A number of Paul Wilkinson's resources are available to view or download HERE
In today's program, Tom continues his series of discussions with Paul Wilkinson, conference speaker and author of Understanding Christian Zionism and Prophets Who Prophesy Lies in My Name. Now, along with his guest, here's TBC executive director Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. My guest for this series (we’ll probably do a number of programs) is Paul Wilkinson, and we are critiquing together a program which Hank Hanegraaff did with Dr. Gary Burge, a professor at Wheaton College. Dr. Burge champions Christian Palestinianism, and Hank is a big supporter of that.
So what we're trying to do is encourage our listeners to, first of all, listen to what Hank and Gary are talking about, and then be Bereans. "Search the scriptures to see if these things are so." So we're going to pick up with a clip from the last few minutes of our program last week, just...you listen to it, and then Paul and I will bring in our evaluation, our critique.
Hank: I think of the end times controversy edited by Tim LaHaye, where he points out that when Jacob's descendants rejected and crucified Christ, they suffered two distinct consequences: the first was that the flock of Israel was dispersed, but the second is the death of two-thirds of the flock. And when will that happen? Well, it supposedly is going to happen during a great tribulation when Israel will suffer tremendous persecution, and then two-thirds of them will die in a bloody holocaust, and that is right around the corner. That is something that Jews can anticipate any moment according to this theory.
Tom: To repeat our comments on what Hanegraaff had to say last week…this is, again, the Bible Answer Man, and he seems to imply, or maybe he's outright saying, that Tim LaHaye made this stuff up. No, this was presented by the prophets, the Tanakh, the Old Testament prophets. This isn't something that…just given to a man's interpretation. No, this is what the Scriptures say.
The other aspect of this is we're talking about the prophets, the prophets of God - the Jewish prophets of God - and we're talking about the Tanakh, the Old Testament. What about the Book of Revelation? What's that all about? That's God pouring out His wrath, not just against Israel for their sins, but the entire world! And do you just cut that off? Do you just throw that out? It's unbelievable what we're hearing.
Paul: Yeah, yeah. I mean, the Book of Revelation is the prophecy of the Lord Jesus. It's His final word to His church and to mankind, and the majority of the Book of Revelation (which Hank Hanegraaff will deny) is future. Hank Hanegraaff wants to say that most of this has already been fulfilled - even that a lot of it was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Roman armies came and sacked Jerusalem, and that was, in a sense, the “second coming” of Jesus in judgment. No, this is - as you said, as you identified - this is the wrath of God and the wrath of the Lamb coming upon a world, including Israel as a nation… Praise God for all the Jewish people that are coming to faith in the Lord Jesus and are becoming part of the body of Christ. Their hope - their destiny is the same as ours in the Rapture. But there is going to be a nation of Israel - an apostate nation of Israel - left behind after the church has gone that is going to be the very epicenter of the wrath of God when the nations are coming against Israel when the Antichrist is on the scene.
And the Book of Revelation...I mean, there's blessing in there for the church! That's how it begins in v. 3: "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy,” and who listens to it, who takes to heart what is said in there.
But this is the warning of the Lord that a time is coming when He's going to draw the line and say, "No more. No more idolatry. No more worshipping of false gods, and no more seeking to destroy my people," and the Lord's wrath is going to be poured out. And we have never seen the events specified in the Book of Revelation, especially from chapter 6 right the way through to the end; we have not seen any of those events fulfilled yet. They are to come.
Tom: And you can't spiritualize them away. I mean, they try. You can't allegorize - you can't put a spin on it that… I mean, it's dishonest. It's basically dishonest to attempt to do that.
Paul: Yeah, you can do all those things…
Tom: Yeah, right?
Paul: …but run foul of the Word of God, and totally contravene the principles of true biblical interpretation. You know, we're not left - God has not left us into the hands of certain men that have got all the answers and are telling us, "It's not as it reads on the surface. You've got to dig deeper. You've got to look for the allegorical or hidden or spiritual meaning." No, God wants everyone to understand what He has said, and of course only those who have faith in Jesus can have the mind of Jesus. We can understand through the Holy Spirit. But from the youngest child to the oldest man or woman, God wants all of His people to know what is coming on the earth, not so that we get caught up in some euphoria or some, you know…
Tom: Buy freeze-dried food. Yeah, right.
