Zionism versus the Bible
- Zionism versus the Bible
by Thomas Williamson
Much of our Christian emphasis on foreign policy in the Middle East
today is based on the promise that God made to Abraham in Genesis
12:3, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that
curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be
The first half of this verse is a promise that God made to just one
person, Abraham. The original Hebrew is in the second person
singular, meaning that God is speaking only to Abraham. The King
James Version correctly reflects this grammatical construction,
since "thee" is singular, referring only to one person, whereas "ye"
would refer to multiple persons.
Matthew Henry's commentary states of Genesis 12:3a that "This made
it a kind of league, offensive and defensive, between God and
Of the second half of the verse, Matthew Henry says, This was the
promise that crowned all the rest; for it points to the Messiah, in
whom 'all the promises are yea and amen." Note, (1), Jesus Christ is
the great blessing of the world, the greatest that ever the world
Recently Genesis 12:3 has been spiritualized by Christian Zionist
preachers, who say that this verse applies not just to Abraham, but
also to Abraham's descendants, specifically to the modern state of
Israel founded in 1948. Supposedly, it means that evangelical
Christians as individuals, and America as a nation, are bound to
provide unquestioning support, financial and otherwise, to the state
of Israel. It is said that if America fails to back up Israel in
every way possible, financially, militarily and otherwise, then God
will be through with America and will have us nuked.
When it is pointed out that the various Arabs nations, including
Palestine, are also descended from Abraham, the Christian Zionists
say that the promise of Genesis 12"3 applies only to the descendants
of Isaac. (Of course, there is no mention of Isaac in Genesis 12:3.
They often misquote the verse, saying it refers to "blessing
Israel," but Israel is not mentioned in the verse, either).
Zionists say, based on their non-literal, speculative, spiritualized
interpretation of Genesis 12:3, that we are to give total,
unquestioned support to some of Abraham's children, while others of
Abraham's children are to be hated, persecuted, ethnically cleansed,
bombed back into the Stone Age, maybe even nuked.
But in Genesis 21:13, 17-18 God also bestows His blessing on Ishmael
and his descendants, saying, "For I will make him a great nation."
According to the same principles of interpretation by which we have
made Genesis 12:3 a command for political support of the modern
nation of Israel, Genesis 21:18 must be taken as a command for
political support of the modern Arab nations. (Anybody want to start
up a "Christian Ishmaelist" movement to lobby for Arab national
Christian Zionists claim to have 70,000,000 followers in America,
who insists that our politicians render unquestioning obedience to
the military and political agenda of the Israeli Government.
Does God really demand that we support all actions and activities of
the Israeli Government, even if those actions violate God's moral
standards of righteousness?
It should be pointed out that even in Old Testament times, when
Israel was a nation specially chosen by, and ruled over by, Jehovah,
He did not expect His people to support and endorse all actions of
the government of Israel.
When the Government of Israel committed human rights violations, the
prophets openly condemned them, 2 Kings 6:21 - 23, 2 Chronicles 28:9-
11, Nehemiah 5:7-11, Jeremiah 34:11-17, Amos 2:6-7, etc. Nowadays,
liberal Jewish groups still protest human rights violations in
Israel. Nevertheless, most fundamentalists Christians would never
dream of doing such a thing - it is against their religion. It is
their duty to either deny that such violations take place, or else
to endorse and commend such violations. We have been told that God
will smite us if we disagree with anything that Israel does.
The lawgiver Moses commanded the Hebrews that they should not
oppress the strangers or non-Jews in their lands, Exodus 12:49,
22:21, 23:9, Leviticus 19:33-34, 25:35, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, 23:7,
24:17, 27:19. That message, of course, is not mentioned today - it
is considered "politically incorrect."
When King Ahab and Queen Jezebel unjustly expropriated the vineyard
of Naboth, the prophet Elijah publicly denounced the kind for this
unjust action, 1 Kings 21:17-24, Jehu cited this official action of
the government of Israel against Naboth as justification for
overthrowing that government, 2 Kings 9:25-26.
But nowadays, when the Israeli government expropriates the lands and
properties of Palestinians without compensation, we look the other
way and say nothing about it.
In Jeremiah 27:1-5, the prophet Jeremiah picketed a public meeting
of the government of Judah with representatives of Edom, Moab,
Ammon, Tyre and Sidon. He was protesting the foreign policy of
Judah. We would never do anything like that today - it would be
considered a violation of the command to "bless Abraham."
In Jeremiah 27:6-17, the prophet advocated the surrender of Israel's
territory to the King of Babylon, in return for peace - today, we
would call it "land for peace." But today, our warmongering
televangelists denounce "land for peace" as unthinkable for any
reason whatsoever, and threaten God's wrath against anyone who would
support such a thing.
Supposedly it is better for Jewish and Arab children of Abraham to
keep on killing each other over the land (while these sanctimonious
war profiteers collect the money from sales of their Armageddon
videos. Could it be a conflict of interest to allow American foreign
policy to be dictated by these mega-millionaire preachers, who stand
to make a profit if there is a war in the Middle East?)
