John Hagee denies Jesus claimed to be the Messiah
by Matt Slick
Dr. John Hagee is the founder of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. Cornerstone is a nondenominational church with several thousand members. Dr. John Hagee can be seen on more than 160 television stations and 50 radio stations across America. He is the author of at least 10 books.1
On the surface, everything looks good. On his website at jhm.org, Dr. John Hagee affirms the basics of the Christian faith including the deity of Christ, the Trinity, etc. His beliefs page is not very precise, but it appears to be within orthodoxy. The problem, however, is with his new book “In Defense of Israel” where Dr. Hagee apparently states that Jesus was not the Messiah. If you were to go to youtube.com2 you can hear where Dr. Hagee speaks regarding his book and says his book, In Defense of Israel, will prove that “Jesus did not come to Earth to be the Messiah,” (20 seconds in) and that ” . . . since Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered?” (32 seconds in). Obviously, this is a huge problem.
Hagee defines ‘Messiah’ as political deliverer
So, instead of making my judgment on a one minute sound bite, I bought the book and went through it. I didn’t read the whole thing. Instead, I went to the section (Chapter 10, pages 121-169) where he dealt with Jesus as the Messiah. In short, Hagee takes several pages to characterize the Jewish idea of the Messiah as being a political deliverer who was supposed to free Israel from Roman oppression. This is very significant. Hagee defines Messiah not as a spiritual deliverer, but as a political one. To substantiate his position, Hagee calls Moses the messiah of Israel and speaks of the political deliverance of Israel from Egyptian oppression. Note what Hagee says in his book:
” . . . God gave Moses four signs to convince the children of Israel that he was their messiah . . . He knew he was anointed of God to overthrow Egypt and lead the Jewish people to the promised land.” p. 136.
“The next two signs God gave Moses were to convince the children of Israel that Moses was their Messiah.” p. 136
“When impetuous Peter could stand it no longer, he blurted out, ‘You are the Christ.’ Or in other words, ‘You are the anointed one! You are the Messiah who will lead the Jews in their revolt against Rome.'” p. 140
“Even after his resurrection and repeated denials that he would not be the Messiah, his disciples were still hanging on to the last thread of hope that he would now smash realm (Acts 1:6).” p. 141
For reference, Acts 1:6 says, “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
“He refused to be their Messiah, choosing instead to be the Savior of the world.” p. 143.
Notice that in quote number 1 Hagee cites Moses as the Messiah of Israel who was to overthrow Egypt. In quote 3 Hagee interprets Peter’s words to again relate the term Messiah as a political deliverer. In quote 4 Hagee cites Acts 1:6 which is a reference to restoring Israel as a political power. So, we can conclude that Hagee is defining the Messiah as a political deliverer. Therefore, if we were to use this definition, Hagee is correct. Jesus did not come to be a political Messiah. But, Dr. John Hagee has still made a big mistake. He has failed to define his terms adequately and caused an uproar.
The term Messiah and John Hagee’s error
Remember, in the video2 John Hagee said his book, In Defense of Israel, will prove that “Jesus did not come to Earth to be the Messiah,” (20 seconds in) and that ” . . . since Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered?” (32 seconds in). He did not clarify what he meant by Messiah–and I think he did it on purpose. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the word as it is used in the New Testament–something Hagee should have done but didn’t do in his chapter. The English word “messiah” is translated from the greek μeσσίας (messias) and is found only two times in the New Testament:
John 1:41, “He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ).”
John 4:25-26, “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.’ 26 Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.'”
We see that Jesus is called the Messiah in John 1:41 and in John 4:25-26 Jesus affirms that he is the Messiah. This flatly contradicts Hagee’s statement that on the video that ” . . . Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah.” Dr. John Hagee is just plain wrong!
There are two significant points worth mentioning here. First, the word “messiah” is translated as “Christ”: “messiah” is the Old Testament Hebrew equivalent for the New Testament Greek “christ”. So whenever we see the word Christ used in the New Testament, we know it is speaking of Messiah. Second, Jesus himself affirmed that he was the Christ. Here are some additional scriptures that confirm this.
Matt. 16:16-17, “And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.'”
Mark 14:61-62, “But He kept silent, and made no answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
See also Luke 24:26,46; John 10:23
So, since Jesus affirmed that he was the Messiah (John 4:25-26) and the Christ (Matt. 16:17; Mark 14:61-62; and John 17:3), we must conclude that Hagee has clearly not done his homework regarding how the word is used in the Bible. He has failed to do proper research. How can this be? Why would Dr. Hagee fail to mention these verses and the plain scriptural teaching that Jesus is the Messiah?