Paul: Yeah…and speculation and conspiracy theories, but so that we're ready for when Jesus comes back for us, and so we can be true witnesses to the Lord Jesus and His Word and His character. And sadly, through the ministry of Hank Hanegraaff in this area that we're discussing, this is not a faithful and true witness.
Hank: The theory of two peoples of God has chilling consequences not only for Jews but also for Palestinian Arabs. Palestinians today form the largest displaced people group in the world.
Tom: Paul, is it true what he just said? Not just the largest in the world - the Palestinians, are they an ethnic group? Are they, as we would call the Jews, an ethnic people who have a place where they live - a land and so on - and been displaced, dispersed throughout the nations, and then restored back in 1948? Who are the Palestinians, and is what he said true?
Paul: No, what he said is not true. And there's an element of truth in some of the things that he said, because they were displaced or displaced themselves as a result of a concerted attempt to destroy the nation of Israel as soon as it was established in - well, before it was established in 1948 when the United Nations, the nations of the world, decided by virtue of a resolution to partition the land that they want to call Palestine - we know biblically is the land of Canaan; it's the Promised Land; it's the land of Israel. The United Nations issued this resolution to create a Jewish and an Arab state. This was the resolution that was passed by a majority of the nations November 29, 1947. The Jewish people, who had been promised much more territory through the Balfour Declaration and through the Palestinian Mandate, as it was called, that was given by the League of Nations in 1920 and ratified in 1922 to the British government to oversee the restoration of the Jewish people - not at the expense of the Arabs in the land, but to oversee the restoration of the Jewish homeland in the land that was known then as Palestine. The Jewish people accepted it, even though they were getting a bad deal; they were not getting what was promised by the nations to them. They accepted it. They wanted an end to the fighting. They wanted an end to the uprisings.
Ever since the Jewish people were going back - especially at the beginning of the 20th century there was Arab uprisings stirred up by the Islamic Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in particular - Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who later became a very close ally of Adolph Hitler. And he would stir up part of the Arab population in that land to believe wrongly (this was the lie) that the Jews were coming in to take their place. The Jews were coming in to "cleanse" them. The Jews were coming in to steal their land. That is not at all accurate to the historical record. The Jewish people were fleeing anti-Semitism, especially in Europe. They were trying to find a safe haven in a world that had rejected them, and not only rejected them, but had consistently persecuted them right the way from the very beginning.
And you know, in the last 2,000 years, you think of the expulsion of the Jewish people from various countries during the Spanish Inquisition - even from England, my country, in 1290. And you think of the pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, and ultimately the Holocaust. No, the Jewish people were seeking a place where they could live without threat of being destroyed.
But, again, we've got an Islamic undercurrent here, because the Islamic Arab population believes that whenever a piece of territory has been taken over in the name of Allah, it remains Islamic. It remains given over to Allah. And so for a Jewish people, who do not recognize Allah as God, to come in and establish their own nation again, that was like a big poke in the eye to the Islamic giant; it wakened the Islamic giant.
Now, that takes us down a different path, but what we had consistently from the time the Jewish people were back in the land, especially from 1917 when the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, we had uprising. We had riots. We had murderous threats. We had all kinds of things taking place trying to put a stop to any thought of a Jewish state being reestablished in the land.
So when this resolution by the United Nations is issued in 1947, what happens? The Arab armies attack. You know, many Arabs in the land attacked with the support of Iraqi forces and Syrian forces and forces from other neighboring Arab countries trying to destroy or trying to stop this Jewish state from coming into being.
What did the Jewish people do? They defended themselves with nothing! They had no F-16 fighter jets, they had no missiles, they had no rocket launchers, they had nothing! They weren't trained as military men; they'd come from Europe, and many of them were business men and lawyers and all the rest of it. They were trying to just live in what was for them a foreign land - not foreign because of their ancestry and the promises of God, but foreign because they hadn't lived there; they hadn't lived in that kind of environment. And so they defend themselves.
