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Zion Oil and Gas

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Zion Oil and Gas is a Dallas, Texas-based hydrocarbon exploration company; its principal assets are the three license blocks in northern Israel. The company was founded by John Brown in 2000 and is quoted on the NASDAQ Global Market (stock symbol: ZN).[1] What makes Zion different from other exploration minnows is that it is a faith-based company which is Biblically-inspired and convinced that it will discover one of the largest oil fields in the Middle East during the "End Times", based solely on the reading of Biblical texts.[2] The company has been heavily promoted in Christian nutjob publications such as WorldNetDaily and most of its 4000 investors are believed to be evangelical Christians with a lesser number of Jews.[3] The primary aim of the company is to make Israel self-sufficient in oil for decades to come, just in time for the Rapture.

However, despite the Christian fundamentalist background of Zion's founder, the company does not rely on any of that creationist flood geology nonsense. Several members of the board are either qualified geologists or have worked in senior positions for major oil companies.

I believe Zion Oil & Gas was ordained by G-d for the express purpose of discovering oil and gas in the Land of Israel and to bless the Jewish people and the nation of Israel and the body of Christ (Isaiah 23:18 NIV). I believe that G-d has promised in the Bible to bless Israel with one of the world’s largest oil and gas fields, and this will be discovered in the last days before the Messiah returns and that it will be found on the Joseph License and the Asher/Menashe License, both being on the Head of Joseph (Genesis 49:1-2 and 22-26)
—John Brown[4]

John Brown[edit]

John M. Brown was an "executive" for Michigan-based toolmaker GTE Valeron when he became a born-again Christian in January 1981 following a battle with alcoholism. He professes to be a 'Christian Zionist' and states:[4]

As a Christian Zionist, I declare "thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God" (Ruth 1:16); and, I believe that, as true Christians, we must all so identify with Israel, as we are all part of the "wild olive branch" grafted onto the olive tree by the grace of G-d (Romans 11). Moreover, I identify with Israel because I share in their struggle and understand a little something of their pain — their confusion, their hope, the media misrepresentation, and the world's disdain of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel — even and perhaps more so today, when Israel appears to be coming under greater criticism for taking those very steps of self-defense which we in America take for granted as our sovereign moral right to take in defense of ourselves and our interests.

In spring 1981, Jim Spillman, who had just written a book called The Great Treasure Hunt,[5] visited the Zion Temple in Clawson, Michigan where Brown was a member. The talk that Spillman gave filled Brown with a "Vision" and set him on a mission from "G-d".[Note 1] During a visit to Israel in 1983 Brown claims to have been "told by God that [Brown was chosen] to fulfill His promises to Israel" (Isaiah 14:24) (Zechariah 1:17d) Based on a map of the twelve tribes of Israel, Brown liberally interpreted many passages in the Bible to mean that not only were there large oil deposits in Israel but that Brown was the gentile chosen to discover them. Indeed, Brown seems to see himself written into the Bible and considers himself to be a de facto prophet. In The Vision (a company mission statement) Brown signs off the Founder's Testimony as John Brown, Founder (Amos 3:7).

Later in The Vision, following a brief outline of oil exploration in Israel, Brown explains the reasoning behind the founding of Zion:[4]

Following continued assessment of all geological and geophysical data, renowned petroleum engineers, geologists and geophysicists continue to ask … "where is the most logical place to drill where we can be sure of 'tapping' those vast reservoirs of oil?"

Yet, there is an "ANSWER", and it is found in the most "overlooked" source of geological information available to mankind today… the Bible! The archaeologists have found the Bible to be their unerring guide to hidden treasures … Why cannot the geologists utilize the same "tool" to find this oil?

So we searched the Bible and found numerous occasions where, I believe, the Bible in describing the division of the Land of Israel among the sons of Jacob — commencing in Genesis (Chapter 49) when Jacob on his deathbed summons His sons and says "Gather yourselves together, that I might tell you that which shall befall you in the LAST DAYS" (Genesis 49:1) and concluding in Deuteronomy (Chapters 32 and 33) with Moses' song of praise of G-d and his blessings of the twelve tribes as G-d prepares him to view the "Promised Land" which HE had given to HIS chosen "Children of Israel" — makes direct reference to the existence of OIL in Israel.

