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The Heresy of Christian Zionism:
Israel, Christianity, & Genesis 12.2-3


Rembrandt, Abraham and Issac, 1634

5,602 words

The name “Israel” denotes today a small mideast nation-state which came into existence as a state in 1948 after a war of independence. About 70% of this nation-state’s citizens are Jews, and Israel identifies itself as a Jewish state. It won a significant military victory over its Arab neighbors in 1967.

If someone today says “Israel,” he is likely referring to this modern state in the Middle East, just as if someone speaks of “France” he means a state in Europe.

“Israel” once meant something significantly different. In the Old Testament “Israel” is at once a spiritual term describing the people of God and a largely racial term naming the physical descendants of Abraham and Sarah (Judges 5.11; Genesis 17.7-19). The spiritual history of this Israel, the sole people of God, began with Jehovah’s call to the mythical patriarch Abraham to remove his family from Haran and journey to Canaan, the promised land, where they would form a great nation devoted to his worship (Genesis 12.1-3).

In biblical myth Israel received its name from a wrestling match between Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, and Jehovah (YHWH): “Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Genesis 32.28). The twelve sons of Jacob/Israel would subsequently father twelve tribes, the children of Israel.

“Israel” was the name of this people whether they occupied the land that Jehovah selected for them or not; Israel was defined by heredity, not geography. For example, a slave held in captivity outside the land of Israel remained part of Israel (II Maccabees 1.24-27), and Israel could still exist even when many of the former inhabitants of the land of Israel were living in exile in Babylon. In fact, most modern historians believe that the religious identity of Israel was largely shaped, and many of its scriptures written or restructured, during or immediately after its Babylonian captivity (586-538 BC).

Through his calling of Abraham Jehovah had selected Israel as his preferred folk and had set Israelites apart from all other peoples. Israel would subsequently be bound to him by the unique covenant made at Mount Sinai and would eventually be entitled, by virtue of its worship of the sole God, to subjugate and dispossess polytheist infidels (Isaiah 45.14-25; 61:5-6). Israel would remain God’s preferred folk and his personal possession so long as the Israelites kept the covenant between him and them (Exodus 19.5-6). All other peoples, ignorant of the truth and excluded from the covenant, were left “to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14.16). Even a public reading of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, was incompatible with the physical presence of non-Israelites (Nehemiah 13.1-3). Jehovah’s scriptures existed for the instruction and edification of Israel alone.

Only “the holy race” (Ezra 9.2) received Jehovah’s special attention, and only the holy race could properly serve him with animal sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple, where the one true deity often dwelt. All gentiles were prohibited, under pain of death, from contaminating the temple’s inner precincts, which were reserved for Jews. Just as the angels worshiped Jehovah in heaven, so the Jews, divinely chosen as the earthly equivalents of angels, worshiped him in Jerusalem (Jubilees 15.27, 31.14).

There is, as Savitri Devi observed, a remarkable racial audacity in these various religious claims. The strict form of Old Testament monotheism denies the existence of other gods (Deuteronomy 4.35), yet confines knowledge of this important truth to a single people. Jehovah, though the creator of the universe and its owner, nevertheless selected one small part of mankind as his special folk, leaving the vast majority of the human race, in whose lives he shows only minimal interest, to worship lifeless celestial objects or worthless idols (Deuteronomy 4.18; Psalm 115.2-8). The latter they vainly imagine are images of actual deities, unaware that they are merely “broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2.13). Only one people knows and serves the one true God. All others are mistaken. Nor could they enter the ranks of Jehovah’s preferred folk, the people of God, even if they recognized their errors and abandoned their belief in false gods.

This radically ethnocentric religious structure, which reflected the high value Israel placed on racial purity (Joshua 23.12-13; Ezra 9-10), is poorly suited to proselytizing, and conversions to the religion of ancient Israel were consequently rare. No monotheist Israelite king or patriarch sent out legions of missionaries to convert disbelievers, even though, if we trust the Old Testament, all of them were confident that the bulk of their fellow men were living in spiritual darkness. Non-Israelites were born in darkness and in darkness they would perish. They were, by an accident of birth, doomed to idolatry and impurity, and insofar as the God of the universe showed any interest in their doings, it was only because he wanted to mock them or frustrate their crude ambitions (Psalm 33.10, 59.8).

The world’s spiritual geography was divided between Israel and everyone else, and Jehovah had chosen the side of Israel and had rejected all the other nations, though they too were populated by men and women created in the image of Elohim (Genesis 1.26-27). Our creator’s only ethical restrictions on all of us outside the covenant were that we refrain from homicide and the ingestion of blood (Genesis 9.4-6), and in the later Talmudic tradition even our humanity would be exegetically removed from us: through our worship of idols and other abominations we had marred the divine likeness once within us and were no longer the adam (“man”) that God had fashioned after his own image (Yevamot 61a; Bava Metzia 114b). So impure and inhuman had we become that sexual relations between Jews and gentiles could, through a process apparently akin to black magic, physically defile the temple from afar and make the atoning sacrifices that the priests offered there unacceptable to Jehovah (Jubilees 30.11-16).

Seen in this light, Christianity, history’s most successful proselytizing religion, is clearly discontinuous with its Old Testament antecedents. It marks a radical break with the past, for in the New Testament the people of God, the true Israel, become all those who believe in the Messiah’s resurrection, accept him as Lord, and adjust their lives accordingly.

This break with the Israelite past is an important subject in Luke’s Acts of the Apostles, which recounts the early history of the apostolic church. The evangelist Philip converts an Ethiopian eunuch by explaining a scriptural prophecy of the Messiah (Acts 8.26-38). Peter, in response to an inspired trance-vision, recognizes that his old Jewish ethnocentrism must now be discarded, and he therefore welcomes Cornelius the Centurion into the new body of Christ, though he had previously shared the view of other Jews that contact with gentiles was contaminating (Acts 10.1-35). Soon thereafter faithful gentiles receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10.44-48). Frequent beatings and stonings at the hands of Jews convince Paul that a more valuable harvest of souls should be found away from his own people (Acts 13.44-52, 28.28; cf. II Corinthians 11.24-25).

In the new religious movement created by the followers of Jesus, originally called the Way, all men could, if they embraced the truth, find salvation and be united in the church, whether bond or free, male or female, Jew or Greek (Galatians 3.28). Under Jehovah’s old system Jews by nature (physei) were categorically distinct from gentile sinners; now through Christian faith even non-Jews could be purified and redeemed (Galatians 2.15-16; Ephesians 2.12-13). The Messiah could ransom “men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5.9).

There is a universalist moral logic in this message, which helps account for its success among non-Jews and its failure among the people it was first aimed at. If Jehovah is the only god, then he must, if he is just, be the god of everyone. The same Lord must be the Lord of all (Romans 10.12). Any redeemer he might care to send would act for the benefit of humanity as a whole.

The early Christians convinced themselves, despite some strong evidence to the contrary, that the God of the Pentateuch had always planned to become the God for all mankind, not merely the jealous tribal god of one misanthropic people. His intention eventually to welcome gentiles into his church was “the mystery of Christ,” concealed from earlier generations but now revealed through the Holy Spirit to the apostles (Ephesians 3.1-6).

An important consequence of this mystery was that “not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants” (Romans 9.6-8). Peter and Paul still belonged to Israel, as did all of the first apostles and all of the Jews who experienced the fiery descent of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues along with non-Jews; but most of their fellow Jews no longer belonged to the true Israel, despite their own opinion of the matter. They had put themselves at odds with God’s more recent design, and since no one can save himself through the old Law of Moses, they had also jeopardized their immortal souls.

The New Testament eliminated the idea that the people of God were the physical descendants of Abraham and Sarah. No longer would “all Israelites have a share in the World to Come” (Sanhedrin 90a) simply because all Israel had once been chosen. There was now an old Israel of the flesh on the one hand, namely Jews who rejected God’s Son and were pleased with his crucifixion, and on the other the followers of Jesus, gentiles and Jews who accepted him as their savior. The latter had become, under a new and better covenant (Luke 22.20; Hebrews 8.6), the real “Israel of God” (Galatians 6.16). As Jesus had predicted, “many [non-Jews] will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8.11).