And eventually, as this war escalates once May 14, 1948 comes about, and David Ben-Gurion declares the independence of this new state Israel, once the Arab war against Israel begins in earnest, the Jews - they suffer, endure terrible losses to begin with, but then they overcome. Then they start to gain the upper hand.
And what you have happening over the airways, the radio airways, are Arab leaders outside the land of Palestine, as they were calling it, Israel as we know it today - saying to the Arab population, "Get out, because we are going to drive the Israelis into the Mediterranean Sea, and then you can return."
The problem was they didn't drive the Israelis into the Mediterranean Sea; but the majority of the Palestinian Arabs, they left. They left their homes, and a lot of their - you know, a lot of the reason why they left was because of the propaganda from their own people: "The Jews are coming to rape your women. They're coming to kill your children. They're coming to steal your homes."
And you even had the Jewish fighting forces, especially groups like the Haganah, in Arabic over the radio and through leaflets and flyers that were distributed in the Arab Palestinian communities - even groups like the Haganah, the military wing, were saying, "Don't leave your homes! We're not coming to destroy your homes. We're not coming to drive you out. We can work together. Don't listen to your own leaders. Don't listen to your Grand Mufti. Don't listen to the Arab leaders round about you telling you that this is our objective. We want peace."
And that is what you read in the Declaration of Independence that Ben-Gurion read out on May 14, 1948 appealing, as all the Zionist leaders did right through the 1910s, '20s, '30s, '40s - the Zionist leaders were appealing to the Palestinian Arabs: “Work with us! Receive us, work with us, and we can make this land prosper."
Now, that's a long-winded answer to the question, but who are the Palestinians? They are Arabs who were either living in the land that historically became known, sadly, as Palestine, because that word comes from the emperor Hadrian in around AD 130 when he sought to push - to quell the Jewish uprising, and he wanted to obliterate every Jewish connection with the land of Israel, and so he used the word “Philistine.” He knew that the Philistines were the archenemies of the Israelites, and so he created this term Syria Palaestina where we get Palestine from. He renamed the land of Israel Syria Palaestina - even renamed Jerusalem. And so from that moment on historically, every resident, be they Jew or Arab, became known as a Palestinian. But there was no Palestinian nation, no Palestinian state, no Palestinian legislature, no Palestinian capital - it was just a land that was conquered and re-conquered by many, many different kingdoms and groups.
But once Israel was established and once Israel gained the strength and the upper hand, then this notion of a Palestinian nation with a history and a culture began to be employed by the PLO in the 1960s, especially by Yasser Arafat, as a means of attacking Israel philosophically, politically, using propaganda, because they knew by that time Israel could not be defeated militarily.
"So let's get the world on board with this idea that there has been a Palestinian people, and they are the ones being ethnically cleansed." No, the Palestinians in the land - those who call themselves Palestinians - they are Arab people; they are real people. That's how they want to be known, as Palestinians. The Lord Jesus died for them, the Lord Jesus loves them; they can all know forgiveness just as we all can know forgiveness, but they caused their own problems by attacking and consistently persecuting the Jewish people. They would not entertain Jewish neighbors, and so now they are reaping - sadly - reaping what may be a minority, but a very large minority has sown over the years, and they are suffering. Yes, the Palestinian Arabs are suffering in the land. It needn't have been that way. If they had blessed the Jewish people, God would be blessing them right now.
Hank: I'm going to be talking in just a moment to Dr. Gary Burge who explains that Israeli historians now talk about the mass and planned expulsion of the Palestinians. "This is an early form of ethnic cleansing," says Dr. Burge. The most troubling national confession has been the destruction of at least 400 Palestinian villages, the ruin of dozens of Arab urban neighborhoods, and several massacres that would motivate the Arab population to flee. In other words, we now have the largest displaced people group in the world largely on the basis of a theology. The question is does that theology square with Scripture? And again, that is precisely why we're offering With God On Our Side.