So, friends of Israel, as we begin "The Great Treasure Hunt" … may we join hands with the Government of Israel and its people and together look toward and pray for "the discovery of OIL in their homeland, the Land of Israel" and on the "Head promised in the Torah by the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 49:25, 26) (Deuteronomy 33:13-16); and then "I will even gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give of Israel" (Ezekiel 11:17) and Israel will be graciously comforted and restored. (Micah 7:18-20) (Ezekiel 37:15-28)

We are then regaled with further details of how Brown's "Vision" came into being which are worth reproducing in full:[4]

While visiting Israel with Alger Wolfe in May 1983, John Brown's prayer to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was for oil to be found in Israel. This prayer and G-d's specific instruction to John were based on the Biblical portion describing the Dedication of the First Temple in Jerusalem and Solomon's prayers thereat. (1 Kings 8:22-66)

THE VISION ... The Oil Of Is'ra-el

ONE … The Prayer
"Moreover concerning a stranger [John Brown], that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country [U.S.A.] for thy name's sake: (for they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm); when he shall come and pray towards this house; hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to ALL that the stranger calleth to thee for [Oil for Israel]: that all the people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name." (1 Kings 8:41-43).

TWO … The Instructions
"And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the early rain and the late rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine OIL [the OIL of Israel]." (Deuteronomy 11:13-14)

THREE ... The Evidence
"Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee." (Isaiah 60:5)

These three specific sets of instructions received by John Brown in 1983 from G-d while in the land of Israel, were a consuming "fire" which has been born by him through the years for the exact purpose that G-d first lit it in his heart! Today, G-d continues to confirm, by HIS Word, the reality of HIS promise when HE also promised …

"For surely there is an end; and thy expectation shall not be cut off." (Proverbs 23:18)

Following this we get more self-justifying cherry-picking of various Biblical books:[4]

So, then He told me to "write the vision" (Habakkuk 2:2,3) and tell them:
"And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God.’
"Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'Son of man, behold they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God.’" (Ezekiel 12:21-28)[Note 2]

THE PROMISES … Also Unto the Gentiles (Leviticus 19:33, 34)
For the prophets foretold that the Gentiles (Isaiah 55:5) would also call upon G-d and they too would serve him (Zephaniah 3:9) and he would answer their prayers (Isaiah 65:24) and he would save them (Isaiah 52:10) and set them in the land! (Isaiah 14:1) For it is also written:
"Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath and does not profane it, and all that hold fast to my covenant. Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." (Isaiah 56:6-7)

A NEW COVENANT PEOPLE … (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
For G-d has promised that not only would He honor his First Covenant and would cause the Jews to return (Jeremiah 33:14-26), but that one day He would also make a New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:33-34) and (in Hosea 2:23) He said: "… And I will say to them that were not my people, Thou art my people!" And they shall say, "you are my God" and they will help restore the Nation of Israel and many people would come to the Land of Israel to seek the G-d of Israel (Zechariah 8:20-23) (Isaiah 65:1) and these strangers who dwelt among the people of Israel would also share in the promised inheritance (Ezekiel 47:21-23) and .... "the stranger that dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you." (Leviticus 19:34) For G-d's promise to Abraham was, "and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed". (Genesis 22:18)

So, now we a new covenant people (Deuteronomy 29:12-15) have came to the land of Israel to claim our promised inheritance and to receive the blessings of Abraham. (Galatians 3:6-14). For it is also written, "... is He the God of the Jews only? Is HE not the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also," (Romans 3:29-30) for G-d hath not cast away HIS people which HE foreknew. "For if their [the Jewish people] being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" (Romans 11:1-24) Because, "that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel will be saved." (Romans 11:24-36) Therefore:

As a Christian, one must recognize that it is written "… if [we] the Gentiles have been made partakers of their [Israel's] spiritual things, their [Gentiles'] duty is also to minister to them [Israel] in material things." (Romans 15:27) Because "the G-d of heaven He will prosper us [Zion]" (Nehemiah 2:20) with the oil of Israel … so that we a new covenant people of Zion will minister and assist "Israel in their petroleum and material needs." Because, as touching the election, "they [the Jewish People] are beloved for the sake of the fathers." (Romans 11:28) And, when they do turn to the Lord, the veil on their hearts will be taken away. (2 Corinthians 3:14-16)

