Jun 29, 2015
The Mainstreaming of Falsehoods
Well, Michael Oren certainly knows how to pick up a
slow news day. The June 23 release of his book, Ally (a
look at his up-close observations of the Obama White
House and its nasty attitude toward Israel and Benjamin
Netanyahu), has created that proverbial firestorm of
Mostly from the Obama White House, of
In Ally, Oren provides a front-row seat
to the behind-the-scenes stuff going on since 2009, when
Obama entered the Oval Office. To say that his treatment
of Netanyahu has been abysmal is being too nice. Obama
has simply drawn on his background as a Palestinian
sympathizer and Saul Alinsky disciple.
words, it’s easy to see that Obama has a visceral hatred
for Zionism, the Jewish state, and those who defend it.
Predictably, Obama’s apologists have rushed to trash
Oren and his perspective. Philip Gordon, a former Obama
aid, has called Ally a “caricature” that is filled with
“exaggerations and distortions.”
It’s a standard
denial, issued by your garden-variety leftist who wants
to prop up the Regime. Notice carefully how Gordon
reacts to Oren’s assertions that Obama’s dealings with
Israel have been unusually harsh, even unprecedented:
“’Really?’ Gordon writes. ‘To take just a few
examples, Dwight Eisenhower slammed Israel for the 1956
Suez operation and forced it into a humiliating retreat;
Gerald Ford froze arms deliveries and announced a
reassessment of the relationship as a way of pressing
Israel to withdraw from the Sinai; Jimmy Carter clashed
repeatedly with Prime Minister Menachem Begin before,
during and after the 1978 Camp David summit. Ronald
Reagan denounced Israel’s strike on the Osirak nuclear
reactor in Iraq and enraged Jerusalem by selling
surveillance planes to Saudi Arabia; George H.W. Bush
blocked loan guarantees to Israel over settlements; Bill
Clinton clashed publicly with Israel over the size of
proposed West Bank withdrawals; George W. Bush called
for a settlement freeze in the 2002 road map for peace
and afterward repeatedly criticized Israel for
construction in the West Bank.’”
That is all
true, but within Gordon’s foray into truth-telling
No American president—ever—has
consistently treated Israel so shabbily. Jimmy Carter
came close, but Obama is far and away the first American
president to openly loathe the Jewish state. It’s all
documented, from his public shunning of Netanyahu, to
his withholding of munitions during last summer’s deadly
conflict with Hamas, to public signals that he is
willing to abandon Israel at the U.N.
is an Israel-hater of the first rank.
(I got a Kindle copy this week) is riveting. His
analysis of new-Secretary of State John Kerry’s “shuttle
diplomacy” in 2013 is fascinating, if only because it
recalls how Kerry kept subtly threatening the Israelis:
“In time, Kerry would caution Israelis about the
outbreak of a Third Intifada if they failed to make
peace, of facing economic boycotts and of becoming an
apartheid state. Perceived as threats, these messages
reinforced, rather than weakened, those most opposed to
his initiative. Then, as his special Middle East envoy ,
the secretary named the veteran peace negotiator Martin
Indyk. This, too, was counterproductive. British-born,
raised in Australia, and naturalized as a citizen of the
United States, where he initially worked for AIPAC,
Martin later served twice as America’s ambassador to
Israel . There , and later, as the Brookings
Institution’s policy director, he had a frosty
relationship with Netanyahu. I respected Martin’s
diplomatic experience and tried to advise him on ways of
earning Netanyahu’s trust. Still, the question hounded
me: if Kerry was serious about the process, why did he
seem intent on shaking Israelis’ faith in it?”
All through Ally, Oren presents an insider’s view. It is
common knowledge among the American people that Obama
and his team do not like Netanyahu. So why would Gordon
resort to false statements condemning the book?
Because leftists lie. They attempt to manipulate
reality, and in far too many cases, succeed. In other
words, what is at once obvious to the outside
world—Obama detests Netanyahu and says things in public
that weaken Israel—is distorted by the President’s
The truth is, Obama, a leftist
ideologue all his adult life, is out to damage the
relationship between America and Israel.
saving grace is that, on this point, he is also defying
his own people.
Jun 22, 2015
I began advocating for Israel 20
years ago, when I met Avi Lipkin. Many readers know and
love Avi for his dogged pursuit of justice for Israel
and her Christian Zionists friends. I remember our first
conversation, at a deli in Dallas. He helped me learn to
pronounce the name of an Israeli politician who was
Net. Ahn. Ya. Hoo.
In the years since, I’ve done
what I could, when I could. I’ve visited Israel a
half-dozen times and regularly write for The Jerusalem
Post, and others. I speak at conferences and in
Now, I am pleased to be part of a
new endeavor with friends from the America-Israel
Friendship League, a seminar program we have titled,
The format is a one or two-day
seminar, in which expert speakers provide real
information about Israel, her relationships
internationally (including with Christian friends); and
historical context. This coming Thursday, we will also
discuss the plight of persecuted Christians.