God’s Israel had become as distinct from Judaism as faith is distinct from genealogy. Whereas Jehovah had once schemed to prevent non-Jews from learning the truth, even causing demonic “spirits to rule [their nations] so that they might lead them astray from following him” (Jubilees 15.31), the God of the New Testament had sent his Son to offer redemption to all of humanity and to transform Christian believers into a spiritual kingdom of priests (Revelation 1.6). In Christianity’s prophetic record of the end-time, John of Patmos pointedly notes the absence of a temple in the heavenly city of the Christian faithful, “for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (21.22). The material accouterments of old Israel’s religion, along with old Israel’s belief in its permanent election, were no longer valuable in the new economy of salvation (Matthew 27:51; Hebrews 9-10).

With thoughts of a spiritual Israel in mind, early Christians had no difficulty finding in the Old Testament numerous allegories and prophetic predictions of the moment when Jehovah would, much more generously, set non-genealogical criteria for admission into his preferred people (e.g. Acts 15.13-18). That most Jews were unwilling or unable to see these allegories and prophecies was an indication of their hardened hearts and their spiritual blindness.

In the early second century the Epistle of Barnabas, purportedly written by Paul’s evangelical co-worker in Antioch, would argue that Jews had lost the ability to read the scriptures and had in fact lost their covenant soon after they received it. In medieval Christendom the myopia of the Jews would be expressed in the contrasting allegorical images of Ecclesia and Synagoga, the former beautiful and crowned in triumph, the latter holding a broken staff and the broken tablets of the old Law, with her eyes covered to indicate her willed blindness.


This set of ideas is now decried as replacement theology or supersessionism. Some helpful Jews have written books documenting supersessionist errors among unenlightened Christians, so that they can avoid them in the future. Dutifully enlightened Christians, like Pastor John Hagee, are careful to avoid, and at times even openly reject, traditional Christian teachings on the subject.

Yet there can be no doubt that as a whole the New Testament is a supersessionist document. The old Law had been fulfilled in Christ, and the old covenant had been superseded and rendered “obsolete” by the new (Hebrews 8.13). Because most of old carnal Israel — Israel by physical descent, “Israel according to the flesh” — wrongly rejected Jesus, the “one mediator between God and men” (I Timothy 2.5), the promises God made to the faithful patriarchs were transferred to the new spiritual Israel (Matthew 21.43).

Through the trespasses of the Jews, including a deicide that the apostles spoke about often and unambiguously (e.g. Acts 7.52-53), salvation had come to the gentiles; the old branches of Israel had been broken off as the penalty for disbelief, and new branches had been grafted into the stem (Romans 11.11-20). Christians had become “Abraham’s offspring” (Galatians 3.29). Peter called them “God’s own people” and his new “holy nation” (I Peter 2.9). To the claim of the Jews that they were the descendants of Abraham, Jesus himself replied that their real (spiritual) father was the devil (John 8.39-44; cf. Revelation 2.9).

Although in the fullness of time many Jews would recognize their errors and would be welcomed into the church as Christians (Romans 11.25-26), for the moment most were outside of salvation, consigned by their own self-willed blindness to spiritual ignorance and damnation. These former “sons of the kingdom,” trusting in their physical descent, would find themselves “thrown into the outer darkness,” since they had rejected the promise of eternal life (Matthew 8.12; Acts 13.46).

The traditional Catholic prayer for the conversion (and therefore the salvation) of the Jews reflects this idea; the analogous Jewish prayer, added to the synagogue service around AD 85 and directed against Christians in Palestine, asks that “the Nazarenes and the heretics be suddenly destroyed and removed from the Book of Life.”

In the fourth century St. Augustine, the great patriarch of the Latin Church, would declare as a simple matter of fact what had become the consensus opinion of Christianity: “the people of the gentile nations themselves are spiritually among the children of Abraham and for that reason are correctly called Israel” (City of God 18.28). Augustine, who was himself addressed by fellow Christians as “the blessed teacher of Israel,” would likely have understood the English word “supersession,” which derives from Latin; he would not have understood how it could possibly be considered a theological error. His supersessionism was merely a restatement in his own words of the divinely inspired words stated plainly in the New Testament and prophesied obliquely in the Old.

The mideast nation-state of Israel embodies, some Christian traditionalists have argued, a rejection of New Testament Christianity and of an Israel in which Christ is the acknowledged king (John 1.49). It is, on this view, a material perversion of what had become, after the resurrection, a spiritual concept. The Jewish state locates Israel in a physical territory, and it is governed by people who do not belong to the new Israel. The true people of spiritual Israel who have the misfortune to live in this Jewish state, the Palestinian Christians, often find their holy places desecrated. Pious Jews spit on their priests in the streets of Jerusalem. In opposition to alleged Christian idolatry Israeli fundamentalists intend eventually, as acts of strict monotheist principle, to destroy all their churches.

It is therefore surprising that the most committed Christians today are also often the most fervent supporters of modern Israel and are among the strongest opponents of supersessionism. Some of these Christian Zionists even provide assistance to fundamentalist Jews who want to reinstitute the sacrifice of animals in the Jerusalem Temple, which, in addition to the rejection of New Testament teachings on the Law and on sacrifice that this plan implies, would require the destruction of the Muslim Dome of the Rock that happens to be located there. Many Christian Zionists also deny that Jews require Christian salvation, which is tantamount to a repudiation of the most crucial doctrine of the religion they profess (John 3.16-18, 36), as well as a repudiation of Christ’s command that his disciples preach the gospel to the ends of the earth, beginning in Jerusalem (Luke 24.47). Whether we identify ourselves as Christians or not, Christianity’s basic ideas of salvation, punishment, and evangelism are not difficult to understand.

The striking rise of Jewish political power during the twentieth century, which led to the adage that Jesus is the one Jew modern Christians do not fear, may provide an obvious explanation for this strange phenomenon. Abandonment of contentious Christian ideas in favor of a philo-Semitic theology is the easiest way for Christians to avoid Jewish anger and punishment.

As well, in an era when traditional religious beliefs appear increasingly irrelevant to many occidentals, modern Israel’s ongoing troubles perhaps make Christianity, rooted as it is in the ancient history of the Near East, seem vividly topical. The biblical Holy Land has become, thanks at least in part to modern Israel, an arena of constant violence and turmoil. The fundamentalist practice of ferreting out obscure biblical prophecies of the end-times, and connecting them to modern events surrounding the state of Israel, brings the world of the increasingly post-Christian present back in contact with the world of Christianity’s foundational scriptures, seeming to validate their contemporary significance in the process. A bible-believing Christian’s religious texts become keys to opening the secrets of important current events, keys unavailable to the sneering disbelievers who disdain his literalist faith. The existence of the troubled and troublesome state of Israel helps make the scriptures seem relevant.

Whatever the reason for the preference today of many Christian fundamentalists for modern Israel over the New Testament, there can be no doubt that the most important text for Christian Zionism is Jehovah’s pledge to Abraham in Genesis 12.2-3, part of what is often called the Abrahamic promise or covenant (Genesis 12-17 passim). I quote here from the King James translation:

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Modern fundamentalists, like Pastor Hagee, interpret this as a condemnation of anti-Semitism and an admonition that Christians must unconditionally support the Jewish state in physical Israel. Our nations will be blessed if we do and may be cursed if we do not. America is wealthy and strong and safe from earthquakes because it has often blessed the Jewish state and has received Jehovah’s blessings in return. Zimbabwe would also be wealthy and strong if its leaders would wisely embrace the Abrahamic covenant. A nation gets rich by supporting Israel; it risks divine judgment if it does not.

The standard Christian interpretation of the verses is much different. Genesis 12.2-3 is, according to traditional Christian exegesis, an anticipation of the new Israel and the universal church of God. Augustine had no doubt that the Abrahamic covenant was “a promise now fulfilled in Christ” (City of God 16.28).

The key clause for most traditional commentators is “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed,” which suggests that the calling of Abraham somehow involved God’s intention eventually to bless, through him, all the non-preferred nations excluded from the covenant. At some moment in the future, the text seems to say, the people Israel would become a source of important benefits for the rest of the world.