… To Receive The Blessings Of Jacob (Genesis 49:1-2 and 22-26)
Zion Oil & Gas was ordained by G-d for the express purpose of discovering oil and gas in the Land of Israel and to bless the Jewish people and the nation of Israel and the body of Christ. (Isaiah 23:18) I believe that G-d has promised in the Bible to bless Israel with one of the world’s largest oil and gas fields and this will be discovered in the last days before the Messiah returns and that it will be found on the Ma’anit License and the Joseph Permit, both being on the Head of Joseph (Genesis 49:1-2 and 22-26):
"And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and listen unto Israel your Father … Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall. The archers fiercely attacked him and shot at him and hated him; but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made supple by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob (by the name of shepherd, the Rock of Israel), by the God of thy father who shall help thee; and by the Almighty who shall bless thee, with blessings of the heaven above, blessings of the deep [the Oil of Israel] that lies beneath; blessings of the breasts and the womb. The blessings of thy Father are mighty beyond the blessings of the eternal mountains, the blessings of the everlasting hills [Oil], they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separated from his brothers."

… And The Blessing Of Moses (Deuteronomy 33:1,13-19)

"And this is the blessing which Moses the man of GOD blessed the sons of Israel before his death" (Deuteronomy 33:1) :
"... And of Joseph he said, blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew and for the deep [the Oil of Israel] that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains and for the precious things of primordial hills [Oil] and fullness thereof, and for the Good will of HIM that dwelt in the bush; let the blessing [the Oil of Israel] come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren;" (Deuteronomy 33:13-16);
"They shall call the peoples to the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness; for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures [the Oil of Israel] hid in the sand." (Deuteronomy 33:19)'

Zion's main exploration licence is the "Joseph Project" and Brown proceeds to infer geological prospects from Biblical verses:[4]

THE JOSEPH PROJECT ... The Inheritance (Genesis 48:15-22) "Joseph shall have two portions. And you shall inherit it, one as well as another; that concerning which I lifted up my hand to give it to your fathers; and this land shall fall to you as an inheritance." (Ezekiel 47:13-14) "And it shall come to pass, that you shall divide it by lot for an inheritance to you, and to the strangers [Gentile believers] that sojourn among you, who shall beget children among you: and they shall be to you as those born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that in whatever tribe the stranger may stay, there you shall give him his inheritance, says the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 47:22-23)

… The Plan … By Faith (Hebrews 11:1-40)
Zion’s approach is somewhat unprecedented … and that is because of its founder's, John Brown's, FAITH in G-d and HIS promises (Joshua 1:8) and in G-d’s faithfulness and ability to perform all HIS Word, as we also walk in the steps of faith as Our Father Abraham walked. (Romans 4:11-25) And Jesus said, "It is written (Deuteronomy 8:3), Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." (Luke 4:4)
Now, "FAITH is the substance of things [the Oil of Israel] hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. … [And, it is also written that] By FAITH Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and … , By FAITH Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come; … By FAITH Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph." (Hebrews 11:1-22) G-d’s word establishes and so states "…The JUST shall live by his FAITH (Habakkuk 2:4) … But without FAITH, it is impossible to please HIM." (Hebrews 10:38 and 11:6)
For: We worship by faith as Abel. We walk by faith as Enoch. We work by faith as Noah. We live by faith as Abraham. We govern by faith as Moses. We follow by faith as Israel. We fight by faith as Joshua. We conquer by faith as Gideon. By faith we are patient in suffering, courageous in battle, made strong out of weakness, and are victorious in defeat. We are more than conquerors by our faith seeing "… there is one God who will justify the circumcised By Faith and the uncircumcised through faith." (Romans 3:29-30) So, it is only through faith in JESUS CHRIST that we are saved. "It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God’ (Isaiah 54:13) Therefore everyone who hath heard, AND HATH LEARNED OF THE FATHER, cometh unto me." (John 6:45-51)

From its inception, G-d’s plan was born through Faith in G-d’s Word into the heart of John Brown, Zion’s founder, and, in all matters concerning Zion, the Word of G-d has been the basis of John Brown’s conduct and actions: For it is written, "This book of Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it." (Joshua 1:8) Consequently, the founder of Zion shall respect and "Fear God, and keep HIS commandments: for that is the WHOLE duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13)


Never mind the foot, what about the cock?