For the event at Calvary Chapel
Cypress (thanks to our good buddy, Pastor Chris
Quintana!), I will speak, along with Dr. Alex Grobman, a
Holocaust researcher, and Dr. Uri Bar-Ner (live from
Israel), who will speak about Israel’s standing in the
international community. Uri is the former Israeli
ambassador to Turkey, and his decades of diplomatic
experience are fascinating. Added to the mix is the fact
that he lives at Modi’in, near the burial place of the
Alex has a new book out,
BDS: The Movement
to Destroy Israel, and his expert analyses of the
United Nations, anti-Semitism, and the Jews’ experience
with Christians are all riveting. He is also one of my
best friends, and loves and respects evangelical
The AIFL is led by people I have
real affection for; the organization exists to build
friendships for Israel. Their many and varied programs,
like the Youth Ambassador Student Exchange (YASE) is
Please join us this coming
Thursday for a one-day seminar that is sure to arm you
with better information to help Israel, in what
Netanyahu has called “the battle for the truth.”
We welcome our friends in
southern California to join us at Calvary Chapel
Cypress, and for those who can’t attend in person, join
us online. See you Thursday!
June 15, 2015
(For those of you in southern
California, or who want to watch our “Why Israel?”
seminar live-streamed, put Thursday, June 25 on your
calendar. Join me, Dr. Alex Grobman, and Dr. Uri Bar-Ner
— live from Israel — for a full-day program that will
arm you with truth for defending Israel. For more
information, go to www.calvarychapelcypress.net)
The Power of Propaganda
Having had time to reflect on my
time at the Justice Conference in Chicago, I am more
convinced than ever that leftist ideology is being
pushed on young people.
Of course, this has been the
reality for a long time; a couple years ago I heard Hal
Lindsey speak at a conference and he mentioned that
Marxism was being taught at Berkeley in 1960.
I think many of us falsely believed some of that
went away after the Reagan years and, in the context of
evangelicalism, after the Southern Baptists appeared to
win over moderates.
I don’t believe that was the
Leftists never sleep, they never
take a day off. The rest of us are hunkered down,
raising families and earning a living, paying taxes. As
a result, things get past us.
One of those things is the
diabolical worldviews taught to our children. It is one
reason there is a shift in support for Israel, to the
Palestinians. As I’ve written and said many times, to
the eternal shame of evangelical leadership in America,
none of them speak up about this. I am referring to
denominational leaders, but it is also true that, for
example, among what I call The Big Three — Rick Warren,
Bill Hybels, and Andy Stanley — there is either
indifference to Israel, or hostility (in the form of
Willow Creek’s propagandist efforts to mainstream the
From a blog post by Ryan Beiler
“Nonviolent resistance against
the occupation is gaining more and more participation by
Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists—even
officials of the Palestinian Authority. Thankfully,
these campaigns are also getting widespread coverage by
global media, further enhancing their chances at
success. While there is still much work needed to
promote nonviolence as the only moral and practical
means of ending the conflict, declarations such as the
Kairos Palestine Document will serve as prophetic
milestones toward peace with justice in the Middle
Other activists work with friends
within evangelicalism’s power centers to further
demonize Israel and her supporters:
“Young people tell me that they
grow up in churches being told that Jews are God’s
chosen people. Then they go to universities where Jewish
students laugh at their Christian Zionism and want no
part of it.” – Dale Hanson Bourke, author of The
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tough Questions, Direct
“We are challenging evangelicals
that rather than looking at the Middle East through the
lens of prophecy that they look at it through the
teaching of Jesus to be peacemakers. … In the past we
used to say there will never be peace in the Middle East
until Jesus comes. This is a very typical evangelical
response. Now we’re saying rather than waiting for
divine intervention—get busy! Listen and respond to
God’s call to action!” – Dr. Munther Isaac, Bethlehem
Bible College and Christ at the Checkpoint.
Notice Beiler’s nod to
“activists” within the Palestinian Authority. It’s like
saying, in 1934, that the Kremlin was helping expose
Hard to believe some of these
people are that gullible.
In our upcoming “Why Israel?”
seminar, my colleagues and I will discuss some of these
propaganda efforts, including the evil BDS campaign,
which, ironically, gains legions of young people as
followers — they think they are exposing an evil regime,
when in fact they are propping one up.
It is astounding to me that many
people assume that media images actually always reflect
reality. For example, photo editors from New York to
Amman know how to crop a photo so that it looks like an
Israeli soldier is threatening the life of a hapless
Palestinian. In point of fact, the soldier is often
pulling the youth away from a mob bent on beating him to
death…or, the “Palestinian” is actually an Israeli Jew
being rescued by the IDF.
Media types know what they are
Added to the propaganda mix (and
I observed this at the Justice Conference) is the effort
by Palestinians to come alongside African-Americans and
profess their love and loyalty, i.e., we are brown
brothers being oppressed by the white colonialists — Big
Business and European Jews, respectively.
Day and night, the Palestinian
Authority foments violence against Israel and the world
The new thing right now is the
compromising of American youth, who believe they are
helping lift up the oppressed Palestinian.
In fact, they are tools of
And that’s bad for all of us.
June 8, 2015
I am just returning from the
Justice Conference, a two-day affair in Chicago. From
“Our vision is to serve the
discovery of ideas, celebrate the beauty of justice, and
foster a community of people who live justice together.
Now, more than ever, people of faith need to come
together to wrestle with the injustice in our world.
This is the time. This is the place.”
I have many thoughts about the
conference, and will be writing and speaking about it
more in the coming weeks, but for now I want to focus on
two things: Israel and Bible prophecy.
I sat in on workshops led by Jon
Huckins and Jer Swigart of The Global Immersion Project,
then heard Lynne Hybels speak. Although Hybels didn’t
address this subject (rather, she spoke about efforts at
reconciliation between Jews and Arabs), Bible prophecy
was on the stand.
