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Modern Israel: Is It Biblical To Be A ‘Christian Zionist’?

Authored by Mark Hitchcock , Harbingers Daily 

The word “Zionist” is not a new term. What is new is the way the term is used today by Israel’s enemies to justify anti-semitism.

Instead of Iran saying they’re against Israel or they’re against the Jews, they use the word “Zionist,” i.e., “Iran is against the Zionist regime.” This is being used by them often to camouflage their anti-semitism. Being anti-Zionist and hating Zionists is just a new word for an old hatred.

What Is Zionism And Where Does It Come From?

The idea of being a Zionist is that you are advancing, or you hold to, the idea that Israel has a right to their national homeland. Zionist movements have existed throughout church history, but the modern Zionist movement gained great traction in the late 1800s with Theodore Herzl. When you go to Israel today, you will see his name everywhere.

Where does the word “Zion” come from? Zion is one of the hills or mountains in Jerusalem. There are several mountains and small hills that make up the land around the city of Jerusalem. Mount Zion is where the city of David is today, just south of the Temple Mount. You can see it there from the Mount of Olives.

“Zion” is often used in the Bible as a synonym for Jerusalem or even the nation as a whole.

What Is Christian Zionism?

The term “Christian Zionist” came into being in the mid-20th century. Before that, 70-80 years ago, it was known as “Christian restorationism” and had been since 16th century England. These were groups of people who believed that the Jewish people had a right to their ancient homeland being restored.

Of course, 1948 was a critical time for Zionists, and certainly Christian Zionists who believe that the re-establishment of Israel was a fulfillment of Bible prophecy and a super sign of the End Times.

As a Christian Zionist:

  • I believe that Israel and the Jewish people have a right to their ancient homeland in the Middle East.
  • I believe that Israel has a future in God’s plan, and God has a future for Israel.
  • I believe that 1948 was a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, setting the stage for what lies ahead.

Now, being a Christian Zionist doesn’t mean that we have a blind endorsement of everything that Israel does, but it does mean that we believe that Israel has a right to a secure homeland and to live in that homeland that was given to them by God.

My belief and stance as a Christian Zionist is based on the Bible. Primarily on a covenant that God made with Abraham and his descendants 4,000 years ago. This covenant that God made with Abraham is known as the “Abrahamic Covenant.”

What Is The Abrahamic Covenant?

In Genesis, chapter 12, God gives Abram a promise, “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing” (Genesis 12:1-2).

Now think, that’s an individual promise God gave to Abraham to make his name great. It is followed by a corporate promise or a national promise. God says, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee…” This is a promise, really a threat God gives, that those who will bless Abraham and his descendants will be blessed, but the one who curses them God must curse.

Now notice God tells Abraham, go from your country, leave your father’s house, and go from your relatives. Abraham, when he leaves Ur of the Chaldeans down near Babylon, fulfills the first prong of these conditions. He left his country, going to a land that God would show him that he had never seen before.

He pauses for a little bit in the area of Haran, north of Israel, taking his father and all of his relatives with him—which doesn’t fulfill what God said. When he gets to Haran, his father, Terah, dies. Abram then leaves his father’s house but still takes his relative, Lot, with him to go down into the land.

Finally, because of a conflict between Lot and Abram’s herdsman, they part ways. At that point, Abram had fulfilled all three of these prongs: he left his country, his father, and his relatives behind.

In chapter 13:14-18, “after Lot separated from Him,” God then comes to Abram and says: “…Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord.”

After Abraham fulfills these prongs, God promises to give him as far as he can see in every direction. That land would be given to him forever.

In Genesis 15, God memorializes what He promised and makes a blood covenant with Abram. God comes to Abram and instructs him to take a heifer, a goat, and a ram and cut them in half, throwing one of the carcasses on one side and another carcass on the other, making a pathway between them.

The word “covenant” means to “cut.” When a covenant was cut, both parties would walk between the pieces of those dead animals to show that if they violated their word and what they promised, they may be like those animals. In other words, they were promising their life.

Abram places these animals there and falls asleep. When he wakes up, he sees a smoking oven and a flaming torch. It’s a theophany—a visible appearance of God. He sees this smoking oven and flaming torch walking between the carcasses of those animals. Abram doesn’t ever walk between them. Nothing dependent on Abraham. Everything depended on God. This covenant is a unilateral and eternal covenant. There are no conditions placed on it.

God promises Abraham three main things in this covenant: soil, seed, and salvation:

  • He promises him a seed/descendants.
  • He promises him soil/land
  • He promises salvation through the one who will ultimately come through Abraham’s line: the Messiah who brings salvation.

From The Rivers To The Sea?

In Chapter 15:18, God promises Abraham a specific land that he’s going to give to His people, “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:”

They have not always occupied this region. There is a difference between ownership and occupation. In fact, God himself has put them out of the land on various occasions, but they are its owners.

When people ask the question, “Who owns the land?” the answer is the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The land God promised is “from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates.” Now, the “river of Egypt” is not the Nile River because if it was, the children of Israel would have been in the Promised Land before they ever left Egypt. The Nile River is an unusual river that flows to the north. Up in the delta of the Nile River, there are different branches of the Nile. The easternmost branch was known as the River of Egypt. It’s basically along the line of the modern Suez Canal.

So God promised that from along where the Suez Canal is today, all the way up to the Euphrates River, this will be the land given to Abraham and his descendants forever. That includes modern Israel today, what’s called the “West Bank,” the Gaza Strip, most of modern-day Lebanon, a fairly large portion of modern-day Syria (almost up to the city of Damascus), and even a small part of modern-day Iraq.

Now, the Jewish people have never inhabited and had control over all of that land at any time in their history—but God promises He will give it to them. I believe it will be in the coming millennium kingdom when God will fulfill this promise regarding this entire land.

In the meantime, as a Christian Zionist, I believe that the Jewish people have a right to a homeland, that they are a part of God’s prophetic program, and that 1948 was a significant event.

What we see later, if you continue reading through Genesis, is God reiterating this promise to Abraham’s son, Isaac, then to Isaac’s son, Jacob, and their descendants, the 12 tribes of Israel.

Isaac, not Ishmael. Jacob, not Esau.

In Joshua chapter one, when he comes in to take the land, God says, “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea [which is the Mediteranian] toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast” (Joshua 1:3-4).

We hear a lot today, “from the river to the sea.” These verses, however, say not just from the river to the sea but from the rivers to the sea. That’s what God has promised to the Jewish people. They’re not going to get all that land until Jesus comes back and fulfills this covenant with Abraham.

A Promise-Making, Promise-Keeping God

I believe that as Christian Zionists, we want the Jewish people to have a land that they can live in and be safe. Many today claim that because the Jewish People are not believers in Jesus, they have no right to the land. Remember that when God gave the land to Abraham, He did so before Abraham trusted in Him. It was a gracious gift of God to Abraham and his descendants.

Based on this promise, you and I should support and pray for Israel. Our God is a promise-making, promise-keeping God. If God doesn’t keep his promise to Abraham, we have no hope that God is going to keep his promises to us.

God brought the Jewish people back to their land in 1948. He’s keeping His promise. He’s faithful. All the promises of God are “yes” and “amen” in Jesus Christ.

The next promise to be fulfilled on God’s prophetic program is the rapture—and it will be fulfilled in God’s good time.