Christian Zionism: Justifying Apartheid in the Name of God

Dr. Stephen R. Sizer

The Revd. Dr. Stephen Sizer is the vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water, Surry. He is acting Chairman of Living Stones, Chairman of the International Bible Society (UK), and an area tutor at the School of Theology, Westminister College, Oxford. He has written three books: Panorama of the Bible Lands, In the Footsteps of Jesus and the Apostles, and Christian Zionism, Road Map to Armageddon?.


Evangelical Theological Society, Colorado Springs
Defining Evangelicalism's Boundaries
14-16 November 2001

Only one nation, Israel, stands between ... terrorist aggression and the complete decline of the United States as a democratic world power... If Israel falls, the United States can no longer remain a democracy. ...Arab money is being used to control and influence major U.S. Corporations, making it economically more and more difficult for the United States to stand against world terrorism.1

Whether you agree with, or question such assertions made by Mike Evans in his book, 'Israel - America's Key to Survival', the theological perspective which he and others such as Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye and Dave Hunt espouse, is very popular. Their combined book sales exceed 100 million copies.

This perspective is not only very popular, it is also highly contentious and has a direct influence on events in the Middle East. Hal Lindsey's most provocative book is probably Road to Holocaust. Like J. N. Darby, he makes eschatology a test of orthodoxy.2 Lindsey accuses those who see the Church as the fulfilment of the promises made to Abraham of encouraging anti-Semitism since, he claims, they deny any future role for the State of Israel within the purposes of God.

The purpose of this book is to warn about a rapidly expanding new movement in the Church that is subtly introducing the same errors that eventually and inevitably led to centuries of atrocities against the Jews and culminated in the Holocaust of the Third Reich... They are setting up a philosophical system that will result in anti-Semitism.3


It is ironic that Lindsey should equate covenantalists with the Nazis since he predicts that Israel will make a 'Treaty with Hell',4 and that two-thirds of the Jews will die in the Battle of Armageddon, when the 200 mile valley from the Sea of Galilee to Eilat will flow with irradiated blood several feet deep.5

Christian Zionism: within or beyond Evangelical boundaries? That is the question I wish to raise in this paper. Irrespective of whether you share my premises or agree with my conclusions you will recognise that what we believe influences how we behave. What Christian leaders teach about the Jews and Arabs influences how Christians view the events unfolding in the Middle East. This past week in my own community a local preacher gave a public lecture in which he insisted the war against terrorism is actually a war against Islam. This is precisely the mirror image of the theology of Islamic fundamentalists like Osama Bin Laden and we have all experienced the terrifying consequences.

Christian Zionism is not simply a theological football to be tossed around by dispensationalists and covenantalists having a bit of harmless debate at their annual conference. It is also a theology which directly impacts the lives of billions of people, globally influencing domestic politics, foreign policy, international relations, as well as the safety of Christian missionaries from Algeria to Uzbekistan. Let me give you one example. In October 2000, following Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the Temple Mount timed to bring down the government of Barak and destroy any hope of a compromise over the status of Jerusalem, an advertisement appeared in the New York Times entitled 'Open Letter to Evangelical Christians from Jews for Jesus.' In it they called upon evangelicals to show solidarity with the State of Israel.

Now is the time to stand with Israel. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, our hearts are heavy as we watch the images of violence and bloodshed in the Middle East... Christian friends, "The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29). So must our support for the survival of Israel in this dark hour be irrevocable. Now is the time for Christians to stand by Israel.6

This is therefore not simply an academic debate over whether Christian Zionism marginalises the centrality of the cross, denigrates the Bride of Christ as merely a parenthesis to God's ultimate purposes on earth or that it disregards the most basic moral imperatives of the New Testament - and I believe that elements of Christian Zionism does all these - it is also a theology which, in my opinion, defends racism and apartheid on biblical grounds, is directly implicated in the denial of basic human rights, is complicit in the destruction of the indigenous Christian community in Israel/Palestine and is fuelling the fire that may ignite into an apocalyptic war between Islam and the West. They are in the words of Donald Wagner, 'Anxious for Armageddon'.7

In so far as evangelicalism was the womb from which this movement was born, it is, I will argue, imperative that we recognise that Christian Zionism is beyond the boundaries of evangelical orthodoxy and that we should heed Paul's warning to the Church in Galatia concerning the nationalistic and legalistic Judaizers infecting the church of his day, "Get rid of the slave woman and her son." (Galatians 4:30).

1. Some Working Definitions

1.1 Apartheid

The word 'apartheid' is a Dutch Afrikaans word derived from the root 'apart' meaning 'separate' and 'heid' meaning 'hood'. In the context of South Africa it was used to describe the legal and institutional segregation of inhabitants of European descent from those of non-European descent.8

In 1975, the United Nations described the ethnic exclusivism of Zionism as, 'a form of racism and racial discrimination.'9 Earlier this year the UN sponsored the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, in August. Following the departure of representatives from the USA and Israel, in protest at earlier drafts of the conference declaration referring to 'racist Zionist practices' and the 'ethnic cleansing of the Arab population in historic Palestine'10, a final declaration was agreed. It defined racism in the following terms.

For the purpose of the present Declaration and Programme of Action, the victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance are individuals or groups of individuals who are or have been negatively affected by, subjected to, or targets of these scourges...

The declaration went on to list examples of racism in various parts of the world and included the following compromise statement on Palestine carefully worded to avoid any specific mention of Israel.

We are concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation. We recognize the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self determination and to the establishment of an independent state... We recognize the right of refugees to return voluntary to their homes and properties in dignity and safety, and urge all States to facilitate such return
.11

In 1987, the Jewish academic Uri Davis, published 'Israel, An Apartheid State' in which he revealed the ways in which apartheid is endemic to the basic structures of the Jewish State which has, since 1948, and like former South Africa, defined the national status and citizenship rights of its population on racial grounds. Davis shows how, for example, 90% of the State of Israel has been legally defined as land which only Jews can lease or cultivate.12 It is an established fact corroborated by numerous studies that in every aspect of Israeli society, whether in educational provision, access to medical care, employment rights, or treatment under the judicial system, Arab Palestinians suffer systematic and institutional discrimination that can only be described as racism.

In 1991 when Sir Yehudi Menuhin, the world-renowned Jewish violinist, was awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize by the Israeli Govenment, he gave a speech in the Israeli Knesset. Referring to Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank, Menhuin said,

"This wasteful governing by fear, by contempt for the basic dignities of life, this steady asphyxiation of a dependent people, should be the very last means to be adopted by those who themselves know too well the awful significance, the unforgettable suffering of such an existence. It is unworthy of my great people, the Jews, who have striven to abide by a code of moral rectitude for some 5,000 years, who can create and achieve a society for themselves such as we see around us but can yet deny the sharing of its great qualities and benefits to those dwelling amongst them."13

Professor Edward Said, the renowned Harvard academic and professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University made similar comments in 1999 when Ehud Barak chose Ariel Sharon, known as the 'Butcher of Beruit', to be his defence minister.

Both are confirmed Arab-killers, both are clearly contemptuous of Arabs except as second- or perhaps even third-rate aliens tolerated in what both consider to be the land of Israel, and neither Barak nor Sharon is much given to visions of coexistence or equality between Palestinians and Israeli Jews.14

Under Sharon, and in defiance of international law, Israel continues to occupy the West Bank, Golan and Gaza. Its systematic land seizures, house demolitions, expulsions, deportations, combined with its expanding settlement programme are designed to change the demography of the land. These repressive measures, combined with the use of detention without trial, military courts without judge or jury, its use of torture and the targeted 'assassination' of Palestinian leaders have repeatedly been described as racially motivated ethnic cleansing.15

1.2 Christian Zionism
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary offers a tersely neutral definition of Zionism

A movement for [originally] the reestablishment of a Jewish nationhood in Palestine, and [since 1948] the development of the State of Israel.16

A Christian Zionist may therefore be defined in general terms as,

...any Christian who supports the Zionist aim of the sovereign State of Israel, its army, government, education etc.; but it can describe a Christian who claims to support the State of Israel for any reason.17

Christian Zionism is born of the conviction that God has a continuing exclusive relationship with, and covenantal purpose for the Jewish people, apart from the Church and that the Jews have a divine right to possess the land of Palestine. This is based on an ultra-literal reading of Scripture and the conviction that Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel are being fulfilled in the contemporary State of Israel. For Christian Zionists, God's promise to Abraham remains unconditional and eternal.