Specifically, I heard from
presenters and from attendees having roundtable
discussions that Dispensationalism is a problem. I
listened as speakers lamented the wild speculations from
some prophecy teachers.
One speaker, Malcolm London,
mentioned babies being “blown to bits in Palestine.”
One of the books for sale in the
conference expo area was Garth Hewitt’s “Occupied
Territories.” In the book, Hewitt alleges that the
Israeli security fence completely encircles Bethlehem.
As I’ve pointed out many times, it does not.
These kinds of remarks about
Israel were indicative of what conference organizers and
attendees believe about the Jewish state and her
Justice was on everyone’s lips
during the weekend, but one could be justified in
wondering whether anyone believes Israel deserves
justice. Justice in terms of Arabs accepting the
presence of the Jewish state. Justice in terms of all
terror attacks ceasing. Justice for the victims of
Palestinian terror since Oslo, two decades ago.
You need to understand that
while there were many sincere, well-intentioned people
at the Justice Conference, the gathering was left wing
to the core. Whatever you want to call us — conservative
Christians, fundamentalists, Bible-believing Christians
— our worldview is very different from the presenters in
Chicago. We do not see many things the same.
For them, Israel is an Occupier.
Her Christian Zionist supporters are rigid, angry
obstacles to peace.
There was a lot of talk about
tolerance and reconciliation, but I got the distinct
impression that the sweet words aren’t meant for Israel
and those who support her.
The capper was the keynote
address by Cornel West, the radical Princeton professor
who is no friend of Israel.
There was also a lot of talk
about white supremacy, white guilt, white privilege.
Racial injustice toward minorities. American
This is not the same Church we
grew up with. It is not the same nation. Such a
conference as this would have been unthinkable a
generation ago. Now, I fear it is the norm.
Whatever lay ahead, though, we
must remain in the Word and remain in the Lord. The
future is going to be remarkable.
And He is a just God.
Jun 1, 2015
(Join Jim and his friends Alex Grobman and Uri Bar-Ner
at Calvary Chapel Cypress, CA, on June 25 for a seminar
entitled “Why Israel?”)
The Israelites and Modern Israel
At this year’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian
Church (USA), delegates voted to divest from three
companies that do business with Israel: Caterpillar,
Hewlett Packard, and Motorola Solutions. The diabolical
“BDS” movement (Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions) is
intended to hurt Israel economically. In fact, it is one
element of the larger war against the Jewish state.
A lesser-known resolution was no less sinister. From a
piece in Jews News, we read that some will no longer
accept acknowledgement of Israel’s biblical history:
“According to a report in The Algemeiner, the Church’s
proposed resolution, which was rejected, stems from a
complaint filed by a ‘Palestinian American Presbyterian’
who is an Elder in the church.
“The new Presbyterian Hymnal, Glory to God, published in
2013, contains a section of hymns under the heading,
‘God’s Covenant with Israel.’ The Elder who filed the
complaint stated, ‘Because I am a Palestinian Christian,
I am uneasy with the word ‘Israel’ in ‘God’s Covenant
“In an effort to deal with the situation, the resolution
proposed a re-education process regarding the difference
between ‘biblical Israel’ and the modern State of
Israel. This included printing up stickers to be placed
in all the hymnals.”
That last paragraph is chilling.
You need to know that key American Christian leaders
have for some time helped spread the diabolical lie that
modern Israelis have no connection to the ancient
Israelites. The Palestinians came up with this
totalitarian-style propaganda to drive a wedge between
Christians and Israel. If the modern residents of Israel
are not really Jews, then how can they lay claim to the
The whole premise is wholly absurd, and yet it has
gained traction in some shocking quarters.
Two decades ago, I received a letter/reply from Dr.
Maxie Dunnam, then president of Asbury Theological
Seminary (probably the only “conservative” seminary
within the United Methodist Church).
When he addressed the issue of modern Israel and the
ancient Israelites, Dunnam told me that he didn’t
believe there is a connection. This from a leading
member of the Confessing Movement, the effort to turn
the UMC back to its biblical roots!
Dunnam, though, is far from alone in his thinking. The
late D. James Kennedy made similar statements, and such
faulty worldview has made its way into evangelicalism,
All across the board, evangelical leaders are allowing
such trash to be part of the curriculum within
When studying this phenomenon, which is anti-Semitic to
the core (can you imagine denying that modern Chinese
have no connection to ancient Asian cultures, or that
Coptic Christians have no relation to the ancient
Egyptians?), it is also important to understand this:
the anti-Israel networks are so vast and layered within
evangelicalism, it would take a miracle of biblical
proportions to reverse the problems. One must follow the
For example, back when Southern Baptist Convention
President Ronnie Floyd’s Cross Church had a LifeWay
bookstore in the church building, just two of the books
offered were authored by Gary DeMar, the well-known
preterist, and Carl Medearis, perhaps the leading
channel between evangelicals and Muslims. Both authors
have many friends and associations that deny Israel’s
It should be obvious that I don’t mean Floyd would
subscribe to the disconnection theory between Israel and
the Israelites. He does however associate with plenty of
people who do. And, I also recognize that a pastor’s
first role, especially the head of a denomination, is to
lead evangelism efforts — not promote Zionism.
However, the anti-Israel feeling among evangelical
elites/leadership is now systemic.
