|Sons To Glory Newsletter #22||
Reformation Day - October 31, 2014
Zion, Zionism and Zionists
by Paul Jablonowski
This newsletter is for the purpose of looking at "Zion" in the Scriptures and considering the modern day use of the terms "Zionism" and "Zionists," because they mean different things to different people today, but what does the Bible say about Zion?
"Zion" is mentioned 160 times in the Bible (153 in OT; 7 in NT). The "law of first mention" establishes the pattern for any subject in the Bible, and the first mention of Zion in 2 Samuel 5:7 is in connection with David's first military conquest after becoming King of all Israel in Hebron. After the other 11 tribes joined David, his first act was to go to Jerusalem and take "the stronghold of Zion" which was then named the City of David. So Zion was no ordinary place, but was the stronghold of Jerusalem where David established his Kingdom. This is also prophetic of the stronghold in Jesus' kingdom, because Jesus is the "son of David" who establishes His government in Zion with His overcomers. (Rev 14:1)
Scripture further defines Zion as the very place where God has chosen to abide for His habitation, dwelling place or resting place forever (Ps. 132:13,14)! It is the place on earth for His eternal government to be established just like it was for king David as Psalm 132:17 says, "There (in Zion) I will make the government of David grow; I will prepare a lamp for my Messiah (Jesus). His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon Himself His crown shall flourish." Zion is the very heart and strength of the Kingdom of God as Psalm 110:2 declares, "Yahweh shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion, rule in the midst of Your enemies!"
Zion is the city of the living God, or the heavenly Jerusalem that Jesus is establishing within his Bride body on earth. Zion represents the remnant overcomers that have reached spiritual maturity first (firstfruits unto God). David's tabernacle was in Zion which is the only "house" that God said he would restore (Acts 15:16,17) because it was a place of spontaneous worship and adoration in song towards God: "Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion" (Ps. 65:1). There was no veil in David's tabernacle to separate the worshiper from the presence of God: "Everyone of them appears before God in Zion." (Ps. 84:7)
There is a natural Zion that David won in battle to make his stronghold, and there is a spiritual stronghold of Zion that Jesus won at th e cross to make His throne in the hearts of men. Combining the natural and the spiritual Zion is where we are today. In other words, God is bringing together the natural order of His kingdom which was given to the Old Covenant saints, and combining it with the Spiritual reality of the New Covenant saints who have the fruits of the Holy Spirit. But we are currently in the transition period, and so these realities may appear blurry as the two combine.
In 1999, I wrote a longer account of "Who is Zion" where I expounded upon the many Scriptures that refer to Zion as a female giving birth. This study shows how Zion is representative of the Bride of Christ birthing the overcomers who will rule and reign with Jesus on the earth. Zechariah chapter 8 (my personal favorite) clearly talks about how "Zion" is a place Yahweh would "return to" and dwell in the midst of, where "Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain." (Zech 8:3) Even the New Testament refers to Zion in a positive light:
Hebrews 12:22-24 says, "You have come to Mount Zion and to the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect."
It is sufficient for this study to know that Zion is always referred to in the Scriptures in a positive light and is never discussed as something negative. So in a purely Biblical sense I would think that all Bible believing Christians would want to be associated with Zion. However, it has always been the enemy's tactic to try and pervert what God calls good, and this is certainly the case with the truth about Zion. The enemy works overtime to muddy the waters when it comes to modern day Zionism and Zionists. I hesitate to even broach the subject because it is a "can of worms" and a polarizing topic that will be hard to navigate without misunderstanding. Nevertheless it is important to be aware of the deception involved. Abba Father, please help us to know what You are saying regarding Zionism.
Modern day Zionism
Modern day Zionism is defined by dictionaries and encyclopedias along these lines: "A Jewish movement to establish and support the modern state of Israel." It is further defined by the most available sources in terms of Political Zionism with Theodor Hertzl as its founder in the late 1800's. Other types of Zionism include: Social Zionism, Territorial Zionism, Cultural Zionism, Christian Zionism, Liberal Zionism, Religious Zionism, and Labor Zionism just to name a few. World War Two and the Jewish holocaust in Nazi Germany helped to bring worldwide support to modern Zionism, and on May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation when David Ben-Gurion declared Israel's independence.