I can see only two possibilities to explain Hagee’s blatant oversight–but I must state that these are only my opinions. First, perhaps Hagee worded his advertisement and book in such a way to cause controversy and increase sales. I don’t know, but it caused me to buy the book so that I could research what he meant. Second, Dr. Hagee has such a huge agenda regarding his support for Israel that he has apparently allowed himself to do shoddy and incomplete research regarding this topic of the Messiah so as to support a particular view of Israel to the complete denouncement of what is known as Replacement Theology.
There are a lot of people complaining about John Hagee’s comments and rightfully so since they are misleading. They do not represent the full scope of the term Messiah and they are incendiary. Though I do not like defending him in this issue, I must remind the reader that as far as Hagee’s definition of “messiah” being a political deliverer goes, he is correct; Jesus did not come to be a political deliverer and free Israel from Roman rule. However, Dr. Hagee needs to be far more clear and define his terms. I’m convinced he knew the uproar his statements would cause.
Furthermore, he needs to reassess his comments and adopt a more biblically complete position regarding the Hebrew term Messiah (which is equivalent of the Greek term Christ). For example, Christ is Messiah (John 1:41); Christ as Son of Man coming on the clouds (Matt. 26:63-64); Christ as Savior (Luke 2:11); Christ as King of the Jews (Luke 23:2-3); Christ will reign forever (Rev. 11:15), etc. These are definitely “political” as they show Christ as someone who is King and who reigns. He also should address Jesus’ very clear claim to be the Messiah in John 4:25-26. I mean, how could he not address it?3
Finally, there were other things in the book that I thought were problematic, but the intent of this article is not to focus on them. Nevertheless, I believe that Dr. Hagee writes with a very specific agenda, the ultra-support of Israel, and I think it has clouded his judgment. He needs to step back, reassess his work, and clarify his position.
John Hagee’s “In Defense of Israel”
Written by Jacob Prasch
Thank you for your e mail.
While I appreciate John Hagee’s support for Israel, he is clearly theologically misguided.
Some months ago prior‚ to his book being published we were aware of where he was going and Mike Oppenheimer (a Jewish brother in discernment ministry) and I discussed it and considered some action. The problem is that John Hagee officially denies that he is dual covenant and he seems to accept the basic tenets of the New Testament faith.
To begin with Mr. Hagee is way out of his league in that he plainly does not to comprehend the Jewish Messianic expectations‚ of the time of Jesus; Ha Moshiach Ben Yosef (Messiah Son of Joseph, aka Ben Ephraim, the suffering servant of Isaiah 52 & 53 prefigured by Joseph in The Book of Genesis), and Ha Moshiach Ben David, Messiah Son of David, the conquering King prefigured by David.
He also plainly does not understand the Jewish background of John 10 among other passages.
1. There were miracles of healing blindness that only the Messiah would be able to do in Jewish thought of The Second Temple Period. They also believed that Messiah would reveal Himself at Chanukah. (The Feast of Dedication in John 10). In John 10 (and John 5) , contrary to the assertions of John Hagee, Jesus did publicly complain about disbelief in Him after witnessing Messianic miracles even though these are not the key to faith in Him (but rather hearing The Word of God).
At some points Jesus did play down the miracles. But‚ in John 10, The Jewish Feast of Miracles Jesus pointed to them openly and publicly as evidence of His Messiahship (John 10:22-26).
John Hagee is dead wrong. At Chanukah , the Jews were expecting a warrior-priest Messiah in the character of the Macabees to get rid of the Romans as the Macabees did the Selucids. On Palm Sunday/Pesach they expected a Kingly Messiah like David to depose the Romans‚ at the triumphal entry by making a right inside the East Gate and‚ kicking The Roman legion out of the fortress Antonio. Instead, He made a left turn and got rid of the Kenneth Copeland’s and Benny Hinns of the day.
It is His purpose as the‚ Son of David in His 2nd Coming to set up Kingdom Dominion. His 1st coming was to atone for sin.
2.‚ John Hagee‚ is additionally wrong about most Jews not rejecting Him as Messiah (Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22, Luke 17:25, John 1:12, Matthew 21:42, Acts 2:31& 36 in Peter’s kerygma‚ ; Christ = Messiah).
To claim that Jesus never openly proclaimed Himself as Messiah is silly. He did it both privately (John 4), and when the time was correct, publicly (Matthew 23:10).