For Christians the meaning was obvious: all of humanity would be blessed in Abraham’s physical and spiritual posterity. The Son of God, sent into the world as a blessing for us all, would be born from his line (Matthew 1.1-16). We could now be saved and hope to arrive one day in heaven. The promise of land and the possibility of salvation were related. God had promised a material homeland in Canaan to Abraham and his descendants, John Calvin argued, “not that it might be the limit of their hopes, but that the view of it might train and confirm them in the hope of that true inheritance,” namely “the true country, the heavenly city of believers” (Institutes 2.11.2)

Christian bible scholars once did that: they delved into the Old Testament, following Christ’s own advice (John 5.39-46), looking for anticipations and prefigurings of the New, not for buried hints of modern Iran’s role in the imminent end-times, or for biblical reasons to support the Jewish state. They were Christians, so they interpreted Old Testament texts as Christian messages.

In its bitter conflict with Pharisaic Judaism one of early Christianity’s most important claims was its ability to correctly interpret the spirit of the scriptures, thereby preserving and illuminating God’s true intentions. Until our own era, most Christians maintained that traditional belief in their special mastery of the Old Testament. Whereas Jews might be capable of understanding the fleshly or carnal meaning of Old Testament texts, only Christians could understand their spiritual meaning, which was much more important.

In Christian eyes Abraham is the spiritual father of the true Israel. The Latin poet Prudentius, in the opening line of his Psychomachia, would call him “the faithful patriarch who first showed the way of believing,” because, like Christian believers, Abraham believed and was accounted righteous without the Mosaic Law and without the rituals of temple-based Judaism (Romans 4.3), both of which arrived centuries after his death.

This Abraham was an early witness of the Christian Trinity (Genesis 18.1-2), and in his encounter with Melchizedek, the mysterious gentile priest-king of Salem, he met a type of Christ (Genesis 14.17-18; Hebrews 7). Since Melchizedek presented him with bread and wine, he encountered also a prefiguration of the eucharist. His willingness to sacrifice his son was an imprecise but important prefiguration of Christ’s Passion (Genesis 22). In other words, for readers who examine the Old Testament with genuinely Christian eyes, Abraham’s life as it appears in scripture is a crucial part of the Christian story.

Abraham’s Christian faith was in a divine promise that had yet to be fulfilled, a promise of a heavenly home and of a universal redeemer, whose coming he expected (John 8.56). His numerous physical and spiritual progeny — including Jesus, the most important “son of Abraham” (Matthew 1.1) — were heirs to the same Christian promise of “a city . . . whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11.8-16). This Abraham was the forefather of all the Christian faithful, both Jews and gentiles, not because he was by race an Israelite, but because of his faith (Romans 4.10-12).

In their commentaries on Genesis 12.2-3 Catholics and Protestants alike over the centuries arrived at similar interpretations of the verses. They did not interpret them as a divine command to bless and support Jews. They looked instead at the line of descent from Abraham that culminated in Jesus and interpreted the text accordingly. In the Abrahamic covenant and its promise of blessings for all families of the earth they saw the gift of salvation for everyone.

They did not arrive at the same conclusion through a miraculous meeting of minds across time and across denominations, but because the verses had already been authoritatively interpreted for them by Paul and Peter. They therefore based their own interpretations on the Christian interpretation found in the New Testament.

Neither Paul nor Peter saw Genesis 12.2-3 as a divine promise for the specific benefit of their first-century Jewish adversaries. On the contrary, the beneficiaries of God’s promise to Abraham would not, Paul made clear, be Jewish followers of the carnal Mosaic Law, which would deny the necessity of faith and the purpose of the redeemer, but faithful Christians, believers in Christ and in his resurrection. “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” was scriptural proof that God had always intended to justify the gentiles by faith and had announced, in a pre-gospel long ago, his intention to Abraham (Galatians 3.6-18). This opportunity to believe and be saved was offered first to the Jews, in the forlorn hope that they could be turned, as Peter put it, from their wickedness, but it was offered soon thereafter to everyone else (Acts 3.25-26, cf. Romans 1.16). All of us therefore have been blessed in the posterity of Abraham, though only Christians have taken practical advantage of the blessing.

Belief in this interpretation of Genesis 12.2-3 implies belief in Christianity. Since I do not believe in Jehovah and do not believe that Jesus was his son, I am confident that this Christian interpretation of an Old Testament text is false. The authors and scribal editors of Genesis had no suspicion of an expected Messiah for the gentiles and would have been horrified by the prospect that a redeemer might eventually lead their enemies out of idolatrous darkness. Pastor Hagee’s interpretation of the verses is, in my opinion, closer to the truth than St. Paul’s. It is also much more consistent with Israel’s history and peculiar national psychology.

The people Israel, contrary to the fictional ethnogenesis reported in the Old Testament, emerged from among indigenous Palestinians as a result of the widespread crisis of the Late Bronze Age that afflicted most of the Near East. Amidst the chaos of war and cultural collapse pastoral nomads gradually coalesced to form a small nation called Israel in the sparsely populated highlands of Canaan. Located between Egypt and Mesopotamia, this small nation was always at the mercy of its much more powerful neighbors. It had, despite its often vaulting ambitions, a consciousness of its smallness (Deuteronomy 7.7).

Its first entry into extra-biblical history appears, in the late thirteenth century BC, on a victory stele of the Pharaoh Merneptah, which contains his boastful report of Israel’s defeat in Canaan: “Israel is laid waste and its seed no longer exists.” Around 720 the Assyrians destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel, removing ten of Israel’s twelve tribes from Canaan and sending them into permanent exile (II Kings 17.6). In another of ancient Israel’s many defeats, recorded in the Old Testament and corroborated by an extra-biblical source, the Pharaoh Shishak captured Jerusalem in 925 and despoiled the temple (I Kings 14.25-26). In 586 the Babylonians burned the temple, blinded the last Davidic king, and took him and the bulk of the elite population into exile (Jeremiah 52). It is often conjectured that the Old Testament took shape during Israel’s captivity in Babylon.

Genesis 12.2-3 should be understood with this historical background in mind. The Israelites dreamed, as many mistreated peoples do, of the day when they would no longer be weak and insignificant but strong and powerful, no longer at the mercy of the belligerent empires of the ancient Near East. Since they were a literate people, unlike other insignificant ancient peoples mistreated by the powerful, their scribes left an extensive written record of their yearnings and their fantasies of revenge, which, through an unfortunate turn of history that Savitri plausibly blamed on St. Paul, came to be regarded as a body of religious texts within our Western civilization.

A more positive analysis would be that, by creative misreading of the Old Testament, first-century Jewish Christians and our Christian forefathers succeeded in transforming this at times monstrous collection of ethnocentric tales, with its violent fanaticism (e.g. II Samuel 15.2–3) and its comically primitive laws (e.g. Deuteronomy 25.11), into a source of moral edification and artistic inspiration. This alchemical transformation could arguably be seen as one of the great cultural accomplishments of the West, though it came at the cost of the entanglement of our religious beliefs with the folklore and mythology of Jews. The early Christians assigned their successors the difficult interpretive task of extracting moral universalism and Christian altruism from the sacred ethnocentrism that physical Israel recorded in the Old Testament.

The oldest verses in the Pentateuch are likely found in the “Song of Moses,” an archaic poem recounting Israel’s escape from slavery in Egypt and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, which through Jehovah’s terrifying power falls into the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1–18; Revelation 15.3-4). It is an imagined moment, entirely unhistorical, of triumph for Israel and defeat for its powerful Egyptian enemy. It relies on a deeply held but false belief, namely Israel’s liberation from four centuries of bondage in Egypt, the story of the exodus. This false historical memory, recalled frequently in scripture, served to demonstrate Jehovah’s special concern for Israel, while rationalizing Israel’s hostility to adversary nations in the Near East. It is a revealing myth: few peoples would choose to invent a history of lengthy enslavement by others as their most important national memory.