To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates... The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.
(Genesis 15:18; 17:8).

Essentially Christian Zionists see themselves as defenders of, and apologists for the State of Israel. This support involves opposing those deemed to be critical of, or hostile toward Israel, but also inevitably leads to the justification of its occupation and settlement of the West Bank, Golan and Gaza on 'biblical' grounds. As tensions increase in the Middle East, so the stakes are raised to gain the moral high ground, and the Bible is used by Christian Zionists to silence Israel's critics. Increasingly, anti-Zionist convictions are equated with anti-Semitism and the Shoah exploited by what even some Zionists admit is 'holocaustology.'18 Whether consciously or otherwise, in part or in total, Christian Zionism subscribes to the Zionist agenda best summarised by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner.

We should not forget... that the supreme purpose of the ingathering of exiles and the establishment of our state is the building of the temple. The temple is at the very top of the pyramid.19

The Midrash Tanchuma elaborates on this relationship between land, city and temple.

As the navel is set in the centre of the human body,
so is the land of Israel the navel of the world...
situated in the centre of the world,
and Jerusalem in the centre of the land of Israel,
and the sanctuary in the centre of Jerusalem,
and the holy place in the centre of the sanctuary,
and the ark in the centre of the holy place,
and the foundation stone before the holy place,
because from it the world was founded.20


To use a simple analogy of three concentric rings, the Land represents the outer ring, Jerusalem the middle and the Temple the centre. The three rings comprise the Zionist expansionist agenda of which part of the outer was claimed in 1948, the middle ring in 1967 and the inner is under constant threat. The three therefore ultimately stand or fall together.

Christian Zionism as a movement represents a broad coalition of over 200 different evangelical organisations. These include some which are overtly political such as the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and Bridges for Peace, both of which have disavowed or redefined 'evangelism' and operate as a mouthpiece for the Israeli government. Other organisations such as Jews for Jesus and CMJ are primarily evangelistic but also affirm Zionism on biblical grounds. Exobus and the Ebenezer Trust fund the transportation of Jews to Israel/Palestine from Russia and Eastern Europe. Others such as Israel Link - Christian Friends of the Israel Community Development Foundation, encourage churches to adopt Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories.21

There are seven basic tenets common to the various forms of Christian Zionism and these will now be evaluated in the light of scripture.

2. Seven Distinctive Tenets of Christian Zionism

2.1 An Ultra-Literalist Biblical Hermeneutic
The rise of biblical literalism and a futurist reading of scripture, which equates biblical references to Israel with Zionism and the contemporary State of Israel rather than the Church can be attributed to Lewis Way, Henry Drummond, Edward Irving and their associates who began meeting together at the Albury 'Unfulfilled Prophecy' Conferences from the 1820's. These moved to Powerscourt in Ireland in the 1830's and eventually to the United States to such venues as Niagara from 1875.22 In 1821, for example, Way published a pamphlet called 'The Latter Rain' in which he called Christians to pray for the Jews out of the conviction that Old Testament prophecies have a 'primary and literal reference to the Jews'.23

While it is possible to trace Zionist views back much earlier in history, as a movement Christian Zionism can be dated to the Albury and Powerscourt Conferences, to the founding of the London Jews Society (now CMJ) and the Brethren Church. John Nelson Darby, Edward Irving and Cyrus Scofield were the catalysts for the emergence of an innovative premillennial dispensational theology which, historically, became the theological basis for Christian Zionism. Rob Richards, former UK Director of CMJ, offers a modern paraphrase of their position. "Israel is Israel is Israel."24 Patrick Goodenough of the International Christian Embassy elaborates further.

We simply believe the Bible. And that Bible, which we understand has not been revoked, makes it quite clear that God has given this land as an eternal inheritance to the Jewish people 25

Anne Dexter challenges those who reject this hermeneutic:

Some Arab believers and expatriate Christians in Israel feel so strongly about these matters that they will not read the parts of the Bible that seem to promise the land to the Jews or in any way uphold their election... Large parts of the Scriptures are effectively invalidated by this approach.26

Following this literalistic hermeneutic in which promises made in the Old Testament are applied in perpetuity with little or no regard to their interpretation or fulfilment in the New Testament, Christian Zionists claim that the borders of the land promised to Abraham - from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates - will become the future borders of the State of Israel since the Jews have never inherited all the land. Similarly, because the Jewish temple described by Ezekiel has never been built, it must one day replace the Moslem Dome of the Rock. Promises made during the Babylonian exile of a return are made to apply 2500 years later to the emigration of Soviet and Eastern European Jews simply because the language of the prophets suggest a 'final' return, one much more extensive than has ever occurred before.

The fundamental error made here is the refusal to acknowledge how Jesus and the Apostles reinterpreted the Old Testament. Instead texts are made to speak about present and future events almost as if the New Testament were never written. The implicit assumption is that Old and New Testament run at times parallel into the future, the former speaking of Israel and the latter of the Church. This is at variance with the way the New Testament interprets, fulfils, annuls and completes the Old. For example, Jesus annulled the Levitical food laws.

"Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean'? For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.") (Matthew 7:18-19)

A vision of unclean food is specifically used by God to help the apostle Peter realise that in Christ there is now no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile. Both are accepted as equal in the kingdom of God.

He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." (Acts 10:11-15)

Only when Peter encounters Cornelius does he begin to realise the implications of the vision for the way he should now view Jews and Gentiles.

I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. (Acts 10:34-35)

Logically, if God does not show favouritism, the Jews cannot presume to enjoy a favoured or exclusive status. This movement in biblical revelation is explained more fully by the writer to the Hebrews. The Old Testament revelation from God often came in shadow, image and prophecy. In the New Covenant that revelation finds its consummation in reality, substance and fulfilment in Jesus Christ.

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (Hebrews 1:1-2)

By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:13)

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming-- not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship (Hebrews 10:1)


It is fundamental that Christians read the Scriptures with Christian eyes, and that they interpret the Old Covenant in the light of the New Covenant, not the other way round. In Colossians, for example, Paul uses a typological hermeneutic to explain this.

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians. 2:16-17)

The question is therefore not whether the promises of the old covenant are to be understood literally or allegorically as Christian Zionists like to polarise the issue. It is instead a question of whether they should be understood in terms of Old Covenant shadow or in terms of New Covenant reality. This is the most basic hermeneutical error which Christian Zionists consistently repeat. This is illustrated in the way the Jews are designated by Christian Zionists as God's 'chosen people'.

2.2 The Jews Remain God's 'Chosen People'
Based on their literal reading of the Old Testament Christian Zionists believe that the Jews remain God's 'chosen people' enjoying a unique relationship, status and eternal purposes within their own land, separate from any promises made to the Church. So, the promises made to Abraham remain true today for the physical descendants of Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Based on passages like Genesis 15, Christian Friends of Israel, for example, insist,

The Bible teaches that Israel (people, land, nation) has a Divinely ordained and glorious future, and that God has neither rejected nor replaced His Jewish people.27

Similarly, Jews for Jesus perpetuate the dispensational distinction between God's purposes for Israel and that of the Church.

We believe that Israel exists as a covenant people through whom God continues to accomplish His purposes and that the Church is an elect people in accordance with the New Covenant, comprising both Jews and Gentiles who acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and Redeemer. 28

David Brickner affirms the position first propounded by Darby, that the Jews remain 'God's chosen people' while the church is merely 'a parenthesis'29 to God's future plans for the Jews. The implicit assumption is that the Jews continue to enjoy a special covenant relationship with God apart from through Jesus Christ. This contradicts Jesus own clear and unambiguous statements to the contrary.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." (Luke 3:8-9)

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39-40)

"Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did... You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire." (John 8:39, 44)

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
" (John 14:6)

For this reason Peter warned his Jewish audience soon after the Day of Pentecost that if they persisted in refusing to recognise Jesus as their Messiah, they would cease to be the laos of God, 'Anyone who does not listen to him (Christ) will be completely cut off from among his people.' (Acts 3:23)

Jesus and the apostles repudiated the notion that the Jews continued to enjoy a special status or relationship apart from belief in Jesus as their Messiah. Christian Zionists fail to recognise that in the Bible, 'chosenness' becomes progressively universalised, the gift of God's grace in Jesus Christ to all who trust in Him, irrespective of their racial origins.

