Why I Embrace Christian Zionism


There was a time when I was a stranger to Christian Zionism. I was on the outside, I was in the darkness, and I was very much missing out on the blessings found in Christian Zionism. Then God, in His mercy, added me to the family, and to the number of those who have embraced Christian Zionism for the last 2000 years. I haven’t been the same since!

The author of Hebrews described this great transformation about 1950 years ago to his audience at the time, members of the early church:

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24).

I am a Christian Zionist because I am a Christian who has been brought to the heavenly Mount Zion, the one that is connected to the heavenly Jerusalem, to Jesus as our Mediator, to the body of Christ, and to the new covenant. This Zionism is glorious, and it’s all about the blessings and promises found in Jesus.

At the same time, I’m not a Christian Zionist. It all depends upon the definition, and one’s covenant perspective. I’m not a Christian Zionist if one goes by the following definitions:

[1] Zionists seek to support, facilitate and advance the return of the Jewish people and sovereignty to their native homeland–the land of Israel. Christians who see the regathering of the Jewish people in their land, as well as the establishment of the sovereign nation of Israel in 1948, as the literal fulfillment of biblical prophecy are known as “Christian Zionists”. Christian Zionists see the Jewish people as the “apple of God’s eye”–His Chosen people, and hold firm that God’s promises, established in the Abrahamic Covenant, remain in effect today.

Christian Zionists are “Biblical advocates” for the Jewish people and the state of Israel. Furthermore, they stand in firm, diametrical opposition to land concessions of any sort which involve the forfeiture of the holy land of Israel as it is a sacred manifestation of the promises of God to the people He calls the “apple of His eye”. Christian Zionists also seek to stand with Israel, showing her unconditional support, solidarity and love whilst praying for her spiritual return to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who “foreknew” her.

Mikael Knighton, Christians Standing With Israel, 2007 (Source)

[2] “Zionism [is] the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel… Jews of all persuasions, left and right, religious and secular, joined to form the Zionist movement and worked together toward these goals. Disagreements led to rifts, but ultimately, the common goal of a Jewish state in its ancient homeland was attained. The term “Zionism” was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum.” (Jewish Virtual Library).

If Zionism is the belief in the Jewish people’s right to return to their homeland, then a Christian Zionist should simply be defined as a Christian who supports the Jewish people’s right to return to their homeland… The actual theology of Christian Zionism, also known as Biblical Zionism, supports the right of the Jewish people to return to their homeland on scriptural grounds… Christian Zionism is confirmed throughout the Hebrew Scriptures… Christian Zionism differs with Replacement Theology which teaches that the special relationship that Israel had with her God in terms of her national destiny and her national homeland has been lost because of her rejection of Jesus as Messiah, and therefore the Church has become the new Israel.

Rev. Malcolm Hedding, Vice-chairman of the Board, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, “Christian Zionism 101 – Giving Definition to the Movement.” (Source)

[3] “Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy.”

Wikipedia, March 2014 (Source)

John Hagee, the founder of Christians United For Israel (CUFI), is recognized as a well-known leader in this movement known as Christian Zionism. CUFI’s theme verse is Isaiah 62:1. “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, til her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.” (Source) It doesn’t take much digging around to understand how Hagee interprets this verse and applies it to the present day. Shhh – don’t tell him that righteousness and salvation have been shining out from Jesus and His church like a blazing torch for the last 2000 years!

Earthly or Heavenly Zion?

You may have already noticed how incredibly preoccupied the Christian Zionist movement is with earthly Zion (Israel). This movement is heavily invested in political/earthly Israel, political/earthly Jerusalem, and the old covenant. This is essentially where this movement goes off track.

Did you notice the very first word in the passage from Hebrews early in this post? It’s a mere conjunction, but it’s very important. It’s the word “but.”

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…”

Through a basic language rule, we know that the author of Hebrews is contrasting something he said earlier. Let’s take a look at the previous few verses:

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling” (Hebrews 12:18-21).

What did he describe here? He described the scene at Mount Sinai where the law code and the old covenant was given to the people of Israel through Moses. The following contrast is shown:

Mount Sinai = physical (able to be touched), earthly, old covenant… Mount Zion = spiritual (not able to be touched), heavenly, new covenant…

In light of this passage, how does the Christian Zionist movement align itself? Where does it stand in light of what Paul says in Galatians 4:21-31?

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.” Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

The Christian Zionist movement has hijacked both terms that it carries, “Christian” and “Zionism.” For decades it has tried to tell the world that Christians are obsessed with a certain land, a certain country, a certain city, a certain race of people, and a Zion that is of this world. It has suppressed new covenant truths, such as God not showing favoritism to one race over others (e.g. Romans 10:12), and has promoted and financially supported injustice and ethnic cleansing, all in the name of Christianity and before the eyes of a watching world.

Biblical Zionism, according to Galatians 4 and Hebrews 12, is aligned with heavenly Jerusalem, Jesus as our Mediator, His church, His shed blood, transformed hearts, freedom, God’s promises, and the new covenant.

This is the Christian Zionism that I embrace.