In Israel’s vision of the invasion and conquest of Canaan, which also never occurred, the Old Testament writers imagined their forefathers mercilessly eradicating their enemies and their heathen shrines in order to obliterate everything non-Israelite (Deuteronomy 7.1-5; Joshua 10.16-42). In Israel’s conflict with the neighboring Edomites they imagined Jehovah, with his garments stained in blood, vowing to destroy all non-Israelites in a terrible day of vengeance (Isaiah 34, 63.1-6). In their prophetic visions of acquiring overwhelming power in the future they imagined the kings and queens of the earth groveling at their feet and their warrior-messiah shattering the gentile kingdoms with a rod of iron (Isaiah 49.22–23; Psalm 2.8-9). In Israel’s captivity in Babylon they imagined themselves smashing the heads of their captors’ children on the rocks (Psalm 137.9). In the Essene community near the Dead Sea the fanatical Sons of Light imagined the day when Jehovah would “execute judgment on all the gentiles by the hands of his Elect” and “annihilate all the Sons of Darkness” (Habakkuk Commentary 5.4; War Scroll 13.16).

The Abrahamic covenant is a more subdued expression of the same yearnings. It is at its core the fantasy of a persecuted weakling who dreams of becoming, with the assistance of a magical helper, much more powerful than his tormentors. It imagines a time when, aided by Jehovah, Israel will dominate its neighbors. Those who oppose Israel will be cursed and punished by Jehovah, and since the gods of Israel’s enemies are nonexistent, their enemies will have no supernatural power that they can call upon in response. Prudent nations will therefore bless Israel to avoid the curses of its omnipotent tribal god.

We can think of Genesis 12.2-3 as a textual Rorschach test.

A disbeliever would look at the verses and see, as I do, one small ancient people’s optimistic vision of future power.

The supposedly key clause in verse 3 is, to disbelieving eyes, not an uplifting promise of blessings for all the families of the earth, but a trivial prediction, obscured by the KJV translation and by ambiguous grammar in the Hebrew text, that in future Israelites would invoke Abraham when they bless one another. When they utter a blessing, they will use his name, because he was especially favored by Jehovah (cf. Genesis 48.20). The Catholic Jerusalem Bible provides a convincing translation for skeptics inclined to doubt the altruism of the ancient Israelites: “. . . all clans on earth will bless themselves by you.” The evangelical NIV similarly suggests “will use your name in blessings” as an alternate reading.

On the other hand, later Jewish tradition accepted the universality implied in the apparent blessing of “all families of the earth,” but interpreted it to mean that the entire world was the birthright of Abraham’s physical descendants (Romans 4.13). The strongly ethnocentric rabbinical sages who wrote the Talmud accordingly interpret Jehovah’s ancient promise that all families of the earth will be blessed through Abraham to mean that the world revolves around the sacred existence of Jews: “Even the other families who live on the land are blessed only for Israel’s sake. . . . Even the ships that go from Gaul to Spain are blessed only for Israel’s sake” (Yevamot 63a). It is an important ethical principle in the Talmud that all gentile activity ideally should serve Israel and provide leisure for Jews to study the Torah (Avoda Zara 2b).

We also know what early Christians like Peter and Paul, both of whom likely died for their faith in the Neronian persecutions, saw when they looked at Genesis 12.2-3. They saw in God’s covenant with Abraham a Christian promise of salvation, recently fulfilled through the effects of an atoning crucifixion and now made available to everyone.

When looking at the same verses, Pastor Hagee and his fellow Judeo-Christians see something quite different. They see a divine command from the ancient Israelite past directing us in the present to provide material assistance to Jews. They read the text as a Jewish ethnocentrist would want them to read it.

They do not, as Christians once did, see in Abraham the proto-Christian patriarch who encountered the triune God under the oaks of Mamre. They do not see the universal church of Christ or the heavenly Jerusalem in the “great nation” that God promised Abraham’s descendants. Their Abraham is not the spiritual progenitor of the Christian faithful, as Peter and Paul believed, but the distant forefather of the modern Jewish state, yearning as he journeys to Canaan for the promised day his descendants will subjugate their enemies. This Abraham would be pleased to learn that in our era the world’s leading power annually sends billions in material blessings to the Jewish state.

Belief in the Jewish Abraham, the Hebrew patriarch who received from Jehovah material blessings for himself and for his physical descendants, is incompatible with belief in the Christian Abraham, the spiritual forefather of a morally universalist religion. Unfortunately for the religious coherence of Christianity, Abraham the ethnocentric Jew is a much more accurate interpretation of the Abraham of Old Testament scripture than his Christian counterpart, the spiritual ancestor of the raceless faithful. Abraham is only thought of as a pious holy man today because of the powerful Christian misreading that constructed his near antonym.

For many modern bible believers the Christian Abraham is now a troublesome distraction that they feel free to abandon, while they focus their Christian altruism on their religion’s former rival, with no expectation that their blessings will ever be reciprocated.


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  1. Marcelo Gilli
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Superb text.

  2. Richard Benson
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    If children were not exposed to the Bible’s imaginary history of the Jewish race in their formative years, the existence of a phenomenon like Christian Zionism would be inconceivable.

  3. Edward Kyle
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Superb, indeed.

    Traditialist Catholics (Latin Rite, SPPX, Sedevancantist, etc.) don’t believe what the evangelicals believe. We believe – I am one of them – the opposite of what Pastor Hagee teaches. Christ’s message and redemptive power is a gift for all mankind not just one race or people. Abraham’s message was corrupted by a small minority Judaic racialists and deliberately concealed from the world for their own nefarious purposes. The majority of Jewish people (race) are not evil. Its the Rabbi and the “elders” that are evil.

    As a result we have been slandered and our honor impugned. According to Jewish racialist organizations (ADL and SPLC) Many if not most Latin Rite Catholics hold beliefs that can be considered anti-Semitic. Of course this is not true. Nonsense, really. According to the ADF (and many blacks) if you disagree with them in an y way you are a racist and an anti-Semite.Think of Mel and Hutton Gibson or the good people (and religious: nuns and brothers), parishioners who attend mass at Mt. St. Michael in Spokane Wa. They have been smeared as anti-Semites by the SPLC when all they are is pious, dutiful Christians.

    Most of us Traditionalists do not care one whit for the Jews as a race. We do not wish them well or ill. We only care about – dislike – Judaism. Just as we despise Islam not Muslims or Arabs.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      So you are not anti-Jewish, but you are anti-racialist, like all Christians. But White Nationalists are pro-racialist and anti-Jewish. This is why Christianity is not any ally of white racial preservationsim. Your values clash with our values, and since your values are not based in reality, it is hard to reason with you.

      • Evangelos Aragiannis
        Posted October 7, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        Well said.

        • Evangelos Aragiannis
          Posted October 7, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          Christians have been as morally primitive as jews have.

          • Evangelos Aragiannis
            Posted October 7, 2015 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

            And might I say, intellectually too. But morality is a direct outcome of intellect.

    • Jaego
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 2:30 am | Permalink

      Why did the SSPX throw Bishop Williamson under the bus? Maybe because he was being too pro-Western Culture? In other words, not “spiritual” enough. One is reminded of how Fr Coughlin was silenced as well. Mustn’t make waves. Render unto Caesar even if he is now a Jew.

  4. Posted October 6, 2015 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    As a Christian I obviously disagree with your conclusions regarding the truth of scripture and the meaning of Christ, but I do agree with the majority of your ideas about Christian Zionism and what has inspired it. Most of the Bible professors I know simply dismiss it as an absurd modern product of religious fantasy.

    However, I have to say that I disagree with your statements about the abolishment of the Old Law and supersessionism. While I don’t pretend to know the absolute truth on the issue the case against it is far stronger than you suggest. When reading the gospels and the early history (Acts) it is obvious that the law was never abolished. In Acts 21, for example, the apostles order Paul to go to the temple, take an oath, and offer sacrifices to prove to the Jewish Christians that he does not believe in abolishing the law; he follows through and does as they say. The implication in context being that the law never applied to the gentiles because it was never given to the gentiles, the law still applied to the Jews. Jesus also said that he would never abolish the old law, and he affirms its teachings in every situation in which he discusses it. Supersessionism is largely inspired by the Pauline epistles, but there is much debate as to what Paul is talking about when he discusses the “Law.” Because within the context of Acts he can’t be saying it’s abolished for Jews because he precedes to offer sacrifices in the temple to prove he doesn’t believe that!

    I think your claim that the New Testament represents a radical break from the Old is also overstated. If one reads the book of Acts carefully there is simply no way to defend this position. Jesus tells his disciples to make disciples of all nations and this is so consistent with the Old Testament prophets that they don’t even understand the implications of what he’s saying until Acts 10 when Peter receives a vision from God. The prophets are filled with discussion of the gentiles being blessed by God in the future, and as you pointed out this is alluded to in Genesis with God’s covenant to Abraham.

