San Antonio megachurch pastor John Hagee thinks the four lunar eclipses that will occur between this month and October 2015 are sign that god is coming soon. This week’s “blood moon” was the first eclipse, and he says it indicates we might be living in “the end of the age.” Normally, such a harebrained prophecy from a modern day Millerite would be a yawn-worthy prognostication best left for the late night talk shows. But Hagee is no Harold Camping. Not only does Hagee preach that the end of the world is nigh, he is actively working to make it so.
Like many evangelicals, Hagee is an unabashed and uncompromising supporter of the Israel. In 2006, he founded the tax-exempt Citizens United For Israel, or CUFI. According to its website, it is the largest pro-Israel organization in the U.S., and engages in a wide array of activities ranging from advocacy on college campuses to its annual money-making Washington Summit. Last year’s gathering featured a slate of familiar names as guest speakers: Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Eric Cantor, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Gary Bauer, and even Benjamin Netanyahu. Hagee has said he supports whatever course of action Israel chooses, and that all of Jerusalem belongs to Israel because god said so.
In 2010, a New York Timesinvestigation revealed in part, “Mr. Hagee is one of the few Christian Zionists who advertises his philanthropy in Israel and its territories, at least $58 million as of last year, distributed through a multimedia empire that spins out a stream of books, DVDs and CDs about Israel’s role in biblical prophecy.” One unintentionally humorous excerpt of the piece reported that of all things a sports complex in the West Bank settlement of Ariel bears the portly pastor’s name.
Like many of his evangelical brethren, Hagee’s support of Israeli Jews is not an end in itself, but a means to a catastrophe that will see the slaughter of Jews and other inhabitants of the Middle East. The active support of settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is dangerous, especially when wrought by a support-Israel-at-all-costs worldview. It is to help facilitate the activity most central to the dispute between Israel and Palestine, while having no regard for the resulting impact on the lives of those in the occupied territories or the region at large.
The same year he founded CUFI, Hagee published Jerusalem Countdown, which you can purchase online at ArmageddonBooks.com for the low low price of $14.95 plus shipping. For those who might find Hagee’s writing in Jerusalem Countdown too dense, and I can’t possibly see how they could, the book was made into a movie. In it, Hagee describes how the fight for control of Jerusalem will lead to a world war started by the Antichrist head of the European Union and an invasion of Israel by its Arab neighbors and Russia. The targeting of Jews for violence here and throughout history is explained in simple terms: “It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God’s chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.” You may recall this gross instance of victim-blaming led presidential candidate John McCain to reject Hagee’s endorsement in 2008
Hagee says the upcoming tetrad of eclipses portends a “world-shaking event that will happen between April 2014 and October 2015.” Fortunately, he elaborates further in his recent book, Four Blood Moons, which you can purchase on Amazon for the low low price of $8.52 for Kindle. You can also watch his television special on Tuesday night.
For Christians like Hagee, the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and heralds the Battle of Armageddon in Israel, which Hagee says will be covered in “a sea of human blood.” At that point, Jesus will return in the Second Coming and Jews will be given another chance to convert. Although he says he isn’t sure when Armageddon will take place, it’s clear his agenda is in harmony with it. Hagee’s disturbing worldview explicitly embraces any act that will destabilize the region. And while plenty of conservatives have advocated preemptive strikes on Iran and the expansion of Israeli settlements as he has, most do so out of concerns for Israel’s security (however, misguided). But Hagee is driven by a longing for the fulfillment of a destructive prophecy, which makes his motives far more dangerous.
He is hardly alone in his End Times endeavors. Forty-eight percent of U.S. Christians believe Jesus will return within the next 40 years. And if that doesn’t reek of a sinister desire to see it all over with, nothing does. Hagee and his apocalyptic accomplices are not friends of Israel, but serpents tempting it into self — and global — destruction. On that glorious day, their grotesque fantasies be fulfilled, and by their own evil doing.