Pastor John Hagee Says an Israel-Palestinian Peace Deal Will Be the Work of the Anti-Christ – Mother Jones
As tens of thousands of Americans were heading toward the National Mall in Washington, DC, on Tuesday to attend a rally professing support of Israel, a controversy erupted over the appearance of a particular speaker: John Hagee, the pastor of an evangelical megachurch in Texas. The head of an influential group called Christians United for Israel, Hagee made national news in 2008 when Sen. John McCain, the GOP presidential nominee, was forced to disavow his endorsement after anti-Catholic remarks Hagee had made were publicized. (He eventually apologized.) Hagee also has been a zealous foe of gay rights and claimed Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment against New Orleans for hosting a gay pride parade.
So when word hit that he was on the line-up for Tuesday’s event, other supporters of the rally raised hell. Hadar Susskind, the head of Americans for Peace Now, an endorser of the demonstration, declared, “I am horrified that he was given this platform. His history of hateful comments should disqualify him from decent company, much less from speaking on stage. He is not welcome and should not speak.” And J Street, another liberal Jewish American organization, stated, “A dangerous bigot like Hagee should not be welcomed anywhere in our community. Period.”
This opposition was driven by Hagee’s previous anti-Catholicism and homophobia. But there was another reason why Hagee was an odd choice as a speaker: He claims that an inevitable peace accord between Israel and Palestinians will be the work of the anti-Christ—literally.
Hagee, who at the rally led the crowd in a chant of “Israel, you’re not alone,” has long maintained that he does not accept the notion that by supporting Israel, evangelical Christians can somehow hasten the end of days. “Christian support of Israel is based on the promises of God in Scripture that affirm a future for the Jewish people and God’s continued faithfulness to that nation, not on prophecies regarding the end times or speeding the return of Christ,” his organization says.
But Hagee is a big believer in End Times Christianity and preaches that, according to the Bible, at some point the anti-Christ will arrive, Jesus and the dead will rise, the rapture will ensue (lifting the truly faithful into air and toward heaven), and that everyone left behind will witness years of destruction, disasters, and absolute misery. Hailing Jews as God’s “chosen people,” Hagee asserts that Israel plays a crucial role in this grand finale. Not surprisingly, Hagee sells books and videos in which he explains all this in great detail based on biblical passages.
In a sermon he delivered in March, Hagee laid out the Big Picture and explained how the conflict between Israel and Palestinians fits into this. He rambled a bit. He noted that biblical prophecy is clear that during this final conflagration, five armies will invade Israel. They will be led by Russia and Iran and also include forces from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Turkey. He didn’t say how this unlikely alliance would be formed. But, have no fear, he told his parishioners, God—angry about the removal of prayer from schools, abortion, the separation of church and state, and the overall immorality of the world—will “smash this force” to protect Israel and kill five out of every six of its soldiers.
Shortly before this invasion, the anti-Christ will arrive. At this time, Hagee said, a global economic crisis will be underway, “the church is gone,” and “the world is desperate to resolve its difference.” So the anti-Christ—who claims to be a “man of peace” and who many wrongly view as the Messiah—manages somehow to cook up a seven-year-long peace treaty with “many, including the Jewish people, the Palestinians, and the Roman Catholic Church.” This deal will allow the Jews to take control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is a holy site for Muslims and currently a major flashpoint between Palestinians and Israel. The accord, per Hagee, will hand control of “the holy sites in Jerusalem” to the Catholic Church. (He claimed the Catholic Church has been “trying to gain a sense of control of Jerusalem and the holy sites for decades.” Really?) Moreover, the anti-Christ’s deal will—with “some arm-twisting”—force a two-state solution on Israel and the Palestinians.
But three and a half years after this treaty is inked, this Russia-led invasion of Israel—propelled by “the demonic spirit of antisemitism”—interrupts, with Russian leader Vladimir Putin trying to “rule the world” by gaining control of natural gas reserves off Israel’s coast. This collection of armies, Hagee pointed out, will include millions of radical Islamists from Russia who have a “compulsion…to attack Israel and the Jewish people.” It will be a global jihad. Hagee also suggested that the European Union will be part of this war on Israel, noting that Russia, the European Union, China, and Egypt have “two things in common…to destroy the Jewish people and to rule the world.”
The tale Hagee presented was truly head-spinning. To return specifically to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, he was clear that the two-state solution “will never happen until the anti-Christ comes and the rapture of the church has happened.” That is, peace in the Middle East can only be brought about by the anti-Christ. That’s not good news—unless you’re going to be part of the rapture. It would seem to suggest that potential peace brokers will be in league with the devil.
For Hagee and his fellow believers, this is all hunky-dory. During that March sermon, he exclaimed that “the time of the end…that’s right now!” Excitedly, he told his audience, “The next thing we’re going to have happen is the triumph God. The dead and Christ are going to rise…We shall be brought up to be with the Lord in the air. Pray up! Pack up! Look up! We’re going up!”
Only then, when Hagee and his coreligionists are soaring up to heaven—and everyone else is stuck on Earth contending with with assorted global calamities—will there be movement toward a resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, thanks to the devilish anti-Christ. This scenario does not seem good for the Jews—or anyone else outside Hagee’s flock. Given Hagee’s Israel narrative—along with his record of bigotry—it’s rather curious that any organizers of this pro-Israel rally thought he deserved a speaking slot and validation. Could this be a sign the end times are near?