Modern Christian Zionism has grown alongside mainstream Zionism, and certainly not by coincidence. However, is Christian Zionism, like mainstream Zionism, a political movement, or a spiritual ideology?
Certainly, Christian Zionism is based on a spiritual, biblical ideology, as is mainstream Zionism, but that ideology deals with a land and a people, and is therefore also a political movement. Christian Zionism is based on the Word of God for the sake of Israel and the Jewish people, and is in full support of political, mainstream Zionism. This support has grown and shifted over the years from primarily spiritual backing through prayer to very real action on behalf of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.
What are the goals of Christian Zionism?
Firstly, Christian Zionism seeks to declare to the Church and the world the truth of God’s Word concerning the ownership of the Land of Israel by the Children of Israel (the Jews). Christian Zionism also desires to make clear to the Church and the world the scriptural fact that Israel’s rebellion, disobedience, and subsequent exile from the Land does not make void God’s promises. (Deuteronomy 30:1-6). Time and again throughout scripture God promises to restore the Jewish people to their ancient homeland, and Christian Zionism stands on this truth (Jeremiah 31:10; Isaiah 11:11, 12).
Second, Christian Zionism seeks to refute the misinterpretation of scripture known as “Replacement Theology.” This effort is based largely on Romans 9-11, in which Paul clearly states that Israel is the spiritual root of Christianity’s hope and faith in the God of Israel.
Third, Christian Zionism seeks to repair the damage done to the relationship between Christians and Jews by the last 1,900 years of “Church” history. Christian Zionism rightly realizes that the world’s only hope for redemption lies with Israel and her covenant with God. Christian Zionism therefore seeks to be a comfort to Zion (Isaiah 40:1-2).
Christian Zionism looks to declare and achieve these goals for the sake of Israel and the Jewish people, but more importantly for the sake of God’s image and glory as a faithful God who keeps His covenant.
Scriptural Basis for Christian Zionism
Christian Zionism is naturally based on the same, numerous promises and prophecies from the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) as mainstream Zionism is. However, Christian Zionism also finds support and scriptural backing in the Messianic Scriptures (“New Testament”) in the teachings of Yeshua and the Apostle Paul (Luke 21:23-24, 28; Romans 9-11).
Christian Zionism sees the rebirth of Israel as a nation and her continued growth, prosperity and security as necessary prerequisites to Messiah’s return.
Christian Zionism is a commitment to be involved, through prayer and practical support, in what God is doing in the world through Israel. God’s redemption and restoration of the world is uniquely tied to His relationship and dealings with Israel, and Christian Zionism strives to work towards that goal of redemption by supporting Israel.
As stated above, Christian Zionism has shifted over the years from primarily supporting the Jewish people with prayer to also taking very real action on behalf of the nation of Israel. This action has taken the form of political lobbying on behalf of Israel, humanitarian assistance, financial backing, and the participation of many Christians in bringing Jews from around the world home to Israel.
History of Christian Zionism – Past Leaders
Christian Zionism’s origins as an ideology reach back to the 1st Century Gentile believers in Yeshua who supported the nation of Israel as the root of their faith. However, modern Christian Zionism as we know it today grew up with mainstream Zionism beginning in the late 16th Century. The following are some of the more prominent Christian Zionists from the last five centuries:
- 1587 – Francis Kett is burned alive for expressing belief in a Jewish return to the Land of Israel based on biblical prophecy.
- Late 1700’s – Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol, expresses belief that the Jews would soon be restored to their ancient homeland; condemns growing anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe.
- Late 1800’s – William E. Blackstone, dubbed the “American Christian Father of Zionism,” advocates the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel. See: Reagan, Blackstone and Why American Christians Really Support Israel
- 1845-1931 – William Hechler, Chaplain of the British Embassy in Vienna, works side-by-side with Theodor Herzl to bring about the goals of the Zionist cause; attends the First Zionist Congress in 1897; dedicates 30 years to the Zionist cause, dying only a short 17 years before the dream is realized.
- In addition, numerous Christian Zionists risked their lives to save Jewish lives during the Nazi Holocaust. Their heroic deeds are commemorated at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
The list could go on and on. The point is that Christian Zionism is a very real ideology and commitment by believers in the God of Israel to do all in their power, even risk their lives, to work for the fulfillment of God’s Word.
Christian Zionism has grown over the years and now includes millions of Christians from all over the world who are seeking to participate in the fulfillment of God’s will concerning the restoration of the world through Israel. More and more Christians are realizing that there is no other moral, biblical option than to support Israel and the Jewish people by any means.
Furthermore, the rebirth of Israel and the success of Zionism matter to Gentiles because they are the most tangible evidence in our world today that God exists and keeps His promises. As the prophet said, “can a country be born in a day, or a nation be brought forth in a moment?” (Isaiah 66:8-9). It shouldn’t work, it shouldn’t have succeeded. But it does, and it did. And that can only be by the hand of God.
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