In the New Testament the concept of 'chosenness' is applied to those who have or who will believe in Jesus Christ. It is never used exclusively of the Jewish people, apart from as members of the Church. Jesus Christ is the 'chosen' one. In Romans 11:5 Paul does refer to a 'remnant' of Jews, who like himself are 'chosen by grace' and included in Christ. In the New Testament the term is always used to refer to the Church, the Body of Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:11)

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

It is therefore no longer appropriate to designate the Jews as God's 'chosen people' since the term has been invested with new meaning to refer to all who trust in Jesus Christ.

2.3 The Restoration to and Occupation of Eretz Israel
Since Christian Zionists argue that the Jews remain God's chosen people, the promises concerning the land still apply unconditionally and in perpetuity. Therefore Christian Zionists are active in encouraging Jews to 'return' to Zion. The contemporary State of Israel is seen by Christian Zionists as evidence of God's continuing protection and favour toward the Jews.

I believe the modern day state of Israel is a miracle of God and a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Jesus clearly said that "Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentiles until the time of the nations is fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). It has been 50 years since the founding of that state, but only 30 years since Jerusalem came under the control of Jews for the first time since Jesus made that prediction. Could it be that "this generation shall not pass until all these things are fulfilled?"3

That is why CMJ's resource pack includes a section entitled, 'The State of Israel: Why should we support it?'

... in the biblical worldview one cannot actually separate theology and spirituality... one cannot divorce the issue of the people of Israel's relationship with God from their relationship to their delegated sovereignty in the land of Israel... God.. has made it possible for Jewish people everywhere to come and live in a restored Jewish homeland ...it seems to us that God is undoubtedly behind the re-creation of the Jewish State in the modern world. We are called to a support for the State of Israel...31

To Christian Zionists, however, the present borders of Israel are only a fraction of those God intended for the Jews. The geographical extent of 'Eretz Israel', as Arnold Fruchtenbaum explains, is nonnegotiable and covers everything from Egypt to Iraq.

So, then, according to the Scriptures, three promises are made with regard to the land: first, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all promised the possession of the land; second, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were promised the possession of the land; and third, the boundaries of the promised land extended from the Euphrates River in the north to the River of Egypt in the south. ...At no point in Jewish history have the Jews ever possessed all of the land from the Euphrates in the north to the River of Egypt in the south. Since God cannot lie, these things must yet come to pass. Somehow or other, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must possess all the land, and second, the descendants of Abraham must settle in all of the promised land.32

At the Third International Christian Zionist Congress held in Jerusalem in February 1996 under the auspices of ICEJ, some 1,500 delegates from over 40 countries unanimously affirmed a proclamation and affirmation of Christian Zionism including the following beliefs,

The Lord in His zealous love for Israel and the Jewish People blesses and curses peoples and judges nations based upon their treatment of the Chosen People of Israel.... According to God's distribution of nations, the Land of Israel has been given to the Jewish People by God as an everlasting possession by an eternal covenant. The Jewish People have the absolute right to possess and dwell in the Land, including Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan.33

Anne Dexter explains why present or future negotiations involving a land for peace deal involving the creation of a Palestinian State in Gaza and the West Bank will never appease Zionists.

The question of the ancient boundaries cannot be ignored. It underlies the policies of many Israeli statesmen. It explains why Sinai is always negotiable - it has twice been captured by Israel and returned to Egypt. It is the reason why Jewish settlements on the West Bank and Golan Heights is not just a matter of secure and defensible borders. It is the guiding principles in Israel's interpretation of West Bank autonomy, which insists that whatever the degree of self-determination allowed the people, the land itself belongs to Israel.34

In her view, Palestinian Christians must accept Zionism, and learn to live with it. "Arab Christians are squarely faced with the biblical election of the Jews, and their role throughout history, particularly in the present."35

Christian Zionists therefore invariably oppose the dismantling of the Jewish settlements in the Palestinian Territories. Theodore Beckett, Chairman of the Christian Friends of Israel Community Development Foundation, for example, has initiated an 'adopt-a-settlement' program among evangelical churches. The Jewish town of Ariel, for example, has been adopted by Faith Bible Chapel in nearby Denver. Seventy other Jewish settlements have also apparently been adopted in this way,

...with larger churches adopting larger settlements and smaller churches adopting smaller settlements and giving all a morale boost to show them they are not alone and are loved by many.36

Jews for Jesus go as far as to compare Israel's continued occupation of the Palestinian Territories with the United States claim to Texas.

Many might wish that the Israeli government could feel secure enough to withdraw the settlements on the West Bank. But on the same basis, the United States should seriously consider giving Texas back to Mexico and, indeed, should never have settled it in the first place.
37

They also justify the military occupation of the Palestinian Territories on the basis of biblical precedent as well as divine command.

So far as force of arms is concerned, the choice for Israel has been to fight or to be annihilated. It must be remembered that every defensive position entails some violence... We must also remember that war has not always been "wrong." In Moses' time the sons of Jacob did not traipse into the land of Canaan and find a welcoming committee eager to greet them and congratulate them upon their arrival. God commanded that they take Canaan by force. At that point it would have been wrong for them not to do it. There may be some who think that God has learned some new lessons since ancient times, but to our knowledge, God does not change. It is entirely possible that once again he might move Israel to resort to force.38

Christian Zionists fail to recognise that 'meekness' rather than 'chosenness' was always a precondition of remaining in the land, whereas arrogance or oppression were reasons for exile. It is also significant to note the way that Jesus universalises the land promise made in Psalm 37.

But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. (Psalm 37:11)

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

Zionists must also inevitably downplay the repeated warnings of the Hebrew Prophets who insist the land belongs to God and residence there is always conditional. For example,

The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. (Leviticus 25:23)

Because the Land belongs to God, it cannot be permanently bought or sold. It cannot be permanently given away, let alone stolen or confiscated as has occurred in the Occupied Territories since 1967. The Land is never at the disposal of Israel for its national purposes. Instead it is Israel who are at the disposal of God's purposes. The Jews remain tenants in God's Land. The ethical requirements for occupancy of Canaan were clearly outlined in Leviticus.

Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you. (Leviticus 18:24-28) The prophet Ezekiel amplifies the same warning to those tenants.

Thus says the Lord God of Israel: You shed blood, yet you would keep possession on the land? You rely on your sword, you do abominable things... yet you would keep possession of the land?... I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will come to an end, and the mountains of Israel will become desolate so that no one will cross them. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land a desolate waste because of all the detestable things they have done.' (Ezekiel 33:25-29)

On the basis of such sober warnings is it not more likely that Israel will experience an imminent exile rather than restoration? The tension between evangelicals who seek the implementation of international law and Christian Zionists is no where more clearly polarized than on the issue of the status of Jerusalem

2.4 Jerusalem, The Eternal and Exclusive Jewish Capital
In 1992, the ICEJ sponsored various receptions marking the 25th anniversary of what they referred to as the "Reunification of Jerusalem."39 In 1996 this position was reiterated.

Because of the sovereign purposes of God for the City, Jerusalem must remain undivided, under Israeli sovereignty, open to all peoples, the capitol of Israel only, and all nations should so concur and place their embassies here.40

In 1997 the ICEJ gave support to a full page advert placed in the New York Times entitled, "Christians Call for a United Jerusalem" signed by 10 evangelical leaders including Pat Robertson, chairman of Christian Broadcasting Network and president of the Christian Coalition; Oral Roberts, founder and chancellor of Oral Roberts University; Jerry Falwell, founder of Moral Majority; Ed McAteer, President of the Religious Roundtable; and David Allen Lewis, President of Christians United for Israel.

