The CUFI website (Christians United for Israel, John Hagee’s Christian lobbying organization on behalf of the state of Israel) boldly displays Isaiah 62:1, emblazoned across its masthead, “For Zion’s sake, I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet.” But given the content of Hagee’s new book, “In Defense of Israel,” I would personally prefer if Hagee would just sheket (be quiet)! His defense of Israel is indefensible, and his Zionist agenda is euthanizing my Jewish people.
Now, don’t misunderstand—I am very much in favor of Christians supporting and loving Israel, and I am as supportive of the State of Israel, and its peace and safety as much as the next Jew. But I am of the opinion that Israel’s security and blessing is not solely linked to the willingness of the United States to stand with her, but comes in conjuction with Israel’s fulfillment of her destiny as a light to the nations—which begins with knowing, accepting, and following Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel. And herein lies the major issue I take with Hagee’s unbelievably flawed—dare I say, heretical—theology. Before I get into that, however, I need to be fair: I haven’t read all of Hagee’s book. Nevertheless, I am prepared to throw his baby out with his bath water based solely on the content of pages 132-143. Why? Because by Hagee’s own confession, the “Jesus issue” appears to be the crux of the book. This is what he says,
“This book will expose the sins of the fathers and the vicious abuse of the Jewish people. ‘In Defense of Israel’ will shake Christian theology. It scripturally proves that the Jewish people as a whole did not reject Jesus as Messiah. It will also prove that Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah. It will prove that there was a ‘Calvary conspiracy’ between Rome, the high priest, and Herod to execute Jesus as an insurrectionist too dangerous to live. 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?” (Hear it for yourself.)
Any first year seminary student knows (and if they don’t, shame on them), that the words “Messiah” and “Christ” are linguistically equivalent. (“Christ” comes from the Greek cristos, meaning “anointed,” thereby sharing the same meaning as that of the Hebrew mashiach, from which we get the English, “Messiah.”) So, of course, when I read that Hagee thinks Yeshua didn’t want to or come to be the Messiah, my first thought was, “There’s no way that he means what he’s saying. There’s no way he means that Yeshua wasn’t ‘the Christ.'” Sure enough, that’s not what he means at all (or so it seems). When he says Yeshua did not come to be the Messiah of Israel, he means, “the Messiah who will lead the Jews in their revolt against Rome.” (p.140)
Now, aside from the fact that Hagee is partially correct—that the Jews were looking for a “Messiah” who would give them a military victory over Rome—the plain sense of what he is saying is utterly ridiculous. If Yeshua is the “Christ,” then he is the “Messiah”—the words simply mean the same thing. One can only assume that Hagee has either decided to hijack and unilaterally redefine the word “Messiah” for his own purposes, or his theological delusions were not the result of consulting Scripture, since Andrew—a nice Jewish boy—says so clearly in reference to Yeshua in John 1:41, “We have found the Messiah (which translated means Christ).” (NAS)
Savior, But Not “Messiah”
Setting aside for a moment his irresponsible mistranslation, there’s a much deeper issue at stake—and that’s Hagee’s entire theological bent with regard to the people of Israel. Here’s a summary of Hagee’s view:
- “The sovereign purpose for Jesus’s life was to be a light to the Gentiles” (p. 133)
- “The [Jewish] people wanted him to be their Messiah, but he absolutely refused.” (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)
- “He refused to be their Messiah, choosing instead to be the Savior of the world.” (p. 143)
So in short, Yeshua came to be the Christ of the Gentiles, but refused to be the Messiah of the Jews; therefore, since Yeshua never offered Messiahship to the Jews, they could not reject him as Messiah. I can only speculate, based on this train of thought, that Hagee believes that
- either the Jews did not reject Yeshua as “Messiah,” but as “Christ,” though this is apparently not a problem; or
- that since Yeshua Himself refused to show His own people the “real Jesus,” they are therefore beyond comdemnation for their ignorance. Especially since Jews have been treated so badly by the Church over the last 2,000 years, Christians should just “bless” the Jewish people (and therefore secure a blessing for themselves, as per Genesis 12:3), and not try to get them saved.