Zion's basic premise is that Brown noticed on a 1973 map of the 12 tribes of Israel that Asher's Land looked like a foot which he took as a clue from the Bible:[4]

"And of Joseph he said, blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of HEAVEN, for the dew and for the DEEP [the Oil of Israel] THAT COUCHETH BENEATH ... and, for the chief thing of the ancient mountains and for the precious things [Meged] of the primordial hills [Oil] and fullness thereof, and for the Good will of Him that dwelt in the bush; let the blessing [the Oil of Israel] come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren". (Deuteronomy 33:13-16) "And of Asher he said, Be Asher blessed above sons; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him DIP HIS FOOT IN OIL." (Deuteronomy 33:24)

…the actions taken by the Zion management as it actively explores for oil and gas in Israel, are based on modern science and good business practice. Zion's oil and gas exploration activities are supported by appropriate geological, geophysical and other science-based studies and surveys typically carried out by companies engaged in oil and gas exploration activities.


Zion has been at this since 2000, and (unsurprisingly) found less oil than is in your car.[6]

Despite a few traces of hydrocarbons there have been no finds in commercial quantities. Zion has drilled four exploratory wells; the most recent and deepest (Ma’anit-Joseph #3) bottomed in their target horizon at 19,300 feet after 9 months of drilling apparently without any significant discovery. Zion Oil and Gas appears to have abandoned the Biblical maps and gone for pure geology with bids for acreage around the Dead Sea where there are known asphalt seeps.

In October 2011, Zion decided to resort to conventional methods of finding oil by contracting for a 2D seismic survey with the Geophysical Institute of Israel.[7] However, as a desperate measure for success John Brown beefed up his exploration activities with a call for more prayers.[8]

As of April 2012, Zion had still generated no income but elected to sponsor both a "Night to Honor Israel" banquet and an "Ambassadors" reception at the 7th Annual Washington-Israel Summit of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in Washington, D.C., 16-18 July 2012.[9] As Richard Rinberg (Zion's Chief Executive Officer) is scheduled to speak at the banquet, and John Brown is expected to be interviewed for broadcast on the Daystar Television Network, the expense could be seen as a marketing exercise to drum up much-needed investment for the company which continues to rely on a USGS estimate of recoverable hydrocarbon reserves in the Levant Basin.[10]

Stock market trading[edit]

Zion's share price since IPO

Zion Oil & Gas, Inc. was founded in April 2000 with the creation of 20,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $.01 per share. An initial Public Offering (IPO) was made on 29 December 2006 on the American Stock Exchange and remained open until 26 May 2007 when it closed with a subscription of 1,806,335 shares of common stock at $7.00 per share raising a total of $12.6 million. It is thought that most of the capital was provided by 4000 shareholders who are predominantly conservative Christians. Further increases in the authorised share capital were made in 2008 and 2009 bringing the total to 50,000,000 shares. As of June 15, 2011, the outstanding capital securities consist of 25,339,624 shares of common stock.

Zion raised over $12.6 million in its IPO and subsequently, in a follow-on offering that closed in January 2009, raised approximately $6.6 million. In June 2009, Zion completed its first stock rights offering and raised approximately another $21 million and in November 2009 completed a second stock rights offering, raising approximately $18 million more. In July 2010, Zion completed a third stock rights offering, raising approximately $12.4 million and in December 2010, Zion completed a fourth stock rights offering, raising approximately $18.2 million.

In June 2011, Zion again went to the market to raise a further $31.25 million with a rights issue of 6.25 million shares at $5 and one-year warrants with an exercise price of $3.50.[11] The fund-raising had only an 80% uptake[12] and raised only $24.5 million.

