The Land Covenant
Should a Christian be a Zionist?by Dan Stolebarger
As a Bible-believing Christian, it is hard not to consider oneself a Christian Zionist. It must be noted that this label does not carry with it the approval of every decision the Israelis make, but it does describe accurately their right to the Land.
Zionism (Hebrew: Tsiyonut) is a form of nationalism of Jews and Jewish culture that supports a Jewish nation state in territory defined as the Land of Israel.
At some point one must define himself as either pro or anti when it comes to Zionism; with the Lord there is hardly ever a position of neutrality. Today the floodwaters in the Middle East are rising, and when one claims to be a Zionist they are often lumped into a box labeled “fanatic,” “apartheid,” “bigot,” etc. And, of course, along with the Zionist tag one is automatically labeled anti-Palestinian.
In today’s world the Believer must first explore and search out what the Bible says! With all the political smoke, mirrors and rhetoric that seek to confuse the issue, the Bible is actually very clear on this subject.
For those who believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we can conclude that this Land was truly given to the Jews by God 4,000 years ago and history supports the fact that the Jews have maintained a presence in their Land throughout the centuries.
Concerning the Land grant, we read the following in the Book of Genesis:
On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
— Genesis 15:18-21
As we read, we see that God made a covenant. In Hebrew the word for covenant is briyth, which consists of the following concepts: an alliance, or a sacred pledge or agreement. In the previous verses of Genesis 15 we read about the binding of this covenant.
The actual word in the Hebrew literally means “to cut,” and so we see Abraham cutting the sacrifices into halves. In order to ratify the covenant, the two parties would walk between the sacrifices, but here we see that the two entities that walk between the sacrifices do not include Abraham. He is in a God-induced deep sleep. We read that it is a smoking furnace and a burning lamp that walk between the sacrifice. It’s interesting that in Hebrews 12:29 we get a glimpse of the identity of these metaphors:
For our God is a consuming fire.
— Hebrews 12:29
From this we conclude that the covenant is an unconditional promise of God, for He swore by Himself; thus, there are no conditions placed on Abraham. There are no “if and then” clauses, only a God-proclaimed “I Will.” One thing that is consistent throughout the Scriptures is that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob keeps covenant!
The Torah proclaims in the book of Numbers that:
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? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
— Numbers 23:19,20
This is a rather short and pointed synopsis of the past where one gains perspective when reading about the granting of the land of Israel (Zion) to the Jews.
So now we look at the present day. In today’s world the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic would seek to ignore the Land grant and focus on the so-called displaced Palestinians.
The reality is that the term “Palestinian” would better describe the Israelis rather than the Arabs to whom this term is applied. When Rome overcame the Jewish Bar Kokhba Revolt in a.d. 136, in order to dampen the Jewish spirit they renamed Israel Palaestina. The name “Palestine” was never given to a people.
The truth of the matter is that today’s so-called Palestinians are actually Arabs, and the Bible also speaks of the geographical areas that God allotted to them. Remember when Moses led the people out of Egypt and through the wilderness? When their 40 years of wandering was up (due to their disobedience at Kadesh Barnea), they were told that when passing through certain lands, they were not to claim any of it as their own because it was given to Esau and his descendants. By today’s borders, those lands would be contained in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. The truth is that the entire West Bank belongs to Israel. These are the mountains of Judea and Samaria. The Biblical sites of Shiloh, Bethel, and Shechem, as well as Mount Ebal and Gerizim are contained within the boundaries of the so-called West Bank of today. All of today’s Israeli “settlements” are within the boundaries that God gave to His people Israel.
With this in mind, as a Bible-believing Christian it is hard not to consider oneself a Christian Zionist. It must be noted that this label does not carry with it the approval of every decision the Israelis make, but it does describe accurately their right to the Land.
As we look to the future we know that a nation has been born in a day and that the Lord is bringing His Covenant people back to the Land! Since May of 1948 we have been witnessing the dry bones becoming flesh. In regards to Zion we are currently at an impasse and the world leaders are seeking to move along the so-called Peace Process by carving up the Promised Land.
Before we go any further, let’s look at what the Prophet Joel has to say about dividing and partitioning His Land.
I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.
— Joel 3:2
This passage, as well as the picture Zechariah paints concerning Jerusalem being a type of global hernia in the last days, should cause us great concern.
The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. In that day,” says the Lord, “I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.”
— Zechariah 12:1-4
As “the world as we know it” wraps up, let us remind ourselves that Paul makes it clear—God’s Covenant People will not be forgotten; they still have a destiny. The Israelites of today are our brothers. We share a common root! As our college campuses explode in terms of anti-Israel rhetoric and as this current Administration seems set on expanding relationships with the so-called moderates that call themselves the Muslim Brotherhood, I for one will choose to STAND with Israel today!
With that being said I truly consider myself a Christian Zionist. As mentioned earlier, with the Lord, there is hardly ever a position of neutrality, so heed the words of Elijah and Joshua … “Choose this day where your allegiance will lie!”