Christians United for Israel (CUFI)
CDAMM

Christians United for Israel (CUFI)

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Introduction

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is a right-wing American pro-Israel lobby group founded in 2006 by the American pastor and televangelist John Hagee (b. 1940­–). It is the largest pro-Israel organization in the world, and as of 2019 claims to have over seven million members (CUFI 2019). CUFI’s leadership is composed of American Christian pastors and other figures from the conservative, right-wing end of American Christianity. As such, their interest in Israel is underpinned by theological and eschatological concerns influenced by the theological scheme of dispensationalism. For them, Israel represents the fulfilment of biblical prophecy that points to the imminent rapture of the church. The rapture is one of dispensationalism’s most distinctive theological innovations, characterized by the secret, any-moment disappearance of the church (composed only of ‘true believers’) from the earth. Once the rapture occurs, Christian Zionists influenced by dispensationalism (such as Hagee and CUFI’s affiliated churches) anticipate a seven-year period of extreme violence known as the ‘Great Tribulation’, during which most Jews will be murdered by the Antichrist. In this scenario, violence in the Middle East will only end with the return of Jesus to Jerusalem, where he will establish a theocratic millennial kingdom from which he will rule the entire world.

CUFI (2020a) describes its aims in these terms:

Christians United for Israel is the largest pro-Israel grassroots organization in the United States. We transform millions of pro-Israel Christians into an educated, empowered, and effective force. We strive to act as a defensive shield against anti-Israel lies, boycotts, false theology, and political threats that seek to delegitimize Israel’s existence and weaken the close relationship between Israel and the United States.

In practice, CUFI is one of many organizations in the United States that works to shape American domestic and foreign policy in ways that favour Israel’s geopolitical goals, while also working to shape what counts as acceptable public discourse about Israel and its conflict with Palestine. CUFI supports Israel’s continued expansion into the West Bank and the Golan Heights, and acts as a supportive mouthpiece for Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and decisions in the United States.

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Origins and Development

CUFI was founded by Hagee in February 2006. Hagee, who has organized pro-Israel ‘Nights to Honor Israel’ from his Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, since 1981, brought together ‘over 400 Christian leaders each representing a denomination, mega-church, media ministry, publishing company, or Christian university’ in Washington, DC, to create a united voice in support of Israel under the banner of CUFI (CUFI 2020c). Although it is described as a grassroots movement, CUFI’s genesis and founding were carefully orchestrated around a series of public events and publications.

In the year CUFI was founded, its founding executive director and former chief of staff to former Republican senator Arlen Specter, David Brog, published his first book, Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State. The book was published by Frontline, a publisher that is part of Steven Strang’s Charisma Media empire. Charisma Media is a prominent source of media for conservative Christians who make up Pentecostal, fundamentalist, and other conservative formations of Christianity in the United States. Hagee contributed the foreword to Standing with Israel, while one of several chapters that describe contemporary Christian Zionists with unqualified approval identifies Hagee as ‘one of the most eloquent and forceful Christian Zionists preaching in America today‘ (Brog 2006, 65). As the subtitle of the book suggests, Brog is ostensibly interested in understanding why Christians support the modern state of Israel.

However, in addition to providing an answer to this question, much of the book is aimed at convincing American Jews—often uncomfortable with the outpouring of support from right-wing Christians—to embrace Christian support of them and Israel. Brog encourages members of the Jewish community to accept Christian support by arguing that contemporary Christian Zionists are the theological heirs of the ‘righteous gentiles’ who saved Jews during the Holocaust. At the same time, the book downplays a subject matter that has made many Jews particularly uncomfortable about accepting Christian support: the role that Israel and Jews play in many Christian Zionists’ eschatology, as well as accusations of evangelical antisemitism that some say are inherent in those beliefs (for some explicit critiques of Christian Zionism and CUFI from this perspective, see Jews on First 2020). Brog says that these criticisms of Christian Zionism are false and have been conjured up by the media (Brog 2006, 80–81), and encourages Jewish readers to look beyond stereotypes and view Christian leaders as ‘mighty oaks providing shelter from an ominous wind’ (Brog 2006, 249). The tenor of the book, and the comparison of contemporary Christian Zionists with righteous gentiles who saved European Jews during the Holocaust, mirrors how CUFI represents Israel in general—as a beleaguered nation continuously in a state of peril, with its long-term survival ultimately relying on (right-wing) Christian support.

A year later, in 2007, as part of the effort to advertise and grow CUFI, Frontline released Hagee’s book In Defense of Israel: The Bible’s Mandate for Supporting the Jewish State. The book shared similar recruiting goals with Brog’s, albeit targeted at a different audience. Rather than attempting to convince Jews to accept evangelical support of Israel, In Defense of Israel is aimed primarily at sceptical Christian audiences. The book claims to ‘[uncover] the true history of Christian anti-Semitism’, answer ‘Christian and secular critics who oppose support of Israel and the Jews’, and ‘awaken the sleeping giant of the evangelical church: Christians United for Israel’ (2007a, rear cover). While these themes feature in the book, Hagee also spends chapters on classifying ‘the peoples of the Middle East’, ‘the religions of the Middle East’, and ‘Revolution and Radical Islam’, with special emphasis on Iran (Hagee 2007a). Hagee’s focus on Iran stems from his belief that it will play a key role in an attack on Israel that he believes is prophesied in the Book of Ezekiel. This belief also fits within CUFI’s representation of its members as ‘Watchmen on the Walls’ with a divine mandate to act as God’s instruments to protect Israel from evil, which is discussed in more detail below.

Hagee sought further support for CUFI from the American Jewish Community when he gave a keynote address at the annual meeting American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 2007 (see Hagee 2007b). In that speech, he reiterated themes found in In Defense of Israel and another book of his that had been published the year prior, Jerusalem Countdown (2006), focusing especially on the Iranian nuclear programme, Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Christian support for Israel. In his speech he again described CUFI as ‘the sleeping giant of Christian Zionism’ that had finally been awakened, while also identifying Ahmadinejad as the new Hitler (Hagee 2007b).

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“For Such a Time as This”: CUFI’s Understanding of Prophecy, Providence, and Divine Inspiration

CUFI argues that supporting the modern state of Israel is a biblical mandate, and as such its leaders emphasize that to be a Christian one must support Israel. Invocations of the Bible to make this case tend to rely primarily on biblical injunctions related to Genesis 12:3 (NIV) (‘I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse’) and Isaiah 62:1 (NIV) (‘For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet’), along with other more ambiguous verses such as Esther 4:14 (‘For such a time as this’) (Durbin 2012). Although seemingly innocuous biblical verses that CUFI cites to explain its support for Israel, these verses are interpreted through a millennialist or apocalyptic lens. Likewise, its emphasis on ‘praying for the peace of Jerusalem’ (Psalm 122:6) is not prayer for a successful peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. Instead, it is a prayer for Jesus to return to vanquish what CUFI perceives as his (and their) enemies and establish the millennial kingdom, which CUFI believes is the only way true peace will be achieved.

Hagee’s writing and preaching career has focused predominantly on eschatology and what he believes is Israel’s essential role in the second coming of Jesus and the battle of Armageddon. These beliefs stem from Hagee’s adherence to the theological scheme of premillennial dispensationalism. Adherents of dispensationalism maintain that, among other things, the formation of Israel in 1948 was the fulfilment of biblical prophecy, signalling not only that God’s word remains true but also that Jesus would return within their lifetime. Moreover, Jesus’s return is also predicated on the escalation and exacerbation of extreme violence in the Middle East. This violence, which they maintain is inspired by satanic forces, will lead to the rapture of the church, the rise of the Antichrist, and the most extreme persecution of Jews since the Holocaust. This Jewish persecution will only end once Jesus returns to destroy the Antichrist in the battle of Armageddon, after which he will establish a theocratic government that will rule the world from Jerusalem (see, for example, Hagee 2018).

CUFI’s preoccupation with Iran, discussed below, has also raised concerns from outside observers that underlying its support for Israel is a desire to encourage Israel to engage militarily with Iran, resulting in a conflict Christian Zionists believe is prophesied in the Book of Ezekiel (38–39), which would hasten the rapture of the church and the battle of Armageddon (Blumenthal 2006; Posner 2006; Tabachnick 2010).

Hagee and members of CUFI’s executive leadership preach these beliefs regularly. Faith Bible Chapel (a CUFI-affiliated mega-church based in Arvada, Colorado), for example, frequently preaches about the rapture and God’s plans for Israel in the End Times. Its members describe Israel Defense Forces soldiers as God’s instruments, who will eventually become believers in Christ during the tribulation period and work to save Jews from the Antichrist’s programme of persecution (Durbin 2018a, 224–25). Mac Hammond’s Living Word Christian Center also promotes the need for Christians to pray for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem until the church is raptured (Durbin 2018a). In a video from 2018, CUFI regional director Joey Steelman explicitly references his belief that we are living in the End Times, stating excitedly that ‘the prophets of old wish they could be living in these last days that we’re living in’ (CUFI U 2018).

