Apocalypse II: Hagee Doesn’t Seek the End? Riiight.

Does Rev. John Hagee – friend of Joe Lieberman and erstwhile endorser of John McCain – believe the End is Nigh? Is that what’s behind his oft-proclaimed love for Israel? Does he expect horrible suffering for Jews during the apocalypse that he yearns for?

I would have thought these were easy test questions, to be answered, “Yes, yes and yes.” But a recent news report put out by the JTA newswire for Jewish papers asserts otherwise. “The pastor has, in fact, repeatedly disavowed End of Days theology…” it says. It quoted David Brog — executive director of Hagee’s organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) — as saying that “Hagee’s theological musings have little to do with why he promotes support for Israel.”

The JTA report dealt with a survey commissioned by J Street, the dovish Israel lobby, on U.S. Jewish attitudes toward Hagee and Lieberman.

According to the poll, which has a margin of error of 3.5 percent, Lieberman scored an unfavorable rating of 48 percent among U.S. Jews, compared to a favorable rating of 37 percent. Hagee… fared even worse: The pastor registered a 7 percent favorable rating and 57 percent unfavorable…

According to J Street’s executive director, Jeremy Ben Ami, part of Hagee’s problem with American Jews is that he brings a strong religious sensibility to his politicking.

But in the article, Brog gets the last word.

So where does Hagee’s interest in Israel come from? In a 1996 book, The Beginning of the End, he recalls listening to the radio with his father in 1948 when news came of Israel’s establishment. Young John was eight at the time. His father told him, “We have just heard the most important prophetic message that will ever be delivered until Jesus Christ returns to earth.” Hagee writes that he has never forgotten that incident, or his father’s lesson that Israel’s birth is the essential prelude to “the coming of her Messiah,” by which Hagee means Jesus. The entire book uses contemporary events in Israel to prove that the apocalypse is near, in line with the theology known as dispensationalism.

Hagee wrote the same dispensationalist story in his 2001 book, The Battle for Jerusalem. He was also kind enough to respond to my statement, in my book The End of Days, that dispensationalists look forward toward immense suffering for Jews. He notes a text that I quoted from Chuck Missler, another populizer of the apocalypse, who says that the last years of history will be worse for Jews than “Auschwitz, Dachau, the horrors of Europe…”

Hagee’s response?

The truth of Bible prophecy is this: Israel and Jerusalem are about to enter a dark hour of suffering in which God personally comes to their defense… This hour of darkness will be followed by the Messiah and the golden age of peace, lasting one thousand years.

Do you see? Heartbreak and sorrow and suffering last only a short while…

There’s much more, but the meaning is simple. Yup, Gershom, he says, you’re right about that scenario, but since it’s the gateway to the Second Coming, you shouldn’t be so concerned.

And has he changed his mind since? Check his 2007 book, Jerusalem Countdown. What’s new here is that he has bent his verses to fit the latest headlines. Now Iran is in the last-days scenario:

Just before us is a nuclear countdown with Iran, followed by Ezekiel’s war, and then the final battle – the Battle of Armageddon. The end of the world as we know it is rapidly approaching…

But, again, that’s great, because it’s necessary for Jesus’ return.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad – the best is yet to be.

Maybe, in the last year, Hagee has changed his mind; maybe he no longer thinks that unimaginable wars on Israeli soil are great because they lead to redemption; maybe that’s no longer why he’s interested in Israel. Maybe he’s left the Party, as it were, on his way to becoming a liberal protestant, or perhaps the next Chris Hitchens.

Or maybe he’s realized that talking as he did in the past makes it hard to talk to the Jews, and embarrasses a politician he endorses, and that the press is actually listening. So he’s become careful about his rhetoric, and tells David Brog to issue denials.

In the meantime, he can also unendorse McCain. Who cares, he may figure. McCain has learned how to sound a teenage ringtone for dispensationalists, with an ad that tells them that Obama is the Antichrist, while other viewers don’t hear the message. And the Endtimes crowd is still showing up for CUFI conventions to hear Joe Lieberman.

12 thoughts on “Apocalypse II: Hagee Doesn’t Seek the End? Riiight.”

  1. As much of a loon as Hagee is, I wish there was less discussion of him by my fellow Obama supporters. I feel the only reason he’s even mentioned is because these supporters feel they have to counter and cancel out any negative coverage of Obama’s ex pastor. Strategically, this might make sense, but doing so is to implicitly acknowledge and conceede that Obama’s ex-pastor is indeed some kind of raving loonatic. I don’t think he is.

    Aside from what I’ve heard him say about the origin of AIDS, nothing seems to be that radical.
    And to be fair, if one is very religious and doesn’t believe in evolution then HIV could not possibly have arisen by means of natural selection. If that’s the case, it then doesn’t seem as far fetched to think that the virus was created by humans. After all, how else could it have gotten here if it didn’t evolve?

  2. Let’s say that Hagee really believes these things and wants to implement American foreign policy to bring these things about (I don’t, but that is besides the point). Do you seriously believe that McCain, simply because he received an endorsement from Hagee is going to put in the State Department and have him dictate foreign policy. How come it doesn’t bother you when Obama’s “closest spiritual advisor” Wright is a raving maniac and antisemite? Because you don’t expect Obama to take dictates from him, even though Obama was a lot closer to Wright then Hagee ever was to McCain. (Obama claims he wasn’t listening during Wright’s rantings-do you believe that?)

