Tuesday, April 13th 2021   |

Evangelicals’ rabid support of Israel chronicled in ”Til Kingdom Come’

By JACK LYONS, Special to the CCJN

How does one cover the 2000 years of religious history between the Jewish people and Gentiles in the Common Era (CE)?   Perhaps, a good start would be seeing life through the lenses of the others regarding the impacts that these religions have experienced on this planet we all call Earth.

Evangelical leader, the Rev. John Hagee, left, is greeted in Israel by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo by Abraham (Abie) Troen “‘Til Kingdom Come (2019) Film Ltd.

For starters, it is necessary to approach such sensitive subject matter with openness, genuine respect and tolerance.  To agree to do so peacefully would be a giant step forward toward a better understanding of one another; especially now in the fraught nuclear arms race by more wanna-be players.  Their obsession to expand and join the world’s exclusive nuclear club could be dangerous for everyone. 

The volatile Middle East, home to millions of Muslims, Christians, and Jews, has been a festering, religious open sore for centuries.  It’s also ironic that the Holy City of Jerusalem sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians has been at the center of controversy of how more blood has been shed in the name of religion and God than all the military wars combined throughout recorded history, speaks volumes about man’s ambitions.

Israeli filmmaker Maya Zinshtein, tosses her director’s hat into modern day Israel and America to document the 21st century relationships with its supporters, neighbors, and friends – mainly the United States – as its most loyal supporter since declaring itself a sovereign nation in 1948. 

Hands are raised in prayer in Middlesboro, Kentucky. (Photo by Abraham Troen)

Zinshtein’s documentary film “‘Til Kingdom Come” chronicles the story of how one faith-based American Evangelical Baptist Church, owned and operated by the dynastic Bingham family of Middlesboro, Kentucky, embraced the prophecies and the authenticity of the Bible concerning the “end of times” and the return of Jesus to Earth along with the prediction that the Armageddon that follows will last for seven years. When that “happening” or the “Rapture” occurs, it’s not clear as to what happens to non-believers.  The when of such events is still a waiting-game.  Scientists, however, say our sun still has about four billion years to go before the fat lady sings.

The American connection to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) featured in this film documentary is the Evangelical Baptist Church of Middlesboro, Kentucky, under the leadership of Pastor Boyd Bingham II and his son Boyd Bingham III, who fervently believe and preach that God gave the Holy land to the Jewish people in perpetuity.  The problem with that edict 2000 years later is that the area selected then is now unfortunately to small an area to protect and accommodate all the faithful from other religions who desire to live there.

Israeli and American flags at CUFI Summit in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Abraham Troen)

There are many video clips with speeches praising the work and dedication of IFCJ’s many humanitarian accomplishments.  In this documentary film viewers see and hear from celebrities and politicians; including former President Trump, Israel’s current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pat Robertson, founder of The 700 Club, along with casino mogul billionaire and political donor Sheldon Adelson, and, of course, the people of Jerusalem and Middlesboro, KY.

The documentary film is a testament to what can be accomplished when people of faith work together. That being said, the film also dips a toe into toxic waters where religion meets the strange bedfellows of politics. One feels at times that one is watching an hour-long Republican political fund raising dinner/event.

Polite people years ago were urged to never mix or discuss politics and religion in the same conversation. That’s old fashioned thinking these days. It’s good business now to blur those old secular safety nets and no-no zones between politics, money, and religion.  It’s a changing complicated  world we are now dealing with in the 21st century when it comes to religion and politics.

Yael Eckstein, left, accepts a check from Pastor Boyd at his church. (Photo by Abraham Troen)

“‘Til Kingdom Come,” I think it’s safe to say, is  a well-made professional, technically first-rate, commercial venture that shows off the important work being done, and rightly so, by the IFCJ, who over its 38-year existence has raised more than $1.8 Billion to help Israel’s poor, its elderly and all Jewish Holocaust survivors.

The welcome mat is still out and inviting far-flung Jews to return to their ancient homeland in Israel, is now being led by IFCJ’s charismatic and dynamic president and CEO, American-born Yael Eckstein who hosts the film.  

“‘Till Kingdom Come,” runs one hour and a half and was released to the general public in theaters on February 26.

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