Hagee was also a speaker at the giant pro-Israel rally held Tuesday (Nov. 14) in Washington where he reaffirmed his commitment to Israel. “There is only one nation whose flag will fly over the ancient walls of the sacred city of Jerusalem. That nation is Israel, now and forever,” he said, greeted by cheers.
Claiming some 10 million members, Hagee’s organization has become powerful politically, according to Daniel Hummel, author of “Covenant Brothers: Evangelicals, Jews and U.S.-Israeli Relations.” “It is quite a large group, but it’s even more significant that they are organized and have demonstrated over the years that they can actually focus their energy on a local level and a national level to advocate their position,” said Hummel.
The group’s gatherings have become an obligatory stop for GOP presidential hopefuls wishing to articulate their support for Israel in front of Christian Zionists. “Most of them don’t get into the prophecy stuff,” said Hummel. “They’ll talk more about the national interests that the U.S. has in supporting Israel and about the cultural values that Israel and the U.S. share.”
But Hagee often speaks about the prophecies that drive his support for Israel. A week after Hamas’ attacks, Hagee’s Sunday sermon detailed the unfolding of the End Times, while a timeline illustrating every step from Jesus’ resurrection to the renovation of Earth by fire was displayed in the background.
The recent Hamas attacks draw us closer to the church’s Rapture, he claimed. “The Bible blessed the Jewish people directly and through the Jewish people blesses us, the gentile people,” he said, before adding, “Israel is God’s prophetic clock; when the Jewish people are in Israel, the clock is running. When the Jewish people are out of Israel, the clock stops,” he said.
This logic scandalizes some scholars as well as Jews, who see evangelical support for Israel as compromised by its cosmic hope for their conversion. “They (Christian Zionists) believe a tiny minority of living Jews will, in the End Times, convert to Christianity, and the rest will be damned to hell for their disbelief,” wrote Steven Gardiner, research director at the Political Research Associates, in a 2020 essay titled, “End Times Antisemitism.”
In a 2005 sermon, Hagee himself claimed God sent Adolf Hitler to perpetrate the Holocaust to push European Jews toward Israel. (He later made clear he didn’t view either Hitler or the Holocaust as positive.)
But End Times theology need not be raw to come across as insensitive to the violence suffered by both sides in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On Nov. 12, Jeffress began his sermon by asking the congregation if they knew what could explain the numerous attacks against Israel.
“Spiritual reasons,” he said.
This article originally appeared here.