As noted above, Brog’s Standing with Israel sought to downplay the idea that eschatology is a contributing factor in Christian support for Israel, arguing that it is a media fabrication (Brog 2006, 81). Eschatology is also a theme that has been brought up at CUFI events, primarily as a counter-narrative to critical assessments of the organization and Christian Zionism in general. At CUFI’s 2010 Washington Summit, for example, Gary Bauer caricatured the media and at the same time used that caricature to refute CUFI’s association with apocalyptic thought:

You know I get reporters coming up to me all the time asking me [about eschatology] you know they want us to give them some obscure answer, something in the prophecies or whatever, where very bad things are going to happen to the Jews and somehow that will usher in the second coming, because they want to frighten our Jewish friends. They want to frighten Israelis to be sceptical and fearful of the support from us. We’re not going to let them do it. (Author’s transcription, Washington, D.C. 2010)

Similarly, at CUFI’s 2007 Washington Summit, Hagee told media that ‘our support for Israel has nothing to do with End Times Prophecy, it has absolutely nothing to do with Eschatology’(Blumenthal 2007). At that same conference, journalist Max Blumenthal spoke to many CUFI members whose explanations for their support for Israel directly contradicted Hagee’s claims, and they spoke openly about the importance of Jews ‘accepting Christ’ as well as the upcoming battle of Armageddon, after which security escorted Blumenthal from the building (Blumenthal 2007).

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Providence and Beliefs about Human Instrumentality in Divine Causes

Despite claiming their support for Israel has nothing to do with eschatology, CUFI officials maintain that the modern state of Israel is the fulfilment of biblical prophecy, that its existence points to the imminent return of Jesus, and that it is their duty as Christians to ensure that Israel maintains control over all of its territories to ensure those events can occur (see Hagee 2006, 2007a, 2010, 2018; Durbin 2018b). CUFI officials also see divine providence at work in the organization’s creation, growth, and success (Durbin 2018a, 54). They furthermore believe that neither the organization nor its members are acting on behalf of themselves or for political purposes, but on behalf of God and his plans of divine providence and redemption. In 2011, CUFI’s Cheryl Morrison told members that they had ‘an assignment from God in blessing and standing with Israel that will change the destiny of the world’, and that they had moved past ‘the Israel cheerleading sessions’ and were instead ‘into the induction into God’s army’ (quoted in Durbin 2018a, 75). At CUFI’s 2018 National Night to Honor Israel in Washington, DC, long-time Hagee collaborator Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg opened the evening by thanking God ‘for the many miracles we have witnessed’ in the past seventy years of Israel’s existence. Among the events described were ‘the miracle of the ingathering of the exiles’ and ‘the miracle called CUFI—Godly messengers whose teachings inspire Christians throughout the world’. Scheinberg concluded by thanking God for what he called:

The miracle called Trump/Pence—for recognizing Yerushaleim as Israel’s capital, for moving the American embassy there. For the renunciation of the Obama agreement with Iran. These miracles, the divine hand of God, I believe have been influenced by the efforts of Pastor John Hagee and CUFI. (CUFI 2018b, author’s transcription)

Scheinberg’s language and framing constitute one example of the way beliefs about divine providence are invoked to guide members, the organization, and the world to ultimate victory at the end of history.

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History as God versus Satan

CUFI officials also represent Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, and indeed the entirety of human history, as a battle between God and Satan. They claim that God promised Israel to Jews while Satan promised it to the Antichrist. For example, Hagee (2018) describes Israel’s role in a cosmic battle between God and Satan:

God chose the nation of Israel to provide the source of divine truth on this earth for the generations to come. Through Israel, the Almighty gave mankind His sacred Word, the Patriarchs, the prophets, and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Because Satan hates what God establishes, the spirit of anti-Semitism has prevailed through the ages in an effort to destroy this thread of redemption. (ch. 14)

Lynne Hammond (2017), national director of CUFI’s Daughters for Zion Prayer Network and wife of executive member Mac, explains it in similar terms:

Satan is always fighting God’s Word. He is always trying to stop it from coming to pass. He would love to see the land divided and the Jews pushed out of it. So he perpetually provokes and manipulates people toward those ends. In a nutshell, that is the reason for all the trouble in the Middle East.

This historical paradigm not only presupposes that the conflict in Israel and Palestine is unsolvable by human means but also that opposition to or criticism of Israeli military actions is ultimately evil (see Durbin 2018b). Moreover, it also functions to attribute divine qualities to historical and contemporary Christian actors who have made important contributions to the creation of the modern state of Israel and its continued expansion. This is why CUFI not only represents itself and its members as God’s instruments but also sees divine providence in the election of Donald Trump because he has withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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CUFI Leadership

CUFI’s current leadership structure consists of an executive board, regional coordinators, and a host of volunteers. From 2006 to 2015, Brog served as CUFI’s executive director. Although still maintaining his position on CUFI’s executive board, Brog stepped down as executive director in 2015 to take up the same role in the Maccabee Task Force. The Maccabee Task Force is a lobby group working to combat criticism of Israel on university campuses with an explicit focus on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which it claims is antisemitic (Horovitz 2018).

