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American Fundamentalism's Support for Israel

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    Why American Christian Fundamentalist s Support the State of Israel: In order for most of today s Christians to escape physical death, two-thirds of the Jews
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2005
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      Why American Christian Fundamentalist's Support the State of Israel:

      In order for most of today's Christians to escape physical death,
      two-thirds of the Jews in Israel must perish, soon. This is the grim
      prophetic trade-off that fundamentalists rarely discuss publicly,
      but which is the central motivation in the movement's support for
      Israel.

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1585.htm

      The Unannounced Reason Behind American Fundamentalism's Support for
      the State of Israel
      by Gary North

      With the President meeting this week with Prime Minister Barak of
      Israel and Yassir Arafat, it may be time to review a topic that is
      baffling for Jews, annoying to Arabs, and unavoidable for American
      Congressmen: the unswerving political support for the State of
      Israel by American fundamentalists.

      Vocal support of a pro-Israel American foreign policy is basic for
      the leaders of American Protestant fundamentalism. This has been
      true ever since 1948. Pat Robertson and Rev. Jerry Falwell have been
      pro-Israel throughout their careers, beginning two decades before
      the arrival of the New Christian Right in the late 1970's. These men
      are not aberrations. The Trinity Broadcasting Network is equally
      supportive. So are the best-selling authors who speak for, and
      influence heavily, Protestant fundamentalism, most notably Hal
      Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth (1970), and Tim
      LaHaye, the husband of Beverly LaHaye of Concerned Women for
      America, which says on its Web site that it is "the nation's largest
      public policy women's organization." Rev. LaHaye and his co-author
      have each earned some $10 million in royalties for their multi-
      volume futuristic novel, Left Behind. They have a very large
      audience.

      People may ask themselves, "Why this support?" Fundamentalists
      earlier in this century were sometimes associated with anti-
      Semitism. James M. Gray of the Moody Bible Institute in 1927 wrote
      an editorial favorable to Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent series
      on Jews. Gray's editorial appeared in the Moody Bible Institute
      Monthly. Arno C. Gabelein, a prominent fundamentalist leader,
      believed that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was a
      legitimate document. Gabelein's 1933 book, The Conflict of the Ages,
      would today be regarded as anti-Semitic.

      Other fundamentalist leaders of the pre-War era, while not anti-
      Semitic, attempted to maintain neutrality on the issue of Hitler's
      persecution of Jews. In his 1977 book, Armageddon Now!, Christian
      historian Dwight Wilson cites numerous examples of fundamentalist
      theologians in the late 1930's who regarded Hitler's discriminatory
      policies against Jews as part of God's judgment on the Jews. He
      writes: "Pleas from Europe for assistance for Jewish refugees fell
      on deaf ears, and `Hands Off' meant no helping hand. So in spite of
      being theologically more pro-Jewish than any other Christian group,
      the premillennarians also were apathetic. . . ." [pp. 96-97].

      What was it that persuaded almost the entire fundamentalist movement
      to move from either hostility or neutrality to vocal support of
      Israel? No single answer will fit every case, but there is a common
      motivation, one not taken seriously by most people in history:
      getting out of life alive.

      The Not-Quite Last Things
      The Christian doctrine of eschatology deals with the last things.
      Sometimes eschatology deals with the personal: the death of the
      individual. Usually, however, it has to do with God's final judgment
      of mankind.

      There have been three main views of eschatology in the history of
      the church, which theologians classify as premillennialism,
      postmillennialism, and amillennialism. The pre- and post-
      designations refer to the expected timing of the bodily return of
      Jesus in the company of angels: before (pre-) the establishment of
      an earthly kingdom of God, or after (post-) this kingdom has
      extended its rule across the earth.

      The amillennial view is that the kingdom of God is mainly spiritual.
      This became the dominant view of Christianity for over a millennium
      after Augustine's City of God, with its distinction between the city
      of God, the church (spiritual and permanent) and the political
      cities of man (rising and falling). Luther held this eschatological
      view. Most of the Continental Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth
      century held it. But seventeenth-century Scottish Presbyterians were
      more likely to hold the postmillennial view, and they carried it
      with them when they emigrated to America. Their postmillennialism
      rested in part on their belief that God will convert the Jews to
      Christianity as a prelude to the kingdom's period of greatest
      expansion, an idea derived from Paul's Epistle to the church at
      Rome, chapter 11. Presbyterians are officially commanded to pray for
      the conversion of the Jews. [Westminster Larger Catechism (1647),
      Answer 191.] The first generation of Puritan Congregationalists in
      New England also held similar postmillennial opinions.

      The premillennial view was commonly held in the pre-Augustinian
      church, although the other views did have defenders. After 1660,
      premillennialism became increasingly common within American
      Puritanism. Cotton Mather was a premillennialist. But Jonathan
      Edwards was postmillennial. In nineteenth-century America, both
      views were common prior to the Civil War. After the War,
      premillennialism steadily replaced postmillennialism among
      fundamentalists. A secularized postmillennialism was adopted by the
      Social Gospel movement. Non-fundamentalist Protestants from
      Continental Europe, like the Catholics, remained amillennial.
      Postmillennialism faded after World War I until the late 1970's,
      when it experienced a limited revival.