We, the undersigned Christian spiritual leaders, communicating weekly to more than 100 million Christian Americans, are proud to join together in supporting the continued sovereignty of the State of Israel over the holy city of Jerusalem. We support Israel's efforts to reach reconciliation with its Arab neighbors, but we believe that Jerusalem or any portion of it shall not be negotiable in the peace process. Jerusalem must remain undivided as the eternal capital of the Jewish people.41

Readers were invited to:

Join us in our holy mission to ensure that Jerusalem will remain the undivided, eternal capital of Israel. The battle for Jerusalem has begun, and it is time for believers in Christ to support our Jewish brethren and the State of Israel. The time for unity with the Jewish people is now.42


The New Testament, however, knows nothing of this preoccupation with a nationalistic and materialistic earthly Jerusalem. Instead through faith in Christ we already inhabit the heavenly Jerusalem and look forward to its appearing.

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. (Hebrews 12:22-23)

But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother (Galatians 4:26)

In Galatians 4 Paul is criticizing the 'Jerusalem-dependency'43 of the legalists who were infecting the Church in Galatia. Galatians 4:27 is a quotation from Isaiah 54:1 which referred to the earthly Jerusalem. Paul now interprets the passage to refer to the home of all who believe in Jesus Christ.44 J.C. De Young writes,

Gal. 4:21 ff represents, perhaps, the sharpest polemic against Jerusalem in the New Testament... Far from being pre-occupied with hopes for a glorification of the earthly Jerusalem, Paul's thought represents a most emphatic repudiation of any eschatological hopes concerning the earthly city.45

Access to heaven no longer has anything to do with the earthly Jerusalem. Jesus had already made this clear to the woman of Samaria.

Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (John 4:21-23)

At his trial Jesus explained why.

My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place. (John 18:36)

The turning point for the Disciples comes with the resurrection encounters and Pentecost. Until this point they seemed to share the same understanding of the land as other 1st Century Jews. They had looked forward to God's decisive intervention in history which would at last restore political sovereignty to the Jews in Israel. This is reflected in the words of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who confessed, 'we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.' (Luke 24:21) This idea was clearly still in the minds of the disciples as Jesus when, just before his ascension, they ask, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). John Calvin comments, 'There are as many mistakes in this question as there are words.'46 Jesus' reply indicates that he has another agenda for his disciples.

It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
(Acts 1:7-8)

Jesus redefines the boundaries of the kingdom of God and thereby the meaning of chosenness. The expansion of the kingdom of God throughout the world requires the exile of the Apostles from the land. They must turn their backs on Jerusalem and their hopes of a materialistic kingdom. They are sent out into the world but never told to return. Subsequent to Pentecost, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles begin to use Old Covenant language concerning the Land in new ways.

So for example, Peter speaks of an inheritance which unlike the Land, '...can never perish, spoil or fade.' (1 Peter 1:4). Paul similarly asserts, 'Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.' (Acts 20:32) There is no evidence that the Apostles believed that the Jewish people still had a divine right to the Land, or that the Jewish possession of the Land would be an important, let alone central aspect of God's future purposes for the world. In the Christological logic of Paul, the Land, like the Law, have now been superseded and are irrelevant to God's redemptive purposes.

The contradiction between the flow of biblical revelation in the New Testament and the Zionist agenda is no where more clearly seen than in the question of the Jewish Temple. This is also the most controversial issue uniting Christian Zionists with the more extreme Jewish Zionists.

2.5 The Rebuilding of the Jewish Temple
Just 500 metres by 300 metres it is according to Hal Lindsey, the most disputed 35 acres on the Planet.'47

I believe the fate of the world will be determined by an ancient feud over 35 acres of land.48

Yisrael Meida explains the significance of the Temple Mount to Jewish Zionists.

It is all a matter of sovereignty. He who controls the Temple Mount, controls Jerusalem. And he who controls Jerusalem, controls the land of Israel
.49

Lindsey is representative of many Christian Zionists who are convinced that the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt very soon.

Obstacle or no obstacle, it is certain that the Temple will be rebuilt. Prophecy demands it... With the Jewish nation reborn in the land of Palestine, ancient Jerusalem once again under total Jewish control for the first time in 2600 years, and talk of rebuilding the great Temple, the most important sign of Jesus Christ's soon coming is before us... It is like the key piece of a jigsaw puzzle being found... For all those who trust in Jesus Christ, it is a time of electrifying excitement.50

David Brickner basis his belief on a futurist reading of Daniel 9.

Obviously the Temple has been rebuilt because Daniel tells us this ruler puts an end to sacrifice and sets up some kind of abomination (a loathsome horror that would be anathema to Jewish worship) right inside the Temple in Jerusalem. Ultimately this ruler is destroyed in a final conflagration of enormous proportion.51


While Jews for Jesus insist that they do not endorse the activities of Jewish groups committed to rebuilding the Jewish Temple, they nevertheless provide information on, and direct Internet links to, eight extreme Jewish organisations involved in attempts to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, rebuild the Jewish Temple and re-institute Temple worship, priesthood and sacrifices. These include the Temple Institute and Temple Mount Faithful.52 Indeed, Zhava Glaser of Jews for Jesus, praises Gershon Salomon, founder of 'The Temple Faithful'.

Very few Jews have the courage to talk about the most important subject in the Jewish religion: that is, the question of the Temple, the high priest, the altar and the place of sacrifice. Gershon Salomon is a man of such courage. This 53-year-old scholar is the founder and head of a group called, "The Temple Faithful." His credentials as an Israeli patriot are impeccable, beginning at age eleven when he was arrested by the British authorities for putting up Zionist posters during their occupation of Israel. He has stood up for what he believes to be true ever since... One must take Salomon seriously. Nine thousand people are on his "Temple Mount Faithful" membership list.53

Speaking at the Jerusalem Christian Zionist Congress in 1998, Salomon insisted,

The mission of the present generation is to liberate the Temple Mount and to remove - I repeat, to remove - the defiling abomination there ... The Jewish people will not be stopped at the gates leading to the Temple Mount ... We will fly our Israeli flag over the Temple Mount, which will be minus its Dome of the Rock and its mosques and will have only our Israeli flag and our Temple. This is what our generation must accomplish.54

Sam Kiley writing in the London Times gives another perspective. He claims Salomon represents the '...almost acceptable face of millennial cults.' In an interview with Kiley, Salomon insisted that the Islamic shrine must be destroyed.

The Israeli Government must do it. We must have a war. There will be many nations against us but God will be our general. I am sure this is a test, that God is expecting us to move the Dome with no fear from other nations. The Messiah will not come by himself, we should bring Him by fighting.55

Such sentiments are shared by many Christian Zionists including James DeLoach, Terry Risenhoover and Doug Kreiger. Organisations such as the International Christian Embassy and Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, have been influential in gathering significant financial and political support for extreme Jewish organisations such as Gush Emunim and the Temple Mount Foundation.56 Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network has also raised funds for Gershon Salomon's Temple Mount Faithful.57

One book, in particular, has galvanized Christian Zionists on this issue, namely, Ready to Rebuild: The Imminent Plan to Rebuild the Last Days Temple, by Thomas Ice and Randall Price.58 John Walvoord offers this endorsement.

A masterpiece presenting all the various views with substantiating evidence... A mine of information for those concerned about prophecy... A solid basis for faith and what can actually be expected in regard to the rebuilding of the Temple... (it) is highly recommended59

The conviction that the Jewish Temple must be rebuilt is, ironically, the Achilles' heel of Christian Zionism for it is inevitably also associated with the reintroduction of the Mosaic sacrificial system. Based on his reading of Daniel 12:11 John Walvoord claims,

Judging by Scriptures, this is precisely what they will do as it would be impossible to cause sacrifices to cease if they were not already in operation. The usual method of dismissing this as something which occurred in A.D. 70 does not provide a reasonable explanation of the text nor account for the fact that the second coming of Christ occurs immediately thereafter.60Scofield in his Reference Bible claimed that the sacrifices mentioned in Ezekiel 43:19, would, however, be only 'memorial' offerings.

The reference to sacrifices is not to be taken literally, in view of the putting away of such offerings, but is rather to be regarded as a presentation of the worship of redeemed Israel, in her own land and in the millennial Temple, using the terms with which the Jews were familiar in Ezekiel's day.62

If this particular reference to sacrifice in Ezekiel 43 need not be taken literally then the ultra-literalist distinction between Israel and the Church collapses, flawed by its own internal inconsistency.63

A literalist hermeneutic precludes the possibility that the sacrifice of a young bullock can be synonymous with a memorial offering consisting of grain and oil.64

However, even if he could do so in some future millennial kingdom, it would be incongruous for Jesus to offer animal sacrifices when he had replaced them, once for all, by the shedding his own blood.

