Sunday, May 25, 2008

Politics


I don't particularly like to discuss politics on my blog, but something happened this week that bears discussing.  It began when a friend emailed me with the news that John McCain had rejected Rev. John Hagee's endorsement because Hagee was "anti-Semitic." Ha!  

I wrote back saying, "That's not true. Hagee would sooner stomp on his own mother than say anything against the Jewish people." I know Pastor Hagee, and I know his heart . . . and his courage. He loves the Jewish people, he loves God, and he's not afraid to say what he thinks.  

Turns out that someone went through his sermon archives in search of something volatile (I suspect they were trying to do to McCain what someone else did to Obama re: Reverend Wright) and they came up with a 1990's sermon from the book of Jeremiah (16:15-17) --where the prophet said that God would send a "hunter" who would chase the people of Israel as a means of returning them to their promised land.  Hilter, said Hagee, was one of those hunters, because prior to WWII, the Jews weren't eager to return to Palestine. After the Holocaust, however, everything changed.  

The moment I read the details, I found myself in agreement with Hagee's interpretation of that passage. Much of prophetic scripture, you see, has two meanings--a literal meaning for the time in which it was written, and a prophetic meaning for later. The verse we all quote from Isaiah (7:14): "Behold, a virgin shall conceive" was referring to Isaiah's wife in his time (read on through 8:1-4) and the Hebrew word for "virgin" meant "young woman."  But that verse also refers, of course, to Jesus Christ, who was born of a literal virgin 200 years later. This is known as the "Law of Double Reference." 

(This doesn't apply to every prophecy, but to many). 

So whenever I read the prophets, I always consider what their words meant in their time (the exile to Babylon, the return, the sin in the divided kingdoms) and what their words could mean in our time (which I believe to be the latter days).  I'm not dogmatic about my opinions, because God is free to fulfill his word however he wants to do.  :-)  After all, many of the most learned scholars of Jesus' time missed his coming because they were stubbornly clinging to their own visions of a Messiah who would come to rule and reign. 

But I digress.  Anyway, as soon as I understood why McCain had rejected Hagee's endorsement, I was troubled.  I know that it's not politically correct to believe that God could be involved in tsunamis, earthquakes, or Holocausts, but when you understand the doctrine of God's sovereignty in all its fullness, you do understand that he is either Lord of all, or he's not Lord at all. 

In my book THE PEARL, a couple's adorable five-year-old son is killed in a freak accident with a car.  The mother, Diana, cannot understand why God would do such a thing.  When the pastor suggests that God didn't will it, she says, "Oh, yes he did. Because to say that he had nothing to do with it means he was either asleep at the wheel or he stood by and did nothing while my beloved son died."  

I know this is a hard truth--that God can use evil for his purposes--but we see it illustrated over and over again in Scripture.  God used the freely-committed evil of Joseph's brothers to save a nation from famine. God used the evil of Judas and jealous religious rulers to crucify Christ, who had to die in order to provide salvation. Over and over, God used the evil of other nations to judge the nation of Israel.  God does not sin and yes, he is love. But often we are so caught up in our grief and pain that we cannot see the love behind the hurt. 

I was ruminating on all these things, and today I found this article on the web.  I loved this quote:   

Orthodox Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, of Congregation Rodfei Sholom in San Antonio, appeared at an afternoon press conference yesterday to say Mr. Hagee's "words were twisted and used to attack him for being anti-Semitic."

In actuality, Mr. Hagee "interpreted a biblical verse in a way not very different from several legitimate Jewish authorities," the rabbi said.


"Viewing Hitler as acting completely outside of God's plan is to suggest that God was powerless to stop the Holocaust, a position quite unacceptable to any religious Jew or Christian," the rabbi said.


Exactly right.  I am sorry that McCain has rejected Hagee's endorsement because it reveals a true lack of knowledge about God and his authority over the affairs of men. But I don't expect politicians to be theologians. Bottom line, I wish McCain and his team had refused to rise to the bait--because that's exactly what this was, bait.  Furthermore, I suspect that whoever instigated this tempest in a teapot is dancing in glee, and that's downright annoying. 


BUT--I am once again reminded that in tough times--and I've had my share--I can rest in the fact that God is in complete control of everything that touches me (and you).  Everything.  Including this election. 


And that brings a peace beyond human understanding.  


~~Angie 


5 comments:

W. Mark Whitlock said...

Thanks for the careful explanation and research behind this post. You helped me get a grip on the issue.

Kay said...

I agree with you completely.
And there are many, many scriptural references to back it up.

I hadn't heard about this, though. I had heard something about Hagee recanting something he said about the Catholic Church.

Mocha with Linda said...

Thanks for these excellent thoughts. I get so tired of the way folks dig and pick and pull out of context without considering the whole picture.

How thankful I am that God is indeed sovereign. Including, as you said, over this election. And over these folks who make me so crazy!! :-)

K-Mac said...

I agree.
You've put into words exactly how I feel about God's sovereignty!
Thanks for this interesting and insightful post. :)

ElizabethMThompson said...

Thanks Angie for your insightful post. I thought the whole event was likely a deliberate attack on McCain and his supporters, but I knew nothing of Hagee and his teachings. It is sad when good people have their words twisted because of a political agenda. Thanks for enlightening your readers.