Sunday, December 28, 2014

"The truth about 'Zionism' ... "

"Zionism" as a movement had its beginnings in the 1890's as a movement to create a homeland for the world's Jews who had been dispersed throughout the world for centuries, in effect, since the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.  From a purely human perspective there was no compelling reason to do so.  But from GOD's perspective, there was every reason to do so.  As we closed the year in worship this morning I shared a message about the coming new heaven and earth that Isaiah (Isaiah 65:17-19) and Peter (II Peter 3:13) and John (Revelation 21:1) point to as the culmination of God's plan for mankind and for the earth ... this planet upon which we live.

While God's plan points towards the creation of a new heaven and earth, there are events clearly outlined in Scripture which must take place before Jesus comes.  ONE of those was the creation of a homeland for the Jews and another is the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.  You see, the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the land given by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants almost four thousand years ago, happened because GOD made it happen.  A quick review of history from 1890 to 1948 reveals the utter impossibility of Israel's existence as a homeland for the Jews apart from divine intervention.

Isaiah writes, "Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?  Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children" (Isaiah 66:8).  God brought forth this nation and has protected her from her enemies since 1948 in remarkable ways.  "Zionism" is now defined as the belief that God has a future plan for Israel, Jerusalem and the temple which will lead to the return of Jesus Christ.  None of this is subject to mere human desire or actions, whether by Israel or the nations that surround them.  God orders the nations and the rulers of the nations in order to accomplish HIS plans.  Israel and Jerusalem and the Jewish people exist by God's will and His purposes - to bring glory to Himself!

As you hear about more settlements being built for the now more than 6 million Jews who have returned to Israel since 1948, the words of Isaiah 49 speak volumes:  "Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people and those who devoured you will be far away.  The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, 'This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in'" (Isaiah 49:19-20).  So it is today. Isaiah speaks over and over of the future of Israel and of Jerusalem.  The rest of the prophets, Jesus and the New Testament writers all point to this future fulfillment.

So why do so many in the visible church today ignore these prophecies?  Because they have mistakenly been taught that the Church has replaced Israel.  But the simple answer to that is found in II Corinthians 6:2 ... we are living in the "day of salvation."  This is the time when Jew and Gentile believers are brought together into the Church, but that does not change God's promises to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah and other prophets, along with Jesus in the Gospels, as well as Paul, Peter and John, all point to specific events that are taking place and will take place regarding Jerusalem, the temple, Israel and the Jewish people.

One familiar denomination states the following on their website:  "From a Reformed perspective, Christian Zionism and dispensationalism are not only faulty readings of Scripture, they have proven to be great hindrances to a just peace and stability in the Middle East."  Such statements reveal not only an ignorance of Scripture, but also a perverted view of history!  The Jewish homeland, including the nation of Israel and the Jewish people hold the central place in GOD's plans for the future, not only the future of mankind, but the future of the planet!!

Statements like these are common and arise from a humanistic view of the world that believes that "peace on earth" will happen when we all figure out how to get along.  Those who say and teach these things believe that such a peace is more important than the fulfillment of God's promises to His chosen people, those from Israel and from the Gentiles.  They totally miss the fact that God's glory is tied to the fulfillment of His promises to the Jewish people ... because GOD made it that way.  If God fails to keep His promises to THEM, how do we know He will keep His promises to US??  Have we been more faithful than Israel??  God's promises are based on grace to those who believe in Jesus Christ and in the truth of His Word, beginning to end.

I invite you to listen to the message (and if you already heard it, perhaps to listen again and study the passages), and then send your questions to me at ... "Zionism" is more than a movement orchestrated by mankind; it is a move of God to bring humanity and the world in which we live, including planet earth, to God's intended conclusion and to the NEW BEGINNING God has planned for those who come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ.

That's the truth about "Zionism" ...

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