When Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana, Pastor John Hagee said it could be God’s judgment on America for allowing Israel to pull back its settlers from Gaza. He said “unprecedented” wrath will fall on any nation which pressures Israel to surrender land.
Stop forcing Israel to give up the land that God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants forever…when push comes to shove, God is going to have the last word. Here is what God says My position is on My land—Joel 3:2. God says when you divide up My land or cause it to be divided up, I will bring you into judgment… And God’s response is I am going to bring judgment on the nation that does this. If America continues to force Israel to give up the land to the enemies of Israel, the judgment of God will come to America in unprecedented portions. (1)
Does the Bible really say this? Actually hundreds of Old Testament verses predict “unprecedented” judgment on Christ-rejecting Jews in Israel. In the face of God’s oft-repeated law, they have occupied His holy land in unbelief and filled it with sin. (Ezekiel 39:23-29)
To judge Israel, God will send anti-Christ, the “Assyrian, the rod of my anger,” against “a hypocritical nation” (Isaiah 10:5-15). A majority of Jews will be killed; the remainder will flee extinction through the world. Far from preserving Israel from division, God Himself uses the anti-Christ Gentile army (composing the “seven heads and ten horns” of the beast) to overrun and occupy Israel for nearly three and a half years. During this time, He allows Jerusalem to be “trodden underfoot” and even divided by cruel Gentiles.
Yes, Joel 3:2 says God is angry with the nations for overrunning and dividing the land—even though He uses them to bring “wrath upon this people.” (Luke 21:23). But this will not be the first time God allowed His land to be divided. As early as the 8th century BC, God let immigrants from Assyrian-controlled nations occupy portions of Israel, particularly the northern kingdom of Samaria (becoming the “Samaritans”). The same happened in the southern kingdom after the Babylonian exile.
Thus the Bible refutes Hagee’s claim that God wants a unified Israel in times of Jewish apostasy, expulsion and rejection of His Son.
At the end of the three and a half year period of divinely-allowed Gentile dominion of Palestine, Christ judges the whole world during the battle of Armageddon. Gentile nations also have acted in persecutive, even genocidal violence against Jews. Christ will judge this as much as Jewish sin. God used the ancient Canaanites to judge Hebrew apostasy yet also judged them for their cruelty. So too countless followers of anti-Christ, including the Arab world, will drink deeply from the cup of God’s wrath.
Homicidal intent against Jews and Israel doubtless exists among Palestinians today. Like a bear with a thorn in its paw, rage at Israeli injustice has welled in them for close to a century and would doubtless erupt in terrible revenge should the opportunity arise. Yet the fact remains that on the throne of heaven, far above the volley of violence between Arabs and Jews, God is not angry at beleaguered Palestinians for wanting freedom and statehood.
As I made clear in my last article, “Does God Forbid Division of Israel?” God sanctions Gentile occupation when rebellious Israel has been exiled by God’s command because of unbelief. Today apostate Israel is not the “apple of God’s eye.” Instead, He is angry at Israel for rejection of Christ and persecution of indigenous Christians as well as mistreatment of the divinely sanctioned temporary occupants, the Arabs. (See, Christians in Israel: An Endangered Species)
How Did Hagee and Evangelicals Go Wrong?
For the last century evangelicals have lost their way, following misleading prophetic “sign posts” established by Bible teachers under the influence of Jewish Zionists. “Israel-first” evangelical teachers and leaders have torn down true Biblical law concerning the Jews, building up anti-Christ Babylon the Great instead.
Let’s trace the pseudo-prophetic premises held by Hagee and tens of millions of evangelicals.
