With his upcoming “Restoring Courage” event in Jerusalem, Glenn Beck, the former Fox News personality, is morphing from culture warrior and conspiracy theorist into super Zionist.
That may not be a good thing, however, because Beck’s expression of Christian Zionism overlaps with the steps recommended by some Christian leaders to ingratiate themselves to Jews and gain access for proselytizing.
Christian Zionists, including several directors of John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, are at the heart of a network of support for Messianic Jewish missions that have perfected methods for outreach to Jewish communities and make Jews for Jesus look like amateurs. (Messianics in this context refers to Jews who have converted to evangelical Christianity but retain some aspects of Jewish identity and observance.)
Beck recently spoke to members of the Knesset and delivered the keynote speech at the CUFI summit in Washington, D.C. In both places, Beck quoted Ruth 1:16 – “Your people shall be my people” – and was received enthusiastically.
Beck’s Jewish audience, however, missed a layer of meaning that many of evangelical Christians in America understand. In quoting Ruth, Beck was also quoting one of the leading guides for how Christian Zionists should approach Jews: “Your People Shall Be My People: How Israel, The Jews And The Christian Church Will Come Together In The Last Days.”
For Don Finto, the author of the 2001 book, bringing gentile and Jewish believers (Messianics) together is crucial for “hastening of the coming of the Lord Yeshua in glory,” which cannot take place until Israelis call for Yeshua (Jesus) to return as their messiah. Moving the hands of the prophetic clock depends on proselytizing that is aggressive but savvy. Finto, by the way, claims that over 400,000 Jews have adopted a belief in Jesus in recent decades.
In his book, Finto advises Christian Zionists on how to “harvest” Jewish souls: Repent of the Holocaust vocally and frequently; stress the Jewish roots of Christianity; and aid Jews in the “final Exodus” to Israel.
That “final Exodus” can be a bit disturbing to Jews, but it explains one of the odder moments of Glenn Beck’s Knesset appearance: his claim that a wave of anti-Jewish persecution is imminent. The good news: Finto instructs his readers to prepare to be righteous gentiles when the anti-Semitism hits, meaning to save Jews from death. Christian Zionist leaders teach that this coming “Tribulation” period is necessary to Jesus’ return. Hagee, in “Daniel to Doomsday,” says that these prophesied persecutions are necessary “to bring Israel to the place that she will recognize Jesus Christ as Messiah.”
Finto urges his readers to cleanse themselves of “every vestige of anti-Semitism.”
But the love of Jews does not necessarily extend to a love of Judaism. In “Your People Shall Be My People,” he quotes a leading Messianic “rabbi,” Dan Juster, who attacks Rabbinic Judaism as “a severe departure, replacing revelation with human reason….We who are Jewish are biblical Covenant Jews, not Rabbinic Jews.”
It’s not a surprise, then, that Christian Zionists play a lead role in the evangelical community’s efforts to proselytize Jews, described in their lingo as “blessing Israel.”
Both Finto and Juster have served on the board of CUFI director Robert Stearns’ ministry, which organizes the international Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem and has received the personal endorsement of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Similarly, Beck’s upcoming “Restoring Courage” event has been promoted on the website of the Messianic ministry Maoz Israel of Tel Aviv, which also includes the endorsement of John Hagee and several CUFI directors. Maoz Israel also describes saving Jewish children from Judaism as “blessing Israel.” This and other Messianic ministries in Israel are promoted to Christian Zionists worldwide through the publishing empire of yet another CUFI director, Stephen Strang.
It is understandable that many Jewish and Israeli leaders are eager to accept the warm embrace of Christian Zionism while overlooking the proselytizing and the increasing demonization of Rabbinic Judaism that characterizes Christian Zionist activism. That it is understandable doesn’t make it wise.