(And before you fault me for using
“guilt-by-association” tactics, consider that such a
method of “discovering the networks” is legitimate. Only
those who don’t want the rank-and-file in the pews to
figure out what’s going on whine long and loud about
being criticized through guilt-by-association.)
Here is another example of how this network operates.
Recently, Gabe Lyons, the founder of “Q Ideas,” a
center-left leadership entity within evangelicalism,
“Summer parenting book I can’t put down? #NeverSayNo by
our mentors Jan and @markhforeman. So, so good.”
Foreman is the pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel in
California. Two years ago, he hosted a “Hope for the
Holy Land” event, featuring Mae Cannon of World Vision,
Lynne Hybels, and Sami Awad — three anti-Israel
speakers. Among those Foreman follows on Twitter: Shane
Claiborne, Rachel Held Evans, and Joel Hunter. Each has
expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause.
Foreman is something of anomaly within the Calvary
For his part, Lyons has used his forum to host
anti-Israel speakers like Sami Awad.
Everywhere, rising stars in the evangelical leadership
universe are abandoning long-held positions, including
solid Israel support. That these young leaders and their
mentors (think Bill Hybels and Rick Warren) allow the
“Israel bears no connection with the biblical
Israelites” tripe to continue reveals much about their
ultimate agenda, which I maintain focuses-on
transforming the Evangelical Church into a leftist
It is a fact that among American Christian leadership
today, evangelical leaders are much, much closer to the
radical views of people like Jim Wallis, Shane
Claiborne, Tony Campolo, Marcus Borg, and John Shelby
Spong — among many, many others — than they are to the
views of Adrian Rogers and Chuck Smith.
It is an outrage that Christian leaders do not clearly
stand with the Jews on this issue. The denial of the
Jews’ biblical heritage is a spiritual nuclear weapon
aimed at destroying Israel.
At the same time, American political and religious
leaders stand (with a straight face) with PLO leaders
who claim they are descended from the Canaanites.
You get that, don’t you? If the Palestinian Arabs could
prove they are the direct descendants of the ancient
pagan culture, then they can make some claim to the land
of Israel. By the way, show me any scholar anywhere on
the planet who would subscribe to such a theory, and
I’ll show you a scholar who got his academic training
from a box of Cracker Jacks.
The whole re-education model smacks of Soviet-style
methods for forcing people to change long-held views. It
is fiendish, sinister, and anti-biblical.
Any seminary president, pastor, or ministry leader who
doesn’t unequivocally affirm the obvious truth that
today’s Jews are direct descendants of the ancient
Israelites forfeits his credentials and should get into
fast-food management or banking, or general contracting.
Anything but sitting as a phony teacher/leader.
Until the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in AD
70, the Jews’ genealogical records were kept in
Jerusalem. In other words, everyone knew where he came
from. That’s how Paul new he was from the tribe of
Benjamin, for example.
Since that time, wherever the Jews were dispersed around
the globe, they maintained their Jewish identity. The
famous phrase “Next Year in Jerusalem” has been a
plaintive cry from Jews around the world, longing to
return to Zion.
Their return — surely the greatest single miracle in
2,000 years — has happened in our time.
Eternal shame on evangelical leaders in America who not
only fail to affirm this reality, but work to undermine
May 25, 2015
Behold, the day of
the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the
midst of thee.
For I will gather
all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city
shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women
ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into
captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be
cut off from the city.
Then shall the
Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when
he fought in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:1-3)
(Note: please avail yourself
of the excellent reporting by Israel correspondent Brian
Zechariah On Deck
For 67 years, the state of
Israel has been a burr under many saddles. The Jewish
state, the modern dream of the ancients (and men like
Theodor Herzl and David Ben Gurion), is an astonishing
miracle, in myriad ways.
I have been gripped by this fact
since my first trip in 1998.
Before that, since birth really,
I was privileged to grow up in a home where Bible
prophecy was taught and believed. Not only do I look
back on that fondly, contrary to much opinion among
evangelical leadership elites today, I consider that
heritage to be vital to my worldview. Especially as we
face the future.
The soon future.
I am often struck by how quickly
Israel is being marginalized and encircled by her
enemies. Those enemies are not only the obvious ones:
jihadists, Middle East despots, and political foes.
They also very much include
diplomatic elites, media figures, entertainment figures,
and religious “leaders.” It is the latter category that
I find the most odious. Many Christians in the pews, and
even many pro Israel folks, simply do not grasp the
enormity of this problem.
Writing in the newsletter for
the UMC’s General Board of Church and Society, Janet
Lahr Lewis (“Advocacy Coordinator for the Middle East”)
presented this profoundly immoral statement:
“Don’t participate in Holocaust
Remembrance Day without participating in Al Nakba
Remembrance Day. Don’t visit a Holocaust museum until
there is one built to remember the other holocausts in
the world: the on-going Palestinian holocaust, the
Rwandan, the Native American, the Cambodian, the
Armenian… You could be waiting a long time!”
One hardly knows where to start,
and that is another telltale sign that we are living in
the last days, which call to mind 2 Timothy 3.
Presumably, Lewis is not stupid, and knows that there is
no such Palestinian genocide going on, nor was there
ever one. The Holocaust, perpetrated by the Nazis, but
acquiesced to by many others, is unique in history.
It was the campaign to murder
every single Jew.
The fiendish statement by Lewis
is symptomatic of what ails the American Church: a
misunderstanding (in many cases, willful
misunderstanding) of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Decades
of leftist thought have now reached full-flower in the
American Church. The United Methodist Church is
officially one of the most anti-Israel denominations in
history, but far from alone. The President’s own United
Church of Christ is also front-and-center.
