How does it affect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians?
By: J. D. Longstreet
OK, so what IS Christian Zionism, anyway? I was surprised to learn, over the weekend, that I had never heard the term before – or if I had, it had completely flown right by me without mussing even a single hair on my rather thick head!
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Christian Zionism:
Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy. It overlaps with, but is distinct from, the nineteenth century movement for the Restoration of the Jews o the Holy Land, which had both religiously and politically motivated supporters.
Some Christian Zionists believe that the "ingathering" of Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus. This belief is primarily, though not exclusively, associated with Christian Dispensationalism. 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. The term Christian Zionism was popularized in the mid-twentieth century. Prior to that time the common term was Restorationism.
Many Christian Zionists believe that the people of Israel remain part of the Chosen People of God, along with the in-grafted (based on Romans 11:17-24, Holy Bible) Gentile Christians. This has the added effect of turning Christian Zionists into supporters of Jewish Zionism.
Now let us turn to an article in June 2009 edition of “The Lutheran” magazine, a publication of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, (ELCA) a denomination, which has my name engraved on its rolls ONLY because it would embarrass my wife to near death if I resigned my membership and ANYONE found out! But, in the interest of full disclosure, allow me to explain that I no longer attend services, and haven’t, since the church, in my humble opinion, was taken over by hardcore leftists and, somehow, lost it’s way in it’s mission to spread the Gospel (the Good News of Jesus) and appears dangerously close to having replaced a scriptural doctrine with a secular doctrine. (This is another of those instances when I sincerely hope I am wrong for I have a deep and abiding love for the Lutheran Church.) For, you see, I believe in “sola scriptura” (from the Latin meaning: “by scripture alone.”) and for me, as a protestant that means that I maintain that the Scripture alone is the authority for the people of God. For my Roman Catholic friends, however, I respect your different interpretation. I reserve the right to disagree, but I do respect your position.
The article I mentioned above can be found HERE. (If you have the current hard copy issue you will find the article begins on page eighteen.) Once you read the article you will quickly see why I separated myself from active membership in the denomination.
On page 23 under the caption “Key Terms” Christian Zionism is defined this way: “Political action, informed by specifically Christian commitments, to promote or preserve Jewish control over the geographic area now comprising the State of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Not all Christian Zionists are motivated by end-times speculation.”
MY definition goes something like this: I am a Christian Zionist because one: I am a Christian - and two: because the land in question belongs to Israel traditionally, historically, and in every other way that counts. Add to that the fact that there has never been a land of Palestine or a Palestinian people. (Who was the last Palestinian king? Where is the capital city of Palestine?) Those refugees who lay claim to the name of Palestinians and also lay claim to the land of Israel have bogus claims.
I have never read a single one of the “Left Behind” books. Not interested. In my humble opinion they are based on a flawed premise, therefore they can be dangerous to those who read them without a solid base in real history, not the revisionist stuff passed off by today’s academia as the real thing. Plus, for those with only a passing knowledge of the scriptures that kind of literature can be extremely dangerous.
I just happen to believe that Israel has the only legitimate claim to the land of Israel and I support their claim. By some definitions, as noted above, that makes me a Christian Zionist. I also believe the Jews remain God’s Chosen People as Saint Paul said, (“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin….” From the eleventh chapter of the book of Romans) and, I believe, as a Christian, I am expected to love them and/or “bless” them. You see, I recognize God's biblical commands for Christians to support the Jewish people. Some biblical scholars tell me that belief puts me, and all like me, in a special group of Christians - and I am hated for it.
As I delved deeper into what Christian Zionists are today, I found that Christian Zionists are "Biblical advocates" for the Jewish people and the state of Israel. Furthermore, they stand in firm, diametrical, opposition to land concessions of any sort which involve the forfeiture of the holy land of Israel as it is a sacred manifestation of the promises of God to the people He calls the "apple of His eye". (Learn more HERE.) That pretty much sums up my own stance on “land concessions.” and the Two State Policy the Obama Administration is attempting to foist onto the people of Israel this very day.
Now, I want to tread softly here. What I am about to say will be difficult for some of you to hear and some of you will never accept it’s validity.
Here’s the way I see it: I cannot support a Two-State Policy (a State of Israel and a State of Palestine) when that policy involves giving away land, which was given to Israel by God (If one believes the scripture.). It is my considered opinion that no man has a right to interfere with such a divine endowment. For any nation, even the United States of America, to force Israel to go against the dictates of God, can only bring destruction upon that nation. And so, with those few words I shall forever be known as a “Christian Zionist.”
So, why, then, am I writing what some will see as a “religious” piece here on what is normally a political site? Because this is one of those instances in which religion and politics manage to crash, smack-dab, into each other. For whether one wishes to believe it, or not, the vast majority of Americans, both left and right, are people of religion. From the earliest explorers of this land, who came ashore bearing a sword (politics) and a cross (religion) right up to the modern era, religion and politics have never been completely divorced from each other. Now, especially now, that we are neck deep in the birthplace of the world’s three major religions it would be a fool’s folly to think, for one minute, that we can navigate the political minefield before us without major clashes over religion and politics. It is an equal folly to believe the Obama Administration can tiptoe through that minefield with impunity. It is not going to happen.
So, as one of those hated “Christian Zionists,” I offer this warning: Strap in! We are in for a very bumpy ride ahead in our dealings with Israel and the so-called Palestinians, and Israel and the Iranians. Either we, the US, get out of the way and allow Israel to be Israel, and deal with those problems as she sees fit, or we can interfere and get hammered. Judging from the performance of the Obama Administration to date, it is not difficult to predict which course his government will take. It is the wrong course and it will cost the US dearly, and in the end, America will still be fighting wars in the Middle East many decades from now.
J. D. Longstreet