Hagee’s wife, Diana Hagee, now holds the position of coexecutive director alongside Shari Dollinger. Prior to her role as coexecutive director, Dollinger was CUFI’s associate director.

Early members of CUFI’s executive board included prominent evangelicals such as Robert Stearns, the founder of another Christian Zionist organization Eagles Wings Ministries; the late founder of the Moral Majority and pioneering figure of the Christian Right, Jerry Falwell; the charismatic healing televangelist Benny Hinn; and the Pentecostal minister Jack Hayford.

Beyond its executive leadership, CUFI has six regional coordinators based in different parts of the United States who engage in outreach activities. This includes encouraging congregations across the country to hold pro-Israel Nights to Honor Israel and other events in their churches.

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Politics and Structure

CUFI is a resolutely political organization. It works in conjunction with a broad range of right-wing pro-Israel organizations such as AIPAC, the Zionist Organization of America, and others that seek to shape American policy towards—and what counts as acceptable public discourse about—Israel and the Middle East in ways that strongly favour Israel. Since its establishment in 2006, CUFI has worked towards this goal in a number of ways, blending theological beliefs about Israel with more concrete political goals.

In addition to its annual Washington Summit, where members are able to physically meet to lobby their representatives, CUFI exerts its influence on policy makers and the public through its email networks; nationwide ‘Nights to Honor Israel’; its student wing, CUFI on Campus; and a television show called The Watchman, which airs weekly on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the largest religious broadcaster in the world.

In 2017, CUFI launched an educational initiative called CUFI U, short for CUFI University, which is modelled on a similar right-wing platform, PragerU, founded by conservative talk show host and CUFI guest speaker Dennis Prager. CUFI U revolves around the weekly presentation of 30-minute videos from CUFI members and other speakers on issues relating to Israel. CUFI U is advertised as ‘your opportunity to become a well-informed, confident, frontline defender of Israel’ in which members ‘can learn about the biblical, political, and cultural issues surrounding Israel from the most sought-after experts in the field’ (CUFI 2020b).

Daughters for Zion is another CUFI initiative, led by Lynne Hammond, which is focused on developing prayer groups devoted explicitly to Israel around the United States.

More recently, the movement has established the CUFI Action Fund, which is focused exclusively on Middle East foreign policy issues. Led by Gary Bauer and Ari Morgenstern, (both of whom have been involved in CUFI since its inception), the CUFI Action Fund is a continuation and more explicit focus on the policy issues that have preoccupied CUFI since its establishment (CUFI Action Fund 2020).

In 2018, Bauer, a long-time Christian Right activist who served in the Reagan administration, was appointed by President Donald Trump to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

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CUFI’s Geographical, Social and Political context

Since its inception, one of CUFI’s prominent foci has been Iran and its nuclear programme, which it claims poses an existential threat to the state of Israel and ultimately the world. As with CUFI’s other interests, its concerns about Iran are steeped in apocalyptic speculation. In early 2006, shortly after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected President of Iran, Hagee published Jerusalem Countdown. Originally subtitled A Warning to the World, it was revised and updated the following year under the new subtitle A Prelude to War. In this work, Hagee used Ahmadinejad’s goading of Israel alongside the country’s nuclear ambitions as events that pointed to the imminent rapture of the church as well as an Iranian attack on Israel that would act as a catalyst for the prophesied Gog–Magog War depicted in Ezekiel 38–39, setting off a chain of events Hagee believes will culminate in the rapture of the church and the battle of Armageddon. In his books, Hagee suggests that a pre-emptive strike on Iran to knock out its nuclear programme would be one of the potential, albeit difficult, decisions Israel would be faced with if Iran were to develop a nuclear weapon. However, at CUFI’s second annual Washington Summit, Hagee agitated more candidly about his desire for confrontation with Iran, declaring that ‘it is time for America to embrace the words of senator Joseph Lieberman, and consider a military pre-emptive strike against Iran to prevent a nuclear holocaust in Israel’ (Blumenthal 2007).

In a 2018 email to members, CUFI claimed it played a central role in numerous critical political decisions. These decisions included the end of American funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine and the passage of the Taylor Force Act (2018), which cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority. Most celebrated in that email, however, was Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital in the process. Moving the embassy was viewed by Hagee and other Christian Zionists in explicitly prophetic terms. Hagee, who was invited by the Trump administration to give the benediction of the embassy opening, described Jerusalem as the place where the messiah would soon return.

