Christianity, Islam and Zionism

25 Feb

Christianity and Zionism are the two distinct matters yet both are interlinked. I often confronts with the question from muslims that why do I call myself a Zionist even being a Christian since Zionism according to them is to kill innocent Palestinians, drag them out of their (so called) land etc etc whereas Christ taught bless those who curse you, show the other cheek too to the one who slaps on your one cheek. So I as a Christian should not support Zionism at any cost or my faith doesn’t sanctions any sort of support for the actions taken by the nation of Israel against the Palestinians who shoot rockets at Israeli cities, blow themselves at any street of Tel Aviv being the suicide bombers and do all  kind of anti Israeli activities. This is what a non Christian (or I should say an Islamic) stance is regarding Christianity and Zionism.

But the thing to be pondered is this that whether their this view is justified or not when seen in the light of Christian faith? What should be a Christian approach to Zionism ? What actually Zionism is ? These are the questions whose answers we really need to find out first before making any conclusion in this particular respect. Therefore keeping all these issues into consideration, let us commence our search for the answers to the questions “ What Zionism actually is ? “ and “ Should a Christian support Zionism ? “

The word ‘ ZIONISM ‘ is derived from the word ‘ Zion’ which is linked with the city of Jerusalem. Dr. Frank Charles Thomson D.D, PHD writes :-

MountZion originally referred to the “ city of David,” which was the lower eastern hill of Jerusalem known as Ophel (2 Chr27:3;33:14).

Later, when Mount Moriah became the temple Hill and the ark of covenant was brought up out of the city of David to the temple, the name was transferred here (1K8:1;2 Chr5:2) and this became “ Zion”—the most significant of all sacred places to the prophets and others of those centuries (Is 4:5; Je31:6;Zec 8:2-3).

In certain poetic writings Zion becomes the equivalent of Jerusalem, the religious capital of the people of God (Is28:16; Ro 9:33). At other points in the Old Testament it refers to the tribe or land of Judah or the whole of Israel. By the fourth century A.D, Zion referred to the south- west ridge of Jerusalem instead of the original southeast ridge of David’s time.”  Thomson Chain Reference Study Bible; Page 2254.

One of the all time well known bible expositors, Dr. Finis Jennings Dake comments on 2 Samuel 5:7 :-

Zion is found 152 times in scripture and only in the O.T., the word being Sion in the N.T. This stronghold was one of the 5 heights on which Jerusalem was built —Akra, Bezetha, Moriah , Ophel, and Zion. Some consider Ophel and Zion to be the same. Zion and the city of David are the same (v7;2Chr.5:2). The word came to be used of Jerusalem and Israel in general. The Church and the Christians are never called Zion. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible; Page 568

Thus the term ‘ Zion’ is specifically used  for Jerusalem but in general view it is used for Israel as a whole.

 

And Zionism refers to the opinion that Israel as a state or a nation has a right to exist which is combated by the modern day muslims and may be a few others as well.

Now the very first question which comes in our way is this that Is Zionism biblical?  God is said to have LOVED THE ZION in the Psalm AND IT IS ADDRESSED AS CITY OF GOD :-

“His foundation is in the holy mountains.

The Lord loves the gates of Zion

More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.

Glorious things are spoken of you,

O city of God.” Psalm (87:1-3); NASB

 

 

God is portrayed as despised Joseph’s descendants when it comes to His sanctuary but chose Judah, i.e Zion :-

“He [al]drove His adversaries backward;

He put on them an everlasting reproach.

 He also rejected the tent of Joseph,

And did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,

 But chose the tribe of Judah,

Mount Zion which He loved.

 And He built His sanctuary like the heights,

Like the earth which He has founded forever.” Psalm (78:66-69); NASB

God will be dwelling in Zion forever or it will be the place of His presence forever as the Psalmist speaks :-

For the Lord has chosen Zion;

He has desired it for His habitation.