In either case, there is no relationship between Yeshua and Israel, and this amounts to something as bad or worse than the Replacement Theology Hagee allegedly speaks against—it’s a teaching that says Jewish people either have an alternate path to salvation, or that the eternal salvation of the Jewish people is not only unnecessary, but not even worth mentioning.
In Defense of Scripture
Hagee claims his book contains “Scriptural proof” of his revolutionary “Christian theology.” Let’s see how his “proof” holds up.
1. On page 133, Hagee quotes Luke 2:27-32, in which Simeon, upon seeing the baby Yeshua, blessed him, and declared that Yeshua would be “a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles.” To this, Hagee reports “that the sovereign purpose of Jesus’s life was to be a light to the Gentiles (compare Isaiah 42:6).”
It is interesting that Hagee would note to compare the passage in Isaiah, since it is the very same Replacement Theology that he bashes which teaches that Isaiah 42 is a reference solely to Yeshua. On the contrary, the “light to the nations” in this passage of Isaiah is more likely the nation of Israel, especially since “My servant” is explicitly referring to Israel in Isaiah 41:8 (just one chapter earlier), Isaiah 44:1 (just two chapters later) and elsewhere. It is fundamental Messianic Jewish theology that recognizes the intertwined destines of both Yeshua and the people of Israel, given other “servant” passages such as Isaiah 49—a very clear Messianic passage—which, again, calls “My Servant,” Israel.
But even more to the point, Hagee says that because of Simeon’s blessing in Luke 2, Yeshua’s sovereign purpose was to be a light to the Gentiles, despite the fact that the blessing ends with, “and the glory of Your people Israel.” What kind of glory can Yeshua be to His own people if His salvation is not for them? Apparently, if I’m understanding Hagee right, not much.
2. On page 136, Hagee states, “there is not one verse of Scripture in the New Testament that says Jesus came to be the Messiah…” Again, setting aside for a moment Hagee’s moronic definition of “Messiah,” here’s the verse Hagee must have missed:
“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.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.'” (John 4:25-26, NAS)
3. On pages 137-138, Hagee explains how in response to the Jews demanding that he give them a sign to prove he was the Messiah, Yeshua instead answered with an explanation about the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:39-40), how, as Jonah “was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Hagee then goes on for several paragraphs with some nonsense about Jonah, Peter, Nineveh and Joppa, and how it all points to Yeshua’s purpose in being a light to the Gentiles, but his main point is that if Yeshua were the Messiah, he would have given the Jews a sign, but that he instead “refused to give a sign.”
Again, Hagee fails to read the very Scriptures he quotes. As plain as day, the Master says, “No sign will be given… except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” So, not only does Yeshua say that there will be a sign, that sign was clearly seen: “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible…” (Acts 10:40, NAS)
4. Another argument that Hagee makes in support of his anti-Messiah stance is that since Yeshua was not “trying to gain national attention to rally the support of the general public for the overthrow of mighty Rome,” he instead repeatedly told his disciples and followers to “‘tell no one’ about his supernatural accomplishments.” On page 139, Hagee says, “The people wanted him to be their Messiah, but he absolutely refused.” Yet, in the very next paragraph, he states, “Jesus would not allow them to speak, for ‘they knew that He was the Christ.'” (Luke 4:41)
So, according to Hagee, these Jewish disciples and followers were to “tell no one” that they “knew that He was the Christ.” Why would it matter if people knew He was the Christ? According to Hagee, the only thing Yeshua was refusing to be was Messiah. So, “tell[ing] no one” does not prove He was refusing to be the Messiah, since all the disciples apparently knew was that “He was the Christ.” (Are you getting all this?) Again, based on the plain sense of Hagee’s words, this ludicrious concept is not only unsustainable by Scripture, but is hopelessly contradictory.
But it gets worse.
