ZIONISM AND EVANGELISM
ZIONISM – DIVINE IDEA OF THE RETURN TO ZION!
The term “Zionism” was introduced by Nathan Birnbaum – writer and philosopher. The first time this term appeared, was in 1890, in a magazine edited by Nathan, himself. The magazine followed the idea of the return of the Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael with political methods, in opposition to a practical settlement program, which provided relocation of Jews to Eretz Yisrael in order to create Jewish agricultural settlements. It is necessary to note that both movements have been implemented in the history of the relocation of Jews in Eretz Yisrael. The first practical plans for the establishment of Jewish state were described in the book of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalisher, “The requirement of Zion” in 1860, and in the book of Moses Hess “Rome and Jerusalem” in 1862. These works in the 1880s have led to the beginning of the practical “relocation” Zionism, movement of “Hovevei Zion.” The first great wave of modern immigration, known as the First Aliyah began in 1881 when Jews had to flee the mayhem from Eastern Europe. The founder of political Zionist, a movement that had an aim to establish the Jewish state on the land of Israel, rising up the Jewish matter on the international level, considers to be Theodor Herzl (Binyamin Ze’ev).
In 1896, Herzl published his book “The Jewish State” (German: “Der Ju denstaat”), where he outlined his vision of the future of a Jewish state. And in the following year, Herzl led the first World Jewish Congress in Basel, where the World Zionist Organization (WZO) was founded. Political Zionism eventually achieved its goal and led to the formation of the Jewish state of Israel. Some sources consider Zionism as a national liberation movement of the Jewish people. As we can see, sometimes any Jewish movement, which has a national character, is mistakenly called Zionism. However, critics of Zionism regard it as a “form of racism and racial discrimination.” What exactly does the term “Zionism” mean? (which in all interpretations implies a return of the Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael.) The term “Zionism” appeared in 1890, but the idea of Zionism, as the return of the Jewish people to the Promised Land was born much earlier.
The idea of Zionism itself was expressed in the Torah, and belongs to God: “In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:12-14. This wonderful promise of God entered the heart of the Jewish people, and served as a guiding light throughout their not-so-simple history. Among the Jews that lived in the diaspora, there has always been a strong common desire to return to Zion. Zion, the Land of Israel, Judea and Jerusalem, is mentioned in the Jewish culture and daily traditional prayers, as a symbol of their homeland. In fact, Zionism – is the realization of God’s plan of the return of the Jewish people to Zion. Implementation of the divine idea became possible, when, falling in very straitened circumstances, the Jews, with all the heart, cried unto the Lord.
ANTI-SEMITISM GENERATED ANTI-ZIONISM
A new era in the life of the Jewish people began, which is noticed by the waves of Aliya, one following after another. The fulfillment of the God’s will toward Jewish people caused a fierce reaction, from practically, the whole world. The return of the Jewish people to their historical homeland is viewed by many as aggression, as a manifestation of racism and racial discrimination against the people that inhabit Palestine. It seems as if the world does not see the continuing expansion of the tension for many years, generated by Palestine and Islamic terrorist organizations. The world does not see the constant attacks on Israel and deaths of Israelis from rockets and terrorist attacks. Any attempt of Israel to defend its right for its existence, irritates almost the whole world. Even a big part of Christianity, in this situation, at best, keeps suspiciously silent. All this, focuses us on the thought of how powerful the reaction of the spirit of anti-Semitism is around the world, including many churches. A Roman Catholic historian gives a brief, but clear assessment of the continuing anti-Semitism throughout 2300 years (beginning from Antioch-Epiafan): “Anyone who studies the history of anti-Semitism, looking back at the Millennium of terror inevitably will come to this conclusion: Anti-Semitism is the longest and deepest hatred in human history. What other hatred has lasted for 23 centuries, with about six million victims of genocide only in the last century, and still has, in itself, great potential to take many more years of life? Isn’t it true that the situation prompts us to search for an explanation? Where did this persistent hatred come from? What moves it? Who or what is responsible for it?
Prior to the establishment of Israel there was a belief, that anti-Semitism is purely a social problem (The Jews have always been a minority with its distinctive religion and culture that differed from the pagan culture of the peoples among whom they lived) and that this problem would disappear by itself once Israel would be established. However, this did not happen. It is possible that the establishment of the State of Israel solved some problems, but the hatred towards the Jewish people did not cease, but increased even more. History confirms that anti-Semitism has spiritual roots, and with the formation of the State of Israel there was another form of hatred, related to anti-Semitism but also has political overtones – anti-Zionism.
Anti-Zionism is fierce political response against the return of the Jews to Zion, and against the existence of Israel. Talking about anti-Semitism, we mean all forms of its manifestation, as evidence of a fierce spiritual battle that Satan is waging against the Messiah. Is not a secret for Satan that the Messiah, who will win a crushing victory over him, would come from the Jewish nation. Since the inception of the Jewish people, Satan has always tried to do two things: drag Israel into idolatry, and if it was not possible, then destroy it completely, as a nation. Satan’s attempts to drag Israel into idolatry, reflects in national history. The history also noted two major attempts of Satan to destroy Israel as a nation: In Egypt, Pharaoh decreed the killing of all male infants. If this decree would have been carried out, the Jewish people would have been erased off the face of the earth. Later, Haman was close to fulfilling the decree to destroy all the Jews who lived in the Persian Empire, and at that time all the surviving Jews lived there. In the second century before the birth of the Messiah, a Syrian dictator, Antiochus Epiofan, attempted, with the help of the military force, to make Jews renounce from their unique destiny as a nation to take on the idolatrous culture surrounding them at that time, the Greek empire. And only the brave resistance of the Maccabees did not allow this to happen, and 150 years later, Yeshua came.