 “This is My resting place forever;

Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

 “I will abundantly bless her provision;

I will satisfy her needy with bread.

 “Her priests also I will clothe with salvation,

And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy.

 “There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth;

I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed.

 “His enemies I will clothe with shame,

But upon himself his crown shall shine.” Psalm (132:13-17); NASB

 

Through the above we not only receives it in plain that God has selected Zion to be His dwelling place for forever i.e in the coming eternity but He will also let its enemies to shatter which refers to the foes of Israel.

Further we can see God as an establisher of Zion :-

“But You, O Lord, abide forever,

And Your name to all generations.

 You will arise and have compassion on Zion;

For it is time to be gracious to her,

For the appointed time has come.

 Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones

And feel pity for her dust.

So the nations will fear the name of the Lord

And all the kings of the earth Your glory.

 For the Lord has built up Zion;

He has appeared in His glory.

 He has regarded the prayer of the destitute

And has not despised their prayer.”  Psalm (102:12-17); NASB

 

 

Do not rejoice, O Philistia, all of you,

Because the rod that struck you is broken;

For from the serpent’s root a viper will come out,

And its fruit will be a flying serpent.

“Those who are most helpless will eat,

And the needy will lie down in security;

I will destroy your root with famine,

And it will kill off your survivors.

 “Wail, O gate; cry, O city;

Melt away, O Philistia, all of you;

For smoke comes from the north,

And there is no straggler in his ranks.

How then will one answer the messengers of the

nation?

That the Lord has founded Zion,

And the afflicted of His people will seek refuge in it.” Isaiah (14:29-32); NASB

 

The Palestinians were the people who used to be in war with the Israelites right from the ancient times and prophet Isaiah pronounced the judgment upon them here in this passage and it is once again confirmed that the Lord is the builder of Zion.

Apart from this it also uncovers the compassion the Lord have in His heart for Israel and this is corroborated by the following :-

“So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion.  But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster.”  Therefore thus says the Lord, “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.”’  Again, proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.” Zechariah (1:14-17); NASB

 

 

“Then the word of the Lord of hosts came, saying,  “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.” Zechariah (8:1-3); NASB

 

 

Prophet Ezekiel saw a vision and the Lord made him see the dry bones which represents the scattered Israelites before 1948. Let us see :-

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.  He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry.  He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”  Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’  Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.  I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone.  And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.  Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’”  So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’  Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.  I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.” Ezekiel (37:1-14); NASB

 

 

This prophecy was fulfilled in 1948 when the nation of Israel was formed and in 1967, the neighbors of Israel joined together against it. President Naseer of Egypt spoke that we will wipe out Israel. The following URL has a paper cutting of  The Singapore Free Press newspaper wherein published the news regarding the above  :-

http://newspapers.nl.sg/Digitised/Article/freepress19590727.2.9.aspx

Apart from Naseer, president Aref of Iraq too stated the same :-

“The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map” – President Aref of Iraq on 31/05/1967

Source :- http://www.sixdaywar.co.uk/crucial_quotes.htm

And this was a foretelling of a Psalmist thousands of years back :-

“O God, do not remain quiet;

Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still.

 For behold, Your enemies make an uproar,

And those who hate You have exalted themselves.

 They make shrewd plans against Your people,

And conspire together against Your treasured ones.

 They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out

as a nation,

That the name of Israel be remembered no more.”

 For they have conspired together with one mind;

Against You they make a covenant:

 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,

Moab and the Hagrites;

 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,

Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;

 Assyria also has joined with them;

They have become a help to the children of Lot.Selah.” Psalm (83:1-8); NASB

 

And the nations mentioned above were the same who came together against Israel in 1967 and as the inspired Psalmist says of the consequences of this war :-

O my God, make them like the whirling dust,

Like chaff before the wind.

 Like fire that burns the forest

And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire,

 So pursue them with Your tempest

And terrify them with Your storm.