On page 140, he reports how Peter said to Yeshua, “You are the Christ.” Then Hagee expertly reinterprets and expands this fundamental declaration for us “in other words, ‘You are the anointed one! You are the Messiah who will lead the Jews in their revolt against Rome.'”
So now Hagee is saying that “Christ” does mean “Messiah.” Does this mean that I can reinterpret Hagee when he says, “Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the [Christ]”? Can such a statement be honestly reconciled with any orthodox Christian doctrine? Consider John 10:24-25, “‘If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe…'” Or how about Mark 14:61-62, “‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am…'” Even with Peter’s own declaration that Yeshua was the “Christ,” the Master did not deny it. And yet, we are supposed to believe that He is the Christ, just not “the [Christ] to the Jews”? If He is not the Messiah of the Jews, then he is the Messiah of no one, for “the gospel… is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16, NAS)
5. On page 141, Hagee refers to Acts 1:6 as evidence that “even after his resurrection and his 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 Rome.” Let’s see what Acts 1 actually says.
So when [the Jewish disciples] had come together [after Yeshua’s resurrection], they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority…” Acts 1:6-7
There is no doubt that the disciples still didn’t “get it” with regard to Yeshua’s entire ministry and mission, so it can be supported that they were still looking to Yeshua as their “military Messiah,” even following His resurrection.
But look at how the Master responds when asked, essentially, if now was the time that He was going to lead them in overthrowing Rome (“restoring the kingdom to Israel”): “He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs…'” He doesn’t say, “Oh, you silly little Jewish people… I’m not your Messiah. I’m just the Christ of the Gentiles!” He doesn’t say, “Stop asking me about that, I’m never going to lead you in a victory over Rome.” He says, “It is not for you to know times or epochs.” So the ultimate answer to the question of whether or not Yeshua wanted or intended to be the Messiah to the Jews by “restoring the kingdom to Israel” is not a matter of “how,” but “when.” Indeed, though a 1st century military overthrow of Rome was not in the plans, self-rule would indeed be restored to Israel… it was just a matter of time.
6. Finally, on page 143, Hagee remarks, “[Yeshua] refused to be [the Jews’] Messiah, choosing instead to be the Savior of the world.” This, according to Hagee, was Yeshua’s “sovereign purpose.” To this I can only quote Scripture, and let the plain sense of the text speak for itself: “But [Yeshua] answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
Let My People Go!
Pastor Hagee, you claim to renounce Replacement Theology, but your words are replete with it. You have taken the removal of my people from God’s first and only plan of world salvation to new depths, and you are killing my people with the false claim that they did not reject Yeshua as Messiah. The “proof” of your book is reprehensible, your theology is sloppy, your terminology is careless, and you are leading your global flock astray. I am hesitant even to offer you a modicum of thanks for your apparent desire to see Christians no longer blaming Jews for the past, but even this is overshadowed by the destruction you are heaping upon my people by perpetuating the lie that the God of Israel did not send a Messiah for Israel, only a “Christ” for everyone else.
Pastor Hagee, let my people go, that they may no longer serve as pawns in your warped, eschatological schemes, but that they may serve the living God of Israel by returning to Him through the salvation that comes only by way of the Son, the One and Only Messiah of Israel, Yeshua, the firstfruits of the Jewish people to be the light of the world!
I came across another great blog post in which Hagee responds to the controversy surrounding his book. If possible, the “facts” he cites in his response are even more of a head-shaker than those found in his book. Here’s what he says, in part:
Many Christians have constructed a catch 22 concerning Jesus as Messiah. The catch 22 is this: “Jesus came to be Messiah, but because the Jews rejected Him as Messiah. He had to go to the cross, hence the Jews are the Christ Killers.”
So far, so good. I am in agreement that the epithet of “Christ Killers” should in no way be thrust upon the Jewish people, due to an anti-Semitic spirit. But alas, Hagee continues,
Fact: According to Webster’s Dictionary the word “Messiah” means “the expected king who delivers from oppressors.” A Messiah is one who rules and reigns over a given people.