Dr. Gary Burge was someone who was very instrumental in my thinking as I began writing The Apocalypse Code…find out what the Bible really says about the end times and why it matters today. And I appreciate his contributions to this subject in a lot of different venues, and in this case particularly with respect to a contribution to this DVD With God On Our Side, which we are now offering to our constituency. Again, you can order in a safe, secure fashion on the World Wide Web at equip.org.
Dr. Burge, good to have you on the broadcast.
Gary Burge: Hank, it's great to be with you again. Thank you for that nice summary. I really do hope your listeners take advantage of this opportunity to get a hold of With God On Our Side. Great film, just a stirring documentary. Its director-producer Porter Speakman put an enormous amount of energy into this film…
Tom: Paul, from your perspective - this is a documentary, so it's your opinion - but give us a brief synopsis of what the documentary is about.
Paul: Well, the documentary's pure propaganda. It's aimed at Christian Zionists, or should I say a particular group of Christian Zionists that are very involved politically with Israel. So a few extremists are highlighted - in particular John Hagee, and he is set up as the archetypal Christian Zionist, the Christian that stands with Israel based on the Bible. And so they go to task looking at his organization and say, "Well, this is what all Christian Zionists are like." And that's a typical approach that's adopted by people like Hank Hanegraaff and Gary Burge: set up the straw man, set up maybe a very controversial figure you can easily knock down, you can easily criticize, and therefore you've won the argument because every Christian is somehow in that same mold.
So it's a documentary that looks at the whole situation in the Middle East through the eyes of this young American guy who was apparently raised with a Christian Zionist understanding, and now he's being shown what's happening on the ground. He's taken over to the land and he meets Palestinian people, and suddenly his perspective is understanding changes. His theology changes because now he's encountering Palestinians with their narrative, with their story of what the Israelis have so-called done to their people.
So With God On Our Side is saying, "Well, this is what the Christian Zionists are saying: 'God is on our side. God is on Israel's side.'" And they are trying to confront that. Gary Burge is, you know, very prominent in that film; Stephen Sizer, his British counterpart, is very prominent as are a couple of Palestinian evangelical leaders. And it is just trying to attack Israel, and it's trying to just reach the evangelical world.
This is - this has been a key turning point, I would say, in…well, not a turning point, but a new strategy that has been unfolding in recent years. Whereas it was traditionally the liberal Protestant church that would get on the pro-Palestinian bandwagon, now it's the evangelicals, especially in North America, who are being targeted: "If we can get that community that traditionally has been so pro-Israel on our side, then we can maybe make a difference in this whole dispute."
Paul: And let me just say - this documentary which came out in 2010, it has been all across the United States, it's been all across the United Kingdom, it's been all across New Zealand…it’s been very influential. It's been played in Harvard, in Princeton, in Pepperdine University in California, it's been played in…
Tom: Certainly Wheaton, which is supposed to be the Harvard of evangelicals.
Paul: Yeah, in Wheaton. It's been played - or it was scheduled to be played in Britain at Cambridge University. It was even shown - and this is significant - it was even shown at Stormont, which is the parliament building of the Northern Ireland Assembly. And the room in which it was screened - and Stephen Sizer was presenting the film at that point - the room in which With God On Our Side was screened at Stormont was the room belonging to Sinn Fein. Whenever you hear the words Sinn Fein, usually IRA is not too far behind. So the people that are behind this don't care who they will share platforms with, don't care who will endorse their material, they just want to gather as many allies as possible and create this groundswell movement within the church to attack Israel.
And just to give you another avenue with this, With God On Our Side has some very notable endorsements: Tony Campolo very publicly has endorsed this DVD, saying it's so much needed in the church today; Frank Schaeffer, son of the late Francis Schaeffer - Frank Schaeffer calls himself an atheist who believes in God. I don't understand that at all, but he is very…
Tom: He's a strange guy.
Paul: …very, very public. Brian McLaren, emerging church guru - very, very closely allied with the so-called "Palestinian church" - he has endorsed it. It's a propaganda tool; it's a weapon in the hands of those who are more politically motivated than they are biblically motivated.
