is Zionism; and Zionism’s problem is Jesus. After all, what is the point of Jesus if Zionism is the answer to the Jew’s problems?
Let’s see: Zionism claims the right to a Jewish State, although no such ‘right’ exists, (The whole issue of rights is a separate, & major, philosophical discussion). Palestine was selected based on a ethnic link of over 2000 years, (the historical and genetic errors I’ll leave for others and another time). Christians supporting Israel’s right to expel the indigenous Palestinian poplulation – an ideology called ‘Christian Zionism’ – do so based on highly selective readings of texts written 2500 years ago concerning events 1000 years earlier.
Zionism has it’s own problems; just ask the True Torah Jews: it goes against 1800 years of Rabbinic tradition and teaching. Christian Zionism (e.g. ‘Christians United for Israel) have a worse problem, why did God bother? Why send his son, the messiah to Jews, why allow Jesus to teach and train his Jewish disciples, and why allow Jesus to die for them and for all others who will believe if, 2000 years later, it’s about a Jewish state on a bit of land occupied by other people some of whom are probably genetically related to those early Jewish Christians? Why, why, why?
If, for Jews, what’s important in God’s promise to Abraham is the land (Canaan, Samara-Palestina), why did Jesus tell his followers, “go everywhere, start here, tell everyone about the kingdom”? No-one could possibly think that ‘the end of the earth’ was really the borders with Lebanon or Egypt. And he didn’t say ’empire’ or even ‘kingdoms’, plural. He’d made a pretty good fist, Jesus, of describing what this good news kingdom looked like. For a start it didn’t have subjects, just daughters, sons, friends; so not your usual kingdom. And which bit of ‘the promises’ did Paul latch onto in his audacious interpretation in Romans 4? (Answer: those bits in Genesis 12:3 and 17:1-2 and 18:17-19 and 28:14; and yes, that’s being selective, so, I invite you go back and read the whole)?
Jesus’ only references to the land were oblique, one to a Samaritan woman at a well. “We worship here, you Jews say we should worship there (Jerusalem)”. John 4 has the event with Jesus’ reply; “It doesn’t matter where you are as long as you’re being honest with yourself and God” (my interpretive paraphrase). So, if it doesn’t now matter where you worship, then the land, and the temple have done their job (as had the law, see Romans 10).
Uniformly the New Testament writers affirm Jesus as the Jewish Messiah (see e.g. especially Acts 2:36). So, if the expected Messiah has come, and scripture has been fulfilled (as Paul declares) then the restoration anticipated by the Hebrew prophets began nearly 2000 years ago. That leaves Christian Zionists with a wrong messiah at a wrong time for a wrong people doing God’s plan (A or B?) in a wrong order. And in order to make sense of it it’s necessary to take scripture from context and invent a ‘rapture’ (unbiblical nonsense) and end-time scenarios that are the stuff of science fiction rather than Biblical exegesis.
If we believe that Jesus is the Messiah for Jews we should stop helping them steal land and start helping them find grace. Let’s make them jealous (Paul, again) instead of contemptuous and dismissive. It doesn’t matter how much or how often we say we love the Lord Jesus if we take his name and his cross in vain. To God alone be Glory.