Actually, the 1913 edition of Webster, according to the University of Chicago, defines Messiah as: “The expected king and deliverer of the Hebrews; the Savior; Christ.” This is important because Hagee himself says,
Most people confuse the role of “Messiah” and “Savior.” To be Messiah you must live. To rule and reign you must live. Jesus came to die and be the Savior of every person on earth…. Jesus Himself stated in Mark 14:8, Luke 24:46 and Mark 10:33-34 that He had come to die for the sins of the world as Savior. Again, you must live to be Messiah. You cannot be both Messiah and Savior! (emphasis added)
So, apparently, by his own admission, Hagee is defining “Messiah” according to an incomplete rendering of Webster, which, when considered in full, actually contradicts his own definition (nevermind Webster’s earlier definition of Messiah from 1828, “Christ, the anointed; the Savior of the world.”). Webster clearly understood that “Messiah” and “Christ” are equivalent, but even more to the point, Webster offers “Savior” as a definition for “Messiah.” Not that we should hang our hat on Webster’s definitions—fine definitions though they may be—but this point only serves to emphasize how far removed Hagee’s thinking is from the reality of Scripture… and perhaps reality in general.
The remainer of Hagee’s response is just more reiteration of points he makes in the book. At the end of the day, Hagee can exclaim until he’s blue in the face, “THERE IS NO DUAL COVENANT!” nevertheless, he makes no valid points to dissuade us from drawing such a conclusion from his insane rantings.
November 29, 2007
This has been concerning me as well….and thank you so much for taking the time to spell it out. I think I understand your heart on this….this topic is very burdonesome…and yet, its so important to be aware of teaching that is in error. Another verse that comes to mind is John 14:6…Yeshua said to him, “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life, No one comes to the Father except Through ME”….and was HE not speaking to HIS Disciples and the Jews? It seems clear to me.
December 4, 2007
Russ Resnick, the Executive Director of the UMJC (Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations) also has a well-written response to Hagee’s book. He also hits on a point that I missed–that according to page 7 of his book, in Hagee’s “extreme form of dispensationalism” (Resnick’s words), the Jews do eventually recognize Yeshua for who He is (though it is still unclear to me if this recognition is supposed to result in Israel’s salvation, in Hagee’s view). Resnick calls Hagee’s doctrinal grid “far-right fundamentalism,” and says that “the book includes a surprising number of factual errors, along with its careless handling of Scripture.”
The UMJC Executives also issued a formal response to Hagee on November 28, 2007. I hope that other Messianic Jewish organizations will follow suit.
Disclaimer: Neither Kevin Geoffrey nor Perfect Word Ministries necessarily endorses other website content presented by the UMJC.
December 11, 2007
Dr. Michael Brown has now issued his statement about the “serious error” in Hagee’s book.
Hagee sent Dr. Brown a revised version of the chapter in question, to which Brown responded that the revisions are “entirely cosmetic, similar in nature to the recent email he sent out to the leadership of CUFI in which he stated that he was simply distinguishing between Jesus coming as the suffering Messiah rather than as the reigning Messiah. His central thesis, namely, that ‘The Jews Did Not Reject Jesus as Messiah,’ remains unchanged.”
December 17, 2007
Excellent article, Kevin. I have a deep sense that God is putting His finger on this controversy in order to open the eyes of so many Israel supporting Christians to His priority system for “all Israel” to be saved. Hagee and many super pro-Israel Christian ministries have completely eclipsed God’s own priority for the harvest in Israel by their obsessive focus on Israel’s politics – both internal and international.
I was very struck by a comment you made about that Hagee meant “Yeshua did not come to be the Messiah of Israel, he means, ‘the Messiah who will lead the Jews in their revolt against Rome.”
It is exactly what Hagee means, but also it is exactly the focus of the Christian support that Hagee now rallies for Israel–making the Church a sort of ‘messiah who will lead the Jews in their revolt against’ the political powers of today.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe we should rally support for Israel in our governments but that focus should not supercede our vision for the salvation of Israel. As someone who advocates for the indigenous ministries of Israel, I can tell you that the focus of Hagee’s followers is definitely NOT ever on the indigenous ministries laboring in the Israel’s harvest.
