any nation or person who opposes Israel in any way with the Amalekites and contends that their destruction is authorized—indeed commanded and preordained—by God. Brigette Gabriel, a featured speaker at the Christians United for Israel conference in Washington in 2007 declared,“Arabs do not have souls.” The implication of this statement is that since Arabs do not have souls their lives are not sacred to God and they can be exterminated like vermin. This kind of thinking filters down to the local level. Not long ago, I heard one of Israel’s Christian supporters in my home town in Kentucky, a Baptist preacher, advocate that the United States wage a total war that would amount to genocide against the Arabs and Iranians on Israel’s behalf, basing his argument for it upon the notion that it is preordained by biblical prophecy.

There is a real danger that by propagating their virulent, anti-Arab racism and strident anti-Islamic fear mongering, Hagee and other preachers that follow his lead will inspire American “Christian” zealots to commit religiously motivated acts of violence against Arabs and other Muslims. If this kind of preaching and the hateful thinking that it instills continues, how long will it be before an American “Christian” version of Baruch Goldstein, the American-born Israeli Jewish zealot who on February 25, 1994, murdered 30 Arabs in the Cave of the Patriarchs (Abraham’s Tomb) in Hebron, walks into a mosque in the United States and starts shooting people?

Evangelical Christians who unconditionally support Israel on biblical grounds display a remarkable naivety in their understanding of Zionism’s relationship to Christianity. Truth be told, even moderate Israelis despise evangelical Christians’ religious beliefs, but are willing to exploit them when it serves Israel’s ends. If you care to refute what I say on this point, I challenge you to explain the fact that in 1997 a bill was introduced in the Israeli parliament to outlaw Christian missionary activity in Israel. It was narrowly defeated only after prominent American supporters of Israel, including Senator Jesse Helms, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson, warned Israeli leaders that its passage would seriously undercut support for Israel among Christians in the United States. The British Guardian newspaper reported that several American Christian missionary organizations quietly agreed to stop proselytizing among Jews. Anti-Christian sentiment remains strong in Israel. On September 25, 2007, Israeli journalist Josef Gilboa declared in a Jerusalem Post editorial,“We view [Christian] proselytizing with the same distaste that they feel about people who disseminate drugs and porn.… We accept their sincere political support, but view their missionary activities among our people with odium.”
Historian

Paducah, KY

#5 Jun 6, 2013
No. 5

Young followers of Israel’s anti-Christian rabbis have responded to their elders’ violent rhetoric with violent deeds. In 1982, a Jewish extremist group burned down a church in Jerusalem used by Russian Orthodox Christians. On October 23, 2007, Jewish zealots torched the Baptist Church in Jerusalem. In May 2008, ultra-Orthodox Jews in the town of Or Yehuda seized and burned hundreds of copies of the New Testament that missionaries had given to the town’s black Ethiopian Jews, who are far more receptive to Christianity than are Jews of European origin. In 2009, a mob of ultra-Orthodox yeshiva (religious school) students attacked a Christian religious procession in Jerusalem. During the riot, they assaulted the Armenian archbishop and seized and broke his crucifix, a treasured relic that was several hundred years old. On the night of October 29, 2010, militant Jewish zealots firebombed the historic Jerusalem Alliance Church. This attack was directed against people, not just property. Ten people in the church were injured. In October 2011, Christian and Muslim cemeteries in Jaffa were desecrated by Zionist extremists who smashed tombstones and painted “Death to Arabs” on them. In February 2012 Jewish militants again vandalized the Baptist church in Jerusalem and painted “Death to Christians” and “We will crucify you” on it. In July, Michael Ben-Ari, a member of the Israeli parliament who represents one of the far-right religious parties, tore up a copy of the New Testament and declared,“Millions of Jews were murdered in the name of the New Testament – this revolting book brought massacres of Jews in the Inquisition and throughout history.” In September, the Latrun Monastery near Jerusalem was vandalized and set on fire. On October 1, 2012, Jewish militants painted “Jesus, Son of a Whore” in Hebrew on the Church of the Dormition on Mount Zion.

Do not mistake Israel for America’s friend. Israel is America’s ally only to the extent that the relationship benefits Israel. Israel’s Zionist extremists, with whom America’s televangelist-led evangelical Christians have aligned themselves, are determined to continue expanding Israel’s borders and they will not hesitate to entrap the United States into fighting the bloodiest, longest, most brutal war that the world has ever experienced if they see it as a way to further their hegemonic interests and expansive territorial ambitions. As they have demonstrated over and over again during the last 65 years, Israel’s Zionists do not care one whit what achieving their selfish goals will cost America in moral standing, international censure, treasure, or American Christian blood.

