Days before Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office he was interviewed by Christians United for Israel (CUFI) founder and chairman, Pastor John Hagee. As Jewish News Syndicate’s Irit Tratt pointed out, “The comfortable rapport between the two men was evident throughout their talk. Pastor Hagee heaped ‘God’s prayers’ on the Israeli leader ‘for all the rest of his life.’” Since Hamas’s vicious October 7 attack, Hagee has been an outspoken supporter of Israel’s devastating retaliation.
A week after Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, Pastor Hagee’s Sunday sermon “detailed the unfolding of the End Times, while a timeline illustrating every step from Jesus’ resurrection to the renovation of Earth by fire was displayed in the background,” Religion News Service’s Fiona André recently reported.
In his sermon, Hagee, who would later be a featured speaker at the pro-Israel mid-November Washington, D.C. rally, claimed “The Bible blessed the Jewish people directly and through the Jewish people blesses us, the gentile people.” He added “Israel is God’s prophetic clock; when the Jewish people are in Israel, the clock is running. When the Jewish people are out of Israel, the clock stops.”
Hagee, the popular televangelist, multi-media maven, founder of the Cornerstone megachurch Church in San Antonio, Texas, and subsequent John Hagee Ministries, is a controversial figure. He was exiled from the presidential campaign of Republican Sen. John McCain when it was revealed that Hagee had delivered a sermon linking Hitler with Israel: “God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter… How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.” After those remarks came to light, McCain made it clear that his campaign would have nothing to do with him.
Now, however, Hagee is back and is more powerful than ever. He has become one of the most important conservative evangelical Christian preachers in the country; a leader that Republican Party political candidates flock to with hopes of securing his endorsement. And he is one of Netanyahu’s most reliable allies.
Hagee has a long history of making hurtful and controversial remarks, and right wing political endorsements. One of his first forays into politics came in the 1960s when he endorsed segregationist Alabama governorGeorge Wallace for president.
“The majority of the controversies surrounding Hagee,” Celebrity Net Worth pointed out (https://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/authors/pastor-john-hagee-net-worth/), “have stemmed from his comments about religion, particularly Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam. He was widely excoriated for claiming that Hitler's antisemitism was derived from his Catholic background, and that Hitler was "a spiritual leader in the Catholic Church." Hagee later apologized after meeting with Catholic leaders. Still, he continued to make antisemitic statements, including that the historical persecution of the Jewish people was due to their disobedience of God. Hagee also said that the Antichrist would be gay and "partially Jewish." He has also been lambasted for demonizing Islam. Hagee has said that the faith "commands" violence, and that the Quran teaches Muslims to murder Christians and Jews.”
If Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) claim of 10 million members (a pretty hefty number) is correct, it is comprised of twice as many Christians as there are Jews in the U.S. Of greater significance however, according Daniel Hummel, author of Covenant Brothers: Evangelicals, Jews and U.S.-Israeli Relations, is that CUFI, founded in 2006, “is organized and have demonstrated over the years that they can actually focus their energy on a local level and a national level to advocate their position.”
Brian Kaylor noted in his piece titled “The Second Coming of John Hagee” (https://publicwitness.wordandway.org/p/the-second-coming-of-john-hagee), that Hagee wasn’t exiled from Republican Party politics for long. Kaylor’s story noted that “Barely two months into Trump’s presidency, the new president welcomed Hagee into the Oval Office for a meeting to talk about Israel. Later that year, Trump changed seven decades of U.S. foreign policy — and bucked the nearly unanimous international position — to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv. When the new embassy opened in May of 2018, Hagee was there to offer a prayer as part of the official governmental ceremony.
“‘Jerusalem is where Messiah will come and establish a kingdom that will never end. We thank you, O Lord, for President Donald Trump’s courage in acknowledging to the world a truth established 3,000 years ago – that Jerusalem is and always shall be the eternal capital of the Jewish people,’ Hagee prayed from a podium with the U.S. seal. ‘And because of that courage of our president, we gather here today to consecrate the ground upon which the United States Embassy will stand, reminding the dictators of the world that America and Israel are forever united.’”Hagee, who is a firm opponent of the two-state solution, has since October 7, consistently backed the now embattled Netanyahu. Hagee sees Israel’s war to eliminate Hamas as a necessary prelude to the End Times. During a March 2023 sermon, Hagee exclaimed that “the time of the end…that’s right now!” 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!”
Hagee, who is a firm opponent of the two-state solution, has since October 7, consistently backed the now embattled Netanyahu. Hagee sees Israel’s war to eliminate Hamas as a necessary prelude to the End Times. During a March 2023 sermon, Hagee exclaimed that “the time of the end…that’s right now!” 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!”