The Origins of Christian Zionism
The French author, Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote Democracy in America when he traveled here in the first third of the 19th Century. In ringing tones he sang the praises of America’s invulnerable strength and spirit. He attributed its greatness to its citizens’ sense of morality… even with the abundant church attendances he observed in America. De Tocqueville wrote in French and is credited with this familiar quote: AMERICA IS GREAT BECAUSE SHE IS GOOD, AND IF AMERICA EVER CEASES TO BE GOOD, SHE WILL CEASE TO BE GREAT.
Alexis de Tocqueville could see the power of America, but he could not have known in 1830 that she was soon to be under an attack aimed at its churches and the very sense of morality that he extolled.
First, there was a War Between the States, which scarred the powerful young nation in its strapping youth. A worse attack on America was to commence near the turn of the 20th century. This was the onset of an attack on American Christianity that continues unabated against the traditional, Christ-following church. This attack, which author Gordon Ginn calls “The final Apostasy,” began with a small very wealthy and determined European political movement. It had a dream, and the American churches stood in its way.
The World Zionist movement, as its Jewish founders called themselves, had plans to acquire a homeland for all Jews worldwide, even though most were far from homeless, and many did not want another home. Not any land would do. World Zionists wanted a specific property that American Christians called “the Holy Land.” But if these Zionists read Democracy in America or any of the journals of any of America’s churches, which no doubt they did, they could not help but know that Jerusalem was not theirs to have. As self-proclaimed Jews, they were, according to the Christian New Testament, the persecutors of Christ and most of his early followers, and the engineers of his crucifixion. America’s traditional churches in the 19th Century would never stand for a Jewish occupation of Jesus’ homeland.
World Zionist leaders initiated a program to change America and its religious orientation. One of the tools used to accomplish this goal was an obscure and malleable Civil War veteran named Cyrus I. Scofield. A much larger tool was a venerable, world respected European book publisher — The Oxford University Press.
The scheme was to alter the Christian view of Zionism by creating and promoting a pro-Zionist subculture within Christianity. Scofield’s role was to re-write the King James Version of the Bible by inserting Zionist-friendly notes in the margins, between verses and chapters, and on the bottoms of the pages. The Oxford University Press used Scofield, a pastor by then, as the Editor, probably because it needed such as man for a front. The revised bible was called the Scofield Reference Bible, and with limitless advertising and promotion, it became a best-selling “bible” in America and has remained so for 90 years.
The Scofield Reference Bible was not to be just another translation, subverting minor passages a little at a time. No, Scofield produced a revolutionary book that radically changed the context of the King James Version. It was designed to create a subculture around a new worship icon, the modern State of Israel, a state that did not yet exist, but which was already on the drawing boards of the committed, well-funded authors of World Zionism.
Scofield’s support came from a movement that took root around the turn of the century, supposedly motivated by disillusionment over what it considered the stagnation of the mainline American churches. Some of these “reformers” were later to serve on Scofield’s Editorial Committee.
Scofield imitated a chain of past heretics and rapturists, most of whose credibility fizzled over their faulty end times prophesies. His mentor was one John Nelson Darby from Scotland, who was associated with the Plymouth Brethren and who made no less than six evangelical trips to the US selling what is today called “Darbyism.” It is from Darby that Scofield is thought to have learned his Christian Zionist theology, which he later planted in the footnotes of the Scofield Reference Bible. It is possible that Scofield’s interest in Darbyism was shared by Oxford University Press, for Darby was known to Oxford University. (The History of Darbyism)
The Oxford University Press owned “The Scofield Reference Bible” from the beginning, as indicated by its copyright, and Scofield stated he received handsome royalties from Oxford. Oxford’s advertisers and promoters succeeded in making Scofield’s bible, with its Christian Zionist footnotes, a standard for interpreting scripture in Judeo-Christian churches, seminaries, and Bible study groups. It has been published in at least four editions since its introduction in 1908 and remains one of the largest selling Bibles ever.
The Scofield Reference Bible and its several clones is all but worshiped in the ranks of celebrity Christians, beginning with the first media icon, evangelist Billy Graham. Of particular importance to the Zionist penetration of American Christian churches has been the fast growth of national bible study organizations, such as Bible Study Fellowship and Precept Ministries. These draw millions of students from not only evangelical fundamentalist churches, but also from Catholic and mainline Protestant churches and non-church contacts. These invariably teach forms of “dispensationalism,” which draw their theory, to various degrees, from the notes in the Oxford Bible.