Ironically, Israel’s Muslim enemies share more in common with Christians than do the Jews. In Jewish thinking, Jesus was a false messiah. They curse him as a fraud. Muslims, in contrast, revere Jesus as a prophet sent miraculously by God. The Koran mentions Jesus twenty-five times, and one of its longest chapters is devoted to telling his story. When Muslims mention his name, they always say after it,“Peace be upon him,” a reverent salutation reserved for the greatest of God’s prophets. In the nineteenth century, there were several prominent Christian theologians who considered Islam to be “a form or outgrowth of Christianity; in fact, essentially a Christian sect.” Despite this Israel’s televangelist supporters, John Hagee foremost among them, have fashioned and peddle the lie that Muslims worship a “false god” when in fact they worship the same God as Christians do. Worse, Hagee and the preachers who follow his lead insist that Christians have a religious obligation to support Israel’s Zionist Jews, people who curse Jesus, against Muslims who revere him.
Historian

Paducah, KY

#6 Jun 6, 2013
No. 6

Few evangelical Christians know that crackpot preachers concocted most of what they believe to be gospel truth about the present nation-state of Israel and its place in biblical End Times prophecy by creative and extremely selective interpretation of scripture. For almost all of its history, Christianity held the belief that the Old Testament prophecies concerning restoration of Israel had been fulfilled when the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity. There was no linkage between the Old Testament restoration prophecies and the apocalyptic events described in Revelation. God’s Old Testament covenant with the Jews was considered nullified when the Jews rejected Jesus, shouting,“Crucify him!” At that time, the Jews ceased to be the Chosen People, and God’s covenant transferred to the Christians. According to traditional Christian belief God allowed the Romans to take the land of Israel from the Jews and exile them throughout the world as punishment for their rejection of Jesus. Any further dealings that God had with the Jews was to be through their conversion to Christianity as individuals just as with all other people; it did not involve reestablishment of a Jewish state in Canaan. Only after Jesus’ return would he, personally, select 144,000 Jewish converts to Christianity from all over the world and gather them together in Jerusalem (Rev. 14).

Dispensationalism and premillennialism, the dual notions that God still has a special covenant with the Jews that is separate and distinct from the Church, and that there will be a pre-Tribulation “Rapture” of Christians date only to 1827, when the doctrine was fabricated by a renegade English Plymouth Brethren preacher, John Nelson Darby. Darby arrived at it by a disjointed reading of Revelations and by linking verses in it to the verses in the Old Testament pertaining to the promised restoration of Israel that for centuries theologians had considered fulfilled by the Jews’ return from the Babylonian captivity. After the Plymouth Brethren rejected Darby’s ideas as scripturally unfounded, he made at least five trips to the United States, preaching it to Congregationalists (Puritans) in the Great Lakes region. Darby’s doctrine was soon taken up by John Inglis, an American evangelist who popularized it in a monthly magazine, Waymarks in the Wilderness, published between 1854 and 1872. After the Civil War, Inglis organized an evangelistic association, the Believers’ Meeting for Bible Study, which introduced the doctrine into evangelical churches, including the Southern Baptists, who for several decades afterward denounced it as heresy. William E. Blackstone, a popular Methodist preacher reiterated and expanded upon the basic theme in a book titled Jesus is Coming published in 1908. The following year, the Scofield Reference Bible, an annotated version of the King James Bible, was published by Cyrus I. Scofield, a preacher of scandalous personal character and spurious theological credentials. Contrary to then-standard practice, Scofield printed his interpretive comments as insets within the Bible verses rather than in marginal notes or an appendix at the back of the book. The result has been that in the one hundred years since the Scofield Reference Bible’s first edition went on sale many people, especially poorly educated or uninformed people, have mistakenly assumed that Scofield’s notes are part of the biblical text. Because of that mistaken assumption dispensationalism-premillennia lism has acquired a false scriptural authority, as these people were misled into thinking that “it is in the Bible.”
Historian

Paducah, KY

#7 Jun 6, 2013
No. 7

The First World War set off a wave of prophetic speculation, an end-of-the-world-is-at-hand hysteria. Capture of Jerusalem by the British army in 1917 added momentum to the speculative obsession, as many saw the Holy City’s return to Christian control as having prophetic significance. Sales of Jesus is Coming soared. The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago mailed thousands of free presentation copies of Jesus is Coming to Protestant church pastors, missionaries, and U.S. Army chaplains. By war’s end, 2 million copies of the Scofield Reference Bible had been sold, and missionary chaplains handed out many hundreds of thousands of copies to troops in U.S. Army camps. Many of those soldiers were barely literate, just the sort of people to be misled by Scofield’s notes.