 Fill their faces with dishonor,

That they may seek Your name, O Lord.

 Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever,

And let them be humiliated and perish,

 That they may know that You alone, whose name is

the Lord,

Are the Most High over all the earth.” Psalm (83:13-1-?8); NASB

The same is what all those foes of Israel suffered in the six day war of 1967 :-

“The Six-Day War ended on June 10, 1967, following a cease-fire on the Israel-Syrian front. The Arab states suffered immense defeat in this war because of Israel’s unjust preemptive attack. Arabs lost half of their military equipment while the Jordanian air force was completely destroyed on the hands of Israeli forces. The Arab casualty count was over 18,000. On the other hand, Israel lost only around 700 soldiers.

President Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt resigned from his position a day after Israel took over Sinai Peninsula while other Arab leaders also suffered unpopularity from their nation. Before Six-Day War, Arab-Israeli conflict revolved around Israel’s right to existence, however, it shifted to the issue of boundaries following the war.”

Source :- http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1948to1967_sixday_result.php

How accurately the Psalmist Asaph made the prophecy of this very incident which is obvious from aforementioned facts and this ultimately establishes that despite of the rejection of Messiah Jesus by the Jews, God still is on their side for He has bound to His promise, an unconditional promise which He made with Abraham thousands of years ago :-

‘Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven,  and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,  indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.Genesis (22:15-18); NASB

When God did not find anyone greater than Himself, He swore by His own and made this promise with Abraham that his descendants shall possess the territories of their enemies and in his seed (the Messiah), the nations of the earth be blessed (Isaiah 11:10). And Abraham’s descendants had to be known through Isaac only, the promised son :-

” But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named.Genesis (21:12); NASB

What a truthful and trustworthy God we have who doesn’t/cannot step backward from fulfilling His promises :-

“God is not a man, that He should lie,

Nor a son of man, that He should repent;

Has He said, and will He not do it?

Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers (23:19); NASB

Now coming on the Christian perspective regarding the issues with Israel, I would like to quote the following :-

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans (12:19-21); NASB

 

 

God says that it is His task to judge anyone which is clear when He says “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” Muslim friends says that these people speak all bad things about Jesus Christ and His mother Mary (Maryam). They have blasphemies in their Talmud against these personalities yet you Christians stand with the people of Israel whereas you are supposed to hate them. But we are not commanded to do so instead to forgive thereby leaving all judgment on God Almighty.

And as far as supporting Israel is concerned, yes we ought to support them in this sphere for the land belongs to them only but as Christians we really cannot rejoice over killings of people for Christ has said one who kills by the sword shall die by the same only (Matthew 26:52). Since God Himself is dealing with this matter, we should pray that His will may be accomplished and leaving all the things, i.e how He works etc etc on Himself only as we are enjoined upon ourselves to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to win souls for Christ.

Moreover, God Himself let a donkey speak in order to refrain Balaam from cursing Israel Numbers (22:28) and has said to Abraham :-

And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Genesis (12:3); NASB

Therefore if anyone may curse them, he/she will himself/herself be accursed by God Himself. And throughout the first century A.D, Jewish people in parts are bringing faith on Jesus as the Messiah and one day Israel as a nation shall be saved and by acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah :-

Israel has been saved by the Lord

With an everlasting salvation;

You will not be put to shame or humiliated

To all eternity.” Isaiah (45:15); NASB

 

 

A Redeemer will come to Zion,

And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the Lord.” Isaiah (59:20); NASB

 

 

“ And so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” Romans (11:26); NASB

 

Going further, I would also like to shed light on the Islamic (muslim’s) approach to the issue concerning Israel. The Islamic hatred for Israel and Jews is not any mystery but is well known throughout the globe. In the recent past, when Israel retaliated against the rocket attacks on the Israeli areas by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, many innocent civilians residing in the Gaza strip were killed as Hamas had established its base in the civilian areas only.

