From time to time people give me books. I have a huge 8-foot by 8-foot bookshelf, so there is plenty of room for more books. Sometimes I am really selective with what books I up on there, other times I just want the books off the floor so my kids don’t destroy them.
When it came time for me to pick something to read for OFF MY SHELF, I reached into the pile that I had just thrown onto the shelf. From that pile, I pulled out 3 or 4 books, all written by John Hagee.
I’ve never read anything from John Hagee. I’ve heard little about it, other than he likes to talk about The End Times, and believes that we should all be prepared for Christ’s imminent return.
What I say next I want you to understand comes from a loving, earnest place in my heart. I want the best things for you, my readers. Christian Thought Sandbox is all about helping people grow in their knowledge and in their relationship with Jesus Christ. If there is something that will hinder or hurt you, we don’t want to be a part of it. So understand, we believe this is for your own good.
NEVER BUY OR READ ANYTHING WRITTEN BY JOHN HAGEE!
Let me explain why, based on my reading of one chapter of Four Blood Moons. And before you say, “How can you make such a bold statement on something and someone that you haven’t given any time or consideration to?”
I am making this judgment based on how bad one chapter of his book is. It is that bad. His ideas are that destructive. Let me show you, not in a list of importance, but in the order that they appear in this book.
1. BRANDING IS NOT KEY
In a world that is all about the branding, putting your name out there, letting people know what you’re all about, you would think that there would be some subtle to the game. You might think that “less is more” or “tell them a little bit, and leave them wanting more” or some clique like that.
That may be true. But John Hagee is a beat-you-over-the-head kind of guy.
In a book about blood moons and other astronomical events warning us of the coming of Christ, he makes sure we all know that he is all about supporting Israel.
Now, I’m not anti-Semitic. I’m not making anti-semitic remarks. I’m saying that even before Hagee grabs our attention with the powerful visuals or the personal stories that will be somehow linked to the blood moons and the Second Coming, he advertises.
“If you are not currently a member of Christians United for Israel and desire to stand with Israel and the Jewish people, I strongly encourage you to join us today by going to CUFI.org.”
If this was at the back of the book, I wouldn’t care. It makes sense to put it there. Thousands upon thousands of other authors have done that. Why? Because their books are about something else. It isn’t an advertisement. They have a message to share, and anything else they do, if you are interested, can be found somewhere else. John Hagee puts his ad on page 4.
I understand branding is a part of the modern world, and there is a time and place for that. But what Hagee did here was classless.
2. MAKING IT COMPLICATED DOESN’T MAKE IT ANY BETTER
Someone came to Jesus and asked what the most important commandment was. Jesus’ answer summed up the Law and the Prophets, the message of Scripture for thousands of years.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40
If you want to talk about what we should feel towards Israel and the Jewish people, the answer is love. It is that simple. There is no reason to have “five biblical reasons why we, as Christians, should be grateful to, and show support for, the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.” Hagee seems to think that we do need them as if Jesus saying we should love them is somehow not enough.
I realize that he is making a case for his CFUI and reasons why you should support him. But there is no reason to make things more complicated that it has to be.
Jesus said we are to love our neighbours. That means Israel and the Jewish people are to be loved and loved upon. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. Making things more complicated or adding unnecessary rules and reasons for conduct creates a militant mindset. That isn’t what Jesus was ever about.
3. A PRECONCEIVED NOTION WILL MAKE ANY TEXT A PRETEXT
I started with Hagee’s branding for a reason; he starts there. And not just his book, but his theology seems to start and end there as well.
Whatever he does, whatever he says seems to be done through the lens of “we have to be helping and supporting Israel, as a people and a physical nation/kingdom”.
His first reason that all Christians should support Israel is because God promises to bless who bless Israel, and he looks to Israel’s forefather for the proof.
“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.” – Genesis 12:3
I can see what Hagee is seeing. God is telling Abraham that those that bless him will be blessed. But that is the thing. God will bless those that bless Abraham. That is what the text says. Hagee is using this famous portion of Scripture to make it say things it doesn’t say.
This is just bad theology. A poor way to read the Bible. Especially if you consider that Israel was first a person named Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. God blessed Jacob or Israel numerous times. If Hagee wanted to assert the idea that we should love and support Israel because then we get stuff from God, why not use a verse like this?
“May nations serve you and people bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed, and those who bless you be blessed.” – Genesis 27:29
Hagee’s terrible hermeneutical exegesis (fancy words for the way he reads the Bible) leaves a terrible taste in my mouth.