CUFI also played a role in influencing the vote on Mike Pompeo’s 2018 Senate confirmation as Secretary of State, when it encouraged over sixty thousand members to send ‘urgent emails to key senators’ (CUFI 2018a). Arguably one reason that CUFI supported Pompeo’s controversial appointment relates to his own religious views and their relationship to Israel’s prophetic significance. For example, while he was still a US congressman, Pompeo told attendees at a ‘God and Country’ rally that Christians needed to continue to ‘fight these battles’ against evil, ‘because there is a never ending struggle’ until ‘the rapture’ (Summit Church Kansas 2015). More recently, during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, asked whether Trump had ‘been raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from an Iranian menace?’ Pompeo responded: ‘As a Christian I certainly believe that’s possible’ (Brody 2019).

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Primary Sources and Scholarship on Christian Zionism

Primary sources by Christian Zionists and their supporters provide valuable insight into how they understand the world, and how they interpret contemporary and historical events based on that understanding. Many Christian Zionists claim that they support Israel because the Bible says that they ought to, often by referencing Genesis 12:3. Their critics, on the other hand, point to the apocalyptic scenarios that Christian Zionists describe in their books about prophecy that describe the extreme violence they anticipate to come with Jesus’s return, and argue that Christian Zionist organizations such as CUFI are merely trying to bring these events about. However, as Daniel Hummel (2019, 2) argues, ‘Relying too heavily on apocalyptic and evangelistic explanations has reduced the depiction of evangelicals to mere vessels, filled with only strange theological beliefs.’ This does not mean that apocalyptic or eschatological ideas are unimportant. As I have argued in my own work (Durbin 2018a), eschatological ideas have shaped and continue to shape Christian belief about Israel, even if Christians do not consciously identify them as such. Similarly, in her ethnographic work with a CUFI-affiliated church, Elizabeth Philips (2014) found that eschatological ideas had a strong influence on the way that this church engaged with Israel.

It is also important to emphasize that CUFI is one Christian Zionist organization among many. Due to the organization’s recent emergence, there has been relatively little scholarship that focuses on it specifically. My own work (e.g. Durbin 2012, 2013, 2014a, 2014b, 2018a, 2018b) has focused predominantly on CUFI, Hagee, and their interlocutors and detractors. In that work, I have focused on the reception of specific biblical texts and how readings of those texts are made authoritative; the way that political activities are reconstituted as acts of religious practice; and the way mythical discourse functions to constitute Christian Zionists’ identity as God’s instruments, which they argue is the only authentic form of Christianity. Elizabeth Philips (2014) has published ethnographic research on a church associated with CUFI, examining the influence that apocalyptic readings of the Bible have on the church’s understanding of, and engagement with, Israel.

Beyond the above, there is a range of scholarship on historical and contemporary Christian Zionism, which is listed below. Readers looking for broad historical analyses of the origins and different contours of Christian Zionism will find the work of Yaakov Ariel, Samuel Goldman, Shalom Goldman, Daniel G. Hummel, Donald Lewis, and Robert O. Smith useful.

Stephen Spector’s Evangelicals and Israel: The Story of American Christian Zionism (2009) is a useful overview of Christian Zionism in America up to the end of the George W. Bush administration. While Spector takes a dispassionate approach to the subject, some critical readers may find his willingness to let insiders have the last word on some controversial matters unsatisfactory at times. A more critical lens on Christian Zionism during the same period can be found in Victoria Clark’s Allies for Armageddon: The Rise of Christian Zionism (2007). Both of these works are written in an engaging and easy-to-follow style, and in that respect are two useful introductions to the subject matter for non-specialist readers. Clifford Kiracofe’s Dark Crusade: Christian Zionism and US Foreign Policy (2009) provides an overview of the role that Christian Zionism plays in shaping American foreign policy.

Gershom Gorenberg’s The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount (2000) provides an overview of some of the more extreme examples of the role that Christian, Jewish, and Islamic eschatology features in the political struggle over the Temple Mount.

Faydra Shapiro’s Christian Zionism: Navigating the Jewish–Christian Border (2015) is a scholarly work that shifts focus away from the political implications of Christian Zionism and instead interrogates what Christian Zionism means for Jewish–Christian relations and issues of identity.

Lastly, readers interested in Christian Zionism should also recognize that although it is defined in many respects by a theological disposition, it cannot be divorced from the broader social and cultural history from which it has emerged. As a result, works such as Melani McAlister’s Epic Encounters (2001), Michelle Mart’s Eye on Israel (2006), and Amy Kaplan’s Our American Israel (2018) provide invaluable analysis of the broader cultural history of American fascination with Israel that feeds into the way Christian Zionists engage with the modern Jewish state.