And as expected, Israel received numerous condemnations from various parts of the world for act of retaliation especially from the Islamic world. The muslims of the whole world on facebook, twitter and probably through other mediums expressed their anger for Israel which I witnessed on my facebook news feed and other portals on the internet. With the exclusive of all this, protest marches were held by the muslims in various parts of the world against Israel.

They complain that Israel as a nation is illegal because it was formed by snatching the land of Palestinians and driving them out from their homes which is injustice. Well we have discussed earlier that the land in which they are inhabiting belongs to them only and it was the accomplishment of prophecy Ezekiel made in 37th chapter of his book when Israel was rebuilt by the Lord.

Therefore the muslims should not launch any sort of protest against Israel for according to their own sources (authentic ones) as well, this kind of ideology is supported. Let us have a view on them :-

“Narrated Abu Huraira: While we were in the Mosque, the Prophet came out and said, “Let us go to the Jews” We went out till we reached Bait-ul-Midras. He said to them, “If you embrace Islam, you will be safe. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to expel you from this land. So, if anyone amongst you owns some property, he is permitted to sell it, otherwise you should know that the Earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle.”  Sahih Al Bukhari; Book No 53; Ahadith no 392

Source :- http://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=53&translator=1&start=64&number=387

This incident do we find in more detail in the forth coming following ahadith :-

“Narrated Abu Huraira: While we were in the mosque, Allah’s Apostle came out to us and said, “Let us proceed to the Jews.” So we went along with him till we reached Bait-al-Midras (a place where the Torah used to be recited and all the Jews of the town used to gather). The Prophet stood up and addressed them, “O Assembly of Jews! Embrace Islam and you will be safe!” The Jews replied, “O Aba-l-Qasim! You have conveyed Allah’s message to us.” The Prophet said, “That is what I want (from you).” He repeated his first statement for the second time, and they said, “You have conveyed Allah’s message, O Aba-l-Qasim.” Then he said it for the third time and added, “You should Know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to exile you fro,,, this land, so whoever among you owns some property, can sell it, otherwise you should know that the Earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle.” (See Hadith No. 392, Vol. 4)”  Sahih Al Bukhari; Book No 83; Ahadith no 77

Source :- http://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=85&translator=1&start=0&number=0

The prophet of Islam wished to exile the Jews from the land where they were living for they were not embracing Islam and he also stated that he is justified if he may kick the Jews out from the place of their inhabitation for the land belongs to Allah and his apostle.

I also would like to cite some more in this sphere  :-

“Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror, and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.”

 Abu Huraira added: Allah’s Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220)

Source :- http://www.quranexplorer.com/Hadith/English/Hadith/bukhari/004.052.220.html

In the previous 2 ahadiths its mentioned that the earth belongs to Allah and his apostle. But keeping these ahadiths into the consideration we cannot deduce that whether it means the particular land only where those Jews were residing or the whole of earth but the third ahadith makes it very plain that it meant the whole of earth for the prophet of Islam saw in the dream that treasures of the whole world were brought to him.

And his companion or Sahaba Abu Huraira further added that though the prophet is no more but you muslims are bringing those treasures. The muslims under the leaderships of Caliphs started conquering the foreign lands after the death of their prophet in 632 AD and Abu Huraira meant this only when he spoke muslims being bringing those treasures.

And if that is their belief , i.e Allah gave the whole of earth to the prophet of Islam and muslims, they should not be bothered if it’s the Israel’s belief  that God gave the land of Palestine to the Israelites lest it’s a plain hypocrisy on their part.

 

And with these words, I am resting here. My intention behind writing all this isn’t to play with or to hurt the sentiments of anyone instead to shed light on the actuality and to instigate a desire to think upon this issue inside the hearts of people with a sound and cool mind yet if anyone has felt hurt by any means by any of my words, I hereby apologize for the same.

 

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