Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Christian" Zionism is not Christian

What Christians Don't Know About Israel: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May/June 1998, Pages 112, 126 Special Report What Christians Don’t Know About Israel By Grace Halsell American Jews sympathetic to Israel dominate key posit...

This is an old article, but it highlights a persistent problem: Christians are, by and large, ignorant of their Scripture and unaware of the history of the Palestinian people and the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. I challenge those of us who call ourselves Children of God and followers of Christ to distance ourselves from the cult of Christian Zionism and let the world know that as Christ's ambassadors we agree with our Lord that violence has no place in His Kingdom.

Blessed are the peace-makers....

Individuals or Church's or Christian organizations that condone (or worse, promote) violence against any nation or people in the name of Christ are not following Christ. We are called to love one another and to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, etc. Nowhere...nowhere are we called to support violence against anyone! Even if we are hit in the face, we are called to turn the other cheek. For any Christian or Church or Christian organization to be linked with the promotion of violence and hatred is completely antithetical to who Jesus is and what He taught.

We who name the Name of Christ should have nothing to do with the infliction or promotion of violence against anyone. If we knew our bibles we would distance ourselves from the Zionist movement altogether simply because Jesus would be against it; instead of siding with war-mongers, we would be on the side of the Prince of Peace. Christian Zionists do not read the Old Testament in light of the coming of Christ and thus they miss the point of "Israel"; they completely by-pass Christ and the New Testament when forming their "theology of Israel". The New Testament is the explanation of the fulfillment of the Old Testament (and all things) in the Person and Work of Christ.

Everything, Jesus says, has been fulfilled in Him. This means that all the promises of God in the Old Testament finds its purpose and fulfillment in Christ. Whether we're talking about Adam, the Garden of Eden, the Temple, the Abrahamic, Mosaic, or David Covenant, the Sacrificial system, the Land or "Israel" itself--the purpose of God for all things has been fulfilled in Jesus the Christ. Sadly, in the view of many Christians the "nation" of Israel belongs to a separate "plan" of God with respect to Christ. In their understanding, God has one purpose and plan for Israel and another purpose and plan for everyone else. The problem with this is it's unbiblical! It creates a separation between Jew and Gentile that undermines the work of Christ who has united both together in Himself. In effect, this view divides Christ! The Scriptures (Old Testament and New Testament) are against Christian Zionism.

Paul (as with the rest of the NT writers) understands that the true Israel, and thus the true people of God, are those who have undergone the true circumcision (the circumcision of Christ) and are therefore the true “children of Abraham”. But this is only true of those who are  in Christ, who is preeminently the true Seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16). The gospel that was preached to Abraham beforehand (as Paul says) was that “all the nations shall be blessed in you”—this is the Abrahamic Covenant. We know that the first-level fulfillment of this prophecy was the institution of Israel (the “seed” of Abraham) as God’s “chosen son”. Israel was to be the “light” to the nations whereby people from every tongue, tribe and nation would come to know God as their own father. This was accomplished through the circumcision of the flesh which identified all proselytes with Israel, God’s “son”. A person must have been joined to “Israel” to enjoy the covenant blessings of being God’s “son”. There’s no question that in the OT Israel was considered to be the people of God; we also know that everyone who joined himself to Israel (through circumcision) was also considered to be a part of the people of God. Proselytes were “grafted in”, so-to-speak, and enjoyed all the privileges of “covenant sonship”. And this is now fulfilled in Christ! This is only one fairly strait-forward way in which Israel was prophetic and typological as a first-level fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.

But Paul (especially, but in agreement with all NT writers, I believe) understands that all things find their fulfillment in Christ. He (as with the rest of the NT writers) understands Jesus’ words to the men on the road to Emmaus as declaring that all the Scripture is prophetic and finds its terminus point in Christ. It’s in this way that all of God’s promises are true (“yeah” and “amen”) in Christ.

The idea that “Israel” is prophetic because it is typological is found all throughout the OT, but the prophet Isaiah explicitly identifies the singular Servant of God not only as “Israel”, but also as the “covenant of the people” (Isa. 42:1-9; 49:1-13; cf. Ex. 24:8, Isa. 52:15, Matt. 26:28, and really the whole book of Hebrews). Christ, as the fulfillment of Israel, is this Servant and He is the covenant to/of the people; and it’s in Him (and only in Him) that a person—any person—can have access to the Father. The Abrahamic covenant (and all subsequent covenants) is fulfilled in the “New Covenant” in Christ. Circumcision in the flesh (as a Jewish identity-marker) means nothing to God—it is the “New Creation” (in Christ) that determines sonship (Gal. 6:15-16). There is “no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised (in the flesh), barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.” The Servant, who is the True Israel and True “Son” of God, is also the “covenant” of fulfillment so that all those and only those who are joined to Christ are now the covenant “people of God”.

In dealing with the principle of “Israel”, Paul explains that the true people of God are those who have been joined to the true Son of God who is also the true Seed of Abraham (Galatians). The principle of God has not changed: Abraham’s “seed” (Israel) was to be a light to the nations so that when a person identifies with Israel by uniting with “Israel” (as God’s chosen “son”) through circumcision, he would become a member of “Israel” and a citizen of the Kingdom; in this way he/she will then enjoy the covenant blessings of God as his/her Father. Israel, however, failed to be God’s covenant son, as expressed over and over again in the Scripture. A new Israel was needed (read especially, Isaiah); and this must be so because “Israel” was simply the first-level fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant—it was typological and spoke of Abraham’s true Seed to come. Paul sees “Israel” as having it’s fulfillment in Jesus as the true Seed of Abraham who, therefore, is the true Israel and the True Light to the nations.

Now it’s only by being joined to Christ through the circumcision made without hands that a person becomes a “covenant child” of God. We who have been “born again” or “born by the Spirit” have had our eyes opened to see the truth (we have come to the Light, who is “Israel”) and have become “new creations”, united to the true “Israel”, the true “covenant Son”; therefore we are called the people of God, the Children of God. We can rightly be considered the true Israel because, and only because, we have been joined to the True Israel by God’s grace through faith in Him. "Not all Israel are Israel", but only those who have been joined to the True Israel. The Kingdom has come in Christ because it’s in His person that the True Israel and the King of “Israel” has come!

Christian Zionists simply do not know who "Israel" is. And with respect to the "land", the New Testament is loudly silent on the matter. Nowhere in the New Testament is God's purpose in Christ tied to the land of Palestine--nowhere!

Christian Zionism is simply not Christian. In fact, it is decidedly anti-Christ. Christian Zionists, in their unbiblical zeal to support the political nation of Israel, actually end up denying Christ and work contrary to our Lord's purposes.

Jesus is love, peace, compassion, etc.

Other interesting articles: