I Am a Biblical Zionist
Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 21 February 2014; Revised 16 April 2015
Sources: Unless otherwise indicated Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (Updated Edition 1995).
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Hebraic and Jewish character of the entire Bible I use the terms Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament).
The opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect the view of any other person or organization.
I am a Biblical Zionist. I make a distinction with Christian Zionism, because it has largely been associated with Dispensationalism. For many Evangelicals the support for the return of Jews has not been based on the belief that the Land belonged to them by everlasting covenant, but as a necessary prerequisite for the Rapture. For that reason Christian Zionism has been widely criticized in a number of Christian denominations. The term Christian Zionism was popularized in the mid-twentieth century, following the coining of the term "Zionism" in 1890, formerly known as Restorationism.
The "ingathering" of Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Yeshua. The idea that Christians should actively support a Jewish return to the Land of Israel, along with the parallel idea that the Jews ought to be encouraged to become Christian, as a means fulfilling a Biblical prophecy has been common in Protestant circles since the Reformation. See the article Christian Zionism, at Wikipedia Encyclopedia for more information. However, Christian Zionism skews biblical teaching and in some ways builds on Replacement Theology. (See my web article Scripture vs. Supersessionism.)
The Everlasting Covenant
God made a covenant with Abraham in which he and his descendants were promised ownership of the land of Canaan. The boundaries of the territory would stretch from the Nile River to the Euphrates River. The covenant was unconditional and everlasting (Gen 12:7; 13:14-17; 15:7-21; 17:7-8). With the birth of Isaac God renewed His covenant for the land, but narrowed the title deed to Isaac and his descendants (Gen 17:19-21; 21:12; 24:7; 26:2-6). Then with the birth of Abraham's grandson Jacob, God further restricted the title deed for the Land to Jacob and his descendants (Gen 28:3-4, 13-22; 32:24-30; 35:9-15).
After the patriarchal era God renewed His covenant with the descendants of Jacob, to wit, the twelve tribes of Israel (Ex 2:24; 3:17; 6:4-8; 12:25). God formalized His will at Mt. Sinai (Ex 20:12; 23:23; 32:13; 33:1; Lev 26:42; Num 25:13), and declared that the boundary would be fixed from "the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates" (Ex 23:31). Then in Moab before Moses died God made His decision irrevocable for future generations of Israel (Deut 1:8; 3:20; 6:10; 7:1; 29:15). No other people has a divine right to the Land. The apostle Paul made it clear that God's covenant with Israel, including the promise of the land, has not been canceled (Acts 13:17-20; Rom 9:3-4; Gal 3:15-17).
Even though Israel was exiled because of rebellion, God promised their eventual return. They would come from the north, south, east and west to take up residence in the land of their ancestors and be united again as a nation (Deut 30:4-5; Isa 11:11-12; 43:6; 49:8-12, 22; 51:11; 66:18-21; Jer 16:14-16; 23:3-8; 30:3; 31:1-14; 32:36-37; Ezek 28:25f; 31:7-8; 36:24−37:28; 38:8, 12; Amos 9:14-15; Zech 8:7f; cf. Matt 8:11; Luke 21:24). Yeshua promised in his Olivet Discourse that at his Second Coming "all the tribes of the land" would mourn (Matt 24:30), which could only be fulfilled if the tribes of Israel are there. (Christian Bibles translate "land" as "earth," and thereby deny this promise to Israel.)
Reestablishment of the sovereignty of Israel was definitely on the minds of the disciples before Yeshua's ascension (Acts 1:6), but they would not live to see it. The return properly belongs to the modern age when Jews began to make aliyah ("going up") to Israel beginning in the 1800s until culminated in the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in 1948.
1. The Land currently consisting of the territory bounded by the Gulf of Aqaba on the south, the Mediterranean Sea on the west, the Jordan River on the east and the Golan heights on the north (with the boundary of Lebanon) belongs to the nation of Israel and the State of Israel in its entirety. In particular, the territories of Judea and Samaria, mislabeled as the "West Bank," belong to Israel by right of divine inheritance.
