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A Look at "Christian Zionism"

A look at “Christian Zionism”

“Christian Zionism” (a label I personally do not like) has become a topic of conversation because of events that have taken place, again, in the Middle East. Let us define what this is and then tackle some misconceptions as they relate to Christians.

A quick definition of what we are discussing would be that there are Christians who support, from a Biblical perspective, Israel’s right to exist as a nation. Included in that would be that they would also dwell in their own land. This view is connected to a belief that Scripture indicates there are promises that God made to Israel that are yet to be fulfilled and included in those is the need for them as a people to be given a place to call their own.

This contrasts with what is known as “replacement theology.” This view teaches that on account of Israel’s disobedience to God, there are no future promises made by God that are yet to be fulfilled for Israel as a people group and that in fact, the church has replaced Israel as God’s people. There is much more to this than space allows but this is a thumbnail definition.

As far as Israel and their place in the world, we hearken back to the Old Testament. In Genesis 12:2-3 God told Abraham that He would make from him a great nation, and that through his line, others would be blessed (Christ came through the line of Israel). God was also clear that those who honor Abraham’s descendants God would bless, but those who dishonor them God will curse.

In Genesis 15 God made an unconditional covenant with Abraham that He would give Him and his descendants a land to dwell in. This promise was not based on anything Abraham said or did. It was God Who, by His choice, made this promise. The fact of the matter is Israel has never inherited the land promised by the Lord. Since God said this would happen, it is a future event still to come.

Continuing, in Deuteronomy 28 God stated clearly that if Israel followed Him, He would bless them, but if they chose to rebel, He would deal with them as a nation. Eventually the nation of Israel would split and become two independent countries (Israel and Judah). In 722 B.C., Israel ceased to exist.

In 586 B.C. Judah, the other half of the split, was defeated by the Babylonian Empire and came to an end. Since that time Israel has never existed as a nation until 1948 when it once again was given statehood and land to live in.

In addition, Romans 9-11, along with other passages of Scripture (e.g., Book of Revelation), indicate that at some future time many in Israel will come to faith in Christ and recognize the true Messiah, thus fulfilling other Biblical prophecies. Though there are Jewish people coming to faith in Christ in our current day, as there are other nationalities as well, we are speaking of a future yet to unfold regarding Israel.

Currently, Israel is more a secular than religious nation, but the promises God gave to Abraham (the unconditional ones, for example), will be fulfilled. God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19), thus we know that He will keep His word.

Now back to our discussion. We need to clarify some things regarding a Christian view on Israel while clearing up misconceptions and misrepresentations that are circulating about Christ followers who also are supporters of Israel.

1) Supporting Israel does not mean we agree with every decision the government of Israel makes. It means that we support their right to exist, and that God does have a future for them though they are currently blind to what all that means.

2) One of the issues has to do with the Gaza Strip and the Palestinians desire for their own land. The facts are that Israel has tried to make things work with the Palestinians but Hamas, who rules the Gaza Strip with an iron fist, is bent on the destruction of the nation of Israel. That makes a working relationship between the two difficult.

Both sides have not always handled things well but the hatred of Israel by certain groups makes any workable solution untenable at the current moment.

3) The branding of those who support Israel as “heretics”, as one major liberal denomination has done, shows a lack of Biblical understanding regarding God’s timeline of world events.

In response to the use of the word “heretical” stamped on Christians who support Israel, most that do stand with Israel hold to the historic doctrines of the Christian faith, but also understand that in God’s prophetic calendar He is not done with the nation of Israel.

To label those who believe God has a plan for Israel as being heretical shows a total lack of understanding of this word. In response, those who deny the Deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the inerrancy of Scripture, the Atoning work of Christ and He as being the only hope for our salvation, would fit the meaning behind the word “heresy.”

4) In supporting Israel, we are not saying that other doctrines, nations, or viewpoints on various topics do not matter. We do not wear “blinders.” This view of Israel held by those who do stand with Israel’s right to exist is one piece of the doctrinal pie of the Word of God.

We will discuss other issues from a Biblical perspective as well, but this topic has been on the front burner for some time and has come up once again for dialogue because of the Hamas-Israel fighting that recently took place. That is why we chose to begin the “Theology and Culture” blog by discussing Israel’s existence from a Biblical viewpoint.

Closing Thought: More could be said but let us state again that when we speak of supporting Israel’s right to exist, it is based on God’s unconditional promises given in the Old Testament regarding Israel, beginning with Abraham. One of those includes a land to call their own.

We also believe that God has a plan for Israel, as He does for the entire world, as we see from passages such as Daniel 9 and the Book of Revelation, for example, and included that is an awakening to the realization of Who Jesus is, the Messiah that offers salvation to anyone who is willing to put their faith and trust in Him.


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