The first time I remember hearing John Hagee's name was back in the 1980s. It was mentioned by an Israeli official, who was telling me about Hagee's "Night to Honor Israel." Hagee, now pastor of the 17,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, had already made an indelible mark on the Jewish community in Texas because of his outspoken support for Israel.
Of course Hagee is not the only evangelical leader who is a friend of Israel. Almost without exception evangelicals support Israel and see its rebirth in 1948 as a fulfillment of prophecy and an indication of the end of the age.
But Hagee puts his money where his mouth is! He doesn't just talk about supporting the tiny nation; he actually does it. For more than 20 years he has hosted pro-Israel events. Last year his ministry gave more than $2 million to bring Russian Jews to Israel.
Now Hagee believes Christians should publicly take a stand in support of Israel. So he is mobilizing 50,000 believers to converge on our nation's capital on Friday, October 11, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The "Christian Support for Israel Rally" will be held in front of the White House on the Ellipse. The program will begin at 1 p.m. with country music star Randy Travis, the Cornerstone Orchestra and Singers and the International Singers from Arvada, Colorado.
Besides Hagee, Benny Hinn, Jerry Falwell and other prominent spiritual leaders will speak. They will be joined by an array of senators, congressmen and Israeli diplomats (for more, see www.israelrally.net).
I agree with Hagee that it's important for Christians to send a message to our nation and the world that there will be no compromise on the part of evangelicals in America to stand with Israel. The country is fighting for its life, and the situation is serious. If terrorism is not crushed, Israel will be in war forever.
"Every evangelical should stand up and be counted for the State of Israel. Israel's war with terrorism is our war with terrorism," Hagee told me. "Support of Israel is based on the Genesis 12:3 principle, 'I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.'"
Scripture confirms that God blesses the Gentiles through the Jewish people. Jesus said, "'Salvation is from the Jews'" (John 4:22).
The Jewish people gave to Christianity the Word of God, the patriarchs--Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--and the prophets. Not to mention that Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the 12 disciples and Paul were all Jewish! Take away the Jewish contribution to Christianity and there is no Christianity.
"Judaism does not need Christianity to explain its existence," Hagee says. "But Christianity cannot explain its existence without Judaism."
Equally as hard-hit as the Jews by the unrest in Israel are Messianic believers. Many of them are unemployed. Ministers such as Ari Sorko-Ram are working to raise money for them from Christian believers through a Web site called www.istandwithisrael.com.
The problem is that a Web site with a similar name collects money from evangelicals for many worthwhile causes. But that group also funnels money to Orthodox groups that often oppress Messianic believers.
Ari Sorko-Ram is the son-in-law of Christ for the Nations co-founder Freda Lindsay. I met with him and his wife, Shira, when I was in Israel several years ago and know how valuable and important their ministry, Maoz Israel, is. I have personally supported this ministry financially, as I urge you to do by visiting their Web site. It's important for Christians to stand with our Messianic brothers and sisters at this time.
Besides contributing monetarily, consider joining us at the Christian Support for Israel Rally. Only every few years is an event in Washington so important that we encourage tens of thousands of Christians to attend. The Call two years ago was one such event. Promise Keepers Stand in the Gap in 1997 was another. The Washington for Jesus events in 1980 and 1988 were also significant.
Based on Genesis 12:3, I believe every person who comes to the Christian Support for Israel Rally on October 11 will receive a special blessing from the throne of God. I hope to see you there!
Stephen Strang, founder and publisher of Charisma, has visited Israel four times.
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