Satan knows that he is “the god of this century” until Yeshua will come and sit on the throne of glory in Jerusalem. Yeshua will come, first of all as the King of Israel, and therefore the existence of the Jewish nation and Israel is very important. Satan is opposing this event: the coming of Yeshua in power and glory to establish His kingdom on earth, and the expulsion of Satan. Confronting His sacrificial death, Yeshua fulfilled His mission, coming as a descendant of David; He satisfied all just demands of God. By this he won the eternal victory, the full manifestation of the victory in the physical world will come in His second coming. The forces of Satan seek to prevent the coming of Yeshua. These are evil forces behind many of today’s world conflicts in which Satan is trying to drag Israel, incurring the fury of people and tries to destroy it, which in turn will be an obstacle of Yeshua’s coming. In his prophecy, Yeshua foretold two things that will happen before His return to earth:
1. The Good News will be preached all over the world.
Therefore, Yeshua gives a special commission: Go therefore and make disciples of all living on earth. This instruction remains until Yeshua comes, He cannot come back unless his disciples fulfill their given assignments. That is why Satan is trying hard to keep the disciples of Yeshua from completing of the instruction of the Lord. As long as we are inactive, Satan remains free.
2. Return of Jews to their land
Yeshua said to the Jews in Jerusalem: “And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”Matthew 23:38,39. The prophet Zechariah reveals that before the coming of Yeshua the Jews would not only gather in Israel, but their hearts will be prepared to meet the Lord: “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son.” This prophecy refers specifically to “the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” Therefore, the return of Jews to their land and Jerusalem is a necessity. Until this happens, the defeat of Satan will not be revealed. This second instruction that must be fulfilled before the return of Yeshua: the Jews must be gathered on their land and in Jerusalem, and their hearts must be prepared to accept Yeshua as the Messiah. Just like the first time Yeshua came from the Jews, likewise the second time he will return to the Jews. Understanding this gives us a new perspective on the attention that the world gives to the events happening in Israel. How else can you explain the daily reports in all the media, the close attention of the UN and the world powers to a narrow strip of land with a population of about 7 million people?
Our attitude to the advent of Yeshua is determined by two things: our attitude to the world evangelism and our attitude towards the restoration of the Jewish people on the land of Israel. If we are indifferent to the evangelization of the world, believe it or not, then we are indifferent to the coming of Yeshua. There are many Christians who are more or less aware of the importance of evangelism, but remain blind to the restoration of Israel. There are a lot of Messianic believers as well who understand the importance of the restoration of Israel, but remain blind to world evangelization of Jews. However, both of these questions are at the heart of the prophetic writings and Yeshua’s own words. The questions of restoration of Israel and the Jewish evangelism are deeper then theological or intellectual understanding. They are spiritual. And the spirits that oppose the restoration of Israel and world evangelization are spirits that are opposing the return of Yeshua. Each one of us faces the following question: Have I devoted myself, by all means, to promote world evangelism and the return of Jews to their land? The position that we have in these matters is the position that we take toward the coming of Yeshua.
What is happening in the Messianic world today?
What is the situation regarding the question about Aliyah today? All the Messianic world can be divided into two component parts: the Messianic community in Israel and the Messianic community abroad. What is the interaction of these two parts of the body in addressing the challenges set by the Messiah? Almost all of it comes down to the rare meetings at conferences, guest visits and intensive training of believers. Real cooperation in promoting Aliyah, as well as promoting evangelism is almost none existing. I think many people realize the importance to reach the Jews before they make Aliyah, but only few want to do that. Along with that, the question of making Aliyah from different regions of the CIS is very problematic for the Jews living there. The lack of proper training in the Jewish evangelism makes many unsuccessful in this endeavor. As a result, these people begin to argue that to evangelize to Jews is useless. Earlier, I had heard the same words from the Christian priests. We must keep in mind that the congregations that live outside of Israel, the majority are under the influence of the Church. Christian theology continues to dominate on the many of them. Increasingly, we hear that the evangelistic campaigns, addressed to the Jews, are not needed, that they do not give any results, but only strain relations with many Jews. Were Yeshua or the Apostles afraid of speaking the Gospel? The fear of the powerful of the world, this is what determines the position of many.
Fears that leaders are controlled by: you will be removed from the venture, building will be taken away, do not allow children to learn in Hebrew school, and will not be allowed to make Aliya. When I hear all this, nothing but shame for those people fills my heart. A very popular question of our opponents: who will shepherd these people, who were reconciled to God during the campaign? There were cases when, after the campaign, the pastor insisted that we sent our evangelists for permanent work in their congregation. For me, it sounds very strange, what are people in the congregation doing? If the congregation fails to comply with orders of the Lord, can it be a part of the Body of Messiah?