    Most of the things you wrote are consistent with past Christian interpretations, but I don’t think their necessarily the “default” positions as you make them appear.

    • Steven Shaw
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Therefore, if the Old and New are thus a continuation of the same conversation, all the more reason to throw out the latter as well…

    • Posted October 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Christian Talour wrote:

      When reading the gospels and the early history (Acts) it is obvious that the law was never abolished.

      The new covenant in Christ’s blood is about as anti-Law (or post-Law) as it’s possible for any covenant to be; the author of Hebrews says explicitly that the old Law is obsolete; both Jesus and Paul are clear that all foods are clean; the curtain of the temple is torn at the moment of Christ’s death, an event that once upon a time Christians considered crucially important; unlike non-canonical Jewish visions of heaven, in his vision John of Patmos sees no temple in the Christian heavenly city and draws our attention to its absence; Paul says explicitly that he is not “under the law” in I Corinthians, despite being born a Jew.

      Paul even has the remarkable idea that non-Jews — that is, unclean gentiles like ourselves, filled with contamination in the eyes of all pious Jews — should be permitted to enter the temple, despite the warnings there stating that any non-Jew entering the inner precincts would be killed. He ended up in prison in Rome because the Jews in Jerusalem suspected that he had brought an unclean Ephesian gentile into the temple. A riot naturally ensued, just as a riot would ensue if I were to drag the rotting carcass of a dead pig into a synagogue today.


      If anyone wanted a definition of what “supersession” means in a theological context, Hebrews 8.13 provides it: the verse says that, because Christ has inaugurated a different covenant which he declares new, the former covenant has thereby grown old and, having been made aged, it is near to vanishing. The author really wanted his readers to understand that “old” in this context means obsolete and superseded.

      is largely inspired by the Pauline epistles

      Which happen to be the core of the non-gospel portions of New Testament.

      but there is much debate as to what Paul is talking about when he discusses the “Law.” Because within the context of Acts he can’t be saying it’s abolished for Jews because he precedes to offer sacrifices in the temple to prove he doesn’t believe that!

      Saying that some members of the early church continued to practice the Law is much different from saying that they _needed_ to practice the Law. If the Law could save, then there would be no need for a redeemer and Christianity would cease to have a purpose. The second person of the Trinity could have remained in heaven without any incarnation in this world, and there would be no reason for the existence and arrival of the third.

      Since the new law is better because it is enacted on better promises, there is no reason for anyone to bother with the old.

      Israelites once needed to follow the Law and were commanded to do so. After the resurrection, God’s new people, the church, did not need to follow the Law, though some of them, like James, may have followed it. That’s surely supersession.

      Now I don’t believe any of this. But I find it disturbing that Christians so readily abandon their religion simply because Jews find it offensive.

      Most of the things you wrote are consistent with past Christian interpretations, but I don’t think their necessarily the “default” positions as you make them appear.

      They were the default positions for almost two thousand years. In the last forty years there has been a systematic attempt to judaize the New Testament, as a response to the alleged incomparable evil of the Jewish Holocaust, which traditional readings of the NT allegedly helped cause. Some of the judaizing scholars are quite open about that. If your professors are shoving Fredricksen and Sanders at you, I suggest that you ignore them and concentrate on the text itself.

      — Irmin

    • Posted October 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Christian Talour:

      The prophets are filled with discussion of the gentiles being blessed by God in the future…

      The OT is a large book. It’s possible to find a variety of competing prophetic visions of our future. But it is difficult to find one that doesn’t involve a substantial amount of slaughter predicted for us before any of Jehovah’s intended good effects occur.

      I was initially planning, for the sake of balance, to refer to a nice prophecy, and my recollection was that I would find one in Zechariah, an important prophet for the early church. I was severely mistaken: “And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth…. and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance” (KJV Zechariah 14.12-14).

      I’ve often seen — believe it or not — Isaiah 61:5-6 cited as one of the nice prophecies. I cited it above because it’s decidedly un-nice: “Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.”

      Christians, I suspect, have historically read these prophecies — when they actually did read them, which wasn’t often — to mean that they fall within the ingroup that profits from the fulfillment of the prophecies, and that others are the victims who will die or serve as slaves. But there can be no doubt that the authors/scribes who compiled the prophecies regarded all of us as the outgroup that suffers, not the ingroup that benefits.

      It was the normal pattern in Israel’s many “oracles against the nations” that complaints against a specific gentile nation would be broadened to include an imagined future reckoning by Jehovah with all of non-Israelite humanity. Obadiah, for example, is angry at the Edomites, a frequent enemy of Israel, but his anger at one specific neighboring people quickly becomes anger against all of us: “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head” (Obadiah 15). The same is true in Isaiah 34, which I referred to above. The Judean holy men, as they are often called, who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls follow this pattern as well. They planned a war against the occupying Romans, but they expected to annihilate everyone else as well. The Romans put an end to their deranged fantasies around AD 68.

      — Irmin

  5. Dutchman
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    Christians believe that God was a Jew. Christian Zionists believe that the Jews are God.

  6. Carl
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    This article is first rate. It should be printed out on a large parchment & nailed to the church door of every Evangelical Protestant church in America Martin Luther style.

    Just one quibble with the following:

    “The people Israel, contrary to the fictional ethnogenesis reported in the Old Testament, emerged from among indigenous Palestinians as a result of the widespread crisis of the Late Bronze Age that afflicted most of the Near East.”

    I don’t understand why this interpretation of Jewish origins is put forth in this way when Joseph in Genesis 47: 21 is so like modern Jews Bernie Madoff and Alan Greenspan. Additionally, the Zionists from 1948 through 1967…and a bit through today…act no differently than the Hebrews at Jericho in Joshua Chapter 6 & the ISIS Semites are no different than the Semite Hebrews of Numbers Chapter 31. Small clans in the Mid-East do take over quickly sometimes.

    • Sandy
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      No offense Carl but when you write I don’t understand why this interpretation of Jewish origins is put forth in this way …….is so like modern Jews…..Additionally, the Zionists from 1948 through 1967.…act no differently than the Hebrews at Jericho in Joshua Chapter 6 & the ISIS Semites are no different than the Semite Hebrews of Numbers Chapter 31. may I suggest that you read our Thomas Goodrich’s Hellstorm. After that you might understand why Identity Christians think that the OT does not necessarilybelong to the Jews. It does get a bit complicated but as a biggish religious war seems to be facing us we need to get a handle on it. Any port in a storm – eh?

    • Posted October 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Carl wrote:

      I don’t understand why this interpretation of Jewish origins is put forth in this way when Joseph in Genesis 47: 21 is so like modern Jews Bernie Madoff and Alan Greenspan. Additionally, the Zionists from 1948 through 1967…and a bit through today…act no differently than the Hebrews at Jericho in Joshua Chapter 6 & the ISIS Semites are no different than the Semite Hebrews of Numbers Chapter 31. Small clans in the Mid-East do take over quickly sometimes.

      There is no archaeological evidence for either an exodus from Egypt or an invasion of Canaan. No serious scholar defends the historicity of the former, and only a small minority of archeologists still defend the latter. Kathleen Kenyon’s excavation at Jericho in the 1950s was the beginning of the end for the invasion version of Israel’s origins presented in Joshua.

      The Israelites were indigenous to Canaan, despite what the OT tells us, and the stories about captivity in Egypt and Joshua’s maniacal destruction of the Canaanites were their later imaginings, with no basis in real history. They are, as I suggested above, significant imaginings.

      — Irmin

      • Carl
        Posted October 8, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        I don’t wish to disparage any reader of the Bible or get in the way of their convincement or interpretation of the Old Testament by means of their Inner Light. I do however wish to say that the Old Testament reads much like modern Jewish and modern Semitic current events. Numbers 31 reads just like a CNN report on a recent ISIS atrocity. Additionally, an elite group of Hebrew moneylenders with origins in Mesopotamia-where as I understand it moneylending first took off-and with ties to the Egyptian Civil Service could politically organize Canaan with a mix of violence, assimilation, and emigration from Egypt. They could easily take control of a “Mixed Multitude” of Canaanites and others such as Rahab the prostitute and “Lo!” its Israel under the Judges.