2. The capital of Israel is Jerusalem, because the Israeli government has made that claim, Jerusalem was the historic capital of Israel and will be the seat of the Messiah's government. Muslims have no right to exercise political control over any part of Jerusalem, nor does the Vatican or any Christian denomination. In addition, governmental agencies and commercial enterprises have no right to say that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. The refusal to recognize Israel's legitimate claim would be like Israel refusing to recognize Washington, D.C. as the capital of the United States.
Application of Covenant Principles
My stance as a Biblical Zionist does not mean that I agree with all the positions and actions of the Israeli government. There is much that needs to be changed. Following are some suggestions.
1. All ethnic Jews from all nations, whether descent may be determined through the father or mother, should be allowed and encouraged to return to the Land of Israel and take up residence. Immigration and citizenship restrictions should not be imposed on Messianic Jews any more than they are on atheist Jews.
2. The Israeli government should defend the rights of Messianic Jews to practice their religion without interference and persecution by the Orthodox Jewish sects.
3. Israel should not withdraw from any territory that it possesses. Israel does not have to apologize to anyone for exercising its sovereignty over all the Land. Israel should increase building permits for housing in Jerusalem and settlements in Judea and Samaria. The IDF should aggressively protect its citizens from all attacks and give no quarter to their enemies.
4. Israel should not release any terrorists. It has never contributed to peace, but only more Jewish bloodshed. Israel should do justice for the victims of violence and execute all convicted murderers in custody to send a strong message to the surrounding Muslim countries that terrorism carried out by their agents will no longer be tolerated.
5. Israel should not negotiate with the Palestinian Authority until it agrees to recognize Israel's right to exist as an independent State, and Western nations should likewise support this reasonable demand of Israel.
6. Israel should send its military into Gaza and destroy every terrorist organization operating therein and establish full control over the territory. Only victory will produce peace.
7. Israel should end the Muslim monopoly over the Temple Mount and enforce the religious rights of Jews (and Christians) to worship and pray at Jerusalem's holiest site.
8. Israel should stop sanctioning and paying for abortions, which is tantamount to ethnic suicide. The Israeli government should support organizations that offer adoption and other assistance to unwed mothers.
Support for Israel
My stance as a Biblical Zionist does mean that I endeavor to support Israel in whatever way possible, including support of Messianic Jewish congregations and ministries in Israel. I call upon my fellow Christians to join in this support. There are many ways to do that.
Pray for Israel, that Israelis will accept Yeshua as Messiah. Pray for the Israeli government that they will make wise decisions, consistent with principles of Torah. Pray that God will protect Israel from her enemies. Pray that God would strengthen the ministry and public recognition of Messianic Judaism in the Land.
Currently there is a Satanic movement called Boycott-Divest-Sanction (or BDS) that seeks to deny purchase of Israeli exports of products made in Judea or Samaria. BDS is promoted by many commercial companies and financial institutions in Europe, Canada and the United States. Even some academic, non-profit and religious organizations have joined the boycott. Not considered by BDS advocates is that the targets of their boycott employ Palestinians and Arabs, so their extremist actions hurt the very people they claim to be supporting. (Ironically, the Palestinian Authority has refused to participate in BDS.) The boycott also refuses to admit that there is no state of Palestine and Israel is the only legitimate political authority in Judea and Samaria. Besides, it's their land. God gave it to them.
Christians should "boycott BDS" and support Israel by buying products exported from Israel. Products may be found in local stores and through the Internet, including Messianic Jewish websites.
The Western news media is totally unreliable for providing accurate reporting of what is going on in the Middle East with regards to Israel. Reporting by foreign correspondents tends to favor the Palestinian or Muslim viewpoint and ignores Israel's suffering at the hands of terrorists. With accurate information you can pray intelligently for the needs of Israel, its citizens and the Messianic Jewish ministries in the Land. I recommend the following news resources: Daniel Pipes Middle East Forum, Israel Today Magazine and Arutz Seven News Service. These sources also offer a free email newsletter for you to keep up to date. (This recommendation does not necessarily constitute endorsement of everything published by these sources.)
Messianic Jewish Support
It's also important to keep informed of and to support, as you're able, Messianic Jewish and Christian ministries in the Land that provide spiritual outreach as well as practical assistance to the needy. Support may also be provided through local Messianic Jewish congregations.
Copyright © 2014-2016 by Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.