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Insight #151 — Evangelicals for Israel

August 17, 2006.

As Israel and Hezbollah clobbered one another in July 2006, the news media gave us numerous background reports. For example, the support of Israel by many American Evangelicals. In the spotlight is “Pastor” John Hagee, whose 25 years of a “Night to Honor Israel” is just one of his political activities. Most recently, as Israel and Hezbollah battled it out, Hagee’s newly formed lobbying organization, “Christians United for Israel,” held its first summit in Washington, D.C., with distinguished political and religious personnel among the 3,500 participants and attendees.

What is behind Hagee’s politics? An important element is his view of God’s promise to Abram in Gen. 12:3: “I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.” This verse is part of the doctrinal statement of Hagee’s mega-church in San Antonio, Texas, and he discusses it in one of his best sellers, “Final Dawn Over Jerusalem.”

Chapter Two of the book lists over 100 Jews who have blessed the world in fulfillment of Gen. 12:3. Over half are from the Bible, mostly listed in groups such as prophets and apostles. Forty-seven are Jews that are more modern, most of these being entertainment and news people. The final paragraph of the chapter sums it up: “From the time of Joseph in Egypt to Einstein in America, God has placed Jewish people at the major intersections of history to bless the world.” Oh, by the way, the list includes, quote: “Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.”

How did Jesus’ Apostles interpret the last portion of Gen. 12:3: “in you shall all families of the earth be blessed”? Preaching to Jews in Jerusalem the Apostle Peter said, “The covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in your seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:25-26). Look at the words “blessed” and “bless” in these two verses and you will see that Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise to Abraham. How? By blessing us through turning us away from sin.

The Apostle Paul agreed: “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed” (Gal. 3:8). Could it be any clearer? This promise to Abraham was a prediction of the Gospel. It has nothing to do with blessings via today’s Israel. It has everything to do with the Good News through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul continued in verse 9, “So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Who is blessed with Abraham? Not physical unbelieving Jews. Not unbelieving gentiles. Rather the blessing comes through faith.

The promise to Abraham includes the word “seed” in Gen. 22:18: “In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Paul makes a strong point of this when he says: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He says not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to your seed, which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). Jesus Christ is the tremendous fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. Jesus is the blessing of the world! Not 100 Jews. One Jew: the Son of David, the Son of God, Jesus the Messiah.

Two verses earlier (Gal. 3:14), Paul said, “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.” It is all about Jesus. It is nothing about the nation of Israel today. Pastor Hagee, in his endless activities to support today’s nation of Israel, has a strict rule of not evangelizing the Jews, which is why many Jews and even Rabbis participate in his activities. Imagine! In the name of befriending Israel, Hagee’s policy excludes Jews from receiving the blessing of Abraham through Jesus Christ.