Among more traditional churches that encourage, and in some cases recommend, the use of the Scofield Reference Bible is the huge Southern Baptist Convention of America, whose capture is World Zionism’s crowning achievement. (See our report on Southern Baptist Zionism, entitled “The Cause of the Conflict: Fixing Blame“.)
Scofield, whose work is largely believed to be the product of Darby and others, wisely chose not to change the text of the King James Edition. Instead, he added hundreds of easy-to-read footnotes at the bottom of about half of the pages, and as the Old English grammar of the KJE becomes increasingly difficult for progressive generations of readers, students become increasingly dependent on the modern language footnotes.
Scofield’s notes weave parts of the Old and New Testaments together as though all were written at the same time by the same people. This is a favorite device of modern dispensationalists who essentially weigh all scripture against the unspoken and preposterous theory that the older it is, the more authoritative. In many cases the Oxford references prove to be puzzling rabbit trails leading nowhere, simply diversions. Scofield’s borrowed ideas were later popularized under the labels and definitions that have evolved into common usage today — “pre-millennialism,” “dispensationalism,” “Judeo-Christianity,” and most recently the highly political movement openly called “Christian Zionism.”
Thanks to the work of a few dedicated researchers, much of the questionable personal history of Cyrus I. Scofield is available. It reveals he was not a Bible scholar as one might expect, but a political animal with the charm and talent for self-promotion of a Bill Clinton. Scofield’s background reveals a criminal history, a deserted wife, a wrecked family, and a penchant for self-serving lies. He was exactly the sort of man the World Zionists might hire to bend Christian thought — a controllable man and one capable of carrying the secret to his grave. (See The Incredible Scofield and His Book by Joseph M. Canfield).
Other researchers have examined Scofield’s eschatology and exposed his original work as apostate and heretic to traditional Christian views. Among these is a massive work by Stephen Sizer entitled Christian Zionism, Its History, Theology and Politics.
We Hold These Truths is grateful to these dedicated researchers. Our own examination of the Oxford Bible has gone in another direction, focusing not on what Scofield wrote, but on some of the many additions and deletions The Oxford University Press has continued to make to Scofield Reference Bible since his death in 1921. These alterations have further radicalized the Scofield Bible into a manual for the Christian worship of the State of Israel beyond what Schofield would have dreamed of. This un-Christian anti-Arab theology has permitted the theft of Palestine and 54 years of death and destruction against the Palestinians, with hardly a complaint from the Judeo-Christian mass media evangelists or most other American church leaders. We thank God for the exceptions.
It is no exaggeration to say that the 1967 Oxford 4th Edition deifies — makes a God of — the State of Israel, a state that did not even exist when Scofield wrote the original footnotes in 1908. This writer believes that, had it not been for misguided anti-Arab race hatred promoted by Christian Zionist leaders in America, neither the Gulf War nor the Israeli war against the Palestinians would have occurred, and a million or more people who have perished would be alive today.
What proof does WHTT have to incriminate World Zionism in a scheme to control Christianity? For proof we offer the words themselves that were planted in the 1967 Edition, 20 years after the State of Israel was created in 1947, and 46 years after Scofield’s death. The words tell us that those who control the Oxford Press recreated a bible to misguide Christians and sell flaming Zionism in the churches of America.
There is little reason to believe that Scofield knew or cared much about the Zionist movement, but at some point, he became involved in a close and secret relationship with Samuel Untermeyer, a New York lawyer whose firm still exists today and one of the wealthiest and most powerful World Zionists in America. Untermeyer controlled the unbreakable thread that connected him with Scofield. They shared a password and a common watering hole — and it appears that Untermeyer may have been the one who provided the money that Scofield himself lacked. Scofield’s success as an international bible editor without portfolio and his lavish living in Europe could only have been accomplished with financial aid and international influence.