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20 thoughts on “Why I Embrace Christian Zionism

  1. The letters of Paul and whoever wrote Hebrews were written to correct specific errors going on in the church. Galatians corrected the error of seeking to be justified by the Mosaic law. No one is arguing against justification by faith. Belief that God will on “that day” fulfill His “I will” promises and redeem an entire nation by faith in His Son Jesus, does not contradict one word of Galatians. Hebrews comes against errors that did not elevate Jesus to His proper place as the revealer and mediator of God’s Grace. Again nothing in my belief that God will one day accomplish national salvation by grace through faith is against any of the truth revealed in Hebrews. The real question is where did Paul correct the error of non-Biblical thinking regarding the church and the nation of Israel? He corrected this in the letter to the Romans in chapters 9-11, where the Holy Spirit used this chosen vessel, to specifically address this issue and to reveal the sovereign plan of God that was so amazing and overwhelming that at the end of chapter 11 Paul flies off in an ecstatic song of praise! Anyone, who goes anywhere else to find out what the truth is about God and His plan for the church and Israel is actually not ‘Pursuing the truth’ but is avoiding it!
    In actuality I don’t agree with much that John Hagee has to say and I think it is not in the best interest of Jewish people to return to Israel at this time. The political state that is there now is a sign-post, but it is not the destination by any means.
    Thanks for letting me reply.

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    • Hi Chuck,

      You’re welcome for being allowed to reply. When you mentioned “that day,” what Scripture text are were you referring to? God has indeed redeemed “an entire nation by faith in His Son Jesus.” It’s the same nation that Peter spoke of in his first epistle: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9). And that nation’s population keeps growing everyday, and you and I both belong to it.

      Did you really mean to say that the truth “about God and His plan for the church and Israel” is only found in Romans 9-11? That’s what it appears you’ve said when you remarked that “anyone who goes anywhere else to find out what the truth is about God and His plan for the church and Israel is actually not ‘Pursuing the truth,’ but is avoiding it!” Those chapters were not discussed in this post, but neither was anything from Genesis and many other portions of the Bible, so I’m not sure what you’re even trying to say here.

      I believe that ancient Israel was the signpost (the type and shadow), but Jesus is the destination (the fulfillment).

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      • My point was fairly straight forward, I thought, but here it is in simplified form. Galatians was not written to make clear the relationship between Israel and the Church. Hebrews was not written for that purpose either, but clearly the book of Romans, chapters 9-11 reveals the amazing sovereign relationship between the church and Israel. If the goal is to understand the truth then you go to the section of scripture that reveals the truth. Using scriptures from Galatians and Hebrews to try to explain away the amazing promises of God to the nation Israel and the land is twisting scripture, in my opinion.

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      • Thank you, Chuck, for following up on your earlier comment and clarifying what you meant. One day I may post a thorough study series here on Romans 9-11. It would take a good amount of time to prepare, but would be worthwhile. I’m definitely familiar with those three chapters, and have cited various texts from them in other posts here or in conversations with people who have left comments here at this site.

        You’re free to express your opinion, and to hold it, but no promises of God to Israel have been explained away here. They have all continued and found their fulfillment in Jesus.

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  2. Ezekiel 36:24-33 Specific promises about the land and the people, new covenant, heart-changing type, promises to the people of Israel that have yet to be fulfilled.

    24 “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. 30 I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. 32 I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, people of Israel!
    33 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt.

    These are amazing promises, but nothing is too difficult for Thee!!

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  3. To say, “Ezekiel 36:24-33 Specific promises about the land and the people, new covenant, heart-changing type, promises to the people of Israel that have yet to be fulfilled,” is to trust in a Christo-Zionist ‘land gospel’ that rejects the resounding proclamation of fulfillment which begins the Hebrew letter “to the people of Israel”:

    “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high… (Hebrews 1:1-3).”

    The Holy Spirit’s letter to “the Israel of God” concludes with the following landless, “new covenant,” Christ-centred blessing:

    “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20,21).”

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    • Ah yes, the ‘new covenant’ which appears first in what book? Promised to what physical people? It is quoted in the book of Hebrews, which means believers get to share as grafted in people with the chosen people. The need for a new covenant was so that God could fulfill His promises to the people and about their land. Ezekiel 36 mentions specific things about the land, how can it be fulfilled without the land, IT CANNOT! I am not a Zionist who believes that the current political nation is the fulfillment of anything, but it is a necessary step in order for Jerusalem to be the center of hatred from “all nations” as prophesied by God through Zechariah.

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      • The book in which it first appears doesn’t change what the New Covenant means and signifies. According to the Lord Jesus, and the Hebrew letter, it is not at all land-centred, but utterly Christ-centred, and dedicated to the forgiveness of sins: “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28),” and, “And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).”

        Consequently, Hebrew (Jewish) believers are not anticipating the “Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children,” but the “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all (Galatians 4:25,26).” They have come “…unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…” “…And to Jesus the mediator of the _new covenant_, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel (Hebrews 12:22,24).”

