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Christian support for Israel rooted in Genesis promises, not end-times prophecy, evangelicals say

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Philip Klein,Israel,Middle East,Palestinians,Christianity,Hamas

Polling consistently shows overwhelmingly support for Israel among American evangelicals, one of the factors that explain why the modern Republican Party has become so supportive of Israel.

Critics have attempted to dismiss this support, however, by insinuating that it’s actually rooted in end times prophecies.

David Brog, director of the 1.75 million strong Christians United for Israel, said that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Any one who says that evangelical support for Israel is all about somehow speeding the end times, bringing Jesus back, [and killing or converting Jews] ... any one who does that is showing their own ignorance,” Brog said in an interview during the recent gathering of thousands in Washington for a CUFI conference.

“They’re pointing a finger at Christians, trying to make Christians look ignorant. They’re simply showing their own complete ignorance,” he said.

Christians, he said, don’t believe that human agency can change the date of end times and the second coming.

“It is really black letter Christian theology that the time and date of the second coming has been set long ago,” he said.

“Humans can't move it up by a second. Which leads to a question. If coming out and supporting Israel doesn't speed up the second coming by one second, why do Christians do it? It's clearly not to speed the second coming. They don't believe they can. It's impossible,” he said.

Brog said there were other biblical, historical, and moral reasons for the support.

“It starts in the Bible, the promises made in the book of Genesis, not the prophecies made in the book of Revelations, the promises in the book of Genesis, they believe, are promises made to the Jewish people,” he said.

CUFI founder Pastor John Hagee, speaking on Monday at the conference’s “Night to Honor Israel,” did in fact cite Genesis in making the biblical case for supporting Israel.

“The truth concerning who owns the land of Israel, which is the current raging controversy of our generation, which was settled thousands of years ago, by God himself,” Hagee told the audience, which was estimated at 4,800 by CUFI officials.

“The land of Israel was given by God, who owned it, by an eternal covenant to the Jewish people. That covenant is recorded in the book of Genesis, beginning in chapter 15 and recorded 22 times more,” Hagee said.

Additionally, Hagee noted, in Genesis chapter 12, God says to Abraham that he will make him “into a great nation” and “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.”

There are Christian supporters of Israel who see a connection between this and the fates of those who tried to kill and oppress the Jews throughout history, such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans, and Nazis.

And some fear that if the United States is insufficiently supportive of Israel, that it will suffer a similar fate.

“Genesis 12:3 is not only a belief that it affects you as a person, but it’s applied to history and nations,” Brog explained.

“And it’s a very interesting argument that if you look through history, indeed those nations who have blessed the Jews have tended to prosper and civilizations that have blessed the Jews have tended to prosper, and those who seek to destroy the Jews have tended to disappear. And so that’s also heard and also said and also spoken,” he said.

However, Brog said, “It’s more complex than that and it’s deeper than that, because if that were all that were going on here, then you’d see a group of people wanting to support Israel out of self-interest or national interest with no warmth toward Jewish people, no love of Jewish people, no appreciation for Israel. We would be as some people are trying to caricature us, seeing Jews as puppets on our end-times play, or end times stage.”

He continued, “They believe they’ll be blessed, they believe our nation will be blessed, but an identification with Israel as this kindred country with Jews as brothers in faith and real love and connection with the state of Israel and the Jewish people. So, it’s this very complex combination of factors and beliefs.”

A recent Pew poll found that American evangelical Christians had warmer feelings toward Jews than any other religious group other than Jews themselves.

In reality, Brog said, Christian support for Israel goes beyond the Bible.

“What starts in the Bible really goes beyond the Bible, and there is a sense of guilt in the fact that there was a Holocaust in Christian Europe and so many Christians just closed their shades, and turned their backs,” he said.

This has developed into a version of the Jewish declaration, "Never Again," only with a twist.

“That is, ‘We got it wrong. We messed up. Never again. Not on our watch,” he said. “The Christian ‘Never Again’ is ‘Never again will we allow a genocide against the Jews and stand by silently.’ ”

Most of the speeches at CUFI emphasized the moral clarity of the current conflict. On one side, Hamas has been launching thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians, using humanitarian aid to dig tunnels with the intent of sending armed terrorists into Israel to kidnap and slaughter Israeli civilians, and using their own civilians as human shields for their rockets and terrorist fighters.

On the other side, Israel has been going to great lengths to protect its own civilians as well as limit harm to Palestinian civilians, as it defends itself against this monstrous evil.

“There’s an understanding of the history of Israel that is sympathetic to Israel’s struggle and Israel’s right to exist,” Brog said. “It’s much more rational and much more multi-faceted than the caricature would have you believe.”

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