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In Defense of Israel

John Hagee has one of the largest ministries in the country. Here is how it is described on his website www.JohnHagee.org This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window:

Dr. John C. Hagee is the founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, a non-denominational evangelical church with more than 18,000 active members. [He] is the President and C.E.O. of John Hagee Ministries which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in America on 160 T.V. stations, 50 radio stations, eight networks and can be seen weekly in 99 million homes. ... [He] is the author of 10 major books published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Any man preaching the Bible into 99 million homes bears a massive responsibility before God and his fellow human beings to accurately and clearly proclaim the truth. Scripture warns that "not many" should set themselves up as "masters" or teachers, for in so doing they risk a "greater condemnation" (James 3:1).

Before discussing Hagee's apostasy from the Christian faith, it is important for the reader to know that I stand firm in my support of Israel for humanitarian and political reasons. I love the Jewish people, delight in their music, literature and culture, and deeply appreciate that God used them to bring forth Jesus the Messiah and the Holy Bible that proclaims the Gospel of His Messiahship "to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." I condemn any form of anti-semitism as anti-christian and a sure sign of spiritual alienation from God. But I also know that you do not "show love and support" to Israel by denying that Jesus Christ is their Messiah, which is exactly what John Hagee has done.

In his book In Defense of Israel This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window (2007), beginning in the section called "The Jews did not Reject Jesus as Messiah" (p. 132) John Hagee relentlessly twisted Scripture in his attempt to prove that Jesus Christ did not come "to be Messiah to the Jews." His denial of Jesus as the Christ (Messiah) cannot be overlooked as a mere "slip of his pen" because he repeated his assertion "seven ways from Sunday" as seen in this sample of seven quotes from his book:

  • If God intended for Jesus to be the Messiah of Israel, why didn't he authorize Jesus to use supernatural signs to prove he was God's Messiah, just as Moses had done? (p. 137)
  • Jesus refused to produce a sign ... because it was not the Father's will, nor his, to be Messiah. (p 138)
  • If Jesus wanted to be Messiah, why did he repeatedly tell his disciples and followers to "tell no one" about his supernatural accomplishments? (p. 139)
  • The Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews. (p. 140)
  • They wanted him to be their Messiah, but he flatly refused. (p. 141)
  • He refused to be their Messiah, choosing instead to be the Savior of the world (p. 143)
  • Jesus rejected to the last detail the role of Messiah in word or deed. (p. 145)

John Hagee's words directly contradict the central message of the entire New Testament. Indeed, John Hagee's words directly contradict the fundamental declaration that defines the Christian Faith, which is that Jesus is the Messiah (i.e. the Christ). This is what Peter declared in his first sermon to thousands of his fellow Jews gathered at Pentecost (Acts 2:36):

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Messiah).

Likewise, this was the first thing Saul, the Jew from Tarsus, proclaimed to his fellow Jews in the synagogues immediately after the scales fell from his eyes (Acts 9:20-23):

And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:

Scripture declares that Saul, who soon would be known as the Apostle Paul, preached and proved to his Jewish audience that Jesus is Messiah. The Gospel itself is called the "Gospel of Christ" or in Jewish terms, the Gospel of the Messiah! This fact is so very elementary it seems almost foolish to belabour it. That any genuinely Christian teacher could err on this point is inconceiveable because the error concerns the primal definition of Christianity itself. Scripture therefore places this error under the greatest possible condemnation:

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. -- 1 John 2:22

Liar! Antichrist! There is no mistaking the apostasy here. The word "Christ" literally means "Messiah." The New Testament could be faithfully translated with all references to Jesus Christ rendered as "Jesus the Messiah." Indeed, the Complete Jewish Bible This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window translates the verse above as "Who is a liar at all, if not the person who denies that Yeshua is the Messiah?" How then is it possible that John Hagee, who has been preaching and teaching the "Bible" for over forty years, could suddenly turn and deny that Jesus is the Messiah? Is it possible that we are misunderstanding what he really meant? The unfortunate answer is that Hagee left no room for misunderstanding. He repeated his heresies over and over again. Let us begin with this quote from pages 137-138:

If God intended for Jesus to be the Messiah of Israel, why didn't he authorize Jesus to use supernatural signs to prove he was God's Messiah, just as Moses had done? The Jews, knowing of Moses's signs to Israel, asked for a supernatural sign that Jesus was indeed their Messiah. Jesus answered:

No sign will be given...except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. -- Matthew 12:39-40

Jesus refused to give a sign. He only compared himself with the prophet Jonah, who carried the message of repentance from God to the Gentiles in Nineveh.