As I’ve documented, too, even
the Southern Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of
God are now slowly emerging as supportive of the
Palestinian narrative, or at least softening their
stance on Israel.
When Benjamin Netanyahu’s new
government was seated earlier this week, President
Reuven Rivlin had some interesting remarks (as reported
by Brian Schrauger at www.bridgesforpeace.com):
“Before they were positioned for
Israel's de facto yearbook photo, President Reuven
Rivlin admonished the new administration. And to
vicarious observers on the other side of press corps
lenses and computers, he also exhorted the country, its
enemies and a watching world.
“Most new governments have the
benefit of a honeymoon or grace period for one hundred
days. This one, he implied, probably does not.
“’There are great challenges
that this government must deal with from the outset,
without a 100-day grace period,’ he said. ‘Previous
[Israeli] governments did not face such challenges in
the same way or with the same intensity.’ This
government, he noted, has unusually intense matters at
hand in both foreign affairs and domestic. ‘With regard
to foreign affairs,’ he said, ‘you are required to deal
with international pressure in a manner that demands
endurance and the ability to make considered decisions
which will not lead the State of Israel to isolation,
but will preserve the red lines of Israeli diplomacy. On
the domestic front, you face the urgent and crucial
mission to present a budget which will provide an answer
to the social and economic needs of the citizens of
Israel - from housing and employment to welfare.’
Quite interestingly, Netanyahu
departed from a purely political line by invoking the
founding document of Zionists for all time:
“...Alluding to the Bible, as,
it seems, he does with increasing regularity, Netanyahu
made a direct link to his vision for Jerusalem and the
ethos by which Israel sets its governmental compass.
“’The People of Israel returned
to its land, and established here the State of Israel, a
Jewish and democratic state,’ he said. It is ‘a state
which preserves the rule of law and respects every human
being. Here in our eternal capital of Jerusalem, the
Prophets of Israel embedded the eternal values of
humanity, but also embedded the eternal values of our
people—to which we are committed in each generation. I
am proud to be the Prime Minister of Israel, and I will
do all in my power, together with my ministers, to honor
the mandate we have been given by the citizens of
Israel. There is nothing more valuable than that.’”
When Rivlin says that Israel
must preserve the red lines of its diplomacy, he is
certainly calling to mind the challenges Israel faces.
The international political climate for Israel at
present is nasty and vicious. However, as I constantly
repeat, the epic fail on the part of American
Evangelical leadership, with regard to Israel and the
Palestinians, is bordering on catastrophic.
I think that language is not
Not only are celebrities like
Rick Warren and Bill Hybels negligent in supporting
Israel, in important ways they are complicit in the
drive to marginalize and defame the Jewish state. In a
blog post published by Lynne Hybels’, the Willow Creek
Association co-founder had this to say:
“So . . . it was October 2008. I
had been invited by Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian—Bill’s mentor
and mine—to attend a conference in Amman, Jordan, taught
entirely by Arab Christians from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt,
Iraq and the West Bank. To a person, these ministry
leaders said they felt abandoned by Western Christians.
And, of course, they are; to most Western Christians the
phrase ‘Arab Christian’ is an oxymoron. We experience a
severe case of cognitive dissonance when hear about
indigenous Iraqi Christians or the ancient Egyptian
Coptic Church or—even more surprising—Palestinian
Christians whose ancestors have been ‘on the land’ from
the time of Christ. What? Why didn’t we realize this?
What should we do about it?”
Bilezikian, of Armenian descent,
and a teacher in Beirut, Lebanon for many years, the
concept of pro Israel support is unacceptable. He has
mentored Bill and Lynne Hybels since at least 1975. Here
is a statement from his book, “Christianity 101,”
published by the left-leaning publisher Zondervan:
“Since the link between current
events and ‘prophetic truth’ is sometimes made in
connection with the biblical concept of Israel, it is
appropriate to sketch a brief outline for the discussion
of such teachings. The view that Israel, defined as an
ethnic people, has an eschatological role to play is
especially prominent in an approach called
Dispensationalism. The foundations of this system of
biblical interpretation was laid in the writings of a
nineteenth century Plymouth Brethren leader from Britain
named J.N. Darby. Those views have been ardently
received and propagated by certain groups in North
America, primarily the fundamentalist groups.”
Here, of course, Bilezikian, trots out the propaganda
that biblical support for Israel started with a 19th
century Irish preacher.
If it seems like I’m digressing
and meandering, I hope you’ll see the vast network of
anti-Israel conspirators (who really operate in the
open), all of whom have helped push Israel into the
place she now finds herself: having “unusually intense
matters at hand in both foreign affairs and domestic.”
All this causes Zechariah’s
later prophecies to loom large, for as I also often say,
the single greatest sign we are living in the last days
is the increasing international pressure on Israel,
which, I would argue, borders on psychotic.
What else can you call a
comparison between the Palestinians’ lack of statehood
Truly, we are on the edge of
something epic. Far from fearful or even worried, I am
in fact thrilled that Someone is in charge, loves all of
us (including the Palestinians), and wants the best for
us. Since we cannot accomplish that ourselves, He is
preparing to usher in glory. Thank you, Father, for your
mercies, which are everlasting.
That remnant of us that prays
intensely for our Jewish friends, let us resolve more
than ever to stand with Israel right through to the end,
when the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will
intervene, to fight for her in the day of battle.