Mr. Hagee does not again understand the Jewish Festal background‚ in the the Gospels and how Jesus fulfilled them. He could only openly reveal His Messiahship by the prophetic agenda in the Hebrew Holy Days of Leviticus 23‚ & 24, specifically at the High Pilgrim Feasts.‚ The times when Jesus (Yeshua) played down His Messianic identity is because it was not the appropriate time or place. The Jews rightly believed Messiah would reveal Himself at Chanukah and Passover in Jerusalem, not‚ at another time elsewhere such as in Galilee.
Again, the level of ignorance exhibited by Mr. Hagee is astounding. It is not his obvious‚ ignorance of the Jewish background of the Gospels that is the main problem, but rather that in writing a book he misrepresents himself as having an expertise where he has none.
He is a doctrinally confused man who is misleading others and such an irresponsible book does more to harm the cause of opposing the error of replacement theology and of enlightening the church about the prophetic purposes of God for Israel and the Jews than it does to assist it. I am sad that a good friend of Israel with what I believe is a sincere love for the Jews has frankly made himself look like a theological charlatan in the eyes of any serious conservative Evangelical scholar.
I agree his book demands refutation. I am planning to record a‚ CD addressing his book when I am next in The USA in January. Having said that, the definition of a heretic from the Greek “heraseis” or Hebrew “kopher” is one who forms a schism based on a serious false doctrine.
There are avid supporters of Israel who indeed are proven heretics such as Malcom Hedding (leader of International Christian Embassy), and there are certainly heretics within the Messianic Movement (Mark Kinser), and we openly say so.
The problem with John Hagee‚ appears to be‚ rather ignorance, and a‚ misguided zeal that has rendered him doctrinally delusional.‚ Because he is not in denial of any basic tenet of biblical Christianity however, and because he claims not to be “dual covenant”, I would not personally describe him as‚ heretical. I‚ plan to publicly challenge much of his wrong doctrine. But I do not plan to attack him as a heretic as I have, for instance, Malcom Hedding because‚ I do not think he has gone quite that far. But he is skating dangerously close to the edge of it.
I would like to see perhaps Arnold Fruchtenbaum, a Messianic Jewish Bible expositor and theological author who lives in Texas near John Hagee, try and straighten him out.
I trust this helps.
Thank you for taking this letter.
I am very disturbed about a book and TV commercial that has been recently‚ put out by John Hagee.
If you have not heard, John Hagee has‚ authored a new book titled ” In Defense of Israel.”
In this book he makes the following quotes…(I am still in the process of confirming these as fact and should have this finished today – 11-20-07)
If God intended for Jesus to be the Messiah of Israel, why didn’t he authorize Jesus to use supernatural signs to prove he was God’s Messiah, just as Moses had done? (p. 137) Jesus refused to produce a sign ” ¦ because it was not the Father’s will, nor his, to be Messiah. (p 138) If Jesus wanted to be Messiah, why did he repeatedly tell his disciples and followers to “tell no one” about his supernatural accomplishments? (p. 139) The Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews. (p. 140) They wanted him to be their Messiah, but he flatly refused. (p. 141) He refused to be their Messiah, choosing instead to be the Savior of the world (p. 143) Jesus rejected to the last detail the role of Messiah in word or deed. (p. 145)
He has also produced a TV commercial that just about floored me
In TV commercial he claims that his book proves with scripture that…
The Jewish people as a whole did not reject Jesus as Messiah
That Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah
That Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah
So how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered.
There are 11,687 views of this single TV commercial. There are other copies of the commercial on the site, one with 4,815 and another with 5,527 and yet another withÃ‚ 7,751
This TV commercial alone has seriously damaged the gospel and defamed Christ to the world with over 25,000 people already based upon the views on You Tube.
In light of his words, he is of antichrist as spoken in 1 John 2:22
1John 2:22 (KJV)‚ Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
And I find his words to be that of a heretic as defined below…
1. A person under any religion, but particularly the Christian, who holds and teaches opinions repugnant to the established faith, or that which is made the standard of orthodoxy. In strictness, among Christians, a person who holds and avows religious opinions contrary to the doctrines of Scripture, the only rule of faith and practice.2. Any one who maintains erroneous opinions.
I seek your opinion from a Messianic ministry in what Hagee is claiming.Do you have any articles pertaining to Dual Covenant or canÃ‚ you offer help in refuting these lies?‚ Although Hagee adamantly denies dual covenant, it appear he is twisting scripture and is writing some mutated form of DC theology.
I plan on writing an article exposing these lies as we are called to do in Jude 3.
Again, thank you for your time in this matter of contending for the faith.
In His Service,
Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah
Die tyd raak min, maak maar seker jou eskatologiese vertrekpunte is korrek!