I believe–in fact, I am hoping–that this controversy is God beginning to break up the wrong focus among Christian Israel supporters (and many Messianics, too, I might add who put politics first and harvest second)to set our priorities in order with His own toward Jews and Israel.
What an awesome Christmas present if this ’tis the season for God to put our eyes on the Messiah’s charge to us in answer to the question, “Lord will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Which was: “It is not for you to know the times or season which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall recieve power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, AND YOU SHALL BE WITNESSES TO ME IN JERUSALEM, Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Until Yeshua comes again physically to the earth, we are to be witnesses to Him to Israel, not trying to restore the kingdom to Israel completely prior to His return. This is a little like what King Saul did when he knew he was to wait for Samuel to come offer the sacrifice, but because of the pressure of the people King Saul went ahead and did it. God stripped him of the kingdom that day.
I believe this is going to be a controversy that will separate the Saul’s from the David’s. Saul confessed to Samuel, “I have sinned…because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.”
John Hagee is ready to bend the gospel over backwards in order to tell Israel in the flesh what it wants to hear. What that does to the 10-15,000 Jewish believers in Israel does not appear to concern him at all. If he has ears to hear what the Spirit is saying, this controversy could turn to great good that will serve the very purposes of God in building the Living Temple in Israel.
December 29, 2007
I cannot even to begin to tell you how dear and extra special it is to hear the Jewish people stand up and defend our Lord, our Messiah. Before my conversion I never gave the Lord, or the Jewish people any thought to tell you the truth. But when I was reborn, I was given a love, a special place in my heart for the Jewish people and I know that is from God Himself. I have listened to John Hagee over the years and when he made these statements my heart was broken. Why? Because no matter how intelligent the man is, I knew he was wrong in this. There is no mistake. What people are struggling with I suppose, is he deliberately doing this or is he so blind, so deceived? Actually, due to the seriousness of the matter, I do not think we should waste our time with that. What is important in these last days, is that we know the Word of God for ourselves. Satan is very clever and very good at deception. Very good at twisting scripture. He often uses a tiny bit of truth with lies. To me? Deceived or deliberate? What matters is, no matter how much John Hagee verbally expresses his love for the Jewish people, what he is really saying is he does not care for them at all. To deny the precious gift of salvation to the Jewish people is worse than the Holocaust….because in the end it will be damning their souls. We should pray for the man, but also stay away from this man and not listen to or read his articles or “sermons” anymore. He is a false teacher. Truly you will and I will see our Messiah returning in the clouds soon. Lift up your heads. Mary
January 3, 2008
Shalom, brothers and sisters –
Thank you, Kevin, for this article! I recently read Pastor Hagee’s book, “Jerusalem Countdown.” Unfortunately, I read it AFTER I signed on to receive news and information from CUFI. As I read the book, I thought I was either too stupid or too old to keep track of all the directions Pastor Hagee was taking me. Turns out, I am neither.
For much of the time, I was horribly confused and many times had to re-read what I had just read. You can believe that I had my Bible out through the whole thing. With my own Scriptural proof at my side, I discovered misquotes, misinterpretations, and twists and turns that left me completely baffled and breathless. The last chapters of the book were, to my mind, awfully close to blasphemy. It’s not for nothing that we are instructed to test everything!
I tossed the book onto the back of my bookshelf, wondering if maybe it shouldn’t go out to the trash instead. Amazed that any author as Bibically well trained and educated as Pastor Hagee could take such liberties and live to tell the tale, I was very dismayed when I realized that he is leading a huge flock the wrong way. There is much he will be held accountable for at the last trump unless he sees the error of his ways and soon.
That said, we are accountable as well. While I will not give Hagee credence again on any matter, the Master instructs us to forgive and to pray for our enemies and for those who would destroy us. It is incumbent upon us (isn’t it?) to pray for this “brother” who is so very badly deceived.