      Basic to the view of both premillennialism and amillennialism is
      pessimism regarding the efforts of Christians to build a culture-
      wide kingdom of God on earth. Both positions hold that only by
      Jesus' bodily presence among the saints can Christians create an
      cultural alternative to the competing kingdoms of man. The
      premillennialist believes that this international kingdom
      construction task will begin in earnest a thousand years before the
      final judgment, with Jesus ruling from a literal throne, probably
      located in Jerusalem. The amillennialist views this universal
      extension of the kingdom of God into culture as possible only after
      the resurrection of all humanity at the final judgment, i.e., in a
      sin-free, death-free, Christians-only world.

      Tribulation and Rapture
      Just prior to Jesus' return to set up an earthly kingdom, argue most
      amillennialists and all premillennialists, there will be a time of
      persecution, called the Great Tribulation. It is here that the great
      debate over the Jews begins. Amillennialists believe that Christians
      will be persecuted by their enemies. A handful of premillennialists,
      referred to as "historic premillennialists," also identify
      Christians as the targets. This version of premillennialism has been
      insignificant institutionally since the 1870's. The dominant
      premillennial view says that Jews will suffer the Great Tribulation.
      Born-again Christians will have flown the coop – literally. This is
      the doctrine of the pre-tribulation Rapture.

      According to pre-tribulation premillennialists, who are known as
      dispensationalists, Jesus will come secretly in the clouds and raise
      deceased Christians – and only Christians – from the dead.
      Immediately thereafter, every true Christian will be transported
      bodily into the sky, and from there to heaven: the Rapture event.
      The passage cited to defend this view is found in Paul's first
      letter to the church at Thessolonica: "For the Lord himself shall
      descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel,
      and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
      Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up [harpazo]
      together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and
      so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thes. 4:16-17). Throughout
      most of church history, this passage was associated with the final
      judgment, but beginning sometime around 1830 in England, it was
      linked to the premillennial, pretribulational Rapture – a word that
      is not found in the Greek text or in any English translation of the
      New Testament. Its Latin root word is in Jerome's Vulgate, a
      translation of the Greek "harpazo" – seize, catch, or pluck.

      This outlook on the earthly future became increasingly popular among
      fundamentalists, beginning in the 1870's. It was formalized in the
      footnotes of the Scofield Reference Bible (1909; revised, 1917). In
      1930, it became the first Oxford University Press book to reach
      sales of one million. It has now sold over five million copies. C.
      I. Scofield's system has defined fundamentalism for nine decades.



      The Rapture-based escape from history is now universally believed by
      fundamentalists to be imminent. Generations of fundamentalists have
      believed that they will escape bodily death. They will be
      transported into the sky, like Elijah, though without benefit of
      chariots.

      But when? That has been the great question. The answer: "Soon." But
      why soon? Why not a millennium from now? The psychological answer:
      Because men do not live that long in this millennium. The main
      selling point for fundamentalism's Bible prophecies is to get
      insight into what is coming soon. In this case, the issue of
      mortality is central. As the slogan says, "Everybody wants to go to
      heaven, but nobody wants to die." The doctrine of the imminent
      Rapture allows Christians to believe seriously that they can go to
      heaven without dying. Millions of Americans believe this today.

      But how can they be so sure? Because of the events of 1948. In that
      year, the crucial missing piece of the prophetic puzzle – the
      restoration of the nation of Israel – seemed to come true. Critics
      of the dispensational system could no longer say, "But where is
      Israel in all this?" The answer, at long last: "In Palestine, just
      in time for the Great Tribulation."

      The Grim Fate of Israel
      The source of the idea of the Great Tribulation is found in Jesus'
      last words regarding Israel, which are recorded in Matthew 24 and
      Luke 21.

      And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know
      that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in
      Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of
      it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter
      thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which
      are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child,
      and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great
      distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall
      fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into
      all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles,
      until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:20-24).

      Throughout most of church history, this prophecy was interpreted as
      having been fulfilled by the Roman siege of Jerusalem and the
      destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. With the rise of
      dispensationalism, however, the fulfillment of this passage was
      moved into the future.

      Dispensationalism's critics had long asked: "Where is the nation of
      Israel? Where are the Jews?" Not in Palestine, surely. So,
      dispensationalists tended to apply this prophecy of near-destruction
      to Jews in general – only symbolically residing in Israel – until
      1948. This was one reason for their silence on Hitler's persecution.
      Hitler was just another rung in the ladder of persecution leading to
      the inevitable Great Tribulation.

      The prophesied agency of the great persecution has shifted over the
      years. As Wilson shows in Armageddon Now!, from 1917 until 1977,
      Russia was a prime candidate. But, after 1991, this has become
      difficult to defend, for obvious reasons. The collapse of the Soviet
      Union has created a major problem for dispensationalism's
      theologians and its popular authors. But there have been no
      comparable doubts about the intensity of the coming persecution.
      Here is the opinion of John F. Walvoord, one of dispensationalism's
      leading theologians, who served for three decades as the president
      of Dallas Theological Seminary (founded, 1924), the movement's main
      seminary.

