Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thoughts after Attending the Sabeel Conference - Part 4 -Christian Zionists

More about the Sabeel Conference

The first session: A presentation by Don Wagner, the author of Anxious about Armageddon, on the Christian Zionists

Don first related this story the substance of which I found in a review of his book.

“It was on a sweltering July evening in 1950 that Wagner heard his first confusing references to the Middle East and its role in the future of Christianity and the world. Then aged eight, he had accompanied his grandparents to a revival service in a rural upstate New York church. There he heard a persuasively emotional sermon on "Hell and The Latter Days," the core of which he relates in this abridged excerpt from his book: "'We have entered the final days of history,' the evangelist proclaimed. 'There is a terrible, bloody battle about to be waged, far worse than anything we witnessed in World War II. The Bible predicts this war will be fought at Armageddon and will involve the nation Israel against forces from the north, probably Russia. There has never been a war as terrible as the one we are about to witness. Nation will fight nation, and brother will battle brother. "'How do we know this?' he asked. 'Because everything is happening just as the prophets of the Old Testament predicted. When God's people, Israel, return to the Holy Land to establish their own state, everything will be in order for the countdown to the end of history. The Bible says that when this occurs, the final battle will be close at hand. Just two years ago, after centuries of statelessness, the Jewish people miraculously created their nation. What an amazing opportunity! God has chosen to begin this prophetic countdown in our lifetime. "'But the Bible warns us that Jesus will return before this terrible battle takes place. He will take His own from the earth. They will be spared this awful final battle, and you can be among them if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior...Are you ready tonight to meet Jesus if He returns? If you have not accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, if you have not repented of your sins, you could be left behind to perish in the final battle.'"

Don went on to talk about: the millions of people that are convinced that the Final Battle will occur in their lifetimes; the role of the Jews and the State of Israel in precipitating the battle; the close working relationship between Christian Zionists and The Israel Lobby (including having the TV Evangelist John Hagee, the head of Christians United for Israel - CUFI - speak at the annual AIPAC meeting); and the two options that Jews have – convert to Christianity or be incinerated at Armageddon (there seem to be a “working” estimate that two-thirds will convert and one-third will be Left Behind to “perish in the final battle”.)

I had never heard of CUFI but did not some signs from that organization held by some of those standing in front of the Boston Public Library protesting the Sabeel Conference. The irony of watching this effort to ban free speech critical of the Government of Israel, to smear speakers and intimidate anyone supporting them taking place next to such an imposing symbol of the search for truth and enlightenment was not lost on me.

I recall a Jewish settler – formerly a practicing lawyer in New York -on the CNN God’s Warriors show, was asked why she would work with a Christian Zionist church whose principle was the elimination of all Jews who did not convert to their form of Christianity. She noted how much financial and other support the church had provided for her settlement and said that since she was not a believer in what it said, there was no problem. (As someone who has devoted over 20 years to advising lawyers on how to locate satisfying positions, as I watched and listening to the passion in her voice, I thought that if she had been one of my clients, I would have considered her one of my successes. It does, however, help you to understand why the public has such a low
opinion about lawyers.)


I especially appreciated Don’s quote from Israeli author Gershon Gorenberg who said that the Christian Zionist philosophy is essentially a five-act play “where we as Jews disappear in the fourth act, just prior to the return of Jesus.” (By the way Gershon Gorenberg, if you recall, is the person who uncovered the 1967 memo by Theodor Meron, legal counsel of the Israel Foreign Ministry in which he concluded “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention prohibits a nation from transferring its citizens to occupied territory.)

With friends like that …………..

Congratulations to The Israel Lobby on finally finding a “partner for peace.”

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