Selling Israel Biblically

Jerusalem, crosses visible in foreground and background. (photo: Pixabay)
Christian Zionism is moving an agenda forward, but there is a cost for those left behind.

By M. Reza Behnam | Tikkun Magazine | Jun 20, 2019

A series of events in the 1970’s brought Christian Zionism to the forefront of US mainstream politics, leading to the immense influence it wields in Washington today.

Geopolitical, economic, energy, and military determinants have shaped US Middle East policy since the Second World War. No less significant, however, is the powerful influence of Christian Zionism on the formation of America’s Israel-first policy. With over 40 million adherents, it has become a powerful force in shaping that policy, especially today.

Christian Zionism is the political outgrowth of dispensationalism — a movement that originated with 19th century Anglican priest, John Nelson Darby. Darby’s theology reached a vast American audience with the 1909 publication and widespread distribution of the Scofield Reference Bible. By the 1970’s, Christian Zionism had become synonymous with American evangelicalism.

Christian Zionists are committed to the preservation and expansion of the Jewish state of Israel based on the literal interpretation of biblical auguries. They have allied with the Israeli government and the US Zionist lobby to ensure Israel’s regional supremacy.

Christian Zionism affirms that the Second Coming of Christ will be realized in Israel.

Using sacred texts to justify Israel’s claim to all of historic Palestine, Christian Zionists refer to God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15:18: “To your descendants I have given this land — from the river of Egypt to the great River Euphrates.” Taken literally, it would encompass Jordan and parts of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt.

American evangelicals and right-wing Israelis share the belief that the geography of the Promised Land is far larger than present-day Israel. In pursuit of their biblical cartography, Christian Zionists categorically support expansionist Jewish settlers — whom they call “pioneers” — and Israel’s aim of completely annexing the West Bank.

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