      The purge of Israel in their time of trouble is described by
      Zechariah in these words: "And it shall come to pass, that in all
      the land, saith Jehovah, two parts therein shall be cut off and die;
      but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part
      into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will
      try them as gold is tried" (Zechariah 13:8, 9). According to
      Zechariah's prophecy, two thirds of the children of Israel in the
      land will perish, but the one third that are left will be refined
      and be awaiting the deliverance of God at the second coming of
      Christ which is described in the next chapter of Zechariah. [John F.
      Walvoord, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, [1962]
      1988), p. 108.

      Nothing can or will be done by Christians to save Israel's Jews from
      this disaster, for all of the Christians will have been removed from
      this world three and a half years prior to the beginning of this 42-
      month period of tribulation. (The total period of seven years is
      interpreted as the fulfillment of the seventieth week of Daniel
      [Dan. 9:27].)

      In order for most of today's Christians to escape physical death,
      two-thirds of the Jews in Israel must perish, soon. This is the grim
      prophetic trade-off that fundamentalists rarely discuss publicly,
      but which is the central motivation in the movement's support for
      Israel. It should be clear why they believe that Israel must be
      defended at all costs by the West. If Israel were militarily removed
      from history prior to the Rapture, then the strongest case for
      Christians' imminent escape from death would have to be abandoned.
      This would mean the indefinite delay of the Rapture. The
      fundamentalist movement thrives on the doctrine of the imminent
      Rapture, not the indefinitely postponed Rapture.

      Every time you hear the phrase, "Jesus is coming back soon," you
      should mentally add, "and two-thirds of the Jews of Israel will be
      dead in `soon plus 84 months.'" Fundamentalists really do believe
      that they probably will not die physically, but to secure this faith
      prophetically, they must defend the doctrine of an inevitable
      holocaust.

      This specific motivation for the support of Israel is never preached
      from any fundamentalist pulpit. The faithful hear sermons – many,
      many sermons – on the pretribulation Rapture. On other occasions,
      they hear sermons on the Great Tribulation. But they do not hear the
      two themes put together: "We can avoid death, but only because two-
      thirds of the Jews of Israel will inevitably die in a future
      holocaust. America must therefore support the nation of Israel in
      order to keep the Israelis alive until after the Rapture."
      Fundamentalist ministers expect their congregations to put two and
      two together on their own. It would be politically incorrect to add
      up these figures in public.

      The fundamentalists I have known generally say they appreciate Jews.
      They think Israel is far superior to Arab nations. They believe in a
      pro-Israel foreign policy as supportive of democracy and America's
      interests. They do not dwell upon the prophetic fate of Israel's
      Jews except insofar as they want to transfer the threat of the Great
      Tribulation away from themselves and their families. Nevertheless,
      this is the bottom line: the prophetic scapegoating of Israel. This
      scapegoat, not Christians, must be sent into the post-Rapture
      wilderness.

      Evangelism in Israel


      Their eschatology has produced a kind of Catch-22 for
      fundamentalists. What if, as a result of evangelism, the Jews of
      Israel were converted en masse to Christianity? They would then be
      Raptured, along with their Gentile brethren, leaving only Arabs
      behind. This scenario would make the immediate fulfillment of
      prophecy impossible: no post-Rapture Israelis to persecute. So,
      fundamentalists have concluded that the vast majority of the Jews of
      Israel cannot, will not, and must not be converted to Christianity.

      This raises an obvious question: Why spend money on evangelizing
      Israelis? It would be a waste of resources. This is why there are so
      few active fundamentalist ministries in Israel that target Jews.
      They target Arabs instead. Eschatologically speaking, the body of an
      Israeli must be preserved, for he may live long enough to go through
      the Great Tribulation. But his soul is expendable. This is why
      fundamentalists vocally support the nation of Israel, but then do
      very little to preach to Israelis the traditional Protestant
      doctrine of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. Fundamentalists have
      a prophetic agenda for Israelis that does not involve at least two-
      thirds of the Israelis' souls. Israelis are members of the only
      group on earth that has an unofficial yet operational King's X
      against evangelism by fundamentalists, specifically so that God may
      preserve Israelis for the sake of the destruction of modern Israel
      in the Great Tribulation. The presence of Israel validates the hope
      of fundamentalists that Christians, and Christians alone, will get
      out of life alive.

      ===

      In case you missed it:

      The Cult Of Israel : The Christian Zionists Message :

      What is the message of the Christian Zionist? Simply stated it is
      this: Every act taken by Israel is orchestrated by God, and should
      be condoned, supported, and even praised by the rest of us.

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1586.htm

      ===

      In case you missed it:

      Christian Zionism: Dispensationalism And The Roots Of Sectarian
      Theology :

      Dispensationalism is one of the most influential theological systems
      within the universal church today. Largely unrecognised and
      subliminal, it has increasingly shaped the presuppositions of
      fundamentalist, evangelical, Pentecostal and charismatic thinking
      concerning Israel and Palestine over the past one hundred and fifty
      years.

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4531.htm

      *********************************************************************

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