Is God a Zionist? – Part 2

Reinhold Federolf

The question asked by Jesus’ disciples, who care about Israel, proves their firm hope in the Messianic kingdom of peace: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:6-9).

The context of this passage and logic lead us to the following conclusion: Jesus’ answer to the typical Jewish nationalist question, about Israel’s restoration, isn’t a denial or a rejection. Our Lord only points out clearly what is now a priority in God’s agenda: the universal proclamation of the Gospel, also called the Church Age. Israel’s concern was clearly and explicitly postponed, but by no means nullified!

Does the devil know about the meaning of Zion? In Ezekiel, we discover important disclosures and information regarding Lucifer’s circumstances: “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire” (Ezek 28:14). No doubt the fallen cherub knows God’s clearly revealed will, since we also read about the mountain of God, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain” (Ps 2:6, NIV); and, “The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever” (Mic 4:7).

Since Satan is also characterized as the adversary, he struggles against this king with all his strength. But not only that—he himself wants to go back to God’s holy mountain and crown himself king: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess 2:3-4). Anyone who is thinking of the Church in any way here greatly diminishes the cosmic conflict. This is about the attack on the center of the world! For a small time, God allows the apparent God-man, the Antichrist, to sit down in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. Then, when Jesus, the true divine King, appears, the pseudo-God will be exposed as the puppet of Satan before all the world: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thess 2:8). Yes, the devil knows the meaning of Zion better than all the prophets and followers of Replacement Theology put together! At the first coming of Jesus, the demons trembled: “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Matt 8:29). They testified that Jesus is the Son of God, and knew exactly what their future fate would be. The priests and scribes, on the other hand, simply refused to accept it and rejected the offered salvation.

Is God Himself a Zionist, then? As already mentioned, Zion not only means Jerusalem or Mount Zion, but encompasses the whole country and the people living there, as the following verses show: “But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me…Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth. For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away” (Isa 49:14, 18-19).

God has promised His people He would reclaim them after dispersion and bring them back to the land of their ancestors: “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth” (Jer 31:8a). “Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock” (Jer 31:10). He has promised His covenant to Israel: “And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people” (Isa 51:16).

So God is not only a Zionist, but also will even take part in Aliyah (return to Israel) and live in Zion: “So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain…But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion” (Joel 3:17, 20-21). “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD…I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain” (Zech 2:10; 8:3). These are strong promises that prove God’s love for Israel!

In this context, the verses in which God uses words such as “eternal” or “forever” are particularly impressive: “For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will

I dwell; for I have desired it” (Ps 132:13-14). “And the LORD said unto him [King Solomon], I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” (1 Kings 9:3).

Unfortunately, these aspects have been sorely neglected or reinterpreted in the last 2,000 years of church history.

But Zion is the center of the world! One day, the seat of the Lord will be on Mount Zion, and people of all nations will pour into it (Isa 2:2-4). Even the survivors of the peoples who had previously come against Jerusalem, will go up to Mount Zion to worship the true God, the God of Israel (Zech 14:16). Zion is the place where the Lord’s Servant, as the Lamb of God, has taken away the sins of the world: “I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory” (Isa 46:13). Whoever personally accepts this salvation becomes a citizen of Zion: “And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was [also] born there” (Ps 87:5-6).

So God’s final plan is for

– the Jews: “Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there” (Ezek 39:28).

– the land: “And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God” (Amos 9:15).

– Jerusalem: “…It shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever” (Jer 31:40).

This is the threefold nature of Zionism—people, land, and Jerusalem (Zion)—directly confirmed by God Himself! However, Zionism still has one fourth component; namely, the presence of God in the midst of His people: “And the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever” (Mic 4:7b).

“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee” (Isa 62:1-5). Land and people! We’re already experiencing and observing some of these great promises today, especially when we travel to Israel. But we can also recognize how the adversary is inciting, using, and abusing people against Israel. This doesn’t just apply to Israel’s nearest neighbors, but to people around the world.

This is why we should pray for Israel, support her, and defend her: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (Ps 122:6). When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we’re actually praying for the coming of the Prince of Peace, the divine Messiah, since only He can bring true peace.

News from Israel - 01/2019

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