Faith healer Benny Hinn, a native of Jaffa, Israel, recently wrote a book about his native land. Blood In the Sand: Understanding the Middle East Conflict — the Stakes, the Dangers, and What the Bible Says About the Future is part memoir, part prophecy. The televangelist recently visited with Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Religion Editor Frank Lockwood about Jesus, Jerusalem, healing the sick and raising the dead. This interview was edited for space and clarity.
LOCKWOOD: Your latest book has a foreword by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. How many world leaders do you know?
HINN: (Big laugh.) I know quite a number of them. I knew Olmert when he was Jerusalem’s mayor and then when he became prime minister. And of course, you know, I’m very close to the Israelis, but I do know a whole lot of world leaders besides them because of my travels.
LOCKWOOD: Have you had any success convincing the prime ministers of Israel to embrace Jesus Christ as savior?
HINN: Well, we have talked about the Bible. I spoke with [Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin, one month before he was assassinated, about the Bible. But you know we have to use wisdom when we are with someone like a Rabin or a Bibi [current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu], but I was very open with them about the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and they are very kind to listen to me, of course. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to believe it.
LOCKWOOD: But it gives you an opportunity to share with them?
HINN: Oh, of course. And plus, they know what I believe anyway.
LOCKWOOD: One time you were on Trinity Broadcasting Network, and you said one of the most amazing things. You said one day the power of God would be so strong that dead people would be hearing the words broadcast over TBN and would actually be raised to life. Have you had any reports of people being raised from the dead yet?
HINN: No, but I do believe it will happen. Why should it be difficult for God to raise the dead? … I was simply speaking of the day when people, through Christian television, God’s power would flow to not only heal the sick but raise the dead. They’re already being healed by watching Christian television. Why not? God can raise the dead still through Christian television.
LOCKWOOD: In your ministry, how many people have been healed and what kind of [illnesses] are we talking about?
HINN: Well, goodness, we’ve had, I mean, I can’t tell you how many. In the thousands. But these miracles are very real. My goodness. The greatest miracle I ever saw was a lady in Montreal that was bent over like an arch and God healed her. She became straight in front of our eyes. … I’ve seen many great healings and great miracles and to Jesus be the praise.
LOCKWOOD: How many faith healers do you think are the real deal and how many are frauds? How many are going to hear ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant’ [Matthew 25:21] and how many are going to hear ‘Depart from me, ye worker of iniquity’? [Matthew 7:23]
HINN: The majority will probably not hear ‘thou good and faithful servant.’ I mean there’s really a few that have kept their life clean. Kathryn [Kuhlman] was one of them, Oral Roberts was another. I’m praying I’ll be one. I’m not done yet. You know it’s very easy to start right and it’s very difficult to finish right. And my aim is to finish right and I pray that I’ll do that. But there are people, sadly, that have fallen away because of sin and because of corruption.
LOCKWOOD: You have been criticized a lot in the media over the years. Why do you think you’re such a magnet, sometimes, for people’s criticism?
HINN: Well, because of the crowds we have. If you draw crowds, you’re going to have critics and controversy. And people have said that I’m in this for the money. Well, time will prove them wrong.
LOCKWOOD: Sometimes, though, you do have people that come to your services and they believe they’re healed … and they end up dying anyway.
HINN: That happens. That’s going to continue to happen, because you are dealing with humanity and you’re also dealing with many sick people who come to those meetings. God doesn’t heal everyone. I’m not the healer and I’m not God. People are healed in their seats before I ever see them, and they come up on the platform telling me they’re healed. And only God knows if they’re healed or not. And only time will prove if they’re healed or not. … But I do continue to preach the healing message because it’s real. God really does heal the sick. And even if one gets healed, I’m a success.
LOCKWOOD: When is Jesus coming back?
HINN: Nobody knows that. You know that. But we see what’s going on on this planet and it won’t be long. I mean, look what’s going on with Iran. Look what’s happening with the radical Muslims. Look what’s going on in the Middle East. You know, one of these days some crazy somebody’s going to do something and a war will erupt and this time it will be a nuclear war. … We pray the Lord will come before this world blows itself up to dust.
LOCKWOOD: So you think there’ll be a nuclear war?
HINN: Absolutely, there’ll be a nuclear war. You can see the writing on the wall.
LOCKWOOD: Will there ever be peace in Israel?
HINN: No. Not until Jesus comes back, because it’s a religious war. It deals with God’s promises and God’s word. It’s really a spiritual matter, not a political one.