        Essentially, there is a ring of dark truth to the Old Testament. Imagine, 3,000 years from now a new Old Testament and what it might say:

        Moshe Dayan Chapter 32 Verses 8 to 12:

        “And it came to pass that Nasser the Great Pharaoh of Egypt declared that the Israelites shalt be driven unto the sea and returnithed unto the land of the Poleites and the Teutonites and the Danites with their fiery furnaces. Moshe Dayan called upon the Lord of Hosts, ‘What shalt I doeth?’
        And the Lord answered unto him and said, ‘Thou shalt attacketh with thy air forces without a declaration of war in the early morning. Only the pilots who hath drunkith from the south water fountain at the airbase shalt participate in the attack. Thou shalt attack the Egyptians whilst their fighters supplied by the land of Gog and Magog are still upon the runway. Ten of thee shalt chase ten thousand of them and thou shalt not grow weary.’
        And Moshe Dyan didst this and a great victory occurred.”

        Then there is also Paul Wolfowitz Chapter 25 Verse 17:

        “And the path of the righteous Israelites was blocked by the Palestine-ite Suicide Bombers who were supported by the Iraqites. And so Paul Wolfowitz who was sojourning with the Americanites and was an esteemed Minister of the President convinced the Americanites to attaketh the Iraqites so that the Palestine-ite bombers would stoppeth their outrages and the realm of the Israelites could be secured. And it came to pass and the Iraqites were vanquished and the Americanites made the sacrifice in life and treasure while the Israelites gained the benefits. And Paul Wolfowitz was like a light unto the Israelites and a finder of lost children.”

        The imagined quotes above are somewhat true and somewhat false accounts of recent events involving Jewish/Israeli actions between 1967 and 2003 from a plausible Jewish point of view. I am uncertain if the archaeological record will show that the Soviet Made fighters of the Egyptian Air Force were destroyed on the ground, and archaeological traces of Paul Wolfowitz 3000 years from now may become lost also. But if there comes to be a second sort of scripture about post-1945 times the above fictional verses may be the only record.

        All of this is a long and fanciful way of saying that the Old Testament, **may or may not** be literally true but it should serve as a **Horrid Warning to us regarding the cultures of the Levant and Arabian Peninsula.** At least that is how I interpret the Old Testament by my Inner Light. We should take Old Testament very seriously indeed.

        Notice how the career of Abraham Lincoln, George Armstrong Custer, Theodore Roosevelt, T. E. Lawrence, and even Hitler and Churchill have parallels to the Norse Epics while the career of Bernie Madoff is so much like Joseph and his Coat of Many Colors.

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted October 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          It could be that fake stories from the OT have the ring of truth because those stories serve as models for subsequent Jewish behavior.

  7. Rudolf
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Very thorough article. You didn’t mention the one sect of Christianity that is explicitly pro white: Christian Identity. Now there are some nutty ideas in the movement, just like any other religious movement. But the Bible makes perfect sense if you just connect the historical dots and understand that the people who call themselves jews today are not the Israelites of the Bible. The word “jew” was not even used until II Kings ch. 16. The northern ten tribes of Israel and most of Judah was deported by the Assyrians. These millions of people were never heard from again in the Old Testament. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah focus on the tiny remnant of 42,000 Judahites that returned from Babylon. What happened to the vast majority of Biblical Israel? If God just tossed these people aside, then there is no use in further discussion, as he broke his everlasting promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the book is meaningless. The obvious answer is the bulk of Israel was deported to the region around the Caspian Sea, and over the remaining 700 years migrated north and west into Europe and Russia. The Bible makes perfect sense when you realize that WE, the white races, are Biblical Israel. Even before I discovered this, I had a terribly hard time picturing the Son of the Living God as a hook-nosed banker with mole-eyes. Hell, even the satanic “jewish” book, the Talmud, describes the Virgin Mary as “fair of hair and blue-eyed” right before it calls her a “whore hairdresser who is boiling in semen for all eternity.” Our greatest ally, folks. Anyhow, Christian Identity is definitely worth looking into. Just avoid some of the kookier groups that say the non-white races were born of a three way orgy between the serpent, Eve, and Adam. Most of the movement doesn’t believe this.

  8. Whites Unite
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    The Old Testament is noticeably less ethnocentric than modern Talmudic Judaism.

    The Old Testament mentions many prominent non-Jews who believe in Jehovah: Job and his friends, Melchizedek and his followers, the priest of Midian (the father in law of Moses, whom Moses relied on for advice), and Balaam son of Beor.

    King David is descended from a Moabite woman.

    Isaiah showers astonishing praise on King Cyrus of Persia.

    There is a verse which reminds the Jews to be favorably disposed towards Egyptians, since they had once been guests in Egypt.

    In another verse, we are told that God helps the Jews exterminate the Canaanites because of the wicked practices of the Canaanites, not because of favoritism for the Jews, and the Jews will face the same punishment if they fall into the same evil practices.

    Even in the case of the Canaanites, the Jews were not permitted to break their solemn vows to achieve extermination. When they are tricked into a league with the Gibeonites, they must honor their vows. King Saul brings the wrath of God upon Israel when he breaks the promises of Joshua and persecutes the Gibeonites.

    Talmudic Judaism is a perversion of pre-Christian Judaism as surely as “Christian Zionism” is a rejection of Christianity in favor of the hyper-ethnocentric teachings of Talmudic Judaism.

    • Posted October 9, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Whites Unite wrote:

      The Old Testament mentions many prominent non-Jews who believe in Jehovah …. the priest of Midian (the father in law of Moses, whom Moses relied on for advice),

      That could be interpreted as a cultural recollection, surviving in Israel’s traditions, that Jehovah was originally a Midianite god, as some modern historians argue. So Jethro, the priest of Midian, is a noble figure and Moses marries his daughter, Sephora/Zipporah.

      But at least by the period following the return from exile, the old friendly relations between Israel and Midian that remain in the Old Testament were textually repudiated. The massacre of the Midianites in Numbers 31 is among the more famous examples of Jehovah’s savagery. It arguably included — or rather, was imagined to have included — the rape of the unmarried Midianite women, along with much slaughter.

      Balaam son of Beor.

      That’s like citing the Amalekites as an example of Israel’s openness to the Other.

      I referred above to the expulsion of non-Israelites (and Israelites with impure lineages) after the reading of the Pentateuch. The reason for the expulsion, which was very likely an actual historical event, is that when Israel learned of the treachery of Balaam from the recently constructed bible, all rose up in a new certainty that the land of Israel should be cleansed of impurities:

      “And on that day they read in the book of Moses in the hearing of the people: and therein was found written, that the Ammonites and the Moabites should not come in to the church of God for ever: Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and water: and they hired against them Balaam, to curse them, and our God turned the curse into blessing. And it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated every stranger from Israel” (Nehemiah 13.1-3).

      It is likely that many of the people expelled thought of themselves as Jews, but they were insufficiently Jewish for the new post-exile orthodoxy, which valued high levels of racial purity.

      That, of course, was ancient Israel’s prerogative. The event happened long ago in a different place. But since the OT has become a Western religious text, we should be clear about its character.

      Balaam was, naturally, executed along with the Midianites, if we believe the story. So if the Israelites did once value his advice, they didn’t remain grateful for long.

      Isaiah showers astonishing praise on King Cyrus of Persia.

      Cyrus had allowed the Israelites to return to Judah and rebuild the temple. Since the Isaiah author/scribe who made the prophecy was writing after the return, he had no difficulty predicting Cyrus’ future generosity and praising him for it.

      In another verse, we are told that God helps the Jews exterminate the Canaanites because of the wicked practices of the Canaanites, not because of favoritism for the Jews, and the Jews will face the same punishment if they fall into the same evil practices.

      The religion of ancient Israel was radically ethnocentric. Since it was a religion rather than a set of explicit racial policies, it required religious reasons for the racial ethnocentrism it mandated. Hence Jehovah’s concern that intermarriage with non-Israelites might lead Israel away from the true God, or his anger at unacceptable foreign religious practices. In terms of its practical effects, these religious rules, purportedly from the mind of Jehovah, are no different from NS Germany’s race laws. I say that as someone who, for the most part, approves of NS Germany’s race laws.