This connection might have remained hidden, were it not for the work of Joseph M. Canfield, the author and researcher who discovered clues to the thread in Scofield family papers. But even had the threads connecting Scofield to Untermeyer and Zionism never been exposed, it would still be obvious that that connection was there. It is significant that Oxford, not Scofield, owned the book, and that after Scofield’s death, Oxford accelerated changes to it. Since the death of its original author and namesake, The Scofield Reference Bible has gone through several editions. Massive pro-Zionist notes were added to the 1967 edition, and some of Scofield’s most significant notes from the original editions were removed where they apparently failed to further Zionist aims fast enough. Yet this edition retains the title, “The New Scofield Reference Bible, Holy Bible, Editor C.I. Scofield.” It’s anti-Arab, Christian subculture theology has made an enormous contribution to war, turning Christians into participants in genocide against Arabs in the latter half of the 20th century.
The most convincing evidence of the unseen Zionist hand that wrote the Scofield notes to the venerable King James Bible is the content of the notes themselves, for only Zionists could have written them. These notes are the subject of this paper.
Oxford edited the former 1945 Edition of SRB in 1967, at the time of the Six Day War when Israel occupied Palestine. The new footnotes to the King James Bible presumptuously granted the rights to the Palestinians’ land to the State of Israel and specifically denied the Arab Palestinians any such rights at all. One of the most brazen and outrageous of these NEWLY INSERTED footnotes states:
“FOR A NATION TO COMMIT THE SIN OF ANTI-SEMITISM BRINGS INEVITABLE JUDGMENT.” (page 19-20, footnote (3) to Genesis 12:3.) (our emphasis added)
This statement sounds like something from Ariel Sharon, or the Chief Rabbi in Tel Aviv, or Theodore Herzl, the founder of Modern Zionism. But these exact words are found between the covers of the 1967 Edition of the Oxford Bible that is followed by millions of American churchgoers and students and is used by their leaders as a source for their preaching and teaching.
There is no word for “anti-Semitism” in the New Testament, nor is it found among the Ten Commandments. “Sin,” this writer was taught, is a personal concept. It is something done by individuals in conflict with God’s words, not by “nations.” Even Sodom did not sin — its people did. The word “judgment” in the Bible always refers to God’s action. In the Christian New Testament, Jesus promises both judgment and salvation for believing individuals, not for “nations.”
There was also no “State of Israel” when Scofield wrote his original notes in his concocted Scofield Reference Bible in 1908. All references to Israel as a state were added AFTER 1947, when Israel was granted statehood by edict of the United Nations. The Oxford University Press simply rewrote its version of the Christian Bible in 1967 to make antipathy toward the “State of Israel” a “sin.” Israel is made a god to be worshiped, not merely a “state.” David Ben-Gurion could not have written it better. Perhaps he did write it!
The Oxford 1967 Edition continues on page 19:
“(2) GOD MADE AN UNCONDITIONAL PROMISE OF BLESSINGS THROUGH ABRAM’S SEED (a) TO THE NATION OF ISRAEL TO INHERIT A SPECIFIC TERRITORY FOREVER”
“(3) THERE IS A PROMISE OF BLESSING UPON THOSE INDIVIDUALS AND NATIONS WHO BLESS ABRAM’S DESCENDANTS, AND A CURSE LAID UPON THOSE WHO PERSECUTE THE JEWS.” (Page 19, 1967 Edition Genesis 12:1-3)
This bequeath is joined to an Oxford prophesy that never occurs in the Bible itself:
“IT HAS INVARIABLY FARED ILL WITH THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE PERSECUTED THE JEW, WELL WITH THOSE WHO HAVE PROTECTED HIM.” and “THE FUTURE WILL STILL MORE REMARKABLY PROVE THIS PRINCIPLE”(footnote (3) bottom of page 19-20 Genesis 12:3)
None of these notes appeared in the original Scofield Reference Bible or in the 1917 or 1945 editions. The state of Israel DID NOT EXIST in 1945, and according to the best dictionaries of the time, the word “Israel” only referred to a particular man and an ancient tribe, which is consistent with the Bible text. See “Israel,” Webster’s New International Dictionary 2nd (1950) Edition.
All of this language, including the prophecy about the future being really bad for those who “persecute the Jews,” reflects and furthers the goals of the Anti-Defamation League, which has a stated goal of creating an environment where opposing the State of Israel is considered “anti-Semitism,” and “anti-Semitism” is a “hate crime” punishable by law. This dream has become a reality in the Christian Zionist churches of America. Only someone with these goals could have written this footnote.