    What about Ahmedinejad…many people claim he wants an apocolyptic nuclear war in order to bring the occulted 12th Imam back. Are you worried about that?

  3. Y, can you cite any examples of Wright being a “raving maniace and antisemite”? Seriously dude, that’s a very serious charge to level against someone and shouldn’t be made lightly and not unless you can back it up with hard facts.

    Second, Ahmedinejad isn’t the real power in Iran. And it’s not like he ever sang a song called “bomb, bomb USA” or “bomb, bomb Israel” like the Republican presidential candidate did.

    Third, since 1979 I can’t think of a single country that Iran has invaded. However I can think of a country that aided and abetted Iraq when it attacked Iran. It’s the same country that along with Israel threatens Iran on an almost daily basis. In light of this, trying to aquire nuclear weapons seems like a fairly rational and obvious method of deterence in the face of repeated threats of agression.

    And don’t forget that America is conducting covert operations inside and against Iran as we speak. Though by now most Americans seem to take it for granted that Iran is the “bad guy” and that an attack from them is immenent. Just like they thought an attack from Iraq was immenent six years ago.

  4. Joe-

    As far as I know, Israel doesn’t share a border with Iran, so I don’t know how Iran feels “threatened” by Israel, except by the fact that the Jews rejected Muhammed’s claim to be a prophet and, according to Islamic doctrine, are condemned to be in an inferior dhimmi status and are therefore forbidden to have a sovereign state in the Jewish people’s historic home of Eretz Israel. The very existence of Israel is an affront and insult to Islam, as Ahmedinejad and the other Islamic extremists say every day.

  5. Y, Israel doesn’t share a border with Iraq either, and yet they bombed the Osirak reactor back in 1981. If the lack of a common border eliminates all threats then I don’t know what Israelis get their pants in a knot about.
    “Many people” also still claim Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off the map, but that doesn’t make it true. Israel, not Iran is currently the only country in the ME capable of unleashing the apocalyptic nuclear war you dream about, and its leaders, going back to Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, and Ariel Sharon are on the record with having the Samson option on the table.
    Sometimes I’m tempted to think those who continue to trumpet that false Ahmadinejad quote at every opportunity really want it that way so they’d have a pretext to take down all those Philistines with them.

  6. I put Hagee and his followers right up there with “Jim Jones”and the dead 900 . This country has a well- established religious lunatic fringe that gets way too much media coverage.

    I agree with my fellow Obama supporter that Dr. Wright’s majority good positions are never brought to the fore and at least he never said that Hitler was good for the re-taking of Israel or that the Jews were to be sacrified if they didn’t get with the” rapture” crap.

    Y.as I suggested before you should go get a copy “All The Shah’s Men” to better understand the Iranian side of the story .It doesn’t excuse the inflammatory rhetoric of the small man but it puts things in perspective. Remember Nikita was going to bury us . He only served as the prime-mover for the cost spiral in arms that destroyed the Soviet Union. Ahmedinejad just likes to pull Israel’s chain and the reaction is just like Pavlov’s dog. Y. for one who likes to alude to past actions of others as relecting their true intent,remember it was the benevolent rule of the Persians that permitted the Jewish exiles to reconstruct Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. Iranians are well-educated in general and represent 51% of the population not all or do the majority believe in your interpretation of Islamic theology.

    I think that if the truth were known and Iran was democratic there would be a large portion of the population would opt out on the non-religious side.

    Hagee is just another in a long list of McCain campfollowers who will come back to bite him but he is too busy being Dr.Faustus and selling his soul to realize.

    So it is the position of 1.5 million followers of Islam that Israel must be destroyed?

  7. George,

    “Iranians are well-educated in general and represent 51% of the population not all or do the majority believe in your interpretation of Islamic theology.”

    I’m confused – which 51%? And which 1.5 million Muslims?

  8. Fiddler again I stand corrected .The general figure thrown out for those identified as Muslims is 1.5 billion not million and those with Persian identity in Iran from the articles I have read makeup 51% of the total population of Iran. Granted there are some of those 51% who have some other ethnic lineage considering all the foreign incursions over 4000+ years.

  9. Ahmedinejad doesn’t just say that Israel should make peace with the Palestinians and give up land…he says we are going to disappear. Hitler said in an open speech in January 1939 that in the event of war, the Jews would disappear.

  10. Y, if by “we” (are going to disppear) you mean political Zionism as the ruling ideology, then yes, that’s what Ahmadinejad said, and I don’t see anything morally wrong with that statement. You’re conflating Jews and Zionism, and what Hitler said in 1939 about the former is quite irrelevant here. As for war, I can think of one or two countries threatening war, but it ain’t Iran.

  11. Fiddler-
    If you kill all the adherents of a political ideology, then the ideology disappears, right? That is one POSSIBLE interpretation, right? Why are you always apologizing for a terrorist regime like that of Iran’s? They blew up Jews (actually most of the victims of Argentinian non-Jews, but who cares?) twice in Buenos Aires…they weren’t “Zionists”, so they have already proven they hate “Jews”, not just “Zionists”.

  12. Would anyone besides me love to see a live debate between Gershom Gorenberg and Ze’ev Chafets on the topic of “Is Christian Zionism good for Israel?”?

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