May 18, 2015
The Teutonic Hordes
One feature of the human condition is that we have
fairly short attention spans. When the subject is
something important, severe consequences can follow.
Witness the younger generations of Germans today, as
apart from their older fellow citizens. When Israeli
President Reuven Rivlin visited Germany a few days ago,
he was welcomed; signing the guest book, Rivlin chose to
include Psalm 122:6—
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they that love
But a new report indicates that German youth do not feel
the same way about Israelis, and that poses a problem.
From the Jerusalem Post:
“Many young Germans simply cannot internalize Israel’s
self-defense wars against lethal anti-Semitic
terroristic organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and
Stunning, but perhaps not so given the moral relativism
that is choking younger generations. There, moral
equivalence between Jews defending themselves and the
“freedom fighters” of Hamas is the order of the day.
Incredible, but where we are.
Rivlin noted that German hatred of Jews did not begin
overnight, but rather emerged from centuries of
"The German people did not wake up one morning to the
swastikas of the Third Reich. Anti-Semitism, racism,
xenophobia, and frustration grew like a cancer under the
surface for many years. This poisoned soil was the
foundation, on which the Nazi monster acted
unchallenged. Seventy years have passed since the last
transport left Platform 17; yet once again, fascist and
neo-Nazi movements are growing stronger and stronger on
European soil. Apathy, indifference, or denial is not
(The above report is courtesy
of Brian Schrauger, writing for Bridges for Peace:
I have a young American friend (of Hispanic origin) who
moved to Germany. He is fully a part of the Millennial
Generation and its far left views. He is a sweet young
man, but would no doubt buy into the anti-Israel views
By contrast, I have an Israeli friend, in his 60s, who
refuses to even visit Germany. Like all Israelis, he has
lost friends and family to Islamic terrorism, and well
remembers the lessons of the Holocaust.
The Germans through history have been a war-like people,
and we must realize that the gasoline poured on that
fire was religious bigotry directed at Jews. Martin
Luther, the same one lionized by much of Christendom
today, was a vicious anti-Semite in the latter part of
his life, and the religious instruction fed the German
people for many years prior to World War II contained a
high dose of Luther’s views.
Now, 70 years after the Holocaust, the mere fact that
the generation witnessing the awful scene of the death
camps is itself passing away only heightens the problem.
Even showing youth a film like “Judgment at Nuremberg,”
with its ferocious moral underpinnings, would no doubt
elicit eye rolls.
In some ways, the relationship between Israel and
Germany is remarkable and healthy. Diplomatic relations
between the two countries have been strong for a
half-century, and economic ties are healthy.
However, as we all know, such scenarios can change
overnight. The specter of German youth having affinity
for the death squads of Hamas bodes ill for the future.
We are watching dramatic events unfold from every
direction, every day. It is a remarkable time to be
alive. As we see the nations slowly but surely turn
against Israel, we must steady ourselves, and resolve to
stand with Israel, come what may.
May 11, 2015
Calling All East Coast
Some terrific friends of mine
are launching a new pro Israel church seminar program —
yours truly will be along as a speaker — and I’d like to
offer our lineup to churches in the Northeast. That’s
the first geographical region we are “targeting.”
The “Why Israel” program will
feature Dr. Alex Grobman (one of the world’s leading
Holocaust scholars), Ambassador Uri Bar-Ner (former
Israeli ambassador to Turkey), myself, and another
friend or two along the way.
The aim is to offer a
comprehensive look at Israel: historically, culturally,
politically, strategically and, most important,
biblically. Drs. Grobman and Bar-Ner are experts on a
wide range of issues, including the threat from
jihadists, and our one or two-day seminars offer
audiences the chance to interact with, and ask questions
of these advocates for the Jewish state.
I’ve known both men for years
and am excited to be part of this model, which is
capable of addressing adult and youth audiences. We will
also have a full slate of resources available at each
As an added bonus to churches,
there is no expense for the host site. We ask only that
we can address audiences from both the church’s
sanctuary and a fellowship hall. If you choose to take
up a love offering, we would appreciate that. We also
are flexible on scheduling: if you want a weekday
program, we can do that. Weekends are also available.
has written several books, including
License to Murder; and The
Palestinian Right to Israel. Uri is a key member
of the America-Israel Friendship League, and from his
post in Turkey, attained a comprehensive knowledge of
Israel’s diplomatic situation.
I invite you to consider hosting
our group; you can contact me directly.
May 4, 2015
Sweating the Small Stuff
With the world watching “big
picture” items regarding Israel (such as, of course,
Iran, but also including Hezbollah rocket stockpiles in
Lebanon, and ISIS and Al Qaida presence in Sinai and
surrounding Arab countries), it is sometimes easy to
miss the “smaller” threats posed to the Jewish state.
These are the more fascinating
moments to spotlight, for me.
On April 25, a Palestinian
terrorist named Ali Muhammad Abu Ghannam was shot dead
by IDF troops after he ran toward them with a meat
cleaver. This incident occurred near Ma’aleh Adumim, at
the Al-Za’im roadblock. Ma’aleh Adumim, many readers
know, is the somewhat infamous Israeli community east of
Jerusalem. It is routinely criticized as Israeli
encroachment onto “Palestinian land” by activists and
Predictably, various terror
organizations exploited the tragedy. Fatah, the
political wing of the PLO, headed by Mahmoud Abbas,
claimed the killing of the terrorist Ghannam was a
criminal act by Israel and called on the international
community to provide protection to the Palestinian
Hamas spokesman Husam Badran
called on retaliaton from Palestinians in Judea and
It is profoundly sad that Abu
Ghannam, a resident of east Jerusalem, was only 17. His
whole life ahead of him, and it was snuffed out due to a
steady diet of anti-Jewish hatred taught in the
Yet, Israel is blamed.