66 Such an interpretation undermines the New Testament insistence that the work of Christ is sufficient, final and complete67

Nevertheless, Zahava Glaser claims 'when God instituted the sacrificial system, it was instituted for all time.'

What flour is to bread, the sacrificial system is to the religion revealed in the Jewish Scriptures. It is not a garnish. It is not a flavoring. It is the very substance out of which the Jewish religion was constructed. We can forever design our own substitutes, but they cannot satisfy our yearnings the way God's own provision can. Though some rabbis might minimize the revealed system of worship and its requirements, can the individual Jew neglect what God says? Can there be a "proper" Judaism without a priesthood, an altar, a sacrifice and a place on earth where God meets the individual?
68

Such logic seems at variance with the way in which the New Testament speaks of the place of Temple and sacrifice. In the New Testament the word Temple is mentioned 112 times. Of 66 verses where the word occurs in the Gospels, 58 refer to Herod's Temple. In the other eight verses Jesus compares himself to the Temple, its destruction and his own resurrection.69 The word is also used 25 times in Acts and always of Herod's Temple or a pagan shrine. In the Epistles the word occurs in nine verses. In three it refers to the existing Jewish Temple and once to a pagan shrine.70 In the Book of Revelation the word occurs a further 12 times and in every case refers specifically to the heavenly Temple or to the Lord God Himself71. On the six other occasions where the word appears in the Epistles it describes the individual Christian and corporately the Church as the Body of Christ and dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.72 This is precisely what Jesus predicted in John 4. Worship would soon no longer be confined to the Temple in Jerusalem but become universal 'in spirit and truth'.73 While Jesus warned of the destruction of the Temple, and was known to have done so by his critics, he never promised that it would ever be rebuilt.74

In Hebrews, the author describes the offering of sacrifices between the death of Christ and the destruction of the Temple as an 'illustration' of, and 'copies' of, heavenly realities, a 'reminder of sins' but unable, unlike the finished work of Christ, to take sin away.75 Peter uses the same terminology to describe the way Christians are being made into the new house of God,76 in which Jesus is the 'precious cornerstone'.77 Peter quotes directly from Exodus 19 using the promise made to the Jews but now applies it to the Church.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

There is in fact not a single verse in the New Testament which promises that a Jewish Temple would be rebuilt, that a 2000 year 'parenthesis' should be placed between references to its desecration and destruction, or indeed that the Temple in Jerusalem would play any part in God's purposes after the cross. Christian Zionists must therefore ignore the way in which the Temple is invested with new meaning in the New Testament and becomes instead an image of the Church.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:19-21)

The movement in the progressive revelation of Scripture is always from the lesser to the greater. It is never reversed. The New Testament repeatedly sees such Old Testament concepts as the Temple, High Priest and sacrifice as 'types' pointing to and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.78 Typology in Scripture never typifies itself, nor is it ever greater than that which it typifies.79 Christians who therefore advocate the rebuilding of the Temple are regressing into a pre-Christian sacrificial system, superseded, made redundant and annulled by the finished work of Jesus Christ. The Temple was only a temporary edifice, a shadow and type anticipating the day when God would dwell with people of all nations through the atoning work of the true Temple, Jesus Christ.80

By insisting on such an arbitrary and dualistic separation between God's purposes for the Jews and those of the Church, Christian Zionists are promoting Old Testament 'shadows' alongside their New Testament 'substance'.81 In doing so they are seeking to revive what is now obsolete. Turning the clock back in redemptive history82 they are Judaizing the Christian faith.83 If religious Jews do indeed rebuild their Temple and re-institute sacrifices it will only confirm their rejection of the atoning work of Jesus Christ. For Christians to support them in the belief that future sacrifices may atone for sin is surely apostasy.84 Several commentators including E.J. Young associate the 'abomination of desolation' and the reference to 'the blood of swine' in Isaiah 66 to the continuation of Temple sacrifices after the death of Christ.85

It is not surprising perhaps that Christian support for Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount, exacerbated by several well publicised attempts to destroy the Dome of the Rock as well as fund Temple Mount organisations, inflames tensions between Jews and Arabs, Christian and Moslem.

2.6 Antipathy Toward Arabs and Palestinians
Christian Zionists, while lovers of Israel, rarely show the same feelings toward Arabs and Palestinians. Anti-Arab prejudices and Orientalist stereotypes are common in their writings.86 Comparisons between Hitler and the Arabs are common.87 Hal Lindsey, the most prolific Christian Zionist writer, insists,

Long ago the psalmist predicted the final mad attempt of the confederated Arab armies to destroy the nation of Israel... The Palestinians are determined to trouble the world until they repossess what they feel is their land. The Arab nations consider it a matter of racial honour to destroy the State of Israel. Islam considers it a sacred mission of religious honour to recapture Old Jerusalem.88

Basilea Schlink, also berates the Palestinian Intifada as 'terrorism... aimed solely at destroying Israel.'89 Franklin Graham, President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, regrettably made similar unguarded remarks in a recent newspaper interview.

The Arabs will not be happy until every Jew is dead. They hate the State of Israel. They all hate the Jews. God gave the land to the Jews. The Arabs will never accept that.90

Some Christian Zionists are reluctant even to acknowledge the existence of Palestinians as a distinct people. Dave Hunt is typical of those who equate Palestinians with the ancient Philistines, and use the term Palestinian in an entirely pejorative sense.

Central to the Middle East conflict today is the issue of the so-called Palestinian people... Palestinians? There never was a Palestinian people, nation, language, culture, or religion. The claim of descent from a Palestinian people who lived for thousands of years in a land called Palestine is a hoax! That land was Canaan, inhabited by Canaanites, whom God destroyed because of their wickedness. Canaan became the land of Israel given by God to His people. Those who today call themselves Palestinians are Arabs by birth, language, and culture, and are close relatives to Arabs in surrounding countries from whence most of them came, attracted by Israel's prosperity..91

Based on Hunt's logic presumably the same arguments could be used against the right to self determination of citizens of the United States or indeed of several dozen nations founded in the 20th Century. Rob Richards justifies Israel's apartheid regime on the grounds that Palestinians are the biblical equivalent of the 'alien' residents in Eretz Israel, to be respected but not entitled to the same status or equal rights, as the Jews.

Palestinians and Arabs who have made Israel their home come under that biblical word 'alien'.92


Richards ignores the fact that most Palestinians did not 'make their home in Israel'. Those over the age of 50 were living in their own land of Palestine long before the State of Israel was unilaterally imposed upon them in 1948. Brickner similarly uses the term 'sojourner' to describe the status of Palestinians in Eretz Israel 93 while Jews for Jesus defend Israel's denial of Palestinian human rights on the grounds of national security.

For example, although Israel is a signatory of various international human rights documents, it has signed with reservations; namely, it has reserved the right to derogate certain rights in times where national security is threatened.94

While the United Nations is invariably viewed with mistrust, the two nations of America and Israel, like Siamese twins, are perceived to be pitted against an evil world dominated by Islam,95 in which people like Yasser Arafat or Saddam Hussein is seen as contenders for the role of Anti-Christ.96 It is therefore not hard to see why Christian Zionists are pessimistic of, or even oppose, the current peace process. Walter Riggans, for instance, believes the Oslo Peace Accord threatens to legitimise Palestinian claims to Jerusalem and the West Bank.

...many Jewish people are quite devastated, and feel they have been betrayed into the hands of cunning and ruthless Palestinians who are exploiting the accords as a first step towards the elimination of Israel.97

Neil Cohen, vicar of Christ Church, Jerusalem, is equally pessimistic.

Partnership of Jew and Arab is untenable in Israel... we live in an age of political correctness which claims we live in a world where all people have equal rights. I don't agree with that because I don't think it squares with the biblical record... the search for peace in the Middle East, laudable though it is, is a wild goose chase.98

Regrettably such instances of racism which demonise Arabs, regard Palestinians as 'aliens' and denies them the basic right to self determination is difficult to square with the a New Testament ethic. The followers of Jesus Christ are called to be peace makers99, to love their enemies100 and to no longer regard others from a worldly point of view but instead reach out to the widow and orphan, the poor the sick and the stranger, through a ministry of reconciliation.101 Tragically, many Christian Zionists, it seems, are more concerned with fighting wars than building peace.