      We should have no philosophical objections to another people’s ethnocentrism, and since most of the massacres described in the OT are fictions, there should be no strong moral objection to the text, just as we shouldn’t get mad at Greeks for tricking Trojans in Homer.

      The highly ethnocentric character of ancient Israel’s religion meant that our forefathers had to systematically misread the OT in order to assign to many of the events it describes meanings that the OT authors never would have contemplated.

      Crossing over Jordan, as it is presented in the OT, was the first stage in the massive ethnic cleansing of Canaan that Jehovah had demanded and that Joshua brutally executed. In Christianity it acquires a spiritual meaning and much later became the subject of a beautiful folk song (“Poor Wayfaring Stranger”). The moral and spiritual meaning assigned to “crossing over Jordan” is _our_ creation, not the creation of the Jews who invented the story. They intended a much different meaning, and they would be surprised to learn that centuries later Europeans would, for spiritual reasons, celebrate the great military victories that they had textually manufactured.

      Quoting Calvin again: “Here we see that the Lord is the final reward promised to Abraham that he might not seek a fleeting and evanescent reward in the elements of this world, but look to one which was incorruptible. A promise of the land is afterwards added for no other reason than that it might be a symbol of the divine benevolence, and a type of the heavenly inheritance, as the saints declare their understanding to have been.”

      The Old Testament is noticeably less ethnocentric than modern Talmudic Judaism… / Talmudic Judaism is a perversion of pre-Christian Judaism as surely as “Christian Zionism” is a rejection of Christianity in favor of the hyper-ethnocentric teachings of Talmudic Judaism.

      I wouldn’t state it as strongly as you do. I would say instead that Talmudic Judaism is an intensification of the sacred ethnocentrism structured into Israel’s religious texts after the exile.

      The story of Adam and Eve may have been intended originally as a universal creation story for the entire human race. By the time of Jubilees (ca. 150 BC) it appears to have become the story of Israel’s creation. Adam was now a Jew who followed Jewish cult practices. Humans (=Jews) would therefore inherit the world, and non-humans (= non-Jews) would lose those parts of it they temporarily occupied: “… kings shall come forth from thee [i.e. Jacob/Israel], and they shall judge everywhere wherever the foot of the sons of men has trodden. And I will give to thy seed all the earth which is under heaven, and they shall judge all the nations according to their desires, and after that they shall get possession of the whole earth and inherit it for ever” (Jubilees 32.18-20).

      In other words, the sacred ethnocentrism of Israel was intensifying. The Talmud was one later result.

      Whatever our varying opinions of the New Testament, it is a civilized book light years away from the Talmud.

      Philip Schaff, the great Protestant historian of the church, called first-century Judaism “a praying corpse” and the Talmud the corpse’s “petrification.” A century ago Christians were much bolder and much more honest.

      — Irmin

      • Whites Unite
        Posted October 13, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        I forgot to mention The Book of Jonah.

        God orders Jewish prophet Jonah to minister to the worst enemies of the Jews, the Assyrians. Jonah resists. God punishes and rebukes Jonah. The people of Nineveh repent of their wickedness, and avoid the wrath of God. God uses Jonah’s shady vine to illustrate his love for the people of Nineveh.

        Peter and Paul were right.

        Hagee is wrong, because he is influenced by the Talmud, Cabala, and PC, not the Bible.

        Thank you for this article, it contains good material to use against “Christian Zionism”, and so do the comments.

  9. Ray Symm
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never seen a critique of Christian Zionism coupled with a critique of non-Zionist Christian beliefs. I feel this was very comprehensive.

    I just wanted to add that Christ himself called the Pharisee Jews a brood of vipers whose father was the devil, so if everyone who curses the Jews is cursed then Jesus himself is cursed. Obviously Jesus is not cursed, therefore Christian Zionism contradicts the new testament but Vinson argues the universalist new testament itself is a contradiction with the ethnocentrist old testament. So Christian Zionism is like a double negative that adds up to a positive, the old testament’s alleged original intent which was to benefit Jews at the expense of gentiles. It’s a shame because without the palliative of universal redemption in New Testament Christianity, Christians couldn’t be made to swallow the plan of being the servants of Jews.

    Also, if transforming an ethnocentric Israelite religion into Christianity was alchemical then transforming Christianity into Christian Zionism was at least equally alchemical. With its publication of the Scofield bible, Oggsford university press was the alchemist.

    You know, I think political correctness is sort of a double negative too. It negates blind impartiality by stigmatizing whites, males, goyim, etc, allegedly in the interest of fairness. These double negative beliefs are sort of like synthetic tribalism which grow after real, blood tribalism is quashed by universalism.

    • Posted October 10, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Ray Symm:

      So Christian Zionism is like a double negative that adds up to a positive, the old testament’s alleged original intent which was to benefit Jews at the expense of gentiles.

      When these Christian Zionists head off, cash in hand, to Israel to support Zionism and illegal settlements, they’re often asked to promise explicitly not to try to convert any of the Jews they meet there.

      So for the privilege of assisting Jews with money and political support, they’re willing to repudiate their Messiah’s instructions about evangelism and their religion’s teachings about salvation. They get absolutely nothing in return, not even a request from Israeli Jews to American Jews that they quit attacking their Christian “brothers in faith.”

      I doubt there could be a better example of the cuckold meme. The Christian Zionist has convinced himself that he is acting boldly on behalf of Christ and Christianity, but his actions benefit a rival (and regularly hostile) religious community, while at the same time they require that he empty his Christian faith of much of its most crucial content and that he read his Old Testament as a non-Christian would read it. He loses when he thinks he is winning, and he not only loses, he also pays Jews money for the privilege of losing. The Israeli Jews these Christian Zionists support must have complete contempt for them.

      Judaism is the master, and Christian Zionism the master’s servant. Some of these Christian Zionists likely find that an attractive structure. Serving obnoxious (but holy) Jews gets them in touch with the Jewish roots of their religion, and they get to learn some Hebrew while they’re being sodomized.

      — Irmin

  10. Andrew
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate the learned, scholarly nature of this article, obviously the author is well read on this topic. I have a few comments and quibbles.

    ” contrary to the fictional ethnogenesis reported in the Old Testament, emerged from among indigenous Palestinians”

    I think this conclusion is unfounded. Jews are genetically distinct from their surrounding population, with IQs and brain processing patterns (strong verbal, etc.) are very different from their neighbors. My understanding was that they were a tribe originating in the Caucasus, raiding their way through Mesopotamia until eventually settling in Palestine. There was some exogamy with local populations, but mating was mainly endogamous, thus maintaining a distinct genetic line. In light of strong genetic differences, a long time of separation makes more sense than just a gradual coalescing of the locals.

    Also, I do not think it is reasonable to assume that strong oral traditions, such as the exodus, are completely false. There is almost always at least a kernel of truth to them, just as there is with the Trojan war. Whether there is current archeological evidence or not (absence of evidence proves/disproves nothing), it is likely that something happened with Jews in Egypt, it was not just a Jewish Pecos Bill at work, and his tales adopted as fact. (Wanderings through a deserted landscape thousands of years ago would generally leave little in the way of archeological evidence).

    “If Jehovah is the only god, then he must, if he is just, be the god of everyone. The same Lord must be the Lord of all (Romans 10.12). Any redeemer he might care to send would act for the benefit of humanity as a whole.”

    In original Mormon theology, the inequality between races is explained by the War in Heaven, where people such as the Africans were cowardly and failed God. Europeans had been valiant, and had thus earned certain blessings. There is also the view that the curse of Cain lies heavy on Africans. The point is that while all humans are God’s children, it does not logically follow that all must receive the same favor and blessings.

    Reading through the article, I was reminded of how formidable and adaptive Jewish theology is. For me, there really isn’t much to criticize, it does what religion is supposed to do: give righteous sanction to a people, giving them confidence, will to power and the justification to do what is necessary to survive. The call of survival is frequently ugly, and a people must be willing to do what is needed when necessary – massacres, wars of extinction, etc. – if it is to continue to exist.

    Hagee, and those of his ilk are cuckolds, pursuing the interests of racial aliens and against the interests of his own kind. While I find much of value in Christianity, I do completely agree that Christian Zionism is a heresy, although I would go further and name it as an abomination, a twisted sickness that is hateful to God.