Later in the day, another
17-year-old terrorist, Mahmoud Yunis Abu Jahisha, was
shot dead after he tried to attack troops at the Cave of
the Patriarchs, in Hebron.
Further, according to a report
from Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information
military exercise with the Popular Resistance
Committees. It was carried out at a training
camp in the northern Gaza Strip.
The exercise included simulating storming IDF posts and
attacking armored vehicles.”
Astonishingly, the Palestinians
admitted the leadership supports such violence:
“Referring to the riots
which Palestinians confronted Israeli security
Amin Maqboul, secretary of
Fatah's Revolutionary Council,
channel 3 that
Palestinian leadership supported the ‘popular
resistance’ against Israel and fomented it. He said the
Palestinian leadership called for ‘popular resistance’
and also supported the riots against Israel in Jerusalem
and all the Palestinian cities.”
Then, a piece on Al-Quds TV
spotlighted a deeply troubling development from a
leading Palestinian educational institution:
“On April 22, 2015, student
council elections were held in Beit Zeit University. The
Hamas faction won a majority of 26 seats, while Fatah
won 19. A spokesman for the Fatah faction congratulated
Hamas on its win. However, Amin Maqboul,
secretary of Fatah's
Revolutionary Council, claimed they were weighing the
possibility of appointing a committee to investigate the
election results (Paltimes.net, April 23,
congratulating the Islamic Bloc on its win, claiming the
elections ‘celebrated good democracy’ and
For more than two decades, the
Israelis have tried in vain to get the international
community to help put a stop to this insane incitement
on the part of the Palestinian leadership.
To no effect.
Indeed, Hillary Clinton in the
past has been tasked with helping ensure that the
Palestinians halt incitement, but all she can do is pose
with Palestinian terrorists and grin.
Ditto for European diplomats. All
the while, the Israelis must deal with these acts of
terror on a daily basis. Think of that, thousands and
thousands of acts of terrorism against Jews in the
approximately 8,000 days since the Oslo Accords were
signed on the White House lawn. U.S. officials and other
Western leaders have known all along that the
Palestinians were violating terms of the agreement.
But Jewish life is cheap to these
That’s why we should pay just as
much attention to a rock-throwing incident that wounds a
couple IDF soldiers, as we do to Iran’s menacing
Because it’s all the same thing.
April 27, 2015
Trip of a Lifetime
Growing up, I would occasionally
hear of a member of our church going to “the Holy Land.”
In the wake of the Six Day War, an explosion of tourism
boosted Israel’s economy, and what once seemed like an
improbably exotic and unattainable vacation became
Having been seven times myself, I
am always anxious to go back to see the land and its
Now, some friends of mine are
making arrangements to take pastors to Israel, and I’d
like to know how many readers of “Israel Watch” are
pastors and would be interested in going.
The all-expense paid trip will
include of course plenty of sightseeing, but also
insights into what it’s like for Jews to live among a
sea of hostile neighbors.
(An important aside: I never feel
safer than when I’m in Israel. The country’s security
apparatus is non-invasive-but-effective, and the Israeli
people go about their daily lives and business calm and
full of life.)
When you first see the coastline
of Tel Aviv, your heart will pound faster, and upon
emerging from Gen Gurion Airport, you’ll find palm trees
and balmy temperatures. The drive along Highway 1 will
allow you to see both historical sites (for example, the
famed Valley of Ayalon), the leftover military vehicles
from the War of Independence, which litter the sides of
the highway, and you will become aware that you are
literally going “up to Jerusalem,” as you leave the
coastal plain and ascend to the mountains of Israel,
which run north-south through the middle of the country.
The itinerary of course will be
tailored for pastors, so that they can take the
experience back home to their people.
The Garden Tomb, the Temple
Mount, the Israel Museum, and Jerusalem’s Old City
bazaar are must-sees, of course.
If you are a pastor interested in
such a trip, contact me and I’ll pass you along to the
We can’t take everyone all at
once, of course, but you won’t want to miss this chance
for the trip of a lifetime.
April 20, 2015
Pentecostals and Prophecy
As the American church
moves further into apostasy, it is fascinating (and
dismaying!) to watch attacks on Israel and Bible
prophecy teaching coming from within the ranks.
So to speak.
As readers of “Israel
Watch” well know, we have been documenting for several
years now the erosion of support for Israel among
celebrity elites within evangelicalism. Pastors,
ministry leaders, denominational leaders.
The rot in the
Southern Baptist Convention is well underway, with Rick
Warren leading the way. The globalist senior pastor of
Saddleback Church is a well-known critic of Bible
prophecy teachers. Now, Russell Moore, the head of the
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, also gets his
digs in. And Moore is of the opinion that Israel is
really the Church. As he wrote in 2009:
everywhere believe in a future for Israel.
disagree is on is [sic] exactly who
This Christian is
clear on who Israel is. It’s an obvious answer, except
to faux intellectuals like Moore, who subscribe to a
“big-tent” philosophy within evangelicalism. Evidently,
Moore sees another identity for Israel, but he also is
anxious to mainstream that thought on a wider scale.