First, read what the words actually are. Don’t start asserting things that the Bible isn’t saying.
4. OBEDIENCE AT A PRICE?
Hagee continues to frustrate me. In the same paragraph, he turns God’s blessing into a formula.
“This is God’s pledge to Abraham and the Jewish people for all generations to come. God promised to bless nations, churches, and individuals who do practical acts of kindness to bless Israel and the Jewish people.”
God said he will give you stuff if you give Israel stuff. That’s what his argument boils down to. Be nice to Israel or I’ll be mean to you.
Hagee’s God sounds like a vending machine. Or if not a vending machine, a gumball machine. You put in the right amount of change, it may not be the colour of gumball you want but you get gum.
This kind of thinking is compatible with the prosperity gospel, or health and wealth Christianity, or name-it-and-claim-it thinking. And that kind of theology clashes with so much of Scripture.
Hagee even leaves out the role of faith in all this. He looks to Luke 7 where the story of the centurion’s sick servant is recorded. According to Hagee, Jesus goes to heal the centurion’s servant because “he love our nation, and has built us a synagogue. (Luke 7:5)” Us being Israel in this case.
But Hagee doesn’t mention that Jesus does heal the centurion’s servant because of faith.
The centurion sends servants to tell Jesus not to bother himself with coming all the way there, but to simply say that his servant would be healed. The centurion’s believed in Jesus and the power that He had. Jesus said,
“I tell you, I have not found such GREAT FAITH even in Israel.” – Luke 7:9, emphasis added
So not only is Hagee treating God like a gumball machine but leaves any faith or trust in God out of it. Give money to Israel, God will bless you. Who cares what you believe…
Is that the gospel? Is that what Jesus taught? No. It’s not.
5. GOD IS NOT JUST THE GOD OF THE JEWS
Hagee goes on with his reasons for supporting Israel. They continue the pattern of picking and choosing verses and bending them to suit his story of the Gospel. And the Hagee Gospel seems to include the demonization of everyone else. To make it worse, he uses the words of Jesus to justify it. This is lifted from his book, emphasis his.
“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren [the Jewish people], you did it to Me.” – Matthew 25:40
(Note: Up till this point Hagee has been using NIV for his bible referencing. There is no translation that matches the Scripture he uses here.)
Let me repeat myself. That was Hagee’s emphasis and understanding of that portion of Scripture. I would say that this is a very poor understanding of this particular portion of Scripture.
By elevating the Jewish people, Hagee is pushing down everyone else. Apparently God wants us to only be helping the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. They are the lost ones. They are the least of all the nations and people groups. They are the ones left alone and abandon. Them. Only them. No one else in the world could possibly be the last, the lost, and the least. Just help the Jewish people.
That is ridiculous. Hagee says that this is right because Jesus never called the Gentiles “His brethren” until after the cross. Hagee completely ignores the fact that Jesus’ ministry was to the Jewish people only, but His message wasn’t. The disciples and the generations influenced by them took those exact words and preached to millions upon billions of Gentiles. And they believed that Jesus wanted us to love and help the last, the lost, and the least.
If not, if Hagee is right, then forget about the people in the homeless shelters. The Jews need a house more than people here. Don’t worry about the hungry family down the street. They don’t need food. Israel does. Don’t give your tithes and offerings to the church of Gentiles. Give it all to the nation and people of Israel because that is what Jesus wanted. Not this spreading love and forgiveness to all people.
The idea that God would ordain, that Jesus would preach and affirm that there is one elite people frightens me. And looks nothing like the God of love that “did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, BUT TO SAVE THE WORLD THROUGH HIM” (John 3:17, emphasis added).
Hagee seems to have ignored what the Apostle Paul said to the Romans.
“Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” – Romans 3:29-30
This God of the Jews and Gentiles calls us to love our neighbours, no matter who they are, no matter what nationality or religious background they may have.
Do not leave this article and think that John Hagee is a terrible person or that he is trying to mislead you and take your money away from you. Though I have never met him, I believe his heart to be sincere. He loves Jesus. He wants people to know about Jesus, especially in such dark and dangerous times.
The issue I take is with the message that he is sharing, with how he is sharing, not with the man himself.
I am not trying to bash John Hagee. I’m trying to show you how misleading his message can be. There are other leaders and pastors that are talking about astronomy and the end times, together and separately. I would advise that you look to these men and women for such education and information, not Hagee.
If you feel compelled to do anything, pray for John Hagee. As an influential man, he has the power and ability to lead people towards the Truth or away from it. May God speak with great clarity to him and move him to love and support all people.
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