2.7 Anxious for Armageddon
The 1967 'Six Day War' marked a significant watershed for Christian interest in Israel and Zionism. For example, Jerry Falwell did not begin to speak about modern-day Israel until after Israel's 1967 military victory.

Falwell changed completely. He entered into politics and became an avid supporter of the Zionist State... the stunning Israeli victory made a big impact not only on Falwell, but on a lot of Americans... Remember that in 1967, the United States was mired in the Vietnam war. Many felt a sense of defeat, helplessness and discouragement... Many Americans, including Falwell, turned worshipful glances toward Israel, which they viewed as militarily strong and invincible. They gave their unstinting approval to the Israeli take-over of Arab lands because they perceived this conquest as power and righteousness...102


Most Christian Zionists hold to a pessimistic and deterministic premillennial view of the future. Hal Lindsey is no exception. Without any hesitation or doubt he insists,

'And look what's happening in the Middle East - ground zero in the endtimes events.... This phoney peace deal in the Middle East thus only ensures that eventually there will be a thermonuclear holocaust in the Middle East... This seems to parallel predictions in Revelation and else where almost to a T. Mark my words. It will happen.'103

Let's talk about World War III... We can almost see the handwriting on the wall... Does this sound like a scenario that could happen in the very near future? Perhaps at almost any minute? You bet it does.104

The titles of Lindsey's books are typical of many other Christian Zionist writers in showing an increasingly exaggerated and almost pathological emphasis on the apocalyptic, on death and suffering, especially as the year 2000 approached.105

We are the generation the prophets were talking about. We have witnessed biblical prophecies come true. The birth of Israel. The decline in American power and morality. The rise of Russian and Chinese might. The threat of war in the Middle East. The increase of earthquakes, volcanoes, famine and drought. The Bible foretells the signs that precede Armageddon... We are the generation that will see the end times ...and the return of Jesus.106

Lindsey's last but one book, The Final Battle, includes the following,

Never before, in one book, has there been such a complete and detailed look at the events leading up to 'The Battle of Armageddon.'107

At times Lindsey's description of the suffering inherent in this most terrible scenario of a nuclear holocaust is tasteless if not repulsive.

Man has pretty much exhausted his arsenal. There are few popguns left, but not very much left to pop them. At least four billion people have perished in the first 14 Judgments alone. Now its God's turn.108

I always get a comical mental image when I read this next verse. In my mind's eye, I see this confused, cancer ridden, dull eyed, war-weary soldier. He smokes a giant joint and says, "Let the weak say, I am a mighty man"109


Lindsey, along with people like Jack Van Impe offer graphic maps showing future military movements of American, Russian, Chinese and African armies and naval convoys which they claim will contend with one another in the battle of Armageddon.110 This is perhaps why Jerry Falwell's 'Friendship Tours' to Israel include not only meetings with top Israeli government and military officials but also,

.....On-site tour of modern Israeli battlefields... Official visit to an Israeli defence installation... strategic military positions, plus experience first hand the battle Israel faces as a nation.111

While Christians respectfully disagree in their eschatological interpretation of Scripture, Christian Zionists such as Lindsey, Jeffries and Hunt appear to be more interested in being on the organising committee than the welcoming committee of the Second Coming of Christ. They also have a tendency to intimidate or threaten their critics with divine retribution. As we have already seen Lindsey accuses those who refuse to accept a distinction between God's purposes for the Church and Israel of perpetuating,

...the same error that founded the legacy of contempt for the Jews and ultimately led to the Holocaust of Nazi Germany.112


Brickner also warns those who do not share his particular Zionist perspective that they are fighting against God.

Peril awaits those who presume to say that God is finished with His chosen people: "And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples. All who lift it shall be slashed, and all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it" (Zechariah 12:3). Woe to anyone who joins those nations to gather against the Jewish people who are now back in the city of David. Just as God judged the nation of Egypt for her ill treatment of His people, so will He judge nations today. Evangelicals who would understand the Middle East must pay close attention to the teaching of Scripture, and take note of the cosmic forces that now do battle in the heavens but will soon do battle on earth. They must choose carefully which side to uphold.113

Brickner specifically singles out EMEU (Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding), founded by John Stott and directed by Don Wagner, for challenging Israel's failure to respect human rights.

There are, however, others who describe themselves as evangelicals who want "middle east understanding"-- when in fact they are merely mouthpieces for anti-Israel propaganda. They allow their politically correct, over-wrought sense of moral outrage over the suffering of Palestinians to dictate their view of Scriptures.
114

Basilea Schlink pronounces similar anathemas on those who question Israel's expansionist agenda.

Anyone who disputes Israel's right to the land of Canaan is actually opposing God and his holy covenant with the Patriarchs. He is striving against sacred, inviolable words and promises of God, which He has sworn to keep.115

Such literalist assumptions preclude any possibility of an alternative reading of the Bible, history or a just and lasting outcome to the search for peace in the Middle East. In this brief composite survey we have explored seven basic tenets of Christian Zionism. An ultra-literalist hermeneutic, the belief that the Jews remain God's chosen people, the restoration of Jews to Eretz Israel will continue, Jerusalem will be the eternal and exclusive capital of the Jews, the Temple will be rebuilt, the priesthood consecrated and sacrifices reinstituted. Arabs and Palestinians are seen as the enemies of Israel in what is about to become the battle of Armageddon.

3. Conclusions : A Critique of Christian Zionists

Christian Zionism as a movement was born within British evangelicalism in the 19th Century and has become institutionalised through Dispensationalism into mainstream American evangelicalism in the 20th Century. This paper has sought to demonstrate that while evangelicalism may have given birth to Christian Zionism, it is time to look again at its genetics and re-evaluate whether we are indeed related.

While there is a commitment by organisations such as Jews for Jesus and CMJ to evangelise Jewish people, their solidarity with politicised and non-evangelistic agencies such as Bridges for Peace and the International Christian Embassy has led many evangelicals to equate their faith with Zionism, becoming apologists for the State of Israel itself and thereby, whether intentionally or otherwise complicit in apartheid practices and human rights abuses in the name of God.116 Satirically, Kenneth Cragg summarises the implications of Christian Zionism's ethnic exclusivity.

It is so; God chose the Jews; the land is theirs by divine gift. These dicta cannot be questioned or resisted. They are final. Such verdicts come infallibly from Christian biblicists for whom Israel can do no wrong-thus fortified. But can such positivism, this unquestioning finality, be compatible with the integrity of the Prophets themselves? It certainly cannot square with the open peoplehood under God which is the crux of New Testament faith. Nor can it well be reconciled with the ethical demands central to law and election alike.117

Many Christians in the Middle East similarly regard Christian Zionism as a deviant heresy which is subservient to the political agenda of the State of Israel. They claim it represents a tendency to

...force the Zionist model of theocratic and ethnocentric nationalism on the Middle East... The Christian Zionist programme, with its elevation of modern political Zionism, provides the Christian with a world view where the gospel is identified with the ideology of success and militarism. It places its emphasis on events leading up to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today.118

Christian Zionism only thrives on a futurist and literal hermeneutic when Old Testament promises made to the ancient Jewish people are transposed on to the contemporary State of Israel. To do so it is necessary to ignore, marginalise or bi-pass the New Testament which reinterprets, annuls and fulfils those promises in and through Jesus Christ and his followers. This is no where more evident than in Galatians 4 where we are taught that we should no longer regard unbelieving Jews as descendants of Sarah and Isaac but of Hagar and Ishmael.

Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother... Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. (Galatians 4:21-28)

The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are therefore now to be understood as fulfilled only through those who follow Jesus Christ, for they alone are designated the true children of Abraham and Sarah. Jews who reject Jesus Christ are outside the covenant of grace and are to be regarded as children of Hagar. Paul takes Sarah's words of Genesis 21:10 and applies them to the Judaizers who were corrupting the faith of the church in Galatia.

Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son. (Galatians 4:30)

This paper has attempted to show why this injunction should be applied today toward those who demonstrate the same legalizing tendencies within Christian Zionism. This is no excuse for arrogance or anti-Semitisim which we all abhor. With sensitivity and compassion we are mandated to share our faith in Jesus praying that our Jewish friends find their Messiah and complete their faith. However, any suggestion that the Jewish people continue to have a special status before God, a separate and continuing covenant or exclusive rights to the lands of the Middle East is, in the words of John Stott, 'biblical anathema.'119 Stott gives three reasons why Christian Zionism should be regarded as beyond the boundaries of evangelicalism

1. The Old Testament promises about the Jews' return to the land are comforted by promises of the Jews' return to the Lord. It is hard to see how that secular, unbelieving State of Israel can possibly be a fulfillment of those prophecies.

2. The Old Testament promises about the land are nowhere repeated in the New Testament. The prophecy of Romans 11 is a prophecy that many Jews will turn to Christ, but the land is not mentioned nor is Israel mentioned as a political entity...

3. The Old Testament promises according to the apostles are fulfilled in Christ and the international community of Christ. The New Testament authors apply the promise of Abraham's seed to Jesus Christ. And they apply to Jesus Christ the promise of the land and all the land which is inherited, the land flowing with milk and honey, because it is in him that our hunger is satisfied and out thirst quenched. A return to Jewish nationalism would seem incompatible with this New Testament perspective of the international community of Jesus.
120

The fundamental question Christian Zionists must therefore answer is this: What difference did the coming of Jesus Christ make to the traditional Jewish hopes and expectations about the land? Christians may not interpret the Old Covenant as if the coming of Jesus made little or no difference to the nationalistic and territorial aspirations of first century Judaism. Christian Zionists seem to read the Old Testament with the spectacles that the first disciples wore before their resurrection encounters with the risen Christ and before Pentecost. They seem to believe the coming of the kingdom of Jesus meant a postponement of Jewish hopes for restoration rather than the fulfilment of those hopes in the Messiah and new, inclusive, Messianic community.

In the process of redemptive history a dramatic movement has been made from type to reality, from shadow to substance. The land that once was the specific locale of God's redemptive plan served temporarily under the Old Covenant forms as a picture of paradise lost and promised but fulfilled and redeemed by a New Covenant in which the land becomes enlarged to encompass the entire cosmos. The exalted Christ rules from the heavenly Jerusalem demonstrating His sovereignty over the entire world. A regression to the limited forms of the Old Covenant shadow is therefore apostasy.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:4-6)

The reality cannot give way again to shadow, for in the will and purposes of God the shadows no longer exist. The light has come in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 8:13 provides us not only with a hermeneutical key to unravelling the Christian Zionist case, but also explains Paul's vehemence at the Judaizing tendencies corrupting the church in Galatia.

By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:13)

The destruction of the temple and sacrificial system in 70 AD fulfilled that prediction. The choice since then has been between two theologies. One based primarily on the shadows of the Old Covenant and one based on the reality of the New Covenant. Christian Zionism is an exclusive theology that focuses on the Jews in the land rather than an inclusive theology that centres on Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. Christian Zionism provides a theological endorsement for apartheid and ethnic cleansing, rather than a theology of justice, peace and reconciliation which lie at the heart of the New Covenant.

Israel is a materialistic and apartheid State practising repressive and dehumanising measures against the indigenous Palestinians in flagrant disregard of universally recognised standards of human behaviour. Christian Zionists who believe the promises of the Old Covenant still await future fulfilment or endorse the behaviour of Israel would do well to heed Joshua's final words,

Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. But just as every good promise of the Lord your God has come true, so the Lord will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord's anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you. (Joshua 23:14-18).

Like Isaac's children Jacob and Esau, it is time to stop fighting over the birthright and start sharing the blessings.121

Garth Hewitt is a friend who has written many songs about the plight of the Christian community in Israel and Palestine. One of them, based on some verses from the Jewish Talmud, is called 'Ten measures of beauty God gave to the world'. I would like to close by using it as a prayer.

May the justice of God fall down like fire and bring a home for the Palestinian.
May the mercy of God pour down like rain and protect the Jewish people.
And may the beautiful eyes of a Holy God who weeps for His children
Bring the healing hope for His wounded ones For the Jew and the Palestinian.


1 Mike Evans, Israel, America's Key to Survival, (Plainfield, NJ: Haven Books), back page, p. xv..

2 J. N. Darby, 'The Rapture of the Saints and the Character of the Jewish Remnant,' Collected Writings, Prophetic. IV, Vol. II, p. 154.

3 The Final Battle (Palos Verdes, California, Western Front, 1995), back page & p. 3.

4 Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (London, Lakeland, 1970), p. 151.

5 Hal Lindsey, The Final Battle (Palos Verdes: Western Front, 1995), pp. 250-252; Israel and the Last Days (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 1983), pp. 20-30.

6 'Open Letter to Evangelical Christians from Jews for Jesus: Now is the Time to Stand with Israel.' The New York Times, 23 October 2000.

7 Donald Wagner, Anxious for Armageddon (Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald, 1995)

8 The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983).

9 Regina Sharif, Non-Jewish Zionism, Its Roots in Western History (London, Zed, 1983), p. 1 & 120.

10 Anti Defamation League, http://www.adl.org/durban/draft.asp

11 The United Nations. World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance Declaration adopted on 8 September 2001, section 1, 62 & 64.

12 Uri Davis, Israel: An Apartheid State (London: Zed, 1987)

13 'Wolf Prize winner raps government' Jerusalem Post , May 6, 1991.

14 Edward Said, 'Really now - what's next' Al-Ahram Weekly, 10 - 16 June 1999, Issue No. 433.

15 Paul Foot, 'State terrorism unpunished by the UN' The Guardian, 17th November, 1997; Katherine Metres, 'Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Undiminished in Jerusalem' Washington Report, September/October 1994, pp. 12, 85-86; Arjan El Fassed, 'Israel's Version of 'Ethnic Cleansing', Washington Post, 18 August 2001, p. 21; Na-eem Jeenah, 'Zionism is a theory of ethnic cleansing and racism' Daily Mail & Guardian, South Africa, 20 August 2001.

16 The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983)

17 Walter Riggans, Israel and Zionism (London, Handsell, 1988), p. 19.

18 Ruth Rosen, 'Holocaustology, Past Oppression, Present Excuse?' Issues Vol. 13. 5.

19 Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Hacohen Aviner, cited in Grace Halsell, Forcing God's Hand (Washington, Crossroads International, 1999), p. 71.

20 Midrash Tanchuma, Qedoshim. Cited on www.templemount.org

21 Sarah Honig, 'Adopt-a-Settlement Program' The Jerusalem Post, 2nd October 1995, http://www.bridgesforpeace.com/publications/dispatch/lifeinisrael/Article-12.html

22 D.W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. (London, Unwin, 1989), p. 88.

23 Lewis Way, The Latter Rain, 2nd edn (London, 1821), in Bebbington, Evangelicalism., p. 88.

24 Rob Richards, Has God Finished With Israel? (Crowborough, Monarch, 1994), p. 23.

25 Kathy Kern, 'Blessing Israel? Christian Embassy Responds' Christian Peacemakers Team, Internet:menno.org.cpt.news@MennoLink.org 2 November 1997.

26 Anne Dexter, View the Land (South Plainfield, New Jersey, Bridge Publishing, 1986), pp. 214-215.

27 Christian Friends of Israel, Standing with Israel, information leaflet, n.d.

28 Jews for Jesus,, Our Doctrinal Statement, www.jews-for-jesus.org

29 David Brickner, Future Hope, A Jewish Christian Look at the End of the World, 2nd edn. (

San Francisco, Purple Pomegranate, 1999)
, p. 18.

30

David Brickner, 'Don't Pass Over Israel's Jubilee', Jews for Jesus Newsletter, April 1998.

31 CMJ, The State of Israel: Why should we support it? (CMJ, St Albans, 1996)

32 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, 'This Land is Mine', Issues, 2. 4. www.jewsforjesus.org

33 International Christian Zionist Congress Proclamation, International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem. 25-29 February 1996.

