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Web www.birminghamfreepress.com

August 2009

The History of Israel According
to John Hagee

When looking at the jowly tub of lard that is now John Hagee it’s hard to believe he made his way through college on an athletic scholarship.

Hagee is just another of the Late Great Planet Earth / Left Behind brand of Christians that are so popular in America. You know the story. 666 on the forehead, Antichrist charms the world and attacks Israel in the battle of Armageddon, the Moon turns blood red, etc. etc. According to Hagee’s worldview all of this was suppose to happen within a generation of Israel becoming a country. Traditionally a Biblical generation is forty years so that puts the end of the world in 1988. OK, well that didn’t work out. When prophecies don’t come true the standard operating procedure is to recalculate. Some decided that it all had to happen within a generation of the Six-Day War. That put the end of the world in 2007.

Amazingly enough, despite a humiliating track record of 100% failure the prophecies continue and John Hagee and his ilk insist that Armageddon is right around the corner.

In one of his latest books, Jerusalem Countdown, Hagee makes all the standard predictions. These tend to evolve with the times, communism has been replaced with Islam and the locusts from the Book of Revelation are no longer Vietnam-era helicopters.

The most nakedly dishonest or embarrassingly ignorant aspects of Jerusalem Countdown are the historical aspects. Unlike prophesy, history can’t continually be pushed back into the shadows. There are so many gross distortions of easily researched facts in this book that I have to limit my examples to one page. All of the following are from page 202 of the paperback edition of Jerusalem Countdown:

“Every new archeological dig supports the fact that Jews have had a presence in Israel for three thousand years.”
If Hagee would expand his reading material beyond what’s available at the Baptist bookstore he might discover that there are all kinds of theories about the history of the Hebrew people. There are plenty of reasons to believe that the Jewish identity, as understood today, is a seventh century BCE construct.

“The first modern Israelis are direct descendents of the original Israelites.”
A lot of people don’t want to hear it but DNA evidence seems to confirm that the Palestinians are much more closely related to the ancient Hebrews than the modern “Jews.”

“Israel existed as a nation until the time of the Roman Empire.”
Even according to semi-mythological history Palestine has primarily been part of various ancient empires and rarely existed as a nation.

“After the dispersion of A.D. 70 and A.D. 135 a strong Jewish presence remained.”
Jews were forbidden to live in Palestine by pagan and then Christian Romans and were only allowed back in the seventh century by the Muslims.

“The Turks took control seven hundred years ago.”
The Egyptian Mamluks conquered Palestine around seven hundred years ago and the Ottoman Turks came in a couple centuries later.

“Britain promised in 1917 to set aside certain captured lands (all present-day Israel and Jordan) for a Jewish homeland.”
According to the British Mandate all territory east of the Jordan would be part of an Arab state or states.

“Arabs began to repopulate the region only after the Jews reclaimed the land.
There were well over half a million Arabs living in modern cities in Palestine before the British Mandate, including a large percentage of Palestinian Christians.

“No nation in the region has a longer-standing historic claim to the land than Israel. Saudi Arabia was not created until 1913; Lebanon, 1920; Syria, 1941; Iraq, 1932; Jordan, 1946; and Kuwait, 1961.”
This is such a naked example of special pleading. Somehow Israel counts but the ancient nations of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan are twentieth century concoctions.

Now remember this is just one page. ONE PAGE! So finally I’d like to end with this doozy:

"The Israeli Defense Forces bring to the troubled Middle East great stability."
Gads…just gads.

 

© 2009 The Birmingham Free Press