The State of Israel’s legal claims to Arab lands are based on the United Nations Partitioning Agreement of 1947, which gave the Jews only a fraction of the land they have since occupied by force. But when this author went to Israel and asked various Israelis where they got the right to occupy Palestine, each invariably said words to the effect that “God gave it to us.” This interpretation of Hebrew scripture stems from the book of Genesis and is called the “Abrahamic Covenant”. It is repeated several times and begins with God’s promise to a man called Abraham who was eventually to become the grandfather of a man called “Israel”:
“ AND I WILL MAKE OF THEE A GREAT NATION, AND I WILL BLESS THEE, AND MAKE THY NAME GREAT; AND THOU SHALL BE A BLESSING:”
“ AND I WILL BLESS THEM THAT BLESS THEE, AND CURSE HIM THAT CURSETH THEE: AND IN THEE SHALL ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED.” Genesis 12:3, King James Edition.
It is upon this promise to a single person that modern Israeli Zionists base their claims to what amounts to the entire Mid-East. Its logic is roughly the equivalent of someone claiming to be the heir to the John Paul Getty estate because the great man had once sent a letter to someone’s cousin seven times removed containing the salutation “wishing you my very best.” In “Sherry’s War,” We Hold These Truths provides a common sense discussion of the Abrahamic Covenant and how millions of Christians are taught to misunderstand it.
It is tempting to engage in academic arguments to show readers the lack of logic in Scofield’s theology, which has led followers of Christ so far astray. It seems all too easy to refute the various Bible references given in support of Scofield’s strange writings. But we will resist the temptation to do this, because others have already done it quite well, and more importantly because it leads us off our course.
It is also inviting to dig into Scofield’s sordid past as Canfield has done, revealing him to be a convicted felon and probable pathological liar, but we leave that to others, because our interest is not in Scofield’s life, but in saving the lives of millions of innocent people who are threatened by the continuing Zionist push for perpetual war.
Instead, we will examine the words on their face. The words in these 1967 footnotes are Zionist propaganda that has been tacked onto the text of a Christian Bible. Most of them make no sense, except to support the Zionist State of Israel in its war against the Palestinians and any other wars it may enter into. In this purpose, Zionism has completely succeeded. American Judeo-Christians, more recently labeled “Christian Zionists,” have remained mute during wars upon Israel’s enemies in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and elsewhere. It is past time to stop the spilling of more blood, some of it Christian blood.
Now, for evidence of the intent of the Zionists deception of Christians, let us examine some Scofield’s notes THAT HAVE BEEN ALTERED OR REMOVED by Oxford after his death. In 1908 Scofield wrote in 1908:
“THE CONTRAST, ‘I KNOW THAT YE ARE ABRAHAM’S SEED’ — ‘IF YE WERE ABRAHAM’S CHILDREN’ IS THAT BETWEEN THE NATURAL AND THE SPIRITUAL POSTERITY OF ABRAHAM. THE ISRAELITISH PEOPLE AND ISHMAELITISH PEOPLE ARE THE FORMER; ALL WHO ARE ‘OF THE PRECIOUS FAITH WITH ABRAHAM,’ WHETHER JEWS OR GENTILES, ARE THE LATTER (ROM 9, 6-8; GAL, 4-14. SEE ‘ABRAHAMIC COVENANT’ GEN 15, 18, NOTE).” ( Scofield’s 1945 page 1127, note to John 8:39)
Compare that with the Oxford note substituted in the 1967 Edition:
“8:37 ALL JEWS ARE NATURAL DESCENDANTS OF ABRAHAM, BUT ARE NOT NECESSARILY HIS SPIRITUAL POSTERITY, CP Rom 9-6-8, Gal 3: 6-14” (Note (1) P1136, Oxford 1967 Edition, note to Jn 8:37.)
How, pray tell, can “all Jews” be “natural descendants of Abraham,” a Chaldean who lived some 3000 years ago? Persons of all races are Jews and new Jews are being converted every day from every race. One might as well say all Lutherans are the natural descendants of Martin Luther; or that all Baptists come from the loins of John the Baptist. This note could only have been written by an Israeli patriot, for no one else would have a vested interest in promoting this genetic nonsense. Shame on those who accept this racism; it is apostate Christianity.
