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In the course of his long career Pastor John Hagee has been chasing the end of times, beating a muscular pro-Israeli drum, establishing the world's largest pro-Israel organization, and accumulating extraordinary wealth. Now, with Blood Moons rising, his End Times war chest is bubbling over.
"I believe that the heavens are God's billboard, that He has been sending signals to planet Earth, and we just haven't been picking them up."
– Pastor John Hagee
Harold Camping, the Oakland, California-based preacher who wrongly prophesized the coming of the End Times is now gone, but there's no shortage of End Timers out there in America. Anne Lotz Graham, the daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, recently wrote a column claiming that the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 could be a sign of the coming of The Rapture; a reboot of the Left Behind movie, based on Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' mega-best-selling Left Behind series of apocalyptic novels, is due in theaters in early October; and now, Pastor John Hagee, the master of his multi-million-dollar domain in San Antonio, Texas, is peddling an End Times book directly linked to "blood moon" eclipses.
Before your head explodes at the thought of yet another story about an End Times-inflamed preacher, consider this. Not only does Pastor Hagee preside over the mega-church, Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, but he also heads a multi-million-dollar medias empire. Not only is he a powerful political player within the Republican Party, but he has established significant political connections in Israel. The faithful have lapped up many of the more than 30 books he has written, including: "Earth's Final Moments," "From Daniel to Doomsday: The Countdown Has Begun," "Can America Survive?: 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are The Terminal Generation" and "Jerusalem Countdown," which was made into a not-very-well-received movie. I think you get the general themes of Hagee's oeuvre!
Perhaps his most significant accomplishment, however, came in 2006, when Hagee founded what is now the largest pro-Israel religious-based lobbying group in the world, the 1.3 million member Christians United for Israel (CUFI).
Hagee's Christian United for Israel
According to Foreign Policy magazine, which at one time named Hagee as one of fifty people having the greatest influence over the GOP's foreign policy, CUFI "has done more than just about any other organization to make Israel a defining foreign-policy issue for evangelical Christians in the United States."
For years, Hagee has been advocating a more muscular approach to crises in the Middle East. Recently remarking on Iran, Hagee told CBN News that "The only reason that Iran will not acquire a nuclear bomb will be that Israel chooses a military solution to that crisis.
"I believe that if that happens, it will start a series of events that will change the course of world history," he said. "If Israel does not, then it will still change the course of world history."
"When all is said and done, the flag of Israel will be flying over the walls of the city of Jerusalem when Messiah comes, and it's going to be forever," he said. "And every nation that rises up in judgment against Israel God will punish and punish severely."
In a 2008 interview, Glenn Beck asked Hagee: "You had several meetings with fairly prominent individuals. You've met with Benjamin Netanyahu. Have you had enough conversations with these people to tell them that you believe that we're living in the end times, and what is their reaction?"
Hagee replied that Netanyahu had come to visit him in his "office" and that they "have talked about the geopolitical circumstances of the Middle East."
Hagee's involvement in domestic presidential politics has had its ups and downs. After desperately seeking his endorsement in 2008, Senator John McCain was forced to dump Hagee from campaign activities after Talk2Action's Brice Wilson discovered a tape of Hagee claiming that God sent Hitler to chase Europe's Jews to Israel.
Four years ago, researcher and writer Rachel Tabachnick commented about Hagee's End Times pursuits: His "books and sermons sketch out the prophetic timeline that he believes will be fulfilled in this generation -- what he describes as the terminal generation. The ingathering of Jews in Israel is considered a prerequisite to the 1000-year reign of Jesus in the end times. Christian Zionists view themselves as 'fishers' who must befriend and persuade Jews to move to Israel before the 'time of the hunters.' Hunters are those who will violently force the remaining Jews around the world to leave their respective nations and flee to Israel."
In 2012, Hagee was back, tearing into President Barack Obama and basically beating the bushes for Mitt Romney.
'Four Blood Moons'
According to Religion News Service, Hagee's book, "Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change," "says something will happen to the nation of Israel due to the tetrad [four blood moons within 18 months]. The four eclipses occur on April 15 and Oct. 8, 2014, and April 4 and Sept. 28 next year. The ones in April occur during Passover, and the ones in October occur during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles."
"In extensive remarks available online on his interpretation of the Blood Moons, Hagee says, 'I believe that the heavens are God's billboard, that He has been sending signals to planet Earth, and we just haven't been picking them up,'" USA Today reported. "God is literally screaming at the world: 'I'm coming soon,'" Hagee added.
Hagee is suggesting "that a rapture will occur where Christians will be taken to heaven, Israel will go to war in a great battle called Armageddon, and Jesus will return to earth."
"There's a sense in the world that things are changing and God is trying to communicate with us in a supernatural way," Hagee told CBN News.
"I believe that in these next two years, we're going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world," he predicted.
According to USA Today, Hagee "has been preparing for this tetrad for years": "What is the prophetic significance (of the four blood moons)? Is this the end of the age?" Hagee asked his congregation during a sermon shortly after his book was released, Christian Today reported. Hagee cited Acts 2:19-20 as a sign: "And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord."
As of last week, Hagee's book was ranked No. 4 on The New York Times best-seller list in the advice/how to section, and No. 80 on USA Today's best-seller list, and has spent 152 days in Amazon's top 100 books.
Hagee, like any savvy preacher depending on his flock for ongoing financial largesse, always hedges his bets. Not wanting to be associated with the false prophesies, nasty publicity, and outright zaniness of someone like Harold Camping, Hagee is careful to couch his apocalyptic warnings in more nuanced "someday the end of days will come" rhetoric. This way, he gets to spout End Times warnings and still retain plausible deniability.