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Primary Sources and Publications by CUFI and Its Members

Brog, David. 2006. Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State. Lake Mary, FL: Frontline Press.

Brog, David. 2010. In Defense of Faith: The Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity. New York: Encounter Books.

Brog, David. 2017. Reclaiming Israel's History: Roots, Rights, and the Struggle for Peace. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing.

Christians United for Israel. n.d. [YouTube channel]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialCUFI.

Christians United for Israel. n.d. [Official website]. Retrieved from https://www.cufi.org.

Christians United for Israel. n.d. [Ebooks website]. Retrieved from https://www.cufi.org/resources/ebooks.

CUFI on Campus. n.d. [Official website]. Retrieved from https://www.cufioncampus.org.

Daughters for Zion. n.d. [Official website]. Retrieved from http://daughtersforzion.com.

Hagee, John. 1996. Beginning of the End: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Coming Antichrist. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Hagee, John. 1997. Day of Deception. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Hagee, John. 1998. Final Dawn over Jerusalem. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Hagee, John. 1999. From Daniel to Doomsday: The Countdown Has Begun. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Hagee, John. 2001. Attack on America: New York, Jerusalem, and the Role of Terrorism in the Last Days. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Hagee, John. 2001. The Battle for Jerusalem. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Hagee, John. 2006. Jerusalem Countdown. Lake Mary, FL: Frontline.

Hagee, John. 2007. In Defense of Israel: The Bible’s Mandate for Supporting the Jewish State. Lake Mary, FL: Frontline.

Hagee, John. 2008. Financial Armageddon. Lake Mary, FL: Frontline.

Hagee, John. 2010. Can America Survive? 10 Prophetic Signs that We Are in the Terminal Generation. New York: Howard Books.

Hagee, John. 2011. Earth’s Final Moments. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House.

Hagee, John. 2012. The Power of the Prophetic Blessing: An Astonishing Revelation for a New Generation. n.p.: Worthy Publishing.

Hagee, John. 2018. Earth’s Last Empire: The Final Game of Thrones. n.p.: Worthy Publishing, Kindle ebook Edition.

Styrsky, Victor. 2009. Honest to God: Christian Zionists Confront 10 Questions Jews Need Answered. New York: Artzy Books.

Scholarly Publications about CUFI/Contemporary and Historical Christian Zionism

Ariel, Yaakov. 1991. On Behalf of Israel: American Fundamentalist Attitudes towards Jews, Judaism, and Zionism, 1865–1945. Brooklyn, NY: Carlson.

Ariel, Yaakov. 2006. ‘An Unexpected Alliance: Christian Zionism and Its Historical Significance.‘ Modern Judaism 26 (1): 74–100.

Clark, Victoria. 2007. Allies for Armageddon: The Rise of Christian Zionism. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Durbin, Sean. 2012. ‘“For Such a Time as This”: Reading (and Becoming) Esther with Christians United for Israel.‘ Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception 2 (1): 65–90.

Durbin, Sean. 2013. ‘“I Will Bless Those Who Bless You”: Christian Zionism, Fetishism, and Unleashing the Blessings of God.’ Journal of Contemporary Religion 28 (3): 507–21.

Durbin, Sean. 2013. ‘“I am an Israeli”: Christian Zionism as American Redemption.’ Culture and Religion 14 (3): 324–47.

Durbin, Sean. 2014a. ‘Mediating the Past through the Present and the Present through the Past: The Symbiotic Relationship of American Christian Zionists’ Outsider and Insider Enemies.‘ Political Theology 15 (2): 110–31.

Durbin, Sean. 2014b. ‘Walking in the Mantle of Esther: “Political” Action as “Religious” Practice.’ In Christian Zionism in Comparative Perspective, edited by Robert O. Smith and Goran Gunner, 85–124. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Durbin, Sean. 2018a. Righteous Gentiles: Religion, Identity, and Myth in John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel. Leiden: Brill.

Durbin, Sean. 2018b. ‘“It Is What It Is”: Mythmaking and Identity Formation on a Christian Zionist Tour of Israel.’ In Christian Tourist Attractions, Mythmaking and Identity Formation, edited by Erin Roberts and Jennifer Eyl, 79–94. New York: Bloomsbury.

Goldman, Shalom. 2009. Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Goldman, Samuel. 2018. God’s Country: Christian Zionism in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Gorenberg, Gershom. 2010. The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hummel, Daniel G. 2019. Covenant Brothers: Evangelicals, Jews, and U.S.-Israeli Relations.