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      • B.A. The heart of God makes a promise to a people about a land and then the will of God and the sovereignty of God and the mercy of God combine to bring the promise of a New Covenant and a New Heart to allow for the fulfillment of the promise with all the glory going to God. We get a down payment, grafted into their promises, brought into their fellowship, but one day God will keep His promise or He is not God. Hosea still loves Gomer, not because of anything that Gomer does but because of His great love. Galatians does not claim to teach us about the relationship between the (currently) unbelieving Jew and the “church”. Hebrews does not either, for insight into this relationship we must turn to Romans 9-11 and that is the address where one can ‘pursue the truth’ about the relationship between the predominantly gentile church and the chosen nation. This is about the heart of God, I pray you could see the heart of God I am done, you may have the last word.

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      • Strongly disagree Chuck, Zeal for the land, is not a theme developed in the NT. Instead the great commission sees Jerusalem as a base for a world wide mission of an everlasting kingdom.

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      • Romans 11:25 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” Isaiah 24:5 “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Patrick if zeal for the land is demonstrated in Ezekiel 36 why does it need to be re-developed in the books of the New Testament? God receives glory when the Father draws us enemies individually and transforms us into friends. He will receive great glory when, in answer to the promises to a people and a land He draws an entire nation of enemies and transforms them into friends. If I promise something to my son Isaiah and then get mad at him and give it to my son Elijah, my son Isaiah gets nothing and I have broken my promise. If I promise something to Isaiah and I get mad at him, and give the item to Elijah while still having another of the same item in reserve to keep my promise to Isaiah because the promise was on my word, not on his obedience, that is love that would cause Paul to go off in ecstatic worship at the end of Romans 11. I am done Patrick, you may have the last word.

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      • God has given to Israel everything that He promised to give to Israel, but Israel in the eyes of God is neither (1) the nation in the Middle East that happens to bear that name (2) nor all ethnic Jews wherever they may be found. Faith in Christ versus no faith in Christ was always the line that God draws, when it comes to Israel and her promises, and that line has been especially clear for the last 2000 years.

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  4. Chuck: The God of Glory has the Last Word, and it _never_ points to a territorial promise made to an exclusively Jewish people-group. Hebrews 1:1-3 proclaims, clearly and finally, that Christ Jesus, alone, has fulfilled all God’s promises to OT Israel. Ephesians 2:12,13 assures believing Gentiles, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Acts 20:28 says He purchased His Church, not a separate ethnic-Israel, with His blood.

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    • Right B.A. Gentiles are brought in to the commonwealth of their promises and covenants. We are brought into what they have. We were aliens from what they have, but now we are brought into what they have. I get the superiority of Christ, but it gives much praise to God that He is able to redeem an obstinate people, like you and me individually and like national Israel. He will be faithful and He will keep His promises. Hebrews 1:1 in fact acknowledges that it was God speaking those promises through the prophets. He made promises through the prophets and He will keep them.

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      • “What they have” (what we have) is what God has given them (us), and nothing more. Again, you’ve failed to comprehend that Hebrews 1:1-3 is describing how God _was_ faithful and _has_ kept His promises. It speaks (literally and directly) of the glorious, finished event that had already taken place for “the Israel of God”: “[God] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

        Paul, then, is not referring to some so-called, future fulfillment of ‘unkept national promises’, but to Christ Jesus’ finished, effectual work of redemption on Calvary when he writes, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers (Romans 15:8),” and, “For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him, Amen, unto the glory of God by us (II Corinthians 1:20).”

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      • So, very simply, I say that the promises that were made to Abraham Isaac and Jacob about a physical people and a physical land are yet to be fulfilled “Through” the finished work of Jesus Christ, and you say they are fulfilled “in” the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is a subtle difference but it puts us miles apart. One last question, unless you are better at answering it than the others who ignore it. Why are the tribes of Israel given such a prominent place in the New Jerusalem if they are irrelevant in light of your understanding that all the prophetic promises to a physical people are wrapped up, culminated, and long ago completed in Jesus? (Rev. 21:12)

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  5. chuckabean:

    “Very simply,” the plain reading of scripture offers no such “subtle distance” between “in” and “through”—none at all. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth _in Him_ should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16)”; ”For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world _through Him_ might be saved. (John 3:17).” “Subtle distance” only raises its quirky head when attempting to preach a separate ‘Land Gospel’. Moreover, “the promises that were made to Abraham Isaac and Jacob” are “in Him”: “For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us (1 Corinth. 1:20).” The entire New Testament proclaims, that the promises are Christ-centred, and never ‘land-centred’: “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again… (Acts 13:32,33).”

    Well, you can’t ignore this: the prominent place given the tribes of Israel in Revelation 21 expresses the perfect, Gospel-based unity of “the bride, the Lamb’s wife [the Church] (v.9),” who is described as “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God (v.10).” It has “twelve gates” named after “the twelve tribes of the children of Israel (v.12),” _and_ “twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (v.12).” These symbols say nothing about a distinct “physical people” who are owed a physical land. They refer to a city occupied only by inter-ethnic Christians–“they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life (v.27).”

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