It would appear that Zion still have funding issues as in December 2011; the expiration date of the company's warrants was extended by 11 months.[13] Zion's CEO, Richard Rinberg, stated that "This extension of the exercise period will provide our ZNWAW warrant holders additional time to exercise their warrants and increase their ownership participation in the Company. We hope that a substantial number of these warrants will be exercised".

Investor advice[edit]

"All investments in Zion Oil and Gas, Inc. should be based on both prayer (Isa. 48:17) and only after a very thorough legal and financial review of all of Zion’s SEC Filings ("[14]

Pump and dump?[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Pump and dump

Hal Lindsey is a broadcaster for Trinity Broadcasting Network and presents a biblical prophecy TV show — The Hal Lindsey Report. In 2007 he told his viewers that "Zion Oil right now is on the verge of discovering oil… [a sign that] we are really on the very threshold of Lord Jesus' return." He also pumped Zion in his column on WorldNetDaily with the blatant misinformation that Zion had drilled "eight exploratory wells which had all showed signs of oil and gas" (in 2007 only one had been drilled) and suggested that Israel's oil reserves "could rival that of Saudi Arabia." What Hal didn't tell his viewers or readers is that he and his relatives had significant holdings in Zion of the order of 725,000 shares and had actually received a gift of 50,000 shares from Brown in 2002. Following Lindsey's TV endorsement Zion shares rose from $7.64 to $9.25 and trading volume increased 11-fold.[15]

Allegations of fraud[edit]

One investor has made accusations of fraud against Brown across several internet forums and has created a site entitled "John Brown and the Zion Oil and Gas Securities Fraud"[16]. The chief complaint appears to be that Brown believes that "the oil will only flow when a super spiritual person known as Joseph comes into his life". The complainant Yousef Yomtov, who uses the alias 'Yosalov'[17], alleges that he is the "super spiritual person"[Note 3] but Brown has refused to meet with him.[18] As only a wingnut can do, Yosalov also sees something highly suspicious in the fact that in January 2009 Zion announced that they had issued "approximately 666,000 warrants with a $7.00 exercise price"[19]

No, such a number of 666,000 thousand [sic] warrants can not be an accident, but rather is a deliberate poisoning of the company from within and an indication to investors who seek God's will that there is something ugly about Zion Oil and Gas.

As well as his website Yosalov is selling a report about Zion for the very reasonable price of 33 shekels.[20]

External links[edit]


  1. Although Brown frequently omits the middle vowel from the word God his usage is far from consistent.
  2. The bizarre underlining is as shown in the original document
  3. Presumably based on his anti-abortion and anti-homosexual activities.


  1. Zion Oil & Gas: Company History
  2. The Oil of Israel by John Brown, p.37.
  3. Texas Jewish Post: Oil in Israel? (11 Oct 2007)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Zion Oil & Gas. Founder's Testimony: The Vision and the Calling
  5. The Great Treasure Hunt is Spillman's 'revelation from God' about oil reserves in Israel. Published by Omega Publications, see James McKeever for background on this publisher.
  6. Zion Oil's latest Annual Report. Surprise! Wishful thinking about ancient texts does not make for good geological reports or a sound business plan
  7. Zion Oil & Gas Signs Seismic Survey Contract
  8. Oh hear my cry, oh God, attend unto my prayers Psalm 61:1
  9. Zion Oil & Gas to Sponsor Christians United for Israel's (CUFI) "Night to Honor Israel" — GlobeNewswire press release, Wed, Apr 18, 2012.
  10. Zion presentation at 24th Annual ROTH Investor Conference in Dana Point, California
  11. Zion Oil & Gas, Inc. Announces Final Results of Completed Rights Offering
  12. Zion Oil: Results of completed rights offering
  13. Zion Oil Extends Exercise Period of "ZNWAW" Warrants
  14. The Oil of Israel by John Brown, p.73
  15. Mother Jones, Jan 2008: Let There Be Light Crude: Zion's Holy Profits
  16. John Brown and the Zion Oil and Gas Securities Fraud, Zion Oil Scam.
  17. John Brown and the Zion Oil and Gas Securities Fraud, Zion Oil Fraud Contract.
  18. Skeptic Friends Network, Forum thread: Zion Oil" getting into hot water?
  19. Zion Oil Investor Alert!
  20. Zion Oil Investor Alert! Full Report