The original Scofield note was far out of line with traditional Christianity in 1908 and should have been treated as heresy then. Yet Scofield had failed to go far enough for the Zionists. Scofield clearly recognized what the book of Genesis states, that the sons of Ishmael are co-heirs to Abraham’s ancient promise. Did not Scofield say “the Israelitish people and Ishmaelitish people are … the natural posterity of Abraham”? The Oxford Press simply waited for Scofield to die and changed it as they wished.
And what is it that Scofield said that did not satisfy the Zionists who rewrote the Oxford 1967 Edition?
The answer is an easy one. Most Arab and Islamic scholars consider Arabs in general and the Prophet Mohamed in particular to be direct descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s first son and older half-brother of Isaac, whose son Jacob was later to become known as “Israel.” Many Arabs believe that through Ishmael they are co-heirs to Abraham’s promise, and they correctly believe that present-day Israelis have no Biblical right to steal their land. Jewish Talmudic folklore also speaks of Ishmael, so the Zionists apparently felt they had to alter how Christians viewed the two half brothers in order to prevent Christians from siding with the Arabs over the land theft.
The Zionists solved this dilemma by inserting a senseless footnote in the 1967 (Oxford) Scofield Reference Bible which, in effect, substitutes the word “Jews” for the words “The Israelitish people and Ishmaelitish people,” as Scofield originally wrote it. The Israelitish and Ishmaelitish people lived 3000 years ago, but the Zionists want to claim the Arabs’ part of the presumed birthright right now! Read it again; “all Jews are natural descendants of Abraham, but are not necessarily his spiritual posterity.”
And there is more of such boondogglery in the Oxford bible. On the same page 1137 we find yet another brand new Zionist-friendly note referring to the New Testament book of John 8:37.
“(2) 8:44 THAT THIS SATANIC FATHERHOOD CANNOT BE LIMITED TO THE PHARISEES IS MADE CLEAR IN 1Jn3:8-10” (note SRB 1967 Edition, P1137 to John 8:44)
Let us look at the verse Oxford is trying to soften, wherein Jesus is speaking directly to the Pharisees, who were the Jewish leaders of his day, and to no one else:
“YE ARE OF YOUR FATHER THE DEVIL, AND THE LUST OF YOUR FATHER YE WILL DO. HE WAS A MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING, AND ABODE NOT IN THE TRUTH, BECAUSE THERE IS NO TRUTH IN HIM. WHEN HE SPEAKEST A LIE, HE SPEAKEST OF HIS OWN; FOR HE IS A LIAR, AND THE FATHER OF IT.” John 8:44 King James Ed.)
Those are plain words. No wonder the Zionists wanted to dilute what Jesus said. Not only did Oxford add a new footnote in 1967, but they inserted no less than four reference cues into the King James sacred text, directing readers to their specious, apostate footnotes. It seems the Zionists cannot deny what Jesus said about Pharisees, but they do not want to bear the burden of being “sons of Satan” all by themselves. Now here’s the text of the verse to which Oxford refers in order to try to solve this problem:
“HE THAT COMMITETH SIN IS OF THE DEVIL; FOR THE DEVIL SINNETH FROM THE BEGINNING. FOR THIS PURPOSE THE SON OF GOD WAS MANIFESTED, THAT HE MIGHT DESTROY THE WORK OF THE DEVIL.” (1Jn3:8.King James Edition)
Fine, but this verse, spoken by Jesus to His followers in a speech about avoiding sin, in no way supports Oxford’s argument that Jesus was not talking directly to and about the Pharisee leaders when he called them “Sons of Satan” in John 8:44. It is a different book written at a different time to a different audience. This is typical Christian Zionist diversion.
To find out to whom Jesus is speaking you must read the rest of John 8, not something from another book. Furthermore, John 8:44 is only one of some 77 verses where Jesus confronted the Pharisees by name and in many cases addressed them as “satanic” and as “vipers.” Oxford simply ignores most of these denunciations by Jesus, adding no notes at all, and the Christian Zionists go along without question.