Was the establishing of the modern day nation of Israel a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy? Yes, I believe that indeed Israel becoming a nation again in 1948 fulfilled certain prophecy and here are a few Scriptural examples of this modern day miracle:
"In that day, the LORD will reach out His hand a second time to recover the surviving remnant of His people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, from Cush and Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth." (Isaiah 11:11-12)
"The days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer say, "As surely as the LORD lives who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt," but they will say, "As surely as the LORD lives who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where He had banished them. For I will restore them to the land that I gave to their ancestors."" (Jeremiah 16:14-15)
"This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms." (Ezekiel 37:21-22)
"I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God." (Amos 9:14-15)
Against all odds, the descendants of Jacob have returned, after almost 2,000 years of exile among the Gentile nations, to their ancestral homeland in Judea and Samaria. It was mostly a barren wasteland as Mark Twain described in his visit to the Holy Land in 1867: "..... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent mournful expanse.... a desolation.... we never saw a human being on the whole route.... hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country." (The Innocents Abroad, p. 361-362)
Jacob's offspring have begun to make the desert bloom as Isaiah 35:1, 51:3 seems to indicate. The land of Israel has been irrigated and cultivated over the past 100 years to convert swamps and deserts into fertile ground that grows enough food to support several other nations besides their own. In a world that is being deforested, Israel is the only nation to have a net gain of trees over the past 100 years with over 250 million trees planted. Israel has shown incredible industrial and intellectual strength in the midst of hostile and often violent nations for neighbors. The Jewish contributions to all fields of finer learning is much higher in proportion to their small numbers.
Basically, the seed of Abraham is a blessed people as Yahweh told Abraham, "I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Gen. 12:3) This seed includes the Arab peoples who also came from the loins of our father Abraham. The modern Arab nations are rich through the abundance of oil. But the promised Messiah would come through the line of Isaac and Jacob. The Jewish and Arab nations even seem to carry the same personalities as their founders, where Jacob's (the Jews) weakness is deceiving and tricking others, while Ishmael and Esau's (Arab nations) weakness is physical manipulation and violence.
But the Jews and Arabs also have great promises and destinies in Christ Jesus. Isaiah 19:23 says there will be a highway of holiness between Israel and her neighbors. Verses 24 and 25 then go on to say, "In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance."" But the natural restoration of the Jewish nation had to occur FIRST before the spiritual restoration which is exactly what the Scriptures confirm. After promising to bring Jacob's descendants back to their land, Jeremiah 46:28 says, "I will rightly correct you, not leaving you unpunished."
Ezekiel 36 promises the same thing of gathering the Jewish people from all countries and bringing them back to their land. THEN, only after the physical regathering of Israel, is there the promise to "give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you... I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." (Ezekiel 36:26,27) This certainly sounds like the New Covenant promise of the Holy Spirit to me! The next chapter of Ezekiel 37 then gives a graphic picture of a valley of dry bones that was "the whole house of Israel," and these bones say, "our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off." This is Israel in exile. But then the bones come together and get sinews and flesh which is their current modern day restoration!
Finally and most importantly, BREATH comes into this dead body so that it can live. The pieced back together dead body is Israel currently restored but not yet saved and born again by the Spirit of God. But "Breath came into them (the bones), and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army." (Ezek. 37:10) This promise of bringing the people of Jacob up from their graves to live again is certainly reminiscent of their Messiah Jesus who also had to endure the grave and great persecution before being raised from the grave. The tremendous persecution and holocausts endured by the Jewish people should have been reason enough for them to assimilate and give up statehood after 2,000 years apart from a homeland. But God promised to restore them to their land and God is faithful. He will also be faithful to restore them spiritually to their Messiah Yahoshua (Jesus). Amen
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