What you will find in Hank Hanegraaff's program, what you will discover with documentaries like With God On Our Side, is very little reference to the Word of God, because this pro-Palestinian crusade against Israel, it has no foundation in the Word of God. It might have a theological basis, or it might be hung on certain scriptures that have to do with justice and peace: "Blessed are the peacemakers…” I have heard that so many times, all out of context. But there is no firm biblical foundation, and that's why it's dangerous, and it's infecting the church. It's confusing many believers, and when you've got names like Hank Hanegraaff promoting it, many people believe, "Well, it must be okay. It must have some..."
Tom: Mm-hmm. Because he's the Bible Answer Man.
Paul: Yeah, and he's not giving the right answers to this problem that is before the world right now, and I think the reason why it's so prominent right now with what's going on with Hamas and Israel is that God is not just calling the world to make a decision, make a judgment, God is calling the church to decide: “Now, where do you stand? Do you stand with My people based on My Word, or do you stand with the political agenda of a world that's under the control of the Evil One?"
Now, in standing with Israel, it doesn't mean you stand against the so-called Palestinians; it doesn't mean you stand against the Arabs or you stand against the Muslims, it means you stand on the Word of God, which is inviolable. It's inerrant. It’s…you know, it's eternal. Not one jot or tittle shall pass from God's law, and that's where we stand. We stand on the Word of God, and if you truly stand on the Word of God, you can't stand against Israel.
Gary Burge: We've rounded up evangelicals from around the world to speak to this issue. And I think your summary, Hank, of the things which are being taught by Tim LaHaye and John Hagee and others, when you actually lay them out the way you do…
In fact, as I was listening to you, Hank, it just reminded me of how disturbing that whole theological narrative actually is. We get used to it, but I think if somebody outside of the church were to listen to that narrative, they would be so disturbed by what's being taught in some of these books and churches.
So, you know, With God On Our Side gives someone an opportunity to hear another narrative, and that's what we're about. We're not about condemning Israel, we're not about, you know, judging those people who are, you know, returning to Israel as Jews who have suffered in Europe, what we're really about it saying, "Wait a minute, there is a Christian ideology which is promoting a kind of violence to the Palestinians." And here in America, we just don't get a chance to hear that story.
Hank: And what you point out is that there are Semitic horrors like the Holocaust, but there are also untold Semitic horrors, and what I really appreciate with respect to what you have done is you have provided or identified real names and faces for the victims in the villages that were uprooted at gunpoint. So often we can talk about this, and do talk about this in Christian circles as gypsies being uprooted, but you point out these are real people, real flesh and blood individuals, human beings, and in some cases they are believers committed to the cause of Christ.
Gary Burge: Oh, absolutely, and I think what I am - I've had a good portion of my career has been involved in this issue. And you know, when I'm sort of discussing this issue with someone who is disagreeing with me, I know that every time I just put them in a plane and have them go with me to that country, to Israel and Palestine, and meet these Christian families, they can't believe what they're hearing and seeing. This narrative simply hasn't made its way into the public thinking at all in the United States.
Let me give you an example: in March, 700 evangelicals gathered in Bethlehem for an international conference trying to tell this other side of the story. I led a group of about 35 evangelical students to this conference, and when it was over, we all got into a bus, and we went to this wonderful Palestinian Christian village called Aboud. And you know, we spent an entire day in Aboud on a Sunday worshipping with the Christians who are there, having meals in their homes - it was a great day. And then what happened was families in Aboud took my students for a walk, and as they walked, they began to tell the story of their village and how it's encircled, and how many of them have been forced to leave, and - oh my gosh! The story just goes on and on. And, you know, my students walked out of there and they said, "You know, you just don't believe it until you see it yourself." And that's what we hope God On Our Side is going to do.
Tom: There are certainly other stories - Paul has a number of them of friends of his who live in Israel who are Arab Christians, and we'll get that perspective next week, the Lord willing.
So my guest has been Paul Wilkinson. We've been critiquing a radio interview between Hank Hanegraaff and Dr. Gary Burge, and we'll pick up with this again next week, the Lord willing.
Gary: You've been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. Paul Wilkinson's books are available through The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God's Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019, Bend, Oregon, 97708. Call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I'm Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you can tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.