Inside View Jul/Aug 2015

Not long ago I attended a first-ever conference titled “People of the Land: A Twenty-First Century Case for Christian Zionism” in Washington, DC. It was an evangelical response to the growing movement within Evangelicalism to turn away from supporting Israel.

Evangelical anti-Zionists maintain they don’t hate the Jewish people but believe Israel’s existence, which they oppose, stems from an overreaction to the Holocaust and is the primary cause of terrorism and violence in the Middle East. Absent in the discussion is God and His plan to redeem this sin-cursed world.

As Christian Zionists, we believe the Jewish people have a right—granted by God in an irrevocable covenant—to the Promised Land. We also believe they have the right to rule that land as a Jewish nation (Gen. 12; 15; 17; Ps. 105).

Certainly, God placed conditions on Israel’s ability to live in the land and enjoy it that were related to obedience to His Law. But an irrevocable covenant cannot be broken. Nowhere in Scripture does God ever promise this piece of real estate to any other people.

The conference speakers based their stance on a literal interpretation of God’s Word, particularly as it relates to His redemptive plan, and sought to make their case apart from any in-depth discussion of future prophecy. While I agree there is a strong case to be made for Israel based on God’s plan to redeem creation, the details of God’s eschatology (the study of things yet to come) cannot be ignored. The ultimate case for Israel’s present and future existence in the land rests on God’s future plans for this world and the role Israel plays in them.

More and more, we dispensationalists who hold to a biblically defined eschatology are being marginalized. Part of the blame, no doubt, is our own, as some dispensationalists who make speculative predictions about the future injure us. Adding to God’s Word is not prudent or advisable, as the apostle John warned at the end of the book of Revelation. Some among us predict events and call for signs that are not biblical. But a few sensationalists shouldn’t define an entire group.

Following the conference, The Christian Post ran an article about it titled “New Christian Zionists Seek Distance from ‘Wild, Crazy Popular Apocalypticism.’” After briefly referencing the presentations, the reporter focused on the “wild, crazy popular” dispensationalists who have dominated Christian Zionism in the past.

To say that Christian Zionism and Dispensationalism go hand in hand is correct. But to categorize us all as wild and crazy is wrong. We are not the problem, nor is prophecy. Throwing Dispensationalism under the bus to support Zionism is not necessary or wise. More beneficial would be a balanced discussion that considers both God’s redemptive plan and how He intends to unfold it in the days to come. We should not run from the details because a few people take liberty with the facts.

The real challenge to Christian Zionism today comes from those who fail to accept what God has revealed in His Word. The bigger battle here is a spiritual one. It is God who chose Abraham as the progenitor of a unique nation to fulfill His promise to defeat Satan. This same God transmitted His holy Word through that nation.

It is God who taught mankind through Israel to worship Him. It is God who sent His only begotten Son to the Jewish people to pay the redemption price for sin. It is God who chose to bring salvation to the Gentiles so that the entire world would be blessed. And it is God who will someday send His Son back to restore His Kingdom on Earth. Sitting on the throne of King David in Jerusalem, the Messiah will rule the universe, and Israel will be the nation of priests that will lead the world in worship of Him.

All these things are part of God’s plan, according to His will and infinite wisdom. Why support Zionism? Because it is God’s plan. Our responsibility before God is to bless the Jewish people and stand with Israel against those who oppose God, His plan, and His beloved nation.

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