We have seen that God's inspired prophets did not meet the Christian
Zionist standard of blind, unquestioning support for Israel. As it
turns out, today's Christian Zionists do not meet that standard,
Whenever the modern Israeli government takes any action that does
not fit in with the speculative doomsday scenarios of the Armageddon
Theology, the Christian Zionists will loudly protest and insist that
the Israelis are doing wrong.
For instance, in 1994 Christian Zionist leaders, including Pat
Robertson and Ralph Reed, publicly condemned the policies of the
Israeli government under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was
seeking a peace settlement with the Palestinians. Robertson has also
attacked the policies of Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres.
It seems hypocritical for Christian Zionists to threaten the wrath
of God against those who express disagreement with any policy of the
Israeli government when they have done the same thing themselves.
Modern-day Israelis and other Jews are well aware of the fact that
the Christian Zionists believe, based on a mistaken interpretation
of Zechariah 13:8, that there must be a devastating war in the
Middle East in which two-thirds of all the Jews will be slaughtered.
It is commonly understood that the Christian Zionists do not really
care about what is best for the Jews, as evidenced by their constant
lobbying efforts to stir up World War III in the Middle East.
Million Jews may wind up dead, but it will be good for sales of the
Armageddon videos that are peddled on the televangelists' broadcasts
This raises the question who is really "blessing Israel;" those who
are working for peach in the Middle East, or those who are agitating
for a war designed to get two-thirds of all Jews wiped out?
Some gullible evangelical Christians may not understand these
issues, but our Jewish friend understand what is at stake very well -
they are being prepared to serve as cannon fodder for the next
Gershom Gorenberg, in his book "The End of Days: Fundamentalism and
the Struggle for the Temple Mount," says, "I've listened to American
evangelical ministers who insist on their deep love for Israel and
nevertheless eagerly await apocalyptic battles on Israel's soil so
terrible that the dry river bed will, they predict, fill with rivers
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew
Congregations, has stated that "People who say there can be no peace
are not really friends of Israel."
Robert O. Freedman, political science professor at Baltimore Hebrew
University, says concerning Christian Zionists, "Once you get in bed
with them, you are, to a certain extent, subscribing to their view
of what America ought to be. And that, in my view, is not in the
best interests of the Jewish people."
Former Shin Bet secret chief Carmi Gillon and former police
commissioner Assaf Hefetz, commenting on the activities of Temple
Mount extremists who are financially supported by fundamentalist
Americans, warned that an attack on the Al-Aqsa mosque in
Jerusalem "would lead to an all-out war and unleash destructive
forces that would imperil Israel's existence."
The eagerness of some televangelists, to get a war going in the
Middle East (along with their vociferous Arab-bashing and Muslim-
baiting), must be considered in context of their belief in the
infamous Armageddon Theology, which insists that 2/3 of all the Jews
Grace Halsell, in her book "Prophecy and Politics"
observed: "Convinced that a nuclear Armageddon is an inevitable
event within the divine scheme of things, many evangelical
dispensationalists have committed themselves to a course for Israel
that, by their own admission, will lead directly to a holocaust
indescribably more savage and widespread than could have generated
in Adolf Hitler's criminal mind."
American Christians who really want to be a blessing to all the
children of Abraham (Jews and Arabs) need to realize that they do
not have to render blind, knee-jerk support to the most extremist
elements of Zionism, or to those who are actively trying to foment
massive wars in the Middle East that would be contrary to the
interests of the Israeli people. Not everyone is going to agree that
stirring up a war to get 2/3 of all Jews killed is a good thing for
Nor should we forget that our Prime Directive as Christians is found
in the Great Commission. Our mission is to evangelize, baptize and
teach, not to try to hasten Christ's coming by agitating war and
violence in the Middle East.
Zionism is based on a total misunderstanding of what the Bible
teaches. It is true that God gave Palestine to Hebrews in ancient
times. But the Bible teaches that their possession of the land was
under a conditional covenant with Jehovah. If the Hebrews disobeyed
their God, they would lose the land. This is clearly taught in
Genesis 17:9-14, Exodus 19:4-5, Leviticus 26:40-45, Deuteronomy
7:12, Joshua 23:15-16, 1 Kings 9:6-9, 2 Chronicles 7:19-22, Jeremiah
34:12-22, Ezekiel 33:23-29, Matthew 21:43, etc.
When the Jews rejected their Messiah, God sent the Romans to
dispossess the Jews from their land in 70 AD. This was God's
complete punishment on the Jews for crucifying Christ - therefore,
the Jews today should not be persecuted for something that happened
2000 years ago. However, their former title deed on the land of
Palestine is now abrogated.
The New Testament teaches that Christians are to focus on the
heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one, John 4:21, Galatians 4:24-
28, Hebrews 12:18-24. We are told in Hebrews 11:13-16 that even
Abraham has no further interest in a restored Jewish state on earth,
because he is in a much better place in heaven.
Christian Zionism is a movement that claims to be based on the
Bible, but as we have seen, it is actually contrary to what the
Bible teaches. All Christians should repudiate Zionism and should
work for a pace settlement in the Middle East that will be of mutual
benefit to Abraham's Jewish and Arab children in Palestine.
Mr. Thomas Williamson is an ordained Baptist minister who lives in
Chicago, Illinois. He contributes to Media Monitors Network
http://www.mediamonitors.net from time to time.
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