Recently I wrapped up a 13-week prophecy study, and I was blessed to have some of you in attendance who also receive this update.  One of the important topics of our study was that of Israel.  We discovered how Jesus has planned final world events around the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.  We also learned how much Satan hates anything to do with prophetic truth, and how he hates Israel (nation and people).

I explained how in the last days we would see the world come to hate Israel, and how the wealthy lukewarm Laodicean Church (Rev. 3) would also become corrupt (or should I say, has already).  What you will read below should shock you.  Not all Christian leaders take Bible prophecy literally.

We have seen so-called evangelical denominations turn against Bible prophecy, claiming it to be events of the past.  We have also seen many church leaders claim Israel has been replaced by the church, and therefor Israel is no longer part of Bible prophecy.  Sadly, this is becoming more and more commonplace.  When I hear scholars and preachers make such blasphemous statements, I wonder what Bible they are reading.  It angers me and burdens my heart.

Recently, Bible prophecy scholar Dr. Stephen Yulish, who also happens to be an Messianic Jew, wrote about a coalition of American evangelicals who issued a letter in support of a Palestinian state.  He noted their ignorance is creating a wider gap between those Christians who love and support Israel, and those who dismiss Israel as a Middle East eyesore.  Anyone with a hint of Bible prophecy knowledge should know that Jerusalem and Israel are the cornerstones of end-times events.

Recently more than 30 evangelical leaders have stepped forward to say that conservative evangelicals (like me) who claim a Biblical mandate to pray for and protect Israel, have given the wrong impression about the stance of many, if not most, American evangelicals.  What?  These so-called Christian evangelical leaders are saying that conservative, God-fearing Christians (like me) have given the wrong impression about Israel.

On Friday, July 27, 2007, these evangelical leaders sent a letter to President George W. Bush saying that both Israelis and Palestinians have "legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine," and that they support the creation of a Palestinian state "that includes the vast majority of the West Bank."  Those statements are identical to those of militant Muslim leaders.  Anyone with a basic understanding of Middle East history knows such arguments are total fabrications.

The letter was signed by 34 evangelical leaders, many of whom lead prominent denominations, publications, charities, ministry organizations, seminaries and universities!  They include Gary Benedict, president of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, a denomination of 2,000 churches; Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary; Gordon MacDonald, chairman of World Relief; Richard E. Stearns, president of World Vision; Jo Anne Lyon, Founder/CEO World Hope International; David Neff, editor of Christianity Today; Tony Campolo, President/Founder Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education; Ronald J. Sider, President Evangelicals for Social Action; Leonard Rogers, Executive Director Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding;  and Berten Waggoner, national director and president of The Vineyard USA, an association of 630 churches in the United States.  The letter was initiated last February by four of its signers at the U.S. Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar.  Need I say more?

Ronald Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action, which often takes liberal positions on issues, says there needs to be compromises in the Middle East.  What?  If Israel does any more compromising, there won't be an Israel.  They are clearly aiming their message not just at Bush, but at the Muslim world and policy makers in the State Department.

These are our liberal Christian brothers and sisters in action.  Blind to Bible prophecy, blind to coming events.  In the last year and half, liberal and moderate evangelicals have been hoping to reach Muslim leaders to let them know that American evangelicals favor a Palestinian state.  The letter sent to Bush will be translated into Arabic and distributed in the Middle East and Europe.

Another liberal evangelical, Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church in Longwood, Florida, said, "There is a part of the evangelical family which is what I call Christian Zionists, who are just so staunchly pro-Israel that it's almost anti-Biblical to criticize Israel for anything.  But there are many more evangelicals who are really open and seek justice for both parties."  Apparently Rev. Hunter doesn't get it.  The Palestinians don't want a state alongside Israel.  They want the destruction of Israel, just as a majority of Muslims do.  And, yes, Rev. Hunter's position is an anti-Biblical stand against Israel, as clearly described in Bill Koenig's book, "Eye to Eye, Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel."

Well, there is good news.  Conservative evangelical leaders are the loudest and best-organized evangelical movement, and they (including myself) have been sending a very different message:  that the Palestinians have no legitimate claim to the land.  Scholar and pastor Dr. John Hagee, who founded Christians United for Israel, was informed of the letter and read most of it on a radio broadcast.  He responded, "Bible-believing evangelicals will scoff at the letter.  Christians are opposed to America pressuring Israel to give up more land to anyone for any reason.  What has the policy of appeasement ever produced for Israel that was beneficial?  God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a covenant in the Book of Genesis for the land of Israel that is eternal and unbreakable, and that covenant is still intact.  The Palestinian people have never owned the land of Israel, never existed as an autonomous society.  There is no Palestinian language.  There is no Palestinian currency.  And to say that Palestinians have a right to that land historically is a historical fraud."

Hagee is exactly right.  The so-called Palestinians of today are simply Arabs who lived in the region prior to Israel becoming a nation in 1948 (Israel's War of Independence).  The United Nations referred to them as "Palestinian Arabs," and since 1948 they have been rejected by every single Arab country, with the exception of a small percentage that ended up in refugee camps in Jordan.  After the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel did not take a single inch of territory from Palestine, because there wasn't a Palestinian nation to take it from.  Israel captured the West Bank and Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Gaza Strip from Egypt after they declared war against Israel.  Not until after the Six-Day War in 1967 were Arab refugees living in these territories called a "Palestinian People," a term invented by the global media.  Why did these "Palestinians" suddenly discover a national identity after Israel won the war, but not during the previous Egyptian and Jordanian and occupations?  They don't want that truth known!

There is a crucial theological difference between Hagee's views (and those who take the Bible literally) and those of the letter writers.  Tim Weber, a church historian, former seminary president and the author of "On the Road to Armageddon:  How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend" said Hagee and others who interpret the Bible literally are predicting that in order for Christ to return, (1) the Jews must gather in Israel, (2) the third temple must be built in Jerusalem, and (3) the Battle of Armageddon must be fought.  Gee, I wonder where Hagee ever came up with such ideas?  Weber also said that Hagee's views are distinctly becoming a minority position theologically within evangelicalism.  Let's pray that is not so.

We are truly living in the last days!  Keep looking up.


Tim Osterholm


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