This one quote has many errors. The first is Hagee's failure to recognize that the "sign of Jonah" was the ultimate miraculous sign upon which all Christianity stands, namely, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the supreme sign that God gave to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. Hagee ignored it as if it were nothing; his six page Index doesn't even have an entry for "resurrection." He also erred in his assertion that God didn't "authorize Jesus to use supernatural signs to prove he was God's Messiah." This directly contradicts the words preached by the Apostle Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:22-23)

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Hagee's claim also contradicts Christ's answer to the Jews when they demanded to know if He was Messiah (John 10:24-33):

Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Messiah, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Christ cited the "good works" of His miraculous signs as proof that He is Messiah. John's Gospel was designed around seven of those signs, beginning with the miraculous transformation of water into wine and culminating in the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead after which the Jews, predictably, plotted again to murder him. The Apostle John drove the final nail into the coffin of Hagee's heresy when he summed up the purpose of his Gospel (John 20:30-31):

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Peter, Paul, and John are but three of the New Testament Jews who declared to their fellow Jews that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. Yet Hagee denies that Jesus ever claimed to be the Messiah, and with that false presupposition attempts to exonerate "the Jews" by asking "How can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered?" (p. 136). He repeatedly denies that the "Jews as a people" were in any way responsible for the death of Christ. Peter's pentecostal sermon quoted above provides another refuation of this error. The Apostle addressed the whole crowd of multiplied thousands, saying "Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem" (Acts 2:14), and then accused them all saying "God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Messiah." He declared them all guilty of killing Jesus and contrary to Hagee, told those thousands upon thousands of first century Jews that Jesus was not only "Lord" but also MESSIAH. This was the declaration of all the Jews who believed: Jesus is Messiah! This pricked the crowd to their heart, and about three thousand Jews were saved that day. Yet in the face of all this biblical evidence, John Hagee continues to deny that Jesus is the Messiah to the Jews, saying "The people wanted him to be their Messiah, but he flatly refused" (p. 139).

It is a most unfortunate fact that Hagee's errors cannot be discounted as innocent mistakes. In his quote of Matthew 12 in the tan box above, he willfully omitted Scripture that contradicted his thesis. The true reason that "Jesus refused to give a sign" in that particular passage is revealed in the text that Hagee deliberately hid from his readers (Matthew 12:38-41, NKJV):

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.

The words Hagee quoted are underlined. He ripped them out of their context in which they are bracketed before and after by Christ's rebuke of the "evil and adulterous generation" that would be condemned by the wicked "men of Nineveh" in the Day of Judgment. Matthew 12 is but one of the many texts in which Christ condemned the whole generation of Jews that rejected him, not just "the high priest and his circle of religious conspirators" as Hagee falsely asserts (p. 128). Hagee attempted as similar ruse on page 138 (emphasis added):

When Jesus went on trial, Herod "had desired for a long time to see Him...and he hoped to see some miracle [sign] done by Him" (Luke 23:8). Jesus refused to produce a sign for the national leadership of Israel in an attempt to prove he was the Messiah because it was not the Father's will, nor his, to be the Messiah. Jesus's repeated response to the Jewish people who urged him to be their Messiah was, "My kindgom is not of this world" (John 18:36)

This sheds some light on the source of Hagee's error. It seems he has wholeheartedly adopted the unbiblical definition of the Messiah promoted by the unbelieving Jews who deny Christ on the pretext that He failed to defeat the Romans and set up an earthly ethnic kingom on some dusty Middle East real estate. Thus Hagee rejects Jesus as the Christ because His Kingdom "is not of this world." This is confirmed on page 139 (emphasis added):

If Jesus wanted to be Messiah, why did he repeatedly tell his disciples and followers to "tell no one" about his supernatural accomplishments? Think about it! If the man were trying to gain national attention to rally the support of the general public for the overthrow of mighty Rome, he would not go around the country saying "Tell no one!"

So there it is. Though he never explicitly stated his definition, Hagee used the word "Messiah" to designate nothing but a conquering Jew who would "smash Rome" and "usher in an era of universal peace" (p. 141). Since Jesus did not come to do this, He was "not the Messiah" by Hagee's heretical definition. Thus the Jews are completely exonerated for rejecting Christ, for indeed, "The Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews" (p. 140).

It is a tragedy that Hagee wrote as if he never understood a single word of the New Testament proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. How else could he assert that there is a distinction between Jesus as Saviour and Jesus as Messiah as he did when he wrote "He refused to be their Messiah, choosing instead to be the Savior of the world" (p. 143)? He appears to know less of the Gospel than any ten year old child who has recited Luke 2:11 in a Christmans pageant:

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

These are the apostate antichrist teachings of John Hagee. He explicitly and repeatedly denies that Jesus came to be the Messiah to the Jews. John Hagee needs to repent. All faithful and orthodox Christians need to warn others of his false teachings.






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