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Taube: The bond between Jews and Christians

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Pastor John Hagee (Flickr/House of Praise/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)

Fox News and Blaze TV host Mark Levin conducted an intriguing interview on July 14 with Pastor John Hagee. Religion, current events and U.S. President Donald Trump were touched on, which obviously appealed to people of my political persuasion. But it was the discussion about Jews, Christians and Israel that truly stood out.  

Hagee, the founder/senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, also serves as national chairman of Christians United for Israel. The membership is over 7 million, making it America’s largest and most influential pro-Israel organization.

His love of the Jewish people, and the Jewish state, is also genuine. 

On Life, Liberty & Levin, Hagee said that he’s been to Israel 42 times. His original visit in 1976 was to see the birthplace of Jesus, an important spiritual journey for Christians. He “walked the streets of the city of Jerusalem and felt like I was in a place called home,” and “there was a feeling there that was unique to all of the places I had ever been on the earth.”

Hagree has known Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since 1985. He considers him a personal friend, and has invited him to his house and to speak at his church. He firmly believes Netanyahu is “one of the great leaders in the history of Israel.”

Yet, it was the following analysis that was the most profound.

“The reason that Christians support Israel is that the Bible supports Israel,” Hagee told Levin. “The Bible presents Israel as the sovereign state that God created. Israel is the only state in the history of the world created by a sovereign and active God.” He noted that God and Abraham made a “blood covenant”, as mentioned in the Book of Genesis, and “God caused him to put five animals on the ground, in a blood covenant, and God walked between the separated pieces reciting the contents of the covenant, which was to give the land of Israel to the Jewish people forever. It was an unbreakable covenant.”

I’m agnostic and left the Jewish faith decades ago. Nevertheless, the importance of this statement from a prominent Christian leader isn’t lost on me.

While many left-wing Jews get hysterical when it comes to the evangelical Christian movement, and Baptist pastors like Hagee indicating an interest in Israel, they shouldn’t be. Evangelicals are among the strongest supporters of Israel, and have long been champions of the Jewish faith. They’re allies, and not enemies, in the struggle for freedom, democracy and the preservation of western values. 

But wait, some critics will say. Evangelicals believe in proselytism, and their mission is to convert as many non-Christians to Christianity as possible. That’s their ultimate goal when it comes to Jews and others.

Ah, ye of little faith.

Christian evangelicals want to increase their flock, but they’re not holding a gun to a person’s head and saying, “You must join us – or else.” They promote Jesus’s message in a positive fashion, but recognize that other faiths like Judaism deserve equal time to spread their own religious teachings around the world. 

I’ve had evangelical friends and contacts. Not a single one has ever tried to convert me, either subtly or directly. Like other Christians, they know it’s a better strategy to make common cause with those who support religious freedom even if they’re not particularly religious.        

READ: TAUBE: THE FORGOTTEN JEWISH-THEMED JAZZ TUNES

Hagee has worked hand-in-hand with Jewish leaders for decades. He wants to bring Jews and Christians together in greater harmony. He believes Jews have an unbreakable covenant with Israel, and has devoted a large portion of his life to ensuring it remains intact. 

If you still have lingering doubts, find the Levin-Hagee interview and watch it. You’ll hopefully learn something new about the bond between Judaism and Christianity, and perhaps witness some old, tired prejudices fall by the wayside.

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