Philadelphia: Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Press.

Kiracofe, Clifford Attick. 2009. Dark Crusade: Christian Zionism and US Foreign Policy. New York: I. B. Tauris.

Lewis, Donald M. 2010. The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and Evangelical Support for a Jewish Homeland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Phillips, Elizabeth. 2014. “Saying Peace When There is No Peace.” In Comprehending Christian Zionism: Perspective in Comparison, edited by Gunner G€oran and Smith Robert O., 15–31. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Shapiro, Faydra L. 2008. ‘To the Apple of God’s Eye: Christian Zionist Travel to Israel.’ Journal of Contemporary Religion 23 (3): 307–20.

Shapiro, Faydra L. 2010. ‘Taming Tehran: Evangelical Christians and the Iranian Threat to Israel.‘ Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 39 (3): 363–77.

Shapiro, Faydra L. 2011. ‘The Messiah and Rabbi Jesus: Policing the Jewish–Christian Border in Christian Zionism.‘ Culture and Religion 12 (4): 463–77.

Shapiro, Faydra L. 2012. ‘“Thank You Israel, for Supporting America”: The Transnational Flow of Christian Zionist Resources.’ Identities 19 (5): 616–31.

Shapiro, Faydra L. 2015. Christian Zionism: Navigating the Jewish–Christian Border. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock.

Smith, Robert O. 2013. More Desired than Our Owne Salvation: The Roots of Christian Zionism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Spector, Stephen. 2009. Evangelicals and Israel: The Story of American Christian Zionism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Summit Church Kansas. Youtube. 28 June 2015. “God and Country Rally with U.S. Congress­man Mike Pompeo.”Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO0opXYM52w.

Weber, Timothy P. 2004. On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Additional References

Blumenthal, Max. 2006. ‘Birth Pangs of a New Christian Zionism.’ The Nation. 8 August. Retrieved from https://www.thenation.com/article/birth-pangs-new-christian-zionism.

Blumenthal, Max. 2007. ‘Rapture Ready: The Christians United for Israel Tour.‘ YouTube. 26 July. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjMRgT5o-Ig.

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© Sean Durbin 2021

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Sean Durbin. 2021. "Christians United for Israel (CUFI)." In J. Crossley and A. Lockhart (eds.) Critical Dictionary of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements. 15 January 2021. Retrieved from www.cdamm.org/articles/cufi.

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144,000

144,000 refers to a belief in an elect group, often at end times or in an imminent transformation of the world. The usage typically derives from the book of Revelation. In Revelation 7:1–8, 144,000 refers to the twelve tribes of Israel who have the seal of God on their foreheads. They are also presented as virgins, blameless, ‘redeemed from the earth’, and expected to sing a new song at Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1–5).

Apocalypticism

In popular usage, 'apocalypticism' refers to a belief in the likely or impending destruction of the world (or a general global catastrophe), usually associated with upheaval in the social, political, and religious order of human society—often referred to as an/the 'apocalypse'. Historically, the term has had religious connotations and the great destruction has traditionally been seen as part of a divine scheme, though it is increasingly used in secular contexts. See the Apocalypticism article for a more detailed discussion.

Armageddon

In popular use, ‘Armageddon’ involves ideas of great cataclysmic events or conflict. The term has long been used to refer to a future battle or ongoing war at the end of time or civilization, whether understood generally as a cataclysmic final battle or specifically as a battle at a place called Megiddo (a location in modern Israel), or a more flexible understanding of Megiddo as a coded reference to an alternative location. ‘Armageddon’ derives from the book of Revelation where it appears just once (Revelation 16:16) with reference to the location of a great cosmic battle associated with the end times. See the Armageddon article for a more detailed discussion.

Beast of the Apocalypse

In popular terms, the 'Beast' or the 'Beast of the Apocalypse' refer generally to a violent and destructive creature that emerges at end times. Such understandings of an end-time beast or beasts derive from the book of Revelation (also called the The Apocalypse) and its long and varied history of interpretation. Revelation refers to 'beasts' on different occasions, including beasts in opposition to God: one emerging from the sea or a pit (Revelation 11:7; 13:1; 17:8; cf. Daniel 7), one from the earth (Revelation 13:11), and another scarlet in colour (Revelation 17:3). The beast from the earth is also associated with the number 666 (alternatively: 616) (Revelation 13:18) and Revelation 19:20 claims that the beast will 'thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur' (New Revised Standard Version).

Eschatology

‘Eschatology’ concerns the study of end times and is derived from the Greek term ἔσχατος (eschatos), meaning ‘final, ‘last’, ‘end’, etc. Eschatology is a label that can incorporate a cluster of related beliefs which differ according to tradition (e.g., end of the world, resurrection, regeneration, Day of Judgment, Antichrist).

