Israeli Officials tell U.S. Pastor of “Nuclear Showdown” with Iran

If you want to find out Israel’s policy on Iran, apparently you need to consult a new book by Christian Zionist pastor John Hagee. Christian Retailing reports in its 23 January edition (paper only, page 8):

Texas pastor and author John Hagee has sounded the alarm in his new book on the gathering war against Israel, which he says will have worldwide ramifications.

With an initial printing of 250,000 for its Jan. 17 release, Jerusalem Countdown provides detailed information that Hagee has received from top Israeli government officials concerning a nuclear showdown between Iran and Israel.

…The world is “standing on the brink of a nuclear Armageddon,” Hagee wrote. “We are on a countdown to crisis. The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty…That war will affect every nation on earth, including America, and will affect every person on planet earth.”

Of course, it’s difficult to judge how much of this Hagee really got from “top Israeli government officials”, and how much is his particular “prophecy based” apocalyptic spin on the subject. It’s also a rather odd way for Israeli officials to communicate their intentions; one would have thought that keeping their own citizens informed would have been more of a priority. But on the face of it, it looks rather alarming.

Hagee’s book is published by Strang, the Pentecostal publisher that is responsible for Charisma magazine (and Christian Retailing itself, as it happens). The owner, Stephen Strang, is a greatly supportive of Christian Zionism, and he uses his powerful position to promote the doctrine among Pentecostals and Charismatics (although Charisma’s editor, Lee Grady, has a rather more thoughtful approach, as I blogged on here). The report also tells us (link added):

…In addition to an aggressive direct-marketing campaign, Strang is teaming up with El Al, the national airline of Israel, to promote Hagee’s new geopolitical book. El Al is offering two trips for two to Israel in a sweepstakes promotion…Strang’s promotion campaign will include the authors [i.e. Hagee and other Christian Zionist writers] in a brochure about Israel featuring scriptural reasons for supporting the country…The campaign will also be featured during the Azuza Street Centennial celebration in Los Angeles, April 25-29.

(“Azuza Street” is commonly regarded as the birthplace of Pentecostalism in 1906)

One of Hagee’s previous books is discussed in Gershom Gorenberg’s The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount:

Hagee…starts by praising Rabin’s brilliance and personal warmth. But then he gives the backdrop to Rabin’s murder. Israel, he says, is divided between religious Jews who think they have a “holy deed to the land” and Jews who “put more faith in man than in the God of their fathers.”…And, he says, Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir, belonged to the religious side of Israel. From there, readers are left to draw their own conclusions.