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Zionism? What’s That?

by Elmer Josephson, VIP IN RIP !! elmermug.jpg (10930 bytes)
(Very Important Person, Resting In Peace)

What is Zionism? Where and how did it begin? Who is involved? What are its aims? Why is Zionism so hated by the enemies of God and righteousness? Where, when and how will it consummate? How do Christians
relate?

Zionism is one of the least understood and most ignorantly used terms in private discourse and in the media today. Many apply their own distorted interpretations and use it to promote their selfish and evil ends. Words are dynamite and especially, "Zionism," We must know the truth before
we speak. So let us get on with the answer to the question: what is ’Zionism?

I. Zion is a city.

The references in Scripture to Zion and Jerusalem are to be taken literally as the context may indicate, though they may also be spiritualized since they are a type of heaven. Those, therefore, who speak against Zion, speak both against God’s earthly and heavenly city.

The first we read about Zion in the Bible is in II Samuel 5:7; "...David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David." In 1048 B.C. the people made David king at Hebron and he reigned from there 7 years. They brought him to Jerusalem and it became the capital of Israel from which he reigned 33 years.

The Bible speaks of Zion and Jerusalem interchangeably: "Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion" (Psalm 147:12). And in Psalm 48 it is called, "the city of our God; the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, the city of the great King," as Jesus also quotes in Matthew 5:35.

"The Lord loveth the gates of Zion [as the door to world redemption] more than all the dwellings of Jacob... and of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: [a high God-given honor] and the Highest Himself shall establish her" (Psalm 87:2,5).

II. Zion and Israel are synonymous names for
God’s people.

"Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him; let the children of Zion be joyful in their king" (Psalm 149:2).

"For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places... Say unto Zion, Thou art my people" (Isaiah 51:3,16).

The skeptical mind might say, "Of course, the Jews wrote the Bible to their own advantage." A statement of this kind reveals a vast ignorance of the Bible’s contents, Over 2,000 times the O.T. declares, "Thus saith the Lord." Many of these are pronouncements of judgments upon Israel’s unbelief and rebellion which brought them bitter sorrows, as well as promises of blessings upon their obedience.

III. Zion was chosen by the Eternal.

"For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation" (Psalm 132:13) – as an instrument of world blessing (Isaiah 41:8,15-18; 44:1-3).

"This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise" (Isaiah 43:21). "The Lord thy God has chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself" (Deut. 7:6).

"Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests" (Exodus 19:6; I Kings 8:53)

IV. The Word of God from Zion:

The Almighty states, "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" (Isaiah 51:16).

"Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3).

V. The Messiah and personal salvation from Zion:

"Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste" – not be confounded (Isaiah 28:16 – quoted by the Apostle in I Peter 2:6).

"O Zion, that brings good tidings [gospel] get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that brings good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up. Be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God" (Isaiah. 40:9). Read Isaiah 40 to "behold" the God of Zion.

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings [a prophecy of the ’gospel’ to the world, revealed in the N.T.] of good, that publishes salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

"The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God" (Isaiah. 52:7,10). "His holy arm" is Messiah, as in Isaiah 53:1, "to whom is the arm of the Lord [Messiah] revealed?"

"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call" – speaking here of physical deliverance as the context indicates (Joel 2:32). In Acts 2:21 the Apostle Peter is attributed to quoting only the first line of this passage on the Day of Pentecost.

VI. The Almighty dwells in Zion.

"Sing praises to the Lord which dwelleth in Zion; declare among the people His doings" (Psalm 9:11).

"Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined" (Psalm 50:2).

"In Salem [early name for Jerusalem] also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion" (Psalm 76:2).

"So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain’, then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there. shall no strangers pass through her anymore... But Judah shall dwell forever 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). There is need of cleansing in the whole Judeo-Christian framework.

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VII. God’s judgment on wicked nations.

VIII. And blessings on Zion:

"The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and strength of the children of Israel" (Joel 3:16).

"For the Lord shall comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody... Therefore, the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

"Thus saith thy Lord the Lord, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people. Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink of it again. But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over; and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over" (Isaiah 51:3,11,22,23).

Enemies of Israel, take note: "The sons of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 60:14).

IX. Coming World Redemption, peace and prosperity from Zion.

"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.

"Behold, the Lord has proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion: Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold his reward is with him and his work before him. [Christ quotes this in Revelation 22:12.] And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken" (Isaiah 62:1,11,12). Read the whole chapter.

"When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory" (Psalm 102:16). The Lord’s rebuilding Israel through His people, is the greatest sign of Messiah’s soon coming.

"But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain [Kingdom] of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains [kingdoms] and it shall be exalted above the hills [lesser powers] and nations shall flow into it.

"And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law [God’s order] shall go forth of Zion and the word of the Lord [true liberation] from Jerusalem.

"And he [Messiah] shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks. Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. [enduring peace]

"And they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

"And the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even forever" (Micah 4:1-4, 7b).

To sum up:

Zionism is the Eternal’s plan of world redemption for all people and a harbinger of a true ’Utopia’ of peace and prosperity for all the earth unto all ages.

"Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem" (Psalm 135:21).

"The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord" (Psalm 146:10).

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Rev. Elmer Josephson's sister, Evelyn Philgreen, inserting a prayer request in the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It was answered!