Kingdom of God

In the Bible, the ‘Kingdom of God’ (sometimes synonymous with the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’) refers to notions of ruling and kingship which are often understood to have a spatial or territorial dimension, whether in heaven or on earth. According to the book of Daniel, such ‘kingdom’ language is used to describe the claim that God rules the universe eternally (Daniel 4:34) but will also intervene in human history to establish a kingdom for his people (Daniel 2:44). According to the Gospels, Jesus predicted the coming Kingdom of God or Heaven and these predictions have been influential in the history of speculations about end times or the benefits of the kingdom being experienced in a present time and place. Across different traditions, such language has also been used to describe communities deemed holy or places deemed sacred, as well as being understood with reference to personal or ‘spiritual’ transformation.

Messianism

Messianism refers to ideas about a redeemer figure or figures who transform the fortunes of a given people or the world as a whole. The term ‘Messiah’ is derived from the Hebrew משיח (mashiach), meaning ‘anointed one’. In the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, it is a term used to denote people such as kings, priests and prophets anointed to carry out their duties on behalf of God. In early Judaism, the term took on a more precise meaning as a future redeemer figure, including a king in the line of David. New Testament texts made such clams about Jesus where a Greek equivalent of the Hebrew, Χριστός (christos), became part of his name: Jesus Christ.

Millenarianism

In popular and academic use, the term ‘millenarianism’ is often synonymous with the related terms ‘millennialism’, ‘chiliasm’ and ‘millenarism’. They refer to an end-times Golden Age of peace, on earth, for a long period, preceding a final cataclysm and judgement—sometimes referred to as the 'millennium'. The terms are used to describe both millenarian belief and the persons or social groups for whom that belief is central. ‘Millennialism’ or ‘chiliasm’ are chronological terms derived from the Latin and Greek words for ‘thousand’. They are commonly used to refer to a thousand-year period envisaged in the book of Revelation (20:4–6) during which Christ and resurrected martyrs reign prior to the final judgment. More recently the terms have been used to refer to secular formulas of salvation, from political visions of social transformation to UFO movements anticipating globally transformative extra-terrestrial intervention. See the Millenarianism article for a more detailed discussion.

Prophecy

‘Prophecy’ can be broadly understood as a cross-cultural phenomenon involving claims of supernatural or inspired knowledge transmitted or interpreted by an authoritative recipient, intermediary, or interpreter labelled a ‘prophet’. The term is also used in a more general and secular way to refer to individuals who simply predict or prognosticate future events, or those leading principled causes or in pursuit of a particular social or political vision without any special association with inspired or supernatural insight. The language of ‘prophet’ and ‘prophecy’ in English derives from the Greek προφητης (prophētēs) found in the Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and in the New Testament. See the Prophets and Prophecy article for a more detailed discussion.

Son of Man

‘Son of man’ simply means ‘man’ in biblical Hebrew and Aramaic and is a title for Jesus in the Greek New Testament. While the ancient idiom is gendered, some scholars prefer to bring out the generic implications and reflect inclusive language today in their English translations (e.g., 'son of a human being', 'son of humanity'). The phrase sometimes took on a more titular function before Jesus because of the book of Daniel. In Daniel 7, Daniel is said to have had a vision of four destructive beasts representing four kingdoms and who stand in contrast to a human-like figure—‘one like a son of man’. The ‘Ancient of Days’ then takes away the power of the beasts and Daniel sees ‘one like a son of man’ approaching, ‘coming with the clouds of heaven’ (Daniel 7:13; New International Version). Daniel 7 claims that this ‘son of man’ figure will be given ‘authority, glory and sovereign power’, ‘all peoples’ will worship him, and his kingdom will be everlasting. The precise identification of the ‘one like a son of man’ in Daniel 7:13 is not made explicit and there has been a long history of identification with a variety of candidates in apocalyptic and millenarian movements, sometimes without reference to the book of Daniel.

Zion

‘Zion’ is an alternative name for Jerusalem and the ‘city of David’ (2 Samuel 5:7; 1 Kings 8:1; 1 Chronicles 11:5; 2 Chronicles 5:2), though it is also used with reference to Israel. Zion can also refer to ‘Mount Zion’, a hill located in Jerusalem which was the site of the Jewish Temple (destroyed 70 CE) and is the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque. Zion and Mount Zion are sometimes interpreted as coded references to an alternative geographical location or to something ‘spiritual’ and otherworldly. In some religious traditions, Zion plays a central role in expectations about end times or the benefits associated with end times being fulfilled in the present.