Not one verse in Scripture clearly teaches that in the last days God will reverse His demand for Jewish obedience and allow unbelieving Jews to occupy Palestine. In contrast, dozens of the most specific verses and scores of precedents state God’s unchanging demand for obedience before occupation. (See, Conditional Salvation/Occupation Verses)
Hagee believes the Jewish state today fulfills a host of glorious Old Testament promises of national restoration of Israel. In reality Israel today fulfills prophecies of a counterfeit return. Ezekiel 38 and 39 describe Israel dwelling in peace and safety yet so wicked God hides His face from her (Ezekiel 39:23-36). Thus the Bible prophesies two returns—the first a counterfeit which will ultimately end in expulsion and destruction; the second, a legitimate return by a remnant of repentant Jews at Christ’s return.
Hagee believes the Roman papacy is the “Great Harlot.” Yet over 80 of the clearest Old Testament verses describe Israel as this archetypal whore. She was first to be chosen by God as His spiritual bride and first to betray Him. Israel alone is the original “Mother of Harlots.” (See, 'Babylon the Great' is Israel)
Hagee believes Jesus could return at any time. Yet Christ warns against false prophets who say of His coming “the time draweth near.” (Luke 21:8) Jesus told us clearly that ominous events of the last days don’t indicate His coming is imminent. The only signs He authorized are the encirclement of Jerusalem by armies of the anti-Christ and his defilement of the Jewish temple (the abomination of desolation). At this time Christians can expect our Lord’s return within three and a half years. Jesus promises He will return “soon” and we must be spiritually ready. But He never taught that He could come at any time, without His own prerequisites being met.
Hagee believes in two second comings of Christ—the first to “rapture” His church, the second, seven years later, to save the Jewish remnant, judge the nations and set up His thousand-year reign. Scripture never hints at two second comings, only one climactic return at the end of the church age. The “pre-tribulation rapture” error is only several hundred years old and founded on a crucial mistranslation of 2 Thessalonians 2:7, first mistranslated for Protestants in the King James Bible. It is perpetuated in virtually all translations of the New Testament.
NAS: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains [Holy Spirit] will restrain until He is taken out of the way. And then shall that lawless one [Anti-Christ] be revealed...” Such mistranslation suggests the Holy Spirit is passively removed and with Him the church. The original Greek actually says the Holy Spirit actively “steps aside” and allows anti-Christ into power. Thus both Holy Spirit and church remain in the world during his reign. Scripture does teach a “rapture” or “first resurrection” of the dead and the living in Christ, but only at Christ’s single second coming (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
Hagee believes armies of the Anti-Christ will be repulsed by God and not allowed to occupy Israel; a remnant of Jews will find safety in the rock cliffs of Petra. Yet Ezekiel 39 reinforces what is clearly stated in dozens of Old Testament prophecies: a majority of Jews will be slaughtered by the confederate nations of anti-Christ and the remainder exiled again (Ezekiel 39:23), thus fulfilling God’s eternal decree: no obedience, no land or occupation.
What Hagee and Evangelicals Get Right
Some of Hagee’s fiercest critics are non-Christian Jews who say Hagee’s eschatology demands great Jewish suffering in order that Christ may return. This is a malicious distortion. Hagee, arch-promoter and protector of Israel, only teaches that “the time of Jacob’s trouble” merely precedes Christ’s arrival, a prediction coming straight from Jewish prophetic sources.
Hagee and his evangelical supporters are also right on a number of prophetic truths. In contrast to praetorism, amillennialism and post-millennialism—which say most prophecy was fulfilled by 70 AD—Zionist evangelicals view the great bulk of prophecy as yet to be consummated. They correctly believe the world and church will decline into apostasy, a literal anti-Christ will rule Jerusalem and a remnant of Jews will be saved to occupy Israel for a millennium.
Unfortunately such truth, redemptive as it is, can’t counteract the massive confusion that bad eschatology has unleashed for a century. Error has galvanized evangelicals to work, side by side with Christ-hating Jews, to build the walls of Babylon. Such complicity empowers the cruel and licentious queen who dwells in that city – the Great Harlot. Someday she will redden her garments with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus – the very martyrs who helped build her city in the first place.