34 Anne Dexter, View the Land (South Plainfield, New Jersey, Bridge, 1986), pp. 214-215.

35 Dexter, View., p. 32.

36 Sarah Honig, 'Adopt-a-Settlement Program' The Jerusalem Post, 2nd October 1995.

37 'zionism.htm' Jews for Jesus FAQ, www.jewsforjesus.org

38 'zionism.htm' Jews for Jesus FAQ, www.jewsforjesus.org

39 International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (Jerusalem, ICEJ, 1993), p. 24.

40 International Christian Zionist Congress Proclamation, International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem. 25-29 February 1996.

41 'Christians Call for a United Jerusalem' New York Times, 18 April 1997, www.cdn-friends-icej.ca/united.html

42 'Christians Call for a United Jerusalem' New York Times, 18 April 1997, www.cdn-friends-icej.ca/united.html

43 Peter Walker, Jesus and the Holy City (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), p. 129.

44 Walker, Jesus., p. 131.

45 J. C. De Young, Jerusalem in the New Testament (Amsterdam: J.H. Kok/N.V. Kampen 1961), p. 106. Cited in Walker, Jesus., p. 131.

46 John Calvin, The Acts of the Apostles 1-13 (Edinburgh, St Andrew Press, 1965), p. 29.

47 Hal Lindsey, Planet Earth 2000 AD (Palos Verde, California, Western Front, 1994), p. 156.

48 Hal Lindsey, 'World's fate hangs on 35 acres' FreeRepublic.com 21 February 2001.

49 Yisrael Meida, cited in Grace Halsell, Forcing God's Hand (Washington, Crossroads International, 1999), p. 68.

50 Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (London, Lakeland, 1970), pp. 56-58.

51

Brickner, Future.,

52 Rich Robinson, 'Israeli Groups Involved in Third Temple Activities' Jews for Jesus Newsletter Issue 10, Adar 5753, 1993.

53 Zhava Glaser, 'Today's Rituals: Reminders or Replacements' Issues., 8, 3.

54 Nadav Shragai, 'Dreaming of a Third Temple', Ha'aretz, 17 September 1998, p.3. Cited in Randall Price, The Coming Last Days Temple (Eugene, Oregon, Harvest House, 1999), p. 417.

55 Sam Kiley, 'The righteous will survive and the rest will perish' The Times, 13 December 1999, p. 39.

56 Louis Rapoport, 'Slouching towards Armageddon: Links with Evangelicals' Jerusalem Post International Edition, June 17-24, 1984; Grace Halsell, Forcing God's Hand (Washington, Crossroads International, 1999), pp.63-73.

57 Jay Gary, 'The Temple Time Bomb' Presence Magazine www.christianity.com/partner

58 Thomas Ice and Randall Price, Ready to Rebuild, The Imminent Plan to Rebuild the Last Days Temple. (Eugene, Harvest House, 1992)

59 Jews for Jesus review of Ready to Rebuild by Thomas Ice and Randall Price (Eugene, Harvest House, 1992), www.store.jewsforjesus.org/books/products/bk154.htm

60 John F. Walvoord, 'Will Israel Build a Temple in Jerusalem?' Bibliotheca Sacra, 125 (April 1968), p.104.

61

C.I. Scofield, Scofield Reference Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1945), p. 890.

62

The New Scofield Reference Bible ed. E. Schuyler English (New York, Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 864.

63

Cornelis P. Venema, The Promise of the Future (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 2000), p. 285

64

Leviticus 2:2, 9, 16.

65

Hebrews 7:14. Venema, Promise., p. 286.

66

Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness (Atlanta, American Vision, 1997), p.85.

67

Hebrews 2:17; Romans 3:25.

68 Zhava Glaser, 'Today's Rituals: Reminders or Replacements' Issues., 8, 3.

69 Matthew 12:6, 26:61, 27:40; Mark 14:58; 15:29; John 2:19-21.

70 Romans 9:4; 1 Corinthians 8:10, 9:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

71 Revelation 21:22.

72 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21; 1 Corinthians 6:19.

73 John 4:23-24.

74 John 2:19, Mark 26:61, 27:40; Mark 14:58, 15:29.

75 Hebrews 9:9, 23, 10:1-3, 11.

76 1 Peter 2:5.

77 1 Peter 2:7.

78 John 1:14; 2:19-22; Colossians 2:9.

79 John Noe, The Israel Illusion (Fishers, Indiana, Prophecy Reformation Institute, 2000), p. 16.

80 John 1:14.

81 Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 10:1, 5.

82 Venema, Promise., p. 288.

83 Galatians 3:1-5; 3:13-16; Hebrews 8:13; .

84 Hebrews 6:4-6.

85 DeMar, Last., p.86; Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah. 3 vols. (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1972), 3:520

86 Edward Said, Orientalism (New York, Vintage, 1978)

87 Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Babylon or Jerusalem? (Shippensburg, Pasadena, Destiny Image Publishers, 1993), pp. 132-133.

88 Lindsey, Israel and the Last Days (Eugene, Oregon, Harvest House, 1983), pp. 38-39.

89 Basliea M. Schlink, Israel at the Heart of World Events, (Darmstadt-Eberstadt, Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, 1991), p.29.

90 Charlotte Observer, 16th October 2000

91 Dave Hunt, 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.' TBC, September 2000.

92 Rob Richards, Has God Finished with Israel? (Crowborough, Monarch/Olive Press, 1994), p. 159.

93

Brickner, Don't.,

94 Jim Eriksen, A Review of Who Are God's People in the Middle East? by Gary Burge (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1993), in Messianic Review of Books, Vol. 2.2 www.jewsforjesus.org

95 Merrill Simon, Jerry Falwell and the Jews (Middle Village, New York, Jonathan David, 1984), pp. 63-64, 71-72.

96 Charles Dyer, The Rise of Babylon (Wheaton: Tyndale, 1991)

97 Walter Riggans, 'The Messianic Community and the Hand Shake' Shalom, 1, (1995)

98 Cohen, Guildford.,

99 Matthew 5:9.

100 Matthew 5:44.

101 2 Corinthians 5:16-20.

102 James Price and William Goodman, Jerry Falwell, An Unauthorized Profile, cited in Grace Halsell, Prophecy., p. 72.

103 Lindsey, Planet., pp. 243-244.

104 Lindsey, Planet., p. 255.

105 Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth (London, Lakeland, 1973); The Terminal Generation (New York, Bantam,); The 1980's: Countdown to Armageddon (New York, Bantam, 1981); Combat Faith (1986); The Road to Holocaust (New York, Bantam, 1989); Planet Earth-2000, Will Man Survive? (Palos Verdes, California, Western Front, 1994); The Final Battle (Palos Verdes, California, Western Front, 1995); The Apocalypse Code (Palos Verdes, California, Western Front, 1997);

106 Hal Lindsey, The 1980's, Countdown to Armageddon, (New York, Bantam, 1981), back cover.

107 Hal Lindsey, The Final Battle (Palos Verdes, California, Western Front, 1995), front cover.

108 Lindsey, Planet Earth: The Final Chapter, p. 254.

109 Lindsey, Planet Earth: The Final Chapter, p. 266.

110 Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (London, Lakeland, 1970), p. 155; Louis Goldberg, Turbulence Over the Middle East (Neptune, New Jersey, Loizeaux Brothers, 1982), p. 172.

111 Don Wagner, 'Beyond Armageddon'. The Link (Americans for Middle East Understanding) Vol. 25 No. 4 October/November (1992) p. 3.

112 Lindsey, Road., back page. Refuted by Gary DeMar and Peter J. Leithart, The Legacy of Hatred Continues: A Response to Hal Lindsey's The Road to Holocaust (Fort Worth, Dominion Press, 1989)

113

Brickner, Don't.,

114

Brickner, Don't.,

115 Schlink, Israel, p.22.

116 Regina Sharif, Non-Jewish., p. 7; see also Uri Davis, The State of Palestine (Reading, Ithaca, 1991), p. 28.

117 Kenneth Cragg, The Arab Christian A History in the Middle East. (London, Mowbray, 1992) p. 238.

118 MECC, What is Western Fundamentalist Christian Zionism? (Limassol, Cyprus, Middle East Council of Churches, 1988) p. 13.

119 John Stott, quoted in Don Wagner, Anxious for Armageddon ( Scottdale, Herald Press, 1995) p. 80.

120 John Stott, 'The Place of Israel'. unpublished sermon preached at All Soul's, Langham Place, London.

121 Yehezkel Landau. An illustration given at St George's, Jerusalem, December 1998.


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