Thanks again, Kevin, for your courage. Na’ahma
January 15, 2008
I almost don’t know where to start here, whether it was from the outrageous claim by John Hagee that Jesus did not say He was The Messiah, or for the shell game that is going on among those who feel that modern-day Israeli political ambition is more important than The Word of God. Sadly, the evangelical world is more interested in being invited to the Knesset and the Purim party, than in boldly proclaiming the Gospel as Peter, John and Paul did. Where is the light to the Jewish people? Hagee must think that the Jews are still waiting for The Messiah. How tragic!
April 6, 2008
I was very disturbed when I read your blog about Pastor John Hagee. He is clearly in error about the mission of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah. I cringe inside when I think about all the gullible Christians who may read or have read Hagee’s book and take his words at face value because they support his ministry!
May 15, 2008
Likewise I cringe [when] people of God engage in vicious name calling even failing to mention the good that this pastor is doing. Love overlooks a multitude of sins and so far I havent met a perfect person. Cannot the body have diffrent parts? Or must they all beat up, and hold friendship from the unsaved? I’m with you Pastor Hagee. I will be a friend anyway without demanding a conversion. Good Day to you all.
August 31, 2008
Thank you for the clarification on John Hagee’s stance and CUFI, I listen to him preach quite ofen, and have had concern about some of the things he has said. I feel led by Christ to have found and committed to support you. I have supported CUFI, but something always made me feel as if it wasn’t right for me to support. I believe the Bible entirely, and could not find peace with what he has been saying about the messiah and savior not being one in the same. Jesus was very clear in Matthew 15:26:
He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’ meaning that he was there for the Children of the Jews and not for the Gentiles. Because she humbled herself, and had great faith, he granted what she asked. Jesus was sent first to the Jew then to the Gentile. I feel blessed to be one of the dogs under the master’s table, or the wild branch grafted into the vine.
September 21, 2008
I totally agree with the previous writter. I’m just another dog under the Master’s table. It is my greatest privilege to have Yeshua as the Lover of my soul. At this stage in my life I have enough walk with Christ to avoid this trap. I feel betrayed and the pain is almost unbearable, because I can see the lambs in the Kingdom being fed this poison. And sadly he is not the only person feeding the body of Christ all kinds of poisonous stuff. But I know that my Lord will not keep silent. Yeshua will protect the little ones in the Kingdom, for He is the Good Sheperd.
November 28, 2008
Sounds like someone has spent a little too much time studying the Rabbinical refutations to Yeshua as Messiah and allowed his paradigm to be shifted by weak human logic, inventing a way for opposing paradigms to somehow simultaneously be true.
December 17, 2008
Great read Kevin, and thank you for your courage. I have listened to Pastor Hagee in the past, but with the book Jerusalem Countdown, knew he was off track and stopped putting so much trust in his words. With this book I am greatful that I am strong enough to read, pray and discern the truth and thankful to Yeshua for other strong people who stand up and speak out. Shalom, Marti
August 7, 2010
I Wonder if John is confusing the “suffering servant (picture – Joseph “Messiah Ben Yosef”) versus Conquering King – Messiah Ben David). Luke 7:20: same scripture that so often is associated with “discouragement/lack of faith”. I believe it means is He Messiah Ben David or should we wait for Messiah Ben David because He is here as Messiah Ben Joseph…
June 25, 2012
he actually says that his book can proov that Jesus did not come to be the Messiah? how can he be a christian and believer and say that?
July 27, 2012
having only just received this book – i wondered if Hagee had read Prof N.T. Wrights understanding that Jesus refused to be the kind of Messiah the Jews of His day were looking for – but without him (Hagee) acknowledging the Professor. Wright doesn’t seem to appear in the Index – and there isn’t an actual Bibliography (though there are notes for each chapter). having read Hagee’s writing style, i realise it is his position and power that requires people to reply to him – if he was a no-body, his rhetorical remarks (with his own red herrings inserted in the text to muddy the waters) would hardly raise a ripple – if any at all.