Evangelical Theological College, now Dallas Theological Seminary, was established in 1924 specifically to indoctrinate students in dispensationalist-premillennia list belief and graduated its first class of newly ordained ministers in 1928. Graduates of the Seminary became church pastors in several different evangelical denominations. During the Great Depression, radio preacher Bob Jones, Sr., took the doctrine to the airwaves, spreading it to nationwide radio audiences numbering in the millions. By the time the Second World War ended, dispensationalism-premillennia lism had been successfully mass marketed to the American people.

Founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and the Cold War triggered another round of expectant prophetic speculation. This culminated in Hal Lindsey’s 1970 book The Late Great Planet Earth followed by a popular movie of the same name. Few people read the book, but millions of teenagers saw the movie. Hal Lindsey’s End Times scenario was specific: He identified the Soviet Union and China as the nations Gog and Magog mentioned in Revelations; the Rapture was to happen, the Tribulation was to take place, Armageddon was to be fought, and the millennial reign of Christ was to begin sometime before the end of the twentieth century. Needless to say, history did not unfold the way that Hal Lindsey predicted. But that did not deter Lindsey or other purveyors of this pseudo-biblical hogwash. As theologian Dr. Timothy Weber said in an interview with television newsman Bill Moyers,“As history takes unexpected turns the Bible teachers, the preachers, the dispensational theologians, they adjust the scenario to fit it.”

That is exactly what John Hagee did when he wrote Jerusalem Countdown, the mass-marketed book that lays out the current popularly accepted End Times prophetic scenario. Jerusalem Countdown has now been turned into a flashy movie that demonizes Muslims. It, like the movie version of The Late Great Planet Earth, is aimed at impressionable young audiences. The interpretation of biblical prophecy as presented by Hagee, although its basic premise has been rejected as scripturally unfounded, indeed fraudulent and heretical, by numerous reputable theologians since Darby first proposed it nearly 200 years ago, has become the only interpretation that evangelical Christians will accept, and refusal to believe it is deemed to be disbelief in the Bible itself.
Historian

Paducah, KY

#8 Jun 6, 2013
No. 8

Belief in the Rapture and the prophetic scenarios associated with it is confined almost exclusively to American evangelical Protestants, who are only a small minority among the world’s Christians. The Anglican Church (Church of England) and the Lutheran Church regard it as a false doctrine, that is to say heresy. The Roman Catholic Church strongly discourages attempts to fit historical events into predictive prophetic scenarios. It is alien to the Eastern Orthodox Church, the doctrine having originated in England and evolved into its present form among Protestants in the United States.

I firmly believe that preachers who claim that the current nation-state of Israel is the divinely restored Israel of Revelations and use that argument to support and encourage its aggressive expansionist policies are committing the worst kind of heresy, indeed blasphemy. They are literally attempting to force God’s hand by using the American political process to manipulate foreign policy in such a way as to bring about a predetermined series of events that they believe will automatically lead to the Second Coming. Needless to say, if the chain of apocalyptic events that they have inferred from the Bible, including catastrophic war and a second Holocaust with the Palestinians as its victims, is brought about and then Jesus does not return when anticipated, Christianity will become abhorrent in the eyes of the world, seen by non-Christians as a genocidal doomsday cult.
GnA

Australia

#9 Aug 9, 2013
Jesus Christ is coming back. Would u let another nation try and take some of your Land?

Well Same goes for Israel. Palestine don't belong their they are not Israelites. God gave the Land of Canaan to Abraham and his Descendents. Stick to something you know.

And Leave the Things of God to him.
Historian

Paducah, KY

#10 Sep 6, 2013
GnA wrote:
Jesus Christ is coming back. Would u let another nation try and take some of your Land?
Well Same goes for Israel. Palestine don't belong their they are not Israelites. God gave the Land of Canaan to Abraham and his Descendents. Stick to something you know.
And Leave the Things of God to him.
You seem to be a fool who likes poison koolaid.

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