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Christian Zionism

Postby Susa » Tue Mar 16, 2021 5:47 pm

I am interested to hear your views on Christian Zionism and your Biblical rationale. As a young Christian, I was taught a reverence for Israel. I think likely you were also? Christian Zionism is very big now in Evangelical circles (which I find hard to trust these days for obvious reasons). I’ve looked into it a bit. Many Christians disagree with it. My gut feeling (from my albeit limited study of it) is that it doesn’t have a Biblical basis for New Testament times. But I want to keep an open mind until I feel I know enough. Have you studied much about this? Have you read much about it by people who believe it is NOT Biblical? (from a Christian perspective, of course.)

Re: Christian Zionism

Postby jimwalton » Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:44 pm

Glad to talk about it, Susa.

The issue of (1) whether all prophecies about Israel transferred to the Church upon the Jewish rejection of Christ (replacement theology) vs. the position that (2) some of the prophecies transferred to the Church, some remained with Israel (Dispensationalism) vs. (3) some pertain to both (commonwealth theology) has been raging for, oh, about 2 millennia now. From my study of Scripture, I adhere to the third option: Israel still has a role to play. I can’t get around that, and don’t want to if that’s the biblical position. I don’t want to squeeze anything illegitimately into my mold.

Commonwealth Theology tries to bridge the two with a theological compromise. They believe that rather than the Church replacing Israel (RT), the people of God all have one common eternal destiny but that God still has a national purpose for Israel in His plan (distinction without eternal separation). There is only one people of God—people of true faith, whether Jews or Christians or Gentiles. But the Old Testament prophecies about Israel still pertain to Israel as a people, but some of the prophesies also include the Church because we've been grafted in (Rom. 11). The Church is heir to some of the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant.

How the place of Israel in the future events will play itself out is also a subject of much debate. Obviously Christian Zionists feel that Israel needs America to fulfill the prophecies. I don’t necessarily believe that, but who’s to say how or if America will figure into the prophesies as they play through. No one can know such things. No one could know ahead of time how Cyrus would be the instrument God used to return Israel from the exile. We only know such things through hindsight.

We can look briefly at some texts, but there are many and much to discuss.

I’ll start with Ezekiel 38-39. What is described here prophetically never happened to Israel, and yet doesn’t seem to pertain in any way to the Church, either.

Romans 9-11 are key chapters in this debate. In my perspective, Paul is saying the promises to Israel were never intended for any Israelite by virtue of birth, but for anyone who was a true child of God by faith, whether Jew or Gentile; Israel as a nation was rejected, however, for their faithlessness, though not all Jews rejected Him; that rejection of Israel was both only partial and temporary. A time will come when Israel as a nation will repent and accept Christ as their Messiah and become a blessing to all nations of the world (Romans 11.25-27).

2 Thessalonians 2 seems to pertain to actual Israel and not to the Church. The Temple in 2 Thes. 2.4 has much more plausibility as a literal temple than figurative of the Christian Church.

It’s possible that the 144,000 in Revelation 7.1-8 pertain to a revival of Jews in the End Times, as Rev. 7.9-17 speak of the multitude from the nations who are also Christ’s—those grafted in.

This should be enough for now to get the discussion started. I’ll look forward to your reply and/or the input of others as well.

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