And that’s a
Yet, we are also
watching this kind of muddled thinking within
Pentecostalism, and in true Twilight Zone fashion, bad
teaching is coming from formerly traditionally strong
Charisma magazine is
the flagship periodical of the Charismatic world,
founded by Steve Strang in the ‘70s. For the longest,
the readership would have understood very well who
Israel is, and they were among the strongest supporters
of Bible prophecy teaching.
Think David Allen
Lewis and even Derek Prince.
Strang has also been
known far and wide as a supporter of Israel. He is,
however, more identified with the Messianic movement and
a couple years ago stepped down from the board of
Christians United for Israel. This is about the time
that bestselling author John Hagee (founder of CUFI)
moved away from Strang’s stable of book authors and
began publishing with giant New York houses.
Strang’s son, Cameron,
is publisher of Relevant magazine, the flagship
periodical for Millennials, and the son is particularly
nasty when it comes to Bible prophecy. Relevant
routinely skewers prophecy teaching, including Rapture
Oddly, Charisma has
become home to the same kind of dissing.
Not long ago, I wrote
about a piece in Charisma by Margaret Feinberg, who
manipulated a question by a young man who was rightly
wondering if we are living in the last days. The whole
piece was a thinly veiled swipe at prophecy teaching;
Feinberg clearly isn’t a fan. The teaching doesn’t fit
her progressive views and agendas.
Now, though, comes yet
another swipe, this time from former Charisma editor J.
Lee Grady, also known as Lee Grady. Somewhat of an
evangelical gadfly, Grady has pontificated from his
perch at Charisma for a long time, on a whole range of
issues. He is fairly famous for skewering the excesses
among Pentecostal charlatans, even while Charisma ran
their ads in the same issue!
Which is comical, on a
Grady might have
become bored, however, with his humanitarian efforts in
various venues, so now he has written another piece
hammering Bible prophecy. In 2009 (one wonders if Grady
and Moore met at a Cracker Barrel and vented about
Israel and prophecy teachers), he admonished readers for
spending too much time thinking about the last days.
In a piece titled
“Don't Get Infected With Last Days Fever,” written in
2009, Grady had clearly had it
with the doomsday crowd:
“Don't let the
sensationalism of eschatology distract you from the
priority of evangelism.
“You might remember
Edgar Whisenant. He wrote a best-selling book called 88
Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988—and a much less
popular sequel, The Final Shout: Rapture Report 1989.
The second book said Jesus didn't come back in 1988
because the author, who was a former NASA engineer (!),
missed his mathematical calculations by a year.”
Whisenant, of course,
is an easy target. As is Harold Camping.
What you never see,
though, are critics like Grady and Feinberg taking on
the likes of Tommy Ice, or Randall Price, or Terry
James. Or a whole host of other top-notch prophecy
The Dominionists and
Purpose-Driven crowd don’t like last days talk, because
it runs up against their agenda of making the world a
better place, so that the triumphant Church can hand the
keys to the kingdom to Jesus, whenever He returns. Like
in a half-million years.
The signs of the times
annoy them. None more than restored Israel.
Grady this week did it
again, dusting off the 2009 column and only slightly
changing things, including the title:
“Don’t Get Caught Up
in Last Days Hysteria”
Again, Grady launched
into a diatribe against eschatology teaching:
“Everywhere I go today
I meet Christians who are wringing their hands and
fretting about how dark the world has become. Some are
conspiracy theorists who say the world's economy is
controlled by dark forces. Others are convinced that
recent astronomical phenomena signal the end of the
world, and they are stocking their garages with food to
prepare for Armageddon. If I suggest that Jesus might
want to pour out the Holy Spirit in a fresh way on this
generation, some people get angry. They want God to
hurry up and judge America!”
First of all, I’ve
never talked to anyone, anywhere, who wanted God to
judge America. Do we think He is, or will? Of course,
just as He judges all the nations.
But Strang’s friend
Lee Grady didn’t stop there. He listed four reasons not
to get caught up in eschatology teaching (he no doubt
would argue that he meant don’t get caught up in the
faulty teaching, but it’s clear he has a problem with
Point no. 3
“It's deceptive. A
group known as the Adventists predicted that Jesus would
return to earth in 1874. When this didn't happen, the
group's leaders covered their error by suggesting that
Jesus appeared "invisibly" on that date. A theology
developed around these ideas that is still accepted by
Seventh-day Adventists. In the 1970s, when Americans
were so worried about gas shortages and war in Israel,
author Hal Lindsey sold millions of copies of his book
The Late, Great Planet Earth—and he predicted the world
would end in a few years. Many other Christians have
made similar predictions—such as the Y2K scare in 1999
or Harold Camping's infamous warning that the world
would end on May 21, 2011.”
evidence that prophecy teaching is “deceptive” (would
that he’d put Emergents and other deceivers in his
crosshairs, but they’re just too popular, I guess):
Adventists in 1874, Hal Lindsey, and…wait for it…Harold
I have no problem with
Grady lampooning date-setters, but the fact is, there is
a strong—very strong—movement across the evangelical
spectrum to marginalize Bible prophecy teaching and,
with it, the specialness of Israel and the Jewish
Most people I talk to
about this can’t wrap their minds around it, yet there
it is. Again, the attacks are not coming from Catholics
and mainliners. The attacks are originating within the
fort, from Southern Baptist and Pentecostal sources.