    • Posted October 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink


      Whether there is current archeological evidence or not (absence of evidence proves/disproves nothing), it is likely that something happened with Jews in Egypt, it was not just a Jewish Pecos Bill at work, and his tales adopted as fact. (Wanderings through a deserted landscape thousands of years ago would generally leave little in the way of archeological evidence).

      The opposite is closer to the truth. One reason why archaeologists can be so certain the exodus story is false is that a large migration through the dry desert would leave many physical traces. Archaeologists have been looking for such traces since the 1800s and have never found any.

      Quoting the archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, a leading authority on the subject, from his _Bible Unearthed_:

      Some archaeological traces of their generation-long wandering in the Sinai should be apparent. However, except for the Egyptian forts along the northern coast, not a single campsite or sign of occupation from the time of Ramesses II and his immediate predecessors and successors has ever been identified in Sinai. And it has not been for lack of trying. Repeated archaeological surveys in all regions of the peninsula, including the mountainous area around the traditional site of Mount Sinai, near Saint Catherine’s Monastery …, have yielded only negative evidence: not even a single sherd, no structure, not a single house, no trace of an ancient encampment. One may argue that a relatively small band of wandering Israelites cannot be expected to leave material remains behind. But modern archaeological techniques are quite capable of tracing even the very meager remains of hunter-gatherers and pastoral nomads all over the world. Indeed, the archaeological record from the Sinai peninsula discloses evidence for pastoral activity in such eras as the third millennium BCE and the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods. There is simply no such evidence at the supposed time of the Exodus in the thirteenth century BCE .

      Since, as Andrew says, belief in the story is so strongly and so frequently expressed in the bible, it would seem likely that the exodus from Egypt is somehow true. But it isn’t. The historicity of the exodus is no longer defensible. Defenders of the general historical reliability of the Old Testament now concede as much. The exodus has now joined the age of the patriarchs as myth.

      It is always possible that tomorrow morning we’ll wake up to learn that some consensus-shattering archaeological discovery has restored the exodus to real history, but for the moment it remains a myth and will almost certainly remain a myth.

      Quoting Finkelstein again:

      No mention of the name Israel has been found in any of the inscriptions or documents connected with the Hyksos period. Nor is it mentioned in later Egyptian inscriptions, or in an extensive fourteenth century BCE cuneiform archive found at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, whose nearly four hundred letters describe in detail the social, political, and demographic conditions in Canaan at that time. As we [i.e. Finkelstein and his co-author] will argue in a later chapter, the Israelites emerged only gradually as a distinct group in Canaan, beginning at the end of the thirteenth century BCE . There is no recognizable archaeological evidence of Israelite presence in Egypt immediately before that time.


      The Merneptah stele [ca. 1207] refers to Israel as a group of people already living in Canaan. But we have no clue, not even a single word, about early Israelites in Egypt: neither in monumental inscriptions on walls of temples, nor in tomb inscriptions, nor in papyri. Israel is absent—as a possible foe of Egypt, as a friend, or as an enslaved nation. And there are simply no finds in Egypt that can be directly associated with the notion of a distinct foreign ethnic group (as opposed to a concentration of migrant workers from many places) living in a distinct area of the eastern delta, as implied by the biblical account of the children of Israel living together in the Land of Goshen (Genesis 47 : 27 ).

      There is something more: the escape of more than a tiny group from Egyptian control at the time of Ramesses II seems highly unlikely, as is the crossing of the desert and entry into Canaan. In the thirteenth century, Egypt was at the peak of its authority—the dominant power in the world. The Egyptian grip over Canaan was firm; Egyptian strongholds were built in various places in the country, and Egyptian officials administered the affairs of the region. In the el-Amarna letters, which are dated a century before, we are told that a unit of fifty Egyptian soldiers was big enough to pacify unrest in Canaan….

      Putting aside the possibility of divinely inspired miracles, one can hardly accept the idea of a flight of a large group of slaves from Egypt through the heavily guarded border fortifications into the desert and then into Canaan in the time of such a formidable Egyptian presence. Any group escaping Egypt against the will of the pharaoh would have easily been tracked down not only by an Egyptian army chasing it from the delta but also by the Egyptian soldiers in the forts in northern Sinai and in Canaan…..

      That is not a minority opinion. It reflects a strong scholarly consensus.

      Moreover, the exodus story relies on the invasion story or some equivalent: If the Israelites escaped from Egypt, they must have arrived later en masse in Canaan. Yet the invasion story is also no longer defensible. The OT lists the cities supposedly destroyed by the invading Israelites under Joshua. Some were in fact destroyed, but at much different times. Only the ruins of Hazor may fit the story, but the competing view is that Hazor was destroyed from within. The ancestors of Israel were among the many Canaanites who fled the declining Canaanite city states.

      The debate about the bible as history now centers around the reliability of stories about the united monarchy under David and Solomon. Almost everything before David (ca. 1000) is now non-history.

      I stress again that this scholarly view is not some cutting-edge novelty. It is now an established consensus, based on archaeology. Israel was in Canaan by around 1207 BC. Any invasion theory therefore must find evidence from before 1207 of an invasion, and there isn’t any evidence.

      Moreover, there is physical evidence of small proto-Israelite settlements in the highlands of Canaan. One later feature of these settlements is the absence of pig bones. Whereas the Philistines in Canaan ate pork, the Israelites didn’t. So it seems clear that the most famous of Jewish dietary regulations dates back to Israel’s early centuries. It was a cultural practice designed to distinguish Israelites from their more powerful rivals, who had arrived in Canaan after 1200.

      … throughout the Iron Age—the era of the Israelite monarchies—pigs were not cooked and eaten, or even raised in the highlands. Comparative data from the coastal Philistine settlements of the same period—the Iron Age I—show a surprisingly large number of pigs represented among the recovered animal bones. Though the early Israelites did not eat pork, the Philistines clearly did, as did (as best we can tell from the sketchier data) the Ammonites and Moabites east of the Jordan.

      • Andrew
        Posted October 16, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for taking the time to provide this exceedingly comprehensive reply. You have presented a powerful case against the Exodus story. I have always assumed that the biblical story contained at least some truth, and the information you have presented requires a paradigm shift. I need to research this more fully before I am ready to accept that, being a stubborn person.

        My concern with the archeological consensus regarding the Exodus is that it seems to be attempting to test the official biblical story, which is clearly inaccurate. There was no migration of hundreds of thousands of slaves fleeing Egypt, spending 40 years in the desert. Determing what, if anything, did happen with Jews in Egypt is speculation, and I certainly have only a sketchy layman’s understanding of what evidence there is.

        What I do know is that by around Augustus’s reign, Jews were a distinct people, distinct by their genetic makeup. All the Roman complaints about them are exactly the same as Dr. MacDonald identifies. They had prodigious talents related to accumulating resources, gaining control of monopolies, influencing politics and undermining a nation-state. The Jewish mind is determined mainly by heredity, not culture. Its characteristics are striking, and it operates very differently than every other known genetic line.

        The consensus archeological theory suggests that this developed from a gradual coalescing of non-Jews, who mutated into Jews over a period of 1200 years. This seems to me very unlikely. A mutation generally happens to 1 person, who then passes this on to others over a long period of time, with the mutation becoming predominant due to natural selection. Is 1200 years enough time for that to happen? Is it likely that a population without the mutation would coalesce so strongly into a highly related one within that timeframe? It seems unlikely to me. Archeology, which is fraught with politics and political correctness, does not consider this important issue, and attempts to portray itself as a dispassionate science.

        My understanding is that there is an Egyptian stele which indicates a victory over “Israel” around 1200 BC, which may have been a tribe of raiders harrying Egyptian trade. My speculation is that conflict between a small Jewish tribal group and Egypt resulted in a Jewish perception of persecution by Egyptians, and some incident occurred which was later embellished to become the Exodus story, in the same way as the Trojan war was possibly a trade war with another domain that was later embellished to become the Illiad.

        In any case, my speculation is not supported by the archeological consensus, although I have the suspicion that geneticists who understood the unique nature of Jewish biology would agree that the archeological consensus is not the best explanation.

  11. Sandy
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    After all that I am surprised no one mentioned Isaiah 34:8 For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.

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