What should be our attitude toward the land of Israel? Do the physical descendants of Abraham have a divine right to that area of the earth? If so, should Christians support Israel’s movement and expansion into the land even if that requires the use of force?
In his book Jesus and the Land, Gary Burge makes some compelling biblical arguments against the Zionist mentality. Here’s a few of the points that stand out to me (in my own words):
- Israel’s blessing of living in the land was always connected with Israel’s faithfulness to the Lord. When Israel was unfaithful, God judged them by removing them from the land. In other words, the land always belonged to God and he allowed Israel to live there for periods of time. Zionism, on the other hand, is largely a secular movement that disregards Israel’s covenant faithfulness.
- Jesus didn’t show any interest in reclaiming the land for Israel and he lived during the Roman occupation of the land when this issue was fiercely debated within Judaism.
- Jesus’ apostles do not encourage any kind of forcefully acquisition of the land.
- The New Testament does not encourage Christians to seek the earthly Jerusalem, but the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 11:10; 13; 13:14; Rev. 21:1-4). (Even Abraham was not seeking a man-made city, but a city built by God.)
- Our connection to Christ is what matters not our connection to a specific plot of land.
- If there’s an earthly land that Christians are supposed to seek, it’s the whole world because Jesus commanded his followers to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:18).
These points do not mean that we should disregard the land where the biblical events took place because our faith is rooted in history. But we should not elevate that land to a status that it was never intended to have.
Of course, there’s a lot more in the book so give it a read for yourself.