M. Simon, who blogs at Power and Control and Classical Values, has notified us several times, both by email and in his comments, about his post on Christian Zionism. It puts me in mind of Luke 18:1-8:
“Once upon a time,” [Jesus] said, “there was a magistrate in a town who had neither fear of God nor respect for his fellow-men. There was a widow in the town who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Please protect me from the man who is trying to ruin me.’ And for a long time he refused. But later he said to himself, ‘Although I don’t fear God and have no respect for men, yet this woman is such a nuisance that I shall give judgment in her favor, or else her continual visits will be the death of me!’“
Then the Lord said, “Notice how this dishonest magistrate behaved. Do you suppose God, patient as he is, will not see justice done for his chosen, who appeal to him day and night? I assure you he will not delay in seeing justice done. Yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find men on earth who believe in him?”
Persistence pays off!
The chatty crowd quieted as Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), spoke eloquently about the past and the present world climate of anti-Semitism. Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor serving in Congress, disclosed, “l assumed naively that the chapter [Holocaust] of human history would be a dark nightmare moment of the past but that is not the case.” He continued, “We have a new dimension, a convergence of historic anti-Semitism coupled with Muslims and the intellectual elite. This makes for a powerful cocktail yet, we have a powerful antidote [for anti-Semitism]; the decent Christians who learned the lessons of the Holocaust. The antidote to Auschwitz is the Christian community in the United States. We cannot tell you how precious you are to us. We deeply love and respect you more than you’ll ever know because you represent the finest of civilization.”
Rep. Lantos then said, “All Christians, please stand.”
Christians don’t advocate for Israel to gain accolades, yet when we stood, the sustained applause from Jewish hands settled on me like a crown. It’s safe to say that other Christians in the hall, who have advocated for Israel much longer than I, felt the weight of the crown even more profoundly. With a noticeable contingent of evangelicals, including ICEJ Executive Director Rev. Malcolm Hedding, Earl Cox, (founder- Israel Always) and Ben Kinchlow, Co-hosts of Front Page Jerusalem Radio, I reveled in this historic moment in time; a moment which culminated 25 years of work and relationship-building between evangelical Christians and the state of Israel, pioneered in part by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem who planted a small seed of Christian Zionism in 1980. (Most world embassies had vacated Jerusalem in protest when modern day Israel declared Jerusalem as her eternal Capital).
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Since then, Christian Zionism has grown exponentially with organizations and movements taking root all across the world. While the words “Christian Zionism” may represent new terminology, the foundations of the movement are even older than the Western Wall beginning with God’s words in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you…” Scripture is peppered with God’s clarion call, which reminds non-Jews to stand with the “apple of His eye.” The gala celebration represented a zenith in the mountain range of cooperation now rising between Jews and Evangelicals, significant among them on the Jewish side of things, the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus. I felt humbled to witness the outpouring of appreciation from Lantos and other Jewish attendees who recognize the strengthening trust and respect between the ancient faiths of Judaism and Christianity.
This new Christian Zionism is based in scripture. The scripture hasn’t changed for almost two thousand years, yet Christians managed to spend most of the intervening centuries hounding, persecuting, forcibly converting, and killing Jews. During that time the best the Jews could hope for was indifference from the Christians amongst whom they lived.
So why now? What has changed?
Some kind of convergence is unfolding, with Christians and Jews remembering what they hold in common, and Islam standing in stark contrast as the enemy and persecutor of both. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
I’ll leave you with this thought from M. Simon:
Every country that has welcomed the Jews has prospered. Every country that has persecuted them has over time declined. It probably has more to do with the value of tolerance rather than just the Jews. As people have noted many times before — Jews are the canaries in the social coal mine.