These are a few examples of Zionist perversions of scripture that have shaped the doctrine of America’s most politically powerful religious subculture, the “Christian Zionists” as Ariel Sharon calls them, or the dispensationalists, as intellectual followers call themselves, or the Judeo-Christians as our politically-correct politicians describe themselves. Today’s Mid-East wars are not caused by the predisposition of the peoples, who are no more warlike than any human tribes. Without the pandering to Jewish and Zionist interests that is carried out by this subculture — the most vocal being the celebrity Christian evangelists — there would be no such wars, for there is not enough support for war outside of organized Zionist Christianity.
Reverend Stephen Sizer of Christ Church, England is perhaps the most dedicated new scholar writing about the Scofield Bible craze, popularly known as Christian Zionism. He has quipped, “Judging Christianity by looking at the American Evangelists is kind of like judging the British by watching Benny Hill.”
Reverend Sizer’s remark brings to mind another Benny; his name is Benny Hinn, not a British comic, but an American evangelist spouting inflammatory hate-filled words aimed at Muslims everywhere. Hinn was speaking to the applause of an aroused crowd of thousands in the American Airline Center in Dallas when he shocked two Ft. Worth Star Telegram religious reporters covering the July 3d event by announcing, “We are on God’s side,” speaking of Palestine. He shouted, “This is not a war between Jews and Arabs. It is a war between God and the Devil.” Lest there be any doubt about it, Hinn was talking about a blood war in which the Israelis are “God” and the Palestinians are “the Devil.”
Benny Hinn is one of hundreds of acknowledged Christian Zionists who have no problem spouting outright race hatred and who join in unconditional support for Israel without regard for which or how many of Israel’s enemies are killed or crippled. His boldness stems from his knowledge that the vast majority of professing Christians from whom he seeks his lavish support-the Judeo-Christians, or Christian Zionists — do not shrink at his words, because they have been conditioned to accept them, just as Roman citizens learned to accept Christian persecution, even burning alive, under Nero. Several evangelists in attendance affirmed their agreement with Hinn — “the line between Christians and Muslims is the difference between good and evil.”
An amazing number of professing Christians are in agreement with the fanatical likes of Hinn, including Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, James Dobson and hundreds more. Yet Hinn’s profit-seeking fanaticism is not as shocking as that of men like Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention who occupy the highest positions in the area of conservative religious thought. Land may have stopped short of branding all Muslims as devils, but he attacked their leader and Prophet and stated that, according to Baptist Bible interpretation, the Palestinian people have no legal rights to property in Palestine. (See our discussion of Southern Baptists entitled “The Cause of the Conflict: Fixing Blame“.)
The more politically conservative and libertarian the speaker expressing hatred for Islam, the more shocking the statement sounds. One example is Samuel Blumenfeld, a veteran textbook author and advocate of home education. His attack on Islam in a story entitled “Religion and Satanism” in the April 2002 conservative, Calvinist Chalcedon Report leaves little room for civil liberties and freedom of thought. He writes, “Islam is a religion ruled by Satan,” and asks, “Can anyone under the influence of Satan be trusted?” Blumenfeld shows poor judgment and a lack of morality when he allows phrases such as “willing agents of Satan,” “another manifestation of Satanism” and “the willingness of Muslims to believe blatant lies,” to spill from his pen.
How can anyone interpret these words by Land, Hinn, Blumenfeld, and yes, our own President, as anything less than race hatred? Who would make such generalized and transparently false statements against any other minority except Muslims?
About 100 million American Christians need to recover their true faith in Christ Jesus, who never denounced any individual on account of his group. Jesus even tried to save the Pharisees, and only denounced them when they showed themselves to be deceivers. There is not a word in the New Testament that urges any follower of Jesus to murder one child in Iraq or condemn Palestine to death. Race hatred is a Zionist, not a Christian, strategy.
Christian Zionism may be the most bloodthirsty apostasy in the entire history of Christianity or any other religion. Shame on its leaders: they have already brought the blood of untold numbers innocent people down upon the spires and prayer benches of America’s churches.
WHTT asks every Christian to share this article with pastors and church leaders, especially lay leaders. We ask every Muslim and Jew who reads it to do the same. You might wish to suspend giving money to any organizations that preach Zionist race hatred in any form, especially under the cover Jesus Christ. And lastly, We Hold These Truths invites your informed comments and questions.